Uniform 2019

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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wearing. So where we used to change from, say, blue to whites or khakis with a seasonal variation, now we'll be in a single uniform around the calendar." Ward had other concerns. "Now the Navy could pick out who we were, which started a lot more fights overseas," he said wryly. Along with the new service dress blue, the service switched its naval dungarees for a new working uniform. The first iteration was very short-lived; it consisted of dark blue pants and a pullover- style dark blue, short sleeve jumper with two pockets and a three-button collar. The rating patch was worn on the left sleeve. Patton remembered the Coast Guardsmen rebelled hard against the pullover-style uniform, and the service looked for a temporary fix until the replacement uniform could be created. "When they allowed us to switch back to the dungaree work uniform, my entire radioman class took those things off and threw them in the trash; there were trash cans all over Petaluma filled with those pullover uniforms." Patton said, "In '76, the new working blue uniform was created, but it would be a few years before it could be issued to everyone, so the short-term fix was people could buy the Dickies brand of work clothes, which mostly was sold at Sears." By the very late 1970s, Coast Guardsmen began appearing in the more commonly- remembered version of the "working blue" uniform, which looked similar to the commercial clothing: a cotton navy-colored shirt, matching pants, black work boots and blue plastic name tag. A variation of this was the "undress blue" uniform: a mix of working blue pants and light-blue short- sleeve shirt, worn with rank insignia and name tag only. This wash-and-wear uniform was low maintenance, worn with the new service ball cap. Varying years would show "USCG," "U.S. Coast Guard" or the unit name across the front of the cap. The whole uniform became affectionately remembered as the "gas station attendant" uniform. Oddly enough, Coast Guard Station Portland's officer-in-charge, Chief Petty Officer Richard F. Malm, wrote to the commandant in early 1970 (seven years prior to the issuance of the working blue uniform) with a design the Station's personnel liked, which was in use at Station Portland. He included a sketch (see above) of a "two piece medium blue, tailored but not tight fitting, short sleeve, open collar, light weight material" accompanied by "a IN SEPTEMBER 1970, ONE COAST GUARD STATION SENT THE COMMANDANT A SUGGESTION FOR A NEW WORKING UNIFORM. THE UNIFORM ON THE FAR RIGHT LOOKS IDENTICAL TO THE WORKING BLUE UNIFORM, WHICH WAS IMPLEMENTED EIGHT YEARS LATER. IMAGE COURTESY OF THE COAST GUARD HISTORIANS OFFICE. Uniform Issue • 2019 � RESERVIST 9

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