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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good quality, washable, baseball style cap with metal rank/rating marks." The sketch looks exactly like the working blue of the 1980s. H O L L Y W O O D S T Y L E F O R C O A S T G U A R D L A D I E S I N U N I F O R M Women joined the active duty Coast Guard in the early 1970s, accompanied by their own distinct set of uniforms. But with the switch to Bender Blues in 1974, female service members' uniforms were adapted to mirror those of their male shipmates. The Coast Guard's senior-most female officer, Capt. Eleanor L'Ecuyer, was responsible for upgrading the uniforms. Through a Coast Guard friend in Long Beach, Calif., L'Ecuyer was able to get a meeting with eight-time Academy-award winning costume designer Edith Head, costumer to Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Danny Kaye and John Wayne. Intrigued, Head agreed to take on the project. Universal Studios allowed the fashion icon to spend time designing the Coast Guard's female uniforms, creating looks based on pants suits, dresses and skirts, including a light blue, short-sleeved polyester top with gold-tone buttons, pockets and a sewn-on belt, and the infamous Coast Guard-striped ascot. Head said the fresh, stylish female uniforms, "should last 30 years or more," and she was presented with the Meritorious Public Service Award by the commandant, Adm. Owen W. Siler, who approved the designs. Head called the assignment a "highlight" in her career, and as she predicted, the service wouldn't see a major uniform change for 30 years. T H E B I R T H A N D R E B I R T H O F T H E O D U It was true that the dress uniform wouldn't change for 30 years, but Patton said the service was hungry for a change to the operational uniform, especially those doing law enforcement while wearing it. He made that a priority during his tenure as the MCPOCG from 1998 to 2002. "I remember being at a morning flag brief in early 2000, and I brought with me my copy of the Washington Post," said Patton. "I found an ad for a Sears water heater, and the guy standing next to the water heater looked like he's wearing a Coast Guard working blue uniform. I took that ad to the briefing and showed it to [Coast Guard Commandant Adm. James Loy]. He said 'Okay, do whatever it takes to get the uniform fixed.'" After a visit to a Department of Defense battle dress uniform factory, Patton asked what it would take to have their uniform made in dark blue. It turned out to be just a few key strokes. With 50 new uniforms in hand, Patton made a visit to the Coast AT RIGHT, THE WORKING BLUE UNIFORM OF THE 1990s. IMAGE COURTESY COAST GUARD RECRUITING COMMAND 10 RESERVIST � Uniform Issue • 2019

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