I suppose I never thought about it before, but I you’re right…I have never actually seen a United States Marine with an umbrella before.
And no, it’s not because of some macho, “they are Marines, they are tough, they don’t need a stinkin’ umbrella!” reason. It’s because having an umbrella got in the way of using his hand for a proper salute.
You’ll notice I used “him” in that previous sentence. That’s because the umbrella ban only applied to men. Female Marines were allowed to use them, but only if they were all black and carried in the left hand, leaving the right hand available for salutes.
3035. UMBRELLAS. Female Marines may carry an all-black, plain standard or collapsible umbrella at their option during inclement weather with the service and dress uniforms. It will be carried in the left hand so that the hand salute can be properly rendered. Umbrellas may not be used/carried in formation nor will they be carried with the utility uniform.
Now, after the latest update to the Uniform Code, men are allowed to use umbrellas with the same restrictions women were under (all black, left hand only).
Why the change? My best guess is that the uniforms are held in very high regard, and Marines would like the opportunity to keep them looking as sharp as possible in bad weather.
I wonder who the first male Marine to use an umbrella will be…hmmm?
Another big uniform change is that women can now wear earrings – with certain restrictions, of course.
If you geek out as much as I do about all things uniforms, here is the entire US Marine Uniform Regulations from 2018 (new ones don’t seem to be posted yet).
PS…Monday’s Veterans Day. Thank you for your service to all who served!