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This Irks Me
Posted by: Dale Franks on Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yet another thing to add to the list of things that irk me, is stuff like the image below:

Why can't anyone outside of the military ever get our country's uniforms right? It's not like the wear of uniforms is some sort of deeply-held national security secret. Every service's uniform regulations are publicly published.

But in the picture above, not one single uniform is correct. Indeed, one of them hasn't even been worn for a decade. And some of the uniform oddities are just bizarre. Are these the US Military uniforms in the alternate universe where Spock has a beard?

The really irritating thing about this is that the image above doesn't come from some Hollywood deal. I mean, we expect Hollywood people to get things wrong. But this image is taken from an ad for a defense contractor that is taken from the US Army Materiel Command's 2006 yearbook. You'd think that something that appears in a US Army publication would have at least some passing resemblance to reality, wouldn't you? Jesse Macbeth could've put together a more accurate image.

Just out of curiosity, how many mistakes can you find in the picture?

My list of mistakes is below the fold.
1) Both USAF and Army ribbons are out of precedence, and the USAF officer is missing the NDSM ribbon.

2) That version of the USAF uniform was eliminated in 1994.

3) USAF officers hat is wrong color.

4) USAF officers hat has a gold band, instead of black.

5) USAF officer's dark blue sleeve ring is missing.

6) Army officer's black pants stripe and sleeve ring is missing.

7) Army officer's hat is missing gold chinstrap.

8) Army officer has 4 gold sleeve rings.

9) Army officer is wearing shoes oxfords with non-regulation leather toe caps.

10) Navy officer is wearing a USMC cap.

11) Marine is wearing a cap that appears to be completely non-regulation. Based on the flexible silver chinstrap and black crown band, I suspect it is a fireman's dress uniform cap.

12) USAF name tag improperly placed.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Unless things have changed since my dad retired, the Air Force hat should be blue and not have the yellow ribbon. Also, I’m pretty sure this is the Air Force, not the NBA draft, so they probably haven’t updated to four-button suits. And I don’t recall the two buttoned pockets, but I may be wrong there. I think they’re supposed to be lower down, like on a suitcoat. But congrats on his flight crew status!

I can’t really tell, but it looks like the army guy is wearing rubber-soled Kenneth Cole loafers.
Written By: Sean
Ok, the army uniform. Wearing infantry officer insignia on lapel so we will assume he is an officer because we can’t see his epaulets. That would require thick black stripes running along the outside seam of his trousers and a gold strap along the bill of his cap (for a company grade officer)(field grade would require "scrambled eggs on the bill too). What are those four stripes on the sleeve? And why is the "road guard ribbon" (National Service Medal)in the first position in his fruit salad? I know I see a "purple heart" and an ARCOM and I think I see a Silver Star in subordinate positions to a giveaway ribbon. And it is hard to see, but are there toe caps on those low quarters?

Take it away Navy!
Written By: Richard
To add to the Army list:
-I suppose he could choose not to wear weapons qual. badges, but it’s an odd absence.

-He has a CIB and that branch insignia is either cav or infantry. If infantry, the shoulder cord’s missing.

-Those yellow stripes were probably -supposed- to be overseas service bars, but they should be discrete rectangular bars centered on the outside of the sleeve and only about a quarter-inch thick (each) and a bit over an inch long.
Written By: Lysenko
URL: http://
You only wear the chord if assigned to an infantry unit, so it is plausible he’d not be wearing it.

More on the Army uni:

White shirt.

No black strip near the cuff of the green blouse (i.e. it’s an enlisted uniform).

No gold strap (or any strap) on the headgear.

And shouldn’t the Air Force hat should have black strap?

Are you sure this isn’t some funky combo ad which is purposely mixing them all up for a reason? I mean who would think an army uniform has 4 navy Captain’s strips on one side? No one could be this daft.

BTW, good catch on the ribbons, Richard ... too small for me to make them out well, but you’re right, I do see a PH in there after the NDSM.
Written By: McQ
The Army guy is smiling. Let’s be one has fun in the Army.
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
The Army green service cap is no longer even authorized for wear...
Written By: J
URL: http://
Not sure about ’official’ Army or other service publications, but I think it is a matter of Federal law that prevents Hollywood from accurately depicting the totally correct wear of the uniform. Something about impersonating an officer or something similar.

Written By: Michael Boelter
URL: http://
Actually, Federal law in 10 USC 772 specifically allows theatrical or motion picture productions to depict the uniform in an authentic manner.
Written By: Dale Franks
To add to the Marine Corps uni problems:
1) Needs the rifle (and pistol, if applicable) qualification badge(s), We’re riflemen first and always.

2) The collar has two eagle, globe, and anchors on it - one on each side, matching the bigger version on the Marine’s cover...err, hat. And while it’s hard to tell on my PC, it sure doesn’t look like an ega on the collar. It looks like the army cav crossed swords.

If this is a pub for the army, or the military in general, did anyone even look at it before printing it? Good grief.
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
"Warrior Needs Food Badly"

Best. Screenname. Ever.
Written By: Sean
Adding to the depiction of the Marine, it looks like he has one set of ribbons on his left breast, and then it looks like one ribbon on the right (Looks like a National Defense). Marines don’t wear ribbons on both sides.

Plus, on the EGA on his collar (If that is what it is), it’s facing outward, it should be inward.

He’s also wearing the blood stripe of an NCO (and no rank insignia on his epaulets so he isn’t an officer), so he should have an EGA on his belt buckle.

His cover looks screwed-up also. The white should come further down, and the band on the front looks non-regulation.

The blood stripe looks a little wide also, almost like it’s the officer version.
Written By: civdiv
URL: http://
You have all missed the most glaring discrepancy: unlike those depicted, there are no gay men in the military.
Written By: Jim Clark
URL: http://
1. The Army officer has his ribbons over his coat lapel. Things may have changed since my Dad was in, but as I recall that is a serious no-no. Indeed, at the time the spot nearest the lapel was left empty to avoid what you see in the photo or the ribbon being covered up. As I said though, that could have changed.

2. I could be wrong, but isn’t the Marine enlisted? Since the Marine has the blood stripes, shouldn’t you be able to see at least a smidgeon of his chevrons on the sleeve? I forget off the top of my head the rank needed to get them, but it’s odd that he has no chevrons showing. I know that officers have the blood stripe as well (different size) but that appears to me to be more of an enlisted uniform. Come to think of it if he is enlisted then we should be able to see service stripes on his sleeve. The collar devices don’t look like the eagle and globe regardless.

3. The "Navy" officer’s uniform is so odd to me that at first I thought it might be Coast Guard. It’s definately the cover. It looks VERY weird with that uniform, plus the Army officer stole his gold stripes.

None of this surprises me. I remember being enlisted in the Navy and goin to see movies with my buddies and we’d have a contest to see whom could find the most errors. The loser had to buy the beer. One that I recall off the top of my head is the CPO in "Crimson Tide" who had a gold stripe on his cover. Good movie though.
Written By: John
He’s also wearing the blood stripe of an NCO (and no rank insignia on his epaulets so he isn’t an officer), so he should have an EGA on his belt buckle.

Oh good. My memory isn’t as bad as I thought then. Good catch on the belt buckle! It looked odd to me too but I couldn’t think of why.
Written By: John
You have all missed the most glaring discrepancy: unlike those depicted, there are no gay men in the military.

Uh, yeah. Right. Suuuuuurrre. Must admit though, the Navy and Marine look like dorks.
Written By: John
Looks like the whole thing was cobbled together, anyway.
It’s not even a good photo shop; look at the light angles... they’re all over the place one for each model. Looks like someone took four separate pictures... old ones... and pasted them together.
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
"Marines don’t wear ribbons on both sides."

What about unit citations?
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
John, I think Jim was being tongue-in-cheek. Maybe it would have been better if he’d said something like "They’re missing the Indian chief, the construction worker and the leather biker."
Written By: Wacky Hermit
Unlike Soldiers, Marines do not wear ribbons on both sides of their uniforms. If they are in whatever you call it, Blue Alphas I think they are called, they will wear medals on the left and the ribbons that are not represented by medals on their right. But there is no circumstance where a Marine will properly wear ribbons on both sides.
Written By: civdiv
URL: http://
Got it. Thanks.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

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