Prior to the introduction of the sage green HBT utility uniform in the summer of 1941, the Marines wore their khaki cotton summer uniform for field duty. The only difference was a necktie, worn while on garrison duty or on leave.
Marines in training at Parris Island, SC, May 1942.
World War II USMC Khaki Cotton Uniforms and Clothing
The U.S. Marine Corps khaki uniform was not designed for combat use but it was in fact worn to battle early in World War II at Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, the Philippines, and Guam. Short, canvas leggings with seven eyelet holes for laces were added to the khaki uniform when used for field duty. The Army continued to use the longer style leggings also used by the Marines before World War II. In the photo to the left, Marines at Parris Island, SC are drilled in May 1942, wearing khaki shirt and trousers as a field uniform with leggings (also with tie, an odd combination).
The khaki shirt and trousers used by the Marine Corps were not significantly different from the Army khaki shirt and trousers, used widely in warm climates throughout the war. Khaki was also used by the U.S. Navy for officer's summer uniforms. The khaki shirt could also be worn with forest green trousers as an intermediate uniform.
After the field and combat duties were taken over by the fatigue uniforms, the khaki Service Uniform continued to be used in warm weather throughout the war, in all parts of the world.
USMC Hats and Accessories with the Khaki Uniform
Sgt. John Fahey Gerrity during basic training at the Marine Corps base at Parris Island, SC, May 1942.
Sgt. Maxfield Hurlbut Dunlap at the Marine Corps base at Parris Island, SC, May 1942.
The summer service uniform included a cotton khaki garrison cap, similar in design to the Army garrison cap. A traditional Marine Corps pith helmet was also worn, even late in the war, in tropical areas. A khaki web belt was issued for use with the trousers, using the open face enlisted man's style buckle.
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