MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- In service for more than two years now, the tan "no-shine" combat boots have rapidly taken hold as the Marine Corps norm, with the only black on most Marines' feet in the form of their socks - for now anyways.
Soon, the traditional black boot socks issued to most Marines will be found few and far between in the Corps, as coyote brown socks ease their way into the dresser drawers and sea bags of Marines around the world.
Many speculate that the change is being made to better suit the Marines serving in the deserts overseas, where lighter shades of gear will work to better camouflage them on the battlefield. But, the decision was made for quite a different reason - foot odor.
For years Marines have had problems with the black socks, claiming they provided their feet with poor ventilation that lead to foot odors and other foot-related health problems. The new brown socks were developed to prevent those problems.
"The new coyote brown boot socks are anti-microbial," said Gunnery Sgt. Glenn Griggs, staff NCO in charge of Phase One Clothing. "They contain a fiber that is coated in silver to combat bacteria growth that causes odor and stains."
According to Marine Corps Bulletin 10120, the new socks were planned for introduction during fiscal year 2004, and recruits started receiving them July 26. Black, brown or green socks can be worn by permanent personnel to meet the minimum uniform regulations, and a mandatory possession date for the coyote brown boot socks will be determined at a later date.
Aside from word on the new socks, Marines here may have heard that Depot Military Clothing Sales has been stocking up on new brown T-shirts. However, this does not mean it is time to throw out the green ones just yet.
"The coyote brown shirts have been approved by the commandant, but they are not authorized for wear yet," said Mary Boyt, program manager for the Marine Corps Uniform Board. "We do not have the funding to field the new shirts as of right now because a lot of it is going toward the war effort. That's the Department of Defense's main priority right now."
As to why the Marine Corps opted for the coyote brown color, Boyt said it was chosen because it works well with the woodland MARPAT utility uniforms, as well as the desert uniforms, with which the dark, olive drab T-shirts are still worn.