Your Marine Officer (2nd Lt) Uniform Regulations in Plain English

Thank you to Jack and co at for building this detailed guide to the Marine Corps officer uniform regulations for Lieutenants far and wide.

Service Alpha Uniform: The Green Ones

See the official Marine Corps Uniform Regulations here, MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5.

At present, this guide covers only the Service “A”, aka “alpha” uniform setup for newly-commissioned Marine Corps officers. See a tutorial on setup for the dress blue alpha uniform at

Service A Uniform Regulations: the Uniform for Checking In

The Marine Corps Service Alpha uniform regulations at Commissioning in the National Museum of the Marine Corps, 2009
The Marine Corps Service Alpha uniform is the uniform for commissioning and checking in, among other purposes

When reporting to your first duty station you should not stress over checking in. Depending on your assignment (PTAD or TBS), it will mostly consist of a good deal of paperwork, a few briefings with unit personnel, and unpacking. Just ensure you uniform is squared away (follow the tutorial below), haircut is in regulation, and you have copies of your orders, driver’s license, small notepad and a black pen. It also wouldn’t hurt to bring a small snack and a bottle of water as well.

Below is a step-by-step picture tutorial on how to properly set up your uniform and groom yourself prior to reporting:


  • Less than 3 inches in length
  • Bulk of hair less than 2 inches
  • Faded at hairline from 0 length
  • Clean shaven on face and neck (don’t check in with an in-regs mustache)

Hair will be neat and closely trimmed. The hair may be clipped at the edges of the side and back and will be evenly graduated all the way around the head (blended or faded and not edged as an outline) from zero length at the hairline in the lower portion of the head to the upper portion of the head. Hair will not be over 3 inches in length fully extended (an extended hair, not the style, determines proper length) on the upper portion of the head. The bulk of the hair shall not exceed approximately two inches. Bulk is defined as the distance that the mass of hair protrudes from the scalp when styled. The back and sides of the head below the hairline may be shaved to remove body hair. MARADMIN 504/07

Page 1-10 (MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5)


  • Service belt extends to wearer’s left
  • Service belt covers bottom button of coat
  • Service belt’s tapered end extends 2 Âľ in to 3 Âľ in beyond buckle
  • Buckle highly polished

The complete upper-half wear of the service alpha uniform. Notice how the belt buckle is aligned with service jacket outside edge (gig line).

 Page 3-4 (MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5)

  • EGA insignias vertical
  • EGA insignias anchors inboard
  • EGA insignias wingtips parallel to bottom of coat

Likewise, the Eagle Globe and Anchor collar insignias are positioned vertically in the eyelets provided, anchors inboard, and wing tips parallel to bottom of the coat.

Page 4-9 (MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5)

  • Ribbons centered on left pocket
  • Ribbons positioned 1/8 in above pocket top seam

Ribbon bars will be centered 1/8 inch above and parallel to the top edge of the upper left pocket of dress “B” coats, service coats, and men’s khaki shirts. When marksmanship badges are worn, ribbon bars will be centered over the pocket with the bottom edge of the ribbon bar 1/8 inch above the widest holding bar of the marksmanship badge(s).

Page 5-32 (MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5)

  • Rank insignia at midpoint center of shoulder
  • Rank insignia 3/4 in from outside edge

 The Marine Corps Service Alpha uniform butter bar rank placement

Rank insignia is placed at the midpoint center of the shoulder-board positioned 3/4″ from the outer-most edge.

Page 4-23 (MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5)


  • Rank insignia centered between top & bottom edge of collar
  • Rank insignia 1 in from inside edge
  • Rank insignia parallel to inside edge
  • Always wear shirt-stays with khaki shirts

Collar grade insignia will be worn on both sides of the collar of khaki shirts. When the service “A” uniform is worn by officers, the wear of the collar insignia is required at all times. The insignia will be centered between the top and bottom edge of the collar, with the outer edge of the insignia one inch from the front edge of the collar. When the shirt collar is buttoned up the insignia will be parallel to the collar edge.

Page 4-22, 4-26 (


  • Half Windsor knot
  • Tie clasp worn on lower half of tie between 3rd and 4th buttons from top
  • Dimple at base of knot preferred

Page 3-21 (MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5)


  • Trouser legs have slight break over shoe in front
  • Trouser legs reach 1/4 in above or below shoe welt in rear
  • Trouser hems 2-3 in wide
  • Trouser crease at center front and rear of each leg
  • Trouser crease extends from bottom of hem to 2 inches above trouser crotch

Not much to explain here as the Marine Shop or TBS Uniform shop already tailor your trousers to conform to the established standards. Just ensure they’re wrinkle free and exhibit the proper crease standards as shown in the above photo and in the order below.

Page 3-32 (MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5)


  • Web belt
  • Highly polished
  • Tip of belt on wearer’s left
  • Tip extends 2-4 in beyond buckle

The tip end of the web belt will pass through the buckle to the wearer’s left and will extend from 2 to 4 in beyond the buckle

Page 3-4 (MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5)


  • Centered squarely on head
  • Top slit unbroken
  • Base of sweatband 1in above eyebrows
  • Rank insignia bisected by flap
  • Rank insignia bisects flap arch

The left service collar insignia will be worn on the left front side of the garrison cap, with the insignia centered vertically in the eyelet provided. Collar grade insignia will be worn on the right side of the garrison cap opposite to the branch of service collar insignia, with the insignia placed at a point midway on the arc of the flap and the flap generally bisecting the insignia.

Page 4-9, 4-26 (MCO P1020.34G W CH 1-5)


  • Standard corfam or shined low quarter shoe
  • Black socks

As always please don’t hesitate to reach out to us in our Contact section with any questions, comments, or concerns you might have.

Thanks again to the team at for this excellent Marine Officer Uniform Regulations guide! Check out their advice for Lieutenants on OCS, TBS and beyond.

6 thoughts on “Your Marine Officer (2nd Lt) Uniform Regulations in Plain English

  1. After both OCS and TBS, I wouldn’t think any additional or remedial instruction would be required. If it is, I hope those who need it, aren’t assigned to an MOS other than administration.

    1. Great post. Many PLC and ROTC candidates have an entire year’s worth of college left prior to commissioning so a tutorial like this could be a lifesaver. Likewise, TBS report dates keep getting pushed back so anyone stuck in that boat would find this equally as beneficial.

  2. 12-1-1958 Picked mine up. Still hanging in my closet next to my Dress Blues. Semper Fi new Marine Brass.

  3. Do you think a uniform guide like this could be made for the female uniforms? I know they’re slightly different and it’s difficult to find regulations on ribbon placements/rank on the garrison cover.

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