Wearing MARPAT in public?

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Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by atod » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:34 pm

Hi,

I'm interested in folks realistic view on people wearing MARPAT items in public. There are situations where one may wear or use MARPAT in situations which involve the outdoors, like camping, hiking, etc.. There is a great deal of MARPAT (and ACU) items available on Ebay and other surplus outlets. These items are legal quality gear (Packs, Tents, Trousers, Gore-Tex Jackets) at a good price. It's also gear that American tax dollars purchased. For instance, one may find Arc'Teryx designed packs and/or jackets at 1/8 of the military price new. Now, I have complete respect for all those who served and believe they have done the ultimate service for our country. I often wonder why they are not given this gear at the end of it's useful life, however at the same time government spending of American tax dollars requires the gear be available for highest bid when it's retired. Ideally government would auction this stuff off and use that money directly for veteran affairs funding.

I bring this up because I was carrying a surplus MARPAT ILBE Assault Pack in NYC the other day and a man said, "Hey, where did you get that backpack?". I knew exactly what was going on and responded that I purchased it surplus on Ebay, the Marines pick and design the best equipment available, he responded that he was he in the Marines and remembered it, then I thanked him. He certainly wasn't upset and everything seemed as if he was more interested if I had served. It was a very "man up" type of moment.

Does anyone have experiences or thoughts on using the gear in public? Marines or Civilians? Would wearing a ILBE MARPAT backpack on the way to an outdoor adventure cause an issue? How about putting on MARPAT pants in the woods?

Thanks

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Mountainsquid » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:17 pm

atod wrote: Does anyone have experiences or thoughts on using the gear in public? Marines or Civilians? Would wearing a ILBE MARPAT backpack on the way to an outdoor adventure cause an issue? How about putting on MARPAT pants in the woods?

Thanks

Navy vet here.

Why wear cammie stuff in public if you didn't serve? I don't buy the "oh, well, it's the BEST equipment"...argument. It's the equipment that met the requirements of the contract, that's it. It's "big and bombproof", but that doesn't make it ideal for routine outdoor adventures, unless you literally have no other option.

Honestly, if I had seen you with it and I asked "where'd you served" and the response was "I didn't, I got it on ebay", I would be a little peeved. Nothing I can do about it, and I certainly wouldn't publically dress you down, but to me it strikes me as weekend warrior(and not the NG kind) crap, people trying to identify themselves as something they aren't. MARPAT(or any service) pants in the woods don't make a whole lot of sense either, again, unless you're trying to be some sorta weeaboo "operator". Lots of servicemen do, of course, wear uniform components while shooting/in the woods...but they've also already made the investment in it.

And I honestly don't care if you "have complete respect for all those who served", you're consciously donning uniform items and you must at least suspect some servicemen wouldn't like this, or you wouldn't be asking the question.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:36 pm

As a veteran, Navy not Marines, I will sometimes ask someone sporting military issue gear if they served, usually with the smart assed comment like "nice boots/pack/jacket did you earn them or buy them?" Mainly as a way to find some commonality.

Most guys chuckle and say they got it from their cousin who was active or some variation. Nobody has ever gotten mad, but more interestingly I've never had anyone say yes, I earned them.

I don't begrudge how people spend their money, but I do get really pissed if I catch somebody lying about their service. That's only happened once. The guy made Jon Lovitz look like Abe Lincoln.

If you feel uncomfortable wearing it, then maybe you shouldn't. As Jiminy Cricket says, "Always let your conscience be your guide."
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by atod » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:54 pm

Mountainsquid wrote: Honestly, if I had seen you with it and I asked "where'd you served" and the response was "I didn't, I got it on ebay", I would be a little peeved. Nothing I can do about it, and I certainly wouldn't publically dress you down, but to me it strikes me as weekend warrior(and not the NG kind) crap, people trying to identify themselves as something they aren't. MARPAT(or any service) pants in the woods don't make a whole lot of sense either, again, unless you're trying to be some sorta weeaboo "operator". Lots of servicemen do, of course, wear uniform components while shooting/in the woods...but they've also already made the investment in it.

And I honestly don't care if you "have complete respect for all those who served", you're consciously donning uniform items and you must at least suspect some servicemen wouldn't like this, or you wouldn't be asking the question.
Thanks for the feedback. A similar yet different (no wartime situation was involved) situation is that I'm an Eagle Scout. I sometimes see hipsters wearing Boy Scout uniforms around New York City as some sort of retro fashion. My first thought is, are they a Boy Scout, then realize some of these people are scantily dressed woman wearing the uniform as a dress. Certainly seeing a uniform with the insignia and patches on it makes me think about things, however never enough we I would confront them about it. If I did, it would be under the assumption they are going to a Boy Scout event and saying hi. Maybe they think Boy Scouts was cool. It's very possible the military situation is much different.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:56 pm

MARPAT clothing in public=douchebag, without fail. Gear less so, particular surplus packs.

On the trail? Who cares.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Nightmare Machine » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:18 am

So long as they are not claiming service they did not serve, I don't see the problem.

There are three guys where I work that use MARPAT assault packs as their everyday packs simply because they were cheap, and didn't fall apart after two weeks like Wal*Mart packs.

Uniforms? A little weird in public, but so long as they are not wearing unit insignia or medals they did not win......who cares? If anything, take it as a compliment.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:27 am

Nightmare Machine wrote:Uniforms? A little weird in public, but so long as they are not wearing unit insignia or medals they did not win......who cares? If anything, take it as a compliment.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by modustollens » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:43 am

It is supposedly a 'free' country. .mil people apparently or supposedly fight for that freedom. That freedom includes wearing or using clothing not restricted by law (e.g., impersonation laws). Anyone who gets upset, .mil or not, forgets that their service is there to support freedom, not undermine it, and they ought not be thanked or respected for wishing to undermine or reduce the citizen's freedom.

The symbolic importance of taking offence is more cause for concern than the superficial symbolism surrounding the colour or make of a backpack.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by 74 or more » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:48 am

Having someone question your integrity just because your wearing a certain pair of pants is also annoying. If I stop at the grocery store to pick up some things on my way to an over night trip or hike and someone starting giving me shit about earning my pants I would be pissed.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Bubba Enfield » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:12 am

Anyone who has served in the military is aware that surplus items are available for purchase on civvy street. Nothing wrong with asking if someone was in, but as long as they're not pretending then no big deal. For example, I bought a Canadian Airborne jump smock for $1 at a garage sale. If it was made of better material, I might wear it walking the dog or something. But no matter who asks me, I'll tell them that yes, I served, and no, it wasn't in the Airborne Regiment.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by 74 or more » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:17 am

Bubba Enfield wrote: Nothing wrong with asking if someone was in, but as long as they're not pretending then no big deal.
Agreed. I don't have a problem with someone simply asking if I've served.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Kelvar » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:30 am

atod wrote: I bring this up because I was carrying a surplus MARPAT ILBE Assault Pack in NYC the other day and a man said, "Hey, where did you get that backpack?". I knew exactly what was going on and responded that I purchased it surplus on Ebay, the Marines pick and design the best equipment available, he responded that he was he in the Marines and remembered it, then I thanked him. He certainly wasn't upset and everything seemed as if he was more interested if I had served. It was a very "man up" type of moment.
I had to read this a couple of times to get what you were saying. At first I was like, "telling somebody you got something on Ebay was a 'man up' moment?" But now I think I see what you're saying--that you "manned up"* by being truthful about not having served? I think I understand.

*I'm not crazy about that expression, but that's a tangent
atod wrote:
Does anyone have experiences or thoughts on using the gear in public? Marines or Civilians? Would wearing a ILBE MARPAT backpack on the way to an outdoor adventure cause an issue? How about putting on MARPAT pants in the woods?
I think you'll get as many different reactions as there are service members/former service members. As others have said, as long as you're not wearing unit patches, badges or anything that says "Army," "Marines," "Navy," or "Air Force," then it wouldn't bother me. Pants are pants. But if you're wearing a shirt that says, "U.S. Army," then I'd be kinda pissed, but I wouldn't say anything. Pants, rucksacks, general gear, that's cool with me. I think the main thing that would piss me off is if I saw someone (who hadn't earned them) wearing Jump Wings or a beret with their military gear. If I saw someone wearing a shirt with a "Special Forces" or "Ranger" tab and if I knew he hadn't earned it, then yeah, that would bother me. In fact, if I saw that I would say something. That kind of shit pisses me off.

On the other hand--and this may seem inconsistent--if you're just wearing basic stuff like pants, I'd just figure that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I'd be totally cool with it.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by ancient_serpent » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:54 am

Clothing: I wouldn't have a problem with it at all, as long as it wasn't someone trying to imitate being in the military.

Bags: wouldn't care at all.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by bltjr1951 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:16 am

My grandson is always getting mail from USMC wanting him to reply and they'll send him a t-shirt with logo on it.

See shirts with US Army at the recruiters display.

Anyone questioning me about my right to wear/carry anything I want, better be ready for a "WTF is it to you" reply. Cause they sure didn't buy it for me.

Worked with a ex Navy guy that stole all of his camo from jarheads.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Kelvar » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:32 am

There's a big difference between thinking someone's a poser vs. having the "right" to wear it. No one in this thread has suggested that the OP doesn't have the "right."

I have the right to do a lot of things I would never do.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Siggy01 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:21 am

I wear a normal black backpack I picked up at the goodwill for 3 bucks. Not suspicious at all, and it's stitched well with metal buckles. I use my molle pack for the gun range only these days. Unless you're going hunting, don't go out in full camo/uniform. Pants, sure. Just a camo shirt? Why not. No reason to wear a pack designed for warfare around a normal city. (Unless maybe you're going to like a outdoor/gun show convention or something).
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by feedthedog » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:28 am

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:MARPAT clothing in public=douchebag, without fail. Gear less so, particular surplus packs.

On the trail? Who cares.
Camouflage ( regardless of pattern) is a fashion don't unless you are in the woods.

Actually, I take that back. I saw a kid yesterday with a skateboard and some super skinny flecktarn pants. Kid was surrounded by girls, which is a good enough reason.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Boondock » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:31 am

I say buy and use gear and clothing that gets the job done for your personal needs--doesn't matter if it's patterned in MARPAT, ACU, OD green, jet black or hot pink neon.

Personally, one of the reasons I served in the military was to ensure that the citizens and residents of this country have the right to wear whatever clothing they desire.

I simply could not care less what other people do.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by itzybitzyspyder » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:33 am

I have the woodland digital MARPAT rainsuit. I wear the top when it's raining or with a fleece when it's cold. I get asked every now and then by service people if I've served and asked by others who think it's neat where I got it. I've never served and I have respect for those who have. I don't pretend to be/used to be in the service. I just say I got it on eBay because I like tough shit that won't crap out and Uncle Sam pays top dollar for the best.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Boondock » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:10 am

itzybitzyspyder wrote:... because I like tough shit that won't crap out and Uncle Sam pays top dollar for the best.
Except that Uncle doesn't. Instead, he often pays top dollar for garbage, peddled by a corporation that donated to a campaign or promised some general a sweet gig after retirement.

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Nightmare Machine » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:36 am

Kelvar wrote:On the other hand--and this may seem inconsistent--if you're just wearing basic stuff like pants, I'd just figure that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I'd be totally cool with it.
And really, this is how it should be. Look back to the days of late Korea and 'Nam when soldiers got spit on, and returning soldiers wearing M65s or whatever because they liked them and worked got shit on, run out of town, etc. Now people want to dress like them.

I agree that impersonation is wrong (and illegal), but barring that, again it should be seen as a compliment.

As far as the guy saying there's no reason to wear a camouflage ruck around a modern city -- why not? What is so wrong about that? I see women using military tool bags in ACU that their sons sent home to them as purses. Are they posers? Guys at work in the factory I work in wear camo pants. Practical? YES! Because you wear single color clothes in a factory they get all stained and ruined, camo pants, you really don't notice.

Finally, remember that these people who wear military surplus have already paid for it once with their tax dollars, and payed more to get it back. Badges, medals, tabs and whatnot are earned. Clothes, packs, canteen, etc are bought.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:26 pm

Nightmare Machine wrote: Guys at work in the factory I work in wear camo pants. Practical? YES! Because you wear single color clothes in a factory they get all stained and ruined, camo pants, you really don't notice.
That's why the Navy switched to those digital blue uniforms, practical, not tactical. They can cover up a fight in the paint locker.
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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by emclean » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:58 pm

wearing uniforms you didn't get issued to you or close relative, fine as long as it is debadged. it irks me to great who i think is a fellow paratrooper (due to the patches he is wearing) with the standard greeting of the day, to only get a blank look.
Does anyone have experiences or thoughts on using the gear in public? Marines or Civilians?
the year i got out of the service i was wandering around my hometown festival, and a NG recruiter wandered up to me and started giving me his sales pitch. he spent a while trying to talk me into joining up. my wife put up with my chatting well enough(she is used to me talking army with others) my kids not so much. after i slipped away from the recruiter, i keep trying to figure out how he know i was a vet. after half an hour of pondering i asked my wife.

she rolled her eyes at me and pointed out i was wearing an issue brown t-shirt, cutoff BDU pants, jungle boots, my dog-tag chain was visible around my neck, and my younger son was wearing a shirt that announced to the world 'my daddy is a paratrooper".

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Re: Wearing MARPAT in public?

Post by claverhouse » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:11 pm

I have a bunch of different items in MARPAT and happily wear or use them, exactly because they are US issued items and therefore, for me, foreign military and not British Army DPM or MTP so I'm not appearing to be something I'm not. Also - it's damn good camo.
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