Uncovering the Fashion Secrets: Decoding the Marine Corps’ Stance on Hands in Pockets

Understanding the Marine Corps Order on Hands in Pockets

The United States Marine Corps is known for its rich traditions and strict adherence to discipline. One of the customs that often raises questions is the Marine Corps Order on Hands in Pockets. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of this order, its historical background, and its significance within the Marine Corps. By delving into the origins and rationale behind the order, we can gain a deeper appreciation for its purpose and its role in maintaining the professional image of the Marine Corps.

Historical Background

The prohibition of hands in pockets dates back to the early days of the Marine Corps. It grew out of the need to maintain a disciplined and professional appearance, which is a fundamental aspect of military life. This tradition stems from the belief that a Marine should always be ready for action and should maintain a sharp and alert posture at all times.
In the early 19th century, when the Marine Corps was still in its infancy, uniforms were often ill-fitting and lacked the functionality and comfort of modern clothing. At the time, putting your hands in your pockets was considered a sign of laziness, unprofessionalism, and lack of readiness. Thus, the tradition of keeping hands out of pockets was established to instill discipline and maintain a sharp appearance among Marines.

The Importance of the Order

The Marine Corps Order on Hands in Pockets serves several important purposes. First, it promotes discipline and professionalism among Marines. By following this order, Marines demonstrate a sense of self-control and maintain the highest standards of conduct. It reinforces the idea that a Marine is always ready for duty and ready to respond to any situation with vigilance and focus.

Second, the regulation emphasizes the importance of maintaining a neat and tidy appearance. A Marine’s uniform is a representation of his commitment to the Corps and the values it upholds. By refraining from putting their hands in their pockets, Marines ensure that their uniform remains crisp and presentable, projecting an image of pride and professionalism.

Exceptions and Practical Considerations

While the hands-in-pockets regulation is generally strict, there are some exceptions and practical considerations to be aware of. For example, under certain circumstances, such as extreme weather conditions, Marines may be granted permission to briefly place their hands in their pockets to protect them from the cold or rain. However, this should be done sparingly and with discretion to ensure that it does not detract from the overall appearance of discipline.

Additionally, it should be noted that this order applies primarily to uniformed Marines in official settings. During off-duty hours or in more relaxed environments, such as barracks or recreation areas, Marines may have more flexibility in their posture and hand placement. However, even in these scenarios, it is critical that Marines maintain a respectful and professional demeanor.


The Marine Corps Order of Hands in Pockets is deeply rooted in tradition, discipline, and professionalism. By understanding the historical background and significance of this order, we can appreciate its role in maintaining the image of the Marine Corps and fostering a sense of pride and commitment among Marines. Adherence to this order not only reinforces discipline, but also reflects the core values and principles that the Marine Corps upholds. By upholding these traditions, Marines continue to embody the highest standards of military excellence in both appearance and conduct.


What is the Marine Corps order on hands in pockets?

The Marine Corps order on hands in pockets is a regulation that prohibits Marines from placing their hands in their pockets while in uniform, except under specific circumstances.

Why does the Marine Corps have a policy against putting hands in pockets?

The Marine Corps has a policy against putting hands in pockets for several reasons. Firstly, it is considered unprofessional and undisciplined behavior. Keeping hands out of pockets promotes a more formal and respectful appearance. Additionally, having hands readily available allows Marines to react quickly and effectively if a situation requires immediate action.

Are there any exceptions to the Marine Corps policy on hands in pockets?

Yes, there are exceptions to the Marine Corps policy on hands in pockets. One of the exceptions is when a Marine is retrieving an item from a pocket or performing a specific task that requires the use of hands in pockets, such as operating certain equipment. However, these exceptions are generally limited and should be justified by the situation.

What are the potential consequences for a Marine violating the hands in pockets policy?

The consequences for a Marine violating the hands in pockets policy can vary depending on the severity and frequency of the violation. In less serious cases, a verbal counseling or reminder may be given to the Marine. However, repeated or deliberate violations of the policy can result in disciplinary action, including formal counseling, reprimands, or even non-judicial punishment (NJP) under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Does the hands in pockets policy apply to all Marines?

Yes, the hands in pockets policy applies to all Marines when they are in uniform. Regardless of rank or position, Marines are expected to adhere to this regulation as part of maintaining the Marine Corps’ high standards of professionalism and discipline.

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