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Closely Controlled By DoD
In the Mid/late 60’s I was involved with inventory management of clothing for the Corps. The dollar value of the initial issue of clothing to recruits of each of the services is closely controlled by DoD. By that I mean, the cost of the initial issue to a Navy recruit or Airman is very close dollar wise, to that provided to Marine recruits. Even back at that period, there was a desire on the part of HQMC to issue Dress Blues as part of the initial issue, however the cost of the Dress Blues would require removing other items of clothing that were felt to be more critical.
As the price of the items in the initial issue has changed, and the total value increased it became possible to add the Dress Blues. Remember at that time boots were in $12-15 range, now I understand they are in the $70 range. By issuing Dress Blues to all new recruits, the cost per set comes down as the buy quantity rises.
That assignment with the clothing branch remains one of the most interesting of the 22 years spent in the Corps, 1960-1982.