It’s a surreal image that could only seemingly come from the bleak imagination of a dystopian fiction writer, yet it is all too based in reality.
Under the watchful glare of a masked Drill Instructor, faceless US Marine recruits march with their rifles on their shoulders, their boots splashing against the wet pavement as they move in formation beneath a grey California sky.
This is not fiction, however. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Marines have been instructed to construct and wear green face masks made from issued undershirts known as “skivvy shirts.”
Department of Defense guidelines mandate that military personnel wear a cloth face covering when social-distancing attempts to maintain a six-foot gap between others is impossible.
With this in mind, the commanders at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego have mandated that Marines and recruits are “required to wear face masks in all plausible situations excluding physical training in order to reduce the risks of contracting COVID-19.”
According to the Marine Corps Times, the USMC has passed guidance on what the masks should look like, and how they should function.
“Any face covering that is conservative in appearance, not offensive, and conforms to the below CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance is acceptable to be worn in uniform,” a recent guidance message read.
Neck gaiters and balaclavas are also approved, though insect repellent-treated utilities are prohibited.
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