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1401 - Laws & Directives

SECTION 4   Article
1. GENERAL 1401.1

1.  GENERAL.  Various laws, regulations and amplifying Directives issued by competent authorities govern the wear of uniforms by navy personnel.  Applicable laws include:

a.  Title 10, U.S. Code

(1) Sec. 771‑Unauthorized wearing prohibited.

(2) Sec. 771a-Disposition on discharge.

(3) Sec. 772-When wearing by persons not on active duty authorized.

(4) Sec. 773-When distinctive insignia required.

(5) Sec. 774-Applicability of chapter.

(6) Sec. 6155-Uniforms, accoutrements and equipment; at cost.

(7) Sec. 6156-Uniforms; Sale to former members of the naval service.

b.  Title 18, U.S. Code, Sec 244-Discrimination against person wearing the uniform of the Armed Forces.

c.  Title 36, U.S. Code, Sec. 176-Display and use of the Flag.

d.  Title 37, U.S. Code

(1) Sec. 415-Uniform Allowance:  officers; initial Allowance.

(2) Sec. 416-Uniform Allowance:  officers; additional Allowance.

(3) Sec. 417-Uniform Allowance:  officers; general  provisions.

(4) Sec. 418-Clothing Allowance:  enlisted members.

2.  U.S. NAVY REGULATIONS.  U.S. Navy Regulations article 1161 applies:

a.  Clothing which is sold or issued by the United States to any person in the naval service shall not be sold, bartered, exchanged, pledged, loaned or given away, except as authorized by proper authority.

b.  No person in the naval service shall have any article of wearing apparel belonging to any other person in the naval service without permission from proper authority.


a.  Title 10, U.S. Code, Sec. 771 stipulates that no one person except members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, may wear

(1) The uniform, or a distinctive part of the uniform, of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps; or

(2) A uniform which has components similar to distinctive parts of Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps uniforms.

b.  Title 10, U.S. Code, Sec. 772 (e) states "The President, in Executive Order 10554 of 18 August 1954, delegated to the Secretary of Defense the authority to prescribe regulations under which persons not on active duty who served honorably in the Navy in time of war may wear uniforms."  The following excerpts from DOD Instruction 1334.1 of 11 August 1969 outline these instructions and prescribe limitations for members of the Armed Forces.
(1) Members of the Armed Forces (including retired members and members of reserve components).  Wearing of uniforms is prohibited under any of the following circumstances:

(a) Any meeting or demonstration which is a function of, or sponsored by an organization, association, movement, group, or combination of persons which the Attorney General of the United States has designated, pursuant to Executive Order 10450 as amended, as totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive, or as having adopted a policy of advocating or approving the commission of acts of force or violence to deny others their rights under the Constitution of the United States by unconstitutional means.

(b) During or in connection with political activities, private employment or commercial interest, that imply official sponsorship of the activity or interest.

(c) When participating in activities such as public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies or any public demonstration which implies the service supports the principles of the demonstration or activity.  This rule may be waived by the service.

(d) When wearing of the uniform would discredit Armed Forces.

(e) When specifically prohibited by regulations of the department concerned.

(2) Former Members of the Armed Forces.  Unless discussed in DOD Directive 1334.1 or Title 10 U.S. Code Sec. 772, former members who served honorably during a war and whose most recent service was terminated under honorable conditions, may wear the uniform of the highest grade held during their service only on the following occasions and during travel related to those occasions.

(a) Military funerals, memorial services, weddings and inaugurals.

(b) Patriotic parades or ceremonies in which any active or reserve United States military unit is taking part.  Wearing of the uniform or any part of it at any other time or for any other purpose is prohibited.

(3) Medal of Honor Holders.  Persons who have been awarded the Medal of Honor may wear their uniform at any time except under the circumstances discussed in subparagraph b.(1) above.

(4) For Members of the Naval Service.  The Secretary the Navy supports the following:

(a) Exercising the rights of freedom of speech and assembly does not include the right to use the inherent prestige and traditions represented by the uniforms of the naval service to promote privately held convictions on public issues.

(b) Members of the Navy and Marine Corps, including retired members and members of reserve components are prohibited from wearing uniforms of the naval service while attending or participating in a demonstration, assembly, or activity knowing that a purpose of the demonstration, assembly, or activity supports personal or partisan views on political, social, economic, or religious issues, except as authorized in advance by competent authority; or incident to attending or participating in a bona fide religious service or observance.

(5) Other Than Official Events.  A Commanding Officer may authorize wearing the Uniform when assured that the service member is not appearing in uniform at the particular event, to promote privately held convictions or interests, or lead the observers to believe that the demonstration, assembly, or activity does not relate to matters in public controversy.

4.  DISTINCTIVE INSIGNIA.  (Title 10 U.S. Code Sec. 773 refers).  The Secretary of the Navy prescribed the following distinctive mark for members of military societies which are composed entirely of honorably discharged officers and enlisted personnel and the instructors and members of duly organized cadet corps.  This distinctive mark is a diamond, 3‑1/2 inches long in the vertical axis, made of any fabric, white on blue, forestry green, or khaki clothing and blue on white clothing.  Wear this mark on all outside clothing on the right sleeve, at the point of the shoulder, placing the upper tip of the diamond 1/4 inch below the shoulder seam.

5.  DISPLAY AND USE OF THE FLAG.  (Title 36 U.S. Code Sec. 0176 refers)

a.  Never fasten, display, use, or store the flag where it could be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in anyway.

b.  The flag should never have placed upon it, or have attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing.

c.  Never use the flag for advertising.  It should not be embroidered on cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or reproduced on paper napkins, boxes or anything that is disposable or used as part of a costume or athletic uniform.
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