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Volume 9, No. 3     July 17, 2013
In Brief...
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Hurricane Season

June 1 was the start of 2013 Hurricane Season, and we just had our third tropical system named in the Atlantic Ocean, is your mobility/go-bag ready? http://ccrf.hhs.gov/ccrf/faq_gobag.htm

Hurricane Season runs from 1 June through 30 November. Though this has been in the recent past the Corps’ busiest response times, Corps officers should always have a mobility/go-bag at the ready, should an unforeseen emergency occur and you are selected to deploy.

Availability of the Operational Dress Uniform (ODU)

In consultation with the Coast Guard Uniform Distribution Center (UDC) and in order to ensure every officer has the opportunity to obtain the ODUs, officers will temporarily be restricted to no more than 2 complete uniforms per transaction or order. This does not preclude an officer from making multiple separate transactions. This temporary restriction better ensures orders are filled more quickly and completely. There are reports of Corps officers purchasing multiple sets and hoarding them, “selling” them through private commercial websites/endeavors or buying multiple sizes for multiple officers (i.e. a unit buying for all officers in a specific location or activity). This activity has had a significant impact on the availability for all officers. The UDC reports a more steady flow of incoming uniform stock, especially in the more common sizes. Though officers may continue to have difficulty in obtaining the more common sizes, be assured everything is being done to increase production and distribution. As has been stated before, do not call or email the Uniform Coordinator with supply issues at the UDC.

Extension of the Phase-In Period for the ODU

On 13 June 2013, the Surgeon General (SG) signed Personnel Operations Memorandum (POM) POM13-004 http://dcp.psc.gov/eccis/documents/POM13_004.pdf extending the phase-in period for the ODU. The new sundown date for the Woodland Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) is 1 January 2015. Both the ODU and BDU will be authorized as a deployment and/or working uniform during this transition. Please note, the extension of the BDU wear does not in any way create additional means of procurement of the BDU and/or accoutrements. Official supply sources, such as the NEX and AAFES have exhausted their supplies of uniforms and accoutrements for the BDU and will not be receiving anymore items, nor will they start selling them again. This BDU extension is primarily for Corps officers who already have serviceable sets of BDUs and have yet to procure their ODUs.

Closing of the PHS Officer Device Supply Center (ODSC)

DCCPR has been notified by the ODSC that they will be closing effective 1 September 2013. The last day to process orders will be 31 August 2013. Any order received by this date will be processed and shipped, if stock of the item is available. If stock is not available, order will not be processed and/or monies will be refunded.

Officers may continue to obtain uniforms, insignia, ribbons, medals and other accoutrements from the Navy Exchange (NEX), the Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) and/or the U.S. Coast Guard Uniform Distribution Center (UDC), as appropriate.

Uniforms and Appearance Instruction

The Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) signed Commissioned Corps Instruction (CCI) CC412.01 http://dcp.psc.gov/eccis/documents/CC412.01.pdf on 21 June 2013. This CCI replaces the Uniforms and Appearance Instruction from 2010. The key provisions/changes to this CCI are as follows:
  1. Added the authorization for permanent makeup for female officers
  2. Clarification of lanyards and/or Identification Badge holders
  3. Clarification of the use of hands-free devices with electronics
  4. Change and clarification to the Uniform Wear and Appearance standards for Retired or Reserve Corps officers. Specifically, the wear of a beard in uniform is no longer authorized for retired officers. Removal of the dreadlock description
  5. Officers in an active status shall not smoke or use tobacco products while in uniform effective January 21, 2014.
The enactment of the ban on use of tobacco and tobacco products while in uniform is historical. As noted by the SG in a memorandum to the Corps, the Corps will be the first uniformed service to go completely tobacco free while in uniform. The other uniformed services have placed restrictions on tobacco use in the past, (i.e. restrictions for trainees, locations where you can smoke, restrictions of smoking at a military treatment facility etc). This will hopefully be the first of many more restrictions in the uniformed services. Additionally, as the SG noted, this will be an extremely difficult undertaking by some officers. Officers who are seeking assistance in smoking cessation may seek help from friends, family other officers, their Primary Care Provider or from TRICARE at http://www.tricare.mil/quittobacco.

Additionally, though not specifically spelled out in policy, as all officers with limited exceptions are required to wear a uniform while on duty, those who wear scrubs or other protective equipment while on duty and do not wear a uniform per se, the use of tobacco while on duty will be prohibited. This means if you wear scrubs during the performance of your duties, you are not authorized to use tobacco during a break because you are not actively wearing a uniform at the time.

This use of tobacco ban does not prevent an officer from using tobacco while off duty and not in uniform. Ideally, officers should strive to be completely tobacco free, but this instruction does not ban tobacco use in its entirety.

  • Q.
  • With promotion season just kicking-off again, what are the rules on frocking and wearing of new rank insignia?
  • A.
  • First, for those that don’t know what frocking is, it is a custom in which a person (originally monks) wore a vestment or clothing article indicating their change in status. At one time midshipmen (Naval Academy students) wore a short coat, once they were promoted to commissioned officer status or promoted in an acting capacity; they wore the long frocked coat of an officer, hence being “frocked”.

    In some uniformed services, it is customary for members who are selected for promotion to a higher rank to wear that rank on their uniform, even though their current actual pay grade/rank is lower, upon being notified of being selected for promotion. This is not universal across the uniformed services nor is it automatically done.

    The Corps does not have an official policy on frocking of officers; however the official stance on the matter is that the Corps does not frock, either by wearing the next rank or using the words “Select”, “Rank (Sel)” or any derivation of selected for promotion in the signature block. Officers are reminded that their rank on their uniform must be the same rank on their Uniformed Services of the United States Geneva Conventions Identification Card (military ID card). Gate guards or sentries may deny access to military installations if rank on the uniform and identification card does not match and may also confiscate the identification card. CCI412.01 Uniforms and Appearance, dated Section 6-2c states that officers shall not wear “badges, ribbons, medals, insignia or other accoutrements not specifically authorized in accordance with Corps policies, or that have not been annotated in an officer’s electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF)”, this would include rank insignia.

  • Q.
  • I often see officers wearing their windbreaker jacket in the office and other places, what are the rules for wearing the windbreaker jacket?
  • A.
  • In most instances, there are very few rules for the wear of the windbreaker jacket. However, there are rules.
    • If wearing the windbreaker jacket, the jacket shall be zipped 3/4 of the way closed. Meaning, the jacket must be zipped up to a several inches below the top of the zipper.
    • The jacket shall not be worn unzipped, or unzipped any less than 3/4 of the way closed.
    • If you wear the jacket in, you should wear the jacket out. You should not fold it over on your arm, fling it over your shoulder, or roll it into a ball and carry it.
    • The khaki windbreaker jacket IS authorized for wear with the service khaki uniform or coveralls.