A new Marine Corps pilot program will allow pregnant Marine officers near Quantico, Virginia, to borrow maternity uniforms at no cost ― saving them hundreds of dollars.

Enlisted Marines are given a one-time issue of maternity uniforms for free, but officers are required by law to pay for the uniforms out of pocket.

With the average maternity uniform cost at $500, it can be costly to Marine officers looking to have families.

The pilot program will allow pregnant Marine officers in the national capitol region to make an appointment with the Individual Issue Facility at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, to pick up the maternity utility uniform, green tunic, short and long-sleeve service blouses, service maternity skirts and slacks and service tapes, according to a March Marine Corps press release.

Dress blue skirt and slacks will be available in fiscal year 2023, the press release noted.

Marines are required to get command approval before taking part in the pilot program.

Emily Madden, an Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center clothing designer working for Marine Corps Systems Command, said in the release, “The products we identified to go through this program were what would be the most beneficial to pregnant Marines.”

At the facility Marines will have an opportunity to try on the various articles of clothing.

Though they will be issued used uniforms, the facility will ensure that everything is fully serviceable. After a Marine’s pregnancy ends, she will need to return the uniforms to the facility, according to the release.

If the uniform has stains or is worn down enough that it is no longer serviceable it will be retired at no cost to the Marine, the press release said.

Making the Marine Corps more accommodating to Marines who want to start and grow families has been a point of focus of Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.

Since 2019 he has vocally pushed for giving Marines up to a year in parental leave after the birth or adoption of a new child.

Bumping into federal laws that cap parental leave for primary and secondary caregivers, the Marine Corps has sent out administrative messages encouraging Marines and commanders to use regularly issued leave in conjunction with either primary or secondary caregiver leave.

If used to its fullest, Marines who give birth could take up to five months of leave at once, primary caregivers who did not give birth could take up to 3.5 months of leave at once and secondary caregivers could take almost three months of leave at once.

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