Secretary of Defense Mark Esper recently issued orders for service members to wear cloth masks in places and situations when social distancing isn’t feasible, as a part of a force-wide effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Effective immediately, service members and their dependents on post are required to wear cloth face coverings in public places on post, prompting some to wonder where exactly they’re supposed to get masks from.
Much like the recently released Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on making simple cloth masks, the Marine Corps has issued its own cheap and easy way to make a cloth face covering out of your standard-issue green skivvy shirt. Of course, this would work with other shirts as well, but using a skivvy shirt ensures the cost to the service member is low, as well as ensuring the color of the mask is appropriate for wear in uniform.
“Effective immediately, to the extent practical, all individuals on DoD property, installations, and facilities will wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers (this does not include in a Service member’s or Service family member’s personal residence on a military installation). This includes all: Military Personnel; DoD Civilian Employees; Family Members; DoD Contractors; All other individuals on DoD property, installations, and facilities,” read a force-wide memo from Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Thus far, there has been no formal guidance requiring certain colors of masks or anything to that effect, but it’s expected that further guidance will likely be released later this week. In the meantime, service members are still required to wear cloth face coverings in places and circumstances where maintaining a distance of six feet from others isn’t feasible. Camp Johnson and a number of other commands have already issued local orders mandating that cloth masks that are not issued to service members should be made out of green skivvy shirts for the purposes of uniformity.
The Marine Corps Combat Service Schools’ guidelines mirror one of the cloth mask-making methods shown on the CDC’s website, but there are other ways to create effective cloth masks as well. You can find other options on this page.
The CDC goes on to provide a few guidelines to help ensure you’re wearing your homemade mask properly to best provide protection to you, as well as those around you. That guidance is as follows:
Cloth face coverings should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
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