Picked this story up from a UK Website.
To the troops they are a somber reminder of those who did not make it home, but for their superiors the ‘Killed in Action’ bracelets have been little more than ‘unauthorised jewelry’ – and have to be removed.
Marines have reacted with fury to orders that they remove their memorial wristbands with names of fallen colleagues etched onto them.
Now the commandant of the Marine Corps is changing the rule that bans troops from wearing bracelets commemorating friends killed in action.
Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Gregory Wolf says that Marine Gen. James Amos will announce that Marines can wear the KIA bracelets, usually thin rubber or metal bands bearing the names of the fallen.
Until now the soldiers have been told that the pieces of metal breach the dress code and that they must be taken off.
In letters to soldiers’ magazine Marine Corps Times they revealed that signs of have been put up telling them to take them off – but they refused, risking punishment or withdrawal or privileges.
The ban is despite the fact that even President Barack Obama wears one on his arm in tribute to a dead soldier.
One soldier wrote: ‘They will have to pry it off my cold dead wrist to take it away from me. Don’t let them take yours away’.
The row relates to KIA bracelets, which are worn around the wrist and contain the name of the person who has been killed, the date it happened and a tribute.
The Marine Corps rules did not specifically address them meaning that in some barracks senior officers have been telling their troops to take them off.
Complicating matters is that the rules allow a few exceptions such as a ring, necklaces, simple earrings for women and a watch.
Among those who have refused to take off their bracelets is Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sergio Sanchez, who is assigned to the naval hospital at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California.
He had been asked to take off his bracelet which was a tribute to his friend Cpl. Mark Goyet, who was killed in Afghanistan in June.
Six other marines have also continued to wear theirs, even though it is a breach of the rules.
Corp. Sanchez said: ‘One of the sergeants in my company said it wasn’t authorised and asked me to take it off.
‘I kind of got upset and said something – stuff that I should not have said – but afterwards, I still did not take it off.
‘If they make me take it off, I’ll probably just get it tattooed on my wrist. That is how adamant I am about making sure my buddy’s honor will live in my heart, my spirit and my mind – forever.’
Another who has continued to wear his bracelet despite being told not to is Cpl. Jack Lipoff, a rifleman with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines in At Camp Lejeune, N.C.
He said the ban was introduced after they returned in August last year from a gruelling seven month rough deployment to Afghanistan.
He said: ‘It wasn’t harshly enforced … but it was still something that you couldn’t wear.
‘A lot of people were pretty offended by that since we had just lost some guys. We took a lot of casualties.
‘It is probably one of the most pivotal things ever to happen in your life – going to combat – and not everyone came back from it. And you won’t forget them.
‘You want other people to understand they mean a lot to you. A huge part of being a Marine is also remembering people who don’t survive combat.’
The wristband worn by Mr Obama was given to him by Tracy Jopek of Merrill, Wis., during his run for President.
Engraved into the metal is the name of her son, Sgt. Ryan David Jopek, the date the 20-year-old was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb – August 2 2006 – and the caption: ‘All gave some, He gave all’.
A spokesman for Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett, the Army’s top non-commissioned officer said that following the uproar he was looking into the issue of KIA bracelets.