§771. Unauthorized wearing prohibited

Except as otherwise provided by law, no person except a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, as the case may be, 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 any part of which is similar to a distinctive part of the uniform of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps.
(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 34.)
Historical and Revision Notes
Revised section Source (U.S. Code) Source (Statutes at Large)
771 10:1393 (1st par., less provisos). June 3, 1916, ch. 134, §125 (1st par., less provisos), 39 Stat. 216.
The words “Except as otherwise provided by law” are inserted to give effect to exceptions in other revised sections of this title and to provisions of other laws giving such organizations as the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Public Health Service permission to wear military uniforms under certain conditions.

§771a. Disposition on discharge

(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), when an enlisted member of an armed force is discharged, the exterior articles of uniform in his possession that were issued to him, other than those that he may wear from the place of discharge to his home under section 772(d) of this title, shall be retained for military use.
(b) When an enlisted member of an armed force is discharged for bad conduct, undesirability, unsuitability, inaptitude, or otherwise than honorably—

(1) the exterior articles of uniform in his possession shall be retained for military use;
(2) under such regulations as the Secretary concerned prescribes, a suit of civilian clothing and an overcoat when necessary, both to cost not more than $30, may be issued to him; and
(3) if he would be otherwise without funds to meet his immediate needs, he may be paid an amount, fixed by the Secretary concerned, of not more than $25.

(c) When an enlisted member of the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard who has been called into Federal service is released from that service, the exterior articles of uniform in his possession shall be accounted for as property issued to the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard, as the case may be, of the State or territory, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia of whose Army National Guard or Air National Guard he is a member, as prescribed in section 708 of title 32.
(Added Pub. L. 90–235, §8(1)(A), Jan. 2, 1968, 81 Stat. 763; amended Pub. L. 100–456, div. A, title XII, §1234(a)(1), Sept. 29, 1988, 102 Stat. 2059.)
1988—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 100–456 struck out “the Canal Zone,” after “Puerto

§772. When wearing by persons not on active duty authorized

(a) A member of the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard may wear the uniform prescribed for the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard, as the case may be.
(b) A member of the Naval Militia may wear the uniform prescribed for the Naval Militia.
(c) A retired officer of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may bear the title and wear the uniform of his retired grade.
(d) A person who is discharged honorably or under honorable conditions from the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may wear his uniform while going from the place of discharge to his home, within three months after his discharge.
(e) A person not on active duty who served honorably in time of war in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may bear the title, and, when authorized by regulations prescribed by the President, wear the uniform, of the highest grade held by him during that war.
(f) While portraying a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, an actor in a theatrical or motion-picture production may wear the uniform of that armed force if the portrayal does not tend to discredit that armed force.
(g) An officer or resident of a veterans’ home administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs may wear such uniform as the Secretary of the military department concerned may prescribe.
(h) While attending a course of military instruction conducted by the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, a civilian may wear the uniform prescribed by that armed force if the wear of such uniform is specifically authorized under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the military department concerned.
(i) Under such regulations as the Secretary of the Air Force may prescribe, a citizen of a foreign country who graduates from an Air Force school may wear the appropriate aviation badges of the Air Force.
(j) A person in any of the following categories may wear the uniform prescribed for that category:
(1) Members of the Boy Scouts of America.
(2) Members of any other organization designated by the Secretary of a military department.
(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 35; Pub. L. 99–145, title XIII, §1301(a)(1), Nov. 8, 1985, 99 Stat. 735; Pub. L. 101–189, div. A, title XVI, §1621(a)(1), Nov. 29, 1989, 103 Stat. 1602; Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title V, §551(b), Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2525.)

What are your thoughts?
90 comments on “Laws
  1. You should post where these laws originated from, brother. I know it’s common sense, but some people don’t possess that trait.

    Carry on. 🙂

  2. Dave, These can easily be found using a “search engine”. Enter ‘U.S.Code’. Once there, you can use the source’s search options and look up Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 45, Section 771 and you should end what this G. o V. page/link shows us.

  3. I have some oldstyle bdu’s from before when the digital acu came out. I have been using them when hunting, not to imitate anybody on active duty just to blend into the woods. Am I violating a law? I am former Navy. PO1, not retired but do have honorable discharge.

  4. I’m so glad you posted this. I am a 04-05 Iraq Army Veteran (Sergeant) Honorably Discharged. Many of my former soldiers ask if and when they can wear their uniform to show that they served and are proud of the unifor they wore. I will be pointing them this way!

  5. I’d love to wear my dress blues if I could fit in them and that is not in violation as long as I only display what medals/ribbons/badges I’ve earned. I earned the title of United States Marine and was honorably discharged. If I get in shape enough to wear it, I will do so at Marine Corps Balls etc, but I will do so with the respect and bearing that a Marine should. That being said, due to the fact that I look like 10 lbs of sausage stuffed into a 5 lb bag, I will not wear the uniform because in my belief that would be conduct unbecoming of a Marine. That being said, I have no problem with the elderly wearing the uniform, overweight, long hair etc., they earned it and most cannot get back into shape when that old. I am still young enough to get back in shape.

  6. Chris, Totally agree with you about the use of the uniform after discharge from the service. I know I wouldn’t fit into my last Class A’s uniform. Hope you reach your goal to get in shape and proudly (and properly) wear you uniform again.

  7. While I do agree it is incredibly disrespectful to do so, couldn’t this law be over-turned from the 1st amendment specifically freedom of speech? I do not no of any case law against that argument, or if a case has been appealed to SCOTUS about this law yet. I am just stating this law might be unconstitutional. Either way they deserve to get the %&#$ beaten out of them.

    • Erich, I look at it this way, If your pulling a fake, its just like yelling fire in a darkened movie theater when there isn’t one, which isn’t protected by the 1st amendment.

  8. Is it illegal to obtain a military ID without even serving (non-dependent)? I know that is a weird question to ask seeing how the answer is obvious, but what I am wanting to know is there a specific law against this, and how would you report a person who is claiming they have such document in their possession?

  9. I have just applied for leave for a Col. and don’t have the money to send and am now told that I have to come up with $1600 to keep him out of trouble and am saddened by this,am presently not working and that amount of money threatened to me is an insane amount for an unemployed single parent,I have asked to either change the date so I can save the money or stop the application to no avail and to my understanding the Col is threatened to lose his career in the army if I don’t come up with the money in 48 hours which is due tomorrow and I think how cruel to do and threaten me and him, had I known the insane amount of money would be requested I would have NEVER applied or saved, Please help, I really don’t like what is happening!

  10. A Navy Chief retired in 2005 with 23 yrs, I know this for a fact, but
    recently uploaded a certificate showing 30 yrs retirement in 2012.
    How is this possible and should I have this investigated. Thanks for
    your time and consideration.

    • He could have Reserve time that covered the other 7 years. I am retired at 20 years of service, but legitimately I served for over 20 years.

    • Retired Navy enlisted would be transfered to the “Fleet Reserve”, until the 30 year mark was reached, at that point they would be added to the retired list. So your Navy CPO with 23 years of service would be in the Fleet Reserve for 7 years, at that point he would indeed have a total of 30 years of service. I say this both as a ex Navy man who processed retirements in the 60’s as well as having a brother who retired as a CPO with 24 years of service and who was in Fleet Reserve status until his total time totaled 30 years.

  11. The Reserve time is definitely a factor. I was retired with 13+ years active duty! but was in for over 25 years. 13 years active and 12 reserve, so you can see where someone who has differing amounts of time can be correct.
    But I know there are those s@&$birds out there that pretend to be someone else. I had an E-7 platoon sergeant who was court martialed for wearing a Purple Heart he didn’t have orders for. He got busted to Staff Sergeant.

  12. It’s bad enough to put screw up and put them in the wrong order. lol The reserve time messes up tons of people. Especially when there is a break in service. I was active for a 2 1/2 years in the 80’s had my children. Years later joined reserves in 93 for 14 more years. Was hurt at work, (I worked at a prison for 15 tears), didn’t get to finish out to retirement. on the military side, but thank goodness I did on the state side.. So close and yet so far away…My plan was to stay at the prison until my kids all graduated, than do tons of active duty time. So you can easily have ribbons/medals that have a big gap in between. It use to be a nice pay difference for your retirement pay at 23 1/2.years of service. I do wish that Veterans were issued an I.D card. Than you would have easy proof that you served. Your DD 214 should be in a fire proof safe. .

  13. Sandra, you can get a Veteran designation on your driver’s license or ID depending on the state. Also, you can file your DD214 with the county records keepers where you live.

  14. I have been scammed by so called General Jeff Mark who is currently serving in Afghanistan in Kabul. He is on facebook and he is widowed and the son schooling in UK. He told me that he was on working on retirement and he had a consignment which was to be delivered by the Diplomat Ken Rickson. He said that he was looking a good woman. His diplomat called me and asked me send money by western union with the support a chat with Jeff Mark. His email address is He still want me to send an other $ dollars for the same consignment. How will i know if this are scammers? I need your help and am just a widow

  15. Can someone tell me if General Jeff Mark exists and why is been used a scammer? Is he widowed and his retirement has been approved on 4th July 2014. The General of the American Army. Please i need your. They have scammed $1240.00 and they asking me for $620.00. Please help to stop this fools

  16. Hello my Dear junior m phiri,

    Sorry I have been out of touch recently, but my duties at the electrial vote count demanded my full attention.

    I have been recently wounded when the Taliban overran the Presidential palace here in Kabul, and will be medically retired soon.

    If you can hurry and send the funds I can speed up the paperwork to exit this country.

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    General Jeff Mark

  17. I am a veteran of the army (honorably discharged) its been 2 years since i’ve been discharged. I loved my non-issue boots, my issued identification tags and my army issue belt. My question is can i wear them legally? I don’t want to be that guy that goes around wearing such things without doing my research making sure i am in the right.

  18. I have read all your comments, I find them all interesting. I’m a veteran. I am writing a paper for my Constitutional Justice class on the Supreme Court ruling on the Stolen Valor case. I notice there is still concerns overy unanswered questions regarding the current law listed. How do must people feeling about how people find loop holes with the 1st amendment when it comes to lying about serving?

  19. My nephew is graduating/earning his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in May, 2015. I am a former Marine, honorably discharged, and served in Iraq. It appears, according to these regulations, that I am authorized to wear my dress blues to the ceremony. Just so I don’t rely on my own understanding, which may not be good, if some of you would please chime in and let me know if wearing my dress blues to this event would be appropriate, or not.

  20. I was on a dating website, and someone was posing as a Col. Even had pictures set up. Noticed when chatting on an im program he didnt speak as if he was American. Said he was stationed in Alabama at Beifield. I double checked what bases were in Alabama, how do i report him?

  21. Military personal will never need your money to travel on. SO DO NOT SEND MONEY! Military members travel on orders, that are cut with there travel itinerary arranged, All tickets that are needed are paid for… and travel credit cards are issued. Scammers are out there to steal your money. So do give into there con games. Most scams end up on

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