This is the humbling history of the Marine Corps NCO blood stripe

Ruddy Cano
Updated onApr 5, 2023 6:20 AM PDT
3 minute read
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Yuritzy Gomez)

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Yuritzy Gomez)


The scarlet stripe worn down the exterior leg seams of trousers on the United States Marine Corps dress uniform carries…

The scarlet stripe worn down the exterior leg seams of trousers on the United States Marine Corps dress uniform carries with it a phenomenal story. This scarlet stripe is 5.1 cm for general officers, 2.9 cm for enlisted non-commissioned and non-commissioned staff officers, and 3.8 cm for the other officers. Improved versions are worn on the evening dress uniforms of the officers with the red flanked with a touch of gold trim. At the same time, the Marine Band members wear the old-style red stripe with a white stripe in the middle.

The blood stripe is among the essential Marine uniform and symbols that epitomize the illustrious history and indestructible bond of the USA. Further, it represents every Marine and currently serving and everyone who has ever fought in that great uniform. Excitingly, these uniforms and symbols complement pride even more to a warrior class that it represents a symbol of the resolve of the nation. 

This is the humbling history of the Marine Corps NCO blood stripe

The blood stripe is visible on the uniforms of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Band in 2003.

The Blood Stripe History

Getting promoted from lance corporal to corporal is a significant moment as a Marine. It significantly shows they have been trusted to serve the US as an NCO.

This considerable designation enables them to add the fabulous blood stripe to their Marine Corps uniform. Over the years, non-commissioned staff officers, officers, and non-commissioned officers of the Marine Corps have consistently worn this scarlet stripe on their blue trousers to commemorate the bravery and obstinate fighting of the men who went to combat and shed blood in the Chapultepec Battle in September 1847. 

Currently, the scarlet blood stripe represents honor and the nation's eternal gratitude to all fallen Marines. The legendary story of the blood stripe may have you thinking that the blood stripe was non-existent on the trousers until after the Mexican war, which is false. The stripes certainly differ over the years and take on various significance; however, they precede the Mexican war. 

Red welts were going down the exterior seams on the Marine Corps' trousers from as late as the 1790s. Therefore, it is safe to say that the blood stripe on the trousers has experienced numerous changes over the years. It would not be surprising to note that it traces its main direct origins to the 1859 Civil War-era regulations. However, it evolved from an attractive red welt to a broad scarlet stripe as time went by.


The Marine Corps uniform represents over two and a half centuries of the utmost feat and fight. Remarkably, the uniform is the designated cloth that threads all the things that the Marines have faced before and everything that they are prevailing currently. 

The uniform connects the Marines to the undying battles they won in the past and the historic triumphs that continue to take the United States of America forward. Consequently, the blood stripe in the uniform epitomizes the bloodshed by the marines who diligently fought in the 1847 Battle of Chapultepec. 

The blood stripe is highly crucial in Marine history. They love to know accurately and master it, where they can even recite the historical significance of the uniform in their sleep. Every decorative thing talks of a profoundly stitched story into the uniform's fabric. 


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