Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Marines can wear KIA bracelets to honor fallen again!

Marines to allow troops to wear KIA bracelets
By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press – 4 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Marines are being allowed to wear bracelets commemorating friends killed in action, a policy change that settles a debate that has roiled some in the force.

At issue are KIA bracelets, usually thin rubber or metal bands bearing the names of the fallen in Afghanistan, Iraq or other combat zone. Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos said Tuesday the matter had been discussed and settled when he met last week with other senior Marine generals.

"We are acknowledging the close personal nature of our 10 years at war and the strong bonds of fidelity that Marines have for one another, especially for those fellow Marines who we have lost," Amos said.

The bracelets were technically not allowed under Marine Corps uniform regulations. Nevertheless, some troops have been wearing them while in uniform, and some but not all commanders have been telling them to stop.

That put some Marines in a dilemma: On one side was the Corps' tradition of good discipline and following orders. On the other, the searing emotions of a force hit with rising casualties as it helped reverse insurgent momentum in Afghanistan's southern Taliban stronghold.

"I never take it off," said Timothy Kudo, a former Marine captain and now a community organizer for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He returned in March from duty in Afghanistan and served in 2009 in Iraq.
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