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Marine artist first enlisted to paint uniform plate

8 Nov 2002 | Capt. Chad Walton

Sgt. John Carrillo, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, was one of many Marines who sent in his work, hoping to be chosen as the artist who would paint the next entry into Marine uniform history.

Uniform plates, named for the old style of printing used in the 1800's, have long been a historical record of the uniforms that Marines have worn through the years.  The plates, or paintings, depict Marines wearing differing variants of utility, service and dress uniforms.

"I am excited about the project, because historians will look back and use this painting to see how the uniform was worn," said Carrillo.  "Our figures were all Marines that people will recognize years from now."

The idea to create a new plate began several years ago.

"During the new utility uniform survey, Marines noticed that we had posted the uniform plates on our website, which is when a flood of inquiries poured in asking how Marines could find them," said Capt. Dan Dukes, secretary-recorder for the Marine Corps Uniform Board. 

"I looked into the process for obtaining more plate prints and at the same time Marines began asking if we were going to do a new plate for the new combat utility uniform.  When we determined that there was no more stock of all the plate prints from the 1983 series, we thought that it might be time for another plate."

In order to unveil the new uniform plate on this year's Marine Corps Birthday, Carrillo had a very compressed schedule to meet.  After arriving from California, Carrillo had one week for figure sketches and then began 30 days of painting.

When the previous artist produced the 1983 series, the production schedule was twice as long as the short period Carrillo had to complete the new plate.

"This is the biggest project I have ever been involved with," said Carrillo.  "I am very proud to be the first enlisted artist to paint a uniform plate in the 143 years since the Corps began producing uniform plates."

Marine Corps Systems Command