The Coast Guard should eliminate the daily wearing of uniform specialty insignia. Yes, I’m saying we should stop wearing our aviator wings, cutterman pins, boat force operations pins, coxswain pins, marine safety pins, and the like on the operational dress uniform. Wearing these specialty insignia is not mandated per se, but there’s no denying the powerful emotions and bias connected with them and people’s desire to advertise their expertise.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting we do away with insignia altogether. The process of earning them serves many useful purposes, the least important of which is recognizing individuals. The standard knowledge, training, and experience required to earn them uphold the Commandant’s vision to “honor our profession” and advance proficiency. Yet I can’t help thinking that their absence from our day-to-day uniform could serve as an important visual reminder that we’re an all-missions service, a team of Coast Guardsmen first and foremost.