July 15, 1908


Lure to the Lad That's Been Think-
ing of Soldiering -- Hard to
Recruit Without the

Now the marines will have to get a hump on themselves if they want to get the rookies. The new white duck uniforms for enlisted men and non-commissioned officers of army recruiting parties have now arrived. From 8 o'clock in the morning till 6 o'clock at night now there stands a man at the door of the second floor back, where the army recruits in Kansas City, stiff as a ramrod but under positive orders to look as cool and comfortable and well fed as possible. He is the lure for the man from the farm, the section, or the high school grad who has not found what he thought would chase him the moment he got his diploma, to-wit, a first class job.

The new uniform is as smart as anything put on the stage, and the stage is the only place people out here see uniforms outside of the regulation blue, which is liked, or the olive drab which is despised. The uniform for recruiting parties is of white duck, caps, tunic and trousers, four bellows pockets in the tunic with flaps held down by gilt buttons. The collar, shoulder and cap ornaments are all in gilt. While not fitting closely, the tunic fits snug, and is cut to the man's figure. No belt is worn. The uniform appeared here two days ago and was at once admired.

"We have it to do, sir," said one of the recruiting party. "It is all that can be done to keep the regiments nearly full now, and that has been managed only by increasing he pay. When the canteen was there it was no trick at all to get a time-expired man to take his three months' furlough and swear in again. But now there is no canteen and the man objects to going back to barracks.


"If he drinks only one glass of beer a day, an amount he can get along without, he cannot very well get along without the little chat and song that used to go on in the canteen. It is like hiring a man to live in a church to enlist him for garrison duty. So, to make the service a little more inviting they have issued this white uniform for recruiting parties."

The uniform is similar to the one issued bandsmen and worn by officers at mess. The men themselves do not like it very much.

"But it looks swagger," was submitted.

"At assembly, yes, but after a man has done a turn on this door for a couple of hours and wants to sit down, he has to be careful how he manages it. I'd give a chew of plug right now to lean back against the wall, on a box or anything else, and cross my feet. If I did these ducks would look like cold slaw. But it is a smart looking set of regimentals for this sort of work they are using it for now. Until recently the marines have had the best of the recruiting. Their uniform, very similar but not exactly like that worn by the army, has been regarded as the smartest. The marines tailors made better jobs of their work. The tailors of all of them have a knack of making the trousers too short, but the marines were no worse than the army for that fault.


They buttoned their blouses tighter and wore their caps just so, whereas the army , to show it was not proud, had a blase disregard for conventionalities, kept the blouse a bit free at the waist and never wore its hat twice on the same place. Now, however, at least so far as recruiting parties are concerned, there is to be the most rigorous enforcement of the regulations in relation to the uniforms.

The prospect who gets as far as the northwest corner of Eighth and Main will get to see the smartest white and gold uniform that ever a tenor in a modern musical comedy wore, and at the same time a man in blue. If he can be coaxed upstairs to see the captain he will see a man or two up there in the blue-drab uniform, the purpose being to show the prospective patriot how well he will be rigged out if only he will enlist and go to a post where between revielie and laps he will get 50 per cent of his time taken up in fatigue and drills, both of which are all right, and the other 50 per cent fretting because there is no place to go.

"They will have to do more than this if they want to get what the abolition of the canteen is driving away," was the summing up of one of the men in white duck yesterday.