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Marine Father Standing Guard Outside School Told To ‘Remove The Uniform’

Staff Sgt. Jordan Pritchard told to stop wearing uniform

Nashville, TN — Staff Sgt. Jordan Pritchard showed up to Gower Elementary School, where two of his kids are students, to provide the children with a sense of security following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week.

Pritchard wore his full military fatigues as he stood watch outside the entrance of the school and said he would stay there every day until at least the holiday break. He hoped to inspire other veterans to follow his example. At least one person did, a father in California who was found to have partially fabricated his military history.

Those hoping to provide the extra sense of security shouldn’t take his example literally. The Marine Corps called and told Pritchard that he had to “remove the uniform” for two reasons. The first, and biggest, is that it is against Marine Corps guidelines to wear camouflage in public except in certain occasions. The second is because Pritchard has been out of the Marine Corps since last year. He was honorably discharged but can wear his uniform only to certain ceremonial functions.

The Marine Corps order P1020 says:

“Former Members of the Armed Forces. Unless qualified under another provision of this Order or under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 772, former members who served honorably during a declared or undeclared war and whose most recent service was terminated under honorable conditions may wear the uniform in the highest grade held during such war service only upon the following occasions and in the course of travel incident thereto: (1) Military funerals, memorial services, weddings, and inaugurals.(2) Parades on national or state holidays; or other parades or ceremonies of a patriotic character in which any active or reserve United States military unit are taking part. ‘Wearing of the uniform or any part thereof at any other time or for any purpose is prohibited.”

The Corps did say that he was welcome to keep up his post, just not in “battle dress.”

When Pritchard first began standing watch outside Gower Elementary, he said, “What this uniform represents, the hope it brings, is larger than any weapon that I would ever need.”

Pritchard said it didn’t cross his mind that he would upset the Marine Corps when he took his uniform out of the closet.

When he was informed he couldn’t wear it anymore, he said, “Strip me of my honorable discharge. Take it away. The peace that these parents and teachers have, that’s enough honor for me.”

Should Pritchard have known that he was not allowed to wear his uniform? Or was it an honest lapse in judgment under the circumstances?

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100 Responses to “Marine Father Standing Guard Outside School Told To ‘Remove The Uniform’”

  1. Felisha Nutter

    I feel he was doing what one a good parent would do and protect their child two what any person who enlist to fight and PROTECT our country, children included would do..that uniform stand for loyalty to our country honor to those who live here and protection to those in need…let him continue to stand gaurd.

  2. Justyna McBurney

    He can wear the uniform at a "memorial service" WELL – standing guard outside the schools daily is a "memorial service" for all who have been gunned down. Keep up the good work and keep the uniform.

  3. Charles David Bunner

    I admire the Retired Staff Sargeant for wanting to proctect the children. However, when you are discharged you are told about the regulations about wearing your uniform in Public. You are allowed when being discharged to wear your uniform home while travelling since you are still under orders. You are under reserves for up two years after being Honorably Discharged, unless they have changed that too! (Speaking from my own experience when I was Medically Discharged In 1968). A lot of guys during my time didn't travel in uniform after being discharged because of all the hatred that was being given to anyone in uniform.

  4. Charles David Bunner

    Former Soldiers who are discharged honorably or under honorable conditions from the Army (even if it's not during wartime service) may wear their uniform while going from the place of discharge to their home of record, within three months after discharge.

  5. Charles David Bunner

    Former Marines who are discharged honorably or under honorable conditions from the Marine Corps (even if it's not during wartime service) may wear their uniform while going from the place of discharge to their home of record, within three months after discharge.

  6. Charles David Bunner

    Specifically, 10 USC, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 45, Sections 771 and 772.
    Section 772 lists some exceptions:
    (d) A person who is discharged honorably or under honorable conditions from the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may wear his uniform while going from the place of discharge to his home, within three months after his discharge.

  7. Anonymous

    there's a parapalegic Marine in my neighborhood, goes to the store in his elec. wheelchair every day, Yes I've thanked him for his service more than twice,. Anyway he wears full camouflage uniform. Maybe he doesn't know the rules, I sure as hell ain't going to tell him. He is paralized for crist sake, he can wear whatever he wants if ya ask me.

  8. Alberta Voegele

    He was doing a good thing and he was proud to be a marine. Why the big deal to have him wear his uniform. I think he should be able to and he is representing his country ang the freedom that we have because of men and women like him. A big thank you to him and everyone that stands up for all of our protection

  9. Jordan Aston

    Rules between the Army and the Marines have always been different, I for one see nothing wrong with this Marine wearing his fatigues at this school, but I guess this is what separates the Corp from the Army

  10. Crystal Bentley

    One Wld think the marine corps Wld thank this soldier I bet the higher ups Wld if their kids went to that school….

  11. Elliott William Cooney

    Take Off The Rank And The US Marine Insignia And it Is Just A Shirt. This Father Is Just Trying To Do The Right Thing And Stand Up. I Thought The Motto Of The Marines Was Adopt And Overcome Along With Semper Fidelis.

  12. Lisa Nelson

    While I agree that what he did is very admirable and I totally respect him, I do wonder if someone might think he is still in the Marine Corps and active. A good thought if a criminal approaches and thinks twice… a bad idea if someone will hold the Marine Corps responsible for any actions while he is in uniform. It falls under the employer/employee responsibility, an employer is responsible for their employees actions while clocked in or representing the employer. Is there anyway to have active duty military stationed at schools? or to reactivate those who are discharged for some sort of duty? We meed more people like Staff Sgt Pritchard… a lot more! I don't think he should be stripped of his honorable standing, but what can be done so that he can continue what he started? and that would allow others to do the same…

  13. Kay E Myers

    I agree with Crystal, father or not, he is giving those kids a sense of peace.

  14. Kay E Myers

    I totally agree, it would also give the homeless vets a job. Jobs that are badly needed.

  15. David Stewart

    I do agree with you Lisa Nelson, If I had children or grandchildren in school I would be doing the same thing. Even as a former Marine (Once a Marine, always a Marine), without kids in school I would help with local schools and security programs. However, Utilities have never been allowed in public, I think he should wear his uniform, but Winter Alphas, or even Dress Blues.

  16. Lisa Nelson

    dress blues would be great! they are so impressive and you know exactly what you are getting when you see dress blues! total protection and Respect. and you know you are getting a Marine!

  17. Heather No Doubt Hobson

    They need to do away with whatever policy/order that is because it makes no sense to me at all. I don't see anything wrong with him standing guard in a uniform that he rightly earned.

  18. Eric Curry

    Why don't we make camouflage school uniforms, so the kids are harder to target?

  19. Eric Curry

    So, what's to keep someone else from wearing a military uniform to a school under the guise of "protection" as a ruse?

    Furthermore, if something goes wrong, it reflects poorly, even if unintentionally, on the Marine Corp.

  20. Brenda Gatchell

    this is all lies, no body came up to him and told him this, they know why he is doing it and honor his decision to do it, this is aquistier they come up with anything to get people to like and keep there shit going

  21. Catryna White

    If he's no longer in the military, how can they tell him what he can and cannot do? Not only that this is a government school, seems appropriate for the government military to be there.

  22. Jim Sanderson

    The odds of another tragedy like New Town happening at that particular school are incredibly small. His standing guard is frankly, ridiculous, and is probably doing more harm to the children psychologically.

  23. Heather No Doubt Hobson

    People there under a "ruse" wouldn't just stand there all day either. JS I don't see anything wrong with it.

  24. Pat Hotham


  25. Karletta-Kookie Hart

    I think he can wear the Uniform if he takes his name and Rank off of the Uniform, legally. I agree, he is doing a great thing, but, there would be copycats, that might do more Harm, than Good.

  26. Lynda Prado

    I think what he did was wonderful and I'm sure that it was comforting to those children, knowing that a marine was there protecting them. I think it would be disgraceful if he were punished for doing such a noble thing.

  27. Jeffrey Collins

    i understand the Marines position on this. You aren't allowed to wear your police gear when you aren't a cop anymore.

  28. Leon Demont

    I totally agree with what this Marine is doing.but every Marine know you can not wear fatigues except to and from work and you can not get out of your car unless it is a Marine corps function. It is one of the things that separates us from the other services.besides other things. But standing there all day in Dress blues is the most uncomfortable thing ever so they should make an exception because you can wear your fatigues on duty and this Marine is on post.

  29. Joy Vogt

    Mr. Curry saying something assinie like that is uncalled for. Your comment makes some people feel like this is all a joke to you. Believe me it is NOT! What this Marine did was honarable. I understand what the Marines are saying. No he probably shouldnt have worn the batlle uniform. Yes, he should have worn his dress uniform. Even though those things are very uncomfortable and thin! I am a retired military veterans wife, I am the mother and sister of a soldier, I am daughter of a Vietnam Vet, but, most importantly I am the mother of an elementary school child. I would gladly walk up to this man (even knowing the policy myself) and thank him for making my child feel safe. Having a child who LOVES school be afraid to get on the bus to go to school is the most heart wrenching thing I have ever gone through. Hell yes I would thank him!

  30. Mary Baker

    I personally think that nothing should be done to him. I also think that they should find away for him to continue to do this because our active military are busy helping protect our country so why not let our Veterans protect our children while at school. I have to agree I think that him wearing right now is a like being at a memorial service for those that were lost at Sandy Hook Elementary. Thank you Staff Sgt. Jordan Pritchard for protecting the children all who work at that school. God Bless you and may they find a way that more of you will be able to do this with any back lash.

  31. Tammy Rooney

    This man is a true American hero….it is so sad that it has come to this, but it is reassuring to know that there are people like this in the world to help combat the evil ones.

  32. Edgar A Rollins

    The wearing of the uniform is prohibited under any of the following circumstances:
    (1) At any meeting or demonstration which is a function of, or sponsored by an organization, association, movement, group, or combination of persons which the Attorney General of the United States has designated, pursuant to E.O. 10450, as amended as totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive, or as having adopted a policy of advocating or approving the commission of acts of force or violence to deny others their right under The Constitution of the United States, or as seeking to alter the form of Government of the United States by unconstitutional means.
    So does this mean that Eric Holder determined that the elementary school fits into this category? LOL

  33. Lynn Lambert

    He is a former Marine, he should remove the insignia and rank, then there would be no problem. His heart is definately in the right place!

  34. Edgar A Rollins

    Now you are seeing the REAL LIFE difference between a US Marine and an Officer Of Marines! They are NOT one and the same!

  35. Edgar A Rollins

    I bet that if he had worn a whole shitload of medals that he didn't earn the government would praise him and offer him a job, like they did John Kerry after he wore medals he didn't earn while testifying before Congress!

  36. Tiffany O'Brien

    The Military should be honored and overjoyed to see one of their own, discharged or otherwise seeking to spend his time making people feel safe. He is doing more standing at that school in that uniform than any presidential address or frequent police check up has ever done. I say let him keep it on and make people feel safe at a time when hearts are broken and security is lost.

  37. Eric Curry

    It wasn't necessarily a joke – just pointing out the fact that military camouflage, in and of itself, does very little. Sure, it may make some people "feel safer", but it does nothing more. I appreciate this man's gesture, but what about the next copycat who wears military dress around a school? Do we know who he/she is? Has he/she been fingerprinted? What is their military record? What if it's done as a ruse? We won't know until it's too late. What this man is doing should be RAISING concerns, rather than alleviating them.

  38. Eric Curry

    So now you know the mind of a mass murderer? I never said the person had to stand there "all day". If you drove past a school and saw someone standing out front wearing military dress, how would you know if that person belongs there? Every person on my school campus has to be fingerprinted, so their criminal history will be known. Do you know the criminal history of this father, or anyone else who wants to stand in front of a school in their uniform?

    The fact of the matter is…you don't. You simply choose to believe in the best possible scenario…but that doesn't make it so. A uniform tells you nothing about the doesn't even tell you if they really were in the military or not.

  39. Edgar A Rollins

    Guess what? Retired military have this little thing we like to call a MILITARY IDENTIFICATION CARD! And all he has to do is show it to the office when he signs into the school. STOOPID!

  40. Edgar A Rollins

    They recently CHANGED the military regulations regarding the wearing of them by former and retired service members, and guess what? THEY DIDNT TELL ANY OF THE VETERANS ABOUT IT! The rules used to state that an honorably discharged service member was allowed to wear his uniform for ANY OCCASION THE SERVICE MEMBER DEEMED APPROPRIATE! But I bet if he had worn medals that he didnt earn he would be offered a Cabinet Position within the Obama administration like John Kerry after he wore medals he didnt earn ON HIS BDU'S while testifying before Congress!

  41. James Olmstead

    I feel he was doing what a good parent would do and protect their children what any person would do or that enlist to fight and PROTECT our country, children included…..that uniform stand for loyalty to our country…..and I know the USMC has there rules……but to do this to some one that just wants to keep there children safe and the other kids as well is not right to do this to him he has more guts then a lot of other people out there at lest he is thinking of his kids befor him self.

  42. Edgar A Rollins

    The Army rules have changed too, they are the same as the Marine Corps now. You might want to look at the changes to the AR 670-1…

  43. Jonathan Nguyen

    Try to justify it any way you want… the policy is still in black and white. There are no gray areas. While admirable, the Marine Corps had these policies in place for a while and they aren't going to budge any time soon.

  44. Jonathan Nguyen

    That would work for the Army or the other military services. Notice the billboards about Pioneer loans or used car dealerships that pepper a nearby military base? They almost always show a Soldier, because it's easy to pull the name tag off and nobody would say anything. The MARPAT is patented and owned by the USMC, they own the pattern. Pulling off the 'US Marines' nametape doesn't remove the hundreds of tiny EGAs (Eagle, Globe and Anchor) from the camouflage pattern. Hollywood even has to get permission to use the uniform for movies! The USMC has a lot of pride in their uniform, and wearing utilities in public has always been a huge no-go.

  45. Traci Hawkins-Hites

    He is a HERO! more vets, and off duty officers should be doing this. Our Military needs to step back and let this man do this. He protected our country and he is protecting his children!

  46. Jonathan Nguyen

    “Strip me of my honorable discharge. Take it away. The peace that these parents and teachers have, that’s enough honor for me.” The USMC didn't say he couldn't watch the school. They told him he couldn't do it in a USMC uniform. What you wear is irrelevant and I think the story is losing it's point.

    Why "should" it be veterans and off duty officers? Why not have the community at large participate? Military people barely have enough time for themselves and their own families and public servants pretty much spend their entire working day taking care of others and now you want them to do it off the clock too? I think a lot of people are getting too use to the fact that there is always someone willing to what everyone doesn't want to do. Small but combined efforts from EVERYONE will do great things. Join a neighborhood watch or volunteer as a school crossing guard, whatever . When I was in grade school, my mom volunteered at the school. She would be out on the school grounds with a whistle supervising us during recess. She kept us in line and looked out for the "wolves" threatening the flock. She never wore a uniform and she was never on the news, she did it because she loved us and felt we were worth her time.

  47. Dennis Webb

    The only uniform he can wear at a memorial service is either the dress blue or service green uniform. He cannot wear the utility uniform at all for anything outdside of conducting normal duties. Those are the rules and as Marine or former Marine you cannot pick and choose the orders you follow.

  48. Dennis Webb

    So many opinions on this Marine violating a Marine Corps order, key word violating. We have rules for a reason and he is in violation of the wear of the uniform. If he wanted to do real good he would organize a group of parents that patrol the area and observe the surroundings identifying suspicious activity and reporting it. He claims not knowing this was a violation but considering it is drilled into us from day one I think he is lying and trying to get 15 minutes of fame.

  49. William Bloomquist

    Eric Curry under your scenario, the same holds true for teachers, ministers, cops, doctors etc. EVERY uniform of supposed authority has had fakes. The man identified himself to the school authorities and asked permission.

  50. Heather No Doubt Hobson

    I was going to say a process of identification could be put in place just like when you clock in at a that everyone would know exactly what's going on and who the person standing outside is, why they are there etc. I think it's a great idea.

  51. Poser Hunter

    It's not that he's wearing it, it's that he's wearing it incorrectly. As a EX-Marine Staff Sergeant he should be fully aware of the illegality of wearing field dress in the civilian world. This is not allowed and he knows it. Also, for saying, “Strip me of my honorable discharge. Take it away. The peace that these parents and teachers have, that’s enough honor for me.” Shows me his lack of ethos. He very much is a EX-Marine and not a former Marine.

  52. Poser Hunter

    If he wanted to wear dungarees in the civilian world, he should have joined the Army. The Marine Corps DOES NOT wear them off base.

  53. Poser Hunter

    If you are going to use the Lord's name as a swear word, shame on you, you should learn how to spell and capitalize it.

  54. Poser Hunter

    He's more than likely doing it to get offered a job. As for you thinking he should be able to, what that means to me is you never earned the title Marine.

  55. Poser Hunter

    There are NO soldiers in the Marine Corps. They are Marines, always with a capital "M".

    Second, he KNOWS perfectly well he's breaking Marine Corps Orders. If he wants to do this he should wear a T-shirt with Marine on it and a Marine ball hat.

    There is NOTHING right about what this man is doing regarding his dress. And lastly, he signed a contract. He knows what he's doing is wrong.

  56. Poser Hunter

    For your information, STOOPID Edgar, if you read the article you would see he did not retire so he would NON have a military card.

  57. Poser Hunter

    No offense meant Jordan, but just because you can't see the wrong with this Marine wearing his fatigues illegally doesn't change the fact that he is. There are rules and regulation for the wearing of the uniform. He knows what they are and has decided to do everything his way and ignore the lawful orders of the Marine Corps. I suspect his bad behavior and attitude has something to do with his getting out as a SSGT and not continuing to retirement.

  58. Tammy George Potts

    You are very correct in that statement Eric.ANYONE can go down to the closes flea market or Army supply store and pick themselves up some fatigues!!!!!!! And ANYONE can make that uniform look official with all the ribbons and medals that you can order off the internet.Just look at what the guy did I think in Sacramento right after all this took place.Bought himself some cammies and fabricated a story to the press about his "war"history.After digging into his past for confirmation did the press finally call him out.

  59. Tammy George Potts

    And improvise!!!!!!! The problem that I would have with him standing in front of the school with his Marine uniform on is that in this day and time with so people trying to take the easy way out,Don't you think that if something was to happen at the school involving him that the parents would try to turn around and hold the Corps responsible? It would not be any different if a company posted a security guard and something happened involving the guard and then the people that were involved turned around and tried to make the company responsible for those actions instead of the individual that was actually involved. It's already happening in the Sandy Hook incindent.Instead of making the responsible parties actually responsible,everyone is wanting to point their fingers at the N.R.A. for being responsible.

  60. Randy Dunn

    Add a comment…"He hoped to inspire other veterans to follow his example." This is an outrage and the USMC should be ashamed. They claim.."Once a Marine..always a Marine." I guess that is not true. I wish more people would take pride in thier country. If Vets want to serve like this voluntary, then let them…

  61. Randy Dunn

    What does being in the Army have to do with this story. I have 100% respect for the USMC… but what chaps my butt is when Marines slams the Army soldier. That US Army soldier signed his/her name on the line and swore to protect this Country with thier LIVES TOO. They fight the enemy just as much as a Marine would and would fight until he could not fight anymore…. A bullet shows no partiality. The enemy is not selective. This arrogance is too much to handle sometime. REMEMBER!! you are all on the same team.. TEAM USA… SHOW SOME RESPECT!!!!!!!!!! With that said, Thank you for serving…

  62. Jonathan Nguyen

    Once a Marine, always a Marine still stands, which is why he is wrong… Marines both active and former can't wear their uniform in public except in specific situations outlines in Marine Corps policy. He's in the wrong and he knows it. You don't make it to Ssgt and not know that. If anything, the media should be ashamed. If he had done it in civilian clothes, he probably wouldn't receive any recognition at all.

  63. Randy Dunn

    It is against the law to exceed the speed limit, but i bet you do that everyday. There are rules and regulation on proper safety and speed of a motor vehicle and you know what they are…By choosing to speed, you have chose to do things your way too and ignore lawful orders… As for what you suspect… maybe he wanted to peruse other interests… (words can be used against you.)

  64. Tabitha Kaboni

    Bull Crap, I retired from the Military after 23 years of service and see Marines in Uniform everywhere and it isn't on a base.

  65. Tabitha Kaboni

    Bull Crap, I retired from the Military after 23 years of service and see Marines in Uniform everywhere and it isn't on a base.

  66. Sharon ODonnell

    wear camo pants. and unit t shirts I am sure he would recieve them for free. semper fi.

  67. Tabitha Kaboni

    Well if that is the case every single veteran that wears their uniform for a local parade or event should be be stripped of their retirement pay for violating the uniform policy…………

  68. Michael Kosta

    I don't think that he meant to discredit the Army. It is USMC policy that we do not wear our boots and utes off base. The Army is allowed to do so. We as Marines were just taught that when we are in the civilian population we need to wear our Alpha's or Charlie's or just wear civi's. They also teach us to take great pride in who we are and what we represent. It's an ongoing thing in the Marines to strive for excellence. It's a friendly competition between the Army and Us. I have mad respect for anyone who serves our country!! Bottom line though is that just like our Flag, many a man/woman has given their life in service to our country, and when people want to disrespect our flag, ie; burn it, we do not take that lightly no matter what branch you served in. Same goes for the Marine Corps uniform. This is what we were taught as Marines, and this is the way we will do it till our last days on earth whether we are in active service or Honorably discharged. Once a Marine always a Marine. Like I said Randy, I don't think he meant any disrespect to the Army. Semper Fi!!!

  69. Michael Kosta

    A little less agro Hunter, but I agree. These are our rules that we follow.

  70. Michael Kosta

    The Marine Corps utility uniform is not to be worn of base. With the exception of traveling in your car to your residence off base. That is the rule we are taught and that we follow. What the father is doing is absolutely amazing! But…. he knows the rules and without rules we as a society would crumble. The Marine Corps has three other variations of dress uniforms to wear. Our Alphas (long sleeve suited) the Dress Blues, and our Charlie's (short sleeve). All which are very noticeable and command respect. Keep up the great work Dad, but do honor to our beloved Corps as you do the same to protect the lives of your children and all the children of their school. Semper Fi! (P.S. a little footnote, I greatly respect all our men and women who have the courage to join our armed forces and then to serve selflessly without regard to themselves but for the protection of others and this Nation. We are though, separate branches of the military with our own distinguishing titles. The Army has soldiers and the Marines are just that, Marines. Please do not infer that the Marine corps has soldiers because they don't. Sorry for that but I didn't join the Army and do not care to be called a soldier. Love them all though!)

  71. Karen Michele Kosta

    i'm very proud of this man for wanting to stand outside and watch over the children but as the sister of a marine, there are rules for a reason and everyone should follow them, even if you are doing a good thing.

  72. Benjamin Drake Sr.

    In the first place Crystal, he is not a "Soldier", he's a Marine. We are never called Soldier. Secondly, he is off base in utilities, something Marines are NEVER allowed to do. NEVER! He should have put on a dress uniform if he wanted to be in uniform. By breaking the rules he has subjected himself to punishment and has brought shame on the Unites States Marine Corps.

  73. Benjamin Drake Sr.

    In the first place Crystal, he is not a "Soldier", he's a Marine. We are never called Soldier. Secondly, he is off base in utilities, something Marines are NEVER allowed to do. NEVER! He should have put on a dress uniform if he wanted to be in uniform. By breaking the rules he has subjected himself to punishment and has brought shame on the Unites States Marine Corps.

  74. Benjamin Drake Sr.

    The Marine Corps does not need to do away with this rule. Just because the Army runs around off base looking like crap in their work uniform does not mean the Marine Corps should follow. We have always set the highest standards, not the lowest standards.

  75. Benjamin Drake Sr.

    The Marine Corps does not need to do away with this rule. Just because the Army runs around off base looking like crap in their work uniform does not mean the Marine Corps should follow. We have always set the highest standards, not the lowest standards.

  76. Tammy George Potts

    Benjamin Drake Sr. Finally, someone who gets it !!! Just from reading your comments, I would feel pretty safe in saying that you are a "NO LOAD" Marine.(No Longer On Active Duty) Since there is no such thing as an "ex" Marine!!!!!!!!!

  77. Tammy George Potts

    Benjamin Drake Sr. What EVERYONE should realize is that if something did happen with him in that uniform, the Marines would ultimately end up being responsible and in this world now, you can bet that someone will find a way or think of something to sue the Corps over.

  78. Tammy George Potts

    Your statement Wendy,just goes to show most everyone how ill informed you are of our military. He is a Marine.not a soldier. Any Marine and/or soldier will tell you that in a hurry.

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