When United States President Barack Obama
asked two Marines to shield him and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
from the rain he was also inadvertently issuing an illegal order.
Apparently Marines are prohibited from holding umbrellas while in dress uniform as it obstructs saluting, and the media gave the curious incident as much coverage as it did the two leaders' statements.
The incident occurred on Thursday, in a joint press conference by the two leaders in the White House's Rose Garden when a light rain started to fall.
"I am going to go ahead and ask folks, why don’t we get a couple of marines – they’re going to look good next to us," Obama said. "I’ve got a change of suits, but I don’t know about our prime minister."
The president, who is also the US Armed Forces' commander-in-chief, was apparently unaware that his request was a breach of protocol, and two Marines in full dress uniform answered his request and hurried to his side holding umbrellas.
Obama and Marine (Photo: AP)
Marines and leaders (Photo: AFP)
The Marine Corps spokesperson remarked on the incident and said that it was a very rare occurrence, and done only because the president explicitly requested it.
According to an interview he gave to CNN, the soldiers will not be punished, even though the Marine Corp Manual specifically states that a soldier's uniform dress code does not allow the carrying of an umbrella and 'no officer or official shall issue instructions which conflict with, alter, or amend any provision without the approval of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.'
Nonetheless, female Marines may carry a small, black umbrella while dressed in regular or dress uniform.
According to the manual, they must hold it in their left hand, as not to obstruct them while saluting with their right.