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For eons military recruits who wear glasses have had to endure the ridiculous “S9” eyewear. Recruits have called them “BCG’s” (also known as Birth Control Glasses) for as long as I can remember, because they feel so unattractive wearing them. Finally those beloved standard-issue specs have been replaced.

As of now, as soon as recruits are out of basic training, the eyeglasses get dumped as quickly as possible into the nearest garbage can. Currently recruits who need glasses are issued the BCG’s or S9’s, as they are officially called, as part of the standard boot camp medical care. The Naval Medical Logistics Command is hoping that with the new design, recruits will wear them past boot camp.

The new glasses are said to have a “hipster, Buddy Holly vibe.” They will be rolled out in Great Lakes, Ill., Parris Island, S.C., Ft. Sill, Okla., and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The new design will be offered as an alternative to the old style to all active duty and Reserve personnel but they will be the only option for members at recruit depots.

Capt. Matt Newton, commander of the Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity in Yorktown, Va. said, “Service members have told us they like the appearance of the new frame.”

Service members who have not been issued the standard S9 glasses at boot camp within the past year have access to the military’s “Frames of Choice” program, which offers a broader variety to choose from. They actually have six frame designs that come in several color choices, including aviator style glass or those with wire frames.

Unfortunately retirees are still going to be stuck with the S9’s for the time being. Apparently the Department of Defense’s Optical Fabrication Enterprise has about two years to decide whether or not to provide the new specs – called 5A’s to the retired folks.

The 5A style glasses will arrive at recruit depots in the coming months. It will still be about six months or so before they will be available to all active duty and Reserve members.

I’m personally not sure the change is going to make a huge difference to recruits, who would probably much prefer to where their own style of glasses – but if a standard style is going to continue to be mandated, at least the new glasses are a little more stylish.

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