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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 9/15/2009 8:53:02 PM EST
Can someone explain why the US armedforces do not allow facial hair. Some nations do so why is this such a big deal? Last thing I want to think about while fighting is whether my facial hair is coming out. It just seems like a low priority. I know many will say "then dont join" but I just want to understand the logic. BTW-Just took test and aced it. GRE was way harder.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 9:57:35 PM EST

For the most part it makes it easier to enforce grooming standards, if they allowed beards it would be a huge PITA just writing the regulations, much less practical enforcement. We are not "some other country"; we have the most effective military units on the planet with or without technology, and a big part of that is a culture which it enforces ruthlessly, and rightfully so. Basically your douchebeard looks like crap, is embarrassing, and they don't want to be associated with it or possibly you.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 10:24:14 PM EST
Not to mention that it is hard to seal a gas mask when you have a beard.


Our Army tries to stay very prepared for NBC warfare, and allowing everyone to have a beard would make us less prepared.



Training/being prepared for a gas attack is like being in the Army and learning how to swim. You may go an entire career without having to do it, but if you ever find yourself in the middle of the ocean you will sure be glad you are ready.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 4:57:35 AM EST
Beard=dead guy in a gas mask. As they found out in WW1, and the Iranians found out again in the Iran-Iraq war.

The electric shaver was developed by an Army colonel in Alaska so his guys could stay shaved in subzero weather (no way to heat water) just after WW1, they didn't want to be dead guys if it came down to throwing gas around again.

Beards have a long tradition in armies (including ours), back in the day (1800s and before) in some units, upon joining you HAD to grow a beard/mustache depending on the unit's tradition. But since the 1890/1900s and introduction of chemical warfare, plus the professionalism of the military, shaved=professional look to the US, and various other armies.

Some let their troops grow a bit more than we do (Italian army, for example, lets them grow a goatee/mustache) and still maintain the professional look, but by and large for US troops it's "mustache or nothing".

Some of the black guys get by on a shaving waiver (for that matter, some really fairskinned guys like redheads). My old unit commander (himself black) told them "if you can shape it, you can shave it" since some of the guys didn't have a little stubble, they had a damned beard practically and were shaping them, etc.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:36:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By TheAmaazingCarl:

For the most part it makes it easier to enforce grooming standards, if they allowed beards it would be a huge PITA just writing the regulations, much less practical enforcement. We are not "some other country"; we have the most effective military units on the planet with or without technology, and a big part of that is a culture which it enforces ruthlessly, and rightfully so. Basically your douchebeard looks like crap, is embarrassing, and they don't want to be associated with it or possibly you.


that was helpful

Link Posted: 9/16/2009 7:22:00 AM EST
Originally Posted By TheAmaazingCarl:

For the most part it makes it easier to enforce grooming standards, if they allowed beards it would be a huge PITA just writing the regulations, much less practical enforcement. We are not "some other country"; we have the most effective military units on the planet with or without technology, and a big part of that is a culture which it enforces ruthlessly, and rightfully so. Basically your douchebeard looks like crap, is embarrassing, and they don't want to be associated with it or possibly you.


What? You saying my beard looks like crap? You don't even know me man, relax.

I'm absolutely certain it has to do with NBC warfare, as stated above, than looking like crap.

In my opinion, it really doesn't matter though, is that in very cold environments with no chance of NBC warfare, it should be allowed. It keeps the face warm, toasty warm. It is my firm belief that a soldier should be allowed sometimes go around regulations to stay warm. Just because you are in the service doesn't mean you should have to be uncomfortable.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 8:53:12 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/16/2009 8:57:21 AM EST by 94five0]
I have to agree. When watching footage of Iraq or afghanistan, the mujahadeen and other national defense forces look like scrubs with a beard hanging off their BDU's. Same deal with Iraq national Guard. It just looks unprofessional and shoddy, unkept from a western POV since most of our business world is very conservative in appearance- short hair, clean shaven. etc. but it's custom to primarily western culture.
but it's relative. SF they make due in the field 100 miles from the wire..check out the story of MSG Robert Horrigan on the Larue Tactical Homepage.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 10:12:07 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/16/2009 10:16:49 AM EST by beatjunglist]
I have seen plenty of ops guys from intel agencies wearing them. Go tell them they look like crap. I think it is more about uniformity and western culture. So your definition of what "looks like crap" is a matter of opinion and perspective. Some think our uniforms look like crap but what does that matter if we win battles.

I do not think beards/facial hair determine outcome of wars. Just look at history. The mask issue makes sense though.

(edited)
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 10:14:43 AM EST
For M.E cultures, hair on face=man. No hair=kid. One reason why back in '01 the SF guys were growing beards and mustaches, it helped the tribal elders take them seriously (in their culture) not (even if the guy's 35) "that smooth-faced boy in the funny uniform". Even Saddam did the bushy mustache thing since beards+gas=dead.

Some cultures, like Sikhs (who hate Muslims, but are often mistaken for them ironically) beards are part of their religion.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 10:20:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By Defensor_Fortis:
For M.E cultures, hair on face=man. No hair=kid. One reason why back in '01 the SF guys were growing beards and mustaches, it helped the tribal elders take them seriously (in their culture) not (even if the guy's 35) "that smooth-faced boy in the funny uniform". Even Saddam did the bushy mustache thing since beards+gas=dead.

Some cultures, like Sikhs (who hate Muslims, but are often mistaken for them ironically) beards are part of their religion.


This gives me hope that maybe the service will stop making it such a dominate issue, culturally. Being around a lot of people from M.E. -the beard demands respect.

Link Posted: 9/17/2009 3:07:26 AM EST
Uniformity, Everyone is supposed to look the same it would me a bigger hassle maintaining Garrison standard for a beard and than anything else also it would be a big variance in the look and appearance of Troops. In the Military who you are is not nearly as important as what your a part of, so identifying you as a part of something is far more important. When SOF forces are growing their beards out in the M.E. they are assimilating just the same as they would be required to do in Garrison.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 4:00:31 AM EST
Wearing facial hair has a different purpose for us in the non-traditional military. There are several practical reasons for not having a beard and they've been mentioned here but its also due to professionalism. We stopped wearing beards as a society decades ago and that carried over into the military. The days of Robert E. Lee and his manly facial polar bear went away and the chisled dimpled chin of the modern Soldier has taken over. Yes you'll come across times when you don't have the ability to shave or you're allowed to wear a beard, but if you have a Geneva Convention's card, have to salute, you have rules to live by regarding facial hair unless specifically ordered to have a waiver.

In Korea, having a beard would be odd and be a sign of unkeptness. In Iraq and Afghanistan is a sign of adulthood and experience.

And yes there are plenty of non-traditional military personnel who have the chemobeard or douchebeard and it looks like ass. So that's when those of us who were authorized to wear them no longer are bcause some 22 year old kid how hit puberty late can't grow a beard and it looks like his face got slapped with chemo.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 11:03:09 AM EST
Originally Posted By kudzu630:
Wearing facial hair has a different purpose for us in the non-traditional military. There are several practical reasons for not having a beard and they've been mentioned here but its also due to professionalism. We stopped wearing beards as a society decades ago and that carried over into the military. The days of Robert E. Lee and his manly facial polar bear went away and the chisled dimpled chin of the modern Soldier has taken over. Yes you'll come across times when you don't have the ability to shave or you're allowed to wear a beard, but if you have a Geneva Convention's card, have to salute, you have rules to live by regarding facial hair unless specifically ordered to have a waiver.

In Korea, having a beard would be odd and be a sign of unkeptness. In Iraq and Afghanistan is a sign of adulthood and experience.

And yes there are plenty of non-traditional military personnel who have the chemobeard or douchebeard and it looks like ass. So that's when those of us who were authorized to wear them no longer are bcause some 22 year old kid how hit puberty late can't grow a beard and it looks like his face got slapped with chemo.


+1

It's all about professionalism and maintaining the image of the American serviceman.
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