A recent petition on change.org asks the U.S. military to allow its members to grow beards, and it’s gaining steam. Military history buffs know that our military has had an on-again, off-again love affair with facial hair.
The invention of chemical weapons ended the affair for good. Beards were prohibited across all branches for two reasons: Hygiene and the need for a good seal while wearing a gas mask.
Current regulations do allow facial hair for those authorized for “relaxed grooming standards” and for those with religious waivers. Those men normally granted relaxed grooming standards fall into three main categories:
All of these categories have a time limit. For the first two, relaxed grooming standards are normally authorized while the service member is deployed to an area where facial hair is a cultural norm. As for number three, that relates to a service member having a medical condition that prevents them from shaving daily. Once the condition is resolved, the service member must once again shave.
So why the petition? One word: morale. In the words of the petition’s author Ed Beebe:
All I want is to be able to grow a beard. I want to grow long locks of love on my face that will make me feel like a manly man. It is not something out of this world to ask. Grooming standards will still be in effect, but I just want facial hair that I can run my fingers through. This is free of cost to the government and can have morale boosting potential for military members.
Supporters tend to agree.
“Give me beard or give me death” -Nathan D.
I have been military for over 6 years, I have always been in favor of this idea. I can't even grow facial hair well and I still find it crazy that we put so much emphasis on shaving yet the military will fork out money for cosmetic surgeries. Let the men of the military be men. -Jon C.
How does Ed address the main reasons for prohibiting facial hair? First, strict grooming standards for facial hair. Keep it clean and neat (we can help). Second, require beards are shaved in combat zones where chemical warfare is a threat. Simple.
As a combat vet myself, I totally agree with the petition. My Marine’s combat beard was the inspiration for this company. I say #LetItGrow and #FreeTheNipple...oh wait, wrong petition…
stubble & 'stache was founded by a former Marine Corps Special Operations Combat Veteran in memory of his fallen comrade. We donate a percentage of profits to organizations supporting those men and women suffering from the mental wounds sustained in combat.
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