Air Force

November 16, 2012

Facial hair tradition in military goes way back

Senior Airman LIAM MILBURN
56th Medical Operations Squadron

There has always been a long-standing tradition of facial hair in the military. Over the centuries this tradition has evolved depending on the style and demand of the times. The Civil War saw some of the great military commanders sporting full beards that would put ZZ Top to shame. This trend most likely would have continued were it not for an inventive style of combat developed during World War I – gas warfare.

The Battle of Ypres in April 1915 saw the first use of poison gas as a weapon in modern warfare. This led to the advent of more sophisticated gas masks. Anyone who has been deployed remembers going for a gas mask fit test to ensure a proper seal. If there was any significant facial hair, it would impede that seal. So began the trend away from facial hair.

The Navy and Coast Guard held out longer, but eventually ended the custom of the salty sailor with an epic beard. Not even the submariners would be allowed to rock the Das Boot.

Civilian life at this time exhibited major leaders of business, art and entertainment all sporting very fashionable facial hair. Well-known business men such as Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick had full beards. Kings of industry Andrew Mellon and John D. Rockefeller both sported full mustaches. Painter Salvador Dali was famous for his irreverent mustaches. It is, of course, impossible to forget Chaplin and Groucho Marx, of whom both donned “toothbrush” mustaches; although the latter phoned his in.

Then WWII happened. All of those returning clean cut GIs entering the workforce gave a new look to professionalism. The military then continued with this “new” professional look with its officers and NCOs acting as role models for younger service members.
Should they decide not to make a career of the military, they at least entered the workforce with an understanding of what a young professional should look like.

There are two exceptions to facial hair in the military. The first is a medical exemption for those who develop painful razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae). It is a painful skin condition that is exacerbated by the act of shaving and can lead to infection. There is also a religious exemption for many Muslims, Jews and Sikhs who do not shave their faces. This exemption for devote members who wish to serve both their faith and their country, shows an acknowledgement of the ever-expanding multicultural military.

While the personal desires of this writer is to rock a pair of mutton chops that would put Gen. Ambrose Burnside to shame, I understand that my duty comes first. I must put aside a personal desire in order to maintain a professional demeanor.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

My personal leadership philosophy

My personal leadership philosophy can be summed up in just a few words — people first, mission always. Some may mistake the phrase “people first, mission always” as a dictum to coddle unit personnel through adversity, but actually, my focus is on preparing them to overcome adversity. The mission will always press on, but without...
 
 

Work, family balance success marker

“Being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar In our careers, we frequently hear about the importance of having balance in our life and job. Some common...
 
 
Staff Sgt. 
TIMOTHY BOYER

Luke plays role in saving species

Staff Sgt.TIMOTHY BOYER A team of wildlife specialists prepare a Sonoran pronghorn for release into the wild at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Ajo. Sixty-nine pronghorn were captured this year. Of those, more tha...
 

 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Road closure Litchfield Road at Northern Parkway is closed daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sunday to paint the bridge overpass, weather permitting. Northern Parkway will remain open. Reems Road and Dysart Road are alternate routes. For more information, call MCDOT at 480-350-9288. MLK luncheon There will be a Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon...
 
 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

MWD Roy — partner, friend passes

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Scott Emmick, 56th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler, and Roy, 56th SFS MWD, play Dec. 14, 2012, at the at Luke Air Force Base kennels. The MWD and handler team plays to...
 
 

46 graduate ALS in class 15-1

The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School graduated 45 senior airmen and one staff sergeant Dec. 11 from class 15-1. The graduates are senior airmen unless otherwise noted. John L. Levitow award: Nathaniel Gladney, 56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Distinguished graduates: Matthew Goodspeed, 56th Operations Support Squadron; Russell Hires, 56th Medical Support Squadron; James Gilmore, 56t...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin