A Marine recruit sporting a mullet haircut at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego has taken the internet by storm.
The photo of "Recruit Mullet" — as he's come to be known — has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media. Which makes sense, because who in their right mind shows up to boot camp wearing a Budweiser t-shirt and Joe Dirt 'do?
I wrote earlier this week about the recruit and the photo the Marine Corps posted of him. Shortly after that, his uncle, retired Gunnery Sgt. Mike Voorhees, reached out to tell me more about him.
His real name is Daniel, and he enlisted from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to become a motor transport mechanic. (In the interest of sparing this recruit mail that will get him further time on the quarterdeck, I'm withholding his last name.)
Daniel the weekend before he went to boot camp.Courtesy of Mike Voorhees
Many people were surprised at Daniel's photo from boot camp; so were his folks. His uncle told Task & Purpose he was aware of the haircut ahead of time but had no idea about the beer-label t-shirt, since they said their last goodbyes to him when he was wearing a button-up shirt.
"The Budweiser t-shirt, none of us knew about," Voorhees said. He said that the haircut fits Daniel pretty well, since he's what you'd call a "redneck" who grew up driving around Bobcats and dump trucks, but it was kind of a joke started by his barber.
Back when he first expressed interest in the military, Daniel had long (non-mullet) hair, and Voorhees recommended he get something shorter in preparation for the Corps. The barber, on the other hand, said he could always give him a sweet-lookin' mullet. Daniel opted for tightly cropped sides, but thought he'd try to grow a mullet out as a joke for his senior pictures.
Unfortunately, the timing didn't work out. Daniel's hair wasn't quite long enough for the high school yearbook photos. But right before he shipped to boot camp, Voorhees says, Daniel told his recruiter, "it's time."
At this point, it's worth pointing out that showing up to boot camp and sticking out like a sore thumb is generally a bad thing. The last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself, lest the drill instructors find you and berate you for the next three months straight.
Recruit Mullet standing on the yellow footprints.US Marine Corps
Which is exactly what Voorhees told him: "I told him he was already gonna get fucked with for the haircut in general," he said. "They're gonna call you Joe Dirt and mullet man" — if the drill instructors haven't figured out those clever nicknames yet, the social media comments sections sure have.
If all goes to plan, Daniel should be graduating with Lima Co. of 3rd Recruit Training Battalion on Aug. 17. And his mom, along with Voorhees' wife, will be wearing a t-shirt with his famous photo, his uncle says.
Perhaps then I'll have another dispatch for Mullet Marine and score a full interview. I'll be sure to bring a 12-pack of Bud. Until then, you can follow updates at his new Facebook fan page.
"No matter what is said about him, I am proud to have him follow in my footsteps," Voorhees said. "He was a kid when he showed up, and will be a man and a Marine when he leaves."