Semper Fro: Just how much hair can you show up to Marine Corps boot camp with?

Mandatory Fun

As much as stepping on the yellow footprints is a hallowed Marine Corps tradition, there's another rite of passage that folks outside the military — like soon-to-be Marine recruits — aren't always aware of. I'm of course talking about the hair-clipper carnage that comes right after you arrive at recruit training.


The barbers at boot camp don't so much cut your hair as they do shear you like sheep, rushing countless recruits through those chairs in a matter of minutes, leaving behind only quietly muttered curse words, a couple of scraped scalps, and the remnants of once magnificent hairdos.

That was the case for Kyle Silva, who recently arrived at Parris Island, South Carolina, and may have realized that, no, his recruiter wasn't lying when he said he couldn't have an afro in the Marine Corps. Or more than likely, he just figured they'd cut it off anyway, so why not just enjoy the 'do those last few days before shipping out? He certainly wouldn't be the first (see: Mullet Recruit).

The photos of Silva, who arrived at Parris Island on July 16 and will be assigned to Mike Company 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, were shot by Lance Cpl. Christopher McMurry and Lance Cpl. Ryan Hageali.

If you were wondering just how much hair you can show up with at Recruit Training: The answer is as much as you want. They're not going to let you keep it, though.

Before:

(U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Ryan Hagaeli)

It begins:

(U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Ryan Hagaeli)

Is there a guy under there?

(U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Christopher McMurry)

The face we've all made when we start to wonder if this was a mistake:

(U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Ryan Hagaeli)

You just know a Marine grabbed him and made him pose for this:

(U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Ryan Hagaeli)


You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.

Read More

A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.

Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.

"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."

Read More
Photo illustration by Paul Szoldra

Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.

However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:

Read More

Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.

Read More
Protesters and militia fighters gather to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces), outside the main gate of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq December 31, 2019. (Reuters/Thaier al-Sudani)

With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.

"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

Read More