The first haircut is a pivotal moment for any boot. I remember waiting my turn on the assembly line in 2008, cast under a strange new spell of panic and obedience that would soon feel familiar, wondering, “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”

Standing on that assembly line waiting for my head to be manhandled felt like a rite of passage. I was about to serve my country, god damn it, and if it meant giving up my beautiful locks, then that’s the sacrifice I had to make.

Now I know my hair wasn’t anywhere near the biggest thing I lost when I joined the Corps, but it will always be the first thing, as I surrendered to my new strange life as a Marine. We produced a video to express the loss every recruit feels when he first goes under those steely, unforgiving blades.

Here’s to the more naive versions of ourselves. We had no clue what we were in for.