One Marine's Campaign To Grow A Beard Is Gaining Momentum

Humor
A Marine Special Operations Team member provides over watch for Afghan National Army Special Forces to help Afghan Local Police build a checkpoint in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 3, 2013. Afghan Local Police complement counterinsurgency efforts by assisting and supporting rural areas with limited Afghan National Security Forces presence, in order to enable conditions for improved security, governance and development.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

If you’ve ever dreamed of running your calloused hands through a thick forest of facial hair without risk of an ass-chewing from a first sergeant, you’re not alone.


A new campaign to allow service members to grow beards is gaining momentum. A Change.org petition by Ed Beebe, an active-duty Marine based out of Camp Pendleton, California, currently has more than 16,000 signatures and counting.

“All I want is to be able to grow a beard,” writes Beebe. “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.”

Related: 6 Marine Corps ‘Rules’ That Are Not Actually Regulations »

Aside from wanting to run his fingers through a lush jungle of facial hair, Beebe argues that there are practical benefits to letting troops grow beards.

“When you look at yourself in the mirror while brushing your teeth and you see a manly man staring back at you then you feel like a manly man,” he writes. “This in turn will produce manly man results in the workplace and a new sense of pride that comes with it.”

While opponents of facial hair on service members often justify their stance with arguments about discipline, professionalism, and health, it’s not unreasonable to imagine enacting standards for beards, just as the military has already done for hair length and mustaches.

“Example: Facial hair must be clean cut and neat at all time,” writes Beebe. “Facial hair must not be longer than ___ (you fill the blank).  Standards will still be maintained. … Easy day.”

There have been exceptions to this rule, specifically in the case of service members growing out facial hair as part of their religious beliefs. In general, the ban is enforced for the sake of hygiene and health while in a forward position. The ban on beards in the military dates back to World War I, when the risk of chemical attacks caused beards to be barred because they prevented gas masks from functioning properly, according to a Popular Military article on the petition.

However, if you know you’re going into an area where there’s a risk of chemical attack, you could just shave your beard and grow it back later, notes Beebe.

All that being said, knowing how long it takes to see any changes in the military’s uniform and grooming standards, like the Army’s longtime struggle with rolled sleeves, and all of the branches contentious tattoo policies, my bet is that it’ll be a while before we see a squad of swarthy and bearded infantrymen patrolling through a combat zone.

But here’s to hoping it happens.

Photo: Twitter

For an organization that is constantly shining a light on things that would rather be kept out of the public eye, the moderators of U.S. Army WTF! Moments have done a remarkably impressive job at staying anonymous.

That is, until Monday.

Read More Show Less

For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.

"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.

In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.

"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."

Read More Show Less

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed that a nightmare scenario has come to pass: Captured ISIS fighters are escaping as a result of Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria.

Turkey's incursion has led to "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees," Esper said in a statement on Monday.

Read More Show Less
ABC News anchor Tom Llamas just before his network airs grossly inaccurate footage

Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.

Read More Show Less

The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.

On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.

Read More Show Less