U.S. Special Forces ordered to shave off beards

Ravage

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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wor...cision_hanging_on_a_whisker.html#ixzz0w4oys91

KABUL, Afghanistan - U.S. Special Operations Forces have had countless close shaves this month - not just with the enemy, but with razors and foamy cream.

After almost a decade of growing long beards as a show of deep respect for Afghanistan's male-dominated, bearded tribal culture, many of these elite warriors have been ordered by top brass to shave their faces clean.

Some veteran special ops troops fear they face a harder time getting taken seriously by local leaders they depend upon for intel about their bearded enemy, the Taliban.

"Now we look no different than the Brits or Russians before us," a dewhiskered Green Beret team leader with five Afghanistan tours told the Daily News, referring to two countries whose past wars here ended badly. "Growing a beard dramatically helps us."

Even former Afghan war commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal "should have grown a beard" to help win over the tribes, argued the Green Beret, who cannot be identified because of his mission.

Long beards, khaki ball caps and Oakley wraparound sunglasses have long been the iconic image of U.S. secret warriors here.

But commanders now want "professional-looking" soldiers in the field - at least those who deal mostly with Afghan troops, not civilians. They note that the ball caps are often adorned with macabre skulls, sending the wrong message to a populace weary of war and death.

Special ops troops living in or near villages can keep their beards, but are encouraged to adopt the traditional Afghan pokol cap instead of a billed cap.
 

frontman86

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Gay, gay, gay...
At this point why not just fold SF into reg army? From the articles I read about SF in the news and on forums, just seems like the military's leadership wants to make them CONVENTIONAL warriors eventhough they're fighting an UNCONVENTIONAL enemy... Retarded...
 

BLACKMags

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I don't understand what is the big push for big army lifestyle in special operations units...enough to drive a man into ETS or retirement.
 

Purple

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FWIW - like a hog staring at a wristwatch - those comments show an obvious lack of understanding in regards to the article's topics (there are more than one and some have validity while some do not) and poor SA.

Purple's $.02
 

dknob

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Ehh idk.. the article is right about some of the SF soldiers. Not all need beards. And Ive seen a lot of raggedy ass guys walking around with punisher hats and infidel shit on with wifebeaters.

Theres a difference between walking around looking like a straight up bum and a professional who happens to have a beard.

I agree with this article. The guys training the Afghan troops cant be looking like straight up bums. It's not like they are making the guys on the ground working with the locals shave the beards.

I hate to post a picture of the fallen to settle a point, but there is a different between the appearance of MSG Horrigan http://www.honorheroes.org/images/Horrigan_Best_sm.jpg , and the appearance of the SF soldiers that the article and higher brass is referring to..

SF guys overseas are pushing this shit. Just like Rangers pushed the hair limits after the high and tight went away. Everything in moderation. If i was an Afghani soldier being discipline by my appearance by a dude that looked like ZZ Top, i would be fucking pissed.
 

0699

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Ehh idk.. the article is right about some of the SF soldiers. Not all need beards. And Ive seen a lot of raggedy ass guys walking around with punisher hats and infidel shit on with wifebeaters.

Theres a difference between walking around looking like a straight up bum and a professional who happens to have a beard.

I agree with this article. The guys training the Afghan troops cant be looking like straight up bums. It's not like they are making the guys on the ground working with the locals shave the beards.

I hate to post a picture of the fallen to settle a point, but there is a different between the appearance of MSG Horrigan http://www.honorheroes.org/images/Horrigan_Best_sm.jpg , and the appearance of the SF soldiers that the article and higher brass is referring to..

SF guys overseas are pushing this shit. Just like Rangers pushed the hair limits after the high and tight went away. Everything in moderation. If i was an Afghani soldier being discipline by my appearance by a dude that looked like ZZ Top, i would be fucking pissed.

And on this same note, a lot of the guys trying to "blend in" are walking around with ball caps and full sleeve tattoos, not things you see the locals wearing...

IME, many times people/units bring things like this on themselves. People want to push the envelope too far, then are pissed with the consequences.
 

car

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And on this same note, a lot of the guys trying to "blend in" are walking around with ball caps and full sleeve tattoos, not things you see the locals wearing...

IME, many times people/units bring things like this on themselves. People want to push the envelope too far, then are pissed with the consequences.

Not surprisingly, I totally agree with you......except, now, you've gotta help me get my head out of the jar. }:-)
 

DA SWO

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And on this same note, a lot of the guys trying to "blend in" are walking around with ball caps and full sleeve tattoos, not things you see the locals wearing...
IME, many times people/units bring things like this on themselves. People want to push the envelope too far, then are pissed with the consequences.

Agree. Let the guys training the ANA have trimmed beards if they need to have a beard. The guys in the boonies can still grow full beards, but they need to be a little more selective in headgear. I wouldn't outlaw all ball caps, but would rein-in some of the logos/patches etc.

FWIW- Their was a photo of a Marine with a skull patch on his helmut (we had a lively discussion)-that's the sort of ballcap I would limit, especially if you are working with the ANA/ANP or other locals.
 
8

8'Duece

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Long beards, khaki ball caps and Oakley wraparound sunglasses have long been the iconic image of U.S. secret warriors here.

You can send me your Oakley's and your caps. :D
 

Seeker

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Maybe the rationale is that instead of visibly subscribing to the Taliban imposed social norm of the beard, SF should set the example and lead Afghans away from submission to Taliban social code? I'm doing a little reading and get the idea that the beard is not a traditional Afghan (per se, given so many ethnic groups) social norm, but rather became one when the Taliban strictly enforced it as part of their religious ideology and social-political agenda. We don't want to support that, and want to demonstrate "there's a new sheriff in town" -- so adios to the beards? The face of the new "good guys" everywhere, and especially in the ANA, looks like THIS?
 

shortbrownguy

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Maybe the rationale is that instead of visibly subscribing to the Taliban imposed social norm of the beard, SF should set the example and lead Afghans away from submission to Taliban social code? I'm doing a little reading and get the idea that the beard is not a traditional Afghan (per se, given so many ethnic groups) social norm, but rather became one when the Taliban strictly enforced it as part of their religious ideology and social-political agenda. We don't want to support that, and want to demonstrate "there's a new sheriff in town" -- so adios to the beards? The face of the new "good guys" everywhere, and especially in the ANA, looks like THIS?

I'd say the rationale is to stop the fobbits that are running around BAF and KAF with full beards for no reason. Unfortunately the majority of the people you see rocking the ZZ top look have no reason to have a beard in the first place. Lets not read too much into this. People who require relaxed grooming standards will still have them.
PS- I still have a beard:p
 

0699

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Agree. Let the guys training the ANA have trimmed beards if they need to have a beard. The guys in the boonies can still grow full beards, but they need to be a little more selective in headgear. I wouldn't outlaw all ball caps, but would rein-in some of the logos/patches etc.

FWIW- Their was a photo of a Marine with a skull patch on his helmut (we had a lively discussion)-that's the sort of ballcap I would limit, especially if you are working with the ANA/ANP or other locals.

Maybe this is the Marine in me, but why not? What reason could wearing ball caps in CENTCOM serve? Improving morale?

I have NO problems changing/modifying uniform regulations to suit the situation (not that it's ever been my call... :D), but it seems like it should only be done for a reason that can be explained and understood pretty easily.

Easily understood: "We will be training/mentoring/living with Iraqi soldiers. Their culture places an importance on facial hair, so we will be allowing "full-size" mustaches in theater."

Not easily understood: "We're wearing ball caps and beards to "blend in" even though we never leave the FOB unless we're in full kit and don't stand a chance of hell of "blending in" while wearing our ball caps and multicam."

Please explain to me where I'm wrong. And I'm not being a smart ass, I'd really like to know.
 

car

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Maybe this is the Marine in me, but why not? What reason could wearing ball caps in CENTCOM serve? Improving morale?

I have NO problems changing/modifying uniform regulations to suit the situation (not that it's ever been my call... :D), but it seems like it should only be done for a reason that can be explained and understood pretty easily.

Easily understood: "We will be training/mentoring/living with Iraqi soldiers. Their culture places an importance on facial hair, so we will be allowing "full-size" mustaches in theater."

Not easily understood: "We're wearing ball caps and beards to "blend in" even though we never leave the FOB unless we're in full kit and don't stand a chance of hell of "blending in" while wearing our ball caps and multicam."

Please explain to me where I'm wrong. And I'm not being a smart ass, I'd really like to know.

See.....we keep agreeing -- I know, a couple of recently retired hard dicks.......but funny, and scary at the same time. ;)
 

TLDR20

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Like SBG said, the guys who need em will still have them. Let's not get into a hissy bout this yet. Guys haven't been wearing beards in Iraq for a long time. Did it change the way they fought?
 

Marauder06

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This is what happens when people do things "because I can" instead of "because I need to for my job." Too many people interested in making a fashion statement and trying to look cool screwing it up for the people who really need it.
 

Ravage

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Too many people interested in making a fashion statement and trying to look cool screwing it up for the people who really need it.

You said it! There was a moment when our top militarry commanders in Derka Derka Stan were hauling stuff that they normally would not need to, just because it 'looked cool', and wanted to look more like the US side - lots of gucci stuff from holsters to multicam uniforms and beards. At one point jurnos started calling every one a 'commando', Then again, our military has always been slightly different.

Then again, could this be some kind of scam as to say: "our regular guys paint their guns (like SOF), wear custom stuff (like SOF), wear multicam (like SOF) and SOF guys guys don't wear beards so our regulars look like SOF more than ever - hence we're all SOF!". But maybe I'm just paranoid.
 
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