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U.S. Special Forces ordered to shave off beards

Diamondback 2/2

Infantry
Verified Military
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Jan 24, 2008
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6,218
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Texas
#41
Yeah, but (snip)
Good post, I agree the FOB runners should not be fucking with the uniform standards. I do however think it's still a dumb issue to worry about. Where is that FOBBIT's command on that issue? Why is it that the units can't take care of their own house, why does a flag officer have to come down with a policy for every swinging dick? I never served in any SOF unit but we would still adjust our uniform standards as we saw fit (when on mission) but when we got back to the flag pole we did the right thing. Not b/c some flag officer told us too, but b/c we knew what was right, and what would get us put in front of the boss... So what the fuck?

That being said I can see a reason for SOF guys to maintain the shaggy look at the FOB when they are off mission. You come off mission or get some time in the rear, you should not have to shave and get pretty when you know your heading back out...
 

0699

Verified Military
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Jan 22, 2007
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3,458
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NoVa
#42
Good post, I agree the FOB runners should not be fucking with the uniform standards. I do however think it's still a dumb issue to worry about. Where is that FOBBIT's command on that issue? Why is it that the units can't take care of their own house, why does a flag officer have to come down with a policy for every swinging dick? I never served in any SOF unit but we would still adjust our uniform standards as we saw fit (when on mission) but when we got back to the flag pole we did the right thing. Not b/c some flag officer told us too, but b/c we knew what was right, and what would get us put in front of the boss... So what the fuck?

That being said I can see a reason for SOF guys to maintain the shaggy look at the FOB when they are off mission. You come off mission or get some time in the rear, you should not have to shave and get pretty when you know your heading back out...
I think we're going circular on this... :D

Example from my own past... We were stationed on a camp belonging to another unit that was "higher ranking" than us, but not in our COC since we worked directly for the MEF. MEF had established uniform policies that were modified from the MCO for deployment. One of the things the MEF allowed was the wearing of watch caps. The unit that owned the FOB we were living on did NOT allow watch caps, as the MC has always said that a subordinate commander can make a regulation more strict, but not less. Our CO decided that we were going to follow the MEF order and allow our Marines to wear watch caps WHEN REASONABLE. We took a lot of flak from the members of the other unit (I had to wear out some SNCOs from the other unit who were yelling at our Marines), but since we weren't under their commander, our CO was within his rights to not follow their policies.

All that to say that there were STILL Marines in our unit that would f*** it up. I'm walking across the FOB and I see one of our dipshits wearing his watch cap when it was 70 degrees out. Happened multiple times, making our unit and Marines look IMO like morons. Our CO goes to bat for us and allows us to wear watch caps when it's cold, but then looks like an idiot in front of other commanders when the guys are just being stupid. And it's the same story every time "Aren't I allowed to wear it?", like I'm some dubass that doesn't know the order. Trying to get everyone to follow the reasonable man approach is how I like to do things ("Why aren't your hands in your pockets? Don't you realize it's cold out?!?" :D), but there's always 10% that want to push the envelope.

Here's my two cents, and I still don't any evidence here that my opinion should change: If there a legitimate reason to modify the policy, then by all means do it, but to say "we are going to wear beards because we're XXXX unit" just doesn't make sense to me. If there's a legitimate reason for XXXX unit to wear a beard or ball cap or terminator patch, then it should be pretty easy to explain why.

Peace. :)
 

dknob

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
1,496
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Denver, CO
#43
I don't think the issue is about beards at the heart of the matter. I think its about the shagginess appearance some of the SF guys. The Guys that were doing it because they wanted to looked cool and different fucked it up for the ones who needed it. And I don't blame them. I wish I had a damn beard overseas. I dont know what EXACTLY is going on in regards to training the ANA or ANP by SFers, but its my opinion from a remote location lol. It's bad when contractors are looking 100x more professional than some of these guys, haha.
 

shortbrownguy

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 19, 2007
Messages
233
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Fayettenam
#45
Good post, I agree the FOB runners should not be fucking with the uniform standards. I do however think it's still a dumb issue to worry about. Where is that FOBBIT's command on that issue? Why is it that the units can't take care of their own house, why does a flag officer have to come down with a policy for every swinging dick? I never served in any SOF unit but we would still adjust our uniform standards as we saw fit (when on mission) but when we got back to the flag pole we did the right thing. Not b/c some flag officer told us too, but b/c we knew what was right, and what would get us put in front of the boss... So what the fuck?

That being said I can see a reason for SOF guys to maintain the shaggy look at the FOB when they are off mission. You come off mission or get some time in the rear, you should not have to shave and get pretty when you know your heading back out...
We do a piss poor job of policing up our own, and piss and moan when others get involved. The main issue here is there are many SOF unit members that are running around with grooming standards that are out of control. Goatee's, braids and dreadlocks are not within the scope of relaxed grooming standards, yet I have seen it more than a few times. Ask yourself this. If you belong to a SOF unit that doesn't interact with the local population, work directly with the ANA, ASG, ANP, etc., do you really need a beard to conduct your mission?

This directive was put out over a month ago, and only now has hit the headlines. Like I said before, those who require relaxed grooming standards still have, and those who don't have shaving cream and a razor in their future...
 

car

Old NCO (Ret)
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#47
Not a loaded question, really - so I counter with...why not? :D

Other nations' services allow beards, I'd be interested to see what complications, if any, it has caused.

Off the top of my head, the only reason I can see for not allowing beards is the use of gas masks.
And when was the last time any of us actually had to "don masks?"

I agree with you.......for the most part (just being that old ret SGM....) I really can't think of a good reason
Hell, I had a nustache unti I made E8....facial haie is facial hair
 

txpj007

Pararescue
Verified SOF
Joined
Aug 23, 2009
Messages
264
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TX
#49
Define well groomed? Seriously, the Navy tried it in the late 70's(?) and it got out of hand. Easier to have a policy of no then to put acceptability limits on beards.
easy...theres already one in place for people on shaving waivers for their "folliculitis"
 

RustyShackleford

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#50
We do a piss poor job of policing up our own, and piss and moan when others get involved. The main issue here is there are many SOF unit members that are running around with grooming standards that are out of control. Goatee's, braids and dreadlocks are not within the scope of relaxed grooming standards, yet I have seen it more than a few times. Ask yourself this. If you belong to a SOF unit that doesn't interact with the local population, work directly with the ANA, ASG, ANP, etc., do you really need a beard to conduct your mission?

This directive was put out over a month ago, and only now has hit the headlines. Like I said before, those who require relaxed grooming standards still have, and those who don't have shaving cream and a razor in their future...
This post pretty much sums it up. If you need a beard, you will probably have a beard. Otherwise, sorry if the man keeps oppressing your inner SF soldier.
 

SSdoc272

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23
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29 Palms, CA
#52
If we can define hair cuts, sideburns, finger nails, etc., I'm sure we could find a way to define beards. For the Air Force alone, if they have time to decide the minimum height for my PT socks, they have time to break out their crayons and draw what is an acceptable beard :D

I was still wearing diapers in the late 70's - how was the Navy's experiment out of hand?
I couldn't agree with you more. If they have time to come up with all these other dip-shit standards (like where I should wear my boot blouses :doh:) they can come up with standards for facial hair too. They're just being lazy and it's easier to just say shave it all off.
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2009
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Location
Pacific NorthWest
#53
This post pretty much sums it up. If you need a beard, you will probably have a beard. Otherwise, sorry if the man keeps oppressing your inner SF soldier.
I must agree, we fought for months to get the go ahead for relaxed grooming standards and yes there will always be idiots amongst us that push the limit too far. I really don't care what you wear or how you wear it, just don't have a F'ing ponytail and call the man that makes these decision "Buddy" he really hates that.
 

JimMCpog

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Apr 20, 2009
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91
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New Jersey
#54
LOL that's the stuff that drove us crazy in the USMC. Apparently the military is going through a phase similar to post Vietnam where they kicked out a lot of unwanted NCOs, got into a lot of garrison game playing, and forced that set of priorities on everyone.

You could always go the civilian route...
 

Teddy13BU6

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Apr 16, 2011
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GunSmoke
#55
The way I view it is that SF soldiers in Afghanistan need to blend with the locals. No sense in making them look like the Russians in the 80's. SMH, This is a sad decision on the behalf of the Commanders. Unconventional Warriors are there trade mark. They are taught to blend, understand and train foreign troops. Those beards mean business to the Afghan's. They need to keep them, cause without a beard you make them out to be another "Conventional Warrior". Whats next? Make them wear ACU IOTVs and Helmet covers? Full unit patches and all? Limit them combat loads to 7 mags? SMH
 

x SF med

the Troll
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#58
Teddy, Alibi...

Did either of you notice the date on the last post in this thread?

Teddy - A little research would have let you know where this issue had ended up, and let you know why this had ended so abruptly. You state in your intro that you are thinking of SF or SF Support in your future, you put the onus for a higher standard upon yourself with those claims - FAIL. Please check out the mentorship thread.

Alibi- Shush. Being 18 and a copy cat of a senior member of the board will not endear you to the membership. Read more, post less.
 
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
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#59
Teddy, Alibi...

Did either of you notice the date on the last post in this thread?

Teddy - A little research would have let you know where this issue had ended up, and let you know why this had ended so abruptly. You state in your intro that you are thinking of SF or SF Support in your future, you put the onus for a higher standard upon yourself with those claims - FAIL. Please check out the mentorship thread.

Alibi- Shush. Being 18 and a copy cat of a senior member of the board will not endear you to the membership. Read more, post less.
Roger that