MSG’s “Old school rant” against the Army’s new ponytail allowance draws ire

| May 13, 2021

We talked last week about the Army’s new ponytail rules for female soldiers in uniform. One active duty Master Sergeant aired his opinion. His opinion is that it looks sloppy. He points out how sloppy looking soldiers are unlikely to advance through promotion boards. This is a valid critique and opinion. Where he finds himself in trouble is that this senior NCO sits on his battalion’s promotion board.

The woke senior leadership of the Army took aim;

Occasionally some people can’t follow the orders of the officers appointed over them, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. When that happens then it’s probably time for them to GO.

— LTG Ted Martin (@TradocDCG) May 9, 2021


Proud to be a “Nu school” leader & just for the record…I hated getting high & tights every Sunday. I’ll stick to the 1” fade every 3 weeks. Let that hair flow ladies!

— CSM Phil Blaisdell (@CsmBlaisdell) May 9, 2021

What CSM hates a high and tight? Seriously, I think you should lose a star for that one. Every good military man knows you get at least a every other week haircut. It’s not hard, it’s not expensive, and it’s really minimally invasive. I bet this CSM doesn’t even yell at people for walking on his grass!

From Army Times;

Last week, the Army authorized ponytails and braids for female soldiers in all uniforms. While many troops celebrated the change, there has been backlash from some on social media.

“How about females maintain the SAME standard as men instead of loosening the standards for one gender?” said one Army Times Facebook commenter.

“Where is the dislike button?” said another. “This doesn’t look professional and doesn’t uphold the standards that come with wearing the uniform.”

Hundreds more sounded off, wanting beards. Other commenters said things that aren’t fit for print.

But at least one soldier, a senior noncommissioned officer, is facing a commander’s inquiry after implying in a Facebook post over the weekend that following the new regulation could be detrimental to female soldiers’ career prospects.

Master Sgt. Don Blackall prefaced his Facebook post as an “old school rant, subject: ponytails.” He described his first encounter with a woman wearing a ponytail in the Army Combat Uniform as “terrible,” saying “it appeared unkempt.”

“So yes, the regulation now allows females to wear ponytails in all uniforms. No one can stop a female from doing so,” Blackall said. “However…females who have their hair in a bun will be viewed more favorable than those who choose the ponytail.”

Blackall then identified himself as a judge advocate general senior enlisted advisor for SETAF-AF headquarters, and as “a permanent member on my battalion’s monthly promotion boards.”

“My opinion matters whether you like it or not,” said Blackall at the end of his post.

Officials at the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa — Blackall’s overarching command — distanced the organization from the comments, saying that Blackall’s positions “are not” those of the command.

SETAF-AF also launched a preliminary investigation this week into whether the social media post violated Army guidelines.

“SETAF-AF leadership strongly agrees with and is following the updated Army policy on uniform and grooming standards,” said command spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon. “SETAF-AF is currently reviewing the post and the circumstances and will make a determination of whether or not there are any violations of Army policy.”

“There is a preliminary investigation underway,” Dillon added.

Soldiers’ promotion boards also won’t be derailed by one member who remains in opposition to new policy, Dillon stressed.

“SETAF-AF considers all eligible Soldiers for promotion and holds monthly promotion boards,” he added. “All promotion boards consist of a diverse group of senior NCOs as board members to ensure fair and equitable advancement opportunities for proven Soldiers.”

Screenshots of Blackall’s post began circulating on social media Sunday afternoon, and Army Times viewed an original copy of the post from a source who is Facebook friends with him.

Blackall has since changed his name on Facebook and restricted his privacy settings, but not before some senior Army leaders weighed in over social media, as well.

In today’s Army, this master sergeant had to have known he was committing career suicide, right?

Category: Army, Dick Stepping, Dumbass Bullshit

Comments (56)

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  1. President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neanderthal B Woodman Domestic Violent Extremist SuperStraight says:

    He’s old enough, got rank enough, he can afford to retire. Retirement may not be what he WANTS to do, but I think he’s going to be “retired” anyway.

  2. Ret_25X says:

    I saw this coming. No opinions, statements, or clothing styles may dissent from what the woke GO or CSM wants.

    The US military will become a politically correct but ineffective force of politically indoctrinated boobs.

  3. TopGoz says:

    A haircut every two weeks? Every three weeks for the CSM? What a bunch of slackers. As a Marine NCO and SNCO, my hair was cut every Sunday. In leadership schools, my hair might have been cut twice in the same week.

    • USMC Steve says:

      That is us Top, and this is them. I guess Big Army is going all in on inclusiveness for everyone but normal responsible folks, and sacrificing the ability to accomplish the mission. The next war we get slung into will look like the first five months of Korea. No wonder the young soldiers I occasionally talk to tell me that they vehemently hate Big Army.

      • Roh-Dog says:

        In the hallway of Bco 1/21IN (Gimlet) there is/was a picture of a Bco Soldier during Korea. Hands bound with commo wire, lying in a ditch, shot in the head.
        The commies overran is LP/OP in such numbers that a QRF couldn’t reach him, as they were running low on ammo.
        “No more Task Force Smiths!”
        That call echoed all the way to when I called myself a Gimlet, some 5 decades later.
        Our lessons-learned were often paid for in blood. We’d be best advised to heed them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yup, you got it. Keep your weapon cleaned and your body armor handy– we’ll have to go w/ what we got and pull victory outta our ass (again) soon.

    • Mason says:

      Every week is the standard for me too, but I’ll allow every other for those who don’t mind being a scruffy-looking nerf herder.

  4. 26Limabeans says:

    Do they still require removal of jewelry before
    working on equipment like in the Signal Corps?
    Not that a pony tail would be of any concern…..

  5. USMC Steve says:

    Glad I am not in the Army. I can tell the general officer who is mouthing off like a preteen adolescent to go fuck himself. He must be a closeted libtard, given that his statement in no way addresses the matter at hand, is not relevant, and serves no valid purpose at all. Hey Ted, a dissenting opinion on a stupid uniform change that makes soldierettes look like shit has nothing at all to do with obeying superiors or the UCMJ.

  6. OlafTheTanker says:

    While I had no problem with the new reg, I had a gut feeling that males would still be treated like..

    • 26Limabeans says:

      I think it was late sixties they allowed stashes.
      Yeah, I looked like shit and a host of other suggestions.
      I have a photo of me sporting one in Nam but it is only
      available off line and viewed in a dark room.

      • David says:

        Had one before I joined in ’76 and the only times it has been shaved was for BCT and later for OCS. Don’t like it? Ask me if I care.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yup, only choices (still, too) were the Molestache or the Adolf…

      • USMC Steve says:

        In the Marine Corps during Vietnam, only squad leaders and above were allowed to have moustaches. Some others got away with it in the bush, but only while there.

      • rgr769 says:

        In 1971, the Army allowed longer sideburns. When I first reported into 10th Group, the S-1 told me to shave mine down to the old standard before I reported to the unit assigned. He also said no mustaches allowed, period. I don’t think any airborne unit allowed them, irrespective of what the Pentagon pukes directed.

  7. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    One of my favorite COs had a simple saying that he was true to while I knew him, “you can judge the quality of any organization based on how it deals with dissent…”

    What he meant was simple, did you punish dissent or did you hear it, make a decision and move forward…thus allowing your subordinates to know that you understand their opinion but as the decision maker you are choosing another option.

    The MSG offered an honest opinion based on what he knows from sitting on those boards, it might not have been very wise to offer that honest opinion based on the leadership of his unit, or lack thereof, but he offered it.

    The Army needs to stop coddling whiners, no one has to like the MSGs opinion, including his command who can tell him bluntly to cut the shit about offering opinions.

    Simply stating the obvious that the grooming standard isn’t much of a standard at all is a reality.

    To this day I look at people and assess their overall personality based on how they appear, you can have all manner of tattoos and piercings but be tidy and appear disciplined, you can wear a suit and look like a fucking slob…

    Standards matter, how you prepare your look for the day matters. You look like a fucking clown chances are you might be a fucking clown.

    I suspect the MSG was or will be considering retiring after this whether he wanted to or not.

    Such is life.

    • KoB says:

      Testify! As discussed before, FIRST (hr 2 USMCMSgt (Ret) that pony tail gets caught up in something and snatches a bald spot, THEN and only then, will this Good Idea Fairy crawl back into its rabbit hole. Just like the wearing of jewelry when working around electricity or moving parts.

      One question not spoken aloud in all of this, and in re the picture of the female soldier(?) is…Would IDC SARC hit that? And yeah, we all know the answer to that question.

  8. Mustang Major says:

    You can’t fault the SGM. The Army trained him to have this reaction.

    The Army likes total conformance. The kind of conformance in thought resulting in predictable outcomes. Uniform conformance forms the foundation of the conformance continuum. Lookalike, think alike, succeed together.

    Trainees learn how to wear the uniform in their first days of service. Other than shape and size, only badges, patches, and ribbons (and, of course, rank) set soldiers’ appearance apart. The badges and ribbons confirm conformance. (An E7 with only an Army Achievement Medal? What’s wrong with him? He must be a dud.) When an E5 mechanic shows up in a unit, others assume the E5 possess and demonstrates a certain level of skills to achieve their assigned tasks. The fungibility of the E5 is conformance in action.

    When the unfortunate SGM saw the potential for ponytails, dreadlocks, and whatever hair stye (purple hair) bringing disruption to the foundation of the conformance continuum, he reached his breaking point. During his career and rise through the ranks by conforming, the SGM witnessed tattoos overtake soldiers’ skin like mold on damp drywall, but now, he reached his breaking point. His honesty in saying he had difficulty selecting non-conform soldiers for promotion came about for his desire to maintain conformance and, as a result, Army success.

    Good luck SGM.

    • tom reynolds says:

      What’s next? Supplying the junkies with free needles? Seems as if they are trying to make our military weak. Shameful.

    • fm2176 says:

      “Other than shape and size, only badges, patches, and ribbons (and, of course, rank) set soldiers’ appearance apart. The badges and ribbons confirm conformance. (An E7 with only an Army Achievement Medal? What’s wrong with him? He must be a dud.)”

      You bring up a very good point, which is the fact that, as Soldiers, we are all held to a subjective expectation of what to look like in uniform. During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an NCO lacking a combat patch was viewed as being a shirker, despite the fact that many MOS’ and/or units do not regularly deploy. An Infantryman lacking a CIB (regardless of whether or not he sported a combat patch) would often be dismissed as having not done his job, and even those of us who saw combat would be judged by the number of combat hashes on our Class A uniform.

      I left my last unit having spent two years working with O-6’s and writing orders for a 2-star command. With very short notice, I was asked to provide paragraphs for an ARCOM recommendation. Having already received both an ARCOM and a joint award during my time there, I couldn’t complain, but as a Senior NCO I knew that questions would be raised–even if not asked–about why someone in my position didn’t receive a higher award (which I did, in the end). In other words, my leaders, peers, and possibly subordinates would wonder what I did (or didn’t do) to receive the same PCS award I’d first received as a SPC 17 years earlier.

      As I stated below, I think the MSG screwed up by putting his bias into words. We all have ingrained biases that affect how we view other Soldiers, especially those who are being considered for promotion or recognition. Senior NCO selection board AARs reflect this, as detailed Recruiters are regularly selected for promotion at lower rates than those possessing other SQIs (such as Drill Sergeant or Ranger). With that said, however, I do agree with the MSG’s sentiment. Any female Soldier appearing before a board is probably better served wearing a tight bun, just as male Soldiers get fresh haircuts and, in most Infantry units, a high and tight the day before the board. It’s like the “old” days of BDUs. Those that wanted to go to promotion boards wore pressed uniforms and spit-shined boots. Those that didn’t care, or who were already SGTs or SSGs, could get by with the within-regulation “fluff and buff”.

    • David says:

      Obviously what they DIDN’T train him on was “if you’re gonna say something you know will conflict with the upper chain of command, do NOT post it on-line! Ever. Once there, it is forever.”
      Disagreement is a right and in some cases an obligation. Doing so on the Internet is just dumb.

  9. 5JC says:

    We were warned about Chino and Daddy Gee; but if you want to live like a gypsy queen in a fairy tale you need to rock the pony tail.

  10. USAFRetired says:

    In 1999 after returning from deploymentin support of ALLIED FORCE a group of us were sitting around the squadrons discussing where we got out hair cut. Haircuts were $7.25 at the BX at the time. One of the Army guys in the squadron dsif he got his hair cut at “The House of Christie” I racked my brain and couldn’t place that Barbershop in out town. Then it hit me that his wifes name was Christie. I looked at him and realized that he and I had about equivalent levels of being follicly challenged.

    That afternoon on the way home from work, I stopped in Walmart and discovered that for less than the cost of 3 BX haircuts I could get a set of clippers.

    That night for the first and only time I had my wife cut my hair since then I did it myself and while on Active duty did it every three weeks or so. In retirement it has slipped to monthly. In pandemic season bi monthly. I only shave once a week or so these days as well.

    BX haircuts have almost doubled in the intervening 22 years and I’ve saved a boatload.

    Now lets go spend more money on maternity flight suits.

    • Andy says:

      I get that 100%. One fine day at Ft. Stewart while getting my customary flat top, my barber lady told me this would be my last flat top. My follicals quit so I started buzzing and shaving slick from then on out.

      • USAFRetired says:

        I just tell folks I part my hair in the middle, its just the part is 4 inches wide.

  11. Jay says:

    One of the many, MANY reasons I tend to refrain from opining on numerous issues on any form of social media. The backlash tends to be swift, and usually harsh if you don’t follow the prescribed, woke course of action. Lets not focus on real matters, like the burgeoning suicide problem of soldiers, NUMEROUS murders happening at Fort Hood (“But they named the gate after her!”), and the general loss of morale for the front line troop. Lets focus on something that does NOTHING for the day to day soldier, like allowing PONY TAILS in uniform. Good on the MSgt for voicing his opinion, im sure the PAC is looking forward to processing his request for retirement in the upcoming weeks.

  12. tom reynolds says:

    The commie kweeers are in charge .Sarge made the mistake of speaking the truth,can’t have that. Todays military is about affirming feelings and not being disrespectful to our enemies. What a crazy time. None of this crap helps keep our nation safe. I have nothing against homos I just don’t think they belong in the military.

  13. fm2176 says:

    “So yes, the regulation now allows females to wear ponytails in all uniforms. No one can stop a female from doing so,” Blackall said. “However…females who have their hair in a bun will be viewed more favorable than those who choose the ponytail.”

    INHO, this is where the MSG screwed up: by implying that Soldiers who choose to wear their hair in accordance with the new standard will be viewed less favorably than their peers at promotion boards. I’ve known a female Soldier who got kicked out of a board for wearing her Class A skirt (the MOI clearly stated pants were to be worn, and supposedly, she replied that she liked the way her legs looked in the skirt when asked why she was wearing it). Barring express guidance outlined in an MOI, any sitting member of a promotion board is duty-bound to base their recommendation only on adherence to regulations, appearance, bearing, and knowledge. Share your opinion (I largely agree with it), but keep the threat of reprisals or punishment out of it. I say this having served under a CSM who routinely failed Soldiers at promotion boards. The only person I recall passing a board during my 9 months in the battalion was an MIT educated SPC who had recently completed Ranger School.

    I am firmly against the extra cost and time expenditures male Soldiers incur while serving, but I understand the importance of standards. I kept my hair in a low fade while on recruiting and staff, got a haircut each week during my first 6 years in the Army, and had to get two hair cuts a week while doing sword testing in The Old Guard. When I got selected for Drill, I got a high and tight for the first time in years. Now, I just cut my own hair every few weeks.

    The problem, as I see it, is that we are trying to make everyone equal regardless of biological differences. The Army Combat Fitness Test is currently under review due to its gender-neutral grading system causing a large failure rate in females; the Army Body Composition Program allows “thick” females and outright fat males who sport the neck roll to pass while failing those with thicker abdomens and/or smaller necks; and men are expected to not only shave daily but to keep a short hair style that requires regular touch up, while females can go months without a haircut and most don’t have to worry about facial hair.

    • USMC Steve says:

      True enough. They can have all the ponytails they want. The reg requires that. The reg does not require however, that if it looks like shit, they will not be told to unfuck it. or in a board, if the bun wearing soldierette looks more professional, she wins and the ponytail wearer does not. And that is perfectly legit. Personally, I would set up one grooming standard and everthang would adhere or get out. White sidewalls for everyone.

      What kind of swords did you test, by the way.

      • fm2176 says:

        The Old Guard requires all Staff Sergeants and above to learn and test out on sword manual based on that contained in TC 3-21.5 (Drill and Ceremonies). All officers do the same with sabers.

        Being the Army’s official ceremonial unit, Sword and Saber training is taken seriously, to the point of some company-grade officers and NCOs taking months to get certified.

    • Mike B USAF Retired says:

      I’m guilty of not wearing the recommended uniform for a board.I remember being selected for the NCO of the Quarter board.

      Recommended uniform was blues, I showed up in BDUs. Got a lot of looks from the other nominees who were in blues.

      When questioned about my uniform choice, I relayed what my boss told me.

      “Mike, you don’t need a pretty blue uniform to look good, so appear in BDUS, if you can’t make it on your merits and responses, you don’t deserve to be there!”

      Board president called me cocky, and they proceeded with the interview. Later that day I was notified that I was picked as the NCO of the Quarter for the 1st Fighter Squadron.

      They said it was the first time they had experienced anyone having done that. That said, they loved my attitude, I answered USAF history questions 100% correctly, knew current events, and my opinionated answers were honest, not tailored to the board, even though I was in BDUs my appearance was impeccable.

      Honestly it could have gone the other way…..Apparently my NCOIC felt otherwise, and we gambled and won…..

  14. Roh-Dog says:

    Remember when the military’s only function was to fight and win wars?
    Brave new world.

  15. These Mil leaders were born to late to see the hair cuts we had back when I was serving. Gee, Born To Late sounds like the song the Poni-Tails sang back in 1957 on the ABC Label. Ok Beans, It’s up to you to get it on youtube.

    • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

      • Thanks for the born to late youtube VOV. Usually Beans takes care of the 50’s R&B Vocal group harmony/Vocal group harmony as it was called back then and DOO WOPP now which was coined in the 1970’s.

    • The-other-Tim says:

      Time to stir the pot…

      CSM Phil Blaisdell can speak for himself, but someone should have googled his name before spouting off about his qualifications to comment on hair.

      He has 3 Bronze stars, at least one with a V device. And unlike most of our Stolen Valor champions his CIB has a Star on it, he might have actually earned. He might actually know something about it.

      If you’re bored look up photos from any of the WW2 Easy Company guys the day before D-Day. According to the discussion of this new standard those guys all needed haircuts too and are not fit to fight.

      Standards have changed. It’s no ones fault. It’s the times we live in. If you don’t like change you’ll find being irrelevant even worse.

      • USMC Steve says:

        So fucking what? The only one that counts is the one with the V on it anyway, the other ones could be for any manner of miscellaneous bullshit. His decorations have nothing to do with the issue at hand. In any case, war hero does not equate to hairstyle expert.

        Hair standards for the military during WWII were significantly different then, so no correlation here at all. No one said if your hair was out of reg you were hors de combat. Where did you even get that?

        What we have with Blaisdell is a dude who is proud of the fact that he runs around in garrison being woke and needing a haircut half the time, so he looks like a potential shitbag.

        • Timothy Middleton says:

          Combat, The correlation was actual time in combat. The decorations indicate his experience within that realm. The Star on his CIB probably wasn’t earned while a member of a staff either.

          If you have the circumstances available to ensure regular haircuts, then the battlefield focus is shifted from an Army that succeeds at its Task and purpose of closing with and destroying the enemy to one that wears reflector belts on FOBs.

          The CSM’s specific comment about wasting money on high and tights reflects a Soldier who served in the 90s and had to focus on things less important than staying alive while doing the stuff required to earn V devices.

          Haircuts… such a divisive issue.

        • Anonymous says:

          Definitely ain’t hard enough for snowflakes to complain about now:

  16. Anonymous says:

    But the CSM who got political in uniform on Twitter is cool…