Beards for Airmen and Guardians

| May 23, 2024 | 43 Comments

The Navy did a study to investigate the effects that facial hair has on gas mask use. The Navy hasn’t released the study’s details yet. An amendment has been added to the annual defense authorization bill that would call for a pilot program for some Air Force and Space Force personnel to grow beards. The pilot program would look into things like the impact of beards on discipline, unity, morale, etc.

From The Military Times:

Language unanimously adopted for the authorization bill on Wednesday would require the Air Force to conduct the pilot to test similar job-related complications of facial hair, and also to gauge “the effect of beard growth on discipline, morale and unity within the ranks.”

The pilot program — proposed by Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas — would also look at “whether allowing members to grow beards improves inclusivity, including for members with conditions like pseudofolliculitis barbae or those who wish to grow beards for religious purposes.”

Air Force policy currently bans beards for all airmen except those who have five-year medical waivers for pseudofolliculitis barbae — chronic razor bumps — or religious waivers. reported last month that shaving waivers for medical conditions in the Air Force and Space Force have nearly doubled since 2021. Service officials would have six months after the passage of the authorization bill to launch the pilot program. Some have suggested the Air Force study those who already have shaving waivers rather than finding an entirely new pool of participants.

Committee members also included a provision in the authorization bill draft to force a congressional briefing on the Navy study, so lawmakers can better understand the impact of such a policy change.

Additional Reading:

Shane III, L. (2024, May 22). Airmen, guardians could skip shaving under congressional plan. The Military Times. Link.

Category: Air Force, Space Force

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Bring back the beard like it is 1864!


Duck Dynasty had nothing on the South! Early and Stuart could have shown them how a Man rolls

Last edited 21 days ago by 5JC
pookysgirl, WC wife

Is that Stonewall Jackson in the middle, looking like he DGAS?


Used to be a symbol of rank and seniority.

Now a symbol of “I want to be different” and joined the military expecting the military to bend to me.


Everyone hates being uniform until they conform to uniformity. Younger Service Members want beards and wish to express themselves, not realizing that their “expression” is simply a false sense of individuality.

If and when the services concede to beards, those who wish to grow them will be forced to abide by a new set of grooming standards. When I let my own facial hair grow more than a few days, it’s reddish mixed with more and more gray and white. SGT Stubble might have a dark beard, while MAJ Manchin might be a natural blond. All of us are going to have to ensure that the facial hair doesn’t exceed a certain length, doesn’t protrude into unauthorized areas (touching the ears, collar line, or whatever nonsense becomes military regulation), and isn’t “faddish” or “distracting”. At the rate we’re going, we’re going to have CSM Notawoman binging on hormones to grow out “his” neckbeard. Regardless, everyone wearing an authorized beard is going to look like the guy (or gal, gotta stay inclusive) to their left and right. The days of Burnside, Stuart, and even Custer are gone.

The generation of Veterans I served alongside are usually easily identifiable by their beards, MMA/military apparel, and sleeve tattoos. Sometimes there’s a military haircut coupled with that beard. It looks smooth on some people, until you see a group and realize they essentially traded in their combat uniforms for a different uniform.

I’ll stick to blind shaving every few days, getting a haircut twice a year (pay for one, buzz the next), and trying to avoid looking the part. If I were still in, I’d probably shave twice a day to annoy the Beard Bros.

Last edited 21 days ago by 5JC

Unless it’s on a viking or bar-brawling Navy SCPO, a beard in uniform today just looks… well…
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Forest Bondurant

Yeah, let’s allow beards to promote “inclusivity” so everyone who can’t seem to get a firm seal fucking dies after inhaling a nerve agent.


Worked on Adolf trimming his mustache.
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My girlfriend says she likes a bit of stuble on a man.
Must be a girl thing.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

To scratch where it itches….

Flavor saver…

I’ll see myself out

Dennis - not chevy

One day my bearded brother-in-law put on my uniform as a joke. Actually, he looked sharp. I have also served with men from other countries’ militaries who wore beards; again, they looked sharp. The argument a clean shave enhances military appearance gets no support from me. The key is, can they not may they grow a full beard? “Summer beards (i.e. some here, some there) beards should never be allowed. If the beard gets in the way of a mask, shave it off before the mask is needed. Let’s say one’s unit is put on alert or warning orders are given or a mask is already part of one’s duty uniform, then no beard. Also, let’s admit some folks serve 30 years of active duty and never (outside of training) wear any sort of mask.

Uniforms have changed over the years; I say roll with it. Heaven forfend the military goes back to wool uniforms or fatigues starched to the consistency of plywood.

For most of my almost 30 years retired from active duty I have worn a beard. My wife, and most of her friends, like it. My clean shaven young brother says beards keep men out of work because they make men look like slobs – shows what he knows, he’s never had a steady job nor a beard.


90% of the people I work with have a beard. A couple of months ago I had a snotty cold. I got up in the middle of the night and shaved off the beard for hygiene. The girl I was dating at the time about had come apart when she woke up. She said I looked too young to be dating her and didn’t even recognize me in the morning.

Last edited 21 days ago by 5JC
Hack Stone

Almost 43 years ago, Hack Stone got on an airplane for the first time for a 3 month vacation at Parris Island Resort. Can’t even recall one chest hair, and Hack was cruising along shaving every other day, if that often, until Sergeant Jones saw a whisker on Hack’s face, and promptly, and painfully, plucked that hair. Ever since then, Hack shaved every day, even though he didn’t have any facial hair.

In the flip side, Hack Stone went to Electronics School in 29 Stumps, one classmate had to shave twice a day. Much like Homer Simpson, he had a perpetual 17:00 shadow.

Dennis - not chevy

I had a class mate at Sheppard AFB who would lose a beard growing contest with a river rock. Our commander loved to give reprimands and Article 15’s (that’s office hours to those in the Corps) for the most minor faux-pas. So anyways, class mate climbs up on the sink and gets closer to the mirror to ensure each whisker is shaved to neonatal standards. The sink collapsed under his weight. I think the commander only made class mate pay for a new sink and installation; at $326.00 per month gross pay, I think it took him a while to see a paycheck of his very own.


When I was on AD beards, were allowed for a few years. Having a beard was not as popular unless you were in ZZ Top or were a lumberjack back then unlike now. The reason was you can’t get a good seal on OBA’s and Mk V gas masks. I think a bigger the reason was raggedy-assed beards. On my ship, some were overgrown. Not like Civil War generals above, but we’ll say they were bushy. The worst were the guys with random patches, awful neck beards, just too lazy to shave, and generally unkempt. As usually, a few jokers ruin it for everybody. I’ve had a bear almost continually for 30 years now.

Dennis - not chevy

As I always say, “If you can’t grow a full beard, don’t grow a beard.” Summer beards are an affront to masculinity.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

When I was in the great Lakes Boot camp in 1963, we had the gas mask drill and go into the tear gas room, take off the mask and if I remember, we had to yell out our names and dog tag service numbers. The sides of my face go a little inward and I never could get a good seal. A little better with the OBA as long as the canisters didn’t get coverd with oily water. Better Masks I used for 30 years in the Volly Fire Dept’s I served in had positive pressure inside the masks. Some of The older SCBA’s didn’t have positive pressure but they did fit okay. Chief caught me wearing a cheater and I got in trouble over that. Had a clip on my turnout coat that I used to hang the facepiece on while working and if it started to get a little shitty I put the facepice back on. Common thing with us truckies. My original comment was that when the ship was over in Viet-Nam, former shipmates told me that they had beard growing contests.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Well Hack, you just had to grin and beard it at the time


$10 to the Rec Fund, you could grow a beard on patrol or Spec Op.

Can confirm you can still maintain an OBA/EAB seal with a fair amount of chin fur.


E8 almost got his diamond, acccten a fool on TiKtOk about his beard.


On his earlier videos he hinted that Audie Murphey was racist. Just another floating turd.


Yep, I couldn’t help but leave a couple of comments on that video yesterday morning. The E-8 came across as an asshat of epic proportions. Ranger and Sapper schools are tough and usually considered to be the mark of a good NCO, but he showed that tabs don’t make anyone more professional.

He can wear his three rockers as a MSG and use his skills on staff for all I care. Unless he matures substantially in the next few months/years, he doesn’t need a diamond and the responsibility that comes with wearing one. Without that diamond, he’ll probably never get a star, which is for the best.


I know one exception to that “no diamond (pierced lozenge, as it were), no star” guideline. I worked for an S3 E9 who had zero 1SG time. And it was obvious. No more worthless SNCO ever existed.


Certainly glad we’re spending the time and money to “study” this vital and important to National Security problem. ‘Specially since it is obvious that there is not enough “inclusivity” in the Wing Wiper and Space Kay-Dette Forces. The recruiters best be ready for the flood of recruits that will come pouring in. Now if we could just do something about planes falling from the sky and ejection seats not working properly, that would be great. Make Airmen Grungy Again!

My beard comes and goes, length, style, and configuration. Some ladies like it, some don’t. Well groomed is manly, to some, but scruffy and unkempt just make one look like a bum. No beards allowed (other than the “shaving profile”) when I was active, but then again, the gas mask was something we kept close by. Not sure if I would want to trust the seal against whiskers when it really needed to seal. Now, maybe, the more modern mask seal better than they did back then. Are you willing to “bet your life” that it will?

I think most of us vets that have beards grow them because we HAD to shave for so many years. Others stay clean shaven because it was what they are used to. YMMV Mine usually gets shaven off when the summer gets here in full force.

Dennis - not chevy

Kinda sorta off the subject; but, maybe not. Your post, “I think most of us vets that have beards grow them because we HAD to shave for so many years…” reminds me of veterans who wouldn’t change to face their new reality. There was the retired from active duty Marine who took all of his meals in a mess kit – he would scrape the food off the plate into his mess kit because that’s the way he ate. Another guy, a retired USAF member, who took the devices off of his light blue shirt and wore it to work everyday with his dark blue uniform pants, tie, and wind breaker jacket – he replaced the flight cap with a fedora. Etc. One really doesn’t want to be these men; their clothing shows a hiring manager they don’t want to fit in the civilian world.

Grow a beard, don’t grow a beard, who cares? What ever makes one comfortable. I do suggest when applying for work show the manager you will fit in with the folks at the company.

Army-Air Force Guy

Even more off the subject: To this very day, 32 years after ETSing from Signal (31C single channel radio operator,) I still put a little horizontal line through my number 7’s whenever I write them out.


and the Zs…

Army-Air Force Guy

Oh yeah, that’s right! All those months of processing flash traffic on the Cemetery Charlie net.

Skivvy Stacker

Holy shit…they were allowing beards on Petty Officers back in the 1970s, along with extended sideburns, and longer hair for enlisted personnel in all branches except the Marine Corps. They had one hell of a problem with discipline back then as well. Morale was at an all time low. I was serving at the time and hated being in so much I never wanted to see another Eagle, Globe, and Anchor as long as I lived when I got out. So many of the people I served with were shitbirds…


Back in the 70s a lot of the guys in service were draftees and didn’t want to be there. Us volunteers had to put up with a lot of crap because so many individuals did not toe the line and were sloppy and unreliable. There was definitely a discipline problem then.

Dennis - not chevy

I wonder if it will last; this allowing of beards. Back before my time handlebar mustaches were allowed in the USAF. I was told they were banned because not everyone could grow one. As I said, it was before my time, so I don’t know if that was the reason for the ban. Some folks will complain they can’t grow beards on their 17 year old faces, and gone will go the beards.


It’s usually some envious senior NCO that ruins the fun for everyone. When 1SG Baldilocks dictates that his company will have fresh haircuts every Monday (official regulations be damned), there’s going to be a company of young Hooahs sporting their three-finger high-and-tights and toeing the line, or else…

When CSM Babyface realizes his “beard” looks like Joe Dirt’s on a good day, he’ll convince the commander to release a standard forbidding facial hair for everyone in the battalion/brigade/etc.


The RANGER Joes haircut on VD drive?

Green Thumb


I hope common sense comes through.

If a male SM can’t get his lazy ass out of bed to shave in the morning, what else is he going to not do?

Amateur Historian

No beards.

I’m a little old school.


I would say no beard. Although I grew a beard after getting out, Because I could. Decided a beard was a hindrance to working with power tools. Not that it was a danger, but it was filled with wood shavings and crap from working in construction. Building and remodeling homes is dirty work. Shaved it off and decided shaving was the way to go. I looked more professional meeting customers. I think that a military person looks sharp with short hair and clean shaven. Shows discipline and basic cleanliness.


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It is fun to see folks I served with 40 years ago sporting long hair and beards… I think they’re kidding themselves about how hip they look. I get haircuts quarterly cuz I hate hair touching my ears and shave every coupla days because the stubble irritates me. If what you wear suits you, fine. If it looks silly, I Laugh.

USMC Steve

Another “good idea” from a fucking socialist democrat. How surprising.