A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

It has been a tradition, until it was banned in 1984, for US naval officers to wear beards as this circa 1890 photo shows seven bearded members of US Navy sit together aboard the USS Enterprise in New York. (Naval History and Heritage Command via AP)
Updated 20 July 2018

A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island: Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails, men want beards.
The Navy said last week that servicewomen could sport ponytails, lock hairstyles, or ropelike strands, and wider hair buns, reversing a policy that long forbade females from letting their hair down.
Servicemen immediately chimed in on social media, asking the Navy if they could grow beards. A sailor’s Facebook post with a #WeWantBeards hashtag was shared thousands of times.
Beards were banned in 1984. The Navy wanted professional-looking sailors who could wear firefighting masks and breathing apparatuses without interference.
The Navy says that’s still the case. Still, some hope the change in female grooming standards opens the door.
Travis Rader, a 29-year-old naval physical security officer, said allowing beards would boost morale for men, just like allowing ponytails and locks has for women. There are two things that would make many Navy men happy: beards and better boots, he added.
Rader had a 6-inch-long beard when he joined the Navy after high school.
“You take something away from somebody, and they want it more,” said Rader, a master-at-arms assigned to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.
The Navy announced it was adding grooming options for women during a Facebook Live event. Many black women had asked the Navy to be more inclusive of different hair textures. The Navy had the standards in place because of safety concerns and to ensure everyone maintained a uniform, professional look.
Rader was one of several sailors who wrote in the comments section of the Facebook Live event to press for beards. Bill Williams, a 20-year-old naval information systems technician, commented too, asking why sailors can’t have beards if bearded civilian firefighters wear masks.
Williams said he thinks a nice, well-groomed beard looks very professional.
“It’d be great because I know that when I shave for multiple days in a row, it starts to really hurt,” said Williams, who works at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Hampton Roads in Virginia.
Sailors can get permission to grow a beard for religious reasons or if they have a skin condition that’s irritated by shaving. Mustaches are allowed as long as they are trimmed and neat.
“Handlebar mustaches, goatees, beards or eccentricities are not permitted,” the policy states. The Navy isn’t currently considering changing that.
Safety continues to be the primary concern, said Lt. J.G. Stuart Phillips, a spokesman for the chief of naval personnel. He referenced a 2016 study by the Naval Safety Center, which concluded that facial hair affects the proper fit and performance of respirators.


Most expensive Shaheen falcon sold at auction

Updated 14 November 2019

Most expensive Shaheen falcon sold at auction

RIYADH: The most expensive Peregrine (Shaheen) falcon was sold in Hafr Al-Batin’s auction on Tuesday for SR400,000 ($106,000).
Four other falcons were sold for a total of SR114,000, making it the auction’s biggest deal since it was launched a month ago. The auction is organized by the Hafr Al-Batin Falconers Association.
The head of the falcon market in the city, Faleh bin Mohammed Al-Odwani, said Hafr Al-Batin is home to the largest number of falconers in the Middle East.
The market includes more than 1,500 birds, more than 20 trappers and more than 1,000 falconers, he added.

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