To allow beards or not? That is the question

Is it a personal choice that should be allowed, or is it a health and safety concern that needs to be prohibited?

By Military1 Staff

The Army is reportedly conducting a study to determine if soldiers can safely grow and wear beards while serving in the military. Earlier this year, the branch determined beards grown for religious preferences would be allowed if approved at the brigade-level.

The idea of optional beards, however, is a highly charged topic among soldiers

In the pro-beard camp, many troops think that unless your job requires facial hair (certain special operations groups), they should be forbidden.

“Only special operations should be allowed to grow beards for multiple reasons, i.e. blending in, odors, time constraints,” Michael Smith wrote on Facebook. “If you are on base and not in the field, you should be shaved. Joining the military is to conform to the standards of the military, not vice-versa [and] you should know that going in.”


Others point out the safety concerns that come with accepted facial hair.

“Chemical warfare is a real threat,” Jason Price wrote on Facebook. “Masks won’t seal on a beard and there’s no time to buzz or shave it off really quick.”

Above all, the conformity that comes with joining the military should be respected, others say.

“Everyone should be held to the same standard, because we are all the same,” Francisco Tovar. “Each man is a gear in the machine; having gears with individuality makes for a poor running machine. You don’t join the military to be an individual, you join the military to be a part of something greater than yourself.”

On the other hand, if beards don’t compromise soldier safety, many wonder, why not?


“As long as it doesn’t become a safety issue these people put themselves on the line every minute of every day,” George F. Jancaterino wrote on Facebook. “If a beard is what [they] want and it makes them feel good … let them decide for themselves.”

Waiting for the results of the study is the only option.

“Testing the theory is a good idea, so if something happens in the study that harms the soldier, then it needs to be denied,” Matthew Canning wrote on Facebook. “Otherwise, if it doesn’t affect any part of the soldier’s duties or ability to use equipment, then why not?”