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  #1  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:11 PM
Rusalka Rusalka is offline
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Did the U.S. military commission studies on the benefits of long vs. short hair?

Someone posted this story on my facebook page and my B.S. meter went off for some reason: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/23...heir-Hair-Long The article claims that Native American scouts during the Vietnam war lost their abilities when their hair was cut. While I might find this plausible for cultural reasons, it goes on to say that the government commissioned studies comparing long haired with short haired scouts and found a difference. I want to know if these studies really happened.

Last edited by Rusalka; 12-08-2011 at 11:12 PM..
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:22 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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Did they let the prospective Scouts go thru their initial basic training and subsequent other instructional courses with long hair?
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:11 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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It is nonsense. Your BS meter is working perfectly.

Now, there was a lot of resistance in some sectors of the population to the notion of (young) men wearing long hair, and well into the 1970s I would encounter articles in which various athletic coaches would quote supposed "studies" that long hair was less hygienic than short hair. I would not be surprised to discover that the military actually participated in a few of those studies--if they ever happened.

However, scouting is a learned behavior, not an inherent one, even among American Indians. The Army never specifically recruited Indians to be scouts in Vietnam and the Indians who signed up to serve had no mystical powers that disappeared when their hair was shorn. Thus, the Army never had any reason to investigate why cutting anyone's hair deprived them of powers.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:46 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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IIRC, the original style of very short hair (crew cut, etc.) due to hygiene issues during WWI; one of the big problems in muddy trenches is lice. Short hair prevented that problem. The military adopted that as a standard.

What effect hair length has on anything, other than morale... I have never heard a link and I have trouble imagining one.

If you see pictures of men around the civil war or, say, late 1800's England, 1980's type longer hair was the norm, athough nothing like the late 1600's "hippie" look.

http://www.google.ca/search?tbm=isch...0l0l0l0l0ll0l0
http://cutcaster.com/photo/800974598-Prince-Albert/
http://www.google.ca/search?tbm=isch...w=1093&bih=551
http://www.artsales.com/ARTistory/Hi..._1867_1883.htm scroll down to Buffalo Bill.

Last edited by md2000; 12-09-2011 at 09:49 AM..
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:28 PM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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I would imagine that long hair would help act as an insulator if you were say serving on ww2 Russian front in the middle of winter.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2011, 10:12 PM
installLSC installLSC is offline
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Couple of questions:
--What is the currently allowed hair length in the U.S. Armed Forces?
--Are there any formally organized armed forces anywhere that do allow their soldiers (of either sex) to wear long hair?
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2011, 11:13 PM
The Man In Black The Man In Black is offline
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I always thought the reason (or a reason) was so if in close combat, the other guy can;t grab you by the hair.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:20 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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The dashing young cavalryman George Armstrong Custer and the U.S. Navy hero William B. Cushing both had rather long hair during the Civil War; I've never read that anyone gave them a hard time about it:

http://freepages.family.rootsweb.anc...g-Custer-4.jpg
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/i...000/h63224.jpg
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:34 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Originally Posted by tomndebb View Post
It is nonsense. Your BS meter is working perfectly.

Now, there was a lot of resistance in some sectors of the population to the notion of (young) men wearing long hair, and well into the 1970s I would encounter articles in which various athletic coaches would quote supposed "studies" that long hair was less hygienic than short hair. I would not be surprised to discover that the military actually participated in a few of those studies--if they ever happened.

However, scouting is a learned behavior, not an inherent one, even among American Indians. The Army never specifically recruited Indians to be scouts in Vietnam and the Indians who signed up to serve had no mystical powers that disappeared when their hair was shorn. Thus, the Army never had any reason to investigate why cutting anyone's hair deprived them of powers.
I don't think it has anything to do with samson-esq magic powers. One could imagine a pentagon study to objectively determine the parameters of highness and tightness to maximize combat effectiveness.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:12 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Another advantage to the military haircut is uniformity. In the military, you want to emphasize that everyone's part of some larger whole, rather than just individuals, and giving everyone the same look is one part of that. And it's a lot easier to go from long hair to short than from short to long, so given that you want a standard, the standard ends up being short.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:47 AM
silenus silenus is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Man In Black View Post
I always thought the reason (or a reason) was so if in close combat, the other guy can;t grab you by the hair.
That was why Alexander the Great(?) made his men shave their beards. It has zero applicability to modern combat.

OTOH, the rules about facial hair are very practical. Your gas mask has to seal properly, and it can't do that if you have a beard.
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:39 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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I know that my school removed its hair requirements for graduation due to either a new law or court ruling. I think the latter, since every student handbook had to explain that it was against the law for you to be discriminated for hair length.

Why it didn't apply to hair color, I never knew. A lot of the stuff that was supposedly to keep gangs away seemed to not be under the jurisdiction of being "disruptive to the educational process."
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  #13  
Old 12-11-2011, 05:58 AM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is online now
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Originally Posted by installLSC View Post
Are there any formally organized armed forces anywhere that do allow their soldiers (of either sex) to wear long hair?
Until 2005, the German army had a standing order that required men's hair to be short enough not to cover ears or eyes, while women only had to wear their hair in a way that did not interfere with military headgear.

An eighteen-year-old recruit (that was back when there still was mandatory service for young men) then filed a complaint after his company commander had threatened him with three weeks of confinement for insubordination if he didn't cut off his 10 inch ponytail. A military court found that the standing order violated basic human rights and was unconstitutional.

German cite here: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/vorab/...360998,00.html
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  #14  
Old 12-11-2011, 07:06 AM
YoDoc YoDoc is offline
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
That was why Alexander the Great(?) made his men shave their beards. It has zero applicability to modern combat.

OTOH, the rules about facial hair are very practical. Your gas mask has to seal properly, and it can't do that if you have a beard.
So, why can't I just shave my neatly groomed, closely cropped beard when I'm issued a gas mask, which I never have been issued?
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:24 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Originally Posted by installLSC View Post
--Are there any formally organized armed forces anywhere that do allow their soldiers (of either sex) to wear long hair?
The Israeli army doesn't force reservists to get military haircuts when it calls them up for their yearly duty. I've seen a few majors with ponytails.

Female soldiers, regular or reserve, can wear their hair as longs as they want; they just have to keep it in a braid or ponytail if grows past the nape of their neck.

Last edited by Alessan; 12-11-2011 at 07:24 AM..
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  #16  
Old 12-11-2011, 07:50 AM
Nom_de_Plume Nom_de_Plume is offline
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The military haircuts do provide uniformity. I remember making friends with some of the other guys heading to basic training, but then after we all got our buzz cuts, not being able to tell who they were.
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  #17  
Old 12-11-2011, 07:57 AM
YoDoc YoDoc is offline
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Originally Posted by Nom_de_Plume View Post
The military haircuts do provide uniformity. I remember making friends with some of the other guys heading to basic training, but then after we all got our buzz cuts, not being able to tell who they were.
I don't recognize some members of my unit when they aren't in uniform.... lol.
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  #18  
Old 12-11-2011, 09:26 AM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by installLSC View Post
Couple of questions:
--What is the currently allowed hair length in the U.S. Armed Forces?
I can't copy/paste from a pdf on my phone, but if you're interested in the hair standards of the US Army you can find them in paragraph 1-8 of AR 670-1. Should find it with a simple Google search.
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  #19  
Old 12-11-2011, 09:36 AM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Originally Posted by YoDoc View Post
So, why can't I just shave my neatly groomed, closely cropped beard when I'm issued a gas mask, which I never have been issued?
Because the result is a formation of Soldiers at various stages of beard growth between "unshaven" and "neatly groomed, closely cropped" facial hair. Soldiers who fail to shave or decide to grow a beard that day will look sloppy and unkept. It looks like total ass. Mandatory daily shaving promotes discipline and proper hygiene and presents a neat, professional appearance.
Gas masks are always mentioned as justification but that is rather antiquated IMO.
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:45 AM
YoDoc YoDoc is offline
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
Because the result is a formation of Soldiers at various stages of beard growth between "unshaven" and "neatly groomed, closely cropped" facial hair. Soldiers who fail to shave or decide to grow a beard that day will look sloppy and unkept. It looks like total ass. Mandatory daily shaving promotes discipline and proper hygiene and presents a neat, professional appearance.
Gas masks are always mentioned as justification but that is rather antiquated IMO.
Lots of things look like ass in formation. Different haircuts are authorized. Mustaches. Girls can put their hair up or cut it a bit shorter. Fat people look like ass.

I mean, I know why they say the rule is there, it's just an outdated rule.

Last edited by YoDoc; 12-11-2011 at 09:45 AM..
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  #21  
Old 12-11-2011, 10:10 AM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Obligatory quote from Skippy's list:

"16. Must get a haircut even if it tampers with my “Samson like powers”."

In the US Air Force, males much have their hair groomed to less than an inch and a quarter in bulk, and not touching the ears or the collar. Females can have up to 3 inches in bulk, and the hair must not go down to the collar unless they are in PT gear or wearing a gas mask. In both of the latter cases, the hair is pulled back into a ponytail that hangs down the back (tucked under the chem-suit in the case of a gas mask, of course).
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  #22  
Old 12-11-2011, 10:49 AM
JerseyMarine2092 JerseyMarine2092 is offline
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FWIW I find longer hair to be uncomfortable when spending large amounts of time in the field. It gets matted and greasy, and it bunches up and make the helmet uncomfortable. I prefer to get it cut short when I'm going to be spending a lot of time in the field.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:11 PM
Damfino Damfino is offline
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Originally Posted by installLSC View Post
Couple of questions:
--What is the currently allowed hair length in the U.S. Armed Forces?
--Are there any formally organized armed forces anywhere that do allow their soldiers (of either sex) to wear long hair?
The Dutch army apparently allowed long hair from the 1970s to the end of conscription in the 1990s.
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  #24  
Old 12-11-2011, 03:14 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quote:
Quoth Fish Cheer:
An eighteen-year-old recruit (that was back when there still was mandatory service for young men) then filed a complaint after his company commander had threatened him with three weeks of confinement for insubordination if he didn't cut off his 10 inch ponytail. A military court found that the standing order violated basic human rights and was unconstitutional.
Was the rights violation the haircut itself, or the double standard for men and women? In other words, could the military have stayed within the law by requiring men and women alike to get buzz cuts?
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:48 PM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Was the rights violation the haircut itself, or the double standard for men and women? In other words, could the military have stayed within the law by requiring men and women alike to get buzz cuts?
That's not made entirely clear in the article I linked to. Upon further research, it gets even more complicated and apparently there is no consensus after all. I will try to summarize what I've found, but please take it with a grain of salt. I don't know all that much about the structure of the legal system in Germany, and I know even less about the military. Anyway, here goes:

There are two military courts of first instance, the Truppendienstgerichte Nord and Süd, with jurisdiction for disciplinary matters in the north and south of Germany, respectively. Each of those courts in turn consists of several independent chambers.

Now, the article I had linked to was about a decision of the 4th chamber of the Truppendienstgericht Nord in late 2004. They found that the army had wrongfully coerced the plaintiff to cut his hair, in violation of his right to free development of his personality (a fundamental right granted by article 2 of the Basic Law). That was an ad hoc decision, though; they did not challenge the standing order itself (the Zentrale Dienstvorschrift der Bundeswehr ZDv 10/5), as I had incorrectly claimed above. The Ministry of Defense promptly stated that they had no intention of rescinding the order.

In another case before the 1st chamber of the Truppendienstgericht Süd, the court found in March 2007 that ZDv 10/5 did not excessively infringe on article 2 of the Basic Law, neither was the double standard a violation of its article 3 (equality).

This position was subsequently confirmed in several case-by-case decisions of the 8th chamber of the northern court.

It seems as if the parliamentary ombudsman for the military keeps pestering the ministry about the situation, but so far to no avail.
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:07 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
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Originally Posted by installLSC View Post
Couple of questions:
--What is the currently allowed hair length in the U.S. Armed Forces?
--Are there any formally organized armed forces anywhere that do allow their soldiers (of either sex) to wear long hair?
I would say the Sikh soldiers in the the Indian Army
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:50 PM
YoDoc YoDoc is offline
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I would say the Sikh soldiers in the the Indian Army
Sikh soldiers in the US Army.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:14 PM
Fubaya Fubaya is offline
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For what it's worth, when I was young I was given a book on Vietnam and instantly became hooked for some odd reason. I read every book on the subject I could find, especially first person special forces accounts because they were usually more interesting, and I've never heard of Native Americans being sought out for their tracking ability, or for any other reason for that matter. Nor do I remember Native Americans being overly common in the units. I know many did serve in special forces, but I don't think every unit was assigned a tracker through some recruitment drive on the reservations. I can only remember reading about one, Billy Walkabout, who became the highest decorated Native American in the war. Good soldier, but I've never heard a word about his tracking ability.

Special Forces did recruit locals like the Montagnards. Having lived their entire lives in the mountains and jungles of Vietnam, they were famous for their tracking abilities. In their villages, they often wore loincloths and went barefoot in the jungle, so they were a lot like what us white folks think of the stereotypical Native American with mystical tracking abilities. I've never seen a photo of a Montagnard with long hair.
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  #29  
Old 12-11-2011, 07:58 PM
SeldomSeen SeldomSeen is offline
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FWIW, my dad, WW2 army vet, Pacific theater has mentioned that the army's long-standing prohibition of beards on enlisted men was waived for those on the front lines. Seems light-skinned faces had a way of reflecting light on dark nights, making them a handy target. Everyone let their beards grow out while they were in the field. This has probably been done elsewhere too, although I suppose today it's been supplanted by grease paint and other camouflage techinques.
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  #30  
Old 12-11-2011, 10:14 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoDoc View Post
Lots of things look like ass in formation. Different haircuts are authorized. Mustaches. Girls can put their hair up or cut it a bit shorter. Fat people look like ass.

I mean, I know why they say the rule is there, it's just an outdated rule.
Differing haircuts are hardly noticeable with headgear worn in formation. Females' hair is an entirely seperate issue, but I am just happy I dont have to deal with that. Leaders are too tolerant or too lazy with respect to the hairstyle worn by female Soldiers. The standard is simply not upheld.
As for fat people... There is a standard for that too. If you have fat people in your formation, that is your leaders' fault! They do look like ass and they need to shape up or ship out. Thankfully the new SMA is cracking down!

Mustaches?
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:20 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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And are you seriously saying that we should allow new standards that look like ass simply because we already have a couple that do now? That makes little sense.
We shouldn't be adding new, loser standards. Instead we should focus on tightening up the standards we presently have. Wash and wear uniforms for garisson office work and even semi-formal occassions? Why!? Dirty boots? Hell no!
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  #32  
Old 12-12-2011, 12:40 AM
Stink Fish Pot Stink Fish Pot is offline
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Interesting question... I never really thought about it much, except as others have mentioned for the "uniformity of look" factor.

As long as I can remember, the idea of short hair was because of potential lice (or other parasitic) infestations, but I haven't found anything that confirms this. It certainly seems logical.

From a personal standpoint, wearing a crew cut is definitely the way to go when spending time in the field. It's just more hygienic, easier to clean and cooler.
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  #33  
Old 12-12-2011, 07:21 AM
YoDoc YoDoc is offline
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
Differing haircuts are hardly noticeable with headgear worn in formation. Females' hair is an entirely seperate issue, but I am just happy I dont have to deal with that. Leaders are too tolerant or too lazy with respect to the hairstyle worn by female Soldiers. The standard is simply not upheld.
As for fat people... There is a standard for that too. If you have fat people in your formation, that is your leaders' fault! They do look like ass and they need to shape up or ship out. Thankfully the new SMA is cracking down!

Mustaches?
Yes, mustsches. They look like ass. If we are gonna let people be their own self, let them do it. If not, stop with the laxness, is what my point is.
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  #34  
Old 12-12-2011, 09:00 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by YoDoc View Post
Yes, mustsches. They look like ass. .....
Did they induct porn stars in the '70s?
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:42 AM
YoDoc YoDoc is offline
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Did they induct porn stars in the '70s?
Mustaches are authorized. Not big porn staches, but yes. Lots of soldiers wear them. Usually older guys and non-white guys. Not many younger white guys, IDKW.
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  #36  
Old 12-12-2011, 10:39 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by Fish Cheer View Post
Until 2005, the German army had a standing order that required men's hair to be short enough not to cover ears or eyes, while women only had to wear their hair in a way that did not interfere with military headgear.
Not quite. When a lot of the 1968-generation was drafted, long hair was so prevalent that the Ministry of defence issued a "hair net resolution" in 1971 and bought thousands of hairnets.

The ridicule this generated in the population lead to quickly rescinding it in 1972 again.

Quote:
Im Verlauf der 1960er Jahre waren bei jungen Männern verbreitet Langhaar-Frisuren aufgekommen. Noch 1967 hatte ein Erlass ausdrücklich „das Tragen einer schulterlangen oder sonst feminin wirkenden Haartracht“ bei Soldaten untersagt. Insbesondere bei Wehrpflichtigen stieß diese Vorgabe auf Ablehnung.

Der damalige Verteidigungsminister Helmut Schmidt erlaubte mit dem Haarnetz-Erlass das Tragen langer Haare im Dienst. Im Detail schrieb der Erlass vor, dass Haar und Bart gepflegt sein mussten und dass ein Haarnetz getragen werden musste, falls das lange Haar den Soldaten bei seinen Aufgaben behinderte. Die Bundeswehr rüstete sich dazu mit 740.000 Haarnetzen aus.

Der Erlass kann als Ausdruck der allgemeinen Liberalisierung unter der sozialliberalen Koalition um Willy Brandt verstanden werden. Über seine eigentliche Bedeutung hinaus löste er eine breite, wenn auch nicht immer vollkommen ernst gemeinte Debatte aus. Ein Brigadegeneral der Bundeswehr warnte: "Eine Vernachlässigung im Anzug und im Benehmen des Soldaten ist für jedermann der Beweis für eine schlechte Disziplin. Mit ihr steht und fällt aber der Abschreckungswert und damit der Friedensbeitrag der Truppe." Der Wehrbeauftragte des Bundestages nannte das Erscheinungsbild langhaariger Soldaten „schlampig und verdreckt“.

During the 1960s, long hair had become widespread among young men. In 1967 still a resolution especially forbid soldiers to wear "shoulder-length or otherwise feminine-looking hair". Especially with draftees this resolution met resistance.

The then minister of defence Helmut Schmidt (a cool pragmatic guy) allowed with the hair net resolution to wear long hairs on duty. In detail the resolution required that hair and beard had to be clean and maintained, and that a hair net had to be worn, if the long hair hindered the soldier at his duties. The Army got 740 000 hairnets for that reason.


The resolution can be seen as expression of the general liberisation under the democratic-liberal coalition under Willy Brandt (a real idealist). Beyond his literal importance, the resolution caused a larger, not always entirely serious, discussion. A brigade general warned " Neglience in dress and behaviour of the soldier is an obvious sign for everybody of discipline problems. With it (discipline) however falls and stands the worth of the Army as instrument of deterrment, and with that the worth for peace of the Army." The Parliamentary Commissioner of the Armed Forces called the appearance of long-haired soldiers "grubby and dirty".
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:26 AM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Originally Posted by YoDoc View Post
Mustaches are authorized. Not big porn staches, but yes. Lots of soldiers wear them. Usually older guys and non-white guys. Not many younger white guys, IDKW.
They were pretty much mandatory during the month of March when I was in Korea. But that might have been because one of the past commanders of our wing there was Robin "The Wolf" Olds
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  #38  
Old 12-13-2011, 12:24 PM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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The famous and excellent work Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Mackay, available for free download from many sites, contains a lengthy section on men's hair fashions and the drivers for them through the centuries, which may be of related interest.
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:34 PM
OwlPath OwlPath is offline
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Yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusalka View Post
Someone posted this story on my facebook page and my B.S. meter went off for some reason: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/23...heir-Hair-Long The article claims that Native American scouts during the Vietnam war lost their abilities when their hair was cut. While I might find this plausible for cultural reasons, it goes on to say that the government commissioned studies comparing long haired with short haired scouts and found a difference. I want to know if these studies really happened.
"For example, the hair follicle acts as a sensory organ and immunologic sentinel for the skin. Hairs detect mechanical stimuli above the surface of the skin, and the slightest bend in a hair activates neuroreceptors in the follicle, relaying important sensory information to the nervous system."
The Biology of Hair Follicles / Paus, Ralf ; Cotsarelis, George
The New England Journal of Medicine, 1999, Vol.341(7), pp.491-497 [Peer Reviewed Journal]
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