Fleet Marine Life #85 – Hair Levels


2011-09-03-fleetmarinelife85 - Hair LevelsThe Marine Corps values appearance more than actual hard work. You can work your hardest but if your hair looks too long for one staff NCO’s liking then you’ll be viewed as a shitbag. It’s baffling how one can be demonized for stupid and trivial things such as haircuts and a small hole in one’s uniform. The Marine Corps has turned into a beauty contest.

During my last 6 months in the Corps, I was set to go to 29 Palms for a week along with a bunch of other NCOs. We were there for a week to only work for a few hours. That’s not the point of the story though. Anyways, before I went off to 29 Palms, I went to the company front office in dirty boots and desert cammies that have been torn in several areas and repaired. I was there to get some paper work before us NCOs went off to our wonderfully inefficiently planned “vacation” at 29 Palms. I got the paperwork and as I was passing by the company Gunnery Sergeant’s Office, the gunny stops me.

This is the same guy I went to Afghanistan with, so I know how stupid he can get. In Afghanistan, the dustiest fucking place on earth, he yelled at me, on several occasions, for having dirty cammies and dirty boots.

So I walked in his office expecting an ass-chewing and, lo and behold, I get an ass chewing for dirty boots and shitty cammies. I told him that I was going to 29 Palms, a desert field used to simulate life in a desert environment, for a week. He said some shit about how I had to be squared-away 24/7 and that I knew better than that.

By his rule, if I wore brand new cammies and got a tear in them, I would have to buy brand new ones. Cammies are not a dime a dozen. Boots are going to get dirty in the field. Why in the fuck do I have to wear brand new ones even in places where they’re most guaranteed to get dirty? Boots do not grow on trees! They cost about $150 a pair! Chances are that your supply doesn’t have shit for you so this $150 is probably going to come out of your pockets. I mean, come the fuck on! I don’t make that much money!

Who am I going to impress at 29 Palms? Is the Gunny afraid that some General is going to come down from the heavens and yell at me for dirty boots and then ask me who my company Gunnery Sergeant is? 29 Palms was a shit hole where all I did was nothing for a week.

Am I the only one with someone like this? No! This “squared away 24/7″ mentality is prevalent throughout the Corps even though it is impractical to keep up with. Even in places like Afghanistan, you cannot escape the grasp of this garrison-like mentality. Afghanistan becomes Afgarristan.

In the Marine Corps, training jackets and Service Record Books are no longer a gauge of competence. In its place are hair levels and uniform appearance. If you have a low-regulation hair cut, you will be viewed as an incompetent shit bag. It doesn’t matter if you’re an outstanding Marine, you will be viewed as a shitbag.

Our higher ups are so worried that our companies will be viewed as a bunch of turd burgulars. This is why many Marines MUST get haircuts every week. That’s $10 a week. In the course of your Marine Corps career, you will have to spend over $1,000 on hair cuts.

48 months of Active Duty (4 years)
44 after leave. (4 months)
41 after boot camp. (3 months)
39 after MOS school. (2 months)
32 after one deployment. (7 months)
25 after one more deployment. (7 months)

25 months * 30 days = 750 days
750 days divided by 7 days (1 week) = 107 weeks in 25 months.
107 weeks with one $10 haircut per week is $1071.

Imagine if you got a hair cut once every 2 weeks. You would have saved $535 in your career. That’s just one Marine though. Imagine a platoon of 40. That’s $21,428 saved in 4 years.

Junior Marines are brought up and brainwashed that this garrison-like mentality is the way and anyone who tries to challenge that way is met with opposition on all sides. These junior Marines eventually become the higher ups who have a rock-solid ideal that everything must be run with a garrison-like ideal. The only one who can bring about real change is the commandant and that guy is usually the most garrison-loving Marine around.

Looking pretty since 1775.