Posted on May 24, 2020
SPC July Macias
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It was a pleasure to work with SSG "Gonzalez" (not his real name). He prioritized physical fitness and hard work. He looked liked a walking Army of One poster. He also refused to get a buzz cut. SSG asserts that getting a haircut is not a substitute for being professional. We had an obese E7 who made it his mission in life to coerce male soldiers to shave their heads every single weekend - no exception. Meanwhile my roommate refused to get a haircut, was one of the best medics I've ever known; and could out-PT the entire brigade.
I've had the displeasure of working with an overweight E5 whose makeup and tattooed eyebrows were clownish looking. While an E7 had gold front teeth. The majority of the Privates in our company were flagged for various reasons (PT failure, overweight, Article 15, etc.). Yet the length of my hair made me the target of scrutiny. It didn't even matter that I was the hardest working E4 in the company who never f***ed up or lied.
In another company, we had an E7 who was very intelligent and educated. He also had the body of Mr. Universe. But his hair was so long, he was often mistaken for a Green Beret. This raises the question of what it means to look or be "professional." Have buzz cuts been adapted to substitute being a good war-fighter in today's Army?
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Responses: 3
CW5 Jack Cardwell
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If your haircut is within regulations you should be good to go.
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CPT Enrique M.
CPT Enrique M.
>1 y
agree if within regs no problem.
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SPC July Macias
SPC July Macias
>1 y
My hair was within regulations. But for some reason, Enlisted male soldiers are/were expected to look like skin heads. Meanwhile, officers had normal-looking hairstyles.
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SGT Justin Brothen
SGT Justin Brothen
>1 y
SPC July Macias if your withing regulations your fine. If confronted about it ask what regulations you are not abiding by.
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MSG John Duchesneau
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You are pointing to the fact that too many people in the Army, senior NCOs in particular, are hung up on appearance as the primary determinant of what a "good" soldier is. While you can make assumptions about someone based on their appearance, you don't know how good they are until you work with them. I've known overweight soldiers who were otherwise excellent to outstanding. I once worked briefly with an NCO who had a neck tattoo which I didn't like but otherwise he was a great soldier. There are many qualities on which a soldier can be judged. To overemphasize one of them is wrong.
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1SG 1st Sergeant
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Search the Center for Army Profession and Ethics or CAPE. They are the Army's SMEs on stuff like this. It will be a broad over-arching definition though.
Something to keep in mind through your journey is that different units may define professionalism differently based off their mission and activities. Swearing in front of patients in a hospital may be frowned upon, but swear in an Infantry unit and nobody cares.
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