You may not have been aware of this, but beards have been banned in the Coast Guard ever since 1986, when Admiral Paul Yost said the Coast Guard should “meet the same standards of smartness” as the other military branches. (The Navy had banned beards the year before.)
But that was then and this is now, and Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Joshua Wine writes in the U.S. Naval Institute Blog that the ban has outlived its usefulness. The Coast Guard, he says, should revert to its policy permitting beards, a policy that started in 1790.
Lt. Cmdr. Wine looks at the arguments against beards – professional appearance, safety and the need for uniform (meaning “same”) appearance – and dismisses them all. His arguments for beards lean heavily on tradition (many of the Coast Guard’s most heroic leaders had beards) and on contemporary ideas about men’s appearance.
End the ban, he said, and “recruiting numbers would skyrocket.” He writes that, “Since 2004, the search term ‘how to grow a beard’ has grown exponentially while searches for ‘Coast Guard enlistment’ have gone from low to microscopic on Google.” The point: “Millennials love beards and the Coast Guard needs millennials.” Read more: