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Beards on Boats

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Bearded sailors aboard the USS Pensacola. (Gift of Ray V. Snapp, 2010.572.107)

Sailors & Facial Hair

The Bluejackets’ Manual, the sailor’s essential handbook, lays out the regulations for facial hair as follows: “The hair, beard, and mustache must be worn neatly trimmed. The face must be kept clean shaved, except a mustache or beard and mustache may be worn at discretion. No eccentricities in the manner of wearing the hair, beard, or mustache are allowed.” The photos here show that the “eccentricities” clause was often ignored, and facial hair served as a means of self-expression among military seafarers.  Not having to cut their hair or shave while at sea was one of the small treats sailors appreciated and took advantage of while they could.


    Roy Miletta of the legendary USS Tang                                                     Trying not to singe his hard-earned beard

(Gift in Memory of Roy Miletta, 2010.261)                                                                  (National Archives)


This post by National World War II Museum Curator Meg Roussel

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