We have a feeling that this sailor is a big fan of bacon and eggs. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Theo Shively.
The United States Air Force is slated to permit airmen an extra quarter inch of facial hair on either side of their mustache, sources indicate — quite literally a measurable victory in the long-standing battle between the military and facial hair.
But things weren’t always this way. There was a time when various styles of facial hair were common on the battlefield. Everything from stylish mustaches, bushy beards, and even classic mutton chops could be found in the trenches. Unfortunately, as time went on, more and more militaries opted against facial hair, including the United States, and by and large left us with just one option for facial finery — the humble mustache.
Now, we’ve got nothing against mustaches. Teddy Roosevelt was one of the coolest men in history and proudly sported one. However, mustaches are one of the most difficult facial hair styles to successfully pull off, especially in the military, and often troops end up looking less like Tom Selleck and more like someone you shouldn’t let your children near.
Sorry guys, it’s true. You and your patchy, wet mustache aren’t invited to the barbecue.
It’s a hard truth that 99% of military mustaches look like some type of odd affliction of the upper lip. That being said, every once in a blue moon, a service member comes along sporting a legendary ’stache that would make Ron Swanson proud. Only about 1% of service members worldwide can successfully rock a military mustache, and these are our picks for the best of them. Here are the five greatest mustaches in military history.
Writer’s note: The sailor we used in the cover photo for this article has a killer mustache. If you’re reading this, nice ’stache, dude.
If you don’t know who Brig. Gen. Robin Olds is, start pushing. Olds was a legendary fighter pilot with the US Air Force with a storied career that spanned from World War II to Vietnam. A “triple ace,” Olds accumulated 17 victories in his 30-year career of absolute ass-kicking.
Despite being an excellent pilot and commander, Olds was never able to rise to the higher officer ranks due to his maverick views and his penchant for drinking. Sounds like our kind of pilot. The man was a legend who made Maverick from Top Gun look like Topper Harley from Hot Shots. It’ll be a long time before we see another pilot, or mustache, like that again.
For those who don’t know, Pat McNamara retired from the US Army after a lengthy career serving in various special operations units.
This former operator turned tactical instructor, social media influencer, fitness enthusiast, and all-around billy-badass can be seen pictured above with a downright killer flavor-saver. Nice mustache, Pat.
We shouldn’t have to point out which one of these British SAS commandos is our pick for one of the best military mustaches of all time. But: It’s the gentleman pointing an FAL at his face with very little concern. No bullet is breaking through that lip foliage. The clean-shaven guy right next to him is just asking for it though.
Was it a requirement for Civil War generals to have epic facial hair? If so, let’s bring that back. Generals serve as leadership figureheads for modern forces, and frankly, seeing a perfectly shaven dude at the helm doesn’t inspire confidence. Modern generals look more like upper management at Home Depot than men who lead thousands into battle. This needs to change to inspire confidence from the troops.
Sure, Ambrose Burnside’s military career has some blemishes, but that was mostly due to being promoted well beyond his ability. Maybe he would have inspired less confidence from his superiors if he had trimmed off that respectable nose neighbor in favor of a more modern, less inspiring look.
We aren’t sure where this dude is from, but based on his outlandish facial hair, lack of undershirt, and overall look of entitlement, we think it’s safe to say he’s probably British. Or at least from a country once controlled by the British. While there are many similarities between the US and British militaries, the Brits certainly have some distinctions all their own. They’re big fans of tea, terrible rifles, losing wars to us, and letting their soldiers have mustaches that are borderline artistic masterpieces.
Eric Miller is a former Army Combat Medic from Parkersburg, West Virginia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and has worked with homeless populations and veteran services throughout the state. He is an avid outdoorsman and has recently become interested in woodworking.
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