Good thing the military doesn’t have a rigid code that service members either follow lockstep or pack their bags. Oh, wait…
In April, I reported on a decision by the military to ban multiple braids, twists, and dreadlocks and to limit cornrows to no more than a quarter of an inch. Army Regulation 670-1 had been amended to read:
Hairstyles (including bulk and length of hair) that do not allow Soldiers to wear the headgear properly, or that interfere with the proper wear of the protective mask or other protective equipment, are prohibited. Headgear will fit snugly and comfortably, without bulging or distortion from the intended shape of the headgear and without excessive gaps.
Headgear, schmedgear. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has relaxed the requirements after complaints from black service members who accused the military of racial bias. According to Military Times, Hagel delivered a letter to lawmakers on Capitol Hill Monday notifying them of the changes. In the letter, he explained:
Each service reviewed its hairstyle policies to ensure standards are fair and respectful while also meeting military requirements. These reviews were informed by a panel of military personnel of mixed demographics reflective of our diverse force.
Three services — the Army, Navy, and Air Force — have authorized additional hair styles, Hagel said. There is no mention of headgear or any other practical considerations that might be affected by the reversal.
In the meantime, it’s nice to know that the Defense Secretary is flexible. Here’s hoping he’s not quite as malleable should a fighting unit ever decide to defy an order because it hurts their feelings.
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