MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Once again, Airmen from across the globe have decided to engage in a timeless tradition. Ignoring protests and threats from significant others they proudly grow a sweet, sweet mustache in honor of triple ace Brig. Gen. Robin Olds.
He was famous for his skills as a decorated fighter pilot and for the signature handlebar mustache (and decidedly non-regulation mustache) he grew while serving in Vietnam.
Olds used his mustache as a mark of individuality, much to the dislike of his boss, former Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. McConnell who told Olds, "Take it off."
My wife, whom I love, absolutely hates my stunning mustache. Apparently, its glory has no affect on her.
Airmen from Mountain Home AFB are nicknamed "Gunfighters" and I, from my extensive Hollywood-movie cowboy knowledge, know most of them had some amazing mustaches. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and Wild Bill Hickok were all extremely famous gunfighters whose mustaches had no equal.
So why do we do it? Why grow a three-pound caterpillar on our upper lip? In my opinion, the reason is simple -- because it's tradition. People who have been retired for years participated in this tradition long before I joined the Air Force.
Many of my friends have changed their Facebook profile pictures showing them with facial fur on their upper lip. "Oh mustache, why are you so glorious?"
There is, however, an elite group of Airmen who rock the mustache 365 days a year.
"I have had a mustache for more than 15 years," said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Steele, 366th Fighter Wing superintendent of plans, programs and assesments. "My wife loves it and throughout the years it has really become a part of me."
Just remember guys, with a great mustache comes a great responsibility. There are standards to keeping them trim and within regulations. Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel, is the guide to all things mustache-related.
"I think it's great for Airmen to participate in Mustache March as a way of remembering General Olds," Steele steel. "As long as they keep them within the standards they can be a great comradery tool."
So to my fellow Airmen I say, cultivate a luxurious Earp, Holiday or Hickok mustache! Or if you prefer, grow out your Magnum P.I. danger zone and live it up. Tom Selleck has had one for more than 40 years and he's doing pretty well for himself.
Soon the month will be over and we will be shaving away our friend until next year. A sad event, but necessary as the health of our relationships with significant others may depend on it.
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