You may watch a movie about Navy Seals and see them rocking a sweet and thick beard. But, then you remember that Military personel have strict grooming and hygiene requirements. Some examples of this are Bradley Cooper playing sniper Chris Kyle.
You can see lots of pictures of Chris in a full beard, and in the movie Cooper has lots of facial hair. Facial hair was also prevalent in Seal Team Six.
So, what is the actual policy for Navy Seals?
Are Navy Seals Allowed To Have Beards?
Yes, Navy Seals are allowed to have full beards even in active duty. There are many reasons why Seals are allowed to have relaxed or discretionary grooming standards.
Here are the reasons why Seals are allowed to grow beards:
- Navy Seals can blend into Middle Eastern cultures better. Beards are very common in the Middle East. A well groomed American man with a flat top and a clean shaven face would stick out more.
- It reduces the risk of cuts and infections from shaving. This is obviously more important during combat.
- Many SOF troops interact with locals where they are stationed. A beard can be seen as a sign of authority or manliness.
- Because they can. It sounds simple, but if you can have a benefit that other military personel cannot, then that is a plus.
- Navy Seals are all about counter culture. They do not have strict guidelines on grooming, gear, etc., so they take pride in being the opposite of a clean cut, well-shaved uniformed solider.
Benefits Of Having A Beard As A Navy Seals
When Navy Seals are on duty in foreign countries, it is important not to stand out. The best way to blend in is to not look like a person in the military. An unkempt and shaggy beard is can help with that.
There are certain countries where Seals will wear shorter beards and others where they go full shag mode. This is due to the difference in cultures. Again, the object is to blend in which is what SOF are trained to do.
You can be in dirty and unsanitary environments sometimes. Can you imagine being in a bacteria filled marsh all the time. Shaving your beard may cause a minor open wound on your face. Exposing that open wound to dirty and unsanitary conditions could lead to infection. Of course, if you have a beard, you don’t have to worry about that.
You can also be different with a beard as a Navy Seal. Everyone else is stuck to strict grooming guidelines along with strict dress codes. This is to represent discipline and hygiene. As a Seal Team member, you get to do your own thing. If you want to rock a shaggy looking beard, then you have that option. This is pure counter culture. They want to do their own thing, which is to not be like everyone else in the military.