The U.S. Military generally discourages facial hair. They have several reasons for this: a uniform look to instill comraderie, an easy way to promote clean hygiene, and the easiest way to ensure a good seal on masks when dealing with gas and other chemical weapons. Certain areas are more lenient and there are absolutely exceptions given to servicemembers for religious or health reasons. It is understandable for special ops to have beards and mustaches, but I’ll tell you. GI Joe as a unit seems to have absolutely no standards and allows facial hair to a degree that it almost seems like a pre-requisite for joining. Let’s take a look at all the Joes that have facial hair, ask whether they’d be allowed to have it, and ask whether it makes sense for their specialty. All photos are courtesy of YoJoe.com.
Breaker is an enlisted infantryman. It’s highly unlikely he would be allowed to have a beard. Guess this just proves right off the bat that G.I. Joe has lax standards. It stands out more than some of the later entries because the first wave of GI Joes had a simple and consistent uniform across the board.
Rock n Roll
Same story with Rock n Roll. However, Rock n Roll is described as having been a surfer and body builder before enlisting. If he went in with a beard, he may have been allowed to keep it but he would have had to keep it trim and with no shaping. That seems to be the case, so maybe this would be allowed.
While beards are frowned upon, mustaches are allowed by U.S. Army Grooming Standards. The rule is that it must be kept trim and neat. You aren’t allowed to have handlebar mustaches or goatees. I think Stalker passes muster by these regulations. He is approved for combat.
Clutch is also Army infantry, just like his bros above. His specialty is transportation. Would he be allowed to have this big beard? It seems unlikely going by the rules already established. That looks like a bushy beard. And yeah: Clutch, Breaker and Rock n Roll all shared the same head mold. But that black color on Clutch sure makes his beard look bigger.
Gung-Ho is not Army, he’s a Marine. He wants you to know this because he tattooed a Marine Corps logo on his chest and is not covering it up. This would absolutely not be allowed. Would his mustache? Well, the Marines have similar rules about mustaches and beards. No beards but you can have a neatly trimmed mustache. However, it has to fit within the imaginary vertical lines of the corner of the lip and only be on the upper lip. It is not to exceed 1/2″. Uh oh. Gung-Ho’s mustache absolutely goes past the corners of his lips and is longer than 1/2″. He’s due for some disciplinary citations.
Snow Job is an enlisted infantryman but he works in extreme climates. Beards are proven to keep you warm and to keep your face from becoming dehydrated. He would probably be given special dispensation to grow a beard because of his specialty.
Wild Bill is a Chief Warrant Officer. As an officer, he is held to different standards than the enlisted men. Is he allowed to grow a mustache? Yes, within the same guidelines as mentioned above. However, he must also be responsible for presenting a professional appearance. This is a grey area where it’s really up to his superior. However, since Wild Bill is allowed to walk around with six-shooters strapped to his legs and a big cowboy hat, we can reasonably assume that professionalism has gone out the window at GI Joe headquarters.
Mutt is classified as SP4. Uh oh, Army Specialist Fourth Class actually doesn’t exist anymore. It was really just a way to justify paying experienced specialists a higher amount. These days there’s just Specialist as a rank, although you can have the equivalent of a corporal which is a non-commissioned officer (NCO). That basically means he’d be held to similar standards as Wild Bill. And I think his ‘stache fits within those guidelines. Plus, are you really going to yell at Mutt to shave his mustache when he has an attack dog with him at all times?
Recondo is enlisted infantry. But that’s definitely a handlebar mustache. Nope. Not happening in the U.S. military. GI Joe is lowering the standards for all of the military when they allow this!
Wow, that goes double for Roadblock because not only is he enlisted infantry, but his secondary specialty is cook. No way are they allowing a big goatee, even if he can lift a .50 cal. That’s just not considered sanitary. Sorry, Roadblock.
Cutter is an officer from the Coast Guard. So he’s kept to the same grooming standards as the Navy. Basically similar to what we’ve mentioned for enlisted Army. I think Cutter’s really pushing the limit. That mustache looks a little bushy and it’s juuuust on the edge of his mouth. You’re treading water, Cutter. And your Red Sox hat might not be enough to save you.
Alpine is an enlisted man with his primary specialty being a mountain trooper. Similar to Snow Job, he would probably be allowed to grow his facial hair as he sees fit. But wait! His secondary specialty is finance clerk. So when he’s on base, there’s a very good chance his superior would ask him to shave that Cookie Duster.
Doesn’t matter who you are, you are not growing a mustache like that in the U.S. military. Look at it hanging over his lips. I bet it’s full of old soup. Gross. But then again, GI Joe seems to be letting him wear his favorite football jersey into battle. What are they thinking? He’s going to be the first guy picked off.
Footloose’s catepillar seems like it fits within regulations for an infantryman. By the way, Footloose has one of the weirder backgrounds for a GI Joe. It says he dropped out of college and “became weird for three years” then suddenly joined the Army. Now he’s in their elite unit? Who’s doing the psych screening for GI Joe? Dr. Mindbender in his disguise as Dr. Blyblender?
Shipwreck is a Chief Petty Officer. Could he have a mustache? Yes. Could he have this big beard? Nope. Unless it’s for religious reasons (and I don’t think Hector Delgado is a Sikh) or because of a skin condition. So maybe Shipwreck has something like Pseudofolliculitis barbae. Basically, ingrown hair. Yuck.
Crankcase rocks a tea strainer. He’s an infantryman with a specialty in driving motor vehicles. Yeah, they’d probably let him get away with that thing. Not sure where he found that short-sleeved crew-neck sweater, though.
Frost Bite drives the Arctic Cat. Similar to Snow Job, his beard would probably help his overall comfort in a cold environment so he’d be allowed to have his facial fur. Side note: is Frostbite the happiest GI Joe? I think he has to be.
Heavy Metal drives the Mauler tank and his mustache looks like it juuuust fits within regulation. Except! His secondary specialty is finance clerk and I strongly doubt he’d be allowed to wear that on base. So this is his fun little thing that he grows when he’s going out to risk life and limb to stop, oh let’s say, Crystal Ball.
ADMIRAL Keel-Haul is not setting a professional example. Beyond his snot mop, he’s got his shirt unbuttoned almost to his navel. It also looks wrinkly. This guy must not be happy with his position because he’s going to get himself in big trouble.
Are YOU going to tell Sgt. Slaughter that his womb broom is a problem? Hell no you aren’t. Besides, we wouldn’t even recognize him as Sgt. Slaughter without his iconic lipholstery. Sometimes things are allowed for the PR value.
Does anyone in GI Joe have a more dated name and specialty than Dial Tone? When everyone can communicate faster and more clearly with an off-the-rack smartphone, it seems like it’d just be adding salt to the wound to tell the guy his mustache has to go. Fortunately, he seems to have kept it within the guidelines for infantrymen and honestly, it’s flattering on him which is more than I can say for 90% of these servicemembers.
There’s a scene in Generation Kill where the Sergeant Major yells at a Sergeant that his mustache has crossed past his lip corner and he looks like a bum. Leatherneck is a Sergeant Major. He’d be expected to set the example. He is not doing so. For whatever it’s worth, the 50th anniversary redesign of Leatherneck featured a much tighter mustache. So I guess someone reprimanded him.
Slipstream is a 1st Lieutenant (an officer) and a fighter pilot. Would he be allowed to have a mustache this big? No. It’s out of regulation length for sure. And if he needed oxygen, he probably would not get a good seal over his face. So how can we explain this mustache?! Well, the Air Force has a tradition: Mustache March. In that month, many Air Force members will grow a mustache in honor of Robin Olds, a triple ace in the Vietnam era who defiantly broke regulations by growing a well-waxed handlebar mustache. When you’re a great pilot, you can get away with a bit more than the average guy. These days, some find the tradition disrespectful to both grooming standards and the women who fill the ranks but cannot participate in such an event.
If we’re going to question The Fridge’s mustache before we question the sense of hiring an NFL first round draft pick one year into his career as a fullback for the Chicago Bears… Well, we have bigger problems than his mustache. Besides, at this point in time (1986), The Fridge had enough issues of his own being used as a political pawn between Coach Ditka and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Let’s just let him grow whatever mustache he wants, let him handle the physical training for GI Joe and just let sleeping dogs lie.
Huh. That beard sure doesn’t fit any regulations. Then again, Outback’s specialty is survival training. You know how you can tell? Because he wears a shirt that says “Survival”! The fact is, he’s not just a guy sent into hostile environments, he trains the Joes to do the same. And according to the US Army Ranger Handbook, the “A” in “Survival” stands for “Act like the natives.” So he’s doing special missions that allow him to look however he sees fit. You do you, Outback.
Payload is an astronaut. Would he be allowed to have a mustache? Yes, because his suit forms a complete seal. Could he grow a mustache in space? Best to ask the Bearded Men of Space Station 11:
Who? Rumbler apparently came with the Crossfire remote control vehicle. He’s not that common so it’s hard to find good photos of him. I would argue his whiskers are a little wide but I can’t be sure. I think even his superiors would have trouble noticing because they’d be distracted by his peach pants and green boots and gloves. Not a winning combination. We can only hope that Rumbler is such an amazing driver that his appearance is overlooked.
So it’s come to this. GI Joe is using a former circus acrobat. Ah, but here’s the thing. Taurus is part of Sgt. Slaughter’s Marauders, a special unit that’s not on the books of any US military organization. They get paid through back channels through an account earmarked “Pentagon Pest Control.” So Taurus isn’t held to any grooming standards. Instead, it raises the troubling issue of GI Joe funding mercenaries. You’d think with all their specialists and black ops soldiers, they’d have the resources they need but apparently not.
Enlisted man. Drives a heavy artillery vehicle. I think his mustache could stand to be tightened up but it probably gets a pass. His sleeveless vest with no shirt on the other hand? The only way I see that working is if this took place last year in Afghanistan and he was about to do the ice bucket challenge for ALS.
Look, I don’t want to come down on the soldier who shares a codename with a fart. Especially when he appears to have physical strength roughly equal to that of Thor. But the sad fact is his mustache hangs over his lips. It’s just not okay. Put down all three of your bazookas and visit the barber. Hey, there’s a specialty I don’t think any GI Joes have grabbed yet. Quick Cut. Shear Terror. Buzzcut.
Here’s the first thing we’d hear when we see Dogfight: “Dogfight! You are an officer. I want you to shave that mustache down and strongly consider coming up with a better codename. One that doesn’t have an ugly association with gambling and animal cruelty!”
Rampage is an infantryman with a secondary specialty in finance. But his mustache, unlike Alpine’s, is far from trim and neat. No, I don’t think this would be okay even if he was a total stud with tax forms. That lower brow has got to go.
Long Range drives the Thunderclap, a long-range cannon. Would he be allowed a neatly trimmed beard? No, probably not. His thigh-high boots are probably not doing him any favors either. There is one unit in the Army that’s allowed, even encouraged, to grow beards: Special Forces. They go on the toughest assignments like hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, search and rescue, counter-narcotics and more. Could Long Range be part of this elite unit? Absolutely not. His whole role is to remain as far from battle as possible.
Windchill, as you just might guess from his name, is an arctic survival specialist. The only surprise is that he only has a mustache, not a full beard. Keep up the good work, Windchill.
Ambush has grown a big fat mustache connected to his muttonchops. Oh hell no, right? Not exactly. His specialty is concealment. If for some reason that means a tan uniform with orange highlights, a green bandoleer and weird facial hair, well, that’s his prerogative. Ambush is basically Special Forces so he gets to look how he wants. Even if it is like a total weirdo.
Topside is a Navy Assault Seaman. Within GI Joe, he’s basically a Navy SEAL. Just like Special Forces, they’re allowed facial hair without any regulations because it helps them NOT look like they’re in the military. Topside’s problem is not his beard. It’s the fact that he’s put on a life preserver that reads “Navy.” Oh Topside. You were… so close to getting it right.
Skydive is a non commissioned officer, the leader of the Sky Patrol unit in GI Joe. So he’d be allowed to have a mustache but he’d also be expected to have a professional look and demeanor. He’s also expected to take his unit deep into enemy territory. Because of the added risk for his job and the fact that his mustache isn’t too big, he’d probably be fine looking like this.
Heavy Duty is also an NCO as well as a guy who carries around some very heavy weaponry. But he seems to have learned from Roadblock’s mistakes and he’s kept his mustache tight and trim. He’d be fine. Some of his superiors might ask how wise it is for him to wear a neon hat with jungle fatigues though. He could reasonably expect to be shot in the head by a sniper.
Mercer is a former Cobra mercenary. Just like Taurus, he doesn’t have to obey any US military grooming guidelines. He may want to consider finding a shirt with two sleeves, but that’s on him.
Ozone is an environmental health specialist and part of the Eco Warriors unit. He cleans up toxic accidents. Would he be allowed to have a beard? Let me put this as politely as possible: Hell. No. He would absolutely be entering environments where chemical weapons are likely. There is no chance his beard would be allowed because it could potentially interfere with masks you’d need to wear in such places. It’s absolutely ridiculous. If anyone on this list fails completely and utterly, it’s Ozone. Not only should he be discharged from GI Joe, so should his superior, Flint, for allowing this to happen.
Clean Sweep, let’s just say you’re lucky Ozone was there with a big beard. You’re going to get reassigned. Not only is your mustache not regulation but you are also in the Eco Warriors unit and that big mustache represents a clear hazard to your duties. Flint is going to be brought up on formal charges of negligence.
Skymate is from the Australian SAS (basically their special forces) on attachment with GI Joe. He’s… a glider expert. Yeah, there’s no way anyone in the US could learn that skill. I think they allow mustaches. I don’t know if they allow magenta hats.
Major Altitude is a Warrant Officer so his mustache would probably need to be pretty trimmed up. I suppose it is. But here’s something a little weird. Supposedly Major Altitude isn’t that smart or strong but had a dream to fly a helicopter for GI Joe. He trained for 8 years and was accepted by them. You’d think a guy like that would do everything he could to fit in and not rock the boat. But as his file card says, he’s no genius.
Dojo is GI Joe’s kung fu instructor. And apparently by this time, GI Joe had tossed out just about every regulation they had on professional appearance. Not only does this guy have a chin strap and molestrap, but he’s decided to find a way to dress like both a ninja AND a pirate. Further, he shaved his head but grew a long ponytail. The ideal look for any military instructor. I can only assume General Hawk has a serious drinking problem and had just given up by this point.
Yeah, if we needed any proof that GI Joe had not just relaxed their standards but thrown them all right out the window, look no further than the last new member of GI Joe’s original run, Colonel Courage. He’s an officer but he has a full beard. Not only that but he has neon guns. Oh, and do you think he needs those guns? Well guess what his primary military specialty is. It ain’t infantry. It’s Administrative Specialist. Colonel Courage has a desk job. He’s walking around the base with a beard and bright guns so that he can march up to his desk and type on a computer all day. Great.