Update: General Welsh announced the Mustache March winners. Retired Naval officer Sara Zak published her own commentary in the Air Force Times, calling it all a “setback for AF’s strong women.” US Air Force Major Deirdre Gurry begged to differ in her Air Force Times column, saying she’s “proud to say that since World War II women have been invited to join” the military “boys’ club.”
Besides the Air Force Times letter written by the disgruntled female officer, it seems the attempt at a little fun by Air Force Chief of Staff General
Mark Welsh generated some grief as well — including a concerted effort to get him fired:
Retired Navy Commander Sara Zak [sent] a complaint to the Air Force inspector general’s office, she asked that Welsh step down and rescind the challenge, saying the activity was “contrary to his Chief of Staff of the Air Force message to airmen he issued in January, [that] it perpetuated an environment conducive to sexual harassment, and that the Air Force should acknowledge [that] traditions that denigrate or fail to show proper respect to all airmen will not be accepted as part of the Air Force culture.”
Zak — whose retired Navy status makes her interest unclear — was pretty much told to pound sand, so she tried every other avenue she could think of: Read more
US Air Force Major Jennifer Holmes, who identifies as the “senior trial counsel at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland,” took issue with General Mark Welsh’s “all in” call for a Mustache March in an opinion column entitled “In Mustache March, I lose“:
I am not invited to be a part of the latest team-building game, Mustache March. I have been relegated to the bench to cheer the real players on…
This “gauntlet” thrown down by the most senior leader in our Air Force does not bring us together by tradition; it promotes Read more
At the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium, Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark Welsh decided the Air Force should have an “all-in,” MAJCOM vs MAJCOM official Mustache March. With a nod to the MAJCOM commanders in the front row of his audience, Gen Welsh said
In just a few days, its March. Now, I don’t know, but I don’t think we’ve ever had an all-in Mustache March, have we? So I’m putting the smackdown on you guys: Air Force-wide Mustache March. MAJCOM competitions. [Laughter] You identify your winners, we’ll check the imagery to make sure nothings been doctored. We’ll find our Air Force winner and I’ll figure out a way to honor…him.
At that point, Gen Welsh seemed to become aware that he had to say “him.” Read more
The Christian Post quoted President Obama making a remark about wanting to don a fake mustache to tour Israel incognito.
In an interview taped at the White House earlier this week, the president said, “Sometimes I have this fantasy that I can put on a disguise, wear a fake mustache and I can wander through Tel Aviv and go to a bar and have a conversation.”
Admittedly, it has nothing to do with the fighter pilot tradition of Mustache March (which is virtually officially recognized by the Air Force), but the timing is right.
Another US Air Force article highlights the tradition of Mustache March, which is rapidly coming to an end.
From the master of the T-top Trans Am, Burt Reynolds, to the bad boy of breakfast buffets, Ron Swanson, powerful males around the world share one feature that is the universal symbol of manhood: the mustache.
“Mustache March,” an Air Force tradition with roots going back to the Vietnam era, is a 31-day, fuzzy-lipped free-for-all Read more
An official DoD article notes the fighter pilot tradition of Mustache March:
It happens every March like clockwork—men from all across the Air Force, who may otherwise normally be clean-shaven, grow out their cookie dusters, much to the amusement of many around them.
As noted here, the tradition is linked to BrigGen Robin Olds,
Olds was frequently at odds with senior leaders, and had his ways of defying the establishment—most famously (or infamously), the decidedly out-of-regs, heavily waxed handlebar mustache Read more
The fighter pilot tradition of Mustache March has a website. Who knew? Of course, it’s a charity awareness website that seems to be unaware of its use of the military tradition most often attributed to USAF fighter pilot Gen Robin Olds.
Of course, the fact it’s a fighter pilot tradition doesn’t stop others from joining in — even the space community, famously known as blue-zipper-suited, leather aviation jacket wearing silo sitters.
The 7th Air Force historian, Howard Halvorsen, wrote an interesting article on Robin Olds, perhaps America’s most famous fighter pilot and eventual commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, heritage of the current wing at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.
This historian is hardly the first to declare Robin Olds as the greatest aerial warrior and leader in American history.
When learning about his life, it is as if our creator was making the perfect Airman. He was a triple ace who had ideas about tactical air power that were as big as his physique. He was a missionary constantly arguing – not always tactfully – for better fighters, better pilot training, new tactics and the like.
Many people — even the historian author of the article — consider Robin Olds to be the consummate, if not the “first,” fighter pilot. Halvorsen notes, though, that Read more