It's More than a Mustache

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. JT May III
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
They come in different shapes, sizes, colors and lengths. They can take the appearance of Woolly Bear caterpillars or angry cat whiskers, but they were mostly visible in March. If you haven't guessed, Mustache March made its appearance on Fairchild.

Mustache March is an honored tradition that started with legendary Air Force fighter pilot Brig. Gen Robin Olds. General Olds was a triple ace, with a combined total of 16 aerial victories in World War II. He is one of the most famous pilots due to his incredible life and career, but notably known for his extravagantly waxed handlebar mustache he had in Vietnam.

His mustache gave way to the "bulletproof mustache superstition." Airmen grew it for protection. General Olds also used his mustache as a "gesture of defiance" but most importantly, everyone on his base loved it therefore, it became a symbol for the men he served with.

When General Olds returned from Vietnam, he was given a direct order to shave his mustache by Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. McConnell. This incident sparked an Air Force tradition commonly referred to as Mustache March and is a visual sign of esprit de corp.

People grow mustaches in March for various reasons; the two themes that are constant are fun and morale, which are Comprehensive Airman Fitness weapons in battling day-to-day adversity.

Here are some views from Fairchild Airmen who participated in Mustache March:

"Added sex appeal, is why I participate," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Volitis, 92nd Communications Squadron, network operations supervisor.

"Participating in Mustache March is a small show of solidarity with some of my heroes; Burt Reynolds, Alex Trebek, Yosemite Sam and Mike Ditka," said Major Nathan Mansfield, 92nd Air Refueling Wing executive officer.

"I participate because it's an easy way to inject a little humor and esprit de corps into the unit," said Senior Master James Fitch, 92nd Air Refueling Squadron superintendent.
"To me Mustache March means camaraderie, it's a way to show solidarity with my fellow Airman and carry on the Air Force tradition," said Senior Airman Carl Ford, 92nd Communications Squadron, network operations technician.

"Mustache Madness has to do with being faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor and a legacy of Mustaches," said 2nd Lieutenant Ezekiel Duran, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron, aerospace & operational physiologist.

"I participate mostly for laughs because I can't really grow a great stache," said Senior Airman Christopher Brindley, 92nd Communications Squadron, network operations technician.

For whatever reason they participated in Mustache March, it can't be denied the connection between Airmen it generates. Whether through laughter, disgust or admiration, the fact we're still celebrating this tradition stresses the fact - it's more than a mustache.