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Welsh throws down gauntlet: Air Force-wide Mustache March

Legendary ace pilot Brig. Gen. Robin Olds (here shown as a colonel) inspired Mustache March with his trademark handlebar. (US Air Force)

Legendary ace pilot Brig. Gen. Robin Olds (shown here as a colonel) inspired Mustache March with his trademark handlebar. (US Air Force)

ORLANDO — Mustache March is right around the corner. And this year, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh is issuing a challenge to the entire service.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had an all-in Mustache March, have we?” Welsh said during his Feb. 20 address to the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium. “I’m putting the smackdown on you guys. Air Force-wide Mustache March, MAJCOM competitions.”

Welsh prefaced his challenge by showing two humorously-doctored photos of himself — one with a regular mustache and another with an outrageously drooping ‘stache. But airmen shouldn’t even dream of using such Photoshop chicanery, he said.

“We’ll check the imagery, to make sure it hasn’t been doctored,” Welsh said.

Mustache March is an Air Force tradition in honor of three-time ace pilot Brig. Gen. Robin Olds.  The legendary pilot sported an equally legendary mustache — extravagantly waxed, grown in flagrant defiance of military regulations, and said to be “bulletproof.” As the excellent site “Badass of the Week” noted, Olds’ trademark handlebar even has its own chapter on his Wikipedia page.

The details of this year’s contest appeared to be somewhat in flux. After Air Force leaders have chosen the winning soup strainer, Welsh said, “I’ll figure out a way to honor him.”

While a mustache competition is, by its nature, a guy’s contest, Welsh said that “the women in our Air Force have a critical role to play here.”

“Their job is to ridicule us nonstop about the idiotic look that these mustaches will have on most of us, as we try to look like Tom Selleck and end up looking like a three-haired mole,” he said. “Fight’s on.”

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Comments

  1. Me Says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Women get to wear skirts, make-up, and long hair. They are not allowed to complain of men’s mustaches this March.

  2. Alamo Beard Club Says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    What an awesome challenge! We would be honored to invite all Service members who participated to join us April 5th for our charity facial hair competition. This year’s proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Festivities take place in San Antonio Texas, April 5th at the 502 Bar. Full details available at alamobeardclub.com or on our Facebook page.

  3. Nonconformist Says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    I assume that the original mustache march was predicated on a certain level of non-conformity, in the spirit of Robin Olds. It would seem now that growing a mustache is the ultimate in conforming to “the system”. If you really want to celebrate the spirit, then paradoxically, you should not grow a mustache.

  4. Gloria Says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Eyebrow April!! For the ladies!

  5. Rommel Aquino Says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Enlisted and officers (who aren’t pilots) winners should become a pilots for a day. Ride alongs with real pilots. Pilots that win will get the chance to shadow Gen. Welsh for a day.

  6. Scott Says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Gen Welsh is by and large the best breathe of fresh air the CSAF position needed…As a SMSgt retiree of just two short years, he has surprised me every time with his fun loving attitude in regards to the Airmen he leads…

  7. Riz Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 3:22 am

    GAME ON! Now that is what I am talking about!

  8. Spangdahlem Men's roundtable Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 3:45 am

    This is awesome!!! It’s a fun tradition and good to see it being promoted by Gen Welsh.

  9. Blaze Lipowski Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 4:55 am

    Are you kidding me? Is this what we are paying your salary for? Mustashes? You will never man up to half the man Brig General Olds was, sir, if you keep these shenanigans goings on! Please, someone give me something worth reading!

  10. Frank Dailey, II Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Finally, the masses have a CSAF who is good humored enough and willing to push the enveolope to honor OUR AIR FORCE TRADITION! There will be some who will becry this and say it is undisiplined. They have not been fighting for the last 12 years. Hooyah Gen Welsh!

  11. Bob (Hippo) Hipps Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Hand salute to General Welch for standing up to the politically correct mafia. General Olds is smiling down on you from fighter pilot heaven. Your next order of business should be to restore the “Home of the Fighter Pilot” sign to the front gate of Nellis AFB where I was honored to attend F-4 training in 1967.

    VR,

    Bob Hipps, Major, USAF (Ret)

  12. George Acree Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Sierra Hotel—How send mustash? Ace

  13. Mark Grounds MSgt Ret Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 9:31 am

    GREAT Cheif, it’s about time AF members get to have a little, it has been getting alittle to stuffy and stiff

  14. MSgt Worried Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Maybe instead of concerning himself with mustache march he can figure out how we as direct supervisors have to explain to super hard charging warriors that the AF doesn’t want them anymore. Maybe he can come and tell these young troops that they aren’t good enough while they are being forced out because we need to pay for other useless programs. Maybe he can come out and pick up the wrench that will still need to be turned when that Flightline worker is no longer there because of budget cuts. Maybe he can explain to me what I’m supposed to do and say when these warriors are in tears, feel defeated, angry, scared, and confused on why they can no longer do what we have asked them to do for years and instead are given their pink slip. Is he going to be looking into their eyes? Is he going to be seeing their fear? Is he going to be there helping and hoping they will be OK? Instead of worrying about Mustache March maybe he can find a way to get the leaders of this country to stop pissing on our heads and telling us it’s just raining. The Airman are scared! The troops are shaken! The core of our service is in danger! Mustache March is NOT a freakin priority!

  15. Scott Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Working on budgetary and force management issues would be time better spent than facial hair games.

  16. Michael Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Doesn’t the CSAF calling on everyone to do this totally defeat the purpose?

  17. Fred Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I’m sorry Mr. Air Force Chief Of Staff but we’re all way too worried about losing our jobs due to the service retention boards to engage in this kind of nonsense.

    Must be nice to be in a position where you don’t have to worry and can focus on garbage like this.

  18. Tim Berg Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    For some of us March lasts all year…….

  19. Tsgt gschwend Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    So are we going to have relaxed regs for this competition? I mean to truly honor Brig Gen Olds we should allow for his “flagrant defiance” of the regs to fully establish the esprit de corp of the competition.

  20. Norse Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    General Welsh is my new favorite person…..its wonderful to see leadership finally get real and show some Air Force spirit…Game on!

    The Major with the best mustache should be exempt from the upcoming RIF.

  21. Nichole Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    And I just don’t see how they’ll let me photograph, let alone submit, MY mustache… ;)

  22. SrA Scott AFB Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    He lets us not limit it to lip edge and sure.

  23. Dave Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    As a former member of our beloved AF. I was part of the USAFE team he led. His devotion to his people as a leader and mentor, MORALE has always been part of his great tools. This is just another example of what a great individual and leader Gen. Welsh is!!! I just hope this is a start of a great AF wide tradition. Not just at squadron levels.

  24. Harry Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    The CoS has just given the USAF a way to show the globe that his service is comprised of steely-eyed warriors. Let’s do this!!

  25. Joey Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Michael, maybe 30-40 years ago. But the Air Force has few traditions, so it’s nice to see a “man of the people” get on board and try to get all involved. I, for one, am very happy with the current CSAF and what he’s been doing for us.

  26. Kate Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Our boss has a sense of humor as well as strong leadership. Couldn’t ask for a better combination!

  27. Greg Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I challenge the CSAF to temporarily suspend mustache grooming standards in AFI 36-2903 for the month of March to fully capitalize on the monumental mustaches or Airmen could grow! I think the women should be involved by growing their mustaches as well!

  28. Blitzkrieg Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Shut up.

  29. Tim Marks Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Why dont you have Robins Brother be the judge of the best?

  30. Dr. Mike Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Don’t count them out yet… There are already some women that have a head-start on their mustaches and will be fully competitive.

  31. Elizabeth Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I am totally disgusted that asking the USAF to participate in a defiance of regulations (if they do it like Gen. Olds) , when at a time we are receiving cutback notifications. I feel that people should concentrate and focus more on the fact that our EPR system has failed us all and due to that and the lack of importance in mentoring right now could lead to stellar Airmen losing their jobs.

    Today’s Air Force has become a hyporcrites dream. People that are failing PT tests are getting kicked out but somehow those that actually look obese are still in. How do they pass the waist measurement?? How are senior NCO’s that are comitting sexual misconduct or any misconduct at all not all getting Article 15′s?

    How is it that single-parent Airmen are being non-volunteered for special duty jobs to include the high-tempo of MTI duty but someone that actually wants to do MTI duty is not allowed the option 100% of the time? If we are an Air Force family, I feel as if we should allow single-parents be exempt from having to do MTI duty due to the mandatory hours where the child may be left alone. After all, spouses and family members left alone with their kids while their husbands have been deployed for long periods of time has caused quite a few murders and child neglect issues. How come nobody else has thought about any of this?

  32. Mark Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Even if it’s true, you’ll still have the uniform-Nazis out in full force making sure you look just like Hitler (quite possibly the stupidest rule of all the uniform rules).

  33. Krystine Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I’m not in the AIr Force anymore, but I must say I would have LOVED to have made fun of those certain people that THOUGHT looked good in a stach..lol…AWWW…Fight on guys and gals…

  34. David Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    No, it makes the CSAF awesome!

  35. Mike USAFA '70 Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I think this is great. A healthy competition. For historical clarity, when Gen. Olds became the Commandant at USAFA, at the change of command ceremony, he was announced as the new Commandant and every cadet put his head down and then back up in unison with clip on large mustaches like Olds had in Nam. I wish I had a photo…

  36. Frank Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    When did this become a tradition, i’ve been in the military as a Brat, an Airman, and a parent for more than 50-years and have never heard of this.

  37. Kristin Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Negative. He’s the best thing for morale we’ve had in over a decade. He’s the people’s CSAF.

  38. Alex Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Inspired to bring morale to the Force, I agree with Michael.
    However, defeated as it is by issuing the challenge, I will only accept on the terms that we can grow our mustaches past the point of regulation (corners of the lips). Otherwise, those who can even grow a Tom Selleck end up looking like Adolf Hitler… and what image does that bring to the public’s eye?

  39. Johnny Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Agree, I thought it was about sticking it to the regulations.

  40. Kyle Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    At least he’s helping us who are getting kicked out prep for our job interviews. Nothing says “hire me” like a ridiculously regulated stash.

  41. JB Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    HAHAHA, in honor of a COL that defied the regs on facial hair… let’s see a few JNCO’s defy that reg in the spirit of a CSAF challenge… bet that flies

  42. Nicole Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Does this mean that 36-2903 is out the window for the month of March? If so, what message does that send?

  43. Andy Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Could it be because we finally have a CSAF that cafes about morale? Who cares if the challenge comes from the top. I’m happy to see shenanigans that are harmless, and let us know our leadership is human.

  44. Andy Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Silly phone, “CARES about morale”

  45. kurt Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Alright, so we realize that we US ‘men’ are left to salvage the follicles between the lines extended vertically from the corners of our mouth. Yet we also acknowledge that brig gen olds was defiantly sporting the handlebar. And the csaf calls that an ‘all in’ contest? Sir, raise the stakes, and drop the dimension restrictions on moustaches for march only, IF you haven’t the pride to let it grow like that all year round like our northern brethren.

  46. Chizz Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Waiting for him to challenge AFPC to be able to correctly implement any one of the Force Shaping programs they manage.

  47. Oliver Mack Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    I’ve always wondered why O’s were afraid to grow mustaches. I can recall only one LtCol being “bold” enough to have one…..and now the Mustache March (which I never heard of in my 1980-2000 career). Maybe this will be the launching pad for O’s to “sport” them from now on.

  48. Dusty Guevara Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 12:49 am

    I was in the AF 20+ years & never heard of this. ????

  49. H/E Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 1:24 am

    If he was sincere, he would be more encouraging of female participation. They have fewer regulations and it’s a far greater challenge.

  50. Charlie Jensen Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Defeat its purpose, No.

  51. Shane Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I think the better question is, Has CSAF just authorized and encouraged us to deviate from the AFI, the same as BGen Olds did back then, in order to make this a truly memorable event in a time of great uncertainty for the force? All fun w/ zero repercussions for the month of Mar!

  52. Scott Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 8:47 am

    No it is his way of acknowledging the tradition and heritage of it. He is a great man and leader! Makes me want to actually participate this year. Someone who looks ridiculous with a mustache. I will look much like Groucho Marx, but I will keep it within Regs.

  53. Pete Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Your right Mike, it does defeat the purpose, therefore I see two viable options: not grow one at all OR…grow it just like Olds. I vote for Olds-School!

  54. Michell Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I have no problem doing my part and ridiculing the ridiculous attempts. Game on… Lol

  55. Thad Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Gen. Olds grew the mustache as a protest of the policy’s that he did not agree with. He grew it in defiance of higher headquarters. He said it was the middle finder in PR photos that he could not hold up. Having a within military regulations mustache contest to honor him seems a bit backwards.

  56. David Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Brig. Gen. Olds is famous for his moustache that is, “extravagantly waxed, grown in flagrant defiance of military regulations, and said to be ‘bulletproof.’”
    I find it hard to believe that we’ll all be allowed to skirt the length width standards in place….If we are, why not a beard, eh? Who’s with me?

  57. Walker Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I sport my mustache all year except March. After this, I’m so shaving it all off this year for march.

  58. Al Retd Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    What about the Transgender folks, she’s can grow mustache? What’s next body tattoo march, you can wear nothing but your tattoos? What has happened to the professional Air Force?

  59. Sean Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Sir, I’ve got to tell you. I’ve been sporting a mustache since 1989. The only time I removed it was for basic training & that was 13 weeks. Mustaches Away!!!!

  60. Joe Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 6:49 am

    While I’m sure this is a well-intentioned effort to foster camaraderie, it’s also a good example of the Air Force not really getting it on the need to change their service culture. After all the bad press the Air Force has generated on sexual assault, a service-wide competition that’s really only open to men and focused on who can appear the most manly strikes me as being in poor taste.

  61. Col (R) Margaret MacMackin Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 7:49 am

    I am appalled by such a sexist event by the CSAF especially as his lack of attention to the misconduct of his senior leaders involing sexual issues. Reassignement is hidding jsut accepting the conduct. Supporting the Mustache March which is not total force but only aimed at his male “Airman” demostrates his real fillings toward females.

  62. David Manso Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 8:09 am

    @ Michael: True, it does put a damper on our defiance however, it’s all good.

  63. Justin Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Sounds like 36-2903′s take on ‘staches is not applicable this March!

  64. John Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Soooo, let me get this straight… We push folks out for minor infractions such as seconds shy of a qualifying PT score or few pounds over a max standard, but, we have a CSAF now that’s advocating for violating 35-10 standards (or for you kids, 36-2903)? With this about to be announced RIF hitting the field, you couldn’t pay me to be the first sacrificial lamb (Hey, Sgt Mauldin, what’s with the non-comforming ‘stash? That’s an LOC mister… Say, by the way, aren’t you about to hit HYT? Yeah… Think you should start looking for another career Sarge). I can see it now…

  65. Jeremy Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 9:40 am

    @ Michael

    No. Now man up and grow.

  66. Doug F Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 9:52 am

    No Michael, it doesn’t. It shows Command support. that’s why it’s called a challenge.

  67. Marc K Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 10:07 am

    So, are we supposed to grow a non-regulation moustache a la BGen Olds or keep it within regs? If we’re honoring the guy, it should be a non-reg ‘stache.

  68. Heather Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I think this is great for morale!! I have been in the Air Force for 22 years and I have no problem with this challenge. I love when the airman grow these horrible looking mustaches each year. I look forward to making fun of them. I don’t take offense to it being a “male” only challenge. I personally don’t have any desire to grow a mustache myself, hahaha!! Leave it to the guys to look ridiculous for a month.

  69. Pete Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Problem is a legal AFI mustache makes A.F. members look like Hitler.

  70. Doug Gould Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Yes, the issues facing OUR AF and Airman are serious. We have been at “war” since Desert Storm I and we are (and have in the past) faced budget cuts and force reductions….THAT is exactly why we need to have “silly” traditions that let us laugh at ourselves. I am sure Gen Welsh can handle all the weighty issues facing the AF AND take two seconds out of his day for this!

  71. Chris Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I’ve seen some women in the AF that could definately compete.

  72. MSGT C Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I can’t believe the amount of baby crying replies. Why didn’t he focus on cuts, why didn’t he end world hunger, why didn’t he save baby seals? SHUT UP, you people need to get a life and chill out; if you’re getting kicked out you probably suck or have sucked at one time. Man up and deal with it! I love to see a Chief that wants to bring back some moral and pride in our branch and still have some fun with it. For all you “airmen” who have a problem with MM, tough..my stache will flow like the golden hair of THOR!!!! Rage on Stache peeps, RAGE ON!!!!!

  73. Shack Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Finally!! After what seems like two decades of increasing “business culture” in the AF and an onslaught of political correctness, might this be a rare flash of…morale?
    While professionalism is a must, our job, unlike others, is sometimes to kill people and break their things. Unpleasant, but necessary. I doubt those so incensed by a mustache challenge would fit that mold. Thanks, Chief!

  74. MSgt C Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 11:13 am

    MSgt Worried and to others that are stressed out about the Force Management issues, it sounds like it time for each of you to move on too. The AF is changing and we as leaders have to change with it. I don’t think the AF is going to cut its best and brightest, its going to get rid of the folks we have been babysitting for years. Rock on General Welch…its time to get back to the traditions that made the AF great.

  75. Joe Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    @ Margaret – You’re joking, right? Lack of attention on the issue? Have you been living under a rock?

    Men growing a mustache is sexist? Huh? Sounds like someone has an inferiority complex that is only satisfied by banning anything and everything associated with being male.

    I can only imagine the toxic command environment you fostered and the utter contempt you held for 80%+ of your Airmen.

  76. Adam Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    @ Nichole – LOL!

  77. Chris Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    For all the people freaking out about this, calm down. To read all the negativity about this challenge is sad and repulsive. People like you are the reason alone that make the Air Force sometimes unbearable. Your what we called in the desert, morale snipers. Shooting down anything that resembles a little humor that might raise a little morale. This light hearted challenge is in no way offensive or have anything to do with the current state of the Air Force. If you truly think that, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re doing your duty to the max and make any changes for the better. Once you realize you’re not, make up for it by fixing your life… starting with a Mustache in March.

  78. BomberBuck Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    In order to head off any criticism that he is insensitive or sexist, perhaps Gen Welsh should proclaim “Armpit Hair April” to recognize the morale needs of AF women as well.

  79. KB Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    22 years of service, never heard of it. Tell you what, if was can get the same percentage of airmen to grow a mustache as the number of staff officers not on flight orders wearing flight suits then we could be onto something.

  80. Jimmy Says:
    February 24th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Just sad. As simply a challenge, this isn’t so bad; I’ve even supported it in the past. I wish I didn’t know the history, because now I don’t see how any leader could support or encourage this. A celebration of a ‘bulletproof’ officer openly violating the policy the rank & file are expected to follow. Should we idolize Olds for his breaking rules…is the true winner of this challenge the one who shows up for PT with a sleeveless PTU shirt which displays a new, full-arm tattoo? This is NOT similar to praising Billy Mitchell’s defiant anti-establishment push for the value of air power. This is about as far from ‘integrity first’ as it gets, time to change our core values?

    For those of you who say our CSAF has better things to focus on, how can you say an attempt to promote morale is not a good thing, this just has an inappropriate basis. For those of you who call those who complain or support this names or blame them for an ‘unbearable AF’, grow up! I challenge leaders to justify why this is the type of activity off which, we, as AF leaders, want to base ‘morale-building activities’, why we can find nothing better to rally behind than not following legal orders.

    Finally, I see the challenge, but no waiver of policy, should leaders enforce policy or turn a blind eye once mustaches exceed authorizations? Wishing I never had this history lesson.

  81. Ian Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 6:01 am

    I think most people are focusing on the wrong part here. Realistically, how much time do you think the CSAF spent focused on this…not much. While budget cuts and personnel losses are on everyones mind, why not have something that could be fun ease some of the tension? For those talking about loosing “stellar” individuals, I for one have not heard of any truely stellar people getting the pink slip. If they were on the quality force review board then chances are that your thoughts of them being “stellar” may be a bit off.

    The saying is true, you cannot make everyone happy. The addition of morale shirts and patches to the uniform were attempts to make things better. But you will always have those people that want to rain on everything. Mustache March has been going on in the maintenance community for a long time, for all the haters on here, where were your complaints in the previous years?

  82. Let the Mustache Madness Begin! Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Chris, I couldn’t have said it better myself. And Jimmy… don’t be such a “morale sniper”. There are effective leaders and those who aren’t. What category would you put Gen. Welsh in? If its the latter then I feel bad for your perception of what a true leader is.

  83. Big Joe Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Just let me start by say, Gen Welsh thank you for all you have done for us here at RMS during you stay with us. Now to the issue at hand, Mustache March. As a fellow airman (Retired) I was always challenged from the first day at basic training. Our squadron’s motto was “Lead, Follow or Get Out Of the Way” and from that point on that is just what I did. As a supervisor, I put that motto into my everyday way of life. No matter what direction I lead my troops or what situation we faced, I lead with that motto to show we can achieve anything. Did it get us in some trouble, sometimes, but the outcome was always the same. We achieved our goal and we did it with pride in our stride. Now that I am a civilian, I still have that mentality and use the motto in my daily life.
    However, there seems to be too many supervisors and leaders who have forgotten where they came from. They had forgotten that word TEAMWORK (Teach Each Airmen Manners While Others Remember your Kindness) and building moral. We all remember those days, working together to get the job done to make roll call on time at the cantina. We remember those crazy 12hr shifts in chemical warfare suits helping others with their job, whether or not were qualified on the job. We just did it. As supervisors we lifted the spirits of those that were down, tired, or stressed out to keep them going. We reached our goal together, no matter what. (Male and Female) No matter what challenge is given, if we chose to accept it, we all strived together to achieve that goal.
    Yes Mustache March sounds silly, but so does Monday Blues or civilian clothes, and we don’t fight over those issues. Yes times have changed a lot since I was in the military (1979-1998) but the moral was/is one of the main factors that kept us all going. Those silly challenges were the key to the success in all our missions.
    So as the saying goes “so Mr. Phelps if you choose to accept this mission” , I ask you instead of trying find faults in the March challenge or any challenge laid before you, try to find the positive motivating factor that will help you complete that “mission impossible.”

  84. The Aircraft Maintainer Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Harmless. As long as the mustaches are within regulations, what does it hurt? I think the article was taken out of context. I have seen and been a part of “Mustache March”. Everyone I seen on the flightline (10 years) or even here in BMT (last 2.5 years) have stayed within the lines. I get the history was out of regulations but consider where General Olds was at the time. I’m sure in that environment, anything helped with morale. For those who have deployed especially multiple times as I have, you know you can have some definite lows and are looking for something to get your mind out of where you are. It’s the small things that make a world of difference. Like I said, I think people read too far into it. You don’t have to copy the out of regs history. The challenge was to grow a mustache. We all know there are regulations behind it. Just apply Common Sense and Good Judgment and this could be fun.

  85. Old Crew Dawg Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Well put Aircraft Maintainer. Folks need to stop over thinking this. Gen Welsh is not asking or promoting out of regs mustaches. He’s promoting a moral building event that celebrates a great USAF fighter pilot. Anything wrong with that? Relax people. Apply good leadership to this and let folks enjoy it for what it is. Jees.

  86. Rob Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    US Air Force. Making the Army look good for the last 67 years. Aim High!!

  87. Disappointed Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Can’t fund major Air Force programs, furloughed twice in the (FY13 and beginning FY14) past calendar year. MARK MY WORD….there will be O&M funds spent to send people TDY to DC to compete at the Air Force level. Morale is at an all time low at my MAJCOM and I didn’t think facial hair is going to fix it.

  88. Old Crew Dawg Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Growing a mustache costs nothing. There are no “Mustache March” award competitions per AFIs. WTF are you talking about using O&M funds being used for award TDYs any way. That’s not even possible. No one said facial hair was intended to fix your MAJCOM’s morale problem. Relax, it’s going to be okay. The AF has been doing this for decades at zero cost and within regs. Chill folks.

  89. John Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    A perfect example of why no one respects the air force…

  90. Cain Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    The negative comments on here… You people haven’t a clue. Not. A. Clue. Unbelievable. Especially the individual who said it was an indication of General Welsh’s “fillings [sic] towards females.”

    YGBSM.

    Fights on!

  91. Dr. No Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Where, oh, where have we seen a CSAF try to take our minds off of draconian budget cuts after a peace dividend is declared? Hmmm, maybe M. McPeak and the Navy uniform? “See you on the flightline!”

  92. annoyed Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    So this is what the general is doing? AFPC is in shamblesand people are trying to figure out their future lives. If he’s trying to cover his tracks and employ some good morale, well he’s got a lot more todo. Some one that works with him needs to tell his this whole force shadowing process is broken and really messing with people’s lives. Let’s get things figured out first before we go have mustache March. Get with it general!

  93. Oswald Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Let me get this straight. . .
    We have no long-range bomber beyond 2020, we have shenanigans in purchasing and fielding a next generation tanker, the latest generation of strike/fighter aircraft is embattled even in its production, nuclear-rated officers cheating on proficiency examinations (and the “rot” of the career field as a whole, sequestration ripple effects still loom, and we have more personnel under RIF efforts in over a decade which threaten to reduce the size of the Air Force to the lowest level its ever been (which brings the size of the military down to pre-WWII levels). And the focus is on deviation from an AFI? We have *far* bigger problems here, and while we need a stiff upper lip right now, covering it with hair, and the smoke and mirrors of this game is not the way to go about it. This is just another crippling event to our current “identity crisis.” Morale shirts and mustaches don’t help solve problems.

  94. Rob Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Ya’ll are dumbasses, with a capital A.

  95. Rob Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Cheating on test and growing mustaches

  96. Rob Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I’d rather be in the Coast Guard. At least they have a real mission.

  97. Rob Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Loose Nukes and and looking cool doing it.

  98. The Aircraft Maintainer Says:
    February 26th, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Wow. While I grow my mustache in March, I will think about people like John and Rob and their hate for the Air Force. The reason General Olds had one for the regs, I will wear mine for people like you. It’s a shame you have to come to an AF page and talk smack about it. Army and Coast Guard have some real winners that slid through the cracks. Sad thing is your probably not associated with any of them. That means you might of slithered your way into our Air Force. Yuk.

  99. John Says:
    February 26th, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    What I hear in the midst of the humor is genuine anxiety and fear about the future. May I be allowed to summarize?

    Will I have a job? Will I be homeless? Will I be able to provide for my family? Will I have health care? Is what I do valuable? Am I to be discarded now that the wars are over? I am afraid.

  100. Ryan Says:
    February 26th, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Hey Rob, go Army!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2568603/Soldier-ignites-online-firestorm-posts-selfie-avoiding-flag-salute-caption-I-dont-f.html

  101. Monty Says:
    February 27th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Love how the CSAF does something fun and people complain cause it’s a waste of time and money. Some people need to chill out and make friends outside of work.

  102. Michelle Says:
    February 27th, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I feel this challenege is excpetionally exclusionary. It is not an “all-in” competition: it’s an all MEN in competition. I don’t care if anyone wears a mustache or not, but by creating an Air Force wide attempt at morale that excludes 20% of the Force from even being able to participate is almost institutionalizing exclusion. It is supposed to be about “tradition” and “comradery”; but instead it’s a good ol’ boys’ club event. Like we don’t have enough of that going on anyway.

  103. Jamie Says:
    February 27th, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    For those who have gripes and complaints about our spiraling budget and the downsizing of our force, focus your concerns where they need to be, with your Congressmen. Join and utilize the Air Force Sergeant Association and other such remarkable agencies to get your voice heard where it counts instead of blogging here about what our leaders should and shouldn’t be doing. Especially since in most of these areas they are being blasted here for their hands are tied and what they are having to do is coming from the Dept of Defense as a result of decisions by YOUR Congressmen. So first educate yourself, then pursue an avenue that may actually produce results. An article sharing with our Airmen the valid efforts by our leadership to restore a bit of morale and allow the Air Force to honor what few traditions remain is not the forum for these comments.

  104. Disappointed Says:
    February 27th, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    WOW, really hateful comments out here. Seems if you have a different opinion you get cussed out and called names. @Old Crew Dog, just to clarify my point of view, since Welsh has declared this a MAJCOM competition he can do an “on-the-spot” recognition award (usually his coin), look at AFI 65-601, bought with O&M funds. And, he can travel to any MAJCOM under the guise of visiting the CC. That was my point! Senior leaders do this all the time and it is a waste of funds and my reason for bringing the funding issue into the equation. We are all fully aware of the long standing tradition. I have no issue with the competition or the tradition but when we are slicing our budgets to the bone, we don’t have funds to buy spare parts (Old Crew Dog should understand this) and to improve morale Welsh declares a morale booster focused on a specific group/gender, I really think this is not the solution. Remember, my opinion not yours. I don’t hate the Air Force, in fact, I love it and has been my way of life for many years. A lot of us are frustrated with the direction the Air Force has taken and it isn’t necessarily attributed to Welsh. In closing, all of us need to remember to respect each person’s opinion and be nice to one another. You may not agree but be respectful. This is a comment section and everyone is entitled to their opinions. Peace everyone, not here to argue, enjoy the competition.

  105. CMSGT.RETIRED W.M.TESLIK Says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    AFTER SPENDING MY LIFE IN UNIFORM (1943-1985) 42 years I have had the opportunity to observe and be involved in many short time changes that in the most part always brought about a morale boost for the majority of the troops involved.You will find that in any organization there are those members that always sit back and when the task is put into action they are the first to be heard with their comments against the proposal.I feel as a senior NCO I always insisted that in military that NCO always stood for Neat-Clean-Orderly.That should include this proposal.For the facial hair I say go for it as long as it does not interfere with their assigned duties.It should bring smiles to the many observing the people involved.It costs nothing only to those involved who must know it will take considerable time making their lip hair always presentable when in military uniform.This should be published at all AF facilities so that non military would not make any comments as to the facial growth on some military personal.I say get with it I am sorry that 90 year olds are not eligible.

  106. AFspouse88 Says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    As a spouse, whose hubby is on the hit list, can I just say, lighten up!
    Yes, it’s stressful right now. Will my hubby get kicked to the curb or not? But do we carry on? Yes! Does he help his younger Airmen deal with this same stress? Yes! And do I help the spouses out, while trying to refigure our own future? Yes! We are ALL stressed to the breaking point. Our maintainers are trying to keep birds up in the air with fewer Airmen and tight budgets. And they get it again at home when they put in 12 hour days. But, can they joke around and try to have fun for a minute before going back to getting their teeth kicked in? Yes!
    And, as part of a great group of very supportive spouses, we are all in with our husbands. They aren’t shaving their faces and we aren’t shaving our legs!

  107. Bill Schwertfeger Says:
    March 2nd, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Gen. Welsh,

    I have not had the privilege in meeting you, but I must admit you LITE MY FIRE! Back in my time with the 433rd at Ubon, the Stache was the thing. I guess a carry on from Robin when he Commanded the 8th. Continue to challenge your Troops to Know Their Heritage and let you handle the Mess that is coming down from above. Our Job has been and will continue to be the Best Fighting Air Force in the World.

    Hear, Hear, to Gen Welsh

    Bill Schwertfeger
    Fighter Pilot Through and Through

  108. Ellen Active Duty USAF Says:
    March 2nd, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    CSAF,
    You are truly an amazing leader and I have so much respect for you…thank you for all you do for our Airman! I can understand your challenge and I think it’s all in good fun. However, I do not care for the following statements:
    “the women in our Air Force have a critical role to play here.”

    “Their job is to ridicule us nonstop about the idiotic look that these mustaches will have on most of us, as we try to look like Tom Selleck and end up looking like a three-haired mole,” he said. “Fight’s on.”

    March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is Women of Character, Courage, Commitment. Our job should not be to focus on men’s foolish, ridiculous looks…it’s not about men this month…it’s about women! Brig General Olds flagrant defiance of military regulations then, over shadows our women today particularly in the month of March, WHM.

  109. M.C. Mumma III Says:
    March 2nd, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Old Crew Dawg and Aircraft Maintainer are right on target. Too many of you others just had to seize on anything to bitch about!Too bad Margaret and Michelle cannot compete, but it does give them a chance to sound off….to no lasting effect.
    Seems this CSAF has a sense of humor, something we in the USAF of 1948-78 would have appreciated, had those in the Chief’s job ever exhibited it!

  110. SMSgt leader Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Appeasing everyone all the time is a sure way to create demise. This documented throughout history and is currently happening in my USA. Wonderfully misguided to mix the current going-ons with a simple mustache challenge. Decisions made at each flight, squadron, group, and wing are deciding who gets cut. Most have self-identified by being less than desirable to retain—low hanging fruit is the first to go. Not that they are bad people, just the Air Force isn’t their line of work. It’s tough to see good people shown to the door and I hope they lived within their means; however, that’s a lifestyle not known of by most. To be a leader today, get on board or get looking for a new line of work yourself. These are tough decisions and tough people need to show up right now.
    Enough of the out of AFI talk—I’m participating and my Amn, nor I, will not be out of AFI. Not happy that not all can participate. Well, leaders of today’s Air Force, nominate a leader who at a time of difficulty was the hero needed and had a remarkable attribute worthy of emulation. Stop complaining and get busy with your part of making the Air Force stronger today than yesterday.

  111. Lady & Retired USAF! Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Lighten up–traditions, esprit de corps–I’m a fan!
    I love this haughty post: “Are you kidding me? Is this what we are paying your salary for? Mustashes?” SURE!–That’s what *YOU* are paying for–MUSTACHES! (What a joke, get a clue.) &, I recommend a dic”SH”onary.

  112. Welsh Fanboi Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    To quote one of the finest military leaders in history: “Lighten Up, Francis.”

    Do you really think General Welsh can do anything about force reductions and budget cuts? Do you think he would allow RIFs if he could stop them?

    Check your attitude. Welsh has been the most outstanding leader in the Air Force – for most of his career. Youtube has his speeches going back for a decade. This man is all about the Airmen in our Air Force.

    You should appreciate a guy that tries to make things a little fun and interesting for a change. We could always get another Merrill McPeek as Chief of Staff. Ask the old guys what it was like with that douche in charge….

  113. Marc Curcio Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    A coworker mentioned that he honors Maj Bong for his accomplishment of being the highest-scoring Ace.

  114. JD Says:
    March 5th, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Some of the best leaders are those who are self-effacing, not afraid to make fun of themselves, and not afraid to try something different. That’s Gen Welsh. Those of you bitching and moaning about this, get a sense of humor. You might just like it!

  115. PJE Says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 1:49 am

    The point is it’s a message from him directly to the airman nothing screwed up by everyone in between…

  116. SSG(Ret) Ted Says:
    March 9th, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Someone commented that a coworker mentioned that he honored Maj. Bong for his accomplishment of being the highest scoring ace. I assume he meant he honored that by getting high himself using a bong instead of an aircraft. FYI, Maj. Bong flew a P-38 if I recall correctly and was killed in action.

  117. Jeremiah Says:
    March 21st, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    When Mustache March began there was nobody standing around saying, “Let’s do something that excludes women. I know! We’ll grown mustaches!” Today when males participate in Mustache March they do not do it because it excludes women. This is just another case of a vocal minority trying to ruin a tradition for no good reason other than to try and make themselves out to be a martyr and play off the victim mentality so prevalent in our culture today. But then again maybe one day when their grandchildren ask you what your proudest moment in the Air Force was they can reply, “I helped stop the men from having a mustache competition.”

  118. Rhiain Says:
    March 22nd, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I may not be able to grow a mustache, but for 50 cents I can buy one from a “gumball”-type machine and “compete.” It’s about camaraderie. The more serious things are, the more we need to find fun to help release the stress.

  119. BlueGreen Says:
    March 30th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    So this is the Air Force definition of “all in”. Good point in case anyone wondered whether Air Force seniors moved beyond 1950s sophomore beliefs. Oh yeh. Maybe our SECAF can host an Armpit August so women are able to improve their morale. What century are these people living in? I am terribly sad about this.

  120. BlueGreen Says:
    March 30th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Wow! I don’t know how I. Issued welshfanboi and his comment about a “douche” … Really? I guess you would think Welch was okay. Damned fools.

  121. BlueGreen Says:
    March 30th, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Wow! I don’t know how I missed welshfanboi and his comment about a “douche” … Really? I guess you would think Welch was okay. Damned fools.

  122. Iskavaan Says:
    March 30th, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I applaud Gen Welsh’s efforts to boost morale before the upcoming bloodbath of force cuts in FY14-15. There isn’t much anyone can do since the decision to preserve platforms over people has been decided. Hopefully the force isn’t stripped too deeply, but it will be stripped.

  123. Mrs. Molly Says:
    March 31st, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Yes, we are all scared of losing our jobs and/or losing our co-workers. But Instead of criticizing the CMSAF, try to see that he is asking us to still have a sense of humor. The military makes us do a lot of things and right now holding on to you seat as tightly as you can is one of them. Just remember that NO ONE ever survived torture, detention or major disaster by worrying. Grow a mustache, grow your eyebrows or make a pie on March 14; just lift the spirits a little.
    Thank you CMSGT, I think it was a good idea.

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