Bulletin Board
Special Events
January, 2017

A major shift is taking place within the ranks of our United States military, this particular one taking place with the United State Army. In essence the Army is allowing deviations of the standards effecting their military uniforms to be accepted and approved based on the "religious preferences" of those making a request for change. The results will be the allowance, based on "religious preferences" of turbans and head scarfs as well as beards to be worn while attired in standard issue uniforms. In addition corn rows and braids will be accepted.

                      A Letter From the Commanding Officer VA106/VF62 Reunion Group

I was a “hood” in the 11th grade, a ducktail haircut, t-shirt with a pack of Lucky Strike rolled in the left sleeve, jeans wore low and black engineer boots…one of the original “Fonze’s”. That all changed in February of 1959 when I raised my hand to take the oath of allegiance to serve my country in the United States Navy. The first order of business on the first day of boot camp that summer of 1959 was to remove any indication of appearance or attire that would make me any different, in any way or manner, than the rest of the 120 other humans who made up our 85 day AR to AN combined boot camp.
Everything we did, everything we had, everything we ate, every place we slept, all the same, no deviation except by rank or rate. We were united, one unit of many units, alike, all the same.
With one exception. My standard issue of “dog tags” contain four letters I am sure were different from some of my other shipmates throughout my time of service. “PROT” were the letters. They stood for Protestant, put on my dog tags because of the question, “What is your religious preference.”
Required to wear them, our dog tags were worn with all our uniforms, both dress and working under our white t-shirts. The only time they were exposed was in the heads while taking showers or preparing for the day’s activities. Even then, it would have taken a close observation of the dog tag to determine what a person’s “preference” was.
You see, we all were a unit, one massive group of men and women who were completely united, alike, all the same. And as intended from the onset of our raising our hand in oath, it was, and remains an extremely effective process of causing humans to act as one with a common purpose, void of any distractions that would differentiate them for any of the others.
Now our military is considering, even implementing as I write this, a major shift in this proven and effective mode of discipline and development by allowing beards and turbans and dreadlocks and braids to be acceptable while wearing the uniforms of the United States military, based on their “religious preferences.” How far will this go? Will an individual with historical ties to the “Woka-woka” tribe be allowed to wear a bone through their nose and hoop earrings while in their military uniform because of their “religious preferences.?”
As a veteran who lived by the codes and strict discipline of military requirements and restrictions, I am opposed to this action. The lid of exceptionalism in our military has been cracked, set slightly ajar with this initial action. It negates the basic intent of military makeup by allowing deviation, brought on by “personal preferences”, in this case, religion. I say the letters on the dog tags are enough, enough for everyone…” personal preferences” be damned.
There is a time of decision, to walk a path here, or over there. We have choices based on the knowledge of where that path leads, what are the requirements, what are the consequences. The time to accept or reject the expectations and requirements of joining the United State military is well before, not after, raising one’s hand to take the oath of allegiance.
If you agree with my statement, I encourage you to write to our new Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis and voice your opinion. This must not stand.

Monte Toon
Commanding Officer