I won’t soon forget the day the Navy changed its policy on sideburns. It was 1997, and my LCPO at the time, Senior Chief Terry “Nuch” Antonacci, was livid. While I never saw any of his baby pictures, I suspect he was born with his impressive “chops,” He wore them proudly every day thereafter — during his recruit days, as a Leading Petty Officer, and as a proud member of the Chiefs Mess — all in accordance with Navy standards. Then suddenly, without reason, the Navy changed course. Policy was issued, instructions were modified, and sideburns were suddenly persona non grata.
Sideburns, Tattoos, and Yoga Pants
It was the mid-1990’s and sideburns were the trend, thanks to Jason Priestly and “quality” television programming like Beverly Hills 90210. Somehow, however, the popularity of sideburns threatened good order and discipline in the United States Navy. In classic Navy fashion, they had to go — proud history be damned!
Tattoos would face a similar fate a few years later. Another popular trend at the time, the Navy felt threatened, instructions were issued, and tattoos were restricted. Today, yoga pants…well, you get the picture. Rather than adjust to the times, the Navy felt it easier to simply deny the trends, impose restrictions, and move on.
Swing by and check it out!