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.

Social Media

You may recall a similar effort with the advent of social media.   Sites such as MySpace, Together We Served, and Facebook were a “trend” that had no place in the Navy.  Access to sites were restricted, establishing a social media presence was considered risky, and most senior Navy leaders probably wished social media — like sideburns, tattoos, and yoga pants — would simply go away.  Then, something changed.  Social media didn’t go away.   Instead, it became an essential part of our daily lives.  And the Navy finally realized it was a tool that could be leveraged for engagement.


Our detailers at Pers 472 have established a presence on both Facebook:
and Twitter:

Swing by and check it out!