I remember when I joined the Navy in 1969, the old salts complained about the New Navy! Some of these "Old Salts" had served during the Korean Conflict and the Navy was very different for them. In my rating of Gunner's Mate, many things had changed. For instance, until 1968, Gunner's Mates did not do their own electrical or electronic work. That was the duty of the Fire Control Technician. But, with the influx of the MK 42 Gun Mount, the MK 10, MK 13, MK 11, MK 22, and Talos systems, Gunner's Mates had to do their own electronic and electric troubleshooting and maintenance. That transition was brutal. The "Old Salts" fought that change, tooth and nail. When I was an instructor at Gun School, for MK 42 "C" school, I actually has a GMG1 who refused to learn the electrical part of the Gun system! I had to do a lot of convincing to even get him to try. He did, finally, accept the change. But I am sure he never really embraced it.
Now, look at today's Navy through my eyes. Yesterday, we went to the Commissary at NAS Pensacola. I saw a female enlisted sailor in the soon to be replaced, NEW powder blue camouflage utility uniform. She wore the uniform well, and looked as military as a female can in a uniform that has "Baggy" as it's motto. I remember when we had our Dungaree Uniform tailored to look tight and crisp. Sailors actually paid money to have seams permanently sewed into the shirt! But I digress.
She had a hair style that let her hair hang below her collar. Now, my recollection of female hair standards is that the hair could not touch the collar or protrude out of the Cover. She failed in that but I believe she probably met today's standards and that is my point. Long hair has "No Place" in the military! It is hard to keep clean, a safety issue around moving machinery, requires extra water to clean, and may even catch on the many things that stick out everywhere in the ship. Think of running, full bore, to your GQ station, after being startled out of a sound sleep, your hair is loose, and your get you hair stuck in a water tight door as it closes behind you! Ouch!!
But my argument goes even further. If a female sailor can have her hair that long and meet standards, why can't a male sailor be held to the same standard? If she is safe, clean, and ready to fight with long hair, a male would be too! As my Mom used to say; What's good for the goose is good for the gander!!
Another issues is personal security. When I was operating overseas, we were told when we went on liberty in civilian clothes, to "Dress to Blend In". Right!! All the males in the country we were visiting had long hair. There we were with our "High and Tight" haircuts. A blind man on a galloping horse could tell we were not from there! When I was scheduled to leave the Caron during my last Med Cruise, I was going to leave from Egypt. The Captain at that time was Lou Harlow. He told me to grow my hair long and grow a beard, so I would not be a target in the civilian airport. I refused his considerate offer because I always wanted to set the example. But, if we made the haircut standards equal for both sexes, that would not be a problem.
Another argument against long hair was cleanliness. In the Navy I served in, fresh water was more precious than gold. We made fresh water from salt water using evaporators. They were extremely inefficient and most of the water went to the boilers! Today, we are blessed with the very efficient reverse osmosis system and there are few boilers to feed. So, washing long hair is no longer an issue.
So, if I were MCPON for a day, I would change the grooming standards for males to echo the female hair grooming standards. Maybe I am not to old to change!