Every year, thousands of young Americans join the Marine Corps ready to serve our country. There’s a huge transition to be made with each commitment – and one step is the initial haircut.
The video below was filmed at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, within the Receiving Building. It gives us an up-close look at the haircut process that marks a life-changing point for the recruits.
The military is full of courageous, selfless individuals who’ve traded in their personal lives to help protect our country. While getting a haircut seems like a small sacrifice – it’s also quite powerful to watch.
Dozens of male recruits are shuffled into the room and stand like statues waiting for their turn.
As the camera pans around to the different faces, you can tell they’re all young and likely have many thoughts swimming through their heads. According to the USA Gov website, the oldest an individual can be enlisting in the Marines is 28.
The main barber is a no-nonsense type of man. He gives the recruits strict directions before any of them receive haircuts in regards to how they must sit.
One by one the men are ordered into the chairs to have their hair shaved off with a razor. Regardless of the length – it’s removed in quick, precise swoops.
All of the other new recruits stand expressionless holding canteens while they wait for their turn. Each one of them looks no different than your brother, your nephew, or the kid next door.
It’s an eye-opening reminder for those of us who don’t have any family members in the military. Many times, they’re just kids – and all are somebody’s son or daughter.
Hair maintenance is a requirement in the Marine Corps for multiple reasons. In the video description they explained:
“A small step in the transformation of becoming United States Marines, weekly haircuts are meant to strip recruits of their individuality and for hygienic purposes.”
Even though the recruits walk into the building as individuals with their own styles – they walk out looking like military members. With every haircut, symbolically, it’s as if another commitment is sealed.
On the official Marines website, they provide some details about Receiving Week. It doesn’t sound like an easy leg of the journey whatsoever.
“Recruits arrive on Parris Island late at night and are immediately thrust into the stressful whirlwind of in-processing, haircuts, uniform and gear issue and medical evaluations. Recruits undergo an initial strength test to ensure they are prepared for training. At the end of the week, they meet the team of drill instructors who will be responsible for them for the rest of training.”
There are set guidelines when it comes to hairstyles in the Marine Corps for both males and females. However, they do allow some flexibility within the set of rules.
Most importantly though, they require a “neat and professional MILITARY hairstyle” at all times (which is different than a civilian’s professional style).
Joining the military isn’t for everyone. In fact, it takes an incredible amount of mental and physical strength that only certain people have.
Watch the moving video below to get a good look into the faces of some of these brave individuals – who are just beginning their transition into life as a Marine. It’s not something you get to see every day.
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