The Beard Era ended about the third year after I came on active duty. I did not serve during Zumwalt's tenure. My CO had a fussy little beard, and he was one grumpy guy for a few months after the grooming regs returned to previous standards. That was about the same time women finally got summer and wash khaki, maternity uniforms, summer whites, gold chin straps on covers, and were allowed to carry swords. I could finally buy steel-toed boots in women's sizes and didn't have to stuff a man's pair with socks.
For a long time, the USPHS guys could have beards, and since they wore Navy-style uniforms differing only in some insignia, that's how you could pick them out at military hospitals. I don't know whether they still can.
Of course, if you look back a century or so, there were nicely powdered wigs in the 18th c. and massive beards and sideburns in the 19th.
I do give ADM Z great credit for opening up all kinds of career fields to minorities and women.
Enjoy this article written by CAPT James "T" Kirk, USN, USNA '90, the PCO (prospective CO). Yes, that's his name.
If you haven't visited the ship commissioning link in my earlier posts in a while, new pix and video are being posted.
And, you can request free tickets to the ceremony at 5 pm on Saturday, October 15; link is on the site. It's open to the public as long as tickets last. She will be tied up at Locust Point near Ft. McHenry in Baltimore. There will be speechifying, of course, and the magic moment when the crew runs (yes, runs) aboard and changes her from Zumwalt to USS ZUMWALT (DDG 1000), first of her class and a tech marvel.
My work on the Commissioning Committee team is ramping up - I recently met up with a local artist who signed the limited edition prints of the pen and ink drawings of the ship, and was up until 0200 proofing the 60+ page commissioning publication. It takes a village to bring a ship to life for her commissioned service! I had no idea when I volunteered for this what all it entailed, but it's been most enjoyable.
Rewards for hard work the last year on the Commissioning Committee: 5 social events related to the ship this week and the big event on Saturday, plus Blue Angels doing a show over the Baltimore harbor. After-hours tour onboard tomorrow night, to which I am looking forward.
Photos of ZUMWALT (DDG 1000) [will not be "USS" until 15 Oct] below from this evening's visit. DH and I got the gear head tour from stem to stern from an LDO (prior enlisted, primarily technical supervisor). I sat in the Captain's chair on the bridge and silently said "Engage." A ship that truly breaks with tradition in both technology and approach to manpower. We got there in time for evening colors, with Ft. McHenry in the background.
And, the reality shot, the honey wagon servicing the ship:
And for my last post on this, having just gotten home from the commissioning events, here is the best line from the 7 speakers' comments: "If Batman had a ship, this would be it."
The speeches were just the stage setting for hearing the time-honored words that place a ship in commission as an active service vessel, direct the commissioning pennant to be flown, and set the first watch. As the sun set, the crew ran (literally) aboard to man the main deck, red, white and blue balloons were released, and Anchors Aweigh brought the crowd of 8000+ to its feet.
It was an honor to be asked to serve on the Commissioning Committee, and for such a ground-breaking ship.