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Two Aussie Soldiers Could Be Sacked Because They Have Beards

Two Aussie Soldiers Could Be Sacked Because They Have Beards

The Defence Force has strict rules about facial hair but the two blokes say they have a medical condition that allows it.

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie

The military puts recruits through their paces, emotionally, physically and mentally to make them tough. They have strict rules to ensure these men and women are punctual, clean and disciplined.

But apparently that also extends to your facial hair and it could soon cost two soldiers their jobs.

The two blokes, based in Townsville, have had an ongoing fight with the Australian Defence Force over their beards. The pair say their jobs aren't affected by the facial hair and the whole debacle shouldn't result in them being unemployed.

Defence Jobs Australia/YouTube

One has told the Townsville Bulletin: "It's discrimination against something so minor. Over the last two years it's set my career back a fair bit. I've lost experience, I've lost promotion courses and have just been ­confined to barracks.

"We used to go out in the field from four to eight months at a time and there's no real chance to wash at all; you're in vehicles and always covered in grease and dirt, then have to shave every day."

He said that constant shaving has caused some pretty bad skin irritation and maintaining that level of cleanliness is more of a burden for him than growing the beard.

Another soldier says he has been growing his beard over the past six years because he suffers with a skin condition known as folliculitis, which can sometimes look like acne.

The condition is essentially an inflamed hair follicle that can be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. Having to constantly shave would encourage the inflammation so it's not hard to imagine why the guy wants to grow his beard.

Defence Jobs Australia/YouTube

He's also told the Bulletin: "It's so stressful. There is absolutely no job ­security. I understand the importance of traditions but traditions should also change with the times."

The army has a policy that if a soldier needs to grow a beard for a medical reason, their case will go before the Medical Employment Classification Review Board.

According to the Courier Mail, the Australian Army's policy is: "Army personnel are to be clean shaven unless they are posted to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment as a Pioneer Sergeant; for religious reasons; on operational deployments with permission by the force commander; and with medical restrictions not to shave."

The two soldiers are anxiously waiting to see what the result of their case at the Review Board as it will decide whether they can keep their beard or their job.

Featured Image Credit: Defence Jobs Australia/YouTube

Topics: army, News, Australia