Mildenhall facing some real growth
Stars and Stripes March 12, 2008
RAF MILDENHALL — The moustache has been a distinctive facial trait on males throughout the centuries. Many famous, as well as infamous, men have made it their trademark.
The ability to grow man hair on the upper lip undoubtedly brings great pride to any guy.
Male airmen from the 100th Operations Group are embracing this rite of passage. That’s why they’ve begun a monthlong contest, dubbed Moustache Madness, all for the sake of unit morale.
The event is taken in good humor and friendly trash talk is common. At the end of the month, a panel of judges will award prizes to the best and worst ’staches. No matter the prize, it’ll always be about bragging rights.
“Your manhood is at stake,” said 1st Lt. Jeramie Castellanos, co-coordinator of the contest. “You really can’t give an award for that. Being told that you are ‘the man’ is enough.”
In the first week of competition, Master Sgt. Bill Fitch, the other coordinator, already has sprouted a decent ’stache.
Fitch and about 20 other airmen in the unit are vying for the Tom Selleck Magnum P.I. award, given to the “overall kick-ass moustache,” he said Friday.
Other award categories include the Hitler, the narrowest ’stache with no side growth. Then, there is the Mangy Dog, which is grown in patches.
The airman with the worst one gets the Most Pathetic title, said Fitch, who added that all facial hair must comply with Air Force standards.
Not feeling too confident with his early showing, Castellanos regrettably said he’s the frontrunner of the latter award.
“I can’t grow any hair in the middle. I’d win the Fu Manchu category [if we had one],” referring to the fictional Asian character’s unique ’stache.
Castellanos is betting on Capt. Rob Arnett to win the Magnum P.I. award, he said.
“He can grow a monster ’stache,” he said. “He’s a beast in that category.”
Fitch said that Moustache Madness has been held at the unit for a few years since he’s been here. He participated in a similar contest while stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.
It’s also something for men to do while downrange.
“We always do it during deployments, when you’re away from your wives and significant others,” Fitch said.
He believes that most women hate guys with mustaches. His wife is one of them.
“I think my wife is going to shave my face one day when I’m sleeping,” he said jokingly.
Many females in the unit “think it’s disgusting,” Fitch said. “For those of us few who can grow decent moustaches, it’s not too bad. But for some of these young guys, they have these straggly things starting to grow.”
Developing a full ’stache is quite the sacrifice, as it can hamper a man’s appearance, Castellanos said.
“It’s definitely a game inhibitor,” he said. “Pretty much you’re not looking to hook up with anybody [during the contest].”
Staff Sgt. Ritva Rivera, who works for the 351st Air Refueling Squadron with Castellanos and Fitch, doesn’t mind the male-only contest.
“It is unique,” she said of the contest. “It’s kind of funny, too.”