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Yeah. Also not SF but I wanted to caveat a bit.
In many Middle Eastern countries that we like to go do war in, beards are a symbol of masculinity and maturity. If you’re negotiating with some tribal sheikh, he will probably have more respect for a bearded dude than some baby faced dude. It can be a subliminal thing, it’s not like they’ll laugh at clean-shaved McGee behind his back. If you’re training some guerrillas, they’re probably going to pay more immediate respect and attention if you’ve got a beard. It’s a cultural thing. Since SF tends to do a lot of that sort of stuff, the beards help. It makes you look a little more respectable to your target audience. Beards have social utility that, while probably not a difference maker all the time, can definitely help. Same way American businessmen bow to Japanese businessmen, then shake and conduct business.
I also imagine it helps make them less identifiable and anonymizes them a bit. If some dude is trying to describe a specific operator you can only get so far by saying, “Uh… he’s jacked, tan, he’s got a beard, he’s got tattoos…” because that’s describing at least half of the SF dudes out there. The enemy can’t do much with that.
I mean, I’m sure in some situations the beards can help them blend in, but intuition tells me that function takes a backseat for most operators in most scenarios. It’s kinda hard to blend in when you’re decked out with hella tactical shit. I feel like the whole super secret undercover stuff with Hitman disguises and whatever the fuck doesn’t happen all that often for Army SF.
Then there’s also the fact that beards are cool as fuck and SF can pretty much do what they want as long as they get the job done.
Just my $0.02.