ORLANDO — Mustache March is right around the corner. And this year, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh is issuing a challenge to the entire service.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had an all-in Mustache March, have we?” Welsh said during his Feb. 20 address to the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium. “I’m putting the smackdown on you guys. Air Force-wide Mustache March, MAJCOM competitions.”
Welsh prefaced his challenge by showing two humorously-doctored photos of himself — one with a regular mustache and another with an outrageously drooping ‘stache. But airmen shouldn’t even dream of using such Photoshop chicanery, he said.
“We’ll check the imagery, to make sure it hasn’t been doctored,” Welsh said.
Mustache March is an Air Force tradition in honor of three-time ace pilot Brig. Gen. Robin Olds. The legendary pilot sported an equally legendary mustache — extravagantly waxed, grown in flagrant defiance of military regulations, and said to be “bulletproof.” As the excellent site “Badass of the Week” noted, Olds’ trademark handlebar even has its own chapter on his Wikipedia page.
The details of this year’s contest appeared to be somewhat in flux. After Air Force leaders have chosen the winning soup strainer, Welsh said, “I’ll figure out a way to honor him.”
While a mustache competition is, by its nature, a guy’s contest, Welsh said that “the women in our Air Force have a critical role to play here.”
“Their job is to ridicule us nonstop about the idiotic look that these mustaches will have on most of us, as we try to look like Tom Selleck and end up looking like a three-haired mole,” he said. “Fight’s on.”