ROTC cadets compete in Air Force-wide Mustache March


Senior Jerrod Mertz celebrates after the airforce ROTC cadets vote him the winner of their mustache march competion Tuesday, April 1, 2014 outside Taylor Hall.

Mary Booth

Throughout the month of March, the Air Fore ROTC participated in an Air Force-wide Mustache March where they competed to see who could grow the most “bodacious” mustache.

Capt. Phillip Bergeron, the Recruiting Flight Commander for the Air Force ROTC, said the Air Force tradition began with Gen. Robin Olds, a U.S. fighter pilot who claimed his mustache made him bulletproof during the Vietnam War.

 “It’s a challenge sent out by Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force Chief of Staff,” Bergeron said. “And everyone is in the running.”

 Bergeron said the winner of the competition at the Kent detachment would have to submit a photo of their mustache to the United States Air Force for evaluation.

 “We take a picture at the end of March and the person with the most bodacious mustache is going to be sent forward from detachment 630, all the way up the Air Force chain,” Bergeron said. “Then someone is going to be named with the best mustache in the entire Air Force.”

 Theodore Rask, senior accounting major and Air Force ROTC cadet, was one of the participants in the Mustache March. Rask said the competition takes place every March, but this year was very different for the cadets in ROTC.

 “We have new officers that are in charge of us so they kind of brought a different flavor, it’s more high-tempo,” Rask said. “They are more involved with everything, so with things like this it’s kind of about morale and getting everyone together and pumped.”

 Rask said the Mustache March was a lot of fun for the cadets. He said they participated in games and activities that all dealt with their mustaches.

 “It was fun for me and it was fun for everyone else too,” said Rask. “It’s kind of a novelty thing. Last week we took action shots with our mustaches and then compared them to things. We had the best mustache for the cadets in the detachment and we even had a PowerPoint of our mustaches.”

 Matthew Carlson, senior political science major and Air Force ROTC cadet, also participated in the Mustache March. He said this tradition shows a lot about the Air Force and where it’s going in terms of morale and unity.          

“It’s one thing to do it as a morale booster within your unit, but when you get the entire Air Force involved it’s pretty cool,” Carlson said. “Getting everyone to do an Air Force tradition like the Mustache March is exciting and powerful.

”Carlson said the women in the Air Force had a very important role in the Mustache March too. Not only did they get to make fun of the men for having goofy mustaches, but they also got to partake in their own way, he said.

 “Some of the female cadets in our class made paper mustaches to hold under their noses,” Carlson said. “Or they did the thing where they drew mustaches on their finger. So they definitely contributed.”

The Mustache March was great for their detachment this year because the cadets and cadre had a lot of fun with it, said Carlson.

“If the Chief of Staff for the Air Force says we should do something, we have to do it,” Carlson said. “You have to take his order, go by it and really own it. And our detachment definitely owned it.”

Contact Mary Booth at [email protected].