This commander prepped for war by organizing a beard growing contest

In May 1941, the United States was on the brink of war.

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President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed an “unlimited national emergency” and ordered American forces to prepare “to repel any and all acts or threats of aggression directed toward any part of the Western Hemisphere.”

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While the situation seemed grim, at least one commanding officer decided to lighten the mood. He allowed his men to grow their beards in what would be the most hirsute event in the U.S. military until Robin Olds headed to Vietnam.

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Related: This Air Force fighter pilot is the inspiration for ‘Mustache March’ >

Your winner, ladies and gentlemen.

Your winner, ladies and gentlemen.

Japan attacked the Philippines on December 8th, 1941. Six months later, the Philippines fell and the American troops who survived were submitted to the harshest treatment of any POWs in the Pacific War. The Allies did not retake the Philippines until October 1944.

https://youtu.be/w9qgFqDkxMo?t=2m44s