Fort Rucker, Alabama, in the late summer, is normally an uncomfortable area for anyone, whether it is from the military or from the hot humid weather. It is 1966 and the fort is the main basic training base for the Woman’s Army Corp, better known as the WAC’S.
Upon arrival at the reception area, and as the recruits get off the bus, they are verbally abused to make them come into line, and to make them realize they are no longer civilians, and now a part of the military establishment. The first person they see is a female sergeant who comes onto the bus and tells the recruits what they will be doing over the next few hours and days.
The sergeant usually has very little makeup and a very short close-cropped haircut. The speech they give usually has to do with the rules and discipline of the fort and the unit they will be assigned to. The first hours are mainly to do with paperwork and processing in. The next day the new clothing is issued to the women, they get a personal hygiene lecture and the rule about the dress code for the female military personnel. Makeup and hairstyles they are allowed to wear is discussed.
The main rules are, very light makeup, no earrings and the hair is not allowed to touch the collar, and must be kept neat at all times
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The sergeant strongly encourages them to cut their hair very short, and tells them the repercussions of breaking any of the rules.
The sergeant will give them the rest of the day to go and have their hair done in an appropriate manner, and to purchase wigs if they want to. Wigs are not allowed with a uniform. The girls must report back to the unit to their platoon sergeants by 1800 hours. Then in a low voice, she tells them that they may get crew-cuts or shave their heads if they wish, and it would be no problem. Many loud gasps and disbelief are usually heard from the recruits and there is much giggling included. The only rule about a head shaving, is that they must wear a wig when in uniform while not on duty.
After the formation, about half of the women go to get their hair cut off either short or severely cropped all over their heads. Some of the women, for fun, will get their heads shaved bald. Some of the women, because they will get a chance to see a male, will go to the barbershop across the base, for a short haircut by a male barber. Since lesbianism runs rampant in the military, many of the girls go to a beauty shop for another woman to clip their hair for them, and some of the beauticians are lesbians themselves. Out of a company of 180 females, about 20-30 women will shave their heads bald for either the fun of it, or, because the other women would be intrigued with them, or, that they just wanted to experience it and have the chance to do it.
This story begins at the barber shop, and about a young woman named Lucinda Gryder, who had to go through basic training in order to go through Officer Candidate School to be a commissioned officer. She opted for a short haircut and went to a barbershop for it. There were about 10 other women there waiting for their haircuts also. Lucinda took a seat next to another woman who was waiting as well. They chatted nervously about many different things. There were 4 barbers and in what seemed like no time at all, it was their turn in the chair. Lucinda watched as the barber and the girl talked in soft tones. The barber, unceremoniously took the hairclipper from the hook under the counter, snapped on a cutting guide comb, and poised it at the nape of the girl’s neck. He switched it on and a loud whirring could be heard. Before he started clipping her hair for her, he asked her something and the girl nodded her head in an affirmative. With the clipper whirring, the barber pushed them up the back of her head, over the crown and forward, to the front. A large clump of 6″ to 8″ of brown hair fell in her lap. The barber continued running the clippers all over the girls head until there was 1 inch of hair remaining on the scalp. The barber then changed blades on the clipper and put on the “0000” blade for the closest cutting, and trimmed up the sides and back in a close even taper.
Just as the barber finished with the other girl, a chair was free, and the barber there beckoned to Lucinda with a crooked finger to take the seat for her own haircut. As she walked to the chair, she ran her fingers through her shoulder length, curly, dark brown hair. She calmly sat down in the barber’s chair, and the barber shook out the cutting apron and pinned it around her neck and shoulders. Lucinda told him that she wanted it that she wanted it cut off close to her head, but to leave short bangs and small curls at the sideburns and the back tapered up close. The barber tried to talk her into having him clip it all off, or to at least get it in a crew-cut length. With a small smile, she refused and insisted upon keeping some of her hair. The barber took the clipper in his right hand and combed out her hair with his left hand. Picking up a section of 12-inch tresses with the barber comb, the barber clipped it off. He continued all around Lucinda’s head until her hair was 1 to 2 inches all over. He then hurriedly combed and clipped away the rest of her hair, until the top was about 3/4 inch long, and sides down to less than 1 inch and bangs to the middle of her forehead. The barber took the bare toothed hairclippers and ran them up the back of her neck and head into a tapered effect. He picked up the edger and clipped her nape line into a nice oval shape. All the time the barber clipped her, Lucinda watched herself in the mirror and her long locks of hair fall away to the floor. As the barber started to clip her neckline, he turned the chair a bit into the light to see better, and for the first time, Lucinda noticed the girl sitting next to her. About 3/4 of her hair had been clipped away from her scalp, and Lucinda saw for the first time, a woman without hair on her head. The girl sat in the chair with a solemn expression on her face, watching all her light blond, pageboy style hair come off her head. The look on Lucinda’s face was a mixture of amusement and perplexity as to why a woman would shave off all her hair. The barber finished clipping away all the girl’s hair, and then used the edger to clip it as close as he could. She finished and started to take away the apron as she felt her bald head, and said, “I really like it very much, but I thought it would be smoother.”
The barber told her that she would have to shave it all off with a razor, and to go to the P.X. to buy one.
Lucinda got out of the chair feeling her own short cropped hair and paid the barber. She really liked the feeling of being free of her hair length.
When she returned to the company area, she saw about 40 other women who shaved their heads bald. Many of them were in the latrine shaving their scalps clean and smooth. Lucinda was amused and intrigued with them, but could not understand why these girls would shave themselves as they were doing. It seemed like there was a party going on.
The women had to go to the beauty or barber shops every week to keep their hair neat looking, and over the next 8 weeks of basic training, Lucinda’s hair got progressively shorter. One day she went into the barber shop on the way to the P.X., and had the barber give her a extra short crew-cut with the sides and back clipped down to her scalp, and the top to less than 1 inch. She liked it and thought it very cute and interesting.
She watched in the mirror as the barber ran the hairclipper up the sides and back of her head and all around, until there was a 1/8th inch of stubble on the sides and back. The barber then took the comb and lifted the hair on top so it stood up straight, and clipped it all off, so that only 1 inch remained. Skillfully he took the clipper and trimmed her hair evenly across the top of her head.
When the barber finished clipping her, he took the cutting apron away and shook it out. Lucinda got out of the chair and felt the small amount of hair she had left, looking at herself in wonderment, surveying her nice new crew-cut.
Lucinda got accepted for O.C.S. as she expected. While there, all the girls kept their hair in crew-cuts and some of them sported baldies, she did likewise and enjoyed the freedom.
She graduated and was assigned to a support company. After a year she made the rank of Captain, and took over the company as Commanding Officer.
As the C.O., she commanded 5 platoons of women for a total of 180 females.
All the time she kept her hair in a severely clipped crew-cut. She encouraged the other officers and N.C.O.’s under her command to crop their hair also, and many did.
Every morning the First Sergeant held formation, which all enlisted types were required to attend. The orders of the day were posted for all to hear and see.
Slowly, over a period of 4 months, the captain began to instill personal pride and camaraderie within her troops. Even though they were secretaries and other clerical personnel, she, the captain, made them look at themselves and feel proud. Of course, one of the ways she did this was to get them proud of their appearance.
Needles to say, as the reader of this story has figured out, she got them to cut their hair off short. Most of the girls were very enthusiastic about cutting their hair that annoyed them, and for all the time that they had to take care of it.
One morning at the formation, the First Sergeant showed up with her hair clipped off so short, at first she looked bald headed. She only had about 1 inch of hair on top and the sides and back were clipped to her scalp.
As most of the women had short haircuts already, it did not matter when the sergeant read the orders to them, that all the women in the command were to have their hair cropped into a close fitting hairdo, that was not longer than 1 inch at the bangs and half of that at the back and sides. They were to taper the nape up close. Any shorter than that would be great, but any longer would be a non-judicial punishment for the offender.
There were some women who balked at the order to cut off their hair, however were convinced by the other girls to do it anyway.
There were 8 girls who steadfastly refused to cut off their long hair, and while in the barracks, a group of other women got to them one by one, and with the hairclippers, they clipped the girls completely bald headed.