LTC Sewell and the Walrus’s Mustache

Generals all have their quirks.  It comes with the territory.  They have generally paid their dues and deserve to have their quirks.  Hey, we can all live with that.  Most generals, in my experience had many memorable traits that made you love them or hate them, but, the main thing you remember about them is not their quirk.  It goes to the man, the soldier.  There are exceptions.

One of our Commanding Generals during my stay at VIIth Corps in Stuttgart, Germany, hated mustaches.  He hated them to the point he assembled the entire corps headquarters and harangued us for 15 to 20 minutes about the evils of mustaches. We learned numerous scientific studies proved women did not like mustaches.  On and on he went. You know, I do not recall much about that guy except his hate for mustaches!  So, being a good soldier, I refused to shave mine off until the day I signed out of the unit.

One day, one of my Sergeants, SSG Brown, came to me all nervous.  As SSG Brown walked up the road to the headquarters building where we worked, The General’s sedan had screeched to a halt, The General had jumped out, locked SSG Brown’s heels (called him to attention) and chewed him out berating him for his evil mustache. Now, I have to admit, to a mustache hater, SSG Brown’s mustache was a bright red flag.  It was full.  It was thick.  It was bristley, but, it was legal and neatly trimmed.  Never-the-less, any walrus would have been proud to have a mustache of SSG Brown’s Mustache’s magnitude.  Finally, The General Screamed, “Where do you work?”  “Sir,” SSG Brown said,” J-2 Ops with LTC Sewell.”

“COL Sewell, we have to talk” I said.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  My Col, LTC Sewell, was the J2 Operations head.  In any disagreement over plans, J3 Operations will almost always win.  The Col in charge of J3 Operations was LTC Bailey.  LTC Bailey and LTC Sewell had butted heads several times and there was not a lot of love lost between them.  So, back to “the situation.”

“COL Sewell, SSG Brown was accosted by The General.  The General was really upset about his mustache and screamed at him for almost ten minutes.  Finally, he asked SSG Brown where he worked.”

“Oh No!” Said Col Sewell.

“Well, you do not need to worry, Sir, SSG Brown told him he worked for COL Bailey in J3 Ops and Col Bailey said he did not give a hoot for how The General felt about mustaches.”

I do not think I have ever seen LTC Sewell, or anyone for that matter, turn that shade of white.  All the blood drained out of his face. I lost it.  I laughed so hard I am sure it cost me a point or two on my evaluation that time around. But, it was hard to get around LTC Sewell and I had done it.  I guess I do not hate that stupid general so bad after all.

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