In a pitiful attempt to evoke an anti-corporate arts-and-crafts image, hipsters have plagued America with their painfully pretentious facial hair. These beta-males skulk across the streets of Brooklyn talking about Facebook and opining on nothing of any particular meaning while showing off a carefully manicured scruffy appearance.

These manginas are unaware that it was, in fact, the alpha males of U.S. Special Forces that reintroduced the beard into popular culture. In 2001, terrorists struck America, destroying the World Trade Center and blowing a burning hole in the side of the Pentagon. In response, America deployed the unconventional warfare experts of Special Forces.

In order to blend in with their host-nation counterparts, the Northern Alliance, Special Forces soldiers grew out their beards. The beard is a status symbol in Afghanistan, denoting age and manliness. Many village elders in Afghanistan have beards that blow up under their armpits when a strong gust of wind rolls through the Hindu Kush. In order to garner respect in this tribal culture, Special Forces teams also began sporting beards, but with an American twist—the ever-present ballcap.

Over time, the beard became institutionalized within Special Operations culture in two ways. First, the Afghan militias came to respect their American Special Forces mentors and knew that the Americans with beards and ballcaps were the real deal. These were the guys who came to kick some ass and give the enemy the business. Therefore, it became important for SOF to maintain the image status quo.