“I started to let my hair grow just before I officially separated from the Corps. I knew that I was pushing regulations, and kept the length hidden under my cover (cap) and tucked behind my ears for inspections, but I didn’t think anybody would make a big deal about it because my time was short. Then, for the first time in my life, I was wrong. (Well, maybe the second time!)
“My final day as an active duty Marine came on December 26, 1986. I spit- shined my boots, pressed my uniform and went to the administration building to sign out. There I was, standing at the counter to sign my final paperwork and pick up my separation pay, moments away from completing my service and commitment. As I took my cover off a gunnery sergeant from in back of the room passing through saw me and barked at me. “Hey Marine! That’s not a regulation haircut.”
“I know,” I said respectfully, “but I’m getting out right now.”
“No, you’re not! Not until you get a regulation haircut.”
“I couldn’t believe what I saw as his audacity to nit-pick my hair! Everything else about me was squared away, but he zoned in on my hair!
“Hey Gunny,” I repeated with a tense smile, “I’m right here to sign my papers to get out.”
“Not with that hair, Marine.” And he dug into his position.
“I could feel the rage against this man building inside of me. One of my buddies grabbed me, took me outside saying, “Kennedy, it ain’t worth it.”
“I’m gonna break this guy in half!” I spat.
“I told you it ain’t worth it. Just go get a little trim.”
“Reluctantly, I went to the PX barbershop, still angry about being hassled by the gunnery sergeant. Driving to the barber, I offered a “bullet prayer” to God but strangely enough I noticed that God was beginning to soften my heart. By the time I sat in the barber’s chair I actually had a peace that could only come from God.
“I’m getting out today and they won’t let me go until I get a haircut,” I explained.
“Okay,” the barber said. “So you only want it trimmed a little.”
“No. Give me a full regulation Marine Corps haircut,” I insisted.
“All right.; if that’s the way you want it.”
“The barber did his thing, and then I went back to the gunnery sergeant to do mine.
“I went straight back to the administration building, walked past the front counter and proceeded to walk back to the desk of the gunnery sergeant who gave me grief about my hair. The tension in the room grew with each advancing step I made toward him. Everyone must have thought that “Thumper” was going to blow and the loose cannon was ready to explode!
“When I stood in front of his desk I was completely squared away. I put my fists on his desk, leaned forward, and he leaned back.
“Is this regulation haircut satisfactory, Gunnery Sergeant?”
“It looks good, Marine,” he mumbled.
“Let me tell you something,” I said. “Before I would’ve jumped up and busted you in half for making me get a haircut. But now I’m gonna tell you that I love you, man.”
“The guy just stared at me. He was obviously surprised.
“I continued, “I love you because of the love Jesus Christ has shown me. You were right, and now I can leave the Corps like I should.”
“He didn’t know how to respond. Stumbling he said, “Uh, that’s nice. That’s great. Okay.”
“I picked up my papers and left as a civilian for the first time in three years. The Marines had been good for me and I was in a better place than ever before. Semper Fidelis. Always faithful. But even better, I was learning to be faithful to God. Because He had been so faithful to me.”
- Excerpt from The Victor Marx Story: With God All Things Are Possible