It was not that long ago the U.S. military, especially the Army, Air Force and Navy, relaxed their controversial restrictions over natural hair. These restrictions focused mainly on black women’s hair.
Over the summer, the military eased up on their ridiculous changes to standard grooming procedures for women, saying some protective styles will not be allowed while in uniform.
Even after reversing their restrictions, Petty Officer Jessica Sims was not so lucky.
The 12 year veteran was perplexed because she wore locs most of her career and it was not until she was stationed at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois did it become a problem. For much of her career, she had duty stations from Virginia, North Carolina and Texas and she says she never received slack about her locs.
Sims kept her locs in a neat bun since 2005. She added that the bun never interfered with her wearing any type of head gear.
However, the Department of Defense said the opposite.
Chief of Naval Personnel spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello said Sims was not only given plenty of opportunities to change her hair style and that the locs were not within regulations.
Sims quickly refuted those claims as stated earlier, adding that her loc bun was never 2 inches away from her head.
But for Sims, she says she has no regrets for disobeying the rules because she felt in her heart of hearts, she was in the right. Many supporters have come out echoing her very thoughts , though some believe she should have followed the orders.
And she appears to have taken the whole ordeal in stride. She was pretty confident the hammer would come down on her; it was just a matter of when and where.
More importantly, Sims has moved on from the military and is pursuing other dreams. Once she gets her discharge papers at the end of this week, she will begin studying pre-med at Loyola University.
Looks like she has the right attitude in the end of it all! She refused to bend and break to conform with superiors when she knew she was not wrong.
As naturals, we simply cannot expect everyone to appreciate the anatomy of black hair, even in a community as diverse as the U.S. military.
We naturals salute you, Jessica!
Read more about Petty Officer Jessica Sim’s hair ordeal at the Navy Times.