- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2018

The U.S. Army will allow a soldier of Norse Pagan faith to wear a beard on duty.

Col. Curtis Shroeder of the 795th Military Police Battalion in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, recently approved of a soldier’s beard request on religious grounds. The directive was made possible by grooming regulations instituted in 2017 after requests and legal challenges by Sikh troops.

“I grant your accommodation, subject to the standards and limitations described below,” the officer wrote in a letter disseminated on Facebook, Army Times reported Wednesday. “In observance of your Heathen; Norse Pagan faith, you may wear a beard, in accordance with Army uniform and grooming standards for soldiers with approved religious accommodations.”

Fort Leonard Wood spokesperson Tiffany Wood confirmed the authenticity of the letter when contacted by the newspaper.

“All proper procedures outlined in Army Directives 2017-03 and 2016-34 were followed when requesting and approving this religious accommodation,” she said.

Army Times noted that Open Halls Project, an advocacy group for heathen soldiers, calls beards a tradition but not a requirement.

The Hammer of Thor may be also placed on government headstones and markers of Norse Pagan soldiers, according to the website for the VA National Cemetery Administration.

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