Monday, November 10, 2014

What is Movember? Q&A With MIDN 2/C Bray Wilcock

It's Midshipman Mustache Month at the U.S. Naval Academy. While typically midshipmen are required to be clean shaven, they're given the opportunity during November (or "Movember") to grow facial hair in an effort to bring attention to men's health issues.

This is the second year the midshipmen have participated in Movember. MIDN 2/C Bray Wilcock, the driving force behind USNA's campaign, talks about how it all came about.

Q. What is the history of Movember?

BW: I believe it originated in Australia in the '03-'04 time frame with a group of dudes who wanted to bring back the 'stache and do some good with it, at the same time raising awareness for men's health and prostate cancer.

Q. What inspired you to bring "No Shave November" to USNA?

BW: My high school participated in Movember, and after trying to grow a mustache over youngster summer through my cruise and NOLS, I had a bunch of talks with my friends about somehow trying to get Movember started at the Academy. Most, if not all, thought it couldn't happen which pushed me even harder to try to get it approved. More importantly, one of my uncles passed away from cancer during November of my plebe year and I wanted to honor him and his memory by trying to raise awareness for men's health. His name was Brad Gano, and he grew up in Baltimore.

Q. Can you explain the approval process? How did you market this to the chain of command?

BW: It was definitely a battle trying to bring something that had never been done before to the chain of command for approval. But, with my proposal and the unwavering support of the sergeant major chain of command and the brigade's midshipman chain of command, I think we presented something to our superiors that was pretty hard to say no to. This year was a bit easier because it was approved last year; only some minor tweaking had to be done to submit a pretty convincing package to our superiors.

Q. Who in the Brigade has grown the most impressive mustache that you have seen so far?

BW: It's hard to say since we just over a week into Midshipmen Mustache Month. But I've seen a lot of potential. It's gonna be a good 'stache season.

Midshipmen, remember to put pictures of your mustache on social media with #midstache and links to men's health websites to raise awareness on some really important issues.

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