Why is a sergeant of assault pioneers allowed to grow a beard? I asked my old one years ago and he simply replied (while leaning on his Axe as he was guard commander at the time) "Tradition". This is the best I can find on Google: Traditionally, the Pioneer Sgt may wear a full set beard. The origins of this are obscure, and there are two trains of thought; one is that it is to protect the face when clearing routes through trees and brambles, and the other is to prevent skin infection when mixing explosives. Anybody care to enlighten me further?