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Face of Defense: Soldier Shaves Head to Support Comrade

By Army 1st Lt. Tyler Mitchell
38th Combat Aviation Brigade

SHELBYVILLE, Ind., Sept. 17, 2013 – A soldier shaved her head for cancer awareness at the Indiana National Guard armory here Sept. 14 to help a fellow soldier.

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Army Sgt 1st Class. Bernie Crafton begins clipping off Army Staff Sgt. Erin Emminger’s hair at the Shelbyville Ind., National Guard Armory, Sept. 14, 2013. Emminger raised more than $1,000 for a fellow Indiana National Guard soldier Spc. Jeremiah Morgan, who is battling cancer. Emminger’s commander authorized an exception to policy to allow the departure from normal standards. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Dana Brewer

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Army Staff Sgt. Erin Emminger’s goal was $500 this month for Army Spc. Jeremiah Morgan, an infantryman with the 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry Regiment, pledging that once her target amount was reached, she would shave her head.

Emminger, a personnel sergeant with Headquarters Company, 2-238th General Support Aviation Battalion, said she cut her hair as a way to raise money because it was considered “extreme” for a female soldier.

“I’ve had a couple of family friends that have gone to school dances bald,” she said. “I can go for a year without having hair.”

Soldiers in Emminger’s battalion cut off locks of her hair after donating money, and the rest of her hair were shaved off.

“I think what she did was exemplary in terms of Army values,” said Army Lt. Col. Dan Degelow, Emminger’s battalion commander, who also cut off a lock of Emminger’s hair.

Emminger said her family supported her choice to go bald. She said her 5-year-old daughter, Ana, understood why she was going to cut her hair off, but was worried about what her mother would look like.

Before Emminger set out to raise money for Morgan, the two had never met. They did meet the next day at a charity run in support of Morgan in Fort Wayne, Ind. Emminger raised more than $1,000 for Morgan and his family.

Army regulations prohibit women from shaving portions of their scalp, but her commander granted an exception to policy for this event.


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