The Army’s new top leaders are preaching a return to standards and discipline across the force, and soldiers are taking notice.
For new Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Weimer, that means shaving religiously, according to comments he made in an August interview with Military.com. His remarks surprised some observers who hoped the former Delta Force operator may have a more lenient posture towards beards than his predecessors.
“If you have a requirement for modified grooming standards, we can have a real conversation. But if you don’t, you don’t have a requirement for modified grooming standards,” he told reporter Steve Beynon. “Back to the basics. Back to discipline. I shave seven days a week.” The NCO noted that he picked up this habit in 2015 because he realized that he didn’t want to shave on the weekends — “so for me, it’s about discipline.”
One anonymous soldier on Reddit took the message to heart, it appears, and was inspired to create an online game where motivated warriors can help the sergeant major of the Army, who “woke up undisciplined today,” get a fresh shave.
The “Beard Eraser” game, which only works on desktop devices, is simple.
Weimer, in his official portrait from his time as Army Special Operations Command’s top enlisted leader, appears fully bearded, and text at the top of the screen implores players to “help SMA Weimer become a better soldier and a better man by shaving off his beard.”
The cursor appears as a disposable razor, and holding down the left mouse button while carefully maneuvering the razor — since you probably don’t want to cut a man with two Purple Hearts and five valor awards, including three Bronze Stars — slowly removes his beard.
As the whiskers, imagined by the programmer as a distinguished salt-and-pepper beard of conservative length, disappear from Weimer’s face, the portrait slowly comes into focus.
Reached via Reddit, the soldier who created the game declined to speak with Army Times.
“Absolutely not 💀,” the Reddit user said via direct message. They added that “the code is in the public domain.” That means other warriors with programming skills can set up similar motivational games that allow them to imagine helping their own senior leaders remain disciplined.
Fellow Army Reddit users agree that the programmer should probably be careful who they talk to about the game.
“He’s definitely going to ask CID to track you down,” joked one. “Maybe the FBI.”
Once players fully remove Weimer’s facial hair, a dialogue box pops up at the top of the screen.
“Game Over! You lose,” the message says. “You made (1) mistake: joining the army. Please try again.”
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army. He focuses on investigations, personnel concerns and military justice. Davis, also a Guard veteran, was a finalist in the 2023 Livingston Awards for his work with The Texas Tribune investigating the National Guard's border missions. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill.