Facebook | Friends of Guy Whidden, WW2 Paratrooper, 502nd 101st Airborne

96-Year-Old WWII Veteran Brings Back D-Day Mohawk To Spread Cheer During Pandemic

A WWII veteran has brought back his D-Day mohawk in an effort to not only honor his fallen comrades, but to also spread some cheer during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As Frederick News Post reported, 96-year-old Guy Whidden was filmed shaving his hair the same way he did on June 5, 1944, and has since gone viral, inspiring others to take on the so-called #mohawkchallenge as well.

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On the eve of D-Day, many American troops shaved their hair into mohawks in an effort to intimidate German soldiers.

Wikimedia Commons | National Archives and Records Administration / Public domain

Perhaps the most famous instance of this intimidation method comes from the 1st Demolition Section of the Regimental Headquarters Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division — more commonly known as the "Filthy Thirteen".

Members donned the mohawk hairstyle and also applied warpaint to their faces on the eve of the Normandy landings.

Whidden, a 502nd 101st Airborne Paratrooper, was the only member of his own platoon to shave his hair into a mohawk.

Facebook | Friends of Guy Whidden, WW2 Paratrooper, 502nd 101st Airborne

However, he was only able to keep this style for a few hours before his lieutenant noticed and asked him to shave it off.

Whidden complied and quickly got rid of his short-lived mohawk. But now, 76 years after he first took a razor to his hair, Whidden's done it again.

And this time, it's staying.

On April 6, Whidden's granddaughter, Lydia Arshadi, helped him shave his hair and posted the result online.

In a video shared to YouTube, Whidden tells viewers, "I would like to have my hair cut as a mohawk... as a tribute to all the fallen Airborne guys up in the skies."

He then challenged other "past, present, and future Airborne people" to do the same before cheekily quipping, "I'm not doing this because I don't have any hair on either side of my head."

After his hair was sufficiently shaved, Whidden smiled for photos which were then shared to his official Facebook page.

Facebook | Friends of Guy Whidden, WW2 Paratrooper, 502nd 101st Airborne

That Facebook post reads,

"Guy decided today he wanted a Mohawk, as a tribute to his fallen comrades. Some of you may know that Army airborne paratroopers shaved mohawks before jumping into Normandy on D-Day. When a 96-year-old wants to do something you do whatever he wants! Guy would like to call this the #mohawkchallenge!"

Whidden said he felt inspired to undergo the cut due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook | Friends of Guy Whidden, WW2 Paratrooper, 502nd 101st Airborne

“A lot of people are going through a lot of problems with the [coronavirus], some of them are frightened, some of them are just concerned, and they’re locked in and it gets boring to a certain extent,” he told Frederick News Post. “I just thought this would add a little humor or something to the whole thing.”

His granddaughter, Lydia, added, “We did it to inspire people to do it, as an homage and honor to his fallen comrades, and kind of thought it was funny so we videotaped it."

Whidden's cut has quickly gone viral, and has even inspired others to take on the so-called #mohawkchallenge posted by the veteran.


His Facebook comments are filled with photos of fellow Airborne people sharing their own newly-shaven heads while thanking Whidden for his service and bravery during WWII.

"I'm in, Sir," one user wrote. "On behalf of the French reenactment group Airborne Command, thank you for setting our country free!"

Another added, "Good day, Sir! You (we) look great!"

Whidden said it's important to bring people together right now, even through something as lighthearted as a haircut challenge.

YouTube | Lydia Arshadi

“To me, it’s like a wake-up call," he explained. "Back in our day, World War II was referred to as a national emergency. And this is what we’re going through now, a national emergency. This isn’t easy for people, and everybody’s working together, and that’s the good part of it, just like we did back in World War II.”

Lydia said she feels "privileged" to have been a part of her grandfather's tribute to his fallen comrades and added, “I think aside from the tribute, everybody got a good giggle to see a 96-year-old with a mohawk.”

h/t: Frederick Post News, Facebook | Friends of Guy Whidden, WW2 Paratrooper, 502nd 101st Airborne

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