When a fellow Marine aviator asked Capt Dan “Trigger” Brown if he had a workout regime he could use while his squadron was deployed in Afghanistan, he delivered much more. He sent forward a Letter of Instruction on how to be beautiful that he and his old squadron-mates created a few years ago in Iraq. This LOI articulates a complete ethos. He calls it “The Beautiful Man Project” and it’s a solid-gold approach to a Marine’s TOTAL fitness of the mind, body and soul. But mostly it’s an ode to being beautiful. To any of you Marines and Sailors currently deployed overseas in defense of our great Nation, here’s a fitness program you need to embrace.

From: Captain U. B. Beautiful 000 00 0367 /7565 USMC
To: Men of Beautiful Potential

(a) MCO 1775.R
(b) Miscellaneous Health and Fitness Magazines

ORIENTATION: The BEAUTIFUL MAN PROJECT is no mere project. It is, in essence, a journey. This journey is one where men with sufficient willpower, devotion, and courage intend to better themselves both inside and out. “Beauty” in this case should not be construed as that which is typically associated with the feminine. To the contrary, this is indeed an exercise in masculinity. Nor is this form of beauty to be construed as superficial vanity. This project is not solely intended to be a reconstruction of the narcissistic exterior and posterior, but the interior as well. The founders of the BEAUTIFUL MAN PROJECT highly encourage reading, writing, enlightening conversation, tactical shrewdness, witty banter, professional development, picking up hobbies such as jazz flute, trident throwing, and memorizing the boards in HALO 3, all in addition to the obvious pillars of working out and a healthy diet.

SITUATION: You are presently located in a cold, desolate, and unrefined region of the world which has forever teetered on the brink of chaos. Ironically, said region developed into a thriving civilization millennia before your beloved country existed and flourished with the riches of a bountiful landscape into one of the first agricultural societies in the world. Therefore, it is particularly appropriate that you should seize this opportunity to flourish using your bountiful energies without the normal diversions of paradise cities and hot girls in love. The sobering reality is that you have nothing better to do than to employ the philosophies and program required to become a Beautiful Man.

MISSION: During your time trapped among the rigid Hesco Barriers and flexible, yet sharp concertina wire, you too are to become rigid in muscular tone and develop a sharp, yet flexible mind in order to transform the literal and the figurative you into something better for the benefit of your health, society, and the chicks you find next to you on mornings after successful evenings on the town. A “suck less every day” philosophy provides a basic ethos. What can you do to improve physically, mentally, socially, artistically? How can you navigate the river into your own, personal heart of darkness and emerge a better man? What can you do to make your brother better? Within the confines of our close circle “I am my brother’s keeper” is a staple. When one falters, the others pick him up. When the collective begins to languish in mediocrity, the individual invigorates the group with novel concepts for self improvement.

EXECUTION: The BEAUTIFUL MAN PROJECT consists of 3 distinct phases. For doctrinal purposes, only those phases which directly impact the physical will be delineated with parameters. The mental ramifications and possibilities of the program are far too complex and extensive to be covered in this forum. A simple guideline following the phase breakdown in this document will serve to scratch the surface of developments in habit and character. Phases for the physical maturation are below; hard dates are subject to flexibility based upon individual circumstance.

The Bulking Phase consists of regular workout routines, using heavy weights and low numbers of reps. You may supplement as you like, in accordance with MCO 1775.R, in order to achieve maximum gains. In the Bulking Phase, you may eat whatever you want. Historical analysis reveals, however, this may not be the most prudent course of action. Careful consideration of one’s individual metabolism, self discipline, and reaction to extreme diet changes may warrant an “easing” into Phase 2 or a less extreme interpretation of the Bulking Phase. For an insightful perspective on the actions required to properly recover from an orthodox interpretation of the tenets of this phase, a personal counseling with Eric “Meat” Mitchell regarding his experience in 2007 is highly recommended. The preponderance of experiences has shown, however, that some potentially beautiful men have failed to attain their goals because they indulged heavily during bulking and the next phase was too much to bear mentally and physically.

This phase consists of regular workout routines using light weights, high reps and loads of cardio such as long slow runs (LSRs), elliptical, rowing machines, etc. The ripping period is also concurrent with the commencement of Food Fascism. You had your fun eating whatever you wanted, so tell Mom to knock it off with the brownie care packages. The Keebler elves will not mistake your mustache for their tree, with all the cookie remnants and whatnot. A dramatic reduction in calories, especially those from simple carbohydrates, is paramount to meeting these goals.

As Beautiful Men unite, we will not allow weakness to pervade our circle or shame our pious efforts. Be wary, that when the time comes, Food Fascism shall be strictly enforced. This phase distinguishes the true believers from the posers and will require strong action from the team. Actions such as slapping unacceptable chow from a brother’s hand, to beat downs, to awakening a fellow follower for a morning run are not only acceptable, but required. Those that are unwilling to accept the tenets of this phase are also unwilling to accept the entire Beautiful Man Concept and, just as chaff, will be separated from the “wheat” of believers.

PHASE 3: POLISHING. (First Step Outside of Afghanistan)
This is the time to finalize your masterpiece. This phase consists of a continuation of Phase 2, with the addition of tanning, flexing for added tone, bodily hair grooming and growing hair on your head back to something respectable looking, or shaving it entirely if your head is nicely shaped and not blinding. This phase should include increased use of dermatological, hair care, and dental products. In short order, you will post before your significant others, families and friends. They are well aware of your ability to be “All Jarred Out,” now is the time to display your range of abilities; to prove your beauty. When you do, they will behold what you have become and they will cheer. But they will only cheer if you have polished. Otherwise they will see you for what you really are, broke on life currency.

Phase 3 must also consist of mental preparation for your return. Those sharing in the difficult times of Food Fascism should now share their sense of style and ritually study the newest trends in music, clothing, and attitude. Communications of such topics with trusted sources at home should be shared with all Beautiful Men. Gentlemen of refinement should consider putting aside funds for at least one new suit from a reputable source and a substantial sum- on the order of hundreds of dollars- for new shirts, trousers, and shoes. One must also remember that shortly after the end of Phase 3, there is a good chance someone will see you completely naked. What you will unveil is up to you. It is not coincidence that the polishing phase is coincident with the manufacturer’s recommended Whitestrip cycle, so plan accordingly and supervise your brother.

You now are not only a combat hardened warrior, but a shining example of mind, body, and spirit. In general, the rallying cry for Phase 3 should be “Return with Style.” Do so, and you may truly consider yourself a Beautiful Man.

Coordinating Instructions: Hardening yourself physically may be the most simple of endeavors tasked to a Beautiful Man. As mentioned before, the “Character Renaissance” necessary to bettering yourself, your squadron, and, in a macro sense, society as a whole, is not definable by phase. Physical headway is measurable as progression is readily evident. Those aspects of character are not quantifiable but are just as apparent. Since there are no phases associated with the intangible nature of progression of mind and spirit a simple guideline of the most basic of goals will suffice as a starting point, much like the poem “If”, by Rudyard Kipling. While these bullet points may seem pedestrian and trite, think of them as cobblestones on the path you must travel.

1. Your mission will always come first. Improving yourself will aid the mission.
2. There is no room for vanity or ego. Individual progression will improve the whole.
3. Do not accept or become comfortable with professional mediocrity. Hone your warfighting skills at every opportunity.
4. Take a casual disinterest in your own well-being but never that of your compatriots.
5. Limit your complaints. Refurbish those grievances into something constructive.
6. Learn something new every day.
7. Establish your personal standards. Hold others to do the same.
8. When others slip, be the rock that provides safe haven from the current. They will do the same in time.
9. Respect the power of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Bring substance to the warrior-class elite.
10. Your background and circumstances may have determined who you are. You are responsible for who you become.

Admin: You may document your progress as you see fit. Within the project there are three quantifiable measures of progress: 1. The scale, 2. The mirror, 3. The measuring tape. You may have personal goals of your own, such as slimming so that you can see your own feet or other appendages.

Logistics: Maintain a Beautiful Man Project (BMP) Read Board in the HMLA chow hut with the Beautiful Man of the Week (BMW) changed every Saturday for motivation and communications posted as required. Feat of Strength of the Week (FSW) is also encouraged. Supplements are the responsibility of the individual.

COMMAND AND SIGNAL: You are in command of your own destiny. Communications regarding upcoming phase changes, motivation, and general entertainment will be passed via NIPR electronic mail and posted on the BMP Read Board in the HMLA chow hut.

IN CLOSING: The great American poet, Robert Frost, famously spoke of a road “less traveled.” We invite you to cast aside your shell of mediocrity, to stop being a no load and become something different and better than you were. The diverging paths of your current journey are before you. BECOME A BEAUTIFUL MAN. It will make all the difference.


Captain Daniel “Trigger” Brown is a Cobra pilot by trade and currently serving as the 15th MEU’s Assistant Air Officer and the Force Recon platoon’s Forward Air Controller (FAC). Trigger is from Santa Barbara, CA and a Dartmouth grad. His biggest accomplishment to date (in my humble but mostly-always-accurate opinion) is landing a girlfriend so far out of his league he can’t see her with a telescope. Dan’s very-special-lady-friend, if you’re reading this, there’s still time…

Posted by Alexander Martin in Training & Education

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  • UltimaRatioReg

    Damned fine advice from Captain Brown.

    You and your mates are destined to become urbane sophisticates, but remain warrior elites. Kudos.

    Especially for a Dartmouth grad, where “beautiful man” can mean any number of things, most of which involve distinctively non-warrior tendencies.

    And congrats on the GF. Captain Martin is probably checking daily with S-4 to see if there are any matching NSNs in the Sac 1 inventory.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Clearly the enforcement of shoeshine quality has sadly fallen off in the above unit, with unfortunate philosophical and theological consequences. The idle marine mind is the Devil’s playground.

    Emphasis on adjustment of priorities drastically upward with respect for the fundamentals is clearly required. There is WAY too much free time available.

    More high mountain long hikes, less zen. Full load hikes. Full combat load hikes.

    What’s next, “Tactically Blond”, starring Leonardo Di Caprio?

    What would Chesty think? Sgt Stryker? Gunny Highway?

  • Alexander Martin

    Grandpa Bluewater, while I’m always the first to harangue pilots for, well, being pilots (read: being beautiful), I can say there is no greater feeling than having a Marine aviator in support. Whether they’re in a CH46 running a casevac, a CH53 leading an helo-borne assault, in a huey as an escort or running rockets and guns in a Cobra these guys well-earn their money and save lives daily in combat. The men of the squadron who embraced the “Beautiful Man Project” did so in between those dangerous hours of flying thousands of sorties & firing thousands of rounds in close support of warriors on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. This I can assure you is the case. And so this is not a matter of these Marines having too much time, but rather reflective of the age old tendency for men who risk their lives daily to find an outlet. In this case, it’s humor in the form of the Beautiful Man Project.

    And while we grunts can never be beautiful (or, as the pilots would add, very smart either), our aviators can. And so long as they keep supporting their fellow Marines on the ground with strength, courage and violence of action (which has been my experience) – I hope their hours in between sorties are filled with laughter, witty banter, sleep, physical conditioning and whatever else it takes to keep them “beautiful” and in close support bringing death to the enemy and safe passage inside the wire for our less-beautiful ground-warriors.

    I think Chesty, Stryker and Highway would find no problem there.

  • This is … strange.

    In the Army, I heard suspicions about the Marines, but ….

  • APM

    Wait, Stryker and Highway were fake Marines. Fake. Hollywood. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Isn’t that the definition of “Beautiful Man”? Didn’t you just prove Martin’s point by referencing Hollywood to criticize reality? How different would a “tactically blond” Di Caprio be compared to fake Marines like Stryker or Highway? Poor comparison, there, gramps.

    And from my experience, the definition of a deployment, combat or otherwise, is 99% boredom and 1% sheer excitement/terror. And that includes some pretty massive urban combat, like you read about. So, yes; too much time on our hands is what the government is paying for when we deploy. At least we have creative minds out there who can manage to be productive and physically active–not to mention witty and scholarly–when operating under the crushing boredom that comes with a deployment. And they’re REAL Marines, not fake Hollywood icons.

    Stryker and Highway? Try Martin, Saul, Boswood, McConnell, Nichols, Buhl, Barrera, Dera, Jacobs, Jent, Haynie…….

  • Derrick

    I listened to a podcast before about Command at Sea and one officer was stating programs like these are important to keep marines occupied while on a ship. So I can see the value add of this project.

    Perhaps the name of the project should be changed to something less odd?