January 1, 2015 --
AT SEA — The Marine Corps preaches grooming standards throughout all ranks. Whether in garrison or forward deployed, the standard doesn’t change. Corporal Malik S. RolandPickens helps Marines keep that grooming standard high while deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
RolandPickens, a warehouse clerk with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, went to cosmetology school while he was in high school before joining the Marines and worked professionally at his local barber shop. His desire for cutting hair is part of a family tradition that now helps serve Marines and Sailors aboard the USS Fort McHenry, one of three ships with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group.
“The cosmetology school was really tough,” said RolandPickens. “I enjoy cutting hair, it is definitely a passion. I became interested in cutting hair because of my father. He died when I was nine years old, but I remember enjoying watching him cut hair when I was little and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
Marines say RolandPickens is the man to go to when it comes to getting the best haircut and word about his talents is quickly spreading throughout the ship.
“He takes his time and really cares about how you look,” said Cpl. Carlton O. Clark, a supply administration and operations specialist with CLB-24. “I am always excited to get my haircut by him.”
The barbershop aboard the Fort McHenry is small, consisting of only three barber chairs and a small couch to sit on while Marines wait. RolandPickens still finds this room comforting as he performs his art.
“Cutting hair relaxes me,” said RolandPickens. “It’s my time to get away and at the same time hook up my fellow Marines and make them look good and be presentable. I think uniform and grooming standards are important and I want us to be the best looking unit out there.”
He said he always knew he would be able to apply his talent to the Marine Corps.
“Every single day, I have Marines and even Sailors from the ship ask me for a haircut. I love cutting hair and plan on being a barber until the day I die.”