One thing that ALL members of the military do when they hang the uniform up for good is to grow some sort of facial hair. After years of having to adhere to strict grooming standards it’s almost a rite of passage out of the military. If you ever see a forty-something year-old man with really bad facial hair, you can bet that he’s a recent military retiree.
I started a goatee the day I stepped away from the Army and have kept it ever since. When it first came in I was shocked to find that it was more grey than I had remembered from previous departures while on leave. I’m going with the “distinguished” description.