SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Army wants to halt a favorite St. Patrick’s Day shenanigan in Savannah that for decades has left marching soldiers with lipstick-smeared cheeks.

Roughly 200 soldiers from nearby Fort Stewart are expected to march in the coastal Georgia city’s sprawling St. Patrick’s Day parade March 17. Traditionally, women wearing bright lipstick dart from the crowd to plant kisses on the faces of passing troops.

A Fort Stewart spokesman and the parade’s chief organizer said Thursday the Army wants the soldier smooching stopped.

Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said the marching soldiers “need to look professional” and “red lipstick is not part of the uniform.”

Jeffrey Ashmen, then-command sergeant major of the 3rd Infantry Division, receives a kiss during the 2011 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah, Georgia. (Sgt. Monica Smith/Army)
Jeffrey Ashmen, then-command sergeant major of the 3rd Infantry Division, receives a kiss during the 2011 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah, Georgia. (Sgt. Monica Smith/Army)

Brian Counihan is chairman of the Savannah parade’s organizing committee. He says having spectators dash into the moving parade raises safety and security concerns.