September 27, 2013
Incoming recruits to the US Army has announced they are strictly enforcing new guidelines for soldiers regarding their bodies by limiting the amount of visible tattoos allowed.
John McHugh, secretary of the Army, is expected to sign a new rule that will be applied to Army Regulation 670-1 that outlines the rules for “the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia.”
Speaking at a town hall meeting for the 4th Combat Brigade Team (CBT), the 10th Mountain Division at Forward Operating Base (FOB), Sargent Major Raymond Chandler said that “we’re just waiting for the secretary to sign. Current soldiers will be allowed to have tattoos that violate the new regulations, but new members will be forced to pay for the removal of any tattoo below the knee or elbow or above the neckline.”
Chandler said that “any tattoo that is sexist, racist, or extremist will be barred, as they currently are under the Army’s policy.”
The intention of this new rule is to “maintain a uniform look” and limit the occurrence of soldiers “trying to stand out.”
Troy Rolan, spokesman for the US Army said: “The Army is conducting final review of the forthcoming uniform policy – Army Regulation 670-1 [the total policy applying to the wear and appearance of the Army uniform] prior to its implementation. We have nothing else to provide at this time.”
It is now unacceptable to the US Armed Forces that new soldiers have tattoos “below the elbows and knees or above the neckline . . . Those already in the service will be grandfathered but have to document their existing ink with their commanding officer. New soldiers with nonconforming tats will be required to have them removed at their own expense.”
Reactions ranged from claims that tattoos hinder soldier’s ability to perform their job to anger over regulations against this aspect of the Army’s culture.
The US Navy has outlined that soldiers are not allowed to have tattoos that are images of:
• Glorification of drugs
• Gang signs
• Any image that “might jeopardize unit cohesion”
The US Marine tattoo policy has become restrictive over time to realign with “traditional values” and “maintain an appearance of high standards of professionalism” by prohibiting soldiers to have tattoos that are considered:
• Otherwise offensive
The US Air Force expect enlisted airmen to adhere to strict tattoo policies that require active duty members to pay for a tattoo removal out-of-pocket if the Air Force deems this procedure is appropriate.
Just as with other branches of the US Armed Forces, generally offensive tattoos prevent enlistment; as well as “excessive” tattoos are forbidden.