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Posted: September 25, 2013

Army proposes stricter tattoo rules for new recruits


            Army proposes stricter tattoo rules for new recruits
A new tattoo policy about to be adopted by the U.S. Army would permit new recruits to sport tattoos above the elbow – but tattoos on the forearm would have to be removed. Pictured is Daniel Miller, 29, an apprentice tattoo artist in Augusta. AP/The Augusta Chronicle, Emily Rose Bennett

By Nathan Byrne

Certain tattoos could soon be discharged from would-be soldiers’ skin. That is, if they want to enlist in the U.S. Army.

Newly proposed changes to the Army’s appearance policy await just one signature that’ll ink the end of some tattoos on recruits.

According to military publication Stars and Stripes, Sgt. Maj. John Chandler told troops in eastern Afghanistan Saturday, “‘We’re just waiting for [Secretary John McHugh] to sign’ his name to the changes to Army Regulation 670-1.”

“Now, under the new policy — new recruits will not be allowed to have tattoos below the elbows and knees, or above the neckline.” (Via WSMV)

“So will tattoos that are considered indecent, sexist or racist. A new soldier will have to pay for removing a tattoo if they got inked after the new rules were put in place.” (Via KSHB)

But NBC reports soldiers enlisted before the change can have their tattoos grandfathered in.

Over the years, tattoos and soldiers have kind of marched in lockstep. National Journal’s Brian Resnick points to the “entangled history” — noting after World War II “floods of inked veterans … returning home with them.” And that New York City’s first tattoo shop was established in 1846 to serve Civil War soldiers.

That history, however, appears to be, well, history. On Fox Business, Stuart Varney and Charles Payne agreed with the change in policy — and with each other — which doesn’t always happen.

Stuart Varney: “I support this ban. Flat out.”

Charles Payne: “I support the ban 100 percent. ... Who wants to see that sticking out of the side of a military uniform?

Stuart Varney: “Right.”

Charles Payne: “I mean, there’s a certain distinction and honor that goes with serving. And that has no place. They don’t mix.”

Don’t think it’s “don’t ask, don’t tell,” though. When the rule change takes place, soldiers will have to self-identify tattoos to their unit leaders.

And ABC reports it’s not just about tattoos — citing other expected changes that involve grooming, hair styles and piercings.

The Daily Beast calls the decision “ … a departure from the relaxed rules used to boost enlistment during the Iraq War.”

Tattoos have certainly had something of a “cool factor” appeal when it comes to recruiting. With this change, will the Army have something else up its sleeve? (Via ABC)

Recruiters still have plenty of marketing tools at their disposal — like this photo from the Army’s Flickr account — which looks like something straight out of “Call of Duty.”

The rule change would go into effect sometime in the next few months. It only applies to the Army, not other branches of service.

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