Army's New Tattoo Policy Could Cost Soldiers Big Time

Say What!? 106

tattoosAmerica!1 We have a problem. The Army is getting awfully close to enacting a ban on tattoos for soldiers. Considering the longstanding tradition of military ink, the policy Secretary of the Army John McHugh has reportedly approved (but not yet signed) is sure to raise a ruckus.

But it's not the fact that some tattoos will be banned that presents the real problem for our servicemen and women. It's what will happen to the soldiers who are already inked.

The Army could force them to get those tattoos lasered off ... on their dime!

According to Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler, who has to sign off on the policy before it can go into effect, new Army recruits will not be allowed to have tattoos that show below the elbows and knees or above the neckline. OK, sounds fair enough -- they've been warned.

But what about everyone who is already on duty?

Turns out some of them may be grandfathered in ... but Chandler has been quoted saying soldiers will be required to "pay for the removal of any tattoo" that violates the policy.

Say what?

Granted, there are some soldiers whose tattoos violate already existing policies -- any tattoos that are racist, sexist, or extremist are already banned. Those folks may have been flying under the radar all along, but they had to know they were wrong when they got inked, and that's on them, as the bill should be.

But any ink that doesn't fall under the existing rules SHOULD be grandfathered under the new ones. Period.

You can't just expect people to anticipate your rule change. And you certainly shouldn't require them to have body altering laser removal because they didn't read your minds. That seems awfully punitive to people who weren't doing anything wrong in the first place.

Not to mention, if the Army is putting this rule in place, shouldn't the onus be on them to pay for making it work? Our men and women are already putting their lives on the line for this country ... and the salaries they get as thanks are notoriously low. Now the Army is going to take a chunk out of that pay because they didn't make this tattoo change years ago?

Sounds like the Army is taking that "Army of one" thing a bit too seriously. Aren't they supposed to have these folks' backs?

Do you think the Army should pay for tattoo removal if their soldiers violate the policy?


Image via Star Wars/Flickr



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Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

I may be mistaken, but when I was in seven years ago they had the same "rule".  And while I was in I got tattoos on both my hand and wrist, with no issue. We were told that it wasn't allowed but I constantly saw many soldiers with visible tattoos or getting visible tattoos. I figure as long as it isn't offensive, who the hell cares? You're fighting for your country, not fighting for a pageant crown. If it doesn't distract or offend anyone then find something else to nitpick over. 

nonmember avatar kristi

I'm serving right now, actually and as far as I'm aware the rule is that the tattoo can't equal more than 25% of the exposed limb, meaning I could have a tattoo on my forearm or wrist, as long as it's small or, like I said, doesn't take up more than 1/4th of the visible limb. Having those already serving be grandfathered into the system seems fair, but I don't like the idea of my fellow servicemen having to pay for such a painful process out of their own pockets to make good on NEW standards. It doesn't seem fair.

Crystal Davis

As long as its not racist, sexist, or extremist, a soldier who puts his/her life on the line for this country (including the jacka$$ who's supposed to sign this) should be able to get whatever the hell they want tattooed on THEIR body. They are the Army not some socialite club where everyone must seem perfect.

Teri Stiffler Yates

when my son joined the army years ago, he almost did not get in because of his tattoo. he had drawn up a design of a half black panther and half white tiger. i put this tattoo on his shoulder blade. when he signed up, he was questioned extensively as to whether he belonged to the "black panthers". it is a tribal tattoo but they didn't ask him if he belonged to a "tribe"! lol

Traci McDowell Hovey

Nowadays, EVERYONE has tattoos... I feel that if you are good enough to be a soldier and have a tattoo before this new rule comes into effect, then you are good enough to be a soldier after the rule goes into effect. Meaning that the people that are already in the military when this rule goes into effect should be grandfathered in. How dare the government tell anyone that they must remove something from their body!! I'm curious about what will happen if someone refuses to get a tattoo removed!? Will they be discharged from the Army? Come onnn this is going to far!!! Someone has to much time on his hands!!!

akerg... akergbucksbaum

Can't tell from the article but the wording suggests that those banned tattoos are the ones that will be required to be removed and the rest grandfathered. Either way, before removal I'm sure there are multiple steps and consults done and chances of removal required after all is said and done is probably pretty low. Not to mention, similar rules were in place before and soldiers ignored them. It really seems like another tactic the military is using to "thin the herd" while not fully engaged, just like the weight/size requirements.


Lowry... LowryCuisine

Sorry, I agree with the rulings. Doesn't matter that are putting their lives on the line, its a job first and foremost. You are representing the USA. Most of these rules are in affect in some career path but no one is up in arms over that. Oooooh no can't have the same rules that apply to a citizen apply to military.

Vistula Cooper

GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are kidding, RIGHT????????????????

Tami Cocuzzi

This is bogus! They were within the guidelines when they got them, let them stay!

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