America!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.
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