Marine Sgt. Daniel Knapp: Decorated Marine Denied Reenlistment For Controversial Tattoos

Marine Sgt. Daniel Knapp was recently denied reenlistment to the Marine Corps for running afoul the tattoo policy after his military-themed tattoos were deemed unacceptable. Although the U.S. Army recently implemented changes to its tattoo policy, the Marine Corps has yet to do so. Unfortunately, this means Sgt. Knapp will not be deployed to Europe with the rest of the members in his unit. Needless to say, Sgt. Knapp, a decorated marine, definitely isn’t happy about the directive.

According to the Daily Caller, the decorated marine served two deployments in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2013. He has also received a Valor award, a waiver endorsed by his command, and numerous promotions. Unfortunately, the Marine Corps has no interest in reenlisting him because of the tattoos. During a recent interview with the Marine Corp Times, Knapp voiced his frustrations about the controversial order.

“When I was in Afghanistan, my tattoos never stopped me from shooting anyone, and they never made me more of a target,” Knapp told Marine Corps Times. “They never stopped me from keeping Marines safe. On patrol nothing ever happened because of my tattoos.”

Although he had tattoos in 2009, they were approved due to waivers. However, when he decided to add a pair of crossed rifles tattooed on his arm along with the Marine rifleman designation “0311,” he unknowingly diminished his chances of reenlistment.

“They didn’t have an issue meritoriously promoting me when I had a tattoo,” he said. “I had never heard anything about my tattoos. Nothing was said until I went to the career planner.”

During the interview, Knapp touched on a number of controversial aspects regarding his tattoos. He also explained how he feels this predicament is partially a result of the generational disconnect between policymakers and marines, reports Opposing Views. Since no changes are being made to policies that have been put in place years ago, there have been many valuable marines who have been denied reenlistment due to policies that do not reflect a society that has become more accepting of tattoos.

However, Marine Corps officials still insist tattoos lower the chances of troops finding work and having successful careers after their military careers are over. But, all is reportedly not lost for Knapp. On March 24, Marine Corps policymakers reportedly mentioned the possibility of further discussing possible revisions that could be made to the tattoo policy. Hopefully, changes are made that will be favorable for Knapp.

Do you think Marine Sgt. Daniel Knapp should have been denied reenlistment because of his tattoos? Share your thoughts.

[Pool photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]