Having visible tattoos in the Army could soon be a thing of the past. While getting inked and being in the armed forces seem to go hand in hand, the Army is getting ready to ban visible tattoos.
Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler announced the new strict rules while visiting troops at bases in eastern Afghanistan, reports Stars and Stripes.
Chandler explained that the rules have been in the works for more than a year. Now, they have passed all channels and are waiting on the Secretary of the Army to sign.
The regulations cover several things, including uniforms, grooming, and tattoos. New recruits will be affected by the Army’s visible tattoo ban.
The new policy bans them from having tattoos showing below the elbows and knees or above the neckline. Current soldiers will be grandfathered in as long as the tattoos are not racist, sexist, or extremist.
Once the rules are in place, soldiers will have to sit down with their unit leaders and “self identify” each tattoo they have. If the tattoo violates the policy, the soldier will be required to remove it, notes The Huffington Post.
The changes are an update to Army Regulation 670-1, which already prohibits neck, face, and head tattoos. It also contains a ban on indecent, sexist, racist, or extremist ink, though the previous version didn’t include the required removal of offensive tattoos.
The new regulations could be tough, considering arm and leg tattoos are quite common. Along with new recruits, it is almost certain soldiers looking to get more tattoos will be subject to the new rules.
Some soldiers who met with Chandler asked if the Army would ever allow more visible ink again. The Army Sergeant Major replied that the new tattoo rules are a matter of maintaining a uniform and sacrificing for the sake of the Army. He added that the military branch wants soldiers to stand out for their performance, not for their tattoos.
The new regulations banning visible tattoos in the Army are expected to be enforced in 30 to 60 days.
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