Army Tattoo Policy To Require Removing Sexist, Racist, Extremist Ink

Thursday, 26 Sep 2013 10:42 AM

By Michael Mullins

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An Army tattoo policy against any ink below the elbows and knees or above the neckline is expected to become policy within the next 30 to 60 days. And tattoos anywhere that are deemed sexist, racist, or extremist must be removed.

The policy change will affect all incoming recruits and is part of a new, broader set of rules that is aimed at making the U.S. Army more uniform with regards to the grooming and appearance of soldiers, NBC News reported.

"The Army is conducting final review of the forthcoming uniform policy - Army Regulation 670-1 prior to its implementation. We have nothing else to provide at this time," Army spokesman Troy Rolan told

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During a town-hall style meeting on Saturday, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler reportedly told soldiers from the 4th Combat Brigade Team, 10th Mountain Division, that the implementation of the new policy is awaiting a signature from the Secretary of the Army John McHugh, whose final approval of the measure is required before it can be enacted.

Current soldiers who have tattoos that violate the new code will be allowed to have them grandfathered in, Stars and the Stripes reported.

The new rules will also require tattooed soldiers to sit down with their unit commanders and "self-identify" each tattoo, describing the nature of each marking so to ensure that they do not violate the Army's current ban on tattoos that are deemed sexist, racist, or extremist in nature.

If the tattoo, no matter where it is on the body, is considered to be a violation, the soldier is required to have it removed at his or her own expense, Stars and the Stripes noted.

The current ban on head, face, and neck tattoos will remain in effect in the Army under the new policy.

During Chandler's meeting with the soldiers, several seemed to push back on the new policy, asking the sergeant major, who is the highest ranking enlisted soldier in the Army, whether or not the Army would ever allow more visible tattoos.

Chandler reportedly responded that soldiers should be willing to make the sacrifice for the sake of the uniform and asked why a soldier would want to stand out because of their appearance and not by way of their achievements.

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"I question 'Why there?' Are you trying to stand out?" Chandler said, speaking of visible tattoos on soldiers, Stars and the Stripes reported.

The new policy will only affect incoming recruits in the Army and not those in other branches of the military, such as the Marines, Navy, and Air Force, which have their own tattoo guidelines for their service members.

Related stories:

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