Tags: Afghanistan | War on Terrorism | Marines | tattoo policy | Daniel Knapp | denied re-enlistment

Top-Performing Marine Denied Re-enlistment Over Tattoo

By    |   Monday, 27 Apr 2015 03:33 PM

A Marine sergeant decorated for valor in two tours in Afghanistan has been refused permission to re-enlist in the corps because of a tattoo on his arm.

Sgt. Daniel Knapp of Jacksonville, North Carolina, who wants to make service in the Marines a career, was denied re-enlistment over a four-year-old tattoo of two crossed rifles and the numbers 0311, the Marine designation for a combat rifleman, Marine Corps Times reports.

Knapp, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune, will be left behind when his unit deploys to Europe, despite the fact that he is a top-performing Marine who had policy waivers signed by 2nd Marine Division leaders.

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

"Everything was going great. I always intended on staying in. I picked up meritorious corporal on my first deployment to Afghanistan and sergeant right after that. I was almost going on three years as a sergeant. All the battalion staff thought I was pretty competitive. They were pretty amazed how they shot me down for re-enlistment. Nobody could believe it."

Marine Col. Richard E. Jordan said: "The majority of the chain of command recommended approval for this re-enlistment waiver because the sergeant was good and they thought he could benefit the Marine Corps. Unfortunately, they overlooked the fact that the Marine was in violation of the tattoo policy," the Marine Times reported.

Knapp told the Times: "The top people grew up in a different time, when they [tattoos] were not acceptable, so that is shaping their decision-making. Decisions should be made based on what is good for Marines, to fight wars and be ready."

The Army recently liberalized its tattoo policy, and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno commented: "Society is changing its view of tattoos, and we have to change along with that. It makes sense. Soldiers have grown up in an era when tattoos are much more acceptable," The Daily Caller reports.

The Marine Corps still adheres to the strict tattoo policy it adopted in 2010, although there are indications the policy may be changed. A Marine Corps spokesman said a review of the policy was completed, but the Marines have not announced the outcome, the Daily Mail reports.

R. Lee Ermey, a retired gunnery sergeant who today is an actor who is revered in the corps, told the Times that the tattoo restrictions are "borderline silly" and added, "I challenge anybody who is making these decisions to prove to me that a Marine, because he has tattoos, is unable to fight."

"Samurai warriors had tattoos, and they seemed to be pretty honorable people. I've got three tattoos on my forearm. They've been there for 100 years, and I've never noticed them hindering me. For sailors and Marines, they are a log of where you have been."

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A Marine sergeant decorated for valor in two tours in Afghanistan has been refused permission to re-enlist in the corps because of a tattoo on his arm.
Marines, tattoo policy, Daniel Knapp, denied re-enlistment
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2015-33-27
Monday, 27 Apr 2015 03:33 PM
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