The United States Army is moving to ban tattoos among new recruits in its military ranks to promote a better image. The focus of the initiative is to not allow recruits with tattoos on arms and legs to be allowed the opportunity to serve. Army Secretary, John McHugh, is set to implement new rules designed for improving Army soldiers’ appearance and grooming.
Army regulation 670-1, will outlaw tattoos on forearms, below knees, and above the neckline. Army officials will also impose mandates that will require the removal of any tattoo it interprets as offensive in nature. Tattoos which make reference to sex, race and extremist ideals will all be under strict scrutiny when interpreting content intent.
“Current soldiers may be grandfathered in, but all soldiers will still be barred from having any tattoos that are racist, sexist, or extremist,” reports Stars and Stripes, a military news paper. “Once the rules are implemented, soldiers will sit down with their unit leaders and ‘self identify’ each tattoo. Soldiers will be required to pay for the removal of any tattoo that violates the policy.”
If the United States Army bans tattoos more military branches may follow the same policy. For now the policy is only being implemented among the Army. It will be quite interesting to see the reactions of soldiers once the policy has been implemented. Sailors have been notorious for their tattoos throughout the years of the U.S. Navy. Such a policy may not be as successfully implemented upon the other branches of the military.
Many Army soldiers have voiced concerns and question the sudden interest of a person having bodily tattoos. Army officials have made it known that uniformity and professionalism is of main concern in Uncle Sam’s 21st century military. The days of WWII and Vietnam rebel individualism culture have taken a backseat to the more concise corporate button down image.
Initial notification of the implementation of the policy was made in Afghanistan by Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Raymond Chandler. “We’re just waiting for the secretary to sign,” he said to masses of soldiers of the policy in meeting briefs. Some soldiers acquire additional tattoos while in the field during military operations away from home. Self tattooing has said to be prominent among the barracks in battle stress environments.
In selling the no tattoo policy Chandler questioned the relevance of having such a distinguishing mark on the area of the neck or face. “I question, ‘Why there? Are you trying to stand out?’” He remarked a soldier should be recognized for an achievement not his or her looks. He supports the implementation of the policy and views it as the military moving forward for professional change.
The Army will serve to be a testing ground for banning tattoos in the United States Military and many observers are interested to see the after effects. For years tattoos have been worn by soldiers going back to the Civil War. The modern Army has advanced rapidly compared to the past century of dated customs and practices. As the 21st century advances the Army stands on the precipice of change for the advancement of the Nation.
By Thomas Barr