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Military Tattoo Policies

In: Social Issues

Submitted By arielbrady
Words 2114
Pages 9
James Dean
Period 5
08 February 2013
Military Tattoo Policies Hey! Do you have any tattoos? Does it affect your job in any way? Well I know if you are in the military it can affect you. Military tattoo policies vary in each branch. They choose the policy based on, if the tattoos are a distraction from good military order and discipline, where they are located, how inappropriate they are and how many they have. I agree with these policies yet disagree also.
Are your tattoos a distraction from good military order and discipline? In the Army tattoos on the hands and the back of the neck are now permitted as long as the tattoos are not extremist, indecent, sexist or racist. In the Coast Guard if any of your tattoos can be seen while in dress blues they are unauthorized, also in the Coast Guard no visible piercings are allowed. In the Marines they are prohibited from having a full sleeve tattoo, it does not look professional in dress blues.
What would you say if you saw a man covered in tattoos protecting the president or anyone of high power? Me, personally, I do not think that tattoos that all over the body is professional, military or not if you are in a work environment tattoos should not be shown. Say you were a lawyer, is the judge or others going to take you very serious if you have tattoos on your hands, neck and face? I know I sure wouldn’t. No tattoos may not mean you are a certain kind of person, but they do not look professional. I do not personally have a tattoo, but my girlfriend has one and it is coverable by normal clothing and no one would know she had one unless she was in a bathing suit and if she is in an area where a bathing suit is okay, professional look is not a worry.
People get looked at differently when they are covered in tattoos, even if they have sentimental meaning. Others do not know that so they automatically get judged and labeled as being a criminal or a biker. Many people in the Military do have tattoos and yes some are covered in tattoos, but if a soldier is covered in tattoos then he must have had them before they put the policy into effect, if so the military takes pictures of all tattoos and puts them on file so the soldier can get grandfathered into the policy. Being grandfathered into the policy means that they looked over your tattoos and did not see any extremist, indecent, sexist or racist tattoos and that you did in fact have them before the policy was set in place and that your job or uniform may change a little to keep the professional look. The guy you saw today covered in tattoos at the beach, the one you gave a mean look to, he could be the one shipping out tomorrow to keep you free, that you wave to and thank. Tattoos do not label the kind of person you are; the human population just decides to be judgmental.
Even young adults that are not in the military are having issues getting jobs because of tattoos. Teenagers/young adults do not understand what tattoos can stop you from doing, they just believe they are cool and everyone has them but they do not think about what they are getting and where they are getting them. If a kid goes straight from high school to law school you think they are going to want him working major cases once he is finished all because he chose to get a tattoo at a young age and cannot take it back or move it. Tattoos can keep you from good paying jobs or careers. Tattoos are not bad but I think if you are going to go crazy getting tattoos you should at least have a career started and your life started so that you know what you can and can’t get and where so that you will still have a great life doing what you want without being told you can’t over some ink you got as a teenager or a drunken night with friends.
What if the military told you that you were not allowed to serve your country because a percentage of your body was covered in tattoos? Well most Military branches do have a percentage policy. These policies keep soldiers from getting the whole body and sleeve tattoos. I think it can be a good thing or a bad thing because 25 percent of a big tall buff guy is more than a little girl that is in the military because 25 percent of someone’s body is a judgment by a person; it is really hard to tell what is 25 percent of someone’s body. The judgments by one person may not be the same judgment as another so I believe that a percentage policy is a bad thing because if one command tells you one thing and another command tells you another thing it can get confusing, annoying and could possibly get you in trouble with the commanders. The Army does not necessarily have a percentage policy unlike other branches. The Coast Guard and Air Force’s policy is 25 percent, the Navy does not have a percentage policy, and their policy is that no tattoo can be visible through their summer white uniform. The Marines cannot have tattoos that are visible in PT uniform. These policies differ from branch to branch due to jobs, tasks, and uniforms.
The Marines, no they do not have a percentage policy but they do have policies, no tattoos that show outside of the PT uniform, sleeve tattoos, face, neck or head tattoos are unauthorized. I think this policy is more doable than a percentage policy because percentages on a person is a judgmental call and can differ from commander to commander so a general policy like the Marines I feel is a smarter policy. Marines can look professional yet still have tattoos. Navy has a similar policy, theirs is a little different because they wear white uniforms and the tattoos cannot be visible through the uniform. The Army has changed their policy; tattoos on the hands and back of the neck are now permitted if the tattoo is not extremist, indecent, sexist or racist. Still no tattoo is permitted on the head or face.
You may be asking yourself what exactly does the Military mean by extremist, indecent, sexist or racist. Well racial tattoos is kind of an obvious, no Nazi symbols, Hitler tattoos, and some are picky about getting “white pride” and tattoos that have to do with your race being more powerful. Your best friend may be of a different race but with a tattoo like that other people will take it for what it really means. The policy against racial tattoos is a good thing in my opinion. Extremist tattoos are pretty much tattoos that are way too extreme, hints extremist. These tattoos are big, flashy and make a point, usually they are racist tattoos that somebody took to another level. Once again I agree with the policy against extremist tattoos. Indecent tattoos are the tattoos you see posted in tattoo shops that are of what drunken people got one night, these tattoos are of sexual parts and other body parts that can look disgusting. These tattoos I believe only get done when somebody has had too many to drink. They are typically not something a sober person would just go get. These policies keep our soldiers from looking like hoodlums. Sexist is also an obvious one, no naked women, no breasts, no vaginas, and vise versa for women, none of naked men, etc., you get the point. It is also a good policy to have.
Have you ever thought of being branded? Well if you are entering the military I would decide against that ridiculous thought! You cannot have a brand anywhere visible, I do not believe that a sane person would brand themselves but it has been done and has happened so the military ruled against that. The soldiers that fight for our freedom and defend our country are not farm animals so I believe there is no reason for a brand.
The military has set these policies in each branch for soldiers own good, and too keep the military’s appearance in tip-top shape. Soldiers that go against these policies, get inappropriate tattoos, and in places they should not be, get a punishment. If they have any extremist, indecent, sexist or racist tattoos or tattoos in any unauthorized area on the body the commanders will first make sure they are aware of the tattoo policy of their specific branch, if they still do not apply action the commanders will then ask them to seek medical help for removal or covering of the tattoo, if the soldier still does not act upon his warning and take the help the commander has given him he or she will then be discharged from the military. Being discharged for not following orders is a dishonorable discharge and can affect your ability to start a career or keep you from getting jobs. These policies are not unreasonable or hard to follow so soldiers that get discharged because of this I do not feel sorry for.
The Military does not make the tattoo policies unreasonable or hard to follow, or incomprehensible, they are plain as day, common sense in my opinion. These policies make it easier for the military to keep a professional look. Everyone needs a boundary on something especially when working for our country and being the country’s image. The soldiers that are enlisted because they love our country follow these policies a lot better than some kid that had nothing else and enlisted just to make some money to get by or the kid that his family forced him into something he did not necessarily want to do, so obviously they are not going to really care about what they can and can’t do, not only with tattoos but with anything.
My personal outlook on the tattoo policies is that if someone is willing to risk their lives on a daily basis to keep this country free and safe than I believe they should be allowed to have tattoos, but still look professional. If a soldier is being sent to wars then I believe he or she has the right to do what they please to their bodies without going overboard. By this I mean soldiers should be allowed to get tattoos that they seriously want without making the uniforms look unprofessional, I believe that sleeve tattoos should be okay if a person is keeping me, my family and my country free and safe.
If you are enlisted or enlisting into the Military, no matter what branch you are going into and you have or want tattoos you should definitely talk to a commander and be sure you understand the policy 100 percent before you act upon it. Tattoos could cost you a huge headache that you could have avoided from the start. I thank the soldiers every day for keeping me safe and free in this crazy world even though they may have tattoos they are still braver than me, and keeping me free and safe every day. Tattoos do not make you a bad person the tattoos you get can get you judged so I just ask you soldiers to think about what you are getting before you actually get it because you cannot take it back and you are serving our country do you really want to be known throughout the country as the guy who got a stupid tattoo and was discharged for a meaningless costly choice, think twice before getting something permanent. But I would like to say thank you to current soldiers, veterans, and soldiers that have lost their lives for our freedom your tattoos are not a problem in this guys’s eyes.

Works Cited

Burns, Anastasia M. “The Coast Guard’s Disappearing Colors.” The Coast Guard’s
Disappearing Colors. Summer 2005: n.p. SIRS Government Reporter. Web. 09 Nov 2012

Leipold, J.D. “Army Changes Tattoo Policy.” ARMY LINK NEWS. 15 Mar 2006: n.p.
SIRS Government Reporter. Web 09 Nov 2012.

Selvin, Molly. “Young Workers Have Something Up Their Sleeve.” Los Angeles Times
(Los Angeles, CA). 05 Jul 2007: A1+. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 09 Nov

Thomas, Salju K. “Corps Clarifies Tattoo Policy.” Marine Corps News. 20 Mar 2007: n.p.
SIRS Government Reporter. Web. 02 Nov 2012.

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