[caption id="attachment_71022" align="alignright" width="240"] n a 2009 photo, Pfc. Ronnie Butler, a gunner with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, displays a tattoo he designed with his brother when he was younger.
MATTHEW THOMPSON/U.S. ARMY[/caption]Army To Announce New Policy Regarding Body Tattoos
The U.S. Army says it will soon make a major announcement about the change in policy regarding recruits who have visible body tattoos.
Army officials say that in the near future, no ink will be allowed to be visible on a soldier's body either above the person's neck or below their elbows and knees.
Speaking to troops at bases in eastern Afghanistan,Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler said Secretary John McHugh has approved but not yet officially put his name to the changes to Army Regulation 670-1.
“We’re just waiting for the secretary to sign,” Chandler said during a town hall meeting with soldiers from the 4th Combat Brigade Team, 10th Mountain Division, at Forward Operating Base Gamberi. He made similar remarks to troops at FOB Fenty in Jalalabad.
Soldiers already serving will be responsible for taking the necessary measures to remove tattoos that exist in banned areas of the body and will have to pay for any removal costs out of their own pockets.
Chandler expected the changes to be made in the next 30 to 60 days.
The Army already prohibits any member of its forces from showing ink tattoos on their face, neck and head in addition to banning tattoos that have any type of racist, sexist, indecent or extremist message. Experts say that the lower arms and legs are the most popular body parts that members of the military want tattooed.
This new policy regarding body tattoos will enable a military commander to order that a member of his regiment get an offending tattoo or brand removed.
Under the new policy, new recruits will not be allowed to have tattoos that show below the elbows and knees or above the neckline, Chandler told troops. Current soldiers may be grandfathered in, but all soldiers will still be barred from having any tattoos that are racist, sexist or extremist.
Soldiers will be expected to talk confidentially with their commanders to "self-identify" the locations of tattoos on their bodies and to discuss what tattoos are now banned under the new regulations.
Chandler says other changes are coming down as well.
On a separate note, Chandler told troops that the new Army combat uniforms will likely be phased in starting eight to nine months from now. The uniform will feature different colors for different environments, but the pattern will be very similar to the mottled “multicam” currently used in Afghanistan under the designation “Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern.”
The Canadian Militay already has a similar tattoo policy:
From 265, Section 2 - Appearance, Para 9:
9. Body Tattoos and Body-Piercing. As of April 1st, 2004, members are not to acquire any tattoos that are visible on the head, neck, chest or
ears when an open collared shirt is worn. Additionally, members shall not acquire visible tattoos that could be deemed to be offensive (e.g.,
pornographic, blasphemous, racist or containing vulgar language or design) or otherwise reflect discredit on the CF. Visible and non-visible body piercing adornments, with the exception of women’s earrings and ear sleepers described in sub-paragraph 6.a., shall not be worn by members either in uniform or on duty in civilian clothing. The meaning of the term “on duty”, for purposes of dress and appearance, is Interpreted in Chapter 1, paragraph 20.
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