Marine Corps to Ban Tattoos

Thursday, March 29, 2007
The US Marine Corps will soon be introducing a ban on “any new, extra-large tattoos below the elbow or the knee, saying such body art is harmful to the Corps' spit-and-polish image.” I’m surprised they’re only getting around to this now. As a moderately tattoo’d individual you might think I’m upset about this. But I’m not. Growing up in a military family, I remember seeing tattoos the arms of most of my friends’ military fathers. However, you never EVER saw one on the neck, face, or hands. Unheard of. Even those that were on the forearms were few and far between. Tattoos were not frowned upon by the military powers-that-be, in fact they were (and still are) a right of passage for many military personnel (male or female). However, every member of the service knew that you didn’t get them where they would be visible while in uniform.

Free speech? All for it. Freedom of expression? Express away. Wanna get tattoo’d? Strip down and shave your butt (for you non-tattoo’d individuals, regardless of where you get inked, your tattoo artist is going to shave the area). However, if want to get a tattoo while in the military, you best be prepared to wait until your service is finished. Those are the breaks. You give up a lot of things when you enter the military, this is just one more. If you’re not willing to wait, perhaps you should reconsider your career.

4 comments:

Sheamus the... said...

i probably agree with you...

Mia said...

People forget that when they join the military that there are certain rights that they give up. And the military can tell you where you can and can't have a tattoo. Plus there are just certain locations where you don't want to have a tattoo later on lie. Plus as someone who has been trained somewhat to look for gang tattoos, think about what you are getting. All of mine are easy to hide since they are on my backside. But I have no problems with the ban.

Gardenia said...

Hmmmm, if I pay to get my grandson tatooed all over his body, d'ya suppose he won't have to go over to Iraq or Iran and get his brain re-arranged by shrapnel?

* (asterisk) said...

I have mixed feelings about this. While I agree with your points here in general, Karen (such as, lack of liberty is the price you pay for joining the armed services, and that [perhaps] tatts shouldn't be visible on military personnel), I think that the way they are dealing with it is wrong. It seems as much about size of tattoo being contrary to military values as it is about location and visibility. We all know stories of what our armies get up to against the enemy, so don't talk to me about values -- you know what I'm saying?

And maybe all of a nation's military services should stick to the same rules. Marines having different rules from the US Army regarding tattoos seems odd, to say the least.

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