Army To Tighten Rules on Troops’ Tattoos

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 24 2013 8:14 PM

Army To Tighten Rules on Troops’ Tattoos

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Sergeant Paul Williams, of Fostoria, Ohio, poses to show his tattoos, including two bull dogs and lyrics from the Dire Straits song 'Brothers in Arms.'

Photo by MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images

Stricter rules on soldiers’ tattoos are on the way, according to Stars and Stripes. The new regulations, more than a year in the making, are awaiting formal approval from Army Secretary John McHugh and revise rules governing what’s allowable in terms of body art that were loosened in 2006 to make it easier for the Army to recruit, Stars and Stripes reporter Josh Smith tells NPR.

Here’s more from Stars and Stripes:

Under the new policy, new recruits will not be allowed to have tattoos that show below the elbows and knees or above the neckline, [Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond] 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.
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Under the new rules, soldiers will be required to “self identify” each tattoo to their superiors. Soldiers with unacceptable body ink will have to pay for its removal, according to Stars and Stripes.

The changes are expected to go into effect in 30 to 60 days.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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