If you’re planning on enlisting in the U.S Army, you may want to rethink getting a new tattoo. New U.S. Army recruits will not be permitted to have tattoos below their elbows and knees or above their necklines, according to a new report from a military publication. The ban is a part of new grooming and appearance for soldiers. Stars and Stripes reported on Monday that it has received approval by Secretary of the Army John McHugh and is awaiting his final signature, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler.

Chandler said he expected the changes, which only apply to soldiers because other branches of the military have their own set of regulations concerning looks, to become policy within 30 to 60 days, the military newspaper said.

“We’re just waiting for the secretary to sign,” Chandler reportedly said on Saturday during a town hall meeting with soldiers from the 4th Combat Brigade Team, 10th Mountain Division, at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in the eastern Afghanistan province of Laghman.

The changes would apply to Army Regulation 670-1 — the Army’s policy on appearance — and would require all soldiers to “sit down with their unit leaders and ‘self identify’ each tattoo,” according to Stars and Stripes.

Current soldiers will be allowed to have tattoos that violate the new regulations, but new members will be forced to pay for the removal of any tattoo below the knee or elbow or above the neckline, Chandler said.

Any tattoo that is sexist, racist, or extremist will be barred, as they currently are under the Army’s policy.

Chandler told the soldiers the Army wanted to maintain a uniform look, and that soldiers should be recognized for their achievements, not for their appearance.

If a soldier had a curse word tattooed on his neck, for example, “I question, ‘Why there? Are you trying to stand out?'” Chandler said, Stars and Stripes reported.

Some people say that the new standards are put into effect  because the army doesn’t need as many soldiers now, but let’s see what happens when more troops are needed.


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  • paula

    This isn’t new, just enforcing the rules we’ve always had.

    • Tai

      Actually when they needed more troops for OEF and OIF they removed this regulation. Now that they are downsizing it is back in effect. I know this because I enlisted during the surge and my tattoos were allowed.

  • trinelle

    Whether they need more troops or not these rules needed to be enforced anyway. This is not about being an individual in the army!

  • I agree with the policy. visible tattoos don’t exactly scream military (wo)man to me.

  • Less than 10% of the US population can or have served in the militray. This band, just dropped that drasticlly. I feel bad for those who want to join to better themselves but won’t even get the opportunity to do so unless a big war were to break out again. All branches right now are working with limited funds and limited people. Shit is about to get extra real.

  • Ok so we wont have an army in the very near future. Most wont meet the weight/fitness requirements and now tattoos will also make them ineligible. The face and neck makes sense but arms and legs are a bit much… Way to go govt!!!