In a culture where even soccer moms now sport tattoos and soccer-themed “tramp stamps” (click the links for some examples), the Army’s recent decision to ban all visible tattoos has prompted a “WTF?” heard round the world.

Just watch the video above.

But there’s method to the Army’s madness. This is just one small step in the service’s campaign to raise standards and discipline after it opened the floodgates to felons, high school dropouts, and other dubious recruits when it boosted its ranks at the height of the Iraq war.


  • John Galt

    This is the most asinine article I’ve ever read. What does standards and quality of a recruit have to do with a tattoo?!?!

    • ekim

      Many WW2 vets had tats which they got overseas, usually in Asia. Of all those men I knew, the tats were not offensive, not facial or where they were predominant to identity.

  • Guest

    yes, it’s clear to me the author of the article knows nothing about actual military service. this guy is obviously on the list of “friendly media contacts” the military uses.
    if you want to put the military in a quandary, ask the following three questions: 1) Why is it that in 2004 – 2009 the military said its troops were the best, most lethal, most disciplined force in the history of mankind and now those same troops are undisciplined because while being deployed numerous times they decided to get a few tattoos. 2) The special operations community is filled with guys that have tattoos that would now be looked at as a sign of poor discipline. Yet these are supposed to be the best in uniform. How can that be reconciled? 3) The military’s purpose is to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and the Army’s job is to accomplish that mission by closing with and defeating our enemies in land warfare. The past ten years the Army has been actively doing that, with people that have tattoos, and the Army has told us it fielded the most lethal force known to mankind. If they were, by their own words, successful in fielding the most lethal force ever, that troops were disciplined and fit and capable, and the leaders were willing to deploy with and ostensibly fight alongside all these people, how could they not be good enough to remain in uniform and how could such tattoos provide an adequate reason to preclude entry into the service?

    • ODWms

      In fairness, they’re not saying no tattoos, but rather, that there should be some restriction on what and where. I get that to a point, but I still say if the men who risk their lives to defend us want to commemorate or memorialize in this fashion, there should be latitude given.
      Its a very good point you made about the quality of our troops, especially when discussing it in this context.

  • 2ShayTommy

    Me and my tattoos defended this country as a Green Beret for 22 years, never once did they get in my way, never once did they waiver my standards, never once did they make me make a undisciplined decision. This standard that the Army wants to impose is stupid and borders on discrimination. Case in point, the Army forbids having an affair if you are married, but recently the military has found their top commanders (some being General officers) having affairs on the job…none of the commanders had a tattoo…need I say more?

    • Jer

      Thank you for doing what you did

    • James Gillespie

      I remember in 1972 being told to ask for permission and yet no one did.

    • ekim

      You must be from the ” old school ” ? Facial tats are becoming common and left to discression some would have piercings as well. There is a point when enough is enough ! Afterall, someone must be in charge ! Many young soldiers need direction and discipline.

      • RJL

        Except during all wars guys got tatoos.

        • DaveA

          True, but where does common sense come in? In the Navy the Tatoos had to be hidden. All our uniforms were long sleeved, so no problem. Many got them out of bootcamp, and we were warned no to. Nothing happen to those who did.

          • Disasterjunkie

            With the new Military budget constraints, I would think twice about your actions, they are booting people left and right to balance out the ranks, giving them a reason to weed you outside for a simple tattoo if your career military is rather silly don’t you think.

        • Disasterjunkie

          Not necessarily, but tattoos have become part of the youth generation, just putting them on your face, neck, inside lips, is sort of pushing it and inviting gang life which is what they are trying to root out, after all this is all for your own good; We want honest soldiers not gangster thugs cutting up turf wars in our armed forces undermining our country from the inside out.

          • Jon

            You’re an idiot, the common stereotype for tattoos is that it’s gang related but that’s because morons like you think that way. There are people who’ve had tattoos before it became a fad but you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. If a citizen wants to serve for his country, and is covered in tattoos, he shouldn’t be looked down upon, this is America, we have the right to do what we want with ourselves and we should take pride I that.

          • Kenny Gonzales

            Umm just my 2 cents here bud… the US military is infested with gang members. Bloods, crips, Latin kings, vice lords, white supremacists everything in the book is protecting you and keeping you and your family from seeing bombs, bullets spraying your neighborhoods like we do over there (for obvious reasons of course) this new regulation is probably going to keep someone like myself from joining but I’ll let the recruiting officer deal with that one. My tattoo says *loyalty* not for a gang but the loyalty I have for my family (wife and kids) yea u meet me u avoid me understandable and it doesn’t bother me at all but hindering me to protect my country and my family that lives in this country umm borderline discrimination… I took the asvab practice test and got a 92 total score. if u don’t know it’s very high. 99 max… I want to go in for 31b MP… bachelor’s degree, good job, martial arts black belt but I want to do more why hold someone with all the credentials back because of a tattoo…. give me a break…

      • Lad Kraemer

        To bad, That’s the problem with the US, we are going backward instead of forwards. We think looking like barbarians is in. Tats was going out when the dark ages and cavemen went away, why world anyone want to bring that back? We should try to be and look more civilized instead of trying to look like cavemen and starting to act like them too.

        • Disasterjunkie

          This is what happens when they recruit from the bottom of the gene pool, as opposed to good all American boys.

          • USMCLT

            Your an idiot. How does a tattoo make you a bottom feeder?

          • liz1887

            I think I actually just vomited!!!!!!!!

            “This is what happens when they recruit from the bottom of the gene pool” hahahahaha Wait! IT GETS BETTER, and then… “as opposed to good all American boys.” This MUST be a joke! Please tell me it is…PLEASE!!!! If its not, you are absurdly pathetic! Just a plan out insecure fool! I feel so sorry for you LOL

          • Kenny Gonzales

            Umm just my 2 cents here bud… the US military is infested with gang members. Bloods, crips, Latin kings, vice lords, white supremacists everything in the book is protecting you and keeping you and your family from seeing bombs, bullets spraying your neighborhoods like we do over there (for obvious reasons of course) this new regulation is probably going to keep someone like myself from joining but I’ll let the recruiting officer deal with that one. My tattoo says *loyalty* not for a gang but the loyalty I have for my family (wife and kids) yea u meet me u avoid me understandable and it doesn’t bother me at all but hindering me to protect my country and my family that lives in this country umm borderline discrimination… I took the asvab practice test and got a 92 total score. if u don’t know it’s very high. 99 max… I want to go in for 31b MP… bachelor’s degree, good job, martial arts black belt but I want to do more why hold someone with all the credentials back because of a tattoo…. give me a break…

      • Disasterjunkie

        Body piercing and face tats have never being allowed in the armed forces, maybe during the war when bodies were needed for the troop surge without implementing a draft but now that the war is over and more and more attention is being put on private contractors and drones, your services and those at the bottom of the gene pool are no longer required, after all you are government property not the other way around.

        • Adam

          U.S. Military policy on tattoos suck I served 8 years in the 101st and I had tatts now my son wants to be a marine and they won’t accep him cuz he has a tatt of his daughters name on his neck

      • liz1887

        “Afterall, someone must be in charge! Many young soldiers need
        direction and discipline.”
        OK…. Who the hell do you
        think you are? God? Just because a person makes the decision to serve our county should not give our country complete and utter power over that person’s body! Do tattoos hurt others? Do they affect the everyday performance? Please if they do.. I beg you to let me know! Because if you look at the facts: a tattoo is simply ink in the skin. That should have absolutely 0 effects on any military personal! IF TATTOOS REALLY HAVE SUCH AN EXTREEM DETREMENTAL EFFECT ON THE US MILITARY…I need to get my ass to Canada! Because if that’s the case, our troops are a bit too sensitive for me to ever feel safe!

    • Trisha

      You and your tattoos did a great job thank you for all that you have done. Apparently though they are trying to ban it to lower the number of those who can enlist. Which is horrible that it has come to that point. There are people willing to put their life on the line for others and because of tattoos they are being turned away… is this the America that was founded on our differences in order to unit us as a whole?

      • Rich Coleman

        oh go comment on something you have a clue make up tihngs without facts…no one said tthe are “trying to lower the number of those that enlist” . you made it up. willing to serve in the military is only the first step towrds acceptance.
        America was founded on differences…not on marks you decided to put on your body..those arent differences, they are just marks you decided to put on your body. are you comparing tattoos to difference in religion , differences in political persuasions? RIDICULOUS.
        those little marks can also prevent you from getting ahead in life in many other areas. Its your choice to do so, and no one is taking that away…But it doesnt mean they have to just accept it because you decided you like it.
        you want ink , go get ink…the military isnt stopping you .

        • Trisha

          “Well, actually, it does. Between the end of the Iraq war, the drawdown
          in Afghanistan, and tightening budgets, the military can’t afford all
          the people it has, let alone the ships, planes, and main battle tanks”
          Per the article they are trying to downsize since they cannot afford, but than again reading my not be your forte
          Per differences, actually some religions do have tattoos and per the comment based on our difference some people choose to have tats and some do not, since some people choose to have a religion and some do not, comprehend?

        • shery

          Well, the article says exactly that. Here’s the quote:
          “Does the military just have a surplus of people sitting around that they can be this choosey? Well, actually, it does.”

        • valerie

          Hmmm…maybe you should take your own advice and comment on something you have a clue about? Where did you get your information and can you back it up or is it just heresay? Coming from someone who is currently serving. They are trying to lower the numbers and this is another way they are doing it. The military can stop you from getting ink. Your suppose to ask permission before getting one but nobody ever does. If it is visible enough and if its not documented they could very well boot you out for it.

        • MODIDDLEY

          Who died and left you as the King? I have no problems at all with tattoo’s. I do not like to see them on a person’s face, but they are the ones that have to live with it. And your statement; “you want ink, go get ink….the military isn’t stopping you.” You are 100% “DEAD” wrong. If they want it stopped I will guarantee they will stop it. You go to an high enlisted man or maybe even a General and tell him if they are banned, I am going to go ahead and get them and see what happens. You will get busted. You just made a complete fool out of yourself with your asinine statement. Did you serve your country or was you a draft dodger like Bill Clinton? I damn well served by country. Also I have no tattoo’s and I don’t need any, but like I said, you want one you get it and you must follow military laws.

        • Belligerent

          Rich Coleman, yes, the Army is being more picky about who it recruits, because now it can be ( so, it is in fact trying to limit who can enlist). Prior to the wars, the Army had very similar tattoo standards, as well as requiring a high school diploma in order to enlist. Once the wars kicked off, they offered waivers for education, tattoos in places that previously would have excluded someone from service, they even offered limited criminal record waivers. Now, they don’t need as many people.

          • DaveA

            During Viet Nam, ANYONE was accepted. Many times judges required someone before them had to join, or go to jail. Many opted for joining the Army.

        • Hawkscrye .

          Read the article, she’s right and you’re an idiot.

      • G L Warn

        When I served 66-69 the Army drafted everyone of draft age, unless you had a political connection, knew someone or your family was big shots in your hometown and the draft board then overlooked you!
        I feel sorry for our men & women serving 2-3-4 deployments because our military is short handed on people. Blame our government for that.

    • Whizbang

      the whole concept when I was in, that you didn’t want to tattoos that designated what unit you were in. case in point ,they capture you or find your body, they know what type a quality of soldiers in the area. Truck drivers or Special Ops. then they they send their equal.

      • moe

        BS, in the 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment in 57, when graduating jump school many many young soldiers got an airborne tattoo on one arm and a black panther (unit insignia) on the other. I had guard duty and worked that weekend. Saved me from a dumb move. Almost got one after Ranger School but an older more mature guy talked me out of it. So glad i never did get one. I was in units where you could not have a tattoo that identified you as military were forbidden — some guys actually sanded them off!

        • Lad Kraemer

          I’m A Nom Vet and I thought it was and still is a sign of stupidity to get a tat. A man doesn’t have to have a tat to make him a man or woman. It was a barbaric tradition in mid evil times and all it shows is that you belong to a sub culture that have no respect for their own body or themselves.

          • Cary Kieffer

            Shut your face Lad, you don’t know dick. Including how to spell “Nam” which you’re probably lying about. Every Marine unit I ever served in was staffed with great people and you would be hard pressed to make a whole squad of un-inked Marines. Take your prejudices and shove them in your fat ass.

          • Wensdae w

            cary, you are a disgrace, if any one of your superiors ever heard you talk that way to anyone nomatter how dumb and rude they are, you would be reported, you sir, have no honor.

          • heavyguns31

            FU too….you know as much as lad does. Did you even serve?? “reported”?? is for little wimps like you to go cry….. Grunts like myself and crew just say it how it is…like it or not..and my “superiors” wouldn’t have said anything about it…they had ink too. Why don’t you head on over to the Bed, Bath and Beyond website…seems more your speed.

          • Wensdae w

            this is my wife’s google acct, yes, I did serve, 1974-80 marines, motor pool- without the glory the pride don’t ride. and I have many tats, although at 18 , when I enlisted, I had only 1 tattoo, I was talking about the language Cary was using not about tattoos, you are confused , which has nothing to do with your behavior, if you cannot speak with respect and dignity, you are a steaming pile of toxic waste, you have no pride and your parents are failures, if you commander heard you or anyone speak like that, use obscenities, or bully name calling you would be reported. why do you go back to spongebob cartoons and let the adults talk amongst themselves

          • Hawkscrye .

            You’re an idiot and have no damn clue what drivel you’re spewing, and you sure as hell have never served in a combat unit. Cary is right on the money.

          • Wensdae w

            it was peace time, you dope, 1974-80, so of course i was not in any war combat, youre a psycho, go take your thorazine, I am right about both of you, your mothers are ghetto kunts, youre the load of shit she squirted out of her diseased pus filled scab encrusted festering sewer twat hole. go suck the shit out of carys ass bc its all youre full of.

          • Hawkscrye .

            Didn’t take you long to lose any vestige of “dignity”, use obscenities, or even respect your betters..did it? It is outstanding to see someone lose their minds and prove that all they say is BS because they don’t have the cajones to hold a conversation, and they can’t prove their point. You lose, idiot.

          • Wensdae w

            no, you lose, you twit, nothing will change the fact your parents are filthy ghetto slobs, I am pointing out you get what you give ,clearly the point is lost on you because you have an IQ below room temperature. I did not start the grammar school name calling rant, you did. and nothing you call me or anyone will change the fact you are a mental case, maybe its shell shock, whatever it is, you are a shipwreck and if a twat like you doesn’t like me i’m doing everything right. now, go get blown to smithereens in dunecoonville, good riddance to sewage

          • pjamese3

            You’ve…never actually heard Army or Marine NCO’s talk amongst themselves, have you? Before the age of political correctness, we’d singe your eyebrows off. And even now, we can be fairly blue.

          • Wensdae w

            that only proves your mother is a cunt

          • pjamese3

            Well-reasoned argument.

          • Disasterjunkie

            un-inked?!?, really.

          • That guy

            The guy who went overseas to kill people who never did anything to him says tattoos are barbaric and show a lack of respect. Yeah…ok smart guy.

          • Hawkscrye .

            Based on your inability to make coherent sentences and not even spell “Nam” right, I doubt everything you’re spouting. Now me? I’ve been a member of Mensa for 21 years, have 3 college degrees, speak 3 languages (English, Spanish, Korean), own my own business, and spent a career in the Army. And I have tattoos. Don’t talk crap about barbarity until you learn to speak properly, Mr. ‘Nom’ vet. Don’t judge me, or anyone else because of a personal decision that has nothing to do with you or anyone else. The only thing here I don’t have respect for, is you.

          • Disasterjunkie

            There is a certain level of professionalism in the armed forces as every member is an ambassador to its respective branch, but with the war, these level has lower by trying to keep up with the surge and have proven to be a negative impact as we see in the increase in gang activity and violence on fellow service members not seen since the Vietnam days, something the armed forces have tried to cleanse its image of which is why the bringing it up again.

          • pjamese3

            Spell check, you poser!

          • ladkraemer

            if you don’t have anything positive to say say nothing at all

        • Disasterjunkie

          Tattoos on the arms are acceptable as it is expected, just don’t push it by putting one on your neck like some sort of gangster as it is seen quite often with in the ranks.

          • DaveA

            I don’t know when you were, or was in, but it is NOT expected or acceptable! We had MANY guys from bootcamp get tats, but it was frowned upon. Who ever got the TATs HAD to keep them covered! Several came back and showed them off but the TATs weren’t seen EXCEPT in the shower!

          • liz1887

            “like some sort of gangster ” LOL You are truly a ridiculous
            person! A tattoo is a tattoo! Who cares if it is on an arm or a neck! It is a form of body modification that involves inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment! IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING
            ELSE. That person is still the same…. honorable, intelligent, courageous, or sure maybe… narcissistic, aggressive and
            mentally challenged! Point being, WHO THE F*** CARES!!!

    • Wildgypsy

      Thank you for your service!

    • Kat17

      Have you seen the way some of these soldiers look these days? I have. My husband is a Master SGT and has 2 military tatoos that can be covered. Some of these soldiers have sleeve tattoos on their arms and legs and their necks are completely inked. It makes them look like thugs when not in uniform. In uniform they look very unprofessional.

      • Disasterjunkie

        Yep, the armed forces today looks like a state penitentiary yard instead of the US military.

        • Guy12354

          It honestly shouldn’t matter, as the video stated, how could image have anything to do with how good of a soldier you are? The Army is disheartening and making it impossible for some real patriots who want to serve their country.

      • liz1887

        I truly cannot believe my eyes! “It makes them look like thugs when not in uniform. In uniform they look very unprofessional.” Give it a break! And “thugs” judgmental much? They signed up to serve our country not become slaves for it!

    • DaveA

      This is a way for the Army to get rid of some people. My Grandfather was in the Navy and so was my father and myself. Both had tatoos, and it did not interfere in their jobs. Growing up, I knew of two tatoos my grandfather had, but after he passed away, we grandchildren found out he had 16 of them. Being a Sailor, he had the Sailor girl, and an anchore. Myself, I never got one because my Grandmother hated them!

      • jhante

        They are not kicking out people with tattoos. They are changing the standards for who they let in. They are downsizing over the next few years, but I really doubt that it will be on basis of ink or no ink.

    • bob

      I disagree with u exspeacily today with all the tech and with the discreate way we need to protect our country and if what you say is true then as a 18foxtrott u know I am right
      and you know what I am sayig

    • Hawkscrye .

      Hooah. I too did tours with MI, armor, infantry, multiple tours with airborne infantry, and a tour with SF. I have 4 tattoos, one of them below my elbow. They never made me shirk my duty, made me think like or perform criminal acts, nor did I ever become undisciplined. Ever. The only thing that ever came about any of my tattoos (which include 2 different sets of airborne wings) was the ex-wife’s name on my forearm which after being out 20 years, I still plan to someday get covered.

      I don’t like the “full sleeves” and the crap on the neck and such, and I don’t like racist stuff or naked women (that would be visible in uniform) so I agree with them not allowing this. Interestingly and sadly, some idiots think my Mjollnir tattoo (Thor’s Hammer) is a racist tattoo because some few idiot skinheads also wear them, and it is *not* racist, nor am I racist (knowing myself and my family would make that hilarious). Leave it to liberal fools to try and lump everyone together because of something they do not like.

      Regardless, banning ALL tattoos is an affront to morale as well as a slap in the face to the 1st Amendment. I’m not asking others to like my tattoos, but I didn’t get them for anyone but myself, and some prissy REMF sitting in the Pentagon or some uptight, prudish SGM shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what are without a doubt *personal* decisions of the individual soldier.

      Some of you who’ve commented here about this who obviously personally dislike tattoos….yeah, you don’t get any “say” in it either.

      • liz1887

        You put it better then I ever could have! :-)

    • Disasterjunkie

      It’s not bc of you but bc of all the gangs flooding the armed forces buddy!

    • DaveA

      I too spent almost 22 years in the Navy. You don’t say where your tats are. If they are hidden while in uniform, no harm. By the way, YOUR tats DID NOT defend this country! That’s the most lamebrain excuse I’ve heard! (By the way, I’M a TET OFFENSE VET)

    • Neeks

      What a boss.

  • Helen Alphonso Ross

    thats bullshit

    • Joe

      Yup, it’s OK to suk and fuc the same sex, but you can’t get a tattoo, hahahahahhahahah

      • ekim

        I did not hear that tats were not allowed, I think positioning of tats was discussed. LOSE your selfishness, is the reason ! Become a team, ONE, a UNIT ! Not a sore thumb.

      • mybrainworks

        OK to rape and rape, and now asking them not to shame the uniform with ridiculous tats. But your head in stuck constantly thinking about gay sex. That’s on you.

      • Trisha

        Joe, why is bringing up someone sexual orientation the same as not being allowed to have tats that can show in uniform. though I do not agree with taken away a person right’s to tats. But to bring up someone’s sexual orientation into debate shows the lack of support you have for our nation which is based on religious freedom, racial freedom and sure as H*ll sexual freedom. You choose who you marry, why is it your business to state who someone is allowed to be attracted to and love.

  • Horse

    What Hudson High Graduate came up with this brain storm. Obvioulsy this individual or group of officers have too much time on their hands and some re-direction of career be advised. Such as early retirement.

  • Melvin Van Arsdale


    • SirWilhelm

      It’s not a job, it’s an adventure.

    • skinink4u67

      we get more tattooes before 5 am then most people get all day.

  • UH34D

    Good grief people, it was all spelled out in the article…’bean counters.’ They had to come up with something that was easy to begin the process in attrition of the ranks. So, hey, tattoo’s was the easiest and simplest thing to go after to begin the process. And really, whoever said the military cared about its people? Some in the ranks do care but, pushing comes to shoving, the Brass take their orders from those people who compile a budget…in the end, we were and are just a number, a cost item, part of the inventory.

    • rozlee

      Attrition is beginning pretty much on its own. After the wars, we’ve got a suspected 100,000 troops with PTSD and tens of thousand others that are suspected of having undiagnosed Traumatic Brain Injury. But, of course, the VA will drag its feet about giving out disability benefits to so many injured vets.

  • SirWilhelm

    The really important information in this article, is the effects of sequestration. It is disarming America. “In fact, if the ongoing automatic spending cuts called sequestration continue for 10 years, as current law mandates, then the US will not have the firepower to defeat a single major enemy, e.g. North Korea, the chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force told Congress last week.” and “In the Army’s “Deep Future” wargame, the general noted, the US forces simply “started running out of numbers.” Blame whoever you want, but the results are, we are less secure, and, you can already see how that is affecting the attitudes of other world powers, particularly our enemies, if you’re paying attention.

    • Mark Samuels

      We are no less secure, as long as we maintain a nuclear arsenal, there is no threat to the USA that cannot be handled. The “chicken little” crying by the top brass is due to the fact, that money to buy worthless equipment, is going away, and their chance for employment as consultants by those films leaves with the loss of contracts. I served 72-78 after college, saw the waste firsthand, and know we will remain a viable force, even with the reductions.

      • uptohere

        Are you out of your mind? Nuclear weapons are of use only as
        a deterrent, if anyone uses them; everybody will and there will be no one left.

        • G L Warn

          Our elected officials will hide in the bomb proof underground facility in D.C., just us Peasants will be gone.

          • RosieM

            But who will clean their houses?

      • mtncrusr

        We don’t need as many grunts when O uses drones on all his enemies.

        • RosieM

          There wouldn’t be anyone left.

      • Anthonie B.

        From what I’ve read, Obama is doing a pretty good job of minimizing our nuclear arsenal…….

    • G L Warn


  • D Johns

    Article is incorrect. Prior to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan tattoos were before, during, and still are banned on portions of the bodies that show during dress uniform wear. These areas include the face, neck, head, hands, wrists. The idea of banning tattoos below the elbow might be acceptable, however people in the military don’t wear shorts, so I don’t see the need for this rule. I personally am not for tattoos visible in dress uniform, however anything else should be fair game.

    • skinink4u67

      we wear shorts during physical training.

    • Daniel

      D Johns. We did when I was in the Army wher shorts and the Army still whears shorts for doing PT when the weather is nice. You are correct on the other aspects on your post

    • Justasoldier

      I agree D Johns, sorry to say it for anyone else that reads this. I came in with the full understanding that you will not have a tattoo on the hands, neck, wrist or anywhere else that can be seen while you were in your Class A uniform. If you had a tattoo on the lower part of the arm, then you had to wear long sleeves. That was before the wars started, so you want to increase the standard, sure I can accept it, however, those of us still in should be grandfathered in. Personally I feel the the neck and above, the wrist and hands should be implemented as either you get them removed or you are sent home. But honestly, if you are wanting to get rid of people, weight, appearnace in uniform even if you do make weight and tape, and lastly, if you are permantly broke, then it is time to move on. That will begin to thin out the ranks, allowing Soldiers that are fit, or appear fit, and healthy to move up. My last 1SG had the perfect saying, lead from the front, how can a leader, an Officer or NCO lead from the front if they are broken or out of shape. But again, that is simply my opinion.

  • ride2sun2

    I know nothing about defending my country. However, I am certain, that these people fight for such freedoms. This sounds insane to me. No less, do they get to change their minds if they get into another war and have a draft? What then, most kids have tattoos nowadays. OH BROTHER.

  • Jason Lyttle

    I’m convinced that American Government loves to ban things.

    • William PokerMonkey Souther

      THey recently banned running at the pool. As a show of defiance…I held a track meet there.

  • TonyVC

    It not the tatoo, in and of itself, that is wrong. It’s what the tatoo symbolizes that makes it wrong.
    If I had a tatoo that said: Lucinda, I will love you forever as my bride; but then get divorced and want to remarry, I think keeping that tatoo would be wrong.


      Not if you remarried and kept Lucinda on the side!

  • skinink4u67

    let me get this straight…gays, lesbian and transgendered personnel can join the army but not somebody with a 9-11 tribute on their forearm or on their calf cannot? I have been on active duty since 1987, I have 5 deployments and 5 tattoos that meet this (fill in the blank) policy. I guess all along I believed that I was a very good leader…it turns out that i am a shit bag and i didnt even know it. Thank you SMA Chandler for pointing this out to me and other leaders out there with tattoos.

    • Mark Samuels

      In which case you should know, your body is government property, and anything you do to your body can be controlled by the military. I served 72 – 78 after college, have tattoo’s, but none where in my full dress uniform they would be visable, which is what they are trying to prevent.

    • Morrow1701

      Active duty since ’87 & 5 deployments, I’m thinking you’re definately not a SB & the military recognizes that. You know how some people are though, they push the limit, even in the military, just trying to see how far they can go before someone’s going to tell them something. I can see where limits might be placed. I suspect you’ve been an excellent leader, since you indicate you wanted to be. No wimp is going to put in this kind of time in the military. You’ve got to be tough & I sure hope no one is challenging that. A tatoo or several tatoos do not make the soldier & I guess they don’t take away from one either, but a SB? No sir, you are not.

    • lynn

      i’m sure if there is a mandatory call to service (not sure if they call them drafts anymore) they are not going to care if someone is covered in tats from head to toe. That’s what gets me this “double standard”. Our rights and freedom to chose are being taken away. Mandated health care or a fine, now telling ppl where they can get tats and what kind. Whats next? Hair and eye color?

      • Mitch Reynolds

        You don’t have to enlist if you don’t like the rules. hire on with the mercenary contractors. Oops, sorry, the want Uncle Chump to spend the money on training.

    • Greg

      This article is wrong for blaming the “Army.” Military dot com ran an article a few days ago that stipulated it is the Department of Defense (not just the Army) who is proposing the ban. This ban will apply equally to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

    • Trisha

      Do you wake up each day reminding yourself that you are straight or were you born that way? Guess what a homosexual was born that way to. And everyone is America is in the country based on freedom. So why is it that YOU can pick and choose what freedoms are allowed. There use to be rules that blocked blacks from joining and now they do, they put their life on the line with you to protect you. Just as homosexuals will go into battle with you and put their life on the line to protect you. But can you say the same? Would you protect your “brother”/”sister” if they were homosexuals or because of their sexual orientation you would CHOOSE that their life had no value.

      • William PokerMonkey Souther

        You’re going to have to reference that claim…”there used to be rules that blocked blacks from joining.” Or did it just feel like a convenient piece to toss into your ‘discrimination’ rant?

        • Trisha

          Actual it is true, but maybe history was not part of your education. There was segregation and there was laws that banned blacks for entering the military for a long time then they allowed them to work in the kitchen but not in the field. And yes it is discrimination based on someone’s race, religion, culture or sexual orientation.

    • William PokerMonkey Souther

      Maybe you could be a little MORE dramatic? Did you not read the whole story? You, and soldiers like you (though I question the validity of your claims, given your impetuous whining) would be grandfathered in. If you can’t see this for what it is, then you have little to no respect for your branch and what it’s trying to represent.

    • Steve Nelson

      The need to get tattooed for each deployment reveals a problem with your thinking and reason.

  • Morrow1701

    I fully respect & appreciate all military service. I respect & apprciate most tatoos, although, I realize I’m not a fan of neck & facial tatoos. I think I’d hire an employee with tatoos, depending on how I would utilize them. I don’t think I’d hire an employee with visible tatoos to represent my firm, but it would depend on the job. I have no problem with the mechanic tech or the counter guy in the mechanic shop having tats. I wouldn’t, at first glance, think positively about an attorney with particular visible tatoos, but I know not to judge by looks. I’m really pretty liberal about most things. Actually, the only thing I’ve ever found really distasteful, my opinion only, are those “gauges”; I don’t have an opinion about those who have them, they just make me sick to my stomach. I want people, and esp young people, to be able to express themselves, their bodies included. As a personal preference, considering the over all look, I think the military is better represented when tatoos are covered by the uniform. Its a more “uniform” look which seems to better represent all branches of the military.

  • Navy CPO

    Tattoos are part of the pride Service Personnel have for their service…The military can’t afford to have Service personnel that don’t believe or have pride in their service and what they are asked to do. Would like to know the name of the “genius” who came up with this idea!!!

  • john

    what the hell would the gov do if they lost a couple hundred thousand troops all at once. these people need to get there heads out of there azzes.

  • texasteller

    I remember, after my REFRAD in ’67, I was called by a reserve unit to interview for a position as an assistant S-3. I was about to agree to do it. The XO says, “oh, by the way. You need to lose 10 pounds and get rid of the umbrella and sunglasses.” I smiled, saluted, and said, “have a nice day, colonel”. I did a really good about-face and departed stage left.

  • Stevepyong

    This isn’t a new ban, but a reinstatement of an old one. was lifted in the mid 80’s. Even so, depending on the commander, the military member could be charged with “destruction of government property”.

    • none given

      only if he is employed before getting the tattoo otherwise no.

  • Enhanced Reasons

    You only have tattoo’s today, because you think you have to have them to be cool. That’s the problem in America, no one want’s to be themselves, they want to be like somebody else.

    • Jordy

      Your right you caught me I only got tattoos to look cool, i walk up to a mirror every morning and say “God these tattoos make me look so cool.” Your ignorance amazes me

      • Steve Nelson

        Jordy, you did get those tattoos to look cool. You have made what’s most important in life is to be concerned about what other people think of you. Another thing all these tattoos represent are that people are in denial. Tattood people, especially those with multiple tattoos reveal an emptiness inside them, so they stupidly think this fills the void.

  • texasteller

    Just one more: The military is driven by youth. Youth is different than old. Youth needs to bond and develop a sense of community. Tattoos do that. I never had a tattoo. The reason: My mother would have been heart-broken. I made this concession to her. When I was home on leave she would even check between my toes to make sure I didn’t have one. The only higher priority in the military than to country is to one’s mother. No one made fun of me though. In the military you could call anybody anything and still stay alive. The moment you mentioned anything adverse about a soldier’s mother, you would DIE!!

    • rozlee

      I was in the military too and I loved my mother, but dude, she used to check between your toes once you were over 8 years old?

    • Trisha

      Did you use to drugs or something? Cause I am a mother and I do not check between my child’s toes, the only thing that came to mind about that is when people shot herion and hit the injection sites inbetween their toes

  • Jer

    Theres a brilliant idea..ban tattoos in the military. Thats one way of cutting our military by about 60-70%. Now a days its pretty damn hard to find someone who doesnt have at least 1 tattoo

    • Jim

      Well bright boy, what are you going to do when someone attacks us
      . Are you going to enlist, or hide under a rock

      • Morrow1701

        I think bright boy was being sarcastic…

      • Jer

        Sorry, I didnt put the /sarcasm on in front of that. Im not in favor of this rediculous change

  • Bill Morgan

    As a Vietnam Vet, I couldn’t care less if a soldier had a tattoo or not..Only if he could perform his duties and stay awake while on watch. As an Infantry Platoon Leder, that was the LAST thing I was concerned with

    • Christopher Koda

      A tat is an easy way to ID a fellow soldier. Especially when there is only an arm, leg, foot or pieces left when a 122mm rocket hit. Vietnam 68-69 proved that.

      • Steve Nelson

        Not a good reason to validate tattoos.

  • Jordy

    Finally someone who gets it. You should see the comments on the huffingpost about this. Some people saying that people with tattoos are not as smart as one with them and some saying they refuse service from anyone that has a tattoo. I see a lot of old vets commenting on here but what they need to realize is that this isnt the 70’s or 80’s anymore, this is a completely different military, completely different group of young men and women. Yes is something is distasteful like a naked woman on your arm then yes it should be banned or anything like that, but these crusty old higher up dudes who are stuck in these past times are the ones pushing for this. How dare you tell me I cant serve my country because I have a tattoo, this is one of the most ignorant policies I have ever heard of. How about we work on the people who have had several disciplinary problems in service and cannot conform aka the Navy shooter who was honorably discharged tisk tisk or how about the people who cannot complete a pt test or meet standards because i know my tattoo doesnt carry any weight and slow me down on my test as I am flying past these guys.

  • formerarmygirl

    Sequestration has brought enforcement of otherwise overlooked standards in order to make cuts in personnel to save money. Soldiers are flagged for various reasons including not making weight standards, PT standards, rifle qualifications, etc.. Where in the past these flags may have been tolerated they are now being enforced. This is necessary in dealing with the cuts that have been handed down to our military leaders. Tattoos have become ubiquitous in our society. Younger generations may not understand why this is an issue today. Tattoos that are visible when wearing the Class A uniform have always been against army regulation. It may seem unfair to suddenly enforce this standard but every soldier should know this as it is in the soldier’s smart book. If a soldier is told that tattoos on the head or neck are against army regulation and they then decide to get a head tattoo anyways then the problem now falls under “good order and discipline”. As with any large or small organization there are expected standards that you submit to when signing the dotted line. Can you still be a good soldier with a visible tattoo Absolutely! But if you are told that these same tattoos are no longer tolerable and you choose to disobey an order are you now a good soldier? If you are told that they are cutting back on personnel and weight is going to be the factor and you choose not to lose those extra pounds you were flagged for is it fair to complain when you are cut? Personal responsibility extends to knowing what you sign up for.

  • Morrow1701

    I listened to the guy & he said he’d welcome comments. First comment, Nazi symbols should be totally off, not acceptable & I don’t want a member of the US military sporting them. I also do not want to see the Confederate flag on a soldier either, even as I have heard how it symbolizes “the South” to some people. Well, I’m from the South & I know it symbolizes some really bad aspects of Southern tradition & it mostly symbolizes racial bigotry. I believe military brass have a tradition of discipline & have standards they want to maintain, & that is what they are concerned about.

  • zanekers

    Tattoos are not something to be proud of. Military service is an honor.
    I’m a veteran.

  • Bill Hesler

    it’s been a Navy tradition to have a Tattoo ,my grandfather had them when he served in WW2 my older cousin had then when he served during Nam and I got mine when I served during the Gulf war .insane to say we can’t have a tattoo and just Disrespectful.
    Probably some right wing Christian whining and complaining abour it .

    • Steve Nelson

      Ummm, “right wing christians” really don’t have much say these days, so you’ve got to stop blaming them.

  • TexasDewy

    I’m retired military (USAF) and umm I seem to remember back in the 60’s when long hair and beards were very popular and were banned in the military for safety reasons like you can’t get a good seal on a gas mask with a beard and long hair could get caught in machinery. Then lo and behold women came into more and more jobs in the military. Men complained if women could have long hair and just put it up why can’t they. The military came up with the “Good order and discipline” and “public image” excuse….. end of discussion!

  • jessie skipper

    When I seen where soldiers can get TATTOOS I always through that was over the top and it shouldn’t happened. but the military is lowering it standards. NO GO AT MY STATION. This has nothing to do with serving you country.

  • Charles Del Campo

    WDF!!!! Is ok to be Gay in the Armed Forces but NOT to have a Tattoo? I think the Pentagon needs to slow down on the ‘Crack Pipe”…


    Next they will take away their guns because of the potential for violence.

  • Judy

    The military has been wanting to cut their forces so what better way to do it. So what happens when the Pres wants to invade Iran or another country? Better that they stop giving all that money to the countries who hate the USA and pay our national debt off. I think in the near future we will be in the same fix as Egypt.

    • William PokerMonkey Souther

      Sorry…Judy, but the United States of America will NEVER be in the same ‘fix’ as Egypt, or Libya, or Syria, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Somalia, or….is that enough? You get the picture? Because we, as a society are not savage barbarians. And to your concern about needing an invading force? We have an excellent National Guard in place for that type of thing. Furthermore, war has become a lot more reliant on military hardware and technology than on personnel. Which we should all feel good about.

  • Poindexter McSmash

    Where is my post?

  • George

    Does a tattoo really make a man? Does it make him stronger, faster, healthier or able to leap tall buildings? There is an obvious answer. Most of the writers here forget that there are standards in the military that soldiers, sailors and airmen must follow. There are NO exceptions.

  • Sid B. (Brig. Gen retired)

    It’s about time the military got back to basic grooming, standards and dress.
    The fact is, and it’s been studied, that the cleanest, neatest, and best disciplined troops also excell in battle.

    • Whizbang

      Patton, i believe

  • lynn

    yet another freedom of choice taken away……………..heathcare is now a mandate or you have to pay a fine, now they are telling you where and what type of tattoos you can have? I thought tats were a tradition in the military?

  • arbnmedic

    This is simply a tool used to reduce the forces. I recruited during the “no-tat, no-waiver” days (pre 9/11)…it was rough seeing otherwise fully qualified applicants being rejected for tats or small infractions in the past. This is only a method used by the $$$ crunchers to reduce the force even more, conributing further to the fallacy of do more with less. How about looking at government employees who sport the same type of tattoos? Will never happen…unions and ACLU would never allow it. Who represents the soldier?

  • Mitchg

    Army to next ban weapons from soldiers.

  • Fred

    I’m sorry… Did they say “raise standards?” LMAO! So, there is no risk in throwing a flaming gay person in the foxhole with a soldier but the “ink” may put them at risk??? Government thinking at its finest!!!

    For starters, it has always been against the UCMJ to have visible tattoos in the military. It is just one of those things that have generally been over-looked. As long as the tat was not vulgar or a detract to the uniform. Chances are if you had a
    big swastika on your forearm, you were probably going to get your walking papers. Most troops are smart enough to get one that you cannot see in uniform but is clearly visible in a tank-top. In that case, generally never questioned.

    But the other reason that tattoos were against military standards is that historically, most of the places military troops got tats were in unsanitary conditions and it was common to contract infections and communicable diseases. Hepatitis, etc…. Not only would a member loose time in service, but they also put others at risk. Now, tattoo parlors are pretty much as sanitized as a doctor’s office!

    As far as the new PC military’s decision to allow open gay in the ranks… Well, sleep on your back and with one eye open?

    • rozlee

      Gays have always been in the military. I’ve served with them throughout my Army career. The repeal of DADT didn’t “allow open gay [sic] in the ranks.” They’ve been there all along. It just allows them to serve without hiding their sexual orientation for fear of being kicked out. Rape is unfortunately not rare in today’s military, but it’s not gay males that are doing it. It’s heterosexual males attacking female soldiers and female contractors.

      • Morrow1701

        Thanks for reminding people of that fact….. makes me shake my head in wonder….

      • Steve Nelson

        Do you think since normalizing gays in the military there has been an increase or decrease in overall sexual abuse in the military?

        When you normalize deviant behavior of any kind, this gives a green light to other forms of deviant behavior. Sin begets more sin.

        • rozlee

          The increase in sexual assaults in the military started long before the repeal of DADT. And if anything has given the ” green light” to increased attacks and rapes, it’s been the indifference and unwillingness of commanders and high ranking military and corporate personnel to punish and prosecute soldiers and civilian contractors who commit these crimes.

    • Trisha

      Flamming gay person? Are you really stuck back in the theory they every male person who is homosexual is some how standardization for how they act and have no mind of their own. My brother is gay, he drinks beer, watches football plays pool and etc.. to the outside world you cannot define his sexual orientation but guess what he is gay. It is your mind set that makes our country not to be able to move forward as a whole. There has been homosexuals in the military since it began it just was not ALLOWED to be discussed because of people’s fear. I am sorry but not every gay male is out to have sex with you and I am 90% sure they are not interested. But thank you for your ignorance

      • Steve Nelson

        Making it ok for the gays to “let is all hang out” is NOT moving forward as a nation. It is going backwards into an uncivilized nation. You need to tell your brother to repent of his sin, and you need to repent of your sin of thinking the normalization of homosexuality does not hurt civilization. Homosexuality is not the only sin in the world, but it’s a horrible sin nonetheless.

        • Trisha

          Define how it is a sin? Where in your holy bible does it even dictate that? Also, is it not GOD who judges us and we are suppose to give to love and respect to those around us. It is funny when we do not listen to what we preach

          • Steve Nelson

            It is clear that you don’t study the bible.
            Read Romans chapter one.

          • Trisha

            It is also clear that you are not a follower of christ.

          • Steve Nelson

            Did you read Romans Chapter One?

          • Trisha

            Did you not know that you are suppose to love thy neighbor and that we are not the ones to judge only GOD is. Or do you choose to read what you agree with and forget? God is created us, hence HE is the one to judge us … we are not to judge another and pass hatred. For wishing horrible things to others, some how makes you a better christian? We are to love eachother and respect eachother. If you do not like some thing guess what it is not your place to change someone, there are people out there who do not agree with your beliefs that include on how you view other people and religion. But that is between them and GOD. So it’s called turn your head and worry about how you should continue to be a good person. You should try to help the poor, be active in your community and country. These are important for whom someone loves is not your business.. I know this is a hard concept one that you may not be able to do.. but then what does that say about you?

          • Trisha

            If all you have to offer is a book that you are apparently unable to comprehend then that is sad. For no one where does GOD actually deem us the ability to judge another and pass hatred. You may not agree with something and that is fine, but to show hatred and call someone names, is that really the “christian” thing to do? Everyone has different roles in life, “special” children that have disabilities, there is a quote that they are given to special parents who have patience and see the quality they have towards life. Everyone has a purpose in life, the real question here is what will one do with their life? Passing judgement, putting others down trying to eliminate another person based on “your” interpretation of the bible, What does that say about YOU?

          • Steve Nelson

            You need to read Romans Chapter One. Why don’t you read it? Are you afraid of the Truth? Telling you the truth and what is right and what is wrong is not hatred. It is evil to call what is of the truth hate.

  • james holland

    If the Military has budget problems, suppose we stop shipping arms to our enemies in the Middle East?

    • William PokerMonkey Souther

      that WOULD be a good place to start, huh!???

    • PolicyWonk

      A huge (and I do mean huge) amount of taxpayer money could be saved by fixing the weapons acquisition system. The US taxpayer gets perhaps the lousiest deal for defense dollar spent than any other nation in the western world.
      We should extirpate the current system, and replace it with one similar to that used by the British. Failing that, if/when funding is restored, it should be conditional on said acquisition program(s) going under receivership.

  • Amici412

    This country is turning upside down!!! I am a veteran and I have never been more shocked at how the Fed Gov’t does NOT support our troops…. Eff the commander in chief.
    Nothing but total disrespect for the administration at this point!

    • William PokerMonkey Souther

      Two years my man…two years….things will get right again, I’m confident of it. Just gotta wait this jagoff out.

  • Dean Kratzmeyer

    Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. Felons and…….. “highschool dropouts”…….. and other dubious persons” . I have my degree on the wall but have familly and friends that don’t you arrogant pissant! They are all betters persons than you.

  • Taylor

    I’d be happy to see physical and mental standards raised back to what they were. I’d like to see the military academies stop being the country clubs they have become.

    I do not think tattoos are an effective way of raising standards.

    Another silly distraction to make people think they are doing something when it will be completely ineffective.

    With dwindling resources and our focus ever more necessary on keeping war fighters prepared and equipped we don’t need these kind of things.

    If it doesn’t help them kill the enemy we don’t need it.

  • sdonley

    Can we say Bullshit ! And Thank to all our Men and women ,Who gave me and this Country it’s FREEDOM

    • Steve Nelson

      Me thinks you do not understand how freedom is acquired and maintained.

  • Samtman

    If the Army thinks that it does not contribute to the moral of the Army as fighting force it is perfectly fine to change the regulations. The Army is based on uniformity. Unless everybody has the tattoo or no body has a tattoo determines uniformity.

  • jared

    because every major gang in the United States has infiltrated every branch of service. once the return to their neighborhoods they pass on the training to others and use their training against law enforcement and civilians. for them its loyalty to the neighborhood first and the military is second or not important all. its just a means to an end.

  • Jacquie Beard

    It seems just bit ironic that those people who are actualy putting their lives on the ine to defend freedom are having a freedom as personal as body presentation being taken away. Apparently when you are serving your country you are not living in the land of the free. I wonder what particuar moron.came up with this one.

  • Frieda

    It is not a ban. It is where these tats are located. Both of my sons are military and they have tats…high up on their shoulders. I can agree with the idea that they should only be in good taste…not anything that would be socially acceptable by the norm.

  • AllanU

    This has been an unspoken rule in the officer’s corp. Now it is trickling down.

  • YourWifeIsMyLife

    “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, NOR PRINT ANY MARKS UPON YOU”
    -Leviticus 19:28

  • Psych

    Fantastic. Body art [?] is so primitive. When I see it, I think we’re still in the jungle. Well, maybe we are.

  • goldengirl24

    I am sorry isn’t this exactly what we are fighting for freedoms. will they next ban guns in the military because they are dangerous. or did I miss that guns got u those freedoms you so enjoy. and didn’t they put food on the table. thank you to all that serve and believe in freedom.

  • Danl

    Having been in the Marines in the 60’s it was banned then. There are security reasons because men don’t stop to think of what they get. If you put a relations name on you and you are captured there are so many ways to torture you and your family by using that name. Also while you are in you are considered government property.

  • Hummerpoo2

    Admittedly, I don’t care for tattoos. I know there are some out there that show great artistic talent, but I still don’t like having to take to the grave something “profound” that I thought was cool when I was in my 20s. The idea of a military uniform is UNIFORMITY. Shoes are to be shined and look just like the person’s standing next to you. Your shirt is to be ironed just so and your hat is to be on your head in exactly the same way as everyone elses. Your life, for the time you are serving, belongs to the U. S. Government and individual expression is “on hold” until you are discharged. You’re not working at the Diary Queen or Walmart; you are being paid, clothed and fed by the U. S. Military and they call the shots. No tattoos is simply part of the dress code.

  • mumsthename

    My husband was in the army for ten yrs and does not have any tattoos

  • Pat Farrar

    I think tattoos are silly, maybe even stupid; but as long as nobody tells me I must get one, I don’t think its my place to tell somebody else they can’t.

  • Ron

    G.I. stands for government issue. If the brass says no tats below the elbow, then no tats below the elbow. Geeeeesus, man up and stop whining. Some people are addicted to body art. I did 4 1/2 years in the army including two tours in the Nam. In all that time I never felt compelled to decorate my already gorgeous body.

  • d1anaw

    I’m against the tattoos. I hate them. I always have. And I don’t believe people realize that their skin is not going to be young and taunt forever and they will change with time. It’s one thing to do something temporary, but quite another to do something permanent. And to think I made it through six years in the navy without a tattoo or drinking coffee. The shame of it all. (sarcasm for those who don’t get it)

  • slarsit

    Excons, criminals and malcontents need tats so people, as least they think, will be impressed with them. You have to be pretty needy for attention to put tats on your neck. Said another way, you do not look mentally healthy. Get the tats but don’t expect respect or a good job.

  • Charleseses

    Did I hear that guy right, a swastika could have been part of your heritage? I definitely understand what he’s trying to say but come on, you should have picked another symbol. It doesn’t matter if you’re Asian, African, European, Native American, etc… the Nazi’s ruined that symbol for anyone and everyone. I’m pretty sure if anyone has one tattooed on them, it only means one thing… That’s just my opinion though.

  • Kat

    What the hell is happening to our country??? You are sacrificing your life for your country and you can’t have a tatoo?? If they are going to ban anything it should be cigarettes that can kill you! What happened to land of the FREE………….???????

    • F*ck Ron

      Go f*ck off Ron.

  • kenee

    I suppose placement of a tattoo is important…..frankly, I think the placement of our “men” in battle or in peace is far more important.

  • Mr Ed

    What a joke.

  • Michael1961

    THIS IS NOT SOMETHING NEW!!!! The standards set forth in AR 670-1 always had a banning of tattoos (until recently as in this past decade) that would show while in uniform meaning Class A, B, C (with sleeves rolled up) and in the Army Physical Fitness Uniform AKA APFT meaning T-Shirt and Short that are just above the knee. It was on or around 2003 that the standards dropped and allowed the ridiculous amount of “body art” we now see on soldiers despite the fact that the regulations used to refer to anyone who had over three (3) tattoos unfit for duty let alone a security clearance since it was viewed as anything over three (3) tattoos was “Self Mutilation”. This tattoo ban regulation was put in place and used by recruiters and retention NCOs as a means of screening qualified candidates for enlistment and reenlistment and/or extension of enlistment and military medical personnel were obligated to report tattoos in writing through the chain of command for identification purposes and for psychiatric screening if a soldier was found to have more than three (3) or if they had some other type of body modification. Now what we see is a freak show in uniform with soldiers male and female alike painted up like clowns with tattoos up their necks, on their faces, on their scalps, covering their arms and legs entirely and in addition they have piercing holes all over their faces (and other body parts that are still against regulation), all the way around their ears (regulations used to say females maximum two piercings only and males were forbidden) and they have their earlobes stretched out of proportion from those stupid plugs. The only reason the standards were ever dropped was due to our campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan that we could not man unless we either instituted a “Draft” or just drop the standards regarding physical appearance and in criminal activity plus offer $40K enlistment bonuses which is one reason our deficit is so freaking high. That is the truth regarding the whole matter contrary to the BS this article insinuates about excessive tattoos always being allowed in the Army. The Navy always had lax standards on Tattoos but not the Army.

  • carib50

    This policy will not fly…where is the ACLU on this matter?(not that I am their big fan). They need to file lawsuit immediately if the policy is implemented.

    • Ron is a fag

      Ron, why don’t you go somewhere else. Get out of here with all that bullsh*t.

  • DeadWhiteMan

    This commentator is an idiot.

    • AliveWhiteMan

      Why, is your swastika not part of your heritage? lol.

      • DeadWhiteMan

        He’s an idiot because he doesn’t even recognize what tattoos represent, which is the degradation of society and movement back toward paganism.

        I can only agree insofar as I know that what’s labeled “extreme” will be determined based on politically correct standards. But I wonder if this guy would be so objective if the tattoo were a confederate flag or some ridiculous caricature of a black person.

  • Christopher Koda

    This is what you get when you fire all the combat officers or make them retire because they care more about their troops welfare and well being than just saying yes to an incompetent CIC. You are left with paper pushing ring knockers.

  • kyle

    Yup, I saw this one coming. Uncle Sam is more than happy to let anyone in when it’s convenient, now that war is coming to close it’s time to down size. Forget that these people have families to support or personal problems like PTSD! It’s a funny world we live in.

  • freespirit13

    This is the most petty, insignificant thing I’ve read today. Seriously? The tattoo does not determine the person’s ability to defend our country. Why are we such a politically correct nation that will do anything to keep from offending a person. Yet, those with the tattoos should not be offended themselves? Wow, that’s a bit on the hypocritical catch 22 side don’t ya think?

  • patrick

    Tattoos originated from Pagans. Probably 90% of all tatts are not only poorly done, but rediculous in nature and MANY are just downright stupid. People often tatt themselves in “memory” of others with visible tats that while they may have a special meaning to them (and them only), it force feeds a memory on others who may not have that connection. I doubt one single person who is deceased would consider a tat an appropriate memory of them. The funny thing is, when you tatted folks grow old, like those from the 40’s the tats will look horrible in those wrinkles. As they go out of style (and they are slowly going out of style), yet to be born gerations of kids will look at tatted people and shake their heads. Millions of us already shake our heads and laugh.

    • JJ

      Really? The Pagans???? You not only cannot spell, but you are sadly mistaken. Civilizations all around the world have used tattoos to tell stories, rank, family, etc. I am a 48 yr old female whose entire back is a piece of art. I have many others, yet since I am also a perfectionist and go to the gym 6 days a week, I maintain my tatts very well! I get so many compliments from little old ladies at the grocery store! All of mine are original and very well done by very talented and expensive artists. I do not put other people down because they like to hang out at the mall or go to church 3xs a week, or choose to name their kid Freida, so why are you so hateful and demeaning? Maybe you need to lay in some Calgon or quit whatever job makes you so miserable. Have a blessed day.

      • Steve Nelson

        Yes, the Pagans! It doesn’t matter how much you spit shine your tattoos, they are still gross and make you look ugly.


    Wait until we are in another war, They will be begging anyone to join, The problem is the Armed servises is run by a bunch of pussys. During Vietnam you didn’t care about tatoo’s. It was your ass on the line.

  • Whizbang

    When I went in, it was a court martial offense. you to get a waver if you had one prior to going in.

  • L P

    More BS from the, so called, leaders of this country.

  • Whizbang

    You didn’t want to show up at a marine boot camp with a prior branch tattoo on .it has no bearing what type of soldier you are.

  • William Popp

    They are not banning Ink. They just want to ban the Ink on Visible areas of
    the body. Nothing wrong with that. There is enough of the body to work with
    other then what they want to ban. One other thing, If you are already a member
    you are ok. If they ever bring back the draft it might be one way to beat it.

  • disqus_Hk6bAV5M1R

    They can kill for the country but can not ink themselves?

  • kev

    The Marine Corps has banned them for a few years now. A friend had prior service with the marines, after a couple of years and a few new tats,he tried to re-enlist, he wasn’t accepted because of the tats so he joined the army.

  • Mr Benson

    That is soooooo inane.

  • steve

    Everyone is missing the point. With the extreme cut backs this
    administration is forcing, the military has no choice but implement rules such
    as this. Think about it, how many people will loose their job because of this.
    Don’t blame the Army for this, blame obama and his surgical destruction of our
    American fighting forces. We are our own worst enemy.

  • Bill E. Branscum

    Yes, by all means let’s focus on tattoos … why worry about the small stuff like our government trying to print their way out of debt, a methodology that has never worked in the history of the world.
    What do Italy (Rome), Greece, France, Spain and Great Britain have in common? They were all world powers that pretty much faded into obscure irrelevancy.
    The laws of finance are immutable. You cannot artificially control interest rates and print money forever. The US dollar has enjoyed the status it has had because it was worth something … running the mint day and night does nothing but undermine it’s international value and acceptance.
    Disaster is coming, it is inevitable, and yet our politicians go right on babbling about BS.
    Bill Branscum
    Naples, FL

  • Alfonso

    Tattoos are for low lifes and scumbags and whenever I see someone with them pasted apleanty I feel that they are an inferior being.

    • Gertrude

      yeah, like all the trash in the NFL and NBA

  • Wildgypsy

    If you are Bible reader/believer refer to Leviticus 19:28 – tattoos are not allowed. That being said, as long as they are not offensive in nature and discreetly placed, LET IT BE!

  • teeleepo

    Why didn’t the military have this regulation…. when the draft was in affect…. during Vietnam?


    Simple. The military will be downsizing. Those who cannot or will not conform to strict rules will be driven out. I’ll bet they will want to keep a higher number of Sargents to be prepared if they need to grow fast. This has been the way it has been in most Western militaries for centuries. But when they need bodies they relax those standards quickly.

  • William PokerMonkey Souther

    Tattoos…yeah, they are becoming OVERLY prevalent in society the last five years. I think they DO and SHOULD have their limits. When I grew up, I always looked to men and women of the military with respect and admiration. This filter that got removed for the past decade, allowing ‘flim flam’ into the ranks…has been a major reason for a lot of the dissent in ranks, for diminished mental states upon their return home, and for crimes (several murders among them) committed once back in the States, as well. I’d like to hear the opinions of a ‘career’ Army soldier, about what they think this lowering of standards did to the overall discipline of the military. To be an effective Army, you have to have ALL team members operating on the same channel. The difference between a college grad with years of specialized training, and a high school drop out with a criminal history and a jaded attitude are significant, and no training on Earth can overcome all those factors. The claim that ‘if you are willing to die for your country’ then certain things should be allowed to pass? It’s horsecrap. Used like a free ‘get out of jail’ card. Wrong. A lot of people are willing to die for a lot of reasons. I’m willing to die for my wife and daughter. It doesn’t mean I think I should get to act like a bad father and/or husband.

  • jaba

    There is enough insignia on one’s uniform to show what company, etc… one is in. There’s no need to have tats for this. It’s NOT part of the uniform. If you want to become a circus freak AFTER you get out of the military, then that’s your business. It’s really gotten out of hand the stuff that GI’s are having placed on their bodies. Again, it’s NOT part of the uniform. Get over it!

  • cpop

    Although not a fan of tattoos, I think banning smoking would be more effective. They don’t allow it during boot camp, keep that standard throughout the entire time of service. I previously read an article that over 95% of the military smoke and many now later in life are facing seriousl smoking related health issues that dominate the use of the VA. Seems like a simple fix.

  • Rich Coleman

    the tattoo culture in the US has NOTHNG to do with military. that statement is ludicrous, and it is unsubstantiated.
    but then this guy appears completely devoid of any standards anyhow…this is the miltary, and they dont and shouldnt play by the weak standards of todays crop of new “adults” ..

  • transplantwest

    What this commentator doesn’t get is, Military is not about the individual. The older guys got tattoos that were indicative of their unit. Their affiliation to their country, their MOMS. and naked women. I volunteer in a prison facility, and if you don’t want to answer the question about ethnicity on the application, you get no further consideration. We have to have standards. I work in a corporate office & one guy always wears long sleeves, even after they approved business casual on Fridays. He showed me his naked lady tattoo on his arm. He would be fired if he displays it openly. He chooses to keep his job and be a little less comfortable. Can’t blame him. Or the military. We as a nation, and as a people need to step up a bit, not let it hang out. The soldier who can’t follow rules in regard to his tattoos may not be able to follow orders and risk the lives of those with whom he serves. Just like my boss says, I pay you to do the job the way I want it. If you don’t like it. Exercise your freedom and go work somewhere else.

  • John Cooper

    This makes me laugh. What would happen to the NFL if players with tattoos were banned.

  • Rex Schaefer

    Why do people feel the need to defile their bods with tattys anyway? Don’t get it and never will!

  • gohomeobama

    The army or those now over the army want to ban the bible and God. Whats next their guns?

  • Rich Coleman

    the military os not banning tattoos…the headline is a lie.
    tattoos like they have had for many years in the military are still just cant put them in the ridiculous places many put them now…
    a tattoo is not a right…its a mark you put on your body..
    its not different in other jobs…mark yourself all you want…mcdonalds doesnt care…yet.

  • ODWms

    I hate tattoos. I think they look idiotic, and the inclusion lately of so many women is just a big turn off for me, personally.
    Having stated that, if soldiers want to ink themselves, I don’t see what the harm is. Many soldiers commemorate lifelong accomplishments, or otherwise memorialize things of deep importance to them. If a soldier is fighting for his country — for the freedoms of you and me — the last things we should be telling them is what they can’t do with their own bodies.

  • Leon Seebruck

    Go out there and kill someone.But don’t get a tattoo..Nut’s to the army brass

  • steve

    who cares about tats? the real problem is that 75% of males were ineligible for military service due to obesity, criminal history, lack of education (can’t read) and gang tats. That is a national security problem

  • mwood13

    they could have gone further with this. better take what they left you with

  • G L Warn

    Let’s ban tattoos but you can still be send into combat and be killed. I did my time, got out, don’t know how anyone can stand it for 20 years or more?

  • KheSahn068

    “Does the Army have a surplus of people just sitting around waiting to join?”
    YEP….They do!
    The Army (as well as all the other services) are on the verge of getting smaller and the Army itself is looking to trim another 100k from its ranks. People with medical profiles in their PULHES with even a 2 under P could get the axe.
    So, yes, the Army can afford to make this statement about the tat’s and still have that pool of volunteers that are looking to join.

  • TL

    I think this is ridiculous. But….a troop is military “property.” It would be considered defacing military property. One’s SSN become a “serial number,” a product in the service.

  • Frank Anderson

    Hello Sydney, I like your style. What do tattoos have to do with defending our country?

    • Steve Nelson

      Tattoos have gotten ridiculously excessive. An army full of branded individuals does not help the readiness of the military and it does create a sea of chaos with all the visual imagery.
      Do you think getting rid of the uniform and letting each soldier dress as a civilian will have any effect on military readiness?

  • pindragon

    Back in the 60’s the Air Force would not allow any tattoos. If you got one while in the Air Force you would be charged with distructuion of government property.

  • Brendan

    Stupid video with an uninformed opinion.
    Tattoo restrictions are nothing new.
    They’re simply being enforced again
    As to the idiot in the video who probably never served lamely defending extremist tattoos because those of us who served are above rules since we put our lives on the line… that’s to prevent idiots from making the rest of us look bad… like an American soldier sporting a swastika on his forearm while interacting with locals overseas.

  • Deborah G

    who cares about a tat?Obama wants the Military ONLY when he wants to start a sptiing match he can’t even define much less command. They want to let queers in and ban the Bible. This Obama Crappola has got to stop. My dad was Armey and his Tat never stopped him from saving lives

  • RD

    Well, not historic. I served for 31 years, during which tattoos were allowed, not allowed, allowed again. Same with facial hair. Sometimes in, sometimes out. Seems to depend on the whims of the big brass.

  • michael

    so, what? lets send the best and the brightest off to die in foreign wars? what kind of logic is that? besides, when you get blown up by a bomb, a tatoo is sometimes the best way to identify someone.

  • JPeyton

    I can understand not on the face but that is it. Before the military could only teach you how to shit, shower, shave and shoot. Why the change? Does this offend out shitty Muslim President and this is why che change? Obama is out to destroy America any way he can. Maybe we will get lucky and this will really piss off a Marine sniper and they will do what they do best, shoot a Muslim.

  • markybel

    The guy doing the report needs to go back to broadcasting school, his mugging and gesturing are so distracting I could hardly concentrate on what he was saying.

  • markybel

    Trends come and go in waves, decades back tattoos were a rather obscure practice, and those who got them got one or two small and discreet tats. Women rarely got them. Now both sexes are covered in them, most are terribly ugly and hide the beauty of natural skin.

    The current tattoo craze was mostly driven by a few reality shows and then people wanted them because they were on TV.

    If those tats all over the bod look iffy now, just wait until the skin starts sagging, or fashions change. Also tats hide early warning signs of skin cancer which may go undetected until it´s too late.
    The good news is that this too shall pass and tat use will taper off. In the 1960s and 1970s men wore long hair, then all of a sudden that was gone and men had short hair again.

  • mgunze10

    FYI the Marine Corps implemented this policy back in 2007.


    I put 34 years in the Military and never got a tattoo. I do not have anything against tattoos but not having one was my personal choice. I think that people with tats should set a limit to the number of tats they are going too have and keep it in single digits.and make them not more then two inches each. Then again theat would be a personal choice.

  • Robert Joseph Duncan

    I honestly don’t see anything wrong with this choice. As a soldier you are a professional and an ambassador to your country. People see you and see this nation reflected on you. First impressions are a lot of time the only impression you get as well. If you are going to have a professional air about you tattoos don’t really espouse that viewpoint. I think its perfectly reasonable for what they are asking.
    Limiting them completely is a bit of a stretch but personally I always had a negative opinion with visible tattoos. The idea that comes to mind is “Your still rebelling against the parents huh?” Its juvenile at best, as far as commemoration, I have no issues with that, but your body has plenty of places to put something like that. I have lost 8 friends to this war, and I never had the urge to get their names placed on my body or the date they died. I can remember all that just fine unfortunately.
    The point is the Army is a place of professionalism. This helps them try to maintain that goal in my opinion.

    • Steve Nelson

      There are serious issues with people that think if they tattoo names of people on their body that that will make them care and think about them.

  • Adam Jankowski

    This is a fuqing joke. If you want a tattoo it should not stop you from any job you want. Stupid conservative idiots… oh by the way im not a liberal either, try libertarian.

    • Steve Nelson

      you just proved that libertarians are not conservatives. You ARE a liberal! What one does, matters. Morality makes a difference and the idea that each person can do whatever makes them feel good for the time is not freedom.

  • CindiakaRed

    my friend is an army major and she told me she would never have a tattoo that showed because it gave the impression that she wasn’t a leader. Amen.

  • Joseph Heston

    So in the event of a draft, get a tattoo.

  • AnnoyedwSpeaker

    What an annoying voice + those facial expressions needed to slow down. Get a new speaker!

  • Joseph Leslie

    I do not understand why anyone would want a tattoo! The inks come from The People’s Republic of China and are loaded with cancer causing chemicals. It is really ridiculous to eat “organic food” to keep your body pure and then get tatted with PRC made inks.

  • Jon Blackburn

    I’m glad you pointed the Swastika out, which has been the symbol a water mill since time immemorial.

  • Melly

    I am not a fan of tattoos but if the Army thinks that banning them so that they can “raise standards and discipline after it opened the floodgates to felons, high school dropouts, and other dubious recruits when it boosted its ranks at the height of the Iraq war”, THAT SHIP HAS SAILED. It is the Army not rocket science.

  • Nathan

    I’m not really cheerleading for this but I’m not surprised. I was in the Army during the fall of communism and in Germany when the Wall came down. Immediately after Clinton cut 250 thousand combat troops out of Europe alone. What had once been relatively minor discipline became grounds for discharge; DUI, fighting, hot UA, not making rank in a certain time frame, ect–all stuff that at one time got you some extra duty and pay dock became tickets out.

    The Service doesn’t exist to help or promote the individual or the individual’s needs. It exists to do what’s best for itself. In war that means looking the other way at somethings and dropping enlistment standards to up manpower. In peace it means reversing the trend and stopping up the gates.

    It isn’t fair but it doesn’t have to be fair. When you enlist you voluntarily wave your constitutional rights and adopt the UCMJ. I almost (almost because no one wants to cheer for war) feel sorry for some of the troops when they discover just how far a peace time military is from a war fighting organization.

    Suddenly a good troop won’t be the one who is best under fire; it’ll be the guy who keeps his boots spit shinned the best and keeps their wall locker looking like a museum. Don’t look for fair–the military does what the green machine needs.

  • Mike Rebel Carman

    Where else are they going to find people dumb enough to join the military?

  • hirider

    Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were having a war in SE Asia, and rapidly increased the numbers in the military. Every DemocRAT president since then (Carter, Clinton, and now Obama) have been responsible for stripping our military to the bare bones! That’s why a greater percentage of military personnel vote Republican.

    • Keldon McFarland

      Being a Democrat is an act of treason

  • Ann

    I totally think tattoos should be banned. If you don’t respect yourself or others,
    then go and trash your body. Tattoos are disgusting and they are banned from
    a lot of jobs.

  • elgeezr

    When I enlisted in 1952 you could be court-martialed for getting a tattoo. Never understood why but tatts never interested me anyway.

  • lance

    Tats are unsightly and unprofessional and common no matter where they are found. Be a leader and an individual and not get one.

  • toolbxx67

    It is a simple reason why the brass wants this policy. They know of persons that have entered the armed services to get training. The persons are affiliated with gangs/groups before they go in and will be again after they leave service. Granted the amount of personnel considered doing this is not large,however, it is a way of excluding these individuals from being trained in the armed services.

    • Keldon McFarland

      …and those guys will be affiliated with gangs while they’re in the military too

  • perry

    Good idea

  • Lad Kraemer

    It’s about time that they ban tats… people should stop disfiguring them selves, we are not barbarians anymore and why do people want to look like barbarians?

  • Jon

    As someone with a small space to hold all my books I fully understand this step in the upcoming draw down. Whenever my shelves get full I go through my books and make my decision on which ones to toss based on how their covers look.

  • FreedomFirst

    Obviously intended to weed more people out and reduce the amount of personnel in the Army. What do you expect within the military when the President supposedly leading them says, “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

    Search YouTube for: ‘Obama Brown Shirt Army’ and watch the 21-second video of his speech. That trajectory is still in his mind.

    ‘Not conspiracy stuff. The words came plainly right out of his own heart and mouth.

    • Keldon McFarland

      We don’t actually have a “president of the United States of America”. What we have is a National Community Organizer and Usurper-in-Chief of the United States.

  • Wensdae w

    what you look like and what you are isn’t the same thing ask ted bundy

  • Neeks

    It is literally NONE of anybodies business, not even the military. If it doesn’t offend anyone, and it holds significant meaning or beauty to them, who are you to say otherwise? Even if the person is covered in tattoos, they are just as “civilized” as anyone else until proven wrong by their actions.. All of these negative comments come from people who are more hypocritical and ignorant than they could ever fully comprehend. Your generic breed of American is the only reason why this country is the way it is. You push anything away that doesn’t make sense to you and down talk it out of pure ignorance., which fuels war. War is what this country runs on to get oil and other resources, including POWER. That and Corporatism, anyway. Why can we not just come to an understanding? The world is NOT supposed to be the way you consciously see it, common sense will tell you that. There is too much energy trying to express itself in too many different ways for you all to pick and point. Your ideals mean nothing to the person next to you, just remember that the next time you judge somebody by their looks and what they decide to do, just like yours mean nothing to them, Come together and set this world free, don’t add to the cause and divide it ignorantly.

    Much love to all, please see the bigger picture here. Please…

    • Keldon McFarland

      You smoke alot of dope, don’t you?

      • Neeks

        You lack a fully functioning brain, don’t you? You’re half-witted comments are a waste of time.

  • Julie

    I’m 17 , I have “FAITH” tattooed on my lower back I wanted to go into the Army right after highschool will I be able to?

  • Duckman

    I served in Vietnam and was military police, I never got a tat but some of my friends got one, I figure it is a persons own business if they want a tat, it didn’t bother me.

  • chris

    Military is supposed to fight for freedom. If people can’t join because of silly tattoos, then the military is certainly not fighting for freedom. Pathetic

  • Rc

    I graduated with a 3.6 GPA from college, pursuing an enlisted career for the experience of serving the country and assisting in finance for graduate school. I have been turned away from two branches of the military already because of this policy with an ASVAB GMT score of 110 that should qualify me for officer. I have even tried to get the tattoo removed, which is on my forearm. It costs thousands and can take many sessions and multiple years to eliminate. If you want to weed people out, judge them on performance, recc letters and other real significant data. The first admendment is free speech but those who fight for it are not able to express it? Talk about irony… And you know why? Old school close minded individuals like some on this site are more concerned with “being offended” and whats right for them, than truely right for everyone. Islamic terrorists dont approve of tattoos either.

  • yupMe

    All these new regulations that are being set to our military are ridiculous! since when do tattoos affect in the way you perform on your job duties And PT? as an Army vet honorably discharged have three tattoos that are visibe but are not gang related or anything, i talked to a recruiter trying to go back in and all they say is that i cant ever join again because of my tattoos on my forearm. It sucked hearing that but i guess they want Pretty boys now these days to defend our country!

  • TommyL

    Just because you have tattoos doesn’t mean you are a felon or a high school dropout. I am neither and have plenty of tats. I can’t join any of the branches I want simply because I have them. Otherwise I would be a great recruit. I know becaue the marines and army have told me this. Are the armed services there to look like catholic school boys, or destroy our nations enemies? Can’t tell you how much this bothers me.

  • Richard Rojas

    The army has it’s gang problems, and is trying to make everyone else serving suffer for it.

    and if they are booting people out left and right, why are they are voting to allow illegals to have a path to amnesty thru military service?

  • Jacob

    I have a new tattoo that I got when I was younger that is preventing me to get into the army nation at least help or find a waiver to help get it off while you’re doing your training with a wife and 3 kids I would love to have a career like this but I can’t because of the young decision it’s not cheap to get it removed..

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