Army May Revamp Tattoo Rules
The U.S. Army is reportedly on the verge of imposing tighter tattoo regulations on new recruits.
The changes would limit body art to below the neck and bar them below the elbows as well as below the knees.
The shift would only affect new recruits, not current soldiers.
Local army recruiters say the idea is to keep tattoos out of view and boost professionalism within the ranks.
"People do that to stand out," said Asheville recruiting commander Captain Joshua Edwards. "Asserting an independence that is prejudicial to that good order and dicipline."
The change would not affect current soldiers. Captain Edwards says teenagers considering an army career should think twice.
"Cause kids now adays get tattoos when they're 16 and 17 years old," Edwards explains. "And we see it and say dude your Hello Kitty tattoo is going to be there for 20, 30, 40 years."
As a tattoo artist, Agustin Aguirre of Diamond Thieves Tattoo says limiting where soldiers can put tattoos could negatively affect the business, though he understands the need for such rules in the military.
"Well there's still a lot of real estate, you're not limited to your neck and arms," Aguirre says. "But everyone wants to show off their tattoos."
But Captain Edwards says for men and women determined to serve, it's a small sacrifice.
"We're not asking them to change themselves," he said.
By John Le
Follow John on Twitter @AbsoluteLe