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US Army tattoo ban would ‘grandfather in’ current soldiers

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Tattoos are a staple and a badge of honor for American soldiers.
Many times the ink art is a reminder of who and what they’re overseas fighting for.

Stars and Stripes Magazine is reporting that the Army plans to put a new tattoo policy on potential recruits.

New recruits would not be able to have tattoos below their elbows and knees or above their neckline.

Current soldiers will be grandfathered in as long as the tattoos are not racist, sexist, or extremist.

Once the policy goes into place soldiers will have to “self-identify” each of their tattoos with a unit leader.
Soldiers will have to pay to remove any tattoo that violates the rules.

Denise Stathoudakis lives right next to Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn where she sees new recruits come and go all the time.
She has two tattoos on her legs that would fall under the Army’s potential ban because they’re below her knees.

Stathoudakis says she understands the stigma that used to go along with tattoos, but banning them now seems like an antiquated rule.
“From maybe 10 years ago to today, tattoos are just more common place, you see everybody has them, they have them everywhere,” said Stathoudakis.

Tattoo restrictions are nothing new for the U.S. Army.
In 2006 the Army lifted a ban on tattoos on the face and head to help increase enlistment for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With those two war efforts dying down, talk of restrictions on tattoos have returned and expanded.

Howie Abrams, manager of Brooklyn Made Tattoo says many of his customers are in the military and found the restriction interesting because of how popular the armed forces made tattoos.

“They would come back from World War I even, World War II certainly, with tattoos of the countries and the cities and the places that they visited to sort of be like ‘Look, I was there’ like sort of the suitcases with the stickers,” said Abrams.

The new rules are currently waiting for a signature from the Secretary of the Army.