Military going for a sharper image

By Gregory Smith
April 23, 2014

It’s inevitable that in at least one war movie you’ve seen, someone is showing off the new tattoo he got, most likely of his unit patch on his arm or some crazy military phrase. But with the recently passed Army Regulation 670-1, the rules regarding tattoos in the Army have come cracking down on what tattoos someone can have.

The revised AR 670-1 was established to create a more professional looking military force.  This revision states that on top of banning extremist, indecent, sexist and racist tattoos, soldiers now are prohibited from having tattoos on their head, face, neck, wrists, hands and fingers. Soldiers may also not have more than four tattoos below the knee or elbow and sleeve tattoos are not allowed below the knee or elbow.

This sounds like a pretty good revision, right? People can still have their tattoos and join the military. However, for those people that have tattoos on their necks, faces, heads or hands, this revision is causing problems. People that have tattoos on any of these places cannot request commissioning or appointment, nor can anyone with more than four tattoos below their elbow or knee. Also, the Army has the right to inspect any person’s tattoo before or upon entering the Army.

Personally, I think that this revision to AR 670-1 is a really good idea. While I do realize tattoos are a way people express themselves, when you put on a uniform, that becomes your main expression. You represent something bigger than yourself, you represent your country. I’m not saying that tattoos should be completely banned, but I do agree that by limiting the areas of your body you can have tattoos and the types of tattoos you can have is a good idea for a few reasons.

The first reason is that it creates a sense of professionalism. By having tattoos placed where the uniform can cover them, it adds a sense of class and sharpness. Having tattoos on the hands and neck take away form the overall image of the soldier.

Secondly, there is also the idea that tattoos can be used against you. If a soldier is sent on a secret mission and has distinctive tattoos, then the enemy can see those tattoos and use that information against the individual. By limiting the places where a tattoo can go and what types of tattoos an individual can have, it protects the individual from any repercussions while in the field or on a mission.

While some people may feel like the revised AR 670-1 is an infringement on their right to have tattoos and still join the military, I believe this is a good revision that preserves the image and integrity of the American soldier. I’m not saying people shouldn’t be allowed to have tattoos at all, but I do think that putting restrictions on the types of tattoos one can have and their locations is necessary to keep the sense of professionalism and appearance the military has strived to maintain for hundreds of years.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Gregory Smith

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap