Soldiers will no longer be able to flaunt their tattoos once the U.S. Army announces an update to its regulations over soldiers' personal appearance, which have been in the works for more than a year.
Raymond Chandler, Sergeant Major of the Army, during a visit to Afghanistan over the weekend told Stars And Stripes, a newspaper that covers military news, that soldiers will be prohibited from getting inked below the elbows or knees, and visible tattoos above the neck will also be banned.
Soldiers who have existing tattoos in these areas will be exempt from the new rule, however, they will be asked to have them removed if the tattoos are considered racist, sexist or extremist, Chandler told Stars And Stripes. The publication added that once the new policy is implemented, soldiers will have to meet with their unit heads to “self identify” each inking and soldiers will have to pay for the removal of the offensive tattoos.
The new policy will ensure that all soldiers maintain a uniform look, and Chandler told Stars And Stripes that he wants soldiers to stand out because of their achievements, and not because of the way they look.
Speaking to troops at bases in eastern Afghanistan, Chandler said that John McHugh, Secretary of the Army, had approved the new updates to Army Regulation 670-1, which oversees grooming, tattoos and uniforms, but McHugh is yet to sign off on these changes.
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Reuters reported on Wednesday that the army issued a statement saying that it was "conducting final review of the forthcoming uniform policy - Army Regulation 670-1 prior to its implementation."