The United States Marines Corps released its latest rules and regulations governing tattoos for its rank and file members, and the news is not good for enlisted tattoo enthusiasts who want to show off their body art. While the allowed size of certain tattoos has been expanded, the locations where Marines can have tattoos are being restricted, the Marine Times reported.
Sgt. Major Ronald L. Green, of the Marine Corps, explained the reason for the armed forces branch's first update to its tattoo regulations since 2010, according to the official Marines website. The new rules, which seemingly run counter to the relaxed regulations for tattooed soldiers in the U.S. Army, were first published Thursday in the Marine Corps Bulletin (MCBUL) 1020.
“The Commandant and I have been talking with Marines throughout the Corps during our visits, and we’ve taken their questions and comments to heart because it continues to be important to Marines,” Green said. “The Commandant said it best in the Marine Corps Bulletin in that we’ve attempted to balance the individual desires of Marines with the need to maintain the disciplined appearance expected of our profession. I think we have accomplished just that with MCBUL 1020. We took the time we felt this policy deserved; we wanted to make sure we got it right.”
According to the new tattoo regulations, Marines will no longer be able to have tattoos on the head and/or neck; 2 inches above and 1 inch below the center of the elbow; 2 inches above the wrist; on hands; and 2 inches above and below the kneecap. The lone exception for the hands is a single band tattoo on a finger, which cannot be larger than 3/8 of an inch.
That means that so-called sleeve tattoos — those that cover most, if not all, of an arm — are no longer allowed. Amid all the tattoo policy changes, one aspect remained the same: Tattoos on Marines still cannot "express sexism, nudity, racism, vulgarity or anything that is offensive and is of nature to bring discredit to the Marine Corps or damage the nation’s expectations of them," according to a press release.
Marines will be given four months to document existing tattoos that fall outside the parameters of the new regulations. After that period expires, those found to be in violation of the new regulations could be disciplined.
“Marines should understand that violating any policy has consequences, and leadership will hold Marines accountable accordingly,” said Green. “As Marines, we hold each other accountable, just as we are expected to protect one another.”
It was not immediately clear what that discipline would consist of.
The good news for tattooed Marines? Ink on biceps can be an inch wider than previous regulations allowed. The full details of the new regulations can be found here.