Tattoos in the Military

The military is downsizing & wars are winding down. Two huge signals that more discipline is on the way for our nations soldiers. Discipline in regards to appearance is already being felt in the ranks and especially new recruits. The US Army has already began to make its changes official with proposals to change the Uniforms and Insignia regulations. Download AR670-1 PDF. Some of the biggest changes are in regards to soldiers who have tattoos. Way Gone Laser Tattoo Removal which offers military discounts on tattoo removal was recently featured on local television here in Hawaii (watch below). See the Army regulations that effect tattoos below.

Way Gone Laser Tattoo Removal in the News – Hawaii News Now

Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

Proposed Updates to AR 670-1

  • 1. MANY changes are coming to AR 670-1. This is just a summary of some of them. DO NOT BEGIN TO ENFORCE UNTIL THE REGULATION IS COMPLETE, APPROVED, AND PUBLISHED!
  • 2. New revision of the regulation will define the following terms: eccentric, faddish, conservative, inconspicuous, unsightly, hair braids/plaits.
  • 3. AR 670-1 will be a PUNITIVE order in the new regulation.
  • 4. Sideburns will not extend below the top of the ear.
  • 5. Soldiers will be clean shaven on AND off duty (even during leave).
  • 6. Female and Male hair grooming standards will become more restrictive and better defined (I’ll have pictures for you at MHS).
  • 7. Females will be allowed to put their hair into a pony tail during PT.
  • 8. Males will be prohibited from wearing cosmetics to include nail polish, females may wear cosmetics conservatively, but can only wear nail polish in service, mess, or dress uniforms.
  • 9. Females fingernail length will not exceed 1/4 inch, no fake nails, add-ons, or extensions will be authorized.
  • 10. Tattoos will not be visible above the neck line when the IPFU is worn. Tattoos will not extend below the wrist line and not on the hands. Sleeve tattoos will be prohibited (this one will be grandfathered).
  • 11. Soldiers will not walk while engaged in activities that require the hand salute (eating, cell phone use, smoking, etc.).
  • 12. ACUs will not be commercially pressed; hand ironing of the ACU only will be authorized.
  • 13. Bags worn over the shoulder will only be black or the color print of the uniform i.e. ACU, without logos.
  • 14. the new regulation will specify civilian clothes standards both on and off duty and both on and off post.
  • 15. No visible body piercings on or off duty and on or off post, males will never be allowed to wear earrings. Ear gauging will be unauthorized.
  • 16. No dental ornamentation or gold teeth will be authorized.
  • 17. Soldiers will be authorized to wear authorized ballistic eye wear in garrison.
  • 18. Officers will be authorized to wear non-subdued rank on their headgear in garrison.
  • 19. Males will be authorized to carry black umbrella with ASU.

US ARMY TATTOO POLICY

e. Tattoo policy

  • (1) Tattoos or brands anywhere on the head, face, and neck above the class A uniform collar are prohibited.
  • (2) Tattoos or brands that are extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist are prohibited, regardless of location on the body, as they are prejudicial to good order and discipline within units.
  • (a) Extremist tattoos or brands are those affiliated with, depicting, or symbolizing extremist philosophies, organizations, or activities. Extremist philosophies, organizations, and activities are those which advocate racial, gender or ethnic hatred or intolerance; advocate, create, or engage in illegal discrimination based on race, color, gender, ethnicity, religion, or national origin; or advocate violence or other unlawful means of depriving individual rights under the U.S. Constitution, Federal, or State law (see para 4-12, AR 600-20).
  • (b) Indecent tattoos or brands are those that are grossly offensive to modesty, decency, or propriety; shock the moral sense because of their vulgar, filthy, or disgusting nature or tendency to incite lustful thought; or tend reasonably to corrupt morals or incite libidinous thoughts.
  • (c) Sexist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on gender, but that may not meet the same definition of “indecent.”
  • (d) Racist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.
  • (3) Counseling requirements.
  • (a) Commanders will ensure soldiers understand the tattoo policy.
  • (b) For soldiers who are not in compliance, commanders may not order the removal of a tattoo or brand. However, the commander must counsel soldiers, and afford them the opportunity to seek medical advice about removal or alteration of the tattoo or brand.
  • (4) If soldiers are not in compliance with the policy, and refuse to remove or alter the tattoos or brands, commanders will:
  • (a) Ensure the soldier understands the policy.
  • (b) Ensure the soldier has been afforded the opportunity to seek medical advice about removal or alteration.
  • (c) Counsel the soldier in writing. The counseling form will state that the soldier’s refusal to remove extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist tattoos or brands anywhere on the body, or refusal to remove any type of tattoo or brand visible in the class A uniform (worn with slacks/trousers), will result in discharge.
  • (5) Existing tattoos or brands on the hands that are not extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist, but are visible in the class A uniform (worn with slacks/trousers), are authorized.
  • (6) Finality of determination.
  • (a) Recruiting battalion commanders or recruiting battalion executive officers (0-5 or above) will make initial entry determinations that tattoos or brands comply with this policy for Active Army and Army Reserve soldiers. This authority will not be delegated further.
  • (b) Unit commanders or unit executive officers will make determinations for soldiers currently on active duty. This authority will not be delegated further.
  • (c) Recruiting and retention managers (O-5 or above) will make initial entry determinations that tattoos or brands comply with this policy for National Guard soldiers. This authority will not be delegated further.
  • (d) Professors of military science (O-5 or above) will make initial entry determinations that tattoos or brands comply with this policy for ROTC cadets. This authority will not be delegated further.
  • (e) The Director of Admissions will make initial entry determinations that tattoos or brands comply with this policy for the U.S. Military Academy cadets. This authority will not be delegated further.
  • (f) Determinations will be fully documented in writing and will include a description of existing tattoos or brands and their location on the body. A copy of the determination will be provided to the soldier. Unless otherwise directed by the Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, these determinations are final. If a tattoo or brand is discovered to violate this policy after an initial determination has been documented, commanders must submit requests for an exception to policy or for discharge through the soldier’s chain of command to the MACOM for approval. Appeals to the MACOM decision will be forwarded to the Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 for decision.
  • (7) Soldiers may not cover tattoos or brands in order to comply with the tattoo policy.