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Army Will Strike Hated Tattoo Policy From Regulations

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

The Army has a new policy. Troops will be allowed to have more tattoos if the ink can remain hidden while wearing the Army Service Uniform.

Ray Odierno, chief of staff at the Army, announced the changes to Army Regulation 670-1 Wednesday, Stars and Stripes reports. As society changes, the Army needs to change, too, Odierno said.

No exact date was given for when the regulation will come into effect, but officials assured soldiers it’ll be arriving “in the very near future.”

What the regulation primarily does is remove the harsh tattoo policy introduced by the Army last year in March, which banned full-sleeve tattoos. Under that previous rule, soldiers were also only permitted four small tattoos visible on the lower arms and legs.

Odierno stressed the announcement was not an April Fools’ day joke. In fact, some strict limits remains. While soldiers are able to have an unlimited number of arm and leg tattoos, it still is the case that neck, head, face, wrist and hand tattoos are forbidden. Additionally, racist, sexist or derogatory tattoos are prohibited. Sleeve tattoos will be allowed, but not if they extend past the wrist.

Back in March of 2014, the Army also updated grooming standards, banning common haircuts used among female African-American soldiers. Due to the extreme controversy generated, the Army eased the haircut regulation in September 2014, but the tattoo policy remained. It has taken up until now for a change to take place regarding tattoos. Officials were shocked at the extent of the angry reactions to the ban.

“Guys in the military love their tattoos,” Pfc. Dwight Plowright, part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Grafenwöhr, Germany, told Stars and Stripes. “It’s a common thing nowadays. I get that they want to have the professional side, but it’s like taking a side of us away.”

Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey also pointed to recruitment as another problem created by the tattoo policy.

“There is a large portion of the American society that has tattoos,” he said, according to Army Times. “There was a population that we were disqualifying from military service because of this new regulation.”

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