US Army Set to Implement New Tattoo Rules

Recruits are in for a surprise if they want to be tattooed in exposed areas.

Sept. 24, 2013 — -- Incoming U.S. Army recruits are facing new, strict guidelines for any ink they want on their body, under new regulations limiting soldiers' tattoos.

In an announcement to troops at bases in eastern Afghanistan, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler said that Secretary of the Army John McHugh only needs to sign the new rule that will apply to Army Regulation 670-1, which indicates rules for the wear and appearance of Army uniforms and insignia, according to Stars and Stripes.

Army spokesman Troy Rolan told that Army Regulation 670-1 is under evaluation.

"The Army is conducting final review of the forthcoming uniform policy - Army Regulation 670-1 [the total policy applying to the wear and appearance of the Army uniform] prior to its implementation. We have nothing else to provide at this time."

A Cool Gallery of Military Tattoos

Calls placed to Chandler by regarding his statements in Afghanistan were not immediately returned.

Stars and Stripes reports that the new regulations state that soldiers will not be allowed to have tattoos that show below the elbows and knees or above the neckline. The current policy states that tattoos or brands anywhere on the head, face, and neck above the class A uniform collar are prohibited.

Soldiers who currently have tattoos in the banned areas of the body will be grandfathered in, he said. Once the rules are implemented, soldiers will have to "self-identify" any tattoos with a unit leader, Chandler said.

The Army still bans tattoos that are racist, sexist or extremist, according to Stars and Stripes.

The changes, which are expected in the next 30 to 60 days, according to Chandler, only apply to the Army, and not yet other parts of the U.S. military. New changes to Army Regulation 670-1 are also expected to outline rules on grooming, hair styles, and body piercings.