The Marines Being Given A 32-Page Guide To Body Ink
The US Marine Corps has released an extensive new set of regulations informing service personnel about its tattoo policy.
Surprisingly, the 32-page document actually represents a relaxation of tattoo regulations, which has taken place throughout the US military over the past year.
An example of an authorised tattoo
By comparison, the official Marine Corps publication describing how to use a M1A1 Abrams tank is 88 pages long.
While the Army's policy is stated within two pages, and the Navy explained its rules in around four paragraphs, the Marines felt the need to go into a bit more detail - including providing custom-made rulers which Jarheads can use to make sure their skin art is acceptable to superiors.
Click below to see the US Navy's announcement about its new tattoo policy in March...
General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, said:
"Our tattoo policy over the years has attempted to balance the individual desires of Marines with the need to maintain the disciplined appearance expected of our profession."
The seafaring tradition of having tattoos has long been popular amongst marines, although until recently the Corps had been cracking down on the practice, banning 'sleeve' tattoos, which cover the entire arm, in 2007 as well as ink below the knee.
According to a 2012 poll from Harris Interactive, however, tattoos are now more popular amongst Americans than previously.
A tattoo that wouldn't be allowed..
Around 22% of US people aged 18-24 now have tattoos, compared with only 9% in 2008.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Lieutenant Commander Nate Christensen, a Navy spokesman, said in an email:
"This policy update is being made in response to the increased popularity of tattoos in those currently serving, and from the population that Navy draws its recruits."
Under the new regulations, marines may now have tattoos anywhere other than on the head, neck, hands, elbows or knees.
They can't, however, have more than one tattoo on their lower arm or lower leg - and it has to be smaller than the size of their hand.
Officers, recruiters and drill instructors, meanwhile, can't have lower-limb tattoos.
Marines have 120 days to document pre-existing tattoos that wouldn't be acceptable under the new regulations, with the document carrying a warning that policy violators can be punished by court-martial.
This tattoo also wouldn't be suitable...
Marine Corps spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Eric Dent said:
"We believe our new policy, which is far more permissive than previous versions, strikes a balance for marines who desire tattoos, and maintains the professional appearance expected of US Marines."
Tattoo artist Mark Tinsley, who says he's been an artist at Unique Ink Tattoo in Jacksonville, N.C., near Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for around a decade, said:
"Some are very strict with it, and some are like, 'eh, whatever.'"
He added that younger marines were more liable to adhere to the regulations, but "the ones who are about to get out are just going to say, 'I’m leaving anyway.'"
Click below to see the Marines' announcement on its new regulations...
More: Fabric For The Forces