Army tattoo policy cracking down on ink

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - A new grooming policy in the army has some soldiers concerned that having tattoos could hold them back from higher pay grades.

In 2006, a rule in the Army that said tattoos couldn't be certain places, like the neck and the hands, was lifted. But that was when the Army was recruiting and trying to grow by 80,000 troops to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But as of March 6, 2013, a new policy called Army Regulation 670-1 states soldiers can have no more than four visible tattoos below the elbow or knee. Sleeve tattoos are also not allowed, but for some, the concern is that old tattoos could stop them from moving up in the ranks.

"There are a lot of soldiers who have enlisted since 2006 with tattoos, and if they want to be commissioned as an officer, they might not be able to do it now," one anonymous soldier said.

The policy highlights hair and nail length restrictions, as well as other rules. The Army will not force soldiers who had tattoos before March 6, 2013 to remove them, but commanders must validate tattoos above the neck, below the elbows and below the knees.

A local tattoo shop near Fort Gordon said they're not worried about losing any customers.

"They're still going to get tattoos, doesn't matter where, they'll get them," said Charles Clark with Excalibur Tattoo.

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