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Marine Corps bans "big body art" tattoos: marines will be photographed

Discussion in 'The US Marine Corps Forum' started by The Pontificator, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. The Pontificator

    The Pontificator Angry Samoan

    Sep 18, 2000

    Marines Rush to Get Tattoos Before Ban on Big Body Art Kicks In
    Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    OCEANSIDE, Calif. —

    Five tattooed skulls stretch from Marine Cpl. Jeremy Slaton's right elbow to his wrist, spelling out the word "Death." He planned to add a tattoo spelling "Life" on his left arm, but that's on hold because of a Marine policy taking effect Sunday.

    The Marines are banning any new, extra-large tattoos below the elbow or the knee, saying such body art is harmful to the Corps' spit-and-polish image.

    Slaton and other grunts are not pleased.

    "I guess I'll get the other half later," grumbled the 24-year-old leatherneck from Eden Prairie, Minn. "It's kind of messed up."

    For many Marines, getting a tattoo is a rite of passage. They commonly get their forearms inscribed to remember fallen comrades, combat tours or loved ones, and often ask for exotic designs that incorporate the Marine motto, Semper Fi, or "Always faithful."

    Dozens of Marines from Camp Pendleton, the West Coast's biggest Marine base, made last-minute trips to tattoo parlors in nearby Oceanside before the ban kicked in.

    "This is something I love to do," said Cpl. David Nadrchal, 20, of Ponoma, who made an appointment to get an Iraqi flag and his deployment dates etched onto his lower leg. "The fact I can't put something on my body that I want — it's a big thing to tell me I can't do that."

    Nadrchal said he is unsure whether he will re-enlist: "There's all these little things. They are slowly chipping away at us."

    Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway announced the policy change last week.

    "Some Marines have taken the liberty of tattooing themselves to a point that is contrary to our professional demeanor and the high standards America has come to expect from us," he said. "I believe tattoos of an excessive nature do not represent our traditional values."

    The ban is aimed primarily at "sleeve" tattoos, the large and often elaborate designs on the biceps and forearms of many Marines. Similar designs on the lower legs will be forbidden as well. So will very large tattoos on the upper arm, if they are visible when a Marine wears his workout T-shirt. Small, individual tattoos will still be allowed on the arms and legs. (The Marines already ban them on the hands.)

    Marines already tattooed are exempt from the ban but cannot add to their designs; anyone caught with fresh ink in the wrong places could be barred from re-enlistment or face disciplinary action. Getting a prohibited tattoo could constitute a violation of a lawful order, punishable by up to two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge, Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Brian Donnolly said.

    Unit commanders must photograph and document sleeve tattoos to ensure Marines do not add to their ink.

    The Marines and the other branches of the military already ban tattoos that could be offensive or disruptive, such as images that are sexist, vulgar, gang-related or extremist.

    The Army, which has been doing most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and is struggling to fill its ranks, actually relaxed its tattoo restrictions last year. Soldiers can now get ink on the back of their hands and the lower back of the neck.

    The Navy last year decreed that tattoos visible while in short-sleeve uniform cannot be larger than the wearer's hand. The Air Force says tattoos should be covered up if they are bigger than one-quarter the size of the exposed body part.

    Tattoo artist Jerry Layton at the Body Temple Tattoo Studio in Oceanside said he was booked up with Marines rushing to beat the deadline.

    "These are guys that are dying in the war," Layton said. "They can fight, but they can't get a tattoo? It's ridiculous."
  2. LittleLebowski

    LittleLebowski Urban Achiever!

    Mar 25, 2005
    Northern VA (WY native)
    Oh yes, A Marine can kill but not have pornography or drink alcohol. Or get caught not wearing a collared shirt.

  3. 2952


    Aug 31, 2006
    On the beach
    When I was in tattoos that were large were forbidden. In fact they were really discouraged if they showed when you wore a Class C Short Sleeve uniform.

    There was a whole different dress code on duty and off base. We lived through it and yes it was a pain. But,we were still the deadliest fighting force on this planet- Bar None.

    Semper Fi
    Corporal of Marines
  4. usmc0341


    Mar 22, 2007
    I guess we're just gettin too scary for modern society!:supergrin:
  5. RM

    RM Millennium Member

    Oct 12, 1999
    The big impetus behind this is limitation on special duty assignments for Marines with sleeves.
  6. Ignition

    Ignition Insanityville

    Dec 5, 2004
    Cherry Point NC
    but who honestly really believes that bunch of _____ (fill in blank with random assorted Marine Vocabulary) about the push being because of special duty assignments.

    If that were the case then it wouldnt be Corps wide. I love my brothers that choose that line of work. but i dont ever feel the need to do any special B billets

    its all about the Corps feel-good pvssy political correctness ideal that has swept through some old timers or others "looking in" and puttin pressure on the Corps. I guess we dont want to hurt anyones feelings, that would be so inconsiderate.

    Thank you soooooo much SgtMaj Estrada for pushing this through, because of you enlisted Marines everywhere will RE-enlist and be the hard charging soft Corps we have all come to pamper.

    the question I ask, can those currently deployed have a grace period of 1 week till their deployment is finished, to get the rest of the ink they want?????????
  7. RM

    RM Millennium Member

    Oct 12, 1999
    Well I don't agree with the need for a B billet for enlisted Marines to advance in the ranks, until it is not a precept on promotion boards, that is just the way it is.

    What the problem promotion boards see is that according to fitreps almost everyone is extremely good at their jobs. Even with the war going on, except for rare cases of Silver Star and higher, you have a dozen guys in the same MOSs all have exceptional fitreps to include action in combat. Since not everyone can be promoted, they have to have some way of "breaking people out from the group. SDA has been the method chosen to do this because they force Marines out of their comfort zone (doing their MOS) and don't have a 100 percent successful tour rate. So if you have two guys that on paper have similar records, and one has completed a successful B Billet and one has either not or failed at one, it is only natural which on will get promoted.
  8. Ignition

    Ignition Insanityville

    Dec 5, 2004
    Cherry Point NC
    still even with that knowledge in mind can you take an item as touchy as tattoos and self decoration and just nix almost the main areas Marines get tats just as saying it MAY hamper your promotion and could limit your access into B-Billets.

    But with the Corps struggling to keep its total stregth of Marines let alone boost it to 200k this kinda seems like a drive in the wrong direction

    Semper Fooked
  9. Grim Jackal

    Grim Jackal Secret Squirrel

    Jul 21, 2004
    Surrounded by clowns
    ******* that S***! I'm glad I got out when I did cause I couldn't put up with this P.C. stupid S***.

    God speed to those who serve, Semper FI.
  10. JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH! What is our corps comming to?! The next thing you know, they will be telling us who we can and can't have for friends, where, and when we can or can't go, and what time to be there! s%^ of a b#&%$!:banana: :alex: