A Few Good Men -- and Their Tattoos, Too
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The dashing Mark Mazzetti -- in his swan song for the L.A. Times, before decamping for the New York Times -- brings us this report, about the Army casting a wider net in its recruiting:
The Army has a message for the growing legions of flamboyantly tattooed American teens: Uncle Sam even wants you. Facing one of the worst recruiting climates in the allvolunteer military's history, the Army has decided to relax standards that dictate which parts of a soldier can be festooned with body art. Specifically, the service will accept recruits with tattoos on their neck and hands.
The service long had prohibited soldiers from having tattoos on places not covered by a dress uniform. But after missing Army recruiting goals last year, commanders are looking for every way possible to expand the pool of candidates.
But don't think that they'll let just anyone in. True, the Army has started to admit recruits "who score poorly on mental aptitude tests and who don't have high school diplomas," as well as "candidates with criminal records and histories of drug abuse." With respect to body art, however, the Army still has some standards:
The directive still prohibits any tattoos that are "extremist, indecent, sexist or racist." And, in true Army fashion, there are strict guidelines about where on the neck the tattoo may be located. Neck tattoos are allowed only on the back of the neck, defined by the Army as the area "under the ear lobe and across the back of the head."
With the tattoo ban lifted, maybe now they'll let Rep. Bill Thomas enlist!
For the curious among you, additional Army guidance about what tattoos pass muster appears after the jump.
According to Army guidelines, as summarized in the Los Angeles Times piece:
"All tattoos that are on the neck that are not vulgar, profane, indecent, racist or extremist, are authorized as long as it does not extremely degrade military appearance," the guidance reads.
The policy defines sexist tattoos as "those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on gender," such as "French Maid," "Harem Girl," or "Man's Head on Dog's Body."
"Indecent" tattoos are those that are "grossly offensive to modesty, decency or propriety; shock the moral sense because of their vulgar, filthy, or disgusting nature or tendency to incite lustful thought; or tend reasonably to corrupt morals or incite libidinous thoughts."
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Earlier: Bill Thomas: Expensive Date
(With respect to Representative Thomas: yes, we know what the Edinburgh Military Tattoo actually is. Please read every last word in our posts; they are meant to be savored, not skimmed.)