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Army looks to revamp appearance policy

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FORT SILL, Okla._A new Army regulation means big changes for soldiers, when it comes to their personal appearance and tattoos.

The new rules were leaked online last week, and while they also cover hairstyles and other grooming standards, the tattoo policy is drawing the most attention. It will limit the size, the number, and the location of tattoos.

  • Tattoos above the neck line and on hands not allowed.
  • Inappropriate, sexist or racist tattoos are not allowed.
  • Tattoos below your elbow or below your knees will not be allowed if they are larger than your hand.
  • If the tattoo is smaller than your hand, you can not have more than four on your body.

"Our business will run as normal because the base already knows it, the upper command already knows it, we follow military policy anyway. So it won't be any change," said Mike Evans, owner of Elite Skin Art.

Evans' studio is a member of the National Alliance of Tattooist, as such they follow military standard. If a soldier comes in asking for a tattoo outside of regulation they won't do that tattoo.

"We try to follow the standards so that they have assurance that they won't end up with an article 15, or a demotion or any nature of that happening to their career," explained Evans.

He said when that does happens it's because the soldier did not know it wasn't in regulation.

"You think about a young soldier all the stuff that they cram pack into his training into his brain, a lot of times it is understandable why they can't remember the exact listing of the policy. They have briefings on it but one briefing doesn't stick in their mind always," said Evans.

Evans has tattoos visible even with a shirt on, so his answer to if he understands the army's new regulation probably will surprise you.

"Whenever you have a Marine that stands out in front of an embassy in a foreign country that represents the American people, sometimes a tattoo, no matter what it is may be, brings a negative note to our country. So I understand why they do what they do," said Evans.

Fort Sill was not able to comment on the policy changes. The date for when the changes will be formally implemented has not been officially announced either. The policy that was leaked was dated march 18th.

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