Commentary

May 10, 2012

Opinion: Tattoos: art or unprofessional?

Cpl. Shelby Shields
Desert Warrior Staff

Over the past few decades it seems society has become more and more accepting of tattoos. This goes hand-in-hand with the younger generation’s fascination with getting tattoos the second they turn 18.

There still are some employers who won’t hire people covered in ink or require they wear long sleeves to completely cover them during the workday, but many are looking beyond the body art.

The Marine Corps, typically known for tatted up members, has begun, unlike the outside society, cracking down on tattoo regulations.

“I believe tattoos of an excessive nature do not represent our traditional values. Some 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,” said Gen. James T. Conway, former commandant of the Marine Corps, in a March 19, 2007 message.

In accordance with the March 2007 message, full sleeves are now prohibited, along with hand, neck, wrist, face and inside of the mouth tattoos. Quarter sleeve tattoos are acceptable as long as it cannot be seen while wearing the issued physical training gear.

Additionally, the size of any individual tattoo seen outside of PT gear cannot be larger than the Marine’s hand with fingers extended and joined and the thumb touching the base of the index finger.

The policy covers a number of other issues from band tattoos, to the nature of tattoos and many other dos and don’ts when it comes to getting a tattoo.

Luckily, those Marines who already had tattoos deemed “out of regulation” before the new policy was issued are “grandfathered” in and should not receive any unfair treatment when it comes to promotion or retention, but are ineligible for some enlisted commissioning programs.

Those of us who had plans of starting our sleeves after we joined can kiss those ideas goodbye, especially if you plan on staying in longer than one enlistment.

I understand the desire for uniformity and professionalism, it makes perfect sense and when some Marines arms are bare and others full of tattoos; we lose that uniformity, but not necessarily the professionalism.

Yes, some Marines with tattoos don’t embody the core values, some do. The same goes for Marines without tattoos. Simply because they have no ink doesn’t mean they are a perfect Marine.

But, rules are rules, and as Marines it is our responsibility to follow the rules put before us.

“A Marine with tattoos doesn’t mean you’re a bad Marine,” said Sgt. Maj. William Wiseman, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron sergeant major, in an interview in 2010. “However, since tattoos are a visual reminder of your personal thoughts, feelings and ideas, a Marine with visible tattoos may not be the best candidate for a high-profile assignment. Since the Marine Corps has the most recognizable uniform in the world, this makes the Corps a high-profile assignment. … You joined the Corps; the Corps didn’t join you.”

However, I encourage everyone to make sure to look beyond the skins surface. To many people their tattoos are art, holding extreme significance and a deeper meaning which they can carry with them forever, not an act of rebellion.

To double check if your tattoos are within regulations, check out Marine Administrative Message 29/10.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
sterling-yuma

Sterling Global Operations completes U.S. Navy project to clear munitions, firing range and target debris from Arizona Marine Corps Air Station range

Sterling Global Operations, Inc., in a two-year project for the U.S. Navy, removed or recycled some 5.9 million pounds of munitions, firing range and target debris from Marine Corps Air Station at Yuma, Ariz. Sterling Global re...
 
 

US Army, Raytheon achieve first inflight lethal intercept of low quadrant elevation rocket

YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz. – Raytheon successfully intercepted and destroyed a low quadrant elevation 107mm rocket as part of the second series of guided test vehicle flight tests of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program. The intercept is a major test milestone before the U.S. Army live-fire engagements begin in September. “Beginning only 18 months...
 
 

Raytheon, U.S. Army complete first AI3 guided flight test series

Raytheon and the U.S. Army successfully completed the first guided test vehicle flight series of the Accelerated Improved Intercept Initiative program at Yuma Proving Ground, Aris. The series consisted of two flight tests against different target profiles. In each case after launch, the interceptor initially guided on in-flight radio frequency datalink updates from the fire...
 

 

New Navy vessel named after Yuma

The U.S. Navy has decided to name one of their newest Joint High-Speed Vessels after the city of Yuma, Ariz., forming an even deeper bond between the local community and our military. Political officials from the state of Arizona and the city of Yuma were informed of the decision by the Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary...
 
 
DoD

Joint Strike Fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

Indications are that the F-35 joint strike fighter program — the most expensive aviation program in Defense Department history — is on track, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told a Senate panel June 19. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee this morning, Frank Kendall said the F-35 will be...
 
 
DoD
WEBarmy-jltv2

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle ‘closes capability gap,’ Army says

While the Humvee has served the Army well for some 25 years, there’s a “capability gap” in what it can do for warfighters on a 21st-century battlefield, said the Soldier responsible for overseeing its replacem...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin