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Army: New limits for tattooed troops

Published: March 31, 2014, 1:56 pm, by Tom Roeder

11 armyThe Army issued its new appearance regulations for soldiers Monday, including a new rule that limits soldiers to four visible tattoos below the elbow or knee.

The long-anticipated updates to Army Regulation 670-1 stopped short of a visible tattoo ban, but forbid facial art and other ink that can be seen above the T-shirt line.

Here’s the low-down:

“Soldiers may have no more than four visible tattoos below the elbow (to the wrist bone) or below the knee. The tattoos in these areas must be smaller than the size of the wearer’s hand with fingers extended and joined with the thumb touching the base of the index finger. The total count of all tattoos in these areas may not exceed a total of four.
(a) A single tattoo is defined as one or multiple tattoos spaced apart that can still be covered by a circle with a
diameter of five inches. Tattoos spaced apart that cannot be covered by a circle with a diameter of five inches are
considered separate tattoos.
(b) A band tattoo is a tattoo that fully encircles the circumference of the body part. Band tattoos may be no more
than two inches in width. Each band tattoo counts as one authorized tattoo (see para 3–3c(2)). Soldiers may have a
total of one visible band tattoo on the body. The band tattoo may either be below one elbow (above the wrist bone) or
below one knee.
(c) A sleeve tattoo is a tattoo that is a very large tattoo or a collection of smaller tattoos that covers or almost covers
a person’s arm or leg. Sleeve tattoos are not authorized below the elbow or below the knee.
(3) Soldiers who have tattoos that were compliant with previous tattoo policies, but are no longer in compliance
with paragraph 3–3c(1) through (2)(a) through (c) are grandfathered. Soldiers, who have unauthorized tattoos that werenot in compliance with previous policies, are not grandfathered. Tattoos on the face or head (to include on/inside the eyelids, mouth, and ears) are not grandfathered because these locations were never authorized locations for tattoos.
Soldiers with tattoos on the head or face must be processed in accordance with paragraph 3–3h, below, unless the
Soldier received a written waiver upon entry into the Army.”

Another change: Soldiers can now pack umbrellas with their dress uniforms, an accessory forbidden since George Washington.

The changes also remove white formal uniforms, which soldiers wore to grand events in tropical climates and the black mess uniform. Those have been superseded by the Army’s new blues.