US Army redraws its tattoo policy


The US Army has relaxed its policy on tattoos in a bid to boost the number of new recruits to its ranks.

Soldiers can now have tattoos on their hands and back of the neck as long as they are not “extremist, indecent, sexist or racist,” army officials say.

Women recruits can also wear permanent eye-liner, eyebrows and lip makeup, although it must “not be trendy”.

An army official said it made no sense any more to bar highly-qualified people on the basis of their body art.

Tattoos and permanent make-up have become increasingly popular among young men and women in the US in recent years…


‘Unfit for duty’

“The army is America. We are America’s sons and daughters. American’s sons and daughters are getting tattoos,” Lt Col Bryan Hilferty at the Pentagon said.

“The army is continuing to update our personnel policies. We have people who are otherwise qualified who want to serve and who have answered the call to duty.”

Tattoos on the head, face or throat area will continue to be banned, and any sexist, racist or gang tattoo makes potential recruits “unfit for duty”, Lt Hilferty stressed.

Permanent make-up “should be conservative and complement the uniform and complexion in both style and colour and will not be trendy,” the regulations read.

The US army was 7,000 short of its target of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers last year.

Army officials admitted the shortfall has been caused partly by a wariness among young people of having to serve in Iraq.


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