Army Proposes Ban on Tattoos for New Recruits - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Army Proposes Ban on Tattoos for New Recruits

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - If you're considering joining the U.S. Army, you may want to think twice before getting some new ink. That's because a proposed policy change would ban new recruits from having tattoos on certain parts of their bodies.

Tattoo artist Blaine Porter said getting inked is part of life in the Armed Forces.

"A lot of people show American tradition in their tattoos, American flags and eagles and military representations," Porter said. "I have a lot of military clients."

He would know, he's an Army veteran himself.

"You graduated basic, you got a tattoo," Porter said. "You went to the shops around bases and got a tattoo. It's something to show off where you've been in the military."

But that could soon change for new recruits in the U.S. Army. A new proposal would ban tattoos below the elbows, below the knees and on the neck.

The Army said it would help maintain a uniform look for soldiers but not everyone agrees with the change.

"A tattoo's not gonna hinder you from saving someone's life or it's not gonna hinder you from doing your job," Primal Instinct tattoo artist, Gabriel Smith, said. "It's just on your skin, it's a decoration."

Smith said the policy is taking away a freedom the troops fight for.

"They're still fighting for us, they're sill representing our country," he said. "They're doing their job. Why not just let them do what they want with it."

And Porter thinks it could end up hurting the Army.

"That's just gonna keep the military from gaining good soldiers and good people just because they wanna show off what they believe in," Porter said.

Soldiers who already have tattoos on those parts of their bodies will be grand fathered in. The new rules could go into effect within 30 days.

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