U.S. Army Set to Implement New Tattoo Rules

The U.S. Army is set to implement strict guidelines for incoming recruits.

A new uniform policy under review states soldiers will not be allowed to have tattoos that show below the elbows and knees or above the neckline. The policy will also set restrictions on grooming, hair styles and body piercings.

The current policy states tattoos or brands anywhere on the head, face, and neck above the class A uniform collar are prohibited.

Some Texomans are outraged. They feel having tattoos shouldn't prevent people from serving their country.

"If they're willing to go to battle for their country, I have no problem with tattoos. I think with what's going on in the world today, that is so miniscule. It ought to be way way way on the back burner," said Wichita Falls resident Rita Underwood.

"What's on your skin is no big deal. I mean it really shouldn't matter because you're devoting yourself to this country," said Richard Romero, another Wichita Falls resident.

"The tattoos you get, you're getting them for a reason. If they're saying no, you can't do this or you can't do that, you're limiting them," said Elizebeth MacPherson, who has a few tattoos on her body.

Others disagree, and said it's a matter of professionalism.

Wichita Falls resident Kelley Sims believes, "it doesn't look good in the work place. Some are offensive to other people."

"You become government property when you join the military. If there are some rules, okay. If you don't like the rules then don't join. It's pretty much how it is," said Dan Shevrovich, who is against tattoos overall.

Changes with the new policy are expected to take place in the next 30 to 60 days. Soldiers who currently have tattoos in the banned areas of the body will be grandfathered in. Once the rules are implemented, soldiers will have to "self-identify" and report any tattoos to a unit leader.

This potential regulation only applies to the army and not yet other parts of the U.S. Military.

Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), who is the Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement on this matter:

"Uniform policies and regulations are determined internally by each military branch. Our senior military officers and non-commissioned officers are best equipped to set such standards."

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel Six.