Army eases tattoo restrictions

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:14 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The United States Army is making some changes to one of its long-standing policies.

Just like almost every industry, the military is having some difficulty attracting talent. And now, the Army has eased their tattoo restrictions, making it easier for people with certain tattoos to join the branch.

There are lots of reasons to get a tattoo.

“Some people get tattoos just because it’s funny, some people get tattoos because it’s super meaningful, maybe it’s because of a passed away family member,” said Hurley, owner and tattoo artist at Black Sheep Tattoo in Bismarck.

Recruiters for the North Dakota Army National Guard say this will only be a good thing.

“It allows past applicants to maybe have another shot at joining the National Guard, as well as future applicants who thought they wouldn’t have a chance because of certain tattoos,” said Colin Rutten, National Guard recruiter.

Per the new rules, the Army will now allow Soldiers to have one tattoo on each hand that’s no larger than an inch in length. Soldiers can also have a tattoo that doesn’t exceed two inches on the back of their neck and one, inch-long tattoo behind each ear. They can also have tattoos between their fingers as long as the designs can’t be seen when their fingers are closed. They are allowed one ring tattoo per hand.

“I think it’s important to at least allow anyone to try to live their dream or do what they want to do to serve their country, I think it’s a huge part of some peoples’ lives, and extending that opportunity to everyone, any way possible, I think is always a better case,” said Rutten.

The new rules went into effect last month.

Even though restrictions have been relaxed, certain body parts are still off-limits. Facial tattoos are still prohibited, although it’s possible to apply for an exception. And just as before, tattoo designs can’t contain any offensive, extremist, or hateful words or images.

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