Marine Corps clarifies updated tattoo policy
US Marine Corps News
By Lance Cpl. Amy A. Trail, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
The Marine Corps released a message providing clarity and additional guidance for its recent tattoo policy, Jan. 15.
According to Marine Administrative Message 029/10, the overall intent is to ensure Marines can be assigned whenever and wherever they are needed and maintain the professional demeanor and the high standards expected of the Marine Corps.
According to policy as outlined in MARADMIN 198/07, tattoos and brands that are sexist, racist, eccentric, offensive in nature or express an association with illegal conduct or substances are prohibited under Marine Corps’ drug policy illegal and the uniform code of military justice.
Also any tattoos or brands that depict vulgar or anti-American content, bring possible discredit to the Marine Corps or associate the Marine with any extremist group are prohibited. Tattoos on the neck or head, sleeve tattoos, half-sleeve or quarter sleeve tattoos that are visible to the eye when wearing the standard physical training uniform are also prohibited.
The new message provides an updated, clearer guidance on the Marine Corps policy on tattoos.
In addition to the head and neck, tattoos on the hands, fingers and wrists are now prohibited, as are tattoos inside of the mouth.
The new policy also clarifies acceptable sizes of visible tattoos.
According to MARADMIN 029/10, individual tattoos visible in the standard physical training uniform, shorts and T-shirt, will not be larger than the Marine’s hand with fingers extended and joined with the thumb touching the base of the index finger. Also, tattoos will not be visible on the feet or legs when wearing the service alpha, blue dress alpha and bravo, blue-white dress alpha and bravo or the evening dress uniforms.
In addition to the general guidance provided by the policy, officers are held to a more stringent set of guidelines.
According to MARADMIN 029/10, officers are limited to no more than four visible tattoos in the standard physical training uniform and band tattoos cannot exceed two inches in width.
A band tattoo as defined by the policy is a tattoo which partially or fully encircles the circumference of the body part. Enlisted Marines are allowed band tattoos with a maximum width less than one quarter of the respective body part.
The new policy states an enlisted Marine grandfathered for a sleeve tattoo in accordance with MARADMIN 198/07 has no restrictions for reenlistment or promotion as an enlisted Marine but is not eligible to apply for any enlisted-to-officer program.
Marines who currently have now-prohibited tattoos won’t face any punishment, but they must document the tattoos with photos in their service record books no later than June 1.
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