Beginning this Sunday, Marines are no longer permitted to have any new, extra-large tattoos below the elbow or knee, due to a new policy that says such body art is harmful to the Corps' spit-and-polish image, and do not represent their "traditional values."
Tattoos have been a common practice among Marines, who regularly get tattoos on their forearms to remember fallen comrades, combat tours, or loved ones. As the days approach the no-tattoo policy, Marines made last-minute trips to parlors before the ban kicked in.
After the ban goes into effect, a Marine's new ink could constitute a violation of a lawful order, punishable by up to two years in prison, and a dishonorable discharge, according to Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Brian Donnolly. READ MORE
Do you think the new tattoo ban is unfair to Marines? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think!
Here's What FOX Fans Are Saying:
"As a former Marine, I never got a tattoo. Personal like or dislike of tattoos is not what is at stake here. What is at stake is order and discipline. The job of a Marine succeeds or fails on order and discipline. This is why the Marine Corps has the severest basic training. It is their job to break the civilian/self image within the future Marine and foster the new Marine image with all of the necessary discipline and order that is required for the job they do." — Thomas
"I've never been in the armed forces, but in my opinion, for a military that is already depleting and bursting at the seams, it seems like a horrible idea to put a restriction, such as this, on an already pained institution. If this is one thing that our Marines can do that gives them a little happiness, then let them have it. They're dying for our country, and now we're going to tell them they are not allowed to get tattoos?" — April
"I believe that this policy is completely insane. I am an Air Force veteran that suffered the same discrimination in 1995 while stationed at March AFB. After I was tattooed, a base policy was written dictating that any Airman with tattoos greater than three inches in diameter could not wear their BDU sleeves rolled up, nor could they attend any 'official' Base function in short sleeves. Tattoos have a great history in the Armed Services and should not be made a felony offense for these brave men and women who fight and die every day to protect liberties such as these. Do we really need another reason to lower morale in the Armed Services?" — Dave
"This tattoo issue is about the power and control of the power elite, nothing more. Therefore, the Commandant does not like tattoos, I do not particularly care for tattoos either, so what. Then they wonder why no one wants to join up or reenlist." — Richard
"I am in the Air Force, and we cannot have tattoos below the elbow and above the collar on the neck or anywhere that is distinctly visible. I have five tattoos, three of them pretty large, which no one can see when I am in uniform. I agree that Marines should not be able to have large tattoos below their elbows and knees, because it does tarnish the military image, no matter what service you are in." — A1C Casey USAF
"That is wrong! One's body is one's own, and a person should be able to do with it what he or she pleases! This is so outrageous! Let's prey on yet another one of America's 'freedoms' shall we?" — Tonya
"Tattooing for some people is a way of release and dealing with emotions. Marines protect our freedom and it should not matter to the government. By restricting him in getting a tattoo, you are taking away his very freedom that he his fighting for." — Sandra
"I have to say, this has got to be one of the pettiest decisions ever made — especially during war time. You're telling me that Marines have inferior body armor and vehicle armor, and the Commandant actually has the time and gall to not only think about, but implement a policy like this? Makes you wonder what his real priorities are. The Marine Corps has been around since 1775, and now in 2007 this is an issue? It's not like tattoos just came about in the last year or two." — Brian (Richmond, VA)
"I totally agree with the Marine's new regulations banning large tattoos." — Tony, a former Marine
"It is fair that Marines can not have the tattoos below their elbows or knees. The U.S. Marines represent the best fighting force and military image in the world. Visible tattoos distract from this image and dishonor the uniform." — Susan
"I think tattoos make the Marines look more intense, and that is a good thing. Let them have all of them they want." — CJ (Hendersonville, NC)
"As a Marine no longer on active duty, I don't see a problem with the new tattoo policy. People will find a way to complain about anything and everything, and this is no different. If Marines want to get tattoos that are not allowed, then they have the option to do so when they finish their contract obligation." — Brandon
"As a former Marine who has his USMC tattoos, I think it is a sound policy change. Excessive tattoos detract from the image. We are not a gang." — William (Southbury, CT)
"Knowing the grunts reputation and tradition, if I were an insurgent, seeing the multiple skull tattoos on 'grunt Slaton' arms would just fuel my fear. Marines are fearless … let them express themselves." — Sam (Ironton, Ohio)
"I'm a former Marine Corps Staff Sergeant (and a current Police Officer), and a tattoo enthusiast which started while I was a Marine. I believe tattoos are a part of the tradition of Marines and the Marine Corps, as is Col Chesty Puller and the 'Frozen Chosen.' But Marines also need to remember that we are consummate professionals and need to continually exhibit this fact throughout our careers. Marines need to realize they will one day they will separate from active -duty service, and sleeve tattoos are not really accepted in the professional world." — Dan (Reno, NV.)
"I am an Army spouse and I do not have a problem with this ban. As it states no 'extra large' tattoo below the elbow or knee. It does not ban tattoos in those locations, just those that are about a certain size. They can still have extra large tattoos on other parts of their bodies. There is already a ban on certain types of tattoos in the military already, this is nothing new. It seems some Marines are getting them, just because they can't have them later." — Lisa (Chester, VA)