The Air Force has reportedly rescinded a short-lived tattoo policy that prohibited body art on the "saluting arm" after turning away 26 recruits from basic training.
Air Force Recruiting Service spokeswoman Christa D'Andrea told the Air Force Times that the tougher tattoo rule for recruits followed an investigation of trainees that found more than 80 who did not comply with the Air Force's policy that bans only tattoos that are obscene or do not fit a "military image," that cover more than one-fourth of a body part, or are above the collarbone.
"The issue of not having tattoos on the right arm is one of military image," D'Andrea told the Air Force Times. "If [recruits] enter BMT with no tattoos on their right arm, they ensure they're starting their career with an understanding of what military images means."
A message sent on Nov. 25 to Air Force recruiting personnel made several changes to Recruiting Service procedures, including alternations to the tattoo policy. Officials announced last Thursday that the message had been rescinded and that "several agencies will conduct a review of the dress and personnel appearance [regulations] to standardize implementation of policy."
Of the 26 recruits who were turned away from basic training last week, 20 had already been rebooked for deployment, D'Andrea told the Air Force Times. Three recruits, meanwhile, decided against joining the Air Force, she said.