If you’re a Marine, you probably saw the Commandant’s new tattoo regulations, designed to ease up on the Amos-era restrictions that were put in place a few years back. Now, Marines are able to have just a little bit more freedom in their choice of bodily inks in areas previously unapproved. You still can’t get a full sleeve, but at least it’s better than it was.
When I first enlisted there really weren’t any strict tattoo regulations. Some of the best Marines I ever met had full-sleeves full of skulls, spiderwebs and other totally rad shit that you most likely just wouldn’t see on a Marine today. As an artist myself, I don’t personally have any issue with tattoos wherever you want them (though I could see maybe not on the face or something as being a more than reasonable rule). The effort the Corps is making is to maintain a professional look for Marines, while also trying to ensure that Marines don’t make it difficult for themselves to find professional work in the future.
In all reality though, I doubt most infantry Marines with a sleeve full of skulls, spiderwebs, MOS numbers and wizards and shit is really looking for work as a Wells Fargo bank teller post-Marine Corps. Additionally, sleeves can usually be covered up with, well, sleeves. Anecdotally, my brother happens to have two full arms’ worth of ink, but works as a funeral director. He wears long sleeves to work.
In any case, I applaud the step in the right direction. It is, after all, the military. You have to expect some rules you might not like, but this is better than it was.
Otherwise, look for me in Chicago this weekend and San Angelo on Monday. I’ll be doing a book signing at Oceanside Barnes & Noble next weekend as well!
I’ll be at the Chicago Tribune Printer’s Row Literary Festival on Saturday speaking on a panel! Come see me, details here.