Army changes rules on tattoos, hairstyles and piercings for soldiers

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) — The Army is cracking down on soldiers’ appearance and that means changes at Fort Bragg when it comes to hairstyles, piercings and tattoos.

A new stricter Army policy limits where soldiers can and can’t have body art, according to WTVD.

The new policy is all spelled out in a 57-page training program on grooming and appearance.

An Army spokesman says the policies, “give soldiers and leaders the responsibility for ensuring our appearance reflects the highest level of professionalism.”

Those guidelines affect every soldier at Fort Bragg from hair length and style to uniforms and tattoos.

It prohibits tattoos on the face, head, neck, and hands. No tattoo sleeves are allowed on arms and legs. No more than four tattoos can be visible below the elbow or knee.

Other new rules include one where soldiers cannot eat, drink, smoke, or talk on cell phones while walking.

The changes affect not just military uniforms and grooming, but civilian attire as well. Rules define what soldiers can wear on- and off-duty,

It’s still up for discussion, but senior military leaders say tattoos that don’t meet the new requirements may have to be removed if the soldier wants to remain on active duty.

Some soldiers told WTVD  that the new regulations won’t stop them from getting tattoos.

Source: WTVD


  • fred

    It’s still up for discussion, but senior military leaders say tattoos that don’t meet the new requirements may have to be removed if the soldier wants to remain on active duty.

    Good Idea

    • Kat

      Okay the cell phone thing is way out of hand. I’m going to make a 12 min phone call and stay in one place (by chow hall) while the place I stay at is on the other side of the base and I need to shower. Makes total sense right? I’m so hungry but I also need to walk back to my place so i can meet a couple of my buds so we can head out into town and get a beer. “Other new rules include one where soldiers cannot eat, drink, smoke, or talk on cell phones while walking.”

  • sophie

    It’s long overdue in my opinion. Civilians can take a hint as well. Whether we like it or not, appearance is important.

      • Derek

        Who are you to tell me what I can do with my body. Tattoos are art and they date back for years. How would you feel if everyone looked exactly the same? Tattoos are a change of appearance and help to describe a person. As long as the tattoo can be covered when needed I think everyone should mind their own buisness!

      • GC

        You’re right, you should be able to get tattoos if you wish; however if you join any branch of the military you agree to abide by their rules- if that means not getting tattoos, well, you signed the contract. If someone doesn’t like that, well, they can go into a different line of work.
        On the same not, you have the right to get tattoos an piercings, and if I am an employer I have a right to not hire you, or fire you because I don’t feel that your appearance creates a good image for my business.

  • a man

    how quickly we turn on the ones who fight for our freedom. so its ok to for them to give their life for that freedom, but only if they look like you think they should.

    and yeah appearance is important. ask the children everyday who are bullied because they dress within their parents means.

  • Will Foster

    Maybe some of you saying this is good should go to fox 8’s facebook page. I posted a picture of myself…a 6 year combat medic who is heavily tattooed. Go look at it and tell me I’m not a professional and shouldn’t wear the uniform even though I can in this way…despite that I also hold a “professional” civilian job in the corperate world. So if after 6 years I’m no longer good enough to wear the uniform since I will refuse to have my inn removed…then by all means the ones who are speaking out who have never served…I challenge you to go through what we do to earn the right to wear the uniform. I’m almost certain you wouldn’t for a second try to walk in our shoes.

    • GC

      @Will Foster
      I personally don’t like tattoos- now that doesn’t mean that I have a problem with someone who has tattoos, or that I think any less of that person, just that I don’t like them. I think that the Army is making a mistake with this policy, but if they do decide to go with this change then any member of our armed forces voluntarily signed their contract agreeing to the military’s terms. I’m not allowed to have tattoos and piercings all over me as a school teacher, but if I wanted to get a tattoo, well I’m the one who chose to be a teacher, which is another job that very few folks would be willing to endure either if they walked in our shoes.
      I have the utmost respect for our service members, and I appreciate what all of you do- the one big regret of my life is that I didn’t serve, thank you for what you all do.

  • lindsey

    Since these soldiers fight for our freedom … they should be allowed the freedom to express themselves.

  • a man

    Will, I too am a vet who is inked. all of my ink symbolizes the honor for my country. i have an eagle on my right shoulder representing airborne. i have 4 gravesites on my left shoulder representing comrads lost in battle, and i wear the stars and stripes proudly on my back. while none of these would put me at risk of being discharged (because they can be hidden under clothing), i would feel betrayed by the country i would die for if i could no longer serve because of showing my pride in ink. if they want to move forward and change the rules on it fine, but there should be more respect to our veterans than to toss em out for doing something that wasnt against the rules at that time.

  • a man

    and to GC. what world do you live in thinking that a teacher is anywhere close to being a soldier? In battle there are no breaks, and wars don’t stop due to weather. the army does more by 9am than most does in an entire day and in teachers case maybe a semester. I mean come on… 8am-3pm, monday through friday for around 9 months a year, not to mention more vacation and holidays than basicly any other job out there. and then throw in how many days late or missed due to weather being ice, snow or even too hot at times.
    now im not downplaying teachers. what you do is very important in educating our youth, and ill even give you the fact i think you are grossly underpaid for what you endure. but please do not compare what is truly a part time job to a job that never ends, or can end your life.

    • GC

      You misinterpreted what I said- if you read my post nowhere, and I mean nowhere, did I ever say teaching is the same as being a soldier. I have never labored under that illusion, and you’ll never hear me say it.
      Now, on to the next part of your statement- in what world do you live where you think that teachers are as lazy as what you state? Sure, there are a few who don’t do much, but they are not the norm. I most definitely do not work 8A-3PM, I am at school between 7:00 and 7:30 in the morning, and I very rarely leave before 5PM. I also usually work anywhere from 4-8 hours every saturday, either at school or at home, doing work FOR SCHOOL. I get paid for 7 hours each day- the other hours that I put in I never get a cent for. You’re right that the kids get many days off, and I get many holidays off. However, when school closes for the kids, 9 out of 10 times teachers are required to be there anyway, and we work 10 months out of the year, but the other two months are NOT PAID, meaning that the majority of us go out and work 2 months at another job to bring an income in. What I do is most definitely not a “part time job” as you say. On the other hand being a soldier is not a full time job, you are on the clock 24/7. Once again, I reiterate, I never said that being a teacher is the same thing as being a soldier, not even close. But do not insult me by telling me that what I do is a part time job that doesn’t require many, many hours of work.
      I also never claimed that I have what it takes to be a soldier- I simply compared one aspect of teaching to being a soldier- nobody knows what soldiers go through without walking a day in your shoes, just like nobody knows what being a teacher is like until you walk a day in our shoes. Most civilians would not make it in the military- likewise most people who have never spent a day in the classroom would not make it as a teacher. I never said they were equal.
      I never said anything to belittle or insult the men and women who fight for us, please do not insult or belittle the men and women who educate the youth of this nation.

      • GC

        One more thing- when I say not equal, I am not saying that I think teachers or soldiers are better than one another as people, I am referring to the lifestyle of being a soldier vs the profession of teaching. The career does not make one person better than another AS A PERSON.

  • b

    i can totally understand that they want us to look professional “in uniform” but who are they to tell me when i dont have my uniform on what i can an cant wear. we are all people with different personality’s are we not aloud to be individuals outside our uniform on our free time. or do we need to be in uniformity and act an think like each other when were on our own time too!!

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