100 El Paso army applicants turned away because of tattoos

100 El Paso army applicants turned away because of tattoos

POSTED: Friday, June 27, 2014 - 5:58pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 27, 2014 - 7:16pm

The Army Recruiting Command in Phoenix said about 100 army applicants in El Paso were turned away because of tattoos.
This new policy went into effect March 31. It prohibits tattoos on the face, neck, wrist, or fingers. Tattoos below the elbow or knee have to be smaller than the size of a hand.

Jon Lopez, 1st Lt. at Fort Bliss said he's kept his tattoos in places hidden from sight.
"I've kept the majority of them above the sleeve line, above the elbow line," Lopez said.
"I'm not big on displaying my tattoos. I think they are a private, personal story type of deal," he said.

Renegade Tattoo in east El Paso said the regulations haven't affected business as much as they thought it would.
"Basically what I see more of is tattoos that are under the shirt so that's kind of the adjustment," said Orlando Rodriguez with Renegade Tattoo.
Dr. Marco Gonzalez with Envy Aesthetic Center said he's seen solider come in for tattoo removal.
When they do come in for the procedure, the soldiers have to choose between laser or surgery.
"Some people are more limited on time, or the downtime. Some don't have the time to come in and do the laser treatment. And some people just want to have it done and get it over with," said Dr. Gonzalez.

Officials with the Army Recruiting Command in Phoenix said removing tattoos don't guarantee acceptance. They said there needs to be a clean removal. No branding from the process can be left on the skin.

But in the end, it's all about following regulations.

"With the military, it's just a part of the rules. You have rules and regulations and we have to follow them," Lopez said. 

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