Tattoo rules in Army affecting soldiers' careers

Tattoo rules in Army affecting soldiers' careers
MGN Online

POSTED: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 8:53pm

UPDATED: Monday, June 23, 2014 - 8:17am

From fingernail polish to sideburn length, soldiers will have to get a makeover of sorts to stay employed as the U.S. army updates its uniform policy.

There's one rule about to be inked that is affecting some soldiers' careers.

For Robert Wertz, it was one factor in his decision to leave the army.

"I did 7 years and I was a staff sergeant when I got out," he said.

Wertz was an E-6, and says he moved up the ranks fairly quickly. Yet his love for tattoos, and new rules set to take effect in the Army, were at odds.

Of the new rules, soldiers can now have no more than four total tattoos, the size of their hand, below their elbows or knees.

If soldiers already had more, they could stay enlisted, but now cannot apply for a promotion to be a commanding officer.

For Wertz, the rule meant his career in the military was no longer looking bright.

"I don't think it's okay for anyone to be judged by their tattoos," he said. "(The U.S. Army is) going to miss out on a lot of people just because they have some ink on their skin."

That may be part of the Army's goal, as it draws down its forces from the surge in 2006.

"We had to grow our army and we had to increase it by anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 personnel, so in order to do that we had to relax some of the standards we had back then," said Fort Bliss spokesman Lt. Col. Lee Peters.

They are standards that are now being raised again.

"One of our basic fundamentals is good order and discipline and maintaining that professional appearance," said Peters.

Wertz is calling it discrimination. Maybe not of the color of his skin, but the color of the ink on his skin.

"I can go out and hold a sign that says anything I want on it because of the freedom of speech, so why not get something written on my body? Freedom of speech."

The Army will enforce the rule by photographing soldiers' tattoos. The photo will be put in their personnel file.

Then, each year, their company commander will have to perform a physical check to make sure soldiers are in compliance.

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This is such a outrageous article to attack how the army is handling a certain SMALL so to say "problem". Not bashing here but maybe research a little more before writting with a non creditable soilder. SSG Wertz doesnt show the values of the army creed of a NCO when he lies to get in this article. He may have love for tattoos to use it as a reason if he had a choice, however he was kicked out for family violence & was demoted to E5 for fraternization with his female soldiers PFC Garcia.

We are proud parents of two soldiers. They went in to serve our country and put their lives on the line of duty to proudly serve their country. They went in to fight for our freedom that our country is so well known for, proud of, and will always continue to fight for. If anyone has earned that precious privilege of "freedom", it's our soldiers. So if they want to get a tattoo, by all means, let them.

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