Proposed Revisions To The Army Tattoo Policy

1654 words - 7 pages

Although tattoos represent a variety of things in a person’s life, they don’t necessarily dictate how well a person is able to perform their job. For the last few months, there has been an ongoing debate about troops in the Army that have tattoos, and as a result their careers have been placed on the line. With this upcoming change, it has been specifically said that troops cannot have tattoos that extend below their knees and above their elbows and ones that reach above their neckline. Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler argues that tattoos cannot be racist, extremist, or sexist. If the tattoo violates that then they will have to get it removed (Freedberg). While it is assumed that this is limited to new recruits, it will also be applied to the older troops as well. Although tattoos have been around for a long time, they gained major popularity during World War II. Which was when, many soldiers who were deployed to distant places got tattoos to serve as souvenirs. As time progressed the Army increased their war activity, it led to them needing more troops. The result of that was that they over looked many of their strict policies that were in place (Dallet).Some of the policies they overlooked were criminal background, weight, and not having a high school diploma. I disagree with Chandler’s revisions to the Army grooming policy, because it violates the First Amendment. By focusing on what the First Amendment grants, which is the freedom of speech I feel that the Army will be violating that right. Simply because, it does not justify a specific way that your speech has to be expressed.
Why the Army thinks change is important
With the War on Terror and other war activity that the United States was engaged in there was a shortage of troops. With them being in such desperate need for troops they lowered their standards and gave waivers to those wishing to enlist. Some of the waivers allowed non high school graduates, ex-convicts, and even those with health issues to enlist. As the years progressed, the number of troops in the Army grew by the dozens. This led to the army reaching an all-time high of roughly 570,000 enlisted troops (Freedberg). At the time the Army gained a large number of troops, but what they failed to realize was that they enlisted more troops than they needed. This is when the proposed revision to the grooming policy came up for discussion.
With the new revisions tattoos won’t be the only thing up for discussion; hair, makeup, and piercings will be too (Dallet). In a recent article there was a discussion about an off duty troop who was unshaven, and had on torn clothes who had a piercing. While he was out and about on the military base, he was seen by a few Airmen and who quickly labeled the Army as “The Ghetto Service”. This assumption gave the impression that the Army let anyone who wanted to enlist in. This relates back to the army tattoo policy, because I feel that the Army is placing those that have tattoos in the same category as...

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