In regards to the Marine Corps Tattoo Policy

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To whom it may concern,<br />
I am writing in regards to the Marine Corps tattoo policy. I believe that this policy is discrimination in its simplest form and is not fair to those who were tattooed before the policy came out. Before MARADMIN 198/07 was released, Marines were allowed to get any number of tattoos, as long as they were not vulgar and were not on the hands, head or neck. When the MARADMIN was released stating that sleeve tattoos were no longer authorized, all opportunities were still available to Marines who had been tattooed before the policy was released, that is, until 2008 when MARADMIN 494/08 was released. This MARADMIN stated that Marines who were grandfathered for sleeve tattoos were no longer allowed to serve as recruiters or Marine security Guard. More recently, MARARDMIN 029/10 which was released in January of this year states that Marines with sleeve tattoos may no longer apply to be officers or warrant officers. <br />
A lot of doors have closed to me, and to a lot of Marines I know personally who have sleeve tattoos and are some of the best leaders I have ever met. I feel those of us who are supposedly "grandfathered" are going to be forced out of the Marine Corps if this policy keeps getting stricter, which it has repeatedly in 2007, 2008, and earlier this year. <br />
I understand creating a policy and sticking to it, but if the Marine Corps says we are grandfathered, that means we did not violate the policy; Yet we are being punished. Equal opportunity applies to all people does it not? Then why is it that just because we got tattoos when it was authorized are we being denied billets, commissioning, and, according to MARADMIN 029/10, promotion? I feel something has to be done or else this is going to escalate and force a lot of great leaders and warfighters out of the Marine Corps. <br />
I propose that the Marines who are "grandfathered" by this policy actually be grandfathered. We should not be denied commissioning or promotion, and we should not be denied billets. We should not be denied reenlistment, or reentry into the Marine Corps as long as our tattoos are documented. I propose that Marines who are grandfathered are treated the same as those who have no tattoos at all.<br />
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Public Comments (1,298)
Aug 22nd, 2017
Michael G. from Petaluma, CA writes:
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I've been waiting 5 years for them to change their policy to allow tattoo sleeves, I have a whole sleeve on my right arm. I have a lot of friends and family that served in the Corps, I really don't want to join the Army regardless of their tattoo policy. I got very excited when the new policy was up in 2016 but I was shocked when the policy didn't allow sleeves. I honestly don't understand the why they didn't allow sleeves, because every Marine I know who served during the war in Fallujah & some in the Gulf War all have full sleeves and when they ask me why I don't join, I tell em because of my tattoos and they even think it's stupid.
Jul 22nd, 2017
Someone from Fort Hood, TX writes:
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My husband wanted to reenlist and become a career Marine but bc his tattoo on his upper arm showed a little past his pt shirt he was denied. Now he is in the army bc he still wants to serve his country and their tattoo policy is relaxed but its been hard on him emotionally. He misses his brothers and the structure the Marine corps is known for. I feel that as long as the sleeve tattoos still follow the guidelines as not to be racist,sexist, vulgar etc they should be allowed to have them. Now in 2017 its more widely accepted for men and woman to have tattoos and still work in a professional type of job. I feel the Marine corps are losing many great potential leaders bc of this rule. I know out of my husbands whole company only 3 decided to reenlist the rest got out and the biggest reason was bc of the tattoo policy. Tattoos do not make the Marine less of a Marine. It doesn't affect their job nor does it make them less of a fighter. Why are some Marines allowed to stay in with NJPs page 11's but those with no marks on their record but have tattoos that don't exactly fit the guideline forced out? I feel the Marine corps is losing amazing and potential leaders who want to serve their country and belong to the best fighting branch there is to other branches bc their policy is way more relaxed. I propose that sleeve tattoos be allowed as long as they follow the guideline that they are not vugular etc.
Apr 4th, 2017
Joshua W. from Las Vegas, NV writes:
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Tattoo restrictions exemplify discrimination in its purest form. Marine Corps uniforms cover all visible bodily areas aside from arms during the summer months and to prevent opportunities for those who have marked their body with spiritual or meaningful message or emblems is regressive. Prohibition on tattoos should only be implemented if they are gang affiliated, promote violence, or visible outside of a business suit (hands, neck face).
Jan 3rd, 2017
Someone from Terre Haute, IN signed.
Dec 21st, 2016
Someone from Columbia, MO signed.
Dec 1st, 2016
Marco A. from Placentia, CA signed.
Nov 1st, 2016
John B. from Las Vegas, NV signed.
Sep 27th, 2016
Someone from Rushville, IN writes:
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"Those who know me, know how badly I want to be a Marine Corps Drill Instructor. Bad enough that I'm considering going through painful hours of lazer tattoo removal. I will also be paying for those sessions myself, and its not cheap by any means. I will remove half an inch of a tattoo that at the time I got it, was in regulations with the Marine Corps policy. Due to the new policy I am told no. Unless you remove it, you are disqualified from D.I. school, recruiters school, and Marine security gaurd school. So I will hurt my wallet, damage my skin, and ruin a piece of art that in 2013 was completely ok for me to have. In a generation of whiney, complaining, entitled youth I dont want to say I'm a victim, but I feel as though I'm being let down by the very institution I just offered four more years of service too. I love my God, I love my country, and I love my Corps. Alter the tattoo policy to allow for grandfathered tattoos to truely be grandfathered. Please, before we loose too many great Marines. Semper Fidelis -Sgt of Marines.
Sep 18th, 2016
Someone from Key West, FL writes:
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Fighting for what is important is something that resides deeply with me and something I take very seriously. This is what makes me respect the USMC so much. They embody the warrior spirit and are not just a job but a calling. Before I started looking into the military and thinking about joining I got several tattoos. None of which are offensive and on the contrary I think stand for the same things the USMC stand for. Things like honor, respect, and humility. But because of the number and location of these tattoos quite possibly the most important thing in my life might not come to fruition. I cannot express how disappointed I am that all this passion and drive I have to serve among some of the greatest men and women in the world might be wasted because of something so trivial as a tattoo. For me and all others like me I beg you to reconsider.
Aug 22nd, 2016
Someone from Las Vegas, NV writes:
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I am a transgender male, 21 years of age. Since sophomore year of high school I've wanted to be a Marine, at first for over compensation reasons, then because I want to fight for my country. Then I found out that I can't serve my country because of something that I didn't choose and which had no bearing on my qualifications for the job. When the ban was turned over this year, I was excited that I would finally get my chance. Only to be turned away by the recruiter because of my tattoos... Implementing the change they just did for transgender people was momentous and difficult, yet now I'm being discriminated against for something so arbitrary as tattoos? Wow, America... that's what I have to say to that. What was I wanting to fight for when my country is imposing limit after limit on my freedom in something voluntary and life-endagering like the Marines. Are they not professional warriors who should look the part? War is dirty and often traumatizing, yet we are denied the ability to express that in a tasteful manner we think befits us and the Corps we want to represent? I don't get it...
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