Good day Hard-Chargers!!
Today we’ll focus on the tattoo policy of the Marine Corps. As you’ve heard before time may be the factor causing combat veterans to leave the Corps. There is also another reason that should not be underestimated, and that is the Corps’ tattoo policy.
There have been Marines who were barred from re-enlistment because tattoos were too close together and were considered to be one piece that was too big under the Marine Corps’ tattoo policy at the time.
Other Marines have similar stories, this is due to the Corps not deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan in large numbers. Once that happened tattoos became a career killer for them, even if they had combat experience.
Marines are now stating that their combat experience is not valued as it once was. As you have leaders saying “We don’t care that you’re a combat veteran.”
Boot Lieutenants are stating that no one cares about Afghanistan, it’s over and we as a branch are moving on as there is a new Marine Corps.”
This is partly due to the drawdown of the Corps from 202,000 to 182,000 active duty Marines, which was driven by cuts to defense spending.
Starting in 2014 Marines were required to submit photos of their tattoos for re-enlistment as the Corps became very stern about the policy.
Commandant General Robert Neller, explained the reasoning behind the policy. “We’re not in a rock and roll band. We are Marines. We have a brand. People expect a certain thing from us.
Marine veterans often look to get jobs as police officers, but local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are very strict on whether applicants can have visible tattoos.
This is very true as I myself was recently denied entrance to the academy due to my sleeve of tattoos.
In the year prior to the Marine Corps’ new tattoo policy being announced, only a fraction of Marines were denied re-enlistment because of their tattoos.
From June 2015 to June 2016, there were more than 14,000 re-enlistment packages submitted. Out of those, 33 were denied due to non-compliance with previous policies and the current tattoo order.
There are still Marines who believes the tattoo policy has unfairly ended good Marines careers. Men that wanted to have a career in the Corps, and re-enlist were made very difficult because of the tattoo policy.
There are even Marines, being denied re-enlistment due to tattoos even though they got a waiver for those.
Officials are stating just as Marines are expected to meet the highest physical standards, the Corps also sets high standards for Marines’ professional military appearance.
Think before you ink Marines!!
Isaac J. Hall II