The United States Army prides itself on presenting soldiers neatly and cleanly. For those of you who have spent time in uniform, you might remember the old tattoo policy which came into effect in 2015:

US Army Regulation 670-1: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia

Tattoos or brands, regardless of subject matter, are prohibited on the head, face
(except for permanent makeup, as provided in paragraph 3–2b(2)), neck (anything
above the t-shirt neckline to include on/inside the eyelids, mouth, and ears), (below
the wrist bone), and hands, except Soldiers may have one ring tattoo on each hand,
below the joint of the bottom segment (portion closest to the palm) of the finger.
Previously documented tattoos on the neck or hands, for which Soldiers have a
tattoo validation memorandum, continue to be grandfathered. Accessing applicants
must adhere to this same policy.

Put simply, no ink allowed on your face, head, neck or hands.

a hand featuring a Chinese tattoo above the thumb
SHOWN: definitely NOT a tattoo your recruiter would approve (or would they?)

It also places restrictions on extremist, racist, or sexist tattoos, as well as any deemed "indecent" by commanding officers.

Staff Sergeant Brian Yonts, a recruiter with the MT Army National Guard recruiting office on Brooks St in Missoula explained how the old tattoo policy affected potential recruiting:

Thanks to an addendum to this policy, which became effective on June 22, 200, soldiers may now have:

  • one hand tattoo on each hand, not to exceed 1" in diameter
  • an unlimited amount of tattoos in between each finger, they can't be visible when making a fist
  • one tattoo on the back of the neck, it can't be more than 2" in diameter
  • one tattoo behind each ear, they can't be more than 1" in diameter and can't be seen from the front of the ear lobe.

These new regulations come at a time when Armed Forces is ramping up recruitment, and relaxing the policy makes it easier for interested candidates to enlist. If you have ink (or not) and are interested in a career in the U.S. Army, you can contact our local recruiters:

U.S. Army Recruiting Station (406) 728-5024

Montana Army National Guard Recruiting: (406) 241-9149

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