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Sleeve tattoos a scarlet letter for some B-billets

10 Sep 2008 | Lance Cpl. T.M. Stewman

Marines that have sleeve tattoos are no longer able to become recruiters or Marine Corps security guards, the Corps announced Sept. 4.

According to Marine Administrative Message 494/08, even Marines that are grandfathered under last year’s new tattoo policy are not authorized to apply to be a recruiter or Marine security guard.

Recruiters and security guards have a significant impact on public perception because they very often interact with civilians, here and overseas, while performing their daily duties, stated the message.

Though Marines with sleeve tattoos are no longer able to apply to become recruiters or security guards, those who are currently serving in those billets are authorized only to continue serving the remainder of their assignment, unless tattoos are detrimental to the good of the Corps.

Current recruiters with sleeve tattoos who wish to become a career recruiter may not be favorably viewed, but their package will be sent to the deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs for final decision.

Marines with sleeve tattoos may continue to apply to serve as Marine combat instructors, drill instructors and Marine Corps security forces guards.

The MarAdmin also reminds all Marines that excessive tattoos contrary to the Marine Corps professional demeanor and high standards could result in problems for re-enlistment and special duties. This includes tattoos that are, but not limited to, anything seen as sexist, racist, vulgar, anti-American, anti-social, gang-related, or in association of any extremist organizations.

On April 1, 2007, the Marine Corps announced the changes to the tattoo policy, which can be found in MarAdmin 198/07. The new policy prohibits sleeve tattoos or any tattoo that could be seen as a discredit to the Corps.

Any questionable tattoos for Marines applying for re-enlistment of a special-duty assignment will be reviewed by the deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs. The re-enlistment or special duty package must include a photograph or photographs, page 11 document grandfathering the tattoo, measurement of tattoo in inches, description of location and an explanation from the Marine’s commander stating the why tattoo is deemed questionable.

Commanders are also required to inform and educate their Marines on new policy guidelines and ensure tattoos are documented.

For more information about the Marine Corps tattoo policy, refer to MarAdmins 494/08 and 198/07.

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