Military Says 'No' to Visible Ink

Posted at: 09/25/2013 6:40 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A new regulation may limit those looking to join the Army. New recruits with visible tattoos will now be banned. Some feel this will limit the number of young soldiers hoping to sign up.

These days it's almost harder to find someone without a tattoo, than someone with one.

"Yea, it's becoming more and more socially acceptable," said Steven Walz.

Walz is a tattoo artist at Paradigm Tattoo in Rochester. He says some of his most common customers are those in the military.

"They get them a lot when they come out, sometimes for soldiers killed in action,' said Walz.

With a new Army regulation you may be seeing less soldiers with ink. The Army announced that they will be banning visible tattoos for all new recruits. That means no tattoos below the elbows or above the collar.

"Today our kids, well they have a lot of tattoos," said Floyd Riseter.

Vietnam vet and former Rochester VFW commander, Riester, doesn't agree with the new regulation.

"Tattoos have nothing to do with the performance of a combat soldier, it has nothing to do with the performance our military men and woman," said Riester.

He worries that because so many young people have tattoos, the ban on them will prevent promising recruits from signing up.

"It's just going to be detrimental to the young kids that want to join, if they have a tattoo and they're going to keep them out, you’re going to lose a lot of good soldiers," said Riester.

Walz agrees with Riester that looks should have little to do with why or why not men or woman can serve their country.

"I think if someone's willing to lay down their life, I think it should be based more on their aptitude than their physical appearance," said Walz.

The new regulation is expected to go into effect in the next 30 to 60 days. Current soldiers that have visible tattoos will be grandfathered into the regulation.