New SMA to take serious look at Army tattoo policy

New SMA takes serious look at Army tattoo Rules

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New SMA to take serious look at Army tattoo policy

Austin D’Amica (Photo: David Goldman/AP)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — Soldiers’ strong objections to the Army’s tattoo policy have caught Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey by surprise — and he’s planning to measure the extent of this dissatisfaction, across the service.

"I don’t want this to be the deciding factor for a good soldier to get out," said Dailey, who took over as the Army’s top enlisted leader on Jan. 30.

If he finds this to be a force-wide issue, Dailey said action may be necessary. The SMA said he will keep an ear out for soldier concerns on tattoos, and any other issues, in the weeks and months to come.

This week Dailey embarked on his first troop visit as SMA, heading to JBLM.

On Monday, he fielded questions from a group of Warrior Leader Course students, who raised the issue of the service’s tattoo policy, which was tightened last year.

One solder stood up and argued that tattoos should be allowed, so long as they are not visible when a soldier is in his dress uniform.

"How many of you agree with that?" Dailey asked the group of about 100 soldiers.

Almost all of them immediately raised their hands.Looking surprised, Dailey asked: "How big of a deal is this for soldiers? I want to hear your thoughts. I want to hear your opinions." Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey discusses the future of the Army with soldiers at a town hall meeting during his first troop visit to JBLM as the SMA. "A big deal," many of the soldiers said, with others nodding their heads in agreement. They also added that some may choose to leave the Army or decide not to seek a commission because of their ink. They also cited concerns about missing out on a prospective recruit because of the policy.The update to Army Regulation 670-1 was released in March and updated in September. It limits the number of tattoos soldiers can have below […]