Just after we all sighed in relief as the US Army loosened up with their tattoo regulations, the Marines strike back with this issue.
Sgt. Daniel Knapp, a marine veteran who has not only served two tours in Afghanistan but has been also awarded a number of combat medals and commendations, was recently denied to re-enlistment because he was found to be 'unfit' to be a part of his former unit again. This is due to his new tattoos which the supposedly obsolete tattoo policy found unfitting which revoked his opportunity to serve further in missions of higher caliber. What an outrage.
Well what on earth could have been tattooed on him, anyway? Oh not much just a pair of crossed rifles and the numbers 0311 which stands for his designation for Marine riflemen on his forearm. The Marines, however, allow some tattoos given that they are not very visible and does not exceed the size of a hand. This means no tattoo sleeves, large chest pieces and the likes of it.
Instead, Daniel is currently stationed in the States while his battalion is deployed in Europe as a crisis response team.
Knapp shared to Marine Corps Times:
“When I was in Afghanistan, my tattoos never stopped me from shooting anyone, and they never made me more of a target. They never stopped me from keeping Marines safe. On patrol nothing ever happened because of my tattoos.” Despite being among the few ten percent of the Marines, ranked according to physical fitness, marksmanship and job performance.
After the Army's disenthrallment of their own tattoo policies, it's difficult to tell if the Marines will soon be following the suit. But the Marine Corps Commandant Joseph Dunford has recently affirmed that the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps will be addressing the matter shortly. It cannot be said for now what the final verdict may be. Looking at it, not to be negative but things haven't been looking up for the Marines, as long as their tattoo policies are concerned, since there are reportedly many who are still being denied for enlistment because of their tattoos.
Daniel Knapp's issue only goes to show that with the opening of minds and acceptance of society with body art, there would still be problems to encounter even with shifting viewpoints.
Unfortunately, this Marine’s choice in ink will prevent him from further serving with his fellow Marines, who are now deployed in Europe as a crisis response team. Hopefully, changes will be made going forward, as mere tattoos should not prevent someone who volunteers from serving.