Air Force Changing Tattoo Policy

8:45 PM, Dec 3, 2009   |    comments
Teresa and Josh Parker. Josh was initially told he was no longer eligible to join the Air Force.
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SACRAMENTO, CA - One week after the Air Force adopted a strict prohibition of tattoos on the "saluting arm," the new policy has been scrapped.

A spokeswoman for the Air Force Recruiting Service in San Antonio, Christa D'Andrea, said the regulation that took effect Nov. 25 has been dropped and the entire tattoo policy will be reviewed.

"It's an effort to standardize the policy for all members of the Air Force," D'Andrea said.

As many as 17,000 recruits who joined under the delayed entry program were potentially affected by the ban on right-arm body art.  The Air Force said it did not want tattoos to be seen when an airman salutes.  The updated policy also prohibited tattoos on either hand.

This week some recruits were told they had been disqualified under the new rule even though their tattoos had been approved under previous, more lenient guidelines.

The tattoo ban was first reported Monday by News10 and generated national attention and controversy.

D'Andrea acknowledged media coverage played a role in the decision to reconsider the tattoo crackdown.  "It was unfortunate there were recruits caught in the middle," she said.

Enlistees who were not able to begin basic training this week at Lackland Air Force base because of the new tattoo policy would be rescheduled for future dates, D'Andrea said.

by George Warren,

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