Marines are right to ban big tattoos

Last week a student wrote a piece about the Marines’ new rule against tattoos on the arm or leg of “extreme” size. She seemed adamantly opposed to the idea and cited a poll that suggested a lot of young people have a tattoo in order to justify her argument. I see that as flawed and agree with this new regulation. When I was in the Army, I saw a good share of tattoos. In fact, I plan to have two of my good friends who died in Iraq tattooed on my arm very soon.

When young people get a steady paycheck and some liquid courage, they do dumb things. Most of the time, it is small, insignificant and rarely seen unless that person is undressing, so it is no big deal. The problem is when you have guys getting inked like there’s no tomorrow and it alters the troop’s appearance.

See, unlike the young people questioned in the poll, military personnel are required to adhere to regulations regarding their appearance.

Troops are a direct reflection and property of the military at all times. If you get a tattoo or sunburn, the military can punish you for damaging government property. It doesn’t happen often but it just shows that this new regulation is not something out of military mainstream. That is why they have hairstyle, fitness and grooming requirements.

Nobody wants to see your tattoos when you are giving a 21-gun salute to send off your fellow soldier or Marine. Common sense escapes some young people and the military reacts with regulations. Marines pride themselves on their appearance more than any other branch and this new regulation makes perfect sense. Some won’t like it, but if you are already in and you have a now illegal tattoo, you are grandfathered in. So, if you want to be one of the few, the proud, the Marines, get the ink on your chest or back.

Chicks will still dig the ink and you’ll have to take off your shirt to show them. That’s win-win.

Shaun Fugate senior political science