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Tattoo rules and regs

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Dudes,

On the topic of tattoos. Someone once told me that "Last Name" tattoos are a pretty big deal to the spec ops community. I see their point but I was just curious what people know, specifically for pilots? Any reality to this? I mean, they don't give you a full body search before getting selected for spec ops jobs. Discuss....

Thanks

Edited by Banquet Beer

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Guest ATLwings

Hey guys. Well to begin, my father is an ex-Air Force pilot. When I was 18, he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was given a very short time to live. While this was going on, my brother was serving in the Army in afghanistan. My brother was able to come home for a short time to see my father. My brother is an enlisted grunt with a free spirit and no inhibitions. He is covered with tattoos. I guess I turned out to be the more conservative brother. Anyways, my brother began discussing a tattoo idea with me when he was home. He wanted to get pilot wings with my fathers initial under them on our backs (shoulder) together. Being that aviation was my fathers passion, and a passion that he passed on to me, it sounded like a very good way to honor him at the time. 2 years later, i'm in college and prepping my resume to apply for a reserve or guard slot. Then I started thinking about the tattoo. I would hate for anyone to get the wrong impression and was wondering what you guys would thing about a guy with wings on his shoulder blade (about 4" across). The tattoo really is special to me but I would just hate for it to become a "target on my back" if I were ever to get a slot. Thanks for your opinions.

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Contrary to popular belief, shirtless volleyball does NOT occur at USAF UPT. The Navy version might be different, but I can't speak on that.

Keep your shirt on and you'll be fine.

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Dunno about the USAFA or ROTC, but at OTS you could probably go the whole 3 months without anybody seeing/noticing. Same for MFS, IFS and ASBC...there are plenty of chances for you to go topless if you WANT to, but I can't remember any being mandatory.

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Guest BLUES

Hello everyone,

I'm new so forgive me if this is in the wrong section(Tattoo's sounds pretty relevant).However, I have a tattoo on my neck and was looking more into the surgical removal process before I go active duty. I'm in ROTC but my cadre really don't know much about it. DAVISF22, maybe you can help me. I've seen that people are getting them removed via laser but I really don't have the time for that and rather just have it done once and be done with it. It's relatively small so the scar it would leave would not be a problem for me at all. Does anyone have any insights on this?

Also, would it be a problem if I left it on until active duty. I'm AD in June of this year.

Thank you

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Guest DavisF22

Well from what I've heard you can do it as long as the Air Force isn't paying for it and it isn't extensive surgery. I don't really know what it entails but you may have to search the regs a little more.

Sounds a bit intense. But maybe it isn't.

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Guest Markdude

I am very interested in pursuing a career in the ANG after I graduate college, but I have a few questions about tattoos. I know this is probably a semi-frequent topic, but I have searched these forums and quite a few others on Google, and I am still a bit confused. I have seen a lot of conflicting and uncertain information.

I know that the policy is that offensive/obscene tattoos are completely unacceptable, and non-offensive ones are fine if they do not cover more than 25% of the exposed body part. My first concern is -- what exactly constitutes "body part"? I have a tattoo on my forearm which spans nearly wrist to elbow, but is only on the topside (doesn't wrap around to the skin on the underside). Is "arm" considered the body part, rather than "forearm"? If so, I think this would be approximately just a little under 25% (the tattoo doesn't cover every bit of skin -- it has a lot of free space) and I would hopefully be fine. But if "forearm" is considered the body part, am I out of luck?

Here's a picture of the tattoo in question:

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v240/markdude/tattoo.jpg

My other concern is that I don't quite understand the meaning of this statement:

"Excessive is defined as any tattoo/brands that exceed ¼ of the exposed body part and those above the collarbone and readily visible when wearing an open collar uniform."

Does the wording of the bolded part imply that "tattoos can't exceed 1/4 of the exposed body part, can't be visible above the collarbone, and no tattoos ANYWHERE can be visible when wearing an open collar uniform"? Or is it saying that tattoos above the collarbone that ARE visible in open collar uniform are prohibited, and other tattoos anywhere can be visible if they follow the 25% rule?

And the following section leads me to believe that even if my tattoo IS considered excessive, I am still allowed to have if if it's covered by long-sleeves: (Is that correct?)

"Air Force members with tattoos not meeting an acceptable military image should be required to (a) maintain complete coverage of the tattoos using current uniform items (e.g. long-sleeved shirt/blouse, pants/slacks, dark hosiery, PT running suit, etc.) or (b) remove tattoo(s)."

I used to be an AFROTC cadet (didn't have tattoos at that time) and I remember that uniformity was a big concern at certain times. During inspections, the "you can always dress up, but you can't dress down" rule didn't apply -- if the flight commander specified open-collar blues with no ribbons, you obviously couldn't show up in closed-collar with a tie. I'm sure in my case in the real ANG, if there was such a situation, the commander would make the official uniform closed-collar blues, but is stuff like this going to make me "that guy"? IE: Is the rest of the unit going to be peeved that everyone has to wear long-sleeve blues during inspection on a hot day, just because one assclown (me) has arm tattoos?

However, even if the commander of a unit in the real ANG made sure this wasn't a problem, what would I encounter at AMS? Would I need to wear long-sleeves even when short-sleeves are the UOD for the flight, and have a copy of the AFI in my pocket so that I can explain to the instructor that I am wearing long-sleeves to be in regs? Is breaking the flight's regs (not wearing the UOD) considered less significant than breaking the AFI's regs? Am I screwed either way?

And finally, my last question is about PT gear. I know that the PT uniform is now considered an official uniform, so if my tattoos are fine, will I need to wear a long sleeve undershirt to keep them from being visible during PT as well?

Sorry for the lengthy post. I hope someone can help me find these answers. :thumbsup:

Edited by Markdude

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Guest

...but is stuff like this going to make me "that guy"?

Don't worry, the ink on your arm is going to make you "that guy", not the commander.

FWIW, the boss will not be making uniform decisions based on your stupid tattoo. That's why there are standards in the military, so people don't need to consider each and every individual everytime a decision must be made.

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....

Get out the laser.

You want to fly for the ANG, there are plenty of people who want to fly for the ANG. Plenty of people that don't have humongous tattoos running the length of their forearm, something that would be blatantly visible, in short sleeve blues.

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Get out the laser.

You want to fly for the ANG, there are plenty of people who want to fly for the ANG. Plenty of people that don't have humongous tattoos running the length of their forearm, something that would be blatantly visible, in short sleeve blues.

Remember its "exposed" body parts. There is a dude in my sq who has both arms sleeved. You can't tell though because he always has long sleeves in blues and PTs. Now I wouldn't recommend going and getting your forearms tattooed, but since you already have it, I wouldn't sweat it. Just wear long sleeves to your interview if you are worried about it.

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My other concern is that I don't quite understand the meaning of this statement:

"Excessive is defined as any tattoo/brands that exceed ¼ of the exposed body part and those above the collarbone and readily visible when wearing an open collar uniform."

Does the wording of the bolded part imply that "tattoos can't exceed 1/4 of the exposed body part, can't be visible above the collarbone, and no tattoos ANYWHERE can be visible when wearing an open collar uniform"? Or is it saying that tattoos above the collarbone that ARE visible in open collar uniform are prohibited, and other tattoos anywhere can be visible if they follow the 25% rule?

Meaning upper chest/neck/face/head. Anything seen in the open collar area or above.

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This seemed to be the best spot to try to reopen a thread for a question about tattoos.

I am trying to do all that I can to help my chances of getting into OTS and hopefully a flight slot, but one thing that has come up from speaking with others is that having "excessive" tattoos can prevent you from even getting into OTS. I am wondering if there is any truth to this and what the definition of "excessive" exactly means. I have one tattoo on my left bicep that is mostly covered even in short sleeves, which I am not worried about, but I also have one on my right arm that wraps around my upper arm and goes a couple inches below my elbow. It is a musical staff so the actual inked part is only about an inch wide, but it wraps around my arm quite a bit and I have heard that this may make it count as covering 100% of my upper arm.

I can post pictures if that would help determine if it would qualify as "excessive". I am just hoping that some of the resources online stating that only hands/neck/face tattoos will disqualify a person are true, and that I won't have my chances shot because of such a small reason...

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Google 36-2903. Read it. Get a ruler. Measure. You can do it.

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Thank you for pointing me to the right resource, Any way I look at it, it doesn't make the cut. Thanks anyway.

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I would talk with a local recruiter. They are probably more versed in the intricacies (waivers, ways to get through the process relatively unscathed, etc), but if it doesn't make the cut, there's no way around it, and this is still your dream, surgery is an option...

...or you could try Turlington's Lower Back Tattoo Remover

http://gprime.net/video.php/tattooremover

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Guest

Great answer.

Can we see a picture or not?

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1dkSm.jpg

Getting back to the original question, the inked area itself is small, but I was wondering if they count all of the skin in between. It goes up both sides of my arm like that, but the good news is that it doesn't take up a lot of area so removal costs would be lower and I wouldn't have to pay to have all of it taken off.

From the direction this thread went I expect to take a lot of crap for the tattoo, but hopefully some of you can give me insight into my actual question.

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Bumping this because of confusion with new regs. 

Can you have a back tattoo as long as its covered with a shirt over 25%? 

What defines "25% of the exposed body part" anyway? Who makes the call?

If I were to have tats along my back, shoulder, to a half sleeve, does the half sleeve constitute 50% of the arm?

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Google “Air Force Tattoo Policy”  The 25% thing has been rescinded, you can cover as much as you want except the coulple areas listed below, as long as it’s not “offensive”   

 

“Tattoos are not completely disqualifying, however. There are no size or area limitations for authorized tattoos on the chest (below an open collar), back, arms, and legs. Tattoos, brands, and body markings are prohibited on the head, neck, face, tongue, lips, and scalp.”

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3 hours ago, viper154 said:

Google “Air Force Tattoo Policy”  The 25% thing has been rescinded, you can cover as much as you want except the coulple areas listed below, as long as it’s not “offensive”   

 

“Tattoos are not completely disqualifying, however. There are no size or area limitations for authorized tattoos on the chest (below an open collar), back, arms, and legs. Tattoos, brands, and body markings are prohibited on the head, neck, face, tongue, lips, and scalp.”

Thanks!

Do you think pushing the limits on these restrictions would have any weight on a pilot selection board for a guard/reserve unit? Lol

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4 hours ago, nightwing22 said:

Thanks!

Do you think pushing the limits on these restrictions would have any weight on a pilot selection board for a guard/reserve unit? Lol

What do you mean? The rules are fairly straight forward now. If you show up to interview (or to any military recruitment center) with a Mike Tyson face tattoo they are going to show you the door. (99% of civilian companies are as well) 

 

You want to fly airplanes? Keep the tats off the face, hands and neck. That leaves you with 95% of your body you can get tatted up. No one military wise is going to give a shit if you have your back tatted up as long as it doesn’t show on the neck  

I have several tats including a half sleeve and some forarm work, I would say 40-50 % of the guys at work also have tats in various places. It’s prettt common and the new guidance is very reasonable. 

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Several guys in my AD unit are tatted up like crazy and it doesn’t bother anyone. I wouldn’t walk in and highlight the tattoos and make a big issue out of it for the hiring board, but be willing to talk about it if asked (which is unlikely). 

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