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Can You Join The National Guard With Tattoos

Can You Get A Waiver For Tattoos In The National Guard

US ARMY TATTOO POLICY, TATTOO WAIVER PROCESS AND INSIGHTS OCT 2021

The National Guard will consider granting waivers for tattoos that would otherwise violate its tattoo policy, according to a memo released by the National Guard in 2019.

There are procedures that a member of the National Guard must take to apply for a waiver, which you can learn more about by speaking to an officer or ARC.

In general, the National Guard will much more likely approve tattoos that violate placement restrictions compared to content.

The National Guard, like other military branches, traditionally has a zero-tolerance policy on tattoos that are considered offensive.

Additionally, PS/GNPS applications with previously documented tattoos on the neck or hands can get grandfathered in under National Guard guidelines.

The National Guard leaves it up to a Recruiting and Retention Commander to make an initial determination on tattoos that may violate the tattoo policy.

Evolution Of The National Guard

Some believe the United States Army or the U.S. Navy can claim to be the oldest military branch in America, but it isnt technically true.

There were militias and proto-Guard units within the original colonies and the Army claims to have the oldest of the first National Guard units, which include a number of Massachusetts units, said to have origins in the original colonial militia regiments which were activated in 1636:

  • 181st Infantry Regiment
  • 182nd Infantry Regiment
  • 101st Engineer Battalion

The Militia Act of May 8, 1792 was passed to authorize militia units created prior to the law to retain their customary privileges. The Militia Act of 1903, the National Defense Act of 1916, and other federal laws added to this original legislation.

Can You Get Discharged From The Military For Smoking Weed

A recurring pattern of drug use or abuse is certainly grounds for dismissal with the established narrative reasons, but discharge for a single incident of marijuana use should be captured within the narrative reason in such a way that does not inhibit the servicemember from successfully transitioning to the civilian

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What Tattoos Are Not Allowed In The National Guard

Once again the National Guard follows the same standards set forth in the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia manual.

The National Guard has two determining factors for unauthorized tattoos:

1. Location

2. Content of the Tattoo

First, in terms of location, the National Guard tattoo policy has very few places on the body where tattoos are not permitted.

Regardless, the head, scalp, face, neck, and hands are pretty much off-limits with a couple of exceptions.

You can find out if you follow the National Guard tattoo policy for 2021 by doing the t-shirt test.

When you put on a t-shirt and look in the mirror do you see any ink visible above the collar line of the shirt?

If so, you technically are in violation of the National Guard tattoo policy.

The restrictions also apply to the hands and legs.

What Air Force Tattoos Are Not Allowed

National Guard Tattoo Policy for 2021: What IS and ISN

While the Air Force has one of the more lenient tattoo policies of all the military branches, they still have standards and restrictions that must be followed.

As far as size and location of unauthorized tattoos, Airmen cannot be inked up in the following locations:

  • The Neck
  • The Hands

Otherwise, its fair game for size and location.

Unlike the Marines, USAF Airmen can have tattoos that are much larger than their hand when covering it.

And if you think about it, that leaves A LOT of canvas to be tattooed.

See below for a visual of what the new Air Force tattoo policy entails, what they prohibit, and what they permit.

Now that youre clear on the size and locations of unauthorized tattoos, lets discuss the content of tattoos that are prohibited.

The following unauthorized body markings are not allowed anywhere on the body, even when covered up by PTs.

So keep this in mind when visiting a recruiter, because they will ask, and you must tell.

Here are the tattoos not allowed in the USAF:

  • Any markings that are obscene
  • Associated with gang activity
  • Ethnic or religious discriminatory tattoos

These tattoos will NOT fly, in more ways than one.

However, if you are unsure of a particular tattoo or tattoos, it doesnt hurt to visit an Air Force recruiter and get their opinion.

Sometimes they give waivers in certain cases.

Youd hate to blow your chances simply because you think your tattoo will automatically disqualify you.

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So Does The Military Allow Tattoos

The simple answer: there is no simple answer. It all depends, and although military tattoo regulations and policies are liable to be modified each year, take a look below for a quick guide on current military tattoo policies per branch.

Because much of these policies are up for interpretation its always best to seek feedback from a recruiter directly. However, if you already have ink and are worried it may not pass the military standard you have options! For starters, active service members who enlisted before a new regulation dont have to worry. However, if you add or alter a tattoo and it then violates new military tattoo regulations, you could run into some trouble.

What If I Have A Problem Getting Time Off From My Employer To Fulfill My Military Service Obligations

By law, as a member of the Reserve or National Guard, you must, upon request, be granted a leave of absence to satisfy a requirement for military training. The Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act requires employers to provide Reservists with time away from their jobs to perform military duty. However, you must notify your employer that you intend to take military leave. You must be reemployed after completion of your military duty and return to your job within a reasonable time. You must be treated as though you never had left employment, including schedule pay raises, promotions or credit for longevity or vacation. Your employer only has to hold a job open for 60 months if you accept voluntary orders.

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Understand The Regulations Before You Sign Up

All five military branches restrict tattoo content. Youre going to have to remove any tattoos based on drugs, sex, violence, or gang affiliation. Similarly, your ink cannot discriminate against sex, religion, or race. If your tattoo ticks people off, chances are its going to keep you out of the service, unless you get rid of it. Theres no point in whining over this. If you want to serve your country, youll be facing much bigger decisions, so get it done. Having offensive tattoos covered or removed is a small price to pay.

What Are The Reserves And National Guard

Can I join Active Duty Army after completing the National Guard?

The Reserve components of the Armed Forces are: The ArmyNational Guard of the United States, the Army Reserve, the Navy Reserve, the Reserve, the Air National Guard of the United States, the Air Force Reserve and the Coast Guard Reserve.

All Reserve and Guard service members are assigned to one of three Reserve component categories — the Ready Reserve, the Retired Reserve and the Selected Reserve.

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Tattoos That Are Allowed Under Army Rules

Generally, the Army’s tattoo policy allows most tattoos but forbids most of those that would be visible in uniform.

The Army regulations do, however, allow one ring tattoo on each hand, although it must not extend beyond where a ring naturally would rest on your finger .

As a result of these placement and visibility rules, tattoos and brands are not allowed on:

  • Your head
  • Your neck above the t-shirt line
  • Inside your eyelids, mouth or ears
  • Your wrists
  • Your hands

So-called “permanent makeup,” which includes tattoos used as permanent eyebrows or eyeliner, is allowed as long as it follows the Army’s rules on makeup. Those rules, covered in the same Army regulation, allow makeup only for women, and require the makeup to be “applied modestly and conservatively.”

What Should I Ask My Recruiter

Recruiters must present an accurate picture of training in the Reserves or National Guard. You should be aware of all aspects of the environment in the Reserves or National Guard. Be sure you fully understand the enlistment contract. You should ask about:

  • Details and qualifications for each specialty.
  • Films or videos about training and duties.
  • Boot camp
  • Length and location of training.
  • Special enlistment programs if you have completed Junior ROTC.
  • Overseas deployments, remote and long duty.
  • Haircut and grooming standards.
  • Off-duty education and educational benefits.
  • Guaranteed training programs.

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Joining The Air National Guard As A New Recruit

In general, the requirements to join the Air National Guard without prior military service will include the following:

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 39
  • Be a legal resident of the USA
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalency
  • Pass a medical screening

Those who are still in high school and interested in National Guard service must be seniors in most cases.

What Can You Do If Your Tattoo Doesnt Meet Military Standards

Tattoo Policy For Each Branch Of The Military [Updated For ...

Laser tattoo removal is your best option for getting rid of unwanted ink that violates the military standard. While the military will not pay for your removal, many laser clinics offer military discounts. At MEDermis Laser Clinic were proud to offer 10% off individual treatments or an additional 10% off our discounted prepaid packages to all active military personnel.

  • Before and after 3 laser treatments with MEDermis
  • Before and after 5 laser treatments with MEDermis

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Tattoos And The Military: The Dos And Donts If You Want To Join The Service

A lot of people have tattoos, and our reasons for getting them range from acknowledging meaningful, life-changing moments to a weekend bender in L.A., New York, or Miami that ends up at an ink shop. Its your body and you can put whatever you want wherever you want. Right? Well, that depends on your future plans. Pay attention to what comes next if you plan to join the military after high school or college or if youre already in the armed services.

This next line is tough for me to get out, but your mama was right: Think before you ink. Each of the armed services has different regulations that change on a continuing basis. If youre already in the service, your existing tattoos are grandfathered in, but the doesnt mean they cant hurt your chances at a promotion. Also, new tattoos have to meet the stricter requirements, which leads to my next point.

If you tend to make rash decisions after drinking, make sure at least one of your buddies has your back. You might want to pick someone big enough to deter you from making stupid things that involve a tattoo shop. Anything thats going to follow you to the grave deserves deliberate intention, so if you hanker for body art, plan it out and go to a reputable place that understands military regulations. Dont drink then ink.

Does The National Guard Take Diabetics

Because diabetics are reliant on medication and may become in need of medical attention at any time, the various branches of the military — including the Army and the Army National Guard — do not typically allow either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics to join. However, there is a very small chance that diabetics can enter military service.

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Tattoo Content Thats Prohibited

As far as the content of prohibited tattoos, here are guidelines to be aware of.

Similar to the U.S. Navy and Army, the Marine Corps does NOT allow any tattoo that is prejudicial to good order and discipline or any tattoos that are drug related, gang-related, extremist, obscene or indecent, sexist, or racist.

Also, its worth noting a recent development that was communicated by Marine Corps Service Recruiter Staff Sgt. Justin Eckersley in a social post titled Tattoo Leniency Alert!

He wrote that the Marine Forces Reserve will allow prior service Marines who have out of regulation tattoos to join the reserves in certain circumstances.

According to Eckersley, one of the caveats is that the tattoos cannot be egregious or racist or located on the face, hands, etc. And this lenient tattoo policy waiver isnt for everyone.

Rather, its specifically designed for the Marines who have left the service and have at least 12 months remaining in the Individual Ready Reserves and an actual billet at the reserve unit.

In the end, this leniency allows the Corps to bring back quality Marines who would have otherwise been disqualified from consideration.

Joining The National Defense Or Aspiring To Be Promoted Your Tattoos Could Have An Impact

Getting in Shape to join the National Guard

Each branch has its own appearance policies and tattoo policy that dictates the type, size, and location of allowable tattoos. However, all military tattoo policies are consistent regarding the content of allowed tattoos. Tattoos in the military cannot feature vulgarity, nudity, graphic violence, or any sentiments that could be considered racist, elitist, or anti-government. If the content of a military tattoo is in question, the decision is made by the soldiers commanding officer.

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United States Navy Tattoo Policies

UNIFORM REGULATIONS.

GENTEXT/REMARKS

1. This Navadmin supersedes Navadmin 021/03, amplifies waiverable and non-waiverable criteria, establishes final waiver authority, and provides procedures for administrative documentation and processing of tattoos/body art/brands/mutilations and dental ornamentation. These changes are effective immediately and will be reflected in the next change to the uniform regulations.

2. For clarity, revisions and additions to Navy uniform regulations, article 2201, are quoted below in their entirety: article 2201. Personal appearance, because it is impossible to provide examples of every appropriate or unacceptable grooming standard, the good judgment of leaders at all levels is key to the enforcement of the Navy s personal appearance policy. Therefore, hair, grooming, and personal appearance while in uniform shall present a neat, professional appearance.

3. Tattoos/body art/brands. Four criteria will be used to determine whether tattoos/body art/brands are permitted for Navy personnel: Content, Location, Size, and Cosmetic.

B. Location. No tattoos/body art/brands on the head, face, neck, or scalp. The neck area for purposes of this regulation is any portion visible when wearing a crew neck t-shirt or open collar uniform shirt. In addition, otherwise permissible tattoos/body art/brands on the torso area of the body shall not be visible through white uniform clothing.

A. Examples of mutilation include, but are not limited to:

Joining The Army National Guard

When joining the Army National Guard, one of the first questions a potential recruit is asked is whether or not the applicant has prior military service. Guard opportunities for prior-service military will depend on the local Guard units staffing needs, mission requirements, and other variables. Its best to talk to a recruiter about being a prior-service Guard applicant about the best career choices based on your geographic preference for service and other variables.

The reason we mention this is because some Guard unit requirements may vary depending on the state, and not all who serve in the Guard live in the same physical proximity to a Guard base or unit.

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What Tattoos Are Allowed In The Coast Guard

In the Coast Guard, you can have full sleeve and half-sleeve tattoos, full back and chest tattoos, and tattoos elsewhere on your body including your legs.

Members of the Coast Guard arent restricted at all when it comes to tattoo size or percentage of coverage.

However, any body branding cannot be larger than a 4-inch by 4-inch area.

The Guards old policy detailed that tattoos werent allowed to be visible at all above the v-neck undershirt, and they have since expanded to the crew neck t-shirt.

No tattoo can be visible above the Coast Guard crew neck t-shirt.

Hand tattoos are allowed with certain restrictions. You can have one single band ring tattoo on each hand.

You can also have a finger tattoo that can run the length between the first and second knuckle. On top of that you can also have 1 small hand tattoo, per hand, between the wrist and first knuckle , but it cannot extend one inch in any dimension.

The Coast Guard also allows Ultraviolet or black light tattoos.

The restrictions on these are exactly the same as for regular tattoos.

Cosmetic tattoos are also permitted.

Cosmetic tattooing is defined as a medical or surgical procedure conducted by a trained and licensed medical professional.

Some people get cosmetic tattoos to cover up scar tissue, or to otherwise make a medical issue less prominent in appearance.

The Coast Guard is perfectly fine with these types of tattoos.

Military Entrance Processing Questions Answered

Can You Have Tattoos In The Army National Guard

Here are some frequently asked questions that we have received, but as always, you should check questions yourself with a recruiter. To get in touch with a recruiter now.

  • Lying at MEPS
  • Is asthma a disqualifying condition?
  • Which branch to join?
  • Good ratings for future CIA/FBI career?
  • Are allergic reactions grounds for disqualification?
  • Joining with tattoos?
  • How long to wait for waivers?
  • Are antidepressants disqualifying?
  • Will affect my enlistment?
  • How can I make the military my career?
  • The brutal truth before enlisting
  • What makes an officer?
  • Lying at MEPS

    Question:

    I had a misdemeanor, petty theft, and my Navy recruiter told me to lie. I was scared, and confused on why he wanted me to lie, though my offense wasn’t even disqualifying. My fine was not paid for when I signed, and I had no idea that it was illegal to be processed without fines being paid. I refuse to go into the USN with inaccurate papers. Is it too late to change my papers … what will happen afterward?

    Responses:

    1. Need some clarification. Did you admit to the charge? If so and your fine just isn’t paid, go pay it. If you didn’t mention it, pay the fine and mention it when you ship.

    Or you can pay your fine and divulge this to the recruiter. It may void your enlistment contract … and may require you to choose another rate. However, you don’t have to worry about when big brother will come knocking. And you will be in compliance. Peace of mind is everything.

    Is asthma a disqualifying condition?

    Question:

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