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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Tattoos and the Air Force

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tattoos and the Air Force

(HT Drudge Report) When recruiting, the Air Force and other branches of the armed services must decide the characteristics that will make a good soldier. These are the Air Force's determinants of demand for soldiers. I would include intelligence, the ability to follow orders, strength and speed, and patriotism. The Air Force list briefly included no tattoos on the right arm. After a week, they fell back to a more lenient policy (George Warren, "Air Force Changing Tattoo Policy").

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.

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  1. zack tyler6/12/09 3:20 PM

    This is a dumb rule. A soldier should be allowed to have whatever they want on their body. Why dont they just make everyone wear longsleeves...wouldnt that solve the problem?

  2. Mary Catherine Driese6/12/09 7:51 PM

    I sincerely doubt that the thought of "I am being disrespectful to the Armed Forces" really runs through soldiers' minds while getting a tattoo. I also do not believe that the placement of one's tattoo affects any of the qualifications of a good soldier that you mentioned.

  3. Ya. Wow.
    Way to weed out some of the toughest dudes out there!
    Good thing Jonathan got in and out before that rule...
    And David is already locked in!


  4. Cameron Dorsett7/12/09 11:28 PM

    I completely disagree with this regulation. Many tattoos have a significant meaning or personal importance to the individual. Regardless, the Air Force won't have any troubles finding soldiers to enlist. There are plenty of young, "tattooless" men and women out there.