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Graves923
07-20-2009, 12:42 AM
Hey everyone,
I am thinking about enlisting in the Air Force in a couple of months and was hoping someone could clarify the tattoo policy for me. The Air Force site says " An Air Force member is not allowed to display excessive tattoos that would detract from an appropriate professional image while in uniform"

I just wanted to make sure that a tattoo of acouple chinese symbols on my forearm wouldn't keep me from enlisting.

Thanks!

Outback 1982
07-20-2009, 12:51 AM
It all depends on how large they are. Basic rule is that it cannot cover more that 25% of the exposed body part. Now, this is subjective and depending on the base this is a non issue. I advise my airman and use the 1980's AFR 35-10 as the basic guideline. Tattoos will not be visible in any uniform combination, below the knees, elbows and above the collar. Women will not have Tattoo’s Period!

4Runner
07-20-2009, 01:01 AM
For the most part, this is another lame, subjective rule that is not enforced. Only time this is even addressed is during PME. "Sleeve" tat's and women with obvious tat's below the knees are the target. Outback’s guidance above makes sense, can we go back to the 1980's?

Graves923
07-20-2009, 01:14 AM
I just wanted to know whether or not have the tattoo would keep me from enlisting. The symbols are only about 2 inches tall and wide and altogether its about 7.5 inches long.

imported_Gigglendorf
07-20-2009, 02:49 AM
Only MEPS knows for sure.

Your recruiter can SEE the tattoos, and can then give you his impression of how much trouble they will or will not create for you.

What they are is even more important than the size. I really don't care what they are.

Right now, though, we've got enough people volunteering, that if your tattoos are enough for MEPS to question whether or not to enlist you, the odds are not in your favor.

Talk to your recruiter.

Show him the tattoos.

Ask for his opinion.

All we can do is talk about the guidelines that apply once you are in, and then guess.

He's supposed to have a MUCH better idea how MEPS is dealing with issues than we are.

technomage1
07-20-2009, 06:57 AM
Women will not have Tattoo’s Period!

What? Why? What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Current guidance is that tattoos will not cover more than 25% of the exposed body part. Depending on the size and location of your tattoos you may or may not fall under this. Oh, and the tattoo can't be racist or anything like that. But check with your recruiter, they'll be able to give you a good answer based on your situation.

Measure Man
07-20-2009, 02:44 PM
I just wanted to know whether or not have the tattoo would keep me from enlisting. The symbols are only about 2 inches tall and wide and altogether its about 7.5 inches long.

You have a 3D tattoo? Cool.

Doesn't sound to me like it'll be a problem...but your recruiter will know for sure.

h0vit0
07-20-2009, 03:54 PM
You can always get a waiver for it their accepting felons in the military now a days i doubt a tattoo is going to stop you from joining.

technomage1
07-20-2009, 04:23 PM
You can always get a waiver for it their accepting felons in the military now a days i doubt a tattoo is going to stop you from joining.

The Army is, the AF isn't and I highly doubt ever will.

h0vit0
07-20-2009, 04:29 PM
Actually i think it depends on what you do.

imported_kobrien22
07-20-2009, 05:08 PM
Just make sure your tattoos don't say anything obscene. My friend thought he was getting "power" in Japanese but they actually wrote "douche"...true story.

Numrich
07-20-2009, 06:34 PM
Kadena (2003) used to have a very strict tattoo & piercing policy. Was a base sup to AFI 36-2903. Basically no visible tattoo in any uniform combination. Not sure if its still the same.

garhkal
08-31-2013, 03:03 AM
I know some who have had japanese lettering on their arms and were good to go, while others who had just regular art were ordered to cover them up.. Depends what you have and who sees.

Rizzo77
08-31-2013, 03:17 AM
Ahhh, the Chinese character guy. Makes me laugh! I know a guy that thought his Chinese symbol meant "fear no man", when it fact it means underwear. Dumbass.

BOSS302
09-03-2013, 09:38 AM
Ahhh, the Chinese character guy. Makes me laugh! I know a guy that thought his Chinese symbol meant "fear no man", when it fact it means underwear. Dumbass.

How about "Tribal Tattoo Guy", usually a clueless white-bread broseph. It seems the "tribal tattoo fad" has eclipsed the Chinese/Japanese lettering fad.

Pullinteeth
09-04-2013, 05:59 PM
You can always get a waiver for it their accepting felons in the military now a days i doubt a tattoo is going to stop you from joining.

Can't waive tats...


Kadena (2003) used to have a very strict tattoo & piercing policy. Was a base sup to AFI 36-2903. Basically no visible tattoo in any uniform combination. Not sure if its still the same.

Yeah....some douche at Lackland tried that (about the same time). That lasted about a week. He was sending people home from BMT that were qualified-his rule was no tats visible on the right arm...

SomeRandomGuy
09-04-2013, 06:11 PM
Heard a story a while back about a cop who got "Infidel" tattooed on his arm. Other members of his unit liked it and wanted to get it also. Problem was that these guys were about to go on a deployment to guard prisoners at Guantanamo. The unit wanted all of them to get the tattoos removed. It went all the way up to Numbered AF to make a decision. I believe they were allowed to keep them but they asked others to please not get infidel tattoo'd on their arm or at least not until after the deployment.

That is the problem with saying tattoos simply cannot be "offensive". Who gets to decide what is offensive? If we are also factoring in if our enemies might get offended we might want to ban all foreign language symbols (like chinese) because we can never be sure what they say and someday someone from China may get offended that your tattoo that you think says "power" actually says "retard"

Pullinteeth
09-04-2013, 06:16 PM
Heard a story a while back about a cop who got "Infidel" tattooed on his arm. Other members of his unit liked it and wanted to get it also. Problem was that these guys were about to go on a deployment to guard prisoners at Guantanamo. The unit wanted all of them to get the tattoos removed. It went all the way up to Numbered AF to make a decision. I believe they were allowed to keep them but they asked others to please not get infidel tattoo'd on their arm or at least not until after the deployment.

That is the problem with saying tattoos simply cannot be "offensive". Who gets to decide what is offensive? If we are also factoring in if our enemies might get offended we might want to ban all foreign language symbols (like chinese) because we can never be sure what they say and someday someone from China may get offended that your tattoo that you think says "power" actually says "retard"

Once in, Commanders have the ultimate say. It is a pretty easy fix-they just can't roll their sleeves and have to wear longsleeve blues shirts. It was a bit more complex before they changed the rules to say that PT gear doesn't count but now it is easy-nothing on the neck or head and no more than 25% from wrist to fingertips. Chicks still have to worry about legs but dudes don't and for arms you can just put your sleeves down. Kinda sucks for everyone that had to get their sleeve tattoos (on legs or arms) removed or get out doesn't it?