Tattoos, body piercing oh my

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Sabra Cabor
  • 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant
There has been a lot of talk lately about tattoos and body piercing. Let's look at what is legal.

Why is this important to you? According to Air Force Instruction 36-2903, table 2.5, Failure to comply with the standards concerning tattoos or brands, body piercing and body altercation is punishable under Article 92, Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Members not complying with these provisions are subject to disciplinary action and may be involuntarily separated.

Now that I have your attention, before you run out and get any of these things done, please make sure they meet the following standards. It could save you time, money and even a discharge from the Air Force.

Tattoos or brands are prohibited if they are:
· Obscene or advocate sexual, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination.
· Prejudicial to good order and discipline.
· Of a nature to bring discredit upon the Air Force.

Unauthorized tattoos are prohibited anywhere on the body, in or out of uniform, regardless of whether they can be covered by uniform items or not.

Inappropriate tattoos or brands include those that:
· Exceed one-fourth of an exposed body part while in uniform.
· Are above the collarbone and readily visible when wearing an open collar uniform.
· The member's commander deems inappropriate. Don't trust your wingman's judgment or your own.

Inappropriate tattoos/brands must be covered using current uniform items (e.g., a long-sleeved shirt/blouse, pants/slacks, dark hosiery, etc.) or removed.

Members are prohibited from attaching, affixing, or displaying objects, articles, jewelry or ornamentation through the ear, nose, tongue or other exposed body part (which includes visible through the clothing), when:
· Wearing a military uniform.
· Performing official duty in civilian attire.
· Wearing civilian attire on a military installation.

Some other rules to consider about piercings include:
· Females in uniform or in civilian clothes while on duty may wear one small, spherical, conservative, diamond, gold, white pearl, silver pierced or clip earring per earlobe; the earrings in both earlobes must match and the earrings must fit tightly without extending below the earlobes.
· In civilian clothes while off duty but on a military installation, females may wear conservative earrings within sensible limits.
· By implication, the policy allows males to wear earrings when in civilian clothes while off duty and off the military installation, but not on the military installation.

I know for the most part, many of you know these rules, but we see more and more problems with this.

So, just a gentle reminder before you go get that cool tattoo, remember the rules so you don't come in to work on Monday only to find that your commander and first sergeant have a heart attack when they see your new body art.

Be smart; know the rules.