Fort Campbell soldiers take advantage of the Army's new tattoo policy

New Army Tattoo policy
Posted at 4:32 PM, Jul 08, 2022

OAK GROVE, Ky. (WTVF) — Some people love to wear their emotions on their sleeves, and everywhere else in between.

"Alright man, you may feel a little prick," said tattoo artist David Grams.

And while artists at tattoo shop Hell or High Water never know what designs people will ask for, they have a pretty good idea where they're coming from.

"I had plenty of guys come in from the base to get a lot of work done. It’s pretty much our main source," said Grams.

For years, the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, have had a limited wing span — only arm and leg tattoos that could be concealed by a uniform were allowed. Now, that's all changed.

"You can get one-inch tattoos on your hand, one inch behind your ear, two inches behind your neck," explained Grams.

The U.S. Army has officially changed its regulations on tattoos, allowing a few visible ones in select places.

"As long they don’t show when you’re saluting, you can get them in between your fingers," said Grams. "I’m assuming appropriate stuff, nothing stupid."

Here are the specific guidelines, according to the Department of Defense:

(1) One visible tattoo on each hand (including the palm), not to exceed one inch in measurement in all directions; an unlimited number of tattoos between the fingers as long as they are not visible when the fingers are closed; and one ring tattoo on each hand.

(2) One tattoo on the back of the neck, not to exceed two inches in measurement in all directions (Tattoos are still prohibited on the head and face except for permanent makeup as provided in reference 1d, paragraph 3–2b(2)) and inside the eyelids, mouth and ears. Previously documented tattoos on the neck or hands, for which Soldiers have a tattoo validation memorandum, remain authorized.)

(3) One tattoo behind each ear, not to exceed one inch in measurement in all directions, not to extend forward of the ear lobe.

Army officials say they hope the permitted ink will encourage more recruits to ink some new applications and join up. "I think it’s been coming a long time. Everybody’s been saying it for a while. They’ve been wanting it and now they’ve got it," said Grams.

For artist David Grams, with the amount of new business this is bringing in, he's not one to hide his emotions. "They were pretty much wanting to rush in to get them done," he said. "They love tattoos and we love them."

For more information on this regulation change, click here.