A sergeant’s career is at risk because his tattoos are currently in violation of the Marine Corps tattoo policy. A petition created to loosen that policy has already garnished over 1,000 signatures.
Sgt. Daniel Knapp, an infantry rifleman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, was denied re-enlistment because the forearm tattoo he got in honor of his first combat deployment in 2011 violated Marine Corps regulations. Even though there is a policy waiver endorsed by leaders with his parent command, Knapp is still set to leave the Corps in June.
“After serving his country bravely for six years with an otherwise top notch record, Sgt Knapp’s lifelong dream of being a career Marine will be ended if this policy is not changed,” the petition reads. “…Why should we allow policies to exist that are not in keeping with new cultural norms and let dedicated service men and women accept yet another unfair burden?”
During his time with the Marines, Knapp has been deployed to Afghanistan twice, won a valor award for leading his team to suppress enemy fire during a battle in Marjah, been meritoriously promoted twice, and has first-class Physical and Combat Fitness Test Scores.
Knapp is well aware he has violated the regulations of what he calls a “complicated policy” and wants to share his story to warn others of what may be. He and his supporters argue that tattoos do not effect a Marine’s combat abilities and the policy should be loosened.
“When I was in Afghanistan,” Knapp said in an interview with Marine Corps Times, “my tattoos never stopped me from shooting anyone, and they never made me more of a target. They never stopped me from keeping Marines safe. On patrol nothing ever happened because of my tattoos.”
Knapp applied for a waiver to re-enlist, which was endorsed by most of his camp, but denied by Headquarters Marine Corps, who has the final say.
“The waiver process is meant for people like me who have something minor on their record,” Knapp said. “It doesn’t say anything about my character or the type of Marine I am.
The petition reached its early goal of 1,500 and now has more than 2,500 signatures.
Anyone who serves our country should be allowed to have a tattoo if they want, they risk their lives for us.
The policy should have never changed, like when you could NOT be all marked up with tattoos . But being they (USMC) started shit, they need to let this young Marine continue on his task of being a life time MARINE !!!!!
Young kids need to understand that their are circumstances for their actions. This Marine knew that there was a policy against visible ink, yet he chose to ignore it and now he wants to petition to have it waived? I say that is unbecoming of a Marine and he should not be given any preferential treatment. If Marines want to make a career in the corps, then they need to act in a manner that will allow them to stay in it and not violate policies and procedures!
What a dumb ass policy! Marines are Marines! These men are trained killers, they were never meant to look like saints! I would rather have a platoon of tattooed Marines then a platoon of clean cut, pretty Hollywood looking models. If these men are risking their lives for this country, tattoos should be the least of anyone worries. Instead of coming up with b.s. policies, the higher ups should be brainstorming on how to retain and reward these brave men.
I served in the Corps from 1975-2006. During my 31 years I served 2 tours at HQMC. The first tour was as the Sgtmaj of MMEA and as the Personnel Sgtmaj of the Corps. In those billets I dealt with the tatoo policy which was more restricted on initial entry than on relistment. The policy also caused us concerns when assigning Marines to special duty, especially recruiting. My second tour I served as the Sgtmaj of MM&RA the policy came up to be changed and become more restricted on all Marines, but based on the Corps involvement in the invasion of Iraq, it was put on back burner. My point is this battle concerning tattoos continues and will never be solved to everybody’s liking.
Perhaps start a GoFundMe site for laser removal, that way he can stay in
There was a policy in place regarding tattoos. The Marine knew of the policy, didn’t agree with it, violated it; and now wants the policy changed. I am a huge supporter of all Marines, but I’m backing the Corp on this one.
I knew a guy in my platoon that kept having to get weight wavers as a body builder. Command kept giving him a hard time about his weight. Because of stupid policy and he kept violating it, he was forced out of the corps. I think of a million reasons not to let a marine reenlist, a tatoo is NOT one of them.
Utter nonsense! As a former Marine, I can’t say that I’m surprised however. The Marine Corps heirarchy knows better, and they also know this regulation is asinine. Get off your butts and repeal this HQMC!
Quality,experienced Marines to re-up should be a no brainer,
Tatoo policy nothing but politics
Let him reenlist!! Tattoos are tough, and the men are tougher. Fighting strength for the USMC, yut. Semper FI.
as Gary Harris said this will never be liked by all but the visible tats on the arms have been a factor when going to some assignments. I know that tats have zero impact on a Marines ability to do his job.
As a former Marine, I can say that tattoos were always a right of passage. If he is a good Marine, what difference does it make. We’re are not pansies, we can handle it.
let it be. We are Marines
Marines and tattoos go hand in hand…..Lighten up HQMC….not everyone goes to work in deltas….