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A soldier from the U.S. Army's 1st Platoon, 18th Engineer Company, Task Force Arrowhead rests at Forward Operating Base Mizan after completing a route clearance patrol in Afghanistan's Zabul Province in this May 24, 2012 file photo. The Army is weighing a new policy banning tattoos for recruits that show below the elbow and knee and above the neckline, Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper, reported. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne/Files (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY MILITARY)

U.S. army weighs new tattoo policy

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News Grand Forks,North Dakota 58203 http://www.grandforksherald.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/12/0116/2013-09-25t164510z1cbre98o1anm00rtroptp4usa-military-tattoos.jpg?itok=s-TXs4J5
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U.S. army weighs new tattoo policy
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tattoos are everywhere these days, with no body parts off limits. But the U.S. Army may be asking new recruits to roll up their tattoo sleeves as part of a new uniform policy.

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A regulation to ban tattoos that are visible below the elbow and knee and above the neckline is under consideration, the armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes reported.

Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler, the top noncommissioned officer, outlined the proposed rules to troops during a visit to Afghanistan, the paper said on Tuesday.

Existing tattoos may be grandfathered in, but all soldiers are still prohibited from having tattoos that are sexist, racist or extremist, it said.

Chandler told soldiers that Secretary John McHugh had approved but not yet signed off on the changes to Army Regulation 670-1, which oversees grooming, tattoos and uniforms, the Stars and Stripes said.

Chandler said that the policy would be part of maintaining a uniform look and sacrificing for the sake of the force, and that he expected the changes to take effect in 30 to 60 days, according to the report.

The Army declined to comment. It issued a statement that it was "conducting final review of the forthcoming uniform policy - Army Regulation 670-1 prior to its implementation."

Current soldiers now are barred from all tattoos or brands that are indecent, sexist or racist, and from tattoos or brands on the head or face, according to an Army spokesman at the Pentagon. Recruits are prohibited from having tattoos or brands on the neck as well.

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