Military tattoos: The body art battle - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Military tattoos: The body art battle

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Debbie Reid demonstrates the laser she uses to remove tattoos Debbie Reid demonstrates the laser she uses to remove tattoos
WCBD - In the military tattoos are as common as camouflage, although the rules on ink have changed. One Army soldier is suing over recent changes in policy, forcing a battle over body art.

Michael Crumb from Neon Needle in Goose Creek says sometimes those at the Navy Base near his shop have to get the o-k before work can begin. "Most of them stick by the rules they fill the paperwork out, they take it back there get it approved and military guys, they keep it classy.”

In March the Army started its new effort to tame tattoos but Staff Sgt. Adam Thorogood of the Kentucky National Guard filed a lawsuit last week saying his rights are being violated. His ink runs below the elbow and covers the arm, stopping him from joining special operations or becoming an officer.

Another option for recruits and those in the military wanting to advance is tattoo removal. Debbie Reid is the owner of a business in North Charleston with a fitting name, Regrets Laser Tattoo Removal. Reid also serves in the Army National Guard and she has been busy with a laser taking out what the military will not allow in.

“The recruiter sends them to me to try and get these tattoos off them so they can get them into the military.” said Reid.

She says business is good but it's a concern for her and others who serve because the tattoo is becoming real permanent stain, limiting the pool of good leaders and soldiers.

“I am tattooed also and I am grand fathered in, but at this point they would not accept me the way I am now. There are a lot of people that are disappointed, that are hurt who want to serve their country but because of these new tattoo regulations it's affecting their career. “

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