Tattoo being removed

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by sarahlynne2016, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. sarahlynne2016

    sarahlynne2016 New Member

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    So I have a tattoo on the back of my neck that I've been having removed monthly for almost a year now. It's SUPER expensive and you can only go once a month (trust me, I'd go more often if I could if it meant getting this thing off sooner). I'm a college student and didn't know about USAFA when I was 18 and got the tattoo and really didn't even consider any consequences at all.
    I was told today that even though I've put in all the effort I possibly could, it's an immediate DQ since it's not anywhere near gone (I was told by my doctor it would take 5-8 months....it has been 10 and it's still like 2/3 there). Does anyone know if waivers have ever been issued in any case? I'm otherwise qualified in every other area and have put so much effort into this process and it sucks to know that something so tiny and insignificant can DQ me so easily. Any advice?
     
  2. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    I do not believe that tattoos are necessarily disqualifying, unless they are very large, obscene, offensive, etc. It sounds like yours may not be a problem if it just covers a small area on the back of your neck. Have you talked with DoDMERB? This sounds like a perfect question for Mr. Larry Mullen. :)
     
  3. sarahlynne2016

    sarahlynne2016 New Member

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    I talked with the admissions counselor at USAFA who told me this info. He said above the collarbone, no matter how small, DQs you automatically. They didn't care that it's partially removed. I'm going to call back and push for a waiver but I don't know if there's any use.
     
  4. wildblueyonder

    wildblueyonder USAFA '19

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    Wow, I didn't know they were so strict about tattoos. It's strange that one little thing like that could be disqualifying.

    I would really suggest contacting Mr. Larry Mullen. He is the DoDMERB Deputy Director and he is really helpful, especially in situations like these. His contact info is posted in the DoDMERB forum. Best of luck to you, and I really hope you get the waiver! :thumb:
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    The military is getting stricter on tattoos. The USAF is the strictest of them all. I can tell you in the Marine Corps tattoos from the neck and above or on hands are prohibited. I actually saw many Marines be denied reelinstment because of this. Tattoo policies at the SAs are even stricter than they are in the operating forces. If the USAFA said this is disqualifying then I am sure it it is. As to it being waived, I would imagine it would require some photos of it and documentation of its course of action to be removed. It sounds like it might not be completely removed in time this year.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am confused...are you a candidate for 2019? If so, at this point you should have had your DoDMERB physical and know the answer. You either were Qd or DQd.

    If you are a 2020 applicant, I strongly advise you to contact the CoC of the AFROTC unit your school is attached to for training.
    1. AFROTC cadets can get a nomination via ROTC on top of any MOC nomination, meaning if you get every MOC nom. And ROTC you will be on 4 slates before hitting the national pool.
    2. AFROTC cadets will be commissioned ADAF. Difference is for them they must be selected to attend SFT (EA) as a sophomore (4 year graduation program) they don't go Reserve or Guard like the Army.

    I would contact the ALO for your area to start the process. I think if you are going to apply, than you need to get the paperwork in order for the medical aspect, but understand that DoDMERB is just a small aspect...nomination is a biggie. You can't get appointed without a nomination. You can't be appointed if you are not 3 Q....academically, physically and medically.

    It is great that you are trying to get in front of it, but just be honest with yourself, it is not just the medical aspect when it comes to an appointment. Many get waivers.
     
  7. sarahlynne2016

    sarahlynne2016 New Member

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    To clarify: I'm a 2019 candidate. Already nominated (two nominations), did really well on the fitness test, in my third year at a great university where I've done very well. Good SAT/ACT scores, as well. They already know I'm getting it removed which is why DoDMERB qualified me over the summer. Contacted the Academy today and was told by the admissions counselor who handles tattoos that since it DEFINITELY will not be totally gone (or mostly gone for that matter) that it's disqualifying. Over a year of removals hasn't done much to a professionally-done, dark black tattoo.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    In other words this is not a DoDMERB issue, but a tattoo placement issue. DoDMERB cleared you, USAFA is saying no due to USAF regulations.

    Don't give up!

    I am not sure why as a 21 yr old you want to restart....no offense....just wondering if you are going to graduate from college 2016, why not apply for OCS now? Just trying to understand your position....

    You are a junior at a great university where you have done very well....right? So why USAFA and not OCS?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
  9. sarahlynne2016

    sarahlynne2016 New Member

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    Kind of. Dodmerb probably wouldn't have cleared me had they known it wouldn't be removed by now. Since there isn't an in-between for yes or no, they kind of had to choose. I was told by the Academy it's considered medical, though. I'll contact the guy you all mentioned though, thanks so much for all the help!
     
  10. Zero

    Zero Member

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    There are definitely waivers for tattoos above collar bones, seen plenty of them on active. Look up the reg and see verbatim what it says and then move from there (Are they going off AFA rules or AF Active?). Worse case work on a ETP (exception to policy). If your getting it removed I would assume for the waiver or exception they would be more lenient (assumption, take with grain of salt).
     
  11. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    I am glad Zero mentioned checking the current regs. This is an important place to start and understanding them is key to making any case.

    Military tattoo regs seem to change like the weather (as do the chances of getting waivers). However, I can't remember a time where tattoos on the neck or above were allowed at all. Waiver requests usually involve sending a photo of the tattoo but you may not get the chance if the regulations states clearly that nothing is permissible above the collarbone.

    You should definitely pursue a waiver, appeal your case and try to get past this obstacle. But to me, the odds are against you. We have a downsizing military and a competitive academy with more than enough applicants that don't need waivers to meet regulations. Continue to fight the good fight and do everything you can to get past this. Then accept the outcome knowing you made your best effort.
     
  12. JMS

    JMS Member

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    It seems to me that submitting a letter (at the appropriate time) from the Dr doing the removal, detailing the persistent efforts at the removal, and a prognosis for completion would be a big factor in getting a waiver. I suppose the waiver may be conditioned upon completion by a date... I'm seeing an analogy to DQs/waivers for dental braces. Braces have to be removed before I-day.
     

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