Tattoos Prior to R-Day

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by SVG, May 27, 2011.

  1. SVG

    SVG USMA Cadet

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    Is it prohibited once accepted to be tattood prior to R-day? I'm aware that once in the academy, you have to agree not to get further tattoos while there, so I really want to get mine now.

    But absolutely not if it's against the rules, haha!
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    What design is so fundamentally important to you, yet so hard to remember on its own, that you feel it MUST be etched into your skin forever at this exact point in your life?

    I ask you that in all seriousness, as a man who's spent some of his own time and $$ in a tattoo joint more than once...
     
  3. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    think hard about it

    Ok, I'll assume you can read and that you are asking this as you are looking for someone to tell you to disregard what is in the instructions to accepted candidates:

    "Once accepted for admission to the
    academy, candidates are encouraged to
    remove brands or tattoos which fall into the
    prohibited categories above. Additionally,
    candidates should not receive additional
    tattoos or brands prior to R-Day."

    I knew countless officers in my 25 years in the Army (not all, but enough) who automatically deducted 20pts from your perceived IQ as soon as they saw a tattoo. (many unconsciously) There are many who will argue with this but there are reasons the instructions say what they do. The Army is a class society more than may others. You are going to be an officer. Time to start acting like one.
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Times have changed a little, but I can't wholly disagree with this sentiment. Even in the Army today, despite the broad acceptance of tattoos in modern society, a poorly chosen or poorly placed tattoo can be a real detriment to an officer's image.
     
  5. djfrro

    djfrro Member

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    My son is a firstie, he has gotten 4 tattoos while at West Point, as have most of his friends, he came in with none. got them all after his plebe year. They cannot be lewd, or controversial in nature and they have to be able to be covered by PT clothes. I am not a fan of them myself, but he is an adult and it was his decision, good or bad.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    4 tats while at WP?

    I would think that most cadets understand getting a tat can also cause infections.

    Yes, society has changed regarding tats., but I would heed to scout and oldcorps advice.

    To be blunt DON'T!

    I will also say you are looking at the baby skin of an 18 yo. Go and look at grandma and grandpa's skin, G willing you too live to that ripe old age, no pun intended. Imagine being 70 and it wrinkled. What will the design look like at that point? Will you proudly show it off? Will the ink colors still be the same? Getting one stings, getting it removed HURTS!

    Why even do it if it must be hidden for nobody to see, but yourself?

    This is coming from a Mom who has a DD with a tat. It is on her foot, and says walk in his steps. So, I do get how this generation is all about tats. She is a college student with no regs.

    Just saying, the reg is in black and white. It states no. Are you asking for a blessing? Wondering if it can hurt you to do it?

    The reg says NO, you are joining an elite few that promise to put the service before self. There's the answer. Service 1st, self desires 2nd. If the two are at odds, SERVICE WINS!

    OBTW, this is not an uncommon question this yr. It has been on all of the forums, and on all of the forums the traditional answer is DON'T!
     
  7. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    On R-day my son entered with one tattoo. When he graduated last weekend he left West Point with 4 tattoos. If it had been up to me he would have waited to get them but as djfrro said he is an adult and it was his decision. All of his tattoos are covered in his PT uniform so that was at least one good decision.

    My two cents: wait until you graduate, this will give you 4 years to decide if you really want it.
     
  8. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Maybe I am too d*** old to understand. If you are 18 you probably think I am too old to possibly understand. That said every choice you make will have a future consequence, maybe positive maybe negative. First impressions carry a lot of weight and there are more than a few people that will form a negative first impression base on something like a tattoo. At this point in your life why do something that very well may have a negative effect on your future career.
     
  9. djfrro

    djfrro Member

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    My son started talking about tatoos when he was in high school, then again after his year of prep school. I asked two things of him, wait until you are 21 and finish your first year at West Point. He did both of those for me. He says he is done now. Don't do it before R Day, that is the rule of the academy. If it is something that you want, a year or a few are not going to make a difference. You may change your mind as to what you want. My son's latest were for completing combat dive school last summer. I believe all the cadets that went and completed the course got them.
     
  10. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Not any more. Tatoos are mainstream now - even for females.
    Just because you have a tatoo doesn't mean it's visible for everyone to see in uniform.


    anything can cause infections. A reputable tatoo parlor has no greater chance of causing an infection than a hospital. Experienced professionals know and use excellent aseptic technique.

    That said - djffro has excellent advice - wait until after plebe year.
     
  11. djfrro

    djfrro Member

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    I don't like them either, but if you can't see them with PT clothes on, you can't see them with a uniform.
     
  12. JCraft

    JCraft Member

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    I sense some serious hostility toward tattoos. A tat does not define an individual -- hopefully people can understand that.
     
  13. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Well- actually I think it does- it defines them as someone who will deface their body for a fashion trend. Basically IMO tats and piercings are someone trying to show their individuality by doing EXACTLY what everyone else is doing. Want to really be an individual? Then show your individuality and Don't run out and get your faux hard guy barbed wire tats on your biceps- just be a hard guy. Or if you must get ink- consider that the Samoans used to give Tats as a right of passage- so if you really want to show that you are something with a tat- get one done like they used to do- with a board and have them tapped onto you. If you can stand that then more power to you.
    Sorry - I'm with TPG.
     
  14. OhioSoccerMom

    OhioSoccerMom Member

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    Bruno - Well said!!! :)

    I don't care too much for tats, and here's why: My grandma's husband served in the Navy back in his day, and has a tatoo as a result of that serivce. And like others have said, I'm sure it looked great on the bicep of that 18 year old young man... but looks TERRIBLE on the wrinkly skin of a MUCH older gentleman! The ink is faded, the letters are blurred together, the colors are muted now. That was all it took for me! If I had ever considered a tat before that time (which I really hadn't, it was just coming into vogue when I was a college frosh in the early 90's)... I was certainly through considering it after I saw "Grandpa Bob's" tat!! ewww!! I may have to deal with a tat from my DS if, God willing, he is blessed enough to make it to WP in a couple of years, but I really hope he honors his body enough not to do it.

    As for the tat "not defining an individual", as JCraft suggests, I have to disagree. Of course it defines you. You're putting a unique mark on your body. It might define you to a group, or it may define you as an individual, but it does make a statement about who you are. "in the Army", "went to WP", "Marine Corps", "Michigan State football fan", "likes Tweety Bird"... etc. I just don't think we were made to be an artist's canvas. Our skin serves a higher purpose than that. Just my thoughts...
     
  15. Packer

    Packer Member

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    I have to agree. I believe it shows a lack of individuality and self confidence. I believe tatoos are evidence of immature decisions. Most of the guys I know that have them now wish they didn't.
     
  16. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    This is not always the case. I got my first and only tattoo at the age of 34. It was not a immature decision. I spent the previous 6 years thinking about the pros and cons. The tattoo means something to me and that is all that matters. If others want to judge me for it then that is their problem. IMO, well done tattoos are art and if I want to carry that art around on my body then that is my choice, just like others choose not to.

    I may not be happy about my son getting 3 tattoos over the past 4 years but I don't judge him for it, nor do I think he lacks self confidence or individuality.

    I used to be one of those people that judged others based on outward appearance, including tattoos, but as I matured I learned to judged the person on their attitude and actions instead.
     
  17. Packer

    Packer Member

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    WAMom68: I did say most. You are entirely correct about the judging but as I stated earlier first impressions carry a lot of weight and it often takes time and effort by both parties to get past the first impression.

    Very true but it can become your problem when the judgement is passed by superiors and causes opportunities to be missed.

    I personally try to not "judge" somebody for tatoos, ear rings, etc but that first impression is always there and it takes work to get passed it. The equally qualified person that doesn't take the extra effort has an edge.

    No dis-respect meant to anyone that has a tatoo. I am just pointing out that there can be consequences.
     
  18. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    Tatoos

    I know I am an "Old Grad" and maybe not in complete step with the times. However, I strongly advise you to NOT get a tatoo now or later. I GUARANTEE YOU that many people in the Army will think less of you if you have visible tatoos. I was a senior officer in the Army at the General Officer level and I assure you that NO senior officer was ever impressed with a tatoo - in fact they were turned-oll by tatoos. I think the enlisted men are a different story but officers should not have tatoos.

    When I got out of the Army I was a Vice President with a large international electronics firm ( I just left them). We were told (not in writing) to NOT hire anyone for an executive position who had a visible tatoo.

    You are going to be an officer - set the example.
     
  19. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    Just-A-Mom,

    I respect your opinion but - Based on your name, I doubt that you have spent years in the military. I spent 32 years and I promise you that there is prejudice against tatoos by senior people in the Army - right or wrong it is just the way it is.

    It does not matter what you think the attitude in the Army toward tatoos SHOULD BE - the reality is that many senior people in the Army - who will be deciding your son's or daughter's future - do not believe officers should have tatoos.
    I must admit that I am at a loss why people want permanant markers on thier body for life. If it is hidden what is the point?

    Of course people can make their own decisions, but getting tatoos could possibly have future negative concequences.

    Define yourself by your character, work ethic and integrity - those are the "marks" officers need to display.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  20. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    Please help me with this - I still don’t understand why having a tasteful tattoo (such as a Bible verse), which is covered when wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt is considered unprofessional. Are female officers unprofessional for wearing makeup or earrings? If not, then what is the difference?

    Also...why is it different for enlisted soldiers? I've known several NCO's who are professionals and also have visible tattoos. Why not the same standards for enlisted and officers?

    To cadet candidates - I STRONGLY recommend against getting a tattoo. As you can see from these replies many people, military and civilian, will discriminate against you for having them. If you go ahead and do it anyway, better make sure they are hidden by clothing and be careful who you tell about them.
     

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