A year-old video of Gunnery Sgt. R. Lee Ermey slamming the Corps’ tattoo policy has resurfaced after being re-posted on several blogs. In the video taken last September at Camp Pendleton, Ermey reveals that he has a pair of lips tattooed on his buttocks. Its just one of a grab bag of tattoos he has all over his body, including some on his forearms, that he says never stopped him from being a squared away Marine.
He echoed those comments in February 2010 during an interview with Marine Corps times, saying that the Marine Corps’ policy has gotten too “nitpicky” especially because tattoos are are a naval tradition.
While he understands why Marines with certain tattoos should be precluded from what he calls “tuxedo” jobs like embassy guard, he says tattoos have no bearing on a Marines’ combat effectiveness. In fact, in the video he says sometimes Marines with tattoos are the harder charging ones in battle, the ones with a little fire in them. Besides, times change. Even his daughters have tattoos, he says.
I am the son of an outstanding Marine, and because I am a licensed dermapigmentation expert and have recently developed a tattoo removal process than is far less painful and expensive than laser removal, my son has called me about many Marines that are currently having
problems with this new change of standards. I had many clients, both men and women, who have to have a visible tattoo removed before entry to into the Marine Corps as well. Although I certainly understand the Marine Corps position on visible tattooing, I am sympathetic to the brave men and women who entered the Armed Forces with these tattoos but have not had the money or time to try to get them removed through laser surgery. I am proud to help them now.
We aren’t children. Curfew, tattoo policy, etc…are just a number of things we need to adjust. Hold Marines accountable for messing up. But treat them like men vice 14 year old boys.