Arkansas teen rejected by Marines over Confederate flag tattoo


#1

Washington Times:

Arkansas teen rejected by Marines over Confederate flag tattoo

An Arkansas teen says he was turned down when he tried to join the U.S. Marine Corps because of his “Southern Pride” Confederate flag tattoo. Anthony Bauswell, 18, of Greenbrier, Ark. shows his pride in his country upbringing with his tattoos, and to show pride in his country he walked into the Conway Marine recruiting center Monday to enlist.
When he showed the recruiter his body art, he was automatically disqualified from service.
“As soon as I said rebel flag on my ribs, he says DQ, just automatically, DQ,” Mr. Bauswelltold local news station KARK 4.
The tattoo on his ribs shows a Confederate flag flying underneath a banner that says “Southern Pride.”

“I felt pretty low. My own government wasn’t going to let me serve my country because of the ink on my skin,” he said.
The Marine Corps tattoo policy states: “Tattoos/brands that are sexist (express nudity), racist, eccentric or offensive in nature… are prohibited.”
Mr. Bauswell said he understood the stigma associated with the flag, but he didn’t think his tattoo was a racist symbol.

“I definitely don’t want it to be seen as racism, which is 99 percent of the reason I got southern pride on it,” he told KARK 4.
The Marine Corps is expected to update its tattoo policy sooon to make it clearer to those who serve what kind of body art is deemed inappropriate.

I have no use for the whole “southern pride” thing but this is ridiculous.


#2

Well, that’s what you get for trying to enlist with the Yankees. Should’ve signed up with General Lee’s Brigade. Oh no, wait… :smiley:

Seriously though, as a southerner and a student of history, flags are very important. A lot of regions have flags, especially in Europe. You can’t just change your flag just because it went through bad things in history. The South isn’t going to get a new flag. If the U.S. ever falls apart, the South doesn’t have to worry about what flag its going to use. I like the flag because I like southern identity, and nothing else. We ain’t gettin’ rid of it.:dts:

If you aren’t a southerner, think of it this way: Obama said he hopes people stop clinging to their guns and religion. Well, in the South, the confederate flag is included in that list of things.


#3

If he really wants to join up, he could easily go and get it inked over with something acceptable to the military. I guess it’s his choice. He can have the flag tattoo again when he’s finished his service!


#4

I think he’ll be better off in the long run. If any young man ever asked my opinion on whether or not he should join the military my answer would be a resounding NO ! Your commander in chief is Barack Obama and the country is allied with Saudi Arabia and Turkey.


#5

The military is so political now I wouldn’t be surprised to see tattoo’s of crosses deemed “offensive”.

That said, in times of cutbacks and downsizing, the military does use some pretty minute guidelines to sort people out. There was a policy a couple of years ago, may still be in effect, that Marine officers could not have a tattoo which was visible while in uniform, including the short sleeve Summer uniforms. They missed a lot of good young men in their ranks because of it.


#6

He should fight this legally.

I remember years ago, when a lot of 17 yr old juvenile delinquents, and other people who would get into frequent trouble, were sort of pushed towards joining the army, mainly as a way to get their lives on track, but nowadays it seems military has stronger standards than some colleges!!


#7

What??? You mean that some have a low regard for people with tattoos??? :rolleyes:

The military of today has the option to be able to pick those who they think will an asset to them. Having your body tatted-up like a savage in the jungle doesn’t impress most people, or at least the ones that you may need to impress. Too bad for him that he didn’t think twice before he put his money down.


#8

So, being a member of the military is more about politics than serving your country and providing a blanket of security against those who would do us harm?


#9

What was reported as Corps policy was incomplete, hence misleading. It does not merely state, as reported: “Tattoos/brands that are sexist (express nudity), racist, eccentric or offensive in nature… are prohibited.”

What the reporter, or Mr. Bauswell failed to mention is that the policy also includes (Please excuse the use of all-caps, this is a cut and paste from the official USMC document - MARADMIN 198/07):

TATTOOS OR BRANDS THAT ARE PREJUDICIAL TO GOOD ORDER, DISCIPLINE AND MORALE, OR ARE OF A NATURE TO BRING DISCREDIT UPON THE MARINE CORPS ARE ALSO PROHIBITED. PREJUDICIAL TO GOOD ORDER, DISCIPLINE AND MORALE, OR ARE OF A NATURE TO BRING DISCREDIT UPON THE MARINE CORPS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, ANY TATTOO THAT IS SEXIST, RACIST, VULGAR, ANTI-AMERICAN, ANTI-SOCIAL, GANG RELATED, OR EXTREMIST GROUP OR ORGANIZATION RELATED.

Like it or not, it is a Marine Corps Policy. The training of a recruit to turn him into a Marine is an expensive proposition. If the Corps feels the tattoo has the possibility of being disruptive to good order and discipline, so be it. Let the Corps define good order and discipline instead of those not serving.


#10

Wow, glad my son didn’t ask your opinion when he enlisted last year. He wanted to serve his country despite who our president currently is. And we are proud of his service.


#11

Well, would this have happened if he were African-American?


#12

Funny how that argument escapes some when it comes to women and GLBTQ folks serving.

But a confederate flag tattoo…watch out!

Oh, and I wonder what would happen if a Hispanic were sent away if he/she had a Mexican flag tattoo. :blush:

I really hope this is about concerns about morale, because if our military becomes PC, we have a much less chance to beat a battle-hardened enemy.


#13

But in this case I suspect they have been pushed into defining the Confederate flag as “destructive to good order &c” by the administration. Anyone who is offended by a tattoo is probably too dainty to be a Marine.


#14

If he’s serious, then get it removed and reapply.


#15

The boy lucked out. It is that same military that invaded and subjugated his country. I saw a remark on this incident that made the excellent point that boys should remember this if they ever get back to a draft.

Nothing has changed. The volunteer army is still what it always was, a very mixed bag.


#16

Just out of curiosity, do you think, that Marines by and large , were tougher when you were a Marine than today?


#17

Commanders need to earn their respect. People are less likely to sacrifice their lives for a commander they don’t trust.


#18

I was never a Marine nor any other service. I was rejected when I tried to enlist in the Army because I am epileptic.


#19

You can’t see a difference between having a problem with who someone is - something they can’t change (and we can’t change our sex - regardless of what Caitlyn Jenner wants us to think) and something someone chooses to do. ie. ink?


#20

For some background, Marine Corps leadership does not like tattoos. They have not for some time, and their dislike of tattoos seems to be increasing even as tattoos are becoming more mainstream. Lots of kids are rejected for tattoos. Even innocuous tattoos can get you rejected if they are too visible (e.g. face tattoos). That said, I would tend to agree that a confederate flag tattoo is divisive and could be detrimental to good order. Recruiting is still going pretty good (although slowing as unemployment drops), so they can still afford to be picky.

For some additional background, my father was a Marine, I am a retired Marine, and my son is currently on active duty, so I have some basis for my statements.


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