Dear Abby: This is in response to “Worried Mom in Gainesville, Fla.” (July 13), whose son was not allowed to re-enlist in the Marine Corps.
I hate to say this, but that young man knew darned well when he got those tattoos he would not be able to re-enlist. The U.S. Navy (which the Marine Corps “technically” falls under) passed the New Enlistment Tattoo Policy in January 2003, with the Marine Corps adding its policy in April 2007.
Souse of Retired Navy CPO
You are correct. Many readers wrote to say the Navy had passed new tattoo policies in 2003 and the Marine Corps followed suit in 2007. If re-enlisting is so important to “Worried Mom’s” son, all he needs to do is have his “tatts” removed. Read on:
Dear Abby: The issue isn’t time served or his honorable discharge. The Marine Times recently published an article on Marine policy regarding tattoos. The Corps seeks to discourage full-sleeve tattoos and tattoos above the neck. They are regarded as unprofessional in appearance and may incorporate gang-related symbols. “Worried Mom’s” son likely knew the guidelines.
The mother said her son is bored and lacks focus in college. This suggests he may have PTSD. His desire to enlist in the French Foreign Legion may have short-term gains, but it may also compound mental health problems.
Marc in South Orange, N.J.
Dear Abby: This young man, like our son, is clearly experiencing the effects of PTSD. The impact of this disorder on our servicemen affects their ability to readjust to civilian life and move forward with positive life planning. The man in that letter needs professional help.