The Army has debuted new regulations on tattoos, certain hairstyles, sideburns and other appearance standards.

It’s all part of what Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler has been saying for a year or more: The Army needs to tighten up its grooming standards .

Flipping through the new regulations, I found the tattoo policy is now much broader.

Included in the policy: Visible band tattoos may be no more than 2 inches in width; Each band tattoo counts as one tattoo and soldiers may have no more than one visible band tattoo. Sleeve tattoos are no longer authorized.

Unauthorized sideburns were also defined in the policy update.

Sideburns can not extend below the bottom of the ear opening.

Pointed sideburns are not allowed.

Sideburn hair can be no longer that 1/8th of an inch in length.

There are some odd policy updates, as well, such as umbrella use:

“Soldiers may carry a plain, black umbrella, only during inclement weather, when wearing the service (Class A and Class B), dress, and mess uniforms. Umbrellas are not authorized in formations or when wearing field or utility uniforms,” according to the new policy.

And for female soldiers, they can now where their hair in a ponytail during physical training. My only question to that: What took so long?

New regs for male hairstyles are also in the new policy. Some of these hairstyles I’ve never even heard of.

Outlawed hairstyles include mohawks or “landing strips,” and the “tear drop,” where the head is shaved all the way around one patch of hair above the forehead.

Also a no-go: The horseshoe hair cuts, where the “head is shaved around a u-shaped hair area.”

All in all, the new policies seem pretty sound to me. However, I do take issue with mohawks. I think they should be allowed for soldiers deploying to war zones.

There is something about a mohawk that says: “I am a warrior.”

I remember clearly a photo of my grandfather sporting a freshly cropped mohawk shortly before he deployed overseas with the 82nd Airborne in World War II.

The Army has a history with mohawks, and many brave men died while having that haircut on their head. And I can’t help but think, even if it was subconsciously, that the mohawk helped make their battle cry a little more fierce.

Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the city editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at or (254) 501-7468.

Contact Jacob Brooks or (254) 501-7468

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