CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
One man is speaking out after being turned away time and time again from the Army National Guard for having too much ink.
There are strict policies against tattoos being placed on certain parts of the body or exceeding a particular size.
This man says he didn't know before he got them and says a tattoo shouldn't keep him from serving his country.
"I actually want to serve the country. I want to make a difference and I can't because of my past decisions," said anonymous person.
This man wished to remain anonymous, but says being in the military was always a dream.
"Well I've always wanted to. I could think back to drawing pictures of war ships," said anonymous person.
But a little bit of ink in the wrong place has made that dream unattainable.
"It's one of those split decisions that come this time you regret, but I can't do anything about it," said anonymous person.
However, he doesn't understand why tattoos are keeping him from serving the country he loves.
"My thoughts are is if it's drug related, gang related, or hatred against someone else then I don't think that should be allowed. But when it's simple, then what's the difference?" said anonymous person.
We spoke with the center commander for the Chattanooga Recruiting Center. He says the rules are black and white. No tattoos on the face, neck, or hands. No more than four tattoos below the elbows or knees. In addition, those tattoos have to be smaller than the person's hand. And no obviously offensive symbols or words.
Why so many rules? Sergeant Jason Riddle says it's simple.
"The Army is a professional organization, so we strive to present a professional appearance,” said Riddle.
While Riddle personally has nothing against tattoos, rules are rules and his recruiting center has stuck to them, turning away 20 people since April.
The policy saddens this man, who says he'd be proud to be given a chance.
"I think I'm valuable to this country and if given the chance, I think I could help,” said anonymous person.
We're told Army officials are looking into the matter of tattoos once again, but no word on if it's to make it easier or harder to deal with.
The man we spoke with said he would continue to prepare for the ASVAB test, in case the policy is changed.
If you are thinking about joining any branch of the military, you are encouraged to talk to a local recruiter before getting any tattoo.