That's why Sergeant Daniel Knapp won't be able to continue his military career. Even though Knapp's tattoo celebrates his status as a Marine (depicting two crossed rifles along with the designation for Marine riflemen), it still disqualifies him from reenlisting in the Corps.
“Half-sleeve or quarter-sleeve tattoos that are visible to the eye when wearing standard physical training gear (t-shirt and shorts) are likewise prohibited. A half-sleeve or quarter-sleeve tattoo is defined as a very large tattoo, or a collection of smaller tattoos that covers, or almost covers the entire portion of an arm or leg above or below the elbow or knee.”
By all accounts, Knapp's career in the Corps has been exemplary, Marine Corps Times reports:
“[D]uring his six years in uniform, Knapp earned two meritorious masts, two certificates of commendation, four expert rifle badges and certification as a black belt Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor.”
In fact, Knapp was classified as a Tier 1 (90th percentile) Marine, based on his sterling marksmanship scores, fitness test results, and overall job performance. Despite these achievements, he was still declared to be “unfit for reenlistment.”
Marine Corps officials are in the process of reevaluating their policy on tattoos. Ironically, Knapp's tattoo is permitted by the U.S. Army, but Knapp refuses to consider that option because of his love for his branch.
“When I was in Afghanistan, my tattoos never stopped me from shooting anyone, and they never made me more of a target,” he said. “They never stopped me from keeping Marines safe.”