BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "I was tattooing a kid a week before the rule came out, and we were working on a half-sleeve. And we stopped up on his arm, because he couldn't go all the way down his forearm," Wade said.
Under the previous Air Force tattoo rules, recruits with tattoos covering more than 25 percent of their bodies could be disqualified from joining. That has now been eliminated in an effort to boost recruitment.
"I do a lot more of that stuff these days than I ever did," Wade said. "Back in the day, 10 or 15 years ago, you would do a bunch of little Sailor Jerry tattoos, and fill in it in with some background. Nowadays, a whole tattoo is one arm, and it's not a lot of pieces together, it's just one big piece."
The change in regulations will allow both arm and leg sleeve tattoos. And, tattoos on the chest, back, arms and legs and will not be restricted in size. But, ink on the neck, face, and head is still banned for airmen.
Other military branches have their own tattoo rules. The Navy allows neck tattoos, sleeves, and markings behind the ears. The Army allows sleeves, but not neck or hand tattoos. And while the Marines have eased their tattoo rules in recent years, they still restrict sleeves.