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National guardsman sues over Army tattoo rules: I can’t go special ops now

- The Washington Times - Friday, May 2, 2014

A soldier serving in the Kentucky National Guard has launched a lawsuit over the Army's new tattoo restrictions, claiming that he's now been unfairly prevented from living his dream — from joining a special operations unit.

Staff Sgt. Adam Thorogood from Nashville said the Army is citing his tattoo — which covers his left arm, from elbow to wrist — as a reason to keep him from joining the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky., better known as "The Nightstalkers," The Associated Press reported.

The soldier is also seeking $100 million in damages, AP reported.

His attorneys say he wants to join as a warrant officer.

Sgt. Thorogood, 28, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Paducah this week, hoping the judge will overturn the rules as unconstitutional. The Army just updated its grooming standards and part of the new provisions bans soldiers who have certain tattoos from seeking promotions to warrant officer, or to commissions as an officer.

"You've got a solider who is about as gung-ho as you get," said Robin May, the attorney for Sgt. Thorogood, in the AP report. "Then you've got this regulation you read about on Facebook, and you don't have a career. That would be a blow."

The regulations went into effect in March, and touched on new grooming standards for hair, fingernails and jewelry. On the subject of tattoos, the rules say soldiers with ink may continue to serve, but they are barred from promotions to officer status.

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