If a leaked email is true, the Marine Corps may soon allow sleeve tattoos, an unlimited number of tattoos for officers, and allow future recruiters and drill instructors to sport visible ink.An email with some details of a potential new policy was posted to the unofficial USMC Reddit page on Tuesday morning and since has been deleted.Many Marines have long wanted a more relaxed tattoo policy, but citing professionalism and heritage the Corps has continued to enforce the strictest ink policy in the Department of Defense.“We are currently evaluating the tattoo policy and we will publish an update shortly,” Maj. Jim Stenger confirmed to Marine Corps Times in a phone call Tuesday morning.Stenger said the email on Reddit likely came from a Marine leader giving a heads up on possible changes coming to Marine Corps policy. He insisted that no decisions on the tattoo policy are final.“That’s all predecisional and nothing in there has been decided upon by the decision-makers in the process of approving any changes,” he said.RELATEDThe email posted on Reddit appeared to be sent by a sergeant major, with the crest in the upper left corner appearing to belong to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.The email alleged that most restrictions on size, number and placement of tattoos will be gone and instead the Marine Corps will place a greater emphasis on the actual content of the tattoos.Marine Corps officers are currently restricted to four visible tattoos while wearing the physical training uniform. All ranks face size restrictions for visible tattoos, while tattoos on the neck, face, elbow, hands or knees are banned, with the exception of one small ringlike tattoo on a finger.The new policy will be the same for all ranks, and elbows and knees will no-long be off-limits, the email on Reddit alleges.Marines will be allowed to have tattoos in the “V” portion of the neck, the email said, though doing so would mean they must wear a crew neck T-shirt in uniform.A tenuous historyIf sleeve tattoos were allowed, it would be the first time since 2007.The decision to ban sleeves was made after the 2006 Sergeants Major Symposium brought up fears of “excessive tattooing,” Stars and Stripes reported in 2007.“Appearances are a direct reflection of the Marine Corps and it is felt excessive tattoos are not in line with the traditional values of the Marine Corps,” then-Lt. Brian P. Donnelly, a Marine Corps spokesman, told Stars and Stripes in 2007. Prior to the 2007 change Marines were only prohibited from neck and head tattoos.The Marine Corps may soon loosen up its restrictions on sleeve tattoos, one email posted to Reddit Tuesday alleges. (Reddit screenshot) After years of complaints by Marines the Corps changed its policy once again in 2016.The new policy relaxed restrictions on the size of tattoos, but still banned sleeves and restricted career opportunities for those with tattoos.“We are not in a rock and roll band,” then-Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Marine Corps Times in February 2016. “We are Marines. We have a brand. People expect a certain thing from us.”The current Corps policy bans Marines with tattoos visible in PT uniform from special duty assignments, like drill instructors or recruiters.Restrictions on special duty assignments for Marines with visible tattoos also will be gone, the email alleges.Those assignments come with extra incentive pay, and successful completion of a special duty assignment tends to lead to a faster promotion.Though those jobs are technically necessary for advancement in the Marine Corps they, “historically put Marines at a more competitive advantage for retention and promotion,” the 2016 bulletin outlining the policy said.Between restrictions on special duty assignment and denied reenlistments, some Marines had their careers cut short due to the tattoo policy.Retaining MarinesThe Marine Corps’ tattoo policy has stunted or even ended the careers of some Marines who have sported ink.Between June 2015 and June 2016, 33 Marines were denied reenlistment because of their tattoos, Marine Corps Times reported in 2017. The Corps recently has started focusing on improving retention as it increases investment into training.Senior leaders may see a young Marine coming to the end of a first enlistment as “just an E-4, you don’t trust him with anything,” Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black said in August at the 2021 Sea Air Space conference at National Harbor, Maryland.“That same E-4 22-year-old however, with all that experience, will be treated like a king or queen immediately after walking out that door,” Black said.On Wednesday the Corps asked Marines which non-monetary incentives would convince them to reenlist.If the Corps does change its tattoo policy to allow all but some hand, face and neck tattoos, one of the bigger complaints by Marines will disappear.This story is breaking and will be updated.
New 360 degree review to start with just 200 Marines
To help remove toxic leaders, the Marine Corps is testing out a 360 degree review in an attempt to give Marines honest feedback from superiors, peers and juniors.It is hoped Marine who are reviewed will receive more honest feedback on strengths and flaws than is allowed within the current fitness report system.“Fitness reports, however, provide…
To help remove toxic leaders, the Marine Corps is testing out a 360 degree review in an attempt to give Marines honest feedback from superiors, peers and juniors.It is hoped Marine who are reviewed will receive more honest feedback on strengths and flaws than is allowed within the current fitness report system.“Fitness reports, however, provide critically important but limited insights into a Marine’s strengths and weaknesses,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger wrote in the Corps’ Talent Management 2030 document, released in early November. “At present, the FITREP captures only the positive views of two supervisors who, in some cases, are not co-located with the Marine reported on or only had limited observation of them.”The 360 reviews will also be used by promotion and leadership boards to ensure that the Corps is not promoting leaders who create toxic work environments for those they lead while looking like they do a good job to superiors.In 2022 the Corps will launch a pilot program focusing on about 200 field grade officers and senior enlisted Marines, Lt. Col. Jim Armstrong, who work with Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, told reporters on Monday.RELATEDIt will primarily be used as a professional development tool, Armstrong said, allowing leaders to see what subordinates and peers actually think about their abilities and weaknesses.“Our initiative is focused on providing the individual Marine with additional insight on hidden strengths and unidentified weaknesses and then to provide them coaching as they learn to address that,” Armstrong told reporters on Monday.“The critical factor, again, is the development of that leader in order to make sure that we’re maximizing the talents and skills of those individuals that we’ve recruited into our service,” he added.Once Marines receive the review, the Corps will offer coaching to hopefully improve upon weaknesses.“Our expectation is that our Marines will see their participation in these reviews as a valuable developmental tool assisting our Marine Leaders to identify their hidden strengths and unidentified weaknesses with real, honest feedback and coaching to further develop and advance the capabilities of our Force,” Armstrong added.The Corps plans on using the pilot program to narrow down the exact questions that should be asked during the review, Armstrong said.“If the results of this pilot affirm that expectation, then we would look to expand availability to Marines of additional ranks and leadership roles,” Armstrong said in a Tuesday email.Toxic leadersThough the tool primarily will be used to help Marine leaders improve, it will also work to weed out toxic leaders.It’s “proven means for identifying traits of toxic leadership and can help reduce the incidence of toxic leaders advancing to senior levels within the service,” Berger said in the talent management document.The Corps is looking to weed out toxic leaders as part of its efforts to increase retention within the force.As it prepares for a potential fight against a near-peer opponent, the Marine Corps hopes to increase the maturity, physical ability and training of the force.The new strategy sees Marines fighting in small highly dispersed units, which puts more responsibility on more junior Marines than any previous fight.“The machine gunner who is also corpsman, a medic, also has to be able to talk to MQ-9 UAVs and bring in ordnance and understand the satellite connection that is required to do that,” Berger told reporters in early November.In order to handle that extra responsibility, the Marine Corps is increasing the level of training each Marine receives and is overhauling its human performance system by adopting techniques seen in modern college athletic departments.With the increased investment in training and human performance the Corps hopes to keep more Marines longer.Historically the Corps only retains 25% of first-term Marines. Though the Corps has not said what the new retention goal will be, the number is certainly increasing.In addition, the Corps has changed its tattoo policy in the hopes of increasing retention.Ultimately Berger hopes the Corps adopts a cultural change in how it sees manpower management.
Guard kills person with knife at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A guard shot and killed a person wielding a knife Friday at the entrance gate to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, authorities said.The shooting occurred at around noon, San Diego police said.A car tried to enter the depot through the Gate 5 checkpoint and guards warned it to…
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A guard shot and killed a person wielding a knife Friday at the entrance gate to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, authorities said.The shooting occurred at around noon, San Diego police said.A car tried to enter the depot through the Gate 5 checkpoint and guards warned it to stop, according to a statement from the depot cited by KGTV-TV.The driver then got out and approached with a knife “and hostile intent,” the statement said.“After several warnings the individual was shot by base personnel” and died at the scene, the statement said.Other details weren’t immediately released.Since the shooting took place on federal property, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is handling the investigation.The depot is near San Diego International Airport. Gate 5 is used for visitors. It has security kiosks under a metal awning.KSWB-TV reported that an SUV with open doors could be seen in one of the visitor lanes, and a body covered by a tarp lay a short distance away under the gate’s awning.The Marine Recruit Depot, which trains recruits mainly from west of the Mississippi River, handles tens of thousands of recruits each year. The depot is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Disabled combat veteran opens pecan business in Georgia
BYRON, Ga. (AP) — When Tim Williams purchased his home in Kewanee Farms in Byron in the late summer of 2020, starting a pecan processing facility and opening a storefront wasn’t something he’d ever imagined doing.“I didn’t know anything about pecans before I came to Georgia,” Williams said.The Iraq combat disabled veteran decided to move…
BYRON, Ga. (AP) — When Tim Williams purchased his home in Kewanee Farms in Byron in the late summer of 2020, starting a pecan processing facility and opening a storefront wasn’t something he’d ever imagined doing.“I didn’t know anything about pecans before I came to Georgia,” Williams said.The Iraq combat disabled veteran decided to move from the Midwest to Middle Georgia to live near his mom after retiring from the U.S. Air Force. He served from 2008 to 2020.His property, which he described as a small farm, was filled with pecan trees — 86 in all.So, Williams decided to buy a pecan sheller with plans of selling his pecans. Then he bought some more used equipment.About that time, Sasnett Fruit & Nuts was closing its doors, and Williams bought some of their equipment, too, as well as some of their storefront furniture.The storefrontOn Oct. 15, Williams, 32, opened a storefront in a converted old home and the Nut House Pecan Company was born.The name seemed fitting to Williams, who’s selling nuts out of an old house.When walking into the small storefront, customers may smell a fresh batch of his praline pecans, a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, roasting on site.Customers can expect to find fresh Georgia pecans — halves or pieces — vacuumed sealed for sale.For those who still like to crack pecans themselves, he sells the nuts in their shells as well.Williams also buys pecans from people. Additionally, he cracks and shells pecans for customers.His processing prices are 70 cents per pound to crack and shell, 50 cents per pound to crack only and $1.80 per pound to shell pack.Williams also sells walnuts and almonds that he buys wholesale.His processing facility remains at his Kewanee Farms property for now.Williams said he plans to eventually tear down the Main Street building, construct a new storefront and move the processing facility onto the same property.That could happen within the next two to three years, depending on the success of Williams’ pecan crop, he said.Also in his storefront, Williams showcases some of his work from his woodworking and cabinetry business, T.W. Solutions.The cropLast year, Georgia had a bumper pecan crop with 147.5 million pounds grown in the state, which was more than double the yield in both 2019 and 2018. But the $1.27 average price per pound was well below the 2019 price $1.88 and of the 2018 price of $1.62, according to VSCNews.Also, this year’s crop production is down significantly due to an intermittently cold spring. The projected Georgia crop is now 60 million pounds at best and could come in even lower to below 50 million pounds for the first time in 15 years, according to Lenny Wells, a professor of horticulture and extension horticulture specialist for pecans at the University of Georgia.But Williams remains undaunted, leaning into the advice of those experienced in the pecan business like Rick Sasnett, who managed his family’s pecan shelling business that started as a fruit stand.“This business has a lot of ups and downs,” Williams said. “Hopefully, we’ll have another boom crop next year.”Besides, Williams said he has his Air Force retirement and pension.“I don’t do this for the money,” he said. “It’s something to keep me engaged … and to provide a service to the community.”Williams plans to donate a portion of his profits to JAVELAN, a program in Omaha, Nebraska, that provides funding for service dogs for military veterans and retired first responders. JAVELAN trained Williams’ service dog, Peter.Williams also plans to give part of the profits to the Byron-based Star Bright Animal Rescue. He adopted Peter from the nonprofit animal rescue group.The Nut House Pecan Company is open from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.