When 18-year-old Anthony Bauswell walked into the Marine Corps recruitment office in Arkansas, the officer in charge took one look at the Greenbrier, Arkansas teen and sent him away. His reason: Bauswell has a tattoo on his upper arm.
Bauswell has gone public with the reason he was disqualified from joining the Marine Corps. The office told him that if it wasn’t for his Confederate flag tattoo, the military would have allowed him to join.
He is outraged that this “Southern Pride” tattoo disqualified him from joining the Marine Corps. After all, he was prepared to sign himself over to the U.S. Military.
“As soon as I said rebel flag on my ribs, he says DQ, just automatically, DQ,” Bauswell said. His tattoo is that of a Confederate flag blowing in the wind with the words “Southern Pride” written in a banner across the center.
The USMC does not allow Confederate flag tattoos because they represent a time when slavery was applauded.
“I felt pretty low,” Bauswell added. “My own government wasn’t going to let me serve my country because of the ink on my skin.”
“I definitely don’t want it to be seen as racism, which is 99 percent of the reason I got ‘Southern Pride’ on it,” he said.
The Marine Corps officially forbids tattoos that are “racist, sexist, eccentric, or offensive” including the Confederate flag and Nazi swastikas. The Marine Corps is working to update this policy to make it even clearer what this includes.
“Having talked to them, I don’t think most Marines understand what the policy is,” Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told the Marine Corps Times. “I don’t think they understand what they can do,” he added. “They just know they can’t get a sleeve.”
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