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Kentucky Guardsman Sues Over Tattoo Rules

Kentucky Guardsman Sues Over Tattoo Rules

CREATED May 1, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky National Guard soldier with aspirations of joining a U.S. Army special operations unit wants a federal judge to overturn the military's new regulations concerning soldiers with tattoos.

Staff Sgt. Adam C. Thorogood of Nashville said the ink covering his left arm from the elbow to the wrist isn't harmful, but the Army is using the body art against him and stopping him from joining the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Thorogood has a forearm tattoo of a sniper scene. He spent many years as a sniper in the Army.

The new policy says no tattoos below the t-shirt line.

He is currently in the Kentucky Guard while in school. He planned to get back into the army as a warrant officer and fly helicopters for special operations at Fort Campbell when he graduates. His plans were forced to change when the new tattoo policy went into effect.

“ His recruiter was after him for a long time to forget about the bbachelorsand come back in and submit his package for a warrant officer. But he really wanted to do that for himself. He wanted to get the bachelor science degree and get the fix-winged experience and be able to be an even greater benefit to the army as a whole with those two things in his back pocket, “ said Robin May, Thorogood's Attorney.

As of now, Thorogood could go back in as an enlisted soldier, but would actually be punished under military law if he applied to be a warrant officer.

Thorogood sued Thursday in U.S. District Court in Paducah, Kentucky, seeking to have the new rules declared unconstitutional. He is seeking one hundred million in damages.

The regulations went into effect in March and ban any soldier with tattoos from seeking a promotion to warrant officer or commissioning as an officer.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)