If you're willing to risk your life for your country, you don't expect to be rejected because you have a tattoo on your forearm. But that's what happened to Kentucky National Guard soldier Adam C. Thorogood.
Staff Sgt. Thorogood planned to join an Army special ops unit, but his tattoos make that impossible under the military's new rules about appearance. So Thorogood is suing for $100 million, and he hopes that a federal judge will declare the military's rule unconstitutional. Here's why the Army's tattoo rules don't make sense:
Before March 2014, there were no rules against Thorogood's tattoo from elbow to wrist.
When he joined the army, his tattoos weren't an issue.
The new rules ban anyone with forearm tattoos from being promoted to officer.
That means Thorogood can't apply for promotion because of his body art.
Would-be soldiers with tattoos on their forearms can't join the military, period.
That also goes for anyone with tattoos on their legs below their knees. There's probably a lot of tattooed volunteers out there whom the army will be forced to reject.
Many soldiers get tattoos to remind them of family or to commemorate fallen comrades.
Above, Army Sgt. Jacob Zimmerman's tattoo commemorates 11 fellow-soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan.
The previous photo shows Spc. Edwin Cruz, 21, in Kunar province, Afghanistan. He told the AP, "The reason I got [my tattoo] is to represent my family."
This soldier got his forearm tattoo in memory of a friend who died in action.
Spc. Derek Tope, 24, is part of the Army's Alpha Company 2nd Battalion. He was photographed while deployed in Afghanistan. "I got it for my friend, Pfc. Donald Crombie," says Tope. "I've known him forever. He had a nautical star on his elbow and he died in our first month deployed in Iraq. I got it in his memory, as a memorial to him."