More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for Corps leaders to change the tattoo policy and issue a re-enlistment waiver to a Marine whose career was derailed after he A petition that seeks to grant a re-enlistment waiver to a Marine who ran afoul of the service's body ink regulations. and overhaul those rules for all Marines has garnered more than 1,000 online signatures in less than a week.

The petition, posted on change.org April 21, seeks to save Sgt. Daniel Knapp's career after the 0311 infantry rifleman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was denied re-enlistment. A forearm tattoo he got to commemorate his first combat deployment in 2011 violated Marine Corps' service regulations governing ink. He and now he is set to leave the service this June, despite a policy waiver endorsed by leaders with his parent command.

"After serving his country bravely for six years with an otherwise top notch record, Sgt Knapp's lifelong dream of being a career Marine will be ended if this policy is not changed," the petition states. "...Why should we allow policies to exist that are not in keeping with new cultural norms and let dedicated service men and women accept yet another unfair burden?"

Knapp, who deployed to Afghanistan twice, has a valor award for leading his team to suppress enemy fire during a firefight in Marjah. He was meritoriously promoted twice, ; ; conducted helicopter raids in Now Zad; has first-class Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Test scores, and is an has qualifies expert on the rifle range.

While Knapp He acknowledges that he violated the Corps' tattoo regulations, he said but says it was in part because many Marines don't understand what he calls a complicated policy. Even if he can't save his own career, he said he wants his story to be a cautionary tale for others.

He and his supporters say that tattoos have no bearing on a Marine's abilities in combat, and that the policies should be loosened to reflect changing societal norms.

"When I was in Afghanistan," Knapp told Marine Corps Times, "my tattoos never stopped me from shooting anyone, and they never made me more of a target. They never stopped me from keeping Marines safe. On patrol nothing ever happened because of my tattoos."

With the help of a career planner, Knapp applied for a waiver to re-enlist. Most of his command endorsed it, but it was denied by Headquarters Marine Corps, which has the final say on all re-enlistments.

"The waiver process is meant for people like me who have something minor on their record," Knapp said. "It doesn't say anything about my character or the type of Marine I am."

Many signing the change.org petition agree Most reactions to his case have been supportive.

Sgt. Daniel Knapp exits a helicopter at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, after conducting a raid in Now Zad on Aug. 31, 2013. Knapp is being denied reenlistment for his tattoos.

Photo Credit: Sgt. Gabriela Garcia/Marine Corps

"He has risked his life for our freedom and wants to do it again! What more of a reason could you ask for?" wrote Warren Shaw from Greenville, Pennsylvania, on the petition's page.

Susan Miller of Rock Creek, Ohio, wrote, "Tattoos have absolutely nothing to do with his ability to serve our country! What is wrong with this picture? I'm truly amazed at what our government and military is actually focusing on here, don't we have much bigger problems than how many tats a person has?"

Jody Geloran of Middleborough, Massachusetts wrote, "Can he still do his job, can he still pull the trigger when he has to? What does it matter how many tattoos he has?"

But Marine leaders argue that excessive tattoos detract from military bearing and the neat appearance that sets Marines above all others. And some readers have argued that, as a noncommissioned officer, he should've familiarized himself with the Corps' policy before getting a new tattoo.

Some say that whether tattoos detract from appearance or combat efficacy is actually inconsequential. What is most significant is that Knapp violated a standing regulation and is now paying the price for it.

"He knew the policy and violated the policy. The military is all about regulations," one reader tweeted. Twitter.

Another wrote on the Heather Smith Prevatte added on Marine Corps Times Facebook page that following regulations is vital to good order and discipline.

"I agree that tattoos have nothing to do with what kind of person you are or how good you are at your job," she wrote. "The problem is following directions. You know the rules and if you break them then there are consequences. Point blank period!"

The petition is about 385 signatures short of its goal of 1,500.

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