The tattoo in question. (Credit: Estela Martin.)

Estela Martín was testing her swimming skills during an entrance exam for the Spanish army when a male examiner noticed a black lotus flower tattooed on the upper part of her right foot. She was told she could not complete the exam because the tattoo was visible, and that it would be particularly obvious were she to wear a skirt.

The Spanish army’s rules no longer required women to don skirts, however, and Ms. Martín was fully aware of this change in policy, which was re-solidified after her expulsion. The tattoo was not visible when Ms. Martín wore trousers — her typical choice of wardrobe during her service — and she argued she was within regulations, but the examiner refused to budge in his steadfastness against her tattoo, insisting she could one day receive orders to wear a skirt.

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[DIGEST: The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Reuters, Army Times, NPR]

As Trump settles into office, the U.S. Army has loosened its dress and grooming guidelines, making it easier for Sikhs, Muslims, and other religious minorities to comport with their religious customs. These soldiers may now wear beards, turbans and headscarves.

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A Pentagon effort to recoup enlistment bonuses for thousands of California National Guard soldiers over a decade since they served in Iraq and Afghanistan has earned widespread condemnation, and lawmakers are calling for the Pentagon and Congress to waive their debts.

The Pentagon demands repayment of bonuses which reached $15,000 or more. California Guard recruiters gave the bonuses out between 2006 and 2008 when the National Guard faced a shortage of troops to fight two unpopular wars. The Pentagon conducted a federal investigation in 2010 which found that thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were improperly given out to California National Guard soldiers. (Army Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, the California National Guard's Bonus and Incentive manager was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in 2011 to filing $15.2 million in false claims.) About 9,700 current and retired soldiers received notices to repay some or all of their bonuses. Soldiers who refuse to pay face "interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens," according to one report. The federal government has recovered $22 million thus far.

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[DIGEST: Slate, Gawker]

Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim American Army captain slain in Iraq in 2004, delivered perhaps the most damning indictment of Donald Trump’s immigration proposals at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last night. “Our son Humayun had dreams … of being a military lawyer, but he put those dreams aside the day he sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers,” Khan said. “Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son ‘the best of America.’ If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America.”

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