Sgt. Daniel Knapp is an exemplary Marine and is being denied a re-enlistment opportunity due to having one too many tattoos. Knapp is the son of George and Andrea Knapp of Darlington, S.C. After serving his country bravely for six years with an otherwise top notch record, Sgt Knapp’s life long dream of being a career Marine will be ended if this policy is not changed.
When asked for a comment about their son, the George and Andrea Knapp shared the following press release with the News & Press on May 1, 2015:
Regarding Sgt Daniel Knapp, USMC
Released by his parents Andrea Knapp and George Knapp of Darlington, S.C. All opinions and comments expressed in this release are solely those of Andrea and George Knapp and are not the opinions of Sgt Knapp or any other person or group.
Approximately two weeks ago an article appeared in the Marine Corps Times featuring our son Daniel. The article expressed his current dilemma regarding an inability to gain full re-enlistment in the Corps due to violating the Corps’ tattoo policy. Other than this minor violation, Daniel’s record while serving for six years, has been outstanding. In fact, he rates in the upper 10% of all Marines for service, proficiency and physical fitness. Daniel is a two tour combat veteran of Afghanistan and was recognized for his valor in combat and meritoriously promoted twice, once after receiving the tattoo in question.
As his parents, we find the situation to be a near sighted application of the letter of the law to our son, who from an early aged dreamed of being the best Marine possible and is achieving that goal. He only wants to continue on his personal mission to improve himself and the Corps, while training and helping others and putting himself in harms way as necessary. The DOD and the USMC grant waivers to both new and re-enlisting Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors on a routine basis and in our opinion for code of conduct violations that are much more egregious than one additional tattoo commemorating his deployment (of all things).
We started a petition on Change.org and promoted the petition on social media. The response was overwhelming and most of the comments have been positive. As parents, we have never been more proud of Daniel and the way he has handled this situation with the maturity and professionalism that you would expect from a World Class Marine. To read comments like, “Sgt Knapp is the best Marine that I have ever encountered” and “I know Sgt. Knapp to be an awesome Marine. We served in the same unit for two combat deployments and attended the same Corporal’s Course. His tattoos have no effect on the person and leader he is.”, make our hearts swell and furthers our resolve to try and convince those in power to adjust their outdated policies to more closely match modern thinking regarding body art.
The Army has relaxed their policy regarding ink and the Marines are “reviewing” theirs. All we want is the Win-Win outcome whereby the Marines continue to benefit from an excellent performer and our son, Daniel, gets to fulfill his life’s greatest ambition.
To read the article that appeared in the Marine Corps Times and sign the petition, click the following link: