Jim got this tattoo to honor fallen soldiers and those who are still missing.
Donovan says he earned the dragon during a deployment and the rose is for someone he lost during deployment. The skull was something someone he served with drew up. And the chest was a sigil for a clan of gaming he gamed with while serving.
Christian was in the Navy for 10 and a half years from 2005-2016. He was an un designated airman stationed in Kaneohe, HI. Marine Corps base Hawaii with VP-47. He struck Engineman and went to my first ship in Pearl Harbor, DDG 93 USS Chung-Hoon. After, he was stationed in San Diego on DDG 100 USS Kidd. He then went to NAS Kingsville and retired on February 19, 2016. He is currently working for Valero and is part of the Emergency Response Team in Wilmington California.
For Brandon, his tattoo signifies his on-going battle with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. It’s a skull and a man trapped behind the eyes as if he’s in prison, meaning ‘your mind is your greatest prison.'
Jim got this tattoo to represent his time in the Army and honoring those he served with and made it back home.
Jimmy served in the Marines from 2005-2009. He was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. His tattoos represent his patriotism, service to the country, freedom, and some of the things he's done. The bombs represent breaching operations. He has a battlefield cross to memorialize those who didn't come home.
"My grandfather served in WWII, and I always admired him for that. Like a lot of WWII vets, he came home with quite a few tattoos. As he explained, we never thought we’d make it home, so it didn’t matter how many tattoos we got. One that always caught my eye was a chain on his wrist. He had seen it as a kid in someone and it was the first one he got when he was drafted into the army. Fast forward to me joining the Navy in 1999. I asked him to help me recreate the tattoo, as it was badly faded. It was the first tattoo I got upon entering the Navy, and the one I’m most proud of. It was what always connected us and I was always honored to tell the story. He passed away last year at 99. While I miss him, the chain around my wrist keeps me connected to him and always reminds me of the sacrifices he made so that I could be here today."
Austin got the eagle, globe, and anchor to represent his time in the Marine Corps. He also got his dad's name who is also a fellow Vet.
Joshua got this tattoo to represent the 68 fallen soldiers he served with. The pully reminds him that they sacrificed their life in order for him to be here today.
"I served in the USMC infantry from 15-19 and these two tattoos are my perception my service going in and coming out. The fallen angle on the left was my very first tattoo ever. I got it cause I was hiding from my drill instructors on Sunday going to church and the way they compared us to fallen angels instead of Spartans really resonated with me. Little did I know I was gonna spend the next 4 yrs wanting a fight that never came. I had seniors and super seniors that were combat vets and I respected what they did and just wanted to be like them too. We always got told never wish for war and I understand why but war is like a right of passage to us too. Just like Vikings scared of not going to Valhalla, I found the realization of ending my service not fulfilling this right of passage depressing. Every time I was thanked for my service or congratulated on my hard work I felt guilty cause I didn’t feel I was the man Everyone else thought I was. it ate at me and that’s what inspired the second tattoo. Cause now a days the marines of my generation have a different form of pain that comes from this lack of service. Personally I’m still coping with these feelings that I feel a lot of dudes don’t talk about cause how do you about having it easy but I hope that anyone reading this if they feel the same opens up that line of conversation with their buddies or a total stranger like me cause non of us are alone my at is @chrisviola611"
Daniel was in the Army Infantry 11b. So he got a cross with angel wings and psalm 23 verse 4 and 6. "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, your rod and thy staff comfort me and surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever." He says it’s fitting for him being infantry walking into battle that it be on his leg facing the enemy. He also has Athena, goddess of war and wisdom on his rib cage.
Jacob says the ";IGY6" is a patch that many Combat Veterans wear. "The meaning behind it is very simple: The semicolon is from the Project Semicolon. When an author writes a sentence and is at the point of ending it, but wants to continue, they can use a semicolon. It creates a pause. Almost like a thought, a reconsideration of the cessation of a sentence, or in this case, your life. IGY6 stands for I Got Your Six (back). The colors also carry a meaning. Teal is for PTSD awareness, black is for the heavy hearts that many of us carry, those who suffer from PTSD and those who have lost loved ones to suicide because of PTSD. The red is a symbol of the blood that has been shed.
So when you combine it all together it a way of saying that if you are thinking about taking your life, PAUSE it is not time to end, I got your back and will help you through it and stand by your side. If you ever see someone wearing it know that they will help you. It is usually on the right arm so that when they reach out and shake someones hand it is easily viewable. And will strike up a conversation and hopefully help someone in need. Throughout my Marine Corps career I have lost friends and this is a reminder of their sacrifice and their influence on the man I've become today"
Jamie got this tattoo as a memorial of him following into his grandfathers' footsteps. "This tattoo allows me to remember them and the lessons they taught me. I know they are with me for the rest of my life."
For Daniel, the skull at the top represents the infantry soldiers who gave their lives and are looking over the living soldiers while in battle and at home, which are the soldiers at the bottom. They also represent the brotherhood created while overseas and always having each other’s back. The background is the American flag which represents what they all fight/fought for and what they hold dear to their heart. As well as being a proud American. The "infantry" at the top just represents his job in the army and his pride for it.
Adam says his tattoo signifies the 12 years he's served so far. He is still in the Army in "the reserves E-5."
Ramon says he got a tattoo of a red head pin up hanging a mortar round because he's a mortar man for the Army and the Virgin Mary to protect him when he went over seas.
Rikki got this tattoo to represent all of the branches her family has served. "This tattoo has a lot of value to me as all the members of my family who was in the service have all passed and crossed the bridge. I just want to say to those who have family and friends serving, cherish them, show them you care and love them, hug them even when they don't want it."
Matthew got this tattoo to represent his time in the Navy. "This piece means a lot because the navy helped me do and see things I never would have been able to by myself. This piece also has another amazing story because it was done by a Purple Heart recipient from Army/Marine Corp who helps take care of local veterans."
Zachary has a tattoo of his military working dog, Ux's paw print. They were deployed in support of OEF 13-14 with CJSOTF. While they had a successful deployment and he was credited with locating 10 IEDs, they returned and Ux passed away from cancer a few years later. Zachary plans on getting an additional tattoo with him as Cerberus guarding the gates to hell.
Matt got this as a start to a service sleeve he is currently working on. It was actually a large coverup that he wanted to do. The idea was for a sleeve, to show off various parts of the Navy that he enjoyed. He says this was just such a cool design to coverup some terrible tribal he got as a young kid. His goal is to do my military sleeve with tattoo artists who were all former service members.
Daniel says "The plot thickens" was thought of when him and his brother were in Afghanistan. He says every time they were up for days and something bad happened they always said “well can’t get worse” or “the plot has thickened” so when they got back they decided to get bro tattoos in remembrance of those awful days and nights.
Jonathan says he wanted something different and hadn’t seen anything similar before. He says his artist had a good idea and they came up with this.
Erick left the Navy almost 20 years ago and had been thinking about getting a tattoo that encompassed that experience. So with the help of an amazing tattoo artist, they came up with this, the anchor of course is Navy all the way, the octopus is one of the strongest and smartest creatures in the sea, the Latin saying translates into “The Empire of King Neptune “ which is on our shellback certificate when you cross the equator adm is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, the four stars are loved ones that he has lost because stars are what sailors used to guide them, these people were guiding stars in his life and he wanted to remember them this way.
Corey says all throughout his time in the Marine Corps, he was faced with hardships alongside his fellow peers. During his first year, a close buddy of his attempted suicide after he sought emotional support from Corey. Another friend from a different unit took his life not long afterwards. On his second deployment, he lost two more buddies at home a week apart from each other. Although outside his own peer group, he couldn’t help but to realize how big of a problem suicide is in the military. He says everyone he knows has known someone who lost their personal battle. "It’s heartbreaking, but my tattoo resembles the beauty of life through hard times and tribulations. The fight never stops, but we shouldn’t forget those who’ve lost their battle"
Nicholas served in the Marine Corps infantry. His tattoo commemorates those who made the ultimate sacrifice and keeps him motivated when he look at it, unlike brothers of his. He says he gets to see the days that they don’t and every day is a chance to seize an opportunity.
"Semper Fi Devil Dogs!"
Eric Rocha (IG: @rgersolidcpy)
"1st Bn 4th Mar 1st Marine Division Charlie company HELO raids! Not much of a story but had the best times with my bro’s and fast roping off birds was by far the coolest experience the marine corps ever offered me and nothing in the civilian world could’ve amounted to the experience led alone the brotherhood I made with the young men I know who served with me to this day."
Tyler says being a combat medic was one of the most amazing experiences of his life. He took so much pride in being called “Doc”. It was a badge of trust that he says he earned from the infantrymen. He swore he would get them back home to their families. He says he wanted to get something to honor that name, which he earned and wore so proudly. "Who doesn’t like a rad mustache to go with it!"
For Garry, his back tattoo represents the 6 combat tours he went on. The American Flag in the Eagles wing represents America and what he was fighting for. The POW MIA Flag in the Eagles other wing represents the Americans that were captured and the ones missing in action. The Bald Eagle represents our nation and freedom. The All Gave Some and Some Gave All banner represents everyone that fought in combat and the ones that never made it home. The words underneath are each combat tour he was on and the time he was there.
Fatima got her tattoo when she came back from deployment (OEF) in 2004. "This piece represents to me what died within me while I was there. What was lost. So this “dead female Marine” represents that time in my life."
Clifton got this tattoo when his best friend committed suicide due to everything that happened while she was overseas. "I myself am an army veteran and want her to live on with me forever and in the hearts and minds of people that knew her and got to love her like i did. She was such an amazing person with a heart of gold."