Decoy Industries

US Marine Corps

There were five or six of us huddled around our racks, trying to disguise our collective ramblings as weapons maintenance. As the topic of discussion switched to tattoos, a few of us enthusiastically passed around our crumpled notebooks containing hastily-sketched doodles of what we were going to get the second we were out of the field. By that time, we had been in the Mojave Desert for more than three weeks, so those PFC paychecks were burning holes in our pockets, and we were beyond caring what our poor mothers would think. After a few months, it was more awkward NOT to have at least a Spartan Helmet or Grim Reaper proudly displayed somewhere.

Long before the days of the Hawaii roughnecks and their inked depictions of sailor life during World War II, the tattoo has been a statement of the warrior ethos throughout societies past. From what I can tell, their popularity within our ranks has only increased during the War on Terror. Considering many of us who volunteer are young, impulsive dimwits eager to prove ourselves in a hostile environment, it is not so surprising. I decided to take a modern approach to this quintessentially American art style that gave form to the raw, raucous nature lingering beneath the rigid uniformity of military life.

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