Many think that skin art is prohibited in the military. However, the reality is that military tattoos are part of a subculture, being widely used to show the loyalty that these men and women feel for their country.
The reasons are always, obviously, alluding to the armed forces to which they belong or to their country in general.
For example, the national flag, the shields that represent them, motivational phrases that reflect loyalty and commitment, or even military tattoos shared with close companions.
However, it must be borne in mind that the rules for army tattoos vary from one country to another, as well as from one branch of the military to another, with the prohibition of this art on the face being a constant.
So if you want to assimilate or are currently in the military, it’s best to inquire about the specifics so you don’t get in trouble.
What can’t you wear in a military tattoo?
It seems incredible that it is necessary to clarify this point, since in reality the answer takes more than anything, common sense. However, it’s best to set the record straight before you get the ink on your skin.
Today, in most militaries in the world, you can have military tattoos on any part of your body, visible or not, with the exception of your face. This includes hands and neck, which were previously also on the no-go list.
Now, the themes are something else. In order to show off your military tattoos, you must be careful not to choose designs with messages that incite disobedience, sexist, racist, indecent, offensive, among others.
That is, nothing that generates controversy or makes your colleagues or superiors uncomfortable.
What do military tattoos include?
Since it is a sign of pride and loyalty, military tattoos very often refer to the branch of the military to which the bearer belongs.
That is, the Air Force, the Navy or the Armed Forces. But we also find very general designs that can be adapted to any of these.
For example, dog tags with the actual information of the soldier are very common, especially since in this case, they are very useful army tattoos.
As well as the Maltese Cross, which is usually carried on the skin by doctors and health personnel who are assimilated to any of the branches of military service.
For members of the Air Force, aviation wing tattoos are a classic, just as the navy gets a military tattoo with the nautical star or wind rose, to help them return home.
Tattoos with military weapons
Many soldiers get military tattoos of flower-filled hand grenades, symbolizing that they stand for peace. Others use images of official weapons, accompanied by helmets or decorating the shield of their brigade. This is a way to show your pride in your division.
The shields are also a very frequent theme in army tattoos, generally they add allusive phrases or group slogans that keep them as united as they are encouraged.
And speaking of elements that identify a division of the army, the planes and ships are in charge of giving an image to the Air Force and the Navy.
In the case of the Navy, military tattoos with vehicles include war tanks. Each of these means leads the brave to face their destiny and give their best, protecting their loved ones and always moving forward. That is exactly what they represent in these images.
Skulls to command respect
The skulls with helmets, berets and other elements typical of the military uniform are a symbol of respect that many soldiers use to identify themselves, not only with their division, but with a particular group.
To these designs they add details that differentiate them from the rest and with them define their personal guild.
Respect for colleagues, as well as rapport and loyalty, is invaluable when it comes to the army. For this reason, among military tattoos it is very common to also find shared designs that promote and celebrate that feeling of union.
Tributes in military tattoos
We know that the experiences of soldiers can be hard. These experiences make them have a very deep concept of honor, which needs to find a way to express itself.
Tattoos are marks that are worn on the skin forever, so there is no doubt that they are also a way to pay tribute to the fallen.
One of the most frequent designs for these situations is the Campo Cross. This military tattoo shows the image of a cross improvised with wood, with an army helmet on top.
Next to him are the boots and the combat rifle. Sometimes they accompany the design with a name, a date or simply a phrase dedicated to the brave fallen.
Another way the military shows their respect for a lost friend is by tattooing their badge, just like their own, but in this case, including the date of departure.
This is a design that is widely used by family members who want to get an army tattoo in honor of the one they loved so much.
What about military sleeves?
Despite the fact that the rules of military tattoos have been opened up more today, the sleeve is still considered excessive and is therefore not allowed.
This does not stop military retirees from tattooing complex and spectacular designs that can tell a big part of the story they lived through when they were active members.
If you are still in the army, or it is your desire to be part of one of the armed forces, we recommend you, again, confirm what the current regulations are, and remember that these may change, updating according to new parameters.
In that case, if you have a currently permitted tattoo and the rules change so that it’s prohibited, you usually don’t get kicked out of the military, but it may make it more difficult for you to get your well-deserved promotions.