A little more than a decade ago, the US Army began a study into the effects of tattooing as part of the Ranger Program.
This study began looking at how soldiers’ tattoos affected their performance and the ability to bond with others. The goal was to understand the psychological effects of this type of treatment in uniform.
A 2011 report from the National Guard Bureau estimated that some 1,569 active soldiers were participating in the program between 2006 and 2009.
It’s unknown exactly how many military men and women who take part in the Ranger study are permanently tattooed, but it is likely that some men are wearing the mark as they wear their uniforms.
It was found that the overall psychological impact of the tattoo was much the same for those who were not permanently tattooed. However, those who were permanently tattooed felt their self-image had improved considerably. One participant explained that it was “the biggest thing I’ve ever received, [and it’s] not like there’s that big a hole going through my chest.”
One participant summed up his experience on how his tattoo had transformed him from an active military man to a civilian:
“I think [tattooing] is a good thing. It’s a good way to show people we do care, that we care about people, that we’re not going to let them down. So, if I don’t like my tattoo, that’s not going to stop me from doing what I do.”
Tattoos Are Not Just for Women
Male soldiers have tattooed women before. For example, in June 2006, a US service member in Fort Dix, New Jersey was sentenced to up to 45 days in jail after being found guilty of felony possession of obscene material. The tattooed soldier has also been arrested on charges of sexual assault and sexual activity with a minor.
The Fort Dix Army post was a popular choice for those wanting to get tattooed and the Army would often allow those with military tattoos to go through the process in exchange for a reduction in sentencing.
In 2011, the New York Post discovered that in an earlier instance in 2010, a soldier in a local military base in Massachusetts had been sentenced to prison after she was sent home after her employer saw her tattoo. The woman’s tattoos include an animal and a woman.
It’s not known if anyone is being punished because of it or not.
Tattoos Can Be Painful
What about men who have
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