Since returning from Iraq in 2009, Jaeson Parsons has done all he can to make sure people acknowledge the efforts of our fighters. It began with documenting art created overseas by our troops, graffitiofwar.com, and includes Warfighter’s INK, the brainchild of his wife, Melissa.
“We want to document the military tattoo culture and explain why service people get them—whether it’s camaraderie, to show battles they’ve been in, units, kills, memorials, or just American pride,” Melissa says.
The money raised from the eventual publication of a Warfighter’s INK book will go toward finding solutions to PTSD. “These are the invisible wounds that are costing us a generation of people," says Jaeson.
Above: A 9/11 tribute tattoo, submitted via the Warfighter’s INK Facebook page.
An anonymous submission.
Engineer crest on Robert Creed, completed as a tribute to his brothers who were lost to an IED—currently the profile picture for the Warfighter’s INK Facebook page. To submit a photo, visit graffitiofwar.com/warfighters-ink.html.
In honor of those missing or taken prisoner.
The classic WWII Times Square kiss, tattooed on the side of a woman as a tribute to her husband in the Navy.
Tattoo on a Special Forces 18 Delta medic. “They are pretty high-speed,” says Jaeson. “They’re basically like physicians’ assistants out there. This guy got the ink on his arm as a tribute to his unit. The whole motif includes the lightning bolt, the stethoscope, the scalpel, and the syringe. Whoever did it was very talented—that skull is amazing!”
A marine shows off the Corps' motto, Semper Fidelis (Latin for "Always faithful").
A salute to Jack Daniel's, Marine-style.
A tribute to fallen friends.
“This guy was the CO of a National Guard outfit from New England,” says Jaeson. “They’ve all stayed together from the first deployment. His body’s covered in tattoos. On the front he has his unit’s crest and the names of the guys he’s deployed with. The back is a dedication to what happened during the 9/11 attacks.”
British soldier Shaun Clark displays the names of the 232 British soldiers who had died in Afghanistan at that point.
Anonymous submission of a tattoo of an Incan warrior, on the back of a soldier who had served in Afghanistan
A stunning depiction of the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Tattoo submitted by Nick Corzo, an EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) technician with the U.S. Army. It showcases the angel of death overlooking a soldier in an EOD bomb suit.
Submitted by Jonathan Perkins (U.S. Army active duty), this tattoo honors his double heritage (Celtic and Spanish) as well as his military service.
Submitted by tattoo artist Ken Karnage, this tattoo was inked on a man whose uncle (pictured in it) had been a POW in WWII.
Submitted by Chad Yoder, this shows a protective mask with a nuclear explosion in the background.