U.S. Army Tattoo

It is the army that has the distinction of the being the first regular U.S. fighting force ever established – known in 1775 as the Continental Army. Two main types of troops were employed: local militias who formed up temporarily to meet the need for soldiers in a specific area and the “Continentals” who enlisted for longer terms, were more thoroughly trained, and were the backbone of the war effort. Now, as then, the United States Army is given the general task of preserving the peace and security of our nation and maintaining its defense. However, in terms of modern warfare, the list of specialized units might hardly be recognized by the original Continentals, including parachutists, simulation training, even space and missile units alongside cavalry and infantry.

U.S. Army tattoo design by Greg James.

U.S. Army tattoo design by Greg James.

However, it continues to be true today that, of all the branches of military service, it is the army that contributes the largest number of ground forces. From regimental mottos, unit heraldry, and coats of arms to portraits of comrades and the names of specific battles, the repertoire of Army symbolism from which tattoos have been drawn has been wide and immensely varied. Even so, having their origin in 1775 at the outset of the War of Independence, many of the symbols used in Army tattoos are consummately and fundamentally those of the nation: the star, the eagle, and the flag.


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