Top 5 Great Tattoo Ideas for Army Soldiers

Guest Post by Connie Wright

So you made the plunge and you are in the Army now, or you have been in the Army for awhile and just got back to United States soil. All of your buddies appear to have at least one tattoo, possibly many more. The strict guidelines of grooming and wearing the same uniforms is starting to cramp your style or you want to reflect something about this point and time in your life. How can you break out of the mold and do something to stand out as unique? If an Army tattoo is a form of art that you feel will enhance your uniqueness from the crowd and/or reflect a stage of your life to remember forever, then here are 5 great Army tattoo ideas to consider.

#1- Army tattoos will illustrate a symbol that means something to the person who is getting one. What do you want your tattoo to say about you? Symbols of power, prestige, protection or freedom are all relevant to the work that the Army does for their Country and State. An American eagle, skull or cross are all traditional symbols utilized by individuals in the Army. If you are deploying soon then a great idea for a tattoo may be dog tags, or what is now known in the ink world as meat tags. What will be your symbol that will describe a unique quality to the work that you do or have accomplished?

#2- Army tattoos may include words over your uniquely chosen symbol. Some ideas for wording include: One Life-One Chance, Freedom, Freedom- is not Free, No Fear. A memorial to someone close that you lost while in battle is placed in words over a symbol. A location of battle or a battalion unit number will reflect where and when your service to your country was served.

#3- Army tattoos with your name or a family members name can reflect importance to you, with uniqueness that relates to you only. This type of tattoo stands as a reminder, for some individuals, of what they fought for or why they continue to fight.

#4- Army tattoos that display loyalty to work and to the cause are quite significant. One automatically will recognize these types of tattoo’s as individuals that fight for other people’s rights of freedom. One tattoo idea for this is to have stripes on the upper arm that are open in appearance-like a wound, with the design of red blood cells visible inside of the wound. This tattoo would reflect both loyalty and the very real cost of being in the Army.

#5- Army tattoos will vary in size, shape and color, among the different personalities. Some individuals may choose to go with a tattoo that is of a religious or spiritual tone, such as the cross, sun or Buddha.  Runic charm tattoos, called Norse, may demonstrate more symbolic meanings. One idea is the “Helms of Awe”, a runic charm that symbolizes great power and protection to its owner.

Final thoughts

Whichever idea or mixture of ideas for an Army tattoo that one may choose, make sure that it complies with the Army Policies for displaying tattoos on government issued bodies. As an Army member, this preparation before making a decision about a tattoo is of utmost importance to you and your paycheck.

About the Author: Connie works from home as a freelance writer and editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration management, with expertise in multiple business to business service industries. An avid book reader, she utilizes a library of books in her home and online for article writing and research purposes. Connie’s son, uncles, father and grandfathers, all served in the U.S. military.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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14 thoughts on “Top 5 Great Tattoo Ideas for Army Soldiers”

  1. Tattoos are a great way to show pride and honor to the branch of military you serve. I am glad that it was posted to first check on regulations before you get a tattoo. There was a day that getting a tattoo while in the service of our country was strictly forbidden.

    Personally, when I was the young age of 13, I decided to give myself a tattoo. Now, don’t get me wrong, it looks good for doing it myself, but being 51 now, my skin and body changed and the work shifted, making it look out of place. Before getting a tat, keep old age in mind and make sure it will still look good. Just a piece of advice from an old timer.

  2. Candace Ginestar

    The only Army related tattoo is a small one I got on my foot after my first deployment. It says DUSTOFF in Greek letters. I didn’t want anything that would scream ‘Army’ to anybody who saw it.

  3. Army tattoos are badass, plain and simple. But, you gotta get a good one. Make sure it’s got some meaning behind it so you’re prepared when people ask about it. Also, good call on double checking the Army Policies. My advice to anyone getting a tattoo is to take your time. Make sure you really like the design you’re getting. Also, don’t just show up at a tattoo parlor and pick something the artist already knows. Bring them a design weeks in advance so that they can practice and learn the exact image you want on your body.

  4. I didn’t get my (first) tattoo until a year after I started working with the Navy, and for a few really good reasons; it didn’t ‘appear’ to be ‘something AF guys did,’ and I was at a loss for what I wanted to have permanently bonded to my body. There just wasn’t a ‘good story’ worth telling.

    There are pieces I’ve seen people get put on their body which, when I asked them the story behind the ink, they had nothing to say. Marines who get the eagle, globe and anchor are about the only group…okay, Ironman triathlon finishers, too…where no story really need be elicited. Except, perhaps, that of “Parris Island or San Diego?” Or “Which course?” Yeah, you have that one guy who a couple of years ago said anyone who finished the 140.6 miles anywhere but Hawaii did not merit being called an Ironman, or sitting to receive the “M-Dot” tattoo until they did. But he’s an army of one in that particular war.

    A tattoo, especially a nice one, usually leads me to first ask the story behind the tattoo, then the name or location of the tattoo artist. If the story isn’t compelling – and most of the really good pieces I’ve seen have one (it usually means the person wants to remember or communicate something special to them) – it doesn’t matter who inked you.

  5. Neil O'Donnell

    I like the thought of a tattoo as a way to remember an event or a fallen comrade. I for one am fine with military personnel getting tattoos, but soldiers should definitely check with their superiors about what tattoos are acceptable. Some branches of the military may be more lenient than others so soldiers need to speak directly with an Army authority with regards to tattoos.

    1. Getting a tattoo to remember a fallen comrade is a great idea, especially if they were a close friend. I can’t think of any idea that would be a better military tattoo than that of a fallen comrade.

  6. I love tattoos. I got my first tattoo while serving in the military. That was many years ago. I now have more than 50 tattoos and plan on getting many more in the years to come. I look at tattoos as a form of art.

  7. The two tattoos I have I got while I was in the Army. There’s just something about getting a fresh tattoo and being in the military that can’t be beat. I don’t have any sort of tattoo likes the ones in the blog post but the correlation between military members and tattoos is undeniable. The American flag is always a good route to go.

    1. You definitely can’t go wrong with a tattoo of an American Flag. Other common military tattoos include bones, skeletons, naked women, tanks, guns, unit symbols and more. Before you just pick any random tattoo, make sure you put some thought into it.

  8. In January 2005, a Bradley from a sister company in my battalion rolled over a buried IED made up of several artillery rounds on a rural road outside of Taji. The results were pretty much what you might imagine, and all seven Soldiers aboard were killed. A member of that company later got a tattoo that I will always remember. It is a band around his upper arm, but rather than a tribal symbol, it is made up of the rank insignia of the seven men killed placed side-by-side.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your unit’s loss in the Bradely/IED accident. That tattoo sounds very inspiring. And it’s a great way to remember those fallen heroes.

      Chuck Holmes

  9. tattoo artists

    Tattoos are a great way to express yourself. Soldiers are known for getting tattoos to establish their own identity, to create body art, and to express themselves. It’s been going on for a long time now.

    1. Thanks, Franco. I have two tattoos myself and I like them. I enjoyed them a lot more when I was younger and first got them, but I still appreciate their beauty and consider them a piece of art.


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