war paint


United States Marine Corps, E5 (Sergeant) 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion (AABN) Alpha Company
Operation Iraqi Freedom III
Six years

I decided I was going to get my Marine Corps tattoo when I was getting out -- that once I'd branded myself, that was it.

I wanted one that was unique and different from everything else. A lot of people have just the eagle and the anchor or they've got the stuff they pull off a t-shirt or whatever. I came to Joe and said "I want it to be a Marine tattoo, but I want it to be completely unique -- no one else is going to have it."

When I first started, I was on my way to become an officer in ROTC and everybody that I had talked to who was a prior enlisted who was becoming an officer said "The guys really don't respect anybody who hasn't done what they've done before," so I joined the reserves to get the enlisted side of it -- hoping that would make me a better officer when the time came that I got commissioned.