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  • National Museum of the American Sailor

A Culture of Ink: Tattoos of Navy Sailors

An art exhibit of sailor tattoos.

Hand tattoos of a submarine, battleship with the word "homeward," and individual finger tattoos of various nautical designs.

After learning the historic origins of naval tattoos in "Marked by the Sea: Tattoos in the U.S. Navy," discover the stories behind the ink of nine veterans and active duty sailors. In their own words, sailors describe the meaning and symbolism of their tattoos. 



Anchor Tattoo on Sailor Tracy Mills

"This tattoo keeps me grounded. It reminds me of the obligation I have taken on to this country. It reminds me to be steady and ready, it lets me know that we can do this."

- HM2 Tracy Blackmond-Mills

Published: Wed Apr 28 12:00:44 EDT 2021