High-stress jobs and high-fade haircuts make tattoos as common in military service as they are high-stress. Given the prevalence of ink among service members, it’s no surprise that there are a few eye-brow-raising tats out there on sleeves, backs, chests, or the left-thigh of an Army private first class, such as this one:
This tattoo is real and actually exists. (Facebook/U.S. Army W.T.F! Moments)
Capt. Daniel Mathews is an Army Public. affairs officer who shared the photo on Twitter As a response to previous Task & Purpose story, in which we asked readers to send us photos of their “best worst” military tattoos.
That is indeed a tattoo that was done by a command sergeant major and that soldiers paid money to put on their bodies. The only thing more impressive than the tattoo is the story behind it, and it’s one we now know and will share with you. Here’s how it happened.
Like so many great stories in the military that are destined to be told and retold at the smoke pit until the end of time, it all started with a friendly wager, explained Mathews, who’s assigned to the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
“It was a soldier, a PFC in our unit, who made a bet with another soldier” on the Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal UFC fight on April 24, Mathews said. The soldier, a private first class with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, “didn’t want to have his first name out there,” Mathews said, “so I figured I’d go with rank.”
Each soldier picked a fighter and agreed to a very specific set of terms: The loser had to get a tattoo of their unit’s sergeant major, in this case: A full profile of Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Siglock.
Command Sgt. Major Stephen Siglock is the incoming 2-1 Infantry Battalion command lieutenant major. He receives his battalion guidon form Lt. Col. Blake Witherell. Witherell accepted responsibility for Maj. Stephen Siglock’s senior enlisted advisor role at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Nov 25, 2019. Photo by the U.S. Army
Now, I don’t know about you, but those feel like pretty high stakes to me. Almost without exception, a battalion sergeant major is the “heavy” in the unit — a role that some take to with a bit too much enthusiasm. Consider this: Your sergeant major will be there watching the execution of your non-judicial punishment if you ever have to go before a judge. Is it really worth risking your life to have his or her name etched on your body? This is a great feat of bravery by these soldiers.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, Masvidal was picked by the private first Class. The other soldier used his tattoo money to pay Usman.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, Masvidal lost.
“He lost the bet and the other guy was like ‘you don’t really have to do that, you know, we’re just kind of goofing around,’ said Mathews, adding that the soldier wasn’t backing down. “He’s like ‘no, I’m a man of my word. I’m going to get the tattoo.’”
Shortly after the April match, he took a trip to get a professionally tattooed and returned to the unit. A photo of him with his new ink was shared on Facebook. U.S. Army W.T.F! Moments a popular social media site for veterans and military personnel is.