Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has generated no shortage of eye-catching headlines and internationally celebrated propaganda in the months since Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
This olive-drab-clad chiefman was compared to former military leaders, who were determined in facing a rare form of barbarism.
As has become his norm, Zelenskyy responded to such posturing with a withering verbal barrage, calling the Russian reserve mobilization “an attempt to provide commanders on the ground with a constant stream of cannon fodder.”
A separate video is available released this week, Zelenskyy did his best to divert that stream into Russian tattoo shops, urging mobilized reserves to “get a tattoo with your name and surname so that we know how to find your relatives when you are killed.”
“The Russian authorities send people to this war without army [dog tags], often without documents!” Zelenskyy said. “They do this on purpose to make it easier to lie to you about how many people actually die here. This is their special operation.”
And while Zelenskyy’s statement will undoubtedly douse gasoline onto Ukraine’s already-roaring propaganda inferno, the suggestion is not abnormal in the context of military tattoo history and may even conjure memories for scores of U.S. personnel who have ventured into tattoo shops with similar, albeit more optimistic, requests.
The ink, colloquially known as a “meat tag,” is traditionally tattooed with the identification — and oftentimes the blood type — of an individual anticipating combat.
Wearers often position the tattoo high on the ribcage, an area less prone to gruesome injury than the extremities, to allow others to identify them in the event their remains are unrecognizable — and the physical dog tag laced into one’s left boot is nowhere to be found.
These tattoos were a huge hit with troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. They also served as an entry point for young soldiers who joined combat-destined units. The basic design of meat tags is simple text lines, or a shape like a pet tag.
“Meat tags are so they can make it home, no matter what,” tattoo artist Jesse Mays previously told BBC About inking Marines at Camp Lejeune. “So someone can grieve over them. … That’s why we have a memorial to the unknowns, right? Couldn’t identify them. They are able to identify my boys. I’m doing God’s work here.”
Tattooed forms for identification are not only an expression of devotion, but they have been in existence since the beginning of time. Modern history was influenced by nuclear threats in the Cold War. Many cities considered large-scale tattooing blood types on children and men. This measure was intended to speed up blood transfusions in case of an atomic explosion.
“The [blood type] tattoo is placed on the body near a person’s armpit so that it will be both inconspicuous and less likely to be obliterated in case of injury,” reads a 1951 Chicago Daily Tribune article About an initiative to recruit approximately 200,000 Lake County residents, Indiana.
A few years before the Cold War’s nuclear hysteria petrified the world, Nazi SS soldiers were being tattooed — also near the armpit — with a small mark that identified individual blood type. These marks were later used to identify individual blood types. vital identifying factors Allied prosecutors were able to use this evidence in trials for war crimes that took place after World War II.
Frederick Roberts, a British Army commander became an advocate for identification tattooing in the 19th Century.
“Every officer in the British army should be tattooed with his regimental crest,” Roberts said. “Not only does this encourage esprit de corps but also assists in the identification of casualties.”
However, Esprit de corps may not be available to all units in Russia. purchase tampons for patching up bullet holes Or those with a padded jacket. AK-47s caked in enough rust They are to be interpreted as if they were recovered from the sunken Russian warship Moskva.
Observation Post is the Military Times single-stop shop for anything off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.
Jon Simkins, a veteran of the USMC and writer/editor for Military Times is Jon Simkins.