Army Times' Facebook posts on Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey's decision to take suggestions on his ink garnered more than 1,700 comments. And while we continue to compile your responses — send your ideas, sketches or photos to email@example.com — one veteran-owned and -operated apparel maker has gone a step further.
As announced in the above video, Article 15 Clothing has offered to provide Dailey with his new tattoo, regardless of the design he chooses. The company has even included a sweetener, announced in the Facebook post accompanying the video — should Dailey agree to the proposal, Article 15 chief operations officer Vince "Rocco" Vargas will get his own ink: Dailey's face.
Vargas, a former active-duty Ranger who's now a sergeant first class in the Army Reserve, is no stranger to service-themed body art. On the day of the video shoot, he got a tattoo in a place that likely wasn't even on Dailey's radar:
The apparel company's offer, which includes free travel to a Texas tattoo parlor near Fort Bliss, may run afoul of a handful of Defense Department regulations, including those that prohibit service members from receiving gifts of any substantial monetary value, especially if given because of the member's rank or job. One legal passage cited in a 2014 DoD ethics guide would bar any gift that "would not have been solicited, offered, or given had the employee not held the status, authority or duties associated with his Federal position."
Along with negotiating inking rights for top Army leaders, the company is co-producing its first feature film: Shooting for "Range 15," also backed by clothing-maker Ranger Up, will take place this fall, thanks in part to a crowd-funding campaign that more than doubled its initial $325,000 goal.
The movie, which will feature three Medal of Honor recipients, will debut next year. It'll also star Vargas, Article 15 boss Mat Best (who served as a Ranger with Vargas), and Taylor (a former Air Force staff sergeant), all familiar faces in Article 15 viral videos that have earned millions of views.
Those videos are available at Best's YouTube channel, but like the suggestions for SMA's ink, they are not all safe for work.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.