First-ever Army post tattoo shop opens at Fort Bliss


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The first tattoo shop on an Army installation is now open at Fort Bliss.

The shop was opened by the Army & Air Force Exchange Service and the American Tattoo Society. Fort Bliss Exchange General Manager Michael Brennan said there are two other tattoo shops on Air Force bases, but this will be the first one on an Army post.

“Tattoos have a long tradition with the military and now the Exchange offers this service in a safety-focused environment,” said Brennan of the shop, called The American Tattoo Society. “Our focus is to provide this service in a safe, sanitized and secure setting.”

The shop opened Saturday and will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Any person who is approved to go onto Fort Bliss can get a tattoo at the tattoo shop. Brennan added that The American Tattoo Society is following all standard Army tattoo policies.

A line of people waiting outside the tattoo shop on opening day. Photo courtesy of Michael Brennan.

“People can’t get a tattoo on their head, their neck, their face. If they want to do their hands, they can only get a single band on one hand, for example, so they’re very strict,” said Brennan.

Brennan, who served in the Army, said tattoos are very common for service members to get and is expecting the tattoo shop to be busy.

“(Saturday) we had over 300 folks come by to either visit or talk to the artist,” he said.

A Fort Bliss commander said they are thrilled to be able to offer tattoo service on post.

“Tattoo parlors are traditionally outside the gates of military installations, so this makes it more convenient for those that work and live on post,” said Fort Bliss Garrison Commander Col. Stu James.

A tattoo shop Pumping Ink Tattoos’ on Dyer near Fort Bliss says they think the shop on base is a good idea even though the majority of their business comes from service members.

“There’s enough business around town for tattoos so I don’t think it would interfere with our business,” said David Cornelius the Manager of Pumping Ink Tattoos. “We support the soldiers that’s what we do, we support soldiers. I’m a fellow veteran so I know what it’s like staying on base so full support of it.”

Lee Roy Zuniga a Fort Bliss Soldier tells KTSM he plans to get more tattoos and will consider going to the shop on base, saying he thinks more bases should do the same.

“I think a lot of the soldiers would use it,” said Zuniga “Hopefully it kind of spreads throughout the Army, you know to other bases.”

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