The Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) just outside Las Vegas has allowed the first-ever tattoo parlor on a military base, Military Times was the first to report. The United States Air Force has joined the 21st century, and the other services should wake up and take notice.

This makes sense since now it will be much more convenient for troops on the base to get a tattoo without having to go all the way downtown. (Nellis is 12.5 miles from the Vegas Strip). It also ensures that military personnel will be going to a clean environment that will not produce tattoos which could potentially violate the service’s existing regulations or standards. (It will also probably be a tad cheaper than what they’d pay down on the strip.) And Nellis is getting ready to open a second one soon.

Tattooing among sailors and warriors dates back about 5,000 years to the time of Maori tribesmen in New Zealand. It was a sign of strength and of belonging. 

Nevertheless, tattoos used to be taboo for the military services and were extremely frowned upon, especially for officers. The exception was the Navy. At the turn of the century, enlisted sailors — especially those who sailed in the Pacific and traveled to the Orient — made tattooing commonplace. It was reported that after World War I, approximately 90 percent of sailors had a tattoo. However, tattoos weren’t mainstream in society and were considered unprofessional.