"... I wanted a tattoo ever since boot camp, but I could never come up with something I wanted. When I found LZ Russell on the web, it came to me.
It started at 3rd Med., when I walked in the room with all the body bags. I was a very solemn moment for me and one that I never forgot. I remember standing there all alone, looking up and down and left and right and all I thought about was the families and the grief they were to have the rest of their lives. When one of my twin sisters died young, I seen how devastated my parents were. I feel so blessed to have lived my life and thankful to the Lord for sparing my parents the agony of losing another child.
The Tattoo is truly in honor of the families of ALL the dead on LZ Russell.
The dragon is blue, because Vietnam is called, "The Land of the Blue Dragon". He has a white pearl under his tongue, because he believes it will help him go to Heaven.
The Rock Ape, Bamboo Viper and Rat are pictures of real ones. Female rock apes (Gibbons) have blond hair, males are black.
The CH-46 Helicopter is one that was in our area and the water buffalo is one actually landing on Russell.
The Parapet Wall and yellow smoke grenade are free-hand, along with the wind and wind-swirls that the dragon and the chopper are kicking up.
I had 10 more hours of touch-ups since the picture was taken. I'm going to get a better picture made soon. The dragon's eyes are green now.
All together, I got 60 hours of ink that cost $5,000.00. The artist is Dan Fagan, "Atomic Tattoos & Piercing", in Largo, Florida. I'm winning trophies and money at tattoo contests, which is irrelevant. I am very proud of this honorarium and equally grateful to you for allowing me to share it."
"In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed; In war, he mounts the warrior's steed…"
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
You are a hell of a man, Monk. It's an honor to have you as a Member of LZ Russell and as a friend.