Tattooed Under Fire: Fort Hood, War Experiences Inked on the Body

Tattooed Under Fire: Fort Hood, War Experiences Inked on the Body

American’s are deeply saddened by the shooting tragedy at Fort Hood, an attack by Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan on Thursday that killed 13 people and wounded 30 others on the Texas base.  Fort Hood is the largest U.S. military facility in the world and a major center for soldiers being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  It also houses the Army’s Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program, which helps soldiers deal with post-traumatic stress when they return.  In both cases, upon deployment and return home, soldiers attempt to deal with serious emotional issues and many seek tattooing as a way to express them or even see the process as therapy.

Tattooed Under Fire is a documentary directed by Nancy Schiesari, a film that follows the young men and women at Fort Hood who seek solace at the tattoo studio, confessing fears, expressing anger, sharing secrets and relaying personal stories about the war.  Watching clips from the film now, seeing young, buzz-headed men and women describe their motivations for getting inked with caskets and corpses, one can’t help but to begin getting a feel for the intense experiences that become material for their body art.

The film was created long before Thursday’s mass shooting; isn’t a retroactive explanation for the shootings on Thursday.  But the film may nevertheless offer some insight into the tragedy in its depiction of the stress and anguish of military duty, of the horrors of war even in the relative comforts of home.  As one soldier explains, “The more times I go over, the more of Iraq’s going to come back with me.”

Tattooed Under Fire will begin airing on PBS stations starting November 8th.  It airs on Texas’s television station KLRU, which co-produced the documentary, at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10th.

Tattooed Under Fire: Fort Hood, War Experiences Inked on the Body

Viewers can read more about this riveting documentary here.

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