Art of War : American Veterans Show the Tattoos and Scars

American soldiers returning home from war and realize that they are behind the times. The gap between military and civilian is huge – less than one percent of Americans serve in the army, compared with 12 per cent during the Second World War. Even after years of intense fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, most Americans do not know personally a single soldier, sailor or airman.

Any veteran will tell you that one of the most difficult test for all the service – to return to society, which generally has no idea about the war. While you are fighting, your country has lived his life, and all is not that there is no case … They just can not understand. Tattoos are common among military personnel. They are applied to the memory of the dead friends, in memory of the units, their tattoos with various slogans or prayers or cause images that reflect personal experiences and impressions. The drawings on the body can be devoted to what the owner is likely to keep quiet.

Photographer Peter Heypek visited a tattoo parlor Al Herman, located in Silver Spring, Md., and asked the veterans roll up our sleeves and shirts off to show the tattoos and scars.

(Total 13 photos)

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1. Corporal Paul Bell, the U.S. Army. “This is my version of hell. Not God punishes people, and they punish themselves by moving away from God,” says Bell, who served as an orderly in Iraq from 2007 to 2008. On hand are shown two people falling into the fire.
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2. Private First Class Zachary FLOUR, U.S. Army. The inscription on his chest: “We are born with a heart of gold. We are getting older and the heart of cool.” (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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3. Junior Sergeant Devon Pitz, U.S. Army. “This is a tattoo in honor of the service in the landing,” says Pitz, who served in the 101st Airborne Division. Tattoo crosses the scar from the fragments. (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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4. Junior Sergeant Edward Klevin, U.S. Army. “I never tell people where they stand and what to do,” he said about this photo, author Peter Heypek, “Klevin just got up as if to tell his story, showing the body.”(Peter Hapak for TIME)
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5. “This guy was with me when I was wounded,” said Cpl Ben McCrosky, Marine, who served in Afghanistan and lost a leg April 1, 2010. When a soldier dies, his weapon, helmet, boots and also take away, only to say the traditional prayer. (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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6. “This is a knight with a sword,” says Marine Joey Ferguson, who was in Iraq and Afghanistan and lost his right leg. “We have with it is something in common.” (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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7. “It’s in honor of the divisions,” says Staff Sergeant U.S. Army Fasnaht Brad, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tattoo with a skull in a helmet is made in honor of service in the 44th Engineering Battalion. (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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8. Junior Sergeant Thomas Beaver shows the left shoulder with the tattoo, which has the names of his two brothers who also serve. Tattoos are popular with the names. “It’s in honor of them. It is an expression of respect. They are not with us, so we have a history of them on their bodies.” (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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9. In Junior Sergeant Anthony Morales lot of tattoos in memory of the service. (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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10. On the shoulder of junior sergeant Thomas Beaver unfinished tattoo – on the flag for short inscription “Operation Enduring Freedom” in honor of his service in Afghanistan. (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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11. “It got a lot of shoulder pieces,” says Sergeant Devon Pitz, who served in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. At present the name of a tattoo of his father. (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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12. “I lost my right leg above the knee because of the unopened parachute when he served in the 82nd Airborne,” said Maj. John Craig, a soldier in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. On his left leg tattoo in honor of the visit to the exponential march team “Sammmerella Guardsmen.” (Peter Hapak for TIME)
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13. Sergeant Rudy McGee, shoulders and back are covered with scars from debris after his visit to Afghanistan in 2009, decided to put on your body an excerpt from “Hebrews” of the New Testament.This passage, which, in his opinion, describes the enemy, with whom he had fought in Afghanistan.(Peter Hapak for TIME)