war paint


Tom Riley
United States Navy
Ship fitter, high pressure welder
Battleship New Jersey

I got this tattoo on November 4th, 1968 before reporting onboard the battleship New Jersey. I hadn't thought about it much before I just thought, "Well, it's time to get a tattoo." There were about four other guys, we went over to Camden -- I was stone sober. It was a decision I'd made.

After reporting, I deployed to Vietnam, March of '68 to November of '68. Stayed in the reserves till the end of 2001. The New Jersey is now a museum right across the river -- I've been back a number of times. And I also had a unique experience with the New Jersey as a reservist, I took it to Bruit in 1982 and got recalled for active duty for Desert Storm, it's been a good career, 37 years, United States Navy.

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