By Celica Cook, SBM Student Life Editor

 

Rich McPartland, a senior communications major, has a few tattoos worth talking about. His ink represents the unique personalities of each of his four children. His tattoos have been influenced by his travels as well, and the time he spent in active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the story behind his tattoos.

 

How many tattoos do you have?

“Right now, I have three. I’m working on trying to schedule a fourth one.”

 

What are they?

“All of them have to do with my kids. I’ve got their names tattooed with some kind of symbol that represents them. For my youngest, I don’t have a design finished. I’ve got my older son Julian’s name tattooed in Arabic. That was my first one. I got it in July of 2003. I’d just come back from Iraq, and I thought that the Arabic alphabet looked cool, so I got his name tattooed in Arabic. The funny thing was, about three years later I started studying Arabic, and I realized that it was misspelled. It took a few years to come up with a design that covered it that was still decent, so I have a tribal design that covers the old one, and now, I just have his first name across my shoulder. He’s my oldest, my firstborn, my strength. He’s like a rock.

My second son, I’ve got his name tattooed in Kanji. I was living in Japan at the time. His name is Johnathan. It’s Hebrew for ‘God’s Gift,’ so I’ve got the Kanji tattooed on this arm with a dragon wrapped around it because his personality seems dragon-like—very stubborn, but very strong and independent.

I got my daughter’s name, Eliana, which is Hebrew for ‘God has answered.’ I’ve kind of thrown around some different ideas for a design to put around it, but for now, it’s just her name.”

 

I’m aware that you serve in the military. What branch did you serve in? How many times have you been deployed?

“I was in the Navy. It was four times. I was away from my kids for a long time. There were three times in Iraq, and one in Afghanistan. They ranged from about six to eight months each, but then a lot of times there was field training exercises before and after each, so I spent a lot of time away.”

 

Are you home now permanently or will you need to serve again?

“I do plan on going back to active duty if possible after I graduate. So, I’ll probably go out again at some point.”

 

What about your tattoos is unique to you?

“Well, they represent each of my kids. They’re unique. I’ve also designed each one myself so it’s not like I went, flipped through a book and picked something that somebody else has. They’re all very unique.”

 

What are you going to say to your kids someday if they ask you if they can get a tattoo?

“I would say that’s fine, but make sure that it’s something that you would be glad to have for the rest of your life.”

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