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First military base tattoo shop located at Nellis Air Force Base

Posted at 5:24 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 20:37:37-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Tatoo artist, Alberto Reyes Vicente, loves his job.

"I don't imagine myself doing anything else. I just want to do this," Vicente said.

According to Nellis Air Force Base, this is the first tattoo shop on a military base in the U.S. It was the idea of Deputy Director Maynard Florence.

"I think when you are first you are always a case study. In the end, we have support from the top to the bottom, and that's what made it work," Florence said.

Vicente spends his days listening to the airman describe what they want.

"It's not just simple thing that you come and get," Vicente said. "This simple tattoo is something that has a story, something that has a feeling something that has emotion for the person."

In one case, Vicente says he worked on a veteran who was wounded in combat.

"So I did this huge tat with an American eagle with the American flag to cover all his wounds. It was huge," he said.

Even though the shop is on Nellis and is owned by the base, it's not funded by government money.

Vicente says someone from the base who admired his artwork contacted him out of the blue and offered him the job.

Florence says they wanted a safe place for airmen to go, but getting the right artist was the tricky part. Florence also said when they saw Vicente's work, they knew they had the right person for the job.