Jack Remembers: Our colonel must’ve had an inkling what was coming down the pike

By Jack Hackley

The military recently handed down a long-overdue regulation on tattoos.
No one in the military shall have a tattoo below the elbow or a tattoo below the knee or above the neck.  Members who have tattoos there must have them removed.
I have a friend that has thirty or 40 tattoos on his body, and a grandson covered with tattoos.  I have told them both they would make a beautiful lampshade.
Every day I see people with tattoos.  Most recently I saw a person while standing in line at Walmart with two new tattoos, one on each leg. Every time I see a tattoo I visualize what it would look like on a lampshade.  I can’t help myself.  Let me explain.
We had just gotten off a troop train from Fort Riley, Kan. and were at Fort Lewis, Wash.  The base commander, a colonel, called us into formation and proceeded to give us a talk.
He explained we would be at Fort Lewis at least two weeks waiting for a boat to take us over.  He said we would get a pass and be able to go in to town (Tacoma) and that both sides of the street would be lined with tattoo parlors.  He sternly said, “Do not get one”.
He then proceeded to tell us about being in Europe in World War II and liberating a Nazi German concentration camp where they had used human skin, some with tattoos, to make lampshades.
Historians say it never happened.  However, when Llse Koch, wife of Karl Otto Koch, commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp, was tried, evidence included several pieces of human skin with tattoos.
I do not know if the Colonel was truthful or not, but our Infantry Company of 220 men recently had its 60th reunion, and to this day, not one has a tattoo.

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075, or  Visit

You must be logged in to post a comment Login