“We love to offer Airmen and their families quality services to choose from,” said Lt. Col Nicole Droney, commander, 99th Force Support Squadron. “Tattoos can be a very personal endeavor, and we’re happy to provide more options to our community, so they can find the right artist for their work of art.”
While the Army and Air Force Exchange Service opened a concessioner tattoo parlor in the Nellis Exchange in September 2020, this is the first non-appropriated fund tattoo parlor on an Air Force base. It is part of the Arts and Crafts Center on the installation, and the target beneficiary is the Airmen.
“Airmen want to express themselves just like everyone, and some do so through tattoos,” said Col. Anthony Figiera, 99th Mission Support Group commander. “Why would I want my Airmen to go off base when we can provide them a space on the installation where we know it’s safe?”
In addition to helping Airmen, the tattoo artist was presented a unique opportunity to pursue his dreams.
“This is an amazing experience,” said Alberto Reyes, Nellis Ink tattoo artist. “One day, I was laying down at home collecting unemployment, and then the next day, I got an offer to have my first tattoo shop inside a military base. I couldn’t say no to the opportunity.”
Reyes met all criteria the 99th Force Support Squadron was looking for. He has been tattooing for five years and was mentored by a competitor on Ink Master.
“We were very meticulous with who we picked,” said Figiera. “We wanted to pick an artist who was local, independent and extremely talented. We spent a lot of time finding Alberto to make sure he was the right person for the installation.”
Bringing novel ideas to fruition requires significant effort from all involved to ensure processes are done correctly, and this project was no exception. Through the complications, the 99th FSS remembered their motives.
“It’s been a bit of a challenge to get through the approval process and get everybody on board,” said Figiera. “I’m really proud of our team and the Force Support Squadron for their attitude and eagerness to take care of Airmen.”
Reyes plans to have the shop open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight. His goal is to ensure he can accommodate Airmen’s various work schedules.
“I’ll be here for the Airmen anytime they need,” said Reyes. “I’m hoping to see this room full of Airmen. I’m really looking forward to hanging out with them, not just doing business, but also creating friendships.”
For more information about Nellis’ new tattoo parlor or to schedule time with Reyes, text or call him at 702-356-9502.