Miami Ink – October 17 – Kat and Ami Tattoo the Troops

A hungover Nunez walks into the shop in no condition to work. After cracking a few jokes at his expense, Ami covers Nunez with a sheet as he crumples onto a hard wooden bench.

Yoji’s finally seen working at the shop again. Jennifer comes in and wants musical notes with colored stars around it, which is simple enough for Yoji to handle. Yoji’s obviously been practicing while he’s been “behind the scenes” because he’s showing a lot more confidence and his tattoo work is getting better, although there is still room for improvement. Jennifer is very happy with her tattoo.

Joey (Nunez’ friend) is getting tattooed by Garver, and Ami talks to him about Nunez’ increasing laziness and expanding beltline. Joey decides he’s going to take it upon himself to get Nunez back in shape. He tells him to meet him the next morning, to which Nunez gives a sarcastic nod and agrees to meet him until he walks out – then states that working out just isn’t for him.

Kat and Ami are packing their things in preparation of their trip to the San Diego military base, where they will be tattooing some members of the troops. Kat’s apprehensive about traveling with Ami; she’s not sure she’s going to be able to handle his bullying and bad humor that long.

Kat and Ami arrive a their temporary make-shift shop. Kat’s still nervous about her close quarters with Ami, but soon enough the customers start rolling in. Lt. Jason Budde is the first one, who arrives with wife and baby girl in tow. He designed his own unique tattoo of his daughter’s hand holding his wife’s finger and the words “Hold Fast,” which will give Jason the sense of having his family with him at all times. Kat, with her knack for realism, really brings his idea to life.

Ami gets the next client, GySgt Cortez. His good friend and mentor, Lt Childers, died in the war and he didn’t even learn about it until he had already returned home from Iraq. He brings Ami a rough drawing of an old-school style Marine skull wearing a helmet. Ami tells him he can draw the skull much better, which he does, and adds Lt Childers name and the date he passed away to complete this memorial tattoo, which Cortez gets on his ribs. While this is a painful area to get tattooed, Ami and Cortez agree that it is nothing in comparison to the pain of losing a friend.

Chief Payne gives Ami and Kat a tour on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. He then takes them up to the flight deck and explains the difficulty of landing a plane on the ship. While this is right up Ami’s alley, Kat is less enthralled.

Back in Miami, Nunez apparently gave in as we see him on the beach doing push-ups, pull-ups, and other exercises under Joey’s watchful supervision.

Ami and Kat go to meet Master Chief Fulton, who explains to them the new tattoo regulations for the Navy. They want to portray their men as “conservative, mainstream individuals” and no longer allow neck tattoos and any visible tattoos must be small enough to cover with a hand. Then he pulls up his sleeve to reveal a classic Popeye tattoo he got back in the ‘70s.

Lt Taylor has been in the Navy for 20 years and is about to retire. She’s a “prior enlisted officer” which is referred to as a Mustang, so she wants a tattoo of mustangs bursting through a wave. Her husband is with her to hold her hand as she explains the sacrifices he has made to support her through the years. When the tattoo is finished, it is so perfect she is moved to tears.

Cpl Sloan is a marine but doesn’t want anything related to his military life. His father recently passed away from cancer and Sloan wants a replica of the family’s registered cattle brand. Kat does a fantastic job creating a 3-D effect with the tattoo, making it look as if it is actually branded into the skin. She adds the words, “In loving memory – Tom Alan Sloan” and “Old Podna,” an affectionate nickname he had been given.

Chief Payne brings in a drawing of an eagle of an eagle and anchor design. He’s been in the Navy for 22 years and just got approval to retire next year, and has waited until now to get his first tattoo. He brings in a drawing of an eagle an anchor design, but asks Ami if he can improve on the crude drawing and change the colors a bit. Ami realizes how special this tattoo is and wants it to be just right. Payne is so pleased with the finished product, he says he wishes he hadn’t waited so long to get it.

Back in Miami, Nunez is slipping and Garver is being a bad influence on him, encouraging him to get out and party before all the exercise kills him.

Ami and Kat are back and are feeling the love from the crew who tell them they were missed. Kat says she has a newfound respect for military troops and feels like she really made a difference in some of their lives, which was an honor.

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