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Army veteran’s lost tattoos | Chicago ink

Bryan Anderson came back from Iraq missing three limbs and two tats.

Photograph: Christopher Griffith

Bryan Anderson “When I left for Iraq I had nine tattoos,” the Army veteran says. “And after I got blown up, I had six and a half.” Anderson’s ship-out date was September 11, 2001; on October 23, 2005, an IED on a Baghdad roadside detonated as Anderson’s Humvee rode past. Along with his left arm, the shrapnel-laced explosion took both of his legs, which had tattoos of a panther and a crucifix. To replace skin Anderson lost on his right hand, doctors cut a piece from his forearm, where he had a black widow tat. “I consider it a half because half the spider is on my arm, half is on my hand,” says the 30-year-old Rolling Meadows native, who spoke from Louisville, Kentucky, on a book-tour stop for his just-released memoir, No Turning Back (Berkley Hardcover, $29.95). The former Army specialist is also an active spokesman for power-wheelchair-maker Quantum Rehab and starred in Reporting for Service with Bryan Anderson, a documentary about volunteerism on WTTW. The network hopes to turn the special into a nationally syndicated series by next fall. A Purple Heart recipient, Anderson wants to add to his remaining tattoos, including a large tribal design and a bulldog. “People are like, Why would you mark up your body like that?” he says. “Well, I don’t think my body’s all that attractive! At this point, it’s anything goes.”

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