Holloman tattoo is a 'must do'

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman DeAndre Curtiss
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Holloman AFB will honor and celebrate its cherished past during the 2012 Tattoo here May 11.

Serving as a morale boosting event, the Holloman Tattoo will feature musical acts and entertainment as it spotlights the 70th anniversary of the base opening.

"The importance of our heritage is monumental when it comes to fully embracing our mission and understanding Holloman's evolution over the past 70 years," said Col. David Krumm, 49th Wing commander.

May 11, Holloman AFB will put its own spin on the time-honored tradition, with multiple events throughout the afternoon starting at 4:00 p.m. The Tattoo will have a historical walk-through display, a performance by the U.S. Air Force Band of the West, and a formal introduction of the Tattoo with associated performances. The day's festivities will end with a fly over by an F-22A Raptor and a fireworks display.

The term Tattoo refers to a showcase of military pageantry and tradition which honors a service, base or unit. The tradition stretches back to the 17th century during the reign of King William III of Great Britain. English soldiers who served during a war in the Netherlands often spent their evenings in local taverns.

Each evening at the soldier's 10 p.m. curfew, drummers would march through the streets to signal soldiers to go home. It was also a signal to Dutch innkeepers to stop serving ale.

In their native language, the Dutch drummers would say, 'Doe den tap toe,' which meant, 'turn off the taps.' Often, intoxicated soldiers heard only the last two words, and soon adapted the Dutch phrase into their own language, turning 'tap toe' into 'tattoo.'

"Many people do not understand what the Tattoo represents, but they will by the end of this event," said Senior Master Sgt. James Cupp, Holloman Tattoo coordinator. "If we don't keep our military traditions at the forefront and pass them on to our younger generation then they are at risk of being lost and forgotten forever."

In addition, the festivities will also celebrate New Mexico's 100-year anniversary. The Tattoo will tie in multiple aspects of the history of the state and its relationship with Holloman AFB throughout the years. Many of the Alamogordo civic leaders have been invited to attend.

The Tattoo is open to all Department of Defense card holders with access to base. There will be food and other refreshments served during the event.

"Having the opportunity to celebrate our installation's anniversary in conjunction with New Mexico's centennial makes this Tattoo an even more significant event," said Krumm. "I hope to see all of Team Holloman and their families on May 11 as we honor Holloman's legacy."