Want to ask a question? Click here

Does Ilario Pantano have a large tattoo on his back?

Patrick Gannon

Does Republican congressional candidate Ilario Pantano have a tattoo on his back? No, he says.

But he does have several others, and he guessed that this question came to MyReporter as a way to try to paint him — no pun intended — as unfit to represent the district because of his ink.

He said he sees it the opposite way, saying probably half of the 7th Congressional District has tattoos. (That might make an interesting poll).

“I meet a lot of veterans who have tattoos,” he said. “We have a lot in common. It’s an instant bond.”

Pantano’s largest tattoo are the words “MOLON LABE” in black letters across his chest. It is Greek for “come and take them,” according to Wikipedia. It was the expression of defiance used by King Leonidas in response to the Persian army’s demand that the vastly outnumbered Spartans surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. According to Wikipedia, it translates roughly to the modern English phrases “over my dead body,” “bring it on,” or “come and get it.”

Pantano said he got that tattoo in 2005, when he came back from Iraq and before his Article 32 hearing on accusations that he murdered two unarmed Iraqis. He was ultimately cleared of the charges.

“Iraq was a tough fight,” he said.

Pantano said his tattoos correspond to “different battles and fights in my life.”

He has a “meat tag” — a tattoo of his name, Social Security number and other information that could be used to identify him if killed in action. That was from the first Gulf War, where he was an anti-tank gunner, according to his biography on his Web site.

He also has a tattoo of the Marine Corps emblem from that time.

He has a band around his right arm from when he came home from the first Gulf War.

And he has a Marine scout sniper tattoo on his arm from when he rejoined the Marines after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“My tattoos are pretty much all tied to my service,” he said.

Search “Ilario Pantano” on Google Images and you can find a photograph of the tattooed Pantano.

Pantano faces incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-Lumberton, in the Nov. 2 election. Justin Smith of McIntyre’s campaign said McIntyre doesn’t have tattoos.

User-contributed question by:

Got a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Click here to let us know!

Bookmark and Share

8 Responses to “ Does Ilario Pantano have a large tattoo on his back?”

  1. On October 23, 2010 at 9:50 am Nicholas wrote:

    The phrase “Molon Labe” has been commonly misunderstood and misused throughout the centuries, especially more recently in American military circles. While My-Reporter was able to catch the gist of the meaning through a Wikipedia entry, what is missing from both the Wikipedia article and the report is some historical and cultural context. The phrase (which may be apocryphal, anyway) was supposedly the response given to the Persian commander by the Spartans when they were asked to lay down their arms and surrender. In this case, the Persians (that is, the Persian Empire, centered in modern Iran, that controlled all of the Levant, Middle East, Egypt, and what is today Turkey) had invaded Greece to bring the Greeks into their fold. On this occasion (there had been another invasion 10 years before), the Spartans stood (nearly) alone against the vast Persian army. “Molon Labe” is meant to represent the hard, cold, and brave nature of the Spartan military machine. For those of you who read the Wikipedia entry and saw that the phrase is an example of a laconic phrase, this is literally true, since our word laconic (brief, curt, short) refers to the Spartans who were brief, curt, short of words, and of a group of people called Laconians.

    So, the historical context is that a massive invading army has demanded the citizenry of the invaded country lay down their arms. The response: “Molon Labe”. Flash forward 2500 years and we have Mr. Pantano, as a member of a massive invading army that has demanded the local citizenry to lay down its arms, marking himself with the defiant words of the Spartans. The role is reversed. The sentiment is corrupted. The use is inappropriate. The meaning, in the end, meaningless.

    Alternatively, since Mr. Pantano did not get this particular tattoo until after his return from Iraq, and only once he had been accused of murdering two unarmed Iraqis while on tour, are we meant to understand “Molon Labe” in reference to the US government? Are we meant to understand that Mr. Pantano is defiant to the legal system? Above it? It is hard to tell when one misappropriates history.

  2. On October 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm Steve Willetts wrote:

    It’s refreshing to see someone that has balls and character running for office. I admire Pantano’s military service.

    I hope our society has matured to the point that tattoos are not considered taboo.

    Steve Willetts

  3. On October 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm Real Marine wrote:

    Surprized no one has figured this guy out yet.

  4. On October 23, 2010 at 10:42 pm Shaun wrote:

    I would hope that someone would not make a serious political decision based off of the fact that someone has tatoo on their body. Please vote based off what the candidate can do for you and how that person plans on helping you in the future. A tatoo should not be a reason to not vote or try to convince others not to vote for a specific candidate, especially if it is a tatoo related to US Military service. This has been a standard practice throughout US History and continues to be a part of our culture.

  5. On October 24, 2010 at 8:45 am jynnifer wrote:

    Who cares if he has 1oo tattoos? As long as he is doing he’s job.That’s all that matters to me.Everybody nowdays have tattoos anyway.Leave him alone about stupid petty stuff.Everybody is always so worried about finding some DIRT on one another.Worry about what’s going on around you!!! Don’t go out trying to find things on other ppl running against you.It seems like these runnings are about knocking each other down.

  6. On October 30, 2010 at 11:04 am Ashe wrote:

    So what if he has tattoos? What does that have to do with someone being a representative of the people? There are a lot more stories you can write on an online version of the newspaper then asking whether or not someone has tattoos on them. You must be searching for anything you can get on the guy. Talk about the issues and what the candidate will offer to the people and quit being ignorant about the important issues that we have in our society. As long as the guy doesn’t molest children, is not a tax cheat, doesn’t beat his wife, and is a thief .. what does that matter?

  7. On October 30, 2010 at 11:27 am Christy wrote:

    Are you really discussing the man’s tattoos? I’m sure as a reporter there are other important issues that are more news worthy.

  8. On October 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm Jim Ware wrote:

    Questions to MyReporter.com are submitted by readers and answered by reporters.

Ask a question

Ask a question

If you’re looking for answers about living in coastal North Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. If we don’t have the answer to your question, we’ll find out or try to find someone who does. Hey, that’s our job! So, ask your question below and we’ll do our best to find the answer. Once we do, we’ll post it in an appropriate category.

Can we use your name to credit you by name (no e-mail or other contact information) with this question when we post an answer?
Your question:

Post a comment

Talk to us!

Have a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Use this form to let us know. Note that all comments are moderated and must be approved before they are posted, although you may see your own comments the first time you post them.

Your comment: