16 of the best excerpts from the greatest military speeches ever given - We Are The Mighty
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16 of the best excerpts from the greatest military speeches ever given

For as long as wars have been fought, great military leaders have been able to use the power of the pulpit to motivate their troops. The right words delivered in the right way at the right time have helped to turn the tide when morale was suffering, when casualties were high and ammo was low.


Here are 16 excerpts from the best orations given to key audiences during history’s crucial pivot points:

1. PERICLES appealing for war against the Spartans, 432BCE

“When our fathers stood against the Persians they had no such resources as we have now; indeed, they abandoned even what they had, and then it was by wisdom rather than by good fortune, by daring rather than by material power, that they drove back the foreign invasion and made our city what it is today. We must live up to the standard they set: we must resist our enemies in any and every way, and try to leave ot those who come after us an Athens that is as great as ever.”

2. HANNIBAL addressing his soldiers after crossing the Alps, 218 BCE

“On the right and left two seas enclose you, without your possessing even a single ship for escape. The river Po around you; the Alps behind hem you in.Her soldiers, where you have first met the enemy, you must conquer or die; and the same fortune which has imposed the necessity of fighting hold out to you, if victorious, rewards than which men are not wont to desire greater, even from the immortal gods.”

3. ST. BERNARD rallying the troops before the Second Crusade, 1146

“Christian warriors, He who gave His life for you today demands yours in return. These are combats worth of you, combats in which it is glorious to conquer and advantageous to die. Illustrious knights, generous defenders of the Cross, remember the example of your fathers who conquered Jerusalem and whose names are inscribed in Heaven.”

4. QUEEN ELIZABETH I supporting her military against the Spanish Armada, July 1588

“I am amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood.”

5. GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON calming his increasingly rebellious and doubtful army, March 15, 1783

“You will, by the dignity of your conduct, afford occasion for posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to mankind, ‘Had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.'”

6. GENERAL NAPOLEON BONAPARTE firing up his forces before the Battle of Marengo in Italy, June 14, 1800

“Shall we allow our audacious enemies to violate with impunity the territory of the Republic? Will you permit the army to escape which has carried terror into your families? You will not. March, then, to meet him. Tear from his brows the laurels he has won. Teach the world that a malediction attends those that violate the territory of the Great People. The result of our efforts will be unclouded glory, and a durable peace.”

7. PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN speaking to the 166th Ohio Regiment, August 22, 1864

“For the service you have done in this great struggle in which we are engaged I present you sincere thanks for myself and the country. I almost always feel inclined, when I happen to say anything to soldiers, to impress upon them in a few brief remarks the importance of success in this contest. It is not merely for today, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children’s children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours . . . The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.”

8. PRIME MINISTER WINSTON CHURCHILL before the House of Commons as the French retreat from Hitler, May 13, 1940

“We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy.”

9. PREMIER JOSEPH STALIN appealing to the Russian people to defend their soil as the German Army advances, July 3, 1941

“The issue is one of life or death for the Soviet State, for the peoples of the U.S.S.R. The issue is whether the peoples of the Soviet Union shall remain free or fall into slavery . . . There must be no room in our ranks for whimperers and cowards, for panic-mongers and deserters. Our people must know no fear in fight and must selflessly join our patriotic war of liberation, our war against the fascist enslavers.”

10. GENERAL SIR BERNARD MONTGOMERY speaking to his demoralized troops before defeating Rommel’s Afrika Corps, August 13, 1942

“Here we will stand and fight; there will be no further withdrawal. I have ordered that all plans and instructions dealing with further withdrawal are to be burned, and at once. We will stand and fight here. If we can’t stay here alive, then let us stay here dead.”

11. GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON exhorting the Third Army, Spring 1944

“I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy.”

 

12. GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER ordering the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the eliminations of Nazi tyranny over oppressed people of Europe, and the security for ourselves in a free world.”

13. MENACHEM BEGIN speaking to the people of Israel on the radio, preparing them for an Arab attack, May 14, 1948

“We shall go our way into battle . . . And we shall be accompanied by the spirit of millions of our martyrs, our ancestors tortured and burned for their faith, our murdered fathers and butchered mothers, our murdered brothers and strangled children. And in this battle we shall break the enemy and bring salvation to our people, tried in the furnace of persecution, thirsting only for freedom, for righteousness, and for justice.”

14. GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR addressing West Point, May 12, 1962

“Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grow too violent . . . These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.”

15. PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY bracing the nation for the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 22, 1962

“The path we have chosen for he present is full of hazards, as all paths are; but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission. Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right; not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.”

16. PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN hastening the fall of Communism while speaking at the Berlin Wall, June 12, 1987

“There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Easter Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

(The complete transcripts of these speeches and many others can be found in Charge!, History’s Greatest Military Speeches, edited by Congressman Steve Israel and published in 2007 by the Naval Institute Press.)

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15 important and surprising differences between the Navy and Coast Guard

Every Coastie has at least once been called a sailor, asked if they aren’t just a part of the Navy, or otherwise been compared to the Navy. Just as siblings don’t care to be compared to one another, the Coast Guard works to set itself apart in many ways, from uniforms to missions to rates.


In case you were wondering, here are 15 very important differences between the seaborne branches.

1. They have different bosses

The major difference between the Navy and the Coast Guard comes from the very top of either branch – the Navy is part of the Department of Defense, while the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security. This allows the missions and structure of both branches to best serve the needs the country.

2. Their roster sizes are significantly different

U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Joshua Kitenko, boarding officer from the Coast Guard Cutter Forward, climbs down a ladder to board the cutter’s small boat, after a joint U.S. and Sierra Leone law enforcement boarding on a fishing vessel in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Annie R. B. Elis.)

In the battle of Navy vs. Coast Guard, the Navy wins the heavyweight title. The Navy boasts 325,000 active duty and 107,000 reserve sailors, while the Coast Guard has just over 40,000 active duty personnel and 7,600 reservists.

3. Comparatively speaking, it rains money at the Navy Department

The Coast Guard’s entire budget for Fiscal Year 2015 was $9.8 billion, while the Navy’s was $148 billion.

4. They have different roles in combat

The Coast Guard’s role in combat has changed vastly over time. Since the early 1990’a and during the Gulf War, the Coast Guard’s combat role evolved to mostly port, maritime, and other asset security, as well as search and rescue. The Navy has a primarily defensive mission, prepared to fight back against a land-based or maritime enemy when called on.

5. The Coast Guard has more ships than you’d think (and more than the Navy)

The Coast Guard has nearly 200 cutters and 1400 small boats, while the Navy has 272 ships.

6. The Coast Guard paints operational aircraft orange

And operators know how to dangle.

The Coast Guard is proud of its more than 200 aircraft, mainly consisting of the iconic orange and white helicopters. The Navy, on the other hand, has a fleet of more than 3,700 aircraft, making it the second largest air force in the world, second only to the US Air Force. (And the only orange Navy airplanes are trainers.)

7. If the Coast Guard’s missions make them ‘jacks of all trades,’ the Navy is a master of one

A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft prepares to drop supplies aboard the national security cutter USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750) in the Arctic Ocean Sept. 14, 2012, during a patrol in support of Arctic Shield 2012. A(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Timothy Tamargo)

While the Navy serves to “maintain, train, and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.” The Coast Guard, on the other hand, has eleven missions ranging from marine safety to drug and migrant interdiction to icebreaking. Their missions range from saving someone in a sinking boat on the shores of San Diego to defense readiness in Bahrain.

8. USCG Rescue Swimmers are busier

The U.S. Coast Guard demonstrates how they conduct a search and rescue during the 2009 Sea and Sky Spectacular. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sunday Williams)

While both the Coast Guard and Navy have a rate for rescue swimmers, the Coast Guard takes pride in having the unique ability for their Aviation Survival Technicians, also known as rescue swimmers, to save lives on a daily basis. ASTs serve with Coast Guard air stations, deploying with search and rescue operations to recover civilians from dangerous situations.

9. Coasties actually have more uniforms than the Navy

You can tell the difference just in looking at personnel – the Navy’s NWU are often made fun of for blending a sailor into the water, but the Coast Guard’s ODUs are no better. The Navy’s dress uniforms are also universally known, complete with the “Dixie Cup” cover, but the Coast Guard’s are primarily based off of the Air Forces, with a few exceptions including Officer Whites, based on the Navy’s. There are even Coast Guard units who wear the Navy’s Type IIIs.

10. Coasties are bit more specialized

Every branch has a different names for its occupational specialty – whether MOS, AFSC, or rate. The Coast Guard and Navy both share the name “rating” for their specialities. The Navy has nearly 90 specialized ratings, while the Coast Guard lumps theirs into just 21.

11. Basic Training for the Coast Guard is a lot harder than you think

Company Commander OS1 Tom Carella looks out at new recruits outside of Sexton Hall at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, NJ. (USCG photo by PAC Tom Sperduto)

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Great Lakes Training Center relies on a process called “Sailorization” to turn civilians into sailors over the course of eight weeks. The Coast Guard’s boot camp was based on Marine Corps boot camp, but shortened from twelve to eight weeks. Recruits are purposefully stressed to the maximum they can handle through intense and constant time pressure, sleep deprivation, and physical training. The process allows recruits to learn how to make the best decisions under the most pressure – something necessary when attempting to save a life on a sinking ship in foul weather.

12. The Coast Guard filled in for the Navy after it was disbanded

The history of the branches isn’t what it always seems – While the Coast Guard’s history occasionally seems to be shrouded in mystery, it was founded as the Revenue Cutter Service on August 4, 1790. It has since been the longest continuous sea service in the United States. “But isn’t the Navy’s founding in 1775?” you might ask – and you would be correct. But shortly after the Revolutionary War ended, the Navy was disbanded, and was not reestablished until 1799, leaving the USRCS to serve the newly formed nation.

13. The USCG gets passed around a lot

The Navy has also been steadfastly its own branch of the military, as well as under the Department of Defense. The Coast Guard, on the other hand, has been under the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Transportation, Department of the Interior, the Department of Homeland Security, and yes, even under the Department of the Navy – five times.

14. Everyone has a chance to go to the Coast Guard Academy

Shown is an aerial view of the Coast Guard Academy with Hamilton Hall in center. (USCG photo by PA1 David Santos)

To apply to the U.S. Naval Academy, as well as the other service academies, a prospective student must be appointed by a member of the US Congress in addition to applying to USNA. The Coast Guard Academy, on the other hand, does not require congressional nomination, instead opening the applications to anyone and letting applicants be admitted solely on their own merit – both personal and academic.

15. Navy ships keep a supply of Coasties to maintain civil law and order

Members of a Coast Guard Maritime Search and Rescue Team prepare to depart USNS Sisler via Coast Guard Seahawk after storming the ship as part of maritime security exercise Frontier Sentinel (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

On many Navy ships throughout the world, a small Coast Guard contingent is placed with the crew to do maritime law enforcement. Because of the Posse Comitatus Act, the Department of Defense may not do any kind of civilian law enforcement. The Coast Guard, thanks to the 1790 Tariff Act and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006, may conduct boardings of vessels both foreign and domestic without a warrant. On Navy ships stationed in waters where illegal drugs and migrants are common, the Coast Guard serves to assist the Navy where it cannot serve.

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It’s been 100 years since one of the biggest game-changers in military aviation history

On November 5, 1915, a plane was launched from a ship by catapult for the first time in history.


And, despite the prevailing ideas at the time that naval aviation was an outlandish endeavor, the flight was a success.

Curtiss AB-2 (C-2) Aircraft being catapulted from USS North Carolina (ACR-12) on 5 November 1915. (Image: Naval History Heritage Command)

The pilot for that historic flight was Henry C. Mustin, a naval aviator who helped to found the Naval Aeronautic Station at Pensacola, Florida in 1913. Mustin, using an early catapult system, managed to launch himself successfully from the armored cruiser USS North Carolina at the naval station.

By today’s aircraft carrier standards, the USS North Carolina was a tiny ship. Of course, it was not built as a carrier, but the size differential between the North Carolina and today’s carriers still shows how far things have come in the last 100 years. The North Carolina had a total displacement of 14,500 tons, compared to the 100,020 tons of a present-day USS Nimitz-class supercarrier.

Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Mustin (Image: Naval History Heritage Command)

Unlike modern carriers, which have built-in flight decks and launch systems, the launching platform built atop the North Carolina was an ad hoc endeavor. At the time, launching a plane from a ship while underway had not been attempted. The questions of whether the plane would fly, or whether it would be possible to safely abort takeoff, were still big unknowns.

The first catapult launch of an aircraft from a naval vessel, on November 5, 1915. (Image: US Navy)

After that risky start in 1915 US aircraft carrier abilities quickly advanced. By 1922, the US operated the USS Langley, an aircraft carrier that could carry 30 planes.

Today’s Nimitz supercarriers can carry upwards of 62 aircraft. Still, despite their size and capacity, the Nimitz still owes one of its major functions — the use of catapults to launch planes at high enough speeds for flight from a short runway at sea — to Mustin’s original takeoff from the USS North Carolina.

Here’s what a catapult launch looks like today:

Source: YouTube

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This dying Army vet’s last wish is to hear from you

Lee Hernandez wants everyone to call him or text him. Anyone and everyone in America.


The 47-year-old has undergone three brain surgeries but still suffers from strokes that affect his vision and cognitive function.

But a few notes from his military family are just what the doctor ordered.

Lee Hernandez wants to hear from you. (photo by Arizona Veterans Forum)

As Lee lay dying in a Texas hospice, his wife Ernestine told the Arizona Republic that phone calls or texts are what brighten Lee’s day. It doesn’t matter who sends them.

He asked Ernestine to hold on to his phone one day in case someone called him. For two hours, no one called.

“I guess no one wants to talk to me,” Lee told his wife.

Lee Hernandez has trouble with speaking, so Ernestine figured that’s why people don’t take much time to attempt a conversation. So she reached out to a group called “Caregivers of Wounded Warriors” to get more texts and call pouring in.

He is a veteran of the Iraq War who served 18 and half years in the Army. He’s been fighting for his life for the last five years.

If you want to send Lee a message of support or just see how he is, be sure to reach out between 2 pm and 6pm Arizona time. Lee is now blind, but Ernestine will read your texts to him.

He can be reached at 210-632-6778.

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The 12 newest aircraft carriers in the world

The earliest aircraft carriers in history looked nothing like those of today.


They were known as “seaplane tenders” because they could only carry and support seaplanes.

These ships, like France’s Foudre and Britain’s HMS Ark Royal, didn’t even have large, flat decks because seaplanes could only take off from the surface of the ocean after being placed on the water.

Over a century later, almost everything has changed. Affectionately nicknamed “flattops,” aircraft carriers have become one of the most important weapons in the arsenals of navies around the world.

Also read: These really smart people say bigger is better when it comes to building aircraft carriers

There are currently 20 aircraft carriers in service with nine different countries around the world today. Five of those countries are currently building new aircraft carriers, which are expected to take to the seas in the next few decades.

The US, UK, China, India, and Italy are all either in the process of building new flattops or are in the final stages of planning. Aircraft carriers that support fixed-wing, smaller helicopters are being built and may be upgraded to carry aircraft, like the F-35B, which has vertical take-off and landing capabilities.

See the newest aircraft carriers here:

1. USS Gerald R. Ford

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 approaches the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) for an arrested landing, July 28, 2017. (US Navy)

The USS Gerald R. Ford was laid down in November 2009, completed in October 2013, and commissioned in July 2017. It is the lead ship of its class and is planned to be the first of 10 new aircraft carriers.

The ship has a number of new technologies, like the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, which is intended to replace the steam-powered launch system on current aircraft carriers.

With a length of 1,106 feet, Ford is expected to carry over 75 individual aircraft, with most of them planned to be F-35 variants. However, due to technical and delivery issues, Ford will likely not see F-35s on her deck until late 2018 at the earliest.

Ford recently tested launching F/A-18F Super Hornets off of its deck. It is expected to be fully operational and integrated and into the US Navy by 2022.

2. USS John F. Kennedy

A crane moves the lower stern into place on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia, June 22, 2017. (US Navy)

USS John F. Kennedy is the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier to be built for the US Navy. The ship was reportedly 50% structurally complete as of June 2017.

Kennedy is currently under construction at a Huntington Ingalls Industries facility in Newport News, Virginia. The carrier was originally supposed to be completed in 2018, but it ran into a number of problems during construction.

Most of the problems stem from cost issues relating to the Gerald R. Ford. Ford had a cost increase of 22%, topping $12.8 billion in 2008.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended delaying the commissioning of the ship in 2013. It is now expected to be commissioned in 2020.

3. USS Enterprise

Artist’s impression of the future USS Enterprise.

USS Enterprise is the third Gerald R. Ford-class carrier currently being built. The first cut of steel was cut in a ceremony August 2017 by the ship’s sponsors, Olympians Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles.

Enterprise will the be the ninth vessel in the US Navy to have the name. The previous ship was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ever built and was decommissioned February 2018.

Like the Ford and the Kennedy, Enterprise expected to carry over 75 aircraft.

4. HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth Harbour on February 2, 2018. (Crown Copyright)

Commissioned in 2017, HMS Queen Elizabeth is the newest aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, and currently Britain’s only active one as well.

Queen Elizabeth is unique from other carriers in that she has two control towers, one for sea operations, and one for air operations.

With a deck that is 932 feet long, Queen Elizabeth is intended to have up to 40 aircraft, with the F-35 being the main fixed-wing jet for the ship. Other aircraft planned to be included are Chinook helicopters, Apache AH MK1 gunships, AW101 Merlin transport helicopters, and AW159 Wildcat anti-surface warfare helicopters.

Queen Elizabeth docked for the first time at an overseas port on February 2018, when it visited Gibraltar.

5. HMS Prince of Wales

HMS Prince of Wales was officially named on Friday 8 September during a ceremony in Rosyth. The Naming Ceremony is a naval tradition dating back thousands of years and combines a celebration and a solemn blessing. (Aircraft Carrier Alliance)

HMS Prince of Wales is Britain’s second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier. It is currently under construction at the Rosyth Dockyard in Scotland and will be Britain’s second aircraft carrier when complete.

Prince of Wales was officially named at a ceremony September 2017, which was attended by the current Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Rothesay.

December 2017, Prince of Wales un-docked and was afloat for the first time. The carrier was moved to her fitting-out berth, where she will have all of her equipment and controls added on.

The carrier is structurally complete and is expected to start sea trials in 2019 and be officially commissioned in 2020.

6. Liaoning

China’s carrier Liaoning.

Liaoning is the Peoples Liberation Army Navy’s first combat-capable aircraft carrier. China had bought other aircraft carriers before to use as casinos and museum ships, but it wasn’t until it purchased a half-built Soviet carrier in 1998 that China seriously started its carrier program.

Liaoning is 999 feet long and has an air wing of 26 Shenyang J-15 multi-role fighters, 12 Changhe Z-18 anti-submarine warfare/transport helicopters, and two Harbin Z-9 utility helicopters.

The carrier was commissioned in 2012, and although the Liaoning is a fully functional aircraft carrier, it is currently classified as a training ship, so as to help the Chinese Navy (PLAN) become familiar with aircraft carrier operations.

Related: These US aircraft carriers will be the first to launch unmanned tankers

7. Type 001A

Type 001A aircraft carrier in Dalian, China, 2017.

The Type 001A is China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier. Initial construction started almost immediately after Liaoning was commissioned, and it has a number of improvements over its Soviet-built predecessor.

Most notably, the Type 001A has an overall length of 1,033 feet and is planned to carry 48 aircraft.

It is not known what the Type 001A will be named, but there was speculation that it will be named ‘Shandong.’ The carrier is currently being fitted out at the PLAN port in Dalian and is expected to be commissioned around 2020.

8. Type 002

Aircraft Carrier Liaoning CV-16.

The Type 002 will be China’s second domestically-built aircraft carrier, and the third in its fleet. It has been under construction since 2015 and is reportedly a massive leap forward for China’s aircraft carrier ambitions.

The Type 002 will be nuclear powered, which will make China only the third nation in the world to have nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the first two being the US and France.

The carrier will also have electromagnetic (EMALS) catapults to launch aircraft from its deck, which is expected to be longer than the Liaoning.

The EMALS systems will allow the carrier to launch more than just J-15s, the only jet that can be launched on China’s other two carriers. In fact, China announced that it wants its future aircraft carriers to launch its J-31 or J-20 stealth jets.

China announced that it intends to speed the development of the unnamed Type 002, which is part of its plans to have a “blue-water navy” by 2025.

9. INS Vikramaditya

(Photo by Indian Navy)

INS Vikramaditya is currently India’s only aircraft carrier after India retired the INS Viraat in early 2017.

A heavily modified Kiev-class, it was originally built for the Soviet Navy in 1982 and served the Soviet Union under two names: Baku from 1987 to 1991, and Admiral Gorshkov from 1991 to 1996.

The carrier entered full service in the Indian Navy in 2013, after extensive modernization efforts.

Vikramaditya is 930 feet long and carries a total of 36 aircraft: 26 MiG-29K and 10 Kamov Ka-31 and Kamov Ka-28 helicopters. It is also the first ship in the Indian Navy to have an ATM on board.

1o. INS Vikrant

Vikrant being moved for fitting out, June 10, 2015.

INS Vikrant is India’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier, and the first ship in the Indian Navy to be built completely using domestically-produced steel.

The carrier was ordered in 2004, and initial construction started in 2009. It is shorter than the Vikramaditya, with a total length of 860 feet. It will reportedly be able to carry 30 to 40 aircraft, mostly MiG-29Ks and helicopters.

The Vikrant has been the cause of a lot of headaches for India. It was delayed several times and has gone over budget, but is expected to finally start two years of sea trials by the end of 2018. It is planned to be commissioned in 2020.

More: These 4 islands could be America’s unsinkable aircraft carriers in the Pacific

11. Trieste

A model of the Trieste at the 2016 Naval Defense Exhibition in Paris. (DefenseWebTV/YouTube)

Trieste will be Italy’s third aircraft carrier, after the Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Cavour. The Trieste is not a traditional aircraft carrier, but a Landing Helicopter Dock, more similar to the US Navy’s America-class amphibious assault ship.

Its total length is 803 feet, smaller than the America-class. It will hold 12 aircraft, probably AgustaWestland AW101s or NHIndustries NH90.

But the Italian Navy may put a small number of F-35Bs, the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the F-35, on the Trieste, which would make it a conventional aircraft carrier that can carry fixed-wing aircraft.

Italy currently has San Giorgio-class amphibious transport docks.

Trieste is expected to be launched in 2019, and commissioned in 2022.

12. ROKS Marado

A US Navy SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopter flies by the Republic of Korea Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship Dokdo as it cruises through the East Sea, July 27, 2010. (US Navy)

Like the Trieste, South Korea’s ROKS Marado is an amphibious assault ship. Construction started April 2017 and it is expected to be launched just a year later, in April 2018.

Current plans are to have Morado commissioned by 2020, which will make it South Korea’s second Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships, behind ROKS Dokdo, which was commissioned in July of 2007.

At 653 feet, the Morado can currently carry 10 helicopters like the UH-1H, UH-60P or the Westland Super Lynx. However, like Italy, South Korea is debating putting F-35Bs on the ships as well.

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Here’s what the US military’s future helicopter fleet could look like

In what the participants call a “unique” collaboration, government agencies and aerospace corporations are working together to develop advanced platforms and technologies for vertical lift that are intended to replace virtually all the current rotary wing and tilt-rotor aircraft being used by the four U.S. military services.


The results of those efforts are likely to also influence future civilian and international vertical lift programs.

The ultimate goal is to produce a family of vertical lift aircraft that can serve as transports for personnel and cargo and perform attack, scout, search and rescue, anti-submarine and anti-surface ship missions from land or sea at speeds and ranges far exceeding existing capabilities.

During a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, the industry and government representatives said the focus was on achieving the maximum commonality of aircraft components and open architecture in mission systems to reduce production and sustainment costs and promote interoperability among individual aircraft and services.

The Sikorsky X-2. (Courtesy photo)

The coalition of talent is working on two separate but closely related programs: Future Vertical Lift and Joint Multi-role Technology Demonstration, which are managed by the Army with participation by the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.

Under the FVL part of the effort, Bell Helicopter is working on an advanced tilt-rotor aircraft called the V-280 Valor, which advances the technologies produced for the V-22 Ospreys that are operated by the Marines and Air Force Special Operations Command and in the future by the Navy.

For FVL, Boeing-Sikorsky team is building a “coaxial” helicopter called the SB-1 Defiant, which uses counter-rotating rotors for vertical operations and a rear-mounted propeller for high-speed level flight. It builds on technology demonstrated by Sikorsky’s X-2 that hit speeds of 260 knots, or 300 miles an hour.

At CSIS, Chris Van Buiten, vice president of Sikorsky Innovations, and Vince Tobin, VP for advanced tilt-rotor systems at Bell, said their aircraft will fly next year in preparation for a competitive “fly off” for the FVL program.

Both of those firms, Rockwell Collins and other companies are participating in the JMR program, which is focused on developing a new generation of mission systems and avionics that would go into any future vertical lift aircraft and, the panelist said, could be retrofitted into some of the legacy platforms that are likely to remain in service for decades.

The Rockwell Collins officials said the advanced computer systems being developed in the JMR effort would allow the future vertical lift platforms to be “optionally manned,” meaning they could be operated as unmanned systems as well as flown by humans.

Bell has also introduced an unmanned tilt-rotor proposal, the V-247 Vigilant, with a folding wing and rotor for the Marines.

Dan Bailey, program director of JMR/FVL for the Army, said the technology demonstration program is expected to culminate in 2020, and will “set the conditions for the future” as they seek to replace all the military’s vertical lift systems over decades.

The FVL competition for the air frame should conclude in 2019, he said.

Bailey said the vertical lift “airframe designs we have today are very limited on what we can get out of them.” And the ability to increase efficiency in those platforms “is limited.”

“We need new platforms,” he said.

Bailey and the others stressed the importance of pushing open architecture capabilities in the systems developed under JMR. Open architecture generally means the software within mission systems and other aircraft avionics is independent of the hardware. That allows rapid and relatively inexpensive changes in the systems as technology improves or mission requirements change.

Bailey said the FVL/JMR program provides the ability to partner with industry “that is unique” and will allow the government “to do this efficiently.”

To meet the multi-service requirements of the FVL program, Van Buiten and Tobin said their aircraft could be produced with the rotor and wing folding capabilities that the Navy and Marines require for shipboard operations.

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Your handy viewing guide to military episodes of The Simpsons

To give some perspective, The Simpsons is older than Operation Desert Storm. Troops who enlisted when the show started are able to retire from the armed forces now. After 27 seasons, a show known for its originality is bound to have some characters join the military, develop veteran characters, or otherwise live out some military-related mayhem.


The Simpsons hometown of Springfield is located near a historic battlefield site, where (apparently) during the Civil War, Fort Springfield saw a bit of the action.

But when the government closed Fort Springfield in the modern day, it forced a lot of local businesspeople to pack up their trades and services and move to places where their services would be more popular.

The military was central to many more episodes and it started in the first season with Bart the General. Since then, Homer and his friends have joined the Navy, Grandpa recalled his WWII exploits, Bart was an unwitting recruiting tool for the Navy, Lisa visited a “Dodgers of Foreign Wars” office in Canada, Maggie was shown to be an expert marksman, and Principal Skinner hinted at dark periods in Vietnam.

Bart the General – Season 1, Episode 5

After Bart defends Lisa from bully Nelson Muntz at school, Bart takes her place as Nelson’s favorite target. When Bart becomes sick of getting beaten up every day, he enlists the help of Grandpa Simpson and an unbalanced military antique store owner named Herman Hermann.

Bart organizes the kids of the schoolyard to fight Nelson and his bully friends (who are not Jimbo, Dolph, or Kearny) with a massive, nonstop barrage of water balloons. Nelson surrenders to Bart’s forces and signs a treaty ending hostilities between them.

Best Line – Abe Simpson: “Bart, you can push them out of a plane, you can march them off a cliff, you can send them off to die on some God-forsaken rock, but for some reason, you can’t slap them.

Bart vs. Australia – Season 6, Episode 16

Bart makes prank calls to Australia and is forced to go there in person to apologize. While there, they stay at the American embassy.

Best Line: Bruno Dundridge: “Hey, you’re just some punk kid, aren’t you? Well, you picked the wrong guy to tangle with, mate!

Bart: “I don’t think so. You’re all the way over in Australia. Hey, I think I hear a dingo eating your baby.

Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming – Season 7, Episode 9

Bart’s nemesis Sideshow Bob escapes from a prison work detail on a local Air Force Base. While the base is being cleaned for an air show, Bob dresses up like the base commander and sneaks into a top secret area to steal a 10-megaton nuclear weapon.

Bob demands Springfield give up television completely or face a nuclear explosion. The town complies until Krusty the Clown finds a Civil Defense shed and uses the transmitter to gain 100% of the audience. Bob’ detonates the bomb, but it’s a dud, so he steals the Wright Brothers’ original plane an launches a kamikaze attack on Bob’s shed, keeping Bart as a hostage. The attack is also a dud and Bob is arrested again.

Best Line – Abe Simpson: “You’re ignorant! That’s the Wright Brothers’ plane! At Kitty Hawk in 1903, Charles Lindbergh flew it 15 miles on a thimble full of corn oil. Single-handedly won us the civil war, it did!”

Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in ‘The Curse of the Flying Hellfish’ – Season 7, Episode 22

In this episode we learn about Grandpa Simpson’s World War II service. His unit, the Flying Hellfish, included Mr. Burns and a few other guys from Springfield. They found some valuable paintings in Germany, locked them away, and established a tontine. The last person alive from their unit would inherit the riches.

Mr. Burns and Abe Simpson are the only two left, and Mr. Burns keeps trying to kill Grandpa. With Homer’s help, they resolve to get the treasure before Burns does. Bart retrieves the treasure from its undersea hiding place, but is intercepted by Burns. They chase Burns to shore only to be caught by the police and the paintings returned to their rightful owner.

Best Line –

Homer: “Maybe it’s time we put Grandpa in a home.

Lisa: “You already put him in a home.

Bart: “Maybe it’s time we put him in one where he can’t get out.

The Secret War of Lisa Simpson – Season 8, Episode 25

In response to Bart’s latest prank, Marge and Homer trick him into the car by telling him they’re going to Disneyland. Instead, he’s shipped off to military school. Lisa decides to go against the academy tradition and attend alongside Bart. She likes the structure and tough curriculum of the Rommelwood Military School, but is immediately rejected by the all-male cadre of students as the first female attendee.

Bart is a “born soldier” but Lisa struggles with the physical aspects of the training. The last test of the academy is a challenge called “The Eliminator,” which Lisa dreads but must finish. Bart helps train her in secret. When Lisa almost falls off during the test, Bart is the only one who encourages her and she finished second grade. She passes and Marge and Homer tell them they’re going to Disneyland, they get in the car to find out they’re just going to the dentist.

Best Line – Range Instructor [to Bart]: “Since you’ve already attended public school, we’re assuming you’ve already had experience with small arms. So we’re gonna give you something a little more advanced.

The Principal and the Pauper – Season 9, Episode 2

Widely regarded as one of the worst episodes ever made and later completely ignored by the canon of the show, this episode features war movie legend Martin Sheen as the real Principal Skinner, and the man we know as Principal Skinner named Armin Tamzarian who assumed Skinner’s identity after Vietnam when he couldn’t break the news to his mother that Skinner died.

Armin is convinced to return to Springfield after every one in town realizes they don’t care for the real Sgt. Skinner, whom the residents tie to a chair and put on a train out of town. The local judge orders the fake Skinner to resume his identity theft and order everyone never to talk about it again.

Best Line – Homer [In his mind, after Skinner says he’s a fraud]: “Keep looking shocked… and move slowly towards the cake.

Simpson Tide – Season 9, Episode 19

After causing a meltdown trying to mutate a doughnut into a giant doughnut in the plant’s reactor core, Homer decides to enlist in the Navy Reserve after seeing a recruiting ad on TV.  Moe, Barney, and Apu join him. They soon graduate from the Naval academy and are placed aboard a nuclear submarine in a war games exercise, under the command of Captain Tenille.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPkZJI0oB70

The captain likes Homer and leaves him in command when he goes to check a torpedo hatch. Another sub fires on Homer’s and Homer accidentally fires Captain Tenille back at them. Homer accidentally leads the sub to Russian waters and the U.S. interprets this as a mutiny with intent to defect. The Russian government reveals they’ve secretly been the Soviet Union the whole time and the sub incident almost leads to nuclear war. After the incident Homer receives a dishonorable discharge.

Best Line – Homer: “You can’t spell ‘dishonorable’ without ‘honorable.‘”

New Kids on the Blecch – Season 12, Episode 14

A music producer discovers Bart, Nelson, Milhouse, and Ralph Wiggum’s musical abilities and sets them up as the next hot boy band, Party Posse. Their first single is called Drop Da Bomb. The song has a strange lyric as the hook: Yvan Eht Nioj.

Lisa discovers the video contains subliminal messages to get people to join the Navy, which is just Yvan Eht Nioj backwardThe band is a Navy recruiting operation, Project Boy Band. N’Sync guest stars in the episode and explains how the Navy protects people every day. They then give JC Chasez to the Navy as an enlistee.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4bbocBQ_0s

This is the episode that either made people believe The Simpsons predicted the Arab Spring uprising in Syria OR that the show and the Syrian Civil War is part of a larger, Western, anti-Muslim conspiracy. The reason is because a flag shown on the side of a vehicle in one of Party Posse’s music videos looks a lot like the Free Syrian Army flag.

Best Line – Homer: “It doesn’t mean anything, it’s like ‘Rama Lama Ding Dong’ or ‘Give Peace a Chance.’

The Bart of War – Season 14, Episode 21

Because of some of Bart’s badder behavior, Marge establishes a teen group called Pre-Teen Braves, based on Native American culture. The group includes Bart, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson, and Database. Homer starts out as leader, but Marge soon takes over because of Homer’s leadership failures. With the help of a Mohican man, they are inspired to clean up a field, but find another group, called the Cavalry Kids have already done it. The Cavalry Kids are led by Kirk van Houten, and include Milhouse, Martin Prince and Jimbo Jones.

This inspires a race to see who can do the most community service work, and when the Braves keep the Cavalry from getting to Springfield Isotopes Stadium on time to be bat boys for the team, the Braves take their place, and a battle ensues over singing the national anthem. The Sea Captain suggests they stop fighting and sing a nation anthem of peace, so the crowd sings “O Canada.”

Best Line – “War is not the answer, except to all of America’s problems.”

The Wettest Stories Ever Told – Season 17, Episode 18

This episode is three short stories depicting the citizens of Springfield in three classic ocean-going tales. The second of these is a retelling of the Mutiny on the Bounty, featuring Principal Skinner as the Bounty’s Captain Bligh, and Bart as Master’s Mate and chief mutineer Fletcher Christian.

They don’t miss a chance to point out Britain’s famed naval hero, Lord Nelson.

Like the old story goes, the crew was given treatment much different from what they expected and so they mutiny, going instead to an island of natives and marrying into the tribe while setting Captain Bligh and his bosun adrift.

Best Line – Captain Bligh: “First of all, in an effort to save water, you will no longer be given any water. And because of a drawing of myself having a romantic congress with a merman… (the crew laughs)… I am dumping all your mail out to sea.

G.I. D’oh- Season 18, Episode 5

Army recruiters try to recruit Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney but they realize that the teenagers of Springfield are too smart to want to join the Army, so they go to Springfield Elementary School to trick kids into signing Delayed Entry Program so when they are old enough, they will automatically be enlisted. Marge is horrified and she sends Homer  to the recruiter. Homer forces them to tear up Bart’s pre-enlistment contract, but they convince him to join instead.

Homer’s Colonel hates him and assigns him to the opposing forces team during an upcoming war game. OPFOR is filled with undesirable recruits and the Army uses actual ammo instead of blanks with the intent to kill the OPFOR. Homer and his forces escape to Springfield during the exercise and the Army orders an invasion of the town, declaring martial law.

The Colonel starts detaining all men who are “Fat, or bald, or have ever been amused by the antics of Homer Simpson.” Marge leads an insurgency against the occupiers. She spikes the town reservoir with alcohol, resulting an a hangover which makes the Colonel surrender.

Best Line(s) – 

Marge: “Homer, our son joined the army!

Homer: “Yeah, big deal. By the time Bart is 18, we’re gonna control the world… We’re China, right?

Principal Skinner: “I’d do anything for my beloved Army.

Army Recruiter: “How about re-enlisting?

Principal Skinner: “How about you bite me?

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7 unit mottos that came straight out of combat

Most units in the military have a motto that they use to stand out. Some of them are even pretty cool. But the most badass unit mottos are forged in the crucible of combat.


Here are seven units that live by the immortal words uttered in battle:

1. “Keep up the fire!” – 9th Infantry Regiment

The 9th Infantry Regiment has a long history, but its service in China is particularly noteworthy. Not only did the 9th pick up its regimental nickname, Manchu, from its time there — but also the unit’s motto.

During the regiment’s assault on the walled city of Tientsin, the flag bearer was killed and the regimental commander took up the colors.

He was immediately targeted by Chinese snipers and mortally wounded himself. His dying words to his men were “Keep up the fire!”

The unit successfully stormed the city and captured it from the Boxers.

2. “I’ll try, sir” – 5th Infantry Regiment

Battle of Lundy’s Lane, July 25, 1814. (New York State Military Museum)

During the War of 1812, the 21st Infantry Regiment engaged the British at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

After the Americans were decimated by British artillery on the high ground, Lt. Col. James Miller, the regimental commander, was given the near suicidal task of launching an assault to capture the guns. He simply responded, “I’ll try, sir.”

The 21st advanced on the British position and fired a volley that swept the artillerymen from their guns. They then charged with bayonets, driving off the remaining British troops and capturing the guns.

When the 21st was absorbed by the 5th Infantry, with Col. Miller in command, his famous word “I’ll try, sir” became the regiments official motto.

3. “These are my credentials” – 8th Infantry Division

Major General Charles D.W. Cahnam (U.S. Army photo)

After landing in Normandy in July 1944, the 8th Infantry Division was part of the arduous task of liberating the port city of Brest. After weeks of hard fighting, the Germans finally capitulated on Sept. 19.

When Brig. Gen. Charles Canham, deputy commander of the division, arrived to accept the surrender of the German commander, Gen. Ramcke, the senior German officer demanded to see the American’s credentials. Canham, simply pointed to his battle-hardened soldiers and replied, “These are my credentials.”

4. “Rangers lead the way!” – 75th Ranger Regiment

U.S. Army Rangers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, fire off a Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless rifle at a range on Camp Roberts, Calif., Jan. 26, 2014. Rangers use a multitude of weaponry during their annual tactical training. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Rashene Mincy/ Released)

The Rangers of WWII spearheaded many Allied invasions, particularly on D-Day at Normandy. The Rangers of the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions found themselves pinned down on Omaha beach along with the rest of the assault force.

Trying to inspire the shell-shocked men of the 29th Infantry Division, Brig. Gen. Norman Cota, the assistant division commander, came across the men of the 5th Ranger Battalion. When they identified themselves as Rangers Cota then gave one of the most famous orders in the history of the U.S. Army: “Well, goddammit then, Rangers, lead the way!”

Their efforts effected the first break through on Omaha and what would later become their motto — Rangers lead the way.

5. “I’ll face you!” – 142nd Infantry Regiment

The 142nd first saw action as part of the 36th Infantry Division in World War I. After facing heavy fighting near the village of St. Etienne, the regiment faced off against the Germans at the Aisne River. The regiment sent a patrol across the river to reconnoiter behind enemy lines.

As they attempted to return to friendly lines, they came under heavy fire from the Germans. A young lieutenant, inspiring his men, turned towards the Germans and shouted, “I’ll face you!” and refused to turn his back.

His quote eventually became the regimental motto.

6. “Nothing in Hell must stop the Timberwolves” – 104th Infantry Division

The 104th Infantry Division was a unique formation.

Having trained specifically as a nightfighting unit, the division then received a unique commander — Mej. Gen. Terry de la Mesa Allen. A combat commander who had previously commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Africa and Sicily, he had an unorthodox command style combined with a hard-charging attitude.

When Allen took command, he gave the division its new motto, “Nothing in hell must stop the Timberwolves,” and he meant it.

The 104th fought under numerous Allied commands and was always held in the highest regard, often being cited as the finest assault division. Through courage, grit, and determination the Timberwolves defeated the Germans and lived up to their motto.

7. “Let ’em have it!” – 59th Infantry Regiment

The 59th Infantry Regiment shipped to France during World War I as part of the 7th Brigade. During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the 59th took part in the fighting around Chateau-de-Diable.

During the engagement, a squad approached from the Chateau. Initially the men held their fire, afraid of gunning down friendly forces, until a sergeant with the regiment realized the mistake and yelled out, “They come from the wrong direction, let ’em have it!”

It was later discovered that the squad was German soldiers in American uniforms and the sergeant’s words became the unit motto.

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This generous billionaire dedicated his life to taking care of the military and their families

The Fisher Family is an American dynasty. They started as a family of contractors and would eventually build a real estate firm that came to shape the iconic Manhattan skyline.


Zachary Fisher started in construction when he was just 16 years old. The company he and brothers, Martin and Larry, would form came to be worth some $1.6 billion dollars today, by Forbes’ estimate, and owns an incredible five million square feet of space.

Theirs is an amazing story of the American Dream — but what they chose to do with their wealth is an even more amazing story.

Zachary Fisher after creating the Intrepid Museum in New York.

Fisher could not join the Marines in World War II because of a leg injury. Instead, put his best skills to work on the home front, assisting in building coastal fortifications in the United States. He was a strong supporter of the Armed Forces, the people protecting the American Dream that allowed him to become the man he did.

He never forgot his love for the military and the people who serve. He once said he began giving to the Armed Forces to pay a debt he owes them.

“There is nothing more important than someone giving their life for me,” he told the New York Daily News in 1998. “Here I am living in this free country because someone is giving their life for me. I feel grateful, and I always will.”

By the 1970s, his philanthropy within the Armed Forces culminated in saving the USS Intrepid from the scrap heaps. Instead of losing the storied aircraft carrier that fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, Fisher’s work and patronage allowed for the construction of the USS Intrepid Museum in New York City in 1982, now the largest naval museum in the world.

That same year, he founded the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Services Foundation.

The USS Intrepid in New York City.

When the Marine barracks in Beirut were bombed in 1983, it was Fisher’s Foundation that sent a $10,000 check to every single family of the 241 Marines who died that day. It wouldn’t bring back their loved ones, but it would take care of the necessities of life while the families grieved.

It wasn’t only those Marines who received help from the Fishers. The families of servicemembers killed in military accidents also found a small bit of solace as they mourned their losses. Notably, the families of sailors killed in a turret explosion aboard the USS Iowa also received financial help in the form of $25,000 each.

The Fishers kept giving these extra funds for more than 20 years, because they considered the government’s death benefits for those on Active Duty to be too low. Through the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, they paid an individual benefit for every family until the government significantly increased the amount it gives.

The Fishers even provided more than 700 scholarships to military members and their families who couldn’t afford a higher education.

Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher.

It was in 1990 that the Fisher family began the legacy that would make them immortal in the hearts of military families: The Fisher House.

Fisher heard about a service woman who was hospitalized while undergoing medical treatment. He was told her husband couldn’t afford a hotel for the entire time, so he slept in his car for the duration of her hospital stay. Fisher learned the military had no plans for supporting military families in those circumstances, so he decided to solve the problem himself.

Fisher Houses were born.

The Fisher House is a program dedicated to building comfort homes for the families of hospitalized veterans and military personnel. The homes come with common kitchens, dining rooms, and recreational areas so that no one has to be alone during some of the most trying times of their lives.

Zachary Fisher with President William J. Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifetime of philanthropic work for military members and their families.

“I thought maybe it would help people financially,” Zachary Fisher once said. “But I didn’t count on the way families console one another. No one has to be alone in a motel room anymore. It just became a tremendous thing and had blessed my life in many ways.”

Fisher was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 from President Bill Clinton for the wide range of support he provided the military and its families over his lifetime. Fisher didn’t just provide financial assistance — he also sat on the board of influential organizations like the Navy League and established awards promoting excellence in military medicine.

Zachary Fisher died on June 4, 1999, unable to to be present when President Clinton signed Public Law 106-161, which made Zachary Fisher an honorary veteran of the United States military.

Even the spirit of his love for the military continues with those who run the Fisher House today. During the 2013 government shutdown, Congress wavered over paying death benefits to families of servicemembers killed in action. When word got to Fisher House, they immediately pledged that they would make those payments where the government failed.

Joseph Krebs Marine Corps veteran of the Korean War salutes a bust of Zachary and Melissa Fisher that adorns this and every Fisher House foyer.

Today, his legacy lives on at each of the 72 Fisher Houses in three countries, still taking care of the families of wounded and disabled veterans under the VA’s care. The Fishers provided more than six million nights of lodging, $17 million in scholarships, and 58,000 airline tickets — all for the families of wounded, ill, or disabled veterans.

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Navy puts plans to buy more ships and planes on hold

The Navy’s 2018 budget request is out – and it looks like more new ships and aircraft are going to be on hold for at least a year. However, if this proposal holds up, the recent trend of short-changing training and maintenance will be reversed.


According to a report by BreakingDefense.com, the Navy will get eight ships: A Ford-class aircraft carrier (CVN 80, the new USS Enterprise), two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, a littoral combat ship (or frigate), two Virginia-class submarines, a salvage tug, and an oiler.

Aircraft procurement will include two dozen F-35B/C Lightning II multi-role fighters and 14 F/A-18E/F Hornets. Despite reducing the F-35C buy by two aircraft, the Navy still expects to be on pace to achieve initial operating capability with the carrier-based variant of the Joint Strike Fighter in 2019.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) receives fuel from the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) during a replenishment-at-sea in the western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelsey L. Adams/Released)

The big focus on the fiscal 2018 budget, though, is restoring readiness. The Navy is getting a $1.9 billion increase in a category known as “Other Procurement, Navy.” This fund is used to purchase new electronic gear, and more importantly, spare parts for the Navy’s ships and aircraft.

The biggest winner in the budget is the operations and maintenance account, which is getting a $9.1 billion boost to a total of $54.5 billion. This represents roughly a 20 percent increase, with no category getting less than 87 percent of the stated requirements. Most notable is that Navy and Marine Corps flight hours have been funded to “the maximum executable level” – breaking a cycle of shortchanging training.

A F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 conducts a touch-and-go landing on Iwo To, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. James A. Guillory)

The Navy and Marines have been hard-hit with readiness issues, particularly in terms of aviation. Last year, the Marines had to pull a number of F/A-18 Hornets out of the boneyard to have enough airframes for training. The Marines also had to carry out a safety stand-down after a series of mishaps in the summer of 2016. Even after the stand-down, the Marines lost four Hornets from Oct. 1, 2016 to Dec. 7, 2016.

“We tried to hold the line in our procurement accounts,” Rear Adm. Brian Luther, the Navy’s top budget officer, told BreakingDefense.com. He pointed out, though, that under Secretary of Defense James Mattis, “the direction was clear: fill the holes first.”

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‘The White Rose of Stalingrad’ was a female pilot who terrorized the Nazis

The actual translation of Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak’s epic nickname might be “The White Lily of Stalingrad,” depending on the language you speak. Considering the Lily’s association with death and funerals, it’s rather fitting for such an incredible pilot.


Litvyak was only 20 years old when Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. The young girl rushed to the recruiter and tried to join to be a fighter pilot. The recruiters sent her packing. In their minds, she was just a small, young girl.

In truth, she was flying solo at 15 and was an experienced pilot. A biographer estimated she trained more than 45 pilots on her own. She knew she could do this. So instead of giving up, she went to another recruiter and lied about her flying experience, by more than a hundred hours. That did the trick.

Good for Russia.

The Soviets, probably realizing that this fight was going to kill a lot of Soviet people (and it did, to the tune of 27 million), were foresighted enough to consider gender equality when it came to their military units. Where American women pilots were only allowed to transport planes, Stalin was forming three fighter regiments of all-female pilots.

Seriously though, good for Russia.

During her two years of wartime service, she racked up 12 solo kills and four shared kills over 66 combat missions.  She scored her first two kills over Stalingrad three days after her arrival in the area.

Young Lydia Litvyak flew a few missions with the all-female unit before transferring to a mixed-gender unit — over Stalingrad. It was here she earned her illustrious moniker, “The White Rose of Stalingrad.” She flew around a hail of anti-aircraft fire to engage an artillery observation balloon from the rear. She shot it down in a blaze of hydrogen-fueled mayhem — a notoriously difficult task for any pilot.

Good thing Lydia Litvyak wasn’t just any pilot.

Litvyak wasn’t finished; she later became one of two women to be crowned “first female fighter ace” as well. She wasn’t flawless — she was shot down more than once and bled more than her share over Russian soil.

But even when forced to make belly landings, she hopped right back into the closest cockpit.

She was so good, the Russian command chose her to be Okhotniki, — or  “free hunter” — a new tactic that involved two experienced pilots who were free to hunt the skies on seek and destroy missions. She terrorized German pilots all over the Eastern Front.

The Yakovlev Yak-1, a plane flown by Soviet fighters, including Lydia Litvyak.

“The White Rose of Stalingrad” was last seen being chased by eight Nazi ME-109 fighters on an escort mission south of Moscow. Her body was lost until 1989 when historians discovered the unmarked grave of a female pilot in the Russian village of Dmytrivka.

The next year, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev awarded Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak the title “Hero of the Soviet Union,” the USSR’s highest military honor.

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New online AAFES benefit for veterans is a success

The last time Forrest Cornelius, 51, shopped in a base exchange was 1989 when he completed his six-year stint in the Marine Corps. He recalls saving 10 to 15 percent on department store goods and that shoppers paid no sales tax.


Last month, Cornelius began to enjoy those advantages again as one of 12,000 or so “beta test” participants for veterans’ online exchange shopping, which will be open for millions of honorably discharged veterans on Veterans Day Nov. 11.

All veterans are being encouraged to take the same first step that Cornelius did by confirming veteran eligibility status at: https://www.vetverify.org. It might be a multi-step process if the Defense Manpower Data Center lacks information to verify that a veteran served and received an honorable discharge.

But for Cornelius it went smoothly. He also got an email inviting him to be a test participant and begin to shop immediately through four exchange service portals: Army Air Force Exchange ServiceNavy ExchangesMarine Corps stores, and Coast Guard exchanges.

U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Master Sgt. Shawn Monk

Cornelius said his email invitation was timely. He had lost his sunglasses and the replacement pair of Ray-Bans, priced at a local retail outlet near his Texas home, would cost $180. In using AAFES online to comparison shop, he found a special sale, $20 off any pair of sunglasses costing $100 or more.

“So I got that discount,” he said, “Plus it was 10 to 15 percent cheaper than retail, plus tax free, plus free shipping. I wound paying about $120 total, saving me quite a bit.”

His wife then used his benefit, shopping for undergarments that a major retailer had on sale but were out of stock in sizes and colors she wanted. AAFES had them, and she saved money too, he said. Soon they were buying sportswear for their son. Every item was shipped in a timely manner, he said, and arrived three days later.

“It was great. It was super easy. And the vetverify.org process took five minutes. I entered my full name, the last four of my Social (Security number) and it said ‘You’ve been verified.'”

By early July, 90,000 veterans had attempted to register to exchange shop online starting Nov. 11. Twelve percent of them got invitations to shop immediately. AAFES was monitoring shopping patterns to ensure its online portal and distribution system are ready for waves of new shoppers this fall, said Ana Middleton, president and chief merchandising officer for AAFES.

U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong

“My worst fear,” said Middleton, “is a tsunami on November 11th if everybody decides, ‘Hey, I’m going to check this out’ and they sign on that day” and also at the same moment.

AAFES is building website capacity to allow for 30,000 simultaneous shoppers at any given time. A lot of shoppers “would have to be signing on at that exact same millisecond to stress it out. So yes, I feel that we are sized appropriately.”

Of “beta” veterans shopping, surveys showed their top reason was the tax break. But a surprisingly close second reason, Middleton said, was an appreciation that exchanges support military quality-of-life and base support programs.

Exchange use profits to pay staff salaries, fund store operations, and ensure adequate website capacity, but even more profits are distributed to on-base Morale, Welfare, and Recreational activities, including child development centers, fitness centers, outdoor recreation, and overseas, on-base school lunches.

“Everything is just turned back to our customers,” Middleton said, and “not paying anything to any shareholders,” as retail stores must.

Besides discounts and tax breaks, AAFES online promises a price match.

“If we are not the lowest price — say you found a vacuum cleaner below our price at Wal-Mart — you can challenge our price and we will match it,” she said.

Shoppers will find prices particularly attractive on certain items like premium running shoes and children’s clothing. Profit margins on electronics are narrow everywhere, so exchange prices “are close to comparable,” Middleton said.

Exchange services aren’t sure how many veterans ultimately will shop online. AAFES will be pleased if 1 to 2 million do so, Middleton said, though “we probably don’t need that many” to declare the effort a success.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sheila deVera

In its business plan, as leading advocate for opening exchanges online to veterans, AAFES estimated that its annual sales would climb by $185 million to $525 million and earnings would increase by $18 million to $72 million, easing budget pressure on the Army and Air Force, which have had to divert more and more appropriated dollars to family support programs as on-base store sales have been hit by force drawdowns and store closures overseas.

Veterans with only Reserve or National Guard experience have asked if they too will be viewed as “veterans” for online shopping. That remains unclear. Last December, Congress did bestow honorary “veteran” status on Reserve and National Guard retirees who completed careers of drill time but had not completed an active-duty period under Title 10 to meet the legal definition of “veteran” and receive a DD-214 “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.”

Reserve retirees 60 and older do have exchange shopping privileges. But what about Reserve and Guard veterans who didn’t retire or didn’t receive a DD-214? Here’s what AAFES could tell The Lawton Constitution:

“The litmus test for access to the veterans online shopping benefit resides with each veteran’s electronic records. All honorably discharged veterans, according to official government sources such as the Defense Manpower Data Center, are considered authorized to shop military exchanges online via the veterans online shopping benefit. Veterans can confirm their eligibility by visiting VetVerify.org.”

Veterans who do shop online, Middleton said, will find products “competitively priced. Are we across the board lower than everybody? No.”

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Beta shoppers so far have focused, as expected, on “male-dominated” categories such as electronics, running shoes, and sports apparel. Baby care, children’s clothing, and cosmetics, however, also are selling briskly.

“The reality is (married couples) share in the purchase-making decisions,” Middleton said. “It’s like if I had a Costco card, and my husband didn’t — would he still want to make buying decisions with me if I came home and said, ‘Hey there’s a great price on a TV?’ Probably. But this benefit is afforded to the (veteran) military member … If your spouse is using your password we have no way of knowing.”

Merchandise selection is wider online than in base stores. The only goods veterans are barred from purchasing are military uniform items.

Exchanges are delighted to be offering the new benefit, Middleton said, particularly to so many veterans who didn’t get to enjoy it more while serving.

“The sad reality is so many of these kids went to basic (training) and then to war, so their recollection of who we are is a Coke and bag of chips in a war zone. Do they have an understanding of the breadth of products we sell?”

Soon, many more of them will.

Articles

11 steps to turning a puppy into a badass military working dog

Military working dogs are among the world’s most elite four legged warriors. Serving side by side with U.S. troops since World War II these brave animals have saved thousands of lives and earned their stripes by performing as critical military assets. But before they ever patrol a base or go on a combat mission they must meet the very high standards of military dogs.


These are 11 steps to turning a puppy into a badass military working dog:

1. Breeding  Procurement

Photo: Facebook.com/DoDMWDBreedingProgram

The Department of Defense acquires puppies from breeders overseas as well as in the United States, but many now come from DoD’s own military working dog breeding program at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas. Established in 1998, the DoD’s state of the art whelping facility has dedicated “puppy development specialists” who take care of them until they are about 8-10 weeks old.

2. Fostering Program

Photo: Facebook.com/DoDMWDBreedingProgram

If you live within two hours of Lackland and meet certain requirements you could qualify to foster a future K9 hero. The  foster program allows the dogs to have a normal puppyhood by being exposed to different environments and become socially sound.  Volunteer foster families take great pride in raising the puppies, like the one pictured above. See if you qualify to foster a puppy by clicking here.

3. Selection Evaluation

Photo: U.S. Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Mike Arellano

The dog will return to Lackland when he or she is around 7 months old and go through puppy training. In the same way civilians must be screened by military recruiters to see if they are a fit for the armed services, the puppies are evaluated to see if they display the attributes needed of military working dogs. If they don’t get selected to move on they may still qualify to be used at another agency or they will be adopted out.

4. Dog Training School

Photo: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Megan E. Acs

The few dogs selected go to Dog Training School, the military working dog boot camp. The dog trainers at DTS are experienced handlers from all military branches, and for many it’s a dream job to get assigned there. The entire mission of DTS is to train and certify dogs in the fundamentals of being an MWD. Each dog is different but typically they will be at DTS anywhere from 4 – 7 months. The head trainers will then assess the dog’s ability in detection and patrol work. Even here dogs can fail and wash out of the program. Some wash outs become training dogs for brand new handlers going through basic handlers course. The dogs who pass earn the coveted title of military working dog — but they are still not mission-ready.

5. Base assignment

Photo: Facebook.com/MilitaryWorkingDogs

Each newly-minted MWD will get orders to a kennels at a U.S. military base around the world. Normally, a MWD will work his or her entire career at one base.

6. Handler assigned

Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Clayton Lenhardt

Every kennel in the military has a kennel master in charge of all operations of the unit. Once a new MWD arrives the kennel master will assign a handler. Now the MWD has finally been partnered with their first MWD handler, and the real training begins.

7. Obedience Training

Photo: Brandon Beach

Simply because a handler and MWD are assigned to each other does not mean they can function as a team yet by any means. The dog needs to learn to trust and respect the handler, and that starts with obedience training — the foundation of all good MWD teams. Handlers give basic obedience commands followed by lots of praise, and the team starts to create trust, mutual respect, and an overall bond.

8. Patrol Training

Photo: Lance Cpl. Suzanna Lapi

MWD’s have an innate drive to pursue (and bite) bad guys. Once a dog team has established a foundation of trust, allowing the MWD to do patrol training helps strengthen that trust while also creating in the MWD a sense of protection over the handler, and it keeps the MWD’s morale high.

9. Detection Training

Photo: Chris Hartman

While a few MWD’s won’t be certified in patrol, every MWD must be certified in detection as it is the primary mission of an MWD team. A dog’s nose can detect up to 10,000 – 100,000 times better than a human’s, they just need guidance on how to properly maximize their gifted olfactory skills. While each MWD is trained to detect either explosives or narcotics by the time they graduate DTS, handlers must train with them to learn each dog’s specific behavior when they pick up a scent.

10. Train, Train, Train

Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Corey Hook

Every single day dog teams must train. Whether it’s patrol work, detection, or simple obedience they must develop an unbreakable bond in which they fully trust one another with their lives. In order for a dog team to work efficiently they must both be good, not one or the other. In the same way an infantryman must know his weapon inside and out and maintain it every single day, a handler must train, groom, and know everything about his or her MWD.  Once the kennel master feels confident the team can work effectively together, an official MWD team certification is scheduled.

11. Dog team certification

Photo: Facebook.com/MilitaryWorkingDogs

To be certified as an official MWD team and granted authority to operate as one, the kennel master puts together a real-life detection training scenario that involves all of the odors the MWD is trained to detect. The commanding officer of the unit must be present and personally witness the MWD team successfully locate every odor. Once complete, they become an official military working dog team. And any handler will tell you that handling a military working dog is not only a tremendous responsibility but also a lifetime honor.

 Now: The top 10 militaries of the word, ranked