19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand - We Are The Mighty

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

Every warfare specialty has its own language, but Naval Aviators have elevated slang to an art form. Here are a few terms that only make sense when said between brownshoes ambling about the boat:

1. “Speed of heat”

To move through the sky at a rapid clip, as in “you were going the speed of heat when you came into the break.”

2. “Full blower”

When an aircraft is at max afterburner.

3. “Bust the number”

“The number” is Mach 1.0, so busting it means going supersonic.

4. “Making ‘Vapes”

Under the right meteorological conditions, an airplane in a high-G turn can disturb the air to the degree that vapor clouds (“vapes”) form around control surfaces.

5. “Pop the boards”

To deploy the speed brakes, generally used to slow an airplane down.

6. “Three in the green”

In older model airplanes the verification of the landing gear in a “down and locked” position was a green light, so if a pilot reports “three in the green” it means he has his gear safely down.

7. “Wheels in the well”

When the landing gear is raised the wheels move into the wheel well. Aviators refer to the the act of taking off as being “wheels in the well,” as in, “we’ll shoot for being wheels in the well at 1400 local.”

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

8. “Speed jeans”

Another name for a G-suit.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

9. “Zoom bag”

Another name for a flight suit, the uniform Naval Aviators pride themselves on never, ever switching out of during a deployment.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

10. “Pull chocks”

Chocks are blocks placed around the tires to ensure an airplane doesn’t roll while parked, and they’re “pulled” when an airplane is ready to launch.  In more general terms, to “pull chocks” means to leave, as in, “All right, dudes, this place is out of beer. It’s time to pull chocks.”

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

11. “FOD”

Acronym for “foreign object debris” — stuff that can get sucked into a jet engine and do catastrophic damage to the turbine blades. More generally, when something is bad, Naval Aviators might refer to it as “FOD,” as in, “that slider I just ate at midrats was total FOD.”

12. “The Dirty Shirt”

There are two wardrooms on an aircraft carrier. Wardroom One is all the way forward on the same deck level as the squadron ready rooms and is referred to as “The Dirty Shirt” because, unlike Wardroom Two where officers have to be in the uniform of the day (usually khakis), crews can wear flight suits and/or flight deck jerseys.

13. “Clue-do”

When an airplane can’t communicate because of equipment failure it is called “nordo,” which is short for “no radio.” Clue-do is short for “no clue,” as in, “Is it just me or is the skipper totally clue-do?”

14. “Nugget”

A first-tour aviator, an unpolished hunk of material waiting to be shaped by his or her surroundings.

15. “Dash Last”

An airplane’s position within a formation is annotated by a dash number — for instance, the flight lead is dash one. Aviators refer to being at the end of something as “Dash last,” as in, “I was dash last in that 5K I ran last weekend.”

16. “Severe Clear”

Great weather conditions, not just clear of clouds but severely clear of clouds.

17. “Bug out”

The act of exiting a dog fight rapidly in order to survive to return another day.

18. “Hanging on the blades”

Flying a max endurance profile to reduce fuel consumption is often described by pilots as “hanging on the (turbine) blades,” which is a reference to setting the engine power as low as possible to stay airborne.

19. “Banging off the stops”

When a pilot moves the control stick aggressively — either by design or absence of technique — he is “banging off the stops” — “stops” being the physical limits of stick movement.


Another ship attacked off Yemen

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Galacia Spirit. (Photo: shipworld.org)

Nearly two weeks after a series of incidents involving the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87), another ship has come under attack in the Bab el Mandab. This time, the ship targeted was a Spanish-flagged liquefied natural gas tanker passing near Perim Island, which is about 8.7 miles off the coast of the coast of Yemen.

According to a report by the British news agency Reuters, the Galicia Spirit, owned by the Teekay shipping group, came under attack by a rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire from a small boat. The RPG missed the LNG tanker, which was escorted by Djibouti naval vessel. The method used in the attack is similar to that used in the October 1 attack on HSV-2 Swift that caused a fire and damaged the former U.S. Navy vessel, which was on a humanitarian mission. HSV-2 Swift was towed away from the scene of the attack, which prompted the deployment of USS Mason, USS Nitze (DDG 94), and USS Ponce (AFSB(I) 15) to the region.

The Galicia Spirit would have potentially fared a lot worse than HSV-2 Swift did. Even though it is much larger than Swift at about 95,000 gross tons to the Swift’s 955, it is usually carrying a large amount of a highly flammable and volatile cargo (137,814 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas). That would have been a huge explosion.

Yemen has been wracked by a civil war between the government lead by Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The Houthi rebels were responsible for the attacks on Swift and Mason. Nitze fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at Houthi coastal radar sites after the attacks on Mason.


4 ways to have fun with a Russian spy ship

Let’s face it, nobody likes a tattletale. This is especially true in the military. No, we’re not talking of the folks around your office that snitch on you for not dotting every I or crossing every T. We’re talking maritime tattletales, ships that cruise just off the coast, collecting intelligence. Russia has one loitering near our eastern coast last year, according to Fox News. This ship has been around before and it’s back to its same old tricks.

Sick of it? We are, too. These are our suggestions for how the United States can have a little fun with this tattletale.

4. Buzz ’em.

The Russians have been buzzing American planes and ships for a while. I’m sure there are some Navy aviators dying to dish out some payback. It just so happens that cruising just off the East Coast makes for a very convenient opportunity. Furthermore, why does it just have to be just one buzzing? A P-3 Orion here, a couple of F/A-18E/Fs there — maybe get the F-35C Lightning or P-8 Poseidon in on the action as well. The Russians have run up quite a tab, and it’s time they started paying.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
A F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 25 flies supersonic over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during an air power demonstration. Maybe it’s time to do this in close proximity to a Russian tattletale. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin Stevens)

3. Follow it around.

Have an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, littoral combat ship, or a Coast Guard cutter just follow the tattletale around. This sort of stuff will undoubtedly make it harder for the tattletale to get what it came for.

2. Give it a little nudge.

The Russians did this to a pair of American ships, the USS Yorktown and the USS Caron, in 1988. It might not be a bad idea to get a little payback for this… with thirty years’ interest, of course.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
The destroyer USS Caron is struck by the bows of a Soviet Mirka II class light frigate as the American vessel exercises the right of free passage through the Soviet-claimed 12-mile territorial waters. There’s been about 30 years of interest piling up for this. (U.S. Navy photo)

1. Board them.

Since this Russian ship is hanging around some American ports, the U.S. Coast Guard can get in on the fun. It wouldn’t be too hard for some enterprising CO to come up with an excuse — we mean probable cause, of course — to board and search the tattletale. Maybe they’re responding to an anonymous tip that there are drugs on board. Or perhaps it’s overdue for a safety inspection. If the CO of the Russian ship mouths off to the Coasties, we’re in for some good times. After all, they can’t be given a pass for contempt of Coast Guard, can they?

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
The Coast Guard could help the United States have some fun by having with a boarding party, like the one pictured here during a drill on USS Tarawa. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers)

So, how would you like to have some nice, non-lethal fun with this Russian tattletale?


The nation’s only military film festival just announced this year’s lineup

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Crowd outside of last year’s GI FIlm Festival outside of Washington DC. (GIFF.com)

The GI Film Festival just announced its complete lineup for the 10th annual event, running May 21 – 29, 2016 in Washington, D.C. and Fairfax, VA.

“This is the most power-packed and diverse lineup of movies we have featured over our ten-year history,” says GI Film Festival President Brandon Millett. “This festival will confront every challenge facing our nation’s military veterans and their families, showcasing some of the most incredible stories of heroism you have ever seen. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat, covering your eyes. Come to GIFF X and you’ll experience every single conceivable human emotion. It will be unforgettable.”

Hailed by Bloomberg News as “Sundance for the Troops,” the GI Film Festival’s mission is to preserve the stories of military veterans through film, television and dynamic live special events. Since 2007, the GIFF has spearheaded the lead-up to Memorial Day in our nation’s capital by offering the country’s most expansive view of military themes on film. Including, for the first time this year, on Sunday night May 22, a special event honoring women in the military including a short film showcase and panel discussion.

Kicking off this year’s 10th -anniversary festival will be world-renowned actor Gary Sinise, a supporter of GIFF since year one. Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band will play a concert featuring favorite cover tunes at the Howard Theater on Saturday, May 21.

“The GI Film Festival has become the ‘go-to’ place for military-themed movies,” Sinese said. “Anyone and everyone with a military-themed film will end up at the GI Film Festival, or at least trying to get in.”

Also highlighting the festival will be a 30th -anniversary screening of the military classic “Top Gun,” with a scheduled appearance from actor Val Kilmer, on Wednesday, May 25 at Angelika Film Center in Fairfax, VA, followed by an 80’s after party.

On Thursday, May 26, GIFF will host an advance screening of the new film X:MEN: Apocalypse, for Wounded Warriors, including a special message from Director Bryan Singer.

Friday night, May 27, will see the world premiere of the zombie action comedy Range 15, starring William Shatner, Sean Astin, and Danny Trejo, followed by an after party. This year’s nine-day program boasts a dynamic lineup of 75-plus films.

In addition, GIFF will offer interactive QAs with filmmakers and on-screen talent, embassy soirees, live music, stand-up comedy, star-studded red carpets, and awards ceremonies, all honoring and lending a voice to the veteran community.

Watch the GIFF trailer:


For the full 2016 festival and events schedule, please visit: www.gifilmfestival.com.


This is what a Mk 38 Bushmaster can do to an Iranian speedboat

You’ve probably followed the reports of how Iranian speedboats have harassed U.S. Navy vessels. Frustrating, aren’t they? Well, think about it this way… we’ve been “showing restraint.”

The thing is, those speedboats are not really Iranian Navy. Instead, they belong to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy. These speedboats, which are often equipped with heavy machine guns, rockets, and other weapons, got a reputation for attacking merchant traffic in the Iran-Iraq War. Back then, they were called “Boghammars” after the Swedish company that built the first boats used by the Iranians.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

Today, their primary threat to an American warship could be as a suicide craft. That said, American ships have options to address these craft. Two of the most prominent are the Mk 38 Mod 2 Bushmaster and the M2 heavy machine gun. The M2 is a legend. It’s been used on everything from tanks to aircraft to ships, and against just about every target you can imagine.

Now, the Mk 38 Mod 2 Bushmaster is not as well-known. That said, it’s been in quite common use. It got its start on the M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, where the Army calls it the M242.

It needs a lot of luck to kill a tank, but it can bust up other infantry fighting vehicles, trucks, groups of infantry, even helicopters and aircraft. The Bushmaster made its way to the Marine Corps LAV-25.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
A Task Force Liberty Soldier from 3rd Infantry Division stands guard in an M3A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle near an Iraqi police checkpoint in Tikrit, Iraq. The Bradley main armament is the M242 25mm (Bushmaster) Chain Gun. The standard rate of fire is 200 rounds per minute, and has a range of 2,000 meters making it capable of defeating the majority of armored including some main battle tanks. (DOD photo)

The Navy put the Bushmaster on ships, and it comprises the main armament of the Cyclone-class patrol craft. Each Cyclone has two of these guns, one of which is paired with a Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher. The guns are also used on other surface combatants as well. The guns can do a lot of damage.

You can see the Mk 38 and the M2 go to work on a speedboat in the video below. One almost an imagine that the Iranian speedboat crews may be asking themselves the question that Harry Callahan told a bank robber to ask himself: “Do I feel lucky?”

Well, do they?


DARPA created a completely new way for helicopters to land

DARPA has been hard at work on the Mission Adaptive Rotor program, a system allowing helicopters to land on sloping, uneven, craggy, or moving surfaces by lowering robotic legs that bend to accommodate the terrain.

While helicopters can already land in plenty of locations other aircraft can’t, there are still a lot of places where landing is tricky or impossible because of the terrain.

The system worked successfully in a recent flight demonstration, but engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology will continue working on it. Beyond allowing for easier and safer takeoffs and landings, the gear is expected to reduce the damages from a hard landing by as much as 80 percent, according to a DARPA press release.

To see the system in action, check out the video below:


NOW: That time the US Army stole a Russian helicopter for the CIA


This Iraq War vet counters Trump’s claim that soldiers stole millions

(Editor’s note: We Are The Mighty has no political affiliation. This post is presented solely because of the veteran response in this case.)

Iraq War vet and music journalist Corbin Reiff didn’t take too kindly to Donald Trump’s comments on the campaign trail recently that insinuated that U.S. soldiers stole the money they were supposed to give out for Iraqi reconstruction projects. Reiff took to Twitter with the following burst of tweets, 140 characters per:


The Air Force scored the world’s only supersonic air-to-air gun kill in Vietnam

The air-to-air missiles of the F-4 Phantom II were notoriously unreliable in the skies over Vietnam. If the Phantom a pilot was flying was an early model and those missiles failed them in a dogfight, it was time to hightail it out of the sky. 

Luckily for Col. Phil “Hands” Handley, he was flying a U.S. Air Force F-4E on June 2, 1972, when he and his wingman were surprised by two enemy MiG-19 fighters. That day, Handley would score the highest-speed air-to-air gun kill ever, breaking the speed of sound to do it. 

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

Handley and three other F-4E Phantoms were flying out of Ubon Air Base in Thailand in support of a search and rescue mission near Hanoi. The Americans were looking for a pilot who was shot down 23 days prior. 

Low on fuel, two of the F-4Es departed to rendezvous with an aerial tanker. Handley and his wingman kept flying the mission. The two were taken by surprise when two North Vietnamese MiG-19s appeared out of nowhere.  

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Booooooooo (screen capture from YouTube)

Neither pilot wanted to leave the other, but Handley’s wingman immediately went high. Turning hard into the pursuing enemy fighter planes, Handley turned on his afterburners and turned again, this time to the rear of the enemies. He made ready to fire his missiles. 

Handley’s F-4E Phantom was carrying a total of four missiles. Two of them were AIM-4 heat-seeking missiles and two were AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. This didn’t bode well for the pilot or his wingman, because the AIM-7 Sparrow had a 10% probability of killing the target. The AIM-4 was much worse, with only a 5% probability of killing the target. 

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

That huge gap between killing and failure was on full display when Handley fired his missiles. All either flew wide, flew up, dropped to the ground or didn’t leave the rail at all. Undoubtedly, there was no one more disappointed by this than Handley, except for maybe his wingman, who had two MiG-19s bearing down on him. 

With his wingman critically low on fuel over “Thud Ridge” and unable to engage the enemy, his only chance was Handley’s 20mm cannon. It was a shot that had never been done before.

Closing in rapidly, which is an understatement considering Handley was flying at Mach 1.2, he fired a high deflection shot, a three-second burst from the plane’s M-61 Gatling gun into a MiG’s flight path. 

300 rounds from the Phantom lit up the MiG-19, which exploded into a flying ball of fire. Handley’s own speed and flight path put a lot of distance from the remaining enemy fighter, which broke off its attack. His wingman met his date with the tanker and they all returned to Ubon Air Base. 

It was the first time a pilot used his cannon at supersonic speed to down an enemy fighter. As if breaking a combat record wasn’t great enough, when the F-4E pilots returned to base, they learned the pilot they were searching for had been found and rescued. 

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Handley, 2016 (U.S. Air Force)

“Hands” Handley would be in the United States Air Force for 26 years, retiring in 1984, still holding the record for the highest-speed guns kill in aviation combat history and the only supersonic guns kill ever made. To this day, he still holds that record.

Feature image: U.S. Air Force


There was lots of buzz at Sundance for this dramatic slave story

Nate Parker’s film The Birth of a Nation won Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury and Audience prizes for a drama, just days after the production company signed a record $17.5 million distribution deal with Fox Searchlight. The film is about what happens to a former slave after he leads a liberation movement to free other slaves.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

The movie is based on actual events, and the uprising did not end well for the slaves or Nat Turner, the man who led it.

Turner was a slave from Southampton County, Virginia. He could read and write, which was unusual for slaves.  He was also deeply religious, devoted to fasting and prayer.

Turner would have visions that guided him through his life. He conducted Baptist church services and was dubbed “The Prophet” by his fellow slaves. While working in his owner’s fields one day, Turner heard “a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first.”

In 1830, a man named Joseph Travis purchased Turner. It was while under Travis’ ownership Turner would make his move. The next year, an atmospheric disturbance made the sun appear bluish-green in Virginia. Turner took this as a sign, and prepared to start his rebellion.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

On August 22, 1831, thirty years before the Civil War, Turner and an inner circle of trusted slaves gathered. They killed the Travis family as they slept, then went house-to-house freeing slaves and killing white people. His number soon grew to over 40 slaves, most on horseback.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

Sixty whites were killed before Turner’s rebellion was put down. Even then, it took twice the number of men in the responding Federal and Virginia militias, along with three artillery companies to defeat the uprising. His rebellion crushed, Turner hid around the Travis farm until his capture on October 30. He was quickly tried, convicted, hanged, and skinned.

Retaliatory attacks from white mobs killed 200 more slave and free black men, women, and children. The state legislature of Virginia considered abolishing slavery, but decided instead to keep it and its repressive policy against all black people in the state, especially enforced illiteracy among slaves.

The Turner Rebellion is one of the defining events in the lead up to the American Civil War, on par with John Brown’s raid on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry.


‘Not just a box’ — 9 unclaimed veterans to be laid to rest

Nine unclaimed veterans and two spouses will be laid to rest Friday in Iowa, thanks to the tireless efforts of a woman who treats every urn as if it contains the remains of her own family. 

Funeral director Lanae Strovers has been working on the upcoming ceremony for more than two years, but her passion and reputation for honoring veterans goes back much further in her career at Hamilton’s Funeral Home

Having been put on bed rest for three months because of surgery, Strovers was looking for a way to keep busy when she discovered Hamilton’s had about 300 urns sitting in storage. She made it her mission to follow up with families to see whether they could claim the urns or still needed them stored.

After the arduous process of tracking down relatives or guardians for all the urns, Strover said the funeral home ended up with the remains of three unclaimed veterans and organized a service for them.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Law enforcement in attendance at the 2018 ceremony for unclaimed veterans at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Hamilton’s Funeral Home.

“Since then, people are aware that Hamilton’s makes sure veterans get buried whether they have family or not,” Strovers said. “Local law enforcement has turned in urns, and storage unit owners have turned some in to us, which is an amazing thing because they know that we will hold the ceremony when it’s necessary.”

Strovers was adopted as a child and only recently learned anything about her biological family. Her background made her look at unclaimed remains differently.

“I felt that every person was a possible brother, dad, grandfather, uncle, or family member to me,” she said. “It’s not just a box with cremated remains in it. It’s someone’s family member. For whatever reason, they got separated — that’s not our place to judge those stories at all, but to be respectful that it’s someone’s loved one.”

One of the veterans to be honored Friday is Robert Glen Baumgardner, who served in the Army during the Korean War. He died in 2000. Burglars stole his urn from his sister’s house in 2020 after she died. Police later discovered it in the middle of an intersection and took it to the funeral home.

World War II Army veteran Calvin Dean Sours died in May 2012 at age 93. His urn was later found in the office of an administrator who had failed to bury him.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Funeral director Lanae Strovers, left, watches as Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds receives a flag on behalf of an unclaimed veteran at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in 2018. Photo courtesy of Hamilton’s Funeral Home.

Knowing that a person’s remains could be forgotten on a shelf doesn’t sit right with Strovers. While the ultimate goal is reuniting remains with the person’s family, giving the person a proper send-off is the next best option.

Friday’s ceremony – the third Strovers has organized – will begin with a 12:30 p.m. service at Hamilton’s in West Des Moines, Iowa. Law enforcement personnel, Patriot Guard Riders, and Iowa combat veterans will lead a procession to the Iowa Veterans Cemetery, where Iowa-based country singer Cody Hicks will perform the national anthem. Military honors will be rendered, and local representatives and notable community members will receive the flags on behalf of each veteran.

Rich Shipley, assistant state captain of the Iowa Patriot Guard Riders and a Marine Corps veteran, said the riders would be there to ensure the veterans would be “laid to rest with as many brothers present as possible.”

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Nine unclaimed veterans and two spouses will be laid to rest Friday, June 18, 2021, at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery. Photos courtesy of Hamilton’s Funeral Home.

“Our nation’s heroes should never be unclaimed, discarded, or interred with no family present,” Shipley wrote in an email to Coffee or Die Magazine.

“It’s really a great community event where tons of people come together to honor these veterans,” Strovers said. She strongly encourages the public to attend, especially families with children.

“To teach those kids respect for people who served our country is huge,” Strovers said. “And just to see so many people coming to pay respects to people they never knew simply because they served our country is a pretty amazing thing.”

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

Feature image: US Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Jennifer D. Atkinson, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs.


7 startling facts about the US military after 20 years of war

With the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan either drawing down or seeing the United States take a non-combat role, many are looking back to see how the Armed Forces have changed since the days following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. 

The most revealing data visualization so far has come from USA Today, who created a stunning set of graphs and visuals using 20 years of data from places like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Costs of War Project, the Watson Institute, Brown University and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

What it shows is the unbelievable growth of the U.S. military’s global reach and an incredible amount of military spending. Here are just a few revelations. 

1. The U.S. might have 800 military bases around the world

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Heather Stanton)

The main visual on USA Today’s in-depth chart shows the growth of the United States’ military bases worldwide, and shows the order in which they opened since the end of the Cold War. In 85 of those countries, the U.S. has conducted counterterrorism operations.

What’s more stunning is that combing through endless Pentagon documents, researchers were able to list an astonishing 800 current U.S. military bases overseas, says American University’s David Vine. 

2. In 2021, U.S. troops saw combat in eight countries

It’s not unusual to see stories and reports from the front lines of fighting in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, but USA Today reports that in February 2021, American combat forces were in action in eight total countries that month, far more than the media often report. 

It may come as a surprise to many that US troops were also actively engaged in combat in Mali, NIgeria, Somalia, Kenya and Yemen. The United States was also conducting drone or air strikes in Libya and Pakistan while conducting counterterrorism operations with unknown details across Africa, South America and Central and Southeast Asia.

3. Our main geopolitical rival has only one overseas base

The Pentagon says China is building up bases in Pakistan and the Pacific Rim region, which should come as no surprise, given its controversial territorial claims in the South China Sea, but it only has one confirmed foreign military installation – in Djibouti, where the U.S. also operates a military base. 

United States forces are not only also in Djibouti, they are also stationed at bases in the eight countries surrounding Djibouti, which may help check the expansion of Chinese influence in Africa – or not. 

4. The human cost of decades of war is high

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
U.S. Army

In the 20 years following the September 11 attacks and the resulting Global War On Terrorism, civilians in the affected countries have borne the brunt of the death toll. More than 335,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting. 

If we’re keeping score by body count between the belligerents, the terrorists and other extremists have fared the second worst, with more than 259,000 killed. National militaries like those of Iraq and Afghanistan came in third with 177,073 while U.S. Allies have lost 12,468. The United States has seen 7,950 American contractors and 7,104 troops killed in action. 

5. The Global War on Terror cost more than $6 trillion

Wars are expensive and the Global War on Terrorism is no different (it’s not over, by the way). The Department of Defense alone has spent some $1.9 trillion to fight it. The Department of Homeland Security has spent at least $1 trillion, the DoD budget has grown by $803 billion in the past 20 years and the cost of taking care of American veterans is running $437 billion.

What’s really staggering is that the second largest expenditure is the estimated interest spent on borrowing the money to pay for the war, which is currently costing the U.S. taxpayer $925 billion.

6. Global warfare is changing

Despite the advances in battlefield technology and American supremacy due to fighting the war on terror, everything we’ve learned may all be for naught. The newest battlegrounds are not in physical locations, they’re in cyberspace, and the U.S. is taking the brunt of those attacks. 

Since 2005, China has targeted American government networks, public networks, and private companies 67 times. Russian and Iran have attacked the US 28 times each and North Korea has targeted U.S. networks 12 times. When extremists attack the United States, the Department of Homeland Security says the source of those attacks are domestic terrorists.

7. The U.S. outspends everyone on defense – by a lot

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes)

The budget allotted to the Department of Defense is $731.8 billion, which far outpaces the next 10 countries’ defense budgets. In fact they would all have to band together to spend an equivalent amount to rival U.S. defense spending. 

China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and Brazil together spend as much as the Pentagon every year, just for regular planned operations and development. This spending doesn’t always even account for extra spending allotted by Congress for other, related programs, the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Feature image: U.S. Army


The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Memes, memes, memes! Glorious memes! Well, funny memes. Not sure they’re glorious, but they’re worth laughing at.

1. If you’re not sure there’s PT, your first-line leader failed you.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
But if there is PT and you don’t show up, it will still be your first-line destroying you.

2. Army logic (via Team Non-Rec).

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Duh, that’s why they wear reflective belts that can only be seen by friendly forces. Wait. They can only be seen by friendly forces, right?

SEE ALSO: Me as ‘vibe coordinator’ and other stories from military transition hell

3. Projecting American force across the gazebo(via Sh*t My LPO Says).

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Keeping the quad safe for barbecues.

4. Good job, airman. Good damn job.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

5. The struggle is real.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand

6. Crew chief is mad about cleaning all the glass (via Military Memes and Humor).

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
He should be careful sticking his hand out like that. Devil Dogs bite.

7. Chaos 6 was knife-handing before he saw his first knife (via Marine Corps Memes).

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
He considered his movement from the womb to the hospital room to be his first amphibious landing.

8. If you wanted to look impressive in PTs, you should’ve joined the Marine Corps (via Coast Guard Memes).

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
If you wanted to look sexy on a moped, you were out of luck in the first place.

9. Yeah. Your last unit did everything differently (via Coast Guard Memes).

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Luckily, we don’t care about your last unit

10. See? The Air Force does get dirty.

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
They only got dirty because they thought it was a mud spa, but they did get dirty.

11. Yeah, yeah, yeah. “Army strong. Har. Har.”

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Really though. It is kind of embarrassing. They could at least make him wear a girdle or something.

 12. The Navy defends their bases with whirling metal blades of death (via Sh*t My LPO Says).

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
They’re defending the base against tall grass, but they’re still defending it.

13. Thought you’d make it out without one more NJP? (via Marine Corps Memes)

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Too bad.

NOW: The 8 most iconic Marine Corps recruiting slogans

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


5 side hustles that make real dollars and sense for military families

According to the 2019 Blue Star Family survey, “financial issues” is a top stressor related to time in the military. More specifically, 44% of service members and 49% of military spouses identify it as the no. 1 cause of anxiety (service members also indicated “relocation stress” at 44% to tie for the top position). The survey provides additional insight into what is driving this issue. 

The unemployment rate of military spouses in 2019 was 24%.  Common sense dictates that this percentage may be higher now due to the pandemic. For 48% of military spouses, unemployment or under-employment is another top concern.  According to a financial survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 54% of active service members and 48% of military spouses/partners said they had worked in the gig economy to supplement their income. Key reasons cited for turning to the gig economy include difficulties securing and holding positions in the private sector and limited employment opportunities in the vicinity of most military communities. 

Gig economy employment is also popular because it offers a degree of flexibility that fits with the military lifestyle. However, not all gig jobs are created equal – especially when it comes to potential earnings. According to a recent article, a common side hustle, driving for Uber or Lyft, is not all it’s cracked up to be. On average, drivers earn between $8.55 and $11.77 per hour after expenses. Other studies contend the hourly rate is much less and place rideshare driving with these two services in the same category as the lowest-paid workers in America – fast food employees.

The good news is that there are gig economy jobs that offer the real opportunity to earn much more. Below are 5 side hustles to consider when looking for ways to generate extra income.

CitizenShipper – Transport – Motorcycles, Pets, Boats, Cars

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

To cash in on this side hustle, all one needs is a valid driver’s license, vehicle insurance, a motor vehicle and some drive – literally. CitizenShipper is where people with something to ship connect online with individuals willing to transport it – usually across states or across country – for a fee. 

Drivers who utilize the CitizenShipper platform earn an average of $22 an hour. And the hourly earnings only go up from there. The top 10% CitizenShipper drivers earn $42 an hour, the top 25% make $35 an hour. Items that are typically listed for shipment on the website include pets, motorcycles, boats and cars.

How it works:
Potential drivers register to list their services on the CitizenShipper platform. A standard background check is performed. Each potential transporter creates a profile designed to highlight strengths and any special qualifications. Drivers select the type of deliveries and distances they are interested in. When a shipment is listed that matches a driver’s inputs, the driver is invited to bid on the shipment. If the driver decides to bid and is selected by the shipper, the two work together to confirm all details of the trip and arrange direct payment.

Drivers can “try out” the CitizenShipper marketplace for free for 3 months to make sure it’s a side hustle that makes sense for them. After that, a nominal monthly subscription fee is charged.

Who this side hustle works for:
Anyone who can legally drive is a good match with CitizenShipper and it’s an even better fit for hustlers who want to make a lump sum of money on one job rather than smaller amounts on several gigs. CitizenShipper shipments are typically distance transports, over 250 miles. Military service members and their spouses find this side job appealing because deliveries can be worked into trips they were going to take anyway – like vacations or to visit family and friends. It’s especially lucrative if the journey there and back is utilized to deliver multiple shipments.

CitizenShipper makes sense for part-time and sometimes side hustlers. There is a growing number of full-time transporters who kick-started small transportation businesses with the assistance of CitizenShipper and continue to use the platform as their primary sales pipeline.

Gig support:
CitizenShipper has a free, robust driver support program designed to accelerate new driver success by winning bids quickly. Webinars, 1:1 coaching calls and sales support materials are available at no cost. A peer-review system on the platform displays ratings and feedback, delivering a powerful driver promotion tool.

Upwork – Skilled work – professional services

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This online work marketplace is especially attractive to the 77% of employed military spouses who have endured at least one instance of underemployment. It offers individuals who possess professional skills with the ability to connect with thousands of companies seeking remote freelance workers. All that is needed is a computer and reliable internet connection. 

Categories of gigs that are most often available include IT and development, design and creative, sales and marketing, writing and translation, administration and customer support and finance and accounting. The types of companies that post jobs on Upwork range from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups. Compensation is based on the level of skill and expertise the freelancer brings to the table ($15-$20 hourly beginner, $20-$40 intermediate, +$40 hourly expert). 

How it works:
Prospective freelancers submit a profile application on Upwork. Information gathered on the application focuses on skills and what level of expertise the freelancer possesses. Once the application is approved (only reason for decline is skills not being a good match for type of work available on platform) the freelancer can begin searching and applying for gigs. Employers select candidates to interview and determine whom to hire. Jobs are paid by the hour or at a fixed-rate project rate.  Upwork secures the payment for the freelancer and deposits the funds, once approved by the employer, in a provided bank account or other third-party service such as PayPal. Upwork keeps a sliding percentage (between 5% and 20%) from the freelancer’s deposit based on the amount billed to the client. 

Who this side hustle works for:
Individuals who possess a particular skill listed in the platform’s most in-demand categories.

Because military bases are often in areas that do not offer a lot of opportunities to apply professional and creative skills, Upwork is a great way for anyone to continue pursuing career advancement remotely. Most gigs on Upwork do require some commitment to a number of “set” hours – determined by the employer and the freelancer. In many cases, freelancers are eventually hired by employers as full-time employees with the benefit of remaining remote.

Gig support:
Upwork’s platform includes numerous resources and tools to help freelancers develop and fine-tune their profiles to attract interviews and land jobs. Dashboards on the platform collect information on each freelancer over time, which, if positive, elevates a freelancer’s profile, resulting in more opportunities and gig choices.

Task Rabbit – Errands and Handyperson

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Image by Joseph Ken from Pixabay

Running errands, assembling furniture, waiting in line, heavy lifting, hanging curtains, cleaning, organizing or providing general handyman services. These are just a few of the odd jobs and errands people look to Task Rabbit for to find and pay skilled “taskers” willing to get the deed done. It’s a convenient platform that people use to increase personal productivity by offloading projects which create a consistent source of good-paying gigs for side hustlers. On average, hourly rates range between $18 and $36, but depending on the service rendered it can be considerably more. 

How it works:
The first step toward becoming a tasker is to create an account on the platform and then download the Tasker app to register – there are some general requirements, but none that are out of the ordinary. A future tasker then builds a profile detailing the services he or she offers and includes when and where those services are available. After confirming a registrant’s identity and any verifications required, a $25 non-refundable, one-time registration fee is charged by Task Rabbit. Next, a new tasker sets a schedule and service area and is ready to begin receiving client invitations. Task Rabbit pays taskers through direct deposit into a valid checking account. A service fee of 15% of the total amount is retained by Task Rabbit on each project.

Who this side hustle works for:
This side hustle is for anyone who doesn’t mind doing the things other people don’t want to do.  While some tasks require experience, many do not, making this an ideal way to earn extra income without becoming overly invested in one gig. Tasks are generally finished in a few hours, leaving time open to still enjoy the day or move on to another booked job.

Gig support:
The Task Rabbit platform does support a tasker review and feedback forum that helps individuals highlight their successful projects and establish credibility.

GreenPal – Lawn Services

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

This service platform bills itself as “Uber” for lawn care. Many individuals using GreenPal to find lawn service jobs are part-timers. It is especially popular among firemen, teachers and college students and the built-in flexibility makes it compatible for military service members and their spouses. Hourly rates can average $55, but keep in mind there is an investment in equipment and seasonal limits. 

How it works:
There are no fees or charges to apply to be a GreenPal provider. If approved, the provider develops a profile on the platform and begins to receive job leads to bid on from GreenPal. All bids are forwarded to clients with matching criteria. The client selects a provider and confirms the terms of the job. After completing a job, the provider takes and uploads a picture of the end-product. Payment is handled through Stripe – an account must be set up when registering.  For each job, GreenPal retains 5% of the total project cost and Stripe receives a $2.95 processing fee. 

Who this side hustle works for:
The physical nature of the work may not make it ideal for everyone, but for those who don’t mind a little extra exertion, the pay-off can be substantial. While many providers on GreenPal do a job every now and then, many start securing regular clients and develop a nice side business during the process. 

Gig support:
GreenPal offers all vendors a free Business Guide that helps new providers get started from a variety of perspectives – including technical tips, marketing suggestions and maximizing platform utilization. The guide also offers guidance for existing providers on how to grow their business and increase profitability. Like many other sites already mentioned, GreenPal has a provider review tool that rewards jobs well done with customer visibility.

User Interviews – Sharing Opinions

19 Terms Only Naval Aviators Will Understand
Image by Claudio_Scott from Pixabay

Everyone has an opinion. User Interviews pays participants to share them. Opinions are valuable to businesses that use this platform to evaluate certain products, processes or services. Each of these studies is conducted either online (webcam required), over the phone or in person. On average, study participants earn $50 an hour in cash or mainstream cash card equivalencies.

How it works:
Interested individuals first create a profile on the User Interview site. Once the profile is approved, potential participants can begin searching upcoming studies that interest him or her. To qualify for a study, the participant fills out a screener survey. If selected, the interviewer confirms the session time, participates and receives payment – either in cash or gift card equivalencies – through distribution channels set-up by User Interview. Gift cards commonly used for payment include Amazon and Visa. The individual being interviewed always knows the method of payment prior to filling out the survey used to qualify for a study. The interviewer is not subject to any charges or fees from either the company hiring him or her or User Interviewer.

Who this side hustle works for:
Everyone who has an opinion and anyone who does not get hung up on alternative forms of payment for a side gig. Here is why it may not matter. Disciplined side hustlers can often use the gift cards for normal day-to-day expenses – such as groceries – and stash the cash that would have been used for the purchase into a side gig deposit account. It’s a tiny bit more work that can really pay off over time. This side hustle is also attractive to individuals who only have small periods of time available for an extra income effort.

Gig support:
The nature of this side hustle makes it unnecessary for much user support other than how to best use the platform to find and apply to studies. That information is detailed well on the site. There are a few other tips that show up periodically to help make the potential participant more attractive to interviewers. 

Like all things, side hustles do have pros and cons. Of course, the main benefit is the ability to make extra money on your time and on your terms. Finding the work is often the most challenging part of the equation and that is why utilizing the sites mentioned above as a business generation tool provides a huge advantage. The work is teed up for side gig workers to pursue. In exchange, most sites charge a subscription fee or retains a percentage of the earnings, but most individuals find the costs reasonable when compared to the benefits they deliver. Also noteworthy is the fact that side hustlers are generally not full-time employees, they are independent contractors. Consequently, individuals will be responsible for paying taxes so it is imperative to reserve earnings to cover what will be owed to Uncle Sam.

The key to side hustle success lies in being realistic about what to expect and making sure the exchange of time and energy is worth the effort. The good news is that technology has transformed the once-limited side job industry into a large, varied and marketplace that offers good paying opportunities for just about everyone – including military members and their spouses. 

Julie Bina is a freelance writer who covers a wide range of topics and industries. Bina is especially interested in exploring the opportunities and challenges presented by the gig economy and the impacts it produces in the lives of its participants.

Featured image by Jon Kline from Pixabay

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