The hater's guide to the US Army - We Are The Mighty
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The hater’s guide to the US Army

This is the third in a series about how branches of the military hate on each other. We’ll feature all branches of the U.S. military, written by veterans of that branch being brutally honest with themselves and their services.


The military is like a family that gets together and holds backyard wrestling tournaments every once in a while. They’re violent, they protect one another from outsiders, and are ridiculously mean to each other.

We’ve already shown how the other branches make fun of the Air Force and the Marine Corps. Here’s how the other branches hate on the Army (and how they should).

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Photo: US Army

The easiest ways to make fun of the Army

Like the Marine Corps, the Army gets called ‘dumb’ a lot. Since they gave out a lot of waivers for the military entrance test in the early 2000s, this isn’t without merit. Also, soldiers try to defend themselves by pointing out all the tough Army jobs that require a surprising amount of intellect such as Special Forces or Satellite Communications Operator. Coming from most soldiers, this is kind of like a mailroom employee pointing out how smart the computer engineers at Google are.

The hater’s guide to the US Army

Soldiers also get ridiculed for the admittedly useless uniform they wore for most of the Global War on Terror. All sorts of reasons were given for why it was secretly brilliant, but two other camouflage patterns outperformed the ACU in the Army’s own tests before it was fielded. Since the Marine Corps had just gotten their own sweet digital camouflage before the ACU was fielded, there were a lot of (quite possibly true) accusations of copy-catting.

Body fat is another area the Army takes a lot of flak. Even though their body fat standards are actually in line with the other services, photos like the one below and an Army motto of “Army Strong” just made the jokes too easy.

The hater’s guide to the US Army

Speaking of which, quite a few Army slogans have been duds with service members. “Army of One” worked for recruiting the video game generation, but it supported a lone warrior ideal that is the opposite of how the Army fights. “Be All You Can Be,” was extremely successful and ran for twenty years, but like “Army Strong” it’s perfect for memes with fat soldiers.

Why to actually hate the Army

As the largest ground force in the U.S., the Army has a lot of control over what gear and weapons go to both soldiers and, in a few cases, the Marines. When they choose correctly, all troops from all the branches usually end up with better gear for patrols like these weapon sights that let shooters see enemies through smoke and dust.

When they choose incorrectly, they spend $1.5 billion just to shut down a failed program, like they did with the Future Combat System. This was not a one-time thing.

This power to choose what ground combatants wear comes from the fact that the Army is the largest branch and by doctrine is the one in charge of taking and occupying enemy territory. But soldiers get really prima donna about this, making jokes any time airmen screw up on a rifle range or Marines get a vehicle stuck. “Not used to using a rifle, airman? It’d be easier if you were kicking back on the beach, right Marine?”

The hater’s guide to the US Army

This is stupid since soldiers screw this stuff up too. Regularly. And when they crash a truck in the mountains or desert, they can’t even use the excuse that their equipment was primarily designed for fighting amphibious battles.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Yeah, soldiers did this while in their own vehicles, driving around their own base, operating near their own defenses.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Above: Not an airman’s fault.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Zero Marines in this picture.

Also, the Army makes really bold statements about how they’re “more tech-savvy than you,” which feels a bit arrogant and misguided coming from an institution whose public-facing website got hacked a few months ago because they didn’t use https. They also risked the exposure of thousands of Army families’ personal information with a faulty system in paying for childcare.

Why to love them

The hater’s guide to the US Army

Besides the fact that they began defending America the year before America existed? Or that they marched across Nazi-occupied Europe? Well, there’s the fact that American soldiers served more troop years in Iraq and Afghanistan than all the other services combined. Or, you could love them because their most elite soldiers, Delta Force, just liberated 70 ISIS hostages in a daring raid.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Photo: US Army

Then there’s the fact that they operate not only on the ground, but also in the water, the air, and space. Army Airborne units provide contingency response forces for both the European/African theaters and the entire world. That’s before you count the Army Rangers who can break into an enemy country and topple its land forces in hours or days of fierce fighting with little rest.

When it’s time to fight more subtle conflicts, Green Berets can slip into foreign countries and begin training up friendly militias and armies, safeguarding American interests while limiting risk.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon, The National Guard

The Army is also boss at disaster and humanitarian relief. They supported rescue and rebuilding efforts in Haiti, Nepal, and Japan. When the mission is closer to home, troops deploy as well. In just 2015, they’ve helped rebuild after hurricanes in South Carolina, rescue Texans from floodwaters, and fight forest fires in California.

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The US is ‘ready to confront’ China in the Pacific with the world’s most lethal combat plane

Adm. Harry Harris, the head of the US Pacific Command, told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday that the US was “ready to confront” China should it continue its aggressive course in the South China Sea.


China has spent years building artificial islands to bolster its territorial claims in the South China Sea, a resource-rich area through which about $5 trillion in shipping flows each year.

Also read: What the US should have built instead of the F-35, according to a former Navy Commander

The Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative has recently observed, via satellite imagery, China placing radar outposts and weapons, including antiaircraft and antimissile systems, on the islands in international waters.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Adm. Harry Harris Jr., the head of US Pacific Command. US Navy

In the past, China has unilaterally declared “no sail” and “no-fly zones” in the region, despite a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague that its claims to the South China Sea, based on old maps, lacked merit.

China flouting international law has strained relations with the US.

Those ties took another big hit when President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades of US foreign-policy tradition and accepted a call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and later tweeted about China’s “massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea.”

In response, China flew bombers along the perimeter of its contentious claims in the South China Sea in what it intended as a “message” to Trump, though it has flown the same bombers in a similar fashion before.

Harris characterized Beijing’s activity as “aggressive” and vowed to act against it if needed, Reuters reports.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
The USS Lassen (DDG 82) patrolling the eastern Pacific Ocean. | US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Huey D. Younger Jr.

The US has repeatedly challenged China’s claims in the region with freedom-of-navigation patrols, in which guided-missile destroyers sail near the disputed islands.

In July, Chinese officials warned that these patrols could end in “disaster.”

“We will not allow a shared domain to be closed down unilaterally no matter how many bases are built on artificial features in the South China Sea,” Harris said. “We will cooperate when we can, but we will be ready to confront when we must.”

The hater’s guide to the US Army
An F-22 deploys flares. | US Air Force photo

These statements coincide with Harris making public a deployment of F-22 Raptors to Australia. The F-22, a very low observable aircraft, has unique features that make it ideal for piercing through and operating inside heavily contested airspace, like the skies above China’s military installations in the South China Sea.

While Harris maintained that diplomacy was the best way to reach China, he stressed “the absolute necessity to maintain credible combat power,” according to Breakingdefense.com

In August, the US deployed nuclear-capable bombers to Guam in an effort to deter aggression in the region and to demonstrate its commitment to stability and freedom of navigation in the Pacific.

“The US fought its first war following our independence to ensure freedom of navigation,” Harris said. “This is an enduring principle and one of the reasons our forces stand ready to fight tonight.”

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The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Look, we know that it’s Apr. 1 and you can’t trust anything, but there really are 13 funny military memes below this line.


1. Sailors, don’t go too crazy with the new tattoo regs (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The hater’s guide to the US Army
If it works in the Navy, the other branches may finally let up as well.

2. Welcome to the military’s fine dining facility (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Would you like your eggs boiled or tartare?

SEE ALSO: Watch one of the baddest A-10 pilots ever land after being hit by a missile

3. Weather reports in ISIS-Land:

(via Military Memes)

The hater’s guide to the US Army

4. “We found some sand on the inside of one of the liners. Take everything back and re-clean.”

(via Do You Even Airborne, Bro?)

The hater’s guide to the US Army

5. If you’re going to lie for someone, make sure everyone is on the same page (via Devil Dog Nation).

The hater’s guide to the US Army
And who says he’s buying map pens? Appointments get excused. Errands do not.

6. He’s a weekend warrior. Why should he moderate his diet on weekdays?

(via Pop Smoke)

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Gooey, gooey chocolate.

7. This run builds esprit de corps … somehow (via Air Force Nation).

The hater’s guide to the US Army
After the run, we’ll all build camaraderie by cleaning weapons and emptying connexes.

8. The elite Air Force Arts and Crafts Squadron:

(via Coast Guard Memes)

The hater’s guide to the US Army
In World War II, they crossed the Rhine on bridges made of popscicle sticks.

9. Oddly enough, the spelling doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that they used an upside-down “W” for the first “M” (via Coast Guard Memes).

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Frist sargeent is going to be pissed when he sees this.

10. “I want back in the plane! I want back in the plane!”

(via The Salty Soldier)

The hater’s guide to the US Army

11. Maybe some nice squats or something?

(via Team Non-Rec)

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Calf raises? No? Alright then.

12. Looks like we’re never making it home after all (via The Salty Soldier).

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Everyone empty out the footlockers! It’s time for games!

13. The Army keeps this up, they’ll be able to join the Corps (via Team Non-Rec).

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Except the Army probably still won’t have any swim training.

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Common military injuries: Myths & treatments

Those suffering from injuries will do and try just about anything to relieve pain. With musculoskeletal injuries being a top health problem for the U.S. Armed Forces, it’s time to prioritize better treatments and solutions. 

A recent report by Walter Reed and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences found that 3/4 of medically non-deployable service members are sidelined due to musculoskeletal injuries, and 68,000 service members fall into that category each year. Studies suggest that non-combat musculoskeletal injuries could account for nearly 60% of soldiers’ limited duty days and 65% of soldiers who cannot deploy for medical reasons. 

Throughout my five years working with the military, currently with units from every branch, including Special Operations Command and the Reserve Component, the most common musculoskeletal injuries I see our service members suffer from are lower back pain and lower leg issues, with the former being at the top of the list for the warfighter. Lower leg issues are a close second, with those injuries ranging from shin splints and stress reactions to stress fractures.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
No one takes shin splints seriously until they’ve had them.

These two injuries are the most common across the force, but each branch exhibits certain types more than others. For example, the Air Force tends to suffer from lower back injuries because Airmen are sitting in cramped areas for an extended period. Additionally, they are at an increased risk for spinal injuries, neck, and back. The neck becomes an issue because jets are faster and helmets have more tech, making them heavier. Confined spaces, faster jets, and heavier helmets make a great recipe for spinal injuries.

However, the Army is the best example of lower leg injuries because they tend to cover the most mileage on rugged terrain over long distances. 

Although these two branches stand out for certain types of injuries, nearly every service member will suffer from some musculoskeletal injury during their career and seek the best solution for recovery and pain relief.

Whether information is found on the internet or received from a doctor, it is typically seen as the magic cure by the patient seeking help.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
“If I hear one more ‘I read on WebMD’ I’m just gonna snap…”(U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Kimberly A. Yearyean-Siers)

While there are certainly good doctors and sound advice online, each injury and individual require specific, personalized treatment. As an expert in using Force Plate Machine Learning™ (FPML™) to identify, prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries, I encourage military leaders to seek out programs that focus on the individual warfighter’s health and fitness needs. Solutions like FPML™ will allow for early identification of musculoskeletal weakness and help create individualized training programs to prevent future injury.

Practices that utilize evidence-based, individualized solutions are best for preventing injuries and correctly training the body but understanding that this technology is not yet widely used by the Service, I will share some generic at-home remedies for common service member injuries, as well as dispel myths about well-known treatments.

The easiest way to make an injured area feel better is to stimulate or contract the opposite area. For example, if suffering from back pain, a solution can be working your abdominals with exercises like the plank. This is because the human body has antagonistic relaxation – meaning when one muscle group fires, the other is inhibited. Therefore, activating the abdominal muscles will, in turn, relax the back muscles and provide relief. 

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Planks: Tricking tough guys into doing Pilates for decades (U.S. Marine Corps)

The quick and easy treatment used by traditional doctors reluctant to adopt more complex solutions is RICE. We’ve all heard it: rest, ice, compression, elevation. Sure, ice is great as an anesthetic (a numbing agent) for short-term pain relief immediately after injury. It will hide the pain and help with performance for about 5-60 minutes post-injury. But after that, ice and RICE will significantly prolong the healing process.

Both RICE and ibuprofen (Advil) actually delay the healing process and can be harmful to the body’s recovery. Many doctors still prescribe the nifty acronym because it’s easy to remember for the physician who is still operating in the 1980s.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Or football coaches… (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rusty Frank/Released)

RICE exemplifies the power of simplification and reinforces the idea that people will try just about anything – opioids, RICE, or over-the-counter painkillers when in pain. 

In reality, movement is the best medicine, with data-driven, individualized movement plans being effective solutions that can help reduce chronic pain and injuries.


Dr. Phil Wagner is a physician, strength & conditioning coach, and expert on using force plates and machine learning to prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries. He is the founder and CEO of Sparta Science.

Feature image: U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Timothy Moore

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Coast Guard commandos guarding Trump, deployed to Med

A little-known group of specially-trained Coast Guardsmen are playing a key role in securing a presidential retreat in Florida and guarding against the smuggling of doomsday weapons out of war-torn Syria.


Few know about the Coast Guard’s cadre of special operations units but that doesn’t mean they’re sitting idle, says the service’s top commander.

“This is a team that’s not sand lot ball. These are the pros that have very unique weapons skills and training and not everyone makes this team,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft during a breakfast meeting with reporters April 12. “These teams are if anything probably over employed right now in terms of their optempo — both on the anti-terrorism front and on the counter-terrorism front as well.”

The hater’s guide to the US Army
The official patch of the Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Established in the years after 9/11 to provide another layer of special operations capability both in the United States and worldwide, the Coast Guard previously housed these various specialized teams under one command, dubbed the “Deployable Operations Group.” Comprised of highly-trained boat teams, crisis response forces and counter proliferation experts, the DOG was disbanded in 2012 and its units dispersed to separate commands.

Despite its troubled past, the Coast Guard’s special operators are front and center in some of America’s most high profile missions. Zukunft said his teams are providing maritime security for President Donald Trump when he visits his golf resort at Mar a Lago in Florida, working closely with the U.S. Secret Service to protect world leaders from potential attack.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Security Zones in vicinity of Mar A Lago, Florida are established during VIP visits to the Miami area. (U.S. Coast Guard photo illustration by Seventh Coast Guard District)

“I had three teams providing force protection for presidents of the two largest nations in the world — China and the United States — at Mar a Lago. That’s what these teams do, Zukunft said. “We’re seeing more and more of these nationally significant security events in the maritime domain.”

The service’s capability also includes Coast Guardsmen trained to locate and secure chemical and nuclear weapons — operators that are part of the Maritime Security Response Teams. Similar to SEALs, the MSRT Coast Guardsmen can take down ships, oil platforms and other vehicles used to smuggle WMD material over water.

It’s members of these MSRT units that are currently deployed to help the U.S. military guard against doomsday weapons leaking out of Syria and other regional hotspots.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
The Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) from Virginia participates in a training evolution in Hyannis, Mass., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The highly trained and specialized team, using a real-world underway ferry, practiced tactical boardings-at-sea, active shooter scenarios, and detection of radiological material. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell)

“We have a full-up [counter terrorism team] deployed right now in the Mediterranean in support of CENTCOM. It’s an advanced interdiction team in case there is any movement of a weapon of mass destruction,” Zukunft said. “This is a team that if necessary, forces itself onboard a ship … and they have all of the weapons skills of special forces, but they have law enforcement authority.”

Despite the rocky road in the unit’s formation, Zukunft is confident the Coast Guard’s special operations units are here to stay.

“To turn the lights out and then decide ‘whoa we have this threat’ — it’s going to take [a while] to reconstitute that, and in doing so the assumption would be that we will never have a terrorist attack directed agains the United States ever again,” he said. “I am not willing to make that assumption. I am all in.”

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Spot-on leadership lessons from a combat Marine

Mission Accomplishment comes before everything and everyone.


We are a Marine Corps at war and our nation requires sacrifice on our part to protect our freedoms and liberties. This may mean long hours of monotonous work in austere conditions, or it may mean that we pay for these liberties with blood.

Casualties are an unavoidable byproduct of war. Take care of your wounded, insert a new magazine, and seize your objective. Doing anything less is a disservice to the men you’ve lost. This is a rough business.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
U.S. Marines rush an enemy position during a vertical assault on Ie Shima Island, Japan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

We must carry on no matter what the conditions — never forget that the mission comes first.

Let no man call you a coward and let no man shoulder your burden. Victory often requires great sacrifice. Often times the sacrifice required may be your own. In times of great chaos, someone has to remain sane and do whatever it takes to push everyone in the right direction.

When something goes wrong and you are pinned down with no communications, guess who needs to stand up, brave the grazing fire, and make something happen? Suck it up, buttercup! This is why you get all that extra pay right?

Also read: Retired US Navy admiral shares leadership lesson from SEAL training

When all else fails, click your weapon off safe and make something happen. Trust a Senior NCO or Officer with a Purple Heart; he is probably doing it right.

Never put yourself before your Marines. The mission comes above all else, but the men come right after.

Oftentimes leaders spend too much time worrying about the many tasks and demands they constantly receive from higher headquarters. Battles are not won through PowerPoints and paperwork; they are won by young Marines who perform violent acts on our behalf. Focus on your Marines and worry about the paperwork later.

If you see a line for something good, get in the back. If you see a line for something bad, get in the front.

Every day is a selection, and every task is a test. Prove yourself daily to your superiors and subordinates alike, but you are the only person who really knows if you have given everything you can to the mission. Make sure you give one hundred percent of yourself when you’re at the range, under the bar, or on the track so you won’t come short when you’re on the battlefield.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
U.S. Marines with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment conduct a census patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, Jan. 10, 2011. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/Released)

A decision made out of fear for yourself or your career is always the wrong decision to make. We ask our Marines to risk their lives on a daily basis. If you don’t have the backbone or the stones to risk your career to do the right thing for your Marines, then you don’t deserve to lead them.

Always do the right thing, no matter what the consequences.

Making any decision is always better than making no decision. Indecision is a form of cowardice. Some of the decisions you make will cost your Marines their lives. Don’t worry; you will have plenty of time to agonize over that when you are wearing a red patch-covered jacket at the VFW someday. You don’t have time to waste thinking about it now.

Related: How to not be a dirtbag CGO

Take a second to analyze your decision, figure out how you can make a better decision in the future, and FIDO (F— It, Drive On).

Every day is a training day. You train yourself to behave in a certain fashion every day. If you are lazy and undisciplined in garrison, don’t expect to be any different in combat. Very few of us will rise to the occasion under fire; the majority of us will fall back to our highest level of training. Don’t develop training scars that will haunt you in combat.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Marines with Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, fire an M982 Excalibur round from an M777 howitzer during a recent fire support mission. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

It’s okay to make mistakes, just not the same one twice. It is far better for a Marine to make a mistake in training and learn from it, than to wait until he deploys and makes the same mistake in combat. Make your training as realistic as possible to iron out any friction points.

Strive to master the basics and you will be successful. The mechanics of war are deceptively simple. It’s the employment of these concepts that is extremely challenging.

Don’t be enamored with over-complicated plans and strategies. Most tactical problems can be solved with an equal dose of aggression and violence. Units that focus on the basics and apply the fundamentals they have been taught will always be successful.

An infantry squad that successfully integrates mortars and Close Air Support into their maneuver is nearly undefeatable.

More leadership: Mattis’ first message to the troops shows his leadership style

Strong NCOs make for a strong organization.

Any organization with strong senior leadership and weak NCOs will fail. A good leader will focus his efforts on building his NCO corps and empowering his subordinates. Marines need to be trained to be leaders and decision makers. This means they will make mistakes.

Don’t hold your Marines to a zero defect standard or else you will have an organization full of gun-shy automatons.

Marines are looking for a leader, not a well-paid friend. When Marines start dying in the streets, your men will look for leaders and not friends. A good leader is ready and willing to take the moral burden of a difficult decision away from his subordinates.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
U.S. Marines with Task Force Spartan, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), on Fire Base Bell, Iraq, fire an M777A2 Howitzer at an ISIS infiltration route March 18, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andre Dakis/Released)

There may come a time when someone will have to make a decision that will result in the death of another Marine. That’s the time for you to start giving orders and spare a subordinate the pain of an impossible decision.

The difference between victory and defeat often comes down to will power and endurance.

Everyone knows you need to conduct maintenance on your weapon, vehicle, and equipment, but some Marines fail to maintain their bodies in a state of combat readiness. Wars are won by men; not by machines and tools. If your body is not up to the task, your equipment will not make up the difference.

The perception of an act may sometimes overshadow its intention. It is important to understand how your appearance or actions are being perceived to avoid any perception issues. An unshaved or unkempt Marine can quickly ruin the reputation of a unit. Perception is easily confused with reality.

Live a selfless life and serve a cause greater than yourself.

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Video game writer, novelist and Marine sergeant Justin Sloan shares his life journey

Writer for the “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead” video games and science-fiction novelist Justin Sloan once lived a warrior life in the Marines before following his artistic passions. The former Marine sergeant gives us the skinny on his passion for the Corps, transitions into government finance and then to the world of writing. In a continuing series that features former and retired Marines and their contributions to entertainment, We Are The Mighty asked Sloan to discuss how his past led to the present and to provide learning points he gathered along the way.

Sloan was born and grew up in the state of Washington and he had, “a good childhood.” He went to a public school system and took a lot of the opportunities offered to him. He grew up next to his best friend in school that later joined the Marines with him. He also convinced a few more of his buddies to join the Corps as well and about six of them went off to join the Marines together. He wrote and illustrated comics in his youth and considered being an artist at the time. He was initially informed by a guidance counselor, incorrectly, that the only creative profession he could pursue was as an advertising executive. That didn’t interest him, so he looked elsewhere for a career.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan with his sister and great grandmother. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

While in high school, Sloan met a Japanese teacher that changed his life forever. In his junior year he signed up for the Japanese course and the teacher turned his life around. He had a less-than-ideal grade point average before taking the class and vastly improved his grades after being in it. The teacher allowed Sloan to take three Japanese classes at one time to include first, second-and third-year Japanese. His mother told him if he got a 4.0 GPA, she would pay for half of his trip to Japan. When he did, although she was surprised, she kept her word. He paid for the other half of the trip working a dishwashing job.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan with his cousin. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

He learned that, “If I work hard, then I can see results, and getting straight As was not that hard. Japan was mind-blowing when I went where they had cell phones in 1999 which America did not. The trip was a big part of me in joining the Marines.” Sloan’s love for the Japanese culture drove him to join the Corps and he specifically requested Okinawa as his first duty station. In preparation for going to boot camp, Sloan, “watched a lot of Full Metal Jacket to get in the right mindset.”

In the Corps, Sloan was a Cryptologic Linguist (MOS 2673). His fluency in Japanese played a large role in getting the specialty and he studied Kung Fu while stationed in Okinawa. Sloan did want to be a “ninja” once he graduated from boot camp and his martial arts training would come later in his career. His job required him to review numbers and codes. He worked with code machines using propeller logic and cards that were fed into machines. That job was phased out, so he was given the MOS of Special Intelligence System Administrators (MOS 2651) and did Special Security Officer (SSO) work, working on clearances for Marines in the unit and determining if they were allowed in the Security Compartment Information Facility (SCIF). His service in Japan was busy and kept him focused on his intelligence specialty.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan during his time in the Corps. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

Sloan was highly interested in studying the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) and the Marine Corps warrior ethos had been a key motivator for him to join. He became a MCMAP instructor and a Kung Fu instructor. Sloan shared, “MCMAP reinforced the positives of the Corps for me and saved me from not reaching my highest potential in the Marines….the whole warrior ethos training and going over the Medal of Honor winners…it helped motivate us…and MCMAP helped me appreciate everyone in a more professional manner.” He was one of the first Marines in the fleet to be trained in MCMAP as the Corps had just switched from the Close Combat training program. Sloan, “thoroughly enjoyed the warrior ethos training….and was a black belt instructor in MCMAP,” by the time his service ended. He earned the secondary MOS of 8551 – Martial Arts Instructor. He left the Corps to pursue his desire to have a family and be settled in one place. He taught Muay Thai kickboxing for years after he got out of the Marines and he continued pursuing the warrior ethos learned while in the Marines. He trained in Japan, Thailand and Italy in martial arts. 

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan standing next to a Vietnamese tank. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

Sloan decided to do professional schooling and he just, “rolled right into the education, which was a lot of fun.” He earned a BA in Japanese from the University of California, San Diego and he studied abroad at Keio University for Japanese and then Kyung Hee University to study Korean for the State Department’s Critical Language Program in Suwon, South Korea. He earned his Master of Arts in International Relations and International Economics from Johns Hopkins. He took his education and worked for the Department of Commerce as a Management Analyst/International Trade Specialist.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan winning a fight. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

During this period, he was a part of the, “…Presidential Management Fellowship Program, which is a fast-track system, which I was invited to join, where it was exciting to participate in…” Sloan was then selected for a position in the Commerce Department called the, “…Post Conflict and Reconstruction for a couple of years where we were basically working with policy…with how the government can go get involved in post-conflict situations and help stability like Sudan and Haiti just after the earthquake….to get the economy moving.” His experience as an analyst led to him working for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco as a Supervisory Analyst and Country Manager. He wrote political, economic and banking analysis papers on Asia while at the bank.

After working at the reserve bank, he decided it was time to go back to his creative roots. “My life came full circle to where when I was 12, I was drawing comics and trying to design a video game with a friend then. We reached out to video game companies and were trying to sell them on it. They responded with, ‘You are like 12 and this is not how we do things.’ (In 2010) I had started writing books about my experiences and adventures overseas seeing the world,” which was based on encouragement by his grandmother. He had just taken a class on the Peloponnesian War, which he used as inspiration for his first book. He wrote his first fiction book on what he had done in a Peloponnesian War setting. He completed it in three months and found out how much he loved writing.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan coaching a kickboxing fight. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

He decided to start down the path of being creative and did a lot of networking. Sloan completed a Master of Arts in creative writing from Johns Hopkins during this period as well. He had conversations with anyone in the field who would talk with him. Through networking, he was able to secure a job with Telltale games in 2014. Telltale was hailed as the “HBO of gaming,” by the New York Times. Sloan said, “They really liked my writing samples and screenplays I had done at that time.” He brought his experience with war games at the Commerce Department into gameplay during his interview.  Sloan credits his experience in the Corps with getting his first job as well. “The experience in the Marines really helped, to where a lot of employers are looking at that past experience and thinking this is someone who is reliable, dependable and someone who cares about their country.”

He was a writer on video games such as “Minecraft: Story Mode,” “The Walking Dead: Michonne” and “Game of Thrones.” He was also a contributing writer on “Tales from the Borderlands.” He eventually moved on to a different firm in video game writing and then on to being a full-time novelist. His proudest achievement thus far has been, “…working on the ‘Game of Thrones’ games. Waiting for the ‘Game of Thrones’ book is what spurred me on to write my first novel….it was a full circle process….I worked on a mobile ‘Avengers’ game which was great too….I am proud of my own novels as well where it was just me working on the book.”

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan during his time at the Commerce Department with Secretary Locke. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

Sloan credits Corps values such as, “…camaraderie where a lot of veterans out there want to keep loyalty and brotherhood together and we are part of the community….some veterans throw that away once they get out which I don’t understand….We get ahead by working together and I have had good experiences with veteran groups in entertainment. We should rise up together as, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’” He credits the Marine leadership traits in leading artists and co-authors, “…it is about knowing how to treat the people who work for you… Hiring fellow veterans for a project or job to work on feels great and you know what you are getting. Hiring civilians, you get a broader range of what they can and can’t do. In some essence, I prefer to hire veterans because you know what you are getting into.”

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan during his time at the Japanese Research Internship. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.


Sloan believes Marine Corps values can find their way into Hollywood by “…maintaining our camaraderie and working together after our time in service. We need to find more of a J.R.R. Tolkien style of Inklings (author C.S. Lewis was part of the group) where they all worked together. They shared their poetry. They came up together where if we could get more involved like that it would be awesome. We need to find civilian groups that have similar values as the Marine Corps. Some people are too busy asking, ‘How can you help me?’ and don’t get the long-term approach.”

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Sloan at Telltale 2014. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

He commented that Marine Corps stories can find their way into Hollywood “by working together more. When trying to sell a screenplay it is about you and why would we want to work with you. It is not just about your screenplay and being awesome. It is about selling you and the big picture view.” Sloan brings up how, “I recently wrote a story on a Marine that gets in trouble in Thailand. It is a personal story I can sell because it comes from me. I lived in Asia and was in the Marines where I can understand what my character is going through…People then have a reason to believe in you.” 

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan at the Disney D23 Conference. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

Sloan likes filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and his, “poetry between the lines.” In Sloan’s first novel, he wrote to ensure having the “military between the lines,” to make it real and as if it was a part of him in the writing. He described, “You must impart your sense of ideals and for your time in the military….you can stress when telling people about the story.” Sloan wants to get into directing his own films here next. He has taken storyboard classes and finds his transition to be “the next logical progression.”

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Sloan at the NETWO Writer’s Conference. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan.

He has spoken at the Austin Film Festival, LA Comic-Con and San Francisco Writers Conference. He optioned a TV show recently as well. He is going to be spending the next two years focusing on studying directing. He shared his insights: “You will have a couple of years of low times when pursuing your dream, but I have had some great years as a writer as well.” Sloan offers these insights and words of encouragement for those seeking to journey into the creative side of Hollywood. His journey, as with others, requires patience, perseverance and a purpose-driven focus. Sloan’s novels include “Gateway to the Universe: In Bad Company,” “Claimed by Honor,” “Justice is Calling” and “Shadow Corps.” 

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Sloan at the Austin Film Festival as a panelist. Photo courtesy of Justin Sloan. 
Articles

The Army just picked this new semi-auto sniper rifle

The Army has chosen a new semi-automatic sniper rifle, replacing the M110 which entered service in 2008.


According to reports by the Army Times, the winning rifle was the Heckler  Koch G28. According to the the company’s website, the G28 is a version of the HK 417 battle rifle — itself a variation of the AR-10 rifle.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Soldiers of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment with a M110 (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Colvin)

This came after a 2014 request for proposals for a more compact version of the M110. The M110 is being replaced despite the fact that it was named one of the Army’s “Best 10 Inventions” in 2007, according to M110 manufacturer Knight’s Armament website.

So, what is behind the replacement of a rifle that was widely loved by soldiers after it replaced the M24 bolt-action system? According to Military.com, it was to get something less conspicuous as a sniper rifle. The M110 is 13 inches longer than a typical M4 carbine, something an enemy sniper would be able to notice.

Being conspicuous is a good way to attract enemy fire.

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Lance Cpl. Thomas Hunt, a designated marksman with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion, looks through the scope of his M110 sniper rifle while concealed in the tree line during the II Marine Expeditionary Force Command Post Exercise 3 at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 20, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michelle Reif/Released)

The new M110A1 does provide some relief in that department, being about 2.5 inches shorter than the M110. More importantly for the grunt carrying it, it is about three pounds lighter than the M110.

Both the M110 and the M110A1 fire the NATO standard 7.62x51mm cartridge, and both feature 20-shot magazines. The Army plans to spend just under $45 million to get 3,643 M110A1s. That comes out to $12,000 a rifle, plus all the logistical and support needs for the Army, including the provision of spare parts.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
A German soldier fires a Heckler Koch G28 during a NATO exercise. (NATO photo by Alessio Ventura)

The Army has long made use of semi-automatic sniper rifles. During the Vietnam War, a modified version of the M14 known as the M21 was used by the service’s snipers. One of those snipers, Adelbert Waldron, was America’s top sniper in that conflict, scoring 109 confirmed kills.

By comparison, the legendary Carlos Hathcock had 93 confirmed kills.

Articles

The US military took these incredible photos this week

The military has very talented photographers in its ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. This is the best of what they shot this week:


AIR FORCE:

A sunset is seen through the nose of a B-25 Mitchell during a military tattoo held at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, Sept. 16, 2015. The “warbird flight” consisted of two B-25 Mitchells, two P-40 Warhawks and a P-51 Mustang.

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Photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan J. Sonnier/USAF

A P-51 Mustang flies over Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, during a military tattoo Sept. 16, 2015.

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Photo by Airman 1st Class Philip Bryant/USAF

ARMY:

Soldiers in Basic Combat Training low crawl through the final obstacle during the Fit to Win endurance course at Fort Jackson, S.C., Oct. 1, 2015.

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Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton/US Army

A soldier, sets up a claymore mine during the JMRC’s Expert Infantryman Badge Competition at the Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Sept. 29, 2015.

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Photo by Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger/US Army

NAVY:

IWO TO, Japan (Sept. 29, 2015) Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 conduct a special patrol insertion/extraction exercise aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paolo Bayas/USN

PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 28, 2015) An AV-8B Harrier II assigned to the Black Sheep of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 214 lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) during flight operations. Boxer is underway off the coast of Southern California conducting routine training exercises and maintenance in preparation for its upcoming deployment.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael T. Eckelbecker/USN

MARINE CORPS:

11th Marine Regiment works through the debris and fog in order to fire rounds during Supporting Arms Coordination Center Exercise on San Clemente Island, California, Sept. 25, 2015. The exercise is the first time these Marines and sailors will work together at sea in preparation for deployment.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Photo by Lance Cpl. Alvin Pujols/USMC

A AH-1Z Cobra with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force lands aboard the USS New Orleans during the PHIBRON-MEU Integration exercise off the coast of San Clemente, California, Sept. 27, 2015. This marks the first at-sea exercise for the PHIBRON-MEU Marines and Sailors as they work together in preparation for deployment to the Pacific and Central Command areas of responsibility in early 2016.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Photo by Sgt. Tyler C. Gregory/USMC

COAST GUARD:

USCG Cutter Healy uses spotlights while navigating through ice Sept. 20, 2015. The lights allow the helmsman to see pressure ridges and other obstacles, aiding in the completion of a safe night passage through the Arctic Ocean.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall/USCG

Time for some ice training USCG Cutter Healy crewmembers conduct ice rescue training Sept. 4, 2015, while underway in the Arctic Ocean. Qualified crewmembers stand ice rescue watch any time scientists or others are working on the ice.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall

NOW: More incredible photos

OR: This sub sank because its commander couldn’t flush his toilet

Articles

How cutters are sinking the Coast Guard — and what to do about it

The Coast Guard has been on patrol since 1790, and it has often had to do a lot with very little in the way of assets. Now, some of the assets it does have may be relatively useless.


According to a veteran Coast Guard officer who published his concerns in Proceedings magazine, a number of the major cutters (those over 210 feet in length) are “ill-equipped—and often ill-suited—to handle the challenges and dangers in their areas of operation.” Furthermore, one 210-foot cutter was in dry dock for six months, with two more months at the pier when it should have deployed, due to “unplanned maintenance.”

Drills for the crew are focused more on damage control than maritime law enforcement.

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U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Bertholf. (Photo from U.S. Coast Guard)

“By continuing its over reliance on the cutter—specifically, large cutters measuring 210 feet and longer—the Coast Guard has fallen behind and become a stagnant force in the maritime domain,” write Lt. David Allan Adams, Jr. “This is, of course, not because of a lack of effort by the hardworking Coasties stationed on cutters, but rather because the white hull fleet is well over 50 years old and ill-equipped—and often ill-suited—to handle the challenges and dangers in their areas of operation.”

Even the newest Coast Guard cutters, the Legend-class National Security Cutters that are replacing the Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters, have had issues, with a 2016 report from McClatchy news service noting that the new ships suffered four cracked cylinder heads a year.

“Junior officers stationed on cutters can testify to the poor material condition of the cutters and the disillusionment cutter life can instill,” Adams wrote. “The life of a JO is not about conducting law enforcement or conning the cutter — as promised at recruitment — but more about routing and correcting memorandums, being held accountable should an inspection go poorly, and striving to perform in the arena in which the JOs’ future is truly held: the underway wardroom.”

The problem has been widespread. A 2014 NJ.com report noted that 34 cutters and 37 patrol boats were unable to deploy for a combined total of 1,654 days. The Coast Guard has also been very short on icebreakers, with one of its most capable vessels in that mission stuck at the pier.

The Coast Guard, of course, has a substantial job, with a mission to secure America’s maritime borders, which run six times the length of the U.S.-Mexico border, and it does so with two-thirds of the personnel of United States Customs and Border Protection.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
The Coast Guard icebreakers USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB 10) and USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 11) during a resupply mission to McMurdo Research Station. (USCG photo)

The Coast Guard is planning to build 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters to replace the aging medium endurance cutters, a deal expected to cost $10.5 billion, roughly $420 million per vessel. By comparison, a Freedom-class littoral combat ship sets taxpayers back $362 million.

Articles

This is how the Reaper could be Guam’s first line of defense

Guam’s first line of defense from an incoming North Korean ballistic missile could very well be MQ-9 Reaper drones. This sounds very counter-intuitive, since ballistic missiles go very fast, and the normal cruising speed of the MQ-9 Reaper is 230 miles per hour.


The hater’s guide to the US Army
The MQ-9 Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cory D. Payne/Not Reviewed)

But according to a report from DefenseOne.com, the secret was not in what the drones could shoot or drop, but instead in what the drones could see. In a June 2016 multi-lateral exercise involving Japan, the United States, and South Korea, two MQ-9 Reapers equipped with Raytheon Multi-Spectral Targeting System C were able to give Aegis ships armed with SM-3s more precise targeting data on the ballistic missile.

The Missile Defense Agency is hoping to reduce the number of drones needed by adding a targeting laser to the Reaper.

According to the Raytheon web site, the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, or MTS, is a combined electro-optical/infra-red system that also adds a laser designator. Various versions of the MTS have been used on platforms ranging from the C-130 Hercules cargo plane to the MQ-9 Reaper. The United States military has two general versions, the AN/AAS-52, or the MTS-A, and the AN/DAS-1, the MTS-B. The Air Force is also buying another Raytheon MTS system, designating it the AN/DAS-4.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
The test-fire of Pukguksong-2. (KCNA/Handout)

One possibility to improve these airborne eyes could center around a jet-powered version of the Reaper called the Avenger. According to the General Atomics web site, the Avengr has a top speed of 400 nautical miles per hour, and can stay airborne for as many as 20 hours, depending on the version.

The Avenger could have the option of not just watching a launch, but maybe even hitting an enemy missile. According to a 2015 report from BreakingDefense.com, the Avenger could also carry the HELLADS, a high-energy laser system. Earlier this year, the Army tested a high-energy laser on the AH-64 Apache, combined with Raytheon’s MTS.

Articles

New silent killer welcomed into Navy fleet

The USS Illinois (SSN 786) was commissioned Oct. 29 in a ceremony at Groton, Connecticut.


The Virginia-class fast attack submarine can carry 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles to strike at targets on enemy shores, or it can switch some of its missiles out with other payloads to deliver special operators or mines to contested areas around the world.

The Illinois was originally scheduled for a commissioning in December, but the $2.5-billion boat was completed early and passed its sea trials with flying colors.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
The PCU Illinois returns to base Oct. 6, 2016, after completing its sea trials. The Illinois was commissioned and became the USS Illinois on Oct. 29. (Photo: U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Steve Owsley)

Virginia-class submarines are designed to stealthily operate near other countries’ coasts from where they can launch devastating attacks. They can attack facilities on shore with their Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, enemy ships with their Mk 48 torpedoes, or deploy mines and underwater drones.

The submarines can also support special operations by providing clandestine reconnaissance or by carrying teams of Navy SEALs and deploying them underwater through a special lockout chamber.

Conventional periscopes don’t exist on the Illinois or other Virginia-class submarines. Instead, they feature photonic masts that send video and other image data to screens throughout the ship.

The Illinois is a Block III-version of the Virginia class, and features a horseshoe-shaped sonar instead of the older, spherical sonars. And, instead of packing 12 vertical missile tubes, Block III subs carry two sets of six missiles in Virginia Payload Tubes. If the Navy adopts a new missile in the future, the VPTs allow the Illinois to more easily switch to the new weapon.

The boat carries an S9G pressurized water reactor. The nuclear reactor powers the vessel for its entire lifecycle without ever needing refueling. The pump-jet propulsors push the boat forward are quieter than a traditional propeller.

Missions on the Illinois can go on for three months or longer, and the crew can spend nearly the entire time submerged.

To learn more about Virginia-class submarines, check out the Navy infographic below.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
A cutaway look at Virginia-class fast attack submarines. Note that the USS Illinois features upgrades to its sonar, missile tubes, and other systems which cause it to slightly differ from this graphic. (Graphic: U.S. Navy All Hands Magazine)

Articles

The ingenious Nazi belt buckle pistol that never made it very far

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Forgotten Weapons, YouTube


The Nazis had some insane weapons, from super soldier serum to four-story guns that could fire shells over 30 miles away.

Some of their weapons were so far left field you’d think they pulled them out of a Robert Rodriguez flick. Case in point is the belt buckle pistol featured on the Forgotten Weapons YouTube channel.

The pistol—also known as the Power Pelvis Gun—was conceived by Louis Marquis during his stint in a World War I POW camp in 1915. Marquis was consumed by the idea for a concealed weapon to exert his authority over the other prisoners without drawing the attention of the guards. He patented his design in 1934 and named it the Koppelschlosspistole, but it was never mass produced because it wasn’t accurate, according to My Gun Culture.

Unlike Rodrguez’s 12-bullet cock revolver, this little pistol was practical in that it held your pants up while simultaneously being deadly in plain sight.

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Machete Kills (2013), AR Films

(By the way, how does Sofia Vergara fire this revolver? Where’s the trigger?)

The hater’s guide to the US Army
Machete Kills (2013), AR Films

The belt buckle pistol on the other hand, is pretty straight forward. The cover plate swings open to expose four barrels and firing triggers.

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Forgotten Weapons, YouTube

Re-cocking the gun is as easy as closing the barrel cover.

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Forgotten Weapons, YouTube

The Rock Island Auction Company (RIA) sold the weapon for $14,000. This video shows how the weapons works:

Forgotten Weapons, YouTube

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