The Mighty TV's Top 10 Videos of 2014 - We Are The Mighty
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The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

So, when we say “2014” that means about 49 days that WATM was live, but thanks to you, our rapidly growing audience, we have had some hits. Here are the Top 10 among them (ranked using a proprietary algorithm that uses page views, video plays on two domains, and editorial intangibles):


The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

1. WOUNDED MARINE FINDS NEW LIFE AS AN UNDERWEAR MODEL

Alex Minsky joined the Marine Corps with every intention of making a career out of it, but that plan was changed by an insurgent IED. See how he finds a new life in the fast-paced world of modeling.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

2. HOW THE SERGEANT MAJOR STOLE CHRISTMAS

A grumpy Sergeant Major hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the troops of Troop-ville.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

3. CAN ISIS BE STOPPED? – 3 VETS WALK INTO A BAR

Host Todd Bowers leads a discussion with guests Andrew Exum and Blake Hall about how the military might effectively deal with the ISIS threat.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

4. NOT YOUR AVERAGE BEAUTY PAGEANT – BEHIND THE SCENES AT MS. VET AMERICA

Meet ‘the women beyond the uniform’ at the 2014 Miss Veteran America competition. Find out how walking the runway helps support homeless female veterans and their children.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

5. SOLDIER CATCHES HER SECOND WIND AS A MODEL AND ACTRESS AFTER SURVIVING CANCER

Mylee Cardenas had a plan: stay in the Army until they begged her to leave. But her dreams of becoming a career soldier were derailed by cancer. See how she finds her second wind in life as a model and actress.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

6. DOES AMERICA STILL SUPPORT THE TROOPS? – 3 VETS WALK INTO A BAR

Host Todd Bowers leads a discussion with guests Andrew Exum and TM Gibbons-Neff about what “support the troops” means thirteen-plus years into the war.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

7. ARE WE SAFER NOW THAN BEFORE 9/11? – 3 VETS WALK INTO A BAR

Host Todd Bowers asks former Army Ranger Blake Hall and Marine vet TM Gibbons-Neff whether they think the homeland is safer as a result of 13 years of war. Their answers might surprise you.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

8. GUARDSMEN WRESTLE WITH THE DECISION TO GO TO WAR – SHEPHERDS OF HELMAND

In the first episode of this groundbreaking documentary series, members of the Oregon National Guard deal with the decision to join the unit as it prepares to deploy to Afghanistan.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

9. THIS 93-YEAR-OLD FORMER MARINE COULD BEAT YOU UP

Meet Stella, one of the first females in Connecticut to sign up for the Marine Corps during WWII. Find out how her fighting spirit and willingness to try new things keep her in the fight.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

10. INSIDE THE COCKPIT OF THE MILITARY’S NEXT-GENERATION HELICOPTER – BOOTS ON THE GROUND

The V-22 Osprey was the first generation of “tiltrotor” aircraft, and now the manufacturer is introducing the “Valor,” a prototype that claims to take the Osprey’s unique capability to the next level. How will it work, and will the Army buy it?

Happy New Year from the WATM team, and look for many more great videos at The Mighty TV in 2015.

Lists

7 Christmas gift ideas for SOCOM

We’ve been hard at work making Christmas wishlists for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. There is, of course, one not-quite service branch to cover that likely has some niche needs. We’re talking about United States Special Operations Command. Although this command pulls from other armed services, they have some unique leads. So, what would the snake-eaters want for Christmas?


7. A new SEAL Delivery Vehicle

The current Mk 8 Mod 1 SEAL Delivery Vehicle isn’t bad, but it is a “wet” SDV. This means the SEALs are exposed to the water. While this may be unavoidable in some cases, enabling SEALs to stay dry longer and not use up the air in their tanks when operationally possible would be a good thing. Reviving the Advanced SEAL Delivery System is a good start.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
The Advanced SEAL Delivery System on USS Greeneville (SSN 772). (US Navy photo)

6. A new Spectre gunship

The AC-130H has been a reliable means of support for SOCOM. Just one problem: The airframes are mostly based on the older C-130H airframe. The stretched C-130J-30 would make for a nice platform for a new generation of Spectres.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
An air-to-air view of an AC-130 Hercules aircraft during target practice. (U.S. Air Force photo)

5. A replacement for the Little Bird

The MH-6 and AH-6 “Little Bird” helicopters used by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment are getting a little old. We’re thinking the Army’s UH-72 Lakota would be an excellent replacement — especially since Airbus is already pitching an armed version of this nifty little chopper.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
Airbus H145M, showing a gun pod on the left and a 12-round rocket pod on the right. (Photo from Airbus Helicopters)

4. Add the Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team to JSOC

This Coast Guard unit could be a very useful asset for Joint Special Operations Command, which controls Delta Force and SEAL Team Six. It can carry out a number of missions similar to DEVGRU, but since Coast Guard personnel also have law enforcement powers, they can serve warrants. Think of it as an international, “no-knock” warrant service team, and a nice way to backstop these other elite units.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
A member of the Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team boards a vessel. (USCG photo)

3. Bring back the Army Reserve Special Forces groups

During the Cold War, the Army Reserve had two Special Forces groups: the 11th and 12th. During the draw-down after the Cold War, they were deactivated. Perhaps it’s time to bring them back, given the heavy workload of active Army and National Guard special forces groups.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
Insignia of the 12th Special Forces Group. (US Army image)

2. Add the Coast Guard’s Maritime Safety Security Teams to SOCOM

These Coast Guard units specialize in counter-terrorism and have been trusted to protect major events, including the Olympics and the national conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
A boatcrew from Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team 91114 conducts high-speed maneuvers during a security patrol south of the Port of Miami. (USCG photo)

1. Create a Marine Corps “Advice and Assist Regiment” for MARSOC

The Marine Raiders have traditionally, as their name suggests, carried out raids. So, why not create an “Advise and Assist” Regiment, similar to the “Advise and Assist” brigades the Army is setting up? This would enable the Marines to let the Raiders to focus on direct action.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
A U.S. Special Operations Marine provides security as Afghan Local Police members collect their first payments in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The Afghan Local Police was tasked with serving rural areas with limited Afghan National Security Forces presence. (DOD photo)

What presents do you think SOCOM wants to find under their Christmas tree? Let us know in the comments.

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This Iraq War vet’s debut novel is provocative and right

While deployed to Iraq in 2007, the U.S. Army’s then-Captain Matt Gallagher started a blog called Kaboom that quickly became very popular … and controversial — so controversial, in fact, that the Army shut it down.


After he separated from the military, Gallagher compiled the best of the blog into his 2010 memoir, “Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War.”  He has since written for the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and Boston Review, among others. Now, with an Master’s degree from Columbia, he’s writing fiction. This week saw the debut of his first work of fiction, “Youngblood: A Novel.”

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

The U.S. military is preparing to withdraw from Iraq, and newly-minted lieutenant Jack Porter struggles to accept how it’s happening—through alliances with warlords who have Arab and American blood on their hands. Day after day, Jack tries to assert his leadership in the sweltering, dreary atmosphere of Ashuriyah. But his world is disrupted by the arrival of veteran Sgt. Daniel Chambers, whose aggressive style threatens to undermine the fragile peace that the troops have worked hard to establish.

Irreverent but dedicated like a modern day Candide, Jack struggles with his place in Iraq War history. He soon discovers a connection between Sgt. Chambers and and a recently killed soldier. The more the lieutenant digs into the matter, the more questions arise. The soldier and Rana, a local sheikh’s daughter, appeared to have been in love and what Jack finds implicates the increasingly popular Chambers.What follows finds Jack defying his command as Iraq falls further into chaos.

Gallagher’s storytelling is compelling and his characters are vibrant. “Youngblood” immediately immerses the reader into the Iraq War, defying genre and perspective. We equally see the war from the soldiers who fought there and the Iraqis who lived it, while Gallagher weaves a narrative that is engaging, thoughtful, and thought provoking.

Youngblood: A Novel” is on sale now.

Editor’s note: Catch Matt Gallagher’s Reddit AMA or read his recent opinion piece in the New York Times welcoming us to the “Age of Commando,” where he describes the public fascination with special operations forces in the military today.

 

Articles

This bomber made the B-52 look puny

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress has the nickname “Big Ugly Fat F***er” — or just the BUFF — but is it the biggest bomber that ever served? Believe it or not, that answer is, “No.”


There was a much bigger bomber in the fleet — and while it never dropped a bomb in anger, it was the backbone of Strategic Air Command in its early years. That plane was the Convair B-36 Peacemaker.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
A prototype B-52 next to a B-36 Peacemaker. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Peacemaker was immense, according to a fact sheet from the National Museum of the Air Force: Its wingspan was 230 feet (compared to 185 feet for a B-52), the B-36 was 162 feet long (compared to just over 159 feet for the B-52), and it could carry up to 86,000 pounds of bombs, according to aviation historian Joe Baugher. The B-52’s maximum bomb load is 70,000 pounds, per an Air Force fact sheet.

How did you get such an immense craft off the ground? Very carefully.

The B-36 had six Pratt and Whitney R-4360 engines in a pusher configuration and four General Electric J47 jet engines. These were able to lift a fully-loaded B-36 off the ground and propel it to a top speed of 435 miles per hour.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
The immense scale of the B-36 is apparent by looking at the one on exhibit at the National Museum of the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Depending on the model, the B-36 had up to 16 20mm cannon in twin turrets. The B-36 entered service in 1948 – and it gave SAC 11 years of superb service, being replaced by the B-52. Five planes survive, all of which are on display.

Below, this clip from the 1955 movie “Strategic Air Command” shows how this plane took flight. Jimmy Stewart plays a major league baseball player called back into Air Force service (Stewart was famously a bomber pilot who saw action in World War II and the Vietnam War).

Also recognizable in this clip is the flight engineer, played by Harry Morgan, famous for playing Sherman Potter on “MASH” and as Detective Rich Gannon in the 1960s edition of “Dragnet.”

Articles

The Navy just developed invisible armor that is easy to fix

When most people think armor, they think of thick steel, ceramic or Kevlar. It stops (or mitigates) the harm that incoming rounds can do, but there’s one big problem: You can’t see a friggin’ thing if you’re behind it.


This is no a small problem. Put it this way, in “Clausewitzian Friction and Future War,” Erich Hartmann, who scored 352 kills in World War II, was reported to have believed that 80 percent of his victims never knew he was there. Project Red Baron, also known as the Ault Report, backed that assessment up based on engagements in the Vietnam War.

Bulletproof glass exists, but it can be heavy. When it is hit, though, the impact looks a lot like your windshield after it catches a rock kicked up by an 18-wheeler on the interstate.

That also applies in firefights on the ground – and according to a FoxNews.com report, the Navy has made it a little easier to maintain situational awareness while still being able to stop a bullet. The report notes that the Navy’s new armor, based on thermoplastic elastomers, still maintains its transparency despite being hit by bullets.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
Current bullet-resistant glass after ballistic tests during the IDET 2007 fair in Brno. The good news is the bullets were stopped. The bad news: You can’t see through the window. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

In a Department of Defense release, Dr. Mike Roland said, “Because of the dissipative properties of the elastomer, the damage due to a projectile strike is limited to the impact locus. This means that the affect on visibility is almost inconsequential, and multi-hit protection is achieved.”

That is not the only benefit of this new armor. This new material can also be repaired in the field very quickly using nothing more than a hot plate like that used to cook Ramen noodles in a dorm room – or in the barracks.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
Photo: YouTube/CrashZone

“Heating the material above the softening point, around 100 degrees Celsius, melts the small crystallites, enabling the fracture surfaces to meld together and reform via diffusion,” Dr. Roland explained.

Not only will this capability save money by avoid the need to have replacement armor available, this also helps reduce the logistical burden on the supply chain, particularly in remote operating locations that were very common in Afghanistan during the Global War on Terror.

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How will the US Air Force replace the iconic UH-1 Huey helicopter?

It may be tough for civilians to feel the same nostalgia a veteran might feel to see the venerable UH-1 Huey helicopter go.


That is until they find out it’s been the helicopter on screens small and large for the better part of a century.

Non-vets watched the workhorse Huey pick up the dead and dying in news broadcasts and on the silver screen, dropping men and material into Vietnam (among other places).

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014

Retiring the UH-1 Huey

If you haven’t heard, the U.S. military is set to retire the iconic UH-1 Huey Helicopter in 2017.

The aircraft was first developed in 1956 and was the first helicopter powered by a jet engine. Its distinctive chomping sound is caused by its powerful rotor blades approaching the speed of sound. It’s been used for search and rescue, rearmament, overwatch for moving nuclear missiles and more.

You name it. The Huey probably supported it. They didn’t name it “Utility Helicopter” for nothing.

But it has been in service since the 1970s and times have changed, but the U.S. military still needs its all-purpose workhorse to replace the UH-1 Huey’s multifaceted role.

Filling the gap

Early in 2016, lawmakers wanted to replace the Hueys with UH-60M Black Hawks — especially those congressional leaders representing states that house intercontinental ballistic missile systems, like Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and retired Navy SEAL.

“If there are helicopters that are readily available and will save the taxpayer money, we need to get them in the field now,” Zinke said in a statement. “I know the Black Hawk well from my time in the SEALs. It is fully capable and stands ready to fill the need before us. This is not a mission that can fail. Our nuclear triad is at stake.”

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
A 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey prepares for flight at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two UH-1N Hueys with new rescue hoists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott)

Designing a UH-1 Huey replacement

In May 2016, the Air Force announced an open competition to replace the aging airframe. The budget for the 2017 fiscal year includes a request for $32.4 million to produce a Huey replacement and $25 million to manage the aging Huey fleet until a replacement can enter service.

The Marine Corps retired its UH-1N fleet in 2014. Initially, they intended to simply upgrade the fleet of UH-1N to UH-1Y. Instead, they opted to produce UH-1Ys as a whole new helicopter. The Marines have no plans to replace it.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
A UH-1Y Huey with Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39 conducts close-air support during an MAGTF Integration Exercise in El Centro, Calif. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alissa P. Schuning)

The Army replaced its Huey fleet with the UH-72A Lakota. The Lakota is quieter, smaller and more maneuverable than the Huey, and costs roughly $4.5 million. The Army currently has 200 of the European-made, U.S.-assembled Lakotas worldwide.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
A UH-72 Lakota Helicopter of the National Training Center’s Aviation Company provides air superiority cover for the opposition forces engaged with 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division’s ground forces during an encounter in the Siberian Flats at the National Training Center, June 15, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Austin Anyzeski)

The Air Force is the only branch whose quest to replace the UH-1 Huey started a fight. The service originally planned to replace it with the Common Vertical Lift Support Platform, but that was axed in 2013 due to budget caps.

Next, the Air Force tried to give Sikorsky, the company that makes UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, a sole-source contract to produce a replacement. That idea was met with criticism because the Black Hawk is bigger and costs more. The National Taxpayers Union and Citizens Against Government Waste sent letters to the House and Senate Armed Services committees in opposition to the sole-source move. That’s when the HASC set aside the funds for a replacement.

“This is an urgent need,” HASC Chair Rep. Mac Thornberry told the Washington Post. “These helicopters are around 40 years old, and I’m not very pleased it has [been] allowed to get to this situation.”

Articles

It looks like the Russkis have deployed the ‘AMRAAMski’ in Syria

There’s nothing like a trial-by-combat to see if a new weapon is really worth its salt, so Russia has been using the Syrian Civil War to test out a lot of its new military technology.


In 2015, Russia’s Klub cruise missile made its combat debut, and Moscow has sent some of its most advanced planes to the war — including the Su-34 Fullback, the Su-35 Flanker, and the Tu-160 Blackjack — to carry out missions in support of Bashir al-Assad’s regime.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
(Photo from ausairpower.net)

Now, it looks like the Russians are including the R-77 air-to-air missile among the systems being used in what has become an operational testing ground. The missiles have been seen on Syrian Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrums, a fighter that the Soviets and Russians have exported to a number of countries in the region.

The R-77 — also known as the AA-12 “Adder,” or “AMRAAMski” — is an active-homing radar-guided missile. It’s comparable to the earlier versions of the U.S.-made AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile. The Adder has a range of roughly 70 miles, and a top speed in excess of Mach 4. The Adder can be carried by just about any Russian aircraft, from the Su-35 Flanker to the Mig-21 Fishbed. It entered service in 1994.

The AIM-120 AMRAAM has a top speed of Mach 4, and entered service in 1991, although it was being delivered as early as 1988. Early versions of the missile had a range of 45 miles, but the latest variant has a range of over 100 miles. The AMRAAM has been mounted on a wide variety of combat aircraft, including upgraded F-5s for the Singaporean Air Force; the F-22; the F-35; the Tornado F.3; the JAS.39 Gripen; F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets; and even the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Russia’s move to improve its air-to-air capability is certainly intended to stymie any U.S.-led contingency plan of creating a no-fly zone over the war-torn region.

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22 female war heroes you’ve never heard of

Women war heroes prove that bravery and endurance are not reserved for male military personnel. Many women have served on the front lines, in the resistance, behind the wheel of convoys, in the cockpits of outdated planes, and in hospitals patching up the injured with little more than a standard first aid kit. Women and the war effort have always – and will always – go hand-in-hand.


The Night Witches of the Soviet Union took old clunker crop dusters and confounded the German air force. Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester found herself in the middle of an orchestrated attack in Iraq and turned the firepower back on the insurgents. The White Rose of Stalingrad took down numerous enemy aircraft and flew into legendary status.

Female war heroes also include the Dahomey Amazons, wives of the king who shocked their enemies with fierceness and audacity. Or the Vietnamese warriors of legend like the Trung Sisters and Lady Trieu, who thwarted the Chinese army.

The role of women in wars hasn’t always been clear or easy. Cathay Williams changed her appearance and fought in the Union Army as a man until her gender was discovered. But for a while, she fought in the Civil War along with other freed slaves. Then there’s the Polish spy who may have inspired two of Ian Fleming’sBond girls.

As we look at women in military history, there are myriad ways they serve. Women at home were working in factories making products for the war effort, but there were brave women who saw war up close. Some were able to share their experiences and become historians, teachers, instructors, colonels, and generals. Others faced poverty and lack of recognition for their war efforts.

There are millions who have served. This list of women war heroes sheds a little light on a few.

22 Badass Female War Heroes You’ve Never Heard About

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Apollo 11 astronaut and Air Force General Michael Collins passes away at 90

American hero Michael Collins passed away on April 28, 2021 at the age of 90 after a battle with cancer. Along with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, Collins was one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who made the legendary trip to the moon in 1969. He also served as an Air Force test pilot and reached the rank of Major General in the Air Force Reserves.

Collins was born on October 31, 1930 in Rome, Italy. He was the son of a U.S. Army officer serving as the U.S. military attaché. As a military child, Collins spent his youth in a number of locations including New York, Texas and Puerto Rico. It was in Puerto Rico that Collins first flew a plane. During a flight aboard a Grumman Widgeon, the pilot allowed Collins to take the controls. Though this ignited Collins’ passion for flight, the start of WWII prevented him from pursuing it.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
West Point Cadet Michael Collins (U.S. Army)

When the U.S. entered WWII, Collins’ family moved to Washington, D.C. where he attended St. Albans School and graduated in 1948. He decided to follow his father and older brother into the service and received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. His father and brother were also West Point graduates. Collins graduated in 1952. In his graduating class was fellow future astronaut Ed White who tragically perished in the Apollo 1 disaster.

Collins’ family was famous in the Army. His older brother was already a Colonel, his father had reached the rank of Major General, and his uncle was the Chief of Staff of the Army. To avoid accusations of nepotism, he opted to commission into the newly formed Air Force instead.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
Michael Collins as an Air Force pilot (U.S. Air Force)

Collins received flight training in Mississippi and Texas and learned to fly jets. He was a natural pilot with little fear of failure. After earning his wings in 1953, he was selected for day-fighter training at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada where he learned to fly the F-86 Sabre. Although 11 pilots were killed in accidents during the 22-week course, Collins was unfazed.

After training, Collins was stationed at George Air Force Base, California until 1954. He moved to Chambley-Bussières Air Base in France where he won first place in a 1956 gunnery competition. He met his future wife, Patricia Mary Finnegan, in an officer’s club. A trained social worker, Finnegan joined the Air Force service club to see more of the world. Their wedding was delayed by Collins’ redeployment to West Germany during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. However, they were married the next year in 1957. Their first daughter, future All My Children actress Kate Collins, was born in 1959. The Collins’ had a second daughter, Ann, in 1961 and a son, Michael, in 1963.

In 1957, Collins returned to the states to attend the aircraft maintenance officer course at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois. In his autobiography, Collins described the course as “dismal” and boring. He preferred to fly planes rather than maintain them. Afterward, he commanded a Mobile Training Detachment and a Field Training Detachment training mechanics on servicing new aircraft and teaching students to fly them.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
ARPS Class III graduates (L-R) Front row: Ed Givens, Tommie Benefield, Charlie Bassett, Greg Neubeck & Mike Collins. Back row: Al Atwell, Neil Garland, Jim Roman, Al Uhalt and Joe Engle. Missing: Ernst Volgenau (U.S. Air Force)

Eager to get back into the cockpit, Collins applied to the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School. He was accepted to Class 60C in 1960. His classmates included fellow future Apollo astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Irwinn and Tom Stafford. The test pilot school put Collins at the controls of the T-28 Trojan, F-86 Sabre, B-57 Canberra, T-33 Shooting Star and F-104 Starfighter. Notably, Collins quit smoking in 1962 after a suffering bad hangover. The next day, he flew four hours as the co-pilot of a B-52 Stratofortess. Going through the initial stages of nicotine withdrawal, Collins described the flight as the worst four hours of his life.

Following the historic Mercury Atlas 6 flight of John Glenn in 1962, Collins was inspired to become an astronaut. However, NASA rejected his first application. Undeterred, Collins flew for the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School. He later applied and was accepted to the Air Force’s postgraduate course on the basics of spaceflight. He was joined by future astronauts Charles Bassett, Edward Givens, and Joe Engle.

In June 1963, Collins applied to the astronaut program again and was accepted. After basic training, Collins received his first choice in specialization: pressure suits and extravehicular activities. In June 1965, he was received his first crew assignment as the backup pilot on Gemini 7. Following the system of NASA crew rotation, this slated Collins as the primary pilot for Gemini 10.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
Gemini 10 prime crew portrait (NASA)

Along with John Young, Collins lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 0520 on July 18, 1966. Gemini 10 took them to a new altitude record of 475 miles above the Earth. Collins later said that he felt like a Roman god riding the skies in his chariot. On Gemini 10, Collins also became the first person to perform two spacewalks on the same mission. At 0406 on July 21, Young and Collins splashed into the Atlantic and were safely recovered by the USS Guadalcanal.

After Gemini 10, Collins was reassigned to the Apollo program. He was slated as the backup pilot on Apollo 2 along with Frank Borman and Tom Stafford. However, Collins’ future in Apollo was put on hold when he began experiencing leg problems in 1968. He was diagnosed with cervical disc herniation and had to have two vertebrae surgically fused. Originally slotted as the primary pilot for Apollo 9, Collins was replaced by Jim Lovell while he recovered.

Following the success of Apollo 8, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins were announced as the crew of Apollo 11. While training for the mission, Collins compiled a book of different scenarios and schemes during the lunar module rendezvous. The book ended up being 117 pages.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
Collins goes through the checklist in the command module simulator (NASA)

Collins also created the mission patch for Apollo 11. Backup commander Jim Lovell mentioned the idea of eagles which inspired Collins. He found a painting in a National Geographic book, traced it, and added the lunar surface and the Earth. The idea of the olive branch was pitched by a computer expert at the simulators.

At 0932 on July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off. Collins docked the Command Module Columbia with the Lunar Module Eagle without issue and the combined spacecraft continued on to the Moon. Apollo 11 orbited the Moon thirty times before Aldrin and Armstrong entered the Eagle and prepared for their descent to the lunar surface. At 1744 UTC, Eagle separated from Columbia, leaving Collins alone in the command module.

While Aldrin and Armstrong performed their mission on the Moon, Collins orbited solo. During each orbit, he was out of radio contact with the Earth for 48 minutes. During that time, he became the most solitary human being alive. Despite that, Collins did not feel scared or alone. He later recalled that he felt, “awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation.”

The Apollo 11 mission patch designed by Collins (NASA)

Collins orbited the Moon a further 30 times in the command module. After spending so much time in the spacecraft, he decided to leave his mark in the lower equipment bay. There, he wrote, “Spacecraft 107 – alias Apollo 11 – alias Columbia. The best ship to come down the line. God Bless Her. Michael Collins, CMP.”

At 1754 UTC on July 21, Eagle lifted off from the Moon and rejoined Columbia for the trip back to Earth. Columbia splashed into the Pacific at 1650 UTC on July 24. The crew was safely recovered by USS Hornet. As the first humans to go to the Moon, Collins, Aldrin, and Armstrong became worldwide celebrities. They embarked on a 38-day world tour of 22 foreign countries.

Satisfied with his legendary space flight, Collins retired from NASA after Apollo 11. He was urged by President Nixon to serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. However, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Cambodia, and the Kent State shootings, sent waves of protests and unrest across the country. Collins did not enjoy the job and requested to become the Director of the National Air and Space Museum. Nixon approved and Collins changed jobs in 1971.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
The Apollo 11 crew (L-R) Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin (NASA)

Along with Senator and former Air Force Major General Barry Goldwater, Collins lobbied Congress to fund the building of the National Air and Space Museum. In 1972, Congress approved a budget of $40 million. With a smaller budget than what Collins had hoped for, he also had a short suspense to meet. The museum was scheduled to open on July 4, 1976 for the country’s bicentennial. Not one to back away from a challenge, Collins got to work hiring staff, overseeing the creation of exhibits, and monitoring construction. Not only was the museum completed under budget, but it opened three days ahead of schedule on July 1, 1976.

Still a member of the Air Force Reserve, Collins reached the rank of Major General in 1976 and retired in 1982. He served as the museum’s director until 1978 when he became undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution. In 1985, he started his own consulting firm. He has also wrote books on spaceflight, including a children’s book on his experiences. Collins enjoyed painting watercolors of the Florida Evergreens or aircraft that he flew. He lived with his wife in Marco Island, Florida and Avon, North Carolina until her death in April 2014.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
Collins’ Command Module Columbia at the National Air and Space Museum (Smithsonian Institute)

Following Collins’ passing, NASA released a statement. “NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential,” the release said. “Whether his work was behind the scenes or on full view, his legacy will always be as one of the leaders who took America’s first steps into the cosmos. And his spirit will go with us as we venture toward farther horizons.” Michael Collins will forever be remembered as an American hero and a champion for humanity on its quest into space.

The Mighty TV’s Top 10 Videos of 2014
Collins meets with President Trump in 2019 for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing (The White House)
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13 Funniest military memes for the week of March 10

It was a hectic week, what with revelations that Rangers are in Syria, radioactive boars in Japan, and as-holes taking nude photos everywhere.


For a quick break from the insanity, check out these 13 funny military memes.

1. Sorry, first sergeant, we’re all busy looking for hiding spots (via Military Memes).

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Unfortunately, some of us didn’t find our spots in time.

2. You were my boss and an as-hole. Look elsewhere for buddies (via Pop smoke).

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Go tell Army stories to your cousins or something.

ALSO SEE: Watch the F-22 take on 5 F-15s — and dominate

3. Coast Guard is going to be looking for a lot of lifehacks in the next few years (via Coast Guard Memes).

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Maybe you guys can buy your way into the DoD or something?

4. The coveted “pace and distance” profile protects from all formation runs (via Lost in the Sauce).

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You can still run 10 miles if you want, but only if you want.

5. Why are the machines doing all the heavy work?

(via Maintainer Nation)

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In machine circles, all humans are nonners.

6. Aging pretty well for a Devil Dog (via Imgflip).

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Only 10 more years to 50% retirement.

7. The only bad thing about this is the red, mirrored sunglasses (via Coast Guard Memes).

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Bet the Coast Guard is just jealous that they aren’t in the Paw Patrol.

8. Yeah, but earning compensation days is rarely worth it (via Air Force Nation).

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Unless it turns a normal weekend into a 3-day.

9. Army logic isn’t logic (via U.S Army W.T.F! moments).

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In other news, no more eating in the dining facility.

10. But if you can’t do your guard shifts, you can’t keep your fire watch ribbon (via The Salty Soldier).

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Looks like someone is losing a piece of chest candy.

11. If you had brought a dang-ole bayonet, you might be able to fight your way out of this (via Pop smoke).

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Should’ve joined a real military.

12. Just remember: On V-A day, everything hurts (via The Salty Soldier).

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We’re not saying cheat to get free Veterans Affairs money, but don’t downplay anything, either.

13. Pretty sure that “missing specialist” just faked his death for an early discharge and huge life insurance payout (via The Salty Soldier).

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But don’t investigate too hard or the E-4 mafia will disappear you for real.

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The 13 funniest military memes of the week

More funny memes scraped from the darkest corners of the internet – you know, Facebook. Got your own great memes? Bring them to our page and “Like” us while you’re there.


1. Even if he had a full magazine and you were standing still (Via Sh*t My LPO Says).

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Don’t stand in front of anything expensive though. No telling which direction he’ll miss.

2. Video game logic in the real world.

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The delay in air support would be fine if cheat codes worked.

SEE ALSO: These are the boats you didn’t know the Army had

3. This is why you’re supposed to use the metric system (Via Sh*t My LPO Says).

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Metric: The only way your superiors won’t confuse themselves with conversions.

4.  AAFES: One stop shop with ok prices and acceptable products.

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Support the warfighter.

5. Some Marines still care about fashion (via Marine Corps Memes).

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Seriously though, soft shoe profiles would be less annoying if the guy still looked mostly right.

6. The Navy may be the most powerful maritime force in history …

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… but the Coast Guard is the oldest! Wait, this doesn’t feel like a great slam.

7. The Air Force is always looking down at the other forces (Via Team Non-Rec)…

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… feet. The other forces’ feet. It’s the only way they can find the beat.

8. Cadets: The “lease to buy” method of joining the military.

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At least she doesn’t expect hot chocolate and marshmallows if it rains. She doesn’t, right?

9. Works great until you get in-country and can’t get signal (via Marine Corps Memes).

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Then you have to get assigned to a base with Wi-Fi.

10. When the speaker says, “Any questions,” he’s just checking the box (Via Air Force Memes and Humor).

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You’re not supposed to actually ask questions.

11. When you’ve been looking for the platoon leader for hours (Via Team Non-Rec) …

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… and finally find them trapped somewhere.

 12. It’s a trap, but you still have to open the door (Via Team Non-Rec).

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But maybe find your own metal face mask before you open up.

13. Brace yourselves (Via Sh*t My LPO Says)!!

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Administrative bullsh*t is coming!

NOW: The 7 people you meet in basic training

AND: The 18 funniest moments from ‘Generation Kill’

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Air Force fighter crashes near D.C.

An Air Force F-16C jet has crashed just outside of Washington, D.C.


The aircraft went down in Clinton, Maryland, on Wednesday at about 9:15 a.m. after the pilot was seen ejecting, WJLA reported.

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A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon flies over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve April 5, 2016. (Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Corey Hook)

Officials said the pilot ejected safely and sustained non-life threatening injuries.

The jet was from the 113th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard out of Joint Base Andrews, according to Military.com.

It was flying a routine training mission when it went down roughly six miles from Andrews.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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This Army captain is getting the Medal of Honor for tackling a suicide bomber

The Army’s newest Medal of Honor recipient will be retired Capt. Florent “Flo” Groberg from the 4th Infantry Division. President Obama will drape the medal around his neck in a White House ceremony on November 12.


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Photo: US Army courtesy photo

Groberg was leading a personal security detail on Aug. 8, 2012 when he spotted a suicide bomber in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Groberg rushed the bomber and threw him to the ground, limiting the effects of the blast. Still, four soldiers were killed in the attack when the bomber released the dead man’s trigger he was using.

Another suicide bomber hiding nearby was surprised by the explosion enough that he triggered his own bomb prematurely, which saved more lives thanks to Groberg’s actions.

Groberg survived but was severely wounded. On Sep. 21, 2015, he was called by the president and told he would be receiving the Medal of Honor.

Groberg tells the story in his own words in the video below. Read more here.

(h/t Army Times)

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