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The 50 best military photos of 2015

AIR FORCE:

1. 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.


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

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

Photo by Airman 1st Class Philip Bryant/USAF

3. An F-15E Strike Eagle sits on the flightline at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Nov. 12, 2015.

Photo by Airman 1st Class Cory W. Bush/USAF

4. An MC-130J Commando II from the 9th Special Operations Squadron airdrops a Maritime Craft Aerial Delivery System over the Gulf of Mexico during a training exercise Nov. 12, 2015.

Photo: US Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Plew

5. C-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to the 317th Airlift Group, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, help U.S. Army and British paratroopers perform a static line jump at Holland Drop Zone in preparation for Combined Joint Operational Access Exercise 15-01 at Fort Bragg, N.C., April 11, 2015.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Martin

6. Thunderbirds Solo pilots perform the Opposing Knife Edge Maneuver during the Minnesota Air Spectacular practice show June 25, 2015, at Mankato Regional Airport, Minn.

Photo: Senior Airman Jason Couillard/USAF

7. Crew chiefs assigned to the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare to launch a B-2 Spirit at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Aug. 12, 2015.

Photo by: Senior Airman Joseph A. Pagán Jr./USAF

8. Airmen push down on the wing of a U-2 after its landing at Royal Air Force Fairford, England, June 9, 2015.

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton

9. Members of the 354th Fighter Wing inspection team walk toward first responders Jan. 26, 2015, during a major accident response exercise at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Turner

10. Senior Airman Gary Cole, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, surveys a drop zone at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Oct. 14, 2015.

Photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/USAF

ARMY

11. Soldiers from Fires Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment conduct training with the M777 155mm howitzer at Tactical Base Gamberi, Afghanistan, Jan. 1, 2015.

Photo: US Army

12. Soldiers assigned to 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conduct air assault sling load training on Warrior Base, New Mexico Range, in the Demilitarized Zone, Republic of Korea, March 18, 2015, during joint training exercise Foal Eagle 2015.

U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven Hitchcock

13. Paratroopers assigned to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, practice a forced-entry parachute assault on Malemute drop zone at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 18, 2015, as part of a larger tactical field exercise.

U.S. Air Force photo/Alejandro Pena

14. A U.S. Soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) salutes his fellow Soldiers while jumping out of a C-130 Hercules aircraft over a drop zone in Germany, Feb. 24, 2015.

U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston

15. A team of paratroopers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, practice a tactical halt with the brigade's new Light Tactical All Terrain Vehicle on Fort Pickett, Va., Feb. 26, 2015.

Photo: US Army

16. Soldiers, assigned to 1/25 SBCT "Arctic Wolves", U.S. Army Alaska, transport equipment using snowshoes and ahkio sleds during an arctic mobility squad competition in the Yukon Training Area, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Dec. 10, 2015.

U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. James Gallagher

17. Soldiers, assigned to 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team, Idaho Army National Guard, calibrate a M109A6 Paladin howitzer during Decisive Action Rotation 15-09 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., Aug. 16, 2015.

Photo by Spc. Christopher Blanton, The National Guard

18. Engineers, assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division (Iron Brigade), employ a M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC) during a breaching exercise, at Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait, July 9, 2015.

U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Gregory T. Summers, 3rd Armored B

19. Soldier, assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, provides security during Decisive Action Rotation 15-05 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., Feb. 25, 2015.

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Richard W. Jones Jr.

20. An CH-47 aircrew from the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss drops off Soldiers, assigned to 2d Brigade 1st Armored Division, during an air assault operation, part of the Network Integration Evaluation 15.2 exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, May 16, 2015.

U.S. Army photo by Spc. Aura E. Sklenicka

NAVY

21. ATLANTIC OCEAN (March 30, 2015) Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Keron King signals the pilots of an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter attached to the Vipers of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 48 during preflight preparations aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68).

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt

22. PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 7, 2015) A family enjoys Gator Beach as an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is underway off the coast of Southern California.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black/USN

23. PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. (Oct. 31, 2015) Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Trevor Thompson presents the Star-Spangled Banner during a demonstration at The Great Georgia Air Show.

Photo by James Woods/USN

24. PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 19, 2015) U.S. Naval aircraft and aircraft from the Chilean Air Force participate in a fly-by adjacent to aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).

U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. David Babka

25. SAN DIEGO (Oct 3, 2015) U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, perform a high-speed diamond break-away maneuver at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nolan Kahn/USN

26. WATERS NEAR GUAM (Aug. 12, 2015) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) fires a Harpoon missile during a live-fire drill.

Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Dionne/USN

27. GULF OF ADEN (April 18, 2015) Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) participate in a swim call.

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Megan Anuci/USN

28. WATERS EAST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (April 1, 2015) Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1631, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, lowers its ramp inside the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20).

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Scott Barnes/USN

29. ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 6, 2015) Sailors direct an E-2C Hawkeye assigned to the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class L. C. Edwards

30. WATERS OFF THE COAST OF HAWAII (Dec. 6, 2015) Sailors and Marines man the rails aboard Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) while passing the USS Arizona Memorial.

U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean P. Gallagher

MARINE CORPS

31. Ride the Waves: Lance Cpl. Chance Seckenger with 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, rides in a Combat Rubber Raiding Craft during launch and recovery drills from the well deck of the USS Green Bay, at sea, July 9, 2015.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brian Bekkala

32. A Marine engages targets from a UH-1Y Venom with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, during Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) above San Clemente Island, California, March 20, 2015.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jamean Berry

33. Marines assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conduct a high altitude low opening (HALO) jump during category 3 sustainment training in Louisburg, N.C., June 2, 2015.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andre Daki

34. A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command stages on a hasty landing zone during a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel drill at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Nov. 16, 2015.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Akeel Austin

35. Two FA-18 Jets are displayed in front of the Wall of Fire during the Marine Corps Community Services sponsored 2015 Air Show aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, California, Oct. 3, 2015.

U.S. Marine Corps Combat Camera photo by Cpl. Trever A. Statz

36. Marines assigned 1st Marine Division, run along hills during the Dark Horse Ajax Challenge aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Aug. 20, 2015.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Will Perkins/Released)

37. A Marine with the "Greyhawks" of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), wipes down an MV-22B Osprey after takeoff and landing drills at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Photo by: Cpl. Elize McKelvey/USMC

38. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit load gear onto an MV-22B Osprey before departing from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Elize McKelvey

39. Trinity Marines fire the BGM-71 missile during exercise Lava Viper, one of the staples of their pre-deployment training, at Range 20 aboard Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, Oct. 24, 2015.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Harley Thomas

40. Homecoming Kiss: Lance Cpl. David Sellers, a refrigeration mechanic with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, embraces his wife with a kiss during the Command Element's homecoming at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, July 17, 2015.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Todd F. Michalek

41. Recruits at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., place their hands on the shoulders of those in front of them as they prepare to safely leave a fire simulator, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.

U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Chief Warrant Officer John Edwards

42. Northern Lights Patrol: Aurora borealis is observed from Coast Guard Cutter Healy Oct. 4, 2015, while conducting science operations in the southern Arctic Ocean.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cory J. Mendenhall

43. Cruise Escort: Crew members aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Maritime Safety and Security Team 91107 escort the cruise ship Pride of America out of Honolulu Harbor, Oct. 3, 2015.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa E. McKenzie

44. Rescue swimmers and aircrewmen from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., conduct hoist training evolutions June 23, 2015.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell

45. Rescue swimmers and aircrewmen from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., conduct hoist training evolutions June 23, 2015.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell

46. Crews from Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, measure ice thickness in preparation for the Great Lakes shipping season and the opening of the Soo Locks in Lake Superior March 17, 2015.

U.S. Coast Guard photo

47. The Coast Guard's Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) from Virginia participates in a training evolution in Hyannis, Mass., Thursday, Oct., 22, 2015.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell

48. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico sits on the flight deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla., in the Caribbean, March 3, 2015.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Juan Gonzalez

49. Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay take a dip in Lake Erie at sunset with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon and the motor vessel Algoma Hansa in the background, March 8, 2015.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Gould

50.  The Coast Guard Cutter Sherman departs Naval Base San Diego Jan. 16, 2015, en route to its new home port of Honolulu.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson

History

This pilot shot down an enemy fighter at Pearl Harbor in his pajamas

Comfort is important when doing a hard job. If it's hot on the work site, it's important to stay cool. If it's hazardous, proper protection needs to be worn. And comfort is apparently key when the Japanese sneak attack the Navy. Just ask Lt. Phil Rasmussen, who was one of four pilots who managed to get off the ground to fight the Japanese in the air.

Rasmussen, like many other American GIs in Hawaii that day, was still asleep when the Japanese launched the attack at 0755. The Army Air Forces 2nd Lieutenant was still groggy and in his pajamas when the attacking wave of enemy fighters swarmed Wheeler Field and destroyed many of the Army's aircraft on the ground.

Damaged aircraft on Hickam Field, Hawaii, after the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

There were still a number of outdated Curtiss P-36A Hawk fighters that were relatively untouched by the attack. Lieutenant Rasmussen strapped on a .45 pistol and ran out to the flightline, still in his pajamas, determined to meet the sucker-punching Japanese onslaught.

By the time the attack ended, Wheeler and Hickam Fields were both devastated. Bellows Field also took a lot of damage, its living quarters, mess halls, and chapels strafed by Japanese Zeros. American troops threw back everything they could muster – from anti-aircraft guns to their sidearms. But Rasmussen and a handful of other daring American pilots managed to get in the air, ready to take the fight right back to Japan in the Hawks if they had to. They took off under fire, but were still airborne.

Pearl Harbor pilots Harry Brown, Phil Rasmussen, Ken Taylor, George Welch, and Lewis Sanders.

They made it as far as Kaneohe Bay.

The four brave pilots were led by radio to Kaneohe, where they engaged 11 enemy fighters in a vicious dogfight. Even in his obsolete old fighter, Rasmussen proved that technology is no match for good ol' martial skills and courage under fire. He managed to shoot down one of the 11, but was double-teamed by two attacking Zeros.

Gunfire and 20mm shells shattered his canopy, destroyed his radio, and took out his hydraulic lines and rudder cables. He was forced out of the fighting, escaping into nearby clouds and making his way back to Wheeler Field. When he landed, he did it without brakes, a rudder, or a tailwheel.

There were 500 bullet holes in the P-36A's fuselage.

Skillz.

Lieutenant Rasmussen earned the Silver Star for his boldness and would survive the war, getting his second kill in 1943. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1965, but will live on in the Museum of the United States Air Force, forever immortalized as he hops into an outdated aircraft in his pajamas.

(U.S. Air Force photo)

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