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This is what Game of Thrones can teach you about squad composition

This article should probably start off with a spoiler warning. Then again, if you're reading things about "Game of Thrones," you are either caught up, have no intentions of watching the show, or don't care about spoiler warnings.


If by some reason you aren't any of those and wouldn't want this week's episodes spoiled, here's an article about MREs.

The final shot of this week's episode finished with Jon Snow, Gendry, Jorah, The Hound, Tormund, Beric, and Thoros all headed beyond the wall to capture a wight to prove that the dead are a threat.

One thing I noticed was how perfectly everyone in lined up with a modern unit composition.

(YouTube, Kristina R)

Substitute modern weaponry and medical supplies for swords, warhammers, and magic, and you can make an argument that Jon Snow's team closely resembles that of Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha.

Bear in mind, they are undermanned compared to an actual fire team, with only seven men out in the field, one garrisoned at Eastwatch, and another in Winterfell. A full SFOD-A team consists of twelve men on mission. Normally, there would also be two communications experts, a medical doc, and an engineering sergeant on the team.

In this exercise at least, all of the key positions are at least filled. Here's how:

Detachment Commander (18A) — King Jon Snow

Every team needs a dedicated leader. A voice everyone can rally behind. Someone with a clear vision of what the objective is and how to achieve it.

Being King of the North and the one who brought them all together definitely qualifies Jon Snow as the leader of this team.

Assistant Detachment Commander (180A) — Lord Beric Dondarrion

The second in command needs to be a skilled warfighter. If the team separates, the second would step in to lead a group. They must also be willing to assume control of the whole unit if the worst happens to the commander.

Beric lead the Brotherhood Without Banners until they reached the Wall. If anything, he's still in charge of both Thoros and The Hound.

Operations Sergeant (18Z) — Ser Davos Seaworth

The Operations Sergeant is responsible for the overall organization and functionality of the team. They are also the senior most enlisted advisor on the team.

Although Davos didn't join them beyond the wall, he was still pivotal in assembling the team and advising Jon Snow on how to carry out the mission.

Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant (18F) — Tormund Giantsbane

The Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant ensures the team is war-fighting capable. They also gather and analyze all the mission-critical information.

Tormund lived his life Beyond the Wall. No one knows the area and the enemy better than him.

Weapons Sergeants (18B) — Sandor "The Hound" Clegane and Ser Jorah Mormont

Weapons Sergeants must be experts in a wide variety of weapon systems. Any weapon they get their hands on can and will be used.

Both Sandor and Jorah are some of the best fighters in Westeros. They have each proven to be lethal no matter what weapon they had — and in any arena.

Engineering Sergeant (18C) — Gendry

Engineering Sergeants are masters of construction and destruction. They can build a bridge just as flawlessly as they can destroy one.

Gendry trained many years under the greatest blacksmith in the series. If Valerian Steel weapons are needed to fight the dead, he's ready. Afterall, he was trained under Mott (the guy that reforged Ned Stark's sword into two more Valerian Steel swords.)

Medical Sergeant (18D) — Thoros of Myr

Special Operations Medical Sergeants are experts in treating battlefield trauma. They are tasked with providing life-saving aid to the team.

The Lord of Light has brought back the dead many times in the books, making Thoros a handy guy to have around in battle. It's not perfect, with each resurrection taking a part of the person that dies, but it is invaluable to keeping his men in the fight.

Communications Sergeant (18E) — Lord Bran Stark the "Three-Eyed Raven"

The Communications Sergeant is the life blood between fire teams and command. They are required to maintain a constant flow of information between all troops.

In the show, Bran wasn't seen joining the group. He's still in Winterfell. But in the same episode the group was formed, he was flying around the enemy in raven form.

We may find out until next episode that he'll be assisting Jon's team.

All told, it was exciting to see this rag-tag group come together to go beyond the wall.

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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