The Philippines is known for many reasons in the West. To many, the island nation is the land of white beaches, lumpia, and vicious knife-fighting skills.
My guess is that last item was a surprise.
The pen was mightier than the knife in the 2002 film “The Bourne Identity” because Bourne is trained in Kali, the homegrown Filipino Martial Art that specializes in bladed weapons.
The method is so effective at neutralizing an armed (or hell, an unarmed) opponent, that the U.S. Army adopted it into its modern combatives program.
Army Ranger Matt Larsen – now known as the “Father of Modern Combatives” – studied indigenous martial arts around the world as he developed the new fighting style. The modern system is based on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but Larsen chose to integrate Kali into the Army’s fighting style.
Kali (or Arnis, or Eskrima) is the national sport and martial art in the Philippines. And it’s not limited to bladed weapons. The art includes sticks, clubs, bare hands, bottles, and pretty much anything else a hand could wield.
Like the Israeli Krav Maga martial art, Kali is designed to be a practical fighting technique. Where the Krav Maga user will find anything within arm’s reach to help win the fight, the Kali fighter emphasizes a weapons-first approach, but will ultimately use any method to win the fight.
Another strength of FMA is that it’s a complementary fighting style. Experts say that Kali doesn’t conflict with learning another style, but actually strengthens one’s ability to fight in that style. In fact, Bruce Lee integrated it into his Jeet Kune Do philosophy because a friend and student of his was Dan Inosanto, a Kali fighter.
The FMA weapon fighting style is also used by the Russian Spetsnaz, or special forces. Their chief fighting instructor is the FMA master, Daniel “Mumbakki” Foronda. The Russians have reportedly used the style in hand-to-hand combat in places like Afghanistan and Georgia.
“Special operations and police forces worldwide are looking for Kali instruction,” said Jared Wihongi, a bladed weapons expert for Browning, in an interview with with Funker Tactical. “They see the realism in the art, and that it’s very combat-effective – not just the use of knives but defenses against edged weapons.”
No other force epitomizes the absolute destructive power humanity has unlocked in the way nuclear weapons have. And the weapons rapidly became more powerful in the decades after that first test.
The device tested in 1945 had a 20 kiloton yield, meaning it had the explosive force of 20,000 tons of TNT. Within 20 years, the US and USSR tested nuclear weapons larger than 10 megatons, or 10 million tons of TNT. For scale, these weapons were at least 500 times as strong as the first atomic bomb.
To put the size of history’s largest nuclear blasts to scale, we have used Alex Wellerstein’s Nukemap, a tool for visualizing the terrifying real-world impact of a nuclear explosion.
In the following maps, the first ring of the blast is the fireball, followed by the radiation radius. In the pink radius, almost all buildings are demolished and fatalities approach 100%. In the gray radius, stronger buildings would weather the blast, but injuries are nearly universal. In the orange radius, people with exposed skin would suffer from third-degree burns, and flammable materials would catch on fire, leading to possible firestorms.
11 (tie). Soviet Tests #158 and #168
On August 25 and September 19, 1962, less than a month apart, the USSR conducted nuclear tests #158 and #168. Both tests were held over the Novaya Zemlya region of Russia, an archipelago to the north of Russia near the Arctic Ocean.
No film or photographs of the tests have been released, but both tests included the use of 10-megaton atomic bombs. These blasts would have incinerated everything within 1.77 square miles of their epicenters while causing third-degree burns up to an area of 1,090 square miles.
10. Ivy Mike
On November 1, 1952, the US tested Ivy Mike over the Marshall Islands. Ivy Mike was the world’s first hydrogen bomb and had a yield of 10.4 megatons, making it 700 times as strong as the first atomic bomb.
Ivy Mike’s detonation was so powerful that it vaporized the Elugelab Island where it was detonated, leaving in its place a 164-foot-deep crater. The explosion’s mushroom cloud traveled 30 miles into the atmosphere.
9. Castle Romeo
Romeo was the second US nuclear detonation of the Castle Series of tests, which were conducted in 1954. All of the detonations took place over Bikini Atoll. Castle Romeo was the third-most powerful test of the series and had a yield of 11 megatons.
Romeo was the first device to be tested on a barge over open water instead of on a reef, as the US was quickly running out of islands upon which it could test nuclear weapons.
The blast would have incinerated everything within 1.91 square miles.
8. Soviet Test #123
On October 23, 1961, the Soviets conducted nuclear test #123 over Novaya Zemlya. Test #123 used a 12.5 megaton nuclear bomb. A bomb of this size would incinerate everything within 2.11 square miles while causing third-degree burns in an area of 1,309 square miles.
No footage or photographs of this nuclear test have been released.
7. Castle Yankee
Castle Yankee, the second-strongest of the Castle series tests, was conducted on May 4, 1954. The bomb was 13.5 megatons. Four days later, its fallout reached Mexico City, about 7,100 miles away.
6. Castle Bravo
Castle Bravo, detonated on February 28, 1954, was the first of the Castle series of tests and the largest US nuclear blast of all time.
Bravo was anticipated as a 6-megaton explosion. Instead, the bomb produced a 15-megaton fission blast. Its mushroom cloud reached 114,000 feet into the air.
The US military’s miscalculation of the test’s size resulted in the irradiation of approximately 665 inhabitants of the Marshall Islands and the radiation poisoning death of a Japanese fisherman who was 80 miles away from the detonation site.
3 (tie). Soviet Tests #173, #174, and #147
From August 5 to September 27, 1962, the USSR conducted a series of nuclear tests over Novaya Zemlya.Tests #173, #174, and #147 all stand out as being the fifth-, fourth-, and third-strongest nuclear blasts in history.
All three produced blasts of about 20 megatons, or about 1,000 times as strong as the Trinity bomb. A bomb of this strength would incinerate everything within 3 square miles.
No footage or photographs of these nuclear tests have been released.
2. Soviet Test #219
On December 24, 1962, the USSR conductedTest #219 over Novaya Zemlya. The bomb had a yield of 24.2 megatons. A bomb of this strength would incinerate everything within 3.58 square miles while causing third-degree burns in an area up to 2,250 square miles.
There are no released photos or video of this explosion.
1. The Tsar Bomba
On October 30, 1961, the USSR detonated the largest nuclear weapon ever tested and created the biggest man-made explosion in history. The blast, 3,000 times as strong as the bomb used on Hiroshima, broke windows 560 miles away, according to Slate.
The flash of light from the blast was visible up to 620 miles away.
The Tsar Bomba, as the test was ultimately known, had a yield between 50 and 58 megatons, twice the size of the second-largest nuclear blast.
A bomb of this size would create a fireball 6.4 square miles large and would be able to give humans third-degree burns within 4,080 square miles of the bomb’s epicenter.
The U.S. Military Academy has unveiled its football uniforms for the 2016 Army-Navy game, and they’re awesome tributes to the All American paratroopers and glider troops of World War II.
The dark gray jerseys are adorned with patches, unit crests, and mottoes of regiments that fought within the 82nd “All American” Airborne Division during the invasions of Normandy, Italy, and Holland.
The 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment — sometimes known as the Red Devils — is one of the units honored by the new football jerseys. (Screenshot: YouTube/GoArmyWestPoint)
The U.S. Army began experimenting with Airborne operations in 1940 by forming a test platoon. Over the course of World War II, paratroopers and glider soldiers were asked to test and develop airborne tactics and equipment in combat, jumping behind enemy lines or onto the flanks of friendly units to disrupt attacks or quickly reinforce vulnerable elements.
The 82nd Airborne Division fought primarily against the Germans during the war, though they faced some Italian units during fighting in that country.
The 82nd Division is the only full airborne division left in the U.S. military. Most airborne forces have been deactivated since the peak of fighting in World War II. Other previously airborne units — most notably the 101st Airborne Division of “Band of Brothers” fame — have transitioned to other missions.
On Aug. 11, Russia named its new stealth fighter the Su-57, but despite having a name, a finalized design, and a tentative date for its delivery, it already looks like a huge disappointment.
Russia first flew the Su-57 in 2010, demonstrating that it would enter the race towards fifth-generation aircraft after the US revolutionized aerial combat with the F-22, and later the F-35.
But in the years since, the Su-57 has failed to present a seriously viable future for Russian military aviation. Russia already fields some of the most maneuverable planes on earth. It has serious firepower in terms of missiles and bombs, and long-distance bombers and fighters. But what Russia doesn’t have is a stealth jet of any kind.
While Russian media calls the Su-57 an “aerial ghost,” a senior scientist working on stealth aircraft for the US called it a “dirty aircraft,” with many glaring flaws that would light up radars scanning for the plane.
Additionally, two of the plane’s most fearsome weapons, the Kh-35UEm a subsonic, anti-ship cruise missile, and the nuclear-capable BrahMos-A supersonic cruise missile, can’t fit in the internal weapons bay and must hang from the wings, as the Diplomat’s Franz-Stefan Gady reports.
Since a stealth plane needs every single angle of the jet to perfectly contour to baffle radars, hanging weapons off the wings absolutely kills stealth.
But stealth is just one of the Su-57s problems. The other is the engine. Unlike US stealth jets that have new engines, the Su-57 currently flies with the same engine that powers Russia’s last generation of fighters.
Additionally, Majumdar reports that Moscow will only buy 12 of the planes by 2019 and perhaps never more than 60 in total.
Though Russian media boasts the Su-57 can be piloted remotely and handle extreme G forces, the combination of a lack of stealth and a lack of truly modern propulsion has caused critics to say the plane is fifth-generation “in name only.”
Whatever the plane’s performance is, the low buy numbers out of Moscow indicate that the budding Su-57 is already a flop.
After about ten to twelve years, it’s usually time for a military working dog (MWD) to retire.
Unlike us, they don’t get out and start celebrating life immediately. Hundreds of them are sent to Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas every year. Before November 2000, most of the dogs were euthanized or just left in the battlefield troops just left (because despite the rank and funeral honors, they’re listed as equipment).
Thankfully, “Robby’s Law” opens up adoption to their former handlers, law enforcement, and civilian families.
When a dog is retired out, it is usually because of injury or sickness and the best person to care for the puppy is the handler. More than 90% of these good dogs get adopted by their handler. Makes sense — calling a military working dog your “battle buddy” seems less awkward when the context is with a Labrador Retriever.
Next on the order of precedent in MWD adoption is law enforcement. Their services would be invaluable within police forces because they are trained to do exactly when the police would need them to do. However, the dogs are contractually agreed to belong to the department. They are the only ones allowed to allow the dogs to perform patrol, security, or substance detection work and the DoD has strict restrictions otherwise.
Sadly, even the police force won’t take the rest of the military working dogs because of their age or injury. This is where civilians come in. Bare in mind, adoption isn’t a quick process and applicants are carefully screened. It may take about a year on the waiting list to get your first interview.
They are not some goofy pug you can just adopt and take home. These dogs have usually deployed and show the same symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress. These dogs were trained to sniff out roadside bombs and to fight the Taliban and now have trouble socializing with other dogs and aren’t as playful as they were before.
The MWD selection process demands that the most energetic and playful puppies are needed for combat. After years of fighting, these old dogs show signs of nervous exhaustion and distress. If that pulls at your heart strings because it hits close to home, it is scientifically proven that dogs (including these MWDs) can aid and benefit those with Post Traumatic Stress.
If you don’t mind the wait, have an appropriate living space for a large dog, and are willing to aid these four legged veterans, there are organizations that can help. Save-A-Vet and Mission K9 Rescue are great places to start.
American Presidents are civilians by design, some with little or no military experience at all – and are unlikely to ever serve in a combat role while in office (unless they’re in office while aliens attack Earth). In the voters’ minds, military experience always seems to be a plus when considering who would be the next Commander-In-Chief. It probably helps when they actually take the office.
But not every veteran POTUS saw action. Eisenhower was a great logistical planner but never served in a direct combat role. George Washington’s combat record as a junior officer is spotty, but his decision-making capacity, strategic vision, and ability to inspire those around him were infinitely more essential to his legacy and to the history of the United States.
And then there were those whose service would affect the outcomes of battles, of entire wars, and of the nation itself. Here are 8 presidents who actually saw combat in a big way:
1. Andrew Jackson (War of 1812, Indian Wars)
No president ever held a grudge like Andrew Jackson. This was a guy who fought 103 duels before he was ever elected President. Yet he only killed one man (in a duel, I mean).
When he was 13, he served as a messenger for a militia unit in the Revolutionary War. When captured, he refused to shine the boots of a British officer, who then used his saber to give the Young Jackson the scars that would be on his face for the rest of his life. That sort of thing stays with a young man.
As a general, his most famous military success was at New Orleans during the War of 1812. The British threatened the city under Jackson’s command. Jackson pulled together Army regulars, militia, sailors, Marines, citizens, Choctaw warriors, and a band of pirates under Jean LaFitte, to a force of 4,700 men. They held off 11,000 British troops and the Royal Navy fleet in a battle that couldn’t be won.
His victory would (eventually) put Jackson in the White House, where Old Hickory would be the first US President anyone tried to assassinate. An unemployed house painter pulled two pistols on Jackson but they both misfired, allowing Jackson to beat the would-be killer with his cane.
2. William Henry Harrison (War of 1812, Indian Wars)
Harrison was the commander of American forces at Tippecanoe, architect of Shawnee leader Tecumseh’s defeat, and gave the United States its first victory against violent religious extremists. Not bad.
Tecumseh and his brother, a “prophet” called Tenskawata, began using visions and magic to incite Natives in the Indiana territory against American settlers. In 1810, Tecumseh met then-Governor Harrison with 400 warriors to demand the rescission of a treaty. When Harrison refused, Tecumseh ordered his warriors to kill Harrison, who responded by drawing his sword. A Potawatomi chief intervened and Tecumseh’s warriors left for the time being.
When the war came, Harrison assaulted the tribes repeatedly – most notably at Tippecanoe, where the magical forces were defeated by actual forces.
Guns over Magic. Every time.
Tecumseh made a comeback in the War of 1812, backed up by the British. Harrison quickly captured Detroit (for better or worse) and then invaded Canada. He defeated the British and got some vengeance against Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames. Tecumseh was killed, the Americans burned a local settlement (built by pacifists probably to avoid getting their settlement burned down), and then went back to Detroit.
Harrison delivered the longest inaugural speech in American history without a coat on a cold, wet day, which resulted in the shortest presidency in American history.
3. Zachary Taylor (War of 1812, Indian Wars, Mexican-American War)
Taylor also cut his teeth fighting Tecumseh during the War of 1812, famously holding Fort Harrison with 20 men against 600 under the “inspiring” battle cry “Taylor Never Surrenders!” Turns out, he was pretty good at checking native tribes. He also fought them in the Black Hawk War and Seminole War.
By the time war with Mexico broke out, Taylor was a general and was widely known as “Old Rough and Ready.” He lost only 37 men against an army that vastly outnumbered his own, marched on the “impregnable” city of Monterrey, and captured it in four days. This wasn’t even his biggest victory.
President Polk deliberately gave all but 4,650 of Taylor’s troops to General Winfield Scott to capture Veracruz in an effort to check Taylor’s growing popularity back home. Having learned of Taylor’s weakened army, Mexican General and dictator General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna sent his entire army of 15,000 to annihilate him.
As Taylor’s army turned the Battle of Buena Vista into a complete rout of the numerically superior Mexicans, his order “Double-shot your guns and give ’em hell” was used as a campaign slogan to catapult Taylor to the presidency.
He was so popular, he was elected as the Whig Party candidate despite disagreeing with almost every issue for which the party stood.
4. Franklin Pierce (Mexican-American War)
Franklin Pierce was so itchy to fight for his country, he turned down President Polk’s nomination as Attorney General. For this he gets a lot of respect. The first part of his military career, however, was less like Zachary Taylor’s and more like Ernest goes to Mexico.
He volunteered to join the Army as soon as war with Mexico broke out in 1846, despite the lack of New England regiments actually existing. When Congress authorized those regiments, he was appointed the Colonel in command and sent to Veracruz.
When he arrived in Mexico, he was promoted to Brigadier General and linked up with General Winfield Scott at the Battle of Contreras. Everything was okay until his horse was startled, causing his saddle to jam his groin as hard as possible. The horse then fell into a crevice, pinning Pierce under it and forcing someone else to take command. He injured his knee the next day and fell so far behind his men, the battle was over by the time he caught up.
General Scott wasn’t going to let Pierce command his brigade at the Battle of Churubusco the next day, but he eventually did. But Pierce’s wounded leg hurt so much, he passed out on his horse in the middle of the battle.
5. Ulysses S. Grant (Mexican War, Civil War)
Grant famously became the general the Union needed to win the Civil War. He was forced to resign from the Army for drunkenness before the war. But when the South seceded, he raised a regiment of volunteers that he used to take the fight to the Confederates in the West.
Eventually, he commanded friend and General William T. Sherman to burn the South to the ground.
He always showed this level of doggedness in his military career. During the Mexican War, he led cavalry charges despite only being a quartermaster. As a messenger, he braved the sniper-lined streets of Monterrey while hanging off the side of his horse, using it as a shield.
At the Battle of Chapultepec, he carried a howitzer to the top of a church steeple, a move essential to the final assault on Chapultepec Castle and to winning the war itself.
6. Rutherford B. Hayes (Civil War)
Not much is really said about Rutherford B. Hayes these days, but the former President has probably one of the most active war records of any Chief Executive. He was a Union officer during the Civil War, volunteering after Fort Sumter fell and serving in an active combat role until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox.
In September 1862, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was advancing northward into Maryland. The Union Army under General George B. McClellan met the divided Confederates in a series of three pitched battles. At the head of the lead regiment was Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes.
As Hayes’ 23d Ohio charged an entrenched Confederate position, a bullet tore through his arm, shattering the bone. After tying a handkerchief tourniquet around it (and presumably rubbing some dirt on it), he continued the attack.
While most Civil War veterans would lose an arm to such an injury, Hayes probably didn’t get an infection because gangrene was afraid of him. Instead, he spent the next two years skirmishing with Confederate forces in Tennessee and Virginia.
He had his horse shot from under him Battle of Kernstown, where he was then shot in the shoulder. He was also struck in the head by a spent round at Cedar Creek in 1864, the year he was promoted to Brigadier General and Brevet Major General.
He was elected to the Presidency by sheer force of will in 1876, despite not winning a majority of electoral or popular votes.
7. Theodore Roosevelt (Spanish-American War)
Colonel Roosevelt was an adventurer, explorer, scholar, author, historian, boxer, cowboy, big game hunter, and elected official. Teddy, as he hated being called, was also fearless and nearly indestructible even before he went to war.
Unfortunately for Spain, when the USS Maine was sunk in Havana harbor, Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to go and liberate Cuba. He and Colonel Leonard Wood raised the 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment – known to this day as the “Rough Riders.”
They distinguished themselves at the Battle of San Juan Hill. During the fight for nearby Kettle Hill, he lead the charge as the only man on horseback. Roosevelt moved from position to position as his men advanced up the hill, over open ground, against an entrenched enemy. When his horse was stopped by barbed wire, he walked the rest of the way.
The Americans reached the top of the hill fighting hand-to-hand to dislodge the Spaniards. In Spain’s defense, there’s no shame in getting dropped by a punch the face from Teddy Roosevelt.
Roosevelt would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for that action (he is still the only President with one), blocked at the time for political reasons – the most likely being that he was Theodore Roosevelt and everyone else was not.
8. Harry S. Truman (World War I)
Truman was initially denied enlisting into the Missouri National Guard because of poor eyesight – well past the standard for legal blindness. Not one to let not being able to see keep him from killing Germans, he secretly memorized an eye chart and passed the vision test. He was even elected to be the lieutenant of his unit.
By the time he arrived in France, he was the captain of an artillery company. He was unpopular at first… until his unit was overrun by the Germans in the Vosges Mountains. His men started to break and run but Truman let rip a string of profanity so awful and venomous his men were actually more afraid of him than the Germans – and they stayed to fight.
His time in the mud didn’t stop there. At the start of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918, Captain Truman observed German artillery setting up to attack a unit out of his area of responsibility. An animal lover, Truman waited until the Germans moved their horses before lighting them up.
On May 19, 1848, Mexico ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thus ending the Mexican-American War.
The war began over territory disputes in what was then the Republic of Texas, Nuevo Mexico, and Alta California. After two years of fighting, Mexico surrendered and peace talks began.
As part of the treaty, the United States paid Mexico $15 million in exchange for all or parts of present-day Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and Texas. Per the terms of the agreement, the Mexican government ceded fifty-five percent of its territory and recognized the Rio Grande as the southern boundary with the United States.
Adjusting for inflation, that’s almost a third of the continental United States for about what La La Land earned at the box office. Though it did indeed expand U.S. territories, it reignited the tension over free- and slave-holding states and contributed to the cause of the Civil War just twelve years later.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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 US Army has failed to monitor over $1 billion worth of arms and other military equipment transfers to Kuwait and Iraq, Amnesty International said in a report citing a 2016 US government audit.
The now-declassified document by the US Department of Defense audit was obtained by the rights group following Freedom of Information requests.
The audit reveals that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a vast amount of equipment on hand in Kuwait and Iraq.
Some records were incomplete, while duplicated spreadsheets, handwritten receipts and the lack of a central database increased the risk for human error while entering data.
“This audit provides a worrying insight into the US army’s flawed — and potentially dangerous — system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” stated Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s Arms Control and Human Rights researcher in the report.
The rights group stated in its report that its own research had “consistently documented” lax controls and record-keeping within the Iraqi chain of command, which had resulted in arms winding up in the hands of armed groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).
“After all this time and all these warnings, the same problems keep occurring,” Wilcken said.
‘Irresponsible arms transfers’
The military transfers were part of the Iraq Train and Equip Fund, a program that appropriated $1.6 billion to provide assistance to military and other security services associated with the government of Iraq, including Kurdish and tribal security forces.
The transfers included small arms and heavy weapons, machine guns, mortar rounds, and assault rifles.
“This effort is focused on critical ground forces needed to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL in Iraq, secure its national borders, and prevent ISIL from developing safe havens,” the DoD said in a report justifying ITEF.
“If support is not provided American interests in the region would be undermined.”
In response to the audit, the US Army has pledged to implement corrective actions.
“This occurred during the Obama administration as well, and groups such as Amnesty International repeatedly called on irresponsible arms transfers to be tackled, as the weapons were not only falling into the hands of groups like ISIL but also pro-Tehran Shia jihadists fighting for the Iraqi government,” Tallha Abdulrazaq, Security Researcher at the University of Exeter told Al Jazeera via email.
“While ISIL certainly needs to be fought, if this is achieved by hurling arms at groups that are just as extreme as the militant group, how does that resolve the situation?”
Amnesty International has urged the US to comply with laws and treaties to stop arms transfers or diversion of arms that could fuel atrocities.
Family Readiness Groups are a mainstay in military communities. They keep the masses informed, throw awkward parties in which everyone can meet and they’re a great way to keep everyone in touch, including family members who are not on post.However, if you’ve never been to one of their events — sometimes where the fun is *forced*, you may be in for a surprise. Take a look at these memes that perfectly describe your first go-around with these right-of-passage events.
Whether you want to or not, you’ll be there
Welcome to the world of being voluntold.
2. When they say it’s not mandatory but it really is
We all know how to read between the lines.
3. When you show up wondering if it’s booze friendly or not
May the odds be ever in your favor.
4. Then you get there and there are no recognizable faces
But what’s your last name? I don’t know faces.
5. When they ask for more helpers
Who’s down to give some time?
6. You might be diving in deep
Welcome to the team.
7. When they get down to the informational portion
Be sure to take notes in pencil.
8. When the meeting is a pop-up and no one told you
The 1970 movie “Waterloo” was one of the most intricately filmed war movies of all time. A story about Napoleon’s famous last stand could not be told accurately without battle scenes on a grand scale. But these were the days before CGI and other computer wizardry, so Dino De Laurentiis had to get the extras — lots of them.
To save on production costs, necessary to build everything seen in the movies – from palaces to artillery – De Laurentiis decided to film the movie in the Soviet Union, at the height of the Cold War. The USSR agreed to allow the filming of the movie in Ukraine and also gave access to Soviet men and equipment.
The Red Army offered up some 16,000 men to the filmmakers, along with honest-to-Lenin cavalry and civil engineers. The civil engineers recreated the entire Waterloo battlefield, including roads, thousands of trees, and Belgian farmhouses. They even bulldozed a few hills, cultivated rye, barley, and wildflower fields, and piped in water via an irrigation system to recreate the mud of the battlefield.
Russian director Sergei Bondarchuk housed the troops in tents near the battlefield and trained them in the infantry tactics and weapons of the time, 1815. The men were able to grow their facial hair and live like Napoleonic-era troops. They were more than just glorified battle re-enactors, they became bona fide Napoleonic Warriors, learning drills as well as saber and bayonet tactics.
The total price tag of the film came to a whopping $40 million – $247 million adjusted for inflation. The resulting battle scenes are worth every penny. Aside from a few anachronisms, the battles are epic depictions of the French Empereur’s last 100 days.
Tribute in lights illuminate downtown in New York, NY on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. Photo by Jin Lee,9/11 Memorial.
On September 11, 2001, Dorothy Morgan went to work at the World Trade Center. She was an insurance broker in the North Tower, the first to be hit. Although Morgan was likely one of the 2,753 victims at Ground Zero that morning, her remains were never identified. As a result, her daughter, Nykiah, was unable to give her a proper burial.
In August 2021, nearly 20 years after Dorothy’s presumed death, two New York detectives made a trip to Nykiah’s home on Long Island. Her son, Dante, called her at work. “They’re here about Grandma,” he said to her. The New York City Medical Examiner’s office positively identified Dorothy Morgan through advanced DNA testing.
The identification of her mother was a surprise to Nykiah. “I didn’t know they were still attempting that after all these years, that it was something that was ongoing,” she told New York Times. In fact, the ME’s office continues to conduct the largest missing persons case in the history of the United States. Scientists work around the clock to identify the remaining 1,106 victims who are still unaccounted for.
Another victim was identified along with Dorothy. However, their identity has been withheld at the request of the family. Together, they are the 1,646th and 1,647th people to be identified following 9/11. Moreover, they are first victims to be identified since October 2019.
“Twenty years ago, we made a promise to the families of World Trade Center victims to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to identify their loved ones, and with these two new identifications, we continue to fulfill that sacred obligation,” said Dr. Barbara Sampson, New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner, to New York Times. “No matter how much time passes since September 11, 2001, we will never forget, and we pledge to use all the tools at our disposal to make sure all those who were lost can be reunited with their families.”
When 97-year-old Martin Adler landed at the Bologna Airport in Italy after a 20-hour journey from his home in Boca Raton, Florida, he was greeted by three elderly Italian siblings: Bruno, Mafalda, and Giuliana Naldi. Upon their meeting, Adler gave the siblings American chocolate bars just as he did when he first met them 77 years ago.
During WWII, Adler fought in Italy with the 339th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division. He landed in Naples in March 1944 and his unit began the bloody campaign to liberate the country.
On June 3, 1944, Adler’s unit engaged in heavy fighting in Rocca Priora on the Alban Hills outside of Rome. During the battle, Adler rescued fellow soldiers who were trapped by enemy fire. His actions earned him the Bronze Star for valor.
By the autumn of 1944, the allies had advanced to the northern part of the country. In Monterenzio, a town to the south of Bologna, Adler and his unit were cautiously searching for Germans. “I had my good old Thompson submachine gun,” Adler recalled in an interview with CBS Evening News. During the search, he noticed movement from a large wicker basket. Fearing that a German might be hiding inside, he aimed his weapon at it.
“The mother, Mamma, came out and stood right in front of my gun to stop me shooting,” Adler recounted. “She put her stomach right against my gun, yelling, ‘Bambinis! Bambinis! Bambinis!’ pounding my chest.”
“That was a real hero, the mother, not me,” Adler said. “The mother was a real hero. Can you imagine you standing yourself in front of a gun and screaming, ‘Children! No!?'”
The Naldi siblings, ages 3 to 6 at the time, emerged from the basket and met a relieved Adler. Giuliana is the only one who remembers the close call, though she didn’t quite comprehend its gravity at the time. “We weren’t afraid of anything,” she said. Though, she did recall the chocolate Adler gave them and its blue and white wrapper. “We ate so much of that chocolate!” Adler and the three children took a photo together which he has treasured ever since.
Adler’s daughter, Rachelle Donley, decided to track down the children in the photo during the COVID lockdown. She posted it online to veterans groups with information about her father’s service. Italian journalist Matteo Incerti, an author on WWII, saw the appeal and traced the movement of Adler’s unit through Italy. Along with clues from the photograph, he published Adler’s picture in local newspapers until the Naldi siblings were identified.
Adler and the Naldis had a virtual reunion in December 2020. Following the easing of travel restrictions, he made the trip across the Atlantic to meet in person. “He just lit up, just seeing the kids,” Donley said. “It means everything to him.”
Adler’s trip to Italy will retrace his journey during the war and includes stops in Florence, Naples, and Rome. When asked why he didn’t pull the trigger, Adler answered, “God looked down on me, and God looked down on Italia.”