House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops - We Are The Mighty
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House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops

The $716 billion defense policy bill would give military personnel a 2.6 percent pay hike, the largest in nine years

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Here’s what it looks like when paratroopers seize an airfield

Every once in a while, America finds they desperately need an airfield in someone else’s territory. When there are no forces nearby to seize said airfield, U.S. paratroopers climb into cargo aircraft by the hundreds and get ready to beat down some defending forces. Here’s how that happens:


1. The units grab their gear and rush to waiting planes.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Smith

Units on different missions will have different minimum timelines, but airborne response forces pride themselves on attacking anywhere in the world in 24 hours or less.

2. Most missions are “heavy drops” where vehicles, artillery, and other large equipment are dropped with the soldiers.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Smith

3. The heavy equipment will generally be deployed first.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Annette B. Andrews

4. Once the equipment is out, the paratroopers will begin raining from the sky.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Mike Pryor

5. The soldiers maneuver their chutes to avoid hazards on the drop zone and then execute “parachute landing falls” when they reach the ground.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army

6. Once they reach the drop zone, troops mass as quickly as possible so they can begin maneuvering on the enemy. Chem lights, reflective panels, and other markers are used by leaders to show troops where to congregate.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Spc. Cody A. Thompson

7. These points have to be defended from the enemy forces near the drop zone.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Mike Pryor

8. Artillery units will try to mass on their howitzers so crews can prepare them to fire.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Annette B. Andrews

9. Soldiers with radios must immediately get them up and running so leaders can coordinate the assault before an enemy counterattack materializes.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Spc. Cody A. Thompson

10. Units check in with the ground commander on the radio or by signaling. The commanders will map out where their forces are in relation to the objectives, sometimes changing the attack plan if forces landed in the wrong spots.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Spc. Cody A. Thompson

11. As the infantry begins their attack, artillery soldiers hurriedly prepare their ammunition to fire.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Love

12. The artillery will fire in support of the infantry, striking enemies on the airfield and any enemy reinforcements approaching the objective. Typically, they will try to avoid striking the airstrip itself to prevent damage to it.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Annette B. Andrews

13. If the howitzers find they landed too close to an enemy position or an enemy counterattack is drawing close, they’ll begin firing “high-angle” shots. These will land nearby, killing enemies in close proximity to the guns.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Love

14. When helicopters are in range to support, they and other aircraft will destroy troop concentrations and heavy vehicles that are a threat to the infantry.

15. Of course, the infantry units also rain steel on the enemy. Mortarmen are part of the maneuver force, moving up to the enemy forces and striking them with high explosives.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army

16. Some of the infantrymen on the ground will also have grenade launchers. M230 and M320 grenade launchers can be attached to the infantryman’s rifle. The M320 can also be carried as a separate weapon.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army

17. The infantry will clear the buildings and the area surrounding the airfield to ensure no defenders are left.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Mike Pryor

18. Once the airstrip is secure, the ground forces will call for reinforcements to begin landing. This could consist of anything from additional airborne infantry to heavy armored units with M1 Abrams.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: flickr/Josh Beasley

19. If the main airstrip is damaged or cannot accommodate all the aircraft needed for the mission, engineers will cut out dirt “forward landing strips” for the C-130s so reinforcements can continue pouring in.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen

NOW: Here’s what an Army medic does in the critical minutes after a soldier is wounded

OR: These 7 photos show how Marines take a beach

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Pacific War Marine in WWII

John Nicely was a Sergeant in the US Marine Corps during the brutal Pacific island campaigns of WWII.  He saw his first action in the battle for the island of Saipan on June 15th, 1944.  From there he continued fighting from island to island and eventually prepared for the invasion of Japan. Nicely and his unit entered the devastated city of Nagasaki, just 25 days after the nuclear blast.  We met up with him at a reunion of the 2nd Marine division in 1994 and he shared his vivid personal memories of front-line combat.

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17 photos that show the pain of MPs getting Tazed and maced

The training to carry oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray) or a Tazer generally requires that a military police officer experience the sting of their weapon before they can carry it. Some troops are even required to recertify and be sprayed and Tazed every six months.


Here are 17 photos and one video that show what the training is like:

1. Pepper spray, training opens with the service member getting a blast straight to the face.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: Lance Cpl. Andrew Kuppers

2. The spray forces the eyes closed and irritates the skin.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

3. In most cases, the students have to complete certain tasks and training lanes after being sprayed.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: North Carolina National Guard Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen

4. Part of the training lane is fighting against a simulated aggressor while still blinded.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Marine corp Cpl. Khoa Pelczar

5. Students may be required to fight with batons or riot gear.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Russell Bassett

6. Trying to use weapons while under the spray’s effects is especially challenging.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Spc. Justin A. Naylor

7. But the soldiers are expected to force their way through.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Maria Blanchard

8. Near the end of the training, the students will usually have to subdue a subject.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Marine corp Cpl. Khoa Pelczar

9. Once they finish the lane, they can rinse out the spray.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Army Spc. Robert Holland

10. Removing the chemical agents is a welcome step.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: North Carolina National Guard Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen

11. It takes a lot of water to get the oleoresin capsicum off.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn

12. Even after rinsing, the eyes and face will likely be sore and inflamed for a while.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: US Coast Guard PA2 Tom Sperduto

13. Tazers are an entirely different beast.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: Screengrab US Marine Corps Cpl. Joey Holeman

14. The shock of the Tazer can immediately incapacitate a trainee.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: Screengrab US Marine Corps Cpl. Joey Holeman

15. The faces of those being shocked are usually pretty funny.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: Screengrab US Army Sgt. Stephanie Logue

16. Other troops will support the students during the shock so they won’t hurt themselves as they fall.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: Screengrab US Marine Corps Cpl. Joey Holeman

17. Attempting to resist the 50,000 volt shock is useless as the Tazer overwhelms the nervous system.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Photo: Screengrab US Marine Corps Cpl. Joey Holeman

To see Marines going through pepper spray, Tazer, and riot control training, check out the video below:

NOW: How it feels to get attacked by a military working dog

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Airborne Assault On D-Day

June 6th, 1944…D-Day. It was the greatest military assault ever staged. Code named Operation Overlord, the massive invasion of Normandy by the Allies involved more than a quarter of a million soldiers, sailors and airmen as well as 5000 ships and 3000 aircraft.  

Tom McCarthy and Francis Lamoureux were Parachute Infantrymen during the epic conflict. They tell their riveting first-hand accounts in this dramatic presentation, Airborne Assault on D-Day. 

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Episode 219: Admiral James Stavridis

One of the most revered military leaders of our time, Admiral James Stavridis served for thirty-seven years in the United States Navy, including his last four as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. Admiral Stavridis joins Adam to share the best lessons he has learned over the course of his illustrious career, from how to lead and inspire others to how to lead your own day and life. Admiral Stavridis and Adam discuss the Admiral’s core leadership principles, misconceptions about military leaders, and job interviews with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

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B-29 Bomber Pilot in WWII

Charles L. Phillips was a 26-year-old Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps, piloting B-29 bombers in the Pacific theater during the final years of WWII.   He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroics during the strategic bombing campaign over Japan. One of Phillip’s last missions was on August 6, 1945, the same day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.   During the air battle he was forced to ditch his B-29 into the sea.  We interviewed Charles Phillips in 1991 and he told us remarkable stories, from his early training in Texas to the firebombing of Tokyo.

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Japan and Australia join US in Operation Christmas Drop

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
U.S. Air Force photo | Staff Sgt. Katrina Brisbin


Instead of a reindeer-powered sleigh, Santa delivers Christmas from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam to more than 20,000 Pacific islanders by C-130 Hercules drops from the air.

For the first time in the 63-year history of Operation Christmas Drop, the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, has two partners in support personnel from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force in delivering donated goods to more than 56 of the Pacific’s most remote and populated islands. Each nation provided one C-130 for the trilateral operation.

Not only is Operation Christmas Drop the Defense Department’s longest running humanitarian airlift mission, but it also gives the 374th AW an opportunity to practice humanitarian aid and disaster relief. C-130 aircrews deliver almost 40,000 pounds of supplies by executing more than 20 low-cost, low-altitude airdrop training missions to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau. The airdrop missions allow aircrews to practice essential combat skills and demonstrate commitment throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region while helping the U.S. strengthen cooperation with two allies.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
U.S. Air Force photo | Staff Sgt. Katrina Brisbin

“Members of our community consider all Micronesians brothers and sisters, and we are happy to share this unique tradition in bridging the distance,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew Toth, the 36th Wing commander. “That’s the beauty of this operation – its impact goes beyond the coastline of Guam.”

The exact origin of Operation Christmas Drop isn’t known, but according to 36th Wing history, the first supplies were dropped during Christmas in 1952. An aircrew, assigned to the 54th Weather Squadron at Andersen AFB, flew a WB-29 Superfortress over Kapingamarangi in the Federated States of Micronesia, south of Guam, and saw villagers waving at them from the ground. The crew packed items on the plane in a box and dropped it on a parachute used for weather buoys. The drops continued each year until the name Operation Christmas Drop was officially named six years later.

The 2015 Operation Christmas Drop officially kicked off Dec. 8 at Andersen AFB, with a celebratory “push ceremony.” Military members from the 374th AW, 36th Wing, 734th Air Mobility Squadron, 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, all from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and international partners from Australia and Japan gathered for the opening ceremony celebrating the first ever trilateral execution of Operation Christmas Drop.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
U.S. Air Force photo | Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel

Addressing the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force, Col. Douglas C. DeLaMater, the 374th AW commander, said, “Your participation in the coming days highlights our dedication and commitment to modernizing our alliances, reinforcing our shared values, and deepening our partnerships across the region.

“Operation Christmas Drop is a prime example of the depth airpower brings to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “In addition to delivering critical supplies to those in need, Operation Christmas Drop provides specific training to U.S. and allied aircrews, enabling theater-wide airpower.”

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
U.S. Air Force photo | Osakabe Yasuo

Throughout the week after the ceremony, the joint teams trained together on low-cost, low-altitude airdrop tactics and procedures. The crews will drop more than 100 bundles filled with humanitarian aid donations and critical supplies, such as books, canned goods, construction materials, clothing, coolers, fishing nets, powdered milk, shoes, school supplies, and toys.

“This coalition training results in a more robust force that is better enabled to execute rapid (humanitarian aid and disaster response) and resupply missions at a moment’s notice throughout the region and around the world,” DeLaMater said.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
U.S. Air Force photo | Osakabe Yasuo

During almost seven months of planning, service members at Andersen raised money and solicited donations for the critical supplies, educational materials and toys that are delivered during Operation Christmas Drop. Andersen AFB collected, sorted and prepared the donations for the joint bundle build with U.S. Air Force, RAAF and JASDF combat mobility flight riggers.

“An event of this magnitude could not have been sustained for 64 years without the dedication and support from a variety of agencies across the board,” Toth said. “While the training missions are conducted by the Air Force, it is important to understand that this amazing joint endeavor has donations that come from a strong community right here on the island of Guam.”

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
U.S. Air Force photo | Senior Airman Joshua Smoot

From military personnel to local community members, there was island-wide participation in the preparation for the big event. Donation boxes were left at both military installations and Government of Guam facilities for people to make contributions in support of Operation Christmas Drop.

“We had members of the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and local community help out to make this year’s Operation Christmas Drop possible,” said Master Sgt. Martinez-Andino, the 734th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent and Operation Christmas Drop organization president. “We began this process for the event in March, and we have come a long way, we’re all excited to see the outcome.”

Last year, the Pacific Air Forces delivered 50,000 pounds of supplies to 56 Micronesian Islands.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
U.S. Air Force photo | Osakabe Yasuo

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Three War Army Hero

This episode tells the dramatic story of an Army veteran who served in three wars, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  Al Ungerleider’s first taste of combat came on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.  He went on to march towards Germany, liberating a Nazi concentration camp along the way.  Brigadeer General Al Ungerleider retired from the Army after 36 years of service.  His final active-duty assignment was commanding the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.  Al Ungerleider is a true American hero.

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Here’s how US Air Force pilots learn to fly French Mirage fighters

The pilots in the U.S. Air Force fly a bunch of planes. The F-15 Eagle, the C-17 Globemaster, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and the Mirage 2000D… Wait, that can’t be right. The Mirage 2000D is a French plane, and not in service with the Air Force.


House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
Four 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions are released from an F-15E during a developmental test at Edwards Air Force Base in 2002. Photo courtesy of USAF.

Yet, that list is accurate. Right now, Maj. Raymond “Banzai” Rounds of the U.S. Air Force is based out of Ochey Air Base in France, flying with the Armee de l’Air. The French have three squadrons of Mirage 2000Ds.

In one sense, the Mirage 2000D is like the F-15E. Both are multi-role fighters that are based on air-superiority planes (the Mirage 2000C and the F-15).

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
A Mirage 2000D at Kandahar air base. (Wikimedia Commons)

According to Military-Today.com, the Mirage 2000D is capable of carrying a wide variety of air-to-surface weapons, including dumb bombs, laser-guided bombs, Exocet anti-ship missiles, APACHE and SCALP missiles, the AS-30L missile, and rocket pods. It can also carry Magic 2 air-to-air missiles.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
This is just one possible loadout the Mirage 2000D can carry. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Air Force has a program that enables pilots like Rounds to do exchange tours with other countries’ militaries. But that’s not the only exchange.

There are also inter-service exchanges, where members of American military services fly with a unit in another American service. Perhaps the most famous of those pilots is Marine John Glenn, who scored three MiG kills while flying with the Air Force’s 51st Fighter Wing.

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops
The F-86F flown by John Glenn during his exchange tour with the 51st Tactical Fighter Wing. (USAF photo)

Rounds’s exchange tour will last for two years. After that, he will return the Air Force and bring over lessons he’s learned from the French.

You can see a video from the Joint Forces Channel that not only discusses Rounds’s exchange tour, but also what it takes to support the airmen who taken on these tours, below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqxUtiCyQHI
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