The early 1980s brought us some epic action movies like “Conan the Barbarian,” “Blade Runner,” and let’s not forget “E.T.”
Although these films were fun to watch, they didn’t have the impact on veterans like the movie “First Blood” did.
Directed by Ted Kotcheff, John J. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) was a former Green Beret who just wanted to visit his Vietnam buddy when things took a turn for the worse and he ended up battling a small town’s police force after an unlawful arrest.
But we’ve always wondered what it would have been like to serve under his command. Here’s our take on how being in Rambo’s platoon would be.
1. Alternate shooting techniques
In most boot camps we’re taught proper weapons handling. But forget all those safety briefs you were forced to listen to when Capt. Rambo reports in as the new commanding officer, because every shot you fire from here on out will be from your hip.
Plus it looks awesome if you can handle the recoil. (Giphy)
2. No bayonets
Having the ability to mount a knife on the barrel of your rifle isn’t enough.
If you were in Rambo’s company, your blade would have to be up to such standards that it can slice a bad guy up and be thrown across the room with perfect precision.
You wouldn’t think a heist movie set during the Iraq War would provide a particularly accurate look at military life. But while the 1999 movie “Three Kings” has a lot of problems, it gets a surprising number of Army-life details right.
Here are seven times the filmmakers nailed it:
1. Troops waste key resources by having a water bottle fight in the middle of the desert:
Yes, the ceasefire ending the war had just been announced, but this is still bad resource management.
2. An American officer communicates with Iraqis by speaking at the exact same time as his interpreter:
We’re sure the Iraqi soldiers who can understand English are glad that you’re yelling it over the guy speaking Arabic. And your troops are probably enjoying the two loud audio streams washing over them all day.
3. A group of soldiers finds a secret document in a guy’s butt and it immediately falls to the junior soldier to pull it out:
This is literally the only time that it makes sense for a specialist to pull rank.
4. A Special Forces major is trying to get the story of what happened with the secret butt map and everyone on the base tells him a different rumor:
Seriously, when did you ever get the truth on your first try from a base rumor mill?
5. A junior enlisted soldier is given the chance to ask questions about an upcoming, risky mission and he wastes it:
Yeah, the Special Forces selections process is the most important thing to learn about before you conduct a four-man raid against an Iraqi bunker filled with gold.
6. A guy clearing his first bunker tries some stupid stuff that he saw in a movie and immediately regrets it:
You shot a deadbolt. The deadbolt is still in the door. Your shoulder is not as strong as the iron holding that door in place. Moron.
7. When the group’s escape is ruined because the junior guy can’t find his gas mask that is supposed to be strapped to his leg.
Notice that while he doesn’t have his mask — which is essential to surviving the gas weapons that have already been used in this war — strapped to his person, but his survival knife is easily accessible. Because he’ll definitely need that knife.
8. A blue falcon immediately dimes out the group to the senior brass, even though no one has asked him a question:
Seriously, Private Falcon, no one asked you. Just stand there quietly.
Besides getting physically trained to the bone by a demanding drill instructor, recruits in boot camp have another element that is feared and rarely talked about outside of the military — the “blanket party.”
A blanket party is a form of (mob) discipline that usually takes place in a military barracks setting, typically in an open bay.
Soap wrapped in a towel is a common tool to use during a blanket party. (Image via Giphy)We don’t condone taking part in blanket parties, but the idea is to coerce a shitty recruit back on the right track. Usually it brings a massive shitstorm of legal problems — no one wants that.
But before you step into the squad bay for the first time and subject yourself to the collective judgement of the team, here are some things to avoid so you’re never in a blanket party’s sights.
Recruits go through some tough times during their stay in basic training and alliances tend to form. Recruits always get in trouble in one way or another.
When a single person reports wrongdoing on a group of people or an individual, they might get payback in the form of a blanket party.
For not being a team player
One of the purposes of boot camp is to learn the power of teamwork. Rarely has a single person ever completed a mission by themselves. So when a recruit doesn’t pull his own weight, that can easily screw over the whole team.
If that person continually screws over everyone, that individual might get some unwanted attention after “Taps” gets played.
Being a consistent f*ck up.
In boot camp, when someone in the squad screws up, everyone gets punished. The drill instructors usually punish the whole squad bay for an individual’s mistake to teach the importance of teamwork.
It takes multiple times before someone earns a party, but after making several mistakes that affect everybody — without a glimpse of positive production — recruits tend to take matters into their own hands.
Like we said before, alliances tend to develop in boot camp. Most of the time they form around where your bunks are located. Getting along with others is essential in any industry. In the military, troops have commonly sacrificed their lives to save their brothers. You rarely commit your life to someone you don’t respect.
So in a world where recruits are trained to defend themselves and our country as a team, the guy that can’t make friends tends to suffer.
Again, we can’t stress this enough, We Are The Mighty absolutely does not condone blanket parties…but in the past they have sometimes been a huge “wake-up call” for someone on the receiving end.
Ah, the beloved and well-remembered basic combat glasses, the “S9” frames. Generations of American warfighters were warmly welcomed into the military with these fashionable spectacles.
Except not. More commonly known as “birth control glasses,” these things were basically two Coke bottles bound with mud-colored wire.
Here are 5 things troops got to experience while wearing the Devil’s eyewear:
1. The instant weird looks and laughs from other recruits
Most recruits look and feel awkward their first time sporting an Army haircut or lumbering around in a brand new pair of combat boots. But the next level of awkwardness was reserved for the wearers of BCGs.
This always led to jokes among fellow trainees, at least until drill sergeant showed up. That’s when everyone fell silent — so that drill sergeant could get his jokes in.
2. Permanently obscured vision thanks to the range day
In basic training, everyone is trained to hold their weapon the same way during marksmanship training. Recruits have to place their faces to the rifle the same way every time to make them more accurate. So, everyone is ordered to hold the weapon with their nose to the charging handle.
The problem is, this places the rear sight close to the BCGs for many shooters. The rear sight sometimes scratches the glasses during training and, after a few times at the firing positions, BCG wearers leave with a scuffed section of glass at the bottom of their field of vision in their dominant eye.
3. The constant fogging during smoke sessions and marches
Marching through dusty trails, doing pushups until it “rains” inside, and conducting mountain climbers all cause basic trainees to sweat heavily. This sweat quickly condenses on the lenses of BCGs, creating a thick fog. After a while, sweat droplets fall on the lens as well. This gets rid of the fog but makes it look like everything is underwater instead.
4. Basic training photos that not even a mother could love (though some hipsters might)
Basic training photos only appeal to a few people, typically the recruit’s mother and grandmother. But unless they got a sympathetic photographer who let them remove their glasses, those rocking the BCGs were doomed to photos that even a mother would only put up as a joke.
Most trainees got a kind-of-lame, posed photo from basic. The four-eyed folks got a punchline that their family would bring up during every Christmas block leave for the rest of their life.
5. Duct tape repairs actually made them look better
While most glass wearers dreaded having to make cheap repairs with duct tape, BCG people knew that dropping their frames in strategic ways led to a silver covering for those awful brown frames. Yup, those cheap repairs were an improvement over the stock model.
Unfortunately for newer and future troops, the military has gotten rid of S9s, the old basic combat glasses, and opted for a more modern look, the 5A frame. So, the community of birth control glasses wearers is now closed.
These are the new 5As that basic trainees are issued:
They’re actually . . . dare we say it . . . stylish. Alas, it’s the end of an era.
If there is one product on the face of the Earth that is the antithesis to the rigors and roughness of military life, it would have to the scented candle. But as “hardcore” as veterans once were, their loving better halves will always buy a sh*tload of them to decorate the house. This is a fight we cannot win.
Veterans aren’t candle-averse because they hate the idea of smelling lavender spring sunshine or whatever. It’s the fact that scented candles are designed to bring back good memories and the good memories troops have often tend to smell like ass, sweat, sh*t, or a mixture of the three.
These are the candles that vets would buy to remember the good ol’ days — and their spouses would quickly throw away.
6. Over-saturated PineSol
It’s the smell of every military building that was just cleaned by staff duty. All it takes is a cap-full of PineSol to clean the entire building and yet, every Private uses an entire bottle anyways.
The smell of pine might be pleasant to some people, but when the product is overused, it just smells like concentrated chemicals with a hint of singed nose hairs — and some pine, I guess.
5. PT field
Fresh-cut grass is nice. Fresh-cut grass drenched in the sweat of 60 hungover troops is not.
And when PT is moved over to a parking lot, the stench is even thicker. God forbid the NCOs move PT inside any kind of confined space…
4. A cup of (military) coffee in the field
Around the globe, the scent of coffee is, supposedly, the best part of waking up.
Too bad there is never anyone in the military that can make a good cup of joe.
3. MRE heaters activating
As troops prepare a meal that has the taste and consistency of cat food, the only thing that can overpower the aroma of “pork sausage, maple flavored” is the oxidizing magnesium in the one-time-use, flameless heater.
The smell only gets more pungent when the FNG overfills their heater with too much water.
Better than the smell of the Meow Mix — I mean a Meal, Ready to Eat.(Photo by Happy Cat)
2. Sands of Trashcanistan Afghanistan
One unexpected problem no one else tells you about before you deploy to a third-world country is their lack of sanitation.
Afghanistan is covered in what is affectionately known as “moon dust,” which is just sand and garbage that flows freely across the country.
1. Crowded tents after month ten
The first few weeks in-country aren’t too bad if you can get over the stench of the outside. It’s around month nine or ten when everyone’s f*ck-it is in short supply and the tents go to sh*t.
Dip bottles, sweat, dirty gear, and the occasional p*ss bottle make tents unbearable.
*Bonus* Puff of carbon on the range
This one is a bonus because it would actually be awesome.
U.S. Navy Surface Warfare officer, Jesse Iwuji, is a rising star in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. A veteran of two Arabian Gulf deployments, Jesse spends his time on land meticulously building each element of his pro racing career.
And of course, the bedrock of pro racing is the ability to move a ton of steel around a track at bone-rattling velocity.
“Jesse, let me know when it’s safe to unpucker.” (Go90 Oscar Mike screenshot)
As he related to Oscar Mike host Ryan Curtis when they met up at the Meridian Speedway in Boise, Idaho, success in life is all about finding the thing you’re passionate about and then making a firm decision to go and get it.
In Iwuji’s experience, hot pursuit starts with putting one foot in front of the other. He finished the 2016 season ranked Top 10 overall in points and entered the 2017 season newly partnered with three time NFL Pro Bowler Shawne Merriman as his car owner for Patriot Motorsports Group.
Curtis, of course, couldn’t wait for his chance to get behind the wheel.
“How about now?” “Just drive the car, man.” (Go90 Oscar Mike screenshot)
Watch as Iwuji pushes the K&N Pro Series stock car to it’s outer limits while Curtis makes the lamest joke in military history in the video embedded at the top.
Children love playing with toys. So, it makes sense that immature adults love playing with toys, too. A benefit of being in the military is that we can pretend like there’s actually a legitimate reason for playing along.
Somewhere along the line, a high-ranking officer saw that same immature troop accomplish some good through playing with toys and gave the following the seal of approval.
1. Nerf guns
Never underestimate the abilities of a bored infantry platoon looking for a way to let off steam. Stacking and clearing “glass houses” (which are really just white tape on the ground) and using your gun-shaped fingers as mock-weaponry gets kinda dull after a while.
What’s actually fun is when the platoons of hardened warfighters practice their battle drills in the barracks by kicking in doors and tagging each other with Nerf darts while they’re on the toilet.
2. Paintball guns
The rules of engagement are taken very seriously by troops who are deployed. First, you must establish a show of force, letting a potential enemy know you’re armed. Then, you shout, usually through an interpreter or in broken Farsi, to let the enemy know they should back the f*ck up. If they still don’t back away, you can physically “shove” them in the direction they should be going in. Finally, use of force is authorized.
Some troops find it easier to just cover their feet with colored paint than to bust out the real weapons.
3. Little, green Army men
Sand tables are used by commanders to show a rough overview of the mission. Many different things can be designated as a unit. This broken stick? The objective. And this pebble will flank in through the south — like this.
Commanders can clear away a bunch of the confusion by ordering a $5 bucket of plastic Army guys. Add a little bit of paint and you’ve got some distinct markers.
“Okay, first platoon. You’re going to wave your rifles in the air like an idiot. Second, you’re going to kneel with a radio.” (Photo by Sgt. Tracy McKithern)
4. Silly String
Trip wires are placed by the enemy on the paths through which troops will walk. When someone bumps into it, the attached explosives detonate. The solution? A cheap can of Silly String.
The string shoots out pretty far and is so soft and light that it won’t set off the wire. If troops spray it through a doorway, they’ll quickly discover a trap. Even if a wire is sensitive enough to be tripped by silly string, the surprisingly long range of the spray gives troops enough distance to mitigate some of the explosion.
The military has plans for everything, especially communication. Primarily, units depend on secured, frequency-hopping radios. Alternatively, troops can rely on a slightly less secure radio. In case of an absolute emergency, send a runner.
A cheap, effective, “ah-crap” plan is to use regular walkie-talkies instead of sending that runner to maintain unit integrity.
The greatest divide in the U.S. Military is between grunts and the POGs. For as long as this divide has existed, the higher-ups have been trying to find ways to close this gap. To you peacemakers, we say, “good luck.”
Today, we offer insight on how an infantryman can earn respect from their rear-echelon counterparts.
Even though every other job in the military exists to support the infantry, it’s a good idea to stay humble when interacting with a POG. After all, it’s a team effort.
5. Teach POGs how to wear their gear
If you see a POG wearing their gear all f*cked up, just pull them aside and give them a hip-pocket class on wearing it right. That is all.
4. Help a POG learn infantry tactics
It might be a headache introducing grunt concepts to a POG, but teaching them how to properly clear a room helps build friendships and better teamwork.
This one might save your life one day — and this’ll give POGs something to show their friends back home.
3. Get a damn haircut
POGs generally always have access to haircuts. So, of course, they expect that every grunt ought to keep clean as well — even after spending several weeks in the field or in a place where the only barbers are in your platoon.
And most of the so-called “barbers” learned to cut hair from YouTube tutorial videos.
2. Don’t act like your experience gives you rank
This one undoubtedly grinds a POG’s gears. Even if you have numerous deployments under your belt, respect everyone’s rank and speak to them with tact.
Just because that brand-new second lieutenant is fresh out of college and has no military experience doesn’t make them less of a Marine. Always say sh*t like, “with all due respect, sir,” before jumping directly into, “kiss my lower-enlisted ass, sir.”
How is it possible that two members of the same military service branch are so different? Like so many other behavioral traits, it all has to do with upbringing.
Enlisted troops go straight from the recruiter’s office and into active service while officers study to get a bachelor’s degree, go through officer leadership training, and learn a service-specific career field.
Neither is better than the other, but there are a few old tropes that make each easy to identify — even out of uniform. But sometimes, the lines start to blur…
1. Having gray hair in civilian attire
Every so often a Marine will have the blessing (and the curse) of naturally gray hair. Sometimes the cause is hereditary, other times it’s because they’re the only one with common sense. When I was in the Corps, one platoon would send a particular gray-haired Marine to the Postal Exchange because nobody would stop this distinguished-looking man from cutting to the front of the line. In the case of acquiring energy drinks and tobacco before a month-long field operation, the ends justify the means.
2. Saying things like ‘outstanding’ instead of ‘great work’
Officers are notorious for saying this unironically. It’s succinct and professional, but if used enough, it will spread faster than that “cold” everyone got before pre-deployment leave.
3. Never helping when you see others struggle
If you ever see an officer lend a hand in loading or unloading gear, report them to the nearest law enforcement agency because that person is a spy.
4. Walking around with a green log book and clipboard
If you want to be left alone, these two items will render you invisible. Troops will avoid you because it’s safer to assume you’re doing something important than to find out for certain. Even senior enlisted will about-face if the words ‘staff duty’ are overheard in conversation.
5. Getting lost during land navigation
Land navigation is an important skill to master because a GPS will not always work in-country. The sheer weight of a lieutenant’s butter bar will offset the azimuth of even the strongest compass.
6. Marrying for love, not BAH
Barracks life can become so unbearable that you’ll be willing to sign another contract. Some Marines will roll the dice with just about anyone to escape the bullsh*t on base. Officers have had time to nurture their relationships prior to their service, before the green weenie tries to break them up.
7. When you get in trouble, the command has your back
Rank has its privileges and officers are often given the benefit of the doubt or a slap on the wrist. If you receive the same courtesy, you’re in danger of promotion.
With everyone hating on some ignorant teacher for sh*t-talking the troops or an Airman for making a horrible rant video, can’t we all just band back together and hate on the real enemy? Tom Brady. So we’ll mock him. Because he can take it.
13. There’s always one in every unit.
12. We’re also experts at drinking until 0500, sneaking guests past the gate in car trunks, and putting bullets in things.
The U.S. Military is full of rules and regulations, so much so that it gives the lower enlisted plenty to complain about. But some of the things that seem like annoying POG tasks actually make a lot of sense and, in some cases, could be lifesaving.
Here are some of the tasks service members complain about doing that, realistically, make good sense.
This often feels like an annoying task only POGs worry about but, when you think about it, the purpose is to keep dirt and other unwanted particles from getting inside one’s boot.
It gets stupid, though, when higher-ups prefer to see them sit near or at the top of the boot, which may look good, but ultimately defeats the purpose.
4. Buckling the chin strap of a helmet
When troops of the modern age wear their combat gear, they like to call back to times of World War II and Vietnam, when troops would go on patrols with the chin strap of their helmets unbuckled.
But, when you look at why those troops did that, it becomes clear that, with the modern helmets and straps, it makes more sense to buckle up.
3. Police call
This is the practice of picking up every little piece of trash in front of the battalion headquarters until it looks pretty for the base commander — what a beautiful practice. After all, who doesn’t like standing in a straight line and combing the lawn for used gum and cigarette butts? But, when you think about it, this is good practice for when you’re leaving a bivouac site or sleeping area.
You want to pick up every piece of trash — yes, even the gum and cigarette butts — to make sure there’s little to no evidence of human occupation because it makes your unit harder to track.
This is a common complaint because everyone just wants to be an operator. But the truth is, having a clean shave can save your life. The requirement started during World War I to ensure a perfect seal when the gas masks go on to prevent, you know, dying from a cloud of mustard gas.
These days, having a clean shave is a part of military uniformity and discipline. It takes some discipline to wake up and shave every morning and takes no effort to just let it grow.
On the other hand, special operators are allowed to grow beards because they’re immune to chemical weapons and don’t need gas masks.
“Stand-to” is a command that means to stand guard or be prepared for an enemy attack. This is especially annoying since it usually happens from before until after dusk, and before until after dawn.
No one likes being woken up half an hour before the sun rises to stand guard but, realistically, these are the times where attacks have been known to happen. The enemy likes to strike when you’re either focused on going to bed or getting up.