The fighter squadron has long been a staple of the military in the real world – as well as in fiction. When you think “Star Wars,” you think Red Squadron making the trench run. “Robotech” had Skull Squadron. “Baa Baa Black Sheep” had a very fictionalized version of VMF-214, the “Black Sheep.”
There are real squadrons with legendary track records as well. VMF-211 is the famous “Wake Island Avengers,” there are the “Jolly Rogers” from the U.S. Navy, as well as the “Black Aces” of VF-41. The Air Force has the 555th Fighter Squadron (the “Triple Nickel”), as well as the “Juvats” from the 80th Fighter Squadron.
Fighter squadrons can have anywhere from 12 to 24 planes. In this case, we will go with four flights of four planes each. We’ll also add the CO, XO, and Ops Officer slots as well in what we will call All-Star Squadron.
Commanding Officer – Greg “Pappy” Boyington from “Baa Baa Black Sheep”
The real Pappy Boyington was the top Marine Corps ace – and he had a good run as the commander of VMF-214. The fictionalized version played by Robert Conrad was a superb tactician – cooking up a version of “Operation Bolo” in the pilot of the series, then pulling off several other operations. Also, his experience riding herd on the motley crew of VMF-214 will help with this unit as well.
Executive Officer – Wilma Deering from “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”
A good pilot in her own right, Wilma also can backstop Boyington’s weaknesses. Notably the paperwork and all the other mundane details that Boyington either got bored with, or may be too hung over to deal with.
Operations Officer – Chappy Sinclair from “Iron Eagle”
Chappy Sinclair is here as a superb operational planner. In all four “Iron Eagle” movies, he is a mover and shaker — often able to accomplish missions despite long odds and being outnumbered and outgunned. Who else could you pick as the Ops O?
All-Star One-One – Jeffrey Sinclair from “Babylon 5”
With a long family tradition of fighter pilots, Sinclair was no slouch himself, being one of the few survivors from the Battle of the Line. However, in more even fights, he held his own.
All-Star One-Two – Luke Skywalker from “Star Wars”
This farm kid has been lucky and has a few kills, but he is clearly a raw talent who could learn from being on the wing of a more experienced fighter pilot. This kid will get his own squadron – someday.
All-Star One-Three – David Campbell from “The Longest Day”
One of “The Few” who had fought off the Nazis in the Battle of Britain, he can be an excellent element lead. Tends to be up for a sortie – unless he’s drinking a beer.
All Star One-Four – Christopher Blair from “Wing Commander”
He is fresh out of flight training but clearly has some natural ability. Like Skywalker, he is best suited as a wingman for now, but has the ability to rise through the ranks.
All-Star Two-One – Roy Fokker from “Robotech”
He has seen a lot of combat, and has been a father figure to younger pilots. Given his extensive combat experience, he can lead a flight, no problem.
All-Star Two-Two – Lieutenant Starbuck from the original “Battlestar Galactica”
A sharp pilot who can sometimes get himself in too deep (he’s crashed his fighter a number of times), Starbuck is not quite yet flight or element lead material.
All-Star Two-Three – Wedge Antilles from “Star Wars”
This guy has plenty of experience, and he has managed to survive two Death Star runs. That said, his units have taken heavy casualties in the past. Good enough to command an element, but flight lead may be a stretch for now.
All-Star Two-Four – Doug Masters from “Iron Eagle”
Another natural stick with a high kill count. Still, there is a distinct need for more seasoning. Though Masters does seem to enjoy playing tunes while flying.
All-Star Three-One – Tyrus Cassius McQueen from “Space: Above and Beyond”
He’s taken on an enemy ace and lived, plus he has a track record of being a mentor to younger pilots. McQueen’ll be able to handle the other pilots in this flight.
All-Star Three-Two – Steven Hiller from “Independence Day”
He’s a good pilot – scoring a maneuver kill against an enemy that had a means to neutralize other weapons. Then he readily adapted to flying an alien craft. While he may get his own squadron some day, right now, he needs someone more experienced to get him to settle down and get over his obsession with the Fat Lady.
All-Star Three-Three – Cameron Mitchell from “Stargate: SG-1”
He’s had combat experience on Earth and against the Gou’ald, as well as some small-unit leadership experience. Mitchell also received the Medal of Honor for heroism.
All-Star Three-Four – Pete Mitchell from “Top Gun”
No relation to Cameron Mitchell, Pete is a very good pilot with three kills in one engagement over the Indian Ocean. That said, some view his unorthodox style as “dangerous,” and he has made high-speed passes on various towers.
All-Star Four-One – Brad Little from “Fire Birds”
Okay, he mostly flew rotary-wing aircraft, but he has extensive experience as an instructor, and did score a kill on a fighter with an Apache.
All-Star Four-Two – Harmon Rabb, Jr. from “JAG”
Rabb’s shown some skill, but had a lengthy layoff due to his assignment to the Judge Advocate General corps for an extended period. He’ll catch on quick, but let’s season him under Little.
All-Star Four-Three – Blaine Rawlings from “Flyboys”
The combat experience Rawlings has is substantial, and he did down a pair of German aces. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre for a daring rescue.
All-Star Four-Four – Tom Kazanski from “Top Gun”
The man flies by the book, and has very rarely made a mistake (over the Indian Ocean, he got target-fixated and a MiG-28 damaged his bird). We figure he’s best suited to flying as someone’s wingman until he can loosen up a little.
Who do you think we should add? Let us know in the comments below.
If you somehow are on the internet and haven’t seen the viral BBC interview of an expert on South Korea being interrupted during a BBC interview by his children, then you can see it here.
The dad is impressively collected as his wife rushes in to grab the children and pull them out, but the internet had a field day with the interview.
Now, a U.S. Air Force crew has created a spoof video where a pilot is attempting to read her takeoff clearance back when the crew starts stumbling in. Another airman, probably the chief, has to rush in and grab the other crewmen out of the cabin.
The results are pretty great. You can check the video out below:
Officers, medical staff, and interpreters are a few of the high-value targets that enemy forces focus on first while in a war zone. But the enemy also has their crosshairs on another professional that’s excellent at sniffing out homemade bombs: military working dogs.
Over 1,600 dogs train and serve alongside our brave troops, adept at hunting down the nasty ingredients used to produce those dangerous IEDs. Despite the serious nature of their mission, military working dogs are the subject of some of the funniest memes ever created.
A lot happened this week. It’s a good thing healthcare is still healthcare, because now the Juice is loose. So forget the news. It’s time to kick back and chill out with some clever, good-natured comedy.
Since we don’t have any of that, here are the top military memes of the week.
1. Fight senior leadership with words, not swords.
2. Somewhere a trainee got recycled so far back through basic training, they’re wearing BDUs.
3. If you break one soldier, there are literally thousands more.
Servicemembers can make some pretty nice bank if they move their stuff to their first duty station themselves. Since the military pays you for moving all your gear based on its poundage, many newbies spend tons of time trying to tack on everything they own — but often fail to plan a proper route.
4. Drink yourself broke
Since we can’t drink alcohol during basic training, we tend to make up for lost time and gulp down as much as we can during our first weekend of liberty. E-1s aren’t millionaires, but you’d never know it by the number of beer cans and vodka bottles they go through.
That’s cool and all… but that’s a 12 dollar beer.
3. Thinking boot camp made you an amazing fighter
We understand that boot camp does teach recruits certain levels of self-defense and ground fighting. This training doesn’t make you a black belt, so be careful not to pick a fight with someone who actually has a black belt after drinking a few pitchers of liquid courage.
It seems like boots walk around with this huge invisible sign hanging around their necks that tell salespeople you’re new to the military.
They also know that you get a guaranteed paycheck every few weeks. So, they’ll convince you that you need their expensive products with no money down — they tend to leave out info about the massive APR.
Anyone about to deploy to a war zone needs to prepare for a number of things. Combat is fraught with danger and a scenario can go to sh*t at a moment’s notice. You genuinely don’t know what lurks around any corner while out on patrol.
Unfortunately, combat is just one of the many problems that service members face when deployed. Thankfully, the following aren’t quite as dangerous as a firefight.
Receiving mail can be the life or death of a deployed troop. Not every package comes in perfect condition and, sometimes, what you get from back home can be upsetting.
No one wants to get a Dear John letter.
2. Language barriers
Typically, the countries we go to war with and work alongside don’t speak the best English. This creates conflict because American service members like to say curse words — and some of the foul language we use figuratively on a daily basis, they take literally. Take the term “motherf*cker,” for instance. When our Afghan counterparts hear those words, they think we’re referring to actually nailing their mothers.
As you can imagine, that message isn’t well received.
3. Local food
When someone invites you to eat with them, it’s only polite that you do so. If you’re in a foreign country and you someone extends this gracious offer, you’d better accept.
However, good luck digesting all the spices and foreign methods of food prep.
4. Cultural misunderstandings
Americans have a unique way of living and so does the rest of the world. Some of the cultures we work with don’t want us looking at, or even talking to their women, no matter how benign the intent — and we have to respect that.
Despite the best intentions, there have been some cases in which various nations’ troops don’t comply with social rules. That’s when unnecessary conflict pops up.
Allied troops get all kinds of vaccines to prevent local illnesses that may lurk. However, we don’t vaccinate for every type of viral infections and insect bite. No one wants to get sick while they’re back home, let alone while they’re deployed to a war zone.
After a full season of plunging into the high-octane, post-service worlds of veterans like Russell Davies, Mike Glover and Jacqueline Carrizosa, Oscar Mike host Ryan Curtis was feeling understandably uneasy about the state of his own manhood.
After all, over the span of 9 episodes, he’d been out-driven, out-paddled, out-shot, out-jumped, and, well, knocked out — not to mention the emotional pasting he took in Navy SEAL-turned actor David Meadow’s acting class.
Each of these vets has taken some slim notion of a civilian future, paired it with the skills and discipline he or she learned in the military, and then proceeded to kick ass with nary a backward glance.
Curtis, however, found himself in need of some help.
Luckily for him, he had a team of “Oscar Mike” vets ready and willing to support their brother, starting with Meadows. Of course, it didn’t go smoothly.
In the season one finale, Curtis learns the most important lesson of all: Lean on your mates. Be there for them to lean on you. Do that, and we’ll all be “oscar mike” together.
Watch him limp toward enlightenment in the video embedded at the top.
We sent our “Vet On The Street,” Marine Corps veteran and comic James P. Connolly, to Santa Monica, California, to find out if your average civilian could explain what information is included on dog tags.
These fire team leaders are working their way through the lower ranks just like their father and their father’s father did before them. They want to embody their ancestors’ leadership abilities and make an impact through hard work and sacrifice.
2. The “elbow or a**hole”
Although they somehow managed to sneak their way into a leadership role, this fire team leader couldn’t lead their way out of a paper bag. In fact, we’re not even sure if they know the difference between their elbow or their a**hole. No grunt wants to follow this guy to the liquor store, let alone the war zone.
3. The “know-it-all”
This type of motivator has read every infantry leader manual ever printed. Their only downfall is that they’ve never actually put their knowledge to use in a real combat situation.
4. The “overachiever”
These are the ones who volunteer for everything, thinking it will look good on their resume one day. We’re not hating on them, but sometimes they do get annoying.
5. The “smooth talker”
Beleive it or not, not every leader has to yell at you to get the point across. This type of leader is the perfect blend between rock-solid and go-with-the-flow because they’ve deployed before.
They buy all the little extra pieces of tech that aren’t issued at supply thinking it’ll make them a better leader. Truthfully, you don’t need the special edition bi-pod that tells the time in 8 different countries when you’re only humping a pack in one.
Do you even internet, bro? Awhile back, the South Carolina National Guard put out a request for folks to come up with the command’s new motto (because apparently “Trusted at home, proven abroad” is no good). Here were the guidelines:
Other organizations have attempted to involve their communities in similar fashion over the last few years, most notably Britain’s Natural Environmental Research Council that wound up with “Boaty McBoatface” as the winner of a “name this ship” contest back in April.
And the Air Force did the same thing with this tweet:
Those who serve in the military always face a certain amount of risk. From the outside, many people think that combat with the enemy is the only danger, but troops face all sorts of peril and uncertainty, both at war and in peacetime training missions. For example, a recent, tragic accident hit the news when a Navy flight surgeon was struck and killed while on-base at Camp Pendleton.
Fatalities like these make headlines, but there are many smaller accidents that happen within the military, too — some of which are preventable with just a little thought. For a while, the Navy Safety Center used humor to drive home the need to think things through while on duty, while off duty, or even while in one’s own kitchen. Every week, from 1992 until the retirement of Derek Nelson in 2015, the Navy Safety Center sent out a brief message to the fleet every Friday.
“Some people think safety is serious business, and of course it is. People get maimed, blinded, and killed, but in terms of getting the message out, humor has a real role to play,” Nelson said in a 2007 Navy release. The Navy began to call these weekly messages, the “Friday Funnies.”
In one release, Nelson highlighted the folly of taking shortcuts. The release told the cautionary tale of two Marine sergeants who tried to take a shortcut to get some training and ended up flipping the vehicle they were in. Thanks to seatbelts and airbags, they walked away with just scratches and bruises. Another release mentioned how an Army “man overboard” drill using a real Soldier lead to the need to call in a Navy P-3 for assistance — the Soldier was found three hours later.
Sometimes, however, the releases were not so funny. One from May 2008 discussed the death of a Navy petty officer first class in a street luge accident that occurred while he was on leave. In this case, Nelson looked over the deceased sailor’s MySpace page and noted that twice the sailor had posted about “injuries that may have warranted a WESS injury report or at least counseling from his supervisor.”
It’s been two years since Nelson’s retirement and the last of the “Friday Funnies.” Even then, Nelson noted that the “juicy” tales had grown scarcer, writing in his retirement message that “it has been getting harder to find them in the mishap reports. I’ll chalk this fact up as progress, and I’ll be gone before anyone can prove different.”
The Friday Funnies were effective for over 23 years, though. Nelson said in 2007, “I get emails from people saying they almost did something stupid but stopped at the last minute because they didn’t want to end up in the Friday Funnies.” The best incidents were preserved in a magazine – no word on when the full archives will be available online.
In the meantime, Nelson describes how he made the magic happen in this 2011 video.