Infantrymen love getting all kinds of cool sh*t to work and train with, that’s no secret. However, some of the gear they’re issued is super freakin’ expensive, and the government likes to keep an extra-close eye on it by assigning serialized gear.
Everything, from your main weapon system to your sharp bayonet, is serialized with an engraved or handwritten number, making it individually identifiable.
Although it’s cool to mount your night vision goggles to your kevlar for a night mission, having serialized gear comes with its own set of drawbacks.
1. It’s never as clean as when you checked it in
Serialized gear isn’t kept in service members’ living spaces for a good reason: we’d play with it all the time. Instead, it’s housed in the dusty and dirty armory. That said, rarely is the serialized gear as clean as you’d like it to be with all the lubricant and filthy rags also stored there.
Plus, the armorer’s hands are usually pretty filthy when they’re conducting your check-in and check-out.
2. You might have to pay for serialized gear
Sometimes, serialized gear gets damaged or stolen — it happens more than you think. The major problem for you is that your command has to free you from paying for that broken or damaged gear out-of-pocket.
Serialized equipment is usually more expensive than the rest of stuff and, the reality is, some service members get stuck with the bill of replacing the items.
So, that sucks.
3. All the fun stuff requires batteries
NVGs and PEQ-16s run on battery power in order to function. These well-constructed light technologies work together as some of the lasers of the PEQ-16 can only be seen by using specific NVGs.
However, once the batteries die, the fun dies with it.
4. The serialized gear seems more valuable to the government than the troop carrying it.
Unfortunately, troops occasionally get hit while engaging the enemy. Since 99.9% of us carry a weapon — which is also serialized — if some of that gear goes missing after the troop is removed from the area, the rest of the squad must recover the equipment before going to the base. Sometimes, a recovery mission is ordered to search for left gear if need be.
You wouldn’t want the bad guys to get a free pair of night vision goggles.
5. You can get NJP’d for breaking or losing something
Destruction of Government Property is a real offense according to your staff NCOs, especially if you’re talking about serialized gear. Getting a tattoo is considered the same offense, but no one ever got charged with getting an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor inked on their arm.
You can break one of the springs in your magazine, but don’t you dare drop your serialized bayonet in a canal in Afghanistan and watch the current take it away. You could get in a lot of trouble.
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, military surplus gear is like a box of chocolates — you never know what’s inside until you open it up and look.
For one lucky buyer, Nick Mead, who owns a tank-driving experience business in the United Kingdom, a $38,000 purchase of a Chinese-built Type 69 main battle tank off of eBay was a bargain, since he scored $2,592,010 of gold that had been hidden in the vehicle’s diesel tank! That represents a net profit of over $2.55 million.
According to militaryfactory.com, a battle-ready Type 69 main battle tank is armed with a 100mm gun, a 7.62mm machine gun, and can be equipped with a 12.7mm machine gun. The tank has a crew of four. Over 4,700 of these tanks were produced by China.
But this tank, while produced by China, was exported to Saddam Hussein’s regime. Saddam bought as many as 2,500 Type 59 and Type 69 tanks. While many were destroyed during Operation Desert Storm, this one survived the BRRRRRT!
The tank is believed to have also taken part in the original invasion of Kuwait. During the occupation of that country, Iraqi forces looted just about everything that wasn’t blasted apart. That included gold and other valuables.
Mead discovered the gold when checking out the tank after he’d been told by the tank’s previous owner that he’s discovered some machine-gun ammo on board. Mead then discovered the gold hidden in the fuel tank.
Currently the five bars of gold, each weighing about 12 pounds, are in police custody as they try to trace the original owners.
US forces tend to believe because a nation is poor, they don’t have any fight in them. Remember that the enemies we typically fight have home field advantage.
2. Don’t f*ck with Delta Force
Enough said — and probably the coolest line in the movie.
3. Understanding what you can’t control
It’s a common misconception that the ground troops know why they’re sent to a fight.
The truth is — there’s always a mission behind the mission. But that doesn’t matter, because it boils down in the end to surviving and taking care of your men. That’s real leadership.
4. Life doesn’t always make sense
After watching one of the hardest scenes in the film, a Ranger’s death, Sgt. Eversmann (played by Josh Hartnett) questions himself and over-analyzes his own leadership. Honestly, no matter how much you train, you can’t predict sh*t.
Do you pay attention to the PowerPoint presentation at any given meeting? Have you ever taken away anything useful? Does it even matter what it’s about or what the presenter is saying?
90 percent of the time, the answer to all of these questions is, ‘no.’
Military personnel are, by and large, skilled at giving such presentations. So, when a trove of more than 57,000 old military PowerPoint presentations was uncovered by the Internet Archive, they decided to have a little fun with it.
The Internet Archive is a non-profit archive of websites and other digital content (they use the term “cultural artifacts in digital form”). They’ve been archiving the web for more than 20 years and now have millions of those digital artifacts along with billions of old web pages.
Storing PowerPoint presentations, however, is a relatively new thing, mined from the archives of .mil sites. The Internet Archive calls this collection the “Military-Industrial PowerPoint Complex.” And to celebrate its creation, they’re having a “PowerPoint Karaoke” Night.
PowerPoint Karaoke is an event where attendees give a five-minute presentation using a set of PowerPoint slides they’ve never seen before. The rules are simple.
1) The presenter cannot see the slides before presenting;
2) The presenter delivers each slide in succession without skipping slides or going back; and
3) The presentation ends when all slides are presented, or after 5 minutes (whichever comes first).
If you want to have A PowerPoint Karaoke jam sesh in your unit, head over to Internet Archive’s Military Industrial PowerPoint Complex site and pick a few. There are tens of thousands of options to choose from. From a 2002 Navy-Marine Corps Intranet User Awareness Briefing from the Pentagon to an Army National Guard presentation called, “Writing Effective Self-Assessments,” the possibilities are endless.
The Military-Industrial PowerPoint Complex is part of the Internet Archive’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, but PowerPoint Karaoke is a new tradition — one that should be carried on.
Don’t let Fort Eustis’ “Picnic with Capt. B” information briefing get relegated to the dustbin of history.
So, you’re a high-speed, low-drag new trooper who wants to have a successful and rewarding military career. The only problem is that you’re lazy.
Not “I can’t get out of bed without a personal pep talk from Richard Simmons” lazy, but more, “I’m not going to make my bed because I’m just going to ruin it tonight” lazy.
In the civilian world, that’s fine. But in the military, you can actually get demoted for not making your bed. So how do you get ahead in Uncle Sam’s Rifle Club with minimum effort? Easy. You learn to sham (or if you joined the sea services, “skate”).
Shamming and skating are the fine arts of doing little to no work while avoiding friction and punishments from command.
The trick is to pace yourself throughout the day, doing work only when necessary but also giving the perception of constant activity.
A top-shelf sham day starts with not doing physical training. The most obvious way to get out of this is a pass from the medics. WATM does not encourage this…but here’s our guide. If you can get a full-day pass to stay in the barracks, your shamming is now in easy mode.
But sick call slips and chits are rationed, and remaining on quarters for too long can get you kicked out for “malingering.” If you want to get promoted, you’ll have to get more creative.
First, always know who is instructing PT in the morning and what the planned activity is. If Spc. McMuffin is leading the platoon on a slow jog down the main strip, just bite the bullet and do PT. But if Sgt. Creatine is leading a ruck-run and circuit-training Crossfit extravaganza, then you need to volunteer for a work detail.
But wait, wait, wait! I thought you said I wasn’t going to have to actually work?
Sure, volunteering for work may seem counterproductive. But pulling a 12-hour guard shift on some ammo in a field while you’re playing the newest Candy Crush level and taking turns napping with the other guard is way better than playing log throw with Capt. America and then spending all day at a desk.
Speaking of desk work, there are ways to sham through that if you get stuck in it. If you permanently work in an office, the best thing you can do is create the impression that you’re always working way too hard to be interrupted.
This can be achieved with multiple little green notebooks, legal pads, and an endless number of browser windows. Spread the legal pads and notebooks around the desk and fill the open pages with illegible writing. Draw lots of arrows between areas of text.
If anyone asks what you’re doing, start talking a lot about guidance from headquarters and how it affects 3rd quarter mandatory training. There’s not an NCO in the world that will stick around.
When you’re only working the office for the day, the best thing you can do is offer to shred things and take the trash out. No one is timing these tasks, so there’s plenty of time to joke around with buddies or check your phone. You should take the trash out at least three or four times in a regular duty day.
And, once you volunteer to take the trash out enough times or to run other errands, people will start thinking that you must be doing said errands when they can’t see you.
Now you’re in business. Once they stop checking up on you, start adding a 20-minute nap to each errand and trash run that you do.
Another place you can work constant naps into the day is the motor pool. Avoid emptying and reloading connexes by volunteering to PMCI vehicles. At each vehicle, open the front doors and raise the hood, then rack out in the back seat for a few minutes. Finally, declare the vehicle ready to go, close everything up, and move on to the next one.
At the end of the day, there’s always the risk that a pleased platoon or first sergeant will want to inspect the room of such a squared-away individual.
Fear not — passing room inspections is easy. The trick is to get the barracks super clean one time. We’re talking perfection here. No dust anywhere, scrub the backs of the appliances, secure the bedspread with bungee cords and glue the hospital corners into place. Tie up your roommate and hide him in the woodline.
Place neatly organized study cards next to your computer, which should have exactly one browser window open to whatever your branch’s promotions and accessions guidance is.
The platoon and first sergeant will not believe their eyes. They’ll praise you in front of the formation and talk amongst themselves for days about how polished you are.
Then they’ll become complacent and they won’t inspect you anymore. They might come by for payday inspections and the company change of command, but that’s about it.
The rest of the year you can walk around in your room dripping marinara sauce onto the floor, and no one will know or care.
That barracks will become your palace of filth, and no one will be the wiser. In fact, they’ll be so impressed by that one inspection and all those guard details you volunteered for that they’ll promote you ahead of your peers until you get paid to move out of the barracks — you won’t even have to get a contract marriage to the first person you meet off-base.
Congrats, shammer. You have arrived.
(Also, maybe retrieve your roommate from the woodline at some point. He could legitimately die).
Nothing excites film audiences more than seeing their favorite characters get pushed to the brink of their physical and mental limits, just to see them return stronger than ever.
It’s no secret that in the military “newbies,” “FNGs,” or “boots” tend to be treated unfairly because of their low rank and inexperience. It happens more than you think. Some call it “playing games,” while others label it as “hazing.”
Some still consider hazing a necessary evil in training as it allows service members a way to earn the respect of their brothers. Typically, this is earned during drinking games (not passing out), or being the PT stud (not falling out) — rarely does it consist of violent acts these days.
But once Hollywood got wind of the concept, they decided to use it as a tool to dehumanize the military genre.
Stanley Kubrick was a fan of showing as much mental and physical torment as he could possibly pack into 1987’s “Full Metal Jacket.” It’s been said several times that this film was as true to life for Marine boot camp as it got. So you can bet that there has been a recruit or two that has been in a Marine drill instructor deadly grasp.
Everyone likes to attend a good party in someone else’s honor. Hazing has been attributed to a way of teaching a sh*tbag a valuable lesson the hard way. In the military, when one person screws up, everyone screws up.
Hopefully, you’re not the one sleeping during the party (WB/Giphy images)
4. Code red
We don’t condone waking up anyone in the middle of the night by beating them, but that isn’t to say it hasn’t happened before.
Makes you want to sleep with one eye open (Columbia/Giphy images)
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:
Check out these five military veteran comedians you should look out for in 2018.
5. Mitch Burrow
This Marine veteran served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Afterward, he started a career in manufacturing, but quickly realized that it sucked. He began his stand-up comedy career after driving down to the Comedy Store in La Jolla, drinking three shots of tequila and a couple of Budweisers, and getting on stage. Later, Mitch was told it went pretty well.
To follow Mitch or check out one of his shows visit his website: MitchBurrow.com.
4. Thom Tran
After enlisting in the Army at 18, Thom spent most of his career as a Communications Sergeant and Civil Affairs Sergeant. Thom decided to become a comedian after sustaining an injury during combat operations.
In 2008, he moved to Los Angeles and soon created The GIs of Comedy tour — a show that travels the world performing for both military and civilian audiences.
3. Isaura Ramirez
After serving 13 years in the Army, this former captain deployed to Iraq for 15 months. When she returned home, Isaura enrolled herself in a comedy class as a form of expression.
This Philadelphia native joined the Marine Corps at 18, serving as an infantry rifleman (0311) with 3rd Battalion 6th Marines. After leaving the Corps in the mid-90s, Rocco moved to Los Angeles where he’s had luck landing gigs, including headlining his act at several comedy stores throughout the U.S.
This comedian and Marine veteran also serves the community as a knowledgeable yoga instructor
Before James was cracking up audiences with his flawless stand-up routine, he was giving orders while stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. This former captain served in both Operation Desert Shield and Storm before exiting from the Corps.
Now, he performs wherever he can find work, but you follow him on his website JamesPConnolly.com.
They will be here all week and don’t forget to tip your waiter.
Got any vets you think will make us laugh? Leave a comment.
The majority of recruits who ship out to boot camp are just a few months removed from graduating high school. They are, for the most part, still pretty wet behind the ears and haven’t had experience with the amount of structure they’re about to be exposed to.
We get it — recruits are flustered upon entering the intense world of boot camp. Don’t feel too bad; many newbies these make simple mistakes during their initial training.
It’s a simple mistake, but in boot camp, any time is a crappy time to have a brain fart.
2. Not shaving properly
The military instills the value of paying close attention to detail. Leaving one, single hair uncut before a boot camp inspection is, in fact, a big deal. However, it’s not unheard of for the military to teach classes for those newbies who have never been clean-shaven before.
3. Not hydrating enough
Drinking water is one of the most important elements to staying healthy. Unfortunately, many recruits are so used to pounding sodas and energy drinks that they tend to forego water and end up falling out of simple hikes.
It’s probably because they don’t like the taste of high-quality H2O.
In 1998, Steven Spielberg put forth what’s considered one of the best war movies of all time, Saving Private Ryan. The filmmaker brings audiences inside the life of an infantry squad as they maneuver through the bloody battlefields of World War II.
Saving Private Ryan follows a squad of Army Rangers whose sole mission is to locate one soldier and bring him home after his brothers were discovered to be killed in battle.
Despite the film’s title, the movie doesn’t center around the eponymous Pvt. Ryan, but rather the men who bear the struggles of war to find him.
So, check out five reasons why we think Saving Private Ryan should have been about Pvt. Ryan.
5. The Ryan brothers getting separated
After the audience learns that 3 of the 4 Ryan brothers have died in battle, General Marshall is informed that they were all separated due to the Sullivan Act.
Watching the Ryan brothers as they get split up, knowing it might be the last time they would ever see one another, would’ve been an exceptionally powerful scene.
These Army officers discuss the news of Pvt. Ryan’s dilemma and formulate a plan to get him out. (Image from DreamWorks Studios)
4. The paratrooper’s perspective
At one point in the film, Capt. Miller learns about all of the mis-drops that affected airborne soldiers, including Pvt. Ryan. How awesome would the footage have looked with Spielberg behind the camera, capturing the paratroopers’ perspectives on inaccurate drops?
Lt. Colonel Anderson informs Capt. Miller of his new and incredibly difficult mission — find one man in the whole damn war. (Image from DreamWorks Studios)
3. The first battle over the bridge
Cpl. Henderson debriefs Capt. Miller on their bloody encounters with the Germans while babysitting the bridge. Some of us would have rather seen that intense footage as opposed to watching one of our favorite medics pass away as a result of an avoidable firefight.
2. Humanizing Pvt. Ryan
Let’s face it, Pvt. Ryan isn’t our favorite, but we understand why he didn’t want to leave the only brothers he had left. But, a few minutes before the Germans show up to fight, Pvt. Ryan tells Capt. Miller a funny story of the last night he and his brothers were together.
Actually seeing the Ryan brothers all together, causing a ruckus, would bring some comic relief to an otherwise dark film.
Toward the end of the film, Capt. Miller brings Ryan in close and tells him to “earn this.” These simple words have a significant impact on Pvt. Ryan’s life moving forward. But, outside of bringing his family to Capt. Miller’s grave, we don’t know how Ryan lived out his days.
Centering the film around Pvt. Ryan and showing a montage his successful, post-war life could help give us closure.
When you’ve got nothing but time on your hands, it’s hard not to get into a discussion with a fellow Marine. And, with all the possible topics, you’ll inevitably stumble across something you disagree on.
These are among the most popular debates you might find yourself embroiled in.
This one usually spawns after a higher up gives a lower enlisted an ass-chewing. If you’re stationed somewhere hot (say, Hawaii or Guam), the additional airflow from not wearing an undershirt can help make the day-to-day less miserable.
However, there are lower enlisted who believe in wearing an undershirt and they will debate you on this topic.
2. Rank versus billet
A billet in the Marine Corps is your specific position within your occupational specialty. According to doctrine, certain billets require certain rank, but since it might be more difficult for some to get the required rank, many will have the experience needed without having the position.
This becomes a debate when someone of higher rank with low experience (say, a Corporal fresh out of 8th and I) comes to the unit and they’re automatically thrown into a billet, like squad leader or team leader, when they know nothing about that position — since they just spent the last three years being set pieces at the White House.
3. Foliage on helmets
When you’re in a jungle, adding some of the local flora to your gear might complement your camouflage, but a problem invariable arises when a lance corporal takes a twig and sticks it in their helmet to be ridiculous. This, of course, ruins it for everyone else.
4. Favorite adult film star
Everyone’s got their preference and to each their own, but if you exclaim the name of a favorite, someone is bound to debate you on why their pick is better. They’ll go into insane detail, bringing up every film they’ve ever done and give you a complete breakdown of that star’s career as if they studied them in film school.
Some like brown glue that tastes like a childhood favorite while others will argue passionately about why they prefer the yellow dog poop with jalapeno flavor more. They’ll also be sure to tell you why you’re wrong for enjoying the other. Either way, they both come in MREs and should be avoided if at all possible.
The idea of a “Space Shuttle Door Gunner” has always been a joke around the military. It’s so outlandishly silly that no one would dare think it’s real.
With last year’s proposed Space Corps, the expansion of civilian space programs, and a growing need for a military presence in space to protect American assets, President Trump gave his nod to the idea of a “Space Force.” This joke may soon be reality. But there are still many roadblocks in the way – like physics, for instance.
For obvious reasons, the door would have to be closed during takeoff and landing, otherwise, friction alone would tear the shuttle apart. Tragic examples of what foam shedding and a faulty O-ring can cause means that any fighting a door gunner would see would have to occur beyond a distance from Earth to allow for EVA (extravehicular activity).
Now that the door gunner is properly outside of Earth’s atmosphere, they could begin their watch. A properly tethered door gunner could hold their post for a while. The current record for longest EVA, also known as a “spacewalk,” is held by Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin at 7 hours and 29 minutes. They walked outside of the International Space Station to install power and data cables — but a door gunner could hold that post for longer.
Finally, the nitty-gritty of space combat. A door gunner could easily bring modern weapons into space and, surprisingly, only have a few problems firing it. This is because modern ammunition has its own oxidizer, so no atmospheric oxygen is required. There wouldn’t be any sound (since audible sound doesn’t travel in a vacuum) and the recoil wouldn’t matter in low-Earth orbit because the shuttle would be moving at around 4 miles a second.
Tests on Earth have proven bullets fire in a vacuum. (via GIPHY)
The downsides would be that, without friction to slow down the bullet, it would travel until it hit something — the enemy, Earth, or some distant object forever away. Also, without gravity and oxygen to dissipate the gunpowder smoke, a large cloud would expand from the barrel.
So, yes, being a Space Shuttle Door Gunner is physically possible and may be needed one day.