Here's What It's Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet - We Are The Mighty
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Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet

Since the early VHS days in the late ’80s squadron music video production quality has kept getting better and better. Here’s one from the Hornet (and Super Hornet) community circa 2013 that takes viewers into the cockpit for a spin around “the boat.”


Also Read: 17 Signs That You Might Be A Military Aviator

Shove the throttles forward, salute the catapult officer, and get ready to rock:

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Watch this 89-year-old WWII veteran score a touchdown at Kansas University

Bryan Sperry left college football at Kansas State to serve in World War II. At 19, he was an infantryman in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, Sperry returned to the game. He played football in England for a short period before making it back to the states and playing for Kansas University. He and the KU team went on to play in the 1948 Orange Bowl and only lost one game, the Orange Bowl, that whole season.


On April 25, KU held an alumni scrimmage with players from the 1948 team and Sperry, 70 years after his last KU appearance, scored an over 30-yard touchdown. The video of the touchdown is below. For the full story, check out the article in the Kansas City Star.

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Will the US military continue to fly the Confederate flag?

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Photo: Flickr


The Confederate flag’s dark and nuanced history has long made the rebel banner an uncomfortable topic of conversation. In the minds of many Americans, it is a symbol of slavery and institutionalized racism – an emblem on par with the Nazi swastika. For others, it’s simply an expression of regional pride.

However, after the racially-motivated church slayings in South Carolina last week – committed by a man who was a proud flyer of the stars and bars – state governments have begun to remove the Confederate flag from their federal buildings. The United States military, on the other hand, has yet to address the issue officially.

South Carolina’s Army Guard still flies 16 streamers that were created under the Confederacy, and servicemen and women are allowed to sport the Confederate flag on clothing and tattoos — something the Defense Department does not consider offensive material. Still, some military officials have decided to retire the flag after the shootings, including The Citadel, South Carolina’s famous military academy, which removed the Confederate Naval Jack from its chapel.

Gen. Daniel Allyn, vice chief of the U.S. Army, spoke to the The Military Times about the rebel flag’s importance within the American military:

“I think that, when you are a student of military history, let’s face it: One of our greatest military generals in the history of our nation was Robert E. Lee,” Allyn said, referring to the legendary Confederate commander.

At Army posts throughout the country, there are “thousands of battle pictorials of Grant and Lee going up against each other with their requisite flags,” he added, noting Lee’s Union counterpart, Gen. Ulysses Grant, who later became America’s 18th president. “So yes, you will find those resident. And if those are offensive to people, I’m sure that our commanders will deal with that.”

“We swear our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,” Allyn said, “… and we will protect and defend that flag.”

For more on the topic, check out The Military Times

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Intel

Venezuela may soon be fighting a war with Marxist rebels from Colombia

On Mar. 21, 2021, Venezuela’s Nicholas Maduro appeared on Venezuelan state television to announce the Venezuelan military clashed with rebel groups from neighboring Colombia. 

He didn’t give any more details about the fighting, but an exiled Venezeulan general told news agency Agence France Presse that the rebel groups came from elements of the former Colombian rebel group FARC.

FARC was first formed in 1964 as a Marxist-Leninist separatist group looking to overthrow the elected government of Colombia. The group waged guerrilla warfare against the government from Colombia’s mountains and jungles for more than 50 years. At its height, FARC fielded as many as 10,000 fighters. 

In 2016, a ceasefire was finally called for good and a peace agreement was reached between the two sides and the rebel guerrillas began to disarm. But not every FARC member agreed with the peace deal. Dissidents broke away from the main force and began to operate along the Venezuela-Colombia border. 

In February 2021, Colombia accused Venezuela of harboring those dissidents and Maduro threatened to respond by force if Colombia violated Venezuelan sovereignty in hunting down the remnants of FARC. 

On Sunday, March 21, Maduro’s chickens came home to roost as FARC rebels attacked the Venezuelan town of Arauquita. Venezuela responded with an aerial bombing campaign according to some reports

Venezuelan armed forces then moved into the area, claiming to have captured 32 people, destroyed six camps and confiscated weapons, ammunition, explosives, vehicles and drugs.

The ongoing fighting has now displaced some 4,000 Venezuelans, who have crossed the border into Colombia to escape the violence. Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Police have moved into the area, conducting raids and arbitrarily detaining and killing civilians. 

Elements of FARC are continuing to fight the Colombian government and no one is exactly sure how strong the group actually is in Colombia. In recent days, the revolutionaries managed to bomb a police station in the capital city of Bogota. 

The rebels could be an extreme pain for Venezuela’s military. Though large, the military is mostly staffed by conscripts, and experiencing a wave of desertions in the face of Maduro’s mishandling of the Venezuelan government.

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
A peaceful march in Venezuela, where conflict has been brewing for years.

Cliver Alcalá, who retired from Venezuela’s military in 2013 as Maduro came to power, says the experienced rank and file has been gutted by the desertions. For the common Venezuelan soldier, the choice is to either desert and try to survive, or stay for next to no pay and maybe starve to death

It has left the country’s armed forces inexperienced and full of general officers. He says the glut of high rank has made the army “top heavy” and eroded the chain of command. 

“There is no way to know who is in charge of operations, who is in charge of administration and who is in charge of policy,” he told Reuters in 2019.

To top it all off, their commander in chief is Nicholas Maduro. If Maduro’s military acumen is anything like his skill at administration or handling of the government’s oil sales, the Venezuelan military is in for a long fight. 
Venezuela might be looking to use its newly-trained force of civilians to fight the FARC rebels, which, if the 4,000 refugees fleeing to Colombia is any indication, will not be successful.

Intel

Hilarious video shows a Navy chief riding with the ‘Blue Angels’ passing out from too much g-force

The Blue Angels don’t just hand out opportunities to fly in the back seat, but when they do, people sometimes pass out.


This video and caption was posted to the Blue Angels Facebook fan page, and it shows what happens when a first-timer experiences seven “G’s” in an F/A-18 Hornet.

We know many of you would do anything for a chance to fly in the back seat of one of our jets; however, unfortunately there are few who actually get the opportunity.

One way to ensure a flight in a practice demonstration is to join our Maintenance and Support Team like this guy did. During a demonstration our pilots experience positive and negative gravitational forces, and have developed methods to overcome them. It’s something that takes practice and is not for the faint of heart. First time passengers will often pass out briefly due to lack of blood flow to the head. People say the seconds spent passed out can feel like minutes or even hours.

With the permission of those involved in this video, we present to you, “The G-Force Strikes Back”!

Must be logged into Facebook to watch:

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Intel

Air Force General: Field this next-gen fighter in time to beat China

The Air Force must field its Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter soon if it wants to compete with China, the general in charge of the service’s fighter fleet said Friday.

Gen. Mark Kelly, head of Air Combat Command, said that he is “confident” that adversaries like China, facing this new technology, “will suffer a very tough day and tough week and tough war.”

“What I don’t know, and what we’re working with our great partners, is if our nation will have the courage and the focus to field this capability before someone like the Chinese fields it and uses it against us,” he said during a virtual chat with reporters at the Air Force Association’s annual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.

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In September, the Air Force revealed it had quietly built and flown a brand-new aircraft prototype that could become a future advanced fighter jet. Officials have said NGAD defies traditional categorization as a single aircraft platform or technology. Instead, it’s made up of a network of advanced fighter aircraft, sensors and weapons in a growing and unpredictable threat environment.Advertisement

The NGAD program could also include fighters and autonomous drones fighting side-by-side, officials have said.

“We just need to make sure we keep our narrative up and articulate the unambiguous benefit we’ve had as a nation to have that leading-edge technology ensuring we have air superiority for the nation and the joint force,” Kelly said.

When asked how close the Air Force was to fielding NGAD, Kelly demurred.

The Air Force is developing NGAD alongside a future fighter road map. In an ongoing “TacAir study,” Air Force officials are trying to determine the right mix of aircraft for the future inventory, and assessing how future fighter concepts would fit into the current mix of fourth- and fifth-generation fighters.

“This study will give us that 10-to-15-year lens … so we’re not trying to deal with it day by day, week by week, year by year,” Kelly said Friday.

The Air Force wants to outline specific mission sets for its aircraft where it can. Deploying high-end fighters like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter or F-22 Raptor for a routine allied patrol mission, for instance, is costly overkill.

Lockheed Martin, the F-35’s manufacturer, estimates the jet’s cost per flight hour at $36,000, with a goal of reducing it to $25,000 by the end of 2025, company officials said this week. That adds up, Kelly said.

Cost aside, Kelly said the F-35’s role as premiere, multirole combat jet remains unchanged, despite discussions of new fighter development.

“It’s still going to be a centerpiece of much of what our Air Force does for decades to come,” he said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown this week disputed reports that the F-35 was a high-cost Pentagon failure, saying that was “nowhere near the case.”

Brown told reporters on Feb. 17 that the Air Force isn’t ruling out bringing a new fighter jet into its inventory as it looks to replace older, fourth-generation F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, also made by Lockheed.

Since the inception of the Joint Strike Fighter program, the Air Force has held that older Falcons should be replaced by the fifth-gen F-35 Lightning II. Some critics viewed Brown’s comments last week as foreshadowing the stealth jet’s demise.

The Air Force is the largest customer for the F-35, and hopes to procure 1,763 F-35 A-variants. But according to Aviation Week, future budgets could limit the inventory. The magazine reported in December that the service might cap its total F-35 buy at 1,050 fighters.

Neither Brown nor Kelly addressed how many F-35s the service would ultimately end up with during this week’s conference.

The chief added NGAD and the F-35 are not comparable from a programmatic and funding standpoint.

“As far as NGAD versus F-35, we’re not going to take money from the F-35 to [fund] the NGAD,” Brown said Thursday.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

Intel

These Marines teach infantry Marines what happens when they go ‘too gangster’

The boys at “Terminal Boots” published a hilarious YouTube video that was deemed too risky by the higher-ups in their chain of command.


In simple Terminal Boots speak, they went “too gangster.”

In true Marine fashion, they improvised, adapted, and overcame by taking down the original and re-releasing a friendlier safe-for-work version. The end result is a funny video that serves as a navigation guide for Marines confused about the rules of the Corps. You can even say it’s educational.

Watch:

Intel

These are the 6 wars the Chinese think they’ll fight in the next 50 years

In 2013, the China News Service, the second largest state-run media outlet in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), published a piece in its Chinese language service with all the promise of a less-than-peaceful rise. China News has a very pro-PRC slant, and this particular piece was no different. Called “Six wars China is sure to fight in the next 50 years,” the article alluded to the PRC’s pride, shredded after centuries of defeat and embarrassment.


 

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army 1st Amphibious Mechanized Infantry Division prepare to provide Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen with a demonstration of their capabilities during a visit to the unit in China on July 12, 2011. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)

 

China’s growth as a global economy boomed under the leadership of Chinese Communist Party leader and President Hu Jintao. Hu stepped down in 2012 and his successor, Xi Jinping, has ideas of a “Chinese Dream,” a desire to revitalize the nation and to return China to national glory, perhaps by any means necessary. The article itself could be either bluster or a shared collective feeling, a Chinese “Manifest Destiny.” Either way, the Chinese are already anticipating the needs of – and obstacles to – their rise.

1. The Unification of Mainland China and Taiwan

The mainland Chinese do not seem to believe a peaceful unification with the Republic of China (Taiwan) is possible. Taiwanese politicians use the threat of China or the promise of unification as election year stunts but make no real progress on the issue. The PRC sees the existence of Taiwan as a weakness, given that other countries can use their relations with Taipei as leverage in negotiations. The author of the China News piece proposes giving the Taiwanese a referendum by 2020, to vote on peaceful unification or unification by force. They expect the answer will be war.

 

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Amphibious Mechanized Infantry

The Chinese expect to win, of course. It’s just a matter of time, and that all depends on how much the U.S. and Japan intervene to save Taiwan. The Chinese expect a mainland invasion from the U.S. and will respond with “total war,” and believe they can beat Taiwan and its allies in six months. If the United States doesn’t intervene, the PRC predicts a three-month victory.

2. The forced acquisition of the Spratly Islands

The Chinese think the forced unification of Taiwan will show the other countries of the region the PRC’s resolve in its territorial demands. After a two-year rest from the Taiwan War, the Chinese believe Vietnam and the Philippines will be waiting at the negotiating table to see what the Chinese do, rather than be aggressive or offensive. China will give these countries with territorial claims the option of preserving shares of investments already made in the Spratlys. If not, the Chinese military will take these holdings by force.

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
A Marine Corps brigade under the Navy of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducts amphibious armored training

 

China also believes its victory in the Taiwan War will have taught the U.S. “a lesson not to confront too openly with China,” but knows the U.S. will aid the Philippines and Vietnam under the table, with arms, training, and money. Only the Philippines and Vietnam “dare to challenge China’s domination.” China will attack Vietnam first (because that worked out so well the first time), in hopes of intimidating other Pacific nations. The PRC’s win there will make sure other countries return their claims on the islands and ally themselves with China. This victory also gives the Chinese Navy unfettered access to the Pacific Ocean.

 3. Reunification of South Tibet

In 1914, the British and Chinese negotiated the McMahon Line, a legal border between China and India, as part of the Simla Accord. the Simla Accord also carved up Tibet into “Inner” and “Outer” Tibet. Even though the Chinese dispute this line (because they would have to recognize Tibet as an independent state at the time of this treaty), it is the line used on maps between the two countries from 1914 until the Sino-Indian War of 1962. That war changed nothing, except the area once known as the North-East Frontier Agency became known as the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. On top of the border dispute, this state now has major hydropower potential.

 

Despite the 1962 war, the Chinese believe they can beat India and “reconquer” South Tibet by force if they can incite the disintegration of the Indian states, sending arms to Pakistan to retake Kashmir, force a war on two fronts and “blitz” into South Tibet. India will lose this war, and China will join the U.S., Europe, and Russia as global powers.

4. The conquest of the Diaoyu and Ryukyu Islands

By this time, the author predicted three major military wars and some years of rest in between. Now, mid-21st century, China will assert its claim over these two sets of islands. China claims these two chains are ancient vassal states of China’s, now occupied by the Japanese (and the Americans, as the base on Okinawa is in the Ryukyus).

 

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Marines of the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) (PLA(N)) stand at attention following a demonstration of the brigade’s capabilities. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. J.J. Harper)

With its growing worldwide military presences and global prestige, the Chinese will move to occupy the islands. They predict a weakened U.S. will fight alongside Japan, but that Europe and Russia will do nothing, resulting in a Chinese victory within six months.

5. The Invasion of Mongolia

The Chinese refer to Mongolia as “Outer Mongolia,” a separate part of China, distinct from the Autonomous Region of “Inner Mongolia,” a Chinese province. They assert that the country of Mongolia is a part of China. In the 1600s, it was ruled by the Chinese, but if we’re going back in time, the Mongols ruled China for a while.

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet

 

No matter what we (or the Mongols) think, the Chinese will place a claim on the country shortly after their invasion of Taiwan. Like their invasion of Taiwan, they will offer the Mongolians a referendum to vote on whether their unification with the People’s Republic of China. If they vote for peace, Mongolia will be accepted into China. If the Mongols vote for war, the PRC should be prepared to not only invade militarily but also be prepared to fight off foreign aggression against this action. The Chinese believe by this point, they will be so powerful and the U.S. and Russia will be in decline so much, it would be difficult for them to mount anything other than a diplomatic defense.

6. China hopes to take back land from Russia

Even though the relations between the two countries have recovered since the Sino-Soviet Split during the Cold War, a lot of mistrust remains. In China’s view, Russia occupies 160 million square kilometers of land belonging to China since the Qing Dynasty, circa 1644. The Chinese author believes by this time (roughly 2045), the Russian government will be in further decline and will take full advantage, especially given the veteran status their military will have after five wars.

 

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet

The Chinese author asserts “there must be a war with Russia,” and should be prepared to use nuclear weapons if the need arises, especially if a first strike to disarm the Russian nuclear arsenal. Once the Chinese neutralize Russian nuclear assets, they believe the Russians will capitulate and hand over the lost Chinese lands.

Intel

Never-before-seen photos show Bush administration officials right after 9/11

Never-before-seen photos reveal the Bush administration’s shocked reactions to the September 11th attacks, moments after the towers were struck.


Each image depicts the crushing gravity of that fateful day, as reflected in the eyes of President George W. Bush, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet and many other White House staffers.

The photos were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from journalist Neirouz Hanna of PBS Frontline. The photos were taken by the vice president’s staff photographer.

You can see more of the recently-released photos on Flickr, and our selection of photographs below:

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Vice President Cheney watches television Photo: The U.S. National Archives

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
CIA Director George Tenet listens to President Bush’s address in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) Photo: The U.S. National Archives

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
President Bush with Vice President Cheney and Senior Staff in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) Photo: The U.S. National Archives

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Vice President Cheney in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) Photo: The U.S. National Archives

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
President Bush with Vice President Cheney and Senior Staff in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) Photo: The U.S. National Archives

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Secretary of State Colin Powell in the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) Photo: The U.S. National Archives

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Articles

The ingenious Nazi belt buckle pistol that never made it very far

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Forgotten Weapons, YouTube


The Nazis had some insane weapons, from super soldier serum to four-story guns that could fire shells over 30 miles away.

Some of their weapons were so far left field you’d think they pulled them out of a Robert Rodriguez flick. Case in point is the belt buckle pistol featured on the Forgotten Weapons YouTube channel.

The pistol—also known as the Power Pelvis Gun—was conceived by Louis Marquis during his stint in a World War I POW camp in 1915. Marquis was consumed by the idea for a concealed weapon to exert his authority over the other prisoners without drawing the attention of the guards. He patented his design in 1934 and named it the Koppelschlosspistole, but it was never mass produced because it wasn’t accurate, according to My Gun Culture.

Unlike Rodrguez’s 12-bullet cock revolver, this little pistol was practical in that it held your pants up while simultaneously being deadly in plain sight.

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Machete Kills (2013), AR Films

(By the way, how does Sofia Vergara fire this revolver? Where’s the trigger?)

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Machete Kills (2013), AR Films

The belt buckle pistol on the other hand, is pretty straight forward. The cover plate swings open to expose four barrels and firing triggers.

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Forgotten Weapons, YouTube

Re-cocking the gun is as easy as closing the barrel cover.

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet
Forgotten Weapons, YouTube

The Rock Island Auction Company (RIA) sold the weapon for $14,000. This video shows how the weapons works:

Forgotten Weapons, YouTube

Intel

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President

Here’s What It’s Like Flying An F/A-18 Fighter Jet


Marines have long dreamed of the day beloved retired Gen. James Mattis ‘finally’ takes residence in the White House, but they shouldn’t get their hopes up this campaign season.

In true Mattis fashion, the former head of U.S. Central Command gave it to ’em straight during a speech at Columbia Basin College in Washington State, letting his fans know that despite their interest, he would not be competing in the upcoming presidential race.

The Marine Corps Times reports:

While many troops would love to see Mattis go up against the likes of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, he said he’d like to see others take on the challenge.

“[It’s] time for younger people, especially veterans, to run for office,” Mattis told Marine Corps Times.

That could leave many sporting “Mattis for president” T-shirts while drinking from their “Mattis in 2016” mugs disappointed. In 2012, one Marine veteran started a Facebook campaign to get voters to consider writing in Mattis’ name on their ballots.

Despite the promise of a rabid following in the veteran community, Mattis holds that he doesn’t have “a broad enough perspective” to be Commander-in-Chief, according to The Marine Corps Times.

For more on the story, check out The Marine Corps Times

To listen to Mattis’s speech at Columbia Basin College, listen to the SoundCloud recording below:

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The second season of the incredibly popular ‘Serial’ podcast may focus on Bowe Bergdahl

The second season of the incredibly popular “Serial” podcast produced by NPR will focus on the Bowe Bergdahl case, The Hollywood Reporter is confirming.


The Bergdahl case has attracted plenty of interest nationwide, following the soldier’s release from Haqqani Network captivity in exchange for five Taliban detainees. The Army sergeant is currently facing charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy at his court-martial after he allegedly walked away from his combat outpost in 2009.

Bergdahl’s attorneys claim he was trying to reach a nearby base to report troubling conditions in his unit, while many soldiers he served with believe him to be a deserter responsible for lives that were lost while they searched for him.

Via Maxim:

All of this is ripe material for Serial host Sarah Koenig’s Rashomon approach to investigative journalism, which she deftly applied to the case of Adnan Syed, a man currently serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his high school ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

Koenig went to great lengths to examine the case from every possible angle—interviewing witnesses whose testimonies were never heard in court, and pursuing other leads abandoned during the investigation that led to Syed’s conviction.

First debuted in 2014, the “Serial” podcast quickly rocketed to the top spot as the most popular podcast of all time. According to Maxim’s reporting, reporters from “Serial” have been seen inside the courtroom at Bergdahl’s trial.

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