The nation’s highest award for valor was first introduced exclusively for sailors and Marines, while the Army rejected the medal as a bad idea.
But six months after it was introduced in 1861, the Army changed its tune and authorized the Medal of Honor for soldiers. Since its creation, more than 3,400 military personnel have received the medal, which is awarded for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.”
In a documentary called “Medal of Honor – The History,” there are many more insights into how the medal came to fruition during the Civil War, its different designs, and how the requirements for receiving it changed over time. Interestingly enough, the idea of “stolen valor” frauds that today’s veterans continue to fight was a problem even in the late 1800s, which led recipients to form the Medal of Honor Legion.
The film, which is narrated by Gary Sinise, also explores the actions of some of the heroes who received the medal. It’s worth a watch.
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for troops who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States.
On this day, Americans may be posting tributes on social media or attending events to honor the fallen. For a group of Recon Marines however, their way of honoring fallen brothers is with an intense, grueling challenge over nearly 30 miles.
“I’ll run for him until I retire,” says Master Gunnery Sgt. Christopher May of his comrade Staff Sgt. Caleb Medley, in a new video produced by the Marine Corps. Medley died in Feb. 2013 in a parachuting accident while training in California, according to The Marine Times.
Once a war kicks off, it’s generally easy to recognize. But war planners want to know about these things ahead of time so they predict what might be coming. While moves like large military exercises on a border are a dead giveaway that an invasion might be imminent, smaller things can give intel analysts a clue as well.
Here are 6 surprisingly minor things that can predict a major conflict:
1. Industrial diamonds and mineral prices
Who knew diamonds could predict wars? Back when World War II was just a fight between Germany and Poland about whether Poland got to keep being a country, Hitler was promising everyone that it was a limited, one-time thing. But the other countries knew he was full of it because, among other things, diamond prices were climbing.
Industrial diamonds are ugly things used in heavy duty drills, grinders, and other machinery. They’re essential to properly machining large weapons of war and the price was high because Germany was buying a lot of them plus tons of metals, like enough to create a blitzkrieg-capable army. A short time later, that army was rolling across Dutch fields.
David E. Walker wrote “Adventure in Diamonds” about the rush by British and Japanese teams to secure Amsterdam’s diamond stocks during the German invasion.
2. Missing uniforms and other supplies
Another thing the Dutch found suspicious ahead of the Nazi invasion was a higher than normal disappearance rate of uniforms and other supplies. Some items always go missing and sometimes things really do fall off of trucks, but a sudden jump should get analysts worried.
When German paratroopers started landing in the Netherlands, some of them were wearing Dutch uniforms that had gone missing. Wearing an enemy’s uniform is a war crime, but that only matters if the side guilty parties are on loses. If your uniform is missing, it may be forgetfulness, or it may predict something scarier.
3. Suspicious demonstrations
One of the things Ukraine noticed before of the shadow invasion of the Donbas region was a sudden increase in Pro-Moscow agitation in the east of the country and apparent ties between the agitators and Russian propaganda outlets.
Russian special operators and soldiers now cross into the area from time-to-time to make sure separatists forces are able to resist Kiev’s military, keeping the nation off-balance and allowing Russia a generally free hand.
4. Increased tourism
A spike in tourism is usually just a good sign for the economy, but combined with any other indicators that a war is looming, it’s a decent bet that some of those tourists are spies.
When it comes to local conflicts, warlords and smaller armies are sometimes equipping their forces right before the fight. This drives up the costs of weapons, especially AK-47s. Intel analysts and concerned citizens can watch those prices and see if a brush fire war or uprising is likely.
For larger nations, observers watch the overall size of the arsenal. If Russia starts producing more cruise missiles than normal, they’re probably going to be firing some soon.
6. Computer activity
In the modern day, hacking is a tool of war that is sometimes used on its own or in conjunction with a kinetic attack. Either way, the cyber assault is usually preceded by the tests of cyber defenses and the collecting of information on targets.
The idea of chowing down on some insects doesn’t sound too appetizing, but when you’re on the brink of starvation, it might be your best option. When you’re stuck out in the middle of nowhere, food sources can get pretty scarce. On top of all that, even if you were to catch a small game animal while enduring the elements, you’d still have to start a fire and cook that sucker to avoid ingesting any nasty parasites.
On the contrary, if you find a source of edible insects, you can just pop them into your mouth and get some lifesaving nutrition. Keep an eye out for these bugs if you find yourself in a bind.
These are probably the most popular insects to munch on. In fact, you’ve probably had a few crawl into your mouth while camping without even knowing it — don’t worry, it happens. You can efficiently collect these nutritious little bugs from their hills. Sure, you’re invading their personal space, but you have to eat, too.
Just make sure they’re not the painful kind first.
That’s good eatin’!
No, we’re not referring to young individuals who are learning martial arts. We’re talking about those little ugly things that jump from seemingly nowhere and land on your arm.
Packed with the protein you need to sustain yourself until you can find help, grasshoppers can be easily collected and stored for a quick snack throughout the day.
Though their name may have you believe otherwise, you can actually eat these suckers if you’re super desperate. Although they don’t look all that enjoyable, like most insects, they’re packed with the energy-providing protein you need to push yourself out of a desolate area.
It’s dinner time!
Another excellent source of protein and energy, termites can be found devouring large pieces of wood. These six-legged pests aren’t know for being filled with parasites, which means they’re good to eat. Once you find a log that’s been hollowed out by these eager eaters, give it a shake and watch them crawl out.
Also known as the “potato bug,” this little thing isn’t technically an insect — it’s actually a terrestrial isopod crustacean. Sure, maybe it doesn’t belong on list of bugs, but it does tastes similar to shrimp. They can be boiled in hot water just before being enjoyed by a struggling camper that’s to hold on for dear life.
Maybe we’re exaggerating a bit, but they do taste better than they look. Trust me.
Situated between Area 51 and the Nevada Test and Training Range is a place called “Coyote Summit” which offers a perfect spot for watching air traffic coming out of Nellis Air Force Base.
Photographer Eric Bowen went to the spot in August for Red Flag, the Air Force-sponsored exercise which simulates an air war between aggressors and aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marines, Air National Guard, and Royal Air Force units.
A typical RED FLAG exercise involves a variety of attack, fighter and bomber aircraft (F-15E, F-16, F/A-18, A-10, B-1, B-2, etc.), reconnaissance aircraft (Predator, Global Hawk, RC-135, U-2), electronic warfare aircraft (EC-130s, EA-6Bs and F-16CJs), air superiority aircraft (F-22, F-15C, etc), airlift support (C-130, C-17), search and rescue aircraft (HH-60, HC-130, CH-47), aerial refueling aircraft (KC-130, KC-135, KC-10, etc), Command and Control aircraft (E-3, E-8C, E-2C, etc) as well as ground based Command and Control, Space, and Cyber Forces.
Bowen spent a few nights at the Summit filming at night, and produced this awesome video. Watch:
“The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistibly attractive to one another,” reported Edward Hammond of bioweapon activist group the Sunshine Project.
Aside from the “gay bomb,” the laboratory also included similarly questionable ideas, such as bad breath bombs, flatulence bombs and bombs designed to attract stinging insects.
After the program was revealed, the Pentagon responded (via the BBC):
Captain Dan McSweeney of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at the Pentagon said the defence department receives “literally hundreds” of project ideas, but that “none of the systems described in that  proposal have been developed”.
He told the BBC: “It’s important to point out that only those proposals which are deemed appropriate, based on stringent human effects, legal, and international treaty reviews are considered for development or acquisition.”
For their attempt to bring such innovative ideas to the battlefield, the Air Force research group was awarded the IG Nobel Peace Prize – a parody set of the Nobel Prizes – in 2007.
This short video demonstrates how the ‘gay bomb’ would work in real-life:
Cedric Terrell’s photography studio is full of energy, creativity, and stunningly beautiful people, inside and out.
The photographer and former Marine captures gorgeous profiles of anyone from everywhere. This guy is straight up talented. After seven years with the USMC, Cedric is running his own studio with offices in New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. Learn more about Cedric in the videos below.
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army continues to expand talent management plans for senior noncommissioned officers that could one day incorporate junior NCOs, as part of the service’s ongoing effort to place the right leaders in the right jobs.
Following the rollout of command assessment programs for lieutenant colonels and colonels, the Army Talent Management Task Force is now focusing to harness enlisted talent.
In November, the Sergeant Major Assessment Program was initially tested at Fort Knox, Kentucky, to evaluate nearly 30 brigade-level sergeants major for future senior assignments.
Earlier this month, the sergeant major of the Army decided to implement the program at the brigade level this fall, with plans to extend it to the battalion level the following year, said Maj. Jed Hudson, the task force’s action officer for enlisted talent.
“Now we’re going to have an opportunity to really use objective assessments to complement the current subjective evaluations that are already used as we select battalion and brigade command sergeants majors,” he said Wednesday during an Association of the U.S. Army Noon Report.
The First Sergeant Talent Alignment Assessment also held a recent pilot with about a dozen master sergeants from the 82nd Airborne Division and 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“99 percent of them said it was a great initiative and they felt it had a more holistic look at an NCO to match up with those positions,” said Sgt. Maj. Robert Haynie, the task force’s NCO team lead.
Additional pilots are being scheduled with 1st Infantry Division, 10th Mountain Division, and potentially with units in Alaska later this year, he added.
Leaders believe if the best individuals can fill first sergeant slots, it could help bolster the Army’s “This is My Squad” initiative, which aims to build cohesive teams at the squad level.
“That company-level first sergeant really coaches, teaches and mentors and puts those squad leaders into those right positions,” Haynie said. “Having the right NCOs with the right characteristics helps us get after that.”
Similar to the officer assessments, both enlisted programs plan to use objective methods to prevent unconscious bias, such as behavioral-based interviews that are double blind using a standard rubric of questions for each person, Haynie said.
The First Sergeant Talent Alignment Assessment also collects details on an individual through an assessment battery that measures a variety of their attributes, such as ethics, decision making, and general intelligence.
Those details are then seen by local commanders along with the normal data previously used, including evaluations, military and civilian education and military occupational specialties.
“They still have the authority to make the decision, but [now] they have the information to make an informed decision,” Hudson said.
The Assignment Satisfaction Key-Enlisted Module, or ASK-EM, is also now fully operational and is in its second iteration, which is on track to assist about 9,000 NCOs through their permanent change-of-station process, Hudson said.
ASK-EM, which is run by Army Human Resources Command, allows NCOs from E6s to E8s to access a marketplace where they can enter their preferences and see available positions, while providing them more predictability on when they’ll move.
During the initial run of ASK-EM, about 25% of NCOs were able to receive their first choice of duty station, while roughly half had one of their top five choices, Hudson said.
In comparison, the first assignment cycle of the officer’s marketplace, called the Army Talent Alignment Process, saw 47% of roughly 13,000 officers receive their top choice last year.
“We think there’s no reason that the noncommissioned officer marketplace won’t be able to emulate that type of success,” Hudson said.
The major said he recently spoke to a master sergeant with the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, who informed him that he was able to get his first choice at U.S. Africa Command.
“One thing he told me, though, you still have to preference based on what skills you have,” Hudson said. “Are you qualified for the job and is it right for your career?
“So if you’re only preferencing based off location, especially junior NCOs who may not understand the career implications as much, there’s a chance that they will not set themselves up for success.”
The enlisted marketplace will shift the decision authority from assignment managers to local commanders, so they can better decide on what they require from a list of individuals.
“The assignment manager remains in the process as far as an advisor and a mentor to the individuals who are moving,” Hudson said. “It allows people to really have transparency on all the talent available and the individual [to have] transparency on all the assignments available.”
While senior NCOs may mostly benefit from the initial enlisted programs, Haynie said they will eventually trickle down to junior NCOs.
“We are moving forward with ‘people first’ and really putting our money where our mouth is and doing these initiatives,” he said. “This is going to continue.”
Called the “TEC Torch,” the compact, handheld thermal breaching tool is made up of a handle and cartridge which weigh less than a pound each. The incredibly powerful flame produced by the torch reaches temperatures around 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, a heat which can rip through steel in less than a second.
The TEC Torch was developed after Special Operations Forces (SOF) operating in war-zone environments requested a compact, lightweight, and hand-held tool which would allow them to cut through locks, bars, and other barriers, according to Air Force.
Unlike the lightsabers used by Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, this blade flame burns out after two seconds.
In an episode titled “You’re Not Yelping,” the cartoon makes fun of over-the-top Yelp reviewers who criticize everything, or demand perks while threatening one-star reviews. The show pushes the practice to absurd lengths, which means for “South Park,” a restaurant owner is eventually beheaded (taking off his mask) while his business is burned to the ground, in footage reminiscent of ISIS terrorist videos.
Cartman may be the worst of them all, constantly threatening one star reviews if he doesn’t get what he wants: “I was thinking of giving this place five stars, but I am kind of teetering on five stars or one star. I mean I can probably be persuaded with free desserts.”
You can watch the full episode here, or just watch this clip:
After a series of interdictions, the U.S. Coast Guard has found itself in possession of over 32 metric tons of cocaine worth an estimated $1 billion or more on the wholesale market. On the streets, they would likely have fetched $1.8 billion.
The drugs had been consolidated on the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton where the Coast Guard displayed them for media before offloading them. This was the largest offload of drugs in U.S. history.
Case in point comes from this Terminal Boots video of “The World’s Most Motivated Boot.” Deacon, John and Joseph nail how a Marine fresh to the fleet looks, acts and talks.
As the video description reads: “Here is an example of a Marine in the fleet prior to the disgruntlement phase of enlistment. Watch closely, in just six months time, he will shed his cocoon, get a DUI and blossom into a beautiful sh-tbag.”
On February 2, 2020, the Air Force announced a new evaluation system for its senior enlisted airmen and officers. E-7 through E-9 and O-1 though O-6 personnel will be graded on 10 Airman Leadership Qualities focused on character and competence. According to the Air Force, the 10 ALQs are categorized under four major performance areas which coincide with both the major graded areas of the Air Force Unit Effectiveness Inspection program and the language used to describe expected performance factors provided to promotion boards. Arguably the most interesting aspect of the new form is that it is optional.
“We designed the addendum to be used in conjunction with the primary Airman Comprehensive Assessment form to serve as a guide for raters to help facilitate actionable discussions during feedback that incorporate the Airman leadership qualities,” said Air Force Talent Management Innovation Cell Director Col. Laura King. Following initial release, the service will collect and implement feedback from commanders to rework and finalize the ALQs and the evaluation system as a whole.
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass noted that the new system is in its infancy. “This is just the beginning stages of constructing a system that clearly defines the qualities we value and need in our Airmen,” Bass said. “The synergy between the officer and enlisted evaluation systems is a huge win for how we develop our Airmen to build the Air Force our nation needs.”
The four major performance areas and 10 ALQs of the new evaluation system are broken down as follows:
Executing the Mission
Job Proficiency: Demonstrates knowledge and professional skill in assigned duties, achieving positive results and impact in support of the mission.
Initiative: Assesses and takes independent or directed action to complete a task or mission that influences the mission or organization.
Adaptability: Adjusts to changing conditions, to include plans, information, processes, requirements and obstacles in accomplishing the mission.
Inclusion and Teamwork: Collaborates effectively with others to achieve an inclusive climate in pursuit of a common goal or to complete a task or mission.
Emotional Intelligence: Exercises self-awareness, manages their own emotions effectively; demonstrates an understanding of others’ emotions, and appropriately manages relationships.
Communication: Articulates information in a clear and timely manner, both verbally and non-verbally, through active listening and messaging tailored to the appropriate audience.
Stewardship: Demonstrates responsible management of assigned resources, which may include time, equipment, people, funds and/or facilities.
Accountability: Takes responsibility for the actions and behaviors of self and/or team; demonstrates reliability and transparency.
Improving the Unit
Decision Making: Makes well-informed, effective and timely decisions under one’s control that weigh constraints, risks, and benefits.
Innovation: Thinks creatively about different ways to solve problems, implements improvements and demonstrates calculated risk-taking.
As the Air Force revamps its evaluation system following these 10 ALQs, leaders are encouraged to “use it to the maximum extent practical” according to a service press release. That said, if you have to pester your leadership for an evaluation, try not to do it to such an extent that you wind up on their bad side.