This Texas Plumber's Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS - We Are The Mighty
Intel

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS


Texas City plumber Mark Oberholtzer has been bombarded with calls, some hostile, since a truck he traded in at AutoNation was shown being used as a gun platform in Syria, according to a Galveston Daily News report.

Oberholtzer said he traded in the truck to an AutoNation dealership three years ago. He usually takes the decals off his vehicles when he sells them but he left it on this truck with the expectation that AutoNation would remove it.

“They were supposed to have done it and it looks like they didn’t do it,” Oberholtzer told the Galveston newspaper. “How it ended up in Syria, I’ll never know.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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OR: Here Is The Army’s Secret File On The Leader Of ISIS

Intel

Former Navy SEAL commander says Putin has outplayed the US and Russia is the greatest external security threat

  • Retired US Navy Adm. William McRaven said Tuesday that Russia was the greatest external security threat to the US.
  • McRaven, a former Navy SEAL and special-operations commander, said Putin has outplayed the US.
  • He praised Biden for efforts early in his presidency to press Putin on US national interests.

During a recent discussion of the challenges the new Biden administration faces, retired Adm. William McRaven said Russian President Vladimir Putin has outplayed the US and that Russia is the greatest external security threat.

“I am often asked where do I think the greatest external security threat is, and I always point to Russia,” McRaven, a former Navy SEAL and special-operations commander, said at a Chatham House event on Tuesday. “A lot of people think about China, but Russia jumps to mind first.”

While he acknowledged that Russia is not the superpower it once was, he stressed that “Putin has outplayed us.”

“He has played the great game better than anyone on the world stage,” McRaven said of the Russian president. Pointing to Russian actions in Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, and even the US that were detrimental to American interests, he said: “Putin is a very dangerous person.”

China is often regarded as the pacing threat for the US, and during the Trump administration, tremendous emphasis was put on countering China with less attention paid to Russia.

Nonetheless, Russia is a great power rival, listed as a leading threat alongside China in the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

“We do need to find areas where we can partner with the Russians,” McRaven said, “but make no mistake about it, I think we need to take a hard line with respect to Russia … We need to let Putin know that there are lines you just shouldn’t cross.”

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

McRaven praised President Joe Biden’s first phone call with Putin, in which the president, according to a White House readout, “made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies.”

Biden is said to have discussed arms-control concerns, asserted US support for Ukraine, and pressed Putin on the massive SolarWinds cyberattack that affected a number of federal government agencies and bureaus, election interference, and the poisoning of the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

“I was pleased to see the president in his first phone call with President Putin addressed Alexei Navalny issue,” McRaven said. “I don’t think President Trump would have done that.”

As president, Donald Trump did not condemn Russia over the poisoning of Navalny, whom Russia recently put in prison.

Commenting on his discussion with Putin, Biden said Thursday that he “made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions — interfering with our election, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens — are over.”

“We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people,” he added.

McRaven said Tuesday that the US needed to not only make its position clear to Russia but also rebuild and leverage alliances “to make sure that Russia understands how they need to play.”

The Biden administration has made priorities of rebuilding alliances, reengaging in international affairs, and leading with confidence and humility. The president’s foreign-policy approach stands in stark contrast with Trump’s “America First” policies.

During his presidency, Trump was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans for pushing away allies and partners while at times cozying up to adversaries.

In particular, critics expressed concern as Trump struck a conciliatory tone toward Russia, despite warnings from across the intelligence community and other parts of the US government that Russia was engaged in activities that harmed US interests.

McRaven, who voted for Biden despite considering himself a conservative, was an outspoken critic of Trump’s policies.

In an opinion column published in August, McRaven wrote that Trump was “actively working to undermine every major institution in this country” as the US struggled with “rising threats from China and Russia,” among other challenges.

One of his more famous op-eds was a 2019 article titled “Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President,” in which he said: “If this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office.”

He said Trump’s actions threatened the trust of American’s allies and partners.

“If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military,” McRaven wrote. “And if they don’t join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us? And if no one follows us — where will the world end up?”

McRaven served nearly four decades in the military. As the commander of Joint Special Operations Command, he oversaw Operation Neptune Spear, the successful military raid that killed the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in 2011.

After retiring from the Navy in 2014, he went into academia and has written best-selling books on leadership, including “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World” and “Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations.”

Intel

The insane Israeli special op that gave the US terror intel

President Trump caught a lot of flak for sharing intel with the Russians last year. Specifically, in May when he shared classified info from Israel with Russian envoys Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov.


 

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
President Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

(White House Photo)

Keep in mind that sharing classified information is something the President of the United States can do whenever he wants. It’s not illegal, but it could hurt our chances of other countries sharing intel in the future.

What Trump shared was information regarding a new ISIS weapon and the Saudi bomb maker who developed it — laptop computer bombs that are undetectable at airport security.

Vanity Fair detailed how Sayeret Matkal forces — elite Israeli counter-terror troops — flew undetected across Jordan and then north into Syria. The helicopters dropped the troops and Syrian Army jeeps a few miles away from their target. They then drove on toward their objective.

 

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Sayeret Matkal commandos in training.

(IDF Photo)

Related: This Israeli special forces unit is their version of Navy SEALs

According to latest intel, hey were on their way to a meeting house of an ISIS cell. The Israelis wanted to ensure it was tapped so they could hear every word. An operative in the field guaranteed them valuable information would come from there. At first it sounded like the bug was a bust — no one was saying anything.

Then it happened. The ISIS troops started talking about how to build the laptop weapon that couldn’t be detected at airports. The bombs would cause airplanes to fall from the sky in huge fireballs. Once the Mossad had the info, they quickly shared it with other potential targets, namely the United States.

Al-Qaeda’s chief bomb maker in Yemen and Saudi Arabian national Ibrahim al-Asiri was thought to be the mastermind behind the weapon. 

 

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Ibrahim al-Asiri.

Now Read: 6 miraculous operations of the Israel Defense Forces

That’s what President Trump shared with the Russian Foreign Minister.

Only the Mossad knows what happened to Israel’s inside man in Syria as a result of his location being leaked. An Israeli official told Vanity Fair that, “whatever happened to him, it’s a hell of price to pay for a president’s mistake.”

Intel

Nothing says ‘I love you’ like this grenade launcher

Milkor’s Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher (MSLG) is a revolver on steroids.


Originally introduced in 1983, this six-shooter is designed to be simple, rugged, and devastating. It uses the time-tested revolver principle to fire six rounds in less than three seconds from up to five football fields away. Each chamber can be loaded with a variety of rounds, including shrapnel, flares, smoke, non-lethal rounds, and more.

Using it easy. Simply crank and load and you’re ready to fire.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
YouTube: American Heroes Channel

Six rounds in less than three seconds.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
YouTube: Discovery

It fires flares …

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
YouTube: Discovery

… explosives …

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
YouTube: American Heroes Channel

… and even rounds with cameras.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
YouTube: Discovery

It can easily take out a small vehicle.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
YouTube: American Heroes Channel

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhLxR9u4o4E

American Heroes Channel, YouTube

Intel

Veterans On Reddit Shared Their Favorite Experiences From The US Military

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade/US Army


People have a range of different reasons for joining the military, and each US veteran has their own unique experiences and memories while in the service.

Redditer user airmonk asked the veterans at the military community on Reddit about their single best experiences while serving. The answers run from the mundane to the comical to the serious, and present a glimpse into life in the military that many outside of the service rarely encounter or even know about.

Below are some of our favorite answers to airmonk’s question: “veterans of reddit, what is the best experience you’ve had while serving?”

Bat_Manatee, a member of the US Army, said that his best experience was taking part in the commemorations of the D-Day invasion’s 70th anniversary over the summer in 2014: “Jumped into Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The entire Normandy experience was awesome, capped off by the jump.”

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: The National Guard/Flickr

User docskreba, a member of the Air Force, was also at the commemorations and echoed Bat_Manatee’s sentiment:

“I was part of the crew running the flight line at Cherbourg for that jump (and everything else going on that week). I have a video of the elephant walk somewhere…”

I do have this videoof a C-130 flyby at Pointe du Hoc.

Very cool experience indeed.

Other veterans said that their favorite experiences while serving were the moments of silence and contemplation.

Stinkfingers, a member of the US Coast Guard, shared this experience: “Being at sea looking at the stars. All you can hear is the gentle rumble of the diesel engines and the water sloshing. Very relaxing after a long day.”

Likewise, Spritzertog, a member of the Marines, held a similar affinity for staring skyward: “Sitting on the hood of my car with a female Marine friend of mine, in the middle of the desert just outside of 29 Palms [a Marine base in California] … staring up at the star-filled night sky with absolutely no lights anywhere nearby.”

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony R. Martinez/US Navy

Potato_Muncher, an Army veteran, enjoyed the hard living and action that came with serving in Iraq:

68W AIT [healthcare specialist advanced individual training]. Enough trim and alcohol to kill a small elephant.

Besides that? Probably the outpost outside of Bartella, Iraq near Mosul. I loved that little 75 x 75yd plot of land. No one to tell you what to do, leadership that was as exhausted as you, my own room (Medic perks), daily foot patrols, etc. It was like an awesome FTX [field training exercise] away from Big Army.

Pntfrk also had his best experience in the military while in the field:

Blew up a house on the 4th of July. I was EOD [explosive ordnance disposal] and we were called out to clear/dispose of a cache found in a house. The IA major in charge of the area wanted us to take down the house since they kept finding caches there. We happily obliged.

But for thepancakedrawer, serving in the military was worth it just for the nuggets: “Free chicken nuggets on Mondays at Chick-Fil-A.”

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: yoppy/Flickr

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Also Watch: The Military Categories The Oscars Forgot

Intel

Here’s how you can buy a nuke on the black market

You can buy anything on the Bulgarian black market, including drugs, women, guns and even fully functional nuclear warheads.


Also read: We’re freaked out about Iran, but what other countries already have nukes?

Fascinated by a French reporter’s ability to purchase a nuclear warhead on the black market, American journalists from Vice travelled to Bulgaria to meet the man who sold it, according to the video below.

They met with Ivanoff, a former military intelligence colonel turned entrepreneur, whose business led him into the Saudi Arabian building industry. Through his business dealings, Ivanoff met with terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden, who was interested in making a “dirty bomb” out of radioactive waste. Ivanoff suggested why not get the real thing, a nuclear warhead.

Watch:

NOW: The US nuclear launch code during the Cold War was weaker than your granny’s AOL password

OR: 32 times when the U.S. military screwed up with nukes

Intel

This is what happens to your body if you die in space

As mankind turns their eyes back to space and technology edges us ever closer to a life outside of the atmosphere, there must also be contingency plans established in case the worst happens to astronauts. To date, there is no defined protocol for returning remains back to Earth. This will need to change as more and more astronauts take to the skies.


There have been eighteen deaths during spaceflight. The three deaths to occur in space (above 100 km elevation) were also the only remains properly recovered. The crew of the Soyuz 11 perished on June 29th, 1971 while they were preparing for re-entry. Their names are Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev. Their remains were recovered at the intended landing site — an autopsy ruled the cause of death a capsule-decompression failure — and the astronauts were properly laid to rest. They may be the first and only astronauts to be given this respect.

 

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Their names, and all astronauts who died prior to 1971, were placed on the Fallen Astronaut memorial and placed on the Moon. (NASA Courtesy Photo)

If an astronaut were to die on a spacewalk and his or her body went unrecovered, they would float lifelessly until caught in the atmosphere, at which point they’d burn in the reentry process. Until then, no bacteria could survive to decompose the body, so it would remain frozen as the days passed.

However, due to the UN’s strict “no littering” policy in space, the family and nation of the astronaut would be required to recover the remains and lay them rest with dignity. A space free-float wouldn’t happen.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

This also rules out all possible funerals, like the one given to Spock. (Paramount Pictures’ Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

According to Col. Chris Hadfield in his book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Earth, today’s astronauts conduct simulations for onboard deaths, but taking care of the body is tricky and very unpleasant. The remains are placed inside of a GoreTex bodybag. Then, it is isolated immediately in the airlock to avoid contamination to the air supply.

The funeral rites are then given to the deceased. This would include speeches by world leaders, the deceased’s family, and the crew. The body is then exposed to space to freeze. A robotic arm then takes the corpse and vibrates it outside of the spacecraft until the body breaks down into a powder, which is then released into space. As morbid as it is, it saves valuable room in the spacecraft and keeps the other astronauts safe. In a way, the astronaut becomes a part of space.

The powder that remains in the bag is then given to the family on the next return voyage, allowing them to pay the proper respects.

Articles

13 Hilarious Meme Replies To Our Article About Dating On Navy Ships

A few days ago WATM published an article with tips for dating on a US Navy ship and the responses we got were, um, passionate and direct.


Also Watch: 37 Awesome Photos Of Life On A US Navy Carrier

At first people couldn’t believe what they were reading.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

Seriously.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

Finally, it sank in …

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

Their knee-jerk reaction to dating on a US Navy ship was …

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

Simply.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

Of course, most sailors know better. But, there are things you say in public and things you only say to your closest friends.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: Facebook

Some blame the females, but we know better …

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

But really, we got this advice from real sailors, with real experience.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

You may think this is blasphemy, but the chief, well …

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

Master chief has seen it all.

His reply …

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

Veterans are like …

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

Junior sailors, they were like …

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

But they’ll learn soon enough. Just wait till your first deployment.

At the end of the day, we hope you got a few laughs (and maybe a flashback).

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS

(Editor’s note: We used the best meme replies from S–t My LPO Says‘ Facebook page to write this article.)

MORE: 27 Incredible Photos Of Life On A US Navy Submarine

AND: 19 Terms Only Sailors Will Understand

Articles

President Bush calls Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal ‘unbelievably bad’

George W. Bush doesn’t believe the United States should withdraw from Afghanistan. As Taliban fighters begin to make huge gains across large swathes of the country and the Afghan government in Kabul looks more and more endangered, Bush told reporters he disagrees with the drawdown.

When asked if he thought the withdrawal was a mistake, the former U.S. president told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, “I think it is, yeah. Because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad and sad.”

Bush was talking to the German news agency about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support for sending German troops into Afghanistan when she came to power in 2005. One of the reasons why Merkel supported the troops, Bush surmised, was because she saw the potential for the growth of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Now, the former president believes the progress made by women in the country may soon be all for naught. 

“I’m afraid Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm,” he said. Bush also discussed his concern for translators and other supporters along with the families who aided U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. “They’re just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people, and it breaks my heart.” 

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
President Bush visiting troops at Bagram Airfield in 2008 (U.S. Army)

When the U.S. drawdown began in earnest in May 2021, there were 1,100 German troops left, along with forces from 36 other partner countries. 

Bush can look back on the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, which was launched under his order in October 2001 over the Taliban government’s refusal to extradite Osama bin Laden in the wake of the September 11th terror attacks. 

While the current administration remains bizarrely optimistic in many ways about the survival of the U.S.-backed government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Taliban keep gaining ground. 

In the beginning of July, the Taliban had been gaining ground at a furious pace, sometimes unopposed. The Long War Journal keeps a regular weekly time-lapse map of how many of Afghanistan’s 407 districts fall to the Islamist terror group. The first week of July saw the group capture an astonishing 10% of the country in just six days.

Despite the facts on the ground, President Joe Biden denied the Taliban are on track to take over the country, giving a speech at the White House that kept with the message that the Afghan government could hold its own.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Afghanistan’s President, Ashraf Ghani, is welcomed to Arlington National Cemetery by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, alongside then-Vice President Biden in 2015 (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

“The likelihood that there’s going to be a Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”

Biden’s assessment doesn’t jive with those of Gen. Austin Miller, the war’s final commanding general, or those of the U.S. intelligence community, who believe the Afghan government could fall in as little as six weeks after foreign troops completely withdraw. 

Former President George W. Bush had long been known not to publicly criticize successive presidents, keeping mum during the Obama and Trump administrations. Biden said he even consulted with Presidents Bush and Obama. Obama called it the right thing to do but Bush remained concerned with maintaining the progress made in the country. 

Upon hearing President Bush’s concerns, critics were quick to criticize Bush and his handling of the war’s early years, which some believe led to the Taliban’s enduring staying power and eventual resurgence. 

Feature image: President Bush visits Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, 2008 (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse)

Intel

Taliban interrupts soldiers’ cookout, soldiers care less and keep grilling

Nothing comes between a man and a perfectly-grilled steak. Not even enemy fire.


Though this video is a few years old, it’s been making the rounds once again on various military blogs and Facebook pages (we found this one via Brian Jones at Task Purpose).

The video shows a group of soldiers grilling some steaks at OP Vegas in the Korengal Valley, according to the description. But while they are cooking up their delightful meal, the bad guys decide to start shooting.

While many of the soldiers begin to fire back, at least a couple stick around for the more important task of not overcooking the steaks. “The steaks are fine, that’s all that matters,” one soldier says in the video.

Watch (language warning):

SEE ALSO: The 6 types of people you meet outside of every military base

Intel

This awesome GoPro video takes you inside an F-16 flying over Alaska

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS


Most people will never get to experience a flight in an F-16 fighter but this awesome GoPro video gives a little taste.

Produced with footage from the 35th Fighter Squadron out of Kunsan Air Force Base in South Korea, the video shows pilots as they trained in Alaska last year. It has everything: barrel rolls, air-to-air combat, low-level flight, and live fire at a range.

The squadron was in Alaska to take part in Red Flag Alaska 15-1, a training exercise that allows pilots to sharpen their skills in the air.

“The greatest takeaway from this exercise is being able to fly with other air frames that I don’t normally get to fly with at Kunsan,” 1st Lt. Jared Tew told Air Force public affairs. “And the challenges that RF-A brings are what makes me a better pilot.”

Watch the video:

(h/t The Aviationist)

NOW: The 18 greatest fighter aircraft of all time

Intel

Army vet uses Tumblr to show civilians the realities of war

After touring Iraq, Army vet Casey Tylek created a Tumblr blog that helps veterans during the transition to civilian life.


Tylek told Buzzfeed he was inspired to begin the page, called justWarthings, after feeling disconnected from his peers at University of Masssachusettes, Amherst because of his military experience.

justWarthings is modeled after the viral internet page justgirlythings, another Tumblr blog that uses stock photos and overlay text to communicate themes that are supposedly universal to teenage girls.

Tylek juxtaposes these images with photos of servicemen and women serving overseas, and the results are sometimes hilarious, but more often sobering.

Here are some images from justWarthings that were featured in a YouTube video from servicegirl94:

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: YouTube

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: YouTube

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: YouTube

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: YouTube

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: YouTube

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: YouTube

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Photo: YouTube

For more of Tylek’s work, check out justWarthings

For the YouTube video, check out Soldier’s Tribute

NOW:  William Shatner is traveling the US on a crazy-looking motorcycle to promote vets

OR: Brad Pitt is starring as Gen. Stanley McChrystal in ‘War Machine’

Intel

Army scientists close to creating advanced COVID-19 vaccine

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is neck deep in the battle against COVID-19 by developing their own vaccine. In typical American military fashion, these soldiers hope to create the best and most effective weapon against the virus. 

As of April 7, 2021, almost 20% of the United States has been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Despite there being three available options for vaccines circulating throughout the country and availability of vaccines opening up to the public at large, the Army is looking ahead. It’s something they’ve been doing for a long time.

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
 Capt. Bryan Carmichael, Commanding Officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), receives his second injection of the Covid-19 vaccine.

For over 100 years the Army has been studying viruses and working on vaccinations. Their roots go all the way back to 1893 as the scientists within WRAIR continually dedicated themselves to soldier readiness and preventing death. “When we send soldiers around the world, they not only face the threat of the enemy, they face the threat of diseases that we don’t have here in the United States,” Col. Deydre Teyhen, commander of WRAIR, said in an interview with ABC News. “And so our job at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is to create ways to prevent that and protect them.”

The Army’s far-reaching contributions to the scientific community have been revolutionary throughout history and they hope to do it again against COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, they’ve been quietly working on a vaccination against the virus wreaking havoc on the world. Their animal trials have progressed to humans and hopes are high. Retired Army Col. Francis Holinaty stepped forward and volunteered to be the first human test subject. 

soldiers getting covid-19 vaccine
Cpt. Aaron Sanborn injects Francis Holinaty on the first day of clinical testing for WRAIR’s spike ferritin nanoparticle (SpFN) vaccine at the WRAIR Clinical Trials Center. Built on a ferritin platform, the vaccine offers a flexible approach to targeting multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 and potentially other coronaviruses as well.

“Amazingly, in that growing landscape of vaccines, our approach is unique,” Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, the director for emerging infectious diseases at WRAIR said in an interview with ABC News. “It presents that part of the virus, the spike protein that’s the hook that gets attached to your lung cells, a lot of vaccines just present one of those to the immune system. Our approach presents them multiple times.”

From there, the antibodies should provoke a response to the protein spike it’s presented with. The vaccine being developed by WRAIR also skips some of the steps seen in the other vaccines by bringing the protein spike and immune boosting components together for the recipient. The results in animals have shown it to be very promising according to Modjarrad in his interview, even against the highly contagious variants currently causing a new wave of infections. 

This Texas Plumber’s Pickup Wound Up Being A Weapon For ISIS
Soldiers pose after receiving the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, on Dec. 23, 2020. The Moderna vaccine is a good start, but the Army is looking for more comprehensive options.

Another factor that makes it stand out is its durability, if it’s successful in humans. The current model of their vaccine doesn’t require freezing and could make its way safely on an Amazon truck without fear of the vaccine being ruined. 

The uniqueness of their approach is that it aims to target not just the COVID-19 virus and the variants, but all Coronaviruses. As a team, WRAIR recognizes that the world needs to think ahead to the next Coronavirus, because science has shown that there will be more. By doing the work they’re doing, these soldiers are ensuring the United States will be ready and able to respond. 

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