Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight - We Are The Mighty
Intel

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight

Only a lucky few civilians can boast, “I flew in an F-16,” and Gerard Butler is now one of them. The “300” star flies in the rear cockpit in a video published on the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds’ YouTube channel.


Related: Keanu Reeves shows trigger skills at a ‘3-gun’ shooting range

“Oh my god, that’s the best thing I ever did in my life,” Butler says as the pilot pulls him out of an aerial roll. Even for a superstar like Butler the experience is incredible; he even pulled out his iPhone to capture the moment. When asked if he’d had enough for the day he says, “No, I wouldn’t mind pulling more Gs.”

Watch Butler fly with the Thunderbirds:

Video: U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds (official)

Articles

ISIS militants are now using civilians as bait

The Pentagon says Islamic State militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul are holding civilians in buildings by force and then deliberately attracting coalition strikes.


A Pentagon spokesman on March 30 said the U.S. military will soon release a video showing IS fighters herding people into a building, then firing from the structure to bait coalition forces.

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
A U.S. Army M109A6 Paladin conducts a fire mission at Qayyarah West, Iraq, in support of the Iraqi security forces’ push toward Mosul, Oct. 17, 2016. The United States stands with a Coalition of more than 60 international partners to assist and support the Iraqi security forces to degrade and defeat ISIL. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

The comments come as the U.S. military responds to criticism from within Iraq and internationally over a separate incident in which as many as 240 civilians are believed to have been killed.

“What you see now is not the use of civilians as human shields,” said Colonel Joe Scrocca, a spokesman for the coalition. “Now it’s something much more sinister.”

He said militants are “smuggling civilians so we won’t see them” into buildings and then attempting to draw an attack.

He said he was working on declassifying a video showing militants conducting such an operation.

Human rights group Amnesty International, Pope Francis, and others have urged for better protection for civilians caught in the war, with calls intensifying after a separate March 17 explosion in the Mosul al-Jadida district, killing scores of people.

The U.S. military previously acknowledged that coalition planes probably had a role in the explosion and subsequent building collapse, but it said the ammunition used was insufficient to explain the amount of destruction observed.

Officials said they suspect the building may have been booby-trapped or that the damage may have been caused by the detonation of a truck bomb.

U.S.-backed forces are attempting to push IS fighters out of west Mosul after having liberated the less-populated eastern part of Iraq’s second-largest city.

Scrocca estimated that some 1,000 militants remain in west Mosul, their last stronghold in Iraq, down from 2,000 when the assault was launched on February 19.

They are facing about 100,000 Iraqi government forces, he added.

Intel

The 8 steps of counting down to deployment

Anticipating a deployment is at once stressful, exhilarating, and boring as hell. Here are the 8 basic steps:


1. Announcement

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
Photo: US Marine Corps Land Cpl. Katelyn Hunter

The announcement comes down from the Pentagon that your unit is headed overseas at some point. Everyone will respond to this differently. Newer troops will walk with a swagger as they think about becoming combat veterans. Actual combat veterans will sigh heavily.

2. Keeping it a secret (while telling everyone)

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight

Sure, operational security and all that. But you have to tell your family. And your best buddies need to know. Also, those guys at the bar won’t buy you drinks just for sitting there. Is that hot girl over there into deploying troops?

3. First stage of training

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
Photo: US Army Capt. Lisa Browne Banic

“Time for pre-deployment training! Time to become the most elite, modern warriors in the world!” you think for the first 15 minutes of the first training session.

4. The rest of training

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight

“Oh my god, how much of this is done via PowerPoint?” Also, your weapon will be completely caked in carbon from those blanks.

5. Culmination exercise

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
Photo: US Army Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod

Suddenly, it’s exciting again. Pyrotechnics, laser tag, a bunch of awesome pictures that can become your Facebook cover photo so those girls from high school can see them. Someone in your squad can edit out the blank firing adapters.

6. Packing (and packing, and packing …)

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight

That brief adrenaline rush at the final culmination exercise will not last. You will realize you still have to clean and pack the gear to go home. Then pack the connexes to send to country. Then pack your bags to go into other connexes. Then pack the …

7. Pre-deployment leave

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight

Finally! After months of hard work, a brief rest before more months of hard work. Also, a chance to “not” tell more hometown girls that you’re deploying.

8. Getting on the plane (or ship or whatever)

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Julio Rivera

Time to go somewhere really “fun” and live there for a year or so. But hey, only [balance of deployment] left until redeployment.

Intel

Terrorists in Syria are using flying condoms as weapons

ISIS militants have begun deploying aerial mines made of condoms and small packages of explosives, according to a report from Russia Insider, a Pro-Russian volunteer media outlet. The prophylactics are filled with a lighter-than-air gas and floated into the sky near Idlib, Syria.


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

There’s speculation that the bombs are actually being deployed by other militant groups. Popular Science pointed out that Idlib is controlled by the al-Nusra Front, not ISIS. Rebel factions fighting against Assad like al-Nusra have been the primary target of Russia’s bombing campaign in the area and it may be them resorting to extreme measures to try and get out from under the constant airstrikes.

The mines would be largely ineffective against the jets that conduct most of the attacks since the bombers fly at such a high altitude. They may have better luck against Russian helicopters that fly close to the ground, but it’s still a desperate action that’s unlikely to be successful. Protection from STDs and protection from aerial attacks don’t normally require the same equipment.

There’s no news on how the militants ended up with all these extra condoms. Maybe jihadists don’t get all the wives ISIS keeps promising.

(h/t War Is Boring)

Intel

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

Ready your Netflix queue because Brad Pitt is bringing “War Machine” — a new feature film directed by David Michod — to your favorite online streaming service.


Pitt will star as a badass military general inspired by real-life Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who formerly commanded American and international forces in Afghanistan.

The $30 million Netflix feature is based on journalist Michael Hastings’ best-selling book “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.” Pitt will be playing a four-star general whose “lethal reputation and impeccable track record vaults him to command the American war in Afghanistan,” Netflix said in press release.

Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos told Deadline:

“War Machine is a rip-roaring, behind-the-facade tale of modern war decision-makers, from the corridors of power to the distant regions of America’s ambitions.”

So for Pitt, a little less “Fury” and a little more “Inglorious Bastards.” We can dig it.

Read the full story at Deadline

DON’T MISS: Top 10 Air Force movie characters of all time

Intel

How it feels to get attacked by a military working dog

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
Fritz the Belgian Malinois Military Working Dog Photo: Gizmodo


It is one thing to admire a 125 pound Belgian Malinois Military Working Dog from a distance. It is quite another to let it attack you for an Air Force training exercise.

Freelance writer Justin W. Coffey was brave enough to take the road less traveled. After visiting the K-9 kennel on the U.S. Air Force base in Japan where he lives, a Security Forces Commander asked if he was interested in letting one of the animals try and rip him to shreds. Intrigued, he conceded, and wrote about his adventure so readers like us could experience the incident without actually getting throttled by a killer dog.

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
Coffey and Fritz get acquainted Photo: Gizmodo

Coffey shared his experience of getting attacked by Fritz the dog with Gizmodo:

It was 95 degrees out, so donning the heavily padded safety suit felt like putting on a sauna. After my first encounter with Fritz, I was happy to be wearing it. Sh–, I’d have worn two if it was possible.

The first thing they had me do was hold my arm out while the dog sat there, patiently awaiting its orders. It’s an odd feeling to have an animal as powerful as this one look at you in anger. And suddenly, before you can even blink, he’s on you, with his teeth sunk into the suit’s arm. They told me to fight, to throw my arm back and forth, to pull up if I could. The idea is to try and prevent the dog from “typewritering,” moving his bite up and down your arm. Being that Fritz is just 25lbs shy of my weight, his bite and subsequent thrashing threw me around like a rag doll.

“Fight back!” The handlers screamed. “Keep him from biting your hand!” It was all in vain; I was typewritered.

They shouted some abrupt orders that I couldn’t understand and Fritz let go, tongue wagging, eagerly awaiting his next command.

“Say something mean to the dog and then run away!” The handlers instructed. “You need to provoke him, it’ll make the pursuit more realistic.”

Alright. “F–k you Fritz!” And I ran, as fast as I could.

To read more about Coffey’s intense encounter, check out photos and the full article at Gizmodo

h/t Justin W. Coffey

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.

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
 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. 

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
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. 

Intel

Everyone Can Achieve ‘Rambo’ Status With This 500-Round Backpack

The scenes of John Rambo wasting bad guys with an endless supply of ammunition isn’t so unrealistic after all.


While military blog Task and Purpose nailed it with its recent article on what military movies get wrong, the U.S. Army is actually fielding a new backpack that will give soldiers 500 rounds to fire downrange.

Also Read: Here’s What An Army Medic Does In The Critical Minutes After A Soldier Is Wounded

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
Rambo endless ammo scene. YouTube

The Rapid Equipping Force (REF) has created the IRONMAN backpack, which bring soldiers closer to the infinite ammo Rambo status. It holds 500 rounds of ammo connected to a feeder that attaches directly to the M240B or Mark 48 machine gun. It eliminates the need for an ammunition bearer, although hiking with that much ammo could get pretty rough.

This video explains how the apparatus works, with the firing demonstration beginning at 5:00. Check it out:

NOW: These Are The US Army’s Top Five Photos Of 2014

OR WATCH: Theresa Vail, Army Vet And Former Miss Kansas, Is The First Female Host On Outdoor Channel

Intel

This is the ultimate special operations weapon

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight
Image: courtesy of FN Herstal


NATO wanted a replacement for its 9x19mm Parabellum firearms; what it got is the ultimate special ops weapon.

The FN Herstal P90 is a compact but powerful sub-machine gun. It was designed for vehicle crews, support personnel, special forces and counter-terrorist groups.

It’s an ugly futuristic-looking weapon. The bullpup design with ambidextrous controls and top-mounted magazine make it unconventional. But make no mistake, this is an incredibly useful weapon. It’s so effective that it’s currently in service with military and police forces in over 20 nations throughout the world, according to this video.

Watch:

American Heroes Channel, YouTube

Intel

Watch these flight students pass out during high-G training

Someone posted this undated video compilation of airmen going through Air Force G-Force training. From their patches and some of the onscreen text, it looks like they’re from Air Force Air Education and Training Command, maybe in the Texas National Guard.


The centrifuge used here is measuring how the airmen withstand rapid acceleration and increased weight. The human body has different levels of tolerance for this kind of acceleration. When the body accelerates, blood is drained away from the brain. Too much too fast will cause loss of color vision, then complete loss of vision and eventually g-induced loss of consciousness or “G-LOC,” when the subject blacks out.

 

NASA has centrifuges to reproduce conditions up to 20gs. The untrained will typically lose consciousness between 4 and 6 Gs. Human centrifuges like these test the reactions and tolerance of pilots and astronauts to acceleration above those experienced in the Earth’s gravity. Brooks City Base in San Antonio, Texas maintains one such training and testing center for pilots and weapons systems officers.

This video so much better when the Fatboy Slim music comes up.


Feature image: screen capture from YouTube.

Intel

This WWII vet says killing his enemy was the saddest memory of his life

Understanding the mental cost of taking someone’s life can be nearly impossible for those people who have never experienced it. In this StoryCorps video, Joseph Robertson, an infantryman who served during the Battle of the Bulge, tries to explain to his son-in-law the guilt he has carried since he killed a German soldier approaching his position.


StoryCorps, which works nationwide to collect oral history, has a veteran specific program, Military Voices Initiative, where veterans and service members can tell their stories.

(h/t Upworthy)

MORE: The 6 scariest vehicles of WWI and WWII

AND: 21 of the US military’s most overused clichés

Intel

Researchers are making big progress in diagnosing Gulf War Syndrome

For decades after Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, doctors, scientists and the Department of Veterans Affairs have all struggled to determine what happened to the roughly 25-30% of Gulf War veterans who suffer from a mysterious mix of symptoms from a seemingly unknown cause. The condition and its host of symptoms became known as Gulf War Syndrome, or Gulf War Illness, and wasn’t immediately recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

In 1997, Congress found that the VA and Department of Defense did not listen to Gulf War veterans affected by the series of illnesses associated with Gulf War Syndrome, acknowledging there was no “silver bullet” definition or diagnosis. They also blamed the VA for writing off the condition as post-traumatic stress disorder.

gulf war syndrome symptoms
While PTSD symptoms are well-known, Gulf War Syndrome has a number of strange symptoms, including widespread pain and some heart conditions.

A Congressional committee went on to suggest a number of possible underlying causes of the condition that were present in the war zone, including depleted uranium dust and pyridostigmine bromide used to protect against chemical nerve agents. They blamed the VA for its lack of experience in environmental health and toxicology.

In that same committee meeting, the House of Representatives recommended a medical research body other than the VA or DoD look into the condition, and that’s exactly what happened. 

A body of research has been conducted that has since shed new light on Gulf War Syndrome. The VA has since recognized a number of conditions that are now “presumptive,” meaning gulf War veterans don’t need to prove they happened as a result of military service. This includes:

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Other undiagnosed conditions, such as weight loss, fatigue, unexplainable pain and some heart conditions
  • “Brain Fog”

Researchers at Georgetown University have also discovered physical evidence of the condition in the brains of Gulf War veterans. Nerve fibers connected to pain receptors in the brains of these veterans fire differently than in other humans. This means Gulf War veterans could feel pain while doing something as simple as changing a shirt. 

The same researcher who conducted that study, Dr. James Baraniuk, also found that there may be two distinct subsets of Gulf War Illness. By scanning the brains of more than 30 Gulf War veterans before and after moderate exercise, Baraniuk noted changes in two areas of the brain, each correlating to a different set of symptoms.

One group experienced changes in the area of the brain responsible for processing pain, which was consistent with their symptoms. The other group, who reported cardiovascular symptoms, specifically, increased heart rates while doing something as simple as standing up did not have significant activity in that part of the brain.

Instead, the brain of the cardiac-centric group showed decreased activity in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for fine motor control, cognition, pain, and emotion. Healthy patients showed no changes. 

“While these findings present new challenges to treating people with Gulf War illness, they also present new opportunities,” said Stuart Washington, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow and lead author on the study.

Intel

Crazy footage shows an F-16 reach 15,000 feet in only 20 seconds

We never get tired of seeing the tricks pilots can pull off, but this video is particularly impressive.


The following footage was captured inside the cockpit of a Pakistan Air Force F-16 BM Block 15, an aircraft under the PAF 11th Squadron “Arrows.” In the video, Turkish Aerospace Industries test pilots Murat Keles and Murat Ozpala take the plane from parked on the runway to an altitude of 2.5 miles in only 45 seconds — insane by any military’s standards.

The actual flight time is less than 20 seconds, so you may want to watch this more than once. Buckle up.

Watch:

 

(h/t The Aviationist)

Now: That time a fighter pilot ejected into a thunderstorm and rode the lightning

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