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10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Infantrymen and women are hard to impress. They’re even harder to impress if they’re Marines. It’s not just chest beating and grunting noises. There is more than meets the eye of what it takes to be the lethal edge of the blade of democracy. Impressing the infantry is an uphill battle but not impossible.

Here are 10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen:

1. We shoot better than most

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
U.S. Marines demonstrate infantry capabilities

Shooting on the annual rifle range is clinical compared to the live-fire training the infantry does in the field. Weapons’ maintenance is continuous, rain or shine. Shooting high on table one and two is child’s play compared to the rest of the firing tables the infantry has to do. Infantry have to charge across various terrain, coordinating an assault with combined arms, in concert to seize the objective. A good score on table one is not impressive. Firing rounds on target while tired, muddy, and maneuvering with heavy gear is.

2. We’re more physically fit

Health is taken seriously. They get paid to be physically fit. The infantry will do their due diligence to make sure proper form is maintained to avoid injury during weight training. They take diets seriously because one cheat day can ruin a week’s goal. Pain is weakness leaving the body. So, they push themselves to the limit because the enemy is also training. An infantryman is a weapon, the rifle is an extension of the body.

3. We’ve travelled more

There is one promise my recruiter told me that I can say without a shadow of a doubt was not a lie: I would travel the world. Personally, I’ve been to Cuba, Spain, Turkey, Djibouti, Japan, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Korea and other countries in just six years. The infantry deploys a lot. So, if you have an overseas story, the infantry has many more.

4. They’ve watched every movie

Grunts watch anything they can get their hands on during a combat deployment. Every genre is smuggled on hard drives and then passed around more than…you get the idea. The point is, I’ve seen troops discuss the cinematography and plot of adult films with more seriousness than critics in Hollywood. I wish that was a joke.

5. You won’t catch sloppy uniforms in garrison

When in garrison the leadership’s go-to training to keep us busy is a uniform inspection. The only uniform you’ll see grunts wear like pajamas are ‘field cammies’. A field cammie faded camouflage utility uniforms in the field because it’s a sign that they’re saltier than one another. They’re soft and made comfortable by months or years of use. Walk past an infantry Staff NCO out of regs anywhere outside the field and you’ll catch a knife hand to the face, though.

6. They’re more inclusive of other races and cultures

The only thing that matters in the infantry is that you carry your weight. Now, they’re not going to use politically correct language but their heart is in the right place. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is or your sexual orientation, if you can prove you can keep up. Everybody deserves respect – except boots. F’n new guys.

7. They have a ton of kids

They’re good at fighting wars and making babies. They often make good parents and will keep in contact with their families at every opportunity. The children have discipline and won’t run around screaming in a restaurant, probably.

8. We earn more medals

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
For doing stuff like this, mostly.

A natural perk of constant deployments to foreign lands. It is not rare to see an infantry E-3 have a larger ribbon stack then an admin E-5.

9. The infantry does not talk about combat with non-infantry

Other Military Occupational Specialties will brag about anything they think will make them look cool or exaggerate events in theater. A grunt is just going to look at you like you’re an idiot and walk away.

10. We’re the poster children of the military

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Every great recruiting commercial has us front and center. We’re the best thing since sliced bread and we will never be humble about that. Everyone is necessary for the war effort but it’s hard to impress the people who have to do the actual door kicking.

Lists

8 pickup lines every Marine should know by heart

Every night, single Marines of all ages and sizes travel to their local social spots to talk to prospective mates in the hopes of scoring a phone number or two.


If you do muster the courage to walk up to someone only to forget how to speak correct English, just remember one of these epic pickup lines.

Then, thank us later.

Related: 26 best Navy SEAL porn names and movie titles

Check out eight pickup lines every Marine should know by heart. Use these valuable lines for good and never for evil.

8. “Hey honey, are you a five-paragraph order? Because I wanna SMEAC that behind with my fireproof glove.”

Then, they’ll probably break down what a “five-paragraph order” is composed of like a true Devil Dog.

7. “Hey cutie, you can hang out in my foxhole anytime.”

Since digging a foxhole takes a lot of time, this is actually a sweet gesture.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Probably took these grunts a while to dig this one.

6. “If you want, later I can show you how we ‘flank the rear’ in the infantry.”

It’s not as hard as you would think.

5. “I’ve been a Marine aviator for years, would you care to see my ‘vertical lift-off?'”

We know that’s possible, especially in a harrier — wait! We get it now.

4. “Do you want me to show you the difference between a rifle and a gun?”

One’s for fighting, and one’s for fun.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

3. “Did you ever serve in the Marines? Because you’re hotter than an M240 barrel on a full cyclic.”

If they know what an “M240” is or what “cyclic” really means, you should marry them right away.

2. “I hope your parents are JAG officers because it’s illegal to look that good.”

Probably our favorite in the cheesy category.

Also Read: 6 signs she is more in love with your contract than you

1. “Would you like to see how to break down my rifle, shotgun style?”

Note: Breaking down a rifle like a “shotgun” means your exposing your rifle’s internal components.

Bonus: “Hey girl, are you a flashbang? Because you’re stunning.”

This one’s actually not so bad…

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Lists

7 heartwarming photos of Marine drill instructors screaming at teenagers

Marine drill instructors are pretty intimidating when they are two inches from your face, but those who have gone through the experience of boot camp don’t mind watching others get similar treatment.


In fact, watching teenage Marine wannabes endure the DI swarm is hilarious, fun, and hell — even warms our hearts.

Potential recruits in the delayed entry program are nowhere close to being Marines. They need to earn the eagle, globe, and anchor and — like others who have gone before — there will be plenty of drill instructors screaming at them before that happens.

Sgt. Reece Lodder, a Marine journalist with Recruiting Station Seattle, caught these photos of drill instructors doing what they do best. But instead of waiting for recruits to go to a Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego or Parris Island, the DIs came to them.

Enlistees were “motivated” by drill instructors during a “pool function at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, July 17, 2015,” according to the caption on Dvids. “During the event, recruiters teamed with drill instructors to physically and mentally prepare enlistees from Washington and Idaho for boot camp.”

Ah, memories.

Check them out:

 

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Wyatt Vogelzang, a Marine enlistee from Seattle, responds to a command from Sgt. Aldo Valencia, a drill instructor from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, during a Recruiting Station Seattle pool function at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Wash., July 17, 2015. During the event, recruiters teamed with drill instructors to physically and mentally prepare enlistees from Washington and Idaho for boot camp. The enlistees, part of the Marine Corps delayed entry program, are awaiting their ship dates. Vogelzang, 20, graduated from Roosevelt High School and was recruited by Sgt. Bryan Mack. Valencia, 25, is from Denver and is currently assigned to Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece Lodder)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Samantha Holmberg, a Marine enlistee from Auburn, Wash., responds to a command from Sgt. Tina Quevedo, a drill instructor from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., during a Recruiting Station Seattle pool function at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Wash., July 17, 2015. During the event, recruiters teamed with drill instructors to physically and mentally prepare enlistees from Washington and Idaho for boot camp. The enlistees, part of the Marine Corps delayed entry program, are awaiting their ship dates. Holmberg, 18, graduated from Auburn High School and was recruited by Sgt. Thomas Bell. Quevedo, 24, is from Long Beach, Calif., and is assigned to November Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece Lodder)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Seung Gwon Cho (center), a Marine enlistee from Lynnwood, Wash., responds to corrections from drill instructors Sgts. Aldo Valencia (left), Julian Taylor (second from left), Donald Jackson (second from right) and Tina Quevedo (right) during a Recruiting Station Seattle pool function at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Wash., July 17, 2015. During the event, recruiters teamed with drill instructors to physically and mentally prepare enlistees from Washington and Idaho for boot camp. The enlistees, part of the Marine Corps delayed entry program, are awaiting their ship dates. Cho, 18, graduated from Meadowdale High School and was recruited by Sgt. Ricardo Schebesta. Valencia, 25, is from Denver and is assigned to Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. Taylor, 26, is from St. Augustine, Fla., and is assigned to Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. Jackson, 28, is from Suffolk, Va., and is assigned to MCRD San Diego. Quevedo, 24, is from Long Beach, Calif., and is currently assigned to November Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece Lodder)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Sgt. Donald Jackson (center), a drill instructor from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, teaches Marine enlistees discipline during a Recruiting Station Seattle pool function at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Wash., July 17, 2015. During the event, recruiters teamed with drill instructors to physically and mentally prepare enlistees from Washington and Idaho for boot camp. The enlistees, part of the Marine Corps delayed entry program, are awaiting their ship dates. Jackson, 28, is from Suffolk, Va. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece Lodder)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Sgt. Stephen Wills, a drill instructor from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, instructs Marine enlistees to clean up their gear during a Recruiting Station Seattle pool function at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Wash., July 17, 2015. During the event, recruiters teamed with drill instructors to physically and mentally prepare enlistees from Washington and Idaho for boot camp. The enlistees, part of the Marine Corps delayed entry program, are awaiting their ship dates. Wills, 24, is from Phoenix and is assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece Lodder)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Sgts. Stephen Wills (left) and Brandon Hendrix, drill instructors from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, motivate Jose Garcia, a Marine enlistee from Yakima, Wash., during a Recruiting Station Seattle pool function at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, July 17, 2015. During the event, recruiters teamed with drill instructors to physically and mentally prepare enlistees from Washington and Idaho for boot camp. The enlistees, part of the Marine Corps delayed entry program, are awaiting their ship dates. Wills, 24, is from Phoenix and is assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion. Hendrix, 26, is from Redlands, Calif., and is assigned to Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. Garcia, 17, is set to become a senior at Eisenhower High School in Yakima and was recruited by Sgt. James Campos. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece Lodder)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Miekha Dowling, a prospective Marine enlistee from Lakewood, Wash., responds to guidance from Sgt. Julian Taylor, a drill instructor from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, during a Recruiting Station Seattle pool function at the Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Wash., July 17, 2015. During the event, recruiters teamed with drill instructors to physically and mentally prepare enlistees from Washington and Idaho for boot camp. The enlistees, part of the Marine Corps delayed entry program, are awaiting their ship dates. Dowling, 16, attends Lakes High School in Lakewood. Taylor, 26, is from St. Augustine, Fla., and is assigned to Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece Lodder)

EVEN BETTER: 23 photos of drill instructors terrifying the hell out of Marine recruits

Articles

The 13 Funniest Military Memes This Week

Welcome to 2015! The holidays are over and, for some of us, the shine is already coming off the New Year. If you need a boost to face the next 52 weeks, try these 13 military memes that made us laugh.


The dog jumped; paratroopers just fall

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Hey, the dogs get parachutes too.

No loitering or soliciting

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
The only bum fights with national security repercussions

The best air shows require ordnance

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Why set down the controller? Can’t you pilot with those now?

It’s alright, you’ll sweat it out

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
As long as you wear a reflective belt

No s–t, there I was…

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
…it had been hours since lunch, and I was at the back of the line.

If they were equal, the Marines couldn’t spend so much time bragging

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Nope, just paid the same.

Dress for the job you want

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Pretty sure those toys are wearing their helmets though. Proper PPE, fellas, Proper PPE.

ENDEX, ENDEX, ENDEX

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Best feeling in the military is, right before you have to admit you screwed up, hearing ENDEX.

The miracle of birth

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Jets, the only babies that throw their own showers

Overly manly man has a sweet tooth

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
No. They don’t share them either.

Lock the door, leave the lights off

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
It’s always the duty. ALWAYS.

At least they included a spot for the helicopter

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Kind of surprised they settled for only one hole

Military service is steeped in tradition

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Worst time for a negligent discharge
Humor

6 silly things troops bring into combat zones

When service members deploy to a combat zone, they get a checklist of gear they’re required to bring that will help them survive.


But many service members end up hauling ridiculous items along with them that they don’t need.

Anything can happen along the way to combat zones; troops could end up in an area that only has electricity for three hours a day and no running water, in which case, that brand-new Nintendo Wi really won’t do much.

Related: 8 pieces of gear grunts buy themselves before deploying

So check out our list of silly things service members bring with them to war:

1. A sh*t-ton of cash

It’s okay to bring a little pocket change, but just be mindful because we’ve seen troops bring hundreds of dollars with them just to be stationed at a combat outpost where there is virtually nothing to buy.

ISIS failed to open a Super Target location near your new command post.

Yes. We’re all happy when a new Super Target store opens. (Images via Giphy)

2. Sports equipment

Having a football, basketball, or a soccer ball handy for some leisure activity while you’re deployed is a great way to relieve stress. But cramping these items into your already stuffed sea bag maybe a bad idea.

They make great care package items though. Write that down. (Images via Giphy)

3. Beach toys

Do we need to emphasize why you shouldn’t pack a pool noodle or an inflatable pool? Service members have done it before — we’ve seen it.

Don’t let that kid be your JTAC. (Images via Giphy)

4. An expensive laptop

Deployment movie nights are basically defined as everyone gathering around one laptop. But it’s not necessary to bring one that’s top of the line with the capability to hack into a secure website or Deejay at your local FOB.

You just don’t need that much power.

Remember, war can get dirty, and grit will find its way in between the keys — it could ruin it.

No matter what tech you bring, please don’t dance like this…ever. (Images via Giphy)

5. Unauthorized clothing

Halloween costumes, wigs, and designer clothes don’t have a real place in that already stuffed seabag.

By all means, have them sent to you in an excellent care package though. You could make a YouTube video and become internet famous. Priorities.

Mouse ears are a great choice to send to your deployed friend or spouse. ISIS will love it. (Images via Giphy)

Also Read: 8 things Marines love to carry other than their weapon

6. Bulky video games

Yes. Service members have been known to pack their X-boxes and PlayStations into their gear and pass them through customs. But many don’t take into account whether they can actually hunt down a TV to play on.

Just something for you to think about before you deploy.

Looks intense. He must be a POG. (Images via Giphy)

What random stuff did you see people pack with them on deployment?

Articles

Vladimir Putin’s Extraordinary Path From Soviet Slums To The World Stage

Vladimir Putin may be the wild card in world affairs right now, but he didn’t gain that influence overnight.


The Russian President’s ascension to power is filled with spies, armed conflicts, oligarchs, oil and (of course) judo.

So here’s how a onetime “nobody” climbed up the ranks to become the “World’s Most Powerful Person.”

Vladimir Putin was born in Leningrad on Oct. 7, 1952.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Putin, Age 4. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is the only child of a decorated war veteran and factory worker in the slums of Leningrad. He grew up in a Soviet Union styled communal apartment with two other families — as was typical at the time.

Source: Encyclopedia, TIME

As a teen Putin worked at his school’s radio station, where he reportedly played music by the Beatles and other Western rock bands.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo: Wikimedia

The photographer Platon — who took Putin’s infamous Time Magazine cover in 2007 — said that Paul is Putin’s favorite Beatle, and “Yesterday” is his favorite song.

However, “by [Putin’s] own account, his favorite songs are Soviet standards, not Western rock. He has been deeply conservative his whole life,” Karen Dawisha wrote in her new book, “Putin’s Kleptocracy.”

Source: Encyclopedia

Early on in life, Putin got into judo. He was his university’s judo champion in 1974.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo: Jedimentat44/Flickr

Former deputy finance minister and first deputy chairman of the Central Bank Sergey Alaksashenko believes that Putin’s love of judo says something about his foreign policy.

“Unlike chess, a judo fighter should not wait for the opponent’s move. His strategy is to wait until he gets a chance to execute a single quick move — and then take a step back. Successful judo fighters must anticipate their opponents’ actions, make a decisive, preemptive move and try to disable them,” he wrote in the Moscow Times.

Source: Encyclopedia

He also really loved spy novels and TV shows — especially one about a Soviet double agent.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Fictional character Stierlitz, the double-spy, portrayed by Vyacheslav Tikhonov. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin reportedly loved the popular 1960s book series turned TV series “17 Moments of Spring” starring the Soviet double-agent Max Otto von Stierlitz (né Vsevolod Vladimirovich Vladimirov) who rose up the ranks into Nazi elite during World War II.

Putin said about the series: “What amazed me most of all was how one man’s effort could achieve what whole armies could not.”

Source: Putin: Russia’s Choice 

And in a moment of life imitating art, in 1985 the KGB sent Putin to Dresden, East Germany where he lived undercover as a “Mr. Adamov.”

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
A former KGB prison in Potsdam. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Reportedly, Putin mastered the German language so well that he could imitate regional dialects. Unlike most KGB agents, Putin liked hanging out with Germans. He was particularly fond of the “German discipline.”

But how exactly Putin spent his time in East Germany is relatively unknown. According to the Kremlin, he was awarded the bronze medal “For Faithful Service to the National People’s Army.”

Source: Newsweek

In 1989 the Berlin wall fell, and within a year Putin was back in Leningrad where he took a job under the first democratic mayor of Leningrad, Anatoly Sobchak (who was Putin’s former law professor.)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
The Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate. (Photo: Wikimedia)

By 1991, Putin officially resigned from the KGB’s active reserve.

Sobchak took his former student with him into office, and thus Putin began a life in public government work.

Source: Kremlin

There’s a group of St. Petersburg democrats who believe that Putin was assigned to the mayor’s office by the KGB … but there is no definitive proof.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Anatoly Sobchak, standing. (Photo: Wikimedia)

For the most part, people didn’t really care either way because they knew that they “were under surveillance” in general at the time, according to Newsweek.

Publically, Putin has never tried to deny his involvement with the KGB.

Source: Newsweek

While working under the Leningrad mayor, Putin earned the nickname “Gray Cardinal” and was “the man to see if things needed to get done.”

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo: Wikimedia

Putin was always behind the scenes and kept a low profile. Reportedly, he was “the man to see if things needed to get done” and “Sobchak’s indispensable man.”

Source: Barbarians of Wealth: Protecting Yourself from Today’s Financial Attilas

Additionally, Putin was once investigated for “allegations of favoritism in granting import and export licenses.”

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo: World Economic Forum/Flickr

… but the case was dismissed pretty quickly “due to lack of evidence.”

Back in the early 1990s, Putin was in charge of a deal where $100 million worth of raw materials would be exported in exchange for food for the citizens of St. Petersburg. Although the materials were exported, the St. Petersburg citizens never got the food.

Reportedly, Putin was the one who signed off on the deal — but the Kremlin denies this.

Source: Barbarians of Wealth: Protecting Yourself from Today’s Financial Attilas

When Sobchak lost the re-election for mayor, the victor offered Putin a job. However, Putin turned it down saying: “It’s better to be hanged for loyalty than be rewarded for betrayal.”

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Putin and Yakovlev meeting again in the future, 2000. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin was the campaign manager for Sobchak’s re-election. Vladimir Yakovlev, who had the support of the powerful Moscow mayor, ran against Sobchak and won. He offered Putin a gig in his office, but Putin declined it.

Source: Newsweek

Next up: the big leagues. In 1996 Putin and his family relocated to Moscow, where he quickly climbed up the ladder and became the head of the FSB.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Putin as the FSB director, dated January 1, 1998. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin held a variety jobs in Moscow from 1996 to 1999, eventually ending up as the head of the FSB (aka the KGB’s successor.)

“In July 1998, Yeltsin named Putin head of the FSB, the successor agency to the KGB. It was a job the president would have given only to the most trusted of aides,” according to Newsweek.

Source: Kremlin

Interestingly, Putin isn’t particularly fond of Moscow. He considers it to be “a European city.”

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo: Wikimedia

utin has said about the Russian capital: “I can’t say that I didn’t love Moscow. I just loved St. Petersburg more. But Moscow, it’s completely obvious — it’s a European city.”

Source: Kremlin

 

And on top of his rapid career growth, Putin allegedly still found time to defend his economics thesis.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
St Petersburg Mining Institute. (Photo: Wikimedia)

“Despite the workload, in 1997 he defended his Ph.D thesis in economics in the St. Petersburg State Mining Institute,” according to the Kremlin.

However, Putin’s economics expertise has been called into question.

The man who used to be the “Kremlin’s Banker,” Sergei Pugachev, said: “Vladimir Putin does not understand economics. He does not like it. It is dry. It’s boring to hear these reports, to read them.”

Source: Kremlin

In August 1999, President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin the prime minister. One month later, Putin’s popularity rating was at 2%.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Boris Yeltsin, then-president and Putin, then-prime minister, in December 1999. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin was the fifth Prime Minister in less than two years, and nobody believed Yeltsin when he declared Putin as his successor.

In fact, everyone was expecting Yevgeny Primakov to be the next president because he had a more impressive career and was a “friend of everyone from Madeleine Albright to Saddam Hussein.”

Source: Newsweek

And then — seemingly out of nowhere — Yelstin stepped down as president and named Putin the acting president on New Year’s in 1999.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Boris Yeltsin being awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland 1st Class, 2001. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Many people believed that Yeltsin propelled Putin to presidency in order to protect himself: The war in Chechnya was starting to curdle, and his ratings were starting to drop.

Interestingly, one of Putin’s first moves was to pardon Yeltsin “immunity from criminal or administrative investigations, including protection of his papers, residence and other possessions from search and seizure.”

Source: New York Times

In his first speech as acting president, Putin promised freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of the press, the right to private property …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Putin’s first public speech as Russia’s Acting President, December 31,1999. (Photo: YouTube)

The exact quote from his speech is:

“I want to warn that by any attempts to go beyond the Russian laws, beyond the Constitution of Russia, will be strongly suppressed. Freedom of speech. Freedom of conscience. Freedom of mass media. Property rights. These basic principles of the civilized society will be safe under the protection of the state.

You can watch the whole speech here on YouTube.

During his first presidential term, Putin focused primarily on domestic affairs. He had two items on the agenda: the war with Chechnya and the Yeltsin-era oligarchs.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Alexei Makhotin, an internal service colonel who fought in Chechnya, being given the title the title of Hero of Russia at a state award ceremony. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin inherited Russia during a particularly complicated time. The country was in the midst of a conflict with Chechnya — a region that’s officially considered a Russian subject.

Additionally, Yeltsin-era oligarchs were increasingly interested in expanding their political influence.

Source: The Guardian

Putin recognized that the Yeltsin-era oligarchs had the potential to be more powerful than him … so he struck a deal with them.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Boris Berezovsky. (Photo: AJ Berezovsky/Flickr)

“In July of [2000], Putin told the oligarchs that he would not interfere with their businesses or renationalize state resources as long as they stayed out of politics — that is, as long as they did not challenge or criticize the president,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Source: The Council on Foreign RelationsThe Guardian.

And then Putin established his reputation as a “man of action” with his handling of the Second Chechen War.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
A farewell ceremony for the 331st Airborne Regiment of the 98th Airborne Division withdrawn from Chechnya. (Photo: Wikimedia)

In 2002, a Moscow theatre was seized by 40 Chechen militants, who were led by the warlord Movsar Barayev, and 129 out of the 912 hostages died during this three-day ordeal.

This was a critical moment for Putin, and many expected his domestic approval to plummet. But his “ruthless handling of the siege and his refusal to negotiate with the hostage-takers further shored up his reputation as a man of action.”

His approval rating was up at 83% after it was all over.

Source: BBC

In 2004, Putin was re-elected for a second term. He continued to focus on domestic affairs, but drew major criticisms for his crackdowns on the media.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo: Wikimedia

Journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in her apartment lobby after she wrote about corruption in the Russian army with respect to Chechnya. Many in the Western media criticized Putin for failing to protect the media.

Those accused of the murder “testified that Akhmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovksy (one of the Yeltsin-era oligarchs) could be the clients, who ordered the murder of Anna Politkovskaya,” according to TASS.

Source: Independent

But overall, Putin was well-liked. During his first two terms, the Russian economy grew at an incredible rate.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
The Russian economy since the fall of the Soviet Union. (Photo: Wikimedia)

During Putin’s first two terms, Russia’s GDP went up 70%, and investments went up by 125%.

“Russia’s GDP in 2007 reached the 1990 level, which means that the country has overcome the consequences of the economic crisis that devastated the 1990s,” following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But Putin’s Russia was really lucky in that the country largely relied on oil. (The recent drop in oil prices reflects how much of a difference it makes.)

Source: Sputnik News

In 2008, Dmitry Medvedev was elected president. One day later, he made Putin the new Prime Minister … And then Russia got clobbered by the financial crisis.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Medvedev and Merkel in 2008. (Photo: Wikimedia)

When the global financial crisis hit, things got really got bad. The Russian economy was slammed particularly hard because it relied heavily on Western investment.

Additionally, the financial crisis really showed just how dependent the Russian economy is on oil and gas, and how intertwined the industry was with the country’s political economy, according to the Brookings Institute.

Source: Brookings Institute

In that same year, Russia got involved in a five-day international conflict — the Russo-Georgian War.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Border between Russia and Georgia. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The Russo-Georgia conflict involving Russia, Georgia, and the two regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The two regions have been trying to get formal independence since the 1990s — Russia recognizes the independence, which has been condemned by Western nations.

“After the 2008 conflict, Moscow declared that it would formally recognize the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia’s allies Nicaragua and Venezuela followed suit, as did a number of small Pacific island states,” according to the BBC.

Internationally, South Ossetia is still considered to be “officially part of Georgia.” And Georgia considers Abkhazia to be a “breakaway region.”

Source: BBC

Fast forward to 2012: Putin wins his third presidential election with 63.6% of the vote. (This one’s a six-year term, rather than four.)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Putin’s 2012 inauguration. (Photo: Wikimedia)

There was some controversy over this election. The constitutionality of his third term was called into question, and critics believed that there was electoral fraud.

However, officially, Putin registered nearly 64% of the vote.

Source: The Guardian

Two years later, in March 2014, Putin annexed Crimea in one of the most complicated and controversial geopolitical moves of the year.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Ceremony signing the laws on admitting Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia, 21 March 2014. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych “sent a letter to” Putin “requesting that he use Russia’s military to restore law and order in Ukraine.”

The Russian Parliament granted Putin “broad authority to use military force in response to the political upheaval in Ukraine that dislodged a Kremlin ally and installed a new, staunchly pro-Western government, the Ukrainian government in Kiev threatened war if Russia sent troops further into Ukraine,” reported The New York Times.

On March 2, Russia took complete control of Crimea, and on March 16, an “overwhelming majority” of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Source: NBC News

Most recently, Putin has started exploring a relationship with China — mostly because Russia needs other trading partners following the Western sanctions.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo: Wikimedia

Russia has a deal to build a $70 billion gas pipeline with China. The two nations are also considering building “a high-speed rail line thousands of kilometers from Moscow to Beijing.”

“Isolated over Ukraine, Russia is relying on China for the investment it needs to avert a recession,” three people involved in policy planning told Bloomberg.

Source: Bloomberg News

No one’s quite sure what Putin’s next move will be, but since he’s considering a fourth term, we may be seeing much more from him until at least 2024 …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo: Wikimedia

Back when Putin was a deputy mayor in St. Petersburg, his inner circle cronies referred to him as “Boss.” Today, they refer to him as “Tsar,” and Forbes just named him the most powerful person in 2014.

And there’s no telling what people will call him next.

More from Business Insider:

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

Lists

Here’s why the Warthog is the greatest close air support aircraft ever

Since Desert Storm if the mission involved close air support — especially killing tanks — the A-10 ‘Warthog’ was the jet the infantry loved to see overhead. It’s lethal, it’s agile, and it’s perfect at providing support for troops on the ground. So it’s easy to see why they absolutely love it.


The A-10 “Thunderbolt II” was built by Fairchild Republic in the early 1970s to take on close air support missions — the only military aircraft in history designed specifically for that purpose.  (Photo: U. S. Air Force)

 

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

The A-10, more commonly referred to as the “Warthog” because of it’s unique look, is not fast for a tactical jet but is very maneuverable due to its large wings. In this photo a Warthog dispenses flares used to decoy heat-seeking missiles. (Photo:  U. S. Air Force)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

The Warthog features a GAU-8 Avenger nose cannon — the heaviest gun mounted on an airplane — that fires 30 millimeter bullets.  (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Warthogs became the infantry’s close air support platforms of choice due to a wide range of armament, loiter time, and the courage of the pilots who flew them. Here nose art annotates enemy equipment destroyed and number of bombs delivered. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

The cockpit and parts of the flight-control system are protected by 1,200 pounds of titanium armor, referred to as a “bathtub.” (Source: Wikipedia; Photo: U.S. Air Force)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

One of the most powerful aircraft cannons ever flown, the GAU-8 fires large depleted uranium armor-piercing shells at a rate of 3,900 rounds per minute.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Along with the GAU-8 nose cannon the Warthog has multiple hard points on each wing for carrying a variety of weapons including Maverick AGMs and Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

To reduce the likelihood of damage to the A-10’s fuel system, all four fuel tanks are located near the aircraft’s center and are separated from the fuselage; projectiles would need to penetrate the aircraft’s skin before reaching a tank’s outer skin. (Source: Wikipedia; Photo: U.S. Air Force)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

The A-10’s durability was shown on April 7, 2003 when Capt. Kim Campbell, while flying over Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, suffered extensive flak damage. Despite a malfunctioning engine and a crippled hydraulic system, Campbell flew the aircraft for nearly an hour and landed safely. (Source: Wikipedia; Photo: U.S. Air Force)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

The A-10 was designed to fly from forward air bases and semi-prepared runways with high risk of foreign object damage to the engines.

The unusual location of the General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines decreases the heat signature for IR missiles, reduces the chances of FOD ingestion, and allows the engines to run while the aircraft is serviced and rearmed by ground crews, reducing turn-around time.  (Source: Wikipedia; Photo: U. S. Air Force)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Although it’s inflight refueling capability theoretically could have kept the Warthog airborne forever, the Air Force’s budget priorities have attempted to ground the airplane once and for all in favor of the F-35.

However various Air National Guard factions and congressional groups have pressured the Pentagon to keep the A-10 in service, claiming that the F-35 is less capable than the venerable Warthog. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

 

 

Articles

17 Photos That Show Why Troops Absolutely Love The .50 Caliber Machine Gun

The M2 .50 caliber machine gun has been in production longer than any other, and it’s easy to see why troops love it.


Since the 1930s, “Ma Deuce” has been serving troops on the ground, in vehicles, and in aircraft, and with its effectiveness and reliability, it doesn’t look like this weapon is going out of style any time soon. Originally developed during World War I by John Browning, the weapon is now in the hands of U.S. troops and a number of NATO allies.

Here’s why:

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

The M2 .50 cal has served troops well in Iraq and Afghanistan as a fearsome automatic weapon usually mounted to vehicles.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

But it was just as deadly in Normandy in 1944 …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

… As it is overlooking remote bases in Afghanistan today.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

With a belt-fed .50 BMG round, it packs serious punch that can effectively hit targets out to 1,800 meters.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

The weapon can fire a variety of ammunition types, such as standard ball, blanks, armor-piercing (AP), armor-piercing incendiary (API), armor-piercing incendiary tracer (APIT) …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

… And the crowd favorite: Saboted Light Armor Penetrator (SLAP), which can bust through steel.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Troops can find the .50 cal everywhere from the perimeter of the forward operating base …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

… to the rails of U.S. Navy ships.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Of course, two is better than one.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Before they can fire it, soldiers usually learn how to disassemble, assemble, and adjust headspace and timing — tweaks made to the gun that allow it to fire safely. (The U.S. Army upgraded a number of their .50 cals to the M2A1, which doesn’t require headspace & timing adjustments).

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Once it’s ready to go, soldiers place the rounds on the feed tray, make sure the cover is closed, and pull the bolt to the rear to load the weapon.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Then it’s ready to rock and roll. The .50 can fire in single shot or fully automatic mode.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

At the rear, soldiers grab the “spade” handle and fire it using a butterfly trigger. They need to be careful however: There’s no safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge (Some variants have been fielded which feature a positive safety selector).

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

While it’s most often mounted to vehicles in a rotating turret …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

… Ma Deuce can also be found on the side of helicopters.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

And with the use of a tripod, it can also be fired very effectively from the ground.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Correction: This post was updated with new information to reflect the fielding of the M2A1 variant and other versions, which feature safety selectors, and don’t require the need for adjustments to headspace and timing.

Articles

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry

YouTube, We Are The Mighty


From fighting pirates in the First Barbary War of 1801 to seizing the Kandahar International Airport in 2001 and beyond, Marine Corps infantrymen have been fighting and winning our nation’s battles for more than 200 years.

Known as “grunts,” infantrymen receive specialized training in weapons, tactics, and communications that make them effective in combat. And while many things have changed for grunts over time, they continue to carry on the legacy that was forged from the “small wars” to the “Frozen Chosin” to the jungles of Vietnam.

After more than a decade of war following the 9/11 attacks, many grunts have deployed to combat …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… In Iraq, where they earned their place in history at Nasiriyah, Najaf, and Fallujah (shown here), and many others.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While others deployed to Afghanistan, into the deadly Korengal Valley …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

 … Or more recently to Marjah, in Helmand Province.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

But before infantrymen join their units, they need to complete initial training. For enlisted Marines, that means going to the School of Infantry, either at Camp Pendleton, California or Camp Geiger, North Carolina.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For officers, their training at Infantry Officer Course in Quantico, Va. involves both tactics and weapons, along with a more intense focus on how to lead an infantry platoon.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While most enlisted grunts become 0311 riflemen, others receive more specialized training, like 0331 machine-gunners, which learn the M240 machine gun (shown here), the MK19 grenade launcher, and the M2 .50 cal.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0341 Mortarmen learn how to operate the 60 mm (shown below) and 81 mm mortar systems, which help riflemen with indirect fire support when they need a little bit more firepower.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0351 Assaultmen learn basic demolitions, breaching, and become experts in destroying bad guys with the SMAW rocket system. The Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) is shown below.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Packing even more punch that’s usually vehicle-mounted, 0352 Anti-tank missilemen learn their primary M41 SABER (below) heavy anti-tank weapon and the Javelin, a medium anti-tank weapon.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Some more experienced infantrymen go into specialized fields, such as Reconnaissance or snipers (below).

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

Always present is a focus on mission accomplishment, and to “keep their honor clean” — to preserve the legacy of the Corps …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

… That grunts are proud of. Always remembering heroics from the Chosin Reservoir Marines in Korea …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… To those who fought in Vietnam jungles, or the storied battles of Hue and Khe Sanh.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Since Vietnam, grunts have been repeatedly been called upon for minor and major engagements, such as Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation United Shield in Somalia in 1995 (below).

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

But it’s not all combat.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

Marine grunts are constantly training, whether it’s practicing amphibious landings …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… Or learning the skills needed to survive and thrive in a jungle environment.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Sometimes they take a break to catch up on their reading.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Michael Sinclair

And when they’re not training, they are trying to have fun.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

Sometimes … maybe too much fun.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Donnie Hickman

While technology has made today’s infantrymen even deadlier, the life of the grunt has always been spartan.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Grunts often work in rough conditions, and they need to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And quite often, they need to be self-sufficient. At remote patrol bases, that means everything from burning their trash and other waste …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Paul Martin

To fixing their morning coffee in any way they can.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

Grunts learn to appreciate the little things, like care packages from home …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Matt McElhinney

… Any privacy they can get …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

… Or a “FOB Pup” to play around with in between missions.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

When they get into a fight with the enemy, they battle back just as their predecessors did.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And with solid training and leadership, they can easily transition, as Gen. Mattis says, from no worse enemy to no better friend.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

When things don’t go exactly as planned …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

… Grunts can usually shake it off with a smile.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

Especially in a combat zone, humor helps a unit through tough times.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And there are plenty of opportunities for laughs.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Marc Anthony Madding

Whether it’s graffiti on a barrier …

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

 Or taunting the Taliban with a Phillies t-shirt.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

But the bottom line is that grunts are the Marine Corps’ professional war-fighters.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

They forge brotherhoods that last for a lifetime.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And they never forget those who didn’t make it home.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Memorial ceremony for Sgt. Thomas Spitzer. (Photo Credit: US Marine Corps)

Articles

The 4 female spies who shaped the American revolution

The bravery and heroism demonstrated by America’s forefathers during the American Revolution has been widely documented and celebrated. Patriot rebels not only fought against the British forces on the battlefield, but worked to bring them down undercover, taking missions to gather intelligence that would often require them to pose as the enemy, cause strife amongst their neighbors, and risk the lives of their family and friends.


When people think of these early American spies, many think of the work of Nathan Hale, but few people know that women were also working to destroy British occupiers from the inside out.

These are some of the most prominent female spies of the American revolution:

1. Agent 355 was a prominent member of the Culper Spy Ring

There were several Patriot spy rings that worked to overthrow British occupation during the Revolutionary War, but very few of these secret groups had women who actively took part in the espionage.  The Culper Spy Ring, however, is known mainly for a very unusual agent, a spy known then and now only as 355 — the group’s code number for the word “woman.” The mystery woman’s identity was kept secret to protect herself and likely her family, but her daring contributions to the American cause have been remembered in history. She took part in several counterintelligence missions, including spy operations that resulted in the arrest of major John Andrew — the head of England’s intelligence operations in New York — and the discovery of Benedict Arnold’s treason.

Some historians guess that Agent 355 was likely a shop keeper or a merchant who learned information about Red Coat military operations from chatty British customers, and that she would then divulge this information to George Washington. Regardless of her methods, Agent 355 made critical contributions to the Revolutionary cause.

2. Anna Smith Strong used her laundry as a coded Patriot communication system

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Agent 355 wasn’t the only woman who operated under the Culper Spy Ring, however. Another woman, Anna Smith Strong, worked alongside 355 and her male compatriots in Long Island, and was known for her fierce patriotism and fearlessness. Strong’s sleuthing wasn’t quite as flashy as Agent 355’s, but the communication system she developed for the saboteurs was incredibly influential. Abraham Woodhull, a member of the ring, needed a way to find the location of Caleb Brewster‘s boat undetected, so he could then give him the top-secret information gathered for Gen. George Washington. It was too risky to search in multiple ports for the ship or ask for its whereabouts — if he drew attention to himself, he could be arrested and hanged for treason to the Crown.

To remedy this, Anna Strong developed a coded line of communication using her family’s wash line. Woodhull would hide his boat in six different locations in various patterns, and each one of these places was identified by a number. Smith would then hang clothes on the line in concordance with the code. The number of handkerchiefs hung out to dry signaled the number of the secret location, and she would add a black petticoat to signal that Brewster was close by. This system, as simple as it sounds, allowed the Culper Ring to operate undetected, and made huge gains for American freedom.

3. Ann Bates posed as a peddler to glean military information — for the British

The contributions of female spies to the American Revolution is incredibly impressive, but the Patriots weren’t the only ones with ladies working undercover. The British forces had women working for them as well, and Anna Bates was one of the best. Bates was a Loyalist schoolteacher in Philadelphia who began spying for the Red Coats in 1778, posing as a peddler and selling knives, needles, and other dry goods to the American military.

While she sold her wares to the rebel forces, she also took note of how many weapons and soldiers each camp held, and would pass this information along to loyalist sympathizers and British officers. Luckily, though Bates’s work was helpful to the British military, it wasn’t enough to derail the coming success of the American Revolution.

4. Lydia Darragh risked the lives of her sons for the American cause

While many spies were part of complex underground networks, some worked alone — like housewife Lydia Darragh. When British officers began using a large room on the second story of the Darragh’s home for military meetings, Darragh was quick to capitalize on the opportunity to gain information. Before the officers would file into the room, Darragh would hide inside an adjoining closet and press her ear to the wall, taking notes on the clueless officers’ battle plans.

She would then have her husband, William, translate her work into a coded shorthand on little pieces of fabric or paper. She would then fold the slip to fit over the top of a button mold, cover the mold with fabric, and then sew the message-filled buttons on to the shirt of her teenage son, John. Darragh would then send John on “visits” to his older brother Lt. Charles Darragh’s house, who would then take the buttons and present the stolen information to other rebel military leaders. It was an incredibly risky endeavor, but Darragh was willing to risk her own safety — and the safety of her family — for the American cause.

NOW: The 6 greatest military heroes you’ve never heard of

Articles

The 8 most worthless Cobra Commandos

There are a lot of G.I. Joes in the Joe organization. While every commando unit needs people to run the administration of the unit, not all of them need to pretend to be useful on the battlefield. We covered the least intimidating G.I. Joes so it makes sense to look at their arch-nemesis: Cobra.


Cobra is just as big as G.I. Joe, with just as many people. It’s bound to have some dead weight Cobras, or those least likely to help take over the world.

1. Sludge Viper

I can’t list all of the short-lived eco-warriors. I wish I could, because on both sides, they’re absolutely ridiculous.

The most absurd on the Cobra side is Sludge Viper, whose sludge gun (yeah, sludge gun) has unlimited ammo because it degrades whatever is around it into more sludge and shoots WEAPONS GRADE SLUDGE at high velocity. You know, laser weapons weren’t real (yet) when GI Joe was on TV, but we bought it because we all know they will be.

But no one has ever thought of weaponizing sludge. EVER.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

The weapon is just as dangerous to Cobra as it is to their enemies and has the added benefit of giving off methane. So the only way to defeat Sludge Viper is to get him to shoot himself or smoke a cigarette within 50 feet of him.

2. Lt. Clay Moore

Before the new millennium, Cobra wasn’t really an organization that prided itself on diversity. As a matter of fact, Lt. Clay Moore was Cobra’s only non-Caucasian member before 2001, and even then, Cobra Commander gave the guy’s command to a GI Joe traitor, and when Moore protested, he forced the two to fight to the death. FOR A LIEUTENANT’S SLOT.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Maybe put in for an OCONUS assignment.

Calm down and take a long tour to Korea or something, you two. It’s not worth a death match. I get that his name is a play on on claymore mines but Lt. Moore doesn’t get a cool code name (or any code name at all) and dresses like any regular Cobra soldier. His special training includes losing at death matches. My guess is that the L-T is most likely to defect to the Joes – and for good reason.

3. Raptor

I’m forming an army of evil super soldiers, each with special abilities that will help me take over the world. Obviously, I need an “ex-yuppie tax consultant.” Why is a terrorist army paying taxes? Who are they paying them to? Where the hell did Raptor learn to specialize in these kinds of taxes?

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Raptorman. Not even a Velociraptor.

Raptor spends most of his time – and this is not a joke, it’s on his file card – dressed like a bird and sitting in the bottom of a large cage. He is also Cobra’s falconer, because of course someone who is unnaturally obsessed with birds of prey would find the one job which demands time alone with falcons. I bet they’re super useful in laser combat with the Joes.

4. Big Boa

Big Boa is Cobra’s resident drill instructor and asshole. His bullhorn-like voice kicks open the barracks door at 0500 and forces some awful PT on Cobra recruits. He demands the most out of the trainees but dresses like he’s a member a Daft Punk/Queen Tribute Band but still demands to be taken seriously.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Big Boa: Big asshole, or biggest asshole?

5. Zartan

On top of being able to change his skin to fit in with any environment, which is great for infiltrating the enemy (I mean, probably), Zartan’s file card also lists that he’s really awesome with makeup and is a great ventriloquist.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
I see awful puppet comedy in this guy’s future. Look out Jeff Dunham.

Unfortunately, when you need a deep infiltration agent, you probably don’t want to depend on someone who dresses like Alice Cooper and is a paranoid schizophrenic suffering from multiple personality disorder. This is also the last person who should be sporting a bow and arrow.

6. Croc Master

This genius tried to popularize the use of crocodiles and alligators as home invasion deterrence and was surprised when people didn’t really go for it. If a Brinks guy came to my house and suggested I build a moat, I’d call the cops.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Go back to Florida with the other crazies.

But of course Cobra went for the idea. This is the terror organization who once thought a telethon would be the best way to raise money to conquer the world. And now Croc Master spends his free time in the bathtub pretending to be a crocodile. Why is Cobra full of cosplayers who have creepy relationships with animals?

7. Serpentor

Speaking of cosplayers, the biggest offender of all is Serpentor, who is an all-out furry and talks like a high school drama teacher. If everyone should dress for the job they want, why is the Cobra organization trying to replace Cobra Commander with someone who dresses like he wants to be the Mascot for the Cobra Football Team?

They cloned history’s best military minds and all it can think to do is throw live snakes at people. The Simpsons has a character like this but she’s not in charge and she’s infinitely more likeable.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

I can’t even imagine what this guy thinks when he puts his snake head on in the morning and looks in the mirror. “Yeah. That’s a good look. Go get ’em today Serpentor.”

8. Major Bludd

Major Bludd has all the makings of a villain’s villain. Eyepatch? Check. Snidely Whiplash mustache? Check. Villainous name? Check. Unfortunately, he has no real-world villainy skills.

His card says “Terrorist.” Well, welcome to Cobra, Bludd, WHERE EVERYONE IS A TERRORIST. His secondary specialty is “weapons and tactics.” Weapons and tactics are pretty much all Cobra is ever supposed to do. What else do you have, Major? Poetry. POETRY. HE’S A POET. AN EVIL POET.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

Not even good poetry. He’s actually more of a bad rapper. Published in prison newsletters, he outs himself as Cobra’s resident Blue Falcon (a term that probably gets Raptor all hot and bothered): “My ruthless tactics keep you on your toes/’Cause I fight ’em all, whether friends or foes!”

Dishonorable Mention: Cobra Commander

Speaking of what Cobra is supposed to be doing all the time, Cobra Commander makes this list for being one of the worst possible commanders of all time. This is the guy who thought rigging a local election, destroying the Ozone Layer, trying to destroy all the plants on Earth, and starting a rock band were the ways to beat the Joes for good.

If Cobra’s mission was to annoy liberals, they can raise a big ol’ Mission Accomplished banner. No, their mission is to kill Joes and under Cobra Commander, they were never able to kill a single Joe. Not one.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Because you’re awful, CC. Just awful.

The only good plan he ever had was to kill Serpentor, the only commander more worthless than he was. And guess what? He botched that too.

popular

This collection of graffiti tells the real story of what modern war is like

Wisdom and truth (not to mention humor and satire) is found in the most unlikely places in theater. Here’s a sampling of graffiti that captures some of what it takes to keep your sanity when deployed:


 

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

War is awful. At least the graffiti keeps a sense of humor. 

NOW: 9 examples of the military’s dark humor

OR: Here’s the way-funnier version of what the Marine PFT is really like

Articles

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

The U.S. Army announced Friday the top five photos its photographers took in 2014, and the decision for which shot earned the top honor was left to the public on Facebook.


The process of selecting the best pictures “involved a yearlong photo search and compilation” by Army public affairs, according to the news release. The Army then put the images out to the public on Facebook where they counted up “likes” and “shares.”

With a Facebook “like” count of 2,600, this photo from Christopher Bodin of a 25-Black Hawk helicopter convoy is the best of 2014.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Pilots, from 2nd Battalion (Assault), 2nd Aviation Regiment and 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, flew in more than 300 Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines on 25 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for an air assault, March 13, 2014, on the multipurpose range complex.

Coming in a close second with 2,300 Facebook “likes,” this shot from Sgt. 1st Class Abram Pinnington is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices soldiers made on Omaha Beach in World War II.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
A French child, dressed as an American World War II Soldier stands tall, June 6, 2014, while saluting the sands of Omaha Beach, France. The boy, never breaking composure, stood for more than two hours during a 1st Infantry Division ceremony that helped commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

This shot that show’s CH-47F Chinook helicopters transporting Humvees, taken by Staff Sgt. Joel Salgado, garnered 1,300 Facebook “likes.”

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen

This photo taken in October by Sgt. Mark Brejcha highlights soldiers training at the Leaders Reaction Course at Fort Hood. It received 1,200 Facebook “likes.”

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Warrior Diplomat Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, work as teams to negotiate obstacles at the Leaders Reaction Course on Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 9, 2014.

The photo taken by Sgt. Daniel Stoutamire, which received 1,100 Facebook “likes,” depicts a somber milestone for the Army. It was taken in March 2014 at the funeral of Walter D. Ehlers, the last surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor during the D-Day invasion of World War II.

10 reasons why it’s so hard to impress infantrymen
Walter D. Ehlers, the last surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor to participate in the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II, passes away at 92 years old. Soldiers, with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, fold the Medal of Honor flag next to Walter D. Ehlers’ casket during a memorial service, March 8, 2014, at the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, Calif.

NOW: Check out many more incredible photos the Army took in 2014

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