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11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs

MREs do what they can to bring a little taste of home to deployed troops. How successful they are or have been in the past — and how tasty those attempts were — is open for debate.


For decades, we’ve seen dozens of flavors come and go. Some we remember fondly. Many we are happy to toss into the literal and figurative dumpster of history.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
The official Country Captain Chicken depository.

Also read: Army food will make you feel the feels

America is big place! Someone tell the people who make MREs to scour the best regions of the United States for our regional flavors! We could get some better food while learning a little bit about the different regional cuisines of our own country.

1. A better Buffalo Chicken.

What is more ‘Merica than adding butter to hot sauce and then pouring it over chicken wings? The answer is “not much.” But the MRE wizards decided to make it a “pulled” version of the dish, which ended up looking like an electric orange glop.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Glop: Flavor of America.

They gave us whole pieces of meat when it came to the Western Burger and the Frankfurters. Why they decided not to use actual wings (or even boneless wings) is beyond comprehension. And don’t get us started on the lack of Bleu Cheese.

2. Baltimore Crab Cakes.

I know asking for crab from the military is asking a lot. But I’d rather have it processed into MREs than eat what I tasted as it was steamed into a rubbery oblivion at the DFAC on Camp Victory.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Not seen: a crab cracker. Anywhere in country.

Besides the delicious crab cake, a little packet of Old Bay seasoning could totally replace the hot sauce packet as the go-to flavor enhancer.

3. Southern-Style Biscuits and Gravy.

This one isn’t such a great idea for being on-the-go, but if you have time to sit and eat, this would be a great idea. We all know the Elf snack bread can also be used for hammering nails so why not have the MRE people create a buttermilk snack bread that is designed to be moistened up in the field. With gravy.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
More gravy than that. I thought we were winning the war.

The end product will look nothing like the photo above, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Civilian rations already made this – and relatively well. Besides, it will show that the MRE people put some thought into texture and mouthfeel.

4. South Dakota’s Chislic.

Chislic is simple. It’s grilled or fried chunks of meat – usually game or lamb, but can also be beef – topped with seasoned salt or garlic salt. It’s eaten via toothpick and served with saltines. It’s like shish kebab.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
If shish kebab came with saltines and was served at bars in Pierre, SD.

So it would be one MRE our Middle Eastern allies could eat with us. We all know MRE makers are fans of crackers and chunked meat. This one sells itself.

5. Hawaiian Spam Musubi.

Bear with me here. Spam gets a bad rap but this Hawaiian snack is pretty great. In Hawaii, Spam is even getting a gourmet makeover. Musubi is fried or grilled Spam on a bed of rice and held together with nori seaweed.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
It will definitely not look like this in an MRE.

The best part about Spam Musubi is that it tastes great hot or cold and is designed to be eaten on the run.

6. Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits.

The coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina, especially Charleston, are culinary heaven. Grits are a boiled ground hominy, a corn product. How it’s made isn’t important, but how it’s prepared definitely is. My first breakfast with locals in Charleston had them each prep their grits in a different way. Some add cheese, some add grape jelly, and the chefs add shrimp, tomatoes, sausage, peppers, bacon, spices…

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
No matter how you feel about grits, this is something we can agree on, I promise.

7. West Virginia’s Pepperoni Rolls.

Just like it sounds, the Pepperoni Roll is a bready roll baked with pepperoni in the middle. The idea is to heat the bread and let the pepperoni oils soak into it as the entire thing gets softer. It can also be eaten cold, which is a boon to troops on the move.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
If it works for coal miners, it will work for you.

For those of you asking if we should really be taking nutrition tips from Appalachia, my response to you is that if we really cared that much about it in the field, we wouldn’t be eating MREs.

8. New Mexico’s Green Chile Stew.

If you’ve eaten MREs for long enough, you’ve come to realize they all taste the same after a while. Why not make one that was prepared the way it was intended, with a sh*tton of green chiles in it?

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs

It can also be a vegetarian option, but the best part about having Green Chile Stew in an MRE is that it can be poured over every other MRE, instantly making even the worst meal edible. Chicken chunks and veggie crumbles aren’t just for lining the reject box anymore!

9. Upstate NY’s Utica Greens.

There are always a lot of complaints that MREs don’t have a lot of vegetable matter in them. Here’s our chance to appease those people while teaching the rest of America that New York State is large and there’s a lot to see between NYC and Buffalo.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs

Utica Greens are any kind of leafy green sautéed in chicken broth and mixed with bread crumbs, cheese, prosciutto, and hot peppers (and sometimes other things). Serve the bread crumbs in a separate packet, MRE wizards. Ideally, this is downed with a Utica Club Beer.

10. Alaskan Akutuq

Sometimes known as “Eskimo Ice Cream,” Akutuq is an Inuit dish of hard fat whipped with berries or meat. Originally meant to be a dessert, the dish has been modified dozens of times over and now includes savory variations.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
It’s still very much a homemade dish.

The use of hard fats and lean meats (usually game meat) means a high-protein, high fat MRE meal perfect for troops who want that kind of diet and don’t mind where they get it.

11. Cincinnati Chili

Cincy’s chili features finely-ground meat in a thin sauce that includes ingredients like cocoa powder and cinnamon. Three-way, four-way, and five-way variants add onions, kidney beans, or both. It’s served over spaghetti and then covered with so much cheese, it looks like a plate of cheese.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Pictured: Not enough cheese.

Cincinnati Chili has its detractors (aka everyone outside of the Ohio-Kentucky area) but people in Chicago pour tomato soup in a bread bowl and call it pizza and Californians think In-n-Out is the pinnacle of burgers. E pluribus unum. This sort of exists for backpackers, but it’s probably not the same.

I haven’t been to every place in America. What regional foods would make a good MRE? Email blake.stilwell@wearethemighty.com with your suggestion, a recipe, and maybe even the best restaurant to find it.

Articles

7 things that make you stick out in the US military

The military is one of those work environments where it’s generally best to blend in. Sure, you want to stand out during promotion boards or advancement exams, but the rest of the time it’s best for troops to keep their heads down.


Unfortunately, some people are cursed with traits that make that impossible. Here are 7 things that are guaranteed to draw extra attention.

1. Height

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo: US Army

Too-tall or too-short, both will make someone stand out. In formation, everyone is right next to each other and outliers are super obvious. At ceremonies, many units are reorganized according to height so the unit has a more uniform appearance.

2. Being a know-it-all

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist Seaman K. Cecelia Engrums

This person wants to stand out, but they shouldn’t. Answering a direct question is no big deal, and offering an informed opinion every once in a while is great. But people who answer every question in a class don’t get the “team” idea behind the military. And the rest of the team hates them for it.

3. Coming from another country

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo: US Navy Legalman 1st Class Jennifer L. Bailey

The U.S. military is predictably full of Americans, but some foreign people do join.

A few English or South African troops may be able to skate by under the radar, but most foreigners get found out immediately. As if it wasn’t hard enough to adjust to military culture, this recruit has to adjust to American culture at the same time. Every time they mess something up, some squad-jokester-wannabe will make a comment about how it’s because they didn’t grow up in America.

4. Being from Texas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyFSdj1J5Vw
It’s like being foreign. Everyone has their favorite Texas jokes, Texas nicknames, and Texas memes. Once someone is outed as being a Texan, they will get saddled with all the Lone Star military stereotypes.

5. Having an accent

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann

Yeah, soldiers who talk funny are going to get noticed. It’s funniest when they have to speak in front of the unit. They’re up there talking about how their squad helped them get promoted or earn an award and the formation just stands there smiling like they understand any of the words being said.

6. Possessing no rhythm

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo: US Air Force Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo

In the civilian world, bad rhythm just makes it harder to meet people at clubs and square dances. But rhythm is key to military life. Units march in rhythm, troops exercise in rhythm, and new tasks are taught “by the numbers” where students practice things like landing in a parachute in a set rhythm.

A service member with no rhythm sticks out and gets ridiculed. In basic training, it’s even worse since it draws the eyes of the dreaded training cadre.

7. Carrying a funny or famous last name

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Meme via OutOfRegs.com

As a civilian, someone’s last name isn’t all that visible. It’s in email signatures, and that’s about it. But in the military, a person’s last name is their primary name. It’s on their shirts, it’s beneath any pictures of them, and it’s on most of their hats. Some people don’t know their buddy’s first name until they friend each other on Facebook.

So, when someone’s last name is “Nye,” everyone knows. And that person can’t walk into a room without someone singing the Bill Nye theme song.

NOW: The 7 people you meet in basic training

OR: The best and worst Air Force recruiting slogans of all-time

 

Articles

9 highest war movie body counts

Despite Hot Shots Part Deux‘s claim to be the bloodiest movie ever, we actually did the math and found the top body counts for war films featuring the U.S. military. These counts are only for onscreen, confirmed dead. If they’re still moving when the director cuts to the next shot, it doesn’t count. The results are surprising.


9. Delta Force

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE0V-xhTF4s
Despite his online reputation for ceaseless badassery, Chuck Norris’ seminal work Delta Force only has 78 confirmed kills. Though admittedly, 43 of those are at the hands of Chuck Norris himself.

8. Rambo Series

First Blood (commonly known as “the Rambo movie”) is the most surprising. With a body count of one confirmed kill, you wonder how John Rambo earned the reputation of being Hollywood’s biggest military badass… until you see the rest of the Rambo films (lots of cops go through windows, though). Body counts rise at a near exponential rate after the commies kill Rambo’s love interest, with 80 kills in First Blood Part II, 158 in Rambo III, and a whopping 273 in 2008’s Rambo. At that rate, I imagine that Rambo: Last Blood will maim more people than a movie starring 100 untamed lions.

7. The Patriot

Another surprise is the number of onscreen deaths in The Patriot. Mel Gibson’s Revolutionary War film, based on the Southern colonies’ fight against brutal British Colonel Banastre Tarleton, only had 123 onscreen kills.

6. Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down is considered one of the most realistic portrayals of any military action ever depicted onscreen, but the 135 deaths (122 Somalis, 13 Americans) doesn’t reflect the real-world body count of 1,500 Somalis, 18 Americans, 1 Malaysian and 1 Pakistani.

5. Saving Private Ryan

Steven Spielberg’s WWII epic Saving Private Ryan defined the distinctive WWII onscreen look and feel, replicated again and again. Appropriately, the film starts with his vision of the intense D-Day landings at Normandy. The final tally, including the dog tags of the KIA, stands at 243.

4. Platoon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKpQB3bEPbI
Platoon’s 277 kills are enough to give anyone a thousand-yard stare.

3. We Were Soldiers

The 305 total onscreen deaths between US forces and the North Vietnamese Army in We Were Soldiers gives Mel Gibson war film extras a higher mortality rate than Sean Bean in any film or TV show ever.

2. Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino’s films have a reputation for violence and his WWII masterwork Inglourious Basterds delivers Lieutenant Aldo Raine’s scalps and then some with a confirmed kill count of 315.

1. Windtalkers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygXyaFv9ub0
The all-time top body count of any movie featuring US troops in combat goes to Nicolas Cage’s Windtalkers with a whopping 548 onscreen kills.
Articles

9 Military terms that will make you sound crazy around civilians

The military has its own language of insider phrases and slang terms, and if you use these unique phrases when you are out, civilians around you are probably not going to know what you are talking about.


It can be challenging to transition from the military to civilian life, but you should probably leave these phrases behind when you leave the military. Otherwise, you’re going to get some crazy looks and eye rolls.

1. “Drug Deal” — You can acquire a new piece of gear from a buddy at supply through a “drug deal,” but if you get an awesome new red Swingline stapler like this, Milton may look at you funny.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs

2. “Make a hole!” — When people are in your way, it’s no longer acceptable to yell out “make a hole,” “gangway!” or “look out.” Just try “excuse me” from now on.

3. “High speed, low drag” — This term sums up a really great piece of equipment that you use while in uniform, but civilians are going to be like:

4. “No impact, No idea” — You may not have any clue how to answer a question, but no one outside of the military is going to have any clue what you mean with this phrase.

5. “Nut to butt” — Let’s just not use this one, mmkay?

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs

6. “Pop smoke” — Now that you are no longer a ninja, you gotta drop this one.

7. “Roger that” — This one is sort of on the fence, and you may be able to say it and not confuse people. But then again, you’re probably not talking on a radio anymore.

8. “Oohrah/Hooah/Hooyah” — Just don’t.

9. “Kill” — Troops can use “kill” for its literal meaning or just as a way of saying “got it,” or “hello.” But if you say this in civilian life, they are only going to hear the literal version and you are going to scare the crap out of people.

(h/t Task Purpose, Business Insider, and Military.com)

Articles

4 crimes you learn to commit in the military

We’re not saying everyone in the military does these things, just that it’s almost impossible to complete an enlistment without someone either encouraging you, or even teaching you, to:


1. Commit petty theft

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

“Gear adrift is a gift” and similar maxims are just cute ways of saying that it’s sometimes okay to steal. But it’s not. There’s no law that says it stops being government property or someone else’s personal property if they forgot to lock it up or post a guard.

This includes “acquiring” needed items for the squad by snatching up unsecured gear or trading for someone’s off-the-books printer. We know you have to get your CLP, but at least try to get some from the armorer before turning to theft.

2. Smuggle alcohol through the mail

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
If their breath never smells minty fresh, maybe get suspicious of their constant mouthwash use.

It’s only legal to ship alcohol through the United States Postal System if you have a license or if it’s in a product like mouthwash. Of course, that mouthwash isn’t supposed to be 80 proof.

But every time a unit gets ready for deployment, the veterans start talking about the super illegal practice of asking family members to pour vodka into empty mouthwash bottles, mix in a few drops of blue and green food coloring, and send it to the base in the mail. Many of the old timers are just making jokes, but it still spreads the knowledge of the tactic. (Which this article also does. Crap.)

3. Lie on federal forms

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
The Defense Travel System is reasons 1-3 that no one should ever re-enlist. (Photo: U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum)

Let’s be honest, perfectly filled out Defense Travel System vouchers and unit packing lists are the exception to the rule. Sometimes, this is because it’s hard to track every little change in a connex’s contents or a trip. But other times, it’s because units on their way out the door on an exercise or deployment are willing to put whatever they need to on the paperwork to get it approved.

It’s an expedient way to get the mission done, but it’s also a violation of Title 18 United States Code 1001, which prohibits false claims to the federal government. Of course, no one is going to prosecute when a connex shows up with three more cots than were on the list, but don’t listen to the barracks attorney telling you that the per diem is higher if you just change this one thing in DTS.

4. Abuse prescription medication

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Perfectly legal in training and combat, actually a crime when using it to avoid a hangover with a prescription. (Photo: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas Farina)

Most troops aren’t out there injecting illegally acquired morphine, but most people would probably be surprised to learn that intravenous saline is a prescription medical device (yeah, saltwater in a bag). So are those 800mg Motrins.

And teaching a bunch of troops to give saline injections to each other does help them save lives in combat, but it also prepares them to tack an extra criminal charge onto their alcohol-fueled bender when they get home and stick themselves with a needle to try to avoid getting hungover (which, seriously guys, stop giving yourselves IVs while drunk).

Lists

37 been-there-done-that nicknames for military gear

At the pointy end of the spear (and in the rear with the gear) there are official nomenclatures that you’ll find on procurement documents and supply forms and then there are the names that troops really use to identify something. Here are 37 nicknames that fleet players use to refer to the some of the stuff they use every day:


1. 100-mph tape 

Basically, duct tape. Oddly enough, the tape called duck tape, duct tape, and 100-mph tape was supposedly named duck tape by American troops in WWII. When Duck Tape became a registered trademark, the military had to start using a different name for it in manuals and publications. 100-mph tape was substituted, but the actual tape is the same.

2. 30 mike-mike

 

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Fernando Serna)

The 30mm grenade launcher or the ammunition that it fires, most commonly used to refer to the cannon on an Apache helicopter or an A-10 attack plane. Another version of this is 40 mike-mike, referring to a 40mm grenade launcher, like the M320 or Mark-19, or the ammunition those weapons fire.

3. 5-ton 

A large truck used to move supplies and troops. It is commonly misreported that the 5-ton (10,000 lb.) nickname comes from the weight of the truck, but it’s actually the cargo weight the vehicle is rated to carry in off-road conditions. Most of the trucks that have carried the nickname have actually weighed over 10 tons.

4. Alice/Molle/Ruck

The large backpack troops carry in the field. Alice and Molle are both named for the acronym that described a specific generation of the equipment. ALICE stood for all-purpose, lightweight individual carrying equipment. MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. Ruck is simply short for rucksack.

5. Ass

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: Gunnery Sgt. Robert K. Blankenship)

A military asset with a lot of firepower, generally referring to armored vehicles or tanks.

6. Bird

An aircraft.

7. Birth control glasses (“BCGs”)

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: Stacey Pearsall)

Glasses given out in basic training that were nearly impossible to look attractive in. Designated the S9, the frames were dropped in 2012 for the 5A, frames with a slimmer, more contemporary look.

8. Boomstick

A weapon, most commonly an M4 or M16. This nickname is generally used by someone trying to sound stupid for comedic effect.

9. Cammies

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: US Navy Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Michael Starkey)

Camouflage uniform for blending into the environment.

10. CHU

Pronounced “chew,” CHU is an acronym for containerized housing unit. CHUs are shipping containers that are built to be shipped on trains and boats like normal cargo, but can be quickly converted into living areas on arrival at a base.

11. Deuce-and-a-half

A truck designed to carry at least 2.5 tons (5,000 lb.) of cargo. The first truck to carry the designation was the GMC CCKW. The current deuce-and-a-half, the M35, is being replaced by the family of medium tactical vehicles. The FMTV has different models, but only one will continue the legacy of the “deuce and a half,” all other variants will carry 5 tons or more.

12. Donkey Dick

A flexible spout that can be screwed onto a gasoline can, especially the 5-gallon jug most commonly carried by military vehicles.

13. E-tool

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: US Navy Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Brien Aho)

A shovel. The official term for the foldable shovel troops carry is an “entrenching tool.”

14. Fart sack

For Marines and soldiers, this is most commonly used to refer to sleeping bags. The Air Force will also use this term to refer to flight suits.

15. Fast mover

A jet, especially one that is providing close air support.

16. Full battle rattle

All combat equipment assigned to a service member. When troops are told to get into full battle rattle, it typically includes body armor, helmet, knees and elbow pads, ballistic glasses, ear plugs, gloves, weapons, and load carrying equipment.

17. Green Ivan

Pop-up targets used at ranges to test marksmanship. Green Ivans are made of shaped green plastic in the rough shape of a soldier complete with helmet and rifle.

18. Hangar queen

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anthony W. Johnson)

An aircraft in the maintenance area that is being used for parts.

19. Hooch

A shelter. While “hooch” is sometimes used to refer to a service member’s room in a building, it is most commonly used to mean a small tent, sometimes improvised from items like tarps or ponchos.

20. Hook-and-loop tape

Commonly called Velcro. Like 100-mph tape, this term is used because Velcro is trademarked. The fasteners work by pushing together two pieces of cloth or plastic tape, one covered in tiny plastic hooks and one covered in tiny loops of thread or plastic. The hooks sink into the loops and hold fast.

21. JDAM

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: US Air Force Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)

Most service members use JDAM to refer to a GPS-guided, large bomb dropped from a plane, but it is more accurately a kit attached to the bomb. JDAM stands for joint direct attack munition, and it is a kit that combines GPS and a inertial guidance systems. The kit is attached to bombs between 500 and 2,000 lb. that do not have built-in guidance systems. The JDAM kit can guide the bomb to within a few meters of designated GPS coordinates.

22. Ka-bar

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Nicolas von Kospoth)

A utility and combat knife used by service members since WWII, most famously the Marine Corps. “Ka-bar” is used to refer to any knife of the correct style, but it’s most properly used to refer to the original knife made by KA-BAR, a knife company based out of Olean, New York.

23. Kevlar/Steel pot

A helmet. Both nicknames are in current circulation, but U.S. helmets have not been made of steel since the early 1980s. Kevlar fibers were originally used in the PASGT helmet and are still a major component of the current helmet, the advanced combat helmet (ACH).

24. Mah-deuce/Fitty

Nicknames for the M2, .50-cal. machine gun. “Mah-deuce” refers to the M2 nomenclature while “fitty” is a deliberate mispronunciation of the weapons caliber.

25. Moonbeam

A flashlight. This nickname is most commonly used in the Marine Corps.

26. MOPP

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: US Marine Corps Sgt. Kevin R. Reed)

Gear used to protect troops from chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks. MOPP is an acronym for mission oriented protective posture.

27. NODs/NVGs

Night vision devices. NOD is an acronym for night optic devices. NVG is an initialism that stands for night vision goggles. The nicknames are used interchangeably by troops.

28. Pajamas

A derogatory name for flight suits due to the suits’ visual similarity to onesie pajamas. The suits are a single-piece coverall that zips up the front.

29. Pig

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: US Navy Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson)

Originally referred to the M60 machine gun, a 7.62mm machine gun that served in every branch of the armed forces. It was most famously used by ground troops in Vietnam. The M60 has been replaced by the M240, but the “Pig” is a legend even among troops who have never seen one.

30. SAPI plate

The armored plates that go into modern body armor. SAPI is an acronym that stands for “small arms protective insert.” The plates can stop 7.62mm or smaller rounds but are surprisingly susceptible to damage from drops of even a few feet.

31. Snivel gear

Cold weather gear worn by service members in uniform. Snivel gear is famously issued in a variety of styles with many being banned from wear. “Poly pros” and “waffle tops” are long underwear that, along with gloves, troops are generally allowed to wear. Other items, like most outer jackets, face coverings, or hats, are issued, but troops are seldom allowed to wear them.

32. Canopy/streamer/cigarette roll

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: US Army Spc. Paolo Bovo)

A parachute. “Canopy” refers to an open parachute. “Streamers” and “cigarette rolls” are parachutes that have malfunctioned, deploying from the pack but not inflating with air. Senior paratroopers will sometimes refer to a newer jumper’s chute as a streamer or cigarette roll in order to make the jumper nervous by implying that the chute will malfunction.

33. Swab

A mop. This term is most commonly used by the U.S. Navy.

34. Tillie

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Gregory A. Pierot)

The crash crane on a U.S. Navy carrier to move damaged planes on the flight deck.

35. Tootsie roll

An artillery or mortar round. These rounds are transported in black cardboard tubes that resemble massive tootsie rolls.

36. Water buffalo

A large container for water. Though it is sometimes used to refer to bladders used for water storage on forward bases, the term is most commonly used for water tanks on trailers pulled behind military trucks.

37. Willy Pete

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: US Air Force)

White phosphorous, which can be used for two purposes. First, as a smoke screen to protect friendly troops from observation. Since the smoke is extremely flammable, WP’s second use is to destroy enemy equipment or kill massed troops. Multiple white phosphorous round are dropped in the target area and, once the smoke has spread, a high explosive round is dropped to detonate the white phosphorous. This tactic is referred to as “shake-and-bake” or “Willy Pete plus H.E.” It’s use is limited by international agreements.

Humor

7 ways to surprise your spouses when they return from deployment

Spending the better part of a year on a deployment 3,000 miles away from home is hard for anyone and can feel like an eternity.


On the ride home, many vets think about the first thing they’re going to do when they return, like biting into a perfectly-grilled cheeseburger, getting a good night’s sleep in their own bed or taking a long hot shower.

Aside from those iconic ones, here are a few things you could do to welcome back your spouse and make his or her homecoming a glorious affair.

1. Bring unexpected family members

Consider bringing man’s best friend along — the one who walks on four legs and thinks his returning buddy is king. There’s nothing better than the welcoming face of a faithful pup after a long time apart. Returning home is an emotional time for everybody, so why not bring everyone?

2. Bring tobacco

Puffing a fresh cigarette or packing your lip with a fresh pinch of dip can make a world of difference for someone who spent that last 13 hours on a plane and is itching for a hit of nicotine.

Sure, this isn’t the healthiest gift. But it could make your loved one do a celebration dance when they’re packing a freshie.

3. Bring a cold beer (or beers)

General Order #1A prohibits service members from drinking alcohol while deployed — and it’s rarely lifted.

It’s a known fact when you want something bad and can’t have it, you want it even more. Heineken, Corona, or PBR are just some of the popular choices sold at the local base PX.

Letting your spouse toast a few with his or her buddies for a job well done is a great and inexpensive way to close out a stressful deployment.

4. Have an escape plan checklist

Unfortunately, it’s not always a situation where your loved one can just walk off the plane and go straight home — there’s always a list of “to-dos” before he can pull chocks. So make sure your spouse has a get-home-quick plan so those logistics hurdles don’t get in the way of a quick trip to the casa.

  • Find the family, hug it out and take a quick photo.
  • Mark your seabag and other baggage so the kids can spot and retrieve it while you drop off your weapon at the armory.
  • Meet at the car and load up.
  • Find the nearest exit gate with the least outgoing traffic.
  • AND GO!!!

5. Have a clean house

Being cramped into a small bunk on a ship or sleeping on a narrow cot in a dusty tent takes its toll. Entering a cleaned up and tidy house — even a modest one — can feel like you just walked into a newly designed multi-million dollar mansion.

6. Make a home-cooked meal

Some military installations have better chow halls than others. And a lot of deployed personnel had to make due with eating MREs or C-rations three times a day, which are tough to stomach over a long deployment.

So there’s nothing like sitting down at the table with your family over a perfectly cooked steak with all the fixings.

7. Bring a change of clothes

After months of doing laundry in a bucket, having some fresh clean clothes that don’t have a last name stitched above the pocket is a step in the right direction when trying to return to normal.

Can you think of any others? Comment below

Lists

Here are the best military photos for the week of October 28th

The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they’re always capturing what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:


Air Force:

Three F-16 Fighting Falcons from Edwards AFB fly past Dodger Stadium after the ceremonial flyover at the beginning of game two of the 2017 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros Oct. 25.

Go Dodgers!

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Okula

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Buck Taylor, explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, provides security as a potential threat is assessed during nighttime counter improvised explosive device training at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Oct. 21, 2017. The scenario, based off of real-world experiences, tested the EOD technicians’ combat operational skills in a low-visibility environment. The Airmen began the night with a simulated air insertion, followed by a five-kilometer movement to a location where they would detect, disarm, detonate and dispose of simulated explosive threats. The training is to prepare for EOD support of special operations forces in a contingency environment.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson

Army:

1st Lt. Tony Gosser with Task Force Talon, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, views a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense weapon system as a Soldier preforms a routine maintenance inspection on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Oct. 26, 2017.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo by Army Capt. Adan Cazarez

Soldiers from various units compete in the FORSCOM Small Arms Competition hosted by the 82nd Airborne Division on Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Through out the fourth week of October, 2017, three groups of competitors test their abilities in using one of three small arms weapons, the M249 Saw, Pistol and M4 Carbine.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo by Sgt. Christopher Gallagher

Navy:

The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) transits the Pacific Ocean during Dawn Blitz 2017. Dawn Blitz is a scenario-driven exercise designed to train and integrate Navy and Marine Corps units by providing a robust training environment where forces plan and execute an amphibious assault, engage in live-fire events, and establish expeditionary advanced bases in a land and maritime threat environment to improve naval amphibious core competencies.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Irwin Sampaga

The guided missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) fires its Mark 45 5-inch gun during a live-fire exercise as part of the trilateral Intrepid Sentinel exercise. Intrepid Sentinel brings together Shoup, Monmouth and the French Marine Nationale anti-air destroyer FS Jean Bart (D 615) for a multinational exercise designed to enhance war fighting readiness and interoperability between allies and partners.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Maria I. Alvarez

Marine Corps:

Lance Cpl. Jared P. Baker looks down range with the Carl Gustav rocket system during live fire training at Range 7 aboard Camp Hansen, Oct. 25, 2017. The Carl Gustav rocket system is being introduced to the Marine Corps to eventually replace the MK153 Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW). Baker, a Rochester, New York native, is an assaultman assigned to Weapons Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. The Hawaii-based battalion is forward deployed to Okinawa, Japan as part of the Unit Deployment Program.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Aaron S. Patterson

A U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion prepares to land onshore during exercise Bold Alligator 17 at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Oct. 25, 2017. Bold Alligator 17 is a multinational, naval amphibious exercise that focuses on combined training of multiple forces executing complex shaping, amphibious and sea basing operations to improve U.S. and coalition ship-to-shore capabilities.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Abrey D. Liggins

Coast Guard:

The Coast Guard Cutter Active moors at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in San Diego, Oct. 25, 2017. The crew aboard the active offloaded more than 6,000 pounds of cocaine that was interdicted in the Eastern Pacific from mid September to early October.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Fireman Taylor Bacon

The Coast Guard, Texas General Land Office, and Bouchard Transportation representatives continue to respond to an oil discharge from a barge that caught fire and was extinguished on Friday three miles off the jetties of Port Aransas, Texas.

Response efforts continue to minimize impact to the environment and the maritime community, which has enabled the Coast Guard to reopen the impacted ship channels.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
U.S. Coast Guard Courtesy Photo

Articles

Here Are The Best Military Photos Of The Week

The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here is the best of what they shot this week:


An Arizona Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with 2-285th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Phoenix soars over a low layer of clouds during a flight to the Western Army Aviation Training site in Marana, Arizona.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Barbour)

Decommissioned Forrestal-class aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV 61) is towed away from Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton. The Ranger is being towed to Brownsville, Texas, for dismantling.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Frost)

Army Pfc. Ryein Weber assigned to Apache Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, qualifies with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon on Grezelka range at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher)

Two Marines from Silent Drill Platoon practice spinning their rifles through the air to each other.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Oscar L Olive IV)

Marines with Mobility Assault Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division stand behind a blast blanket as detonation cord ignites, blowing the door in and giving them a clear passage to breach the building during an urban breaching course, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Justin T. Updegraff)

Dragoons assigned to Bull Troop, 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment participated in a live-fire exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area located near Rose Barracks, Germany.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo by Sgt. William Tanner, 2nd Cav Regiment)

Crews from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod conduct helicopter operations with Station Provincetown to remain proficient.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Enrique Ferrer)

NASA astronauts U.S. Air Force Col. Terry Virts and U.S. Navy Capt. Barry “Butch” Wilmore successfully completed their tasks on their third spacewalk in eight days, installing 400 feet of cable and several antennas.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: NASA)

A U.S. Army paratrooper, assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), floats to the drop zone during the annual African-led training event Exercise Flintlock 2015 held in Mao, Chad.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

U.S. Army paratroopers, assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, fire their M777 towed howitzer at high angle as part of Table VI Section Qualifications on Fort Bragg, N.C.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Army photo by Capt. Joe Bush)

U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 274, are exposed to M7 A3 riot control CS gas by aggressors during a field gas event conducted part of the Air Base Ground Defense (ABGD) Field Exercise held at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, N.C.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Orlando Perez)

Army Pfc. Aaron Hadley assigned to Apache Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, qualifies at night with the M240 machine gun on Grezelka range at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher)

A soldier assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, provides security during Decisive Action Rotation 15-05 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Richard W. Jones Jr.)

U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, Right Wing pilot Lt. Matt Suyderhoud flies in formation with the Diamond pilots over Naval Air Facility El Centro during a practice demonstration.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

NOW: 17 Signs That You Might Be A Military Aviator 

AND: 13 Signs You’re An Infantryman

popular

Who is ‘Roger?’ Military lingo explained

Between colloquial humor and slang, the military says some weird stuff (don’t even get me started on acronyms), but some of the lingo has origins in so-called “voice procedure” and actually kind of makes sense.


Voice procedure is a set of techniques, protocols, and phrases used in two-way radio communications to reduce confusion and maximize clarity.

Here are a few of the big ones:

1. Roger

Saying “Roger” over the radio is shorthand for “I have received your message or transmission.”

If you’ve ever tried spelling your last name over the phone with someone, you know that the English alphabet has letters that sound the same, so phonetic or spelling alphabets were created to convey letters.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs

In the ’50s, this alphabet was standardized to the alphabet NATO militaries use today (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc), but when the radio use in the military became prevalent, the word ‘Roger’ was used for “R.”

The “R” in “received” was conveyed with “Roger” — and even though today “Romeo” stands for “R,” good ol’ “Roger” stuck.

2. Mayday

“Mayday” is a signal word used to convey distress. It was deliberately chosen for this purpose in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio official in England.

At the time, much of the radio communication was between French and English speakers, so Mockford needed a word that would be understood in both languages and wouldn’t be commonly spoken.

“Mayday” is a rather unique phrase in English, but is also similar to the French word for “help me.”

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREsThis is an appropriate time for the use of ‘Mayday.’ (Painting by Pierre Dénys de Montfort, 1801)

To further reduce confusion, “Mayday” is used three times in the beginning of a distress call. It is reserved for incidents where loss of life or craft is imminent — misuse is considered a serious crime.

3. Copy

“Copy” has its origins in Morse Code communications. Morse Code operators would listen to transmissions and write down each letter or number immediately, a technique called “copying.”

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Image via Public Domain)

Once voice communications became possible, ‘copy’ was used to confirm whether a transmission was received. Today it still means “I heard what you said” or “got it,” similar to “roger.”

4. 10-4

10-4″ does not actually have its roots in military-speak. Then ten-codes are used primarily by law enforcement to communicate common situations with brevity. For example:

10-4 Message Received

10-9 Repeat

10-10 Fight In Progress

10-32 Person With Gun

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Be careful: ’10-4′ has…alternative meanings…according to Urban Dictionary. (Image via imgflip)

What are your favorite or most baffling military terms?

Feature image: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mozer O. Da Cunha

Articles

The 9 weirdest projects DARPA is working on

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) works on some very outlandish projects. One of its stated mission goals is to cause “technological surprise” for America’s enemies. Basically, they want enemy fighters to get to the battlefield, look at what they’re facing off against, and go, “What the hell?”


These are the DARPA projects that make that a reality.

1. Airships that can haul 2 million pounds of gear

Yeah, they’re back. DARPA’s attempt at new airships was scrapped in 2006 due to technology shortcomings, but the project was revived in 2013. The goal is for a craft that can carry up to two million pounds halfway around the world in five days. This would allow units to quickly deploy with all of their gear. Tank units would be left out though, unless they suddenly had a …

2. A super-fast lightweight vehicle that drives itself

The Ground X-Vehicle looks like a spider mated with a four-wheeler. Troops could directly control it or simply select a destination and focus on the intel the vehicle provides. Either way, the vehicle would decide how to deal with incoming attacks, ducking, sidestepping, or absorbing them as necessary.

3. Aerial platforms that allow drones to land and refuel

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo: DARPA

Flying platforms for landing and fueling drones would keep the U.S. drone program well ahead of its enemies, especially combined with the project to have drones fight as a pack. Hopefully these will be more successful than the last airborne carriers the military made.

4. Robots that gather intel and eat plants for fuel

The unmanned ground vehicle programs at DARPA want a UGV that could conduct reconnaissance indefinitely without needing to be refueled. The Energy Autonomous Tactical Robot will do that by eating plants and converting them to energy. It would also be able to steal enemy fuel when necessary.

5. Remote-controlled bugs that spy on the bad guys

Basically, remote control bugs that provide power to sensor backpacks. DARPA has already implanted control devices into pupae (insects transitioning into adults) and created electrical generators that use the insects movements for power. Now, they just have to couple those technologies with tiny sensors and find a way to make them communicate with each other and an operator who would collect intelligence from the insects.

6. Cameras that can see from every angle

DARPA isn’t sure yet how this would work, but they’re looking for ways to use the plenoptic function to create a sensor that can see an area from every angle. Though it would work differently, this would give capabilities like Jack Black has in “Enemy of the State.”

7. Nuclear-powered GPS trackers

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo: DARPA

Don’t worry, the nuclear material is for determining velocity, not powering anything or exploding. The military has trouble directing vehicles and missiles in areas where GPS signals might be blocked or scrambled, like when submarines are underwater. Chip-Scale Combinatorial Atomic Navigator (C-SCAN) is very technical, but it would allow precise navigation without a GPS signal by precisely measuring atoms from nuclear decay.

8. Brain implants that could hold the key to defeating post-traumatic stress.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Strictly for therapy, DARPA promises. The idea may be a little unsettling, but SUBNETS (Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies)  would allow electrical currents in the brain to be mapped and then altered. This could be a major breakthrough for PTSD and traumatic brain injury sufferers.

9. Pathogens that fight back against enemy biological weapons.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Photo: Wikimedia Commons by Bruce Wetzel

One of the emerging threats to U.S. operations is biological weapons using antibiotic resistant bacteria. DARPA wants to nip it in the bud before an enemy can cause massive infections to American forces or civilians. To do so, they’re investigating pathogens that could be cultured and deployed in victims of attacks. These killers would seek out the bacteria wreaking havoc and murder it on a microscopic level.

AND: This Retired Navy Jet Is Finding New Life In The Fight Against ISIL 

OR: DARPA wants to implant chips in soldiers’ brains 

Articles

9 fictional characters that would make great drinking buddies

Picking a reliable drinking buddy in the military is a difficult decision to make. You don’t want someone who brings too much drama to the table, but you also don’t want someone who isn’t interesting.


Since drinking is about having fun and getting to know other people, having someone who can serve as an awesome wingman can make your evening out that much better.

Related: 7 reasons why ‘Top Gun’ made you want to become a fighter pilot

Check out our list of fictional drinking buddies we’d like to toss a few back with.

1. Gunny Highway (Heartbreak Ridge)

He can eat concertina wire, piss napalm, and put a round through a flea’s ass at 200 meters. We’d love to see that after tossing a few back.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
He also probably brings beer to the field. (Source: WB/ Screenshot)

2. Topper Harley (Hot Shots! Part Deux)

Because a fighter who battles his competition with gummy bears and sprinkles honey-glued to his fists, better know how to hold his liquor.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
We would have chosen crushed jolly ranchers and jaw-breakers bits. (Source: Fox/Screenshot)

3. Col. Walter E. Kurtz (Apocalypse Now)

For someone who was bat-sh*t crazy and a genius at the same time — you know he has some crazy drinking stories to tell.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
A diamond through your brain? That’s cool. (Source: MGM/Screenshot)

4. Lt. Aldo Raine (Inglourious Basterds)

This guy snorts tobacco and cuts Nazi swastikas into his enemy’s foreheads. Why wouldn’t you want him as your drinking buddy?

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
Plus, it would take a few beers before we’d ask him how he got that badass scar on his throat. (Source: Weinstein Company/ Screenshot)

5. Animal Mother (Full Metal Jacket)

After smashing a few shots, he’d be the first guy to have your back during a bar brawl.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
I need a beer! (Source: WB/Screenshot)

6. Pvt. Valentine (Private Valentine: Blonde Dangerous)

Since she’s a “looker,” she’ll be able to bring her hot friends to the bar for you to meet. It’s a win-win situation.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
She wears that shirt well. (Source: Oasis Films/ Screenshot)

7. Bill Kilgore (Apocalypse Now)

This Army renegade loves the smell of napalm in the morning and killing the enemy while shirtless. You know he has some epic stories that only come out with some expensive scotch.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
(Source: MGM/Screenshot)

8. Gunny Hartman (Full Metal Jacket)

Before his untimely murder in the first act, this fair but tough drill instructor probably had some hilarious stories of how he used to mind f*ck Marine recruits.

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs
I ordered a double whiskey you miserable puke! (Source: WB/ Screenshot)

Also Read: 7 life lessons we learned from Gunny Highway in ‘Heartbreak Ridge’

9. Maverick (Top Gun)

Who else would be your wingman at the bar, fly inverted, and then go buzz the tower during the after party with you?

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs

Who would be on your list of drinking buddies? Comment below.

Humor

17 GIFs that will remind you of your first combat deployment

Deploying to war is an interesting time in a person’s life.


The experience will change how they see the world and they’ll never forget the milestones they encountered.

Related: 6 silly things troops bring into combat zones

Check out these GIFs that will remind you of your first combat deployment:

1. That feeling you got when your unit was informed they’re going on a year long deployment

You couldn’t wait to go. (Images via Giphy)

2. That patriotic moment when you boarded the bus to leave and looked back at your family

‘Merica! (Images via Giphy)

3. How awesome it felt to gear up for that first patrol

Oh, yeah! (Images via Giphy)

4. That time when your squad left the wire and were ready to f*ck sh*t up

We’re coming for you. (Images via Giphy)

 5. When you got bummed out because the enemy didn’t shoot at you

D*mn… (Images via Giphy)

6. When you have that first nightmare because you actually took the Doxycycline

I’m having a bad trip, guys. (Images via Giphy)

 7. How you initially reacted the first time you heard a massive explosion

Where’s it coming from? (Images via Giphy)

8. That special moment when you finally got to engage the enemy

Take that, ISIS. (Images via Giphy)

9. When your unit received its first care package shipment

Beef Jerky! Socks! (Images via Giphy)

10. The first time you tried to call home

“We’re breaking up!” “Wait, what?!” (Images via Giphy)

11. When the RR transport was loading up to leave

Thailand, here we go! (Images via Giphy)

12. When your motivation finally runs out

I’m done. (Images via Giphy)

13. Your dreams after you stopped taking your Doxycycline

So comforting. (Images via Giphy)

14. When the massive explosions didn’t bother you anymore

No big deal. (Images via Giphy)

15. What you did to someone that jokingly brought up the term “stop loss”

Tell me I have to stay one more time. (Images via Giphy)

17. When you’re finally told you’re rotating back home after a year deployment

Celebrate. (Images via Giphy)

Bonus: When you ate your first home-cooked meal back in the states.

Thanks, Mom! (Images via Giphy)

Can you think of any more? Comment below.

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