11 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'Saving Private Ryan' - We Are The Mighty
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11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

In 1998 the epic film “Saving Private Ryan” captured the courage, sacrifice, and horror of World War II in a way that Hollywood had either missed or avoided with previous efforts.


The story of a Ranger squad’s mission to find a soldier who is the only surviving service member of four brothers — based on Father Francis Simpson’s book Look Out Below! — grossed over $100 million (the first Dreamworks movie to surpass that mark) and earned five Oscars.

Director Steven Spielberg’s battle scenes were so grisly and realistic that many World War II veterans had to walk out of showings and the VA had to create a special 800 number to deal with a surge in veterans dealing with post traumatic stress triggered by the movie. Here are 11 other things you (probably) didn’t know about one of the greatest war movies ever made:

1. The movie was shot in chronological order, which is unusual for a film. Spielberg chose that method so that the actors would feel like they were going through the experience, including losing fellow soldiers along the way. This also helped them portray their resentment towards Private Ryan, who doesn’t share the journey with them.

 

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

2. The opening sequences of the Normandy invasion on D-Day were actually shot in Ireland not France. The French government would not give permission to the producers to shoot on Normandy’s beaches.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

 

3. The unarmed men who are shot during the opening scene are not speaking German. They are speaking Czech. Parts of the Normandy coast were defended by Ost (East) battalions — pressed into service in the Wermacht — made up of men from places like Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan, and Armenia.

4. Billy Bob Thornton was offered the role of Technical Sergeant Mike Horvath (ultimately played by Tom Sizemore) but turned it down because he has a fear of water and didn’t want to shoot the landing scenes. Spielberg was hesitant to use Sizemore because he was battling a drug addiction at the time of filming. The director had Sizemore undergo daily drug tests and threatened to boot him from the set and re-shoot every scene if he tested positive.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

5. Spielberg originally thought Matt Damon was too skinny to play Private James Ryan but changed his mind after a meeting between them facilitated by the legendary comic Robin Williams.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

6. The story that Private Ryan tells about his brothers in the barn with Alice Jardin was not in the script. Matt Damon ad-libbed it and Spielberg decided to use it.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

7. During the scene in which Pvt. Stanley Mellish is being stabbed slowly by an enemy soldier, his assailant whispers in German: “Give up. You have got no chance. This way is much more easy for you. Much easier.”

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

8. Bryan Cranston (now famous for his role in the AMC series “Breaking Bad”), who plays Colonel I.W. Bryce, is the only person in the movie who has an amputation on screen that isn’t really an amputee.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

9. Spielberg had to cut around 5 minutes of war violence from the film or it would have received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

10. Hanks’ played a 41-year-old Army captain. In actuality, an infantry captain in World War II would have been around the age of 26.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

11. The town of Ramelle, France where the final battle takes place is the only fictional town in the movie. The other locations depicted are real and were actual objectives during the invasion. Ramelle, including the river, was created from scratch in a studio in England. That same set was used during the filming of the “Band of Brothers” series.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

(H/T Movie Mistakes and Movie Fanfare)

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10 food favorites invented by the U.S. military

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’


Anastacia Marx de Salcedo’s new book Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat explores how many of the processed foods we buy at the supermarket are prepared using technology and techniques invented by the military to preserve and transport food for troops in battle. To celebrate its release, the author gives us a glimpse into the book’s subject with a list that highlights just a few ways military research affects our daily diet.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Marx de Salcedo’s book dives deep into the subject: she gains access to the DoD’s Combat Feeding Directorate at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. She explores the research and reflects on the role of processed food in the civilian diet and wonders about its long-term effects on health. It’s an ambitious book: she weaves military history into a discussion of the food industry and modern health policy, all filtered through her own family’s experiences.

1. McRib

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Nooo! Your favorite cyclical McDonald’s treat, the brainchild of the U.S. Army? That’s right. Restructured meat, of which the McRib is an early example, was an outgrowth of a Natick Center program to lower the meat bill by gluing together cheap cuts to look like more expensive ones. The army’s veal, pork, lamb, and beef entrées hit the field in 1976 and were soon served to troops in the new MREs. McDonald’s first used the technology in 1981, but turned it into a tempting baby back shape and amped up the flavor with spices and sauce.

2. Supermarket Bread

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Natural bread goes stale. Supermarket bread doesn’t. What’s the difference? Starch-snacking bacterial enzymes, discovered under a Quartermaster Corps contract with Kansas State College, now University, in the 1950s. The enzymes, like their bacterial host, tolerate the heat of baking, and keep on working for weeks, keeping bread soft and fresh.

3. Cheetos

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Who put the cheese in cheesy snack foods? Until the U.S. military invented full-fat dehydrated cheese during World War II, as part of an effort to reduce weight and volume of food shipments abroad, the nation forlornly munched naked corn chips. After D Day, the cheese dehydrators needed new customers, pronto. They found them in the emerging snack and convenience food manufacturers. Today the tangy orange powder is everywhere—especially your fingers!

4. Energy Bars

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Energy bars are the result of an almost a century-long quest for an emergency ration that was light, compact, and nutritious. They began as a nasty meltless chocolate bar, which became the D ration, produced by Hershey in the 1940s. They then took a detour through freeze-drying, being served in cubes during the 1960s space flights; astronauts claimed they cause nausea and weight loss. Finally, in the mid-1960s, the Natick Soldier Systems Center got inspired—by the Gaines-Burger dog food patty, the first intermediate-moisture food, which meant it stayed soft even when stored at room temperature for months. The first modern energy bar was one of these—although apricot, not hamburger, flavored—and was munched by David Scott on the Apollo 15 flight.

5. TV Dinners

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

The first TV dinners weren’t for dining by the flickering blue light of the boob tube but for bomber crews on long overseas flights during World War II. They were invented by an armed forces contractor, which froze meat, vegetables, and potatoes in a tray. (The microwave, also a military invention, came later to heat these up quickly.)

6. Cling/Saran Wrap

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Cellophane, the only food film available during World War II, allowed moisture in, so edibles got soggy. So the Quartermaster Corps added food packaging to its wish list of everyday items to be replaced with plastics ones from a classified research program at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. Saran film was developed in collaboration with Dow Chemical,which brought it to consumers as soon as it possibly could, filing a patent for the invention just days after Hitler’s death. The first cling wrap appeared in stores in the 1950s and quickly became a kitchen staple.

7. Refrigerated Guacamole

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

It might not look it, but that creamy, green dip from the supermarket refrigerator case has been crushed by the equivalent of a stack of twenty minivans. High-pressure processing was developed by the Natick Center with a consortium of university and industry contractors in the 1990s. It’s now not only used for rations and your guac, but for fresh-squeezed juices, sauces, preservative-free deli meats and heat-and-serve entrees.

8. Room-temperature Sof Tortillas

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Seem odd that that package of soft tortillas can be left indefinitely in the cupboard? Thanks to hurdle technology, a discovery by a scientist working for the German army, room temperature foods can be preserved with a number of mild barriers to microbial growth instead of a single large dose of chemicals. The Natick Center quickly adapted the technique, first using in its famous poundcake and then moving onto more complex items, such as the three-year, shelf-stable sandwich. Coming up next: pizza!

9. Spices

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Consumers never cottoned up to the army’s largest, longest-running, and most expensive food research program, radiation sterilization. After hundreds of employees, four decades, and $80 million, the only items in our supermarkets routinely zapped with ionizing radiation are herbs and spices, which can harbor deadly pathogens, especially when imported from abroad.

10. Plastic Coolers

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Your beach brews are kept icy cold by a 1950’s Natick Center project to develop cellular polymers, foamed plastics, as building materials. The rigid, strong, and lightweight stuff was quickly incorporated into other uses, including refrigerated containers and insulated food coolers.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Anastacia Marx de Salcedo is a food writer whose work has appeared in Salon, Slate, the Boston Globe, and Gourmet magazine and on PBS and NPR blogs. She’s worked as a public health consultant, news magazine publisher, and public policy researcher. She lives in Boston, MA. Visit AnastaciaMarxdeSalcedo.com.

 

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This article originally appeared at Military.com Copyright 2015. Follow Military.com on Twitter.

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The complete list of US military ranks (in order)

Before you get to basic training, most people don’t have a very thorough understanding of military ranks, let alone the ability to put them in order. Everybody recognizes the ones that commonly show up in movies like sergeant, captain, or admiral, but where they fall on the pecking order of different branches isn’t all that clear. And as those of us that have spent time in uniform can attest, having a good understanding of military ranks in the order of authority for our own branch doesn’t necessarily mean you know how the rank structure looks in the sister branches.

Confusion about the order of military ranks can be made even worse from branch to branch by the common use of some easily-recognizable rank names (like sergeant or captain) for entirely different pay grades. A captain in the Marine Corps’s pay grade is O-3, whereas a captain in the Navy is an O-6, as one shining example.

So whether you don’t know any of the military ranks, or you’re just confused about how to put them in order, here’s a breakdown of the rank structure in each branch, starting at the most junior enlisted pay grade, and ascending up to the senior most commissioned officer. This list includes the military ranks in order for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Currently, the Space Force is largely made up of Air Force personnel utilizing the Air Force rank structure.

Army Ranks in order

Pay GradeRank
Enlisted Personnel
E-1Private (Recruit)
E-2Private
E-3Private First Class
E-4Specialist
Non-Commissioned Officers
E-4Corporal
E-5Sergeant
E-6Staff Sergeant
E-7Sergeant First Class
E-8First Sergeant
Master Sergeant
E-9Command Sergeant Major
Sergeant Major
E-9Sergeant Major of the Army
Warrant Officers
W-1Warrant Officer 1
W-2Warrant Officer 2
W-3Warrant Officer 3
W-4Warrant Officer 4
W-5Master Warrant Officer 5
Commissioned Officers
O-12nd Lieutenant
O-21st Lieutenant
O-3Captain
O-4Major
O-5Lieutenant Colonel
O-6Colonel
O-7Brigadier General
O-8Major General
O-9Lieutenant General
O-10Army Chief of Staff
General

Air Force Ranks in order

Pay GradeRank
Enlisted Personnel
E-1Airman Basic
E-2Airman
E-3Airman First Class
E-4Senior Airman
Non-Commissioned Officers
E-5Staff Sergeant
E-6Technical Sergeant
E-7First Sergeant (Master Sergeant)
Master Sergeant
E-8First Sergeant (Senior Master Sergeant)
Senior Master Sergeant
E-9First Sergeant (Chief Master Sergeant)
Chief Master Sergeant
SpecialChief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
Warrant Officers
W-1N/A
W-2N/A
W-3N/A
W-4N/A
W-5N/A
Commissioned Officers
O-12nd Lieutenant
O-21st Lieutenant
O-3Captain
O-4Major
O-5Lieutenant Colonel
O-6Colonel
O-7Brigadier General
O-8Major General
O-9Lieutenant General
O-10Air Force Chief of Staff General
**General of the Air Force

Marine Corps ranks in order

Pay GradeRank
Enlisted Personnel
E-1Private
E-2Private First Class
E-3Lance Corporal
Non-Commissioned Officers
E-4Corporal
E-5Sergeant
E-6Staff Sergeant
E-7Gunnery Sergeant
E-8First Sergeant
Master Sergeant
E-9Sergeant Major
Master Gunnery Sergeant
SpecialSergeant Major of the Marine Corps
Warrant Officers
W-1Warrant Officer
W-2Chief Warrant Officer 2
W-3Chief Warrant Officer 3
W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4
W-5Chief Warrant Officer 5
Commissioned Officers
O-12nd Lieutenant
O-21st Lieutenant
O-3Captain
O-4Major
O-5Lieutenant Colonel
O-6Colonel
O-7Brigadier General
O-8Major General
O-9Lieutenant General
O-10Commandant of the Marine Corps
General

Navy ranks in order

Pay GradeRank
Enlisted Personnel
E-1Seaman Recruit
E-2Seaman Apprentice
E-3Seaman
Non-Commissioned Officers
E-4Petty Officer Third Class
E-5Petty Officer Second Class
E-6Petty Officer First Class
E-7Chief Petty Officer
E-8Senior Chief Petty Officer
E-9Master Chief Petty Officer
SpecialMaster Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
Warrant Officers
W-1Warrant Officer 1
W-2Warrant Officer 2
W-3Warrant Officer 3
W-4Warrant Officer 4
W-5Master Warrant Officer
Commissioned Officers
O-1Ensign
O-2Lieutenant, Junior Grade
O-3Lieutenant
O-4Lieutenant Commander
O-5Commander
O-6Captain
O-7Rear Admiral (Commodore)
O-8Rear Admiral (Upper Half)
O-9Vice Admiral
O-10Chief of Naval Operations
Commandant of the Coast Guard
Admiral
**Fleet Admiral

Coast Guard ranks in order

Pay GradeCoast Guard
Enlisted Personnel
E-1Seaman Recruit
E-2Seaman Apprentice
E-3Seaman
Non-Commissioned Officers
E-4Petty Officer Third Class
E-5Petty Officer Second Class
E-6Petty Officer First Class
E-7Chief Petty Officer
E-8Senior Chief Petty Officer
E-9Master Chief Petty Officer
SpecialMaster Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
Warrant Officers
W-1Warrant Officer 1
W-2Warrant Officer 2
W-3Warrant Officer 3
W-4Warrant Officer 4
W-5Master Warrant Officer
Commissioned Officers
O-1Ensign
O-2Lieutenant, Junior Grade
O-3Lieutenant
O-4Lieutenant Commander
O-5Commander
O-6Captain
O-7Rear Admiral (Commodore)
O-8Rear Admiral (Upper Half)
O-9Vice Admiral
O-10Chief of Naval Operations
Commandant of the Coast Guard
Admiral
**Fleet Admiral
Lists

5 signs you’ve been in the barracks way too long

Military barracks are just like college dorms, except with more booze and asbestos.


Ok, maybe not the asbestos part (as far as you know). The military has come a long way from Quonset huts and open-space squad-bays that housed an entire unit. Barracks life has improved considerably for troops in recent years, as many troops now enjoy new furniture, keycard entry, and no more than two people to a room.

But regardless of barracks amenities, they can’t really compete with married personnel living in homes on base, or being able to live off-base in an apartment. Still, some troops try to make their rooms way better than everyone else. This is how you know you’re probably one of them.

1. You have a 60″ television set that is four feet away from your face when you watch it.

How can you watch the games on Sunday with anything less? And besides, there is all this money in your bank account from last deployment. What do you think, you’re going to save it!? The key to a great barracks room is having a ridiculously-large TV, lots of DVDs and Blu-Rays, a Playstation 4, and gaming chairs.

2. You have a full kitchen hidden in your desk or wall locker.

No need to get dressed and head to the mess hall for that meatloaf dinner. You have everything you need right here, to include a rice cooker, hot plate, microwave, mini-oven and a skillet*. That drawer over there? That’s where I keep all my spices to go on my Ramen noodles. (*Please don’t burn down the entire barracks. Your first sergeant will be upset).

3. Your fridge is filled with beer. (Extra points if you have a kegerator hidden somewhere.)

Most barracks have rules regarding alcohol. E-3 and below are usually allowed only a six-pack, while E-4 and above can have 12. But rules are meant to be broken, right lance corporal?** No one can have a proper night of fun with just six-pack, and besides, you stocked up on 30-packs because you only wanted to make one trip to the 7-day store. You are actually being responsible by cutting down on your carbon footprint. (**Rules are meant to be followed, according to your squad leader.)

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo Credit: Streetwear Deals

4. You own a 1600-watt stereo system that looks like it was stolen from a Rage Against the Machine concert.

You take your music seriously. While a barracks amateur may get something that could play tunes at a reasonable volume and can fill the room quite nicely, you need to invest in a top-of-the-line stereo system. It probably cost at least a grand, pumps out 1600-watts of sound that rattles the entire barracks, and has the “bass boost” function. Does your clock/radio have that? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

5. You have a hot tub.

If you have this, you have completely won the barracks life. We salute you.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo: Terminal Lance/Facebook

Anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

NOW LEARN: 13 Insider Insults Sailors Say To Each Other

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17 wild facts about the Vietnam War

The American experience in Vietnam was a long and painful one for the nation. For those against the war, it appeared to be a meat grinder for draftees, unfairly targeting the poor, the uneducated, and minorities. For those in favor of the war and those who served in the military at the time, the American public and media were (and still are) misled about what happened during the war and so feel betrayed by many at home (Jane Fonda is the enduring symbol of the cultural schism).


 

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Jane Fonda (via Dutch National Archives)

The facts not in dispute by either side are just as harrowing: Over 20 years, more than 58,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam and more than 150,000 wounded, not to mention the emotional toll the war took on American culture. The war ended the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson and left a lasting impression on Richard Nixon’s. It was the backbone to the most tumultuous period in American history since before the Civil War one century prior.

The other facts are not so clear. We are at the fifty year mark for the start of the war, so soon more and more government documents from the period will be declassified. We will learn a great deal about this time in American history. Right now, however, the misinformation, cover-ups, and confusion about Vietnam still pervade our national consciousness. Right now, we can only look back at the war and take stock of what we know was real and what was B.S. from day one.

1. The U.S. first got involved in Vietnam in 1954

Sort of. The official line is the United States sent only supplies and advisors before 1965. Looking back before the fall of French Indochina, Vietnam’s colonial name, the end of World War II saw a briefly independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam under President Ho Chi Minh. Minh even gave a nod to the visiting American OSS agents by paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence in his own Independence speech: “All men are created equal. The Creator has given us certain inviolable rights, the right to life, the right to be free, and the right to achieve happiness.”

Almost as soon as Minh realized the Western allies were going to restore French rule, Chinese advisors and Soviet equipment began to flow to North Vietnamese guerillas. After the Vietnamese Gen. Võ Nguyên Giáp handed the French their asses at Dien Bien Phu, the French left and Vietnam would be split in two. In 1954, an insurgency sprang up, but was quelled by the government of the new South Vietnam, led by Ngô Dình Diem. Unfortunately Diem was as dictatorial as Ho Chi Minh and as Catholic as the Spanish Inquisition.

2. U.S. and South Vietnamese Presidents were shot in 1963, and this would be significant

They were also both Catholic, but that’s where the similarities end. This also may be the death of coherent containment strategy in the country. Diem was shot in an armored personnel carrier on November 2, 1963. At the time, there were 16,000 U.S. advisors in Vietnam. President Kennedy was said to be shocked at the news. Then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said he “had never seen the President more upset.” Both men knew the U.S. government was responsible “to some degree.”

The Pentagon Papers leak explicitly stated the U.S. clandestinely maintained contact with Diem over-throwers and the U.S. government gave the generals in Vietnam the green light to start planning a coup. Twenty days later, Kennedy would himself be shot in the back of a vehicle.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

3. Kennedy wanted to get the U.S. military out of Vietnam but couldn’t figure out how

President Kennedy was a fervent believer in the policy of containment and believed in the Domino Theory, but not so much as to wage unending war with the Communists in Vietnam. During his Presidency, he and McNamara actively pursued a way to leave Vietnam, while still maintaining their commitment to a free South through financial support and training. Kennedy wanted all U.S. personnel out by the end of 1965.

Many people refute this theory using a quote Kennedy gave Walter Cronkite: “These people who say we ought to withdraw from Vietnam are totally wrong, because if we withdrew from Vietnam, the communists would control… all of Southeast Asia… then India, Burma would be next.” The only problem with this quote is while Kennedy was in office, there was no open warfare in Vietnam and U.S. involvement was limited. Their strategy was to bring the North to heel using strategic bombing and limited ground attacks. Recordings between Kennedy and McNamara were since released to attest to their efforts in getting out of Vietnam.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Library of Congress photo

4. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident only sort of happened.

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident is the catalyst for the escalation of American action in Vietnam. It refers to two incidents in August 1964. On August 2, the destroyer USS Maddox was shelled by NVA torpedo boats. The Maddox responded by firing over 280 rounds in return. There was no official response from the Johnson Administration.

The pressure mounted however, with members of the military, both in and out of uniform, implying Johnson was a coward. On August 4th the second incident was said to have happened, but Secretary McNamara admitted in Errol Morris’ 2003 documentary The Fog of War the second attack never occurred. The Pentagon Papers even implied the Maddox fired first in an effort to keep the Communists a certain distance away.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

The resulting Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed by the U.S. Congress allowed Johnson to deploy conventional (ground) U.S. troops and operate in a state of open but undeclared war against North Vietnam.

5. The U.S. didn’t lose the war on the ground

But we didn’t win every battle, either. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) can’t be faulted for lack of dedication, patriotism, or leadership. NVA Gen. Võ Nguyên Giáp orchestrated successive defeats of the Japanese and the French. Even Death had a hard time finishing off Giáp – he lived to 102. It also can’t be faulted for a lack of organization. The NVA was a professional fighting force, organized under Soviet guidance. The VC were forced to use inferior equipment because the Chinese would swipe the good weapons and replace them with cheap Chinese knockoffs.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
NVA Troops with Chinese SAM launcher (USAF Photo)

Outmanned and outgunned, the NVA was beaten by U.S. troops in nearly every major battle. The myth of the U.S. never losing a single battle inexplicably persists (unless you were stationed at Fire Support Base Ripcord, outnumbered 10-to-1 for 23 days in 1970). Not as improbable, no U.S. unit ever surrendered in Vietnam.

Despite initial victories, the infamous Tet Offensive was a major defeat for the Communists. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA troops and the decimation of Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front: the media (more on that later). Saigon fell on April 30, 1975, two years after the Paris Peace Accords and after the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety on March 29, 1973.

6. The M-16 sucked so hard, U.S. troops preferred the AK-47

Gen. William Westmoreland, Commander of U.S. Forces in Vietnam, replaced the M-14 rifle with the new M-16 as the standard issue infantry rifle in the middle of 1966. There was no fanfare. The first generation of the M-16 rifle was an awful mess with a tendency to experience a “failure to extract” jam in the middle of a firefight. They sucked so hard, the Army was hammered by Congress in 1967 for delivering such a terrible rifle system and then failing to properly train troops to use it.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo from Anonymous Former Officer

So what to do? Pick up the enemy’s weapon. We already talked about why the AK-47 is so widely used. It’s better than dying for lack of shooting back. In Vietnam, an underground market developed among troops who didn’t trust their M-16. “Q: Why are you carrying that rifle, Gunny?” “A: Because it works.”

7. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) — aka South Vietnam — wasn’t all bad

The ARVN troops get mixed reviews from the Americans who fought with them. Most judge ARVN units on their leadership, which was definitely mixed. In the end, the South Vietnamese ran out of fuel, ammunition and other supplies because of a lack of support from the U.S. Congress in 1975, while the North Vietnamese were very well supplied by China and the Soviet Union.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
ARVN Rangers defend Saigon during the Tet Offensive (DOD Photo)

8. The North Vietnamese Air Force was actually a pretty worthy adversary

Vietnam-era pilot and Hanoi Hilton POW was once asked on a Reddit AMA how good the NVAF fighter pilots were. His response: “The got me, didn’t they?” This is anecdotal evidence, but more exists. The Navy’s Top Gun strike fighter tactics school was founded to respond to the loss rate of 1 aircraft for every thousand sorties during Operation Rolling Thunder, a lot considering the combined 1.8 million sorties flown over Vietnam.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
The NVAF’s top ace, Nguyen Van Coc

At war’s end, the top ace in North Vietnam had nine kills, compared to the U.S.’ top ace, who had six. The U.S. could only boast three aces (ace status requires at least five air-to-air kills), while the NVAF boasted 17.

9. It wasn’t only the U.S. and South Vietnam

Australia and New Zealand also fought in Vietnam, but the largest contingent of anti-Communist forces came from South Korea. Korean President Syngman Rhee wanted to send troops to help the Vietnamese as early as 1954. More than 300,000 Korean troops would fight in Vietnam, inflicting more than 41,000 casualties, while massacring almost 5,000 Vietnamese civilians.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Soldiers of the ROK 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam. Photo by Phillip Kemp.

10. The draft didn’t unfairly target the working class or minorities

The demographics of troops deployed to Vietnam were close to a reflection of the demographics of the U.S. at the time. 88.4% of troops deployed to Vietnam were Caucasian, 10.6% were African-American and 1% were of other races. The 1970 census estimated the African-American population of the U.S. at 11%.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

A wounded soldier is helped to a waiting helicopter by two of his comrades  near Near Tay Ninh, South Vietnam,  November 1966 (Stars Stripes)

76% of those who served did come from working-class backgrounds but this was a time when most troops had at least a high school education, compared with enlisted men of wars past, among whom only half held a high school diploma. Wealthier families could enroll in college for a draft deferement, but even so …

11. A majority of the men who fought in Vietnam weren’t drafted — they volunteered

More than three-quarters of the men who fought in Vietnam volunteered to join the military. Of the roughly 8.7 million troops who served in the military between 1965 and 1973, only 1.8 million were drafted. 2.7 million of those in the military fought in Vietnam at this time. Only 25% of that 2.7 million were drafted and only 30% of the combat deaths in the war were draftees.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Indiana University Archives

12. The war was not exclusively a jungle war

At the start, the South and allied forces were fighting Viet Cong insurgents in the jungle, but as time wore on, the battles became more set piece, complete with tanks and artillery. For example in 1972, the NVA Eastertide Offensive was the largest land movement since the Chinese entered the Korean War, crossing the Yalu river. The Eastertide Offensive was a planned, coordinated three-pronged invasion of the South, consisting of 12 divisions.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
USMC Photo

13. The Vietnam War was only sort of lost in the American media

The most famous quote attributed to President Johnson (aside from “Frank, are you trying to F–k me?” and “I do not seek and will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as President”) is “If I’ve lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” Whether or not he actually said this is only important to fans of Walter Cronkite, who was then considered the most trusted man in America.

Until 1968, much of the American media was widely a mouthpiece for American policy and not one newspaper suggested disengagement from Vietnam. But things would get worse. A 1965 Gallup poll showed only 28% of Americans were against the war, 37% in 1967, 50% in 1968, 58% in 1969, In 1971, Gallup stopped asking. The 1968 Tet Offensive is what led Cronkite to see the war as “unwinnable.” Veterans of Vietnam widely attribute the success of the Tet Offensive as a success only in the media. The media they’re referring to is Walter Cronkite.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Yet, it’s not that cut and dry. A 1986 analysis of the media and Vietnam found the reporting of the Tet Offensive actually rallied American media to the Vietnam War effort. The Tet Offensive was a defining moment in public trust of the government reports on the progress of the war. Americans had no idea the VC were capable of infiltrating allied installations the way they did and many were unaware of the extent of the brutality and tactics of the war, but the Tet Offensive allowed American television cameras to record the bombing of cities and the execution of prisoners of war.

The tide of public opinion turned “for complex social and political reasons” and the media began to reflect that, according to the Los Angeles Times. “In short, the media did not lead the swing in public opinion; they followed it.”

New York Times White House correspondent Tom Wicker remarked: “We had not yet been taught to question the President.” Maybe the turn in public opinion had more to do with fatigue surrounding almost a decade of body counts and draft lotteries.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Cronkite with Marines in Vietnam (USMC Photo)

14. Richard Nixon ended the war — but invaded Cambodia first

President Nixon’s “Vietnamization” strategy involved a gradual drawdown of U.S. troops, and a bolstering of ARVN forces with modern equipment, technology, and the training to use it. It also involved plans to help garner support for the Saigon government in the provinces and strengthen the government’s political positions.

In 1970, he authorized incursions into Cambodia and massive bombings of Cambodia and Laos to keep pressure on the North while Vietnamization began. This prompted massive public protests in the United States. As U.S. troop numbers dwindled (69,000 in 1972), NVA attacks like the 1972 Eastertide Offensive showed the overall weakness of ARVN troops.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

15. Vietnam Veterans are not mostly crazy, homeless, drug users

There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group. 97% of Vietnam vets hold honorable discharges and 85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life. The unemployment rate for Vietnam vets was only 4.8% in 1987, compared to the 6.2% rate for the rest of America.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
The truth is less like Lt. Dan, more like Gary Sinise

16. The Communists do not still hold POW/MIAs

Many cite “evader signals’ on satellite imagery of Vietnam as evidence of the continued imprisonment of American prisoners of war (POW). If POWs were still held in 1973, it is very likely they are long since dead. Those hypothetical withheld POWs who did not die of old age would never be repatriated to the U.S.

More than 600 MIA suddenly found in Hanoi would be very difficult to explain. The fact is, North Vietnam had no reason to continue to hold American captives. The Americans would not return and the North violated the Paris Accords anyway.

17. Today, most Vietnamese people see the U.S. very favorably

It’s true.

NOW: The Real Story of Jane Fonda and the Vietnam Vets Who Hate Her

OR: This Marine Was the ‘American Sniper’ of the Vietnam War

Articles

9 weapon systems that troops absolutely love

Troops in contact with the enemy have a few awesome weapons that they like to hear firing in support. Any weapon firing on the enemy is a good weapon, but these 9 have become hallowed in military culture.


1. M2 .50 cal machine gun

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo: US Marine Corps Sgt. Melissa Wenger

Quite possible the favorite weapon of troops from World War II to today, the .50 Cal is largely unchanged after over 90 years of service. It fires half-inch rounds at up to 550 rounds per minute, taking down low-flying aircraft, hostile infantry, and light vehicles.

It’s so reliable that after the Army began overhauling M2s in 2011, they found a weapon that served for more than 90 years and still fired perfectly.

2. AH-64 Apache

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo: US Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Daniel McClinton

One of the world’s premier attack helicopters, the AH-64 Apache can fly at over 173 mph, climb at 2,000 feet per minute, and carries Hellfire missiles, 30mm grenades, and 70mm rockets. Designed for an anti-tank role, Apaches are also great at covering and supporting infantry on the ground.

3. TOW Missile

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided or wireless-guided missiles are great against armored and fortified targets at a range of nearly three miles. There are portable launchers that can be carried by infantry, and the missiles can also be mounted on helicopters and vehicles.

4. Carl Gustav

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo: US Army Sgt. Justin Morelli

The M3 Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle can fire a number of different rounds to destroy tanks, bunkers, or infantry formations. Originally fielded in the U.S. by Special Operations Command, the Army bought it for conventional units because it had better range and firepower than the more common AT-4.

5. A-10

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
BRRRRRT Forthcoming. (DARPA Photo)

Seriously, troops love the Warthog. This flying tank-buster operated by the Air Force was built around a 30mm gatling gun, but it can also carry and precisely deliver bombs, mines, rockets, and missiles. The A-10 is so popular that airmen secretly made a video praising it to help save it from the Air Force chopping block.

6. Mortars

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo by Visual Information Specialist Paolo Bovo/US Army

When infantry soldiers are under attack, they don’t want to wait for close air support or artillery strikes. Mortars give infantry units the opportunity to drop 60mm and 81mm rounds directly on the enemy without calling for help. Army efforts to reduce mortar weight are making them even more popular.

7. Mk. 19

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo: US Navy Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Edward G. Martens

The Mk. 19 automatic grenade launcher fires 40mm grenades at targets nearly a mile away. Against infantry, each grenade kills targets within 5 meters of its impact and wounds people within 15 meters. It can even punch through some armored personnel carriers and many light vehicles.

8. M-134 minigun

Adopted during the Vietnam War, the M-134 fires between 2,000 and 6,000 7.62mm rounds per minute through six barrels. It was designed for helicopters to use in suppressing enemy troops, and it still chews through infantry formations today.

9. M1 Abrams

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo Credit: US Army Gertrud Zach

The M1 Abrams is the main battle tank of the U.S. Marines and U.S. Army. It carries a 120mm smoothbore main gun and can be fitted with machine guns from 5.56mm up to .50 cal. The almost 70-ton tank can race across the battlefield at over 40 miles per hour.

Articles

Here’s The Hilarious Result Of Mashing Up Left Shark With Famous Military Quotes

We all know by now that Left Shark was the big hit of the big Super Bowl game, but he’s also pretty influential in military circles.


Well, at least he should be. Check out these famous military quotes with the infamous Gen. Left Shark, the hero we need and deserve.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Gen. James “Mad Shark” Mattis is not afraid to fail, whether behind Katy Perry or in front of Marines.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

You shouldn’t be bummed just because you’re decisively engaged. Smile as you practice your marksmanship.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. reminded Katy Perry and Right Shark that if they can’t lead properly, Left Shark will make it’s own choreography.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Sure, there are plenty of dancers on the stage. But only one is Greek Left Shark Hericlitus.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Mad Shark Mattis reminds his enemies that, yes, he wants peace, but he has endless teeth to destroy those who don’t.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Sgt. Left Shark wants good morale, and he will have it by any means necessary.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Gen. Left Shark Patton Jr. knows how you win wars.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Gen. Left Shark Sherman brought great destruction across the South during the Civil War. When protests reached him, he was unapologetic.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Sgt. Maj. Dan Left Shark Daly might be able to live forever, but he doesn’t see any reason to.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

General Douglas Left Shark McArthur never went in for ball point pens when firings pins were an option.

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 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
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 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
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 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
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 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
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 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
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 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
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 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(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 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
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 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

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

Lists

The 9 dirtiest (and best) hand-to-hand combat moves

When the military needs to get down and dirty with the enemy, it usually means a few things have gone wrong. It’s best for the U.S. if fights are conducted at long range where more assets can be brought in to assist, but you need the right moves just in case.


The enemy gets a vote and if they want to fight hand-to-hand, America is willing to oblige. Using the major “weapons of the body” as well as grappling techniques, troops jockey for position and then strike any soft spots they can find, hurting, crippling, or killing the enemy.

 

Here are 8 moves to help the ground pounders come out on top.

1. Eye gouge- the cringiest move

A perennial favorite, the eye gouge is exactly what it sounds like. Either two fingers are thrust into the eyes sockets or two thumbs. Fingers are aimed to slide in under the eyeballs while thumbs should be aimed for the inner corners of the eye, near the nose. Either way, the goal is to scoop the eyes out or crush them inside the occipital cavity. This is a great move when you’re overpowered and need to inflict pain, fast.

For obvious reasons, the military services require that this be practiced against a dummy or a sparring pad rather than a human.

2. Elbow strikes to the back of the neck

Any elbow strike can do some damage. There’s the low-to-high that strikes an enemy beneath the chin, the horizontal that smashes into a soft spot of the body or face, and then there’s striking an enemy in the base of the skull with an elbow strike.

It requires that the target is doubled over to work well, so this is a great way to finish the fight after a Long Knee or a solid strike to the stomach or groin.

3. The Long Knee move

When a fighter wants to knee the enemy but there’s a little too much space to come up directly, they use the long knee and move forward with their strike. It works even better when they can get a hold of the target and pull them towards the knee. For the most effective move, aim for the soft parts of the abdomen or the groin to really do some damage.

4. Up Knee

If the target tries to move away, feel free to pull harder on their head and transition to the Up Knee, using the knee strike to hit an opponent right in the face. This can also work if the target has bad posture or is leaned over for another reason.

5. Throat punch

 

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Ammon W. Carter

 

The throat punch isn’t just a common internet joke. The Marine Corps lists the throat as a good target for lead hand punches, rear hand punches, and uppercuts. A good punch to the throat can crush the windpipe and even a more modest hit is going to hurt and throw the opponent off balance.

Go straight for the Adam’s apple and remember to follow through.

6. Stomps to the groin or knees- a dirty move, but a good one

It’s all in the headline. If the enemy falls to the ground, a downward stomp can make sure they stay there. Stomping the groin will cause extreme pain and possibly nausea while a solid hit to the knee can disable the joint and make it impossible to stand. Simple move that everyone should know.

7. Ax stomp to the wherever

 

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo: US Marine Corps Pfc. Monroe F. Seigle

 

While the standard stomp is straight down, the ax stomp is a backward swing. This allows the power of the strike to be concentrated in the heel. To add more power, slightly bend the knee of the non-striking leg to gain more downward momentum.

An ax stomp to the face while wearing new boots can easily split skin open and crush underlying bone. Not exactly a sparring technique, but it can finish a real fight.

8. Nutcracker choke

This colorfully-named choke involves grabbing the sides or rear of an opponent’s collar before pulling the hands into the center and crushing the Adam’s apple with the knuckles of the index finger. The tightened collar keeps the opponent from squirming away while the knuckles cut off the target’s airflow.

9. Fish Hook- a weird move that works

Fish hooking is simple. When a target is facing away, reach around and slip fingers into the cheeks and pull hard. This allows the attacker to control their opponents head to a degree, can incite panic in the enemy, and hurts. The attacker should be careful to avoid the enemy’s teeth since this can backfire quickly.

 

Articles

6 things corpsmen should know before going to the ‘Greenside’

There aren’t many jobs in the military where your sea-duty station consists of serving with another branch. But for the Navy rate of an “HM,” or Hospital Corpsman, that’s exactly where you can expect to find yourself.


After you graduate Field Medical Training Battalion, expect to get orders to the Marine Corps side of the house or what we call, the “Greenside” — sooner rather than later.

We call it the greenside because you’re going to wear a sh*t ton of green for the next three years.

Related: 4 unusual tasks Corpsman do that their recruiters left out

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Doc, meet the company first sergeant. (imgflip.com)

It can be pretty nerve-wracking for a Corpsman to cross over for the first time. But don’t worry, WATM has your back.

Check out what you should know about heading over to “Greenside.”

1. PT

You don’t have to be a marathon athlete, but don’t let your Marines ever see you fall out of a hike, a run, or get hurt — you’ll look like a p*ssy.

Be the exact opposite of this guy (giphy

2. Chugging a beer

Marines drink a lot of beer during barracks parties. So get your tolerance up and have a few I.Vs handy.

Finding new ways to drink is badass. Plus you’ll look cool. (giphy

3. Always be cool

Marines are trained to love their Doc — they’re also trained to kill. They’re going to look to you for advice from time-to-time. When your grunts do something right, congratulate them.

Great job, Lance Corporal! (giphy)

4. Know every line from “Full Metal Jacket”

Marines love that sh*t when you manage to work a line or two into a conversation. Oh, make sure you have a copy of the movie on your hard drive when you deploy; it’s the “unofficial” movie of the Marine Corps.

Any line will do, as long as it fits the conversation. (giphy)

5. Know your ranks

Marine ranks are different than Navy ones. A Marine Captain is an O-3, compared to a Navy Captain who is an O-6. Big difference.

“Do I look like I’m in the Navy to you!” (giphy)Learn to count chevrons. Senior NCOs’ collar devices can blend into their uniform, making it tough to make out their proper title. Find an alternate way to greet them properly, or you can just take the less populated walkways (aka the long way).

Also Read: 8 tips for ‘skating’ in the military

6. Learn sick call

Face it, the Navy has only given you officially 12-16 weeks worth of medical training. No one is going to ask you to perform open-heart surgery on your first day.

Marines are going to get sick and injured, and that’s your time to shine. When you’re working in the B.A.S., or “battalion aid station,” you’re going to have to explain why your patient is in sick call to the Independent Duty Corpsman or the doctor on staff. Knowing the medical terminology will earn you respect from the Navy doctor to the point they aren’t going to waste their time doing the second examination.

Getting your Marine a day off work or light duty is key. Impress your Marine and your life, and your heavy pack will seem lighter on a hike — it’s a beautiful thing.

Can you think of any more? Comment below.
Articles

7 reasons the ‘Carl Gustav’ is an infantryman’s best friend

The infantry is loaded down with all sorts of weapons and gear, some of it loved and some of it absolutely hated for being unnecessary weight. But while the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle weighs nearly 20 pounds and each round is almost 10 more, the infantry still loves the darned thing.


Why? Because it’s lethal, accurate, has long-range, and is reliable. Check it out:

1. The Carl Gustav has a longer range than many American rifles and gives infantrymen the capability of killing enemies at up to 3,000 feet.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Australian soldiers assigned to 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment fire an 84 mm M3 Carl Gustave rocket launcher at Range 10, Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, July 20, 2014, during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. (U.S. Marine photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan/Released)

2. The accuracy of the weapon comes from its rifled barrel, but Gustav rounds fly relatively slowly. Hitting anything mobile at over 1,500 feet requires skilled firing.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Photo: Defense Imagery Management Operations Center

3. Interchangeable weapon sights allow shooters to choose between iron sights, magnified optics, or low-light aiming devices.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
U.S. Paratroopers assigned to 173rd Airborne Brigade fires the M3 Carl Gustav rocket launcher at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, Aug. 18, 2016. (Photo: U.S. Army Visual Information Specialist Gerhard Seuffert)

4. Despite the heft of the nearly 10-pound Gustav rounds, the shooters feel little recoil thanks to a large blast that balances the forces (and creates an awesome fireball).

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
A Marine Special Operations Command member fires a Carl Gustav Recoilless rifle system on a range during training in Washer district, Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 16, 2013. (Photo: U.S. Army Sgt. Benjamin Tuck/Released)

5. Saab-Bofors produces 10 types of ammunition for the weapon — everything from airburst high-explosive rounds to anti-structure munitions that bring down buildings.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Army Visual Information Specialist Gerhard Seuffert)

6. The Gustav has been manufactured in four major variants, each lighter than the previous. America mainly fields the M3 which weighs 19 pounds.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
United States Army Spc. Craig Loughry, a 24-year-old native of Kent, Ohio, assigned to Dog Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, has the unenviable task of carrying his squad’s Carl Gustav M2CG recoilless rifle. (Photo: U.S. Army Sgt. James Avery)

7. The Carl Gustav is relatively simple and easy to use. It’s basically a barrel with grips, weapon sights, and a hinge for loading ammunition. This allows new shooters to quickly train on its use.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
Coalition Forces fire a Gustav during a range day at FOB Shank, Afghanistan, on July 26, 2013. The purpose of the range was for the soldiers to practice using their heavy weapons. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Liam Mulrooney)

Lists

The amazing history of US Navy battleships in 19 photos

Naval historians still argue about the legacy of the battleship. Critics call them too vulnerable and too expensive, while supporters laud their sheer offensive capability and awesome firepower.  Whatever the opinions, the battleship will always have an important place in U.S. military history.  Here are 19 pictures that show why:


The “Great White Fleet,” sent around the world by President Theodore Roosevelt from 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909, consisted of sixteen new battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. The fourteen-month long voyage was a grand pageant of American sea power.

 

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

One of the Great White Fleet’s Connecticut-class battleships at Villefranche, France, circa January 1909. This ship is either USS Vermont (Battleship No. 20) or USS Minnesota (Battleship No. 22).

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center)

“Crossing the line” ceremony as the Great White Fleet crosses the Equator, turning “Pollywogs” into “Shellbacks.”

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy Historical Center)

The bridge of the USS Connecticut circa 1908. Note the ship’s name in lights.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy Historical Center)

Officers sporting ceremonial attire about the USS Connecticut.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy Historical Center)

U.S. Army aviation pioneer Billy Mitchell started an inter-service and inter-warfare specialty argument in 1921 when he demonstrated how bombers could take out a battleship. He later testified before Congress that “1,000 bombardment airplanes can be built and operated for about the price of one battleship.”

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: National Archives)

The USS Arizona was the pride of the fleet through the 1930s and is pictured here at sea with President Hoover aboard.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy Historical Center)

Things went very badly for the U.S. Navy’s battleship fleet, including the USS Arizona, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

The American war machine kicked into high gear after Pearl Harbor. Here the battleship Iowa is launched from New York Naval Shipyard in 1942.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Battleships were used extensively in the Pacific Theater during World War II, primarily for naval gunfire support during amphibious landings.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Here the USS New Jersey launches shells at the beach to soften up the LZ for the Marines as they get ready to take Okinawa.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Here the USS Missouri offers some gunfire support of her own in 1944.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Always the master of optics, MacArthur insisted that a battleship be the venue for the Japanese surrender. The ceremony was held aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Battleships were brought back into service during the Korean War. Here the USS Wisconsin sails between the destroyer Buck and heavy cruiser Saint Paul off Korea, February 22, 1952.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

On May 6, 1956, the USS Wisconsin collided with the USS Eaton, a destroyer, in heavy fog off of Hampton Roads and sustained severe damage to her bow.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

As part of Navy Secretary John F. Lehman’s effort to build a 600-ship Navy in the 1980s, and in response to the commissioning of Kirov by the Soviet Union, the United States recommissioned all four Iowa-class battleships. Here the USS Iowa is seen shelling targets in Lebanon in 1984.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

The Iowa met with disaster on April 19, 1989 when an explosion in the center gun room killed 47 of the turret’s crewmen and severely damaged the gun turret itself. Two major investigations were undertaken into the cause of the explosion, one by the U.S. Navy and then one by the General Accounting Office and Sandia National Laboratories. The investigations produced conflicting conclusions.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Today guests can visit the USS Arizona memorial where oil still seeps from the wreck resting against the bottom of Pearl Harbor.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

And guests can also visit the Iowa-class battleships in various cities around the country, including the USS Wisconsin docked in Norfolk, Virginia.

11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Saving Private Ryan’

 

And lets not forget what is perhaps the greatest tribute to the battleship of all: Cher’s video for “If I Could Turn Back Time,” shot aboard the USS Missouri docked in Long Beach on July 1, 1989.  (And Navy officials were not happy with Cher’s outfit.)

Articles

8 things civilians should know before dating someone in the military

Dating a service member is different than dating a civilian. But just how much different is it? Here are eight things to consider before jumping into a relationship with someone in uniform.


1. Service members are independent and you should be too.

Troops have to deploy, which means not having him or her around for important events like anniversaries, birthdays and weddings. If you’re a person that constantly needs their physical presence, dating a service member is probably the wrong choice.

2. Don’t be jealous.

Most of the U.S. military is integrated. They deploy to remote locations and work long hours with members of the opposite sex. You’ll have a hard time trusting your significant other if you’re naturally jealous.

3. Don’t overly display supportive military gear like you’re rooting for your favorite sports team.

It’s okay to be proud of your boyfriend or girlfriend serving in the military, but you can take it a bit too far. Gear includes t-shirts, bumper stickers, jewelry and more. You may think it’s cute and supportive, but you’ve just painted a target on the back of your significant other as the butt of many jokes.

4. It’s not being mean, it’s tough love.

Service members are used to direct communication, so avoid that passive aggressive, vague, manipulative language that your mother-in-law likes to use. Direct communication is instilled from day one in the military. I can still remember my drill instructor yelling, “say what you mean, and mean what you say!”

5. There will be secrets.

Depending on their specialty, service members are trained to be more guarded than others. This is especially true with members that require a clearance to do their job. You can poke and prod all you want, but it’s not going to happen. You’ll have to be okay with not knowing that part of their life.

6. You have to be willing to move.

If you’re looking for a life partner in the military, you’ve got to be willing to give up ties to a specific location. This could mean giving up your career and being away from family. Some service members move every three years. Are you willing to live like a nomad?

7. You have to be flexible.

Plans might change or be canceled at the last minute. One moment they’re free to go on a date night, the next day they’re pulling an all-nighter. Same goes for weekends. Just because they spend one weekend with you doesn’t mean that next weekend will be the same.

8. Learn to tolerate his buddies.

The military is a brotherhood. Their lives depend on this special bond, so don’t think that they can just go out and get new friends. Learn to get along with friends, even the annoying immature one.

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