As was the case in the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army has widely used “air assault” tactics — the warfighting technique of using helicopters to get troops into and out of combat objectives in a hurry — in the war in Afghanistan. We rounded up photos from our own personal collection and military sources to show what it’s like for soldiers to be part of one of these intense missions.
There are three people you should always be friends with: The cook. The medic (or Corpsman). And whatever the MOS of the person repeating the phrase.
Everyone in the military serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things, but this week we’ll break down why the cook always belongs on the top of that list.
This is first in a series that will cover the benefits, both obvious and subtle, of befriending service members of another MOS. Stay tuned for more! Who knows? Your MOS might be next!
Why they’re important
6. Everyone needs food
Just a fact of life. The average human needs 2,000 calories a day to stay functional — and that number is far higher for people with an active lifestyle, like troops.
There’s only a certain amount of MREs you (and your digestive tract) can take. That’s where the chef comes in — with fresh food.
Even on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re so POGgy that all you eat is fast food — well…you do you.
You f*cking POG.
5. Despite the jokes, they’re actually really good chefs
“But they always serve those gross eggs that come in plastic bags!” the uninformed are typing furiously in the comment section.
This is true. Not denying that they do serve mass quantities of food that can only be eaten doused in sauce. But take a look at the stuff they can make when they have the time, like on holidays or “best chef” competitions. Even that awkward E-2 you only ever see in the smoke pit can probably pull off some really impressive work those days.
Why they’re actually important
4. They can get you more of the good food
They do have to hold on portion sizes during meal rushes to make sure everyone can get something to eat. It’s just the way things go if you’re told you have 400 pieces of bacon and 100 people to feed. You’d logically give four pieces to everyone. But the cooks know that there won’t be 100 people who want bacon.
Once they know that it’s cool, they will definitely toss those extra bacon strips your way.
3. They have access to the real deployment gold: Rip-Its, muffins, beef jerky, etc.
The weirdest thing happens on deployment. Money becomes meaningless (because everyone has expendable cash and nothing to spend it on) and minor things like Rip-Its, despite being half the size of the same ones they sell at the dollar store, have more value and trading power than the 5o cents it’s probably worth.
Why barter for gold when you could go to the goldmine itself?
What happens when you’re their bro
2. They can get you food on the off-hours
If you’ve ever worked KP, you will probably notice the bullsh*t that is all of the leftover food being tossed. Just trays of bacon being thrown directly into the trashcan. Most cooks are just like every other troop: plenty of them would rather save that bacon for their bros than see it in a landfill.
On top of that, there’s this weird thing about cooks. Most actually enjoy cooking — on and off duty. They may also just whip you up something in the barracks kitchen if you ask them nicely.
1. They will make you the food you actually want
Remember those disgusting bagged eggs from earlier in this article? Cooks can make you a real egg omelet if you ask them. Same goes for everything else in the “made to order” lines.
But the real kicker are those little comment suggestion cards they always have at the end of the dining hall. Not to blow their secret, but most cooks have a hard time coming up with countless menu options day in/day out, so they’ll stick to a schedule or a guide that has been passed down since god knows when.
If you say to your cook friend, “Hey man, I found this recipe for some Brazilian food. Looks easy enough,” they’ll likely give it a shot — and you’ll feast at “Brazilian Day” in the chow hall sooner or later.
Let’s be real: If Army regulations specifically required just one thing, there’d be someone out there trying to push it to the limit, just to see how far they can go. Then, the commander would make a company-wide memorandum because that Joe took it too far.
Thankfully, there are a number of Army regulations out there for all you rebellious types to break. Let’s take a look at those most tested:
4. Wear and Appearance (AR 670-1)
The most cited Army Regulation is also the most abused. Just everything about AR 670-1 is tested, and not just by the lower enlisted.
If the regulations say an officer can wear a cape, you know there’s at least one officer who’s tried to get away with wearing it. Haircuts are strictly limited, but nearly every E-4 walks around with the exact text memorized, so they can say, “Ah! But the regulation just says, ‘unkempt!'”
3. Alcohol Limit (AR 600-85)
By pure letter of the word, you cannot wear your uniform in a bar. You cannot wear a uniform in an establishment where your activities are centered around drinking. Being intoxicated in uniform is definitely against Army regs. This mostly gets interpreted as a “two-drink limit” by commanders to close that loophole.
And that’s exactly what happens. If, at an event where alcohol happens to be served — like spending a lunch break at the Buffalo Wild Wings just off-post, soldiers will likely grab just two. Doesn’t matter the size of the glass, the alcohol content of the drink, the tolerance of the person drinking, or how soon that person should be back on duty. The drink limit is just “two” drinks, right?
2. Counseling Timelines (AR 623-3)
According to regulations, soldiers, NCOs, and officers should be “routinely” counseled, which really means every 30 days. So, by that logic, everyone waits until the last minute to get counseling forms, NCOERs, and OERs done.
Leaders (should) know the soldier underneath them and have a good idea of what they’ve done throughout the rating period — it’s too bad that none of that knowledge gets used as everyone scrambles to get reviews done so people can go home.
1. Swearing (AR 600-20)
Profanity that is derogatory in nature against someone’s race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or orientation is clearly in the wrong. And f*ck you if you’re using it specifically against another soldier.
Shy of that, what constitutes “professionalism” and “becoming of a soldier” is a grey area. Commanders don’t really have a set guideline of specific expletives you can and cannot say, nor do they dictate how often you can cuss.
*Bonus* Fraternization (still AR 600-20)
AR 600-20 is the Army Command Policy; it mostly serves as a catch-all for the smaller regulations. In the ambiguity of the fraternization policy, the rules behind dating, marriage, and hook-ups are kind of spelled out.
Even friendships between a soldiers and their leaders fall into that same gray area. As long as it doesn’t affect morale of all troops, it seems to be fine.
The military is notorious for using acronyms and abbreviations, and here are 23 of them that approach YGTBSM status:
1. AARDACONUS – Army Air Reconnaissance for Damage Assessment in the Continental United States
2. ADCOMSUBORDCOMPHIBSPAC – Administrative Command, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet Subordinate Command (US Navy)
3. ARCCbtWMD – Army Council for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction
4. ASTAMIDS – Airborne Standoff Minefield Detection System
5. CASTFOREM – Combined Arms and Support Task Force Evaluation Model
6. COMNAVAIRSYSCOM – Commander, Naval Air Systems Command
7. DEFREMANEDCEN – Defense Resources Management Education Center
8. FLEASWTRACENPAC – Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center – Pacific
9. HERCULES – Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System (pictured below being loaded on to a C-17)
10. HELANTISUBRON5 – Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Five
11. HRCCIOSPB – Human Resources Command Chief Information Office Strategic Planning Branch
12. INCONMOVREP – Intra‐Continental United States Movement Report
13. MARCORSYSCOM – Marine Corps Systems Command
14. MILPERSIMS – Military Personnel Information System
15. MOBAALOCO – Mobilization Active Army locator
16. NAVCOMTELSTA ASCOMM DET WHIDBEY – Naval Computer and Telecommunication Station, Antisubmarine Warfare Communications Center Detachment Whidbey Island
17. NAVEODTECHDIV – Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division
18. POPNAMRAD – Policies, Organizations, and Procedures in Non‐atomic Military Research and Development
19. Prime BEEF – Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force. Pictured below, members of the U.S. Air Force 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron constructs a dome shelter on Camp Marmal, Afghanistan.
20. RED HORSE – Rapid Engineers Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron, Engineers
21. SINCGARS – Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System
22. SLAMRAAM – Surface Launched Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile.
23. USAADACENFB – United States Army Air Defense Artillery Center, Fort Bliss
We’ve come a long way since the stealth bomber.
Just as smart gadgets have invaded our homes and revolutionized our lives over the last 15 years, next-level weaponry has transformed the military.
The imperatives of the military have always been one of the main drivers of technological development.
Today, militaries all over the world are still pushing technological boundaries. Since the turn of the millennium, weapons featuring a vast range of technical sophistication have proven to be game changers.
Everything from concealed roadside bombs — cheap, primitive, and deadly — to multibillion-dollar aerial lasers have transformed conventional methods of combat and altered the world’s technological and political landscape.
Here are 19 of the most important weapons of the last 15 years.
Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs
America’s largest conventional bomb is precision-guided, 20 feet long, weighs 30,000 pounds, and can blast through underground bunkers.
Boeing’s Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bomb is designed to pierce 60 feet of reinforced concrete and then detonate 200 feet underground — making no bunker safe.
After the MOP’s first successful test in 2007, the US Air Force ordered an arsenal of these mega-bombs.
The Chinese anti-satellite program
In January of 2007, China initiated a new and terrifying era in warfare. Using a C-19 ballistic missile, the People’s Liberation Army destroyed an out-of-commission weather satellite flying over 500 miles above the surface of Earth.
In a single widely condemned move, China had militarized outer space. It was a move that might have been inevitable, but whose long-term consequences are startling. If satellites were considered legitimate military targets, attacks could create debris fields that would knock out entire orbits or create chain reactions that might destroy vital communications and global-positioning satellites. Similarly, countries could deploy weapons to outer space capable of destroying terrestrial targets once the global taboo against space warfare is obliterated.
If that alarming worst-case scenario ever comes to pass, future generations could identify the successful 2007 test as the moment that space became a military frontier. The test also displayed China’s eagerness to develop weapons that its rivals would never use — showing how a state can use asymmetrical means to close the gap with it more powerful rivals.
The Navy’s X-47B is a strike-fighter-sized unmanned aircraft with the potential to completely change aerial warfare.
Northrop Grumman’s drone is capable of aerial refueling, 360-degree rolls, and offensive weapon deployment. It’s carried out the first autonomous aerial refueling in aviation history, and has taken off and landed from an aircraft carrier.
It cruises at half the speed of sound, and has a wingspan of 62 feet — as well as a range of at least 2,400 miles, which is more than twice that of the Reaper drone.
The M19 Reaper drone has radically changed the way that the US carries out military operations. First released in 2001, the Reaper drone has been used in surveillance operations and strikes against militants in places ranging from Iraq to Somalia to Pakistan.
Reaper drones are built to be effective at both surveillance and air support. The drones are capable of reading a license plate from over two miles away while at an altitude of 52,000 feet.
The drones can also carry 500-pound bombs and both air-to-ground missiles and air-to-air missiles. Capable of staying airborne for 36 hours, the drone has given the US a remarkable ability to strike targets quickly and quietly around the world — and without risking personnel in the process.
The V-22 Osprey
The V-22 Osprey is a multitask tilt rotor aircraft that has become a staple of the Marine Corps since its introduction into service. The Osprey can take off and land vertically like a helicopter, but it can also travel at speeds approaching that of a fixed-wing plane.
The Osprey originally suffered from several worrisome accidents, including a series of fatal crashes, before it was officially introduced into service in 2007. The plane’s later models have now become absolutely indispensable for the Marines. It has seen use in combat and rescue operations as far afield as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
The Air Force, Navy, and Marines have used the Osprey for almost every conceivable mission. It has been used for troop transport, MEDEVAC missions, supply transport, and aerial delivery; it is also being tested for use as an aerial refueling platform. As it can land vertically, the Osprey is also able to take part in operations normally out of bounds for traditional aircraft, which typically need hundreds of feet of runway space.
Boost-glide hypersonic weapons
Boost-glide hypersonic weapons are the latest arena in which the US and China are competing militarily. Neither country has quite developed a working advanced hypersonic weapon (AHW) prototype, but the two countries both tested their own versions in August 2014.
Boost-glide weapons can hit their targets with unprecedented speed and effectiveness. If they ever become operable, these weapons would be able to deliver weapons payloads while traveling at a velocity five times faster than the speed of sound over a range of several thousand miles.
Boost-glide weapons are capable of traveling on a trajectory that makes them difficult for missile-defense systems to intercept, since those systems are designed to work against the high arc of traditional ballistic missiles. Boost-glide projectiles travel quickly and at a flat angle, working at speeds and trajectories that flummox existing missile defense technologies.
These weapons could deliver nuclear warheads faster and better than anything ever built, and experts fear that they could spark a new arms race.
Seaborne Tomahawk Missiles
On January 27, the Navy carried out a successful test of a steerable marine-launched Tomahawk missile. Guided by an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the modified missile was able to change directions in flight and hit a moving maritime target.
“This is potentially a game-changing capability for not a lot of cost,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work said at the WEST 2015 conference. “It’s a 1,000-mile anti-ship cruise missile.”
The new converted Tomahawks would have a range of almost 1,000 nautical miles, allowing the US to maintain a considerable edge over rival naval powers. On the other side of the Pacific, one of China’s most threatening new military advancements is its development of its own advanced anti-ship cruise missiles. While potentially threatening to US ships, these missiles would have just half the range of the converted Tomahawk.
The YAL Airborne Laser Testbed
Weaponized lasers will likely be a feature on the battlefield of the future. Even though only one of the weapons was ever built and the program has been discontinued, the YAL Airborne Laser Testbed was an important proof of concept.
The American weapon, which was first tested successfully in 2007, was housed inside a converted 747 aircraft. The plane had the largest laser turret ever built installed on its nose. The laser was built to intercept tactical ballistic missiles midway through their flight path; in a 2010 test, the YAL succeeded in shooting down a test target.
The military decided the YAL was impractical — in order to intercept a missile, the aircraft would have to already be in the air, while the weapon itself was expensive to fabricate, operate, and maintain. Still, it demonstrated that enormous, high-powered lasers could destroy large and fast-moving objects, and do so in midair.
If lasers ever become a feature of aerial combat, it will be because of the precedent of the YAL.
The Laser Weapon System
The Navy’s Laser Weapon System, or LaWS, is a ship-mounted weaponized laser that can burn through enemy targets in less than 30 seconds.
The energy used to deploy a single LaWS laser shot costs approximately $1 compared to the traditional SM-2, a similar surface-to-air system that runs $400,000 per missile.
Earlier this year, Boeing signed a contract with the US Navy to upgrade the current software used on the laser system.
In 2010, a malicious computer program swept through Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Stuxnet caused uranium enrichment centrifuges to inexplicably fail and knocked out as much as 20% of Iran’s enrichment capacity. The computer worm essentially slowed Iran’s nuclear efforts, raising the pressure on Tehran and buying the US and its allies some valuable time to build up international opposition to the country’s program.
Stuxnet was a turning point in the modern history of warfare. It was a state-sponsored hack, a computer program likely built by the US and Israel in order to influence the behavior of a rival government. It arguably worked, to a degree — Iran’s program was slowed; the international community tightened its sanctions regime; the Iranian economy teetered on the brink of collapse, and the conditions for the current negotiations slid into place.
But it also set a precedent for governments hacking one another and hashing out their disagreements in the cyber realm. The North Korean hack of Sony is arguably the next step in the process and shows how cyber weapons may be so hard to control now that they’ve been introduced into international affairs.
Ever since Hezbollah rained hundreds of rockets over northern Israel during a July 2006 escalation in hostilities, projectile attacks have been the country’s most pressing security challenge. There have been some 15,000 rocket attacks on the country since 2001, including attacks from Iranian and Russian-made missiles capable of hitting Israel’s major population centers.
The Iron Dome antimissile battery is capable of tracking the trajectory of an incoming projectile and then launching an interceptor that detonates the missile at a safe altitude. Iron Dome saves lives on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Hamas rocket attacks during flare-ups in 2012 and 2014 killed few people inside of Israel even including days in which more than 100 rockets were fired. Without Iron Dome, the death toll would have been far higher in both conflicts and Israel’s response might have been even more protracted.
Iron Dome was developed by a state-owned Israeli defense company to face a specific threat and therefore has little battlefield applicability beyond the country’s borders. But it’s one of the primary modern examples of a country mustering all of its technological resources to solve a highly specialized and difficult security problem. In an era where large, set-piece battles between armies and traditional battlefield tactics may be a thing of the past, this may be the kind of the military edge that ends up counting the most.
Both China and the US have developed nonlethal “heat rays” that cause extreme pain and can aid in crowd control. The general idea behind the weapons is to heat the water just below the surface of a person’s skin so as to induce pain, causing the target to flee without inflicting death or incapacitation.
The Chinese heat ray can target individuals at up to 262 feet away. When hooked up to an extra power source, the beam can hit targets at distances of 0.6 miles.
The US version of the heat ray, known as the Active Denial System (ADS), had a range of 1,000 meters and could raise the temperature of a target’s skin by 130 degrees. However, the ADS was recalled by the US military without ever having been used over questions of its ethical application.
Bullets that can change direction in flight
Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) are bullets that can change their path during flight to correct for the movement of a target or any other factors that might have driven the projectile off-course.
The bullets feature optical tips that can detect guidance lasers focused on a target. Tiny fins on the bullets then guide the bullet towards that laser. The Pentagon just successfully conducted a live-fire test utilizing these rounds.
If fully implemented, these rounds could drastically improve the accuracy of US soldiers. The weapons would also help reduce the risks of friendly-fire incidents or of stray bullets harming civilians.
The Golden Hour blood container
This isn’t a weapon — but it’s still a game changer.
The Golden Hour, developed by US Army scientists in 2003, helped keep US soldiers alive after suffering a major battlefield injury. The box-like thermal container preserved red blood cells at a temperature that would prevent donor blood from dying under harsh environmental conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan — all without having to use electricity, batteries, or ice to moderate the blood’s temperature.
If soldiers were injured on the battlefield, there would be life-saving donor blood immediately on hand in small and easily portable containers that require no actual energy input. This allows medics to perform transfusions quickly and efficiently when soldiers’ lives are most at risk.
The container shows that not every major battlefield development is weapons related, and it demonstrates just how far technology has come in saving soldiers’ lives.
Improvised explosive devices
Every era of modern warfare has had weapons that closed the gap between powerful state militaries and nonstate militant groups. During the Cold War, rebel groups around the world used the cheap and plentiful AK-47 to defeat far larger armies around the world.
The roadside bomb is how insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan bogged down a far larger and more powerful US military. Camouflaged “improvised explosive devices,” often hidden in cars or potholes, could be detonated using cell phones. They could also be built quickly and covertly, and without a huge amount of engineering expertise.
IEDs killed as many as 3,100 US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, representing around two-thirds of total US combat deaths. The bombs prevented the US from winning in both countries through conventional means, leading to technological developments like the MRAP and a shift to counterinsurgency strategy in both wars. IEDs have arguably transformed the US military and its mission like no other modern weapon.
Roadside bombs showed how in the 21st century, it’s still possible for a small and technologically primitive military force to wreak havoc on a larger and infinitely better-equipped one.
Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles
The US was in huge trouble in Iraq in 2005. The American-led mission was losing ground to a growing insurgency led by Al Qaeda elements. And the US was suffering huge losses from improvised explosive devices that would rip through even heavily armored vehicles. Insurgents were setting bombs that would detonate under American personnel carriers, which weren’t built to withstand the insurgents’ weaponry.
The heavily armored MRAP was designed, developed, and built in a matter of months to counter the US’ biggest operational challenge in Iraq; by 2009 over 21,000 of them were in service.
Developed on an accelerated schedule, the MRAP reduced US casualties from mine and IED attacks by 80%. And it provided the US and its allies with a vehicle that could operate in a new, challenging combat environment.
Four-tube night-vision goggles
Each member of Navy SEAL Team Six is issued $65,000 four-tube night-vision goggles, according to Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette in his book, “No Easy Day.”
Compared to the standard two-tube goggles, which Bissonnette says are similar to binoculars, the four-tube model gives soldiers a greatly expanded field of view.
The Ground Panoramic Night Vision Goggles are made in Londonderry, New Hampshire, by L-3 Warrior Systems’ Insight division, Defense One reports.
Since 2010, the Pentagon has spent at least $12.5 million on this elite military eyewear, according to Defense One.
The Ghost hovercraft
Developed by Juliet Marine Systems, the Ghost could become one of the military’s ships of the future.
Propped on two blade-like pontoons, the Ghost cuts through the water while maintaining enhanced balance. The design allows the ship to reduce friction and increase its stability.
The ship has also been designed for maximum stealth. It is nonmagnetic and hard to detect via sonar, making it ideal for infiltration and surveillance of enemy waters.
The Ghost can also deploy a range of offensive weapons that are similar to what an attack helicopter would carry. The vessel can be equipped with Gatling guns, Griffin missiles, and rockets launched either from its hull or from the craft’s skin.
More from Business Insider:
- Here’s why the NFL came down so hard on Tom Bradey and the Patriots
- The most damaging part of the Deflategate penalties for the Patriots isn’t Tom Brady’s suspension
- 70 people were injured while filming this movie with 100 untamed lions
- The 19 most game-changing weapons of the last 15 years
- Why Kim Jong-un would savagely execute a top general (if it happened this time)
April is Month of the Military Child, so here are 16 celebrities who grew up in military families. Which one of these military brats surprises you the most?
1. Amy Adams was born in Italy while her Army father was stationed at Caserma Ederle. He moved the family around for eight years before settling in Colorado.
2. Julianne Moore was also raised in an Army home (and was born on Fort Bragg).
3. LeVar Burton was born into an Army family at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. He would grow up to be the chief engineer of the USS Enterprise under Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
4. Luke Skywalker (actor Mark Hamill) was from a Navy family and even graduated from high school on Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. Strangely, Luke fights best on the Dune Sea. There must be a SeaBee in the family somewhere.
5. Robert Duvall was born into a Navy family. His father started at the Naval Academy at 16, made Captain at 39, and retired a rear admiral. His family is descended from the family of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Duvall served in the Army during the Korean War, but “barely qualified on the M-1 rifle in basic.” Still plays a badass Air Cav Commander, though.
6. Author and Church of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard was born into a Navy family. Much of Hubbard’s travel throughout the Pacific is due to his father’s Navy career. He later served as a Naval officer himself, although his record has major discrepancies.
7. Author of the novel Push Ramona Lofton (best known by her pen name Sapphire) was raised in an Army household.
8. The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels (born Michael Shawn Hickenbottom) was raised in Arizona, England, and San Antonio, following his father’s Air Force career. He was a linebacker on Randolph Air Force Base’s high school football team.
9. Annie Leibovitz took her first photos when living with her father, an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, while he was stationed in the Philippines. She moved frequently with him.
10. Comedian Patton Oswalt was born to Larry Oswalt, a career Marine Corps officer – and was named for General George S. Patton.
11. Stephen Stills’ military childhood in places like Florida, Louisiana, Costa Rica, Panama, and El Salvador was an influence on his musical style. Crosby, Nash, and Young had equally interesting childhoods, though outside of the military.
12. Bruce Willis’ dad was a soldier who married a German woman while stationed there. Two years later, he moved the Willis family back to New Jersey.
13. James Woods’ father was an Army intelligence officer.
14. Tiger Woods was born to Lieutenant Colonel Earl Woods, an Army officer and Vietnam veteran.
15. Former MLB player Johnny Damon was born at Fort Riley, Kansas to Army Staff Sergeant Jimmy Damon.
16. Legendary Doors frontman Jim Morrison‘s dad was a Navy admiral, the youngest to attain flag rank at the time.
Whenever a new weapon sees widespread deployment, all the rules get rewritten. The draft version of the new rules can be a bit strange though. Here are five crazy ways Britain thought it might get a handle on Germany’s U-Boats in World War I.
1. Training seagulls to sh-t on the periscopes
There is no explanation of how the seagulls would be trained to do this. Admiral Sir Frederick Inglefield, head of all “motor-boat patrols” (discussed below), believed seagulls would defecate on submarine periscopes if properly trained. The blinded submarines would then be forced to surface or attempt to escape the harbor.
2. Hammers and bags
The British tried to stop the submarine menace with a “motor-boat patrol.” There were hundreds of these boats, each with at least two crew members. The boats would patrol designated areas near the coast looking for periscopes. But only 1 in 10 was armed.
So, if the crew spotted a periscope, they were supposed to sneak as close to it as they could in the boat and then swim the rest of the way. One man would take a canvas bag and pop it over the periscope while the other would swing a hammer as hard as he could to break the periscope.
3. Meeting submarines under the surface with top notch swimmers and sharp hammers
There’s no record of the British ever attempting this method, but someone proposed the Royal Navy select some especially strong swimmers. When a submarine was spotted these swimmers could swim to the hull and attempt to hit it with a pointed hammer, piercing its hull and sending it down.
4. Training birds and sea lions to watch for periscopes
In an effort to more quickly identify submarines working near British and Allied shipping, the British Navy attempted to train seagulls and sea lions to chase periscopes. The training was done by creating dummy periscopes that dispensed food.
Seagulls were trained in the open ocean while sea lions from British music-halls and circuses were trained in tanks.
5. Covering the ocean in paint
This was supposed to work in two ways. First, any submarine that raised its periscope while the ocean was covered in paint would be blinded as the paint covered the periscope glass. Second, the paint was generally green which may confuse the submarine captain as to what depth he was cruising at, possibly causing him to move higher in the water which would expose his hull.
Artillery on the shore or motor boat patrols could then target the blind, exposed U-boat. While this tactic was proposed to the Royal Navy, it’s not clear that they ever attempted it. This could be because they didn’t have enough green paint to cover the surface Great Britain’s 19,491 miles of coastline.
(h/t David A. H. Wilson, Cumbria Institute of the Arts, United Kingdom)
Make-A-Wish Foundation sets up special experiences for kids diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. While kids can wish for forts in their backyard, shopping sprees, or trips to Disney, some choose to get in the dirt and mud with the U.S. military. These 7 kids used their wishes to join (and in a couple of cases command) military units.
1. Evan takes command of Naval Air Station Fallon.
When Evan was offered a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he wished to become a Top Gun fighter pilot. The commander of Naval Air Station Fallon welcomed Evan into his office and had an instructor escort him around the school. Evan was then able to attend a Top Gun graduation ceremony where he received an honorary certificate. His escort, Major Chip Berke, told a Marine Corps journalist, “There were so many volunteers to help escort Evan and his family, but I was fortunate to get the job. Evan tells me that I work for him. He even asked to be taken back to ‘his office’ a few times after leaving Base Admiral Mat Moffit’s desk.
2. Jorge makes brigadier general in minutes.
Jorge was promoted to brigadier general for the day soon after arriving at Camp Pendleton, California to meet Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, Commanding General of Marine Corps Installations – West. While in command, he rode in assault vehicles, attended a Marine Corps boxing lesson, and supervised an amphibious assault demonstration held in his honor.
3. Ian Field packs a 20-year career into two days.
The Army’s 1st Infantry Division learned Ian Field wanted to be a soldier for his wish and their 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team set up a two-day event for Ian to climb from private to command sergeant major April 14-15, 2011. He began by enlisting in the Army and being promoted to private first class. He then fired weapons, trained with grenades, shot artillery, rode in a helicopter, drove a tank, and rescued an injured comrade. As a final event, now-Command Sgt. Maj. Ian Field led his squad during a ceremony commemorating their time together.
4. Carl “pilots” his plane right into the ocean.
Carl, an avid history buff, asked to be a World War II pilot for the day. Specifically, a pilot on the run after being downed. The Air Force trained him in survival skills before he flew to Hawaii. Soldiers and Marines welcomed him at the Hawaii airport with 1940’s military vehicles and gave him a tour of military museums and installations on the islands. Then, he was flown in a Navy bi-plane to a remote beach where he had to cut himself out of a parachute, find his gear, and lead his dad to safety. While they were setting up their position, a pair of Navy SEALs swam in and Carl led their assault on an enemy camp.
5. Andrew becomes a Marine, sailor, soldier, and airman in one day.
Andrew toured multiple bases and served with the Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps in a single day for his wish. First, he visited March Air Reserve Base and toured a C-17 in a custom flight suit and helmet and saw a Predator drone and F-16 up close. Then he headed to the Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton where he became an honorary sergeant major. The Navy showed him some of their inflatable boats and let him fire weapons on a computerized shooting range before the Army showed him around their vehicles.
6. Riley learns the Ranger’s Creed in time for graduation.
Riley Woina chose to be a Ranger for a day and practiced jumping out of planes with them before witnessing an actual airborne parachute drop with the 6th Ranger Battalion at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. During airborne training, a Ranger pulled Woina’s reserve parachute for him and accidentally gave the boy a black eye, but Woina decided to continue with training. He also assisted the Ranger candidates in clearing a room and was able to fire off some blank rounds from an M4 and M249. At Ranger graduation, he recited the Ranger Creed from memory.
Riley gave an interview to the Fort Benning Public Affairs Office where he discussed why he chose to be a Ranger for his wish, available here.
7. Jacob makes a World War II movie to honor the military.
Jacob Angel wished to be a World War II soldier in a movie depicting the exploits of World War II heroes. In the film, embedded above, he has to take a hill and fly the American flag over it.
Army recruiters love to talk a good game to get young adults to sign military contracts, but some people need more than just a couple motivating words to get them to join.
For the young prospects out there that need a visual, the Army filmed inspiring, yet powerful commercials to better entice you.
We’ve all seen the posters of soldiers standing tall and, yes, the idea of becoming a Green Beret is pretty badass, but it’s the epic commercials that often put the final touches on someone’s ultimate decision to make the commitment.
So, check out six of the best Army recruiting commercials, ranked based on how freaking motivating they are.
6. “They lead.”
From our nation’s founding fathers to the heroes that lead the way in World Wars, the U.S. Army takes absolute pride in the amazing officers that have taken the title of “soldier” to another level.(USArmyMediaCenter | YouTube)
5. “Amphibious assault”
When we think about modern amphibious warfare, we tend to think about Navy SEALs, but the Army wants you to know that they can land on a beachhead just as well.(GoArmy.com | YouTube)
4. “I became a soldier.”
Every person who joins the Army does so for their own reasons. We do it to serve and be a part of an elite team that will go above and beyond to fulfill the mission.(USA Military Archives | YouTube)
3. “I will never.”
As Americans, we pride ourselves on our ability to work through near-impossible tasks and come out on top. As a soldier, you’ll learn about your inner-strength in ways you never knew existed.(USArmyMediaCenter | YouTube)
2. “The narrative.”
Our nation’s foundation wouldn’t have been possible without the outstanding men and women that make up the U.S. Army.(GoArmy.com | YouTube)
1. Special Forces recruitment video
Are you ready to be on the ultimate team? Earning the title of Green Beret comes with massive a sense of pride, responsibilities, and the ideology that quitting is never an option.(MH6M | YouTube)
Bonus: Family Guy’s version
Experiences may vary. Enjoy!(Anthony Elliott | YouTube)
Moments of levity are a must. It’s those little moments of relaxation that give our nation’s war fighters the rest they need operate at peak efficiency. That, and everyone would rather spend their downtime drunk than sitting at battalion staff duty on their day off.
Nobody wants to get a call informing them that their weekend plans have officially gone to sh*t. We know you don’t want to do it, but we’re going to advise against going AWOL, getting locked up, ending up in the hospital, or flat-out telling your superior to f*ck off. There are a few ethical ways to wiggle your way back into doing nothing productive until Monday.
“Nope… I don’t see that ’09 Mustang bought at 39% interest rate… he must be gone already.”
(Photo by Sgt. Melissa Bright)
Park somewhere else
Form habits. Let everyone know your routine.
If you park your car in the exact same place, day in and day out, pretty soon, that’ll become the go-to indicator of your presence. If, one day, you happen to park your car in the other parking lot, they’ll take a quick glance and assume you’re not there. Now just be sure to keep your phone on silent and never answer your door.
“I’m so sorry, I’d love to help, but I got this thing. Yes. That totally legit thing.”
(Photo by Airmen 1st Class Dana Cable)
Someone has pull staff duty or charge of quarters (CQ). The goal here isn’t to screw over the unit, it’s to hot potato that responsibility onto someone else.
If you let your superior know that you’ve got responsibilities that you can’t or “can’t” wiggle out of, like “helping someone in your unit move,” they’ll probably pick that other guy.
Bonus points if you tell them you’ll be somewhere without service and you just turn your phone off.
(Photo by Airmen 1st Class Frank Rohrig)
Be out of town
Let everyone know you’ve got big plans. Be obnoxious about it. Everyone from the lowest private to the battalion commander should know that your ass has tickets to whatever.
If you plan on having fun, whoever is coming to ruin your weekend should know well in advance that you’re not going to be anywhere near.
If they do take the time to go check the paperwork and you were bullshitting, then plausible deniability is your only way out…
(Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Morales)
Put in a 4-day pass (or say you did)
Having a piece of paperwork that says the commander has approved you to do nothing all weekend is great. Take a photo of it with your phone and send it along any time someone asks you what you’re doing.
Or, if the NCO is out on the prowl, trying to find some lower-enlisted to pull CQ and you feel like your poker face is good enough, go ahead and say your 4-day pass is up at battalion and hope they don’t call your bluff.
Just keep one by the door, if you have to.
(Photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)
Be drunk or “drunk”
If there’s any tried-and-true method that every member of the E-4 Mafia and LCpl Underground know too well, it’s this one: Never answer your door without a bottle of beer in your hands.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve actually been drinking; it doesn’t matter if it’s 0900. There’s no way you can go to some BS duty if you might be intoxicated. Always keep that in mind.
Hollywood loves to make old fashion bloody war movies that have plenty of entertaining explosions and dramatic death scenes. While entertaining, these can hit pretty close to home for someone who’s been in the fight.
The graphic ones can be particularly realistic, but no matter what, they all represent the sucktitude of war.
Here are five you may want to stay away from before deploying to a combat zone.
1. Saving Private Ryan
Known as one of the most authentic and gruesome openings to a film ever, this Steven Spielberg-directed classic put audiences inside the minds of war-hardened characters as they storm the beaches of Normandy.
I think that guy had eggs for breakfast. (Image by Giphy)
2. Casualties of War
Marty McFly, I mean Michael J. Fox, plays an Army soldier who is coerced by Sgt. Tony Meserve (Sean Penn) to take advantage of a Vietnamese hostage-turned-sex-slave. When he refuses, the whole squad turns against him.
We guess they missed those team building exercises stateside. (Image via Giphy)
3. Hamburger Hill
John Irvin’s 1987 war epic depicts one of the most disastrous friendly fire accidents in the military in the Vietnam war.
Could you imagine that sh*t. (Image via Giphy)
4. The Deer Hunter
Because no one wants to think about the dangers of being a prisoner of war and playing Russian roulette at the same time.
Ballsy. (Image via Giphy)
No one wants to get left behind and eventually gunned down by the bad guys.
WHY ME?! (Image via Giphy)
Bonus: Pearl Harbor
This is a good one if you join the service with a buddy. In Micheal Bay’s “Pearl Harbor,” two childhood friends join the military as pilots. As one is off fighting in an aerial dogfight, the other stays back keeping his girlfriend company — eventually knocking her up.
Spoiler alert — he takes about a half dozen bullets for his buddy to buy himself some redemption. That is all.
It’s actually a good way to make things even. (Image via Giphy)
War never changes. It’s brutal, bloody, and extremely violent at all times — the carnage of combat is not for the faint of heart. But even though the nature of war is horrific, it doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be rules put in place. After all, most of the people fighting in a war are there because their government sent them.
In conventional warfare, there are limits you on what you can and cannot bring to a fight.
In the 2015 video game Fallout 4, there is a wide variety of weapons for the player can use to stave off the dangers of a post-apocalyptic, nuclear-devastated Boston. But, if any of these weapons actually existed, they’d likely be banned from conventional use.
1. Fat Man
This weapon is a shoulder-fired atomic bomb launcher. That sentence alone should tell you why it would be banned, but we’re happy to elaborate: As anyone playing Fallout should know, atomic bombs are devastating and can cause widespread death and destruction. Not only is the idea of a boot carrying this around terrifying, it would be outlawed immediately due to its indiscriminate ability to remove members of a given population.
These things launch mini nuclear bombs! (Concept art from Bethesda Softworks’ The Art of Fallout 4)
Hopefully, we can all agree on the fact that the use of a flamethrower is extremely inhumane. The use of flamethrowers against civilian targets is already outlawed, so you can be sure it wouldn’t take long for an outright ban to surface for a weapon as destructive as Fallout‘s flamer.
(Concept art from Bethesda Softworks’ The Art of Fallout 4)
3. Railway Rifle
If there is any weapon that causes unnecessary pain and suffering, it’s the railway rifle. This gun can only load one type of ammunition — railroad spikes. You know, the thing that’s used to make sure railroads stay stuck to the ground? Using a gun like this can not only dismember someone but will pin them against anything they’re standing in front of. Gruesome.
They also have a very slow firing rate, so they’re impractical. (Concept art from Bethesda Softworks’ The Art of Fallout 4)
This weapon is a one-handed chainsaw. It doesn’t take much imagination to think up some of the terrible carnge this thing could create. I mean, just look at it…
There’s a reason they’re called “The Ripper.” (Concept art from Bethesda Softworks’ The Art of Fallout 4)
The Broadsider is great and whoever signs the dotted line for the job of carrying one is probably the crayon-eater that memes have warned you about. This thing is just a cannon. No, really. It shoots cannonballs — and those cannonballs explode into fragments upon collision with a target. This weapon is so barbaric that its use would not be authorized.
6. Any type of landmine
Landmines are already outlawed since they’re often left behind long after a conflict’s end, leaving civilians in peril for decades. Today’s landmines are bad enough — but can you imagine how awful stepping on a plasma mine would be? Surely, they’d be banned immediately.
Just use a frag grenade! (Concept art from Bethesda Softworks’ The Art of Fallout 4)
Memes, memes, memes! Glorious memes! Well, funny memes. Not sure they’re glorious, but they’re worth laughing at.
1. If you’re not sure there’s PT, your first-line leader failed you.
2. Army logic (via Team Non-Rec).
3. Projecting American force across the gazebo(via Sh*t My LPO Says).
4. Good job, airman. Good damn job.
5. The struggle is real.
6. Crew chief is mad about cleaning all the glass (via Military Memes and Humor).
7. Chaos 6 was knife-handing before he saw his first knife (via Marine Corps Memes).
8. If you wanted to look impressive in PTs, you should’ve joined the Marine Corps (via Coast Guard Memes).
9. Yeah. Your last unit did everything differently (via Coast Guard Memes).
10. See? The Air Force does get dirty.
11. Yeah, yeah, yeah. “Army strong. Har. Har.”
12. The Navy defends their bases with whirling metal blades of death (via Sh*t My LPO Says).
13. Thought you’d make it out without one more NJP? (via Marine Corps Memes)