Vladimir Putin has recently been talking a lot of smack in demonstrating Russia’s new weapons. Of course, the fact that the Navy is deploying lasers kinda renders two of these highly hyped weapons inert, but let’s not burst Putin’s bubble… On second thought, that guy’s a jerk, so let’s poke some holes in his sails by reviewing past Russian weapons that were massively overhyped.
1. MiG-25 Foxbat
The performance specs on this plane were impressive. According to MilitaryFactory.com, it had a top speed of 2,170 miles per hour and could reach altitudes in excess of 80,000 feet. It packed four AA-6 Acrid air-to-air missiles and could also carry the AA-7 Apex and AA-8 Aphid. Its purpose was to counter the planned B-70 Valkyrie, but the Valkyrie never got past the prototype stage. As a consequence, the Foxbat ended up a plane without a mission.
America got a close look at a MiG-25 when one was flown to Japan, and they breathed easily as they learned just how primitive some of the onboard technology was. The MiG-25 never did that well in combat. It may have scored a kill in Desert Storm and did kill a Predator in 2002, but two were killed by Air Force F-15s during Desert Storm and a third was shot down shortly afterward by an F-16.
2. T-72 main battle tank
People had their suspicions after the Israelis handled Syrian T-72s with no problem in 1982. During Desert Storm, though, is when this tank was officially declared all hype. In one incident, as recounted in Tom Clancy’s Armored Cav, a T-72 fired a main-gun round at an M1A1 Abrams from roughly 400 yards. The round bounced off and left a groove in the armor. The offending T-72 didn’t survive return fire from the Abrams.
The Soviets — and Russians — have built a lot of T-72s, and the tank is still widely used. It’s cheap, it’s kinda simple, and it only needs three crewmen. The late Tom Clancy put it best in a 1996 USENET post after taking one for a test drive, saying, “to call this beast a dog is an insult to Pluto.”
3. MiG-29 Fulcrum
The Soviet Union was desperate to counter the F-14, F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 in the late 1970s and through the 1980s. That was why they developed the Su-27 and MiG-29. But when the time came for the Fulcrum to step up… well, let’s just say a lot of MiG-29 parts have been “distributed,” mostly over Iraq, Kuwait, and Serbia.
The MiG-29 did see some limited success in the mid-to-late 1990s, but it was still overhyped. A Cuban MiG-29 blew a pair of unarmed, propeller-driven planes flown by Brothers to the Rescue out of the sky, while Eritrean MiG-29s shot down three MiG-21s and a MiG-23 in exchange for anywhere from five to seven Fulcrums. On second though, ‘success’ might not be the right word.
4. Alfa-class nuclear submarine
This sub was fast, able to go over 40 knots, and it was small, weighing about 3,200 tons. It had six 21-inch torpedo tubes, allowing it to pack a punch with 18 torpedoes. There was one problem, though: It was noisy. Very noisy. In submarine warfare, where the primary sensors are sonar, that’s a fatal flaw.
The Alfa-class subs never saw combat, but they did star in some of Tom Clancy’s earliest books. Two sank in The Hunt for Red October, one in a reactor accident the other after being rammed. A third Alfa sank two American subs before a British sub put it on the bottom.
The Alfa-class sub was the hot rod of submarines — and it was as noisy as a hot rod. (DOD photo)
Think about these four platforms before you panic over Putin’s latest pronouncements.
Movies would have you believe that every unit has a guy nicknamed “Hawkeye” or “Snake” or some other generic, tough name. As fun as films and video games make those monikers seem, it just doesn’t work that way in real life.
In actuality, nicknames fall into one of four categories: Either the troop is a freakin’ legend, it’s the unit’s name plus a number or letter, it’s just a shortened version of their last name, or it’s an insult in disguise.
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Even with all of The Punisher swag that Chris Kyle wore, he never insisted that anyone call him “The Punisher” — even if he was one of the few people on Earth worthy of that title.
Let’s kick this list off with the freakin’ legends. Take Secretary of Defense James “Warrior Monk” Mattis for example. He’s a highly revered military mind within the U.S. Armed Forces and his nickname reflects that.
As is the case with most nicknames, they’re typically invented and popularized by others — not by the legends themselves. These nicknames are even more intimidating when they’re created by the enemy. Chris “the Legend” Kyle, for example, was known as “Al-Shaitan Ramad,” which translates into “the Devil of Ramadi.”
The reason why both Kyle and Mattis have such badass nicknames is because they earned them.
Why, yes. They do call me “Romeo” for a reason…
(Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)
People often confuse nicknames with call signs, so let’s hash the difference right now. Call signs are official unit designations given to members of the chain of command. Sometimes, a call sign will become more familiar than your own name.
If you’re, let’s say, the company commander of the alpha company “Spartans,” you’ll get the designation of “Spartan 6.” The XO gets “Spartan 5,” Senior Enlisted gets “Spartan 7,” and so on. Drivers, gunners, and radio operators can swap out the number designation for D, G, and R, respectively.
“Hey, Ski!” “…which one?”
(Photo by Sgt. Lauren Harrah)
Butchered last name
The next nickname variation is especially terrible if your last name is anything outside of the standard, common English name. Unless you’re a “Smith” or a “Brown” or a “Johnson,” no one is going to try to pronounce what’s on your name tape — no matter how phonetically simple it may seem.
A whole nine letters broken into three syllables — you know, something simple like Milzarski (pronounced Mil-zar-ski) is too complicated. So, most will just shorten it to “Ski.” Good luck if there’s more than one Polish troop in the squad. Not that I’m ranting or anything…
If it’s dumb and it sounds like an insult, don’t take it personally. It’s meant with brotherly love.
Remember when you screwed up?
The most common way to get yourself a nickname of your very own is to f*ck up. Don’t worry if it’s not a record-shattering mistake — people will constantly remind you of what you did. It’s not pleasant and it’s usually a way to rib one another, but you don’t want to be known as “Fumbles” by everyone.
Don’t worry if you get one of these dumb names. It’ll pass as soon as you PCS or ETS.
There are currently 20 aircraft carriers in service with nine different countries around the world today. Five of those countries are currently building new aircraft carriers, which are expected to take to the seas in the next few decades.
The US, UK, China, India, and Italy are all either in the process of building new flattops or are in the final stages of planning. Aircraft carriers that support fixed-wing, smaller helicopters are being built and may be upgraded to carry aircraft, like the F-35B, which has vertical take-off and landing capabilities.
See the newest aircraft carriers here:
1. USS Gerald R. Ford
The USS Gerald R. Ford was laid down in November 2009, completed in October 2013, and commissioned in July 2017. It is the lead ship of its class and is planned to be the first of 10 new aircraft carriers.
The ship has a number of new technologies, like the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, which is intended to replace the steam-powered launch system on current aircraft carriers.
With a length of 1,106 feet, Ford is expected to carry over 75 individual aircraft, with most of them planned to be F-35 variants. However, due to technical and delivery issues, Ford will likely not see F-35s on her deck until late 2018 at the earliest.
Ford recently tested launching F/A-18F Super Hornets off of its deck. It is expected to be fully operational and integrated and into the US Navy by 2022.
2. USS John F. Kennedy
USS John F. Kennedy is the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier to be built for the US Navy. The ship was reportedly 50% structurally complete as of June 2017.
Kennedy is currently under construction at a Huntington Ingalls Industries facility in Newport News, Virginia. The carrier was originally supposed to be completed in 2018, but it ran into a number of problems during construction.
Most of the problems stem from cost issues relating to the Gerald R. Ford. Ford had a cost increase of 22%, topping $12.8 billion in 2008.
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended delaying the commissioning of the ship in 2013. It is now expected to be commissioned in 2020.
3. USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise is the third Gerald R. Ford-class carrier currently being built. The first cut of steel was cut in a ceremony August 2017 by the ship’s sponsors, Olympians Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles.
Enterprise will the be the ninth vessel in the US Navy to have the name. The previous ship was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ever built and was decommissioned February 2018.
Like the Ford and the Kennedy, Enterprise expected to carry over 75 aircraft.
4. HMS Queen Elizabeth
Commissioned in 2017, HMS Queen Elizabeth is the newest aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, and currently Britain’s only active one as well.
Queen Elizabeth is unique from other carriers in that she has two control towers, one for sea operations, and one for air operations.
With a deck that is 932 feet long, Queen Elizabeth is intended to have up to 40 aircraft, with the F-35 being the main fixed-wing jet for the ship. Other aircraft planned to be included are Chinook helicopters, Apache AH MK1 gunships, AW101 Merlin transport helicopters, and AW159 Wildcat anti-surface warfare helicopters.
Queen Elizabeth docked for the first time at an overseas port on February 2018, when it visited Gibraltar.
5. HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Prince of Wales is Britain’s second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier. It is currently under construction at the Rosyth Dockyard in Scotland and will be Britain’s second aircraft carrier when complete.
Prince of Wales was officially named at a ceremony September 2017, which was attended by the current Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Rothesay.
December 2017, Prince of Wales un-docked and was afloat for the first time. The carrier was moved to her fitting-out berth, where she will have all of her equipment and controls added on.
The carrier is structurally complete and is expected to start sea trials in 2019 and be officially commissioned in 2020.
Liaoning is the Peoples Liberation Army Navy’s first combat-capable aircraft carrier. China had bought other aircraft carriers before to use as casinos and museum ships, but it wasn’t until it purchased a half-built Soviet carrier in 1998 that China seriously started its carrier program.
Liaoning is 999 feet long and has an air wing of 26 Shenyang J-15 multi-role fighters, 12 Changhe Z-18 anti-submarine warfare/transport helicopters, and two Harbin Z-9 utility helicopters.
The carrier was commissioned in 2012, and although the Liaoning is a fully functional aircraft carrier, it is currently classified as a training ship, so as to help the Chinese Navy (PLAN) become familiar with aircraft carrier operations.
The Type 001A is China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier. Initial construction started almost immediately after Liaoning was commissioned, and it has a number of improvements over its Soviet-built predecessor.
Most notably, the Type 001A has an overall length of 1,033 feet and is planned to carry 48 aircraft.
It is not known what the Type 001A will be named, but there was speculation that it will be named ‘Shandong.’ The carrier is currently being fitted out at the PLAN port in Dalian and is expected to be commissioned around 2020.
8. Type 002
The Type 002 will be China’s second domestically-built aircraft carrier, and the third in its fleet. It has been under construction since 2015 and is reportedly a massive leap forward for China’s aircraft carrier ambitions.
The Type 002 will be nuclear powered, which will make China only the third nation in the world to have nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the first two being the US and France.
The carrier will also have electromagnetic (EMALS) catapults to launch aircraft from its deck, which is expected to be longer than the Liaoning.
The EMALS systems will allow the carrier to launch more than just J-15s, the only jet that can be launched on China’s other two carriers. In fact, China announced that it wants its future aircraft carriers to launch its J-31 or J-20 stealth jets.
China announced that it intends to speed the development of the unnamed Type 002, which is part of its plans to have a “blue-water navy” by 2025.
9. INS Vikramaditya
INS Vikramaditya is currently India’s only aircraft carrier after India retired the INS Viraat in early 2017.
A heavily modified Kiev-class, it was originally built for the Soviet Navy in 1982 and served the Soviet Union under two names: Baku from 1987 to 1991, and Admiral Gorshkov from 1991 to 1996.
The carrier entered full service in the Indian Navy in 2013, after extensive modernization efforts.
Vikramaditya is 930 feet long and carries a total of 36 aircraft: 26 MiG-29K and 10 Kamov Ka-31 and Kamov Ka-28 helicopters. It is also the first ship in the Indian Navy to have an ATM on board.
1o. INS Vikrant
INS Vikrant is India’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier, and the first ship in the Indian Navy to be built completely using domestically-produced steel.
The carrier was ordered in 2004, and initial construction started in 2009. It is shorter than the Vikramaditya, with a total length of 860 feet. It will reportedly be able to carry 30 to 40 aircraft, mostly MiG-29Ks and helicopters.
The Vikrant has been the cause of a lot of headaches for India. It was delayed several times and has gone over budget, but is expected to finally start two years of sea trials by the end of 2018. It is planned to be commissioned in 2020.
Trieste will be Italy’s third aircraft carrier, after the Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Cavour. The Trieste is not a traditional aircraft carrier, but a Landing Helicopter Dock, more similar to the US Navy’s America-class amphibious assault ship.
Its total length is 803 feet, smaller than the America-class. It will hold 12 aircraft, probably AgustaWestland AW101s or NHIndustries NH90.
But the Italian Navy may put a small number of F-35Bs, the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the F-35, on the Trieste, which would make it a conventional aircraft carrier that can carry fixed-wing aircraft.
Italy currently has San Giorgio-class amphibious transport docks.
Trieste is expected to be launched in 2019, and commissioned in 2022.
12. ROKS Marado
Like the Trieste, South Korea’s ROKS Marado is an amphibious assault ship. Construction started April 2017 and it is expected to be launched just a year later, in April 2018.
Current plans are to have Morado commissioned by 2020, which will make it South Korea’s second Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships, behind ROKS Dokdo, which was commissioned in July of 2007.
At 653 feet, the Morado can currently carry 10 helicopters like the UH-1H, UH-60P or the Westland Super Lynx. However, like Italy, South Korea is debating putting F-35Bs on the ships as well.
We all make mistakes. Sometimes we all make mistakes together. And when we all make mistakes sometimes punishing us isn’t worth the time, effort and money. Depending on the severity of the crime, it might be more efficient to just give us all a mulligan and call the whole thing off.
The U.S.Department of Defense is familiar with this sort of calculus. Between Selective Service (aka “The Draft”) with civilians and the crimes unique to military personnel, problems with the application of laws involving the military are bound to happen. Sometimes they happened en masse. In those instances, the government has decided it would be better not to prosecute or the law became unenforceable because so many people committed the crime. It’s rare, but it happened. Here are five times where we were forgiven our trespasses:
1. Adultery (by the masses)
The list of email addresses released by hacktivists The Impact Group included thousands of .mil addresses. This means military members actually used their military email accounts to sign up for Ashley Madison, a site designed to facilitate adultery, which is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), punishable by a year in confinement and a dishonorable discharge.
Among these were 250 addresses from various aircraft carriers, addresses from every destroyer and amphibious assault ship in the Navy, 1,665 navy.mil and 809 usmc.mil addresses, 54 af.mil addresses, and 46 uscg.mil addresses. The Army was the most impressive, with 6,788 army.mil addresses signed up. At first, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said DoD would investigate but the Pentagon has since decided not to, since there would be no proof of actual adultery and simply signing up for a website isn’t a crime.
After 18 years, the policy governing homosexuality in the U.S. military known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was repealed. In response to the repeal, the Army issued a statement saying simply “the law is repealed” and reminded soldiers to treat each other fairly.
The thing is being gay is not in itself a crime under the UCMJ, but the way homosexuals have sex is, under Article 125. Homosexuals were simply given an “Other than Honorable” discharge. With more than 66,000 gay and lesbian men and women in uniform, trying to control the way they have sex becomes problematic after a while. Now with the DADT repeal, former service members are allowed to reenlist, but their cases will not be given priority. Officials have so far failed to address how all of this affects Article 125 of the UCMJ.
3. Dodging the draft
On January 21, 1977, newly-elected President Jimmy Carter granted a full pardon to hundreds of thousands of American men who evaded the Vietnam War draft by fleeing the country or not registering. Carter campaigned on this promise in an effort to help heal the country from the cultural rift the war created.
Most fled to Canada, where they were eventually welcomed as immigrants. Exempt from the pardon were deserters from the U.S. Army who met their obligation and then fled. 50,000 Americans became Canadian during the draft, facing prosecution if they returned home.
4. Seceding from the Union
In the most egregious example of getting away with flaunting the rules (to put it mildly), in 1872 Congress passed a bill signed by then-President Ulysses S. Grant which restored voting rights and the right to hold public office to all but 500 members of the Southern Confederacy during the Civil War.
The original act restricting the rights of former Confederates was passed in 1866. The act covered more than 150,000 former Confederate troops. The 500 who were still restricted were among the top leadership of the Confederacy.
5. Illegal Immigration
This one hasn’t happened yet but the discussion is very serious. The current version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains a controversial plan to allow illegal immigrants with deportation deferments to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. U.S. military veterans currently serving in the House of Representatives offer bipartisan public support for the provision.
The NDAA as is faces significant challenges in the entire Congress. Last year, Representatives Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), a Desert Storm veteran and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq War veteran entered a similar bill, called the ENLIST Act, which would have had the same provisions but it was quickly sidelined.
When the time comes to get out of the house and hit the road for a few days to reach a safe place, what do you take with you? What if you lived in Washington D.C. and need to get to your cousin’s house in Charleston, West Virginia, among the throngs of frightened masses choking the roadways and buying up all the supplies during a natural disaster? A simple answer is a bug out bag.
Bug out bags are just what the name implies — bags you and your family can grab at a moment’s notice and bug out of the area. A bug out bag can get you through a few days by itself, but it’s a temporary means to an end. The water and food will eventually run out so you have to pack one in a methodical manner that meets your expectations and criteria. When prepping bags, it’s important to keep in mind a few things:
What is the threat? What are you running from? Where are you running to?
What is the environment? A bug out bag for a family living in the Everglades is not going to look much like a bug out bag for a family living in Anchorage. Determine what it is you need the most of — water, heat, food, etc?
How much can you and your family carry? If you’re a big guy and can carry a lot, then by all means find a large rucksack and maximize it. But if you have kids (who should all be carrying their own bags), take their capabilities into account and pack accordingly.
Be redundant. That old cliché “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is very true of bug out bags. Let’s say you and your family are crossing a stream and one bag gets lost down river. If that bag had the only Epi Pen for your allergic son, you’ve just made your situation worse.
I have three kids and packed each of them a bag according to how much they can carry and what they would need to survive in the Northern Virginia area for 5 days with no assistance. Our area has a lot of natural water sources, so I’m not overly concerned with finding water. All three bags have the following basics:
2. Five days of meals
For food preparation, I have included a small folding stove, a canteen cup, and 2 cans of camp fuel or heat tabs is great for boiling water for freeze dried meals.
One set of steel utensils or a multi-use eating tool is a must.
3. Fire making materials
4. Items to keep you warm and dry
6. First aid kit
Make sure you include basic meds and specific meds for each particular person. Each bag has a travel container of Neosporin, Advil, Tylenol, Benadryl, Orajel, Blistex, Dayquil, Nyquil, Gold Bond, insect wipes, sun block, and a protective mask. One of my sons requires an inhaler and an Epi Pen, as well.
Hygiene is more important than you think. Besides fighting off bacteria and infections, a basic cleaning can raise your morale. Each bag should have a small travel pack of toothpaste, toothbrush, body wash, baby wipes, tissues, a cloth, and hand sanitizer. Add other items as needed.
7. Tools and Weapons
A few more miscellaneous things:
Toss in a whistle with a compass, a deck of cards, a notepad, a signal mirror, a signal flag, a NIOSH approved face mask, and a watch that doesn’t need a battery. A small survival manual is a good idea if you can find one.
Include three pairs of underwear and socks per person. If you can fit a change of clothes, do so.
As for basic communications, everyone has a cell phone nowadays, which is good and bad. They provide immediate communications, but the networks they rely on can be knocked out easily. Backup comms are a must. A simple battery operated radio with a limited range in each bag provides short range comms and most importantly, can help avoid family members getting separated.
I keep an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) on the outside of my ruck so it can be accessed easily. If I’m injured, I want my kids to be able to get to it and treat me without having to dig through the ruck. I also keep my ammo on the outside for easy access.
I carry a small tent and, just to be safe, I put an extra set of my son’s prescription meds in my ruck. I keep my ruck in the car because I’d rather have it with me at work and on vacations than sitting in my basement where it doesn’t do anyone any good. Also, if I find myself in a survival situation (snowstorm, car failure, zombie apocalypse, etc) I’m ready.
There are a lot of companies that sell pre-packed bug out bags that are a great start, but I encourage you to customize them to your situation and environment. I highly recommend my friend Tim Kennedy’s Sheepdog Response website.
R. Lee Ermey is perhaps the most iconic Marine turned actor, notably for his vile-mouthed, brutal-yet-realistic portrayal of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.”
If his Drill Instructor stare doesn’t whip you into a hardened killing machine in his live action roles, his voice alone will make you unf-ck yourself and stand at the “Gaht-Dayum” position of attention.
His voice acting would elevate your gaming experience and make playing them so much better. Here is why.
1. You will get things done
There’s hardly any video game character more annoying than Legend of Zelda’s Navi.
The Great Deku Tree senses evil approaching Hyrule. Instead of waking up to the annoying sound of: “The Great Deku Tree asked me to be your partner from now on. Nice to meet you,” imagine if you heard banging on a trash can and The Gunny shouting “On your feet, maggot! Reveille!”
Hyrule would be saved faster than you can say “Ooorah.”
2. You will try much harder
One of the most critically acclaimed video games of recent history is Dark Souls III; and it’s praised for intense level of difficulty.
You rest beside the bonfire before making your way back to fight the Lords of Cinder. You think you’ve finally gotten good enough to make it to the next bonfire. But then you stupidly roll off the cliff.
The sting of hearing “Any f-cking time, sweetheart” would hurt far more than reading “You Died.”
His ultimate ability would have to be his knife-hands.
4. You will be far more terrified
What’s more terrifying than realizing that no amount of bullets will work on Resident Evil 7‘s Jack when you fight in the garage? That moment you realize that the Drill Instructor is in your face for something, you know you did wrong.
May God have mercy on your soul, for he will not.
5. You will not make the same mistake twice
His voice would have worked in classic gaming with Super Mario Bros. as well. You fight your way through until you reach World 1-4. You think you’ve got this. You’ve beaten Goombas, Koopas, and even stopped Bowser.
Guess what? you just wasted everyone’s time by going to the wrong castle! Now get out there and get the right d-mn one!
6. You will learn every aspect of the game
If you expect to play online, it isn’t your weapon but a hard heart and your skill that kills. If your killer instinct is not clean and strong, you will lag at the moment of truth. You will learn from Gunny. Gunny will teach you to hone your skills and be a true killing machine.
7. Best of all, it will be authentic.
In all seriousness though, the level of authenticity would rise with the inclusion of R. Lee Ermey into any game that has anything to do with war. Think of how real “Full Metal Jacket“ was because he took over the role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman. This will happen to any game he’s included in.
The arguments have raged in the back bars of officers clubs for years about which fighter is the greatest. (And many times a pilot’s vote is for the airplane he or she happens to be flying at that time.) But in terms of staying power and mission agility, no other military airplane can match the track record of the venerable F-4 Phantom.
Here are 7 photos that prove the point:
The Phantom was the first American military jet made with air-to-air missiles as the primary offensive weapon, and over the course of the airplane’s long history that capability was used to good effect by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and a host of foreign countries including Israel, Iran, and Turkey. USAF F-4 crews alone scored over 107 kills during the Vietnam War.
The F-4’s bombing capability made it a workhorse during the Vietnam War. The Phantom’s power and number of weapons stations allowed it to carry a wide variety of ordnance, which allowed it to be tailored to a specific mission in ways that were impossible for other airplanes.
3. SAM suppression
The “Wild Weasel” variant of the F-4 had the mission of flying into surface-to-air missile envelopes in order to coax SAM operators to come to life. Once they did, the Wild Weasels would take the SAM sites out with Shrike missiles or conventional bombs, but in the process aircrews often found themselves dodging missiles shot at them from the ground.
The photo version of the Phantom had cameras in the nose cone and took advantage of the jet’s speed and agility to get important imagery to military decision-makers in a hurry.
5. Test and evaluation
Phantoms were used by NASA and a variety of military TE squadrons for data points around supersonic flight and other mission areas. At one time the F-4 held 15 world records for flight performance. Here, VX-4’s “Vandy One” with arguably the coolest paint job in military history chases an SR-71 over the Mohave Desert.
6. Flight demonstration
The F-4 was used in the late ’60s and early ’70s by both the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds. The rear cockpit was generally unoccupied for demonstration flights. The Phantom show was a crowd-pleaser — fast and loud. The airplane was ultimately too expensive and too much to maintain on the road, so the Blues switched to A-4s and the Thunderbirds went to T-38s.
7. Target drone
Look, ma, no pilot! At the end of their lives, a number of Phantoms were turned into drones for missile exercises and advanced testing.
Bonus . . . Mothballed asset
Phantom phans, take heart: There are hundreds of F-4s lined up in the Arizona desert outside of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base ready to come back into service if the need arises.
The military is always evolving and new things happen every day. With each changes comes a new set of challenges and new opportunities to succeed. Thankfully, there are many talented photographers in the community that capture these struggles and triumphs.
Here are some of those moments from this past week:
A crew chief from the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, prepares one of the unit’s F-16 “Fighting Falcons” to shut down after the aircraft arrives at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 19, 2018, in preparation for the Thunder Over Louisville air show on April 21. The Kentucky Air Guard is once again serving as the base of operations for dozens of military aircraft participating in the show, providing essential maintenance and logistical support.
Medical Soldiers participating in Eager Lion 2018 carry a simulated casualty on a litter to a UH-60 Blackhawk. The 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Charlie Company, along with the 1st Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment, Assault Helicopter Battalion conduct a medical evacuation validation for Exercise Eager Lion 2018 from King Abdullah II Air Base in Az-Zarqa, Jordan, April 14, 2018. Eager Lion is a major Exercise with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, designed to exchange military expertise and improve interoperability among partner nations.
Field grade officers and noncommissioned officers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, “Broncos,” 25th Infantry Division arrive to their first destination as part of a Mungadai exercise at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on April 17, 2018. The Mungadai is used as a Bronco Brigade leader development program is to create disciplined, trained, and ready professionals, prepared with operational and foundational knowledge, to take disciplined initiative while implementing and executing their commander’s intent.
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 1ST Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, fire an M777 Howitzer during Decisive Action Rotation 18-06 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., Apr. 16, 2018. The National Training Center allows units to integrate indirect fire into live fire training exercises, enhancing training for Army BCTs.
(U.S. Navy photo courtesy NSWG4 Public Affairs)
Special Boat Team 20 personnel execute the insertion of two Combatant Craft Assault vehicles using the Low Velocity Airdrop Delivery System during a training exercise April, 19, 2018.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams)
Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided- missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) fire a .50-caliber machine gun during a bi-lateral interoperability live-fire gunnery exercise with the Finnish guided-missile patrol craft Hamina (PTG 80) April 17, 2018. Porter, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its fifth patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.
U.S. Marine Corps Rct. Vivienne Herrera, with Platoon 4016, Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, stands with her fellow recruits after completing an obstacle during the Crucible at Parris Island, S.C. April 20, 2018. The Crucible, a 54 hour day and night test of endurance, is the final and most demanding step before earning the title of United States Marine.
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua P. Main, a rifleman assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (BLT 2/6), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), fires an M203 rifle at a simulated target during a combat mastery shooting range as part of Eager Lion 18 combat rehearsal, in Jordan, April 17, 2018. Eager Lion is a capstone training engagement that provides U.S. forces and the Jordan Armed Forces an opportunity to rehearse operating in a coalition environment and to pursue new ways to collectively address threats to regional security and improve overall maritime security.
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Kaczoroski)
A Coast Guard Station Islamorada 33-foot Special Purpose Craft—Law Enforcement boatcrew prepares to rescue a family of four from the water Sunday, April 15, 2018 in Blackwater Sound near Key Largo. The boatcrew took the family to Gilberts Marina with no reported injuries.
The very first tanks in combat rolled across the plains of Europe on Sep. 15, 1916, at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. Allied tank power only grew from there. Since the Germans most commonly found themselves on the receiving end of tank warfare, they were the ones who improvised the first responses. Here’s what they came up with:
1. Flame throwers
Flamethrowers were typically used after a tank suffered a mobility kill. A soldier with a flamethrower would approach the tank and order the crew to surrender before killing them if they didn’t. In some cases, soldiers would approach operational tanks and attempt to burn out the crew.
2. Reversed bullets
While standard rounds were nearly useless against tanks, Germans found that modifying their ammunition would let them kill tank crews at short ranges. First, the projectile was removed from the cartridge. Then, more powder was added and the projectile was put back on the cartridge backwards, with the point to the rear and the blunt side of the projectile forward.
When the rounds struck a tank at close range, they could dent in the armor with enough force that the armor would spit shrapnel into the crew area, killing and injuring the soldiers. Frequent misfires were reported though, so the Germans eventually invented armor piercing rounds.
3. Targeted artillery and mortar attacks
Artillery in World War could engage tanks with either howitzers, field guns, or mortars. Howitzers and mortars are traditionally fired “high-angle,” where they fire a shell into the air so that it falls on enemy targets, piercing the top armor when they hit tanks. In some cases, especially with mortars, desperate crews would “direct fire” their weapons at tanks.
Field guns were typically shot in direct fire mode, pointing the weapon at the enemy and attempting to punch through its hull with the force of the round. At first the German field guns only had high explosive rounds that could score mobility kills, but they eventually got armor piercing rounds that could destroy the target entirely.
Because they were already handy, grenades were some of the first weapons pressed into anti-tank warfare. While a single grenade was unlikely to destroy a tank, it could achieve a mobility kill by breaking the treads.
Later, stick grenades would be bundled together and tossed at oncoming enemy tanks. When everything went well, the combined explosive force of the grenades would break through the hull.
5. Tank obstacles
While tanks are the ultimate all-terrain vehicle, it’s still possible to carve the land so that tanks can’t roll over it. While thin trenches could be crossed with ease, very wide trenches were impassable for tanks and the Germans began digging accordingly.
6. Anti-tank rifles
The German Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr fired a large, 13.2 mm round with a steel core at 785 meters per second, easily piercing the tank armor of the day. Unfortunately, they were developed too late and in too few numbers to stem the Allied tank advance.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
A common misconception civilians have about the military is that we all have cool call signs, like Hawk-Eye, Maverick, or whatever. The truth is, if you’ve got a nickname, you’re either high enough rank to have earned one, you’re a pilot, you’re called by your unit’s name, or you did something so bad that it’s used to mock you.
If anyone calls you one of these in the military, look up the definition of sarcasm. You don’t want to earn any of these:
7. High Speed
This is the one dude who’s just trying way too hard. Maybe they got antsy when the Battalion Commander gave a speech on the range or they watched old Army recruitment commercials and decided to be “all that they can be.”
The military is based on “one team, one fight.” If you’re going WAAAAAAY above and beyond for extra brownie points, you’re ass-kissing.
This term is reserved for the kid who probably only got their name right on the ASVAB. It’s usually given out when someone does something monumentally stupid, like dry their boots in the communal dryer or actually bring an exhaust sample to the mechanics.
The nickname is more of a play on the phrase, “there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity.” Put down the crayons and read a book.
Slacking off is part of the military, but this person takes things to the next level. They just vanish like they’re freaking Casper.
Most times, there’s no issue if you’re swinging by the gas station for a drink or whatever. The moment you swing by your barracks room to play a few rounds of Call of Duty, well, you might be earning the next nickname, too…
4. Blue Falcon
Whenever anyone is willing to screw over their comrades for the sake of personal interests, they’re a Blue Falcon.
Spend five minutes in the military and you’ll know that this name isn’t a reference to the Hanna-Barbera superhero. It’s a more formal way of saying that this person is a Buddy F*cker.
Just because they sell something cool at the BX/PX/NEx/MCX/cheapo surplus store, doesn’t mean you need to buy it — but chances are this guy bought that crap.
Also called “geardo,” they stick out like a sore thumb because they’re rocking so much unauthorized gear because “it looked cool.” They look more like they’re on a civilian airsoft team than in the world’s most elite fighting force.
2. (whatever) Ranger
In the Army, Rangers are some of the biggest badasses. However, if they have a qualifier, such as “Sick Call” Ranger, then you know they ride the hell out of the ability to go to sick call. PX Ranger is the guy who buys everything they can from the PX (especially if it’s unauthorized). PowerPoint Ranger is that high-speed butter bar who spent hours on a slideshow that put everyone to sleep. The list goes on.
No one thinks they’re a fraction of the badassery of actual Rangers.
1. Desert Queen
This one, is uh — to put it politely — the woman who enjoys getting the most attention while deployed. Don’t. Just don’t.
If you’re a woman who gets called this, knock a motherf*cker’s teeth out.