5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed - We Are The Mighty
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5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

Getting snacks and coffee via care packages is nice, but sometimes what you really need is a little personal space in the middle of a war zone.


Depending on your rank and branch of service, you get more luxuries. The standard grunt in the formation, however, gets a bunk and a foot or two of space that you share with everyone else in your tiny tent.

Here are the little ways troops try to make their bunk their own, despite the conditions.

1. Hard drive full of movies and TV shows

There’s basically nothing to do on your downtime while deployed. Shocker, I know.

Everyone picks up a hard drive so they can pull movies off of each other. After a while, everyone in the unit has pretty much the same collection. So, troops will start by watching everything they care to watch… and then they’ll finish by watching everything they don’t.

 

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
If it’s playing at the USO tent, you’ll probably watch it. (Photo by 1st Lt. Janeene Yarber)

2. Extra tough boxes

When you’re trying to set up your “space,” you’ll need more storage than just your duffle bag.

Tough boxes serve multiple purposes in addition to being a place for all your crap: Table, desk, chair, an end table to place family photos, a divider to cordon off your side of the tent — whatever’s clever.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
And they’re perfect for the return back stateside! (Photo by Spc. Zane Craig)

3. Cameras

It’s not just the combat cameramen who get into photography while deployed. Plenty of troops take photos so they can try to make the “most perfect deployment video ever!”

Every photo is basically just the guys hanging out — an average day while doing military stuff. Rarely do troops capture the awesome combat videos they dream up. If you do, the CO will scrub it down. If they don’t, you’ll probably put “Bodies” by Drowning Pool in the background.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Or Metallica… or Godsmack… or Toby Keith… (Photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane)

4. Armor displays

POGs probably won’t set them up, but once someone in the unit grabs some extra wood to create an easy set-up for their armor, everyone else will follow suit.

All it takes is some spare 2x4s. Make ’em into a cross, give it a base, and you can easily grab your gear when it’s time to make a gun run.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Perfect for the grunt on the move.

5. Beach chairs

The same exact chairs you’ll see covering the sandy beaches of the States are also everywhere in GI tents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These are cheap as hell, and yet troops will still sit on the same broken-down chair they bought off the unit before them.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
These same chairs are probably still in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nichole Adamowicz)

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4 of the worst things you can stalk through as a Scout Sniper

Scout Snipers are some of the most elite warfighters on the planet. Often serving a unit’s personal team of spy-assassins, they’re trained to be self-sufficient, resilient, and deadly silent.


Whether they’re sent to collect intelligence or precisely remove specific members of a certain population, you won’t know they’re there until it’s far too late. But snipers don’t have the ability to teleport to a vantage point (not yet, at least) — they have to get there somehow. That’s where stalking comes in.

It’s their way of getting from point A to point B while avoiding detection by the enemy on which they prey (hence the term ‘stalking’), and it can put them in some really uncomfortable situations.

Here are some of the worst things you can stalk through as a sniper.

Related: 7 things all troops should know before becoming a sniper

1. Your poop

When you need to go, you need to go. When you’re a sniper, there isn’t always time to dig a hole or find some nice spot to drop your payload. Sometimes, you just have to drop your trousers and go.

But, when you inevitably find yourself stalking through that same place a week or so later, you may forget about it for just long enough to realize you’re crawling right through it.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Maybe write down the map coordinates so you know not to go through there. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ricky S. Gomez)

2. Someone else’s poop

Hopefully, you’re stalking through someplace that offers plenty of concealment. Unfortunately, if it’s a good place for sneakin’, someone else may have been there before you. That someone, maybe an enemy, maybe a friend, might have felt the undying urge to let it go right then and there.

Again, you probably won’t even know it’s there until you’re laying directly on top of it.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
And this is the face you’ll make when you realize what’s happened. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Lance Cpl. Juan C. Bustos)

3. Fire ants

Snipers are fearless and they feel no pain. But it’s still unpleasant to find a good spot to take a shot at your target and realize you’ve become one yourself — to a colony of angry fire ants.

They’re probably pissed that you just destroyed the mound they’ve been working on all day and now they have to rebuild — but they’ll probably sting you first.

Also read: This Marine Was The ‘American Sniper’ Of The Vietnam War

4. Frozen streams or ponds

When you find yourself stalking to a vantage point, depending on where you are in the world, there might be some bodies of water between you and your destination. So, it makes a lot of sense that you might have to go through the water to get to your objective.

Just make sure you have a dry set of clothes ready before you leave so you can immediately change when you come back… whenever that may be.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Any clime and place, right? (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra)

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8 troops who are having a terrible day

1. This guy tasked with vacuuming the dirt off the parking lot for punishment.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed


2. Or this guy who got it worse, he has to mop up the water during a rain storm.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

3. This Chinese soldier made to stand at attention at needlepoint.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

4. This Marine getting pepper sprayed during OC spray training.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: Cpl. Manuel A. Estrada/USMC

5. These Army recruits training in the gas chamber.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Shaw Jr.

6. These Marines PTing while wearing M50 gas masks.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

 

7. These guys trying to pull a three-ton humvee out of the mud.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

 

8. This Marine passed out in the dirt.

 

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Lists

6 pieces of gear you won’t believe the military used

Military budgets can contain some surprising items. These six pieces of gear probably raised some eyebrows when they were purchased.


1. Skateboards

 

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Vallee

Skateboards were tested during Urban Warrior ’99 for potential use in detecting booby traps and avoiding sniper fire. Documents from the exercise don’t discuss how the “urban combat skateboard” was to be employed, but the boards never made it to full fielding.

2. Go-karts

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Jason Hull

The ultra-lightweight combat vehicle is currently in testing with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, but earlier versions have already seen combat with special operations troops in Afghanistan. The vehicles are easily delivered by air and can be used by paratroopers to quickly move around a drop zone, allowing them to mass forces for an assault, quickly move crew-served weapons around the battlefield, and evacuate wounded troops to a casualty collection point.

3. Video game controllers

Since more than half of adults play video games and the average gamer plays 6.3 hours per week, it’s no surprise that many service members are handy with video game controllers. The military is capitalizing on that by using video game controllers to replace unintuitive controls for certain weapons systems and drones.

4. Radioactive identification markers

Small, radioactive markers were worn by some World War II squad leaders so their troops could follow them easily at night. The “luminous discs” were painted with radium. After being exposed to light for a short period, they’d emit a glow for hours. Experiments with the technology dated back to 1912 when the Army was testing them for cavalry units.

5. Skis

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Michael Selvage

Quite a few modern militaries use ski troops, including three branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: The Navy, Marine Corps, and Army. The training and equipment allows the service members to move quickly in winter, mountain, and arctic environments.

6. Children’s toys

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Gloumouth1

When Allied paratroopers jumped into Normandy on D-Day, they needed a way to identify each other in the dark behind German lines. Military planners came up with brass versions of a common children’s toy, the cricket noise maker. Troops would click the noisemaker while near an unknown person in the dark. If the other person responded with a click or code word, the soldiers knew each other as friendly.

NOW: 8 genius military uses for civilian products

OR: DARPA’s new android app can call in air strikes

Articles

5 nuggets of wisdom in ‘Black Hawk Down’ you may have missed

In 1993, US forces consisting of Army Rangers and Delta Force commandos stormed into Mogadishu, Somalia, to capture warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and key members of his militia.


During the raid, two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down, 18 Americans were killed, and 73 were wounded.

Director Ridley Scott brought the heroic story to the big screen in 2001’s “Black Hawk Down” which portrays aspects of the power of human will and brotherly bonds between the soldiers in the fight.

Peel back the layers of the film and check out a few nuggets of wisdom you may have missed in the story.

Related: Here’s how Hollywood turns actors into military operators

1. Never underestimate the enemy

US forces tend to believe because a nation is poor, they don’t have any fight in them. Remember that the enemies we typically fight have home field advantage.

2. Don’t f*ck with Delta Force

Enough said — and probably the coolest line in the movie.

3. Understanding what you can’t control

It’s a common misconception that the ground troops know why they’re sent to a fight.

The truth is — there’s always a mission behind the mission. But that doesn’t matter, because it boils down in the end to surviving and taking care of your men. That’s real leadership.

4. Life doesn’t always make sense

After watching one of the hardest scenes in the film, a Ranger’s death, Sgt. Eversmann (played by Josh Hartnett) questions himself and over-analyzes his own leadership. Honestly, no matter how much you train, you can’t predict sh*t.

Also Read: 5 military myths that Hollywood has taught us to believe are true

5. Why we do it

It’s nice to be told “thank you for your service” by civilians every now and again, but truthfully we don’t like it. Hoot (played by Eric Bana) clears it up in one line — why grunts do what they do.

Can you think of any others? Comment below.

Articles

7 ways military rations used to be a lot better

Military scientists work tirelessly to make modern rations as light, nutritious, and healthy as possible for the warfighter. But they don’t seem to care about them being awesome at all. Here are 7 things they’ve removed from the menu that modern troops may enjoy.


1. Liquor

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: Wikipedia/Bbadgett

From the Revolutionary War through 1832, soldiers received a “spirits ration” of rum, brandy, or whiskey. The standard spirits ration was replaced with coffee and sugar, but leaders could still order special alcohol rations for their soldiers until 1865 when an order from the War Department discontinued the practice.

2. Cigarettes

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: US Army Signal Corps

Cigarettes were included in soldier rations from World War II until 1975.

3. Meals made almost entirely of candy

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: Wikipedia/Hershey’s

The assault ration of World War II contained chocolate, caramel, chewing gum, peanuts, and dried fruit as well as cigarettes, salt tablets, and water-purification tablets. They provided between 1,500 and 2,000 calories but were obviously lacking in important nutrients like protein, vitamins, and everything else that isn’t sugar.

4. Spice packs

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: US Army Signal Corps

Expert field cooks know to bring packets of spices with them to the field, but soldiers used to have them issued. The smallest pack was devised in World War II and served 100 soldiers for 10 days, so soldiers still had to make it to the company headquarters or higher to use the spices.

5. Field cooking equipment

Troops in the Revolutionary War through the Civil War were issued cooking gear. Usually, one out of every five or so soldiers would receive the cooking gear and soldiers would cook as a group. This allowed them to add ingredients they found on the march by just tossing them into the pot.

6. Soap

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: Wikipedia

Troops today are expected to wash with baby wipes collected from care packages and purchased from the exchange, but soldiers from the Revolutionary War through World War II got soap in their rations. The quantity issued varied between .183 ounces up to .64 ounces per day.

7. Extremely high-calorie rations

MREs contain about 1,250 calories each and troops can eat three per day on operations for 3,750 calories. Back in World War II, the Army issued rations with 4,800 calories per person, per day, so there were probably fewer complaints about still being hungry after the meal. But these weren’t nice presents from the Army. These were “Mountain Rations” designed specifically for men cross-country skiing and mountain climbing. There was a similar ration for jungle combat that contained 4,000 calories.

Lists

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense

Elite special forces are some of the best-trained and most formidable units a country can boast.


They go where other soldiers fear to tread, scoping out potential threats, taking out strategic targets, and conducting daring rescue missions.

These really are the best of the best.

Although it’s extremely difficult to rank these forces relative to one another, there are some units that rise above the rest in their track record and the fear they instill in their adversaries. These soldiers have been through rigorous training exercises designed to weed out those who can’t hit their exacting standards.

In a world where the importance of the sheer size of a country’s military forces is no longer a guide to their effectiveness, these soldiers are the ones states look to in order to get the job done.

8. The Special Services Group, SSG, in Pakistan is better known in the country as the “Black Storks” because of the commandos’ unique headgear. Training reportedly includes a 36-mile march in 12 hours and a five-mile run in 50 minutes in full gear.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: YouTube screen shot

In October 2009, SSG commandos stormed an office building and rescued 39 people taken hostage by suspected Taliban militants after an attack on the army’s headquarters.

7. Spain’s Unidad de Operaciones Especiales, or the Naval Special Warfare Force as it has become since 2009, has long been one of Europe’s best-respected special forces. Originally established as the volunteer Amphibious Climbing Company unit in 1952, it has since followed the SAS’s example to become an elite fighting force.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: YouTube

Earning the UOE green beret, however, is a big ask with the failure rate of candidates averaging between 70% and 80%. It’s not uncommon for 100% of would-be new recruits to be rejected.

6. Russia’s Alpha Group is one of the best-known special forces units in the world. This elite antiterrorism unit was created by the KGB in 1974 and remains under its modern-day counterpart, the FSB.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Russian special forces, and the Alpha Group in particular, came under criticism during the 2002 Moscow hostage crisis in which 129 hostages died from the effects of the gas used to knock out militants who had seized a theatre.

5. Of all the counterterrorism forces in the world, few can compete with France’s National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN). The group is 200 strong and trained specifically to respond to hostage situations. They claim to have freed over 600 people since they were formed in 1973. It is against French law to publish pictures of their faces.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: YouTube

One of the most extraordinary episodes in the GIGN’s history was the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979. Because of the prohibition on non-Muslims entering the holy city, a team of three GIGN commandos briefly converted to Islam before helping the Saudi armed forces to plan the recapture of the mosque.

4. Israel’s Sayeret Matkal is another of the world’s most elite units. Its primary purpose is intelligence gathering, and it often operates deep behind enemy lines. During the selection camp (Gibbush), would-be recruits endure hardcore training exercises while being constantly monitored by doctors and psychologists. Only the strongest get in.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: YouTube

In 2003, Israeli taxi driver Eliyahu Gurel was kidnapped after transporting four Palestinians to Jerusalem in his cab. But the Sayeret Matkal unit located and rescued him from a 10-meter-deep pit in an abandoned factory in a suburb of Ramallah.

3. The British Special Air Service (or SAS as they are more commonly known) are the infantry counterparts to the SBS. Their insignia bears the famous phrase “Who dares wins.” Asked about the importance of the SAS’s role in the fighting that followed the Iraq war, US Gen. Stanley McChrystal responded: “Essential. Could not have done it without them.”

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: YouTube

2. The UK equivalent of the Navy SEALS is the Special Boat Service. The selection process involves a grueling endurance test, jungle training in the rainforests of Belize, and combat survival training, which involves intense interrogation of candidates. And you get only two attempts to pass.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: YouTube

1. Last up, the US Navy SEALs. To join their ranks, you have to be able to do a minimum of 42 push-ups in two minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes, and run 1.5 miles in 11 minutes. And that’s before training starts.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BONUS: The US Marines are hardcore in their own right. Below, a US Marine drinks the blood of a cobra during a jungle survival exercise with the Thai Navy as part of the “Cobra Gold 2014” joint military exercise.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Photo Credit: Cpl. Isaac Ibarra/USMC

More from Business Insider:

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

Articles

39 horrible technical errors in ‘GI Jane’

Ridley Scott’s “G.I. Jane” gave audiences an inside look into Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, with Demi Moore starring as a female trainee.


Except it’s not called BUD/S — the movie calls it CRT for some reason — and the technical errors don’t stop there. We sat through two hours of sometimes horrific technical errors so you don’t have to. Here’s the 39 that we found.

1:53 Senator DeHaven references an F-14 crash at Coronado. Although it is possible that an F-14 could crash in the area, it’s worth pointing out that Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, has no F-14s assigned to it.

3:00 The senator says that nearly 1/4 of all jobs in the U.S. military are off-limits to women. It’s actually much closer to 1/5th.

4:31 The admiral makes the first mention of “C.R.T — Combined Reconnaissance Team,” which he refers to as SEALs. There’s no such thing as CRT. The training program that Navy SEALs go through is called BUD/S, or Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL.

4:37 The admiral says SEAL training has a 60 percent drop-out rate. According to the Navy’s own figures, the drop-out rate is closer to 75-80 percent.

11:50 O’Neill says she has survived Jump School and Dive School. As an intel officer, it’s highly unlikely that she would ever attend these schools.

13:13 Royce mentions to Lt. O’Neill that BUD/S training is three months. It’s actually six.

14:01 Now we’re introduced to Catalano Naval Base in Florida. It doesn’t exist. BUD/S actually takes place at the Naval Special Warfare Training Center in Coronado, Calif.

14:21 Lt. O’Neill pulls up to the base in a Humvee. If she were going to a training school, she would’ve just driven a civilian vehicle or taken a taxi from the airport like everyone else. She wouldn’t be picked up by a driver in a tactical military vehicle (although that possibility could have happened but it would’ve been a government van).

14:23 The gate guard says “Carry on.” He’s enlisted, and she’s an officer. If anyone is going to say that, it’s going to be the officer, not the enlisted guy.

14:46 Yes, Lt. O’Neill is wearing a beret right now. And no, people in the Navy don’t ever wear one.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

20:00 Capt. Salem welcomes the new class and says they are all “proven operators in the Spec-Ops community.” He mentions that some of the trainees for CRT are SEALs. Why would SEALs be going through initial SEAL training? (This is just another screw-up coming from calling BUD/S the fictional “CRT.”)

20:07 Salem mentions that some of the trainees are from Marine Corps Force Recon. You can’t become a Navy SEAL unless you’re in the Navy.

26:20 A Huey helicopter is about 10 feet away from the trainees who are exercising in the water, but Command Master Chief Urgayle can give a rousing speech about pain that everyone can hear just fine.

26:50 After his speech about pain, Urgayle hops on the Huey and heads out. I wish I could have a Huey as a personal taxi to take me around.

36:27 Using an M-60 machine gun to fire over trainees’ heads is believable. The Master Chief using a sniper rifle to fire live rounds at trainees during training? That is not.

36:31 Are you frigging serious with this reticle pattern right now?

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

36:52 This course looks less like training and more like Beirut in the 80s. What the hell is with all the flames everywhere?

37:19 Now there is a jet engine shooting afterburner exhaust in trainees’ faces. Wtf?

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

39:00 Apparently the Master Chief has moved his sniper position from away in a bunker to the perspective of Lt. O’Neill, looking up at Cortez on top of the wall.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

48:56 The instructors throw two live smoke grenades and fire rounds from an MP-5 submachine gun to wake up the trainees. The sound doesn’t really match, unless they are shooting live rounds at people. In which case, it’s probably not a good idea to shoot live bullets at a cement floor.

53:01 I know Capt. Salem really likes his cigars, but smoking one during PT?

54:19 Lt. O’Neill gets waterboarded as Urgayle explains how effective the technique is at interrogation. This is not something taught at BUD/S.

57:07 The base gate says Naval Special Warfare Group Two. The base in the movie is located in Jacksonville, Fla., but the actual Group Two is based in Little Creek, Va.

1:05:44 Now the trainees head to SERE school, which the movie says is in Captiva Island, Fla. The Navy (or any other branch) does not hold SERE training at this location. Also, BUD/S trainees don’t attend SERE school. They would attend SERE after they earned the Navy SEAL Trident.

1:06:00 Instructor Pyro is giving a speech about SERE in the back of a noisy helicopter. The trainees wouldn’t be able to hear him.

1:09:36 Lt. O’Neill says over the radio: “Cortez, target ahead. Belay my last. New rally point my location.” She didn’t give Cortez an order, so saying “belay my last” — aka disregard that order — doesn’t make sense.

1:10:00 Slavonic wants to get a helmet at SERE school for a souvenir? Sure he’s a total idiot, but no one is that dumb.

1:12:32 Now that everyone is captured at SERE training, it’s worth pointing out that SERE is actually a three-week course, one week of which is dedicated to survival. Apparently GI Jane skipped straight to resistance.

1:30:00 Why the hell is there a baseball bat just sitting there next to ring-out bell? Oh, the director wanted to make Lt. O’Neill look like a badass. Ok.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

1:40:15 Lt. O’Neill is back in training, and now the trainees are on an Operational Readiness Exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, on a submarine. The Navy isn’t going to put trainees on a sub stationed overseas before they are SEALs while they are still undergoing BUD/S training.

1:42:28 The captain asks the Master Chief if the trainees are ready to conduct a real-world mission into Libya. He says yes, and the military viewing audience is — if they haven’t already — throwing things at their TVs.

1:49:19 There’s a firefight happening and bad guys coming towards them but these almost SEALs are literally smoking and joking.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

1:54:29 An M-16 firing doesn’t sound like a .50 caliber machine gun. But it does in this movie.

1:54:53 O’Neill fires her M203. The sound it makes is basically a “thoonk” sound. The movie sound effect is like a bottle rocket.

1:55:26 Ok, so basically every sound effect in this firefight sequence makes me want to shoot the TV.

1:56:36 This Cobra attack helicopter can easily shoot the bad guys from a distance. But let’s just go to 10 feet off the ground so the enemy has a chance to shoot the pilot in the face.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

1:57:03 The helicopter crew chief just shot a bad guy with his 9mm from 100 yards or so. That’s a pistol, not a sniper rifle.

1:59:00 Master Chief hands O’Neill her SEAL Trident and says “welcome aboard.” Except it’s not a trident. It’s some weird, made-up badge that says SEAL CRT. This is purely fictional, and made all the more ridiculous by the instructors themselves not wearing that badge but wearing the SEAL Trident instead.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

1:59:23 In the very next scene after the class graduates, O’Neill is seen wearing the SEAL Trident. Except she was just handed that fake SEAL CRT Badge.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

NOW CHECK OUT: 9 military movie scenes where Hollywood got it totally wrong

Lists

18 of the greatest photos of Marines fighting America’s wars

The Marine Corps celebrates its 246st birthday on Nov. 10, 2021. Since it was formed in 1775, the Marines have fought in every major American conflict — and most of its minor ones.


Since World War I, photographers have worked to capture the bravery, grit, and tenacity that Marines bring to the battlefield. Here are 18 of the best that military journalists have captured of Devil Dogs in action:

1. Iraq

 

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
U.S. Marines with Task Force Spartan, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, on Fire Base Bell, Iraq, fire an M777A2 Howitzer at an ISIS infiltration route March 18, 2016. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Andre Dakis)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
U.S. Marine Cpl. Spencer Knudson, vehicle commander with the Combined Anti-Armor Team, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, scouts for various avenues of approach and egress points on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Akeel Austin)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
An Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) drives through a wall and locked gate on Nov. 17, 2004, to open a path for Marines assigned to 2nd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, as they gain entrance to a building that needed to be cleared in Fallujah, Iraq, during Operation Al Fajr (New Dawn). (Photo: U.S. Marines Lance Cpl. Ryan L. Jones)

2. Afghanistan

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
A Marine with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, prepares to load onto a KC-130 aircraft on the Camp Bastion flightline, Oct. 27, 2014. The battalion was the final Marine Corps infantry battalion to serve in Helmand province, Afghanistan, as the United States Marine Corps ended their operations. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Lance Cpl. Mike Carro holds security for the Marines assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1/6, after disembarking a Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter during the initial surge of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) into South Central Afghanistan on May 6, 2004. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jemssy Alvarez Jr.)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Bob J. Sise talks with Afghan children during Operation Northern Lion II in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on July 3, 2013. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Alejandro Pena)

3. Desert Storm

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Marines from Company D, 2nd Tank Battalion, drive their M-60A1 main battle tank over a sand berm on Hill 231 while rehearsing their role as part of Task Force Breach Alpha during Operation Desert Storm. The tank is fitted with reactive armor and an M-9 bulldozer kit. (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
A member of Co. A., Marine Barracks, Eighth and Eye Streets, mans an M-249 squad automatic weapon at the 2nd Marine Division Combat Operations Center (COC) during Operation Desert Storm on Feb. 8, 1991. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. J. R. Ruark)

4. Vietnam

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
A U.S. Marine Corps sniper scans his sector through his optics in the Vietnam War. (Photo: US Marine Corps archives)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Marines with Company G, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, direct a concentration of fire at the enemy during Operation Allen Brook May 8, 1968. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
A Marine is helped to an evacuation point by two buddies after he was wounded during an enemy probe of his unit’s position during Operation Dewey Canyon. Marines killed 12 North Vietnamese in the fighting northwest of the A Shau Valley. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

 

5. Korea

 

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez leads the 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines over the seawall on the northern side of Red Beach, as the second assault wave lands, Sept. 15, 1950, during the Inchon invasion. Wooden scaling ladders are in use to facilitate disembarkation from the LCVP that brought these men to the shore. Lt. Lopez was killed in action within a few minutes while assaulting a North Korean bunker. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

 

6. World War II

 

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Marines raise the first flag on Mt. Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense)

 

 

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

Marine Pfc. Douglas Lightheart (right) cradles his 30-cal. machine gun in his lap while he and his buddy, Pfc. Gerald Churchby, take time out for a cigarette while mopping up the enemy on Peleliu Is. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. H. H. Clements)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Marines take cover behind one of their medium tanks while cleaning out the northern north end of the island of Saipan on July 8, 1944. The Japanese were well dug in and making their last stand. (Photo: National Park Service)

7. World War I

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
World War I Marines in France. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Archives Special Collections)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
U.S. Marines during the Meuse-Argonne Campaign in World War I. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

Articles

The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Holiday weekend. Here’s hoping you got a good safety briefing, made responsible decisions, and have woken up fresh and ready to celebrate America. And here’s an 800mg ibuprofen and a bag of saline because we know you got hammered and tattooed “Murica” on your lower back last night.


1. Most military bases are wastelands with a few palm trees and ant mounds.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Air Force bases are magical chocolate factories.

2. Surprise, this meme was posted by a sailor.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
You know the Marines are OK with this, right?

SEE ALSO: Me as ‘vibe coordinator’ and other stories from military transition hell

3. Coast Guard officers are some intrepid individuals.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Staring down danger and slowly sliding a knife into it.

4. When you’re stuck on hold at the worst time.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Yeah, we need those guns now. Any chance we can jump the line?

5. If you wanted a cot, you should’ve joined the Army (via Marine Corps Memes).

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Marines make do.

6. Oh, did you want to go on leave? I forgot because you haven’t asked me in the last 4 seconds (via Sh*t my LPO says).

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
If it gets approved, it gets approved. Until then, maybe don’t keep asking.

7. Well, technically it does give him control over you.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Which sucks since he’s essentially a boot. A boot who can quote Shakespeare, but a boot.

8. No matter the backstory, this will turn out badly for the trainees.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Just don’t get caught watching him, recruits.

9. Most pushers can get you as high as a kite (via Marine Corps Memes).

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
This guy can get you 60,000 feet above that.

10. The weapon just had so many parts and that big spring (Coast Guard Memes).

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
He’s really just used to haze grey and a paint brush.

11. Least sexy part of the Coast Guard mission: navigational aides (via Navy Memes).

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Sexiest? Being promoted to the Navy.

 12. M4s say, “You’re not welcome,” while .50-cals say, “Stay the f*ck out.”

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

13. Are you on duty this weekend? (via Marine Corps Memes)

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Just minimize the window. We’ll be here when you get back.

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Articles

5 awful military haircuts that would fail inspection

Service members are held to a pretty high standard when it comes to grooming practices. The military requires that work uniforms look as neat as possible, men’s faces need to be clean shaven, and haircuts fall with in regulation.


Staying within these standards can be difficult, especially if you’re deployed. But for many, it’s just a matter of heading to the local base and getting a $12 haircut at the PX or NEX. The cut may not turn out celebrity style perfect, but you will be within regs.

Grooming standards vary amongst the branches, but at least one aspect remains the same — the hairline needs to be tapered. A fellow troop’s haircut is one of the first things veterans and service members notice.

Check out our list of military haircuts that would fail inspection:

1. War Daddy

In David Ayer 2014’s war movie “Fury,” Brad Pitt plays a hard-charging tank commander with a pretty awesome hair cut. But we can’t imagine how the Army managed to get a talented hair stylist out on the German front lines to keep his hair perfectly gelled.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
We guess everyone in the 1940s cut their hair like Macklemore. (Source: Sony/Screenshot)

2. American Sniper

The story of legendary Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle hit the big screen in 2014 directed by the iconic Clint Eastwood. With all the excellent production value the film had one aspect was over looked — this Marine’s sideburns.

We could mention he also needs to shave, but that’s not what this article is about — maybe next time.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
We bet he just asked the barber to take a little bit off the top before attending his big brother’s wedding. (Source: WB/Screenshot)

3. Broken Arrow

Christian Slater plays Riley Hale, a military stealth pilot who needs to track down a war head, defeat the villains, and locate a pair of Osters.

We know it makes you sad to trim around the ears, but you know what else is sad? Terrorism. Now go shave.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
This haircut is so freakin’ bad; he’s pointing out exactly what’s wrong with it. (Source: Fox/ Screenshot/YouTube)

4. Full Metal Jacket

Although this Stanley Kubrick film is epic on multiple levels, it’s a hard fact to swallow that these Marines stationed on a large military base in Vietnam can’t find a pair of hair clippers. We’re just saying.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Joker (in the middle) looks depressed as he waits on the base barber to show the f*ck up. (Source: WB/Screenshot)


5. Jarhead 3: The Siege

The Jarhead franchise just won’t stop making bad movies. Not only does the corporal standing on the left need a quick touch up, but he may want to consider switching out his 8-point cover before the sergeant major rips him a brand new a**hole.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Maybe they bought the cover at an airsoft store? (Source: Universal/ Screenshot)

Bonus: Basic

John Travolta plays DEA investigator Tom Hardy (not that Tom Hardy) in 2003’s “Basic.” Although the character isn’t on active duty, his backstory in the film states he’s a former soldier. So before he goes out on a mission to locate a rogue soldier, we think he should clean it up around his ears.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
That look you give to your hair stylist after to see your reflection in the mirror for the first time. (Source: Fox/YouTube/Screenshot)

Can you think of any others? Comment below.

Lists

6 things you should know about Mountain Warfare Training

“Every clime and place” is what we say in the Marine Corps and we mean that sh*t. If anything, Marines are notorious for going to insane lengths to find the bad guys and punch them in the face, no matter where they’re hiding.


For this reason, the Marine Corps has devised training centers designed to prepare would-be war heroes to live out that line in our beloved hymn.

Here are things you should know about the most dreaded training of them all — mountain warfare and extreme cold-weather survival training.

Related: 7 things you didn’t know about the Marine Jungle Warfare Training Center

1. Pooping in bags

Most trainings in the Marine Corps will provide a place to make a sit-down restroom visit, but given the treacherous terrain and weather inherent to the Mountain Warfare Training Center, it’s difficult to provide such amenities.

Instead, they provide buckets and orange trash bags for you. If nothing else made you wonder why you joined before this, you’ll definitely ask yourself now.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
You might be familiar with this if you take your dog for a walk in the park. (Photo via Cleanwaste)

2. Cold-weather Meals, Ready to Eat

Normal MREs — the ones in the brown pouches — are, pretty much, hot piles of garbage wrapped in plastic. But when you go to cold-weather training, they provide you with freeze-dried MREs in a white pouch. These are easily the best field rations you will ever get because, not only is it hot chow, it actually tastes good.

While you may developed a few favorites among normal MREs, it’ll be hard to decide which of the cold-weather ones is your favorite because they’re great across the board. If you don’t agree, you’re wrong and everybody hates you.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
You’ll love these, don’t worry. (Photo by U.S. Marine Corps)

3. The dangers of cotton-based clothing

Cotton-based clothing tends to hold liquids and dry slowly. This is exceptionally important in an environment where liquids will certainly turn to ice. You don’t want your sweat-covered undershirt to freeze to your body and give you hypothermia.

4. It started before the Korean War

When the United States was gearing up to send the best military in the world to the Korean peninsula, they needed to prepare for the cold.

So, the Marine Corps’ solution was to establish a training center where they send you to the top of a cold mountain for nearly two weeks to be absolutely miserable to the point where you seriously reconsider your life choices.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Korea was considerably worse, though. (Photo by the National Museum of the Marine Corps)

5. Sleeping in snow trenches

Part of Extreme Cold Weather Survival Training is learning how to live like an Eskimo because, well, if it works for them, then why not? Don’t let this get you down, though. Despite their icy appearance, snow trenches offer some warmth and an escape from the bitter, cold wind.

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
You can get pretty creative with these trenches and make tables, shelves, etc. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cody Ohira)

Also read: 5 reasons Deadpool would make an amazing platoon sergeant

6. You will never be warm

Even though you’ll be given an entire issue of cold-weather survival gear and you’ll have some shelter from the wind, the sad truth is that you’re still going to be cold. You’re going to be cold every second you’re on the mountain. You’ll never be warm, only slightly less cold.

You’ll sweat on the forced marches, but those marches will end eventually and you’ll still be covered in sweat. So, brace yourself for the most miserable time of your life (so far).

5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed
Even fires won’t be enough. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Roberto Villa Jr)

Lists

4 reasons why football is the best pastime in the military

Troops come from every walk of life before they serve in the military. Rarely will you find any kind of unifying thread among them like a shared love of American Football. And it’s a service-wide love. Whether the troop was a hardcore fan of their team before they enlisted or it’s just a hobby that they picked up to be part of the conversation, troops love football in all forms.


These are the 4 top reasons why football is the best military pastime.

4. Football as PT

Coming up with an in-depth PT schedule is tricky. You need to balance what makes for a great, full-body workout while also keeping morale up. This is where sports PT comes in.

You’ll see troops who went on a “no ruck march” profile from the doctor earlier in the week be miraculously healed when they hear it’s football day.

How NCOs look trying to catch people breaking profile. (Image via GIPHY)

3. Playing Madden with the boys

After work is done and the lower enlisted go back to the barracks, one of the most common games they’ll pop in the Xbox or Playstation is that year’s edition of Madden.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses and a controller goes through the TV.

But hey! It’s the only way a Cleveland Browns fan can go to the Super Bowl. (Image via GIPHY)

2. Fantasy Football leagues

Every now and then, one of the nerdier troops brings up playing Dungeons and Dragons. They’ll probably get mocked for even suggesting the idea.

But if you change the fantasy setting to “Football” and then add a cash prize and a cheap $20 trophy… all of the sudden, everyone knows every player on every team.

Calvin Johnson gave everyone a reason to watch a Detroit Lions game. (Image via GIPHY)

1. Watching the actual game

While deployed, it doesn’t matter what time it is: If your team is playing, you’re finding a way to watch the game on AFN.

At the end of the day, no matter who you cheer for or whether you watch NFL or NCAA, troops will latch on to their home team and use them as an anchor to their friends and family back home. For a few hours each week, it bonds troops who cheer together and poke fun at fans of the other team — even if they’re sitting right there.



All for the love of the game. (Image via GIPHY)

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