6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend - We Are The Mighty
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6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

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.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
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.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Just brings up the question, why don’t they do this every day? Or let the regular Joes in to eat the food?

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.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
You know you want this to be the recommended serving size of bacon.

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?

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
The cooks stockpile the stuff people are willing to trade Playstations for.

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.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
And all that bacon can be yours.

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.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Seriously. Brazilian food is so easy to make. Why hasn’t this become a thing?

Articles

The US military took these incredible photos in just one week-long period

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


AIR FORCE

The Air Force and its mission partners successfully launched the AFSPC-5 mission aboard the Space and Missile Systems Center procured United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, May 20, 2015.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: United Launch Alliance

Tech. Sgt. Bruce Ramos, a 1st Special Operations Group Detachment 1 radio operator, raises an American flag from an MC-130P Combat Shadow while it taxis at Hurlburt Field, Fla., May 15, 2015.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Senior Airman Jeff Parkinson/USAF

NAVY

The U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, perform a flyover during a graduation and commissioning ceremony for the Naval Academy Class of 2015.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Anthony Koch/USN

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for an independent deployment.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Diana Quinlan/USN

ARMY

BIG STEP – On Tuesday, May 19, students at the U.S. Army Special Forces Underwater Operations School conducted helocast drills. Helocasting is an airborne insertion technique used by small special operations forces to enter denied areas of operations.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Janice Burton/US Army

An Army AH-64 Apache air crew, assigned to 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division conducts pre-flight checks prior to an air-assault operation, part of the Network Integration Evaluation 15.2 exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Sgt. Jose D. Ramirez/US Army

MARINE CORPS

Landing craft air cushion conduct an amphibious assault during the MARFORPAC-hosted U.S. Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS) at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Staff Sgt. Jason W. Fudge/USMC

An M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank with 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fires its 120 mm smoothbore cannon during a live-fire event as part of Exercise Eager Lion 2015 in Jordan.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Sgt. Devin Nichols

COAST GUARD

Rescue crews from the Coast Guard 1st District don immersion suits to practice cold water survival in Boston Harbor near the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell/USN

A Coast Guard crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium patrols Boston Harbor near the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell/USCG

NOW: The 13 funniest military memes of the week

AND: 19 of the coolest military mottos

OR: 5 key differences between Delta Force and SEAL Team 6

Lists

9 awesome war novels everyone should read

Every military professional has his or her favorite war novel and picking the “greatest” is a tall order. But that’s what we do here at WATM. These are our picks for the greatest war novels ever written:


6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

1. Catch 22

Written from several third person points of view with a circular dynamic centered around the paradox that is Catch-22, this Joseph Heller classic was in many ways years ahead of its time in that the wider audience didn’t relate to his reading of the military until well into the Vietnam War years. Beyond the biting satire and staccato pacing Catch-22 captures the personalities that populate the military to this day: inept commanders, opportunistic junior officers, and enlisted men staying sane by not taking anything around them too seriously. This is a must-read before every major deployment.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

2. The Things They Carried

Tim O’ Brien’s Vietnam-era literary masterpiece is brimming with pathos. The novel’s strength isn’t necessarily in how it deals with war straight-on, but it lies in O’Brien’s atmospherics and states of mind and the resultant permanent scars of an ill-defined conflict carried out by a nation riven by it.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

3. Mr. Midshipmen Hornblower

Most people think of Patrick ‘O Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series as the definitive historical fiction works around the heyday of warfighting sailing ships, but Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, the first book in C. S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series, skips getting bogged down in technical detail and instead offers timeless lessons in military leadership at sea and amazing perspective around what 17-year olds had to tackle responsibility-wise in the fledgling American Navy.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

4. The Hunters

James Salter’s poetic prose elevates this Korean War-era story about Air Force pilots to timeless art as well as a definitive reading of those drawn to that particular warfare specialty.  The Hunters has it all: a burned out CO, a confused chain of command, cocky junior officers, and significant others complaining about being ignored for the glory of air combat.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

5. The Hunt for Red October

Tom Clancy was an insurance salesman who couldn’t interest anyone in his manuscript until the Naval Institute Press – a publisher that had never done fiction – decided to take a chance based on the story’s level of technical detail that bordered on classified. The book’s sales were relatively flat until President Ronald Reagan was seen carrying a copy, and from that point The Hunt for Red October became the title that launched a thousand technothrillers as well as Clancy’s prolific and lucrative career.

 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Author Ben Fountain paints an all-too-accurate portrait of what “support the troops” has come to mean a decade and a half after 9-11. “Halftime Walk” is set at the Dallas Cowboys stadium where an Army unit is feted by the team’s owner and his circle of Texas fat cats who demonstrate the distance between the American population and those sent to do their fighting.  More than a novel about war, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a national indictment.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

Remarque’s groundbreaking World War I novel was among the first to dispel any laudable mystique surrounding war through its detail about trench warfare and mustard gas attacks and the portrayal of the protagonist’s decent from idealistic recruit to member of a generation forever scarred by “The Long War.” Paul Baumer’s heartbreak is that of the hundreds of thousands of service members who followed him into battle in the decades after his war ended, many of whom certainly read the book but went anyway.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

8. Redeployment

An instant classic. Phil Klay’s much heralded debut novel about the Iraq War is worthy of the praise heaped upon it. Redeployment is at once timely and timeless in capturing the nuance of the emotions and states of mind of Marines at war and back home between tours. To get to what’s honorable about service you have to face the realities of an unclear mission without end and what accepting them does to those involved. In this effort Klay emerges as the de facto spokesman for the post-9/11 cohort of warfighters.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

9. Slaughterhouse Five

Kurt Vonnegut’s best-known novel if not his masterwork, Slaughterhouse Five builds off of the author’s real-life experiences as an eyewitness to the aftermath of the Dresden firebombing during World War II and adds a time-traveling protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, to create a book that deftly illustrates the pointlessness and futility of war. (Also recommended by Vonnegut: Mother Night.)

Now: 5 Sports Stars Who Saw Heavy Combat In The US Military

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5 problems infantry Marines will understand

Marine infantrymen thrive on hardship. Whether it’s training and deploying to austere environments, learning to do more with less, or figuring out how to catch Z’s anywhere, grunt life in the infantry is very different from the rest of the Marine Corps.


There are also some problems specific to the infantry community. We came up with five, but if you can think of some more, leave a comment.

 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

1. Physical training often consists of “death runs” and they feel just like it sounds.

Physical training is a part of being a Marine, but it’s much more demanding as an infantryman. Life in the grunts usually means waking up early to go on a “death run,” which isn’t that far off the mark. While the Marine physical fitness test (PFT) has a timed three-mile run, grunts can expect to go way beyond that.

On “death runs” that I’ve personally been on — also known jokingly as “fun runs” — our platoon commander or platoon sergeant would take us on runs over the seven-mile mark at an insane pace. And for extra fun, sometimes we wore gas masks. Gotta love it.

2. Your platoon commander is guaranteed to get you completely lost at some point.

When he’s not running you into the dirt, your platoon commander is supposed to be planning missions and leading. But sometimes that means leading you into who-knows-where. It’s a running joke that second lieutenants are terrible at land navigation, but it’s not that far off. He’s guaranteed to get you lost at least once. Let’s just hope it only happens in training.

3. I hope you’re ready for the non-grunt company First Sergeant who wants to “get back to the basics.”

Infantry Marines hold the 0300 military occupational specialty, as do their officers with 0302. But since company first sergeants perform mostly administrative duty (compared to Master Sergeants who remain in their field), they aren’t required to hold the infantry MOS. Although plenty of them do come up from the infantry ranks, some come from completely unrelated fields.

Grunt first sergeants are usually focused on the mission of the infantry (locating, closing with, and destroying the enemy), but first sergeants outside of the MOS sometimes focus on “getting back to the basics” — aka cleaning the barracks, holding uniform inspections, and marching properly. These are all good things for junior Marines to be exposed to in their careers. Just don’t expect them to like it.

4. Excuse me sir, do you have a moment to talk about prickly heat?

Training in the field can lead to some weird physical problems for grunts. In humid places, Marines can expect something called “prickly heat” — a very annoying rash that develops after sweating profusely. When you’re out in the field for days or weeks and not able to take a shower, that tends to happen quite a bit.

Then of course, there’s that terrible smell you develop. But luckily, you’re around a bunch of other people who smell terrible so you don’t even notice. Great success!

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo Credit: DoD

5. Range 400.

This legendary training range is a rite of passage for infantry Marines. With machine guns firing over their heads and mortars dropping down in support, grunts rush forward to attack a fortified “enemy” position in 29 Palms, California. It sounds awesome, and it is. It’s also an ass kicker.

“It’s the only range in the Marine Corps where overhead fire is authorized,” Capt. Andy S. Watson explained in a Marine Corps news release. “We are also granted a waiver to close within 250 meters of 81mm mortar fire. Normally, it is only 400 meters. Therefore, Range 400 gives Marines a realistic training experience of closing close into fires. They can’t get that anywhere else in the Marine Corps.”

DON’T MISS: 13 Signs You’re An Infantryman

OR WATCH: Life in the Marine Corps Infantry

Lists

7 modern armies that still ride animals into battle

Technology has given the world’s militaries 62-ton tanks and silent motorcycles, but some modern armies still send troops into battle on the backs of camels and horses.


Here are 7 militaries that still view four-legged creatures as part of the first line of defense:

1. India’s 61st Cavalry and Border Security Force

 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photos: Wikimedia Commons

 

India was ranked 4th on our list of top militaries in the world. Surprisingly for such a powerful force, it has two units that ride animals into battle, mostly in desert areas where heavy vehicles would be bogged down.

India’s 61st Cavalry Regiment is thought to be the last fully-operational, horse-mounted army regiment in the world. It is deployed primarily in an internal security role. When the 61st does ride out to the borders, it’s usually to support the Indian Border Security Force. The BSF is also mounted, primarily on camels.

2. Chilean Army Horse Units

 

 

Chile lists four horse units on its published list of Army units from 2014, though it’s not clear which of them still actually ride into combat. But, the army does still send scouts into the rough Andes mountains on horseback. Many of the mountain passes are nearly impassable for vehicles and the horses can travel on small paths through the rocks.

Interestingly, Chile’s annual military parade began including horse artillery again in 2000, after 30 years of not parading it. (Bouncing back from budget cuts, perhaps?)

3. Germany

 

Germany maintains one pack animal company in support of its Reconnaissance Battalion 230. Though the company primarily focuses on using mules and horses as pack animals, its soldiers can also ride when they need to cover ground quickly in the mountains.

4. The United Nations

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Dawit Renzene

The United Nations puts together peacekeeping forces to patrol some of the most austere environments in the world and sometimes has to form forces of mounted cavalry.

In the above photo, Dutch soldiers assigned as peacekeepers ride camels while enforcing a 2002 ceasefire between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The large deserts of Iraq and Syria could make mounted troops necessary if the UN decides to send personnel to the conflicts there.

5. The U.S. Marine Corps and special forces

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Photo: US Army Sgt Edward F French IV

 

Following the use by special forces soldiers of horses during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. has shown interest in expanding its mounted training. The only current mounted training area for U.S. forces is the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in California.

The school recently hosted training for special forces operators where the soldiers learned how to tell the age and temperament of horses and other pack animals. They also got time in the saddle and experience packing the animals with crew-served weapons and other equipment.

6. China

China uses mounted soldiers to police areas of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, according to blogs that follow Chinese military developments. About 140 horses are tended to in Mongolia’s historic grasslands. The full unit is only present with the horses for the spring and summer though. Once the cold weather settles in, the staff that supports the herd drops to six people.

7. Jordan

The Jordanian Public Security Force has a Desert Camel Corps that patrols the country’s desert borders. The actual camel riders are limited to one 40-man platoon. The riders spend most of their time assisting travelers and stopping smugglers. The desert riders could be called on to watch for incursions by ISIS, since Jordan shares borders with both Iraq and Syria.

Read more: The US military took these incredible photos in just one week-long period

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This collection of graffiti tells the real story of what modern war is like

Wisdom and truth (not to mention humor and satire) is found in the most unlikely places in theater. Here’s a sampling of graffiti that captures some of what it takes to keep your sanity when deployed:


 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

War is awful. At least the graffiti keeps a sense of humor. 

NOW: 9 examples of the military’s dark humor

OR: Here’s the way-funnier version of what the Marine PFT is really like

Lists

6 deadly weapons from Fallout 4 that would probably be banned

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.

Related: 6 reasons why a military-issued giant robot would actually suck

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.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
These things launch mini nuclear bombs! (Concept art from Bethesda Softworks’ The Art of Fallout 4)

2. Flamer

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.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(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.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
They also have a very slow firing rate, so they’re impractical. (Concept art from Bethesda Softworks’ The Art of Fallout 4)

4. Ripper

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…

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
There’s a reason they’re called “The Ripper.” (Concept art from Bethesda Softworks’ The Art of Fallout 4)

5. Broadsider

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 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Enough said. (Screen capture from Bethesda Softworks’ Fallout 4)

Also read: 6 surprising things that are against the laws of war

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.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Just use a frag grenade! (Concept art from Bethesda Softworks’ The Art of Fallout 4)

Lists

Nobody ever did ‘Movember’ like these 9 Civil War generals

Every “Movember,” dudes worldwide grow mustaches (and more) to support the foundation dedicated to fighting prostate cancer. But in the history of military grooming standards, few cohorts can hang with that of the Civil War. Check out these looks that would make a modern-day hipster weep:


1. Gen. George McClellan

 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
McClellan may have been timid with sealing the deal against the Confederacy at Antietam, but he was full tilt when it came to styling this ‘stache and soul patch combo.

 2. Maj. Gen. Alfred T. A. Torbert

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

 3. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

 4. Gen. George Armstrong Custer

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Custer was known for his golden locks, mercurial disposition, and his killer ‘stache right up to the point when he took an arrow or two at Little Big Horn.

5. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Sherman was rocking his “rough night in Atlanta” look in this shot. His beard grooming technique was replicated by Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper.”

 

6. Gen. Lew Wallace

 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

 7. Maj. Gen. George Crook

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

8. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
He came to the Army by way of a career as an educator, so it’s no surprise that Chamberlain cold schooled his fellow officers in ‘Stache 101 during his days as a Union general.

 9. Gen. Ambrose Burnside

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Burnside is the namesake of the — wait for it — sideburn. Pure genius. And that medal adorning his chest is most certainly for “visage gallantry in the face of extreme danger.”

 

 

Lists

The 6 most badass, real pirates

Pirates, the swashbuckling legends of yesteryear. We often hear the stories of pirates like fairytales from long ago, but we rarely learn about them in detail, as individuals. From unique backstories to long careers, these six real-life pirates are some of the greatest and most interesting from history. 

1. Anne Bonny 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

Born in 1697 in Ireland, Anne was the illegitimate daughter of a lawyer and a servant, who moved away to Charleston, SC and owned a plantation. After her mother’s passing, Anne became enamored with James Bonny, a pirate, as well as the adventurous pirate lifestyle. Marrying James caused disownment from her father, but their romance was not for long and Anne left James to join Calico Jack’s crew.

While Captain Jack was a small-time pirate, it was Anne who found intense excitement in gaining new territory and overtaking ships, each time, bigger and better. She was a pioneer for openly female pirates, who went without a disguise, carving out a name for herself as not simply “The Captain’s Woman,” but also a ruthless pirate who could hold her own in battle. She even gave birth to two children, one of whom’s pregnancies spared her execution. 

2. Mary Read

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

Mary or ‘Mark’ Read is yet another legendary female pirate. Born 1685 in England, Mary lost her father and brother as a child, and was forced to be raised as a boy by her mother so her paternal grandmother, believing that her deceased grandson was still alive, would continue to support them. Mary soon entered the army where she met her husband. However, after leaving the army together he also died. Devastated, she re-entered the army and was captured by Calico Jack’s crew.

Although Mary’s indoctrination into pirate life was involuntary, she grew fond of the liberation that came with it. She was well known for being the first to fight off attacks on the ship, leveraging her military knowledge. It is known that only a handful of people were aware of her true gender, one being Anne Bonny, Calico Jack, her two loves and the judge that oversaw her trial after being captured. Regardless of her dark past, Mary’s ruthless lust for life and battle will always be remembered. 

3. Black Beard

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

Blackbeard, or his real name, Edward Tache, is considered one of the most menacing pirates in history. Originally a privateer (legalized pirate), during the Spanish Succession, Blackbeard robbed ships in the West Indies. By the end of the war, Teche chose piracy and started his two-year reign that would cement him in history. Teche served under the command of pirate captain Benjamin Thornigold, where he plundered ships and terrorized communities along the Gulf Coast, later taking over as captain of his own ship.

Blackbeard lived for conquest and spectacle. His black beard, growing from his cheeks to his waist, was tied in black ribbons, and a lit rope soaked in saltpeter braided into his beard puffed clouds of smoke, giving the appearance of a demon. His tactics were ruthless, from disemboweling captives and slicing off a prisoner’s ears and forcing him to eat them, to murdering his own crew members. However, his demise was inevitable when he was hunted down in 1718, on Ocracoke Island, where his head was publicly displayed as a warning.

4. Sir Francis Drake 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

Sir Francis Drake, is revered as a hero in England, and a pirate in Spain. Drake entered the sea trade at age 12 and with an increased interest in exploration of the world, he leveraged his knowledge and skill to become one of the first Europeans to ‘discover’ new routes and lands. His adventures into uncharted territory and ability to seek out and plunder the ships of competitors placed him in excellent favor with Queen Elizabeth I. While at sea, Drake participated in the Caribbean slave trade and also defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588, plundering many Spanish vessels, as a way to discourage Spain from continuing their exploration endeavors. Consequently, in his raids, Drake acquired some of the most priceless loots in history. 

5. Bartholomew Roberts 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

“Black” Bart Roberts was a Welsh pirate and is considered one of the most successful pirates of the Golden Age of piracy. He operated out of Africa and the Caribbean, capturing over 400 ships within his 4-year reign. Roberts was known as a man of expensive taste and his desire for luxury showed itself in boldness, serving him well in plundering so many ships. Coming from an enslaved childhood, he was freed by pirates and eventually became one himself.

Roberts was deceivingly calm, but in truth was cold and calculated, frequently killing entire crews aboard plundered vessels. In fact, one of the characteristics that made him so famous was his willingness to conquer superior ships usually avoided by other pirates. By 1722, however, Roberts and his crew were put on trial, in one of the biggest pirate trials in history, and executed. Thus, with the fall of Black Bart came the fall of piracy’s Golden Age. 

6. Ching Shih

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

Piracy wasn’t just limited to the western world. Born in 1775 in Guangdong Provence, Ching was thrown into prostitution at 13 to bring in income for her family. She was famous within the province for her beauty and hospitality, soon attracting the attention of notorious pirate Zheng Yi in 1801, who asked for her hand in marriage. While she agreed, Ching demanded monetary benefits from their relationship, as well as the co-command of his crew.

Ching’s wish was granted and her influence was fast, implementing strict guidelines that encouraged equality among men and women aboard and between captain and crew. After Zheng’s death, Ching took full control and with such ‘progressive’ policies, other fleets joined Ching’s pirate empire, thus creating the largest pirate fleet, known as The Red Flag Fleet, in history, with numbers in the thousands.

Lists

7 crazy facts you didn’t know about D-Day

1: A 56-year-old general stormed the beaches with a cane

Not many people know that Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., son of Teddy himself, fought on D-Day. What’s even more badass is the fact that he wasn’t even supposed to be there.


6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Gen. George Patton (left) stands with Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr.Photo: Wiki Commons

At 56 years-old, the arthritis-riddled general wasn’t expected to survive the landing and so his division commander denied two verbal requests from Roosevelt to take part in the landings. This didn’t slow Roosevelt down though, and after a written request was reluctantly approved, he stormed Utah Beach with the first wave of troops. Upon landing, Roosevelt single-handedly changed his division’s entire plan of attack, saving many of his comrades and earning himself the Medal of Honor. Sadly, he died of a heart attack the night before he would be notified of his nominations for the award, promotion to major general, and command of the 90th infantry division. He was the oldest person to storm the beaches that day.

2: One company of soldiers saw 60 percent casualties in the first 20 minutes of battle

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
American soldiers landing at Normandy, D Day, June, 1944, War Photo: pixabay.com

American battalions suffered crippling losses during the Normandy invasion, but the story of A Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry is especially devastating. Tasked with capturing a road that led to the small French village of Vierville, things began to go wrong for the company before it even reached the shore. Rough seas left the men dazed and sea sick. Heavy clouds blocked the view of U.S. bombers, stopping them from taking out the German gunners that waited for the company in the Dog Green Sector of Omaha Beach. When company A finally did run aground, it was overwhelmed by German mortar, artillery and machine gun fire. In under 20 minutes, 60 percent of the company’s men — many of whom had never seen battle before — were dead or wounded.

3: The first fatality was an airborne lieutenant who still rallied his men out of the aircraft despite his wounds

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
American paratroopers wait to depart their aircraft Photo: Wiki Commons

One of the first American officers to die on D-Day met his end before he got out of his parachute. Lt. Robert Mathias, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division’s E Company, 508th Parachute Regiment, prepared to jump from his platoon’s C-47 at around 2 a.m. on June 6, 1944. Before the officer leapt from the aircraft, German artillery fire sprayed the belly of the plane. Mathias was hit just as the door light turned green, but survivors recount that the bleeding paratrooper shouted “Let’s go!” and jumped with the rest of the men anyway. His battered remains were later found on the ground, tangled in his parachute.

4: Much of the operation was planned by the British

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
A British landing craft on D-Day Photo: Wiki Commons

Despite the perception that D-Day was mainly an American operation, it was actually the Brits who took the lead in battle. Nearly the entire plan for D-Day — or Operation Overlord, as it was codenamed — was orchestrated by British Gen. Bernard Montgomery, the land force commander. The naval plans for the battle were also created by the Royal Navy, and of the 1,213 warships in the sea that day, the British boasted 892 compared to the American fleet of 200. The divide was even greater when it came to landing craft, with 4,126 pulling for the Queen and only 805 repping for Uncle Sam. Still, it was an Allied effort that involved planning and contributions from more than a dozen countries.

5: Future author J.D. Salinger was in the second wave — and carried chapters of his novel “The Catcher in the Rye”

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
“Mad Jack” Churchill storms the beach with his sword, far right Photo: Wiki Commons

Machine guns and explosives weren’t the only weapons tearing up the beaches on D-Day. One British officer, Lt. Col. John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, appropriately nicknamed “Mad Jack,” actually jumped from his landing craft with a sword in hand, chucking a grenade for good measure as he ran towards the battle. Churchill managed to capture over 4o German officers at sword point in only one raid, and also holds the last recorded longbow kill in history for a kill shot he made in 1940. He was also, not surprisingly, a little insane, and is reported to have complained that “If it wasn’t for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another ten years.” Yikes.

7: Everyone was afraid to wake up Hitler to ask for reinforcements at Normandy

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
Adolf Hitler Photo: Wiki Commons

German forces were greatly outnumbered at Normandy, largely because the details of where the Allied invasion would take place was kept under lock and key until the moment troops hit the beaches on June 6th, 1944. A double agent working for the allies also gave the Germans false information about where the operation would occur, leaving the real locations with little German defense in place. It’s estimated that there were 175,000 allied troops on the beaches that day compared to a measly 10,000 Germans. Which begs the question: Why didn’t Germany just order reinforcements to those locations? Apparently, it was because Hitler was asleep! German officers were too afraid to wake up the Fuhrer, and too scared to send more troops without his permission. So long story short, Hitler’s nap may have contributed to the Allied victory.

NOW: Listen to Reagan’s chilling speech about soldiers who scaled cliffs under heavy fire on D-Day

Lists

The most important battles in US history

The American military has been kicking ass and taking names for over 240 years. In all that time, it’s amassed a massive list of important victories and defeats. Below is a list of some that reshaped American history for better or worse.


The list is voteable, so click to advance your picks for most important battles and strike down ones you find less important.

The Most Important Battles in US History

NOW: The story of Waterloo, one of the most epic battles in history

OR: The most important guy in military aviation history you’ve ever heard of

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17 brilliant insights from legendary Marine General James Mattis

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis is a legend in the military. Revered by Marines and non-Marines alike, Mattis has taken on the persona of a modern-day Patton — having the knowledge and insight to lead his Marines through combat, while standing behind them and taking the heat if things go bad. In short, Mattis is a hell of a leader.


In 2013 while serving as commander of Central Command in Tampa, Fla., Mattis retired after four decades of service. Since then, he’s been teaching at Stanford and Dartmouth, as well as speaking across the country on leadership. He’s also working on a book with author Bing West.

We looked back at some of the best insights he offered, through a great collection of quotes. Most apply strictly to military service, but some can be just as useful in the corporate boardroom.

“You cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it’s going to be bad.”

The “dream world” Mattis is talking about is one of denial and complacency — a mood in combat that can get you killed. And in corporate America, it can get you wiped out by the competition.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

“If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don’t take the shot. Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act.”

Mattis, who co-wrote the manual for Counterinsurgency with Gen. David Petraeus, knows well that troops cannot win over the population to their side if they are killing the wrong people. His advice here to soldiers and Marines is spot on.

“I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”

Of course he can spell it but that’s not the point. Mattis wants to impress upon his troops that failure should not be an option.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

Before his Marines deployed to Iraq in 2003, he told them this (along with many other great pieces of advice in a now-famous letter). His point here is to be a professional warfighter who can be polite with civilians, but always remember that if things go south, the dirty work needs to get done.

“The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some sh–heads in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”

Recalling the mentality of the wolf, the sheep, and the sheepdog, Mattis understands that there is evil in the world. It’s important for his men to be prepared for whether they will be the hunter or the victim if they ever face it.

“There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.”

One of his more controversial quotes, to be sure. But in Mattis’ view, to be a professional, you need to have a professional mindset. It’s not really necessary to get emotional about what you have to do. It just needs to get done.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

“You can overcome wrong technology. Your people have the initiative, they see the problem, no big deal … you can’t overcome bad culture. You’ve gotta change whoever is in charge.”

In a talk at Stanford, Mattis was relating how toxic culture can bring down an organization that has everything else right. The culture of an organization comes from the top, and if that part is screwed up, there are going to be problems.

“The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”

Mattis doesn’t want robots just mindlessly following his orders. As a leader, he gives broad guidance and lets his men use their own brains to decide how it gets accomplished.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

 

“Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.”

Amen.

“In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony — even vicious harmony — on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.”

Mattis implores his officers to not get stuck in their own little boxes. Learning how to be brilliant on the battlefield is important, but it’s more important to be able to work with others to get the job done.

 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”

Military officers endure (and have to create) tons of PowerPoint briefings to inform their chain of command what’s going on. Mattis however, is not one of those officers. He actually banned PowerPoint since he saw it as a waste of time.

“You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”

Mattis wants his Marines to always be thinking before they take the shot. It’s advice that has no doubt saved lives.

“An untrained or uneducated Marine … deployed to the combat zone is a bigger threat to mission accomplishment … than the enemy.”

The biggest detriment to mission accomplishment is not from the competition, but from within. Having the right mindset and skills is what results in getting results.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

Combat doesn’t happen in a vacuum. All the planning, meetings, and briefings on what potentially can happen in a given situation are good, but the bad guys will always react in uncertain ways. The key is to be prepared for anything.

“Be the hunter, not the hunted: Never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down.”

Just because you are at the top of your game doesn’t mean someone won’t come along to knock you down. Units (and individuals) need to be vigilant and make sure that doesn’t happen.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

 

“Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun.”

Mattis is an avid reader. On all his deployments, the general brought along a ton of books that he thought may help him along the way. In an email that went viral (via Business Insider) on the importance of reading, Mattis wrote that it “doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.”

“You’ve been told that you’re broken. That you’re damaged goods … there is also Post-Traumatic Growth. You come back from war stronger and more sure of who you are.”

While giving a speech to veterans in San Francisco, Mattis tried to dispel the mindset that those leaving the service should be pitied. Instead, he told them, use your experiences as a positive that teaches you to be a better person.

 

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

Articles

Here’s how Navy SEALs take down a hostile ship

Command of the seas sometimes means taking control of a non-complaint ship by forceful means, and, as they’ve demonstrated a number of times in recent years while dealing with pirates off the coast of Somalia, U.S. Navy SEALs possess a specific set of skills required to get the job done. This mission is known as “vessel boarding search and seizure” or “VBSS.”


Here’s how VBSS missions generally go down:

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Mission planning begins between all the players in the intelligence center aboard the strike group’s aircraft carrier. Elements beyond the SEALs are members of the ship’s crew who need to know where to position their vessels and aviators from the air wing. HH-60 pilots will carry the SEALs to the target ship, and Super Hornet pilots will fly high cover in case things get sporty and more firepower is required.

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Super Hornet launches off of Cat 4. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

The Super Hornets launch first, armed with precision guided bombs and a nose cannon. They’ll establish a combat air patrol station high overhead in order not to tip off the bad guys.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel M. Young)

HH-60s — the special ops configured variant of the Seahawk — launch with the SEAL team aboard.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel M. Young/Released)

Generally a pair of HH-60s is enough for the average VBSS. The helos transit a very low altitude and approach the target ship from off of the stern.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

At the last second, the HH-60s pop over the target ship’s fantail . . .

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

. . . and deliver the SEALs by fast rope.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corwin Colbert)

On deck, the SEALs make best speed for the superstructure.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Out of the open area, the team consolidates for the assault on the control points, usually the bridge of the ship.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl Kelsey J. Green)

The trick is maintain the element of surprise and to get to the bridge undetected. If that happens, neutralizing the bad guys is an easier proposition. If it doesn’t happen then the SEALs are ready to deal, armed with M-4s, 9mm pistols, concussion grenades, and knives.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Once maintaining the element of surprise is no longer a factor, the H-60s can close in . . .

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel M. Young/Released)

. . . and provide cover in the event the SEALs missed something that was hiding on the way to the bridge.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(U.S. Navy photo by Photographers Mate 1st Class Tim Turner)

After any threat is neutralized, the SEALs can inspect the ship to see if there’s any contraband aboard.

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corwin Colbert)

With tasking complete, the SEAL team gathers on the bridge for a quick “hot wash up” of the mission and to call for pickup back to the carrier.

Now: The most famous Navy SEALs

OR: This crazy first-person footage shows Korean Navy SEALs taking down Somali pirates

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