6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting - We Are The Mighty
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6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

When you ask someone why they enlisted, they’ll usually say for financial gain, family reasons, or out of patriotism. Others will say, “it’s just something I wanted to do ever since I was a kid.”


For most of us, it’s a chicken-and-the-egg scenario. It’s impossible to tell whether it was the childhood toys that made us want to join the military or if kids that want to join the military just love these toys. Either way — if you had these toys, you were probably one of the coolest kids on the playground.

Related: 7 banned children’s toys that will train kids for war

6. G.I. Joe

The original 1963 action figures consisted of Rocky the Marine, Skip the Sailor, Ace the Pilot, and Duke the Soldier. Throughout the years, they’ve added all sorts of wacky characters into the lineup, including astronauts, ninjas, laser soldiers, spies, pilots, and drivers for nearly every vehicle. In 1984, they finally added a Coast Guard character.



Even Hasbro thought ninjas were a more believable branch than the USCG (Image via GIPHY)

5. Green Army men

For the kid that would eventually want to become a commander, there was the bucket of little green soldiers. Almost always off-brand and sold by the bucket-full, kids who play with these plastic troops learn vital troop movement skills, like always checking for mines/IEDs, always taking a commo guy with you, and how useless you are with a bayonet if you charge holding it so far above your head that you can’t stand straight.

There was always an endless supply of these things… (Image via GIPHY)

4. Walkie-talkies

Kids go crazy being able to talk to each other without having to be within earshot of one another. There’s just something about getting familiar with using real military lingo, like ‘over’ and ‘out.’

If you were the kid that said, “it’s not over and out. It’s one or the other because they contradict each other…”

…You probably went into the Signal Corps. (Image via GIPHY)

3. Nerf guns

Okay, so Nerf guns didn’t instill the best firearm safety habits, but they were undeniably fun for shooting your little sister. Even as adults, it’s still fun to grab a Nerf gun and attack your co-workers, roommates, spouses, children, pets, etc…

…But they do teach kids the “joys” of cleaning up your brass at the range. (Image via GIPHY)

2. Toy planes, boats, and tanks

To all of the airmen and sailors that have heard people say the tired, “no one ever played Air Force or Navy as a kid” — don’t worry, they did. They just pretended to be pilots or quartermasters.

That’s a 10-level problem, kid. (Image via GIPHY)

1. Shovels in the sandbox

Every other toy on this is just for fun. They’re all good ways to pretend like you’re something else. That kid digging holes in his sandbox and assembling his “sand piles” into neat structures, however, is actually spot-on with military duties. Digging those holes will prepare you for hastily establishing fighting positions and filing the god-knows-how-many sandbags you’ll fill in one enlistment.

Funny how there’s more to the nickname of “Sand Box” when describing the Middle East… (Image via GIPHY)

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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

An F-16 Fighting Falcon, from the 354th Fighter Wing, sits on the flightline on March 25, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The 354th FW mission is “To prepare aviation forces for combat, deploy Airmen in support of global operations and enable the staging of forces.”

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel/US Air Force

Twelve Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers, from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, taxi onto the runway during Exercise Forceful Tiger on Kadena Air Base, Japan, April 1, 2015. During the aerial exercise, the Stratotankers delivered 800,000 pounds of fuel to approximately 50 aircraft.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris/US Air Force

NAVY

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 30, 2015) An EA-18G Growler from the Wizards of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 launches from aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during carrier qualifications. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is undergoing a tailored ship’s training availability and final evolution problem, assessing their ability to conduct combat missions, support functions and survive complex casualty control situations.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ignacio D. Perez/US Navy

WATERS EAST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (April 1, 2015) Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1631, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, lowers its ramp inside the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20). Sailors and Marines from the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) are participating in the Korean Marine Exchange Program with the Republic of Korea marine corps and navy.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Scott Barnes/US Navy

ARMY

A Soldier assigned to 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, re-arms an OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter during aerial gunnery at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Training Area, March 21, 2015.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Army

Paratroopers assigned to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, practice a forced-entry parachute assault on Malemute drop zone at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 18, 2015, as part of a larger tactical field exercise. The Soldiers are part of the Army’s only Pacific airborne brigade with the ability to rapidly deploy worldwide, and are trained to conduct military operations in austere conditions.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Alejandro Pena/US Army

MARINE CORPS

SIERRA DEL RATIN, Spain – U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Charles Detz III, a machine-gunner with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, fires a tracer round from an M240B during a live-fire training exercise in Sierra Del Retin, Spain, March 24, 2015. Marines stationed at Moron Air Base utilized the Spanish training facility to conduct a variety of training missions to maintain their infantryman skills.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Lance Cpl. Christopher Mendoza/US Marine Corps

POHANG, South Korea – Republic of Korea and U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles use smoke screens during a beach raid during a combined amphibious landing at Pohang, South Korea, March 30, 2015. The Korean Marine Exchange Program demonstrates the unique ability of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to arrive in theater via amphibious shipping, along with ROK Regimental Landing Team to form an amphibious Combined Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Staff Sgt. Joseph Digirolamo/US Marine Corps

COAST GUARD

POHANG, South Korea – Republic of Korea and U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles use smoke screens during a beach raid during a combined amphibious landing at Pohang, South Korea, March 30, 2015. The Korean Marine Exchange Program demonstrates the unique ability of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to arrive in theater via amphibious shipping, along with ROK Regimental Landing Team to form an amphibious Combined Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photos: Petty Officer 1st Class Phillip Null/US Coast Guard

POHANG, South Korea – Republic of Korea and U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles use smoke screens during a beach raid during a combined amphibious landing at Pohang, South Korea, March 30, 2015. The Korean Marine Exchange Program demonstrates the unique ability of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to arrive in theater via amphibious shipping, along with ROK Regimental Landing Team to form an amphibious Combined Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Logan Kellogg/US Coast Guard

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The 8 most famous US military recruiting posters of World War II

On May 8, 1945, the Allies accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender, putting an end to six years of war in Europe. Known as V-E Day, or Victory in Europe, the date was celebrated throughout the world. (V-J Day wouldn’t come until Sep. 2) Now 70 years later, we still remember and celebrate the incredible bravery, sacrifice, and resolve of the Allied forces. But we should also remember what persuaded many of those soldiers to enlist in the first place: recruiting posters.


Posters were ubiquitous during the era, whether they were asking men and women to join the Army, buy war bonds, or to be careful about talking about troop movements. We rounded up some of the most famous recruiting posters here.

1. Perhaps the most famous poster ever was of “Uncle Sam” and while it was used extensively during World War II, it actually first came out in 1917.

 

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

 

2. But Sam showed up in World War II-specific recruiting efforts as well, like this one below from 1944. And the original poster can still often be seen at modern recruitment offices.

 

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

3. In the wake of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, many answered the call to “Avenge Pearl Harbor.”

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

4. While the era’s posters were not very politically correct, they were effective. It’s worth noting however, that many soldiers were drafted.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

5. This poster recruited men to join the “Flying Leathernecks.”

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

6. While this one pushed for Navy enlistments. The war in the Pacific during World War II was the largest naval conflict in history, according to CombinedFleet.com.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

7. This popular poster of a U.S. Marine “ready” from 1942 was so iconic, an updated version of a Marine with the tagline of “still ready” was made in the Post-9/11 era.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

 

8. And for those on the home front, the “Rosie the Riveter” poster became well-known for motivating women to take over factory jobs men had left behind to fight in the war.

 

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

Lists

The top 5 New Year’s resolutions for the Air Force

The United States Air Force has had a pretty eventful 2017. They’ve been hard at work delivering ordinance to the Taliban — in fact, they gave the Taliban an up-close view of what the MOAB can do. Even the F-22 Raptor’s gotten in on the action. But just like the Army and Navy, the Air Force has its problems, like a pilot shortage that continues to get worse and ongoing usage of old airframes. So, what should the Air Force resolve to do better in the New Year?


5. Ditch OA-X and just buy more Warthogs

Let’s face it, there are some planes that can only be properly replaced by a newer version of that plane. The C-130 Hercules has done that twice (from the C-130E to the C-130H to the C-130J). The A-10 is clearly such a plane, and is far better than the contenders trying to replace it.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
An A-10 Thunderbolt II assigned to the 39th Air Base Wing, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, shoots off flares during a mission, Nov. 29, 2017. The A-10 can employ a wide variety of conventional munitions, including general purpose bombs, cluster bomb units, laser-guided bombs, joint direct attack munitions and more. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

4. Re-open some cargo plane production lines

The C-17 Globemaster III and the C-5 Galaxy can haul a lot of stuff. That being said, there are only 78 C-5s (out of 126 built) and 213 C-17s (to replace 285 C-141 Starlifters) on inventory. They are good planes, but they can’t be in two places at once. Addressing this shortfall of airframes would make for a more efficient force.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
A C-17 Globemaster III lands while a F-16 Fighting Falcon is readied for takeoff. The aircraft and their crews provide air support as needed for the war on terror. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. John E. Lasky)

3. Rebuild the air-superiority fleet

There have been some recent air-to-air incidents involving the United States Military over Syria. The Air Force’s air-superiority force is down to 106 F-15C Eagles and 159 F-22 Raptors. We know that multi-role planes, like the F-16 and F-35, can handle air-to-air face-offs, but perhaps 2018 is the year to safely secure air superiority.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
An Air Force F-22 Raptor executes a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). John C. Stennis is participating in Northern Edge 2009, a joint exercise focusing on detecting and tracking units at sea, in the air and on land. (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett)

2. Counter Russia’s treaty violations by bulking up the bomber force

Russia’s cheating on the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty has become blatant enough that America has begun its own ground-launched cruise missile program. But there are other options to address Russian cheating.  A good one is bulking up America’s bomber force. Re-starting B-1 and B-2 production while upping the B-21 Raider buy to 295 (matching the production total of the G and H models of the B-52) would be an excellent response.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
A two ship of B-1B Lancers assigned to the 28th Bomb Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, fly in formation over New Mexico during a training mission on Feb. 24, 2010. Dyess will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first B-1B bomber arriving at the base with the Dyess Big Country Airfest and Open House on May 1, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald)

1. Expand the pilot training pipeline

The Air Force is short by two thousand pilots, and that shortage is only getting worse. It’s time to train more pilots — lots more pilots. Additionally, to increase retention, the Air Force should let pilots be pilots. For instance, if they decide to do a little stunt flying, as long as nothing’s damaged and nobody’s hurt, give them a pass. Hell, it worked out well in the case of Richard Ira Bong.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
A T-38 Talon participates in the 2004 Lackland Airfest. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

 

Articles

27 unsung WWII heroes most people have never heard of

Sadly, the heroes of World War 2 are leaving us every day. With the vast majority of war veterans past the age of 90, it won’t be long before only a few WW2 heroes and veterans are left to tell their stories of courage and triumph in the face of murderous odds. While some soldiers and important figures of the time are well known to the culture in general, most aren’t. Some didn’t survive, and many others simply never spoke about what they did. This list of World War 2 heroes will show the courage, bravery, and selflessness of many men you may not have heard of, but who made important contributions to the war nonetheless.


World War Two made heroes out of countless soldiers, scientists, officials, and even cooks and the World War 2 timeline is dotted with remarkable and heroic individuals. Whether fighting the Nazis on the European front or making a difference against the Japanese in the Pacific, these real life heroes helped the Allies win the war and helped make the world what it is today. Their sacrifices for their fellow fighters and even strangers they’d never feet were truly heroic.

This list features many World War 2 soldiers, pilots, and fighters who you should know something about. Some were officers and aces, others peasants and ordinary foot soldiers. They hailed from around the world, and some never even wore a uniform. But all of them took actions that saved lives, inflicted damage on the enemy, and collectively won World War II, the worst war in human history.

27 Unsung WWII Heroes You May Not Know About

 

More from Ranker:

This article originally appeared at Ranker. Copyright 2015. Like Ranker on Facebook.

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5 useless border walls that barely slowed down the enemy

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then giant border walls must be made of the same material. For the cost, these fixed national fortifications did little good in keeping out those meant to stay on the other side.


6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Even the Night’s Watch didn’t see it coming.

Historically, most barrier fortifications fall well short of its designer’s expectations and these were no different: they were just the most famous ones.

1. The Great Wall of China

This series of walls and forts was actually contructed over many centuries, beginning in the third century, BCE. The Chinese originally wanted to keep out roving barbarians from the North while protecting that border from invasion. It did neither.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
And Superman wasn’t around to rebuild it with his Wall Rebuilding… Vision. (Yes, someone put this in a movie.)

Originally conceived to be 3,000 miles long and anywhere from 15 to 50 high, it was the largest construction project by any civilization ever. Eventually, the Chinese expanded well beyond the wall. And even when they had to retreat, they were still overrun by the Liao and Jin people…and later, by the Great Khan.

2. The Theodosian Walls of Constantinople

These walls were also a series of fortifications built around the furthest extent of Constantinople (now Istanbul) by Emperor Theodosius II between 412-414 CE. While the three miles long, 40-foot walls were effective at keeping out medieval attackers, they weren’t so good against the new cannon technology.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
And once inside… well… you know.

The walls of the city fell in 1453, breached by the Ottoman Turks after only 53 days. The Byzantine defenders knew about the technology but spurned the inventor of the siege cannon because they couldn’t afford it. He then turned around and sold it to the Ottoman Sultan.

3. The Siegfried Line

This monster fortification featured concrete walls and ceilings anywhere from 20 inches to five feet thick. It had thousands of bunkers and tens of thousands of pillboxes and tank traps. Much of the 390 mile stretch of wall, concrete, razor wire, and mines must have been a very formidable sight, after its construction between 1938 and 1940.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

What slowed down American tanks at this “West Wall” in September 1944 was a lack of gasoline, not the line itself. The truth is that after years of neglect, the wall was overgrown by vegetation. The Germans didn’t have the manpower to man the wall and it wasn’t designed to fight the newest tanks built for the war. The Americans penetrated the wall within weeks.

4. The Maginot Line

The French did not actually believe their 940-mile network of bunkers, rail lines, concrete and steel would permanently keep out invaders, they just wanted something that would allow them to mobilize an effort to repel anyone who attacks them. So they built the Maginot Line between 1929 an 1936.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
This was impressive, but clearly not built in Belgium.

In the end, it didn’t even do that. The Germans attacked through Belgium, just as they did during the previous World War. And when the Nazis did advance on the Northernmost sections of the line, they took the fortifications in four days.

5. The Bar Lev Line

The Israelis built a $300 million fortification along the Suez Canal. They also knew it wouldn’t hold the Egyptians off forever if they were attacked suddenly. The Bar Lev Line was expected to hold them off for at least 24-48 hours while the IDF mounted a counter attack. You can probably guess how well it worked.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
That’s why we don’t use earthworks so much anymore.

Armed with 100 water cannons, the Egyptians broke through the $300 million fortification in about two hours. The water cannons swept away the earthworks and a 53-minute artillery barrage breached other, reinforced areas of the wall.

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4 dangers medics face while deployed in combat

Being deployed to a war-zone is dangerous for any of our brave troops, regardless of MOS- including medics. As we step on to the battlefield, willing to sacrifice our lives, the enemy watches, attempting to understand the many roles of our allied patrols.


No matter how many men we have on our side, we’re in a target-enrich environment, and our troops are never truly safe.

One role the enemy consistently looks to harm is the squad’s doctor/medic/corpsman. Without them, the foot patrols can’t function properly.

Related: 3 key differences between Recon Marines and Marine Raiders

So, check out these four dangers that medics face while deployed in combat.

1. Being in very close enemy contact.

The medics will take care of anyone if need be. This includes the bad guys if they’re sick or injured enough. We hate treating someone who just tried to kill us, but if we need to look down their throats or bandage a bleed, we will.

But always be careful, the enemy may have a secondary agenda. Getting close to them may spark an attack.

2. Getting discovered as the squad’s doctor.

The enemy is consistently monitoring us while we’re on patrol, trying to figure out which role each troop plays. Officers, radiomen, and medics are highly targeted individuals.

Once the enemy learns who the medic is, it’s common for them to take potshots at the “Doc,” hoping to score a kill.

3. Who takes care of the “Doc” when they get hurt?

Usually, each patrol only has one medic or corpsman on deck. Our non-medical troops typically get basic, life-saving training to stop significant bleeds and other emergent wounds, but not enough to keep someone stabilized for long periods of time.

Also Read: These were the terrifying dangers of being a ‘Tunnel Rat’ in Vietnam

4. Medics don’t usually have time to put on latex gloves.

When a patient is bleeding, every second counts toward saving their life. Although putting on gloves is the sanitary option, it takes precious time you’ll never get back.

Often, Docs have to treat allied patients quickly while under fire, meaning they touch potentially infected bloodily fluids.

Can you think of any others? Leave us a comment.

Articles

The inside joke names that soldiers have for different unit patches

For nearly 100 years, U.S. Army soldiers have designed and worn unit patches. And for roughly same amount of time, soldiers have made fun of each other’s patches.


The tradition of Army patches dates back to 1918 when the 81st Infantry Division deployed to Europe wearing a shoulder insignia they had designed for training exercises in South Carolina. Other units complained about the unauthorized unit item to Gen. John Pershing who, rather than punishing the 81st, authorized the patch and recommended other units design their own.

Since then, units have designed and worn patches that motivated soldiers, honored the unit lineage, and encapsulated military history. This is a sampling of some of those patches, along with the alternate names that soldiers remember them by.

1. “Leaning Sh-thouse” — 1st Theater Sustainment Command

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Institute of Heraldry

The arrow is supposed to symbolize the ability of the command to fulfill its mission quickly and effectively, but soldiers decided it looked like an outhouse dropped on a hill.

2. “Broken TV” — 3rd Infantry Division

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Army Spc. Luke Thornberry

The three lighter stripes symbolize the three major campaigns the division fought in during World War I while the darker stripes symbolize the loyalty of the soldiers who gave their lives. Once TVs were invented, the similarity between a broken set and the patch was undeniable.

3. “Four Lieutenants Pointing North” — 4th Infantry Division

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Army Markus Rauchenberger

4th Inf. Div. wants you to see their patch and relate the four ivy leaves to fidelity and tenacity. The Army sees it and just thinks about lieutenants getting lost on the land navigation course.

4. “Crushed Beer Can” — 7th Infantry Division

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Institute of Heraldry

This is supposed to be an hourglass formed from two 7s, a normal one and an inverted one. Of course, it really does look more like a can someone crushed in their grip.

5. “Flaming Anus” — 9th Infantry Division

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Army Steven Williamson

You see it. You know you do.

6. “Gaggin’ Dragon” — 18th Airborne Corps

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Institute of Heraldry

Their mascot is a Sky Dragon so they went with a big scary dragon … that needs someone to administer the heimlich.

7. “Electric Strawberry” — 25th Infantry Division

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth

Based out of Hawaii, 25th’s patch is a taro leaf, native to Hawaii, with a lightning bolt showing how fast the division completes its missions. Since no one knows what a taro leaf is, most soldiers call it the electric strawberry. They also sometimes get called “Hawaii Power and Light.”

8. “Days Inn” — 41st Infantry Division

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Army Steven Williamson

Like 3rd Infantry Division’s, there was nothing odd about this patch when it was adopted in World War I. Still, if you’re only familiar with the hotel chain, this patch feels like copyright infringement. Some soldiers from this unit volunteered for service in Afghanistan in 2008, an experience chronicled in Shepherds of Helmand.

9. “Alcoholics Anonymous” — 82nd Airborne Division

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Army D. Myles Cullen

The 82nd Airborne Division was named the All-American Division after a contest held in Atlanta, Ga. The patch’s two A’s are meant to call to mind the “All-American” nickname, but many people are, of course, reminded of the alcoholic support group. This wasn’t helped by the division’s reputation for hard drinking.

10. “Choking Chicken” — 101st Airborne Division

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The 101st was originally based out of Wisconsin and they based their unit patch off of “Old Abe,” a bald eagle carried into combat by the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. While Abe was a distinguished bald eagle, the unit patch could easily be seen instead as a chicken with corn stuck in its windpipe.

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7 hilarious but accurate descriptions of military hardware

When it comes time to write up the technical pamphlets for the next generation of military gear, the manufacturers … probably won’t call us.


Here are seven perfectly accurate descriptions of military hardware that no self-respecting manufacturer would ever publish:

1. The Apache is the world’s most advanced digital camera

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
It’s a lot of money for relatively poor image quality, but the zoom is fantastic.

The AH-64 just has so many features that Canon and Nikon would never dream of putting on a camera: multiple rotor blades, a hydraulics systems, missiles, rockets, and a cannon. It’s almost hard to spot the camera sensors in the ball at the front.

2. The M1A2 Abrams tank provides very effective body armor for troops

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Does your armor deploy its own smoke grenades? And depleted uranium shells?

Because the armor is on motorized tracks, you can barely even feel the 60 tons of protection. It even has seats, a feature most body armor lacks.

3. The A-10 is a great way to get a look at the battlefield

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

It gets you high enough to see over the terrain while keeping you low enough to see all your enemies. If only there was something we could do about them from up here?

4. Navy aircraft carriers are cruise ships with (slightly) less sex and much more (hidden) booze

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

You can move a LOT of people with one of these ships. Over 6,000 with the old Nimitz-class. The newer Ford ships hold less people, normally about 4,000, but have sweet magnets that could hold literally anything to a fridge. In a pinch, there’s even a way to move people from shore directly to the ship without it docking. But be warned that the cruise directors are pretty uptight and the upper decks are noisy.

5. TOW missiles are a much faster delivery method than carrier pigeons

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
But, you know, they’re still faster than pigeons.

While carrier pigeons top out at around 90 mph in a sprint, TOW missiles fly at an astounding 715 mph. There’s almost nothing that can get your message across a battlefield faster, and the control cables let the recipient know just where the message came from.

Just a quick note, when sending messages to friends you should be sure to remove the original payload.

6. Rifles can punch holes through hella paper at once

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
(via Military Memes)

Don’t use boring three-hole punches that can only handle a few sheets when these rifles can create either 5.56mm or 7.62mm openings in dozens of sheets of paper at once.

7. CS gas is a quick and effective decongestant

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

Neti pots are weird and pouring liquids through your sinus cavities can lead to brain parasites. 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile has neither drawback and is extremely effective at helping you breathe free clearing your sinuses.

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7 movies every sailor needs to watch

There are movies that fizzle, and then there are movies that last for generations.


At any given moment on any given ship, one of these movies is guaranteed to be on rotation. They’re not only relatable, but timeless too. For example, “Cinderella Liberty” was made in the 1970s and yet a variation of the plot still happens to sailors in today’s Navy. And, when sailors watch “Master and Commander” they realize that the Navy hasn’t changed much since the 1800s.

Then, there are movies like “Top Gun” and “Officer and a Gentleman” that motivated a generation of sailors to join the service. “Top Gun” debuted in 1986 and until this day you can hear the echoes of aviators throughout the ship referring to each other as Maverick and Goose (our resident ex-naval aviator Ward Carroll disagrees. We’re guessing he’s a huge “Behind Enemy Lines” fan instead).

Another reason for the longevity of these films is because sailors relate to different characters at different stages of their careers. Early on they see themselves as Mayo in “Officer and a Gentleman” and years later they find themselves relating to Lt. Cmdr. Ron Hunter in “Crimson Tide.”

Here’s our list of movies movies every sailor needs to watch. Got any more? Add them to the comments.

1. The Sand Pebbles — 1966

This Navy engineer is transferred to a new ship in a foreign land where tensions are high with the United States. He doesn’t get along with the shipmates or the skipper and to make matters worse, he gets implicated in an incident that could cause full out war. Every sailor will relate to Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Holman played by Steve McQueen at some point in their career.

 

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: 20th Century Fox

 

2. The Hunt For Red October — 1990

Set during the Cold War, the USSR’s best submarine captain and crew plan to defect to the United States without triggering full out war. After watching this movie, you’ll realize that the USSR Navy isn’t very different from the U.S. Navy.

 

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Paramount Pictures

 

3. Top Gun — 1986

Dogfights, explosions, rivalries, and love, this movie was the beginning for a lot of aviators. A look at Maverick and you’ll understand what a lot of Navy pilots think of themselves.

 

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Paramount Pictures

 

 

4. Crimson Tide — 1995

On one hand you have a trigger-happy skipper ready to unleash his nukes onto Russia and on the other you have a subordinate staging a mutiny. It’s a sailor’s fantasy played out.

 

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Hollywood Pictures

 

5. Officer and a Gentleman — 1982

This story plays out every day in the military. It’s about a guy wanting to turn his life around by joining the Navy. Sound familiar?

 

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Paramount Pictures

 

6. Master and Commander — 2003

Although this film is recent compared to the others, it made our list for its timelessness. With phrases such as port side, starboard, head, and others, sailors quickly realize that if they were to be transported to the 1800s that they would still make good sailors.

 

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

7. Cinderella Liberty — 1973

A quick read of the captions and you could probably think of a sailor or two that fit the profile.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

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7 mysteriously missing body parts of military leaders

When dictators get toppled or governments change, things get chaotic, to say the least. Sometimes a despotic leader gets to escape to Saudi Arabia to live the rest of his life, presumably not eating people.


6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Looking at you, Idi Amin. You know what you did.

Democracies tend to have a more peaceful transfer of power, ones that don’t involve revolutionaries storming buildings and stringing people up. But in any conflict, there is always the chance that something will get lost to history.

I’m willing to bet these seven military leaders didn’t expect to end up as a decoration somewhere.

1. Oliver Cromwell’s Head

Cromwell has been called a lot of things: tyrant, dictator, hero. It all depends on your point of view. When he died in 1658, the state gave the former Lord Protector of England a fine funeral under his son, the new Lord Protector, Richard.

Unfortunately, Richard sucked at his job and the monarchy was restored. The new king, Charles II put everyone who killed his father, King Charles I, on trial immediately, with no exceptions. This included Oliver Cromwell’s corpse.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Beat that, Game of Thrones.

Cromwell’s dead body unsurprisingly stayed silent on his guilt or innocence, was pronounced guilty, and hanged. He was then beheaded and the head put on a spike outside Parliament.

For like, 20 years.

In 1685, a storm blew the spike down, and sent the head flying into Parliament Square. It was picked up by guard who secretly took it home to sell it for cash. Instead, he got cold feet and hid it in the chimney until the day he died.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
No, this is not another stupid Jeff Dunham bit.

To make a long story short, the head was sold from collector to collector for a full 301 years before it was reburied in Cambridge.

2. Napoleon Bonaparte’s Penis

In 2007, Evan Lattimer’s father died. From him, she inherited Napoleon Bonaparte’s penis even though the French government swears the little corporal is not that of the Emperor.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Napoleon or not, someone’s penis is missing.

In 1821, he died in exile on the island of St. Helena and while the British weren’t watching, the Corsican conducting Napoleon’s autopsy cut off a few pieces for some reason.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

It traveled around the world for decades, eventually ending up under the bed of American urologist John Kingsley Lattimer, who put it there and seldom showed anyone because “Dad believed that urology should be proper and decent and not a joke.”

3. Benito Mussolini’s Leg and Brain

Mussolini met a pretty ignominious end during WWII. He was captured by Italian anti-Fascist partisans, beaten and then strung up by his feet. The U.S. Army ordered the bodies taken down and eventually placed Il Duce in la tomba.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
I hope they buried his fashion sense with him.

His unmarked grave was found by three young fascists who dug him up and took the body from place to place, eventually ending up in a monastery near Milan. By the time his body was found, it was missing a leg. The legless body was interred in his family crypt in Predappio.

The fun doesn’t stop there. While the body was in American custody, an autopsy was performed on the dictator’s brain. The Americans took half of the brain in an attempt to study what makes a dictator, returning it in 1966.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Can you imagine the shipping costs for a head that size?

Every now and again, however, vials pop up on eBay, claiming to be the Italian’s remains. His leg was never found.

4. King Badu Bonsu’s Head

Dutch colonists in what is today called Ghana got pretty pissed when the Chief of the local Ahanta tribe killed two Dutch messengers, cut their heads off, and put them on his throne.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Kinda like that, but with severed heads.

The Dutch, slightly miffed at having their citizens used as decoration, responded the way most colonizers would – with a punitive expedition. They captured Badu Bonsu and lopped off his head. This time, instead of putting it on a chair, they put it in a jar. Of formaldehyde.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
He looks thrilled about it.

Fast forward two hundred years later, the Netherlands have gracefully decided to give the old man’s head back to his home country. You might think the people who happened to be carrying around the pickled head of an African chief might keep track of it but no. It was found locked in a closet where it had presumably been for 170 years.

5. Che Guevara’s Hair

The Cuban revolutionary met his end in Bolivia in 1967, executed by Bolivian forces. His hands were cut off as proof and his body was thrown into an unmarked grave. But, like the people who surrounded Napoleon after his death, someone with access to Guevara’s body decided to take home a souvenir.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

The person who happened to be present and bury Guevara was also a CIA spook. He kept a scrapbook that included photos, documents, fingerprints, and a lock of Guevara’s hair. In 2007, it was all sold at auction for $100,000.

6. Geronimo’s Skull

In 2009, native tribes sued the Yale University secret society known as the Order of Skull and Bones. They alleged the group had the skull of Apache leader Geronimo on display in the clubhouse. And the Apaches wanted it back.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
There’s a lot of things Native Americans probably want back.

Geronimo died as a POW at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1909. A Skull and Bones legend says Prescott Bush, father of George H.W. Bush and grandfather to George W. Bush, dug up the Apache’s body and stole the skull and other bones. He then brought it to the clubhouse in New Haven, Connecticut.

7. Thomas Paine’s Entire Body

Unlike everyone else on this list whose head or skull was stolen after death, Thomas Paine’s good friend John Jarvis was already thinking about getting his hands on the famous patriot’s noggin. Paine, of course, asked Jarvis to leave his bones the hell alone. When Paine died in 1809, they did just that. For a while. Somebody dug his body up ten years later.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

Since Paine died a drunk in New York, very few people were present for his funeral. Wanting to give Paine a proper burial, newspaper editor William Cobbett and some friends exhumed Paine with the intent of moving his body to England.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

The only problem happened when the body got to England – Cobbett couldn’t afford the burial. The old editor stashed the remains in his attic, where Tom Paine remained until Cobbett died. After that, no one knows what happened to the Revolutionary author.

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10 incredible Post-9/11 combat medics who risked their lives to save others

In the field, everyone is working to ensure that nothing goes wrong. But, when the mission goes sideways, everyone thanks the heavens for the medic. The one who rushes through fire to save their patients.


Here are 10 medics who saw patients in danger and rushed to their aid, sometimes sustaining serious wounds or even dying in their attempt to save others.

1. Ranger platoon medic treats patients while enduring repeated IED blasts

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Army Patrick Albright

Spc. Bryan C. Anderson was part of an Army Ranger assault force sent after a high-value target in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Oct. 5, 2013. When the team landed, an insurgent successfully fled the target building and began running away. An element of soldiers moved to catch him but they were struck by a suicide bomber and triggered two pressure plate IEDs.

Anderson rushed to the aid of the wounded even though he knew they were in the middle of a pressure plate IED belt. Over the next few hours, Anderson crisscrossed the IED belt treating the wounded. During a particularly harrowing 30 minutes, seven IEDs detonated within 10 meters of Anderson, according to his official award citation. Though some of his patients from that night died, two severely injured Rangers survived because Anderson continued rendering aid despite experiencing his own traumatic brain injuries. Anderson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

2. Corpsman riddled with shrapnel pulls 4 injured comrades from vehicle while under fire

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Marine Corp Mike Garcia

During an American-Afghan convoy, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Benny Flores was in a vehicle struck by an IED. Despite having his own shrapnel injuries and taking incoming enemy fire, Flores began treatment of a Marine in his vehicle and then aided the Marine in taking cover. He ferried to and from the vehicle three more times, treating and moving to cover a wounded Afghan police officer and two more Marines, all while under enemy fire and without receiving treatment for his own wounds. Flores received the Silver Star.

3. Pararescueman drops into IED field to save Army Pathfinders

On May 26, 2011, a squad of U.S. Army pathfinders was crippled when it struck multiple IEDs during a mission. Air Force Staff Sgt. Thomas H. Culpepper, Jr. was voluntarily hoisted down to the battlefield only 25 meters from a known IED. Culpepper and his teammate stabilized the pathfinders and then began hoisting them into the helicopter. On the last lift, Culpepper and the final patient were nearly dropped from the helicopter when it experienced a sudden loss of power.

They were recovered into the bird and Culpepper received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

4. Corpsman continues treating casualties after being shot in the back

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Marine Corps Sgt. Scott A. Achtemeier

On April 25, 2013, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Kevin D. Baskin was part of a Marine task force pinned down by enemy fire outside Kushe Village, Afghanistan. Baskin treated an initial casualty under heavy fire and then moved him to a casualty evacuation vehicle. Immediately afterwards, Baskin was shot in the back. He continued to treat new casualties and refused medical treatment for his own. He supervised the evacuation of the wounded and laid down cover fire for the evacuation of the team. His actions were credited with saving the lives of four Marines and he was awarded the Silver Star.

5. Medic bounds up to wounded casualties under fire, then treats them until he dies of his own wounds

On March 29, 2011, a group of soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division were clearing a known insurgent strong point when they came under a complex ambush from enemy fire. Three members of the lead element were injured immediately. Spc. Jameson L. Lindskog bounded from the rear of the element to the troops in contact while under fire so heavy that the bullets destroyed cover whenever he moved behind it.

Lindskog triaged the casualties and began treatment. While working on an Afghan National Army soldier, Lindskog was struck in the chest by an enemy round. He remained lucid and refused treatment, asking to stay on the battlefield and give instructions to those rendering aid. His instructions saved the lives of two other men, but he died of his wounds before being evacuated. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

6. Pararescue jumper treats nine casualties by moonlight while under withering enemy fire

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Air Force Justin Connaher

The 101st Airborne called for support during an operation after they took two casualties on Nov. 14, 2010. Air Force Para rescue jumper Master Sgt. Roger D. Sparks was on the response team. His helicopter arrived and was circling the objective when the situation on the ground suddenly intensified and the 101st took four new casualties. Sparks and another airman began a 40-foot descent to the battlefield below despite the increased enemy activity.

While descending, they came under intense enemy fire and their lowering cable was struck three times by bullets. Immediately after landing, the pair was attacked with an RPG round that knocked them both from their feet. Running across the objective while under increasing machine gun and RPG fire, Sparks treated nine wounded soldiers by moonlight, many with serious problems like punctured lungs, eviscerations, and arterial bleedings. He returned to the landing area but stayed on the ground, coordinating the evacuation until the last soldier was loaded. His actions saved five lives and resulted in the remains of four Americans making it back to their families. He was awarded the Silver Star.

7. Medic shields casualties from mortar fire until forced to move, continues treatment throughout

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Photo: US Army Pfc. Scott Davis

Spc. Monica Lin Brown was an airborne medic on a combat patrol in Afghanistan on April 25, 2007, when an up-armored Humvee struck an IED. The IED was the first part of a complex ambush on the column. Brown moved 300 meters under enemy fire to the burning vehicle and began caring for the wounded. She triaged them onsite and then moved them with the help of the platoon sergeant into a nearby wadi. She continued to render aid and used her own body as a shield while 15 enemy mortar rounds landed within 100 meters of her position.

The mortar fire eventually forced her to move the wounded two more times as she continued treating and shielding them. The wounded men were eventually medically evacuated and Brown was awarded the Silver Star.

8. Medic dies after treating casualties under ‘barrage of RPG fire’

On Nov. 12, 2010, Spc. Shannon Chihuahua was part of a blocking position in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. A squad providing overwatch suddenly came under a complex enemy attack with small arms, machine guns, and RPGs. Chihuahua ran from a relatively safe position into the heat of the fighting to treat the wounded.

Moving from soldier to soldier providing care, Chihuahua eventually found himself the focus of the enemies’ attacks. Chihuahua went down under a “barrage of RPG fire,” according to Sgt. Kevin Garrison, the squad leader whose position was the focus of the first attack. Chihuahua was awarded the Silver Star.

9. Stryker medic pulls three casualties from a burning Bradley

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting
Spc. Christopher Waiters makes his first attempt to enter a burning Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle on April 5, 2007 in Iraq. Photo: US Army

Staff Sgt. Christopher Bernard Waiters was the senior medic in his Stryker company when a Bradley Fighting Vehicle struck an IED and began to burn with its crew still inside on April 5, 2007. He parked his vehicle in a security position and immediately engaged two enemy fighters.

He then ran to the burning Bradley on his own and pulled the driver and vehicle commander out. He treated both and escorted them back to his own Stryker. That was when he learned another soldier was in the troop compartment. He ran back and entered the burning vehicle, falling back only for a moment when the 25-mm ammunition began to explode. He re-entered, saw the deceased soldier and went for a body bag. Another medic retrieved the body while Waiters drove the wounded back for further treatment.

10. Medical sergeant performs surgery in the open while under fire

As the medical sergeant on a civil affairs team, Staff Sgt. Michael P. Pate was part of a patrol in Afghanistan. The group came under heavy fire from multiple machine gun positions and at least six other enemy shooters. Early in the ensuing firefight, the rear man of the element was shot in the back. Pate and his team leader rushed to the man and drove him to what little cover was available, a six-inch deep ditch. Though his patient was slightly covered, Pate was fully exposed as he performed surgical interventions on the wounded man. During this time, Pate also assisted the joint-terminal attack controller with directing airstrikes and coordinated the medical evacuation for the wounded. He was awarded the Silver Star.

NOW: Medal of Honor: Meet the 16 heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan who received the nation’s highest honor

OR: This female vet is one of history’s most decorated combat photographers

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17 Photos That Show Why Troops Absolutely Love The .50 Caliber Machine Gun

The M2 .50 caliber machine gun has been in production longer than any other, and it’s easy to see why troops love it.


Since the 1930s, “Ma Deuce” has been serving troops on the ground, in vehicles, and in aircraft, and with its effectiveness and reliability, it doesn’t look like this weapon is going out of style any time soon. Originally developed during World War I by John Browning, the weapon is now in the hands of U.S. troops and a number of NATO allies.

Here’s why:

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

The M2 .50 cal has served troops well in Iraq and Afghanistan as a fearsome automatic weapon usually mounted to vehicles.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

But it was just as deadly in Normandy in 1944 …

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

… As it is overlooking remote bases in Afghanistan today.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

With a belt-fed .50 BMG round, it packs serious punch that can effectively hit targets out to 1,800 meters.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

The weapon can fire a variety of ammunition types, such as standard ball, blanks, armor-piercing (AP), armor-piercing incendiary (API), armor-piercing incendiary tracer (APIT) …

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

… And the crowd favorite: Saboted Light Armor Penetrator (SLAP), which can bust through steel.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

Troops can find the .50 cal everywhere from the perimeter of the forward operating base …

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

… to the rails of U.S. Navy ships.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

Of course, two is better than one.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

Before they can fire it, soldiers usually learn how to disassemble, assemble, and adjust headspace and timing — tweaks made to the gun that allow it to fire safely. (The U.S. Army upgraded a number of their .50 cals to the M2A1, which doesn’t require headspace & timing adjustments).

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

Once it’s ready to go, soldiers place the rounds on the feed tray, make sure the cover is closed, and pull the bolt to the rear to load the weapon.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

Then it’s ready to rock and roll. The .50 can fire in single shot or fully automatic mode.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

At the rear, soldiers grab the “spade” handle and fire it using a butterfly trigger. They need to be careful however: There’s no safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge (Some variants have been fielded which feature a positive safety selector).

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

While it’s most often mounted to vehicles in a rotating turret …

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

… Ma Deuce can also be found on the side of helicopters.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

And with the use of a tripod, it can also be fired very effectively from the ground.

6 toys that we played with that probably led us to enlisting

Correction: This post was updated with new information to reflect the fielding of the M2A1 variant and other versions, which feature safety selectors, and don’t require the need for adjustments to headspace and timing.

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