7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life - We Are The Mighty
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7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

We’ve all been lectured about what parts of military life are most relevant in the civilian world — things like showing up on time and being respectful. Those things are mostly nonsense and ingredients in a recipe for disaster when you make the transition. Here’s WATM’s list of 7 skills you learned that got you by during your time in uniform — military “life hacks” — that’ll make life on the outside easier and more productive:


1. Doing more with less

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (in)famously said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want.” But that reality isn’t an excuse for failure. The American people still expect their military to win the war. (They don’t always act like it, but they do.) Same deal in civilian life. You won’t have all the resources you need to make the sale or close the campaign, but the company still expects you to get it done.

 

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
(Photo: DVIDS)

 

2. Embracing the suck

Remember how you started each deployment with optimism and enthusiasm? Remember how those things were crushed by the end of the first month in theater? But about that same time you realized that sitting around and complaining about it wasn’t going to make the rest of the time any easier. The same thing is true in civilian life. Every job has its suck. You want to play golf for a living? Get ready to spend ninety percent of your time away from home. But don’t sit around the clubhouse bitching about it.

 

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
(Photo: U.S. Army)

 

3. Being resourceful on the road

Even at the combat outpost in Paktika Province – without running water or air conditioning – you managed to whip up your favorite tuna slider recipe, figure out that Jason Aldean song, and keep your Facebook status updated. Those mad skills will come in handy when the company sends you on that client roadshow or to that training seminar. The complimentary wifi won’t work. The treadmill in the hotel gym will be broken. The conference room will run out of electrical outlets. Tough luck. Get it done, soldier. And keep your toes tapping.

 

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Soldier jams on an acoustic guitar among the Hesco barriers at a combat outpost in Afghanistan. (Photo: U.S. Army)

 

4. Stepping up to solve problems beyond your billet description

It was a party foul to say “that’s not my job” during your time in uniform. Many times you had to come out of your lane to make sure things got done in the face of others inadvertently overlooking their responsibilities. Same thing happens on the outside. Somebody’s about to forget the glossy brochures for that key client presentation. Somebody forgot to do Item No. Three on the “Night Shift Shipping Procedures” checklist. If you see it, solve it.

 

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Combat Outpost Keating in the snow of Afghanistan. (Photo: U.S. Army)

 

5. Realizing that everyone above your paygrade is dangerously clueless 

At times it seemed like the sole purpose of the chain of command was to try and kill you. Your watch section tried to wash you overboard. Your flight lead tried to fly you into the ground. Your skipper assigned you for a mission with no real idea of what it was going to take to get you safely back. Welcome to the business world. While the consequences of ineptitude might be less life threatening, that same healthy paranoia regarding those in charge is a good idea.

 

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
SecDef Donald Rumsfeld testifying that everything is just fine. (Photo: DoD)

 

6. Knowing the value of a good wingman

The buds got you back to the ship after a big night of liberty. They kept you out of jail in Turkey. They gave you that timely heads up when the Gunny was about to come down on you with both feet. Those same kinds of folks will come in handy in civilian life. (And your regional manager might have gunny-like tendencies from time-to-time).

 

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Sailors from the USS South Dakota on liberty in Japan during the ’50s. (Photo: U.S. Navy archives)

7. KEEPING YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR WHEN THINGS GET BAD

You know how you stayed sane in the military by laughing stuff off? Don’t lose your sense of humor when you trade multicam for mufti. You’re going to need it for the same reasons you needed it when things got rough in uniform.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
French Resistance member Georges Blind smiling in front of a German execution squad, October 1944. (It was a mock execution intended to make him talk.) (Photo: Nat’l Archives)

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15 Can’t-Beat Care Package Goods


  • 1. “Open When” Cards

    By The Mighty

    Create a bunch of cards that your S.O. can open throughout their tour. Include jokes and encouragement, and make sure to label the envelopes with dates to open them.

  • 2. Downtime Activities

    By The Mighty

    For every moment of combat your loved one faces, they’ll have downtime as well. Make sure they’re never short on entertainment by sending their favorite card and board games, books, and movies.

  • 3. A Journal

    By The Mighty

    The pen is mightier than the sword. Give your service member a journal to reflect on their experiences. This can also be passed on as a family keepsake.

  • 4. Junk Food

    By The Mighty

    Sometimes the best cure for homesickness is good old-fashioned junk food. Salty or sweet, load up the service member in your life with their favorite guilty pleasures.

  • 5. 52 Things I Love About You

    By The Mighty

    Use a deck of cards to show your love for your military spouse. From silly quirks to sweet anecdotes, remind your S.O. of the little things that make you miss them like crazy.

  • 6. Home Videos

    By The Mighty

    Take videos of everything while your trooper’s away: baby’s first steps, family get-togethers, etc. Put these on a USB drive so they can watch these moments, big or small, as if they were there.

  • 7. Mess Hall Survival Package

    By The Mighty

    Military food can get old fast, but you can help! Spice up your serviceperson’s meals by sending some of their favorite condiments in restaurant sized packets.

  • 8. Digital Picture Frame

    By The Mighty

    This gift can help your service member enjoy pieces of home without worrying about damaging photos! Digital picture frames hold multiple photos on a small hard drive, and shuffle them on a digital screen.

  • 9. Latitude Necklace

    By The Mighty

    Give your loved one a piece of home wherever they go by engraving your house’s coordinates on a necklace. Get one for yourself with their location too, and keep each other close despite the distance.

  • 10. Matching Bracelets

    By The Mighty

    A simpler spin on the necklace idea is a classic friendship bracelet to remind your trooper he or she is loved.

  • 11. Snuggle Buddy

    By The Mighty

    Spray some of your perfume/cologne on your S.O.’s favorite sweatshirt, blanket or pillow. This way when your service member snuggles up for the night, he or she can ward off homesickness with a familiar smell.

  • 12. Helping Hands

    By The Mighty

    It doesn’t get cuter than this! Kids can trace their hands on paper, cut them out, laminate them and then send them to Mom or Dad. Parents can carry the hands in their pockets while on tour.

  • 13. Nostalgia To-Go

    By The Mighty

    Nothing beats the taste of home cooking. And while you can’t send your soldier a full meal, you CAN bake their favorite sweet treat in a jar for easy travel and eating!

  • 14. Footprint Stamps

    By The Mighty

    Another great idea for military couples with kids – if you have a baby, put their hand/footprint on each envelope or box you mail your loved one. This way, they can watch their baby grow from afar.

  • 15. Holiday in a Box

    By The Mighty

    Holidays away from home can be incredibly hard on our troops, but you can share the magic of the season by stuffing a package full of your service member’s favorite holiday music, snacks, mementos and more.

Check Out: The Gift of Gaming
Articles

The 4 female spies who shaped the American revolution

The bravery and heroism demonstrated by America’s forefathers during the American Revolution has been widely documented and celebrated. Patriot rebels not only fought against the British forces on the battlefield, but worked to bring them down undercover, taking missions to gather intelligence that would often require them to pose as the enemy, cause strife amongst their neighbors, and risk the lives of their family and friends.


When people think of these early American spies, many think of the work of Nathan Hale, but few people know that women were also working to destroy British occupiers from the inside out.

These are some of the most prominent female spies of the American revolution:

1. Agent 355 was a prominent member of the Culper Spy Ring

There were several Patriot spy rings that worked to overthrow British occupation during the Revolutionary War, but very few of these secret groups had women who actively took part in the espionage.  The Culper Spy Ring, however, is known mainly for a very unusual agent, a spy known then and now only as 355 — the group’s code number for the word “woman.” The mystery woman’s identity was kept secret to protect herself and likely her family, but her daring contributions to the American cause have been remembered in history. She took part in several counterintelligence missions, including spy operations that resulted in the arrest of major John Andrew — the head of England’s intelligence operations in New York — and the discovery of Benedict Arnold’s treason.

Some historians guess that Agent 355 was likely a shop keeper or a merchant who learned information about Red Coat military operations from chatty British customers, and that she would then divulge this information to George Washington. Regardless of her methods, Agent 355 made critical contributions to the Revolutionary cause.

2. Anna Smith Strong used her laundry as a coded Patriot communication system

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

Agent 355 wasn’t the only woman who operated under the Culper Spy Ring, however. Another woman, Anna Smith Strong, worked alongside 355 and her male compatriots in Long Island, and was known for her fierce patriotism and fearlessness. Strong’s sleuthing wasn’t quite as flashy as Agent 355’s, but the communication system she developed for the saboteurs was incredibly influential. Abraham Woodhull, a member of the ring, needed a way to find the location of Caleb Brewster‘s boat undetected, so he could then give him the top-secret information gathered for Gen. George Washington. It was too risky to search in multiple ports for the ship or ask for its whereabouts — if he drew attention to himself, he could be arrested and hanged for treason to the Crown.

To remedy this, Anna Strong developed a coded line of communication using her family’s wash line. Woodhull would hide his boat in six different locations in various patterns, and each one of these places was identified by a number. Smith would then hang clothes on the line in concordance with the code. The number of handkerchiefs hung out to dry signaled the number of the secret location, and she would add a black petticoat to signal that Brewster was close by. This system, as simple as it sounds, allowed the Culper Ring to operate undetected, and made huge gains for American freedom.

3. Ann Bates posed as a peddler to glean military information — for the British

The contributions of female spies to the American Revolution is incredibly impressive, but the Patriots weren’t the only ones with ladies working undercover. The British forces had women working for them as well, and Anna Bates was one of the best. Bates was a Loyalist schoolteacher in Philadelphia who began spying for the Red Coats in 1778, posing as a peddler and selling knives, needles, and other dry goods to the American military.

While she sold her wares to the rebel forces, she also took note of how many weapons and soldiers each camp held, and would pass this information along to loyalist sympathizers and British officers. Luckily, though Bates’s work was helpful to the British military, it wasn’t enough to derail the coming success of the American Revolution.

4. Lydia Darragh risked the lives of her sons for the American cause

While many spies were part of complex underground networks, some worked alone — like housewife Lydia Darragh. When British officers began using a large room on the second story of the Darragh’s home for military meetings, Darragh was quick to capitalize on the opportunity to gain information. Before the officers would file into the room, Darragh would hide inside an adjoining closet and press her ear to the wall, taking notes on the clueless officers’ battle plans.

She would then have her husband, William, translate her work into a coded shorthand on little pieces of fabric or paper. She would then fold the slip to fit over the top of a button mold, cover the mold with fabric, and then sew the message-filled buttons on to the shirt of her teenage son, John. Darragh would then send John on “visits” to his older brother Lt. Charles Darragh’s house, who would then take the buttons and present the stolen information to other rebel military leaders. It was an incredibly risky endeavor, but Darragh was willing to risk her own safety — and the safety of her family — for the American cause.

NOW: The 6 greatest military heroes you’ve never heard of

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13 funniest military memes for the week of May 19

Another week down, another flurry of military memes from the comedy blizzard that is the internet.


Here are 13 of the funniest we found:

1. Huh. Didn’t know “Queen of the Bees” was a new MOS (via Pop smoke).

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
A couple of stings will remind you that you’re alive pretty quickly.

2. Guess someone is rucking home (via Team Non-Rec).

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
And that’s not how you carry a helmet.

ALSO SEE: 7 things you should know before joining the infantry

3. Sure, you’ll look fabulous until that first splash of hot coolant or grease (via Sh-t my LPO says).

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Oh, and you don’t look fabulous. You look like an idiot.

4. Pretty unfortunate fortune cookie (via Sh-t my LPO says).

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Especially if the cruise gets extended.

5. It’s a rough gig. Ages you fast (via Sh-t My Recruiter Said).

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Not sure how he lost that eye, though.

6. Seriously, every briefing can be done without Powerpoint (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
And if you choose to use Powerpoint, at least punch up the briefing with some anecdotes and keep the slide number low.

7. Think the platoon sergeant will notice? (via Team Non-Rec)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Just keep your eyes forward and only the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ranks will see it.

8. God, Romphims took over the military pretty fast (via Weapons of Meme Destruction)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photoshoppers must have been working overtime.

9. We’re all the same. Except for these as-holes (via Weapons of Meme Destruction).

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

10. It’s all fun and games until someone has to clean up (via Valhalla Wear).

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Did anyone else notice the uniform change in this meme? You’re Marines while you’re shooting, but you’re Army when you’re cleaning up.

11. Oh yeah? You completed selection and training but decided against the green beret? (via Decelerate Your Life)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
You can’t refuse Special Forces until they offer you the tab, and no one turns it down right after earning it.

12. “Headhunter 6? Never heard of her.” (via The Salty Soldier)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

13. You poor, stupid bastard (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
They’re all equally bad.

Lists

6 ‘Toys for Tots’ commercials we swear didn’t make us cry

Founded in 1947 by U.S. Marine Corps Reservist Maj. Bill Hendricks, the charitable legacy of Toys for Tots has endured throughout the decades. The gift-giving program was such as huge success initially that the Corps adopted the practice and has spread the program nationwide.


The program was so well-liked that famous animator Walt Disney got involved, personally inking the Toys for Tots logo we all know today.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
(Image from Toys for Tots)

For the past several years, the foundation has produced many emotionally driven ads, run during the holidays to help spread awareness for kids in need.

Some of the Toys for Tots commercials are real tear-jerkers. Good luck getting through all these with a dry eye.

Related: 5 awesome ways the military collects toys for kids

6. Every year, a Marine will stand and collect for our nation’s children-in-need.

(MarineToysForTots | YouTube)

5. An early morning Christmas surprise.

(MarineToysForTots | YouTube)

4. “Are you Santa Claus? He is Santa Claus!”

(MarineToysForTots | YouTube)

3. A child’s Christmas wish.

(MarineToysForTots | YouTube)

2. The Marines have always been known for saving the day. Now, they’re spreading Christmas cheer — one gift at a time.

(MarineToysForTots | YouTube)

Also Read: This is how POWs got playing cards with secret escape maps for Christmas

1. The many faces that the Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots has helped.

(MarineToysForTots | YouTube)To request toys or donate to Toys for Tots, visit their website.

Bonus: Remember when Sopranos star Joe Pantoliano played a Marine DI for Toys for Tots?

(MarineToysForTots | YouTube)
Articles

21 photos showing the awesomeness of the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon

The Silent Drill Platoon symbolizes the consummate professionalism and extreme discipline the United States Marine Corps is known for.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. AaronJames Vinculado


Stationed at the legendary Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., it is a 24-man rifle platoon that tours the country showcasing their precision drill and rifle movements in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators a year.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Cpl. Dengrier Baez

A highly selective unit, Marines are individually interviewed and picked from the Schools of Infantry at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune.

 

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Pfc. Richardo Davila

Once selected, each Marine will be assigned to the platoon for two years while more experienced members can audition to become one of two rifle inspectors.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe

The drill master, along with the rifle inspectors, are responsible for passing on the traditions, training, and mastery.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Pfc. Crystal Druery

If you are ever fortunate to witness a live performance, their synchronized movements and individual expert rifle handling skills will leave you in awe.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Cpl. Tia Dufour

These photos capture moments during their precision performances that show off how awesome they really are.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Cpl. Octavia Davis

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Reina Barnett

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rodion Zabolotniy

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Cpl. Dengrier Baez

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Samantha Draughon

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Oscar L Olive IV

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Sgt. Chris Stone

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Oscar L Olive IV

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Samantha Draughon

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Cpl. Carolyn Pichardo

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Cpl. Sarah Fiocco

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jacqueline Smith

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Alejandro Sierras

BONUS: Now watch one of their performances…

NOW: 7 things ‘Hollywood’ Marines will always remember

OR: 5 problems infantry Marines will understand

Humor

7 ways to surprise your spouses when they return from deployment

Spending the better part of a year on a deployment 3,000 miles away from home is hard for anyone and can feel like an eternity.


On the ride home, many vets think about the first thing they’re going to do when they return, like biting into a perfectly-grilled cheeseburger, getting a good night’s sleep in their own bed or taking a long hot shower.

Aside from those iconic ones, here are a few things you could do to welcome back your spouse and make his or her homecoming a glorious affair.

1. Bring unexpected family members

Consider bringing man’s best friend along — the one who walks on four legs and thinks his returning buddy is king. There’s nothing better than the welcoming face of a faithful pup after a long time apart. Returning home is an emotional time for everybody, so why not bring everyone?

2. Bring tobacco

Puffing a fresh cigarette or packing your lip with a fresh pinch of dip can make a world of difference for someone who spent that last 13 hours on a plane and is itching for a hit of nicotine.

Sure, this isn’t the healthiest gift. But it could make your loved one do a celebration dance when they’re packing a freshie.

3. Bring a cold beer (or beers)

General Order #1A prohibits service members from drinking alcohol while deployed — and it’s rarely lifted.

It’s a known fact when you want something bad and can’t have it, you want it even more. Heineken, Corona, or PBR are just some of the popular choices sold at the local base PX.

Letting your spouse toast a few with his or her buddies for a job well done is a great and inexpensive way to close out a stressful deployment.

4. Have an escape plan checklist

Unfortunately, it’s not always a situation where your loved one can just walk off the plane and go straight home — there’s always a list of “to-dos” before he can pull chocks. So make sure your spouse has a get-home-quick plan so those logistics hurdles don’t get in the way of a quick trip to the casa.

  • Find the family, hug it out and take a quick photo.
  • Mark your seabag and other baggage so the kids can spot and retrieve it while you drop off your weapon at the armory.
  • Meet at the car and load up.
  • Find the nearest exit gate with the least outgoing traffic.
  • AND GO!!!

5. Have a clean house

Being cramped into a small bunk on a ship or sleeping on a narrow cot in a dusty tent takes its toll. Entering a cleaned up and tidy house — even a modest one — can feel like you just walked into a newly designed multi-million dollar mansion.

6. Make a home-cooked meal

Some military installations have better chow halls than others. And a lot of deployed personnel had to make due with eating MREs or C-rations three times a day, which are tough to stomach over a long deployment.

So there’s nothing like sitting down at the table with your family over a perfectly cooked steak with all the fixings.

7. Bring a change of clothes

After months of doing laundry in a bucket, having some fresh clean clothes that don’t have a last name stitched above the pocket is a step in the right direction when trying to return to normal.

Can you think of any others? Comment below

Articles

9 highest war movie body counts

Despite Hot Shots Part Deux‘s claim to be the bloodiest movie ever, we actually did the math and found the top body counts for war films featuring the U.S. military. These counts are only for onscreen, confirmed dead. If they’re still moving when the director cuts to the next shot, it doesn’t count. The results are surprising.


9. Delta Force

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE0V-xhTF4s
Despite his online reputation for ceaseless badassery, Chuck Norris’ seminal work Delta Force only has 78 confirmed kills. Though admittedly, 43 of those are at the hands of Chuck Norris himself.

8. Rambo Series

First Blood (commonly known as “the Rambo movie”) is the most surprising. With a body count of one confirmed kill, you wonder how John Rambo earned the reputation of being Hollywood’s biggest military badass… until you see the rest of the Rambo films (lots of cops go through windows, though). Body counts rise at a near exponential rate after the commies kill Rambo’s love interest, with 80 kills in First Blood Part II, 158 in Rambo III, and a whopping 273 in 2008’s Rambo. At that rate, I imagine that Rambo: Last Blood will maim more people than a movie starring 100 untamed lions.

7. The Patriot

Another surprise is the number of onscreen deaths in The Patriot. Mel Gibson’s Revolutionary War film, based on the Southern colonies’ fight against brutal British Colonel Banastre Tarleton, only had 123 onscreen kills.

6. Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down is considered one of the most realistic portrayals of any military action ever depicted onscreen, but the 135 deaths (122 Somalis, 13 Americans) doesn’t reflect the real-world body count of 1,500 Somalis, 18 Americans, 1 Malaysian and 1 Pakistani.

5. Saving Private Ryan

Steven Spielberg’s WWII epic Saving Private Ryan defined the distinctive WWII onscreen look and feel, replicated again and again. Appropriately, the film starts with his vision of the intense D-Day landings at Normandy. The final tally, including the dog tags of the KIA, stands at 243.

4. Platoon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKpQB3bEPbI
Platoon’s 277 kills are enough to give anyone a thousand-yard stare.

3. We Were Soldiers

The 305 total onscreen deaths between US forces and the North Vietnamese Army in We Were Soldiers gives Mel Gibson war film extras a higher mortality rate than Sean Bean in any film or TV show ever.

2. Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino’s films have a reputation for violence and his WWII masterwork Inglourious Basterds delivers Lieutenant Aldo Raine’s scalps and then some with a confirmed kill count of 315.

1. Windtalkers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygXyaFv9ub0
The all-time top body count of any movie featuring US troops in combat goes to Nicolas Cage’s Windtalkers with a whopping 548 onscreen kills.
Articles

The 9 most devastating nuclear weapons in the world

Nuclear bombs are the most powerful weapons ever devised. Here are 9 of the most destructive in history.


1. Tsar Bomba (50-100 Megatons)

“Big Ivan,” or the “Tsar Bomba,” created the largest explosion ever made by man, and it was tampered to only half of its full strength. Secretary Nikita Khrushchev demanded a record-setting bomb to prove the Soviet Union’s might ahead of an important meeting of the Communist party. To fulfill his wishes, scientists designed and created the bomb in only 15 weeks. Originally designed for a 100-megaton blast, the bomb was tampered down to only 50 megatons to prevent damage to Soviet cities in the original fallout radius. Only one was ever created.

2. B-41 nuclear bomb (10-25 MT)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
A B-41 prototype is detonated July 12, 1958 at the Bikini Atoll range. Photo: Wikipedia

Capable of a 25-MT blast, the B41 was the most powerful nuclear bomb ever developed by the U.S. Like the Tsar Bomba, it was a three-stage device. About 500 were created. Due to their weight, they could not ride on missiles and bombers could only carry one device at a time.

3. TX-21 “Shrimp” (15 Megatons)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Wikipedia

The TX-21 was an experimental weapon that was supposed to create a 5-MT blast. An experimental fusion fuel caused the blast to increase to 15 megatons. While the U.S. ended up with a much stronger weapon than it expected, the experiment resulted in multiple deaths, untold numbers of birth defects, and the accidental contamination of 7,000 square miles of Pacific islands and ocean.

4. B-17 (10-15 Megatons)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photos: Wikipedia and US Department of Energy

The B-17 was America’s first thermonuclear bomb to be deployed. In a way, it was a tuned-down version of the TX-21. The TX-17 prototype created a 11-MT blast much larger than the expected 4-MT explosion because of an unexpected reaction in the fusion fuel.

5. B-24 (10-15 Megatons)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Wikipedia

The B-24 was very similar to the B-17 but it used an enriched lithium fusion fuel instead of the natural lithium of the B-17. The experimental TX-24 produced a slightly larger explosion in testing than the B-17 (13.5 MT vs 11 MT), but the estimated yields in their weaponized forms were roughly the same.

6. B-36 (10 Megatons)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Wikipedia

After the TX-21 “Shrimp” test, America fielded the B-21 with a yield of 4 MT. The military decided to convert the B-21 to B-36s, making each bomb about 2.5 times as strong.

7. B53 (9 Megatons)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Wikipedia/byteboy

The B-53 contained 300 pounds of high-explosive material that triggered a uranium pit. The pit would then create a nine-megaton explosion.

8. EC-16 (6-8 Megatons)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

The EC-16 was an “emergency capability” nuclear device and the only thermonuclear device deployed that required a cooling system. Five devices were delivered to the U.S. arsenal in Jan. 1954, but they were quickly replaced when the more stable and easier to deploy B-14s and B-17s became operational later that year.

9. EC-14 (7 Megatons)

The EC-14 was the first solid-fuel thermonuclear weapon deployed by the U.S. It was only deployed as an emergency capability in Feb. 1954. The EC-14 was retired in Oct. 1954 and many of them were converted to B-17s.

NOW: The 7 weirdest nuclear weapons ever developed

Lists

US Army recruitment campaigns, ranked from worst to best

Most soldiers have a valid reason for joining the military: family, patriotism, better opportunities — chances are they made their mind up long ago. For those who joined during a “huh, that sounds like a good idea!” moment, they probably got the idea after seeing a television commercial or billboard — complete with noteworthy slogans.


While this list is compiled fairly loosely, it still illustrates a range from complete sh*tshow to absolutely iconic:

7. Army of One (2001 to 2006)

Oh boy. There’s no contest on which slogan goes to the very bottom.

Not only did it invoke the sense of individuality over teamwork, but all of the quotes that went on the posters just came off as pretentious.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
But it did give us the video game Army of Two, which was a fun game. So there’s that.

6. Look Sharp, Be Sharp, Go Army! (1950 to early 70’s)

This slogan was plastered on billboards around the country. But during the draft, the second slogan was kind of…mean: “Your future, your decision…choose ARMY.”

Not really your decision if you’re drafted, huh?

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Maybe this was meant to be a warning before the draft chose for you?

5. Join the people who’ve joined the Army (mid 70’s)

Because of slogans like “Today’s Army Wants to Join You” (whaaaat?) and because of the rumors that there was beer in the barracks and loose rules and things like that, “…it was perceived by a great many Americans that the Army would be an undisciplined Army,” said Secretary of the Army Bo Callaway.

This campaign was very short lived before the Army reverted back to the next entry on our list because of a kickback scandal involving the ad agency. It was fairly basic in just giving the facts. It was created out of the fear of soldiers drinking in the barracks…which totally never happens…

(YouTube, Brian Durham)

4. Today’s Army Wants to Join You (early 70’s to 1980)

After the Vietnam War came to an end, the Army had a bit of an image problem. Drafting men to fight in an era of hippies took its toll when it came time to transition into an all-volunteer Army.

So the Army loosened many of its restrictions to try to appeal to the more free lifestyle of the youth counter-culture. It was a twist on the classic “I Want You for U.S. Army” poster with the added intensive that the Army would “care more about how you think than how you cut your hair.”

I mean, it was effective. So it lands firmly in the middle of the list.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
The recruiter isn’t lying, per se…

3. Army Strong (2006 to Present)

After the blunder that was “Army of One,” they decided to strip down the advertisements to just show all the cool things you can do in the Army.

Nothing but the bare bones of soldiers doing awesome things. No lies being spread. No sense of individuality trumping your unit. Just “Look how cool this sh*t is!” Plus it gave us a catchy theme song that gets stuck in everyone’s head after a battalion run.

(The only down side is that the other branches definitely use this slogan against the Army.)

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
WTF is happening in this picture?

2. Be All You Can Be (1980 to 2001)

The Cold War still had not thawed when they came up with this scheme but then it seemed to fit with everything 80’s and 90’s — so it stuck.

The emphasis was more on using cool promises to get lost high schoolers to join after graduation. I hate to break it to the kid below, but are a lot of steps before you can become a pilot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8ggZapHxvk

(YouTube, Video Archeology)

1. I Want YOU for US Army (WWI to WWII)

You can’t beat the classics.

The original James M. Flagg poster turned countless heads across the country during the first World War. Even after the armistice, the posters stuck around.

The iconic poster made its round again to bring the Greatest Generation back into the fray. It has since been imitated, referenced, and adapted, even if it was also a reference to the British “Your Country Needs YOU” campaign.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

Would you have ranked it differently? Were there any we left out? Let us know in the comment section!

Lists

7 military movie deaths we’re still bummed about

Goose didn’t have to die in “Top Gun,” and there are six more military movie casualties that we are still bummed about.


Sure, taking out a character throws a curveball to others in the film and creates tension and emotion in an audience, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it.

1. Goose from “Top Gun”

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

While Maverick was a brash cowboy often pushing limits and making enemies, Goose was the likable family man that everyone loved. He was a nice guy, funny, an awesome aerial photographer, and he could sing a mean rendition of “Great Balls of Fire.” And the man even had a wonderful family.

But the worst part: He totally didn’t have to die. As our own ex-naval aviator Ward Carroll pointed out, the proper procedure is to jettison the canopy before ejecting. Damn you, Goose. WHY?????

2. Sgt. Apone from “Aliens”

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

From the moment the Colonial Marines wake up, Sgt. Apone is there to deliver whatever amazing line pops into his head. From asking Hudson whether he’d like him to fetch his slippers to describing what it’s like as “another glorious day in the Corps,” the character of Apone excels at bringing to life the crusty old-timer of a platoon sergeant that real troops are used to seeing.

Which makes sense, since the guy who played him was actually a Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam. While Hudson fiddled around with the motion sensor that is a piece of crap, Apone asks him where the aliens are. Then moments later, his famous last words are “Aaaargggghhh!” It was a total bummer for the next 60 minutes, since we had to endure more of Hudson and Newt.

Newt: Worst character in a movie ever, until George Lucas dumped Jar Jar Binks on all of us.

3. Pvt. Jackson from “Saving Private Ryan”

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

There’s something really compelling about a character dropping Bible quotes as he’s whacking bad guys. “I just thought it was some cold-blooded sh– to say to a motherf–ker before I popped a cap in his ass,” as Jules from “Pulp Fiction” famously said. But Pvt. Jackson, a left-handed sniper from Tennessee, seems to always have the right Bible quote for the appropriate kill.

“Let not mine enemies triumph over me,” he says moments before he takes out a German sniper with a bullet through his own scope. Then as he’s dropping Germans like flies from a bell tower, he recites Psalm 144. But sadly, our favorite sniper hillbilly gets taken out by a tank.

We know you were really busy aiming in on German soldiers but why couldn’t you notice that tank a little bit sooner?

4. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman from “Full Metal Jacket”

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

Gunny Hartman is arguably the most quotable military movie character of all-time, and for good reason. His drill instructor quips are legendary, and the oft-improvised character elevated R. Lee Ermey to god-like status among Marines. But “Full Metal Jacket” is really two movies in one, and most people only like the first half.

He spent most of the movie berating Pvt. Pyle, which included one of the most awesome freak-outs on the obstacle course. “I’m going to rip your balls off, so you cannot contaminate the rest of the world! I will motivate you, Pvt. Pyle, EVEN IF IT SHORT-D-CKS EVERY CANNIBAL ON THE CONGO!”

No one really understands what that even means, but it sounded really bad. Sadly, Hartman’s persistent fat-shaming turned Pyle into a psychopath, and after his death, the movie transitioned to Vietnam. It should’ve just stayed at boot camp.

4. Sgt. Elias from “Platoon”

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

In the Vietnam-version of the “good cop/bad cop” routine, “Platoon” had the gruff authoritarian Sgt. Barnes and the much nicer Sgt. Elias. Guess which one died first?

Above much of the B.S. and intent on actually helping out new guys to the unit, Sgt. Elias shows his leadership abilities right from the start, and earns the trust of his men. Meanwhile, Barnes just orders people around and ends up committing war crimes. When him and Elias get into a brawl, the audience knows how this will likely end.

Though we’re bummed he didn’t survive, his death scene — having been shot three times by Barnes and who-knows-how-many times by the Vietcong as he runs to the helicopters — is perhaps one of the best in military movie history.

5. Capt. Jimmy Wilder from “Independence Day”

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

He was friendly, funny, and instantly lovable. But he wasn’t Will Smith, so you pretty much knew his fate was sealed the minute he appeared onscreen.

Jimmy Wilder was that smart-ass in your unit making you crack up during briefings, and the guy who lightened the mood even when aliens were destroying everything in their path. But when he’s in a dogfight with E.T., he inexplicably takes off his oxygen mask — you know, that thing delivering oxygen to you — and then complains over the radio that he can’t breathe.

Someone please explain this.

6. Pvt. Trip from “Glory”

Yes, we know “Glory” was based on a true story, but the death of one of the most complex characters of the movie was a big letdown. The ex-slave-turned-soldier played by Denzel Washington is the source of conflict with many other characters throughout the movie: He chastises other black soldiers, butts heads with his leaders, and is at the center of one of the most emotional scenes of the movie.

While he begins the film as a bitter man very much against the army he is fighting with, he eventually morphs into a heroic figure during the final assault of the film, picking up the American flag and inspiring his fellow soldiers.

7. Bubba from “Forrest Gump”

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

Benjamin Buford Blue was a great American. He loved and knew everything there was to know about the shrimping business. He was taken from us way too soon. And that’s all we’d like to say about that.

NOW: 8 Reasons why ‘Aliens’ perfectly captures Marine infantry life

Lists

7 gin cocktails to revive your ‘Dunkirk Spirit’

“Dunkirk Spirit” is a phrase spoken in the United Kingdom when discussing that certain ability to press through harrowing circumstances with a gritty determination and a matching grin, inspired by the Allies who came together in Dunkirk during World War II.


More importantly, it’s also the name of a particular brand of gin.

We like any excuse to drink, but this brand also gives back to veterans.

Since it’s gin, we decided to get a little fancy — and you should, too. Try one of these cocktails and let us know what you think:

1. The Dunkirk 75

This comes straight from Dunkirk Spirit themselves, and is a winning version of a French 75, if you ask me.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Dunkirk Spirits puts their delicious twist on the French 75.

2. Dunkirk GT

Dunkirk Spirit’s® own Dunkirk GT is a classic gin and tonic, which, according to Winston Churchill, “saved more Englishman’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the empire.”

I don’t know about all that, but I do know you need to have one if you’ve never tried it.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
The gin is the star of the show here, but make sure your tonic water is fine.

3. The Barrel Roll

Dunkirk Spirit® fashioned this tipple while imagining the WWII spitfire airplane barrel rolling. We approve of the barrel rolling.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

4. Dunkirk Martini

Another Dunkirk Spirit® concoction, the Dunkirk Martini is not for communists. If you’re looking for the Churchill, leave the Vermouth and take the gin.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

5. The Gunny St. Angel

The cooling Gunny St. Angel was sent to us by Rose St. Angel out of Atlanta, GA. An otherwise simple recipe, the muddled cucumber will be the most work.

Peeled and quartered, drop your cucumber and mint into your glass and smash it up. Carry on.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
For those with an aversion to mint, try basil!

6. The D.I. Collins

If you MUST order this from a bar as opposed to making your own at home, feel free to call it the D.I. Collins, and then just smirk when the bartender asks what that is.

*Kidding. Don’t smirk at bartenders. Rude.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
What you’d get if old Tom Collins joined the military.

7. NCO’s Canteen Cup

The classic Pimm’s Cup is made better with the NCO’s Canteen Cup. How? It’s got extra gin.

Pimm’s is a gin-based liquor, so a Pimm’s cup generally doesn’t have gin added to it. But go big or go home. Or just reduce the amount of Pimm’s to one ounce.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Pimm’s No. 1 is a gin based liquor, and a Pimm’s cup doesn’t come with the extra gin. The NCO’s Canteen Cup is the perfect answer.

Articles

9 essential items soldiers should have in their barracks rooms

1. Water filter

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Youtube.com


Soldiers drink enough crappy water in the field when a lieutenant decides the platoon needs to practice using iodine tablets. While relaxing in the barracks, they need a decent filter. Pitcher filters allow the water to chill in the fridge, but faucet-mounted units provide water on demand.

2. Headphones

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: US Army

No one wants to hear their roommates’ music, movie, or video game, so headphones should be on everyone’s list.

3. Coffeemaker

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Youtube.com

For a cup of coffee before PT, the DFAC is no help. Plus, coffee in the room is great for troops during lazy weekends when throwing on a hoodie and walking to chow is too much work. A cheap coffee maker allows a soldier to create their own brew on demand. For those under strict barracks policies against coffee makers, French presses aren’t forbidden and are nearly as easy to use.

4. Hot plate

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Flickr.com/George Alexander Ishida Newman

The DFAC won’t serve grilled cheese at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning when soldiers are craving it. Hot plates with a couple of pans allow for diner quality meals at home. For those who only grill, griddles allow for mass production or George Foreman grills are good for chicken and hot dogs. Keep an eye out for inspections however, since few commands allow hotplates. Some barracks now have stoves, so troops there can just buy pans.

5. Rugs (or a carpet for the swanky)

Rugs and carpets hide a lot of the stuff first sergeant looks for on the floor, and they grab up lots of the hair and debris that forms dust bunnies. Plus, carpet is more comfortable on sensitive toes after a long ruck march.

6. Vacuum

Vaccum cleaner for the barracks automated Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Nohau

Of course, carpets and rugs necessitate vacuums. There’s only a few hundred square feet to cover though, so a cheap vacuum is generally fine. Roombas can wait until the soldier marries out of the barracks.

7. Family photos, whether of a real family or not

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Evil Erin

Units want to see that soldiers are settling into the barracks, and that means personal items should be up on the walls. If the family is normal, the trooper can put up actual photos. For those with hot sisters and creepy roommates, a trip to a stock image site could be helpful. Just print and frame.

8. Plunger/Toilet Brush

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Youtube.com

Troops go to the field, even the human administration folks. They are fed MREs. They need a plunger, and they need a toilet brush.

9. Tons of cleaning wipes and air fresheners

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life

Surprise inspections center on a few things. 1. Dishes in the sink. 2. Dust accumulated on ledges. 3. Smells. The dishes are simple enough. The best way to deal with dust and any odd smells is to stock up on cleaning wipes and air freshener. The wipes make cleaning the lips of door frames and the fridge easy, dealing with the dust. Air freshener helps the room at least smell clean so first sergeant will move on to the next area.

EXTRA BONUS: A hot tub.

7 key military life hacks that matter in civilian life
Photo: Terminal Lance/Facebook

Because that’s how you win at barracks life.

NOW: Heres a hilarious look at what life is like for Marines on a Navy ship

OR: 6 reasons why the guys from The Hangover are like an Army unit

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