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

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


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

These really are the best of the best.

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

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

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

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: YouTube screen shot

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

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

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

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

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

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo Credit: Cpl. Isaac Ibarra/USMC

More from Business Insider:

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

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4 military blunders made by the Mother of Dragons so far in Season 7

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM “DRAGONSTONE,””STORMBORN,” AND “THE QUEEN’S JUSTICE.”


Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) has had a bad couple of weeks in this penultimate run of “Game of Thrones.” As of the first three episodes in season seven, her forces are well on their way to being defeated in detail.

For the audience, this makes for satisfying conflict and suspense. Most everyone is rooting for fall of Cersei at the hands of Khaleesi, and this will make their final showdown exceptional.

But we can’t help but note that if the Mother of Dragons had studied a little U.S. military history, she might not have suffered such losses. Instead, Daenerys has managed to blunder away large parts of her forces — and her advantage over the Lannisters — and she did it with a number elementary mistakes that cadets at West Point or Annapolis could have pointed out in an instant.

This is not exactly a resume-enhancer for the Commander-in-Chief of the Seven Kingdoms.

Check out her four biggest mistakes since returning to Westeros:

1. Dispersion of Forces

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Looking at the map, it’s obvious that Daenerys Targaryen’s plan to hit multiple targets was bound to fail.

She made the decision to split her naval forces, trying to do too much at once. She sent part of her fleet to pick up the Dornish Army and to bring them back to Dragonstone, while sending the rest to deliver the Unsullied to take Casterly Rock.

Japan made similar mistakes in the weeks leading up to the Battle of Midway, costing them a light carrier sunk, two fleet carriers rendered combat ineffective due to battle damage or losses, and two other carriers with substantial combat power diverted to a secondary task.

2. Failure to Secure Control of the Sea

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Map of the Battle of the North Cape…which Daenerys could have accomplished. (Wikimedia Commons)

Knowing that Yara and Theon Greyjoy were fleeing from the person who had usurped the throne of the Iron Islands, Daenerys should have sought to replicate the Battle of the North Cape, in which a pair of convoys was used to draw out the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst to where it could be destroyed by a superior force (or in this case, by the dragons). After that she could transport armies at leisure.

Instead, she didn’t deal with the enemy fleet, and look what happened.

3. Acting with Inadequate Intelligence

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Joe Rochefort. (U.S. Navy photo)

Daenerys also failed to establish a means to determine enemy intentions, which, as Joe Rochefort proved, can be vital to defeating a foe. As a result, the Tyrells, not to mention their fortune and bannermen, fell to the combined Lannister/Tarly army.

4. Observing Restrictive Rules of Engagement

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
We don’t blame Daenerys, but this ruined city looks better than the Sept of Baelor right about now.

Daenerys did have the option of going straight at Cersei Lannister, but declined due to concerns about civilian casualties.

This has been a subject of controversy during conflicts throughout history. Every military leader is faced with measuring out the cost of “collateral damage” and so, too, must Daenerys — especially when her opponent has no sense of moral restraint. How many more losses will she suffer before she resorts to fighting at Cersei’s level?

Hopefully by now she must know not to underestimate her enemy…especially considering Cersei’s hiding a surface-to-air missile under King’s Landing…

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Brace yourselves — the death of at least one dragon is coming. (Game of Thrones screenshot | HBO)

Articles

8 genius military uses for civilian products

The Pentagon is using more equipment and technology from the civilian sector, but service members have been finding ingenious uses for civilian items for a long time.


1. Detecting tripwires: Silly String

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Ellen Keller

Tripwires have been a problem for centuries, but a modern toy has provided a solution. Silly String can be sprayed through open doors, windows, and other choke points to check for booby traps before soldiers and Marines move through.

2. Stopping bleeding: tampons

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Tampons are known for stopping a certain kind of bleeding, but deployed service members realized that small tampons can plug a bullet hole, quickly controlling bleeding while the injured awaits a medical evacuation.

3. Marking bombs: flour and ear plugs

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Once a mine or IED is found, its location has to be communicated to others. Some units will draw on the ground with flour from a squeeze bottle, making symbols that say the type of danger and its location.

Flour doesn’t work well in wet environments or anywhere the ground is a light beige or dirty white. There, disposable ear plugs can work better. Mine clearance will find a mine and drop a brightly colored ear plug on it. Soldiers following behind them know to watch out for these markers.

4. Cleaning weapons: baby wipes, cotton swabs, and dental scrapers

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Shahram Sharif

Weapons maintenance is important, but good materials can be hard to find. Still, some of the best cleaning can be done with baby wipes, cotton swabs, and dental scrapers. They’re used to wipe down surfaces, get to hard to reach areas, and remove burnt on carbon, respectively.

5. Sewing: dental floss

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Stilfehler

When uniforms rip, soldiers away from a base have to personally fix them. Dental floss is strong, easy to work with, and available to troops at the front. To make a sewing kit, troops throw floss in a cleaned out mint or dip can along with a couple of sewing needles.

6. Waterproofing: Soap dish or condoms

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, josef325

A service member’s poncho should keep their gear dry, but even recruits in boot camp know better. Wallets, maps, and notebooks are better protected in a soap travel dish. When a dish isn’t available or an awkward items needs protected, condoms can be unrolled over them. This technique works well for waterproofing boots before crossing a stream.

7. Cleaning radio contacts: pencil eraser

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Evan-Amos

This one is so effective, it’s become official Army doctrine. The contact points where microphones or antennas meet with a radio can become tarnished and dirty. Erasers can get these spotless quickly, something which has been incorporated into Army manuals such as Field Manual 44-48, “Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for the Sensor Platoon.”

8. Making terrain models: marking chalk

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo: US Army Cheryl Rodewig

Marking chalk is that chalk contractors use with string to mark exactly where a wire should run or a cut should be made. The chalk doesn’t come attached to the string though, it comes in 5-gallon jugs. The military, which has to build sand tables that represent the terrain in their area of operations, realized they could use different colors of this chalk to make different colored sand. Water can be represented with blue, vegetation with green, and hazardous areas with red or yellow.

Articles

The 13 funniest military memes of the week

We cover the military and we’re on the internet. Military memes are kind of a given.


1. Is it too much to ask? (via Terminal Lance)

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

2. Dear Disney, we will buy all the tickets to this movie.

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

SEE ALSO: 4 military fails so awful they’re actually hilarious

3. You are what you eat (Via Sh-t My LPO Says).

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
At least he’ll get a profile pic out of this.

4. Things you don’t want your future squad to see:

(via Military Memes)

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Why is his battle buddy standing at almost-attention?

5. Civilians think you’ve learned 100 ways to kill a man … (via Marine Corps Memes)

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
… but we know you’ve learned 17 ways to police call a smoke pit.

6. No basic training instructor will appreciate the “irony” of you wearing another branch’s camo (via Coast Guard Memes).

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Just wear a Tapout T-shirt like everyone else.

7. “You have three days to accept this challenge …”

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

8. Some paintings call for happy trees, some call for other embellishments (via Military Memes).

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Bob Ross knows which paintings need what.

9. Don’t let Marines get bored. It rarely ends well (via Military Memes).

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
It’s entertaining, but it doesn’t end well.

10. From the 12th to the 14th, and the 28th to 31st (via Terminal Lance).

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Every. Single. Month.

11. I mean, at least no one can tell him his ribbons are wrong after that (via Navy Memes).

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

 12. God may forgive you (via Sh-t My LPO Says).

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
But, the platoon sergeant is a bit harder to convince.

13. How the US Air Force calls a bluff.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
USAF can do this all day, guys.

NOW: 17 wild facts about the Vietnam War

OR: 11 military propaganda posters that are surprisingly convincing

Lists

5 reasons why Luke Skywalker was operator AF

From convincing Obi-Wan to re-enlist after 21 years of retirement to facing down Darth Vader, the most feared man in the galaxy, Luke Skywalker makes one hell of a rebel.


But if you look at all of his achievements, he looks like one badass operator.

Related: 8 reasons Marines hate on the Navy

Don’t believe us? Check out these 5 ways Luke Skywalker is operator AF.

5. He lost a limb in combat and kept fighting.

Some might lose a limb and just get out, but not Luke Skywalker — he gets a new hand and carries on with the plan of the day.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Not everybody just gets a new hand put on and goes about their business. (Image from 20th Century Fox’s Star Wars)

4. Luke completed a black ops mission before he even joined.

Before he even signed that dotted line, Luke infiltrated the Death Star, a major enemy base, disguised as one of them. Which brings me to my next point…

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Even has proper trigger discipline. (Image from 20th Century Fox’s Star Wars)

3. He saved one of the most important leaders of the rebellion.

Only an operator could infiltrate an enemy base and manage to save the highest-profile captive — a rebel general.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Oh yeah, Han Solo was there, too. (Image from 20th Century Fox’s Star Wars)

2. He could pilot an X-Wing without any training.

Luke may have had experience flying a T-16 Skyhopper, but he really had no proper training to fly an X-Wing. Despite that, he hops in the cockpit and flies a combat mission anyway.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
When you haven’t been properly trained, but you hope everything works out (Image from 20th Century Fox’s Star Wars)

Also Read: 5 reasons why Luke Skywalker was the perfect boot

1. Luke destroyed the enemy’s weapon of mass destruction with two shots.

Without his targeting computer. Not only was he not trained to pilot an X-Wing, but he takes out the enemy’s most prized accomplishment, the Death Star, with two shots.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
That’s one satisfying explosion. (Image from 20th Century Fox’s Star Wars)

What are some other things Luke Skywalker has done that would make him a certified bad ass?

 

Articles

9 Must-Watch Post-9/11 Documentaries

DoD’s embed program and other mechanisms have given journalists and filmmakers substantial access to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it’s no surprise that those conflicts have been some of the best documented in history. Here is WATM’s list of 11 post 9-11 documentaries that did the best at capturing what really happened:


The Hornet’s Nest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBt-GTfgLh4

A father-son journalism team embedded on what was supposed to be a three-day raid but ended up being nine days of intense fighting by the 101st Airborne.

Restrepo

A group of paratroopers is deployed to the Korengal Valley, one of the most dangerous spots in Afghanistan, for 15 months. During that time, they fight smugglers and insurgents, attempt to win over the locals, and try to save themselves. A camera crew followa them for much of the deployment, documenting their interactions with Afghans and the deep love the men have for each other.

Armadillo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta5tT0d86A8

A group of Danish cavalry soldiers deploy on a six-month tour of Helmand and a Danish filmmaker goes with them. The film includes a lot of the tedium of a soldier’s life as well as a raid where the soldiers find themselves within a few meters of a Taliban machine gun team.

Hell and Back Again

Nominated for a Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, this film tells the story of a Marine injured in Afghanistan who, after returning to the states, struggles with his post traumatic stress disorder and a badly broken leg. “Hell and Back Again” gives a visceral look at how hard it can be for wounded troops to return to civilian life.

Drone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i43vSC-dTC0

This is a very critical look at the American drone program. Drone explains the factors that make drones so popular with troops while also looking at the moral burdens on drone operators and emotional pain of those who’ve lost family members to drone strikes.

The War Tapes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32L-yuqpEqEw=560h=315

Directed by Deborah Scranton and shot by National Guard soldiers over the course of their training and deployment to Iraq, the documentary focuses on three men with very different views on the war and their commander in chief. This film is arguably the best in terms of capturing the burdens on the modern-day citizen soldier.

Taxi to the Dark Side

An in-depth look at torture during the opening years of the War on Terror, including the decisions made by the Bush administration. It covers Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and the leadership (or absence of it) that governed actions in two prisons. Made by the son of a former Navy interrogator, the film went on to win an Academy Award.

No End In Sight

Although “No End In Sight” was released in 2007, the film concentrates on Iraq in the first year after the invasion. It features interviews with White House and State Department officials who were frustrated with missteps that fueled the growing insurgency and caused extra misery for both Iraqi citizens and the U.S. troops assigned to police them.

The Ground Truth

“The Ground Truth” follows a group of Marines and soldiers from the point they’re recruited and then on to their experiences in war. Troops tell their stories in their own words from their initial training through deployments and struggles once they get home.

Lists

Here are 5 incredibly brave kids we’ve seen in war movies

Kids in war movies have it pretty darn difficult, especially when their little fists of fury can’t inflict that much damage against their adult enemies.


What they lack in physical strength, they make up with small stature and stealth — that is, if they decide to.

Related: These kids volunteered to fight in the trenches in WWI

So check out our list of kids who stood out in the crowd for their bravery.

1. Jamie Graham (Empire of the Sun)

Christian Bale plays a young British schoolboy living with family in Shangai, China, when he gets separated from his parents and now must fight to stay alive during the Japanese occupation in World War II.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
(Source: WB/Screenshot)

2. Sacha Filipov (Enemy at the Gates)

Played by Gabriel Thomson, this young Russian character feeds bad information to a German sharpshooter to aid in the victory of his hero, legendary sniper Vassili Zaitsev.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
(Source: Paramount/Screenshot)

3. O.D. / Chicken Boy (Schindler’s List)

Played by Adam Siemion, this intelligent and quick-thinking child managed to help Jews get into the “good lines,” lied to German soldiers about clearing a building and saved about a dozen others by blaming a newly murdered Jew for killing a Nazi-owned chicken.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
(Source: Universal/Screenshot)

Also Read: This Holocaust survivor joined the Army and earned a Medal of Honor

4. The girl in the red coat  (Schindler’s List)

Played by Oliwia Dabrowska, this young girl donned the famous red coat and courageously walked her way through the dangerous streets of a Polish ghetto as Nazi soldiers raided and tossed the area. She made it completely unnoticed to safety.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
(Source: Universal/Screenshot)

5. Leon (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas)

Played by Zac Mattoon O’Brien, this brave youngster lives in a concentration camp but sneaks out regularly for small periods of peace. Leon ends up befriending a young German boy who just happens to be the son of camp’s commandant but never uses that against his newly made friend.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
(Source: Miramax/Screenshot)

Can you think of any others? Comment below.

Lists

4 ways to have fun with a Russian spy ship

Let’s face it, nobody likes a tattletale. This is especially true in the military. No, we’re not talking of the folks around your office that snitch on you for not dotting every I or crossing every T. We’re talking maritime tattletales, ships that cruise just off the coast, collecting intelligence. Russia has one loitering near our eastern coast last year, according to Fox News. This ship has been around before and it’s back to its same old tricks.


Sick of it? We are, too. These are our suggestions for how the United States can have a little fun with this tattletale.

4. Buzz ’em.

The Russians have been buzzing American planes and ships for a while. I’m sure there are some Navy aviators dying to dish out some payback. It just so happens that cruising just off the East Coast makes for a very convenient opportunity. Furthermore, why does it just have to be just one buzzing? A P-3 Orion here, a couple of F/A-18E/Fs there — maybe get the F-35C Lightning or P-8 Poseidon in on the action as well. The Russians have run up quite a tab, and it’s time they started paying.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
A F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 25 flies supersonic over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during an air power demonstration. Maybe it’s time to do this in close proximity to a Russian tattletale. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin Stevens)

3. Follow it around.

Have an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, littoral combat ship, or a Coast Guard cutter just follow the tattletale around. This sort of stuff will undoubtedly make it harder for the tattletale to get what it came for.

2. Give it a little nudge.

The Russians did this to a pair of American ships, the USS Yorktown and the USS Caron, in 1988. It might not be a bad idea to get a little payback for this… with thirty years’ interest, of course.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
The destroyer USS Caron is struck by the bows of a Soviet Mirka II class light frigate as the American vessel exercises the right of free passage through the Soviet-claimed 12-mile territorial waters. There’s been about 30 years of interest piling up for this. (U.S. Navy photo)

1. Board them.

Since this Russian ship is hanging around some American ports, the U.S. Coast Guard can get in on the fun. It wouldn’t be too hard for some enterprising CO to come up with an excuse — we mean probable cause, of course — to board and search the tattletale. Maybe they’re responding to an anonymous tip that there are drugs on board. Or perhaps it’s overdue for a safety inspection. If the CO of the Russian ship mouths off to the Coasties, we’re in for some good times. After all, they can’t be given a pass for contempt of Coast Guard, can they?

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
The Coast Guard could help the United States have some fun by having with a boarding party, like the one pictured here during a drill on USS Tarawa. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers)

So, how would you like to have some nice, non-lethal fun with this Russian tattletale?

Articles

30 ‘facts’ about World War II that just aren’t true

A conflict as wide-ranging and destructive as World War II naturally gives birth to a number of urban legends and myths that become “common knowledge” – despite not actually being true. Many have been refuted numerous times, and some exist only as rumors or fringe conspiracy theories held to by a few outsider scholars. World War II was a complex global struggle, that took the lives of many, and it can be hard to know what legends about this war and this period of history are actually true, and which are completely false.


These myths and urban legends about World War II, range from Hitler’s jubilant jig to the conspiracy theories that say FDR knew Pearl Harbor was about to be bombed. First we look at what the myth is, then at the reality – which sometimes is stranger than the myth itself. These World War Two facts and fictions will surprise and enlighten you.

Need more World War 2 information? Check out the war’s pivotal battles, most influential people, and the many films telling the stories of WWII.

30 ‘Facts’ About World War II That Just Aren’t True

More from Ranker:

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

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The US military took these incredible photos this week

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:


MARINE CORPS

Marines with 14th Marine Regiment carry the casket of Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, who was laid to rest at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, July 24, 2015. Wyatt is one of five service members who died when a gunman attacked the Naval Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center on July 16, 2015.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Cpl. Sara Graham/USMC

Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit load gear onto an MV-22B Osprey before departing from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex. The Marines are flying to Kenya in support of President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Cpl. Elize McKelvey/USMC

A Marine with the “Greyhawks” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), wipes down an MV-22B Osprey after takeoff and landing drills at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The Marines are in Kenya to support President Barack Obama’s visit.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Cpl. Elize McKelvey/USMC

NAVY

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (July 26, 2015) – Glenn Palermo, from Athens, Tenn., kneels to view a section of the memorial in front of the Armed Forces Recruitment Center. The memorial honors the four Marines and one Sailor who died in the Navy Operational Support Center Chattanooga July 16.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/USN

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (July 28, 2015) Vice Adm. Robin Braun, commander of Navy Reserve Force, speaks during the funeral service for Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith. Petty Officer Smith died from his injuries two days after a shooting at Navy Operational Support Center, Chattanooga July 16.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/USN

ROSEAU, Dominica (July 27, 2015) Deck mechanic Donald Rodriguez, a Military Sealift Command civil service mariner, watches as the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrives in Roseau, Dominica during Continuing Promise 2015.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brittney Cannady/USN

INDIAN OCEAN (July 27, 2015) An MV-22B Osprey from the Greyhawks of Marine Medium-lift Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced) lands on the flight deck of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2)

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Huey D. Younger Jr./USN

AIR FORCE

A CV-22B Osprey assigned to the 7th Special Operations Squadron performs an aerial display of its capabilities during the Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Fairford, England

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best/USAF

Staff Sgt. Joseph Pico trains at the firing range on Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, N.Y.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Muncy/National Guard

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, flies during a Red Flag 15-3 sortie at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika/USAF

ARMY

Soldiers, assigned to 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment-Blackhorse, National Training Center, fire a BGM-71 Tow Missile simulation round, during Decisive Action Training Rotation 15-08.5, Fort Irwin, Calif. July 26, 2015.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo by: Spc. Zachary Garvey/US Army

A Soldier, assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, navigates a single-rope water crossing obstacle during the McChrystal-Briles Competition held on Fort Drum, N.Y., July 24, 2015.

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Photo by: US Army

A New York Army National Guard Soldier prepares to load a M119 105 mm howitzer during annual training at Fort Drum in preparation for an upcoming Joint Readiness Training Center rotation.

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Photo by: Master Sgt. Kap Kim/US Army

COAST GUARD

Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg is making sure they’re ready for anything by doing a little tactical training!

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Photo by: USCG

Oh, the beautiful places the men and women of the Coast Guard get to go!

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Photo by: USCG

Sleep tight! Your US Coast Guard has the watch.

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Photo by: USCG

NOW: More awesome military photos

OR: The 15 coolest unit nicknames in the US military

Articles

The Mighty Taps: 9 Famous Veterans Who Died In 2014

These nine icons and military veterans left us in 2014:

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RUSSELL JOHNSON – U.S. Army Air Corps

Russell Johnson was an actor best known for playing “The Professor” on the classic TV series “Gilligan’s Island.” He joined the Army Air Corps in World War II, and earned the Purple Heart when his B-24 Liberator was shot down in the Philippines during a bombing run in March, 1945. After the war, he used the G.I. Bill to enroll in acting school. Johnson was 89 years old when he died on January 16.

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HIROO ONODA – Japanese Imperial Army

Hiroo Onoda was a soldier in the Japanese Imperial Army who fought in World War II and didn’t surrender in 1945. He spent 30 years holding out in the Philippines. He eventually returned to Japan to much popularity and released a ghostwritten autobiography called No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War. Onoda was 91 years old when he died on January 16.

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

PETE SEEGER – U.S. Army

Pete Seeger was a folk singer and colleague of the legendary Woody Guthrie. Over the course of his music life, Seeger penned such classic hits a “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.” He was drafted in 1942 and spent his tour of duty singing folk songs for soldiers on the front, often playing songs that included anti-war sentiments. He was discharged as a corporal and went back to folk music. His career was infamously short-circuited when he was blacklisted by McCarthyism for his Communists views. Seeger was 94 years old when he died on January 27.

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

SID CAESAR – U.S. Coast Guard

Sid Caesar was a legendary comedian who made his name on stage, in films, and in the early days of television. During World War II he served in the Coast Guard as a musician where he was part of the service’s “Tars and Bars” show. When the show’s producer heard him joking with some of the other musicians he was switched from saxophone to comedian, a move that set the course for the rest of his life. Caesar was 91 years old when he died on February 12.

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

MICKEY ROONEY – U.S. Army

Mickey Rooney was a beloved childhood actor who made his name at a young age in films and Broadway shows in which he co-starred with Judy Garland. He joined the war effort in 1943 as a member of the U.S Army and spent his 21 month in uniform entertaining the troops and working on the American Armed Forces Network. He is perhaps best known to military audiences for playing a SAR pilot in the film “The Bridges at Toko Ri.” Rooney was 93 years old when he died on April 6.

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EFREM ZIMBALIST, JR. – U.S. Army

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. was a TV star best known for his roles in the series “77 Sunset Strip” and “The FBI.” He later did voice-overs for the “Batman” and “Spider Man” animated series. He served for five years during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds sustained to his leg while fighting the German Army during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. Zimbalist was 95 years old when he died on May 2.

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LOUIS ZAMPERINI – U.S. Army Air Corps

Louis Zamperini’s remarkable life is the subject of two biographies and the film “Unbroken,” directed by Angelina Jolie. In May of 1943, Zamperini was the bombardier on a B-24 Liberator that crashed south of Hawaii due to mechanical difficulties. He was one of three of the 11 crew members to survive the crash and spent 47 days adrift. He was captured by the Japanese and held as a POW until the end of the war under brutal conditions. Zamperini was 95 years old when he died on July 2.

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JAMES GARNER – U.S. Army

James Garner was a TV and film actor best known for his roles in the movies “The Great Escape,” “Space Cowboys,” and “The Notebook” and in the TV series “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files.” He served during the Korean War and was wounded twice – once by an enemy mortar explosion and once by friendly fire from an American jet. He received a Purple Heart for each injury, although he wasn’t awarded the second one until 1983. Garner was 86 years old when he died on July 19.

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ROBERT GALLAGHER – U.S. Army

Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher was a decorated war hero whose action as a platoon sergeant with Task Force Ranger in Somalia served as the basis for the film “Black Hawk Down.” He also served in Panama during Operation Just Cause and during the second invasion of Iraq. Over the course of his military career, Sgt. Maj. Gallagher received two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars, and a Silver Star. He later called that fateful day in Somalia “the best and worst day of my life.” He was 52 years old when he died on October 14.

Articles

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry

YouTube, We Are The Mighty


From fighting pirates in the First Barbary War of 1801 to seizing the Kandahar International Airport in 2001 and beyond, Marine Corps infantrymen have been fighting and winning our nation’s battles for more than 200 years.

Known as “grunts,” infantrymen receive specialized training in weapons, tactics, and communications that make them effective in combat. And while many things have changed for grunts over time, they continue to carry on the legacy that was forged from the “small wars” to the “Frozen Chosin” to the jungles of Vietnam.

After more than a decade of war following the 9/11 attacks, many grunts have deployed to combat …

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… In Iraq, where they earned their place in history at Nasiriyah, Najaf, and Fallujah (shown here), and many others.

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While others deployed to Afghanistan, into the deadly Korengal Valley …

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Photo Credit: Darren Allen

 … Or more recently to Marjah, in Helmand Province.

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

But before infantrymen join their units, they need to complete initial training. For enlisted Marines, that means going to the School of Infantry, either at Camp Pendleton, California or Camp Geiger, North Carolina.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For officers, their training at Infantry Officer Course in Quantico, Va. involves both tactics and weapons, along with a more intense focus on how to lead an infantry platoon.

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While most enlisted grunts become 0311 riflemen, others receive more specialized training, like 0331 machine-gunners, which learn the M240 machine gun (shown here), the MK19 grenade launcher, and the M2 .50 cal.

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0341 Mortarmen learn how to operate the 60 mm (shown below) and 81 mm mortar systems, which help riflemen with indirect fire support when they need a little bit more firepower.

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0351 Assaultmen learn basic demolitions, breaching, and become experts in destroying bad guys with the SMAW rocket system. The Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) is shown below.

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Packing even more punch that’s usually vehicle-mounted, 0352 Anti-tank missilemen learn their primary M41 SABER (below) heavy anti-tank weapon and the Javelin, a medium anti-tank weapon.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Some more experienced infantrymen go into specialized fields, such as Reconnaissance or snipers (below).

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Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

Always present is a focus on mission accomplishment, and to “keep their honor clean” — to preserve the legacy of the Corps …

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Photo Credit: Library of Congress

… That grunts are proud of. Always remembering heroics from the Chosin Reservoir Marines in Korea …

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… To those who fought in Vietnam jungles, or the storied battles of Hue and Khe Sanh.

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Since Vietnam, grunts have been repeatedly been called upon for minor and major engagements, such as Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation United Shield in Somalia in 1995 (below).

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Photo Credit: Darren Allen

But it’s not all combat.

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Photo Credit: Darren Allen

Marine grunts are constantly training, whether it’s practicing amphibious landings …

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… Or learning the skills needed to survive and thrive in a jungle environment.

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Sometimes they take a break to catch up on their reading.

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Photo Credit: Michael Sinclair

And when they’re not training, they are trying to have fun.

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Photo Credit: Josh Boston

Sometimes … maybe too much fun.

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Photo Credit: Donnie Hickman

While technology has made today’s infantrymen even deadlier, the life of the grunt has always been spartan.

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Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Grunts often work in rough conditions, and they need to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

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Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And quite often, they need to be self-sufficient. At remote patrol bases, that means everything from burning their trash and other waste …

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Photo Credit: Paul Martin

To fixing their morning coffee in any way they can.

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Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

Grunts learn to appreciate the little things, like care packages from home …

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Photo Credit: Matt McElhinney

… Any privacy they can get …

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Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

… Or a “FOB Pup” to play around with in between missions.

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Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

When they get into a fight with the enemy, they battle back just as their predecessors did.

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Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And with solid training and leadership, they can easily transition, as Gen. Mattis says, from no worse enemy to no better friend.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

When things don’t go exactly as planned …

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Photo Credit: Josh Boston

… Grunts can usually shake it off with a smile.

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Photo Credit: JC Eliott

Especially in a combat zone, humor helps a unit through tough times.

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Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And there are plenty of opportunities for laughs.

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Photo Credit: Marc Anthony Madding

Whether it’s graffiti on a barrier …

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Photo Credit: JC Eliott

 Or taunting the Taliban with a Phillies t-shirt.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

But the bottom line is that grunts are the Marine Corps’ professional war-fighters.

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Photo Credit: Nate Hall

They forge brotherhoods that last for a lifetime.

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Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And they never forget those who didn’t make it home.

The 8 most elite special forces in the world, according to BI Defense
Memorial ceremony for Sgt. Thomas Spitzer. (Photo Credit: US Marine Corps)

popular

7 undeniable signs you’re a super POG

Look, not everyone can be a hardcore, red-blooded meat eater. Someone has to man the phones at the big bases and that’s just the job for you. You’re a vital part of the American war machine, and you should be proud of yourself.


But there are some things you’re doing that open you up to a bit of ridicule. Sure, not everyone is going to be a combat arms bubba, embracing the suck and praying they’ll get stomped on by the Army just one more time today. But some of us POGs are taking our personal comfort a little too far and failing to to properly embrace the Army lifestyle.

Here are seven signs that you’re not only a POG but a super POG:

1. You’re more likely to bring your “luggage” than a duffel bag and rucksack

 

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(via NavyMemes.com)

There are some semi-famous photos of this phenomenon that show support soldiers laughing in frustration as they try to roll wheeled bags across the crushed gravel and thick mud of Kandahar and other major bases.

This is a uniquely POG problem, as any infantryman — and most support soldiers worth their salt — know that they’re going to be on unforgiving terrain and that they’ll need their hands free to use their weapon while carrying weight at some point. Both of those factors make rolling bags a ridiculous choice.

2. You actually enjoy collecting command coins

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(Photo: WATM)

Seriously, what is it about these cheap pieces of unit “swag” that makes them so coveted. I mean, sure, back when those coins could get you free drinks, it made some sense. But now? It’s the military version of crappy tourist trinkets.

Anyone who wants to remember the unit instead of their squad mates was clearly doing the whole “deployment” thing wrong. And challenge coins don’t help you remember your squad; selfies while drunk in the barracks or photos of the whole platoon making stupid faces while pointing their weapons in the air do.

3. You don’t understand why everyone makes such a big deal about MREs (just go to TGI Fridays if you’re tired of them!)

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(via Valhalla Wear)

More than once I’ve heard POGs say that MREs aren’t that bad and you can always go to the DFAC or Green Beans or, according to one POG on Kandahar Air Field, down to TGI Friday’s when you’re tired of MREs. And I’m going to need those people to check their POG privilege.

Look, not every base can get an American restaurant. Not every base has a DFAC. A few bases couldn’t even get regular mermite deliveries. Those soldiers, unfortunately, were restricted to MREs and their big brother, UGRs (Unitized Group Rations), both of which have limited, repetitive menus and are not great for one meal, let alone meals for a year.

So please, send care packages.

4. You think of jet engines as those things that interrupt your sleep

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Afterburners lit while an F-22 of the 95th Fighter Squadron takes off. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

I know, it’s super annoying when you’re settling into a warm bed on one of the airfields and, just as you drift off, an ear-splitting roar announces that a jet is taking off, filling your belly with adrenaline and guaranteeing that you’ll be awake another hour.

But please remember that those jets are headed to help troops in contact who won’t be getting any sleep until their enemies retreat or are rooted out. A fast, low flyover by a loud jet sometimes gets the job done, and a JDAM strike usually does.

So let the jets fly and invest in a white noise machine. The multiple 120-volt outlets in your room aren’t just for show.

5. You’ve broken in more office chairs than combat boots

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Pretty obvious. POGs spend hours per day in office chairs, protecting their boots from any serious work, while infantryman are more likely to be laying out equipment in the motor pool, marching, or conducting field problems, all of which get their boots covered in grease and mud while wearing out the soles and seams.

6. You still handle your rifle like it’s a dead fish or a live snake

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No, POGs, you don’t.

While most troops work with their weapons a few times a year and combat arms soldiers are likely to carry it at least a few times a month on some kind of an exercise, true super POGs MIGHT see their M4 or M16 once a year. And many of them are too lazy to even name it. (I miss you, Rachel.)

Because of this, they still treat their weapon as some sort of foreign object, holding it at arms length like it’s a smelly fish that could get them dirty or a live snake that could bite them. Seriously, go cuddle up to the thing and get used to it. It’ll only kill the things you point it at, and only if you learn to actually use it.

7. You’re offended by the word “POG”

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Yes, it’s rude for the mean old infantry to call you names, but come on. All military service is important, and it’s perfectly honorable to be a POG (seriously, I wrote a column all about that), but the infantry is usually calling you a POG to tease you or to pat themselves on the back.

And why shouldn’t they? Yes, all service counts, but the burdens of service aren’t shared evenly. While the combat arms guys are likely to sleep in the dirt many nights and are almost assured that they’ll have to engage in combat at some point, the troops who network satellites will rarely experience a day without air conditioning.

Is it too much to let the grunts lob a cheap insult every once in a while?

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