8 of the best things about a combat deployment - We Are The Mighty
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8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Being deployed in combat has its fair share of ups and downs. Things can be very dull one minute, then quickly turn south the next.


Although deployed service members work seven days a week, there are few things we get a kick out of that most people will never see or understand.

Related: 7 best ways to pass time on a combat deployment

So, check out eight of the best things about a combat deployment.

1. The crazy excitement after getting into your first victorious firefight.

We trained for several months in some pretty hectic places, but it all seems worth it when your squad works together and takes down the bad guys the first time. That feeling is freakin’ motivating.

2. Blowing up the bad guys with mortars.

Sometimes, the enemy thinks they’re slick since you’re on their home turf. F*ck that!

No matter where you’re at in the world, once a grunt unit learns of an enemy position and calls in for mortars, it’s game over for the bad guys.

3. Calling home for the first time after combat.

Hearing the supportive voices of friends and family back home can restore lost morale in a matter of moments.

4. Hearing the legendary BRRT of an A-10 during a “gun run.”

There’s nothing like hearing the sounds of an A-10’s powerful cannons raining down hot lead onto the enemy’s position when you finally get “air-on-station.”

5. Every mail call.

Frequently, we run out of beef jerky, baby wipes, and fresh socks. So, once your name is called out and you’re given a large care package of goodies? That feeling is epic.

6. Making it back to the FOB with nobody hurt.

Every time we leave the wire, it’s impossible to predict who isn’t coming back.

So, after you return to the safer confines of your FOB, it’s okay to finally exhale the anxiety out of your chest — your military family is okay.

7. Building an unbreakable brotherhood with your boys during combat.

That is all.

Also Read: 14 images that humorously recall your first firefight

8. Coming home.

Hugging your family — who supported you throughout the long deployment — is an incredible feeling.

Can you think of any others? Comment below.

Articles

Every American war summed up in a sentence

America has fought in a lot of wars so it can be hard to keep track of all of them. As a quick reference guide, here is every American war, each captured in a single tidy sentence.


American Revolution: The Colonials hated King George and his taxes on tea and so fought to be ruled by President George instead.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Whiskey Rebellion: Americans hated President George and his taxes on whiskey, but Washington won a bloodless victory and kept his tax.

Quasi-War: America didn’t want to pay debts owed to France, so France started stealing ships, America recreated its Navy, and everybody fought until they realized the war was costing everyone more money than anyone was making in profit.

Barbary Wars: Americans fought two wars to navigate the waters north of Africa freely, losing the first and winning the second.

War of 1812: Mad about the British restricting American trade and capturing U.S. sailors, America declared war, lost much of her merchant fleet, watched the White House burn down, and then got what they wanted in the peace treaty anyway.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Andrew Jackson wins the Battle of New Orleans two weeks after the War of 1812 ended.

Mexican-American War: President Polk wanted to double the size of the country, so he picked a fight with Mexico and captured land from Texas to the Pacific.

Utah War: The Army made a show of force, the Mormons massacred a bunch of people, and everyone agreed to replace the Mormon Utah governor with a non-Mormon and forget the whole thing.

Indian Wars: The Native Americans owned land the settlers wanted so brief skirmishes led to full wars where Federal troops used biological warfare and everything ended badly for the Native Americans.

Civil War: The South wanted to keep their slaves and the North wanted to send them to Africa, so everyone fought a war and the South lost.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Wikipedia

Spanish-American War: A battleship blew up in Havana and a pissed off America invaded Spanish territory in Cuba and won itself a small overseas empire.

Philippine-American War: The Philippines were violently opposed to becoming an American territory, so America killed the Filipinos until they changed their mind.

Border War: A Mexican revolution kept spilling over into America, so Gen. Pershing chased Pancho Villa and the U.S. garrisoned troops along the border.

Banana Wars: American fruit producers supported insurrections throughout Central and South America and U.S. troops backed them up when necessary to protect business interests.

World War I: After European nations fought each other for three years, America showed up, killed the survivors, and declared itself the champion of the world.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Wikimedia

World War II: The Allies used American manufacturing, British technology, and Russian numbers to defeat the fascists and America began the Nuclear Age by obliterating two cities with atomic bombs.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Wiki Commons

Korean War: A communist government backed by the Soviet Union and China fought a democratic government backed by the U.S. and others in clashes up and down the peninsula for over three years before settling on a border in roughly the same spot as when the war began.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Dominican Civil War: America participated in another country’s civil war off and on for nearly 50 years.

Vietnam War: An armed resistance to French rule turned into a proxy war of America vs. China and Russia that some Americans still don’t admit they lost despite Vietnam now being a single communist state.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Grenada: America jumped into another country’s civil war and declared itself the winner, maybe or maybe not saving the lives of some American medical students studying there.

Panama: Panama’s civil war threatened American forces and the Panama canal, so after a Marine lieutenant was killed America invaded, dismantled the ruling government, and captured the dictator in under three weeks.

Gulf War: An anti-American, oil-rich dictator invaded the land of a Pro-American, oil-rich monarch, so America led a massive air assault followed by a ground invasion that destroyed the world’s fourth largest army in 100 hours.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Wikimedia

Somali Civil War: America joined a peacekeeping force to try to curb clan warfare but left amid mounting casualties.

Bosnian Civil War: America joined a peacekeeping force that successfully curbed ethnic fighting in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Kosovo War: America joins an ultimately successful peacekeeping effort aimed at reducing ethnic fighting in Kosovo and demilitarizing a terrorist group in the country.

War on Terror: After suffering the worst single terror attack in history, America declared war on terrorism and has been fighting ever since, most prominently in Iraq and Afghanistan but also in smaller conflicts throughout Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell

Articles

7 hilarious but accurate descriptions of military hardware

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


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

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

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
It’s a lot of money for relatively poor image quality, but the zoom is fantastic.

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

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

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Does your armor deploy its own smoke grenades? And depleted uranium shells?

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

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

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

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

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

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

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

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

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
But, you know, they’re still faster than pigeons.

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

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

6. Rifles can punch holes through hella paper at once

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
(via Military Memes)

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

7. CS gas is a quick and effective decongestant

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

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

Lists

5 tips that will have her grateful to be your Valentine

If you’re single, it’s a chance to mingle. If you’re “wifed-up,” it’s the time to lay it down. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and everyone has high expectations. If you want yours met, then you best meet hers.


But, guess what: Statistically speaking, you probably haven’t even begun to BAMCIS this date, and just winging it is not acceptable. No worries, brother. We’ve got you covered.

Related: How to make the best steak ever, according to a Marine chef

1. Don’t take her to dinner and a movie.

No one is saying this isn’t a perfectly acceptable date. It is — just not on V-Day, my man. Be a little more original instead of relying on this old standby. Do something interactive, something fun — a date that feels like an adventure.

Basically, you want to plan a date that will make her friends jealous when she tells them about it.

2. Make sure she has the 15th off.

Valentine’s Day often falls right in the middle of the regular work week and not many companies treat it as a holiday. So, do the next best thing and call in for her.

Let her boss know that she’ll be busy recovering from the date you’ve got all planned out and that she’ll need the entire day in order to get back to reality.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
D’awww, so sweet.

3. Don’t let her get hungry.

If you don’t already know, learn this now: If she is hungry, she isn’t happy.

It seems simple enough, but your date is likely privy to dropping hints and subtleties. You, being accustomed to overt statements and barked orders, might miss these clues, creating a situation where she seems mad for no reason at all.

It’s not what you did, it’s what you didn’t do!

You didn’t provide snacks. Bring tasty treats and she’ll able to focus on how amazing her Valentine is. Also, don’t watch her eat.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Yum yums. Trust.

4. Keep the drinks flowing.

This one seems obvious, however, it can be overdone. This tip requires a nuanced touch and everyone is different with regards to tolerance. Stick to one drink per hour and make sure she enjoys them. Find out her favorite fruit, smash it up, add some sugar, drain through a sieve, add some good vodka, and finish with equal parts champagne.

Garnish with the same fruit and some mint and boom, you just made her new favorite drink. If this seems too complicated, just get champagne. Everyone likes champagne.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Yep, that’s the one.

Also Read: 15 last-minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas from actual military spouses

5. Get her out of her norm.

If she’s a city girl, rent a cabin in the hills. If she’s a country girl, give her a night on the town. The idea is to get her out of her comfort zone and to be her comfort simultaneously.

If you create a situation where she is experiencing new things, great! But make sure she knows you have everything taken care of. If you plan on ending up in a hot tub, bring her a bathing suit. If you’re going hiking, pack her some boots.

The ideas are endless and the guidelines are simple. Whatever you plan to do, be prepared and make sure she doesn’t have any responsibilities aside from enjoying the ride.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends.

Articles

13 Photos Of Santa Hanging With The Troops

Sure, Santa is known for riding a sleigh and giving out presents. But when it’s time for Santa to “git some” he calls on the troops.


Sometimes, Santa needs a few inches of armor …

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Air Force Airman 1st Class Jocelyn A. Ford

…and other times he wants the treads and big guns.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Army Sgt. Quentin Johnson

When he’s flying, he may do the WSO thing.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Cheryl Nolan

But he can also go single seat, if required.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Air Force 1st Lt. Stacie Shafran

Santa’s always up for saying howdy to the troops he meets along the way.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Air Force Civilian Beau Wade

 And he’s not beyond helping out.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Navy Petty Officer 1st Class David Mercil

In a pinch, he uses air drops — so much faster than landing at each house.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Ferguson

Helos have all of the space of the sleigh without the inconvenience of feeding the reindeer.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Huntoon

When the chimney is too small for Santa, the Air Force helps him by lowering the presents on a hoist.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephen Linch

Claus sometimes heads to the rope course for a confidence builder before the big night.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Menzie

Jolly Old Saint Nick is also pretty good on a ruck march.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Marine Corps Civilian Kristen Wong

He’s been showing the military love for a long time.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Navy

And the troops are always happy to see him.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Aubree Rundle

Merry Christmas from WATM!

Articles

8 new projects that will revolutionize military medicine

Compared to previous American conflicts U.S. military medicine drastically reduced the number deaths due to injury during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But that success doesn’t mean the profession is done innovating. Here are eight ways military medicine is trying to improve the ability to save lives:


1. Wound-stabilizing foam that reduces bleeding

Bleeding out is still the number one killer on the battlefield, according to the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research. So, DARPA has worked multiple programs to treat this major killer in combat.

One program success is ClotFoam. The foam works by seeking out damaged tissue, especially cut tissue fibers, and binding to it. It forms a scaffold that the body’s natural clotting agents can then latch to as they would with a cotton bandage. Different formulations of ClotFoam have been tested with the best reducing blood loss in mice by 66 percent when compared to a control group. DARPA is now looking to test delivery mechanisms for ClotFoam.

Another DARPA project was originally aimed at studying and accelerating the clotting process, but a project participant created foam that could treat abdominal injuries on its own. Now, DARPA is seeking help testing the Wound Stasis System device and foam in FDA trials so it can be sent to combat medics as well as civilian EMTs. As seen in the video above, the foam fills the abdominal cavity, stops the internal bleeding, and can be quickly removed by surgeons when the patient arrives at the hospital.

2. Remote trauma care

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Army

Telemedicine is not a new concept. The civilian medical sector has been working on remote patient care since the late ’70s, and many patients can now see their doctor via the internet when they can’t come into the office. The Army is looking expand its remote medicine options, most notably in the area of medical evacuation.

The Army wants systems that can be mounted inside vehicles and hooked up to existing radios, allowing patient information to go directly to the doctor who will receive them at the hospital. The doctor will also be able to call to the medic, advising on treatment while the patient is evacuated off the battlefield. This could allow for better care for patients en route to the hospital as well as a smoother handoff between the medic and the doctor. Prototypes have already been tested.

3. A chair that monitors vitals

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Army Kaye Richey

Of course, beaming the information from patients to doctors with telemedicine is great, but currently it would require a medic to speak or type the information into a computer. The Army is looking to take that task off medics’ hands by adapting the LifeBed into a chair for military air and ground ambulances. The chair would track patients’ respiratory and heart rates and alert a medic if they showed signs of trouble. The medic would be able to spend less time checking on already stable soldiers and more time treating new patients as they evacuate casualties.

4. Active bandages that reduce scaring and improve recovery

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Navy MC1 Matthew Leistikow

Navy researchers are looking at bandages that would actively assist in the recovery process. The bandages would contain antibiotics, growth factors, and other agents to reduce scar tissue formation, recovery time, and the chance of infection.

5. Reducing pressure ulcers

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Army Spc. Wayne Becton

Pressure ulcers, more often known as bed sores, develop when skin is under pressure or rubbed for an extended period of time. Patients immobilized for transport will likely develop pressure ulcers if restrained against a hard surface like a backboard. The Army is beginning a study to see how to mitigate the infliction.

Service members evacuated from combat are commonly at risk for spinal damage, and so are often immobilized for transport. Understanding pressure ulcer formation will allow the military to reduce the number of ulcers that form and cut down on the resulting infections and discomfort.

6. Better treatments following shock from blood loss

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jim Goodwin

The exact problem valproic acid therapy treats is kind of complicated, so bear with this very dumbed down explanation. There is a stage of treatment following major blood loss where the return of normal blood pressure leads to major medical complications. Tissue that has been starved of blood and oxygen can quickly inflame and release toxins when blood flow is restored. Currently, this is mitigated by the timing of how blood and other fluids are returned to the body.

Valprioc acid has been shown to reduce the complications as blood flow returns, and the Army wants more clinical trials of VPA treatments sooner rather than later. In a study where rats were drained of half their blood, rats treated without VPA survived only 14 percent of the time while rats treated with VPA survived 87.5 percent of the time.

7. New vaccines

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: US Army Carol E. Davis

The significance of new vaccines is obvious. New vaccines allow humans to be made resistant to more potential killers. The Army currently has three new vaccines in its sights, one each for malaria, norovirus, and dengue.

A proposed malaria vaccine would have cut down on the 198 million cases and 500,000 deaths in 2013. Average people will get norovirus five times in their life without a vaccine, causing diarrhea and vomiting. Dengue is mosquito-borne and starts off as a mild fever but can become severe, sometimes leading to death.

8. Better skull implants

Following brain trauma or damage to the skull, some patients have to have a portion of skull removed and later replaced by an implant made of titanium or polymers. Currently, these implants are prone to infection.

The Navy is looking to reduce the number of infections after implantation by developing new surface materials that have different textures and nano particle coatings that release chemicals to prevent infection. This would reduce the number of follow-up surgeries a patient would need and lower recovery time.

NOW: Here’s what an Army medic does in the critical minutes after a soldier is wounded

OR: This device makes Navy SEALs swim like actual seals

Lists

9 military badasses with awesome nicknames

A lot of accomplishments in the military get overlooked or rewarded with a couple metal baubles to be worn on the chest.


But sometimes, a man leads a couple of invasions and gets to keep his callsign for the rest of his life as a nickname, or someone leaves their job as a respected religious leader to become a major general known as “The Fighting Bishop.” Here are nine awesome nicknames bestowed on military badasses:

1. Gen. Jim “Chaos” Mattis

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
(Photo: Department of Defense D. Myles Cullen)

While many more people know retired Marine Corps general and current U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis as “Mad Dog,” that nickname was actually foisted upon him by the press, and he apparently doesn’t like it.

His nickname among his men was his callsign, “Chaos.”

2. Adm. Arleigh “31-Knot” Burke

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Navy Adm. Arleigh Burke — yeah, the guy those destroyers are named after — was ordered to shut down a major Japanese troop transfer near the end of the Solomon Islands Campaign. But Burke’s ships were in need of repair and the convoy couldn’t attempt to move at its top speed, 38 knots.

So Burke’s commander sent him orders that began, “THIRTY-ONE KNOT BURKE GET …” and Burke readily agreed, pushing his convoy task force to 31 knots and getting to the Japanese evacuation just in time to launch a skilled attack on Thanksgiving morning that sank three of the five Japanese ships.

3. Maj. Gen. Leonidas “The Fighting Bishop” Polk

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
(Photo: Public Domain)

The story of Leonidas Polk’s nickname is pretty simple. He attended West Point, left the military for religious life, became a bishop, and then returned to the military as a Confederate general in the Civil War.

He was a bishop who fought in a war, and his men started calling him “The Fighting Bishop.”

4. Gen. George “Grey Wolf” Crook

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Awesome nickname, better beard. (Photo: Public Domain)

Union Gen. George Crook was a bottom-of-his-class West Point graduate who distinguished himself in the Civil War and Indian Wars. It was during the Indian Wars that the Apache gave Crook the nickname “Nantan Lupan,” which translates to Grey Wolf.

5. Eugene “Black Swallow of Death” Bullard

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Eugene Bullard. (Photo: Department of Defense)

American Eugene Bullard emigrated to France just before Germany invaded it. He joined the French Foreign Legion and became in infantry hero before an injury ended his ground combat time. So, he joined the French Escadrille and became a fighter pilot, possibly the first black one. He also served as a spy in World War II.

Oddly enough, Bullard’s nickname, “The Black Swallow of Death,” was bestowed for his prowess as an infantryman, not for his two aerial kills as a pilot.

6. Gen. George “Old Blood and Guts” Patton, Jr.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
(Photo: U.S. Army)

Legendary Army officer Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., America’s first and possibly greatest tank officer, promised his junior leaders that World War II would be full of grisly horror. He told them, “You will be up to your neck in blood and guts.” The men decided that was the perfect nickname for him.

7. Pvt. Edwin “Balaclava Ned” Hughes

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Painting: Richard Caton Woodville, Jr., Public Domain

British Pvt. Edwin Hughes had a pretty unfortunate nickname. He was one of the cavalrymen who took part in the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854. That famous charge took place in the Battle of Balaclava, and Hughes’ “friends” apparently thought he would want a constant reminder of the day that all of his friends died, because they gave him the nickname “Balaclava Ned.”

8. Sir Douglas “Butcher of the Somme” Haig

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
(Portrait: Imperial War Museum)

Sir Douglas Haig was the British Field Marshal in World War I, commanding the entire British Expeditionary Force. He was well-regarded by the British public immediately after the war, but there were lingering questions about whether his offensive tactics led to too many British casualties.

At the Battle of the Somme, the severe British losses led to Haig being dubbed “The Butcher of the Somme.”

9. Gen. Joe “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
(Photo: U.S. Army)

Joe Stilwell was one of America’s greatest generals in the 20th Century, rated higher than famous names like Patton and Bradley in a pre-war survey of military leadership. And Stilwell had a reputation for a mouth that would’ve made Patton blush, lots of curse words and colorful insults. That led to his nickname, “Vinegar Joe,” referring to how caustic his tongue was.

Unfortunately for Stilwell, his skills with the Chinese language led to him losing command of the Africa invasion and getting a diplomatic mission to China instead. After the Chinese kicked him out a few years later, Stilwell was given command of the invasion of Japan, an invasion that never happened.

Wonder what Joe had to say about those two events?

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7 reasons why Obi-wan Kenobi was basically Ulysses S. Grant

Just replace Kenobi’s spirit form at the end of “Return of the Jedi” with Ulysses S. Grant’s love of spirits and you have a strong case that the famed Union general and 18th president was the real world inspiration for the legendary Jedi Master.


Both of these bearded military masterminds have just way too much in common.

1. Both are widely regarded for the first half of their accomplishments, but were immortalized by their final ones.

Quick history lesson for anyone living under a rock since 1977 or never picked up a history book.

Obi-wan Kenobi was a Jedi Knight in the prequel trilogy of “Star Wars.” His level head and skill in battle shot him up the ranks before eventually being recognized as the mentor to Luke Skywalker in the Original Trilogy.

Ulysses S. Grant was the top general of the Union Army during the American Civil War. His level head and skill in battle shot him up the ranks before eventually being elected to be the 18th President of the United States during the Reconstruction era.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Did I mention they both rocked some glorious beards?

2. Both accepted their adoptive names early in life.

Each of them have semi-arbitrary names, Ben Kenobi and Ulysses S. Grant.

According to the canon novel “Kenobi,” Obi-wan was meditating in an attempt to contact Qui-Gon. In his conversation, he remembers that Ben was a name he saw on a map and liked it. His fling would then call him by it and it sort of stuck.

It came in handy when he needed to go into hiding (because I guess Kenobi was a common name).

Grant was actually born Hiram Ulysses Grant. When his father wrote his representative to help get the 16-year-old Grant into West Point, the forms were filled out incorrectly and mistakenly written as “Ulysses S. Grant.”

Because this was the biggest opportunity for him at that point, he adopted the name. He would also go by the name “Sam,” because his initials U.S. were a play on Uncle Sam. Eventually that U.S. became “Unconditional Surrender.”

Even though his mother’s maiden name was Simpson, he joked with his wife, “You know I have an ‘S’ in my name and don’t know what it stands for.”

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Pictured: Beardless Obi-wan and Goatee’d Ulysses. They’re still working their way to the awesome beards.

3. Republic versus the Confederacy.

Civil War breaks out for both men. The Galactic Republic fights the separatists, The Confederacy of Independent Systems. War rages on between them in many star systems.

As in our timeline, the United States of America fought the separatists, the Confederate States of America. War rages on between them in many states.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Obi-wan had clones. Ulysses had Tennesseans.

4. Both were responsible for the first major victory in their wars.

The people of Naboo were losing the invasion by the Trade Federation. Tides were turned when a young padawan, Obi-wan, struck down Darth Maul in an epic light saber battle. He was promoted to Jedi Knight for his actions.

The Union was losing the skirmishes along the Tennessee-Kentucky border, most notably at the Battle of Fort Donelson. Tides were turned when a young Brig. Gen. Grant pushed back Brig. Gen. Floyd in an epic counterattack (and earning him the “Unconditional Surrender” Grant nickname). He was promoted to major general for his actions.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
One saved a film from being completely hated. The other saved a nation.

5. Both had beaten major adversaries in other generals — and a comrade.

Kenobi fought many great enemies during the Clone War and after. In “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” he fought General Grevious, commander of the CIS forces. Afterwords, his largest enemy was the commander of the 501st, Darth Vader himself. Twice (if you consider him being struck down and achieving more power than Vader would ever know a victory).

Darth Vader, previously Anakin Skywalker, was once a great ally to Kenobi, fighting at his side other during the Clone War. By the end, they would both become each other’s greatest enemy.

Grant lead the Union Army through many of its more memorable victories. Grant defeated Confederate generals left and right — many of whom hold the name of U.S. military bases today. General Bragg, Gen. Polk, Gen. A.P. Hill, and of course, Gen. Robert E. Lee. He would defeat Lee at Petersburg and then force his surrender at Appomattox.

Robert E. Lee and Grant had first met each other during the Mexican-American War. Both were present at Scott’s March to Mexico City. This was back when Grant was a still a lieutenant and Lee a lieutenant colonel long before they were both Generals-in-Chief of their respective armies.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
One hated rebel scum. The other had a rebel yell.

6. Both saw their people in turmoil after their Civil Wars.

After the Galactic Republic collapsed into the Empire, Obi-wan needed to go into hiding and assumed the name of “Ben.” He witnessed the collapse of the Jedi Order and the chaos that was brought by the Emperor and Darth Vader. More about what happened in those years is rumored to be played out in the upcoming “Obi-wan” stand-alone film.

Grant may have been victorious, but Reconstruction wasn’t an easy step. The short time between the Union victory and Lincoln’s death was mixed with the moderate positions and vetoes of Andrew Johnson and the devastation of white supremacists had on the newly freed slaves. Grant would try his best to push through his Enforcement Acts, which were in place to protect African Americans and combat the Ku Klux Klan.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
I’m confident a film about what Kenobi was doing between Episodes III and IV will be far cooler than a film about Grant’s presidency.

7. Their successors (mostly) ended the strife.

Obi-wan was slain by Darth Vader, giving his pupil the next step in his hero’s journey. By the end of “Return of the Jedi,” Luke Skywalker would help (spoiler alert: by the way for those aforementioned people under a rock) his father, Darth Vader, renounce the Dark Side and overthrow the Empire, bringing peace until “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.”

Grant tried to reunite the divided country again, make peace with the Native Americans, and help with civil rights. They still weren’t enough. The Luke Skywalker in this comparison? Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican nominee who took his place. Even still, Hayes only withdrew troops from the South.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
They also both learned the art of the beard and perfected it.

*Bonus!* The strong connection with “McGregor.”

First being portrayed by Alec Guinness of “Bridge on the River Kwai” fame in the original trilogy, he would later be brought to life by Ewan McGregor from “Trainspotting” and “Black Hawk Down.”

As for Ulysses S. Grant, he spent the last weeks of his life at his friend’s cottage atop Mount McGregor while he finished his memoirs.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Lists

13 pictures that perfectly capture Navy life in the 1980s

Every generation has a slightly different experience of military service. Here are 13 things that no longer exist but you’ll remember if you served in the US Navy in the 1980s.


1. You could have a beard

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Remember when you just couldn’t wait to make E-4 so you could have one of those great big bushy Navy beards? Too bad you couldn’t wear an OBA to breathe in a fire with that big old beard…

2. Beer machines in the barracks

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Nothing better than getting off work, coming back to an open barracks room with 75 other guys in it,  going into the TV lounge to watch the same show everybody else wants to see and dropping  $.75 into a cold drink machine to enjoy a nice lukewarm can of brew.

3. Snail mail that took months to reach you

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Getting your Christmas cards for Easter is always fun.

4. Cinderella liberty

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Get back to the ship  by midnight or you will turn into a pumpkin (or at least pull some extra duty)!

5. Life before urinalysis

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Gave new meaning to “The smoking lamp is lit.”

6. Watching the same movie 72 times on deployment because there was no satellite

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Reciting the lines by memory added to the fun. For a treat they would show it topside on the side of the superstructure.

7. Enlisted and officers partying together

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Nothing better than drinking all night with your division officer and showing up for the next day’s morning muster while he is nowhere to be found.

8. Liberty cards, request chits, and green “memorandum” books

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

No liberty until the chief handed out the liberty cards; chits filled out in triplicate were required for everything; and you knew you made it when you carried a little green memo book in your pocket (to write stuff down with your Skilcraft pen).

9. Having a “discussion” with the chief in the fan room

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: USN

A little attitude adjustment never hurt anybody. The next day you were best buds, and you never told a soul where you got that black eye.

10. Getting paid in cash

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Nothing better than armed guards standing by for payday on the mess decks and having a pocket full of $20s every 2 weeks.

11. Our only enemy was the Reds

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Ivans and Oscars and Bears, Oh My!

12. Communicating with flags

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Just what are those guys waving around semaphore flags saying to each other?

13. Navigation before GPS

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

Quartermaster get a sextant and tell me where we are!

 

Articles

7 ways drones are ruining everything

Drones save lives on the battlefield and engineers are finding new uses for them everyday. But, not all drone innovations are good things. Here are seven things that drones are quickly ruining.


1. Paintball

Paintball was once about grown children shooting each other with tiny blobs of paint, but drone operators are shoehorning themselves into the mock combat. Suddenly, paintball has pogues. You can also see drone-on-drone aerial paintball if you don’t like excitement.

2. Firefighting

Firefighters keep running into problems with drones. Hobbyists fly them close to wildfires to get video of the flames, blocking aircraft needed to fight the fire. Helicopters and airplanes filled with fire retardant and water have to wait on the ground until the drones get out of the way.

3. Fight clubs

Fight clubs are supposed to be filled with angry people pummeling each other, not flying lights slowly colliding.

4. Weddings

Sure, flying a drone at the wedding gives a lot of shots that you couldn’t otherwise get. But, maybe focus on not injuring the bride instead of getting better angles.

5. Security of military installations and The White House

Military bases are always wary of being photographed or videotaped by people potentially planning an attack or trying to collect secrets. That makes drones flying near a base a big problem. Even the White House has had issues with drones flying over the fence.

6. Underground racing

Remember when underground racing was about fast cars and outrunning the police when they inevitably arrived? Well, drones have ruined that too. Now it’s basically mosquitoes flying around a parking garage.

7. Flying saucer theories

The idea of little green men spying on humans holds a draw for certain segments of the population, but modern “sightings” of potential alien craft are almost always drones which can easily be made to look like flying saucers.

NOW: This guy made a drone that can fire a handgun, and it’s kinda nuts

OR: There’s going to be a ‘Top Gun 2’ – with drones

Lists

5 ways your service animal is trying to talk to you

Over the last several years, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of veterans looking to service and therapy animals to aid them through daily life. These faithful companions help vets navigate through various environments, provide crucial emotional support, and retrieve beers from the fridge (we wish).

Now, before anything else, let’s answer the important question: Yes, you can still pet these animals as long as the owner gives you permission.

Since our little buddies have thoughts and emotions just like us, they need to find a way to relay information. After a while, humans pick up on the little personality quirks that our furry friends put out there, like tapping the water bowl with a paw when they’re thirty or standing next to the door when it’s time to pee.

These tiny messages are easy to pick up if you’re paying attention, but some other messages are so subtle that you need to be a dog whisperer to understand. So, to help you out, we’ve compiled a brief list of those important messages.

You’re welcome, doggos.


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A slow tail wag

We’ve all seen a happy puppy quickly wag their tail when excited to see their owner. On the contrary, when a pup’s tail slows down, it’s not because they’re tired — it’s because you confused the sh*t out of them. They don’t know what you want them to do. Slow down and be clear with your commands.

A tucked tail

While humans show emotion using their eyes, a dog shows it through their tail. If your service animal tucks their tail between their legs, it’s a sign that they’re nervous and afraid of feeling pain.

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“What the hell is this granular substance?”

Ears up or forward

Dogs carefully examine new environments. When they’re settling in and paying close attention, they’ll shift their ears up and forward.

Resting their head on you

Humans require attention from their peers every now and then — your service animal is no different. When your little best friend walks up to you and puts his or her head on you, it’s because they want to be noticed.

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Too cute for words.

One paw up

When your furry friend gets in front of you and raises one of their paws, they’re attempting to ask you something. It could mean they want to go outside and play or they’re simply asking for a treat.

Articles

These crazy photos show 30+ ton tanks in flight

With crews of four men, thick armor, and enough firepower to level a village, tanks weren’t designed to fly. But the laws of physics never stopped tankers from trying:


1. Like this baby taking flight:

8 of the best things about a combat deployment

 2. Can you say tankapult?

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Mitch.10.Ryan/Instagram

3. Seriously, this is what life as a US Army tanker is all about. Shooting, jumping and blowing stuff up, you know: tank stuff.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Military_Challenge/Instagram

4. We hear that the new Polish tank will have an easier time getting off the ground than this one.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Military_Challenge/Instagram

5. Is this a Russian separatist tank? Those guys have lots of fancy gear.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Anoshin_A/Instagram

 6. No, this is not photoshopped.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: tankerboy/tumblr

7. Boomshakalaka!

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: Lifeofmice/Instagram

8. Here’s how the Indonesian Marines do it.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: fnhfal/tumblr

9. This photo proves that trying to fly tanks isn’t a new phenomenon.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: infinite_stash/Instagram

11. They even tried to make it into a sport.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: davechoppers/Instagram

11. Forget calling in air support, call your craziest tank crew instead.

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Photo: koko-hekmatiaru/tumblr

Articles

6 of the most ballsy military tactics

War is a dangerous thing, often necessitating actions that — in any other circumstance — would be absolutely insane.


Here are six of the things that make sense in war, but are still pretty ballsy regardless:

6. Flooding your own territory

The idea for most defenders is to keep their territory whole for their own people, even in the face of enemy forces. But for defenders in low-lying areas facing a potentially unstoppable force, there’s always the option of making sections of it impossible via water (though mines, obstacles, and a few other maneuvers work also).

This forces the enemy to attack through narrow channels determined by the defenders, and limits the territory that has to be protected. Does make for a hell of a cleanup problem, though.

5. Night raids

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
(Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Larson)

Night raids have all the same drawbacks of normal raids in that the attackers are trying to conduct a quick assault before the defenders can rally, but with the added confusion of limited visibility and increased sound transmission — sound waves typically travel farther at night and have less ambient sound with which to compete.

Of course, the U.S. enjoys a big advantage at night against many nations. While night vision goggles and other optics provide less depth of field and less peripheral vision, if any, they’re a huge advantage in the dark against an enemy without them.

4. Submarine combat

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
Sailors assigned to the Blue crew of the ballistic-missile submarine USS Pennsylvania man the bridge as the ship returns home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following a strategic deterrence patrol. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray)

Submarines face a lot of jokes, but what they do is pretty insane. A group of sailors get into a huge metal tube with torpedoes, missiles, or both, dive underwater and sail thousands of nautical miles, and then either park or patrol under the waves, always a single mechanical failure from a quick and agonizing death.

The reasons to go under the waves anyway are plentiful. Submarines can provide a nearly impossible-to-find nuclear deterrent, molest enemy shipping, sink high-value enemy vessels, place sensors in important shipping lanes, or tap into undersea cables.

But the guys who sail under the water are crazy to do it.

3. “Vertical envelopment”

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
(Photo: U.S. Army Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

Vertical envelopment means slightly different things depending on which branch’s manuals you look at and from which era, but it all boils down to delivering combat power from the sky, usually with paratroopers from planes or troops in helicopters on air assault.

Either way, it leaves a large group of soldiers with relatively little armor and artillery trying to quickly mass and fight an enemy who was already entrenched when they arrived, hopefully with the element of surprise.

It’s risky for the attackers, but it allows them to tie up or destroy enemy forces that could threaten operations, such as when Marines air assault against enemy artillery that could fire on a simultaneous amphibious assault.

2. Assault through ambush

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
A soldier fires blank rounds at a rotational training unit during an exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La., April 22, 2014. (Photo: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Klutts)

When a maneuver force finds itself in a near ambush — defined as an ambush from within hand grenade range, about 38 yards — with the enemy sweeping fire through their ranks, it’s trained to immediately turn towards the threat and assault through it, no matter the cost.

Each individual soldier takes this action on their own, not even looking to the platoon or squad leadership before acting. While running directly towards the incoming fire takes serious cojones, it’s also necessary. Trying to go any other direction or even running for cover just gives the enemy more time to fire before rounds start heading back at them.

And the number 1 ballsiest move:

1. Ships ramming submarines

8 of the best things about a combat deployment
USS Farragut (DDG 99) comes out of a high-speed turn. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

It’s hard to get more ballsy than one of the earliest methods for attacking submarines: taking your ship, and ramming it right into the enemy. This is super dangerous for the attacking ship since the submarine’s hull could cause the surface ship’s keel to break.

But surface ships do it in a pinch anyway, because there’s more risk to allowing a submarine to get away and possibly into position for a torpedo attack. And the surface ship is generally more likely to limp away from a collision than the submarine is, which is still a win in war.

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