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80 famous military brats

List of Famous Military Brats ranked by fame and popularity. A military brat is a nickname used to describe the children of parents who are serving in the military. These military kids frequently move around a lot within the United States and overseas. The term is considered a term of endearment amongst military members, but could be considered offensive if used in a derogatory way by civilians.


Who is the most famous military brat? Jessica Alba tops our list. The “Sin City” actress’s father was active in the U.S. Air Force. Throughout her childhood, Alba lived in Biloxi, Mississippi, Del Rio, Texas and Claremont, California. Other famous actresses who are considered military brats include “Legally Blonde” star Reese Witherspoon, “Melrose Place” actress Heather Locklear and “Junebug” star Amy Adams.

Some famous men also spent their childhood as military brats. Bill Cosby’s father was active in the U.S. Navy and fought in World War II. Cosby followed in his father’s footsteps and enlisted in the Navy after he dropped out of high school. Senator John McCain comes from a long line of military men. As a child McCain spent a lot of time moving around because of his father’s Navy career and attended almost 20 different schools. Other famous men who were military brats include Andy Dick, Elton John and Tim Curry.

Do you think being military brats helped these famous people to succeed in their careers? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Famous Military Brats

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13 funniest military memes for the week of June 16

Military memes are like digital morale, and we have collected the most potent 13 from this week for your pleasure.


1. Definitely going to get made fun of on the ship for that one (via Sh-t my LPO says).

80 famous military brats
Gonna be especially tough when you get sent to different ships.

2. The Army does not know how to party (via ASMDSS).

80 famous military brats
Soldiers do, but not the Army.

ALSO SEE: The US Navy might pull these old combat ships out of mothballs

3. In the end, only the DD-214 remains.

80 famous military brats
At least you get to cover your truck in Eagles, Globes, and Anchors.

4. This is why socialized pay in the military is so weird:

(via Coast Guard Memes)

80 famous military brats
Remember, future enlistees, E3 pay is E3 pay is E3 pay.

5. All this for a Camaro (via Team Non-Rec).

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A Camaro you can’t even drive when you’re stuck out at sea.

6. Double points when they want to talk about morale (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

80 famous military brats

7. “Keep on firing, buddy. I’m behind cover and my guardian angel is 3… 2… 1…” (via Weapons of Meme Destruction)

80 famous military brats
BOOM!

8. Peace. Out. (Via Lost in the Sauce)

80 famous military brats
Find someone else to fight your war. I’m headed to college and stuff.

9. Turns out, the camouflage works better than anyone predicted (via Sh-t my LPO says).

80 famous military brats
This guy won the dirtbag, shammer, and hide and seek championships for this year. Triple crown!

10. All about the Benjamins, baby (via The Salty Soldier).

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The answer is no. Thanks for the money.

11. Chiefs will avoid it at all costs (via Decelerate Your Life).

80 famous military brats
They’ll go so far as swim PT just to avoid it.

12. Just remember to bring something to use in exchange (via Decelerate Your Life).

80 famous military brats
The supply bubbas know how to get what’s theirs.

13. He can’t help you now, staff sergeant (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

80 famous military brats
College and the civilian job market don’t look so scary right before another NTC rotation.

Articles

5 inventions DARPA just gave Santa in the ‘HO HO HO Initiative’

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has once again given top-performing American gear to Santa to assist him with his Christmas mission, despite Saint Nicholas’s ongoing refusal to release his aviation technology to the U.S.


Santa has received DARPA research the past two Christmas seasons under the High-speed Optimized Handling of Holiday Operations initiative. The HO HO HO initiative has previously gifted Santa with the tools to protect his network from hacks, land more safely on slanted roofs, and more effectively scout homes for people who are awake before he places the presents.

This year, DARPA’s gift features five major programs.

1. New tools for seeing through snow, dust, and fog

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(Illustration: DARPA)

The Multifunction RF program is working on creating new sensors for aircraft that can detect obstacles, terrain, and other aircraft during flight — even in severe dust and snowstorms. The military wants the technology to prevent crashes during dangerous operations.

But Santa can use it to more safely approach houses in severe snowstorms and dust storms. This will become increasingly important as Santa fights to maintain his tight timeline with more kids to serve every year.

2. A fancy new Santa suit will help prevent strain injuries

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(Photo: DARPA)

The Warrior Web suit is designed to protect soldier’s joints and muscles from damage while the wearer is carrying heavy loads, sometimes topping 100 pounds. To do so, the suit uses a bare 100w of power to augment the muscle work done by the user, lessening their muscle fatigue and injury risk.

While Santa’s average load from the sleigh to the tree is unknown, his sack sometimes has to accommodate dozens of toys, books, and electronic devices. Hopefully, a new Santa suit featuring Warrior Web technology will help Santa more safely move up and down the chimneys.

3. The TRADES program will lead to new toy designs

80 famous military brats
An artist created this concept art of an artist creating concept art. (Illustration: DARPA)

The Transformative Design program is trying to give engineers new tools to model the properties of possible equipment designs and to figure out manufacturing processes to create those products.

For top elves, this means that they can start fabricating new toy designs that would have been impossible just a few years ago. The new technologies will be especially useful for 3D printing.

4. New computer chips will keep the North Pole’s computers cool

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(Illustration: DARPA)

As Santa and his staff serve a growing population, DARPA has become worried that the computer servers processing all that information will overheat.

To help prevent this, they’ve offered the Man in Red access to their Intrachip/Interchip Enhanced Cooling research. Computer chips integrating this technology are cooled more efficiently and are less likely to fail during high-demand tasks such as when Santa makes his list and checks it twice.

5. Programs from the Cyber Grand Challenge will defend against hacks by the naughtiest of children

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(Photo: DARPA Camilla Sjoden)

The Cyber Grand Challenge provided millions of dollars in prizes to teams who put created automated bug hunters and defenses against hacking and then pitted those software programs and machines against each other on a Las Vegas stage.

Now, DARPA has turned some of that research over to Santa to help him keep his computer systems secure. While there’s little evidence that any hackers have made it into the system so far, the Naughty/Nice list is too obvious a target to be unprotected.

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The top 10 militaries in the world, ranked

It’s always fun to sit around and war game which country could beat up which, and it’s even better when you have hard facts to back up your decisions.


Below is a summary of the top ten militaries in the world, according to Global Firepower, which tracks military power through publicly-available sources. We’ve scrapped Global Firepower naval comparisons since they track naval strength by number of ships, making a patrol boat equal to a supercarrier. This list of the largest navies by weight is being used instead.

Below the spreadsheet we’ve added a breakdown of each military power.

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Germany and Turkey’s naval tonnage come from Wikipedia.com

Breakdown

1. United States of America

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Photo: US Navy Chief Photographer’s Mate Todd P. Cichonowicz

No real surprise here. The U.S. spends $577 billion per year, nearly four times more than China’s $145 billion defense budget. The U.S. is behind both India and China on all measures of manpower, but it makes up for it with vastly superior airpower and a carrier fleet larger than any other country’s entire navy.

2. Russia

America’s Cold War rival still packs a major punch. Its high ranking is fueled strongly by superior armor numbers. Russia also fields a large navy and is the world’s largest oil producer. Russia is fourth for number of military personnel, but its numbers are padded by short-term conscripts. Though it isn’t calculated by GFP, Russia’s special operations forces and propaganda arms have been proving themselves in Ukraine where Russia is a major destabilizing force.

3. China

China has the second largest military budget, third largest fleet of aircraft, second largest tank force, and the world’s largest number of military personnel. China’s special forces also took 3 of the top 4 spots at 2014‘s Warrior Games in Jordan. Though China technically has a draft, it is rarely used.

4. India

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Antônio Milena

India’s ranking is largely due to its large labor force and large number of service members. It also has a large fleet of aircraft and tanks as wells as a respectable navy. It suffers though due to a large amount of oil consumption vs. a very small amount of oil production. Interestingly, India’s Border Force is the only modern military force that maintains a camel-mounted regiment.

5. United Kingdom

Despite a small tank force, low number of aircraft, and low number of military personnel, the United Kingdom maintains a spot in the top five with the world’s fifth largest navy and fifth highest military budget. The British military is also aided by geography as it’s hard for an invading force to attack an island.

6. France

France doesn’t post up the most impressive numbers of ships, planes, and tanks, but what equipment it has is modern and very capable. Mirage and Rafale jets, Tiger helicopters, LeClerc main battle tanks, and the only nuclear-powered carrier outside the U.S. provide the main muscle behind the French military. France also manufacturers much of its own military supplies, meaning it has the ability to create more equipment in a protracted war.

7. South Korea

Though South Korea has the sixth largest military by population, the sixth largest fleet of aircraft in the world, and the eighth largest navy, it has a relatively small budget and armored corps. Its largest threat is North Korea which, despite having the largest navy by number of ships, is weak because of antiquated equipment and undertrained personnel.

8. Germany

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Photo: US Army Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger

Germany got a decent rank on Global Firepower and a great one at National Interest due to a strong economy, military spending, and good training. However, news coming out of Germany suggests its position may be weaker than it appears on paper. It consumes much more oil than it produces, and imports come from Russia, its most likely adversary. Germany’s ability to weather an oil shortage is also decreasing as it moves away from coal and nuclear power. Also, it’s facing a major problem with its standard rifle.

9. Japan

Japan would be ranked higher if its people had a greater appetite for war. The sixth largest military spender, it has the fifth largest air fleet and the fourth largest navy. Still, a lackluster ground game drags it down and its constitution limits the military’s ability to project force worldwide.

10. Turkey

An expanded military industry bodes of good things to come for Turkey’s military. It has a large military population and tank force. It is upgrading its navy. The Turkish preparations for war are becoming more urgent as ISIS stands at its doorstep.

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7 ways to use a uniform inspection as a statement of individuality

No matter what branch of service you are in, uniform inspections are routine, and there’s no real trick to passing them. Just follow the regs to the letter. What’s hard about that?


No, those who truly desire to make their mark in this world choose a different path, and (they won’t tell you this) but that’s what the higher ups are really looking for in their subordinates.

WATM is here to light the fuse of your rocket to greatness. Here are 7 ways to use uniform inspection as a statement of individuality, thereby demonstrating the kind of breakout leadership traits the chain of command loves:

Bust out some innovative grooming

80 famous military brats

SEALs already know this. You think they grow their hair out and rock killer beards to blend in with the Afghan locals? No way. It’s all about staying ahead of the “lumbersexual” trend stateside, and when the admirals see that they’re like, “Man, that’s some awesome leadership stuff going on there.”

Sport an Irish Pennant or two

80 famous military brats

Attention to detail is a must and having loose strings and threads sticking out of your uniform is a clear sign that you have it. Gunnys won’t say this, but they love when their charges show this kind of initiative.

Show your fun side with your military bearing

Cracking a smile, smirking, or making any other expression other than a stoic and fearless look will convey that you’re a professional warfighter who won’t crack under pressure. Demonstrate this sort of lighthearted manner at every opportunity, especially if the inspecting officer is an O-6 or higher.

Cultivate beaucoup wrinkles in your uniform

80 famous military brats

No steaming, pressing, starching, or ironing your uniform. The presence of lots of wrinkles tells leadership that you accept that military life is imperfect and you won’t let that fact get you down.

Misplace your ribbons and badges

80 famous military brats
(WARNING: Following this recommendation could lead to stolen valor guy responses from zealous vets with YouTube accounts. Avoid public places, especially sporting events or shopping malls or country music concerts.)

What kind of lemming needs a chart to show him or her where ribbons and badges are supposed to go on the uniform? Feel the power of the designer within you and organize all of that stuff in a way that seems right for YOU. This’ll be a real eye-opener for superiors.

Make sure your uniform doesn’t fit

Superiors may tell you that they don’t like the “jeans around the ass with the underwear showing” look, but they’re actually intrigued by it and maybe even a little jealous they didn’t come up with the idea. Once again, don’t be afraid to make a statement that says, “I don’t follow, I lead.”

Wear too much of your signature fragrance

It takes more than clothes and demeanor to leave that lasting impression on those who control your fate. Leverage the sense of smell to your professional advantage.

Dirty up your shoes / boots

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(Photo: USMC)

It’s true that your shoes say a lot about you, and this is especially true during a uniform inspection. Dirt on your boots screams “I’m totally focused on the mission, dammit, and have no desire to waste this command’s time.” Higher ups might not say it, but trust us, they love that sort of statement.

Good luck, friends. And welcome to the fast track.

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Lists

7 Movies Every Sailor Needs To Watch

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


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

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

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

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

1. The Sand Pebbles — 1966

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

80 famous military brats
Photo: 20th Century Fox

2. The Hunt For Red October — 1990

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

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Photo: Paramount Pictures

3. Top Gun — 1986

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

80 famous military brats
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Here’s What ‘Top Gun’ Would Look Like In 2014.

4. Crimson Tide — 1995

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

80 famous military brats
Photo: Hollywood Pictures

5. Officer and a Gentleman — 1982

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

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Photo: Paramount Pictures

6. Master and Commander — 2003

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

80 famous military brats
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

7. Cinderella Liberty — 1973

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

80 famous military brats
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Lists

9 Celebrities Who Were Military Flyboys First

Before they were big-name celebrities, these nine men were served as pilots and aircrewmen in the U.S. military.


Joseph Heller

80 famous military brats

In 1942, at age 19, Joseph Heller joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. Two years later he was sent to the Italian Front, where he flew 60 combat missions as a B-25 bombardier.

Heller later remembered the war as “fun in the beginning … You got the feeling that there was something glorious about it.” After his military service Heller went on to write Catch-22, which to many represents the standard of American military sarcasm.  (Source: CNN)

Jimmy Stewart

80 famous military brats

Before Jimmy Stewart starred in classic American films like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Rear Window” he was an Army Air Corps pilot.  On March 31, 1944 he was appointed Operations Officer of the 453rd Bomb Group.  Subsequent billets included that of Chief of Staff of the 2nd Combat wing, 2nd Air Division of the 8th Air Force. Stewart ended the war with 20 combat missions. He remained in the USAF Reserve and was eventually promoted to brigadier general.  (Source: Military.com)

Clark Gable

80 famous military brats

Clark Gable may have frankly not given a damn when dissin’ Scarlett in the movie “Gone With The Wind,” but he most likely did when he served as an bomber crewman in World War II.

Gable flew five combat missions as an observer-gunner in B-17 Flying Fortresses, which earned him the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. During one of the missions, Gable’s aircraft was damaged by flak and attacked by fighters, which knocked out one of the engines and shot up the stabilizer. In another raid on Germany, one crewman was killed and two others were wounded, and flak went through his boot and narrowly missed his head. (Source: Wikipedia)

Charles Bronson

80 famous military brats

Charles Bronson‘s steely-eyed glaze as seen in “The Dirty Dozen” was certainly perfected while staring down Japanese air defenses in the Pacific during World War II.

In 1943, Bronson enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and served as an aerial gunner in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron. In 1945, as a B-29 Superfortress crewman with the 39th Bombardment Group, Bronson flew 25 missions and received a Purple Heart for wounds received in battle. (Military.com)

Tom Landry

80 famous military brats

Dallas Cowboys’ iconic fedora-wearing coach Tom Landry earned his wings and a commission as a Second Lieutenant at Lubbock Army Air Field, and was assigned to the 493d Bombardment Group at RAF Debach, England, flying the B-17 Flying Fortress.

From November 1944 to April 1945 he flew 30 combat missions.  During that period he also survived a crash landing in Belgium after his bomber ran out of fuel. (Source: Tom Landry: An Autobiography)

Norman Lear

80 famous military brats

Before Norman Lear created groundbreaking TV shows like “All in the Family” and “Maude” he was a B-17 radio operator/gunner with the 772nd Bombardment Squadron, 463rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) of the 15th Air Force.

He flew 52 combat missions and was awarded the Air Medal. (Source: WNYC)

Paul Newman

80 famous military brats

Paul Newman is best known for his salad dressing and the characters he played in movies like “Cool Hand Luke” and “Butch Cassady and the Sundance Kid,” but he was also a sailor during World War II in the Pacific theater. He had hoped to be accepted for pilot training but was dropped when docs discovered he was color blind.

He was redirected to boot camp and eventually flew from aircraft carriers as a turret gunner in the Avenger torpedo bomber. He was aboard USS Bunker Hill during the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. He missed one mission when his pilot developed an ear infection, and all of those who wound up going were killed in action.

Ted Williams

80 famous military brats

The same eyesight that made Ted Williams a legendary slugger for the Boston Red Sox made him a great fighter pilot for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Williams had earned his Wings of Gold at the tail end of World War II and was called back to active duty six games into the 1952 baseball season because the Corps needed pilots for the Korean War effort. Williams flew 39 combat missions, and his plane was hit by enemy gunfire on at least three occasions.  He was awarded three Air Medals before being sent home with a severe ear infection and recurring viruses.  (Source: Wikipedia)

Terry Dietz

80 famous military brats

Before he dominated the challenges and finished third on the hit TV series Survivor in 2005, Terry Dietz attended the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating with the Class of 1982.  He earned his Wings of Gold and served on the USS Carl Vinson with VF-51 flying the F-14 Tomcat.

He also served as an instructor at VF-124, the Tomcat training squadron on the west coast. Deitz left active service in 1992 and continued flying in the Navy Reserves on logistics missions around the world. He retired in 2001 at the rank of commander.  In recent years Dietz has kept his hand in the TV game by hosting military-themed shows on a variety of networks.

Lists

The most decorated animals in military history

Military service animals have a longstanding history of taking care of our service men and women overseas without complaint. Maybe that’s because they don’t speak English, or maybe it’s because they’re the best darn soldiers the military has ever seen. Either way, they’re not only adorable, they’re also brave animals who risked life and limb to take care of the people that they loved. Some of the animals on list gave their lives for their country, and some survived the most heinous terrorist attack on American soil. Many have been awarded for their valor.


Check out this list of military animals through history and vote for your favorite ones, whether they be dogs, cats, horses, pigeons, or whatever.

The Most Decorated Animals in the Military

Lists

5 militaries still allowed to drink in a war zone

While the U.S. has ordered its soldiers to remain sober in every major deployment since the 1990s, not all militaries have jumped on the temperance convoy.


Here are five militaries with service members still allowed to drink in a war zone, as long as the mission and security situation permits it.

1. Germany

 

80 famous military brats
Photo: Petty Officer First Class Ryan Tabios

Germany is famous for its beer, so it’s not surprising that it allows its soldiers to imbibe a little while deployed. The soldiers are limited two beers a day while at larger bases. The sheer size of the alcohol shipments caused a debate in Germany early in Operation Enduring Freedom, but the booze kept flowing.

2. Canada

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Canadian Army soldiers disembark a U.S. Navy landing craft April 25, 2009 during exercises with the U.S. Marine Corps. Photo: US Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 2 Keith A. Stevenson

Before Canada pulled out of Afghanistan, they offered their troops two beers and a half bottle of wine while at well-secured locations.

3. Italy

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Italian Army

Italians receive small quantities of alcohol in their ration packs and also deployed so much other wine that it flooded the black market near some bases in Afghanistan.

4. France

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Adrian Pingstone

French soldiers on well-defended bases were sometimes allowed to drink during “Happy Hours” and other command-approved events.

5. Romania

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Photo: US Army Sgt. Daniel Cole

Like their French counterparts, Romanian soldiers could drink during specified periods provided they weren’t on duty and didn’t get themselves in trouble.

Articles

The military is closing in on powerful exoskeleton technology

80 famous military brats
Photo: Raytheon


For decades, the U.S. military and its private-sector partners have been working toward a technology straight out of science fiction: robotic suits.

And it’s no surprise. Exoskeletons could add to soldiers’ natural strength, letting troops lift seemingly impossible loads and dart across the battlefield at incredible speed.

Currently, the military is exploring creating an Iron Man-like specialized suit through the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) program. The suit would provide soldiers with enhanced mobility and protection, and it would most likely run on top of an exoskeleton base.

Today’s exoskeletons vary in utility, but they can allow soldiers to carry 17 times more weight than normal and march with significantly less strain on the body. With an XOS 2 suit, for example, a solider can carry 400 pounds but feel the weight of only 23.5.

Although robotic exoskeleton suits have been in development for over 50 years, things really started picking up speed in the 1990s, leading to more and more interest from the U.S military. Now, it’s a clear priority.

As former Air Force Chief of Staff General John Jumper said: “We must give the individual soldier the same capabilities of stealth and standoff that fighter planes have. We must look at the soldier as the system.”

Early 1960s: The Man Amplifier

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Photo: Youtube.com

Throughout the early 1960s, Neil Mizen developed the early stages of the Man Amplifier at Cornell University’s Aeronautical Lab. The suit was intended to have powered gears at the joints to provide additional support and strength.

Although it was hoped that the Amplifier would have military and scientific uses, Mizen could not master the system’s powered gear system, and the suit was never completed. Even so, his research went on to inspire future exoskeleton projects.

1965: The Hardiman Suit

80 famous military brats
Photo: Wikipedia/Bruce Fick and John Makinson

One of the first powered iterations of exoskeletons was General Electric’s 1965 Hardiman Suit, which was co-developed with the U.S. military. The suit built upon the research done for the Man Amplifier.

The Hardiman was intended to lift 1,500 pounds; however, the suit never managed to act as a fully unified machine, and controlling it proved impossible.

Instead, research was focused on one arm of the suit. The arm managed to lift 750 pounds, but it weighed three quarters of a ton alone. The suit was deemed impractical, and the project was eventually abandoned.

1997: The Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL)

In 1997, the Japanese research firm Cyberdyne started the earliest prototype of the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL). The South Korean and U.S. militaries offered to fund the program, but the company wanted to avoid military applications for its technology.

The first prototypes of HAL were created at Tsukuba University with the aim of assisting the disabled and elderly with their daily tasks. The original HAL systems were attached to computers, and the batteries alone weighed 49 pounds.

The HAL 5

80 famous military brats
Photo: Wikipedia/Steve Jurvetson

In 2013, the fifth-generation HAL prototype, HAL 5, received a global safety certificate for worldwide medical use. It was the first powered exoskeleton to receive this certification.

The HAL 5 is a full-body exoskeleton that weighs a total of 22 pounds. The system functions by sensing bio-signals on the surface of the skin, causing the exoskeleton to mirror the user’s movement. The suit can function for about an hour and a half on a full charge. The suit was used by relief workers during efforts to clean up the partial meltdown of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, because the suit could allow workers to wear more protective gear and work longer shifts without tiring as quickly.

The Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (BLEEX)

The Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (BLEEX) entered development in 2000 with a $50 million grant from DARPA. The prototype allowed wearers to carry upward of 200 pounds while feeling no additional weight. The exoskeleton was even capable of traversing rough terrain for extended periods of time.

The BLEEX has been designed so that the legs can be easily removed from the back if the device loses power — thus transforming it back into a standard backpack.

Springtail Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle

In 2001, Trek Aerospace ran its first test of the now-defunct Springtail Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle. The Springtail was considered for military development and even allowed for vertical flight. But ultimately, the project was deemed impractical and never took off.

The Springtail was unique in that it would allow soldiers to fly and hover, effectively taking the role of a personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle. The Springtail had a maximum speed of 113 miles per hour and could fly for 184 miles and carry a payload of 358 pounds.

The LIFESUIT

80 famous military brats
Photo: Youtube.com

Also in 2001, U.S. Army Rangers veteran Monty K. Reed set up North Seattle Robotics Group. The group opened the They Shall Walk non-profit, dedicated to developing LIFESUIT exoskeletons for the disabled.

Reed had a parachute accident while in the military in 1986 that left him with permanent back injuries. During his recovery, Reed became fascinated with the exoskeletons in Robert Heinlein’s novel “Starship Troopers.” The LIFESUIT is in a late stage of development, and it has entered widespread medical trials.

XOS Exoskeleton

80 famous military brats
Photo: Youtube.com

In 2000, Sarcos, an engineering and robotics firm in Utah, began designing the XOS Exoskeleton after receiving a grant from DARPA. DARPA accepted Sarcos’ exoskeleton design in 2006, and production of prototypes began that year.

The XOS had to stay connected to a power source to maintain movement. But the suit performed remarkably within this limitation: The XOS allowed users to lift significantly more weight than they could previously. Its actual-to-perceived-weight ratio was 6:1, meaning that a 180-pound load would feel like only 30 pounds.

A lighter, more efficient XOS

80 famous military brats
Photo: Raytheon

In 2007, the defense giant Raytheon purchased Sarcos. In 2010, Raytheon-Sarcos released the XOS 2. The XOS 2 featured a host of improvements over the XOS.

The XOS 2 suit allows users to lift heavy objects at an actual-to-perceived-weight ratio of 17:1. The suit also required 50% less energy than the XOS, while also weighing 10% less than its predecessor.

The XOS 2 is also touted as being more precise, faster, and more portable than the XOS. The military is considering using the XOS 2 in its TALOS project.

The Human Universal Load Carrier

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Photo: Wikipedia

The Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) began development in 2000 with Berkeley Bionics, which later changed its name to Ekso Bionics. The HULC was a third-generation exoskeleton system, and it incorporated features from two previous Ekso Bionics prototypes.

The HULC was proved to augment the strength of its wearers, allowing them to lift 200 pounds without impediment. The HULC also lowered the wearer’s metabolic cost, meaning soldiers could march with a load while having a decreased oxygen consumption and heart rate.

The HULC’s Military Applications

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Photo: Lockheedmartin.com

In 2009, Ekso Bionics licensed the HULC to Lockheed Martin for research into possible military applications. Lockheed continued its development of the HULC along the same lines as Ekso Bionics, but it increased the functionality of the suit to match the military’s needs.

HULC is multi-terrain operational, supports front and back payloads, and has enough power to last for an eight-hour march before having to be recharged. HULC allows a user to perform deep squats or crawl while wearing it, and it supports upper-body lifting as well. HULC is one of the exoskeletons currently being examined by the military for possible use in its TALOS Iron Man suit.

The X1 Mina — NASA’s Exoskeleton

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Photo: NASA

NASA announced that it was creating an exoskeleton as part of a partnership with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. The X1 Mina Exoskeleton will have dual functionality. In space and low-gravity environments, the joints of the suit will be stiffer, providing the astronauts with exercise to combat muscle atrophy.

NASA also envisions that the X1 can be used by paraplegics and others with disabilities to provide support while walking. In this case, the X1’s joints can be loosened, providing support to the wearer without being physically taxing.

The Warrior Web Program — DARPA’s Exoskeleton Of The Future

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Photo: DARPA.mil

DARPA began its Warrior Web program, aimed at creating a soft and lightweight under-suit that protects wearers’ joints and helps increase the amount of weight a soldier can easily carry while using less than 100 watts of power. One of the most promising designs has come from the firm Boston Dynamics.

The Warrior Web program has produced small exoskeleton-like clothing designs that are meant to be worn under normal uniforms. The overall goal of the program is to increase the endurance of soldiers by lessening the strain on their muscles.

Over the past 50 years, exoskeletons have gone from an unproven and even slightly fanciful technology to systems with medical and aerospace applications. They are becoming lighter, more energy-efficient, and more flexible — meaning that it is probably just a matter of time before the U.S. develops a practical military version.

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21 photos that show what it’s like when soldiers assault a Taliban stronghold

As was the case in the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army has widely used “air assault” tactics — the warfighting technique of using helicopters to get troops into and out of combat objectives in a hurry — in the war in Afghanistan. We rounded up photos from our own personal collection and military sources to show what it’s like for soldiers to be part of one of these intense missions.


Air assault missions start with rehearsals. Here, soldiers practice getting down the ramp of a CH-47 Chinook in a hurry.

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The choreography of the assault is reviewed using a ‘sand table’ — a scale mock-up of the objective that allows soldiers to understand how the mission will unfold.

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Get ready to mount up! (Here a CH-47 lands at the FOB to pick up Afghan National Army troops and their U.S. Army trainers for an air assault.)

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After a successful ingress, the Chinook launches in a hurry, leaving the troops behind to get to work.

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First order of business is to establish a perimeter and make sure there’s no incoming fire.

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Once the Chinooks are clear and the landing zone is stabilized, the soldiers make their way toward the village — ever wary of the presence of the enemy.

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Contact made with the tribal elders, the best way to assess the immediate threat. In this case the company commander learns that the small band of Taliban fled at the first indication of the assault.

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The platoon leader tours the village with the tribal elders who’ve assured him there is no immediate threat now that the few local Taliban have fled. The U.S. Army first lieutenant knows exactly how much to trust them.

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Meanwhile, other soldiers patrol the perimeter of the village making sure the Taliban who fled don’t circle back with a few more of their comrades.

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On the opposite side of the village, soldiers pull security.

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At the center of the village, the platoon leader tries to convince the tribal elder that his people should support the coalition in forcing the Taliban out once and for all.

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Local kids gather to hear what the American soldiers have to say. (Cool Batman backpack.)

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A village donkey isn’t sure what to make of all the action.

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Making friends with the next generation of Afghan citizens is an important part of the mission.

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On the edge of the village a handler and his dog sweep for improvised explosive devices.

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Beef jerky time! Just outside of the center of the village one of the brave and talented Afghan interpreters kicks back for a bit.

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Village architecture looks centuries old and a little bit creepy.

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No girls allowed! The company commander gathers the village males for a ‘shura,’ a no-notice gathering to discuss the coalition plan for security and the creation of infrastructure like schools and cell phone towers.

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Every captured weapon counts. The enemy may have fled, but the air assault did net a small score: some radios and a handful of RPGs.

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After one more sweep it’s time for soldiers to think about getting out of Dodge (or Ateh Khanek in Paktika Province).

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And the soldiers load onto the Chinook for the flight back to the FOB. Dinner will taste good tonight, and maybe after that there’ll be time for a Skype session with the wife. (Just another day in the ‘Stan.)

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Articles

The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Holiday weekend. Here’s hoping you got a good safety briefing, made responsible decisions, and have woken up fresh and ready to celebrate America. And here’s an 800mg ibuprofen and a bag of saline because we know you got hammered and tattooed “Murica” on your lower back last night.


1. Most military bases are wastelands with a few palm trees and ant mounds.

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Air Force bases are magical chocolate factories.

2. Surprise, this meme was posted by a sailor.

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You know the Marines are OK with this, right?

SEE ALSO: Me as ‘vibe coordinator’ and other stories from military transition hell

3. Coast Guard officers are some intrepid individuals.

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Staring down danger and slowly sliding a knife into it.

4. When you’re stuck on hold at the worst time.

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Yeah, we need those guns now. Any chance we can jump the line?

5. If you wanted a cot, you should’ve joined the Army (via Marine Corps Memes).

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Marines make do.

6. Oh, did you want to go on leave? I forgot because you haven’t asked me in the last 4 seconds (via Sh*t my LPO says).

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If it gets approved, it gets approved. Until then, maybe don’t keep asking.

7. Well, technically it does give him control over you.

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Which sucks since he’s essentially a boot. A boot who can quote Shakespeare, but a boot.

8. No matter the backstory, this will turn out badly for the trainees.

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Just don’t get caught watching him, recruits.

9. Most pushers can get you as high as a kite (via Marine Corps Memes).

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This guy can get you 60,000 feet above that.

10. The weapon just had so many parts and that big spring (Coast Guard Memes).

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He’s really just used to haze grey and a paint brush.

11. Least sexy part of the Coast Guard mission: navigational aides (via Navy Memes).

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Sexiest? Being promoted to the Navy.

 12. M4s say, “You’re not welcome,” while .50-cals say, “Stay the f*ck out.”

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13. Are you on duty this weekend? (via Marine Corps Memes)

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Just minimize the window. We’ll be here when you get back.

NOW: Here’s what training is like for the Air Force’s most elite operators

WATCH: 7 Movies to Watch on the 4th

Articles

6 Navy bombers that flew for the Air Force

The Air Force and the Navy have their own little rivalry going.


Granted, United States Navy pilots are pretty good in many respects, and so are the planes, but the Air Force claims they’ve got air superiority. So when they need to buy a plane from the Navy, it’s… awkward — especially when it involves bombers, something that should be the purview of the Air Force.

Here are six of the most…notable acquisitions the Air Force ended up making from the Navy.

1. Douglas A-24 Banshee

While better known as the SBD Dauntless, the Army Air Force bought a number of these planes. Aviation historian Joe Baugher noted that some were intended to help defend the Philippines, but the outbreak of World War II saw them diverted to New Guinea. Others saw action in the Aleutians and Gilbert Islands.

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A-24B Banshee, the Army Air Force’s version of the SBD Dauntless, at a base on Makin Island. (U.S. Air Force photo)

2. Curtiss A-25 Shrike/Helldiver

The Army Air Force got the SB2C — the notorious “Son of a [Bleep] Second Class” — during World War II. Joe Baugher noted that the Army Air Force never even bothered using them in combat, either exporting them to the Royal Australian Air Force or handing them over to the Marine Corps for use from land bases.

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An A-25A Shrike in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo)

3. Douglas B-66 Destroyer

When the Air Force was looking for a replacement for the A-26/B-26 Invader as a tactical bomber, they settled on a version of the Navy’s A3D Skywarrior. However, the Air Force planned to use it very differently, and so a lot of changes were made, according to Joe Baugher.

The B-66 turned out to be an ideal electronic-warfare platform. One was famous under the call-sign “Bat 21,” leading to one of the most famous — and costly — search and rescue efforts in history.

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An EB-66E Destroyer electronic-countermeasures plane. (U.S. Air Force photo)

4. Lockheed RB-69A Neptune

The Air Force was looking for some planes for electronic intelligence missions around the Soviet Union and China when they settled on taking seven P-2 Neptune maritime patrol planes from the Navy, and designating them as RB-69As.

Aviation historian Joe Baugher reveals that the exact origin and ultimate fate of these planes is a mystery, probably intentionally so, given the top-secret nature of intelligence-gathering flights over China and Russia.

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One of seven RB-69A Neptune ELINT planes the Air Force acquired. (U.S. Air Force photo)

5. Douglas A-1 Skyraider

Joe Baugher reported that the Air Force found this classic warbird to be so suitable for the counter-insurgency mission in 1962, they took 150 A-1Es from Navy surplus. The planes were modified for dual controls.

In fact, the Air Force wanted the plane as early as 1949, but harsh inter-service rivalry (including controversy stemming from the “Revolt of the Admirals”) meant the Air Force had to wait to get this plane. It was a fixture on search-and-rescue missions during the Vietnam War.

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An Air Force A-1E Skyraider loaded with a fuel-air explosive bomb. (U.S. Air Force photo)

6. Vought A-7 Corsair

This is probably one of the most successful purchases of a Navy bomber by the Air Force. As was the case with the Air Force basing the B-66 off the A3D, they made changes to the A-7.

Most notable was giving it the M61 Vulcan and a thousand rounds of ammo. Yes, the Air Force gave the A-7 the means to give bad guys the BRRRRRT! The A-7s saw action over Panama in 1989, and were even used to train F-117 pilots. The A-7D was retired in the early 1990s with the end of the Cold War.

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Three U.S. Air Force A-7Ds in formation. Air Force Corsairs flew thousands of sorties with only four losses. (U.S. Air Force photo)

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