9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels - We Are The Mighty
Lists

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

It’s well known that the fearsome Soviet spy agency, the KGB, used brutal tactics to eliminate and intimidate rivals.


Legend has it that when Soviet diplomats were kidnapped by terrorists in Lebanon in the mid-1980s, KGB officers kidnapped and killed a relative of one of the perpetrators, mailing body parts to the terrorists to demonstrate why Russia’s enemies shouldn’t poke the bear.

Now-declassified CIA documents reveal the KGB had a special team created exclusively for assassinations. The KGB’s 13th Department was called the “Directorate of Special Tasks” and used “executive actions” or “liquid affairs” (read: targeted assassinations) to eliminate threats to the Soviet state.

The directorate had two special labs that most officers didn’t know about – one for creating unique weapons and explosives, the other for developing new poisons and drugs. Poisons were a favorite for these extra-judicial killings because they attracted less attention and were often confused for natural deaths.

Here are nine KGB assassination attempts that will make you want to run background checks on your friends.

1. Leon Trotsky

Trotsky was a key player in the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1918. When Lenin died, many believed he would take over. But it was Stalin who won the succession struggle.

Trotsky criticized the new Soviet state for suppressing democracy and was expelled from the government for his trouble. Eventually, Stalin exiled Trotsky out of the USSR.

 

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
In Soviet Russia, dictator overthrows YOU. (Russian public domain photo)

The Mexico City suburbs became his new home, but the distance couldn’t keep him safe from the death sentence Stalin ordered. In 1940, Trotsky was done in by a Spanish Communist agent with an ice pick.

2. Franz Josip Tito

The World War II leader of Yugoslavia would not give up his country’s hard-fought independence for anything. Tito’s refusal to align himself with the Soviet Bloc frustrated Stalin to no end. So the Soviet dictator decided to get rid of Tito — as he had done with many previous political roadblocks.

The Russians tried to kill Tito using a pneumatic spray of bubonic plague, a box that sprayed poison gas when opened, and 20 other ways to end the Yugoslav leader’s life. Tito thwarted so many of Stalin’s assassin attempts , he had to send a letter to Moscow that read:

‘Stop sending people to kill me… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send a second.’

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
He only needed the one. (Library of Congress photo)

3. John Wayne

Film historian and author Michael Munn tells the story of John Wayne’s brush with a Soviet assassination order in his book, “John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth.” Wayne’s anti-Communist statements didn’t sit well with Stalin, who allegedly ordered The Duke’s murder. Two Russian filmmakers, Sergei Gerasimov and Alexei Kapler, warned film legend Orson Welles about the order. Wells told Wayne, but Wayne was also warned by the FBI and stuntman Yakima Canutt, whom Wayne once credited with saving his life.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
(publicity photo)

Wayne and a screenwriter friend planned to abduct the assassins, drive them to a beach, and stage a mock execution to pump them for information. The two hitmen turned and worked for the FBI while Wayne moved to a house behind a large wall.

4. Lev Rebet

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Rebet in Auschwitz (Library of Congress photo)

Rebet was a Ukrainian nationalist writer, Nazi death camp survivor, and staunch anti-Communist. He was also the leader of the Ukrainian government for a time. In 1957, Rebet died suddenly of “natural causes” while on a trip to Munich. In 1961, a KGB agent named Bohdan Stashynsky defected to the West and revealed Rebet’s death was an assassination. The weapon he used was a gun that sprayed a cloud of cyanide gas. Stashynsky also killed Rebet’s party boss, Stepan Bandera, with the gas weapon.

5. Georgi Markov

A gray-haired man waiting for a London bus in 1978 would have attracted little attention from passers-by. In this case, that man was Georgi Markov, a Communist defector from Bulgaria who made England his new home. The man next to him dropped his umbrella, hitting Markov in the leg. It hurt, but Markov barely noticed. The man apologized and they both went on their way. Markov died four days later.

His autopsy revealed a pellet in his leg which contained .2 milligrams of ricin, a deadly poison used in chemical warfare and made famous by the show “Breaking Bad.” Vladimir Kostov, another Bulgarian defector, survived a similar fate with the pellet being stuck in his back. He told the world about the attack on Radio Free Europe four days after his brush with death.

6. Georgiy Okolovich

In 1954, Nikolai Khoklov appeared at the door of Georgiy Okolovich, the leader of a Russian anti-Communist group in exile. Okolovich lived in Frankfurt, West Germany, at the time. It must have been quite a shock when Khoklov said:

“Georgiy Sergeyevich, I have come to you from Moscow. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has ordered your assassination.”

But Khoklov didn’t kill him. Instead, the KGB agent defected to the U.S. and revealed (via press conference) the weapon he was supposed to use: a cigarette pack that was actually an electrically-operated, silenced gun that fired cyanide rounds.

7. Nikolai Khoklov

In retaliation for his defection and failed assassination of Okolovich, Khoklov’s wife was sentenced to forced resettlement in the Soviet Union and Department 13 ordered Khoklov’s own assassination. The weapon would be thallium poisoning, the first use of radiological weapons by the KGB.

Thallium is a soft metal element that was often used as a rat or ant poison but fell into disuse for its potential side effects. When Khoklov’s skin began to crack, he began to lose his hair, and bleed without clotting, he knew what was happening. German doctors irrigated him with antidotes and he survived.

8. Pope John Paul II

When Polish Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyła was elected Pope in 1979, the Soviet Union was less than thrilled. They believed he was the single greatest threat to their power, especially in Poland. So when the Pontiff was shot and wounded on May 13, 1981, the world looked to more than his attacker, a Turkish man named Mehmet Ali Agca, for answers.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

The Solidarity movement was a direct outgrowth of the Pope’s visit to Poland in 1979 and became a constant irritation in the side of the Soviet leaders. A book detailing the Mitrokhin Archive, a massive trove of Top Secret KGB documents carried over by Vasili Mitrokhin after his defection to the West, shows the KGB carried out this assassination attempt in retaliation for the Pope’s attempt to undermine Soviet regime.

9. Alexander Litvinenko

Litvinenko served with the KGB from 1986 until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. He continued serving in Russia’s internal security service long after, working to infiltrate organized crime groups. In 1998,  he accused his superiors of ordering the assassination of a Russian media mogul in a public press conference. He was arrested twice for this and personally fired by Vladimir Putin, whom the agent accused of bombing Russian apartments and murdering a Russian journalist to get elected president.

He fled to London with his family and began to write books and advise the Britain’s intelligence community on Russian activities. Allegedly a target of the KGB’s susccessor, the FSB, in 2006 he suddenly became gravely ill, growing weak and unable to walk. When he was hospitalized, specialists conducted a test for radioactive materials and discovered the element Polonium-210, a radioactive element that emits alpha radiation – only damaging to human tissue when ingested.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

The UK’s Health Protection Agency discovered the Polonium poison in Litvinenko’s teacup, 200 times greater than a normally lethal dose.

Articles

The US military took these incredible photos this week

The military has very talented photographers in its ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. This is the best of what they shot this week:


AIR FORCE:

34th Fighter Squadron Commander Lt. Col. George Watkins flies a combat-coded F-35A Lightning II aircraft past the control tower at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 17.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo byAlex R. Lloyd/USAF

Pope Francis prepares to board his plane at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Sept. 24, 2015. Pope Francis will visit New York City and Philadelphia during his U.S. trip before returning to Rome Sept. 27.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys/USAF

MARINE CORPS:

An M1 Abrams main battle tank provides security during the Combined Arms Company field exercise at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, Sept. 16, 2015. The CAC is a newly formed armor element supporting the Black Sea Rotational Force.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by Cpl. Justin T. Updegraff/UCMC

Marines with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, practiced employing hunter-killer techniques with multiple weapons platforms during sustainment training on Aug. 21, 2015.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by Sgt. Paris Capers/USMC

Recon Marines with 1st Marine Division, jump from a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft during high altitude, high opening parachute insertion training over Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 17, 2015.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by Pfc. Devan Gowans/USMC

NAVY:

PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 22, 2015) The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) leads a formation during a passing exercise with Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces ships. George Washington is preparing to deploy around South America as a part of Southern Seas 2015.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Archer/USN

SOUTH CHINA SEA (Sept. 17, 2015) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82), right, receives fuel from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6) during an underway replenishment.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corey T. Jones/USN

WATERS OFF THE COAST OF JAPAN (Sept. 18, 2015) Sailors aboard the Arleigh-Burke guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) stack Mark 45 5-inch rounds during an ammunition on-load.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christian Senyk/USN

ARMY:

A Green Beret, assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group-Airborne, fires an M-240B machine gun during an exercise at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 21, 2015.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
3rd Special Forces Group Combat Camera/US Army

A paratrooper, assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, fires a M136 AT4 during a combined arms live-fire exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., Sept. 17, 2015.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by Sgt. Anthony Hewitt/US Army

COAST GUARD:

After a boat caught fire recently, a good Samaritan contacted the Coast Guard and rescued four people near Galveston.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Oliver R. Tallyn

Seized: 7.5 tons of cocaine. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf worked alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection to seize 7.5 tons of cocaine from the Eastern Pacific earlier this month.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo by USCG

NOW: More awesome military photos

OR: The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Lists

Here’s what it’s like when Special Forces raid a compound

Few groups in the U.S. military are as revered as Army Special Forces. They slip into other countries and work with the locals to build up friendly forces and take down enemies. Here’s what it looks like when they strike a compound.


1. Operators prepare for the insertion, rehearsing if possible, before getting into their vehicles or transportation.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann

2. The soldiers then move to the target area. Walking allows them to move up quietly, but riding in ground vehicles or helicopters can allow them to strike quickly without warning.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Special Forces candidates ride to a compound during training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo: US Army Sgt. Justin P. Morelli

3. The Special Forces soldiers insert as quickly as they can, trying to get into a combat footing before the enemy can respond to their arrival.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Special Forces candidates fast rope out of a UH-60 Blackhawk during training. Photo: US Army Sgt. Justin P. Morelli

4. The soldiers then move to their entry point and prepare to breach.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
A Special Forces soldier attaches a breaching charge to a door during training. Photo: US Army Visual Information Specialist Ruediger Hess

5. Once they’re through the door, they start securing the target buildings.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Army Sgt. 1st Class Silas Toney

6. Multi-story buildings in a compound have to be searched floor-by-floor. Whenever possible, they try to work from the top down.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Army Sgt. 1st Class Silas Toney

7. Soldiers pull security on the perimeter so the enemy can’t come in behind the SF team.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Army Sgt. 1st Class Silas Toney

8. Most of the operators carry rifles, but they bring some larger weapons like the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle with them to destroy enemy vehicles or shoot through some walls.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Army Sgt. Justin Morelli

9. Once the compound has been taken, soldiers have to pull security to prevent an enemy counterattack while the team is still on the ground.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Army Spc. Sara Wakai

10. After searching the compound for intelligence and weapons, the operators will make their way back out of the compound.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Special Forces candidates maneuver out of a compound during training. Photo: US Army Sgt. Justin P. Morelli

11. If an enemy has been taken captive, they’ll be removed with the team back to the helicopter or vehicles.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Special Forces operators drag a simulated captive off an objective during training. Photo: US Army Sgt. 1st Class Silas Toney

12. The security teams stay at the edges of the compound until the last possible moment so the team remains safe from a counterattack.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Army Sgt. Daniel Love

13. When they make it back to their transportation, the SF operators will leave the compound.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Special Forces candidates climb into a Blackhawk helicopter as they depart a compound at the end of a training mission. Photo: US Army Sgt. Justin P. Morelli

14. The team will then study any intelligence they’ve collected and question any prisoners taken in the operation. The new intelligence will generate new missions and raids.

NOW: The definitive guide to US special ops

OR: Here’s what it looks like when paratroopers jump out of a helicopter

Lists

8 pickup lines every Marine should know by heart

Every night, single Marines of all ages and sizes travel to their local social spots to talk to prospective mates in the hopes of scoring a phone number or two.


If you do muster the courage to walk up to someone only to forget how to speak correct English, just remember one of these epic pickup lines.

Then, thank us later.

Related: 26 best Navy SEAL porn names and movie titles

Check out eight pickup lines every Marine should know by heart. Use these valuable lines for good and never for evil.

8. “Hey honey, are you a five-paragraph order? Because I wanna SMEAC that behind with my fireproof glove.”

Then, they’ll probably break down what a “five-paragraph order” is composed of like a true Devil Dog.

7. “Hey cutie, you can hang out in my foxhole anytime.”

Since digging a foxhole takes a lot of time, this is actually a sweet gesture.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Probably took these grunts a while to dig this one.

6. “If you want, later I can show you how we ‘flank the rear’ in the infantry.”

It’s not as hard as you would think.

5. “I’ve been a Marine aviator for years, would you care to see my ‘vertical lift-off?'”

We know that’s possible, especially in a harrier — wait! We get it now.

4. “Do you want me to show you the difference between a rifle and a gun?”

One’s for fighting, and one’s for fun.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

3. “Did you ever serve in the Marines? Because you’re hotter than an M240 barrel on a full cyclic.”

If they know what an “M240” is or what “cyclic” really means, you should marry them right away.

2. “I hope your parents are JAG officers because it’s illegal to look that good.”

Probably our favorite in the cheesy category.

Also Read: 6 signs she is more in love with your contract than you

1. “Would you like to see how to break down my rifle, shotgun style?”

Note: Breaking down a rifle like a “shotgun” means your exposing your rifle’s internal components.

Bonus: “Hey girl, are you a flashbang? Because you’re stunning.”

This one’s actually not so bad…

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Lists

9 pop culture phenomenon with unlikely military roots

The military has built generations of outstanding citizens who have been leaders, entrepreneurs, and hard-working members of their communities. But we can also thank the military for the rise of some interesting pop culture phenomenon, from stand-up comedy to Dr. Seuss.


We found nine examples with some surprising roots in military service, detailed here. Have any more? Let us know in the comments.

Catch-22

 

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

 

Joseph Heller served as a B-24 crewman in World War II, and his experiences with dealing with unreasonable officers and the overall futility of war became the basis for the legendary novel Catch-22.

In many ways the novel was ahead of its time. The movie Catch-22 was released over ten years after the book was originally published, when the American public was more ready for irreverent portrayals of military life due to the attitudes that surrounded the Vietnam War.

Stand Up Comedy for the Masses

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

George Carlin was an Air Force radar tech stationed a Barksdale Air Force Base in 1954 when he started working as a DJ at a local radio station on the side. What made him popular on the airwaves made him a problem to his chain of command, and his wise-ass attitude got him court-martialed three times and earned him the official label of “unproductive airman.”

Carlin later said that as far as his military service went, he was most proud of barely avoiding getting a dishonorable discharge.

Slaughterhouse 5

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Kurt Vonnegut was a private in the U.S. Army when he was taken prisoner by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. “Bayonets aren’t much good against tanks,” he later said.  He was taken to Dresden and made the leader of his group of prisoners because he spoke some German.

He was there when Dresden was firebombed by allied bombers and said that the aftermath of the attack on the defenseless city was “utter destruction” and “carnage unfathomable.” The experience was the inspiration for his famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, and is a central theme in at least six of his other books.

Gay Rights

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Harvey Milk served as a diver during the Korean War, remaining a closeted homosexual primarily due to the attitudes of the shipmates who surrounded him.

When he left the Navy as a lieutenant (junior grade) he was tired of hiding his true self, and he started down a path that eventually took him to the Castro District in San Francisco where he led the first national gay rights movement.

The Beat Generation

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Jack Kerouac joined the U.S. Merchant Marines in 1942, and in 1943 joined the U.S. Navy, but he served only eight days of active duty. The medical examiner reported Kerouac’s military adjustment was poor, quoting Kerouac: “I just can’t stand it; I like to be by myself.”

Two days later he was honorably discharged on psychiatric grounds. Kerouac’s military failure eventually led him to San Francisco where he joined Alan Ginsburg, William S. Burroughs and other writers to become the spiritual leaders of “The Beat Generation,” the first creative influencers to widely suggest that dropping out of normal American society was a viable option.  Kerouac is best known for his book On the Road.  (Source: The Smoking Gun)

Scientology

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

While the facts surrounding his war record are disputed, it’s true that L. Ron Hubbard was a U.S. Navy officer during World War II.  In spite of his claims to being wounded in battle, the Navy has no official records to document it.

According to U.S. Navy records, the majority of Hubbard’s experience is marked by poor performance, poor evaluations, no record of any combat experience, and Hubbard over-inflating his medical conditions to avoid any theater of war. Critics say Hubbard sensationalized his military record in order to aid in launching Scientology.  (Source: The New Yorker)

The Rock Guitar God

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Jimi Hendrix had a run-in with the law over stolen cars that led to a choice: he could either spend two years in prison or join the Army. He enlisted on May 31, 1961 and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division.  But he wasn’t a model soldier.

His CO at the time said, “His mind apparently cannot function while performing duties and thinking about his guitar.” Hendrix was discharged early as his problems were judged to not be treatable by “hospitalization or counseling.” An alleged ankle injury during a parachute jump showed Hendrix the door with an honorable discharge. The benefit of dental care while on active duty came in handy later in his musical career when he made playing with his teeth one of his trademarks.  (Source: Military.com)

Dr. Seuss

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

As World War II erupted, Theodor Seuss Geisel was a political cartoonist for a left-leaning New York newspaper and highly critical of isolationists like Charles Lindberg.

He joined the war effort officially in 1943, and was made the commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces, where he wrote films that included Your Job in Germany, a 1945 propaganda film about peace in Europe after World War II; Our Job in Japan, and the Private Snafu series of adult army training films. His war experience motivated him to create a more gentle world:  the Dr. Seuss series of books.

Humphrey Bogart’s Trademark Lisp

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

The legendary star of movies like “Casablanca” and “The Maltese Falcon,” Humphrey Bogart served in the U.S. Navy during World War I.

He was injured while on assignment to take a naval prisoner to Portsmouth Naval Prison in Kittery, Maine.  While changing trains in Boston, the handcuffed prisoner asked Bogart for a cigarette and while Bogart looked for a match, the prisoner raised his hands, smashed Bogart across the mouth with his cuffs, cutting Bogart’s lip, and fled. The injury affected Bogart’s speech, giving him his trademark lisp that wows movie buffs to this day.  (Source: Wikipedia)

Lists

11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs

MREs do what they can to bring a little taste of home to deployed troops. How successful they are or have been in the past — and how tasty those attempts were — is open for debate.


For decades, we’ve seen dozens of flavors come and go. Some we remember fondly. Many we are happy to toss into the literal and figurative dumpster of history.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
The official Country Captain Chicken depository.

Also read: Army food will make you feel the feels

America is big place! Someone tell the people who make MREs to scour the best regions of the United States for our regional flavors! We could get some better food while learning a little bit about the different regional cuisines of our own country.

1. A better Buffalo Chicken.

What is more ‘Merica than adding butter to hot sauce and then pouring it over chicken wings? The answer is “not much.” But the MRE wizards decided to make it a “pulled” version of the dish, which ended up looking like an electric orange glop.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Glop: Flavor of America.

They gave us whole pieces of meat when it came to the Western Burger and the Frankfurters. Why they decided not to use actual wings (or even boneless wings) is beyond comprehension. And don’t get us started on the lack of Bleu Cheese.

2. Baltimore Crab Cakes.

I know asking for crab from the military is asking a lot. But I’d rather have it processed into MREs than eat what I tasted as it was steamed into a rubbery oblivion at the DFAC on Camp Victory.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Not seen: a crab cracker. Anywhere in country.

Besides the delicious crab cake, a little packet of Old Bay seasoning could totally replace the hot sauce packet as the go-to flavor enhancer.

3. Southern-Style Biscuits and Gravy.

This one isn’t such a great idea for being on-the-go, but if you have time to sit and eat, this would be a great idea. We all know the Elf snack bread can also be used for hammering nails so why not have the MRE people create a buttermilk snack bread that is designed to be moistened up in the field. With gravy.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
More gravy than that. I thought we were winning the war.

The end product will look nothing like the photo above, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Civilian rations already made this – and relatively well. Besides, it will show that the MRE people put some thought into texture and mouthfeel.

4. South Dakota’s Chislic.

Chislic is simple. It’s grilled or fried chunks of meat – usually game or lamb, but can also be beef – topped with seasoned salt or garlic salt. It’s eaten via toothpick and served with saltines. It’s like shish kebab.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
If shish kebab came with saltines and was served at bars in Pierre, SD.

So it would be one MRE our Middle Eastern allies could eat with us. We all know MRE makers are fans of crackers and chunked meat. This one sells itself.

5. Hawaiian Spam Musubi.

Bear with me here. Spam gets a bad rap but this Hawaiian snack is pretty great. In Hawaii, Spam is even getting a gourmet makeover. Musubi is fried or grilled Spam on a bed of rice and held together with nori seaweed.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
It will definitely not look like this in an MRE.

The best part about Spam Musubi is that it tastes great hot or cold and is designed to be eaten on the run.

6. Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits.

The coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina, especially Charleston, are culinary heaven. Grits are a boiled ground hominy, a corn product. How it’s made isn’t important, but how it’s prepared definitely is. My first breakfast with locals in Charleston had them each prep their grits in a different way. Some add cheese, some add grape jelly, and the chefs add shrimp, tomatoes, sausage, peppers, bacon, spices…

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
No matter how you feel about grits, this is something we can agree on, I promise.

7. West Virginia’s Pepperoni Rolls.

Just like it sounds, the Pepperoni Roll is a bready roll baked with pepperoni in the middle. The idea is to heat the bread and let the pepperoni oils soak into it as the entire thing gets softer. It can also be eaten cold, which is a boon to troops on the move.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
If it works for coal miners, it will work for you.

For those of you asking if we should really be taking nutrition tips from Appalachia, my response to you is that if we really cared that much about it in the field, we wouldn’t be eating MREs.

8. New Mexico’s Green Chile Stew.

If you’ve eaten MREs for long enough, you’ve come to realize they all taste the same after a while. Why not make one that was prepared the way it was intended, with a sh*tton of green chiles in it?

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

It can also be a vegetarian option, but the best part about having Green Chile Stew in an MRE is that it can be poured over every other MRE, instantly making even the worst meal edible. Chicken chunks and veggie crumbles aren’t just for lining the reject box anymore!

9. Upstate NY’s Utica Greens.

There are always a lot of complaints that MREs don’t have a lot of vegetable matter in them. Here’s our chance to appease those people while teaching the rest of America that New York State is large and there’s a lot to see between NYC and Buffalo.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Utica Greens are any kind of leafy green sautéed in chicken broth and mixed with bread crumbs, cheese, prosciutto, and hot peppers (and sometimes other things). Serve the bread crumbs in a separate packet, MRE wizards. Ideally, this is downed with a Utica Club Beer.

10. Alaskan Akutuq

Sometimes known as “Eskimo Ice Cream,” Akutuq is an Inuit dish of hard fat whipped with berries or meat. Originally meant to be a dessert, the dish has been modified dozens of times over and now includes savory variations.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
It’s still very much a homemade dish.

The use of hard fats and lean meats (usually game meat) means a high-protein, high fat MRE meal perfect for troops who want that kind of diet and don’t mind where they get it.

11. Cincinnati Chili

Cincy’s chili features finely-ground meat in a thin sauce that includes ingredients like cocoa powder and cinnamon. Three-way, four-way, and five-way variants add onions, kidney beans, or both. It’s served over spaghetti and then covered with so much cheese, it looks like a plate of cheese.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Pictured: Not enough cheese.

Cincinnati Chili has its detractors (aka everyone outside of the Ohio-Kentucky area) but people in Chicago pour tomato soup in a bread bowl and call it pizza and Californians think In-n-Out is the pinnacle of burgers. E pluribus unum. This sort of exists for backpackers, but it’s probably not the same.

I haven’t been to every place in America. What regional foods would make a good MRE? Email blake.stilwell@wearethemighty.com with your suggestion, a recipe, and maybe even the best restaurant to find it.

Articles

The 13 best examples of technology civilians got from the military

The U.S. spends a lot of money on military research, but a lot of things civilians use everyday were designed or commissioned for military projects. Here are 13 of the best.


1. Portable fire extinguisher

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rachel McMarr

The portable fire extinguisher was invented by a captain in the Cambridgeshire Militia. Capt. George W. Manby was obsessed with safety, inventing at least five safety devices. He invented the “extincteur” in 1819, a copper container filled with three gallons of pearl ash and some compressed air. Modern extinguishers are based on his design, though different metals and chemical compounds are used.

2. Epipens

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: flickr.com/Greg Friese

The Epipen, used to quickly administer adrenaline in patients experiencing anaphylactic shock, was invented in the 1970s by Dr. Sheldon Kaplan who based the design upon Cold War-era auto-injectors. The auto-injectors allowed troops to quickly and precisely administer antidotes if they were struck with nerve agents. Before auto-injectors, troops had to carry kits with syringes, rubber bands, and vials of medicine that could kill when used incorrectly and were tricky to administer in the field.

3. Blood banks

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Mission Uganda

Though they are now generally associated with aid organizations like the Red Cross, blood banks were originally designed for military field hospitals. Then-Capt. Oswald Robertson suggested the use of preserved blood at casualty clearing stations at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. He had proven preserved blood would work in transfusions and knew that the battle would create too many casualties for doctors to transfuse directly from a donor to the patient, a method popular before blood banks.

4. Drones

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Army

Now used by civilians for everything from surveying fires to paintball to filming weddings, drones were originally attempted by the U.S. military in World War I as remote-controlled dive bombers — sort of like a long-range missile.

Of course, actual missiles and rockets were developed in World War II that made this unnecessary, so drones sat on a shelf until the 1980s when they began a limited surveillance role. After drone technology became cheaper and more accessible, they made the jump to the civilian world.

5. Vehicle navigation

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: flickr.com/mroach

The military famously led the way in GPS, developing positioning satellites for the U.S. Navy in 1960. The program was opened up to civilian use by President Reagan after a Korean jet was shot down by a Russian fighter when it accidentally wandered into Russian air space. Today, GPS is everywhere, especially in cars.

GPS wasn’t the first in-car navigation system though. That was an inertial guidance system from Honda that descended from World War II navigational aids for aviators.

6. The Space Program

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: NASA Kim Shiflett

The first American satellite was created by scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech and included instruments designed by a professor at the State University of Iowa. But, that equipment was riding on the Jupiter-C, a missile created by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency headed by Dr. Wernher Von Braun. Von Braun also designed the V-2 which put the first manmade object in space.

In 1958, NASA was created and became the primary American body for exploring space. Now, civilian corporations like SpaceX are moving into the market as well.

7. Hemostatic bandages

Hemostatic bandages quickly control severe bleeding. They can work through a few different mechanisms depending on the hemostatic agent that is used. Some pull water from a wound and leave clotting agents behind in a higher concentration, some form a sticky substance atop a wound and reduce bleeding that way, and others are a protein-covered lattice that a clot can quickly form on.

All the major types were created for controlling extreme trauma on the battlefield. While most of the hemostatic bandages making their way to the civilian world are coming from recent breakthroughs, military doctors have been working on hemostatic bandages since 1909.

8. Duct/Duck tape

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Navy Safety Center

The Permacell company developed Duck Tape for the military in World War II as a way to quickly repair cracked windows, seal ammo cans and other cases, and repair trucks. When the war ended, it was quickly realized that the tap also worked well for air ducts and the tape changed from green to the iconic gray most people associate with it.

9. Computers

The first true electronic computers were invented by British and American scientists for use in World War II. The British Colossus was used to crack German codes during World War II. The American ENIAC wasn’t completed until just after the war, but it was the first programmable computer and would go on to aid in the creation of the hydrogen bomb.

10. One-handed tourniquets

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: US Army Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger

While civilian medical services have typically been wary of tourniquets, they’ve been coming back around after seeing the outstanding performance of tourniquets in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Recently, important groups of doctors have begun advocating for tourniquets as required equipment in ambulances. Predictably, the best designs have been those catered to the military needs.

The popular Combat Action Tourniquet and Special Operations Forces Tourniquet were some of the first designs that allowed one-handed application. A new tourniquet designed for the Department of Defense is gaining attention for being easier to apply while still effectively controlling bleeding.

11. Microwave

Microwave ovens were a byproduct of World War II radar research. The original radars in England told the general direction enemy aircraft were coming in from, but it wasn’t detailed or mobile. Britain wanted radars that could pinpoint attackers and that could be installed on fighters. They got their wish with the invention of the cavity magnetron.

The microwaves from the magnetron could also excite particles and cook food, as discovered by Perry Spencer, a Raytheon employee. He invented the microwave oven after a magnetron melted a chocolate bar in his pocket.

12. PTSD treatments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlbh5fJ00sc

Civilians get post-traumatic stress disorder too, and military breakthroughs in treatment will be used to help non-military patients. The VA lists the current therapies they offer in their facilities, but they also use video games and dogs to treat service members and veterans.

13. The Internet

The ARPANET was created in 1969 as a decentralized communications network, meaning a bomb attack at one node would do minimal damage to the network as a while. It was formally shut down in 1989 since the growing civilian internet was already making it redundant.

So next time you’re watching that funny cat video on YouTube, be sure to go ahead and thank the troops.

NOW: 8 things civilians should know before dating someone in the military

OR: 8 new projects that will revolutionize military medicine

Articles

39 horrible technical errors in ‘GI Jane’

Ridley Scott’s “G.I. Jane” gave audiences an inside look into Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, with Demi Moore starring as a female trainee.


Except it’s not called BUD/S — the movie calls it CRT for some reason — and the technical errors don’t stop there. We sat through two hours of sometimes horrific technical errors so you don’t have to. Here’s the 39 that we found.

1:53 Senator DeHaven references an F-14 crash at Coronado. Although it is possible that an F-14 could crash in the area, it’s worth pointing out that Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, has no F-14s assigned to it.

3:00 The senator says that nearly 1/4 of all jobs in the U.S. military are off-limits to women. It’s actually much closer to 1/5th.

4:31 The admiral makes the first mention of “C.R.T — Combined Reconnaissance Team,” which he refers to as SEALs. There’s no such thing as CRT. The training program that Navy SEALs go through is called BUD/S, or Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL.

4:37 The admiral says SEAL training has a 60 percent drop-out rate. According to the Navy’s own figures, the drop-out rate is closer to 75-80 percent.

11:50 O’Neill says she has survived Jump School and Dive School. As an intel officer, it’s highly unlikely that she would ever attend these schools.

13:13 Royce mentions to Lt. O’Neill that BUD/S training is three months. It’s actually six.

14:01 Now we’re introduced to Catalano Naval Base in Florida. It doesn’t exist. BUD/S actually takes place at the Naval Special Warfare Training Center in Coronado, Calif.

14:21 Lt. O’Neill pulls up to the base in a Humvee. If she were going to a training school, she would’ve just driven a civilian vehicle or taken a taxi from the airport like everyone else. She wouldn’t be picked up by a driver in a tactical military vehicle (although that possibility could have happened but it would’ve been a government van).

14:23 The gate guard says “Carry on.” He’s enlisted, and she’s an officer. If anyone is going to say that, it’s going to be the officer, not the enlisted guy.

14:46 Yes, Lt. O’Neill is wearing a beret right now. And no, people in the Navy don’t ever wear one.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

20:00 Capt. Salem welcomes the new class and says they are all “proven operators in the Spec-Ops community.” He mentions that some of the trainees for CRT are SEALs. Why would SEALs be going through initial SEAL training? (This is just another screw-up coming from calling BUD/S the fictional “CRT.”)

20:07 Salem mentions that some of the trainees are from Marine Corps Force Recon. You can’t become a Navy SEAL unless you’re in the Navy.

26:20 A Huey helicopter is about 10 feet away from the trainees who are exercising in the water, but Command Master Chief Urgayle can give a rousing speech about pain that everyone can hear just fine.

26:50 After his speech about pain, Urgayle hops on the Huey and heads out. I wish I could have a Huey as a personal taxi to take me around.

36:27 Using an M-60 machine gun to fire over trainees’ heads is believable. The Master Chief using a sniper rifle to fire live rounds at trainees during training? That is not.

36:31 Are you frigging serious with this reticle pattern right now?

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

36:52 This course looks less like training and more like Beirut in the 80s. What the hell is with all the flames everywhere?

37:19 Now there is a jet engine shooting afterburner exhaust in trainees’ faces. Wtf?

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

39:00 Apparently the Master Chief has moved his sniper position from away in a bunker to the perspective of Lt. O’Neill, looking up at Cortez on top of the wall.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

48:56 The instructors throw two live smoke grenades and fire rounds from an MP-5 submachine gun to wake up the trainees. The sound doesn’t really match, unless they are shooting live rounds at people. In which case, it’s probably not a good idea to shoot live bullets at a cement floor.

53:01 I know Capt. Salem really likes his cigars, but smoking one during PT?

54:19 Lt. O’Neill gets waterboarded as Urgayle explains how effective the technique is at interrogation. This is not something taught at BUD/S.

57:07 The base gate says Naval Special Warfare Group Two. The base in the movie is located in Jacksonville, Fla., but the actual Group Two is based in Little Creek, Va.

1:05:44 Now the trainees head to SERE school, which the movie says is in Captiva Island, Fla. The Navy (or any other branch) does not hold SERE training at this location. Also, BUD/S trainees don’t attend SERE school. They would attend SERE after they earned the Navy SEAL Trident.

1:06:00 Instructor Pyro is giving a speech about SERE in the back of a noisy helicopter. The trainees wouldn’t be able to hear him.

1:09:36 Lt. O’Neill says over the radio: “Cortez, target ahead. Belay my last. New rally point my location.” She didn’t give Cortez an order, so saying “belay my last” — aka disregard that order — doesn’t make sense.

1:10:00 Slavonic wants to get a helmet at SERE school for a souvenir? Sure he’s a total idiot, but no one is that dumb.

1:12:32 Now that everyone is captured at SERE training, it’s worth pointing out that SERE is actually a three-week course, one week of which is dedicated to survival. Apparently GI Jane skipped straight to resistance.

1:30:00 Why the hell is there a baseball bat just sitting there next to ring-out bell? Oh, the director wanted to make Lt. O’Neill look like a badass. Ok.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

1:40:15 Lt. O’Neill is back in training, and now the trainees are on an Operational Readiness Exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, on a submarine. The Navy isn’t going to put trainees on a sub stationed overseas before they are SEALs while they are still undergoing BUD/S training.

1:42:28 The captain asks the Master Chief if the trainees are ready to conduct a real-world mission into Libya. He says yes, and the military viewing audience is — if they haven’t already — throwing things at their TVs.

1:49:19 There’s a firefight happening and bad guys coming towards them but these almost SEALs are literally smoking and joking.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

1:54:29 An M-16 firing doesn’t sound like a .50 caliber machine gun. But it does in this movie.

1:54:53 O’Neill fires her M203. The sound it makes is basically a “thoonk” sound. The movie sound effect is like a bottle rocket.

1:55:26 Ok, so basically every sound effect in this firefight sequence makes me want to shoot the TV.

1:56:36 This Cobra attack helicopter can easily shoot the bad guys from a distance. But let’s just go to 10 feet off the ground so the enemy has a chance to shoot the pilot in the face.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

1:57:03 The helicopter crew chief just shot a bad guy with his 9mm from 100 yards or so. That’s a pistol, not a sniper rifle.

1:59:00 Master Chief hands O’Neill her SEAL Trident and says “welcome aboard.” Except it’s not a trident. It’s some weird, made-up badge that says SEAL CRT. This is purely fictional, and made all the more ridiculous by the instructors themselves not wearing that badge but wearing the SEAL Trident instead.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

1:59:23 In the very next scene after the class graduates, O’Neill is seen wearing the SEAL Trident. Except she was just handed that fake SEAL CRT Badge.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

NOW CHECK OUT: 9 military movie scenes where Hollywood got it totally wrong

Articles

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry

YouTube, We Are The Mighty


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

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

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

 … Or more recently to Marjah, in Helmand Province.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

But it’s not all combat.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Michael Sinclair

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

Sometimes … maybe too much fun.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Donnie Hickman

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Paul Martin

To fixing their morning coffee in any way they can.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Matt McElhinney

… Any privacy they can get …

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

When things don’t go exactly as planned …

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

… Grunts can usually shake it off with a smile.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And there are plenty of opportunities for laughs.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Marc Anthony Madding

Whether it’s graffiti on a barrier …

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

 Or taunting the Taliban with a Phillies t-shirt.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

They forge brotherhoods that last for a lifetime.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

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

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Memorial ceremony for Sgt. Thomas Spitzer. (Photo Credit: US Marine Corps)

Articles

9 ways to give Vietnam vets the welcome home they never received

The non-profit Vietnam Veterans of America was founded on the motto: “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”


The group is passionate about supporting their own because after they came home from fighting a war their country sent them to fight, they were largely unsupported and even treated with hostility.

Vietnam vets don’t need to hear “thank you for your service” as much as, “welcome home.” So whether you know someone who served in southeast Asia or happen to pass one on your way to work, here are 9 actions you can take to give them the welcome home they never received:

1. Listen to them and learn their stories

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp1AKwf1YB8

Taking the time to learn and understand the experiences a veteran goes through helps you to understand them and appreciate their sacrifices on much more personal level.

2. Write them a letter

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Guudmorning!/flickr

Giving a letter to a Vietnam veteran expressing your appreciation and support of what they sacrificed is something they can read on their own time and keep as a reminder that America ultimately cares about their era of service.

3. Give them a surprise welcome back

For extra effect,  do this on the anniversary of the day they returned home from the war. Check around at local veteran organizations; you may be able to be part of a larger homecoming celebration, like the one in this video.

4. Perform community service together

Having an experience of serving together, no matter how small, is a shared experience you will both appreciate.

5. Organize a reunion for them

This may take a lot of planning, but coordinating an event that brings together Vietnam veterans who served together is going above and beyond showing how much you appreciate their service.

6. Organize their photos / records / awards into a scrapbook or shadowbox

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Evert Barnes/flickr

Many vets have their memories in boxes or in storage somewhere. Ask to take them and display them so they will not be damaged but also displayed in an honorable way.

7. Give thanks by really helping them out

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/InSapphoWeTrust

Ask if there is are any errands and chores you can do or to get to know them more, or see if there is anywhere you can go (museum, hike, etc.).

8. Have a memorial for the fallen

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: TimothyJ / flickr

By visiting a memorial with them or having one of your own together, show them you honor the fallen and will never forget them.

9. Invite them to speak at a school class or social function

Having a veteran speak in a history class or at a social community event is a great way to educate the younger generation and your community about the services and sacrifices service members make.

To all Vietnam veterans, welcome home from WATM.

SEE ALSO: Here’s how Hollywood legend Dale Dye earned the Bronze Star for heroism in Vietnam

Lists

16 famous brands that started off as products for the military

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Many of the world’s most famous brands have a military heritage.

Some brands proudly display their backgrounds in their logos, websites and marketing, while others would rather consign their early beginnings to the history books.

Either way, a surprising amount of brands started off by supplying products to the armed forces or discovered the products that made them famous during times of conflict.

1. The original Jeeps went into production in 1941, purpose-built for the military. Willys MB Jeeps became the most commonly-used 4-wheel drive vehicles of the US army during World War II.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

2. Mars invented the recipe for MMs during the Spanish Civil War, when Forrest Mars Sr. saw soldiers eating pieces of chocolate covered in a candy coating, which prevented them from melting in the sun. He was on his visit behind the lines with a member of the Rowntree family, which went on to make Smarties — a candy very similar to MMs — sold outside of the US.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

3. Vodafone began its life in the 1980s as a subsidiary of Racal Electronics, the UK’s largest military radio technology producer at the time. Racal was also once the third-largest British electronics company. Here’s Vodafone’s first mobile phone, the Mobira Transportable, which weighed 11 pounds.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Vodaphone

4. Aquascutum was founded in 1851. British army officers wore its water-repellent grey raincoats during the Crimean War to help withstand the rain and mud in the Russian trenches (the brand’s name is derived from Latin words “aqua,” which means water, and “scutum,” which translates as shield.) And, a few decades later, here’s former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill wearing one of its classic trench coats.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Aquascutum

5. Probably the best-recognized sunglasses in the world, the Ray-Ban Aviator. Bausch Lomb developed the style after being asked by the US Army Air Corps Lieutenant General to create sunglasses that would reduce the nausea and headaches pilots flying at high altitudes were experiencing. The original prototype was created in 1936 and had green lenses, which served as anti-glare without obscuring pilots’ vision.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Ray-Ban

6. Kotex sanitary pads actually started out as medical gauze to treat soldiers during World War I. Army nurses then adapted the wadding for menstrual purposes. In 1920, Kotex became Kimberly-Clark’s first consumer product.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

7. Super glue was first discovered in 1942 when a team of scientists, who were looking for materials to make clear plastic gun sights for the war, came across a material that stuck to any other material it contacted. American researchers rejected cyanoacrylates (the chemical name for glue) because it was too sticky. But in 1951, they were rediscovered by researchers at Eastman Kodak. Super Glue began being sold as a commercial product in 1958.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: The Original Super Glue

8. Victorinox originated in 1864 from a knife cutler’s workshop Ibach-Schqyz, Switzerland. Founder Karl Elsener I went on to become the first major supplier of soldiers’ knives to the Swiss Army. Here’s one of the original designs.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Victorinox Swiss Army

9. Silly Putty was an accidental creation. It was invented in the 1940s by an engineer looking to create a synthetic rubber. During World War II, rubber was rationed in the US and the government asked companies to attempt to make an alternative in order to speed up wartime productive efforts. A practical use for the putty was never really found but, after a marketer placed a batch of the putty into little plastic eggs and began selling them for a $1, it became a world-renowned toy.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Facebook

10. Hugo Boss was a member of the Nazi Party and in 1928 became an official supplier of uniforms organizations within the National Socialist party, including the Hitler Youth, Sturmabteilung (paramilitary), and the SS.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

11. Fanta was first invented due to a trade embargo on importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II. The then-head of Coca-Cola Deutschland decided to create a new drink made up ingredients actually available in the country at the time, such as whey and pomace. The result was Fanta, which comes from the German word “Fantasie.” Coca-Cola relaunched Fanta worldwide in 1955.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Youtube

12. Banana Republic was founded by husband and wife team Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978, who began by re-purposing and selling vintage military surplus clothing and safari wear. The clothing retailer later expended to its own original lines and was acquired by Gap in 1983. Here is the very first Banana Republic in Mill Valley, California.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Banana Republic

13. Porsche created the Volkswagen Beetle after Adolf Hitler expressed demand for a mass-market, sturdy, but cheap vehicle for Germany’s newly established road network. The first Beetle was manufactured in 1938. Here’s a 1963 Beetle, made famous by the movie “Herbie.”

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

14. Motorola originally started out as a battery-maker called Galvin Manufacturing Corporation. But in 1940 it developed the Handie-Talkie SCR536 portable two-way radio, which became a World War II icon.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Motorola

15. The founders of Adidas and Puma were two brothers (Adi and Rudolf) who were partners at the Dassler Brothers Sport Shoe company in the 1920s and even supplied shoes to gold medal-winning African-American athlete Jesse Owens during the 1936 Olympics. But a fierce rivalry grew between them, which came to a head during World War II when the Allies bombed Herzogenaurach. Adi is reported to have exclaimed: “The dirty bastards are back again,” as he and his wife climbed into a bomb shelter already occupied by Rudi and his wife. Rudi thought it was directed at him, and as their conflict escalated, the two split the company in 1945. Adi named his new company Adidas, and Rudi called his Puma.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Wikipedia

16. Duct Tape was first created by Johnson Johnson during World War II, where soldiers had a need for strong, flexible, waterproof tape that could repair their machinery, equipment, and ammunition. It was nicknamed “Duck Tape” by soldiers, due to its duck cloth backing.

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
Photo: Wikimedia/Evan Amos

 

More from Business Insider:

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

Lists

7 of the greatest guerrilla fighters in American history

America often fights wars as the big, bad empire with all the fancy toys and weapons. But U.S. troops haven’t always enjoyed the technological advantage. So, sometimes military leaders have turned to guerrilla tactics to keep the enemy off balance until a more conventional force can pin them down and defeat them.


Here are seven of the American guerrilla leaders who took the fight to the enemy:

1. Francis “The Swamp Fox” Marion

 

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Francis Marion learned guerrilla warfare as a militia lieutenant in a war against the Cherokee Indians in 1761. When the Revolutionary War began, Marion was named a captain and given command of an infantry unit. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and fought hard, but he was there when the battle of Camden ended organized resistance in South Carolina.

Rather than sit out the rest of the war, he enlisted a force of a few dozen men known as Marion’s Partisans and led them in harassing operations against the British. The Partisans scattered British and Loyalist forces on multiple occasions and once rescued 150 Patriot prisoners. Multiple British task forces to capture or kill Marion and the Partisans failed.

2. John Mosby

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

John Mosby started his military career as a young cavalryman and scout but he was quickly identified by J.E.B. Stuart and commissioned as an officer. He rose to the rank of major before taking command of “Mosby’s Rangers,” the force that would later make him famous.

The Rangers used guerrilla tactics to devastate Union lines. He and his men once captured a sleeping Union general during a raid. The Rangers fought on after the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, but eventually broke apart. Mosby was wanted until Gen. Ulysses S. Grant intervened on his behalf.

3. Carl Eifler

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Carl Eifler was eventually dubbed “The Deadliest Colonel” in World War II for his work with the OSS. He led a group of American trainers into Japanese-occupied Burma and raised a force of the local Kachin people. Eifler and his men led raids against the Japanese that eventually claimed over 5,000 lives.

They also rescued over 500 stranded airmen and provided intelligence for Allied forces in the area. The Kachins would feed important target information to the Army Air Forces, allowing the bombing campaigns in the area to be much more successful.

4. Peter J. Ortiz

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Marine Corps Maj. Peter J. Ortiz parachuted into Nazi-occupied with a team of five Marines, but one was killed and another seriously injured during the jump. Ortiz and the other three survivors linked up with the Maquis resistance and helped lead them in operations against the Germans.

Related video:

The Marine-backed resistance forces set ambushes and stole key equipment. German losses were so heavy that they thought an entire Allied battalion had jumped into Normandy. The Americans were eventually captured, but put up such a fight that the German commander accepted the surrender and expected a company of fighters to emerge. When only four men came out, he initially accused Ortiz of lying about his numbers.

5. James H. Lane

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

James H. Lane was one of the more controversial guerrilla fighters in the Civil War, especially on the Union side. He fought in Kansas before the Civil War in support of “Free Staters” who wanted to keep slavery out of the territory.

During the Civil War, he led fighters in Kansas and raised a group of volunteers to guard the White House before the Union Army raised troops for the same purpose. After returning to Kansas, he raised 2,000 fighters that guarded Kansas against Confederate action. His controversy comes from an 1861 assault into Missouri where he led his men in the assault, looting, and burning of Osceola, Missouri.

6. John McNeill

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

John McNeill led approximately 200 men in a guerrilla campaign against Union troops in western Virginia in the Civil War. He and his men were probably most famous for shutting down a portion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad by burning machine shops and destroying a bridge.

The Union later diverted over 20,000 troops to protect the supply lines. McNeill died in a raid in 1864 but his men continued to fight.

7. Jack Hinson

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels

Jack Hinson started the Civil War as an informant for both sides, seemingly fine with whomever came out on top. But then a group of Union soldiers executed and beheaded his two sons under suspicions of Confederate activity. Jack Hinson then had a custom sniper rifle made and became one of the most effective single-man guerrillas in history.

Armed with his 17-pound, .50-cal. sniper rifle, the 57-year-old man killed the men involved in his sons’ executions. Then he sought out to break the Union Army, firing on Union soldiers on the Tennessee River and killing about 100 troops. In one case, a Union gunboat attempted to surrender after suffering several losses because they were convinced they were under attack by a superior Confederate force.

Articles

5 things we’d love to do with the Army’s surplus battleship ammo

Popular Mechanics dug this gem out of the list of contract requests from a government website this week: The U.S. Army is soliciting a contract for someone to destroy 15,595 naval artillery rounds originally designed for the 16-inch guns of massive ships like the USS Iowa.


The Army has maintained the shells since the Navy retired the massive battleships that fired them, but these things can’t be safely stored forever and the military needs them gone.

Hiring a responsible contractor with a proven track record is the best way to do this, but WATM came up with these 5 more entertaining ideas:

1. Host history’s best Independence Day party

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
It would look like this, but near a beach while you and your mildly intoxicated buddies got to watch from the shore. (Photo: U.S. Navy PH1 Terry Cosgrove)

So, the Army is looking for solutions in October, which is exactly the right month to start planning the perfect party for July 4th. Especially if the plans involve a few thousand 16-inch artillery shells. Pretty sure those require permits or something. Be sure to tell the permit office that the fireworks will explode over the water or an open, uninhabited area. And that they’re pretty lethal loud.

2. Blowing up a mountain, like in Iron Man

Remember that scene where Tony Stark is showing off the Jericho missile and he blows up an entire mountain range? Pretty sure everyone reading this would pay at least $15 to see a mountain disappear. Call me Army. We could turn a profit on this.

3. Play a real life game of battleship

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
I would tune into this show for literally every episode. (Meme: courtesy Decelerate Your Life)

The Navy is already getting rid of some old ships, and the Army has found itself with way too many naval artillery shells, meaning this is the perfect time to hold a full-sized game of battleship. Pretty sure the TV ratings could pay for the cost of towing the ships into position.

4. Give drill sergeants really accurate artillery simulators

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
That smoke in the back is coming from an artillery simulator. That’s not realistic enough training for our fighting men and women. (Photo: U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. David J. Overson)

Right now, drill sergeants and other military trainers use little artillery simulators that make a loud whining noise and then a sharp pop to teach recruits to quickly react to incoming indirect fire. They’re great, but it really ignores that sphincter-tightening boom that comes with real incoming fire.

Now imagine that drill sergeants threw the artillery simulator and then were able to remotely detonate an actual, buried battleship shell 100 yards away. Right? No one gets hurt, but it would teach those kids to get their heads down pretty quick.

5. Create claymore mines that shoot grenades

9 infamous KGB assassination attempts straight out of spy novels
This is what it looks like with 1.5 pounds of C4. Someone has to try this with battleship shells and their little grenade submunitions. (Photo: U.S. Army Capt. Adan Cazarez)

Stick with me here. Claymore mines are brutally effective. A C-4 charge sends 700 steel balls flying in an arc at enemies. But the Army currently needs to get rid of 835 warheads that contain grenade submunitions and a whole bunch of other warheads filled with Explosive D.

So, how about we cut the grenades out of the submunition warheads, and duct tape them in rows around the Explosive D warheads? Sure, it would probably break a few treaties to use them in war, but it’s perfectly legal for a government to create an awesome piece of performance art on a military range. Probably.

(h/t Doctrine Man and Popular Mechanics)

Do Not Sell My Personal Information