The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time - We Are The Mighty
Lists

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

We here at WATM love putting together lists and rankings, so it makes sense for us create one for non-fiction books. We read quite often, and not surprisingly considering we’re a bunch of military veterans, those books often deal with military topics.


These are our picks for best military non-fiction books of all-time. (If you’d like to see our picks for fiction, click here.) The books below are numbered but not in rank order. All of these are great reads.

1. “The Forever War” by Dexter Filkins

If you want to gain an understanding of America’s war with radical Islamists, look no further than “The Forever War” by journalist Dexter Filkins. As a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, Filkins begins his book as the Taliban rises to power in Afghanistan, writes of the aftermath following the Sept. 11th attacks, and then continues through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Told from ground level by the only American journalist who reported on all of these events, Filkins does not write a neat history lesson. Instead, he tells individual stories of people — from ordinary citizens to soldiers — and how they are affected by the incidents that happen around them. He does it using beautiful prose, and with little bias.

 

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

2. “The Pentagon Wars” by James Burton

Former Air Force Col. James Burton gives the inside account of what it’s like when the Pentagon wants to develop a new weapons system. Having spent 14 years in weapons acquisition and testing, Burton details his struggle during the development of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle with those above him who were often more interested in supporting defense contractors instead of troops in the field.

Burton spends much of the book writing of the small band of military reformers who worked hard trying to fix the problems of Pentagon procurement from the 1960s to the 1980s, and he suffered professionally for “rocking the boat” as a result. For example, after suggesting that the Bradley’s armor should be tested against Soviet antitank weaponry, the Army — knowing it would never hold up — tried to get Burton transferred to Alaska. The very serious book also inspired a very funny movie made by HBO:

3. “Black Hawk Down” by Mark Bowden

Most people have seen the movie, but this is one of those times when you should definitely read the book. This brilliant account by journalist Mark Bowden tells the story of the Oct. 3, 1993 battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, when hundreds of elite U.S. Army soldiers fought back against thousands of militants when a routine mission went wrong.

With remarkable access, research, and interviews, Bowden recreates the battle minute-by-minute and perfectly captures the brutality of the fight and the heroism of those who fought and died there.

4. “One Bullet Away” by Nathaniel Fick

This book gives an inside look at the transformation that takes place from civilian to Marine Corps officer. A classics major at Dartmouth, Fick joins the Marines in 1998 an idealistic young man and leaves a battle-hardened and skilled leader after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

At times very personal and unpleasant, Fick’s book recounts plenty of combat experiences. But that is not the real draw. His wonderful detailing of the training, mindset, and actions of Marine officers on today’s battlefields makes this a must-read.

5. “Band of Brothers” by Stephen Ambrose

Historian Stephen Ambrose’s account Easy Co. in “Band of Brothers” is quite simply, an account of ordinary men doing extraordinary things. The book — which later became a 10-part miniseries on HBO — takes readers from the unit’s tough training in 1942 all the way to its liberation of Hitler’s “Eagles Nest” in 1945.

Band of Brothers illustrates what one of Ambrose’s sources calls ‘the secret attractions of war … the delight in comradeship, the delight in destruction … war as spectacle,’ writes Tim Appelo in his review.

6. “We Were Soldiers Once… And Young” by Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway

One of the first significant engagements between American and Vietnamese forces in 1965 was also one of the most savage. The Battle of the Ia Drang Valley is told by Lt. Col. Moore and Galloway, a reporter who was there, and it serves as both a testament to the bravery and perseverance of the 450 men who fought back after being surrounded by 2,000 enemy troops.

While the book was later made into a movie, it’s well-worth reading if only for the stories of Rick Rescorla, the platoon leader featured on the cover of the book whose nickname was “Hard Core.”

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Rick Rescorla

7. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu

More than 2,000 years old and still relevant today, “The Art of War” is a must-read book on military theory and strategy. But its maxims can be applied by those far outside the combat arms. Tzu offers advice relevant to everyone from Army generals to CEOs.

“Absorb this book, and you can throw out all those contemporary books about management leadership,” wrote Newsweek.

8. “Flyboys” by James Bradley

There have been many contemporary accounts written of World War II, but “Flyboys” manages to bring to light something that had remained hidden for nearly 60 years. James Bradley tells the story of nine Americans who were shot down in the Pacific off the island of Chichi Jima.

One of them, George H.W. Bush, was rescued. But what happened to the eight others was covered up and kept secret from their families by both the U.S. and Japanese governments. Bradley, who wrote “Flags of our Fathers,” conducted extensive research and uncovered a story that has never been told before.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
George H.W. Bush

9. “1776” by David McCullough

Written in a compelling narrative style, David McCullough’s “1776” retells the year of America’s birth in wonderful detail. McCullough is an incredible storyteller who puts you right there, feeling as if you are marching in the Continental Army.

From the Amazon description:

In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.

10. “Generation Kill” by Evan Wright

As a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, Evan Wright rode with the Marines of 1st Recon Battalion into Iraq in 2003. Embedded among the men, Wright captures the story of that first month of American invasion along with the grunt mindset, how the Marines interact, and captures the new generation of warriors that has emerged after 9/11.

Soldiers today are “on more intimate terms with the culture of the video games, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own families,” Wright told Booklist (One 19-year-old corporal compares driving into an ambush to a Grand Theft Auto video game: “It was fucking cool.”)

11. “The Outpost” by Jake Tapper

A monster of a book at 704 pages, journalist Jake Tapper tells a powerful story of an Afghan outpost that was doomed to fail even before soldiers built it. Beginning with the decision to build a combat outpost in Nuristan in 2006, Tapper reveals a series of bad decisions that would ultimately lead to a battle for survival at that outpost three years later — one that would see multiple soldiers earn the Medal of Honor for their heroism.

Known as Combat Outpost Keating, the story of the base is one that is worth reading. With its bestseller status, rave reviews by critics, and most importantly, the soldiers who fought there, it’s safe to say “The Outpost” gets it right.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

12. “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

Found on many military reading lists, Grossman’s “On Killing” is a landmark study of how soldiers face the reality of killing other humans in combat, and how military training overcomes their aversion to such an act.

A former West Point psychology professor, Grossman delves into the psychological costs of war and presents a compelling thesis that human beings have an instinctual aversion to killing. With this, he also shows how militaries overcome this central trait through conditioning and real-world training.

13. “The Guns of August” by Barbara Tuchman

This Pulitzer-Prize winning book is a masterpiece of military history. Delivering an account of the first month of World War I in 1914, Tuchman tells not just a war story, but an event that would upend the modern world.

“This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war,” reads the publisher’s description. “How quickly it all changed, and how horrible it became. Tuchman is masterful at portraying this abrupt change from 19th to 20th Century.”

14. “The Good Soldiers” by David Finkel

Embedded among the soldiers of 2-16 Infantry as part of President Bush’s last-chance “surge” in Iraq, journalist David Finkel captures the grim reality as troops face the chaotic, and often deadly, streets of Baghdad. The book often follows the overly-optimistic Col. Ralph Kauzlarich (motto: “It’s all good”).

But Finkel excels at capturing everyone up and down the chain-of-command, and tells their stories incredibly well. His book is less about big-picture surge strategy, and more about the soldiers on the ground who fought it. That is a very good thing.

Those are our picks. Did we miss one that you loved? Leave a recommendation in the comments.

Articles

13 funniest military memes for the week of March 24

Never sure what to put in the intro paragraphs on the military memes list. After all, no one is clicking on a memes list to read a bunch of text.


So, here are 13 of the funniest military memes the internet had to offer:

1. Probably a made man in the E-4 Mafia or something (via The Salty Soldier).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Love the dude over his shoulder who looks like an aide on a Blackberry or something.

2. In the ASVAB waiver’s defense, it’s unlikely that anyone is taking that metal bar from the hatch without unhooking the clip first (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Anyone can walk through the hatch with no issue, but they’re going to have to unclip that bar or at least loosen the chain to steal it.

3. If you don’t see what’s wrong with this, try it at home and see what happens (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Also, congrats on being a Marine.

ALSO SEE: That time Marines in a firefight called customer service for help with an M-107

4. “I work just hard enough to prevent a briefing on working hard.”

(via Air Force amn/nco/snco)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
The motivation is in college. Go there instead.

5. The career counselors and retention NCOs should probably just avoid everyone who looks that dead inside (via The Salty Soldier).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
But of course, then they wouldn’t be able to retain many folks.

6. Oh, the that last one exists. We found one (via Team Non-Rec).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
No word on how they disappear at will (usually before formations).

7. Someone is getting 24-hour duty this weekend and doesn’t know it (via Decelerate Your Life).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

8. This dude is like a Space Balls character (via Coast Guard Memes).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Did no one have any PT belts they could put on?

9. “Everyone check for their sensitive items before we get on the bird.” *5 minutes later*

(via Pop smoke)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

10. Come on, it won’t interfere with the pro mask (via Pop smoke).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Everyone with a military regulation mustache is one slip in the latrine/head from a Hitler mustache.

11. Wonder how long Top Gun’s orientation PowerPoint is (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

12. It’s not piracy if it was already off the books (via PNN – Private News Network).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Just make sure the connex didn’t belong to the E4 Mafia. Otherwise, you will lose more equipment than you gain.

13. Sick call at 4:45 isn’t all that much better (via Lost in the Sauce).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

Articles

5 notorious ship grounding incidents the Navy would rather we all forget

The recent grounding incident involving the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) in Tokyo Bay is not the first time a Navy vessel has run aground. But some have been more…notorious than others.


Grounding a ship is not exactly career-enhancing in this day and age (never mind that the Antietam spilled 1,100 gallons of oil in one of Godzilla’s favorite hangout spots). In fact, it usually means the end of one’s advancement in the Navy.

Here are a few notorious groundings over the years to remind the soon-to-be-relieved personnel that it could be worse.

1. USS Guardian (MCM 5)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
The mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) sits aground on the Tubbataha Reef. Operations to safely recover the ship while minimizing environmental effects are being conducted in close cooperation with allied Philippines Coast Guard and Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Naval Aircrewman (Tactical Helicopter) 3rd Class Geoffrey Trudell)

The mine counter-measures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) is the first U.S. Navy ship to be lost since USS Scorpion (SSN 589) in 1968. The vessel ran aground on Jan. 17, 2013 on a reef, and was very thoroughly stuck. So much so that a 2013 Navy release indicated she had to be dismantled on the spot. A sad end to a 23-year career.

2. The Honda Point Disaster

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Aerial view of the disaster area, showing all seven destroyers that ran aground on Honda Point during the night of 8 September 1923. Photographed from a plane assigned to USS Aroostook (CM-3). Ships are: USS Nicholas (DD-311), in the upper left; USS S.P. Lee (DD-310), astern of Nicholas; USS Delphy (DD-261), capsized in the left center; USS Young (DD-312), capsized in the center of the view; USS Chauncey (DD-296), upright ahead of Young; USS Woodbury (DD-309) on the rocks in the center; and USS Fuller (DD-297), in the lower center. The Southern Pacific Railway’s Honda Station is in the upper left. (U.S. Navy photo)

Imagine losing seven warships in a day during peacetime. Yes, that actually happened to the United States Navy. According to the Naval History and Heritage Command website, during the evening of Sept. 8, 1923, a navigational error lead seven destroyers to slam into rocks at Honda Point, California, at a speed of 20 knots. Twenty-three sailors were lost, as were seven Clemson-class destroyers that were about five years old.

3. USS Decatur (DD 5)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
USS Decatur (DD 5) while on sea trials. Then-Ensign Chester W. Nimitz ran her aground in 1908. (U.S. Navy photo)

This one is notable not for any loss of life but for the career it could have derailed. Accoridng to a 2004 article in Military Review, on July 7, 1908, the destroyer USS Decatur (DD 5) ran aground on a mudbank in the Philippines. It was pulled off the next day. The commanding officer was relieved of command, court-martialed, and found guilty of “neglect of duty.”

However, his career didn’t end. That was a good thing for America because that commanding officer was Chester W. Nimitz, who would command the Pacific Fleet in World War II.

4. USS Port Royal (CG 73)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
The Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) ran aground Feb. 5, 2009, about a half-mile south of the Honolulu airport while off-loading personnel into a small boat. The salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52), which included an embarked detachment of Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 personnel, the Motor Vessel Dove, and seven Navy and commercial tugboats freed Port Royal off a shoal on Feb. 9. (U.S. Navy photo)

Now some groundings are just embarrassing. This is one of them. The Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) had been on sea trials after about $18 million in repairs. According to a Navy release in 2009, the ship ran aground about a half mile from one of the runways at Honolulu International Airport, providing arriving and departing tourists with an interesting view for a few days.

5. USS Hartford (SSN 768)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Damage to the submarine USS Hartford’s rudder after its grounding. (US Navy photo)

On Oct. 25, 2003, the attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) ran aground off the island of Sardinia. According to a 2004 Navy release, fixing the damage required assets from Louisiana to Bahrain. It took 213 dives to repair the vessel enough that she could return to Norfolk at half speed. Six years later, the Hartford would collide with the amphibious transport US New Orleans (LPD 18).

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:


NAVY

Sailors spell out #USA with the American flag on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in honor of the nation’s upcoming Independence Day weekend.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jackie Hart/USN

Sailors run after chocks and chaining an MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced) on the flight deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: Mass Communications 3rd Class David A. Cox/USN

MARINE CORPS

Marines assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepare to conduct a high altitude high opening (HAHO) jump from a CH-53 Super Stallion during category 3 sustainment training in Louisburg, North Carolina.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: Cpl. Andre Dakis/USMC

Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, watch the sunset as the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima sails through the Suez Canal.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: Lance Cpl. Austin A. Lewis/USMC

AIR FORCE

An F-22 Raptor from the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 199th Fighter Squadron increases altitude shortly after takeoff at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich/USAF

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Armament Flight perform an inspection on an F-16 Fighting Falcon 20mm Gatlin gun at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford/USAF

ARMY

Soldiers, assigned to Joint Task Force-Bravo, help load a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter onto a United States Air Force C-17 at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, for transport to Fort Bragg, N.C.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: Staff Sgt. Jessica Condit/US Army

A Soldier, assigned to 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, conducts explosives-detection and bite training with his working dog, Andy, on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: CW2 Ryan Boas/US Army

Soldiers, assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, conduct a patrol during Exercise Marne Focus at Fort Stewart, Ga.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: Sgt. Joshua Laidacker/US Army

NOW: More awesome military photos

OR WATCH: ‘America Ninja Warrior’ made a course inspired by Navy SEAL training:

Articles

The 13 Funniest Military Memes Of The Week

We gather them; you love them — here are this week’s 13 funniest military memes:


Polish the floor until I can see my face in it.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Yeah, I know the floor is made of dirt. Still better polish it.

 

It’s ok Marines. Maybe running just isn’t your thing.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Word is that you’re good at swimming. Concentrate on that.

 

Best part is how bored the guy seems to be.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

 

 Mattis as SECDEF? Better pack your rucks.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
In their defense, fear of Mattis isn’t cowardice. It’s logic.

Careful about appointing him though. He may be immortal.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Downside: Never get a new SECDEF. Upside: Forever have a great SECDEF.

 

Air Force is the chess club of the Department of Defense.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Worst part? Those aren’t textbooks. She’s testing out of those classes because she already knows it all.

 

Army gives the Navy directions.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
It’s alright Navy. Land navigation can be hard.

 

 There’s very little that is worth risking the space-time continuum over.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
But Coast Guard? Come on. Marty has a legacy to protect.

 

When they need to send a message, some soldiers send emails.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
… but snipers aren’t very good with computers.

 

What could go wrong with this love connection?

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Check out the chaplain’s grin. He knows they’ll graduate before he has to provide marriage counseling.

 

Don’t complain.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
They gave you a free brush AND dustpan.

Combat clarinet, reporting for duty.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

 

Think long and hard about your budget priorities.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
They’ll be right there in the tanks, planes, and ships when you finish.

 

NOW: More military memes

And: 11 Things New Soldiers Complain About During Basic Training

Lists

The amazing history of US Navy battleships in 19 photos

Naval historians still argue about the legacy of the battleship. Critics call them too vulnerable and too expensive, while supporters laud their sheer offensive capability and awesome firepower.  Whatever the opinions, the battleship will always have an important place in U.S. military history.  Here are 19 pictures that show why:


The “Great White Fleet,” sent around the world by President Theodore Roosevelt from 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909, consisted of sixteen new battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. The fourteen-month long voyage was a grand pageant of American sea power.

 

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

One of the Great White Fleet’s Connecticut-class battleships at Villefranche, France, circa January 1909. This ship is either USS Vermont (Battleship No. 20) or USS Minnesota (Battleship No. 22).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center)

“Crossing the line” ceremony as the Great White Fleet crosses the Equator, turning “Pollywogs” into “Shellbacks.”

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy Historical Center)

The bridge of the USS Connecticut circa 1908. Note the ship’s name in lights.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy Historical Center)

Officers sporting ceremonial attire about the USS Connecticut.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy Historical Center)

U.S. Army aviation pioneer Billy Mitchell started an inter-service and inter-warfare specialty argument in 1921 when he demonstrated how bombers could take out a battleship. He later testified before Congress that “1,000 bombardment airplanes can be built and operated for about the price of one battleship.”

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: National Archives)

The USS Arizona was the pride of the fleet through the 1930s and is pictured here at sea with President Hoover aboard.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy Historical Center)

Things went very badly for the U.S. Navy’s battleship fleet, including the USS Arizona, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

The American war machine kicked into high gear after Pearl Harbor. Here the battleship Iowa is launched from New York Naval Shipyard in 1942.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Battleships were used extensively in the Pacific Theater during World War II, primarily for naval gunfire support during amphibious landings.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

Here the USS New Jersey launches shells at the beach to soften up the LZ for the Marines as they get ready to take Okinawa.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

Here the USS Missouri offers some gunfire support of her own in 1944.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

Always the master of optics, MacArthur insisted that a battleship be the venue for the Japanese surrender. The ceremony was held aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Battleships were brought back into service during the Korean War. Here the USS Wisconsin sails between the destroyer Buck and heavy cruiser Saint Paul off Korea, February 22, 1952.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

On May 6, 1956, the USS Wisconsin collided with the USS Eaton, a destroyer, in heavy fog off of Hampton Roads and sustained severe damage to her bow.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

As part of Navy Secretary John F. Lehman’s effort to build a 600-ship Navy in the 1980s, and in response to the commissioning of Kirov by the Soviet Union, the United States recommissioned all four Iowa-class battleships. Here the USS Iowa is seen shelling targets in Lebanon in 1984.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

The Iowa met with disaster on April 19, 1989 when an explosion in the center gun room killed 47 of the turret’s crewmen and severely damaged the gun turret itself. Two major investigations were undertaken into the cause of the explosion, one by the U.S. Navy and then one by the General Accounting Office and Sandia National Laboratories. The investigations produced conflicting conclusions.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Today guests can visit the USS Arizona memorial where oil still seeps from the wreck resting against the bottom of Pearl Harbor.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

And guests can also visit the Iowa-class battleships in various cities around the country, including the USS Wisconsin docked in Norfolk, Virginia.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

 

And lets not forget what is perhaps the greatest tribute to the battleship of all: Cher’s video for “If I Could Turn Back Time,” shot aboard the USS Missouri docked in Long Beach on July 1, 1989.  (And Navy officials were not happy with Cher’s outfit.)

Articles

4 military veterans fighting in the UFC

With most troops learning hand-to-hand combat in the military, it’s not surprising that some would end up getting really good at it.


UFC legend Randy Couture is a former 101st Airborne Division soldier, while Brian Stann was a decorated Marine Corps platoon commander before entering the Octagon. As it turns out, veterans have a history of fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Here are four of them:

1. Neil Magny

Neil Magny has a 16-5-0 record now, but he first learned hand-to-hand fighting as a light-wheeled mechanic in the Illinois National Guard. He credits the same discipline that got him through Army training as being what propels him in the UFC. He won five fights in 2014, tying the record for most wins in a single calendar year previously set by Roger Huerta in 2007.

His combatives team in the National Guard expressed regret when he left the Guard to focus on his MMA career, but encouraged him to pursue his dreams.

2. Liz Carmouche

Former Marine Sgt. Liz Carmouche has a 10-5-0 record in mixed martial arts and famously fought Ronda Rousey for the Women’s Bantamweight title in 2013. Rousey admitted before the fight that fighting Carmouche would be different.

“She’s a Marine, I’m not going to be able to intimidate this girl,” Rousey said in an MMAFighting.com interview. “The prefight intimidation stuff won’t work.”

Carmouche was recently scheduled to fight but was sidelined by injuries.

3. Colton Smith

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Photo: Youtube

Staff Sgt. Colton Smith is one of only a handful of soldier-athletes to compete in the UFC while serving on Active Duty. He recently reenlisted for an additional four years in the Army and holds a 6-4-0 record in mixed martial arts.

The Ranger and Sapper-qualified infantryman currently serves as a combatives instructor in Fort Hood, Texas, but has said he’s interested in a special operations assignment soon.

4. Tim Kennedy

Like Colton Smith, Tim Kennedy began his UFC career while on active duty. The Ranger-tabbed Green Beret was a sniper before he transitioned from active duty to the Texas National Guard to focus on his MMA career. He currently serves as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, and holds an 18-5-0 record in mixed martial arts.

Like former UFC fighters Brian Stann and Jorge Rivera, Kennedy is a member of the Ranger Up team. There were retirement rumors last year after a knee surgery, but Kennedy shot them down.

While Kennedy is still a UFC athlete, he has stated that it would take a “special” fight for him to make another appearance due to his frustrations with cheating in the sport.

NOW: Watch UFC fighters get stomped by Marine Corps martial arts experts

Articles

13 of the funniest military memes for the week of June 30

I found these memes. I have no idea what else you want from me in these things. Like, you’re only here for the memes, right?


Why are you still reading this? The memes are RIGHT there, just below this. Scroll down, laugh, and share them. Stop reading. If you want to read so much, we have lots of actual articles. Like this one. I was proud after writing this one. Lots of audience members enjoyed this one.

So like, scroll to the memes or click on one of the links. These paragraphs are nonsense in literally every memes list. I just think of 50-ish words to put here and hope no one notices them.

1. Let’s be honest, Canadian snipers can kill you regardless of distance, but they’ll only do it if you’re rude.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Warning: They think suicide bombers are rude.

2. If you somehow haven’t seen this video, you have to. Never seen someone this poised after the enemy misses by a fraction of a degree (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
But then she blames someone else for not telling her an enemy sniper was out there, which is weak.

ALSO SEE: This is what happens when the Army puts a laser on an Apache attack helicopter

3. I mean, PT belts do prevent pregnancy (via Weapons of Meme Destruction).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
They’re nearly as effective as birth control glasses.

4. Stop playing Sergeant White, we all know we’re basically your personal dwarves (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Also, Jody lives at my home now, so there’s no point.

5. Lol, like he really cares whether he gets the corn chip (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
They don’t do it for the swag, they do it because they hate you.

6. Every soldier getting out ever: I’m gonna be a legend (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Make sure to PLF when you hit rock bottom.

7. Gonna get swole, y’all (via Shit my LPO says).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Marines don’t even limit them to after they work out. These are basically meal replacements.

8. This statement is explosive (via Military World).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Just gonna leave these puns floating here.

9. Operators gotta operate (their pens and pencils).

(via Coast Guard Memes)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Operations Specialists like their jobs, though. Maybe because people mistake them for operators.

10. Is it this hard? My commanders’ lies were always super obvious (via Pop smoke).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

11. How to brush up on your skating skills before it counts (via Decelerate Your Life).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Try the engine room. It’s a great level.

12. A good safety brief leaves you motivated to go use condoms and sober up before you swim (via Weapons of Meme Destruction).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Captain William Ferrell, commanding.

13. When your new policies are basically blue falcon bait:

(via Air Force amn/nco/snco)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
I guess making the Blue Falcon its logo wasn’t effective enough.

Articles

13 Funniest military memes for the week of March 10

It was a hectic week, what with revelations that Rangers are in Syria, radioactive boars in Japan, and as-holes taking nude photos everywhere.


For a quick break from the insanity, check out these 13 funny military memes.

1. Sorry, first sergeant, we’re all busy looking for hiding spots (via Military Memes).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Unfortunately, some of us didn’t find our spots in time.

2. You were my boss and an as-hole. Look elsewhere for buddies (via Pop smoke).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Go tell Army stories to your cousins or something.

ALSO SEE: Watch the F-22 take on 5 F-15s — and dominate

3. Coast Guard is going to be looking for a lot of lifehacks in the next few years (via Coast Guard Memes).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Maybe you guys can buy your way into the DoD or something?

4. The coveted “pace and distance” profile protects from all formation runs (via Lost in the Sauce).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
You can still run 10 miles if you want, but only if you want.

5. Why are the machines doing all the heavy work?

(via Maintainer Nation)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
In machine circles, all humans are nonners.

6. Aging pretty well for a Devil Dog (via Imgflip).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Only 10 more years to 50% retirement.

7. The only bad thing about this is the red, mirrored sunglasses (via Coast Guard Memes).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Bet the Coast Guard is just jealous that they aren’t in the Paw Patrol.

8. Yeah, but earning compensation days is rarely worth it (via Air Force Nation).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Unless it turns a normal weekend into a 3-day.

9. Army logic isn’t logic (via U.S Army W.T.F! moments).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
In other news, no more eating in the dining facility.

10. But if you can’t do your guard shifts, you can’t keep your fire watch ribbon (via The Salty Soldier).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Looks like someone is losing a piece of chest candy.

11. If you had brought a dang-ole bayonet, you might be able to fight your way out of this (via Pop smoke).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Should’ve joined a real military.

12. Just remember: On V-A day, everything hurts (via The Salty Soldier).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
We’re not saying cheat to get free Veterans Affairs money, but don’t downplay anything, either.

13. Pretty sure that “missing specialist” just faked his death for an early discharge and huge life insurance payout (via The Salty Soldier).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
But don’t investigate too hard or the E-4 mafia will disappear you for real.

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.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Air Force bases are magical chocolate factories.

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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
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.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Staring down danger and slowly sliding a knife into it.

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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
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).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
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).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
If it gets approved, it gets approved. Until then, maybe don’t keep asking.

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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
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.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Just don’t get caught watching him, recruits.

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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
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).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
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).

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Sexiest? Being promoted to the Navy.

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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
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

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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(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

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
(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.

Lists

The 9 greatest fighter pilots you’ve never heard of

Anyone with a passing interest in military aviation knows names like Immelmann, von Richthofen, Rickenbacker, and Boyington. Here are 9 lesser-known aces whose aerial accomplishments rival those of the legends:


1. Francesco Baracca (Italy)

 

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

The most successful Italian ace of World War I, with 34 confirmed victories.

2. Indra Lal Roy (India)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

India’s most successful fighter pilot, with 12 kills (2 shared). He remains the only Indian fighter ace to this day.

3. Ivan Kozhedub (Russia)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

Credited with 64 victories, Kozhedub is the top scoring Allied ace of World War II. He’s also one of the few pilots to shoot down a Messerschmitt Me 262, one of the Luftwaffe’s early jets.

4. Josef Frantisek (Czechoslovakia)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

Credited as the top scoring RAF ace during the Battle of Britain. He refused to fly in formation but was allowed to fly as a “guest” of RAF 303 (Polish) squadron. In the air he would break off and patrol areas by himself where he knew enemy aircraft would be.

5. Ilmari Juutilainen (Finland)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

94 confirmed aerial combat victories during World War II against the Soviets . . . and from Finland. Thirty-four of his kills came while flying a Brewster Buffalo.

6. James Jabara (United States)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

First American jet-versus-jet ace in history and the second-highest-scoring U.S. ace of the Korean War. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and the British Distinguished Flying Cross for his accomplishments in combat.

7. M M Alam (Pakistan)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

Alam downed 9 Indian aircraft during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. On one sortie he shot down 5 Indian aircraft in less than a minute — the first four within 30 seconds — which remains a world record that is unlikely to be beaten.

8. Shahram Rostami (Iran)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

During the Iran-Iraq War Tomcat pilot Shahram Rostami shot down 6 Iraqi fighters: 1 MiG-21, 3 Mirage F1s and 2 MiG-25s (the first to do so).

9. Giora Epstein (Israel)

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

History’s highest scoring jet ace, with 17 confirmed kills during the Six Day War, the War of Attrition, and the Yom Kippur War.

Lists

9 big differences between Canadian and American diets

Canada and the United States are not as different as they may seem, at least in the food realm. We have most of the things they have and vice versa and the foods we eat are pretty similar. Even in terms of international cuisine, both countries boast a wide variety of food from all over thanks to robust immigrant populations.

But despite all our similarities, there are still some big differences between the way Americans and Canadians eat, here are the nine biggest ones.


1. Alcohol is not as readily available as it is in some places in the US, but you can drink earlier.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
In Quebec, you can get beer and wine at the grocery store, but you can only purchase liquor at government-run stores.
(Photo by Ryan Tir)

While our friends up north definitely enjoy a drink like anyone else, getting it is not as simple as going to a convenience store, or even a grocery store for that matter. Each Canadian province has different liquor laws and regulations stating what type of alcohol can be sold where. In some provinces alcohol is only sold in government-owned liquor stores while in others you can find it in grocery stores and privately owned liquor stores as well.

In Ontario for example, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, or LCBO, was the only place where liquor could be purchased within the province until it allowed beer to be sold in designated grocery stores in 2015. In Quebec, you can get beer and wine at grocery and corner stores but still have to get spirits at government-run stores.

The drinking age is also not all-encompassing and is decided by each province. In Alberta, Quebec, and Manitoba you can drink as soon as you turn 18. However, In the rest of the provinces you have to wait a whole extra year to be able to legally partake.

2. Milk is consumed from bags, not cartons.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
In Canada, milk is sold in bags.
(Photo by Andrea R.)

According to Food Network Canadians traded in milk cartons for bags in the 1970s. When Canadians buy milk, they get a package with three un-resealable bags of milk for a total of 4 liters.

To make it easier to pour, they place it in a milk pitcher, cut off the top, and voila! Our northern neighbors gave both glass bottles, cartons, and plastic jugs a chance but when DuPont, a Canadian packaging company, came out with the much cheaper bag option, many Canadians made the switch. Not only were the bags more effective (glass breaks, people) and cheaper to produce, they were also more easily-adjustable to fit with the metric system which the country had recently converted to from the imperial system.

3. British and French food is a lot more prevalent.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
English foods such as fish and chips are common in Canada.
(Photo by Nicole Abalde)

Here’s a little history refresher, Canada was once colonized by both the British and the French. While Canada has been independent of either rule for quite some time now, the colonizers definitely had a lasting influence on the cuisine as well as the availability of European goods.

Many provinces in Canada have touches of French influence in their food but Quebec especially is a hot-spot for both French culture and food. Dishes like tourtiere (a meat pie), poutine (French fries with gravy and cheese curds), pea soup, and Buche de Noel (a rolled Christmas cake) are all French-Canadian delicacies hailing from the Quebec area.

Also prevalent in Canada are English foods and goods. While English pubs are a novelty in the States, they are commonplace throughout Canada making fish and chips and other British staples commonplace. Not only that, but as a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, Canada has a constant supply of British goods including things like House of Parliament Sauce (a more savory barbecue-like sauce), Maltesers, Smarties, and Cadbury products-galore.

4. Starbucks exists, but it’s all about Tim Hortons.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Canadians love eating at Tim Hortons.
(Flickr photo by Michael)

Starbucks is definitely a thing up north but Canadian’s devotion to Starbucks doesn’t even compare to their undying love of Tim Hortons. The chain is spread out all across Canada and is so popular that according to its website, every day approximately 15% of all Canadians visit a Tim’s near them.

More Dunkin Donuts than Starbucks, Tim’s main staples are coffee and doughnuts but they also sell a variety of coffee drinks, sandwiches, soups, and pastries. The thing to order however, is a double double, which is a coffee with two creams and two sugars. While the order is not unique to Tim Hortons, it’s strongly associated with the brand and so popular that the phrase was added to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary in 2004.

5. Food portions in restaurants are typically smaller.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
In Canada, portion sizes are smaller and junk food is more expensive.
(Photo by Marco Verch)

While it is by no means a hard and fast rule that portion sizes are smaller in Canada, many travelers have found that portion sizes are generally not as large as they are below the border. Additionally, many people have pointed out that junk food in Canada is typically more expensive than it would be in the US.

6. The Canadian chip game is strong.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
All-Dressed chips are popular in Canada.
(Photo by Adam Dachis)

While every country has its own claims to fame in the chip aisle, Canadian chips are particularly famous and exclusive. Ketchup chips are especially revered both in Canada and around the globe for their tangy, vinegary, ketchupy-but-not-actually-like ketchup taste. They’re made by a variety of companies including Lay’s, but they’ve yet to make the pilgrimage down south.

Another Canadian snack-aisle staple is All-Dressed chips. Putting the exact flavor of All-Dressed into words is a little difficult but to help you imagine it just know that they’re “dressed” in sour cream and onion, barbecue, ketchup, and salt and vinegar flavors — in other words they’re all of your favorite chips combined. Ruffles brought the savory treats Stateside for a limited time but unless you were lucky enough to stock up on them then, the only way you can try them is by booking a ticket to Canada.

7. Maple syrup is seriously abundant.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Canada produces 71% of the world’s maple syrup.
(Photo by Marten Persson)

There’s a reason why the Canadian flag features a maple leaf prominently in its center and why the Toronto hockey team is called the Toronto Maple Leafs — maple trees, and more importantly, maple syrup, are a big deal in the country. According to Maple from Canada, the country produces 71% of the world’s maple syrup which means there’s a lot of it within the country. Not only do Canadians use the syrup on its own or as a substitute for sugar, it also features prominently in other sweet treats such as maple taffy, cookies, and candy.

8. They eat beaver tails.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
An apple cinnamon Beaver Tail.
(Photo by Elsie Hui)

Ok, so they don’t eat actual beaver tails, but rather a thick, elongated piece of fried dough covered in sweet toppings that is referred to as Beaver Tails. The pastry is reminiscent of something you would get at a state fair and is covered in a variety of toppings including cinnamon sugar, chocolate, apple cinnamon, and of course maple.

9. Their loaded fries are very different from ours.

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time
Poutine is a popular Canadian dish consisting of fries topped with cheese curds and drenched in gravy.
(Photo by Guillem Vellut)

When you think of loaded fries you probably think of some french fries topped with cheese, bacon, sour cream, and maybe a dash of spring onion. Canadians also have a loaded-fry equivalent but unlike ours they’re made of only three key ingredients, fries, gravy, and cheese curds — the squeakier, the better. Poutine is yet another dish thatoriginated in francophone Quebec, but it is a staple all over Canada. In fact it’s so popular, that you can get quality poutine at none other than McDonald’s.

This article originally appeared on Insider. Follow @thisisInsider on Twitter.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information