7 things people use every day that originated in the military - We Are The Mighty
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7 things people use every day that originated in the military

The military is responsible for a huge amount of consumer goods and technology that people are using every day. Here are seven examples:


1. Duct tape

The grey tape that can “fix” just about any problem was originally designed for the U.S. military during World War II. While also manufacturing camouflage material, gas masks, and other products for the military, Johnson Johnson was asked to make a waterproof tape for ammunition cases, according to Kilmer House.

Originally called “duck tape,” it “saved valuable time in manufacturing and packaging war materials. A wide variety of tapes to serve a multitude of particular purposes were made for the aviation industry alone,” read the company’s 1945 annual report.

Soldiers quickly figured out duct tape could be used for more than sealing ammo boxes, and they used it to make temporary repairs to jeeps, planes, tents, boots, their uniforms, and everything in between. Troops still use the tape today, as do the rest of us.

 

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Not the intended use (Photo: Youtube)

2. Microwave ovens

You can thank the defense contractor Raytheon for giving you the ability to heat up that leftover pizza in under a minute. While working at the company on radar technology in 1945, Percy Spencer accidentally discovered an active radar set had melted the candy bar in his pocket. He and his colleagues were intrigued, and decided to conduct some more tests.

From Today I Found Out:

The first one they heated intentionally was popcorn kernels, which became the world’s first microwaved popcorn.  Spencer then decided to try to heat an egg.  He got a kettle and cut a hole in the side, then put the whole egg in the kettle and positioned the magnetron to direct the microwaves into the hole.  The result was that the egg exploding in the face of one of his co-workers, who was looking in the kettle as the egg exploded.

Raytheon still holds the patent, with Percy credited as the inventor. The first commercially-produced microwave was a 6-foot-tall, 7000lb monstrosity that cost $5000. But around 1967, a smaller unit at a more affordable $495 finally hit the market, according to Today I Found Out.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

3. Global positioning systems (GPS)

Google Maps may be one the best ways to navigate anywhere, but it owes the Pentagon credit for doing much of the legwork. Amid Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union after it launched Sputnik in 1957, U.S. researchers figured out that radio signals emitted by the satellite increased as it approached and decreased when it moved away, according to TechHive.

TechHive has more:

This gave the scientists a grand idea. Satellites could be tracked from the ground by measuring the frequency of the radio signals they emitted, and conversely, the locations of receivers on the ground could be tracked by their distance from the satellites. That, in a nutshell, is the conceptual foundation of modern GPS. That GPS receiver in your phone or on the dash of your car learns its location, rate of speed, and elevation by measuring the time it takes to receive radio signals from four or more satellites floating overhead.

This discovery became the basis for the military’s system of five satellites, called Transit, launched in 1960. It stayed exclusively a defense technology until 1983, when the Reagan administration opened GPS up for civilian application, according to Mio.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

4. Disposable-blade safety razors

Razors for shaving have been around for centuries, but the safety razor with disposable blades still enjoys widespread popularity due to the U.S. military’s adoption during World War I.

Before the 20th century, men usually had barbers trim their beards and mustaches. If they did shave at home it was with a straight razor, which needed to be sharpened often. In 1901, King C. Gillette changed that, with the invention of the safety razor — which took a disposable version of the straight edge razor and clamped it onto a handle. The military soon took notice.

From About.com:

Production of the Gillette ® safety razor and blade began as the Gillette Safety Razor Company started operations in South Boston. Sales grew steadily. During World War I, the U.S. Government issued Gillette safety razors to the entire armed forces. By the end of the war, some 3.5 million razors and 32 million blades were put into military hands, thereby converting an entire nation to the Gillette safety razor.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

5. Computers

While the original computer was not even as powerful as today’s basic calculators, it was originally designed to compute artillery firing tables for the U.S. Army. Called ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, the new device replaced humans who were physically operating desk calculators, according to Army historian William Moye.

The massive machine took up an entire room at the Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory when it was unveiled after World War II on Feb. 14, 1946. One of its first projects was to test the feasibility of the hydrogen bomb.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

 

6. The internet

The world’s largest repository of cat videos came from a military research project that used packet-switching to allow computers to talk to each other. The first version of the internet deployed in 1969, called the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), was made up of just four computers, with one each located at Stanford University, University of Utah, UCLA, and UC-Santa Barbara.

From About.com:

Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).

The first internet service provider emerged in 1974, but the internet would not see widespread use until the invention of hypertext-markup language (HTML) and the world wide web were unveiled in the early 1990s.

 

7. Freeze drying

The ability to keep food preserved for years came from a military effort to keep medical supplies useful after they were transported overseas during World War II. In freeze-drying, food is quickly frozen, then dried slowly to remove the frozen moisture.

The Ready-Store has more:

The freeze-drying process really took off during WWII as a way to transport serums and other medical supplies. Doctors found that medicines that required refrigeration were spoiling by the time they were transported to other parts of the world. The freeze-dried process was invented and allowed for materials to retain their chemical properties and drastically increasing the shelf-life.

Freeze-drying has been used for food and pharmaceuticals. But perhaps most importantly, astronauts use it to have a nice snack in space.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

 

NOW: 9 Military terms that will make you sound crazy around civilians

And: Here’s the military’s incredibly painful ‘OC spray’ training

 

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4 of the best tips on getting through BUD/S, according a Navy SEAL

Navy SEAL candidates go through some of the hardest military training known to man before earning their beloved Trident. When young men across the country join the Navy, they head to the sandy beaches of Coronado, California to test themselves and see if they have what it takes to become one of the elite. Since the BUD/S drop-out rate is so freakin’ high, many are left wondering what it truly takes to survive the rigorous training and successfully graduate the program.


Well, Jason Phalin, a former Navy SEAL who spent 20 years in the elite force, is here to break down a few tips that just might get you through.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
During a Hell Week surf drill evolution, a Navy SEAL instructor assists students from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) class 245 with understanding the importance of listening.
(Photo by U.S. Navy Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Logsdon)

1. Be physically fit

BUD/S training is widely known for being one of the most physically demanding training pipelines in the world. If you fail to prepare yourself physically, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.

BUD/S students rush to get their inflatable boats to the finish line during a surf passage evolution. BUD/S students must endure 27 weeks of intense training in order to graduate.

(Photo by MC2 Marcos T. Hernandez)
BUD/S students rush to get their inflatable boats to the finish line during a surf passage evolution. BUD/S students must endure 27 weeks of intense training in order to graduate.
(Photo by MC2 Marcos T. Hernandez)

2. It’s 80% mental

Upon arrival, students get some tips and tricks on how to survive training. However, according to Phalin, all of those tips wither away as soon as you hit the freezing surf of the Pacific ocean. The motivation to earn the Trident tends to die out the longer candidates spend in a pre-hypothermic state. Stay focused.

Students in BUD/S training class 279 participate in a surf passage exercise during the first phase of training at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.

(Photo by MC2 Kyle D. Gahlau)
Students in BUD/S training class 279 participate in a surf passage exercise during the first phase of training at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
(Photo by MC2 Kyle D. Gahlau)

3. Make the training about brotherhood

The training’s intensity makes many students quickly consider quitting. However, it’s the extreme difficulty that creates an unbreakable brotherhood among those who make it through.

Sailors assigned to BUD/S Class 244 focus on their instructor as learn about their next training evolution.

(Photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class John DeCoursey)
Sailors assigned to BUD/S Class 244 focus on their instructor as learn about their next training evolution.
(Photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class John DeCoursey)

4. Wait five more minutes

When you think you can’t deal with the physical exhaustion any longer, convince yourself to push on for just five more minutes. Before you know it, those small 5-minute segments will add up and, suddenly, that evolution is completed. You’re one step closer to earning that beloved Trident.

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Check out Tactical Rifleman‘s video below for some tips that just might get you through the intense training.

Lists

The 6 greatest celebrity foreign policy gaffes in the last 50 years

Sometimes when celebs venture into the complex world of foreign policy — either intentionally or otherwise — the results are embarrassing, comical, or even career-ending. Here are six of the worst in recent memory:


1. The Beatles barely make it out of the Philippines alive after (unintentionally) snubbing Imelda Marcos

 

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
The Beatles attempt to get the hell out of Dodge … or Manila. (Photo: Associated Press)

In early July of 1966 while The Beatles toured the Philippines they unintentionally snubbed the nation’s first lady, Imelda Marcos, who had expected the group to attend a breakfast reception at the Presidential Palace. When presented with the invitation, Brian Epstein politely declined on behalf of the group, as it had never been the group’s policy to accept such “official” invitations. But the group soon found out that the Marcos regime was unaccustomed to accepting “no” for an answer. Imelda Marcos was infuriated when finding out that one of her frequent grand parties of 200 guests did not include the Beatles. After the snub was broadcast on Philippine television and radio, all of their police protection disappeared. The band barely made it out of the country alive.

2. Jane Fonda goes to North Vietnam during the war

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

In May of 1972 Jane Fonda was invited to North Vietnam by the delegation at the Paris Peace Talks. She accepted the invitation with the intention of treating the trip like a fact-finding “humanitarian” mission. She wanted to take photos that would expose that the Nixon Administration was bombing the dikes to flood civilian areas. Ultimately the trip had a different effect, mostly because of a photo that emerged of her sitting on an anti-aircraft gun wearing an NVA helmet. From that point forward she’s been “Hanoi Jane” to most Vietnam vets.

3. Paul Simon violates Apartheid-related boycott to make “Graceland”

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
What boycott? Hands up for making some hits!

In the 1980s the anti-Apartheid movement was growing rapidly, gaining support of political leaders and other public figures worldwide. Part of the movement was a boycott of all things South African. Paul Simon basically trampled the boycott by going to South Africa to work with local musicians while recording his legendary “Graceland” album.

Following the album’s success, Simon faced accusations by organizations such as Artists United Against Apartheid, anti-apartheid musicians including Billy Bragg, Paul Weller and Jerry Dammers and the then Ghanaian Ambassador to the United Nations James Victor Gbeho that he had broken the cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world against the apartheid regime in South Africa, which was in its final years at the time.

At an album launch party, Simon bluntly clarified his opinions on the controversy: “I’m with the artists. I didn’t ask the permission of the ANC. I didn’t ask permission of Buthelezi, or Desmond Tutu, or the Pretoria government. And to tell you the truth, I have a feeling that when there are radical transfers of power on either the left or the right, the artists always get screwed.” (Source: Wikipedia)

4. Dixie Chicks commit professional suicide by dissing W in London

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Dixie Chicks performed in concert in London on March 10, 2003, at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire theatre in England. This concert kicked off their Top of the World Tour.

During the introduction to their song “Travelin’ Soldier”, Natalie Maines said, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.” The comment ignited a firestorm with country music fans, a generally patriotic bunch, and the Dixie Chicks were blackballed and boycotted by fans, radio stations, and promoters worldwide, which essentially ended the band’s career.

5. Mariah Carey sings for Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

In 2008 Mariah Carey was paid a reported $1 million to play a four-song set for Muammar Qaddafi and his family at their retreat on the island of St. Barts in the Caribbean. After a huge public outcry based on Qaddafi’s human rights record and sponsorship of terrorism Carey said she was unaware who she was playing for until it was over and that she felt “horrible and embarrassed.”

She didn’t give the money back but promised to record a song to raise money for human rights.

6. Dennis Rodman goes to North Korea to hang with dictator Kim Jong-un

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

In February of 2013 basketball legend Dennis Rodman visited North Korea as a personal guest of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un where Rodman presided over a weird basketball game that matched up the North Korean ‘dream team’ and a rag tag bunch of Americans including a Harlem Globetrotters alum and a journalist from Vice.

When asked if he was aware of Kim Jong-un’s barbaric acts toward his perceived enemies (including his uncle whom he had beheaded) and his cruelty to his people, Rodman claimed ignorance while sticking with the notion that Kim was just a friend and a good guy as far as he could see. At the same time Rodman checked back into rehab.

Now: The real story of Jane Fonda and the Vietnam vets who hate her

Articles

These Are The Most Incredible Photos The Air Force Took In 2014

The past year was a busy time for the US Air Force.


Aside from coordinating and carrying out airstrikes against ISIS and other militant groups around the world, the branch also had to maintain its typically high level of readiness. The branch compiled a year in review, showcasing the US Air Force in action.

These are some of the most striking images the branch captured over the past year.

A soldier conducts a jump from a C-130 during the Japanese-American Friendship Festival at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Senior Airman Michael Washburn/USAF

In September, soldiers also executed jumps out of a C-130 at the Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Osakabe Yasuo/USAF

 

During 2014, the long-delayed F-35 next-generation fighter was moved to its new home at Luke Air Force Base, in Arizona. Here is one F-35 being escorted by an F-16.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Jim Hazeltine/USAF

The Air Force helped Marines load cargo during the closure of bases throughout Afghanistan during the past year, as the US-led combat mission in the country wrapped up.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bocock/USAF

Drone operators were also constantly called upon throughout 2014. An MQ-1B Predator, left, and an MQ-9 Reaper taxi to the runway in preparation for takeoff at Creech Air Force Base, in Nevada.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen/USAF

 

In November, the Air Force carried out training operations alongside the Army and the Marines in Idaho.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Staff Sgt. Roy Lynch/USAF

Training took several forms throughout the year. Here, Air Force ROTC cadets observed the refueling of a B-2 over New Jersey as part of an orientation flight program.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Master Sgt. Mark C. Osen/USAF

Here, a C-17 is guided into an aerial refueling mission during a training flight.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez/USAF

Beyond airframes, personnel train in a variety of other combat-related skills. Here, Staff Sgt. Michael Sheehan fires a man-portable aircraft survivability trainer, or MAST, at Saylor Creek Range at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Tech. Sgt. JT May III/USAF

 

Dedicated personnel within the Air Force train to be firefighters capable of responding to a range of emergencies at a moment’s notice. Here, an airman puts on his helmet as part of training in ventilation techniques.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Senior Airman Christopher Callaway/USAF

Members of the 334th Training Squadron combat controllers and the 335th Training Squadron special operations weather team ready themselves for a physical training session.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Kemberly Grouel/USAF

Here, Air Force service members take part in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, which is open to all service members.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Staff Sgt. Austin Knox/USAF

Of course, just like in every service branch, the Air Force puts a premium on discipline. At Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Tech. Sgt. Chananyah Stuart unsparingly reminds a trainee of the procedures for entering the dining facility.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen/USAF

 

2014 also included integration exercises for the various service branches — such as Exercise Valiant Shield, which was held in Guam in September.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh/USAF

After a practice demonstration over Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, aircraft from the Thunderbirds, one of the Air Force’s demonstration squads, wait for clearance to land.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr./USAF

Here, an F-22 performs aerial demonstrations at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, in Alaska.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Staff Sgt. Joseph Araiza/USAF

The Air Force also lent some of its older aircraft out as memorials during 2014. Here, airmen tow an F-15 to the Warner Robins, Georgia city hall for a memorial display.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Tech. Sgt. Regina Young/USAF

 

The Air Force deployed a vast range of aircraft in 2014. Here, a T-38 Talon flies in formation with a B-2 during a training mission.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder/USAF

In April, a host of C-130Js and WC-130Js flew in formation over the Gulf Coast during Operation Surge Capacity, a training mission.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Senior Airman Nicholas Monteleone/USAF

Here, U-2 pilots prepare to land in a TU-2S, a trainer aircraft for pilots before they undertake actual missions in the U-2.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings/USAF

Members of the 101st Rescue Squadron also practiced a simulated rescue and tested the defensive capabilities of a HH-60 Pavehawk.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: Senior Airman Christopher S. Muncy

 

The US Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team performs at Mount Rushmore. Between the rise of ISIS and fears of Russian aggression in eastern Europe, 2014 presented the US Air Force with a range of challenges that it continues to try to meet head-on.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Photo: 1st Lt. Nathan Wallin/USAF

Also from Business Insider:

Articles

13 funniest military memes for the week of May 26

The week is over, but this memes list is just getting started. Here are 13 of the best times that words were paired with a picture on the internet this week:


1. 50 feet after they step off, the airmen are dropping like flies (via Air Force amn/nco/snco).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Apparently, staplers don’t provide proper calluses.

2. The groin protectors help a little, but you’re still boned (via Military World).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Feel all the air coming out of your lungs? That’s the suck. Embrace it.

3. To be fair, this is pretty exciting (via Team Non-Rec).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
It tastes like schnozzberries!

Also see: That time CBS captured an intense firefight in Vietnam

4. If you get it, you get it (via The Salty Soldier).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
If not, ask for Season 1 of Rick and Morty as your re-enlistment bonus.

5. You seem to have a leak that has covered 70 percent of the Earth’s surface (via Decelerate Your Life).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Figure it out.

6. It just can’t wait to get some more lifting in, make those gains (via Air Force Nation).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Nom nom nom, gonna eat a tank or two.

7. That’s one shiny bag of trash you got there (via Coast Guard Memes).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
If only it were useful.

8. Might be wishing for too much (via Decelerate Your Life).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
We got you a chain of command. Oh, a good one? Sorry, fresh out.

9. To all the people who still aren’t master chiefs, sorry (via Air Force amn/nco/snco).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Not sure if baseballs to the chest will help, but it can’t hurt much more than getting passed over yet again.

10. Ummmm… can I opt for the cash instead? (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting)

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Because I’m pretty sure I could find both food and apartments without black mold all over them.

11. They were as-holes, but jumping in with machine guns and bicycles is still pretty cool (via Military World).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Gonna have to kill them for supporting an evil, mass-murdering regime, but respect those skills.

12. You were supposed to do the survey long before the intranet existed (via Shit my LPO says).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Not sure why you dragged your feet for over 100 years.

13. Army tuition assistance didn’t make it into the new budget proposals (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

But you can buy a Little Golden Book for like, three bucks.

Articles

13 funniest military memes for the week of Feb. 17

The week is over, but the memes are neverending. Check out 13 of our favorite military memes of the week below:


1. This woobie is my woobie, and we have seen unspeakable things together (via Pop smoke).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Just take the statement of charges, dude. It’s worth it.

2. “Build a wall over the tunnel!”

(via Military World)

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Yeah, that doesn’t stop Marines.

3. The flight line plays by its own rules. Like criminal gangs do (via Air Force Memes Humor).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

ALSO SEE: The CIA just declassified these 11 Russian jokes about the Soviet Union

4. Admit it, when you’re in contact, you would rather those Chair Force fellows were in the chairs than in the gym (via Military Memes).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Course, they could go practice some ruck marching when they’re off duty.

5. Dream away, fellows. Dream away (via Pop smoke).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Take a look at the age of that baby. You left her newly pregnant when you deployed and thought you would come back to her full of energy?

6. First sergeants were trying to save your life, Bubba (via Team Non-Rec).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Also would have helped if you kept your dang feet dry, like L-T told you to.

7. Oh yeah, sir? Those were your accomplishments?

(via Shit my LPO says)

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Guess I’ll just go over here and keep typing your reports for you.

8. Just give it some liberty, man. Those claws look sharp (via Pop smoke).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Maybe throw in some donut holes for free.

9. D-mnit, Carl. You never learned to secure your weapon? (via Military World)

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Guess who’s going swimming?

10. When you find out where Jodie goes after the housing area:

(via The Salty Soldier)

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

11. Turns me on (via NavyMemes.com).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Haze grey and underway.

12. Ummmm … I’m fine, bro. Keep your motivation to yourself (via The Salty Soldier).

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
And if that cadence caller could shut up, too, that’d be great.

13. You can tell the safety NCO is phoning it in when:

(via Coast Guard Memes)

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Maybe keep some water bottles handy for the foreseeable future.

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17 brilliant insights from legendary Marine General James Mattis

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis is a legend in the military. Revered by Marines and non-Marines alike, Mattis has taken on the persona of a modern-day Patton — having the knowledge and insight to lead his Marines through combat, while standing behind them and taking the heat if things go bad. In short, Mattis is a hell of a leader.


In 2013 while serving as commander of Central Command in Tampa, Fla., Mattis retired after four decades of service. Since then, he’s been teaching at Stanford and Dartmouth, as well as speaking across the country on leadership. He’s also working on a book with author Bing West.

We looked back at some of the best insights he offered, through a great collection of quotes. Most apply strictly to military service, but some can be just as useful in the corporate boardroom.

“You cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it’s going to be bad.”

The “dream world” Mattis is talking about is one of denial and complacency — a mood in combat that can get you killed. And in corporate America, it can get you wiped out by the competition.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

“If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don’t take the shot. Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act.”

Mattis, who co-wrote the manual for Counterinsurgency with Gen. David Petraeus, knows well that troops cannot win over the population to their side if they are killing the wrong people. His advice here to soldiers and Marines is spot on.

“I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”

Of course he can spell it but that’s not the point. Mattis wants to impress upon his troops that failure should not be an option.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

Before his Marines deployed to Iraq in 2003, he told them this (along with many other great pieces of advice in a now-famous letter). His point here is to be a professional warfighter who can be polite with civilians, but always remember that if things go south, the dirty work needs to get done.

“The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some sh–heads in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”

Recalling the mentality of the wolf, the sheep, and the sheepdog, Mattis understands that there is evil in the world. It’s important for his men to be prepared for whether they will be the hunter or the victim if they ever face it.

“There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.”

One of his more controversial quotes, to be sure. But in Mattis’ view, to be a professional, you need to have a professional mindset. It’s not really necessary to get emotional about what you have to do. It just needs to get done.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

“You can overcome wrong technology. Your people have the initiative, they see the problem, no big deal … you can’t overcome bad culture. You’ve gotta change whoever is in charge.”

In a talk at Stanford, Mattis was relating how toxic culture can bring down an organization that has everything else right. The culture of an organization comes from the top, and if that part is screwed up, there are going to be problems.

“The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”

Mattis doesn’t want robots just mindlessly following his orders. As a leader, he gives broad guidance and lets his men use their own brains to decide how it gets accomplished.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

 

“Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.”

Amen.

“In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony — even vicious harmony — on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.”

Mattis implores his officers to not get stuck in their own little boxes. Learning how to be brilliant on the battlefield is important, but it’s more important to be able to work with others to get the job done.

 

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”

Military officers endure (and have to create) tons of PowerPoint briefings to inform their chain of command what’s going on. Mattis however, is not one of those officers. He actually banned PowerPoint since he saw it as a waste of time.

“You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”

Mattis wants his Marines to always be thinking before they take the shot. It’s advice that has no doubt saved lives.

“An untrained or uneducated Marine … deployed to the combat zone is a bigger threat to mission accomplishment … than the enemy.”

The biggest detriment to mission accomplishment is not from the competition, but from within. Having the right mindset and skills is what results in getting results.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

Combat doesn’t happen in a vacuum. All the planning, meetings, and briefings on what potentially can happen in a given situation are good, but the bad guys will always react in uncertain ways. The key is to be prepared for anything.

“Be the hunter, not the hunted: Never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down.”

Just because you are at the top of your game doesn’t mean someone won’t come along to knock you down. Units (and individuals) need to be vigilant and make sure that doesn’t happen.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

 

“Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun.”

Mattis is an avid reader. On all his deployments, the general brought along a ton of books that he thought may help him along the way. In an email that went viral (via Business Insider) on the importance of reading, Mattis wrote that it “doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.”

“You’ve been told that you’re broken. That you’re damaged goods … there is also Post-Traumatic Growth. You come back from war stronger and more sure of who you are.”

While giving a speech to veterans in San Francisco, Mattis tried to dispel the mindset that those leaving the service should be pitied. Instead, he told them, use your experiences as a positive that teaches you to be a better person.

 

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

Humor

7 life lessons we learned from Gunny Highway in ‘Heartbreak Ridge’

The 1986 movie “Heartbreak Ridge” took the Marine Corps community and audiences by storm as it showcased Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Highway’s rough and tumble personality. Clint Eastwood took on dual roles as he starred in and directed this iconic film role about a man who is on the tail-end of his military service.


Related: 7 life lessons we learned from watching ‘Full Metal Jacket’

Behind Gunny Highway’s tough exterior lies a man who knows plenty about being a career Marine, but also has a need to build relationships as he moves forward in life.

So check out these life lessons that we could all learn from our beloved Gunny.

1. Don’t let anyone punk you

In Gunny’s own words, “be advised that I’m mean, nasty, and tired. I eat concertina wire and piss napalm and I can put a round through a flea’s ass at 200 meters.”

You tell them, Gunny. (images via Giphy)

2. Know exactly who you are

Although the majority of the film’s characters were out to discourage him, that didn’t stop him from being true to himself.

(images via Giphy)

3. Be semi-approachable

Yes, Gunny is a hard ass, but giving a treat to somebody to shut them the hell up is an excellent networking technique.

Gunny always finds a way to make friends. (images via Giphy)

4. Size doesn’t matter

You can have the biggest muscles in the room, but if you don’t have that “thinker” sitting in between your two ears, you don’t have sh*t.

Gunny doesn’t back down. (images via Giphy)

5. Grunts vs. POGs

The rivalry is real.

When you have some trigger time under your belt and know you’re right, sound off to make your point loud and clear.

Get him! (images via Giphy)

Also Read: 8 life lessons from ‘Forrest Gump’ legend Lt. Dan

6. Lead from the front

Leadership is about showing your men that you will fight with them and for them.

(images via Giphy)

7. Being patriotic is a turn on

No matter how hardcore you are, after a long day of kicking ass and taking names, it’s always good to have someone to come home too.

And Gunny lives happily ever after. (images via Giphy)We told you this movie was about relationships.

Articles

15 veterans taking the comedy world by storm

Comedy greats Johnny Carson, Bill Cosby, Drew Carey, and  Rob Riggle all started their working lives in the military, and all of them have credited their service for giving them unique perspectives that shaped their routines or approaches to roles they played. And now a new generation of veterans are finding success in comedy.


Here are 15 veterans currently making names for themselves on stages and elsewhere around the country:

1. Julia Lillis

Julia is a Naval Academy graduate who has had great success as a stand up comedian and writer.  She has appeared on E! and MTV and is a recurring guest on the Dennis Miller show. Julia has also done multiple tours entertaining the troops overseas.

2. James Connolly

James is a veteran of Desert Storm and Harvard graduate. He has appeared on VH1, HBO, Comedy Central, and is one of the most played comedians on Sirius XM. In addition, he has done multiple tours entertaining the troops and holds an annual “Cocktails and Camouflage” comedy show that raises money for veterans organizations.

3. Jose Sarduy

Jose is currently an aviator in the Air Force reserves. He’s made a big impact with comedy festivals, has toured overseas with the GI’s of Comedy, and currently co-hosts NUVOtv’s “Stand up and Deliver.”

4. Thom Tran

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCgJGAvRSg4

An Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Thom launched a successful comedy career after leaving the Army. He founded the GI’s of Comedy, raising money for veteran organizations, and has toured throughout the U.S. He is currently producing a new series called “Comedy Stir Fry.”

5. Jon Stites

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

Jon is a veteran of the Army infantry and founder of Operation Comedy, recruiting some of the biggest comedians in the industry to give free shows to veterans at signature venues like the Improv in Hollywood.

6. Justin Wood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6ZH7LpUAcA

An Army veteran turned stand up comic, Justin has performed at major venues throughout Los Angeles, toured with the GI’s of Comedy, and founded “Comics that Care” recruiting comedians to perform for homeless veterans. He recently made a viral satire video of him committing “stolen valor” (posted above).

7. Benari Poulten

Benari is currently a Master Sergeant in the Army Reserve and a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As a comic he has toured with the GI’s of Comedy and was hired this year as a writer on “The Nightly Show” with Larry Wilmore.

8. Shawn Halpin

After serving in the Marine Corps infantry, Halpin has had success as a comedian opening for Pauley Shore, Tom Green, and as a regular at The World Famous Comedy Store in Hollywood. He has entertained the troops performing with Operation Comedy, GI’s of Comedy, and Comics on Duty.

9. PJ Walsh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCdn-64XHkc

After serving in the Navy, Walsh has shared the stage with many comedy greats including Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy. He has performed for troops in several countries including Iraq and Afghanistan and is committed to raising funds for veteran organizations.

10. Jody Fuller

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU4TRSeyWtk

Fuller currently serves as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve with three tours overseas. His performance highlights include a opening gig in front of comedy great Jeff Foxworthy.

11. Will C

Will C served in the Marine Corps, Army, and the Air Force. He has had great success as a comedian touring across the country and has appeared in numerous television roles. He founded The Veterans of Comedy, a group that tours nationally to entertain active duty military and veterans.

12. Tom Irwin

A U.S. Army veteran, Tom’s success as a comedian includes an invitation to perform at The White House. He has done multiple tours overseas entertaining troops and created a “25 Days in Iraq” show about his tour in Iraq.

13. Erik Knowles

Knowles is a Marine Corps veteran turned stand up who was a finalist at the California Comedy Festival and The World Series of Comedy in Las Vegas. He has worked with Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis and also tours with The Veterans of Comedy.

14. Katie Robinson

Katie is a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns where she worked as a chem-bio-radiation officer. Known as “Comedy Katie” she is a regular at The World Famous Comedy Store in Hollywood and won critical acclaim at MiniFest: Los Angeles.

15. Ibo Brewer

A Marine and Iraq war veteran, Brewer is a Los Angeles based comedian and regular at various major comedy clubs.

BONUS:

Check out the amazing documentary Comedy Warriors (2013) which follows wounded warriors who aspire to become comedians and are mentored by A-list comics including Zach Galifianakis and Lewis Black.

NOW: The 13 funniest military memes of the week

OR: The 8 most famous US military recruiting posters of World War II

Articles

6 myths civilians believe about Marines

Since Nov. 10th, 1775, the Marine Corps’ rich history of kicking ass and taking names has charmed Americans and earned their respect all across the United States. Because of that, civilians see Marines in a different perspective than the Navy, Air Force, or even Army.


Since every branch of the military has a particular image that the general population associates them with, we asked several civilians, “What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the Marines?”

Related: 5 military myths that Hollywood has taught us to believe are true

Here’s what they said:

1. They have to be super patriotic to join

Most of them are, but others just couldn’t see themselves serving in another branch.

Now I’m joining the Corps! (Images via Giphy)

2. All Marines have to go war and fight

Not true. The Marines Corps is made of several different elements other than the infantry, like aircraft maintenance, logistics, and duties that cause your Marine to sit in an office and analyze intel all day — so breathe easy, momma bear.

Dammit, Carl! (Images via Giphy)

3. They’re all excellent shots with a rifle

Most are, but a low number of recruits score just high enough to earn the “rifle marksman” medal, a.k.a. the “pizza box.” All Marines must rifle qual before they can graduate from basic training, but it takes extra training and skill to earn higher levels of marksmanship.

Ask a Marine to explain this joke. (Images via Giphy)

4. They’re buff and strong

Most are pretty jacked, but many are just normal size — they make it up by having tons of heart.

Oh, Master Sergeant! (Images via Giphy)

5. They are mean and scary as hell

Marines can get pretty intense, but that just shows their passion. While a Marine can get super scary (especially when they gain rank or come in contact with people they just don’t like), some get by with just a quiet intensity.

But most of the time they’re fun loving. (Images via Giphy)

6. They’re brainwashed in boot camp

Negative, Ghost Rider.

They are just influenced to love their country and branch of service at an exceptionally high level through various mental and physical activities.

They have to be, to carry out the missions they’re are asked to do.

Sometimes this involves screaming while brushing their teeth — which may happen. (Images via Giphy)Can you think of any others? Comment below.

Lists

8 foods you can add to your diet to help with weight loss

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to assume that cutting items out of your diet will provide the quickest path to your goal. But after speaking with a panel of nutritionists, INSIDER discovered that addition can be even more effective for weight loss than subtraction. For a quicker metabolism, an increase in vitamins and minerals, and a higher level of energy, consider adding these eight foods to your meal plan.

1. Cayenne pepper

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Spicy food may also help boost your metabolism.
(Flickr photo by Chris Potako)

Adding a dash of cayenne to your plate allows for bolder flavor, a punch of heat, and plenty of weight-loss-friendly side effects.

Spicy cayenne pepper is a natural appetite suppressant,” explained teacher and wellness consultant Vince Massara.

2. Avocado

Fretting over the fat content in avocados has become a regular occurrence, but these delicious fruits come packed with vitamins, minerals, and plenty of good fats.

“Avocados are so nutrient-dense and satisfying that including a few slices in your sandwich or salad will make you feel satiated and satisfied so you’re not hungry. They’re full of healthy omega-3 fats and fiber, which keep you fuller longer,” New York-based dietician Laura Burak told INSIDER.

Because it’s rich and texturally luxurious, avocado feels decadent without derailing your diet, making it an ideal addition to your pre-summer grocery list.

3. Coconut oil

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
(Photo by Meal Makeover Moms)

Coconut oil includes beneficial compounds like MCT (medium chain triglycerides), which avoid the digestive tract after consumption and head straight for the liver, where they’re instantly converted into energy.

“The more energy you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day, which leads to weight loss,” NYC nurse and wellness coach Rebecca Lee advised.


4. Eggs

Eggs frequently get a bad rap from dieters, due to a misconception about their calorie count and cholesterol level. However, they’re actually a lean source of protein that boost energy levels and keep you full and satisfied.

“I would recommend eating eggs for effective weight loss because they are rich in vitamins, minerals, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. They are low in calories, keep you fuller for longer, and can also boost your metabolism,” NYC wellness specialist and Pilates coach Melanie Kotcher told INSIDER.

If you’re really committed to cutting calories, just ditch the yolks and stick with egg whites.

“Egg whites are a great way of incorporating more protein in your diet without the extra calories that are found in the egg yolk. Protein keeps you feeling satiated longer and also helps to preserve muscle when losing weight, which is important for achieving that toned look,” insists Mary Weidner of Strongr Fastr.

5. Cruciferous vegetables

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
(Photo by Meal Makeover Moms)

Veggies in the Brassicaceae family, also known as cruciferous vegetables, are excellent options if you want your food to really work for you.

“Not only are cruciferous vegetables — like kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts — bursting with good-for-you ingredients, they’re also some of my favorite fat-burning foods,” Dr. Josh Axe of Ancient Nutrition said. “That’s because they’re some of the most nutritionally dense vegetables around. The benefits your body gets for the amount of calories contained in these vegetables means you’re getting more bang for your nutritional buck. Packed with vitamins, you can chow down on these veggies guilt-free.”

6. Fermented foods

Fermented dishes like sauerkraut and kimchi are known for their bold and tangy flavors, but they also contain valuable bacteria that promotes gut health and keeps your digestive tract in great working condition, all of which can help with weight loss, according to Shape.

“Including fermented foods on your plate is the good gut secret to weight loss through a healthy microbiome. You need all that great bacteria throughout the day to keep your digestion humming,” certified wellness expert Robyn Youkilis told INSIDER.

7. Chia seeds

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
(Photo by Stacy Spensley)

A long-time favorite of health-food aficionados, chia seeds are easy to incorporate into smoothies, yogurt parfaits, and other diet-friendly dishes, and they come with a plethora of nourishing advantages.

They’re full of fiber which can keep you fuller longer, all while reducing constipation and regulating your bowel movements. Just be sure to limit your doses.

8. Bone broth

Simple, slow-cooked bone broth is an on-trend these days, but it can also a great addition to any weight-loss-oriented eating plan.

Bone broth provides our body with very digestible forms of magnesium and calcium. Glycine found in bone broth promotes proper stomach acid production, while collagen helps to improve and maintain healthy digestion by ensuring that the stomach lining is healthy,” cardiologist and weight-loss expert Dr. Luiza Petre told INSIDER.

Keep in mind more research is needed to backup many of these health claims, but experts told Kitchn there’s nothing wrong with giving bone broth a try.

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

Articles

9 troops who became heroes after they disobeyed orders

Entering the military requires an oath to obey the lawful orders of those in the higher chain of command. Commanding officers can order troops into a suicide mission if it serves the greater purpose. When obeying orders, it’s necessary for those troops to believe a commander wouldn’t order them into harm’s way unless it was necessary, that the order serves a greater good, and it’s not an illegal order.


Most of the nine men listed here (in no order) did not disobey orders because they were illegal. They disobeyed them because lives were at stake and felt saving those lives was worth the risk. Others pushed the envelope to keep the enemy on its heels. People make mistakes, even when the stakes are life and death. It can mean the difference in the course of the entire war (as seen with Gen. Sickles) or to a few men who are alive because someone took a chance on them (in the case of Benaya Rein).

1. Dakota Meyer, U.S. Marine Corps, Afghanistan

In 2009, Meyer was at the Battle of Ganjgal, where his commander ordered him to disregard a distress call from ambushed Afghan and American troops, four of them friends, pinned down by possibly hundreds of enemy fighters. He repeatedly asked permission to drive his truck to help relieve his outnumbered and surrounded friends and allies. He and another Marine hopped in a Humvee. Meyer manned the gun while the other drove the vehicle.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

They drove right into the firestorm, loading the beleaguered Afghans, mostly wounded, onto their humvee. As weapons jammed, Meyer would grab another, and another. They drove into the melee five times, until they came across Meyer’s friends, now fallen, and pulled them out too. Meyer received the Medal of Honor for his actions.

2. Daniel Hellings, British Army, Afghanistan

Hellings was on a joint patrol in Helmand Province with Afghan allies when his patrol was hit by an explosion. An improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated in an alleyway, injuring two of the patrollers. Then another went off, injuring a third man. Hellings’ commander ordered an immediate withdrawal. Instead, Hellings got down on the ground and started a fingertip search for more bombs — and found four more. He was on the ground, poking around in the dirt until he found all of the IEDs. For his bravery and quick thinking, he was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

3. Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, Soviet Army, Cold War

Petrov was in command of the Oko Nuclear Early Warning System on the morning of September 26, 1983 when it detected a probable launch of American nuclear missiles. Suspecting it was a false alarm, he disobeyed the standing order of reporting it to his commanding officers, who likely would have “retaliated” with their nuclear arsenal.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

In this case, doing nothing was doing something big, as in completely averting World War III, and mutually assured destruction. It also showed a flaw in the USSR’s early warning system and helped to avert further misunderstandings.

4. Benaya Rein, Israel Defence Forces, Second Lebanon War

Several Israeli soldiers, lacking accurate maps, became lost in 2006 while downrange in Southern Lebanon. As they attempted to get their bearings, about 20 men appeared in the distance, and the commander — thinking they were Hezbollah fighters — ordered Benaya Rein to open fire.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Benaya Rein, IDF

Rein wasn’t so sure. Instead, he took a tank out to the location to investigate. When he arrived, he found 20 of his fellow IDF soldiers. “Because he refused to follow his commander’s order, the lives of these soldiers were saved,” his mother told an Israeli paper.

Rein would later be killed after the tank he was commanding was hit by a Hezbollah missile. He was one of the last Israelis killed during the war.

5. Lt. David Teich, U.S. Army, Korean War

Teich was in a tank company near the 38th parallel in 1951 when a radio distress call came in from the Eighth Ranger Company. Wounded, outnumbered, and under heavy fire, the Rangers were near Teich’s tanks, and facing 300,000 Communist troops, moving steadily toward their position. Teich wanted to help, but was ordered to withdraw instead, his captain saying “We’ve got orders to move out. Screw them. Let them fight their own battles.”

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Teich during the Korean War

Teich went anyway. He led four tanks over to the Rangers’ position and took out so many Rangers on each tank, they covered up the tank’s turrets. He still gets letters from the troops he saved that day, thanking him for disobeying his order to move out.

6. Cpl. Desmond Doss, U.S. Army, World War II

Doss wanted to serve, he just wasn’t willing to kill to do it and refused every order to carry a weapon or fire one. However, Doss would do anything to save his men, repeatedly braving Japanese fire to pull the injured to the rear. As his unit climbed a vertical cliffside at Okinawa, the Japanese opened up with artillery, mortars, and machine guns, turning his unit back and killing or wounding 75 men. Doss retrieved them one by one, loading them onto a litter and down the cliff.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
President Truman awards the Medal of Honor to Desmond Doss

A few days later, in the mouth of a cave, he braved a shower of grenades thrown from eight yards away, dressed wounds, and made four trips to pull his soldiers out. He treated his own wounds and waited five hours for a litter to carry him off. On the way back, the three men carrying him had to take cover from a tank attack. While waiting, Doss crawled off his litter, treated a more injured man, and told the litter bearers to take the other man. While waiting for them to come back, he was hit in the arm by a sniper and crawled 300 yards to an aid station. He was the first conscientious objector to earn the Medal of Honor.

7. Lt. Thomas Currie ‘Diver’ Derrick, Australian Imperial Force, WWII

The Battle of Sattelberg in the Pacific nation of New Guinea was as hard-fought as any in the Pacific Theater. It took the Australians a grudgingly slow eight days to push the Japanese out of the town and they paid dearly for it. On November 24, 1943, Lt. Derrick was ordered to withdraw his platoon because the CO didn’t think he could capture the heights around Sattelberg.

Derrick’s response: “Bugger the CO. Just give me twenty more minutes and we’ll have this place.”

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

Derrick climbed a vertical cliff by himself, holding on with one hand and throwing grenades with the other, stopping only to fire his rifle. He cleared out 10 machine gun nests that night and forced the Japanese to withdraw. The Aussies captured Sattelberg and Derrick was awarded the Victoria Cross.

8. 1st. Lt. Frank Luke, Jr., U.S. Army Air Corps, WWI

In September 1918, Luke was grounded by his commanding officer and told that if he disobeyed, he would be charged with being AWOL. Luke, an ace with 15 aerial victories, flew anyway, going out to find military reconnaissance balloons. Balloons sound like an easy target, but they were heavily defended by anti-aircraft weapons.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

He knocked out three balloons that day before he was forced down by machine gun fire. Once out of his plane (which he landed, he wasn’t shot down) he kept fighting the Germans with his sidearm until a bullet wound killed him. Luke is the first pilot to receive the Medal of Honor.

9. Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles, Union Army, Civil War

Sickles’ slight disobedience to orders during the Battle of Gettysburg changed the momentum of the war and may have changed the entire history of the United States. In a move historians haven’t stopped talking about for 150 years, Sickles moved his men to Peach Orchard instead of Little Round Top, as Gen. George G. Meade ordered him. This move prompted Confederate Gen. James Longstreet to attack the Union troops in the orchard and the wheat field, nearly destroying the Union forces there. Which, admittedly, sounds terrible.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

The Confederate move allowed Union troops to flank them in a counteroffensive and completely rout the Confederate forces, winning Gettysburg for the Union and ending Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North. Sickles himself lost a leg in the fighting, but received the Medal of Honor and helped preserve Gettysburg as a national historic site after the war.

Lists

10 little-known facts about the AK-47

The AK-47 is not just the preferred weapon of America’s enemies, it’s also the weapon of America’s allies. It’s the most widely used weapon on Earth. People name their children after it. Some countries have its distinctive shape on their flag. Egypt even built a monument featuring the rifle with its barrel and bayonet in the Sinai Peninsula.


 

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

Yet, despite its widespread legitimate use in 106 recognized countries’ standing armies, the AK-47 has also become a symbol of pirates, insurgents, warlords, and terrorists. So where does the rifle live on the scale between good and evil?

To help figure that out, WATM presents 10 facts about the most durable, dependable and infamous rifle ever designed:

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

1. Though it is widely known that he did not receive any royalties from his design (the Stalin-Era Soviet Union wasn’t too big on international copyright law – the AK borrows from many contemporary designs), Kalashnikov received an award from Stalin and special privileges until the Soviet Union was dissolved.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

2. The original AK-47 was unwieldy and much too heavy. It’s unusual to find a “real” ’47 AK. Most of the weapons produced by the Soviet Union and shipped abroad are really AKMs or AK-74s. You can tell the difference by the barrel: the AKM uses a muzzle brake while the 74 has a flash suppressor. For example, the Malian soldier pointing his rifle at my chest in the photo below is holding an AKM.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

3. Because the Russian government produced and shipped out so many, and because more than 30 countries are licensed to produce AK family rifles, no one knows how many of them there really are. Its estimated that there is an AK-47 for every 70 people on Earth, around 100 million. The next most widespread family of rifle is the M-16 line, with a paltry 10 million.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

4. The Kalashnikov is the deadliest weapon ever produced, killing around 250,000 people each year. This far surpasses the casualty count for any weapon (including nuclear ones) made by man.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military
Even if that man is John McClane

5. The worldwide average cost of a single rifle is between $100 and $300. Prices of AK-47s in public markets can be used as a barometer for social unrest: The more expensive they are, the more likely an uprising is about to take place. For example, some AKs in Afghanistan can be purchased for around $10. If you can get an AK for less than $100, it might be better to buy a ticket home.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

6. During the Iraq War, the US lost track of 110,000 AK-47s. So many ended up in the hands of insurgent groups, the U.S. began issuing M-16s to Iraqi Security Forces instead. (Fun fact: Saddam Hussein received a Gold AK as a gift. It was found by American troops after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: slightly used, dropped once.)

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

 

7. The AK is a relatively inaccurate rifle. This is because of its chrome lining, but that lining is why it’s so dependable, as the chrome reduces the need for cleaning. When the AK does need cleaned, it can be done faster than any weapon ever made, under almost any conditions.

 

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

8. A Missouri car dealership once offered a free AK-47 to new customers, which seems more controversial than it really is. True AKs have an automatic feature — rare in the US — and are only legal when grandfathered in before 1986. Legal AK-47s are only semi-automatic.

9. A Colombian artist, Cesar Lopez, turns AK-47 rifles into guitars. He was even able to put one into the hands on then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2005.

10. Mikhail Kalashnikov did well financially after the fall of the Berlin Wall, doing speaking tours and launching his own brand of Vodka.

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

For more information about the history of automatic weapons, Mikhail Kalashnikov, and his famous design, check out The Gun by CJ Chivers.

Leave your thoughts in the comments. (We all know what’s about to happen . . .)

7 things people use every day that originated in the military

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