21 facts about the First Gulf War - We Are The Mighty
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21 facts about the First Gulf War

Remember The First Gulf War? Persian Gulf War? Desert Storm and/or Desert Shield? They’re all the same war. Whatever we call it now, it was the war which expelled Iraqi troops from Kuwait, checked a decade of Saddam Hussein’s aggression toward his neighbors, and broke the looming spectre of Vietnam that hung over the U.S. military.


U.S. troops had seen smaller actions in before that time, but nothing like the scale and scope of a real “mother of all battles,” pitting Saddam’s Iraq vs. the United States and its UN-mandated coalition partners.

“Yours is a society which cannot accept 10,000 dead in one battle.” — Saddam Hussein, July 25, 1990.

“This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.” — President George H.W. Bush, Aug. 6, 1990.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War

The invasion of Kuwait is now just over 25 years old. It probably seemed like a quick victory, one unlikely to have lasting effects in the annals of history, but little did we know it was just setting the stage for the region’s next 30 years. There was no way to predict this war would even happen. In 1990, President Bush (41) was unable to shake off the “wimp” moniker bestowed on him by Newsweek in 1987.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

 

In the post-9/11 world, the events leading up to and after the conflict came to lasting importance. Today, U.S. troops have come and gone, come and gone, come and gone from Iraq. The country has become America’s enduring sidepiece. Then Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch gave way to Operation Iraqi Freedom and with it Bayonet Lightning, Red Dawn and countless others who themselves gave way to Operation Inherent Resolve. There are troops in Iraq today who weren’t yet born when Saddam first captured the Kuwaiti oil fields, and Saddam himself didn’t live to see this day.

Here are 21 facts about your daddy’s Iraq War.

1. The Iran-Iraq War led to Iraq invading Kuwait.

Iraq owed $80 million in foreign debt from its 1980-1988 war with Iran. Saddam Hussein demanded Saudi Arabia and Kuwait forgive $30 billion in Iraqi debt, which he saw a result of protecting Kuwait from Shia Iranian forces for eight years. He then accused Kuwait of stealing Iraqi oil through slant drilling.

 

 

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
This also makes Saddam Hussein the first person to think of an idea before the Simpsons.

Since Iraq’s economy depended on oil sales, Saddam hoped to repay its debts by raising the price of oil through OPEC oil production cuts, but instead, Kuwait increased production and repeatedly produced more than its quota, lowering prices in an attempt to leverage a better resolution of its border dispute with Iraq.

2. In 1991, Iraq had the fifth largest army in the world.

It’s true, Iraq’s armed forces boasted more than a million men in uniform in 1991, but only a third of those were skilled professional fighting forces. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait with 120,000 of these and 2,000 tanks. After the Gulf War started, he concluded Iraq’s peace with Iran and raised his occupying force levels to 300,000. Iraq conscripted three fourths of men between ages 15 and 49. Even so, Iraq’s Air Force was large but weak and its Navy was “virtually nonexistent.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

3. Saddam thought the United States gave him the okay to invade Kuwait.

President Bush’s Ambassador to Iraq was April Glaspie, who, in a meeting with the Iraqi dictator, stressed to him that the U.S. did not want a trade war with Iraq. Saddam reiterated his commitment to peace in the region, so long as the Kuwaitis agree to meet OPEC production standards. Ambassador Glaspie told Saddam:

“But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late 1960s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction.”

When nothing changed in Kuwait and Egyptian diplomacy failed, Saddam began the invasion. Saddam, frequently emphasizing a desire for U.S. friendship, was surprised to find his actions condemned by President Bush. When asked later why she said that to Saddam, Glaspie said: “We had no idea he would go that far.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

4. Saddam thought Arab states would be okay with Iraq annexing Kuwait.

The invasion happened during the first Palestinian Intifada, which enjoyed wide Arab support. As Palestinians tried to shake off Israeli occupation, Saddam tried to appeal to pan-Arab nationalism by being the strongman who would stand up to the West and Israel. He reasoned that the British illegally cut Kuwait out of greater Iraq in the 19th century and he was trying to right a Western wrong. The Arab League was not okay with this.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak tried to negotiate a treaty to avert a war, but Saddam walked out after two hours. His forces invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Two-thirds of the Arab League states joined the UN in a resolution condemning the invasion as King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and Kuwaiti leaders asked NATO for help. Iraq annexed Kuwait as its 19th province with Ali Hassan al-Majid (aka “Chemical Ali) as governor.

5. Iraq rolled over Kuwait in two days.

Unlike the Iran-Iraq War (which went on for eight years), Iraq’s Elite Republican Guard (with names which sound like they were made up by an American teenager, like the 1st Hammurabi Armored Division or the 4th Nebuchadnezzar Motorized Infantry Division) swiftly defeated Kuwaiti forces, reaching Kuwait City in an hour.

They either overran Kuwaitis on the ground or forced them (like 80% of the Kuwaiti Air Force) into neighboring Saudi Arabia or the island of Bahrain. Kuwait had not mobilized for war despite Saddam’s constant threats.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A Kuwaiti M-84 main battle tank in Operation Desert Shield. (Wikimedia Commons)

Whenever possible, Kuwaitis resisted fiercely, even establishing an underground resistance movement, though it was largely untrained and incapable. In trying to capture Kuwait’s Emir, Iraqis assaulted Dasman Palace even though the Emir had already left. The Emir’s brother was killed after leading a 12-hour defense of the palace, outnumbered by an entire Iraqi division. His body was placed in front of a tank and run over.

6. Iraq occupied Kuwait between August 1990 and January 1991 — and it was brutal.

In that time, the Iraqi forces committed at least sixteen crimes against the Laws of Armed Conflict as outlined in the Geneva and Hague Conventions. Those crimes include running of at least two dozen torture sites in Kuwait City alone, torturing civilians to the point of death and disfigurement. Kuwaiti women were taken hostage and raped repeatedly. Iraqi occupation forces killed at least 1,082 Kuwaiti civilian noncombatants, including women, children, and the mentally handicapped. Then they rigged the oil wells to explode if they were attacked.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
UN Photo

Coalition Forces didn’t begin to expel Iraqis from Kuwait until January 1991, after the UN-mandated January 15th withdrawal deadline. Once Coalition forces and Iraqi forces met in the field, the Iraqis committed more war crimes. Among them, they pretended to surrender to U.S. Marines, then opened fire on them. Iraqis would disguise themselves as civilians and then ambush Coalition forces. Iraqi troops also tortured prisoners of war.

7. The U.S. could not have prevented Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia.

Shortly after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the UN passed resolutions condemning it, calling for the removal of Iraqi troops, and the nullification of Iraq’s annexation. Desert Shield began as the U.S. and the Coalition took six months building up air and naval forces in the region, enforcing the UN blockade of Iraq and U.S.-imposed sanctions. Until the buildup, however, Iraqi forces would have easily overwhelmed the Saudi defenses. Why Saddam didn’t immediately press his advantage is unknown.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
These guys may have had something to do with it. (U.S. Army photo)

Iraqi forces invaded Saudi Arabia at the January 1991 Battle of Khafji, capturing the city on the night of 29 January. By this time, however, it was far too late. Coalition forces had more than enough troops and hardware to repel the Iraqis. The attacks were fought off by U.S. Marines, Army Rangers, and Coalition aircraft and the city was soon recaptured by Saudi and Qatari forces, backed by U.S. airpower.

8. The Coalition built fake bases and units to dupe Iraqis into defending the wrong area.

The coalition used deception cells to create the impression that they were going to attack near the Kuwaiti “boot heel,” as opposed to the strategy actually implemented. The Army set up FOB Weasel near the opposite end of the Kuwaiti border, which was a network of fake camps manned only by several dozen soldiers. With computer-controlled radios, messages were passed between fictitious headquarters sections. Smoke generators and loudspeakers playing prerecorded tank and truck noises were used, along with inflatable Humvees and helicopters.

9. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf commanded a force larger and more complex than the D-Day invasion in WWII  and didn’t want a ground war.

“Stormin’ Norman,” as he came to be known, was a highly-decorated and respected Vietnam War veteran. He commanded a Coalition of 670,000 personnel from 28 countries, along with combined Naval and Air Forces, with 425,000 troops from the United States. According to his memoirs, he implemented his operational plan to defend Saudi Arabia and expel Iraq from Kuwait using Gen. Colin Powell’s (then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) doctrine of overwhelming force and incorporated Montgomery’s desert armor tactics from the second battle of El-Alamein in World War II, all in an effort to minimize casualties on both sides.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
With Gen. Colin Powell in Saudi Arabia (U.S. Army Photo)

 

“I hate war. Absolutely, I hate war,” he once said. “When the war started, we were hoping that they’d come to their senses and stop right then,” he said. “After 38 days, we got to a point where we could launch the ground war and, by that time, they hadn’t withdrawn.” Once begun, the ground war lasted only 100 hours before Iraq capitulated.

10. Desert Storm was a relatively cheap war.

Though the U.S. was the primary supplier, 39 countries contributed men and/or materiel to the Coalition in some significant way. Yeah, that’s Afghanistan in blue down there.

 

The U.S. Department of Defense has estimated the cost of the Gulf War at $61 billion. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states covered $36 billion while Germany and Japan covered $16 billion. Still, as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (0.3%), Desert Storm was the cheapest war fought in U.S. history. The greater cost of the war to the region was likely more than $676 billion.

11. Saddam Hussein declared a jihad against the U.S.-led coalition.

Saddam began to convey a more Islamic, religious appearance in Iraqi media, showing himself praying at mosques and supporting the Palestinian cause, hoping to reframe the war as a struggle against Western imperialism and Israeli scheming.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

The plan didn’t work. Sheik Abdul-Aziz Bin Baz, the Saudis’ leading interpreter of Islamic law, called Saddam Hussein the “enemy of God.”

12. Desert Storm helped secure a Bill Clinton presidency.

The Iraqi invasion already caused the price of oil to more than double, which led to a worldwide recession in the 1990s and the defeat of George H.W. Bush at the hands of Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election, despite being a popular, successful wartime President. Bill Clinton’s election team famously coined the term “It’s the economy, stupid” as their campaign mantra.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Also, mean sax solos became policy.

 

13. Iraq used oil as a weapon.

Smoke plumes from burning oil fields were intended to disrupt coalition aircraft and the heat from fires was expected to slow the advance of coalition troops. Iraqi combat engineers dug trenches filled with oil and ignited them to slow Coalition advances and spilled oil into the Persian Gulf in an effort to keep U.S. Marines from making an amphibious landing. Estimates of Iraqi oil spilled into the Gulf range from 4 to 11 million barrels, several time the size of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and was never cleaned up on Saudi Arabian shores. The 610 oil fires set by Iraq destroyed 85% of Kuwaiti oil wells. The total amount of oil burned is an estimated 1 billion barrels, worth $2.8 billion.

The oil fires took down a Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) C-130, killing 92 Senegalese soldiers and the 6 Saudi crew members. They allowed Iraqi Republican Guard units to get the jump on Americans at the Battle of Phase Line Bullet, one of the few Iraqi victories of the war.

14. Israel had the third largest casualty count, despite not being in the war.

Iraq fired Scud missiles at Israel in an attempt to draw the country into the conflict, a move that would force many Arab states in the Coalition to choose between withdrawing or fighting alongside Israel, neither of which were appealing to the Arabs. In response, the U.S. and Netherlands deployed Patriot Missile Battalions to Israel and Turkey to keep Israel from retaliating (The Gulf War marked the first mid-air missile-to-missile interception).

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Israelis  in their home in Tel Aviv. Many feared Iraqi chemical attacks would come with the Scuds.

Seventy-four Israelis died as Iraq fired Scud missiles toward Tel Aviv. Many hit the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Ramat Gan which was, oddly enough, a neighborhood of Iraqi expatriates. Strangely, only three Israelis died from the missiles — the rest died of heart attacks or similar ailments as a result of the bombing. Iraq launched some 88 Scud missiles toward Israel and Saudi Arabia over the course of the war.

15. The Air War was one of the most massive, effective air campaigns ever.

The Iraqi Air Force was almost completely annihilated, and was never fully effective. The Coalition massed more than 3,000 airplanes leading up to the January 15th withdrawal deadline. It was the largest airlift effort in history, surpassing even the Berlin Airlift. The U.S. Air Force launched more than 100,000 sorties (air missions) starting on Jan. 17th, 1991 and dropped more than 88,500 tons of bombs.

Iraqis lost 38 MiGs to Coalition air forces, while the rest fled to Iran rather than be shot down. There they were captured and held for years and Iran kept the planes. Coalition laser-guided “smart bombs” still caused hundreds of civilian casualties, even hitting a civilian air raid shelter, then hitting the civilian al-Fallujah neighborhood in Baghdad. When relatives and first responders rushed to the area in the wake of the bombing, they were bombed too.

16. One American pilot was believed missing in action for 18 years after the war.

Coalition forces captured some 70,000 Iraqis throughout the course of the war. At the end of the war Iraq was known to have held a total of 26 allied prisoners: 22 Americans, two Britons, an Italian and a Kuwaiti. Iraq also is believed to have abducted 30-40,000 Kuwaiti civilians. According to Marine Col. Jim Acree, the Iraqis followed the Geneva Convention “for all of 20 minutes.” American POWs were tortured, beaten, and starved. Many of these POWs forcefully appeared in Iraqi Propaganda.

For years afterward, U.S. Navy Lt. Col. Scott Speicher remained missing in action after his FA-18 Hornet was shot down over Iraq, and his flight suit was found near the crash site. Speicher’s remains were found in 2009, and returned home.

“Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, in a statement at the time. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Captain Speicher and his family for the sacrifice they have made for our nation and the example of strength they have set for all of us.”

17. President Bush didn’t press on to Baghdad to abide by the UN Mandate.

President Bush only wanted to do what the UN Security Council authorized. Coalition forces expelled the Iraqi Army from Kuwait by February 27th and President Bush halted all offensive operations. This would be controversial until his son George W. Bush’s presidency, when we learned to respect our elders.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(photo from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library)

“Had we taken all of Iraq,” Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf wrote in his memoirs, “we would have been like a dinosaur in the tar pit — we would still be there, and we, not the United Nations, would be bearing the costs of that occupation.” In 2007, Colin Powell remarked, “In recent months, nobody’s been asking me about why we didn’t go to Baghdad. Pretty good idea now why Baghdad should always be looked at with some reservations.”

18. More Americans died from HIV infection in 1991 than in Operation Desert Storm.

An estimated 100,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed in the conflict, while the United States had only 383 fatalities in the region. 1991 was the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as infection rates increased 15.3% over the previous year. HIV/AIDS was the ninth highest cause of death in the U.S. that year, killing 29,850 Americans. The number of infected and dead from HIV/AIDS would double by 1993.

19. The First Gulf War brought about the rise of cable news, and thus, cable television.

Media Coverage was very restricted as Coalition commanders feared the horrors of war would lead to another Vietnam syndrome, where the imagery turns the public against war in general. The Pentagon gave regular briefings but few journalists were allowed to visit the front. At the same time, satellite technology allowed for live video of missiles firing off of aircraft carriers and airstrikes on Iraqi targets while night vision camera technology gave the war a futuristic, almost video game like feel. So much so, it came to be dubbed “The Nintendo War.”

Oil covered birds, Coalition war briefings, videos of rockets being shot down chimneys and immediate responses from Kuwaiti and Saudi civilians all made for great television imagery. CNN’s live reporting from a hotel in downtown Baghdad became the main driver of its viewership, as it was the only network broadcasting the war 24 hours a day. Since CNN was only available through cable, subscriptions spiked and pay TV became a permanent facet of American life, the first step in ending the dominance of the “Big Three” networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
So yes, Saddam Hussein is kind of responsible for Don Lemon

20. The U.S. encouraged uprisings against Saddam’s regime.

President Bush gave speeches hinting the U.S. would support factions fighting against the Iraqi Ba’athist regime. A Shia rebellion began in Southern Iraq in 1991, but was not supported militarily by the U.S. or Coalition forces — even allowing pro-regime helicopters to brutally suppress the rebellion — despite the Southern No-Fly Zone. In the North, Kurdish fighters staged an uprising of their own, but since no U.S. help was forthcoming, Iraqi generals stayed loyal and massacred the Kurds.

21. Saddam Hussein publicly apologized for the Invasion of Kuwait

Sort of. The Iraqi information minister, Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf (who became known as “Comical Ali” or “Baghdad Bob” during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq), who also announced in 2003 that there were no U.S. troops in Baghdad as U.S. troops were rapidly capturing most of the city, read a statement:

“We apologize for what happened to you in the past,” he read for the Iraqi dictator. “The devoted and the holy warriors in Kuwait met with Iraqi counterparts” under their common creator against the “infidel armies” of “London, Washington and the Zionist entity.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

If we’ve learned anything, it’s to be careful about who you call a “wimp.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

NOW: 17 Wild Facts About the Vietnam War

OR: 15 Unforgettable Photos from Operation Desert Storm

Articles

The 12 Funniest Military Memes This Week

It’s time for our meme round up, but first a little disclaimer. This week we did things a little different. We trolled Ranger Up‘s Facebook page to bring you our favorite Ranger Up memes. But there’s more, we also pulled meme replies from their fans. Here’s what we got:


As it turns out, no one is safe on Ranger Up’s Facebook page, not even the Navy SEALs.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Whatever happen to Delta Force anyways? They need to hire a new PR firm.

Really, this is how it is.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Don’t worry Delta Force, patience is a virtue.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Or you could take a page from the E-4 Mafia and use your time like this …

21 facts about the First Gulf War

The E-4 Mafia can get very creative.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

For some, this is the most action they’ll get.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

This is what happens when things get real.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

A move like this qualifies you as the ultimate blue falcon.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

No one likes a blue falcon.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

How soldiers feel when they get a hooah.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Ranger Up is our reference for Air Force jokes. Here’s one of our favorites.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Sometimes, when Ranger Up starts their meme wars, they let others fire first. Sometimes.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

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AND: The 18 Military Facebook Pages You Should Be Following

Lists

The 12 newest aircraft carriers in the world

The earliest aircraft carriers in history looked nothing like those of today.


They were known as “seaplane tenders” because they could only carry and support seaplanes.

These ships, like France’s Foudre and Britain’s HMS Ark Royal, didn’t even have large, flat decks because seaplanes could only take off from the surface of the ocean after being placed on the water.

Over a century later, almost everything has changed. Affectionately nicknamed “flattops,” aircraft carriers have become one of the most important weapons in the arsenals of navies around the world.

Also read: These really smart people say bigger is better when it comes to building aircraft carriers

There are currently 20 aircraft carriers in service with nine different countries around the world today. Five of those countries are currently building new aircraft carriers, which are expected to take to the seas in the next few decades.

The US, UK, China, India, and Italy are all either in the process of building new flattops or are in the final stages of planning. Aircraft carriers that support fixed-wing, smaller helicopters are being built and may be upgraded to carry aircraft, like the F-35B, which has vertical take-off and landing capabilities.

See the newest aircraft carriers here:

1. USS Gerald R. Ford

21 facts about the First Gulf War
An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 approaches the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) for an arrested landing, July 28, 2017. (US Navy)

The USS Gerald R. Ford was laid down in November 2009, completed in October 2013, and commissioned in July 2017. It is the lead ship of its class and is planned to be the first of 10 new aircraft carriers.

The ship has a number of new technologies, like the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, which is intended to replace the steam-powered launch system on current aircraft carriers.

With a length of 1,106 feet, Ford is expected to carry over 75 individual aircraft, with most of them planned to be F-35 variants. However, due to technical and delivery issues, Ford will likely not see F-35s on her deck until late 2018 at the earliest.

Ford recently tested launching F/A-18F Super Hornets off of its deck. It is expected to be fully operational and integrated and into the US Navy by 2022.

2. USS John F. Kennedy

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A crane moves the lower stern into place on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia, June 22, 2017. (US Navy)

USS John F. Kennedy is the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier to be built for the US Navy. The ship was reportedly 50% structurally complete as of June 2017.

Kennedy is currently under construction at a Huntington Ingalls Industries facility in Newport News, Virginia. The carrier was originally supposed to be completed in 2018, but it ran into a number of problems during construction.

Most of the problems stem from cost issues relating to the Gerald R. Ford. Ford had a cost increase of 22%, topping $12.8 billion in 2008.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended delaying the commissioning of the ship in 2013. It is now expected to be commissioned in 2020.

3. USS Enterprise

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Artist’s impression of the future USS Enterprise.

USS Enterprise is the third Gerald R. Ford-class carrier currently being built. The first cut of steel was cut in a ceremony August 2017 by the ship’s sponsors, Olympians Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles.

Enterprise will the be the ninth vessel in the US Navy to have the name. The previous ship was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ever built and was decommissioned February 2018.

Like the Ford and the Kennedy, Enterprise expected to carry over 75 aircraft.

4. HMS Queen Elizabeth

21 facts about the First Gulf War
HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth Harbour on February 2, 2018. (Crown Copyright)

Commissioned in 2017, HMS Queen Elizabeth is the newest aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, and currently Britain’s only active one as well.

Queen Elizabeth is unique from other carriers in that she has two control towers, one for sea operations, and one for air operations.

With a deck that is 932 feet long, Queen Elizabeth is intended to have up to 40 aircraft, with the F-35 being the main fixed-wing jet for the ship. Other aircraft planned to be included are Chinook helicopters, Apache AH MK1 gunships, AW101 Merlin transport helicopters, and AW159 Wildcat anti-surface warfare helicopters.

Queen Elizabeth docked for the first time at an overseas port on February 2018, when it visited Gibraltar.

5. HMS Prince of Wales

21 facts about the First Gulf War
HMS Prince of Wales was officially named on Friday 8 September during a ceremony in Rosyth. The Naming Ceremony is a naval tradition dating back thousands of years and combines a celebration and a solemn blessing. (Aircraft Carrier Alliance)

HMS Prince of Wales is Britain’s second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier. It is currently under construction at the Rosyth Dockyard in Scotland and will be Britain’s second aircraft carrier when complete.

Prince of Wales was officially named at a ceremony September 2017, which was attended by the current Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Rothesay.

December 2017, Prince of Wales un-docked and was afloat for the first time. The carrier was moved to her fitting-out berth, where she will have all of her equipment and controls added on.

The carrier is structurally complete and is expected to start sea trials in 2019 and be officially commissioned in 2020.

6. Liaoning

21 facts about the First Gulf War
China’s carrier Liaoning.

Liaoning is the Peoples Liberation Army Navy’s first combat-capable aircraft carrier. China had bought other aircraft carriers before to use as casinos and museum ships, but it wasn’t until it purchased a half-built Soviet carrier in 1998 that China seriously started its carrier program.

Liaoning is 999 feet long and has an air wing of 26 Shenyang J-15 multi-role fighters, 12 Changhe Z-18 anti-submarine warfare/transport helicopters, and two Harbin Z-9 utility helicopters.

The carrier was commissioned in 2012, and although the Liaoning is a fully functional aircraft carrier, it is currently classified as a training ship, so as to help the Chinese Navy (PLAN) become familiar with aircraft carrier operations.

Related: These US aircraft carriers will be the first to launch unmanned tankers

7. Type 001A

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Type 001A aircraft carrier in Dalian, China, 2017.

The Type 001A is China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier. Initial construction started almost immediately after Liaoning was commissioned, and it has a number of improvements over its Soviet-built predecessor.

Most notably, the Type 001A has an overall length of 1,033 feet and is planned to carry 48 aircraft.

It is not known what the Type 001A will be named, but there was speculation that it will be named ‘Shandong.’ The carrier is currently being fitted out at the PLAN port in Dalian and is expected to be commissioned around 2020.

8. Type 002

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Aircraft Carrier Liaoning CV-16.

The Type 002 will be China’s second domestically-built aircraft carrier, and the third in its fleet. It has been under construction since 2015 and is reportedly a massive leap forward for China’s aircraft carrier ambitions.

The Type 002 will be nuclear powered, which will make China only the third nation in the world to have nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the first two being the US and France.

The carrier will also have electromagnetic (EMALS) catapults to launch aircraft from its deck, which is expected to be longer than the Liaoning.

The EMALS systems will allow the carrier to launch more than just J-15s, the only jet that can be launched on China’s other two carriers. In fact, China announced that it wants its future aircraft carriers to launch its J-31 or J-20 stealth jets.

China announced that it intends to speed the development of the unnamed Type 002, which is part of its plans to have a “blue-water navy” by 2025.

9. INS Vikramaditya

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo by Indian Navy)

INS Vikramaditya is currently India’s only aircraft carrier after India retired the INS Viraat in early 2017.

A heavily modified Kiev-class, it was originally built for the Soviet Navy in 1982 and served the Soviet Union under two names: Baku from 1987 to 1991, and Admiral Gorshkov from 1991 to 1996.

The carrier entered full service in the Indian Navy in 2013, after extensive modernization efforts.

Vikramaditya is 930 feet long and carries a total of 36 aircraft: 26 MiG-29K and 10 Kamov Ka-31 and Kamov Ka-28 helicopters. It is also the first ship in the Indian Navy to have an ATM on board.

1o. INS Vikrant

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Vikrant being moved for fitting out, June 10, 2015.

INS Vikrant is India’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier, and the first ship in the Indian Navy to be built completely using domestically-produced steel.

The carrier was ordered in 2004, and initial construction started in 2009. It is shorter than the Vikramaditya, with a total length of 860 feet. It will reportedly be able to carry 30 to 40 aircraft, mostly MiG-29Ks and helicopters.

The Vikrant has been the cause of a lot of headaches for India. It was delayed several times and has gone over budget, but is expected to finally start two years of sea trials by the end of 2018. It is planned to be commissioned in 2020.

More: These 4 islands could be America’s unsinkable aircraft carriers in the Pacific

11. Trieste

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A model of the Trieste at the 2016 Naval Defense Exhibition in Paris. (DefenseWebTV/YouTube)

Trieste will be Italy’s third aircraft carrier, after the Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Cavour. The Trieste is not a traditional aircraft carrier, but a Landing Helicopter Dock, more similar to the US Navy’s America-class amphibious assault ship.

Its total length is 803 feet, smaller than the America-class. It will hold 12 aircraft, probably AgustaWestland AW101s or NHIndustries NH90.

But the Italian Navy may put a small number of F-35Bs, the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the F-35, on the Trieste, which would make it a conventional aircraft carrier that can carry fixed-wing aircraft.

Italy currently has San Giorgio-class amphibious transport docks.

Trieste is expected to be launched in 2019, and commissioned in 2022.

12. ROKS Marado

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A US Navy SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopter flies by the Republic of Korea Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship Dokdo as it cruises through the East Sea, July 27, 2010. (US Navy)

Like the Trieste, South Korea’s ROKS Marado is an amphibious assault ship. Construction started April 2017 and it is expected to be launched just a year later, in April 2018.

Current plans are to have Morado commissioned by 2020, which will make it South Korea’s second Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships, behind ROKS Dokdo, which was commissioned in July of 2007.

At 653 feet, the Morado can currently carry 10 helicopters like the UH-1H, UH-60P or the Westland Super Lynx. However, like Italy, South Korea is debating putting F-35Bs on the ships as well.

popular

6 of the most ballsy military tactics

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


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

6. Flooding your own territory

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

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

5. Night raids

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Larson)

 

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

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

4. Submarine combat

 

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

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

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

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

3. “Vertical envelopment”

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Army Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

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

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

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

2. Assault through ambush

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A soldier fires blank rounds at a rotational training unit during an exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La., April 22, 2014. (Photo: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Klutts)

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

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

And the number 1 ballsiest move:

1. Ships ramming submarines

21 facts about the First Gulf War
USS Farragut (DDG 99) comes out of a high-speed turn. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

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

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

Lists

9 reasons you should have joined the Air Force instead

You had choices when you showed up at the recruiting offices at your local strip mall. If you didn’t pick USAF you missed out, and here are 9 reasons why:


1. We call each other by our first names and don’t get hung up on rank. (It helps us prepare for not working as a grocery store bagger when we separate.)

21 facts about the First Gulf War

2. Because Chuck Norris.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

3. The Air Force coined the term “counterspace operations” because it couldn’t be contained to just this planet.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

4. The Air Force has the best and the most expensive toys. This is why the Air Force budget is the largest. You’ve only seen the B-2 because we wanted you to see the B-2. The other ones are the //redacted//, the //redacted//, and best of all the //redacted//.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

5. The Air Force ages gracefully. (The SR-71 Blackbird is still the coolest thing ever made for the US military.)

21 facts about the First Gulf War

6. Iron Man and the War Machine are stationed at Nellis Air Force Base.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

7. The enlisted have the same or better operational survival rate than the officers.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

8. No service delivers more freedom in one serving.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

9. We have more female general officers than any other branch.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
That’s four more stars than you’ll ever have.

NOW: 6 tips for being the perfect wingman

OR: 79 cringeworthy technical errors in the movie ‘Top Gun’

Articles

Here Are The Best Military Photos Of The Week

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


An Arizona Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with 2-285th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Phoenix soars over a low layer of clouds during a flight to the Western Army Aviation Training site in Marana, Arizona.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Barbour)

Decommissioned Forrestal-class aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV 61) is towed away from Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton. The Ranger is being towed to Brownsville, Texas, for dismantling.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Frost)

Army Pfc. Ryein Weber assigned to Apache Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, qualifies with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon on Grezelka range at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher)

Two Marines from Silent Drill Platoon practice spinning their rifles through the air to each other.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Oscar L Olive IV)

Marines with Mobility Assault Company, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division stand behind a blast blanket as detonation cord ignites, blowing the door in and giving them a clear passage to breach the building during an urban breaching course, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Justin T. Updegraff)

Dragoons assigned to Bull Troop, 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment participated in a live-fire exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area located near Rose Barracks, Germany.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo by Sgt. William Tanner, 2nd Cav Regiment)

Crews from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod conduct helicopter operations with Station Provincetown to remain proficient.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Enrique Ferrer)

NASA astronauts U.S. Air Force Col. Terry Virts and U.S. Navy Capt. Barry “Butch” Wilmore successfully completed their tasks on their third spacewalk in eight days, installing 400 feet of cable and several antennas.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: NASA)

A U.S. Army paratrooper, assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), floats to the drop zone during the annual African-led training event Exercise Flintlock 2015 held in Mao, Chad.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Timothy Clegg)

U.S. Army paratroopers, assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, fire their M777 towed howitzer at high angle as part of Table VI Section Qualifications on Fort Bragg, N.C.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Army photo by Capt. Joe Bush)

U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 274, are exposed to M7 A3 riot control CS gas by aggressors during a field gas event conducted part of the Air Base Ground Defense (ABGD) Field Exercise held at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, N.C.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Orlando Perez)

Army Pfc. Aaron Hadley assigned to Apache Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, qualifies at night with the M240 machine gun on Grezelka range at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher)

A soldier assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, provides security during Decisive Action Rotation 15-05 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Richard W. Jones Jr.)

U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, Right Wing pilot Lt. Matt Suyderhoud flies in formation with the Diamond pilots over Naval Air Facility El Centro during a practice demonstration.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

NOW: 17 Signs That You Might Be A Military Aviator 

AND: 13 Signs You’re An Infantryman

Lists

Chris Kyle’s 10 most definitive American weapons of all time

Chris Kyle, formerly a Navy SEAL, was America’s top sniper of all time with 255 kills, displacing Adelbert Waldron, who racked up 109 kills with the 9th Infantry Division in the Vietnam War. He’s earned so much recognition that his autobiography, American Sniper, became a hit Hollywood blockbuster. But before his untimely death, he had finished a second book, in which he listed the ten firearms that helped define America’s history. Here are the picks he made for his book, American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms.


1. Kentucky Long Rifle

During the era of the American Revolution, the typical arm for an infantryman was a musket, like the famous Brown Bess. These smoothbore muskets had an effective range of anywhere from 50 to 100 yards. The Kentucky rifle doubled that range, easily. While its rate of fire was slower, British troops didn’t do so well when their officers were taken out early.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The Kentucky Rifle allowed American militia to engage the Redcoats at twice the distance of the effective range of the Brown Bess. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Antique Military Rifles)

2. Spencer Repeating Rifle

The muzzle-loaded musket gave way to the muzzle-loaded, rifled musket by the time of the Civil War. In 1860, though, Christopher Spencer developed a rifle that used a metallic cartridge. The Spencer Repeating Rifle held seven rounds. Only 100,000 of these rifles got to Union troops, but the rifle made a big difference at Gettysburg, where Union cavalry used it to great effect.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The Spencer Repeating Rifle provided a firepower advantage over the rifled musket. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Hmaag)

3. Colt Single-Action Army: ‘The Peacemaker’

As the old adage states, “God made all men – Sam Colt made ’em equal.” The Singe-Action Army was one of the first mass-produced revolvers to make use of the metallic cartridge. It provided cowboys with portable firepower for self-defense. It also was, sadly, used by outlaws, like Butch Cassidy.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The Colt Single-Action Army revolver gave cowboys, soldiers, and outlaws hand-held firepower. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Hmaag)

4. Winchester Model 1873

This rifle was, arguably, “the gun that won the West.” It was a reliable rifle, and the lever-action allowed its user to fire 14 rounds very quickly. It also was chambered for the same round used by the Colt Single-Action Army, which not only provided ease of logistics for a rancher but added more range and accuracy as well.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Theodore Roosevelt holding a Winchester rifle. The Winchester 1873 could fire the same round as the Colt Single-Action Army. (1885 photo by George Grantham Baine)

5. M1903 Springfield

This rifle replaced the “trapdoor” Springfield and Krag-Jorgenson rifles, giving American troops a rifle that used smokeless powder. It really came into its own with the arrival of the .30-06 Springfield cartridge, which added accuracy due to the advanced shaping of its bullet.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Marines with M1903 Springfield rifles, which they used to devastate German forces at Belleau Wood. (DOD photo)

6. Colt M1911

This pistol has been the icon of American GIs since World War I. It still hangs around today within some special operations units. Unlike most pistols of its time that used 9mm rounds (or weaker ones), its .45 ACP round could stop an enemy soldier cold.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

7. Thompson Submachine Gun

The gun that “made the Twenties roar” earned its reputation in the hands of Al Capone’s thugs. It packed the same .45 ACP punch as the M1911, but it had a bit more range. Over 1.5 million were made, and the gun’s firepower made it a favorite of the American GI.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A Marine of the 1st Marine Division draws a bead on a Japanese sniper with his Tommy gun as his companion ducks for cover. The division is working to take Wana Ridge before the town of Shuri. Okinawa, 1945. (USMC photo)

8. M1 Garand

While the United States Army adopted the M1903 to simply maintain parity with the rest of the world, the M1 Garand gave American infantryman an advantage. This time, it allowed rapid follow-up shots. This rifle was praised by many, including George S. Patton. Its one drawback, a “ping” sound that told people that it needed to be reloaded.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Two soldiers take time to clean their M1 Garand rifles on Bougainville. (US Army photo)

9. .38 Special Police Revolver

The .38 Special didn’t become a primary service weapon (it was passed out to pilots as part of their survival kit in some cases), but it was the first gun that was a standard-issued sidearm for police officers. While the revolver is not used often today, it has become an icon.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The .38 special revolver, like this Smith and Wesson Model 10, became a standard sidearm of police officers. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Cdcarpeti)

10. M16 Rifle

This rifle changed the way rifles were made. Prior to its introduction, rifles usually were made with wood and heavy steel, but the selective-fire M16 used plastics, composites, and aluminum. When it entered service, it came in two and a half pounds lighter than the M1 Garand but held almost four times as many rounds in a detachable magazine. The hotly-debated AR-15 bears a resemblance to the M16, but it is only capable of semi-automatic fire — civilian sales of the M16 have been strictly regulated since 1934.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The M16 was first introduced in 1956 and, since then, has served. The selective-fire rifle has been strictly regulated under laws dating from 1934. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Offspring 18 87)

Which guns do you think have helped define American history? Let us know in the comments.

popular

17 photos that show how great-grandpa got ready for WWI

Basic training sucks, but it follows a predictable pattern. A bunch of kids show up, someone shaves their heads, and they learn to shoot rifles.


But it turns out that training can be so, so much better than that. In World War I, it included mascots, tarantulas, and snowmen.

Check out these 18 photos to learn about what it was like to prepare for war 100 years ago:

1. If the old photos in the National Archives are any indication, almost no one made it to a training camp without a train ride.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
New York recruits heading to training write messages on the sides of their train. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

2. Inprocessing and uniform issue would look about the same as in the modern military. Everyone learns to wear the uniform properly and how to shave well enough to satisfy the cadre.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

3. Training camps were often tent cities or rushed construction, so pests and sanitation problems were constant.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A U.S. Marine at Marine Corps Training Activity San Juan, Cuba, shows off the tarantula he found. Tarantulas commonly crawled into the Marines’ boots at night. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
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4. Unsurprisingly, training camps included a lot of trench warfare. America was a late entrant to the war and knew the kind of combat it would face.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Soldiers make their way through training trenches in Camp Fuston at Fort Riley, Kansas. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

5. Somehow, even training units had mascots in the Great War. This small monkey was commonly fed from a bottle.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A World War I soldier plays with the unit mascot at Camp Wadsworth near Spartansburg, South Carolina. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

6. Seriously. Unit mascots were everywhere. One training company even boasted three mascots including a bear and a monkey.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A World War I soldier lets the regimental mascot climb on him. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

7. Troops in camp built a snowman of the German kaiser in New York.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Troops at Camp Upton on Long Island, New York, pose with their snowman of the kaiser. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

8. A lot of things were named for the enemy in the camps, including these bayonet targets.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

9. This grave is for another dummy named kaiser. He was interred after the unit dug trenches in training.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Soldiers in a training camp at Plattsburg, New York, show off the grave they created for a dummy of the German kaiser during training on trench construction. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

10. World War I saw a deluge of new technologies that affected warfare. These shavers were preparing for a class in aerial photography.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Soldiers training at the U.S. Army School of Aerial Photography in New York shave before their class. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

11. Uniform maintenance was often up to the individual soldier, so learning to mend shirts was as important as learning to shoot photos from planes.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Soldiers from the 56th Infantry Regiment mend their own clothes at Camp McArthur near Waco, Texas. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

12. Local organizations showed their support for the troops through donations and morale events.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Soldiers training at Camp Lewis, Washington, grab apples from the Seattle Auto-Mobile Club of Seattle. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

13. Some were better than others. Free apples are fine, but free tobacco is divine.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A thirty-car train carrying 11 million sacks of tobacco leaves Durham, North Carolina, en route to France where it will be rationed to troops. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

14. Nothing is better than payday, even if the pay is a couple of dollars.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Troops are paid at Camp Devens, Massachusetts. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

15. Someone get these men some smart phones or something. Three-person newspaper reading is not suitable entertainment for our troops.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A father, son, and uncle share a newspaper on a visitor’s day during training camp. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

16. Once the troops were properly trained, they were shipped off to England and France. Their bags, on the other hand, were shipped home.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Soldiers finished with stateside training pose next to the large pile of luggage destined for their homes as they ship overseas. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

17. Again, trains everywhere back then. Everywhere.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Engineers ready to ship out write motivational messages on the side of their train car just before they leave the Atlanta, Georgia, area for France. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

Lists

5 ethical ways troops can avoid working on the weekend

Moments of levity are a must. It’s those little moments of relaxation that give our nation’s war fighters the rest they need operate at peak efficiency. That, and everyone would rather spend their downtime drunk than sitting at battalion staff duty on their day off.


Nobody wants to get a call informing them that their weekend plans have officially gone to sh*t. We know you don’t want to do it, but we’re going to advise against going AWOL, getting locked up, ending up in the hospital, or flat-out telling your superior to f*ck off. There are a few ethical ways to wiggle your way back into doing nothing productive until Monday.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

“Nope… I don’t see that ’09 Mustang bought at 39% interest rate… he must be gone already.”

(Photo by Sgt. Melissa Bright)

Park somewhere else

Form habits. Let everyone know your routine.

If you park your car in the exact same place, day in and day out, pretty soon, that’ll become the go-to indicator of your presence. If, one day, you happen to park your car in the other parking lot, they’ll take a quick glance and assume you’re not there. Now just be sure to keep your phone on silent and never answer your door.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

“I’m so sorry, I’d love to help, but I got this thing. Yes. That totally legit thing.”

(Photo by Airmen 1st Class Dana Cable)

Be busy

Someone has pull staff duty or charge of quarters (CQ). The goal here isn’t to screw over the unit, it’s to hot potato that responsibility onto someone else.

If you let your superior know that you’ve got responsibilities that you can’t or “can’t” wiggle out of, like “helping someone in your unit move,” they’ll probably pick that other guy.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Bonus points if you tell them you’ll be somewhere without service and you just turn your phone off.

(Photo by Airmen 1st Class Frank Rohrig)

Be out of town

Let everyone know you’ve got big plans. Be obnoxious about it. Everyone from the lowest private to the battalion commander should know that your ass has tickets to whatever.

If you plan on having fun, whoever is coming to ruin your weekend should know well in advance that you’re not going to be anywhere near.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

If they do take the time to go check the paperwork and you were bullshitting, then plausible deniability is your only way out…

(Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Morales)

Put in a 4-day pass (or say you did)

Having a piece of paperwork that says the commander has approved you to do nothing all weekend is great. Take a photo of it with your phone and send it along any time someone asks you what you’re doing.

Or, if the NCO is out on the prowl, trying to find some lower-enlisted to pull CQ and you feel like your poker face is good enough, go ahead and say your 4-day pass is up at battalion and hope they don’t call your bluff.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Just keep one by the door, if you have to.

(Photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

Be drunk or “drunk”

If there’s any tried-and-true method that every member of the E-4 Mafia and LCpl Underground know too well, it’s this one: Never answer your door without a bottle of beer in your hands.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve actually been drinking; it doesn’t matter if it’s 0900. There’s no way you can go to some BS duty if you might be intoxicated. Always keep that in mind.

Lists

6 of the best Army recruiting videos ranked

Army recruiters love to talk a good game to get young adults to sign military contracts, but some people need more than just a couple motivating words to get them to join.


For the young prospects out there that need a visual, the Army filmed inspiring, yet powerful commercials to better entice you.

We’ve all seen the posters of soldiers standing tall and, yes, the idea of becoming a Green Beret is pretty badass, but it’s the epic commercials that often put the final touches on someone’s ultimate decision to make the commitment.

Related: 6 ‘Toys for Tots’ commercials we swear didn’t make us cry

So, check out six of the best Army recruiting commercials, ranked based on how freaking motivating they are.

6. “They lead.”

From our nation’s founding fathers to the heroes that lead the way in World Wars, the U.S. Army takes absolute pride in the amazing officers that have taken the title of “soldier” to another level.

(USArmyMediaCenter | YouTube)

5. “Amphibious assault”

When we think about modern amphibious warfare, we tend to think about Navy SEALs, but the Army wants you to know that they can land on a beachhead just as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHndb4Wss54
(GoArmy.com | YouTube)

4. “I became a soldier.”

Every person who joins the Army does so for their own reasons. We do it to serve and be a part of an elite team that will go above and beyond to fulfill the mission.

(USA Military Archives | YouTube)

3. “I will never.”

As Americans, we pride ourselves on our ability to work through near-impossible tasks and come out on top. As a soldier, you’ll learn about your inner-strength in ways you never knew existed.

(USArmyMediaCenter | YouTube)

2. “The narrative.”

Our nation’s foundation wouldn’t have been possible without the outstanding men and women that make up the U.S. Army.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovYhA26jK4Q
(GoArmy.com | YouTube)

Also Read: 8 of the top federal agencies ranked by Americans

1. Special Forces recruitment video

Are you ready to be on the ultimate team? Earning the title of Green Beret comes with massive a sense of pride, responsibilities, and the ideology that quitting is never an option.

(MH6M | YouTube)

Bonus: Family Guy’s version

Experiences may vary. Enjoy!

(Anthony Elliott | YouTube)
Lists

5 worst details for a deployed enlisted to get stuck on

What the folks back home think troops do while deployed is just a fraction of what actually happens downrange. In many ways, the average Joe is doing the same busy work that they’d be doing back stateside — this time, with the added “benefit” of doing it in full battle rattle with a weapon slung across their back.


Sometimes, Private Snuffy deserves to be put on the detail, but most times, he probably doesn’t. The fact of the matter is that things just need to get done. Having to sweep the motor pool back in the States may suck, but sweeping the motor pool while you’re deployed in the middle of the desert is futile. Details suck, but these tasks particularly suck when you’re deployed.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Your tax dollars at work! (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht)

 

1. Sandbag Building

Even with the concertina wire, Hecso barriers, and giant-ass concrete walls, the military still seems to think that the only thing separating troops from certain death is having the Joes fill sandbags and use them to haphazardly barricade everything.

This isn’t to discredit the 30lbs of sand stuffed into an acrylic or burlap bag — they probably work. The problem is that they’re a pain in the friggin’ ass to fill, carry, and painstakingly stack.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
I mean, unless you’re this Airman… (Image via Reddit)

 

2. Guard Duty

At first, it sounds like fun. This is what you signed up for and you’re going to do your part to save freedom, one field of fire at a time. Then, the heart-crushing reality sets in. You’re stuck in the same guard tower for 12 hours with someone who smells like they haven’t showered in 12 days. There you are, just watching sand. Occasionally, you get lucky and there’s a farmer out in the distance or a camel herder to break the monotony.

On the bright side, the cultural barrier between you and the ANA (Afghan National Army) guy you’re stuck with can lead to some hilarious conversations.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War

3. TOC/COC Duty

In a near tie with guard duty, being in the command center for 12 hours blows just a little bit worse. In the guard tower, you have some sort of autonomy. In the TOC, you’re stuck with higher-ups breathing down your neck.

To add insult to injury if you’re a grunt, you’re listening to all of your buddies do the real sh*t while you’re stuck on the bench. You’re just listening to them do all the things you enlisted for while you’re biting your lip. If you’re a POG, I guess watching the same AFN commercial 96 times over sucks, too.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Yep. Just holding the hand mic for 12 hours, pretending you’re awake. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chris Willis)

 

4. Connex Cleaning

Replacing containers, prepping for redeployment back stateside, grabbing that one thing that your Lieutenant swore was in there — whatever the reason, anything to do with the pain-in-the-ass that is heavy lifting inside a Connex that’s been baking in 110 degree heat is just unbearable.

No matter what the lieutenant was looking for, it’s not there. It’s never going to stay clean. Everything inside is going to get shuffled around, regardless of how much effort you put into it.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Nope. Nope. All of my f*cking nope. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Michael K. Selvage, 10th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs NCO)

 

5. Burn Pit

Whether you’re opting for the quick and easy solution to getting rid of classified intel, destroying old gear left behind, or burning human waste, nothing about burn pit duty is enjoyable.

Big military said that they’ve done away with burn pits and that everything is peachy keen now — too bad that’s not even close to true. Whether being exposed to the pits by KBR facilities or command directed, anything dealing with burn pits is a serious concern for your health. No matter how hard it gets denied in court, veterans are still dying from the “quick and easy way.”

If you believe you might have been affected by burn pits, register with the VA here. It’s a very serious health concern and the more veterans that stand up, the more seriously the issue will be taken.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The CDC says five cigarettes is a health concern, but 12 months of breathing in literal burning sh*t is just fine. This needs to end. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade)

Articles

Here’s what it’s like to fly a close air support mission against Islamic State militants

While the Pentagon has been very adamant with claims that none of the 4,000+ American troops in Iraq are involved in “combat,” American jets have been flying attack sorties against Islamic State (IS) militants. But what exactly goes into getting bombs on the bad guys? Here’s what a day in the life of an aircraft carrier-based crew is like:


The mission cycle begins with CENTCOM’s Joint Task Force sending the tasking order to the intelligence center on the aircraft carrier. From there, the air wing operations cell assigns sorties to the appropriate squadrons, and those squadrons in turn assign aircrews to fly the sorties. At that point aircrews get to work with intel officers and start planning every detail of the sortie.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Mission planning in CVIC aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Once the long hours of mission planning are done, crews attempt a few hours of sleep. (The regs call for 8 hours of sleep before a hop, but that seldom happens.)

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: Flikr)

After quick showers and putting on “zoom bags” (flight suits), aviators hit the chow line before the mission brief.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: Walter Koening)

All the crews involved with the mission gather for the “mass gaggle” brief, usually two and a half hours before launch time. After that elements break off for more detailed mission discussions.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Meanwhile, on the flight deck maintainers fix gripes and make sure jets are FMC — “fully mission capable.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

At the same time ordnance crews strap bombs onto jets according to the load plan published by Strike Operations.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Ordies (in red jerseys) load 500-pounders onto Super Hornets aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Forty-five minutes before launch, crews head to the paraloft and put on their flight gear — G-suits, survival vests, and helmets. They also strap on a 9mm pistol in case they go down in enemy territory.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Aviators walk to the flight deck and conduct a thorough preflight of their jets, including verifying that their loadouts are correct.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Super Hornet pilot checks a GBU-12 – a laser-guided 500-pounder. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Once satisfied that the jet is ready, crews climb in and wait for the Air Boss in the tower to give them the signal to start ’em up.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Super Hornet weapons system operator climbs into the rear cockpit of an F/A-18F Super Hornet. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

While lining up with the catapult for launch, pilots verify that the weight board is accurate.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Green shirt holds up weight board showing a Super Hornet pilot that the catapult will be set for a 43,000 pound launch. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

With the throttles pushed to full power and the controls cycled to make sure they’re moving properly, the pilot salutes the cat officer. The cat officer touches the deck, signaling the operator in the catwalk to fire the catapult.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Zero to 160 MPH in 2.2 seconds. Airborne! (Airplanes launching on Cats 1 and 2 turn right; those on Cats 3 and 4 turn left.)

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

Overhead the carrier, Super Hornets top off their gas from another Super Hornet configured as a tanker.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
F/A-18F passes gas to an F/A-18E. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Wingmen join flight leads and the strike elements ingress “feet dry” over hostile territory.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Air Force)

The flight hits the tanker again, this time an Air Force KC-135.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Super Hornet tanking from KC-135 (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

At that point the mission lead checks in with “Big Eye” — the AWACS — to get an updated threat status and any other late-breaking info that might be relevant.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Air Force)

E/F-18 Growlers — electronic warfare versions of the Super Hornet — are part of the strike package in the event of any pop-up surface-to-air missile threats.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Growler firing flares. (Photo: Boeing)

The AWACS hands the flight off to the forward air controller in company with Iraqi forces. The FAC gives the aviators a “nine-line brief” that lays out the details of the target and any threats surrounding it and the proximity of friendlies.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
USMC Forward Air Control team in Iraq. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

The enemy has no idea what’s about to happen . . .

21 facts about the First Gulf War
ISIS trucks driving around Mosul, Iraq. (Photo: ISIS sources on the web)

Op away!

21 facts about the First Gulf War
F/A-18C releasing a laser-guided bomb. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Target in the cross-hairs of the Super Hornet’s forward looking infrared pod.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(FLIR screen capture: U.S. Navy)

*Boom!*

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(FLIR screen capture: U.S. Navy)

 

Ground view . . .

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Army)

Mission complete, the jets head back “feet wet,” stopping at the tanker once again along the way.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Two Super Hornets tanking from a KC-10. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Jets hold over the carrier until it’s time to come into the break and enter the landing pattern. The aircraft from the event attempt to hit the arresting wires every 45 seconds or so.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
F/A-18F about to touch down. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Once the planes are shut down on the flight deck, aircrews head straight to CVIC with their FLIR tapes for battle damage assessment or “BDA.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

At that point everybody waits for the word to start the process all over again . . .

Lists

7 thoughts a fighter pilot has during a dogfight

Requirements officers at the Pentagon and defense companies like to tout the “beyond visual range” capabilities of modern aircraft. On paper, these days a pilot could earn ace status and never see his or her opponents.


However, air wars aren’t fought on paper, and history has shown that in spite of all the sensors and early warning platforms chances are very high that a bad guy or two will make it into the visual arena. At that point it’s down to a good old-fashioned dogfight, mano-a-mano.

Here are the main thoughts that go through a fighter pilot’s mind in that dynamic environment:

1. “What kind of bandit am I fighting?”

This is where homework comes in. A fighter pilot needs to be able to recognize what kind of airplane he’s up against at the longest possible range and any aspect, and he needs to know what the capabilities of that airplane are including aerodynamic characteristics and weapons performance. This kind of recognition determines what kind of fight a pilot should attempt.

2. “What’s my weapons loadout?”

Fighter pilots have a saying:  “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” So it’s best to bring a gun to a knife fight . . . or at least bring a long, sharp knife to a knife fight. A pilot has to know what weapons he has on the jet at all times and be ready to select the right one and pull the trigger in an instant. Few things as wasteful as committing a missile outside of the acceptable envelope, especially in a multi-bandit environment.

3. “Where’s my wingman?”

Not only does a pilot need to keep track of where the bad guys are around him, he also needs to know where his wingman is. In the chaotic world of high-G this demands a lot of physical exertion and very clear, concise comms over the radio.

4. “What’s my airspeed?”

Depending on the type of fight, faster isn’t always better. If a pilot wants to out-turn a bandit he needs to have the jet flying at the optimum airspeed to carve max angles, not zorching around supersonic.

5. “What’s my altitude?”

Fighter pilots have another saying: “You can only tie the record for low flight.” True ‘dat! So it’s smart for a pilot to keep the scan going to stay aware of how high above the ground he is. Plus, different jets have different performance characteristics at high and low altitudes, so a pilot might want to take the fight higher or lower depending on what kind of airplane he’s up against.

6. “What’s my fuel state?”

Like flying into the ground, flaming out solves a bandit’s problem for him. It’s easy for a fighter pilot to get tangled up in the phone booth in max burner and drive himself way below his fuel ladder. “Tanker posit!”

7. “Which way is home?”

Killing all the bandits makes this problem less stressful, but short of that, a savvy fighter pilot needs to know the correct direction to bug out when the opportunity presents itself. Otherwise he’s going to have to fight his way back through the mess he just worked hard to get out of, and that’s a good way to get killed.

 

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