7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand - We Are The Mighty
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7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

Troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere face plenty of hardships, from the threat of enemy fire to spending time far away from their loved ones.


While these can be serious problems for troops in harm’s way, there are also some other “first-world problems” that some of today’s military members are dealing with that their forefathers didn’t have time for. The keyword here is “some.”

Plenty of Post-9/11 troops have it rough on deployment and serve under extremely spartan conditions, while others live on sprawling bases with plenty of amenities. In Iraq and Afghanistan, experiences may vary. Your grandfather wasn’t complaining about the WiFi going down before he stormed the beach at Guadalcanal. Just sayin’.

If you find yourself complaining about the things below while overseas, you should stop, read the book “With the Old Breed,” then hang your head in shame. [Editor’s note: If you haven’t figured it out by now, this is lighthearted ribbing, all in good fun, and not to be taken too seriously.]

1. “The port-a-johns are too far away from my tent.”

Most forward operating bases (FOBs) in Iraq and Afghanistan are outfitted with plenty of general-purpose tents, Hesco barriers, and portable toilets. Unlike your old man having to dig a slit trench in Vietnam, you just have to walk to an outhouse that gets cleaned out every day.

The struggle is real.

2. “The guy at the DFAC won’t give me seconds.”

In the Post-9/11 era of war-fighting, the U.S. tried to bring all the creature comforts of home to Iraq and Afghanistan, including your base chow hall. Except this one is not just any chow hall. It’s a dining facility with a salad bar, and steak and lobster on Fridays.

World War II veterans want to throw their C-rations at your face right now.

3. “The bazaar doesn’t have the latest season of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ that I wanted.”

Plenty of FOBs have bazaars where locals sell everything from cheap TVs, rugs, and bootleg DVDs. Locals come on base and sell their wares and troops happily oblige, but not all is well in Afghan-land. You just got finished watching the last of your “Grey’s Anatomy” episodes and if the shopkeeper doesn’t have the latest, you’re going to be forced to watch some movie you’ve already watched ten times this deployment.

What? You watched a movie ten times this deployment? That old-timer at the VFW who served in Korea worried about more important things, like not freezing. How’s the A/C in your tent working, by the way?

4. “The internet is down.”

You are thousands of miles away from home — singularly focused on delivering 5.56 mm of freedom to the enemies of the United States — and working hard to serve that end, and, OH GOD, THE INTERNET IS DOWN.

While you are calling the S-6 shop to whine about not being able to access your Facebook account to instantly message your girlfriend, remember to think about your grandfather handwriting letters back home that would be delivered four months later.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

5. “Is that incoming? No, that’s outgoing. That’s gotta be outgoing.”

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve actually said this one. When you’re sitting inside your nice tent watching a riveting episode of “The O.C.” you definitely don’t want to be interrupted. On heavily-protected FOBs, big attacks rarely happen, since the bad guys mostly harass with indirect fire from rockets and mortars. It’s usually ineffective.

The boys of Easy Co. don’t really relate.

6. “Ugh. We have to go sit in the bunker until IDF stops.”

When you finally figure out that yes, it is in fact, incoming. Those ineffective rockets need to be kept ineffective, so off to the concrete bunker you go. Yes, that’s right, you have a bunker made of concrete that some Seabee put there with a crane.

That’s almost the same as the grunts in Vietnam who built bunkers entirely with wood and thousands of sandbags, filled with their hands and e-tools. Almost.

7. “I’ve got blisters on my thumb from playing Playstation so much.”

Ok, fine. Pass me the damn controller. I want to learn what fighting in World War II was like by playing “Brothers in Arms.”

SEE ALSO: 7 first-world problems only sailors will understand

Articles

How 8 countries are preparing for war with Russia

Russia continues to issue threats to countries on its borders — most notably those with significant populations of ethnic Russians like Georgia and Ukraine which have already felt Moscow’s wrath in recent years.


But many European countries have reduced their spending in the decades since World War II, so preparing for a potential war with their aggressive and highly militarized neighbor is not as simple as giving their soldiers MREs, bullets, and marching orders.

And while the U.S. helps guarantee the security of NATO members, a recent analysis by the RAND Corporation indicates that many countries on the eastern front could be swallowed up long before American reinforcements could arrive. Some countries, like Estonia, could be conquered in as little as 60 hours, analysts say.

Here’s what eight countries in Eastern Europe are doing to get ready for the war they hope never comes:

1. Ukrainians are hastily emplacing fixed defenses

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Ukrainian soldiers practice clearing trenches on Nov. 2 during an exercise in Ukraine with U.S. soldiers. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Tarr)

Ukraine is the one state on the list who is currently engaged in a war with Russia. While their troops have fought limited groups of Russian “volunteers,” Ukraine’s top generals are worried about a full-scale air attack and ground invasion.

To prepare, they’re digging trenches and emplacing fixed defenses like tank traps and bunkers. They’ve also practiced maneuvering mobile air defenses and other units. Finally, Ukraine is planning a massive expansion of its navy to replace many some of the ships captured by Russia in the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

2. Estonia is training a guerrilla force to bleed Russian occupiers dry

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Estonian soldiers provide cover fire for U.S. paratroopers on Nov. 3, 2016, in Hellenurme, Estonia, during a joint training exercise. (Photo: U.S. Army Pfc. James Dutkavich)

Estonia fields an army of only 6,000 soldiers and fully expects to be overrun within days if attacked by Russia, an outcome that the RAND Corporation agrees with. But Estonia plans to make the Russians regret ever acre they took.

The nation is hosting “military sport” contests and encouraging citizens to keep weapons in their homes. The sports events include 25-mile ruck marches, evasion exercises, plant identification, and others which test skills useful for an insurgent force. Over 25,000 Estonians have joined the weekly drills.

3. Latvia is training up a “home guard” and investing in special operations

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Latvian soldiers drive their armored combat vehicles into position during a joint training exercise with U.S. troops on Oct. 31, 2016, in Adazi, Latvia. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Like Estonia, Latvia is bullish on training citizens to resist an invasion. They’re moving forward with plans to allow “home guard” member to keep their weapons and night vision devices in their homes. They’re also betting heavily on special operations forces, tripling the size of the National Armed Force Special Operations Forces.

Like most NATO members, they’re also trying to get more NATO troops on their soil to deter Russian aggression in the first place. Britain is already sending troops for exercises, and Denmark and France have promised forces as well.

4. Lithuania

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: U.S. Army Pfc. James Dutkavich)

Lithuania has distributed a civil defense book to its citizens which details how to survive a Russian invasion that includes a phone number which residents can call to report suspected Russian spies. It is also planning to restart military conscription for men between the ages of 19 and 26.

5. Norway

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Norwegian soldiers prepare for a stalking event during the 2016 Best Sniper Squad Competition in Germany. The team went on to win the overall competition. (Photo: U.S. Army Spc. Emily Houdershieldt)

Norway officially acknowledged that it believes Ukraine was illegally occupied by Russia during a state visit to Ukraine on Oct. 18. Russia later added Norway to its list of targets for “strategic” weapons. Russia uses the word “strategic” to differentiate between conventional and nuclear-capable forces.

Norway has invited more NATO troops, including U.S. Marines, to train there. It’s also stepped up its intercepts of Russian aircraft flying near its shores. Norway’s F-16s now maintain a 24-hour alert. The country is also re-opening Cold War-era bases in the far north.

6. Poland is buying massive amounts of equipment, including new subs

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Polish soldiers of 17th Wielkopolska Mechanized Brigade move a simulated wounded soldier during a react to contact scenario during exercise Combined Resolve VII at the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels Germany, Sept. 12, 2016. (Photo: U.S. Army Spc. Gage Hull)

Poland, which is considered to be one of the more hawkish NATO members, has been warning of a threat from Moscow for some time. For the past few years, it has championed regional security agreements with its neighbors and worked hard to ingrain itself with NATO.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Poland has ramped up the purchase of military hardware such as new, stealthy submarines and Polish-manufactured S-70 helicopters for its special operations soldiers.

7. and 8. Finland and Sweden are securing defense agreements with the U.K. and U.S.

Finland and Sweden are countries which famously prefer to avoid alliances, but Russian aggression has spurred an interest in limited defense agreements which will make it easier for NATO troops to deploy to those countries in the event of war.

The U.K. and U.S. signed two contracts each with Sweden and Norway, and all four agreements have different details. But, the broad strokes are that all four countries will increase their interoperability by holding joint training exercises as well as participating in research, development, and procurement projects.

Articles

These are the 9 general officers who have earned five stars

Even though the five-star general rank essentially died in 1981 with Omar Bradley, the idea of a five-star general rising above all others to command so much of the American and allied militaries is remarkably heroic.


The five-star general officer was born in WWII because American generals and admirals were often placed above allied officers of a higher rank. Someone elevated to that position could never retire and was considered an active-duty officer for the rest of their life.

That’s a lot of trust. The list of the 9 officers we deemed worthy of the honor rightly reads like a “who’s who” of U.S. military history.

1. Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
How many WWII-era Admirals were issued that hat?

Leahy was the first officer to make the rank. He was the senior officer in the U.S. Navy and the senior-most officer in the U.S. military. He retired in 1939 but was recalled to active duty as the Chief of Staff to President Roosevelt and then Truman until 1949. During the latter years of his career, he reported only to the President.

2. General of the Army George Marshall

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Gen. Marshall looks like he’s already sick of your shit.

George Marshall was a major planner of the U.S. Army’s training for World War I and one of Gen. John J. Pershing’s aides-de-camp. He would need those planning skills when World War II broke out, as he oversaw the expansion of the U.S. Armed Forces and the coordination of U.S. efforts in the European Theater. After the war it was Marshall who helped rebuild Western Europe with an economic plan that came to be named after the man himself.

3. Fleet Admiral Ernest King

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

King was the Commander in Chief of U.S. Naval Forces (the U.S. now only uses the term “Commander-In-Chief” to refer to the President) and the Chief of Naval Operations. Though he never commanded a ship or fleet during a war, as the Navy representative of the Joint Chiefs, he helped plan and coordinate Naval Operations during WWII.

4. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

MacArthur graduated from West Point in 1903, fought in the occupation of Veracruz, World War I, and resisted the Japanese invasion of the Philippines for six months during WWII. MacArthur, despite having to retreat to Australia, oversaw the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific and accepted their surrender less than four years later.

He would also orchestrate the occupation and rehabilitation of Japan, and the American counterattack during the early months of the Korean War.

5. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Even though he looks sad, Chester Nimitz will f***ing kill you.

Nimitz was the Navy’s leading authority on submarine warfare at the outbreak of World War II.  He would rise to be Commander-in-Chief of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet and eventually take control of all U.S. forces in the Pacific Theater. He served the Navy on Active Duty in an unofficial capacity until his death in 1966.

6. General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
“Hitler! Macho Man Dwight Eisenhower coming for youuuuuu OHHHHH YEAHHHHHHH.”

Ike never saw combat as a soldier, but his planning skills were essential as Supreme Allied Commander of all allied expeditionary forces in Europe during World War II. He planned and executed the invasion of North Africa in 1943, and of course the D-Day invasion of France in 1944. After the war, Eisenhower was the first Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and was elected President in 1952.

7. General of the Army and Air Force Henry H. Arnold

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

“Hap” Arnold is the only officer ever to hold two five-star ranks in multiple branches and is the only person to ever to be General of the Air Force.

Before WWII, Arnold was the Chief of the Air Corps and became commander of the U.S. Army Air Forces when war broke out. He was one of the first military pilots ever, being trained by the freaking Wright Brothers themselves.

If Billy Mitchell is the Father of the Air Force, Hap Arnold helped raise it — he took a small organization and turned it into the world’s largest and most powerful air force during the WWII years.

8. Fleet Admiral William Halsey, Jr.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
That is one salty sailor.

“Bull” Halsey started World War II harassing Japanese fleet movements in the Pacific in his flagship, the Enterprise. He was later made commander of all U.S. forces in the South Pacific and commander of the Navy’s third fleet. Halsey earned his status after the war ended but took the Navy on a goodwill cruise of friendly countries

9. General of the Army Omar Bradley

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

As mentioned, Omar Bradley was the last surviving five-star general, dying in 1981. He fought alongside the U.S. Army’s greatest all under the command of Dwight Eisenhower. He excelled during the D-Day landings and subsequent European campaigns. He eventually commanded 1.3 million fighting men as they invaded fortress Europe — the largest assembly of U.S. troops under a single commander.

* General of the Armies of the United States John J. Pershing

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

Pershing was promoted to this rank and title in 1919, though no official rank insignia existed at the time. It was made by Congress to recognize his role in the American entry into World War I in Europe.

* Admiral of the Navy George Dewey

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

Dewey received the title “Admiral of the Navy” by act of Congress in 1903. Admiral Dewey’s service during the Spanish-American War made him a national hero and celebrity.

* General of the Armies of the United States George Washington

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

President Gerald Ford promoted Washington to this rank and title — essentially a six-star general — in 1976 to always ensure Washington would be the senior-most officer of any group.

Lists

9 Recipes to make your MREs actually taste delicious

Meals, Ready to Eat make field life significantly more comfortable for today’s troops than grandpa had it, but they’re still not exactly good. And, since there are only 24 recipes per year, even the good ones can get old fast. Luckily, Pvt. Snuffy has enough ingenuity to take MRE components and turn them into good food. Here are 9 of the best recipes we’ve found. (We’ve limited the recipes to those which can be made with only current MRE components.)


7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Photo: U.S. Army

Entrees

1. Tex-Mex stew

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Photo: David L. Nye

 

Ingredients:

  • Jalapeño pepper jack beef patty (can substitute beef stew)
  • Cheese spread
  • Hot sauce
  • Toasted corn kernels or crackers (optional)

Instructions:

Cut patty into small squares and add cheese. Add 3-4 oz. of water (reduce water if using beef stew) and mix. Works best if heated in metal container (canteen cup) over an open flame. Adding ingredients to hot beverage bag and heating with chemical pad will work in a pinch. Serve with toasted corn kernels or crackers. 

2. Pot luck pie

 

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Photo: David L. Nye

Ingredients:

  • Beef stew
  • Cheese spread
  • Crackers
  • Hot Sauce

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients but crackers. Crumble crackers over top. Mixes and tastes best if warmed before mixing.

3. Asian Beef Bowl

Ingredients:

  • Asian beef strips
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Cheese spread
  • Hot sauce

Instructions:

Mix well. Mixes and tastes best if warmed before mixing.

4. Loaded Baked Potato

Ingredients:

  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Bacon cheese spread
  • Hot sauce
  • Crackers (or vegetable crackers)
  • Salt (optional)

Instructions:

Mix everything but the crackers. Crumble crackers and sprinkle over the top. Mixes more easily and tastes better if heated.

Deserts

5. Apple/Pear crumble

Ingredients:

  • Spiced apples (or pears)
  • Crushed oatmeal cookie (or patriotic sugar cookies)
  • Creamer

Instructions:

Add creamer to the spiced fruit. Crush the cookie to a powder and sprinkle over the mixture. Best when served hot.

6. Ranger pudding

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Photo: David L. Nye

Ingredients:

  • Cocoa Beverage Powder
  • Creamer
  • Water
  • Additional flavoring (PB, electrolyte powder, coffee)

Instructions:

Combine creamer, cocoa powder, and your additional flavoring in a pouch. Add a small amount of water and mix. Continue adding small amounts of water until the mix takes on desired consistency. For more sustenance, add throughly crumbled crackers.

7. Momma’s pudding

Ingredients:

  • Vanilla dairyshake powder
  • Beverage powder of desired flavor (coffee, orange, etc.)
  • Creamer
  • Sugar (optional)

Instructions:

Mix dairyshake, sugar, and beverage powder. Add water until mix achieves desired consistency.

8. General Patton’s Parfait

Ingredients:

  • Momma’s pudding/Ranger pudding
  • Crackers/Patriotic sugar cookies
  • Spiced apples (or pears)
  • Nuts

Instructions:

Make either pudding as described above. Layer pudding with crumbled crackers/cookies, nuts, and spiced fruit. To make other diners jealous, do so in a hot beverage bag so they can see how awesome your dinner is.

9. Frosting/Ranger cake

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Photo: David L. Nye

 

Ingredients:

  • Vanilla dairyshake
  • Additional flavoring (PB, electrolyte powder, coffee)
  • Sugar

Instructions:

Mix powder and flavoring with sparse amounts of water. Add water slowly until the mixture achieves the desired consistency. Spread on pound cake to create Ranger cake.

See? MREs can be amazing!

Now: Cigars for Warriors brings moments of luxury to deployed troops

Articles

13 of the funniest memes for the week of July 21

A lot happened this week. It’s a good thing healthcare is still healthcare, because now the Juice is loose. So forget the news. It’s time to kick back and chill out with some clever, good-natured comedy.


Since we don’t have any of that, here are the top military memes of the week.

1. Fight senior leadership with words, not swords.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
If he were a pilot, this would be an escape pod scene.

2. Somewhere a trainee got recycled so far back through basic training, they’re wearing BDUs.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Try this at the snake pit.

3. If you break one soldier, there are literally thousands more.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Can we talk for a minute about how that uniform actually fits Dave Chappelle pretty well?

Also Read: Here’s how Civil War cannon tore infantry apart

4. In case you thought you were alone in how you view your command.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Also, the Emperor is looking for a few volunteers.

5. Marines get smoked a different way. (via Pop Smoke)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
But it’s a dry heat.

6. If First Sergeant can get an ARCOM for Facebook, this guy can get 6 for Snapchat.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Not all heroes wear capes.

Now: This is why ‘Hue 1968’ is ‘Black Hawk Down’ for the Vietnam War

7. Except for the shoes, here’s a good way to run the rabbit.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Private Griffin up front!

8. Barney Gumble doesn’t drink like a sailor — sailors drink like Barney Gumble.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Homer looks like he’s going to piss hot.

9. Corpsmen are going to be busy if they don’t remove the labels.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

10. No one cares how big the moon is in kilometers.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Tell China we’ll be impressed with their technology when they bring us back our flag.

11. The hypothesis on this is comedy gold. Probably.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Until there’s a photo of their own head on this board, it will be incomplete. Grade: D.

Read: 15 Awful hand salutes that don’t even come close

12. It’s PT because you’re wearing a PT uniform.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Terrible kickball form, though.

13. That Navy photo looks staged.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
They probably struggled to find soldiers and sailors doing a pull up.

Humor

5 military myths that Hollywood has taught us to believe

We love movies! That’s why producers spend millions of dollars making them. Sometimes the films we watch are so compelling, audience members believe every moment that is spoon fed to them is the truth.


We’re all guilty of falling for it. Many movie goers get sold on the narrative as the story unfolds across the big screen — even to the point where the performances feel true to life — and the delicate line between truth and fiction becomes too thin.

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

So check out these military myths that Hollywood puts in their movies and want us to think actually happen — but don’t fall for it.

1. Vietnam veterans are crazy

Movies and TV shows love to feature characters that had tough military careers and reverted to drinking to suppress the memories. This does happen in real life from time-to-time, but not to everyone.

Most who served during that era use their military experience to propel themselves and inspire others.

2. You throw your clean cover after a military graduation

It’s a lot of work to not only find the cover you just flung into the air but clean the grass stains off too.

Does anyone have a tide pen? (Paramount)

3. Cinematic deaths

They just don’t exist — but we tip our hats to filmmaker Oliver Stone (an Army veteran) for capturing this epic movie moment in 1986s Platoon.

How many rounds do you think he took? (Orion Pictures)

4. That one guy who can save the day

In the military, you train as a team and you fight as one, as well.

The debate isn’t if one single person can save another’s ass during battle — that frequently happens.

What we call bullsh*t on is when that single motivator springs into action and becomes the final denominator and leads them to victory as the rest of his team remains pinned down and losing the fight.

They have the need for speed (Paramount)

5. No one gets concussions…ever

We’ve seen countless movies where people get blown up by various sources of explosive ordnance and seem to recover right away (just watch any 80s movie). Since we want to believe the good guys are as tough as nails, they will just brush off the injury and carry on.

It rarely happens like that.

In fact, the traumatic brain injury has been called the signature wound of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Hearing a phone or bells ringing is one of the first signs of concussion (Sony)

Can you think of any others? Comment below.

Lists

6 reasons why Hollywood should make more war movies

Walk into nearly any theatre in the country and they’ll probably have an assortment of comedies and dramas for you to enjoy — it’s that simple.


Walk into one of those same theatres looking for a decent war movie, and you’ll probably come away disappointed.

Just a handful of war movies are filmed each year — few of which are actually released to your local cineplexes. It’s a shame, really.

Related: 5 military movies you should look out for in 2018

These are six reasons why we think Hollywood should make more war movies.

6. Veterans love well-made war movies

Every war movie has its flaws, but veterans deeply respect when films properly capture military life without going completely over the top. When we find one that we love, directors and actors earn new fans right away.

Oh, sit down, guys! (Image via GIPHY)

5. There are so many badass stories to tell

There’s an inexhaustible well of heroic stories created from the actions of brave men and women during their service. Hollywood hasn’t even scratched the surface. So, to all of you producers out there, get your interns to start reading those scripts from vets.

Christina Aguilera gets it. (Image via GIPHY)

4. They boost troop morale

Troops watch a ton of films in their downtime while deployed. When someone pops a good war movie, filled to the brim with tons of explosions, into their laptop, we can’t help but celebrate and look forward to the next foot patrol.

We’re going on patrol! We’re going on patrol! (Image via GIPHY)

3. They keep fallen heroes’ memories alive

Everybody wants to be remembered for the good they’ve done in this world. Movies are one of the most compelling ways to immortalize a troop’s heroic deeds.

We know our words are beautiful but don’t cry, Toby. (Image via GIPHY)

2. They remind everyone what we go through

As time passes, the truth behind amazing stories tends to get buried under 50-feet of hypothetical crap. Solid war movies do a good job of showing you what life was actually like, they last for generations, and make veterans proud.

That was a good war movie. Holy sh*t! (Image via GIPHY)

Also Read: This is what the Marines from ‘Heartbreak Ridge’ are doing today

1. There’s a lot of making up to do

Let’s face it, Hollywood has made some sh*tty war movies that do not represent what we do very well. We need to see a few more good ones before we can let go of our grudge. Hopefully, some producer will read this and be like, “these writers from WATM know what they’re talking about!”

We’ll be waiting for your call.

We know because we wrote it. (Image via GIPHY)

Lists

The 21 most authoritarian regimes in the world

The Economist Intelligence Unit has released its latest Democracy Index, which ranks 167 countries according to political and civic freedom.


Countries are given a score out of 10 based on five criteria. Above eight is a “full democracy,” while below four is an “authoritarian regime.”

Scandinavian countries topped the list and the U.S. remained a “flawed democracy” in this index.

The study has five criteria: Whether elections are free and fair (“electoral process and pluralism”), whether governments have checks and balances (“functioning of government”), whether citizens are included in politics (“political participation”), the level of support for the government (“political culture”), and whether people have freedom of expression (“civil liberties”).

Below are the world’s most authoritarian regimes:

21. United Arab Emirates — 2.69/10

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Skyline of Downtown Dubai with Burj Khalifa from a Helicopter. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 3.57

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 2.65

20. Azerbaijan — 2.65

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Members of the Azerbaijani Special Forces during a military parade in Baku 2011 (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.50

Functioning of government: 2.14

Political participation: 3.33

Political culture: 3.75

Civil liberties: 3.53

19. Afghanistan — 2.55

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Marines from 3rd battalion 5th Marines on patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan. (Image JM Foley)

Electoral process and pluralism: 2.50

Functioning of government: 1.14

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 2.50

Civil liberties: 3.82

18. Iran — 2.45

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
The northern Tehran skyline. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 3.21

Political participation: 4.44

Political culture: 3.13

Civil liberties: 1.47

17. Eritrea — 2.37

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Saho women in traditional attire (Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 2.14

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 6.88

Civil liberties: 1.18

16. Laos — 2.37

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Host of dancers for Laos New Years celebration. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.83

Functioning of government: 2.86

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 1.47

15. Burundi — 2.33

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Tutsi soldiers and gendarmes guarding the road to Cibitoke on the border with Zaire. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.43

Political participation: 3.89

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 2.35

14. Libya — 2.32

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Children in Dublin, Ireland, protesting Libya’s then president, Gaddafi, before his overthrow. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 1.00

Functioning of government: 0.36

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 5.63

Civil liberties: 2.94

13. Sudan — 2.15

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Sudanese rebels in Darfur. Both the government and the rebels have been accused of atrocities. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 1.79

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 1.18

12. Yemen — 2.07

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Soldiers in Yemen. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 4.44

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 0.88

11. Guinea-Bissau — 1.98

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
An abandoned tank from the 1998–1999 civil war in the capital Bissau (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 1.67

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 3.13

Civil liberties: 2.35

10. Uzbekistan — 1.95

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Uzbek children. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.08

Functioning of government: 1.86

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 0.59

9. Saudi Arabia — 1.93

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
President Donald Trump speaks with Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, during their meeting Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 2.86

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 3.13

Civil liberties: 1.47

8. Tajikistan — 1.93

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Shanty neighborhoods just outside of Dushanbe, Tajikistan. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.08

Functioning of government: 0.79

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 6.25

Civil liberties: 0.88

7. Equatorial Guinea — 1.81

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
The city of Malabo in Equatorial Guinea. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.43

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 4.38

Civil liberties: 1.47

6. Turkmenistan — 1.72

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Celebrating the 20th year of independence in Turkmenistan (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.79

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 0.59

5. Democratic Republic of Congo — 1.61

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Refugees in the Congo (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.50

Functioning of government: 0.71

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 3.75

Civil liberties: 0.88

4. Central African Republic — 1.52

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Refugees of the fighting in the Central African Republic observe Rwandan soldiers being dropped off at Bangui M’Poko International Airport in the Central African Republic. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 2.25

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 1.11

Political culture: 1.88

Civil liberties: 2.35

3. Chad — 1.50

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
A tribal delegation in Chad. (Image Wikipedia)

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 1.11

Political culture: 3.75

Civil liberties: 2.65

2. Syria — 1.43

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
A Syrian soldier aims an assault rifle from his position in a foxhole during a firepower demonstration.

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 4.38

Civil liberties: 0.00

1. North Korea —1.08

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
A defector from North Korea dodges bullets as he crosses the DMZ.

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 2.50

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 1.25

Civil liberties: 0.00

Lists

7 Navy Jobs That No Longer Exist

Sailor enlisted ratings – Navy speak for job designation – are organized around specific skills and abilities. As the service’s needs shift, new ratings are created.


Also read: 19 Terms Only Sailors Will Understand

Some of these ratings can last for decades, even centuries – like Boatswain’s Mate (BM) – while others go away or merge into others. The following ratings are examples of jobs that have been dissolved to create new ones or added to the responsibilities of already existing ones:

1. Journalist (JO)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Navy journalist interviews Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations from 2001-2005. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

JOs are like traditional journalists, they gather news about people, places and activities in the Navy, and report it to the military and civilian communities via radio, television, and newspapers.

2. Photographer’s Mate (PH)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: U.S Navy)
 

PHs are the Navy’s professional photographers. They’re work includes field photography, portraits, aerial photography, reconnaissance photography, photo editing, filming and other visual audio work.

3. Illustrator/Draftsman (DM)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

DMs are the Navy’s version of a graphic designer, they create original art, technical illustrations, graphics for briefings, visual aids and publications for the Navy.

4. Lithographer (LI)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

LIs are the Navy’s version of a Print Designer, they run print shops and produce printed material used by the Navy, such as magazines, newspapers, forms and training materials.

Mass Communication Specialist (MC)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

In 2006, the Navy merged the ratings of Journalist, Photographer’s Mate, Illustrator/Draftsman, and Lithographer to form Mass Communication Specialist. Since the merger, MCs are required to perform all the duties associated with the former rates.

5. Signalman

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

This is the name designation for sailors who specialized in visual communications, such as flag semaphore, visual morse code, and flag hoist signaling.

Quartermaster (QM)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

In 2004, the navy merged Signalman into the Quartermaster rating. QMs specialize in ship navigation and visual communications.

6. Storekeeper (SK)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

SKs are in charge of purchasing, procurement, shipping, receiving, issuing equipment, tools and anything else obtained through the supply system.

7. Postal Clerk (PC)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: U.S. Navy)

PCs manage the Navy’s mail system, which is similar to the civilian postal service. The difference, however, is operating from ships and remote locations.

Logistics Specialist (LS)

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
(Photo: DoD)

In 2009, the Navy merged the ratings of Postal Clerk and Storekeeper to form Logistics Specialist. They use financial and database systems to manage all logistical functions and are required to perform all the duties associated with the former rates.

Did your Navy rating go away? Tell us on Facebook

Articles

19 awesome images of the massive RIMPAC exercise going on right now

Countries that border the Pacific are taking part in a massive exercise called “Rim of the Pacific” or “RIMPAC.” Dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and thousands of people are practicing their warfighting skills in RIMPAC.


Military photographers and videographers have been sending out hundreds of excellent photos and videos from the exercise this year, and here are 19 of the best of what they’d captured:

1. Marines and U.S. allies attacked the beaches of Hawaii in a simulated amphibious assault

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
US Marines conduct an amphibious assault during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak)

2. Once the Marines hit the sand, they flooded out of their vehicles and got to work

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
US Marines land on the sands of Hawaii during a joint exercise beach assault with the Japan Self Defense Force. (GIF: US Marine Corps Cpl. Natalie Dillon)

3. Marine attack helicopters flew overhead and provided support to the guys on the ground

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
A Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 367 protects US Marines during a beach assault as part of Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak)

5. Ashore, infantry Marines prepped for the hard fight to the island’s interior

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
US Marines move their mortars forward during a beach assault in Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew Casbarro)

6. At training areas past the sand, the Marines practiced assaulting buildings and bunkers

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
US Marines participate in an amphibious assault on Bellows Beach, Hawaii, during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo: Royal New Zealand Navy Petty Officer Chris Weissenborn)

7. They even went to firing ranges to practice making stuff blow up

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
US Marines operate in Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii July 20, 2016. (GIF: US Marine Corps Cpl. Isaac Ibarra)

8. Out at sea, the Navy got in the action with a large formation of 40 ships that included some surprising participants …

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Forty ships and submarines sail in close formation during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ace Rheaume)

BTW, if you want to see hundreds of photos of these 40 ships sailing next to each other, just click on this link. Literally hundreds. There are different angles and close-ups on dozens of the ships available.

9. … like the Coast Guard’s USCGC Stratton …

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
USCGC Stratton steams through the Pacific (Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ace Rheaume)

10. … and a Chinese hospital ship, the Peace Ark

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
The Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark got in on the action of Pacific Rim. (Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ace Rheaume)

11. Onboard the Peace Ark, doctors and other medical personnel practiced treating patients and responding to humanitarian crises

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Chinese medical personnel aboard the hospital ship Peace Ark treat simulated injuries during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo: Chinese Navy)

12. Another Chinese ship, the multirole frigate Hengshui, fired on targets to display its proficiency

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
The Chinese Navy frigate Hengshui fires its main gun at a towed target during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo: Chinese Navy Senior Capt. Liu Wenping)

13. Under the waves, a New Zealand dive unit had to locate an 18-foot shipping container and assist in its recovery

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Photo: New Zealand Defence Force Photographer Petty Officer Chris Weissenborn

14. A Canadian team found and interrogated an underwater wreck during their training

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Canadian divers held their training at an underwater range on July 17, 2016, as part of Rim of the Pacific. (GIF: Canadian Forces Combat Camera Master Corporal Christopher Ward)

15. Forces from four allied countries land on a “captured” beach on a Royal Australian Navy landing craft

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
A Royal Australian Navy landing craft transports Australian, New Zealand, Tongan, and US forces to a Hawaii beach on Jul. 30. (Photo: US Marine Corps Sgt. William L. Holdaway)

16. Military vehicles laid down beach matting to prevent other vehicles from slipping on the loose sand. The matting can be laid down in combat to allow tanks and other heavy vehicles to assault towards their objectives quickly

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
An LX-120 front end loader lays down beach matting during Rim of the Pacific 2016. The matting makes it easier for follow-on vehicles to cross the loose sand. (Photo: US Marine Corps Sgt. William L. Holdaway)

17. Royal Australian combat engineers cleared the way inland for allied forces by searching out mines and other simulated explosives

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Royal Australian Army Sgt. Connor Chamney syncs his mine calibration equipment Jul. 30. (Photo: US Marine Corps Sgt. William Holdaway)

18. Air Force F-22 Raptors and a tanker aircraft assisted with the exercise, allowing the Air Force to improve its interoperability with the U.S. Navy and foreign militaries

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Three US Air Force F-22 Raptors refuel from a KC-135R Stratotanker during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gregory A. Harden II)

19. The Mexican Navy sent small craft to southern California to practice working with U.S. Navy riverine craft, the small boats that patrol rivers and other tight waterways

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
A Mexican Navy coastal patrol boat practices tactical maneuvers during a mission with the US Navy’s Coastal Riverine Squadron 1 in Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan A. Nelson)

RIMPAC takes place on most even-numbered years and has been held 25 times since 1971. America’s traditional allies in the Pacific usually attend, but some rivals like Russia and China are common guests as well.

Lists

7 of the best movie aerial dogfights, ranked

Despite their popularity on the silver screen, many of the best military action scenes don’t depict the heroic storming the beaches of Normandy or cutting through the enemy frontlines in the jungles of Vietnam. In fact, some of the most intense sequences are of the deadly dogfights in the sky.


Several awesome films get overlooked just because there isn’t any land warfare involved. So, to even things out a bit, here are a few of our favorite films that feature dogfights and keep us on the edges of our seats.

Related: 7 of the best drill sergeants to ever hit the screen, ranked

1. Top Gun

When Tony Scott’s Top Gun landed in movie theaters across the country, it was a freakin’ blockbuster, raking in over $350 million worldwide. Filled with plenty of aerial acrobatics, Top Gun made audiences of all ages want to be the next hotshot pilot.

The fight scenes that capped off the film were well-edited, featured a kick-ass soundtrack, and delivered plenty notable one-liners that had moviegoers nodding in approval.

2. Memphis Belle

Directed by Michael Caton-Jones, Memphis Belle follows the brave men crewing a B-17 bomber based in the United Kingdom as they prepare for their final mission over Germany.

The dogfight scenes capture what it must have been like battling wave after wave of well-trained German fighters.

3. Fly Boys

In 2006, James Franco took to the pilot seat playing a young man who volunteered for the French military before the U.S. got involved World War I. The film showcased the intense training and extreme dangers that canopy-less fly boys encountered during the war.

4. Red Tails

This film chronicles a group of African American pilots flying in the Tuskegee program and shows how their bravery maneuvered them right into the history books and America’s hearts.

5. Tora! Tora! Tora!

Considered a classic war film, the story of Tora! Tora! Tora! focuses on the days leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack and makes clear the political context of the surprise Japanese offensive.

The stunning imagery tells the story without much dialogue, which is doubly impressive for a film released in 1970.

6. Red Baron

This German biopic is closely based on the World War I fighter pilot ace, Manfred Von Richthofen, nicknamed the Red Baron. The film’s excellent shot selection and pacing show how skilled warfighters were back then, scoring kills without using the advanced technology we enjoy today.

7. The Eternal Zero

We don’t typically praise the enemy in American cinema, but holy sh*t — director Takashi Yamazaki did an amazing job of putting you in the pilot’s seat in epic aerial battles.

 

Bonus: Les Chevaliers du Ceil (Sky Fighters)

You might be thinking, why did WATM put a French film on the list? Well, this film displays one of the most intense dogfights ever recorded. Between high-voltage camera work and excellent cinematography, you’ll be left guessing what’s real and what’s CG.

Just check out the trailer:

Articles

The 13 funniest military memes of the week

They’re like normal memes, but more violent and rude.


1. It’s getting towards fall. Make sure you don’t lose any officers.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
In their defense, there really aren’t any good landmarks in there.

2. The Marines really fight so aggressively because they want first dibs on the slide.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Some muzzle discipline would be nice, but it is a playground.

SEE ALSO: These crazy photos show 30+ ton tanks in flight

3. Why drill sergeants deserve special badges.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Seriously, how do they show up to basic this helpless? Have they seen ANY action movies?

4. If you give a Jodie a cookie, he’ll want a glass of milk.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Seriously, screw that guy.

5. Do not take on the mafia. It is not worth it.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
They are sneaky, fast, and do not give a crap if you bite them as long as they can bite you too.

6. Chair Force’s real fear from sequestration: a chair shortage.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Either that or he’s just trying to prevent the jet taking off.

7. Hurricanes are just training opportunities.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
And if you’re a boatswain’s mate, this is what you’re training on.

8. Marines are generous. Ooh-rah?

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Just remember to not take seconds until everyone has had firsts.

9. Every career counselor ever.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
They do know that civilians make money and eat food and live in houses, right?

10. The Coast Guard trains for their most feared adversary.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand

11. When commandoes place a to-go order:

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
And yes, they want it in 30 minutes or less.

 12. Special Forces trainers do not want your excuses.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
They also expect you to kill someone with that weapon, doesn’t matter that it’s plastic.

13. Good luck at your libo brief. We’re sure it’ll be riveting.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
There’s the problem. Two energy drinks for four grunts? Way below standard.

Lists

4 of the worst things you can stalk through as a Scout Sniper

Scout Snipers are some of the most elite warfighters on the planet. Often serving a unit’s personal team of spy-assassins, they’re trained to be self-sufficient, resilient, and deadly silent.


Whether they’re sent to collect intelligence or precisely remove specific members of a certain population, you won’t know they’re there until it’s far too late. But snipers don’t have the ability to teleport to a vantage point (not yet, at least) — they have to get there somehow. That’s where stalking comes in.

It’s their way of getting from point A to point B while avoiding detection by the enemy on which they prey (hence the term ‘stalking’), and it can put them in some really uncomfortable situations.

Here are some of the worst things you can stalk through as a sniper.

Related: 7 things all troops should know before becoming a sniper

1. Your poop

When you need to go, you need to go. When you’re a sniper, there isn’t always time to dig a hole or find some nice spot to drop your payload. Sometimes, you just have to drop your trousers and go.

But, when you inevitably find yourself stalking through that same place a week or so later, you may forget about it for just long enough to realize you’re crawling right through it.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Maybe write down the map coordinates so you know not to go through there. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ricky S. Gomez)

2. Someone else’s poop

Hopefully, you’re stalking through someplace that offers plenty of concealment. Unfortunately, if it’s a good place for sneakin’, someone else may have been there before you. That someone, maybe an enemy, maybe a friend, might have felt the undying urge to let it go right then and there.

Again, you probably won’t even know it’s there until you’re laying directly on top of it.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
And this is the face you’ll make when you realize what’s happened. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Lance Cpl. Juan C. Bustos)

3. Fire ants

Snipers are fearless and they feel no pain. But it’s still unpleasant to find a good spot to take a shot at your target and realize you’ve become one yourself — to a colony of angry fire ants.

They’re probably pissed that you just destroyed the mound they’ve been working on all day and now they have to rebuild — but they’ll probably sting you first.

Also read: This Marine Was The ‘American Sniper’ Of The Vietnam War

4. Frozen streams or ponds

When you find yourself stalking to a vantage point, depending on where you are in the world, there might be some bodies of water between you and your destination. So, it makes a lot of sense that you might have to go through the water to get to your objective.

Just make sure you have a dry set of clothes ready before you leave so you can immediately change when you come back… whenever that may be.

7 first-world problems only Post-9/11 troops will understand
Any clime and place, right? (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra)

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