The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history - We Are The Mighty
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The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

A joint U.S.-Peshmerga raid on an ISIS compound in Iraq freed some 70 prisoners, killed many ISIS fighters, and captured five of them. The cost was four injured Kurdish fighters and one U.S. Delta Force operator killed in action. Some would say the price of one KIA for rescuing 70 people is a fair cost, others might say a Delta Operator is an invaluable loss. No matter which side of the debate you stand, risky raids are rarely without casualties. Here are a few of the most famous raids, with what was gained and at what cost, to help determine which were worth the risk. Some are more obvious than others.


Operation Ivory Coast (1970)

The commando raid on the Son Tay prison camp in North Vietnam was one of the riskiest missions in spec ops history. Planning for the mission began in early May 1970 after Air Force aerial photos confirmed the camp’s existence, which for years had been suspected of housing more than 60 POWs. 130 Special Forces began training at a secret base in Florida over several months. Commandos and Air Force Special Operations air crews rehearsed the raid on a scale model of the camp.

 

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

In the late hours of November 20, support aircraft including A-1 Skyraiders, F-4 Phantoms and F-105G Wild Weasels and the assault force of six Jolly Green Giant helicopters lifted off for the rescue from bases in Thailand and South Vietnam. At about 2:00am, 50 Green Berets deliberately crash landed their helicopter into the main courtyard of the prison camp guns blazing. After a methodical search of the prison barracks and multiple engagements with guards, the assault force boarded a second helicopter for its exfiltration, empty handed.

Though the mission didn’t recover any of the POWs (intelligence later found they had been moved in July), the raid was a major success, involving a host of joint service assets — including a Navy decoy mission using A-7 Corsairs and A-6 Intruders that tied up North Vietnamese air defense assets as cover for the raid.

POWs Rescued: 0

Guards Killed: 42

Cost: 2 wounded, 2 aircraft down

Israeli Raid on Lebanon (1973)

In response to the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by the Palestinian terror organization Black September, Israeli intelligence (Mossad) launched the intelligence operation with the coolest name ever: Operation Wrath of God. Wrath of God was directed by Mossad to assassinate members of Black September and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) responsible.

On April 10, 1973, as part of Wrath of God, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Sayeret Matkal (the Israeli equivalent to Delta Force) special operatives came ashore near Beirut and Sidon, Lebanon. They met Mossad agents on the beaches who drove them to their targets in rented cars. At the same time, paratroopers raided a building guarded by 100 militants and engaged in close-quarters battle as they cleared the structure. Two IDF troops were killed. Another paratroop unit destroyed a PLO garage in Sidon and Shayetet 13 commandos (IDF equivalent to Navy SEALs) destroyed an explosives workshop. Steven Spielberg recreated the raid in his 2005 film Munich.

All Israeli forces either returned to the beach to leave the way they came or were airlifted out by the Israeli Air Force.

Enemy Killed: 100

Cost: 2 IDF paratroopers

Raid on Entebbe (1976)

In June 1976, Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked AirFrance Flight 139 on its way from Tel Aviv, Israel to Paris, France. Two PFLP hijackers and two Germans from the German Revolutionary Cells captured 12 crewmembers, 246 mainly Jewish Israelis, and 58 other passengers. They ended up Entebbe, Uganda, which was under the control of the notorious dictator Idi Amin Dada at the time.

Supported by Amin’s troops, the hijackers moved the hostages to Entebbe’s passenger terminal, where Amin visited them everyday and promised he was working for their release. The PFLP demanded $5 million and the release of 53 Palestinians prisoners, 40 of whom were in Israel. They promised to start killing the hostages if their demands were not met in three days.

The hijackers separated the Jewish and Israelis from the rest of the passengers. 48 sick and elderly non-Jewish hostages were released. When the Israelis agreed to negotiations, the hijackers extended their deadline by an extra three days and release 100 more non-Israeli passengers. This left 106 hostages in Entebbe. When diplomacy failed to secure their release, the Israelis launched a rescue attempt.

Israeli C-130s and a Boeing 747s flew from the Sinai Peninsula over Saudi, Egyptian, Sudanese, and Ugandan territory at 100 ft to avoid detection. The landed and offloaded a Merecedes-Benz and motorcade of Land Rovers similar to Amin’s own motorcade. they drove right up to the terminal, took out two sentries and entered the terminal shouting in Hebrew and English that they were Israeli soldiers there to rescue the hostages. Three hostages and all the hijackers were killed. the remaining C-130s launched Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) to pick up the hostages and take them back to the waiting 747s. The Israelis had to shoot their way back to their planes as Ugandan soldiers descended on them, injuring five and killing one Yonatan Netanyahu, older brother to current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A hostage who was taken to the hospital in Kampala, Uganda due to illness was killed by Ugandan Army officers after the raid.

Hostages Rescued: 102 

Hijackers Killed: 4

Cost: 4 hostages, 1 IDF commando killed

4 IDF commandos wounded

Desert One (1979)

This is the disastrous attempt to rescue American hostages being held by Iranians at the former embassy in Tehran. To this day, President Carter maintains the biggest mistake of his Presidency was not sending one more helicopter.

Desert One was a secret staging area in Iran set up by special operators where eight Navy helicopters and Delta Force aboard three C-130 transport planes. Three more C-130s with 18,000 gallons of fuel for the helicopters were also supposed to deploy at Desert One. The Navy helicopters would refuel and fly the Delta Forces to Desert Two, another desert area South of Tehran, conceal the helicopters and hide out during the day.

The next night Delta Force would board trucks driven by Iranian operatives, drive to Tehran, storm the U.S. embassy, free the hostages, and transport everyone to a nearby soccer field, where they would be picked up by the helicopters, who would then fly everyone to an airfield secured by Army Rangers and everyone would fly to Egypt on C-141 Starlifters after the helicopters were destroyed.

During the operation, three helicopters were unable to continue, forcing the team to abort the rescue. During the evacuation, one of the helicopters crashed into a C-130 carrying fuel and personnel, destroying both aircraft and killing eight troops, five airmen and three Marines, without ever getting close to the hostages.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

 

Hostages Rescued: 0

Cost: 5 U.S. troops

Nord-Ost Siege (2002)

In 2002, 40 Chechen separatists besieged a Moscow theater holding more than 800 people captive for nearly a week, demanding the Russian withdrawal from the Republic of Chechnya. The terrorists killed two hostages after negotations failed. The Russians called up their elite Spetznaz Alpha Group to handle the situation.

 

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

The Russians used a specialized gas to knock out both the terrorist captors and their hostages through the theater’s air ducts. The Spetznaz then stormed the theater, killing all 40 Chechen seprtatists, their suicide vests still strapped to their torsos, but barely conscious.

Most of the hostages were rescued, but more than 130 died from suffocating from the gas. It was the first time gas was used in such a way, but likely the last, as it also injured much of the Spetznaz response team. Welcome to Putin’s Russia.

Hostages Rescued: 700

Cost: 133 Hostages Killed, 40 Terrorists Killed, 700 injured

Neptune Spear (2011)

This is the SEAL Team Six raid which ended in the death of Osama bin Laden. In the early hours of May 2, 2011, 79 SEAL Team Six operators and a working dog flew from Jalalabad in specially designed stealth Blackhawk helicopters in nap-of-the-Earth style. They arrived at bin Laden’s compound in 90 minutes. The first Blackhawk experienced  hazardous airflow condition caused by the concrete walls surrounding the compound (practice runs used mesh fencing), causing the helicopter to softly crash land. No one was injured.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

SEALs entered the house, killing defenders (including bin Laden), securing noncombatants and gathering all the intelligence they could, all within 40 minutes. The SEALs destroyed the damaged helicopter to protect classified technology. A reserve Chinook was sent to extract the team from the crashed helicopter and (with bin Laden’s body) leave Pakistan for Bagram Air Base. Bin Laden would later be buried at sea.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
A woman in Times Square celebrates the death of Osama bin Laden (wikimedia commons)

 

Enemy Killed: 5 (including Osama bin Laden)

Enemy Captured: 17

Cost: 1 Stealth Blackhawk

NOW: Here’s what it’s like when special forces raid a compound

OR: An American soldier killed in Iraq while rescuing 70 ISIS hostages

Lists

These are the 11 most game-changing aircraft of the 21st century

Today’s most sophisticated aircraft are the things of science fiction.


In a few years, drones that can fit in the palm of a person’s hand and 117-foot-wingspan planes that can launch satellites will both be a reality.

At the same time, drone and advanced-fighter technologies will spread beyond the US and Europe, and countries including China, Russia, and Iran may have highly advanced aerial capabilities.

Here’s our look at the most game-changing aircraft of the past few years — and the next few to come.

F-35 Lightning II

 

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Lockheed Martin

The F-35 may cost as much as $1.5 trillionover its lifetime. But it’s also supposed to be the most fearsome military aircraft ever built, a plane that can dogfight, provide close air support, and carry out bombing runs, all with stealth capabilities, advanced maneuverability, and the ability to take off and land on aircraft carriers.

It hasn’t quite worked out that way so far, and problems with everything from the plane’s software system to its engines has both delayed its deployment and made its costs spiral upward. And it isn’t nearly as effective at close air support as existing platforms such as the A-10.

But the US has more than 1,700 of them on order. Like it or not, the F-35 will be the US’ workhorse warplane for decades to come.

F-22 Raptor

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: US Air Force Staff Sgt. Jim Araos

The predecessor to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II is the single-seat, twin-engine F-22 Raptor, currently the world’s most advanced combat-ready jet.

The US is the sole operator of the F-22 thanks to a federal law that prohibits the jet from being exported. Lockheed Martin built 195 of the planes before the last one was delivered to the US Air Force in May 2012.

Despite the program’s high cost and the jet’s advanced features, it only saw combat for the first time relatively recently, during the opening phase of the bombing campaign against the ISIS in late 2014.

T-50

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Wikipedia/Alex Beltyukov

Russia’s Su-50, also known under the prototype name of the T-50 PAK-FA, is the Kremlin’s fifth-generation fighter and its response to the F-35.

Though still at the prototype stage, Moscow thinks the Su-50 will ultimately be able tooutperform the F-35 on key metrics such as speed and maneuverability. The stealth capabilities of the Su-50, however, are believed to be below those of both the F-22 and F-35.

The Kremlin plans to introduce the Su-50 into service by 2016. Once the plane is combat-ready, it will serve as a base model for the construction of further variants intended for export. India is already codesigning an Su-50 variant with Russia, and Iran and South Korea are possible candidates to buy future models of the plane.

Chengdu J-20

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Youtube

The Chengdu J-20 is China’s second fifth-generation fighter in development and a potential game-changer in East Asia.

The J-20 bears striking resemblance to the F-35 because of Chinese reverse-engineering and extensive theft of F-35 data. Once completed, the J-20 is assumed to have stealth capability along with the range needed to reach targets within Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam from mainland China.

As of January, Beijing had developed six functional prototypes of the aircraft, with new prototypes being released at an increasingly quick pace. The final iteration of the aircraft is expected to be released and combat-ready sometime around 2018.

Eurofighter Typhoon

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Austrian Armed Forces Markus Zinner

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine multirole fighter that was originally developed to be the primary combat aircraft of Europe and NATO.

The Typhoon is Europe’s largest military program and was founded by four core nations: Germany, Spain, Italy, and the UK.

In 2011 the Eurofighter was deployed to its first combat mission, to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya during the NATO bombing campaign in the country. There are 402 Eurofighter jets designed for the Austrian, Italian, German, Spanish, UK, Omani, and Saudi Air Forces.

The Eurofighter has been called Europe’s version of America’s most expensive weapons system, the F-35 Lightning II.

MH-X Silent Hawk

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Youtube

The military’s secret MH-X Silent Hawk program was publicly disclosed only after one of the helicopters crashed during the SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 1, 2011.

It is unclear when the US Army Operations Security’s top-secret helicopter program began and how many of these stealthy aircraft are in service.

While the Silent Hawk appears to be a highly modified version of the widely known UH-60 Black Hawk, there are no unclassified details about this secret helicopter.

X-47B

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Northrop Grumman

The Navy’s X-47B is a strike-fighter-size unmanned aircraft with the potential to change aerial warfare.

Northrop Grumman’s drone is capable of aerial refueling, 360-degree rolls, and offensive weapons deployment. It carried out the first autonomous aerial refueling in aviation history and has taken off from and landed on an aircraft carrier.

It cruises at half the speed of sound and has a wingspan of 62 feet — as well as a range of at least 2,400 miles, more than twice that of the Reaper drone.

Stratolaunch

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Youtube/Stratolaunch Systems

The Stratolaunch will be one of the most astounding planes ever built.

Now in its development stage, the plane will serve as a midair launch platform capable of carrying satellites into orbit. The aircraft, whose 117-foot wingspan will be the largest of any plane ever built, will fly to an altitude of 30,000 feet and then angle upward before blasting its payload into space.

The plane would be a relatively cheap and reusable launch vehicle for satellites and would revolutionize how hardware and possibly even human beings can access orbital space. It could fly as early as 2016.

Here’s a video of how it’ll all work:

X-37B

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Phptp: Wikimedia Commons

The Air Force’s secretive space drone returned from a two-year mission in October. It wasn’t clear exactly what the X-37B was doing up there, but it wasrelaunched on May 20 for another extended stint in orbit.

With the X-37B, the Air Force has a reusable satellite that it can control and call back to earth. The ability to re-equip an orbital platform for specific mission types gives the US military unprecedented flexibility in how it can use outer space — and its long periods in orbit and reusability are impressive engineering feats.

Nano Hummingbird

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Youtube

These tiny Darpa-developed surveillance drones could become future military staples. Small enough to evade enemy detection or fire, the Nano Hummingbird can fit in the palm of your hand and relay images and intelligence from the air.

Most surveillance drones, such as the RQ-4 Global Hawk, are large aircraft that fly at altitudes of 60,000 feet. Aircraft such as the Nano Hummingbird, which is light, stealthy, and easy to launch, could be a routine part of a future combat soldier’s arsenal.

Watch it in action here:

Iran’s drones

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: IRNA

Iran has been under sanctions and a Western arms embargo for much of the past 30 years, something that has denied Tehran the chance to obtain high-quality European or American arms. That’s about to change, with the signing of a nuclear agreement that will lift all international arms import limitations within the next decade.

But the years of sanctions have forced Iran to build its own domestic capabilities. In 2013 Iran debuted an armed drone eerily similar to the US’ Reaper, called the Fotros. It’s unclear whether the Fotros is battle-ready, but Iran and Hezbollah, Tehran’s proxy militia in Lebanon — along with the Sudanese military — already fly Iran’s Ababil-3 surveillance drone.

Iran’s drones aren’t game changers because of their high quality but because of what they represent: Even countries chafing under international pressure can develop their own drone technology with enough patience and technological expertise. The Fotros and Ababil-3 suggest that an era of widespread drone proliferation is just around the corner.

More from Business Insider:

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

Articles

13 funniest military memes for the week of Oct. 14

All the best military memes, distilled down to these 13 funniest.


1. Hey, a lightning strike would probably get you a decent profile for a few days, as well (via The Salty Soldier).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

2. Spraying each other with the hose isn’t funny when the pressure could tear a hole in the MOPP gear (via Military Memes).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
No horseplay during chemical attacks.

3. Why no American allies like American MREs:

(via Australian Warfighters)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Sorry, Australia. That stuff really messes up your down unders.

SEE ALSO: The US Navy strikes back after dodging rebel missiles off of Yemen

4. $15 isn’t bad for custom food in the field (via Military Memes).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
And you could label all your crayons, so no other Marines eat them.

5. “Sir, we’re definitely walking in circles. That guy who keeps turning around ahead of us? That’s our rear security.”

(via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

6. Gotta keep those buoys Semper Paratus:

(via Coast Guard Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Buoy tending isn’t glamorous, but someone has to do it.

7. You’ll never escape. There aren’t even any discharge papers in that maze (via Military Memes).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Aint no discharge in the maze, ain’t no discharge on the ground, ain’t no discharge all around.

8. “Wouldn’t it be great if there were an animal patrolling with us whose primary skill is puking hairballs and showing off its butt?”

(via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

9. Everyone’s greatest hope during firewatch is that the drill instructor would talk to the other guard (via Team Non-Rec).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

10. He’s going to spend hours pointing out everything you did wrong (via The Salty Soldier).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Wouldn’t it be great to see this dog discussing an incident with an MP military working dog? Like, I would watch a TV show of an all-dog military just dealing with random, garrison shenanigans.

11. Soldiers will make fun of you for being weak and coddled …

(via The Salty Soldier)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
… while being secretly jealous of how much you are coddled.

12. The best part is that first formation isn’t until 0500 (via The Salty Soldier).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
And SP is at 0900.

13. Just. Make. It. Stop. (via The Salty Soldier)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Articles

9 times when cartoons were used to spread military propaganda

Propaganda cartoons play a big role in war by educating service members, encouraging the purchase of war bonds, and rallying the home front. The heyday of American propaganda cartoons was easily World War II, and a motley assortment of characters have been used to win the wars.


As a note, many of the war cartoons were deliberately racist towards the people of enemy nations, so expect some offensive imagery when viewing.

1. Private Snafu and his cigar-smoking Army fairy

Snafu was a young Army private who constantly got himself into trouble by complaining, shirking duty, or avoiding medicine and immunizations. In “Three Brothers,” Snafu wishes he had one his brothers’ jobs, and the cigar smoking fairy shows up to show Snafu what his brothers, Pvt. Tarfu and Pvt. Fubar, are doing for the war effort. Snafu was voiced by Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny.

2. Willie and Joe

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Me future is settled, Willie. I’m gonna be a perfessor on types o’ European soil.

Drawn by Army Sgt. Bill Mauldin, Willie and Joe were characters Mauldin used often to show the rigors in the field. Originally assigned to the 45th Infantry Division, Mauldin was soon assigned to the Stars and Stripes for which he drew six cartoons a week. His cartoons got him in serious trouble with Gen. George S. Patton, but the troops loved his work, especially the war weary Willie and Joe.

3. Superman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7eT-23id7k

The Man of Steel did his part in World War II. Superman was generally depicted as a newspaperman in the States, fighting spies and saboteurs. But, he did take the fight to the enemy a few times, like in “The Eleventh Hour” when he began sabotaging Japanese industrial efforts.

4. Donald Duck and the Disney crew

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWY-Nn0rDmA

Most of the Disney crew joined the war effort in different ways. Donald Duck famously took the fight to the enemy though. Oddly, the duck famous for his sailor uniform was typically depicted as being in the Army. Donald was even airborne. He makes his first jumps in “Sky Trooper” above, and eventually conducted a solo combat jump into Japan.

5. Annie Awful – The killer, sexy mosquito

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: US Government Printing Office

Awful Annie, and mosquitoes like her, were depicted as waiting on cots for service members who neglected to hang anti-mosquito nets. The mosquitos, and the malaria they carried, were some of the deadliest killers in the war.

6. The Axis leaders

Of course, real world characters were recreated in the cartoon world, and the depictions of Axis leaders were not very flattering. In “The Ducktators,” Hirohito, Mussolini, and Hitler get depicted as zealous ducks. Other Nazi leaders were ridiculed beside Hitler in “Education for Death.”

7. Looney Tunes and the Gremlins

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jljAMQNbl4Y

Like the Disney characters, Looney Tunes characters joined the war. In “Falling Hare,” Bugs Bunny goes up against gremlins that are trying to damage Allied aviation equipment.

8. Popeye

Popeye the sailor man joined the military in World War II. Predictably, he joined the Navy. He appeared in a lot of cartoons including “Many Tanks,” and “Seeing Red, White, and Blue.” In the above video, “A Jolly Good Furlough,” he gets to visit his nephews and see the jobs they do in home defense.

9. Mr. Hook

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voYVK2ftMyk

Mr. Hook was part of a short-running series that began in 1943 where a vet of World War II looked back at his time in the conflict and described his exploits to his son. The dad would tell his son the importance of war bonds to America’s eventual victory and then celebrate all the money they made off the bonds when they finally matured.

NOW: Watch this Iraq War veteran’s tragic story told through the lens of a cartoon

OR: This powerful film tells how Marine fought ‘One Day of Hell’ in Fallujah

Lists

13 pictures that perfectly capture Navy life in the 1980s

Every generation has a slightly different experience of military service. Here are 13 things that no longer exist but you’ll remember if you served in the US Navy in the 1980s.


1. You could have a beard

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Remember when you just couldn’t wait to make E-4 so you could have one of those great big bushy Navy beards? Too bad you couldn’t wear an OBA to breathe in a fire with that big old beard…

2. Beer machines in the barracks

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Nothing better than getting off work, coming back to an open barracks room with 75 other guys in it,  going into the TV lounge to watch the same show everybody else wants to see and dropping  $.75 into a cold drink machine to enjoy a nice lukewarm can of brew.

3. Snail mail that took months to reach you

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Getting your Christmas cards for Easter is always fun.

4. Cinderella liberty

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Get back to the ship  by midnight or you will turn into a pumpkin (or at least pull some extra duty)!

5. Life before urinalysis

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Gave new meaning to “The smoking lamp is lit.”

6. Watching the same movie 72 times on deployment because there was no satellite

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Reciting the lines by memory added to the fun. For a treat they would show it topside on the side of the superstructure.

7. Enlisted and officers partying together

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Nothing better than drinking all night with your division officer and showing up for the next day’s morning muster while he is nowhere to be found.

8. Liberty cards, request chits, and green “memorandum” books

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

No liberty until the chief handed out the liberty cards; chits filled out in triplicate were required for everything; and you knew you made it when you carried a little green memo book in your pocket (to write stuff down with your Skilcraft pen).

9. Having a “discussion” with the chief in the fan room

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: USN

A little attitude adjustment never hurt anybody. The next day you were best buds, and you never told a soul where you got that black eye.

10. Getting paid in cash

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Nothing better than armed guards standing by for payday on the mess decks and having a pocket full of $20s every 2 weeks.

11. Our only enemy was the Reds

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Ivans and Oscars and Bears, Oh My!

12. Communicating with flags

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Just what are those guys waving around semaphore flags saying to each other?

13. Navigation before GPS

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Quartermaster get a sextant and tell me where we are!

 

Lists

7 holiday gift ideas for the Army

Let’s continue our holiday shopping. We’ve already designed the U.S. Navy’s gift basket, so now let’s put one together for their rival, the Army. What do they want to find under the tree this year?


7. An extra brigade per division

The Army recently beefed up its brigades by adding a third infantry battalion, but decreased the number of brigade combat teams, or BCTs, per division from four to three. With Russia developing new tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, there’s a chance the United States Army may need more forces to hold the line. Going back to four BCTs per division wouldn’t be a bad idea. Maybe get some separate brigades, as well.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Capt. Lou Cascino, commander of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), pulls security while Staff Sgt. Eric Stephens and 1st Lt. James Kromhout verify their position during a partnered patrol in Madi Khel, Khowst Province, Afghanistan, Oct. 20, 2013. (U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Kamil Sztalkoper, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division)

6. More divisions

In 1989, the United States Army had 18 active divisions, plus 10 more in the National Guard. Today, there are 10 active Army divisions and only eight divisions in the National Guard. Even as the U.S. entered the War on Terror, that total did not increase. Now, ISIS has been beaten down, but the Russian threat is resurging. Let’s go back to 1989’s division totals and get even more troops on the line.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Shoulder patch of the 3rd Armored Division, one of the divisions deactivated after the Cold War. (US Army graphic)

5. More combat aviation units

The AH-64 Apache is one heck of an equalizer on the battlefield. With 16 Longbow-equipped Hellfires, one Apache could wipe out half a battalion of Russian tanks. But the Army only has 11 combat aviation brigades, according to a Heritage Foundation assessment of American military power. We’re sure the U.S. Army would be happy to have one combat aviation brigade per division.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Apache helicopters have successfully taken out advanced air defenses before, but it would still be better to use F-22s when possible. (Army photo by Capt. Brian Harris)

4. More M1128 “Stryker” Mobile Gun Systems

The M1128 is very mobile and carries a 105mm main gun. While it’s not able to stand up to an Armata, or arguably even a piece-of-junk T-72, it can still knock out armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, trucks, anti-aircraft guns, surface-to-air missile launchers, and buildings. Plus, it could give the 82nd Airborne the firepower it’s lacked since the M551 was retired decades ago.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Armor Soldiers assigned to 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, fire the Stryker’s 105mm main gun during a live fire range 28 March 2011, at Yakima Training Center, Wash. (US Army photo)

3. New tanks and IFVs

While the Abrams and Bradley are great, they’re old designs. Everyone loves to get the newest, high-tech gadget for Christmas — we think the U.S. Army would appreciate it, too. A new tank and IFV makes for a great gift. Plus, Russia’s been making great strides on their tanks; America needs to modernize.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks move to engage targets during a joint combined arms live-fire exercise near Camp Buehring, Kuwait Dec. 6-7, 2016.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron Ellerman)

2. A new scout helicopter

One consequence of the budget cuts enacted under the Obama Administration was that the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior was retired without an immediate replacement. Yes, UAVs can handle some reconnaissance, but not all. A new version of the Lakota could be had relatively cheap, in federal budget terms.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Airbus H145M, showing a gun pod on the left and a 12-round rocket pod on the right. (Photo from Airbus Helicopters)

1. Re-start A-10 production

Yes, the A-10 is technically an Air Force system, but the need for close-air support is always there. We’re told the F-35 or the OA-X program will replace the A-10, but somehow, that doesn’t seem to add up.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Two U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fly in a wingtip formation after refueling from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Feb. 15, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordan Castelan)

What do you think the U.S. Army should get for Christmas? Let us know in the comments.

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The 17 coolest DARPA projects

Since its founding in 1958, DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has kept the United States as a technological leader in robotics, electronics, communications, and combat. President Eisenhower first authorized what was then known as ARPA as a response to the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957, and the Agency quickly became known for its far-fetched research,  its startling advances, and its secrecy.


Inventions by DARPA have changed the way we communicate, work, and travel – both in peace and war. Our list of DARPA projects includes concepts crucial to the internet, GPS, interactive maps, advanced computing, and transportation. And DARPA researchers are currently working on an astounding array of projects, everything from robotic dogs to healing microchips. Much of it won’t work, and some of it won’t ever see the light of day – but everything DARPA does keeps the US on the forefront of technological dominance.

This DARPA projects list features some of the coolest, most attention-getting innovations DARPA has been involved with. Which inventions and breakthroughs do you think are the coolest in DARPA history? Vote them up below!

The Coolest DARPA Projects

Articles

The 13 funniest military memes of the week

More memes about the military. We hope you appreciate all the effort it takes to scroll through the internet finding these.


1. That’s a pretty nice car for an E1 (via Sh-t My LPO Says).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Some shady salesman got a nice bonus from that financing.

2. The Army trains to overcome the natural fear of death.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
The Navy trains to overcome vertigo while drunk.

SEE ALSO: 5 insane military projects that almost happened

3. For those who don’t know, MCT is combat school for non-infantry Marines.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
So this is one motivated, boot POG.

4. “War is Hell …”

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

5. That’s right, this guy is tougher than Katniss.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
No big deal or nuthin’.

6. That’s one salty giraffe (via Sh-t My LPO Says).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
I’d pay good money to see this as a kids’ cartoon.

7. Rip Its: When they absolutely have to die tonight … (Via OIF/OEF Veterans)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
… and their friends have to be dead by morning.

8. Combat Camera: No fire limits, no limits of advance …

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
… and absolutely no effects on target.

9. The Coast Guard has intelligence sailors? (Via Coast Guard Memes.)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Pretty great set-up for the sea police.

10. “Combat.” (Via Military Memes.)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
They can probably get a Combat Action Badge for hitting a mouse with a mower.

11. It’s the only way the sailors will go down for their naps (via Sh-t My LPO Says).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Remember to keep a petty officer around to kiss all the boo-boos better.

 12. “I thought we started at morale bedrock.”

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

13. Chaos 6 has a reputation.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
No one should test it.

NOW: 24 historic photos made even more amazing with color

Watch Civilians Mangle the Official Title of the Afghanistan War | Vet On The Street

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7 signs a food may not be as healthy as you think it is

Do you ever feel like no matter how healthy you try to eat, there’s something bad sneaking into all your meals? It can be frustrating figuring out what makes a food healthy or not and how a food will impact your body.

A great way to decide if a food is secretly unhealthy is by looking at all the ingredients. If you think a food is healthy, it may surprise you to see the additives or other annoyances that have been slipped into it. If you’re looking to figure out the truth, here are signs a food is unhealthy, even if it appears not to be.


1. It claims to be “reduced-fat”

You may be more inclined to pick up products that tout that they’re “reduced-fat” or “low-fat” on their packages, but that doesn’t exactly mean it’s healthy.

When producers make low-fat or reduced-fat foods, even if they’re lowering the fat content, they’re likely increasing other aspects to make it taste better, including added sugar.

Take a good hard look at the nutrition label to determine if it’s actually the best option for you.

2. It’s gluten-free.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Of course, if you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, you should absolutely be picking up gluten-free options. But, if you’re just trying to cut out gluten because you think gluten-free options are “healthier” you’re sorely mistaken.

Gluten-free food often contains sugary starches and additives often meant to replicate gluten. Plus, studies suggest that gluten-free foods are not healthier overall, containing more salt and fat than other, similar foods, according to The Washington Post.

3. It claims to be made of whole-grains.

You’ve probably seen a lot of cereals and bread tout that they’re now made with “whole grains” in a claim that they’re now healthier for you. But that isn’t always exactly true.

Because of some loopholes in the definition of “whole grain,” these foods may actually contain all parts of the grain in a fine flour form, something that your body often processes as sugar.

4. It claims that there’s “no sugar added.”

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
(Photo by Charles Haynes)

Although some foods will brag about being “no added sugar,” sometimes that just means there is no sugar in its traditional form. Oftentimes, manufacturers skimp around it by claiming that label but including high-fructose corn syrup or other names for sugar.

While you may only think of syrup as something you’d put on your pancakes, high-fructose corn syrup can be found in most processed foods, according to Healthline. Sure candy may have it, but even foods like deli meat can find it added in. High-fructose corn syrup has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, but more research is needed.

It’s important to know all of the ways that sugar can be labeled and not to just go off the front of the label.

5. It’s labeled “organic sugar.”

Although there are foods that experts say are best to buy organic, if you’re debating on buying something with “organic” sugar versus “regular” sugar, it doesn’t really make a difference.

The chemical compound of “organic” sugar is exactly the same, according to HealthLine, so if you’re looking for a healthier choice, this probably isn’t it.

6. It claims to be baked, not fried.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
(Photo by Valters Krontals)

To be clear, baking a food yourself will pretty much always be healthier than getting it fried. But when it comes to processed “junk food,” such as potato chips, just because it’s “baked” doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

In fact, US News blogger Yoni Freedhoff, MD, found that a brand of baked chips had only 38 fewer calories than a classic competitor and contained more salt.

7. It touts that it’s “free-range.”

You may think the chickens that laid your “free-range eggs” are running around, uninhibited and therefore healthier. But the US Department of Agriculture’s guidelines about what “free-range” actually means is basically non-existent. It basically just means that the chickens have access to the outside, according to Salon.

Additionally, a study led by food technologist Deana Jones and cited by Time magazine, claims that “free-range” eggs were not found to be any healthier than “normal” eggs, so sounds like this may be better off ignored altogether.

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

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11 fictional weapons we wish we could check out of the armory

Checking out your weapon from the armory is like standing in line at the DMV — it’s the worst game of hurry up and wait ever.


When you do get it, you spend your day dry firing your weapon at the range and then check it right back in at the close of business.

It happens every day, and the repetition can be very annoying.

Meanwhile back at the barracks, you’re sitting in front of your TV watching your favorite movies or playing your favorite video game, and you begin to think that the futuristic laser gun might be a lot of fun to use against actual bad guys.

Related: This Gatling gun fires up to 6,000 F-Us per minute … and we love it

Check our list of fictional weapons we wish we could check out of the armory:

1. That super sonic shotgun thingy (Minority Report)

When killing the bad guys isn’t the mission, but knocking the crap out of them is.

They got knocked the f*ck out. (Images via Giphy)I actually just want to have this around for my daily commute.

2. The Noisy Cricket (Men in Black)

It would be that perfect weapon to conceal around your ankle holster if you can withstand the recoil of firing it.

His back has to be sore. (Images via Giphy)Maybe do some squats and work on your stance before a live-fire exercise.

3. The Auto 9 (RoboCop)

Because having a .357 Desert Eagle look-a-like you can fire on full auto is badass.

No big deal. (Images via Giphy) If shooting paper targets isn’t your thing, Detroit still needs cops. No word on the Auto 9 being standard issue though.

4.  M41A Pulse Rifle (Alien)

With the outstanding rate of fire of 900 rounds per minute, we’d take this sucker anywhere.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Ripley, Cpl. Hicks, and M41A Pulse Rifle. (Source: Fox)

Also, kudos to the guys who actually made an M41A. Please bring some by Twentynine Palms for immediate testing.

5.  Lightsaber (Star Wars)

This would be a better weapon to have than the standard issue bayonet we’re used too.

Look at his perfect freakin’ form. (Images via Giphy)

6. The Lawgiver (Judge Dredd)

It fires grenades, armor-piercing rounds, and it’s voice activated. This would be the perfect weapon if you find yourself in a jam.

They’ve all been judged. (robert cowley, Youtube) 

Plus, yelling “I AM THE LAW” every time you fire it would be therapeutic.

7.  The Needler (Halo)

A weapon that shoots energy bursts is a must-have in our armory.

(CryGateEntertainment, YouTube)

8. Mark 2 Lancer (Gears of War)

It’s the perfect weapon if you just feel like cleaving your enemy in two.

Cut that sucker. (Images via Giphy)

Also Read: These 4 guns were used to make the longest sniper kills in history

9. EM-1 (Eraser)

This rail gun comes fully equipped with a green x-ray scope and we like that.

A little overkill maybe, but it’s still badass. (Images via Giphy)

10. Gatling Gun Jet Pack (Kickass)

Who wouldn’t want this epic flying weapon in their armory?

Although, cleaning it would be a pain in the a**. (Images via Giphy)

11. The Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (Portal)

With the ability to create portals and teleport through space, this gun could send troops into any battle in a matter of moments.

Perfect for snatch and grab missions. (Images via Giphy) Can you think of any others? Comment below.
Articles

The 13 funniest military memes of the week

(Most of our memes this week came straight from Facebook, so thanks to everyone who shares on social media.)


1. E4 mafia? They can disappear faster than a Predator.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
E4 mafia runs the Army – except when there is a detail. Then they run from the Army.

2. You know there’s at least one sergeant warning everyone about sunburn. (via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

SEE ALSO: The top 7 videos of ISIS getting blown away

3. Inspections are done every 6 months, typically unannounced. (via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
I like to think Goose is in the back, taking pictures of everyone they fly close to.

 4. I’m a sniper, but I’m cross-trained in other sorts of bad*ssery. (via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

5. The Air Force is shocked to see that many planes in such a small place. (via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
The soldiers are jealous because they could only pack two duffel bags and the sailors got to bring their floating fortress.

6. Pilots are jocks. They don’t have much time for that book learnin’. (via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Surprisingly, the mechanics are the nerds.

7. This airman is here to get sh*t done.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Mostly folding towels, but GETS. IT. DONE.

8. Study hard, be prepared, then Christmas tree it. (via Sh-t My LPO Says)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

9. There are a lot of ways to assess your branch of service. (via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Air Force rarely uses how tough their basic is.

10. Gunner’s mate chief is about to fire his button. (via Sh-t My LPO Says)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
At that tension, release velocity is about 450 meters per second.

11. Best way to compare civilian and military experiences.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Of course, when the DI walks in, your heart doesn’t drop so much as stop. Which is good, because he can find you when it’s beating.

 12. “I just want it to frame my face.” (via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

13. “Here, a school of sharks sight easy prey.” (via Military Memes)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

NOW: 11 things your recruiter told you (and what they really mean)

OR: Watch the top 10 military comedy shows.

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13 tips for dating on a US Navy ship

Aside from the doom and gloom, sometimes the hormones act up, your sailor goggles come on, and the natural thing happens when you’re cooped up for months at a time with members of the opposite sex. It just happens. Yes, it’s stupid, and yes, you should know better. But, if you know better, and you’re still doing it, the following tips will help you and your “boat boo” from visiting the goat locker:


1. Forget about dating on a small ship.

 

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photos: US Navy

It’s easier to conceal your well deck escapades on larger ships, such as carriers and amphibious vessels.

2. Keep your distance

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt/US Navy

Keep it professional, don’t make it obvious. No flirting in your shop. Avoid eye contact altogether.

3. Never date in your division.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Timothy Schumaker/US Navy

Keep it secret from your division buddies. One thing is for sure, as soon the wrong person catches wind, prepare to be teased or worse.

4. If the person you’re seeing is in the same division, volunteer for TAD (Temporary Additional Duty).

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bradley J. Gee/US Navy

Yes, everyone hates it, but volunteering to crank in the galley might save you from getting caught. Once you’re called back to your division, it’s your partner’s turn to reciprocate.

5. Share no more than one meal per day.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Giovanni Squadrito/US Navy

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

6. Pass notes like you’re freakin’ teenagers.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

You’ve been there before, so take a page from your high school days. Also, if you have a network of trusted friends to pass along your letters, seal your notes with candle wax for an extra layer of protection. It sounds medieval, but it’s effective.

NOTE: Don’t be stupid; don’t save your notes. The goats – Navy speak for chiefs – will use them as evidence if you get caught.

7. Visit common spaces together.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: YouTube

The library is a great common space to meet and pass notes.

8. Have a buddy in supply or any division with access to storage spaces.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Wikimedia

This one is extra risky, but if you feel the urge to take it to the “next level,” your best friend is your buddy in supply. Supply personnel have access to storage spaces, which could be used to lock you in for an hour or two. Beware, you risk not showing up for emergency musters, such as GQ or man overboard. You’re at the mercy of your supply buddy since storage spaces are locked from the outside.

9. Wait for “darken ship” to meet at the bottom of ladder wells and corners.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Capt. Lee Apsley/US Navy

10. Volunteer for roving watch and rendezvous on the fantail.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda S. Kitchner/US Navy

… or a dark catwalk.

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McCord/US Navy

 

11. Find another couple to provide you with a shore-buddy alibi.

 

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
USAF photo

12. Go out in groups.

13. Have an open relationship. (And good luck with keeping that from getting messy.)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history

Acronym cheat sheet:

  • HM1: Hospital Corpsman, E6 pay grade
  • HM3: Hospital Corpsman, E4 pay grade
  • DRB: Disciplinary Review Board
  • CMC: Command Master Chief

WATM editor’s note: Let’s be clear, you should never date on a Navy ship. There’s too much to risk, such as being demoted, or even worse: getting the boot. For clarification, read the Navy’s Fraternization Policy.

Thanks to all the members of the Royal Order Of The Shellbacks and Shipmates Who Served Aboard The U.S.S. The Kitty Hawk CV 63 Facebook groups for helping us put together this post.

Articles

The 7 weirdest nuclear weapons ever developed

Nuclear weapons are in their own class, completely separate from every other kind of weapon in the arsenal. But, not all nuclear weapons are created equal. Here are the weirdest ones that saw service in the U.S. military.


1. Jeep-mounted recoilless rifle: the Davy-Crockett (1956)

The Davy Crockett had a 10 or 20-ton yield, depending on the type. There were two launchers for the Crockett, one of which would be mounted on Jeeps. Crocketts would be deployed with mortar platoons who would aim the weapons into Soviet troop and tank concentrations, poisoning the Russians with extreme levels of radiation within a quarter-mile radius of the point of impact.

2. Air-to-Air Missiles: AIR-2 Genie (1957) and AIM-26 Falcon (1961)

Before effective surface-to-air missiles or guided air-to-air missiles, America was looking for a way to shoot down large formations of enemy planes.

One idea was to fire an unguided air-to-air nuclear missile. Enter the AIR-2 Genie. Fielded in 1957, it was capable of being fired from an American fighter and the 1.5-kiloton blast was lethal to 300 meters. To prove to the American public that the missile could be safely detonated over American cities, a single Genie missile was detonated as five Air Force officers stood below it.

Four years later, a guided missile entered service. The AIM-26 was capable of a 250-ton nuclear explosion and chased its target using semi-active radar.

3. Nuclear torpedo: Mark 45 anti-submarine torpedo (1963)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Cliff, Wikimedia Commons

Designed to kill enemy subs, the Mark 45 was guided by wire. Triggering the 11-kiloton detonation required a command from the firing sub. The nearly 19-foot torpedo had a range of 5 to 8 miles.

4. Rockets: UUM-44 SUBROC (1963)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The UUM-44 was a submarine-launched rocket that would exit a sub, ignite its rocket engine, leave the water and fly to a predetermined point. There, the rocket would separate and the warhead would fall into the water as a depth charge, detonating at a programmed depth and killing enemy subs. With its 5-kiloton nuclear warhead, the SUBROC wasn’t really worried with direct hits.

5. Land mine: atomic demolition munitions (1964)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: DoD

Though commonly referred to as nuclear land mines, ADMs were really designed as area denial weapons where the bombs would be detonated ahead of advancing troops, triggering rockslides and poisoning the environment. Special versions could also be dropped behind enemy lines with two-man teams who would use the bombs to destroy ports, power plants, or communications hubs. Since they could be remotely detonated, the ADMs could be used as mines as long as a human stayed within the remote’s range and waited for the advancing enemy. They had a nuclear yield between .5 and 15 kilotons.

6. Artillery: M65 Atomic Cannon (1953) and M198 (1963)

There were a variety of nuclear artillery shells in the U.S. arsenal (China, India, and Pakistan still have them), most of them arrived in the field between 1953 and 1963. Initial models were like the M65 in the video, large-caliber rounds with large warheads delivering 15-20 kilotons of boom. The nuclear punch got smaller as smaller rounds were developed, ending with a 155mm round that delivered 72-ton yield.

7. Cryogenically-cooled bombs: Mark 16 (1954)

The human cost of the most daring special operations raids in history
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Mark 16 only served in an emergency capacity from January 1954 to April 1954. Based on the designs of the first thermonuclear bomb ever fired, the Ivy Mike, the bombs contained deuterium that had to be constantly cooled to below -238 Fahrenheit. They delivered 6-8 megatons (a megaton is 1,000 kilotons) of destruction, but were rendered obsolete by the successful testing of solid fuel thermonuclear bombs that didn’t require cooling.

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