6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan - We Are The Mighty
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6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Nestled between high mountains on the Afghan side of the border with Pakistan, the Korengal Valley has been one of the hardest fought over patches of ground in the War on Terror. 54 Americans have been killed and four Medals of Honor were earned in the valley — or it’s immediate vicinity — while the case for a fifth is under review. One was that of the first living recipient of the award since Vietnam: Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta.


Today, the American military rarely moves into the valley, but handpicked Afghan commandos, some trained by the CIA, fight constantly with militants there. The Afghan government maintains offices at the Pech River Valley, the entryway to Korengal. Their police execute raids and patrols in a continuing attempt to shut down or limit the shadow government operating there.

When the American military was there, they faced the same challenges the Afghan forces do today. Some of these dangers are common across Afghanistan, while some only existed in Korengal Valley and the other branches of the Pech River Valley.

The terrain is a nightmare.

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller

Steep mountains, loose shale, thick forests, and open patches of land made the area a nightmare for an occupying force. Combat outposts were built in relatively open areas so that defenders could see approaching militants. However, this meant patrols returning to the base had to cross the open ground, sometimes under heavy small arms fire from nearby wooded areas and houses. The thick trees in the area allowed fighters to attack U.S. forces from cover and concealment.

The attackers would then hide their weapons in the forests and return to the civilian population. The steep hillsides allowed snipers to climb above outposts and fire into the bases as soldiers slept. Loose rock on the steep land led to injuries from trips and falls.

Building new bases — and keeping them resupplied — presented constant challenges.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army Spc. Jon H. Arguello

Tied to the problem of the terrain, engineering in the valley has historically been difficult. To build the infamous Restrepo outpost, soldiers slipped up the hilltop in the night and frantically dug ditches in the dark. Working until dawn, they were barely able to create shallow trenches to lay in before sunlight exposed them to enemy fire. They created the outpost over the following weeks and months, chipping away at the rock and throwing the fragments into bags or Hesco barriers to create walls and fighting positions. Everything in the valley had to be made this way as the hills were too steep to move heavy equipment and there was little dirt or sand to put in the bags and barriers.

Supply was similarly constricted as many vehicles couldn’t make it into the hills. Trucks would move through washed out roads to deliver supplies to positions near the bottom of the valley. Getting food, water, and gear to the tops of the hills required either helicopter lifts or infantry carrying it up on their backs.

Its proximity to Pakistan gives the Taliban a cross-border sanctuary.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller

The Korengal Valley is located on the border with Pakistan in steep mountains and thick forests where it has served as a major conduit for smugglers for decades, especially during Soviet occupation. The Pakistan side of the border is in the tribal region which has historically served as a recruiting and training ground for terrorists. The valley itself is so inaccessible that the Afghan government temporarily gave up on trying to control it, even before the people began a strong resistance.

The civilian population is largely confrontational toward outsiders.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army Spc. David Jackson

The Americans in the valley found that the Korengalis were even less hospitable to U.S. and NATO forces than those in most of the war torn country. Most of them follow a sect of Islam known for its particularly conservative and hardline attitudes. They also all speak a dialect that not even their neighbors in the Pech River Valley — which Korengal Valley intersects — can understand. In addition, the Korengalis have a history of lumber smuggling and bad blood with other tribes. Meetings between U.S. and Afghan military leaders and tribal elders were generally tense if not confrontational.

The U.S. faced multiple insurgent groups, along with criminal elements.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army

Most NATO units faced opposition from multiple factions in their regions, but the Korengal Valley was a high priority for both the Jamaat al Dawa al Quran, or JDQ, and Al Qaeda. JDQ is suspected of having connections to Pakistani intelligence and both groups are certainly well-funded. In addition, local insurgencies cropped up under former timber barons who lost family members and money when the Americans moved in.

The Taliban often used human shields in battle.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Marine Corps Robert M. Storm

Though civilians were used as shields in much of Afghanistan, it was constant in Korengal Valley. Women and children were nearly guaranteed to show up on the roof of any house that came under attack from US forces. Vehicles filled with civilians tested checkpoints, forcing soldiers to choose between firing at potentially unarmed civilians or leaving themselves open to a potential suicide vehicle attack. This drastically limited the ability of U.S. forces to engage the enemy.

NOW: This Video Shows What The Military’s Awesome ‘Iron Man’ Suit May Look Like 

AND: 21 Photos That Show What It’s Like When Soldiers Assault A Taliban Stronghold 

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

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


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

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

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Senior Airman Michael Washburn/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Osakabe Yasuo/USAF

 

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Jim Hazeltine/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bocock/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen/USAF

 

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Roy Lynch/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Master Sgt. Mark C. Osen/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Tech. Sgt. JT May III/USAF

 

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Senior Airman Christopher Callaway/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Kemberly Grouel/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Austin Knox/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen/USAF

 

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr./USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Joseph Araiza/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Tech. Sgt. Regina Young/USAF

 

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Senior Airman Nicholas Monteleone/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings/USAF

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Senior Airman Christopher S. Muncy

 

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: 1st Lt. Nathan Wallin/USAF

Also from Business Insider:

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The 13 funniest military memes of the week of Aug. 26

We search through page after page of funny military memes so that you can just check in every week and see the 13 funniest.


You’re welcome.

1. Everyone knows the “choke yourself” scene is coming up next, right?

(via Dysfunctional Veterans)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
It may go a little differently this time.

2. Coast Guardsmen are masters of puddles from the surface to the greatest depths (via Military Memes).

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Even if those depths are too shallow for the buoy to actually be over the diver.

3. The candy isn’t worth it and the cake is a lie (via Military Memes).

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Don’t do it!

SEE ALSO: Pentagon considers lifetime access to Exchange for vets

4. Worst way to start an NCOER:

(via Humor During Deployment)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

5. “Your wedding photos had a fake T-Rex? Ours had actual operators.”

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Sort of makes the groom look underwhelming, though.

6. Notice that the Jetsons wore Flintstone-style clothing? That Marine-uniform envy is real (via Pop Smoke).

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Marine Corps: Worst gear, best clothes.

7. A-10 musicals are my favorite soundtracks (via Pop Smoke).

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

8. “Then you’ll see! Then you’ll all see!”

(via Sh*t my LPO says)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Except they won’t see, because you’ll be in the chief’s mess and they’ll still be out without you.

9. “But if you can run 5 kilometers so fast, why did you use an Uber to get to the hotel?”

(via The Salty Soldier)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
How many incentive days off do you think an Olympian gets for a silver medal? Bet he had duty the very next weekend.

10. The only Pokemon I was ever interested in:

(via Sh*t my LPO says)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
That’s a lie. I loved dragons as a kid and played the game solely to raise a Charmander to Charizard.

11. The green stop sign is a pretty useful tool of chaos:

(via The Salty Soldier)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
It’s usually employed by Blue Falcons.

12. It’s more alarming but also funnier when you realize that this kid is a firefighter on base:

(via Team Non-Rec)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

13. “This street looks familiar.”

(via Sh*t my LPO says)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Would’ve thought a Navy career would have more water. And booze.

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14 photos that show how deployed troops watch the Super Bowl

The military is filled with sports fans, and few days are as important to sports followers as the Super Bowl. So the U.S. military goes to great lengths to ensure that troops around the world are granted the opportunity to watch the big game (as long as they aren’t currently wrapped up in a mission…probably).


Here are 14 photos that show how troops around the world watch the ultimate football game each year:

1. Sports fans around the world watch the game on the Armed Forces Network, a U.S. military satellite channel. Some of these watching parties even allow minor uniform alterations, such as the wear of sports jerseys.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Capt. Joe Beale, a systems automation officer assigned to the 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, cheers as the Seattle Seahawks score a touchdown during Super Bowl XLVIII, Feb. 2, 2014, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (Photo: U.S. Army Cpl. Alex Flynn)

2. The watch parties are held wherever a TV and suitable seating can be set up, including chow halls…

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Sailors watch Super Bowl 50 (fun fact: this was the year the Super Bowl decided to take a break from using roman numerals because the stand-alone “L” raised some confusion) between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos in USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) mess decks. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Rodriguez Santiago)

3. …theaters or briefing rooms…

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Deployed troops watch the “big game” during a Super Bowl 50 viewing party at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Feb. 8, 2016. The Airmen, soldiers, and civilians enjoyed the game and got to meet Miami Dolphins cheerleaders and former players during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

4. …and even ranges.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Marines with 3rd Battalion 4th Marine Regiment take a break from their Integrated Training Exercise to watch the Super Bowl at the Combat Center’s Range 215, Feb. 3, 2012.

5. The luckiest viewers get to watch in sports bars on base.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Community members react to the Super Bowl 50 game with Carolina Panthers versus Denver Broncos Feb. 8 at the CZCC. (U.S. Army photo by Lance Davis)

6. The game-watching parties are usually supplemented with other activities.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Marines with 3rd Battalion 4th Marine Regiment take a break from their Integrated Training Exercise to watch the Super Bowl at the Combat Center’s Range 215, Feb. 3, 2012.

7. For obvious reasons, football games are a common choice.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Marines with 3rd Battalion 4th Marine Regiment take a break from their Integrated Training Exercise to watch the Super Bowl at the Combat Center’s Range 215, Feb. 3, 2012.

8. But other games are commonly set up.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Pfc. Oscar Ramero plays pool at a Single Marine Program Recreation Center at Camp Pendleton, Feb. 7, 2016. The center hosted a Super Bowl party which included free food and games for noncommissioned officer ranks and below. Ramero, from New York, is a student with Assault Amphibian School Battalion, School of Infantry – West. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel)

9. Some bases will even get special visits from USO tours, like this NFL All-Star Cheerleaders line-up.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
NFL All-Star Cheerleaders perform for the Super Bowl 50 party Feb. 8 at the CZZC. (U.S. Army photo by Lance Davis)

10. Concerts are fairly common as well.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The Smokin’ Scarecrows play a cover of a song Feb. 7, 2016, in the Ramstein Enlisted Club, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The band was part of the pre-game entertainment before the 2016 Super Bowl. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Timothy Moore)

11. Prize giveaways are big at watch parties, especially overseas.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Vonetta Weatherspoon, community member from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, received the grand prize of two round-trip tickets to the U.S. from United Airlines at the Super Bowl 50 party Feb. 8 in the CZCC. (U.S. Army photo by Lance Davis)

12. Electronics, plane tickets, and other prizes are given out.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Prizes for the patrons of the Super Bowl 50 Madness party rest on a table Feb. 7, 2016, in the Ramstein Enlisted Club, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Prizes included National Football League lawn chairs and money. Club members could also receive furniture, additional cash, LED televisions, and gaming consoles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Timothy Moore)

13. Of course, no Super Bowl party is complete without snacks.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson chaplains hosted a Super Bowl Sunday Party with a large variety of food and drinks at the Wired Cafe, on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Feb. 1, 2015. The Super Bowl Sunday Party there is an annual tradition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Christopher R. Morales)

14. But it is the military, so not everyone gets a party or even a chance to watch the game. Some guys have to pull duty, like these paratroopers getting ready for an airborne operation on Super Bowl Sunday.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
While the rest of the country was watching Super Bowl 50, hundreds of Airborne Artillerymen assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery rushed down to Green Ramp to conduct sustained airborne training in preparation for a zero-dark-thirty airborne operation the following morning of Feb. 8, 2016., on Fort Bragg, N.C. (Capt. Joe Bush, 82nd Airborne Division Artillery/ Released.)

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5 things boots need to do before earning the squad’s trust

Squads are the most fundamental part of the military. While you can generally get by with having an issue with someone else in the company, a squad can’t function unless everyone is on the same level.

It takes years to earn someone’s trust to the point of knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that they have your back. To get the new guys in the squad up to speed, they’ll have to be given a crash course in earning it.


6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

There is a difference between impressing the squad and impressing the platoon sergeant. Choose wisely.

(Photo by Spc. Noel Williams)

PT as well in the morning

the uninitiated may think that the fastest way to earn respect is to out-hustle, out-perform, and outlast the rest. The problem here is that morning PT isn’t designed to improve — it’s for sustaining one’s assumed peak performance. If you’re looking to improve, it’ll probably happen off-duty.

With that in mind, many troops who’ve been in for years won’t be impressed by the new kid smoking everyone on the pull-up bar. They’re probably hungover from drinking the night before. During morning PT, there’s no way to improve your standing with the guys, but making everyone else look bad will definitely cost you some points.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

This also means don’t ever miss the 50m target — you will be justifiably ridiculed.

(Photo by Sgt. Maj. Peter Breuer)

Shoot as good at the range

This rings especially true with line units. It’s also assumed that by the time a Drill Instructor hands off a boot to the unit, they’re ready to be hardened killing machines. Taking time to train someone to shoot perfectly is no longer in the training schedule, there’re still guys who’ve been in the unit for ages rocking a “pizza box,” or Marksman badge.

If you can show everyone that you’re not some kid, but rather someone who’s ready to train with the big boys, the squad will take notice and use you to belittle the guy who missed the 50m target. That’s a good thing for you.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Or keep an eye out for staff duty and keep them occupied so they don’t crash the party.

(Screengrab via YouTube)

Party as hard in the barracks

Barracks parties are very tight-knit. There may be some cross-over with other platoons or companies that are cool with whomever is hosting, so don’t fret and be cool. It’s a real sign of trust if someone is willing to show you to the others off-duty.

Chances are that most boots are fresh out of high school. No one wants to party with the kid who’s going to get them arrested by the MPs for underage drinking. For all the legal reasons, you really shouldn’t be drinking if you’re under 21 (even though we all know what happens in the barracks). You can still play a part, however, by being the designated driver or helping others who’ve drank too much by grabbing water, junk food, and sports drinks.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Chances are that the joke, just like your first time, will be quickly forgotten by most people involved.

(Photo by Pfc. Vaniah Temple)

Joke as witty off-duty

As odd as it sounds, the surefire way to make everyone in the squad trust you is to get them to like you. They’ll overlook a lot of your flaws if you’re not quite “grunt enough” if you can make them laugh.

No one wants to be around the guy who’s telling the same unfunny story that ends with getting yelled at by the drill sergeant. No matter how mind-blowing it was to you back then, I assure you that it’s nothing special. Dig deep and find that real humor. Joke about something personal, like the first time you got intimate with someone. There’s definitely an awkward moment in there that’s funny to reflect on.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

I’m just sayin’. Nearly every friendship is sealed in the smoke pit.

(U.S. Marine Corps Photo)

Be as loyal when the time comes

There’s no concrete way to know when this time will come, but it will. At some point, everything will be on the line and you need to swoop in with the clutch. When it happens, you’ll know.

This is when you’ll show the squad that you’re one of them — that you value the rest of the guys above your own well-being. It could be as large as saving everyone’s ass from an enraged first sergeant to just bringing an extra pack of cigarettes to the field. Get to know your squad and you’ll know what it takes.

Articles

This one South Carolina county raised 4 Medal of Honor recipients

Pickens County, South Carolina lies in the northwest corner of the state on the border of North Carolina. The rural county has only a few hundred people per square mile and a total population of 120,000. Surprisingly, this small county has produced four Medal of Honor recipients, which makes it the county with the most Medals of Honor per capita in the nation, according to a report in Patch.


Here are the four recipients:

1. Pfc. Charles Barker slowed an enemy advance with hand-to-hand fighting.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army

Army Pfc. Charles Barker was part of a platoon in Korea that came upon enemy soldiers digging emplacements on a slope June 4, 1953. The patrol engaged the diggers but found itself facing heavy enemy resistance. As mortars began to fall on the platoon, the platoon leader ordered a withdrawal. Barker volunteered to cover the platoon move and was last seen engaged in hand-to-hand combat.

2. Pfc. William McWhorter absorbed an explosive blast to save his assistant gunner.

Army Pfc. William McWhorter was manning a heavy machine gunner in combat on Leyte Island in the Philippines on Dec. 5, 1944 when an enemy demolitions squad rushed his position. McWhorter and his assistant gunner successfully killed some of the attackers, but one managed to throw a fused demolition charge into the trench. McWhorter grabbed it and pulled it into his body just before it exploded. His actions saved the life of the assistant gunner who was able to continue fighting.

3. Lance Cpl. James “Donnie” Howe jumped on a grenade to save another Marine.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Marine Corp

Marine Lance Cpl. James “Donnie” Howe was in a defensive position on a beach bordering bamboo thickets in Vietnam on May 6, 1970. A group of enemy sappers crept unnoticed to the position in the dark of early morning and launched a grenade attack. Howe and two others moved to a better position and began suppressing the enemy. When another grenade landed in the middle of the group, Howe jumped on it and saved the others.

4. Pvt. Furman Smith single-handedly held off an enemy counterattack.

During the Allied advance in Italy in World War II, Army Pvt. Furman Smith was part of an infantry company attack on a strong point. Smith was in the lead element when an attack by 80 Germans succeeded in wounding two men. While the rest of the lead element pulled back to the company’s position, Smith rushed forward. He recovered the wounded and placed them in shell craters that provided some cover. He then took a position nearby and held off the Germans with rifle fire until he was ultimately overrun.

NOW:  9 post-9/11 heroes who should have received the Medal of Honor — but didn’t

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The ’76 most American things that have ever happened

The “Meanwhile, in America” meme takes the cliché phrasing from film, television, and literature “meanwhile, in…” and applies it to the United States, often pointing out examples of American excess, ignorance, or laziness. It’s been turned into some of the most popular pictures and gifs all over the web, including sites like Reddit and Tumblr.


The phrase “meanwhile, in…” is a popularly used storytelling device that takes the audience away from the center of action in the story at that moment, to somewhere else completely. This phrase has been popularized on the Web with an image macro that takes a photo that captures a common stereotype of any country in the world, and makes fun of them.

These are used often for comedic purposes and occasionally to interrupt someone who has, according to “knowyourmeme,” gone on a huge tangent in an online conversation. The use of the meme implies a sense of boredom among all the other readers. People who post one of these memes are then celebrated as bringing the conversation back to where it should be, or for just finding a hilarious way to use the meme.

You really just take any picture that exemplifies that country, in this case America, and put the “Meanwhile, in America” words on it.

But it takes a little more than just finding a photo of fat people in this; the entire photo really has to “work” for the “Meanwhile, in America” meme. You have to find one that if sent independently of any words or captions, would make whoever you were sending it to lose all faith in not only their peers and their country, but humanity in general.

What are the funniest America memes? These are the best “Meanwhile, in America” memes and jokes. From the morbidly obese exercising laziness, to negligent parents, to enormous guns and overall American ridiculousness, here are the greatest examples of how to use, and the best ways to use, the phrase “Meanwhile, in America” online. By the end, we bet you’lll be chanting “USA! USA!” (Or not.)

The ’76 Most American Things That Have Ever Happened

Articles

The odds of dying in an American war (applying the Lt. Dan scale)

The honor of making the ultimate sacrifice is timeless. But casualty counts in the United States’ current conflicts are relatively low relative to previous wars.


Of course, no competent warfighter signs on to die for his (or her) country (because as we all know by now (and as General George S. Patton famously said during World War II), the whole point of war is to make the other poor bastard die for his (or her) country).

But what if you lived in another time? Would you have survived the Civil War or World War I?

In the movie “Forrest Gump” Forrest notes that Lt. Dan “was from a long, great military tradition — somebody from his family had fought and died in every single American war.”

So what do the Lt. Dan family’s odds look like on paper? WATM has the answer:

The American Revolution

1 in 50 – 2 percent

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Lieutenant Dan’s ancestor wasn’t so lucky, but these are relatively good odds considering the conditions at the time and the nature of how the Revolutionary War was fought. Back then FOBs meant New York, Boston, and Saratoga Springs. Orders to Valley Forge? Get ready for cold and a diet of nothing but bread.

Civil War

1 in 15 – 6.7 percent

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Tough luck, Lieutenant Dan . . . and everyone else. If you add the Union and Confederate Army casualties vs. the best assumed total number of troops, the rate of killed and injured is a staggering 43 percent. As of 2013, the government was still paying veterans benefits related to the Civil War (and those people were probably waiting in line since 1962).

World War One

1 in 89 – 1.1 percent

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

This is where the combat starts to look more familiar, except for the whole “running at a machine gun” thing. It’s surprising the numbers aren’t much, much higher since human wave attacks were standard operating procedure. A cool twenty bucks (which went much further in 1917) says Lieutenant Dan’s ancestor in “The Great War” was suffering from trench foot and Jerry just put him out of his misery, which is probably why his standing order in Vietnam was to change socks at every stop.

World War Two

1 in 56 – 1.8 percent

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Lieutenant Dan’s surprised look probably stems from the low number for this one too. Keep in mind, this is just the rate for the American Army. The Soviet Union lost 26 million people, significantly more than the losses suffered by the army that actually lost. (That would be the German Army for you history buffs.)

Vietnam War

1 in 185 – .5 percent

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Lieutenant Dan lives (severely wounded in his case, but alive). Of all America’s major wars, Vietnam offered best odds of survival. It also had (arguably) the highest quality of life in the field (very much dependent of where you served in-country), and the best food. (There might be a correlation between those things.)

Lists

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

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


1. Kentucky Long Rifle

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The Kentucky Rifle allowed American militia to engage the Redcoats at twice the distance of the effective range of the Brown Bess. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Antique Military Rifles)

2. Spencer Repeating Rifle

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The Spencer Repeating Rifle provided a firepower advantage over the rifled musket. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Hmaag)

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

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The Colt Single-Action Army revolver gave cowboys, soldiers, and outlaws hand-held firepower. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Hmaag)

4. Winchester Model 1873

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Theodore Roosevelt holding a Winchester rifle. The Winchester 1873 could fire the same round as the Colt Single-Action Army. (1885 photo by George Grantham Baine)

5. M1903 Springfield

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Marines with M1903 Springfield rifles, which they used to devastate German forces at Belleau Wood. (DOD photo)

6. Colt M1911

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

7. Thompson Submachine Gun

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
A Marine of the 1st Marine Division draws a bead on a Japanese sniper with his Tommy gun as his companion ducks for cover. The division is working to take Wana Ridge before the town of Shuri. Okinawa, 1945. (USMC photo)

8. M1 Garand

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Two soldiers take time to clean their M1 Garand rifles on Bougainville. (US Army photo)

9. .38 Special Police Revolver

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The .38 special revolver, like this Smith and Wesson Model 10, became a standard sidearm of police officers. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Cdcarpeti)

10. M16 Rifle

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

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The M16 was first introduced in 1956 and, since then, has served. The selective-fire rifle has been strictly regulated under laws dating from 1934. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Offspring 18 87)

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

Lists

6 strange military disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle

The “Bermuda Triangle” is a geographical area between Miami, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the tiny island nation of Bermuda. Nearly everyone who goes to the Bahamas can tell you that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll die a horrible death.


Natural explanations usually range from compass problems, to changes in the Gulf Stream, or violent weather, the presence of methane hydrates, and to a large coincidence of human error. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a strange amount of disappearances that let the conspiracy theories gain some traction.

From 1946 to 1991, there have been over 100 disappearances. These are some of the military disappearances that have been lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

1. U.S.S. Cyclops – March 4th, 1918

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
(Photo via Wikimedia)

One of the U.S. Navy’s largest fuel ships at the time made an unscheduled stop in Barbados on its voyage to Baltimore. The ship was carrying 100 tons of manganese ore above what it could typically handle. All reports before leaving port said that it was not a concern.

The new path took the Cyclops straight through the Bermuda Triangle. No distress signal was sent. Nobody aboard answered radio calls.

This is one of the most deadly incidents in U.S. Navy history outside of combat, as all 306 sailors aboard were declared deceased by then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt.

2. and 3. USS Proteus and USS Nereus – November 23rd and December 10th 1941

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Right: U.S.S. Proteus. Left: U.S.S. Nereus (Photos via Wikimedia)

Two of the three Sister ships to the U.S.S. Cyclops, The Proteus and Nereus, both carried a cargo of bauxite and both left St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands along the same exact path. Bauxite was used to create the aluminum for Allied aircraft.

Original theories focused on a surprise attack by German U-Boats, but the Germans never took credit for the sinking, nor were they in the area.

According to research by Rear Adm. George van Deurs, the acidic coal cargo would seriously erode the longitudinal support beams, thereby making them more likely to break under stress. The fourth sister ship to all three of the Cyclops, Proteus, and Nereus was the USS Jupiter. It was recommissioned as the USS Langley and became the Navy’s first aircraft carrier.

3. Flight 19 – December 5th, 1945

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
(Photo via Wikimedia)

The most well known and documented disappearance was that of Flight 19. Five TBM Avenger Torpedo Bombers left Ft. Lauderdale on a routine training exercise. A distress call received from one of the pilots said: “We can’t find west. Everything is wrong. We can’t be sure of any direction. Everything looks strange, even the ocean.”

Later, pilot Charles Taylor sent another transmission: “We can’t make out anything. We think we may be 225 miles northwest of base. It looks like we are entering white water. We’re completely lost.”

After a PBM Mariner Flying Boat was lost on this rescue mission, the U.S. Navy’s official statement was “We are not even able to make a good guess as to what happened.”

4. MV Southern Districts – 5 December 1954

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
(Photo via navsource.org)

The former U.S. Navy Landing Ship was acquired by the Philadelphia and Norfolk Steamship Co. and converted into a cargo carrier. During its service, the LST took part in the invasion of Normandy.

Its final voyage was from Port Sulphur, Louisiana, to Bucksport, Maine, carrying a cargo of sulfur. It lost contact as it passed through the Bermuda Triangle. No one ever heard from the Southern Districts again until four years later, when a single life preserver washed on the Florida shores.

5. Flying Box Car out of Homestead AFB, FL – June 5th, 1965

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Same model as the aircraft lost over the Triangle (photo via Wikimedia)

The Fairchild C-119G and her original five crew left Homestead AFB at 7:49 PM with four more mechanics to aid another C-199G stranded on Grand Turk Island. The last radio transmission was received just off Crooked Island, 177 miles from it’s destination.

A month later on July 18, debris washed up on the beach of Gold Rock Cay just off the shore of Acklins Island (near where the crew gave its last transmission).

The most plausible theory of the mysterious disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle points to confirmation bias. If someone goes missing in the Bermuda Triangle, it’s immediately drawn into the same category as everything else lost in the area. The Coast Guard has stated that “there is no evidence that disappearances happen more frequently in the Bermuda Triangle than in any other part of the ocean.”

Of course, it’s more fun to speculate that one of the most traveled waterways near America may be haunted, may have alien abductions, or hold the Bimini’s secret Atlantean Empire.

The sea is a terrifying place. When sailors and airmen go missing, it’s a heartbreaking tragedy. Pointing to an easily debunkable theory cheapens the lose of good men and women.

 

YouTube, BuzzfeedBlue

Lists

5 things you didn’t know about Sgt. Elias’s death scene in ‘Platoon’

There are so many war movies out there to choose from, yet not many come from the perspective of a man who personally lived through the hell that was the Vietnam War.


Critically acclaimed writer-director Oliver Stone (an Army veteran) took audiences into that politically charged time in American history, where the war efforts of our service members were either overlooked or disdained upon returning home, with Platoon.

Related: 5 nuggets of wisdom in ‘Black Hawk Down’ you may have missed

With his unique perspective, Stone filmed one of the most iconic death scenes in cinema history — the dramatic end of Sgt. Elias.

But there are a few interesting things you probably didn’t know about Sgt. Elias’s onscreen death.

5. Dafoe was “self-contained” during the scene

The acclaimed actor was given a walkie-talkie and was instructed by Stone to run from point A to point B while avoiding all the explosions.

Besides that, he had no further communication with cast or crew during the scene.

4. It only took 3-4 takes

For anyone who understands the process of filmmaking, 3-4 “takes” is extremely few, especially for such a dynamic scene that turned out so strong. Oliver Stone set up several cameras to capture the drama of the moment that gives you chills.

3. Not all of the bombs exploded

As Dafoe dashed through the uneven terrain, he knew the locations of the squibs and the controlled detonations — some of which failed to explode, but the audience can’t tell.

2. Dafoe had the squib detonator in his hand — which he threw

If look closely at Dafoe’s left hand, you can see him carrying the squib detonator, which he used to set off the devices attached to his wardrobe. Since not all the squibs exploded as planned, Dafoe ended up throwing the detonator to the side during the take that made the final cut.

Also Read: 6 reasons ‘Full Metal Jacket’ should have been about Animal Mother

1. They shot the scene in the Philippines

While there, the cast also trained to be soldiers with Marine veteran and friend of WATM, Capt. Dale Dye.

Marine veteran Capt. Dye stands with actors Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, and Mark Moses on the set of Platoon, deep in the jungle in the Philippines (Image from Orion Pictures)

Check out Larry King‘s YouTube video below to hear Willem Dafoe retell the story of filming the epic scene.

(Larry King | YouTube)

Lists

5 things every ‘doc’ should know before their first deployment

Being a “doc” in the infantry means you’ve already been put through some chaotic training long before reaching your first unit.


Now that you’ve received orders to deploy to a war zone, you’ll probably have a sh*t-ton of questions flowing through your mind.

Rest easy, doc. Here are a few things every medic or Corpsman should know before making the journey to the frontlines.

Related: 6 things corpsmen should know before going to the ‘Greenside’

1. Spread out your medical gear.

Corpsmen and medics usually carry a ton of gear on their backs. They haul a mobile emergency room alongside their ammo and weapon systems. Since war is unpredictable, it’s impossible to plan on exactly how many bandages, tourniquets, and IV bags you’ll need for every mission or patrol.

That said, have your squad members pack those extra items in easily-accessible pouches on their flak jackets so you can grab what you need in a hurry.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The classic “IFAK,” or Individual First Aid Kit. Every troop should carry some version of this important setup.

2. Train that muscle memory. Then, train that muscle memory some more.

Boot medics train for hours to learn how to render care to an injured troop. The fact is, when those bullets fly and the explosions go off, your mind will run in several directions. When that happens, your trained muscle memory will kick in and you’ll find your hands treating sustained wounds efficiently – even though your mind might not be set in “medical-mode.”

This is where all that training you did prior under stressful conditions pays off.

3. Don’t lose your confidence.

Young medics are going to make mistakes — it’s just the way things work. They’ll make small ones and big ones. Truthfully, most of your squad members won’t know if you did something wrong unless you admit it or wear an “I-f*cked-up” look on your face.

At the end of the day, you’re the medical professional and, if you lose confidence in yourself, your squad will, too.

4. Don’t attempt to be the big shot.

Corpsman stationed with Marines might attempt to look as badass as the rest of their squad members by pretending to know all the ins and outs of being an infantryman. It happens a lot. Pretending to know everything and acting like a big shot will just make you look dumb when you get called out.

If you watch and learn, one day you’ll actually be that big shot.

Also Read: 5 fitness tips to prepare you to become a combat medic

5. Never give up on yourself or on your troops.

Being a doc means you’re going to feel the all the ups and downs of an emotional rollercoaster. Some days will be tough, while others will seem like a walk in the park. The key to any crappy moment is to remember your squad members will go above and beyond for you — as long as you do the same for them.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
This Medal of Honor recipient, Robert Ingram, saved numerous Marines’ lives after being shot several times in battle during the Vietnam War.

Lists

The US military took these incredible photos in just one week-long period

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


AIR FORCE

An F-16 Fighting Falcon, from the 354th Fighter Wing, sits on the flightline on March 25, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The 354th FW mission is “To prepare aviation forces for combat, deploy Airmen in support of global operations and enable the staging of forces.”

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel/US Air Force

Twelve Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers, from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, taxi onto the runway during Exercise Forceful Tiger on Kadena Air Base, Japan, April 1, 2015. During the aerial exercise, the Stratotankers delivered 800,000 pounds of fuel to approximately 50 aircraft.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris/US Air Force

NAVY

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 30, 2015) An EA-18G Growler from the Wizards of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 launches from aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during carrier qualifications. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is undergoing a tailored ship’s training availability and final evolution problem, assessing their ability to conduct combat missions, support functions and survive complex casualty control situations.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ignacio D. Perez/US Navy

WATERS EAST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (April 1, 2015) Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1631, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, lowers its ramp inside the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20). Sailors and Marines from the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) are participating in the Korean Marine Exchange Program with the Republic of Korea marine corps and navy.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Scott Barnes/US Navy

ARMY

A Soldier assigned to 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, re-arms an OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter during aerial gunnery at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Training Area, March 21, 2015.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army

Paratroopers assigned to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, practice a forced-entry parachute assault on Malemute drop zone at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 18, 2015, as part of a larger tactical field exercise. The Soldiers are part of the Army’s only Pacific airborne brigade with the ability to rapidly deploy worldwide, and are trained to conduct military operations in austere conditions.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Alejandro Pena/US Army

MARINE CORPS

SIERRA DEL RATIN, Spain – U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Charles Detz III, a machine-gunner with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, fires a tracer round from an M240B during a live-fire training exercise in Sierra Del Retin, Spain, March 24, 2015. Marines stationed at Moron Air Base utilized the Spanish training facility to conduct a variety of training missions to maintain their infantryman skills.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Lance Cpl. Christopher Mendoza/US Marine Corps

POHANG, South Korea – Republic of Korea and U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles use smoke screens during a beach raid during a combined amphibious landing at Pohang, South Korea, March 30, 2015. The Korean Marine Exchange Program demonstrates the unique ability of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to arrive in theater via amphibious shipping, along with ROK Regimental Landing Team to form an amphibious Combined Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Joseph Digirolamo/US Marine Corps

COAST GUARD

POHANG, South Korea – Republic of Korea and U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles use smoke screens during a beach raid during a combined amphibious landing at Pohang, South Korea, March 30, 2015. The Korean Marine Exchange Program demonstrates the unique ability of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to arrive in theater via amphibious shipping, along with ROK Regimental Landing Team to form an amphibious Combined Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photos: Petty Officer 1st Class Phillip Null/US Coast Guard

POHANG, South Korea – Republic of Korea and U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles use smoke screens during a beach raid during a combined amphibious landing at Pohang, South Korea, March 30, 2015. The Korean Marine Exchange Program demonstrates the unique ability of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to arrive in theater via amphibious shipping, along with ROK Regimental Landing Team to form an amphibious Combined Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Logan Kellogg/US Coast Guard

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