10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom - We Are The Mighty
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10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

The one thing no one ever talks about with deployments is the mind numbing boredom that comes between missions. Times have changed from the “Wild West” days of early 2000’s where even having a power outlet was a luxury.


Things have gotten slightly less monotonous but they haven’t changed that much. Troops are still sitting at the same USO, playing on the same broken Foosball table, watching the same videos that have been shared by everyone.

Here are some pro-tips that help make the deployment a little less sucky.

1. Coffee pot ramen

There was nothing more valuable than a cheapo coffee pot that every PX larger than the back of a semi-truck sold. Even then they would probably still sell them.

Instead of using it for coffee like officers in S-3 do, place ramen noodles in the glass carafe and the powder on top where the hot water will eventually drip down. It will save you time on running to the dining hall or spare you another night of MREs (depending on your level of POG-ieness). 

 

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
It also acts as the bowl from which to eat. (Image via The Mary Sue)

2. MRE hacks

You can talk about the blandness of MREs for months at a time, but there’s hope: you can combine your way through any MRE, it just takes a lot of ratf*cking a bunch of ingredients from several other MREs. It’s common knowledge to combine the Cocoa powder, coffee, sugar, and creamer to make Ranger Pudding, but with enough creativity, you can take it to the next level.

Taken to the extreme, even the old dreaded Egg and Cheese Omelet (which was thankfully removed years ago, a long enough time to make it inedible by Army standards) could be mixed with the Beef Stew and crackers to make it “decent”.

If all else fails, have family members send out cheap seasonings like Lowry’s or Tony Chachere’s.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Mix until decent (Image by Logan Nye of WATM)

3. Knock off all that inter-unit bullsh*t

There’s no reason to keep up the “screw (whatever MOS) platoon!” Don’t stop playful banter — but don’t be a jerk, either. One team, one fight.

Everyone has one or two things that can help everyone else while deployed. Commo always have batteries and new movies. Medics always have medical supplies and hygiene stuff. Chaplin Assistants always have the best care packages. Mechanics always have cigarettes. The list goes on.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
We all embrace the suck deployed.

4. Living Space

If you can manage to get a bunk bed all to yourself, you’ve got it made.

Instead of storing gear on the empty bunk, hollow the bottom bunk out and brace it with plywood. This way you can use that space for your own bedroom. Complete with tough box furniture and one of those cheap lawn chairs.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Just tactically acquire a second poncho for both sides. (Image via Defense.gov)

 

5. Cotton sock cooler

Troops always deploy to unpleasant areas of the world — usually in crazy hot climates. It gets so bad that drinking water becomes so blistering hot, you feel more thirsty after drinking it than you did before you took a swig.

Here’s the solution: Take a single cotton sock and get it damp. Put a cool bottle of water from the dining hall or S-shop mini-fridge and stick the bottle in the sock.

The eventual evaporation helps cool down the water bottle inside. Same concept behind sweating. Because science. It won’t relieve much boredom, but at least you’ll feel better.

 

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Just use clean socks. Because logic. (Image via Eabco)

6. The Postal Service is faster than the Connex

Deploying to the sandbox and coming back stateside, troops split their gear and personal belongings into two categories: Stuff they take on the plane with them and stuff they send with the connex (which arrives months later).

Why not split it into a third? Things too bulky for the plane, but things you’d want immediately. The moment you get the APO address, send out your Xbox, cheapo TV, gear that might be useful, and extra personal supplies (hygiene stuff, ramen noodles, etc.)

Same deal for your return trip, too.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
The postal service works both ways. (Image via Army.mil)

 

7. Scorpions glow under UV. Weird way to kill boredom, but we’ll take it.

If you are deployed to an outlying post in the middle of nowhere, you probably noticed a few scorpions.

Spotting them while you’re walking at night is tricky. Since scorpions glow, pick up a black light flashlight to help guide your way.

 

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Looks like we have another competitor for this week’s Hunger Games! (Image via Phoenix Pest Control)

8. MOLLE pouch for your Woobie

In the PX, there’s countless amounts of “sort of” military gear that no one is ever issued and no one really has a purpose for. The M249 SAW ammo pouch, however, can come in handy for plenty of things.

If you get sent on multi-day missions, that pouch fits your Woobie perfectly. No need to awkwardly dig through your assault pack when the ammo pouch is on the side.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Who would actually argue against bringing the greatest piece of military gear with them? Heartless souls. That’s who.

 

9. .50 Cal Brass as a cigarette cover

We Are The Mighty does not encourage smoking. But if you must smoke…

Every smoker who goes without a cigarette for an extended period of time can tell you that you can spot a cigarette from blocks away.

In the day time, the smoke floats and gives your position away. Especially dangerous at night is the glow of the cigarette, which can give a sniper a bright red target to aim at.

Take an expended .50 cal brass from the Ma Deuce and place it over the cigarette if you just need to have one while on mission. Still does nothing for the smell though.

 

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
And the brass slips perfectly under the MOLLE strap. (Image via Wikicommons)

10f. No one is as stealthy as they think

It should seem obvious, but with your entire platoon squished into a tiny tent on a tiny outpost, there is very little privacy. The sooner you realize it, the sooner your platoon stops mocking you.

If you think you can take a piss in a Gatorade bottle without everyone else in the tent hearing it because you’re too damn lazy to get out of your bunk, you’re wrong. Same goes with everything else that happens in the tent.

Everything.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

Lists

The 14 best military non-fiction books of all-time

We here at WATM love putting together lists and rankings, so it makes sense for us create one for non-fiction books. We read quite often, and not surprisingly considering we’re a bunch of military veterans, those books often deal with military topics.


These are our picks for best military non-fiction books of all-time. (If you’d like to see our picks for fiction, click here.) The books below are numbered but not in rank order. All of these are great reads.

1. “The Forever War” by Dexter Filkins

If you want to gain an understanding of America’s war with radical Islamists, look no further than “The Forever War” by journalist Dexter Filkins. As a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, Filkins begins his book as the Taliban rises to power in Afghanistan, writes of the aftermath following the Sept. 11th attacks, and then continues through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Told from ground level by the only American journalist who reported on all of these events, Filkins does not write a neat history lesson. Instead, he tells individual stories of people — from ordinary citizens to soldiers — and how they are affected by the incidents that happen around them. He does it using beautiful prose, and with little bias.

 

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

2. “The Pentagon Wars” by James Burton

Former Air Force Col. James Burton gives the inside account of what it’s like when the Pentagon wants to develop a new weapons system. Having spent 14 years in weapons acquisition and testing, Burton details his struggle during the development of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle with those above him who were often more interested in supporting defense contractors instead of troops in the field.

Burton spends much of the book writing of the small band of military reformers who worked hard trying to fix the problems of Pentagon procurement from the 1960s to the 1980s, and he suffered professionally for “rocking the boat” as a result. For example, after suggesting that the Bradley’s armor should be tested against Soviet antitank weaponry, the Army — knowing it would never hold up — tried to get Burton transferred to Alaska. The very serious book also inspired a very funny movie made by HBO:

3. “Black Hawk Down” by Mark Bowden

Most people have seen the movie, but this is one of those times when you should definitely read the book. This brilliant account by journalist Mark Bowden tells the story of the Oct. 3, 1993 battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, when hundreds of elite U.S. Army soldiers fought back against thousands of militants when a routine mission went wrong.

With remarkable access, research, and interviews, Bowden recreates the battle minute-by-minute and perfectly captures the brutality of the fight and the heroism of those who fought and died there.

4. “One Bullet Away” by Nathaniel Fick

This book gives an inside look at the transformation that takes place from civilian to Marine Corps officer. A classics major at Dartmouth, Fick joins the Marines in 1998 an idealistic young man and leaves a battle-hardened and skilled leader after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

At times very personal and unpleasant, Fick’s book recounts plenty of combat experiences. But that is not the real draw. His wonderful detailing of the training, mindset, and actions of Marine officers on today’s battlefields makes this a must-read.

5. “Band of Brothers” by Stephen Ambrose

Historian Stephen Ambrose’s account Easy Co. in “Band of Brothers” is quite simply, an account of ordinary men doing extraordinary things. The book — which later became a 10-part miniseries on HBO — takes readers from the unit’s tough training in 1942 all the way to its liberation of Hitler’s “Eagles Nest” in 1945.

Band of Brothers illustrates what one of Ambrose’s sources calls ‘the secret attractions of war … the delight in comradeship, the delight in destruction … war as spectacle,’ writes Tim Appelo in his review.

6. “We Were Soldiers Once… And Young” by Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway

One of the first significant engagements between American and Vietnamese forces in 1965 was also one of the most savage. The Battle of the Ia Drang Valley is told by Lt. Col. Moore and Galloway, a reporter who was there, and it serves as both a testament to the bravery and perseverance of the 450 men who fought back after being surrounded by 2,000 enemy troops.

While the book was later made into a movie, it’s well-worth reading if only for the stories of Rick Rescorla, the platoon leader featured on the cover of the book whose nickname was “Hard Core.”

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Rick Rescorla

7. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu

More than 2,000 years old and still relevant today, “The Art of War” is a must-read book on military theory and strategy. But its maxims can be applied by those far outside the combat arms. Tzu offers advice relevant to everyone from Army generals to CEOs.

“Absorb this book, and you can throw out all those contemporary books about management leadership,” wrote Newsweek.

8. “Flyboys” by James Bradley

There have been many contemporary accounts written of World War II, but “Flyboys” manages to bring to light something that had remained hidden for nearly 60 years. James Bradley tells the story of nine Americans who were shot down in the Pacific off the island of Chichi Jima.

One of them, George H.W. Bush, was rescued. But what happened to the eight others was covered up and kept secret from their families by both the U.S. and Japanese governments. Bradley, who wrote “Flags of our Fathers,” conducted extensive research and uncovered a story that has never been told before.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
George H.W. Bush

9. “1776” by David McCullough

Written in a compelling narrative style, David McCullough’s “1776” retells the year of America’s birth in wonderful detail. McCullough is an incredible storyteller who puts you right there, feeling as if you are marching in the Continental Army.

From the Amazon description:

In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.

10. “Generation Kill” by Evan Wright

As a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, Evan Wright rode with the Marines of 1st Recon Battalion into Iraq in 2003. Embedded among the men, Wright captures the story of that first month of American invasion along with the grunt mindset, how the Marines interact, and captures the new generation of warriors that has emerged after 9/11.

Soldiers today are “on more intimate terms with the culture of the video games, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own families,” Wright told Booklist (One 19-year-old corporal compares driving into an ambush to a Grand Theft Auto video game: “It was fucking cool.”)

11. “The Outpost” by Jake Tapper

A monster of a book at 704 pages, journalist Jake Tapper tells a powerful story of an Afghan outpost that was doomed to fail even before soldiers built it. Beginning with the decision to build a combat outpost in Nuristan in 2006, Tapper reveals a series of bad decisions that would ultimately lead to a battle for survival at that outpost three years later — one that would see multiple soldiers earn the Medal of Honor for their heroism.

Known as Combat Outpost Keating, the story of the base is one that is worth reading. With its bestseller status, rave reviews by critics, and most importantly, the soldiers who fought there, it’s safe to say “The Outpost” gets it right.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

12. “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

Found on many military reading lists, Grossman’s “On Killing” is a landmark study of how soldiers face the reality of killing other humans in combat, and how military training overcomes their aversion to such an act.

A former West Point psychology professor, Grossman delves into the psychological costs of war and presents a compelling thesis that human beings have an instinctual aversion to killing. With this, he also shows how militaries overcome this central trait through conditioning and real-world training.

13. “The Guns of August” by Barbara Tuchman

This Pulitzer-Prize winning book is a masterpiece of military history. Delivering an account of the first month of World War I in 1914, Tuchman tells not just a war story, but an event that would upend the modern world.

“This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war,” reads the publisher’s description. “How quickly it all changed, and how horrible it became. Tuchman is masterful at portraying this abrupt change from 19th to 20th Century.”

14. “The Good Soldiers” by David Finkel

Embedded among the soldiers of 2-16 Infantry as part of President Bush’s last-chance “surge” in Iraq, journalist David Finkel captures the grim reality as troops face the chaotic, and often deadly, streets of Baghdad. The book often follows the overly-optimistic Col. Ralph Kauzlarich (motto: “It’s all good”).

But Finkel excels at capturing everyone up and down the chain-of-command, and tells their stories incredibly well. His book is less about big-picture surge strategy, and more about the soldiers on the ground who fought it. That is a very good thing.

Those are our picks. Did we miss one that you loved? Leave a recommendation in the comments.

Articles

The 6 worst things about being the junior soldier in your squad

Being the new guy in a squad is just something every soldier has to go through. They work hard, prove themselves, and earn a little respect and rank as fast as they can. Until they do, junior soldiers put up with these 6 problems.


1. Crappy roommates

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Photo: Youtube.com

All enlisted soldiers start off with a random roommate in the barracks, but they get more say on roommates the longer they’re in the unit. If they get tight with the barracks noncommissioned officer, they may even have their own room.

The new guy to a unit has cultivated no relationships, and so can’t influence anyone. They are going to be roomed with whichever member of the squad is most disliked by the barracks NCO. This member is usually dirty, undisciplined, and annoying. Also, since the roommate is senior to the new guy, he can order the new guy around. Have fun in your new home, boot!

2. Literally everyone is in charge of them

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson

There’s an Army saying, “If there are two privates on a hill, one of them is in charge.” It’s meant to illustrate that soldiers are never without leadership, but it also means that even the young soldiers in the squad can give the younger guy a legal order. And what about the youngest guy?

Well, he’s in charge of nothing and every squad member is in charge of him. If he screws up, he’s hearing about it from everyone in the squad.

3. No respect

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

Taking orders from everyone is bad enough, but the junior soldier doesn’t get any respect even though they do all the work. It makes sense. The squad has endured combat together. They’ve cleared buildings, fought for ground, and buried friends as a unit. Then this new guy comes along and wants to be part of the group? Nope. Gotta earn your camaraderie, noob.

4. Most dangerous positions and assignments

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Photo: US Army Sgt. Kimberly Lamb

The junior-most members will get plenty of chances to prove themselves, since they’re often in the most dangerous positions. For the infantry, he’s likely to be the first one in the door on a clearing mission, and he’s more likely to be assigned as gunner in a vehicle on a movement.

For the POGs, the junior squad member is the one most likely to get tasked out on a mission. Commander needs someone to pull a guard shift at the gate? It’s not like Pvt. Snuffy has anything going on. Gunny wants a volunteer for convoy security? Pfc. Schmuckatelli better grab his gear.

5. They’re the canaries in the coal mine

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Photo: US Army Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger

The most dangerous time to be the junior member is when there is a chemical or biological attack. The military dons protective gear when it’s hit with biological or chemical agents, and troops don’t take the gear off until their best detection kits say the threat is gone. But, the kits can’t detect everything and someone has to take the first unprotected breath.

And that’s where the junior soldier comes in. The unit takes away their weapon and has them unmask for a short period. If they don’t show signs of trouble, the rest of the unit unmasks. If the soldier does start reacting to a chemical compound, the unit keeps their masks on and sends the junior guy to a hospital. Get well soon!

6. Long hours and low pay

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Photo: US Army Sgt. John Crosby

No one in the military is getting rich, and just about everyone works long hours. But, the junior guys usually work the same hours for even less pay than everyone else. A new E-2 in the military makes $1734 a month. They work an eight-hour day plus do an hour of mandatory physical training every morning. So, not counting any assignments, overnight guard duty, or additional physical training, an E-2 makes about $8.67 an hour before taxes.

They may get great benefits and education incentives, but the paychecks can be depressing.

MIGHTY TRENDING

8 amazing photos comparing today’s Pearl Harbor to the day of the attack

On December 7, 1941, the US naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, suffered a devastating attack from the air and sea.


The Japanese assault began around 8 a.m., resulting in the deaths of 2,403 Americans, numerous injuries, and the sinking of four battleships, and damage to many more.

Surprised U.S. service members who normally would have slept in on that Sunday morning or enjoyed some recreation found themselves fighting for their lives.

See More: Unforgettable photos from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

In 2013, the U.S. Navy remembered the “day of infamy” with a series of photo illustrations overlaying scenes from that horrifying date with present-day photos.

Now, 76 years after the attack, here’s what Pearl Harbor looked like then and now:

8. Defenders on Ford Island watch for planes during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

 

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

7. The battleship USS California (BB 44) burns in the foreground as the battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) burns in the background after the initial attack on Pearl Harbor.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

6. Defenders on Ford Island watch for planes during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

5. Hangar 6 on Ford Island stands badly damaged after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

4. A view of the historic Ford Island control tower: then and now. The tower was once used to guide airplanes at the airfield on the island and will now be used as an aviation library.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

3. The battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) burns in the background during the attack on Pearl Harbor as viewed from Ford Island.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

2. The Mahan-class destroyer USS Shaw (DD 373) explodes in the background after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

1. Sailors on Ford Island look on as the Mahan-class destroyer USS Shaw (DD 373) explodes in the background after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan)

Articles

4 things that made the F-16 years ahead of its time

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Three U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 30 aircraft from the 80th Fighter Squadron fly in formation over South Korea during a training mission on Jan. 9, 2008. (DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. Quinton T. Burris, U.S. Air Force)


The F-16 Fighting Falcon was originally designed to be a daytime air superiority fighter, but over the decades of its service life it has evolved into a all-weather multi-role attack platform.  The first F-16 rolled off the manufacturing line in 1976, and ultimately over 4,500 aircraft followed it.

The Fighting Falcon (a.k.a. the “Viper” in aggressor squadron circles) remains technologically advanced and lethal throughout its full range of mission areas, which is remarkable considering the legendary Col. John Boyd and his “fighter mafia” first conceived of the airplane in the late ’60s.

Here are four design features that were years ahead of their time when they first hit the fleet and remain so today:

1. Fly-by-wire flight controls and side-stick controller

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

Unlike every airplane built before it, the F-16 was designed to be aerodynamically unstable until it reaches supersonic airspeeds. As a result there is no mechanical linkage between the stick and the moving parts of the airplane. A computer interface is required to interpret pilot inputs and move the flight controls accordingly, technology known as “fly-by-wire.” Because the F-16 is designed for high-G loading, the stick is mounted on the side of the cockpit instead of in the center to make it easier on the pilot’s right arm.  It barely moves; full throw is only one-eighth of an inch.

2. Bubble canopy

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

The pilot sits up very high relative to the canopy rail in the F-16, giving him superior visibility in all quadrants, including at six o’clock. The bubble canopy is designed to enhance this feature, and new pilots talk about feeling like they’re going to fall out of the airplane at first. Unlike other fighters there is no canopy bow forward of the pilot, so the forward view is completely unobstructed. The net result is a fighter that gives pilots an advantage in the dogfighting arena where “lost sight means lost fight.”

3. Reclined ejection seat

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

Because the F-16 is designed to pull 9 Gs or more (compared to 6.5 for most other American fighters) the ejection seat is tilted 30 degrees back (compared to around 12 degrees other ejection seat aircraft) for superior G tolerance by the pilot. Pilots sit almost like their riding a reclining bicycle, with knees up high, which makes for a very comfortable ride while killing MiGs and other bad guys.

4. Multi-function displays

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

The F-16 was one of the first military aircraft with a “glass” cockpit instead of the legacy “steam gauges,” which allows a pilot to tailor his displays for a particular mission as well as personal preference. MFDs also allow software upgrades with very little trouble, which has helped to keep the Fighting Falcon relevant and in the fight for decades.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
The F-16 isn’t just used by the Air Force. The Navy uses F-16Ns as aggressor aircraft at Top Gun.

Now: 6 superheroes who were also Air Force officers

Lists

The most decorated animals in military history

Military service animals have a longstanding history of taking care of our service men and women overseas without complaint. Maybe that’s because they don’t speak English, or maybe it’s because they’re the best darn soldiers the military has ever seen. Either way, they’re not only adorable, they’re also brave animals who risked life and limb to take care of the people that they loved. Some of the animals on list gave their lives for their country, and some survived the most heinous terrorist attack on American soil. Many have been awarded for their valor.


Check out this list of military animals through history and vote for your favorite ones, whether they be dogs, cats, horses, pigeons, or whatever.

The Most Decorated Animals in the Military

Lists

5 reasons why Jodie is the soldier’s worst nightmare

Jodie is a piece of military folklore that everyone loves to hate. He’s the guy or girl who takes advantage of military deployments by going after the spouses at home. Here are five of the reasons that troops absolutely hate Jodie.


1. Jodie is a player.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

Jodie is most famous for stealing away the spouses, girlfriends, and boyfriends of service members. While troops are fighting the good fight against America’s enemies, this smooth criminal is keeping their beds very, very warm.

2. He could be anyone.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

It would be great to believe there is only one, but the truth is that Jodie is everyone with low enough morals to swoop in while the troops are deployed or in training. Guys in every bar, girls on the street, even friends and family of service members can hear the Jodie call and start acting terribly.

3. He’s doing way more than just hooking up with lonely spouses.

While Jodie may be most famous for slipping into vacant beds, that’s not all he’s doing. He takes Cadillacs, girlfriends, sisters, food, and pretty much anything else not nailed down at home.

He’d probably take the homes as well if he could figure out how to do it.

4. Jodie has been pulling this sh-t for generations.

Jodie was called out in World War II cadences, so he’s been slipping through military base windows for at least that long. He’s still going strong today and will likely be a problem for every recruit who ever joins.

5. He comes back, deployment after deployment.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

Unlike those who fought in World War II, modern service members rotate in and out of deployment zones. But, they don’t get home enough to keep Jodie at bay. He may run away when troops get home, but he slips back in every time they leave for another rotation.

Lists

5 signs you’ve been in the barracks way too long

Military barracks are just like college dorms, except with more booze and asbestos.


Ok, maybe not the asbestos part (as far as you know). The military has come a long way from Quonset huts and open-space squad-bays that housed an entire unit. Barracks life has improved considerably for troops in recent years, as many troops now enjoy new furniture, keycard entry, and no more than two people to a room.

But regardless of barracks amenities, they can’t really compete with married personnel living in homes on base, or being able to live off-base in an apartment. Still, some troops try to make their rooms way better than everyone else. This is how you know you’re probably one of them.

1. You have a 60″ television set that is four feet away from your face when you watch it.

How can you watch the games on Sunday with anything less? And besides, there is all this money in your bank account from last deployment. What do you think, you’re going to save it!? The key to a great barracks room is having a ridiculously-large TV, lots of DVDs and Blu-Rays, a Playstation 4, and gaming chairs.

2. You have a full kitchen hidden in your desk or wall locker.

No need to get dressed and head to the mess hall for that meatloaf dinner. You have everything you need right here, to include a rice cooker, hot plate, microwave, mini-oven and a skillet*. That drawer over there? That’s where I keep all my spices to go on my Ramen noodles. (*Please don’t burn down the entire barracks. Your first sergeant will be upset).

3. Your fridge is filled with beer. (Extra points if you have a kegerator hidden somewhere.)

Most barracks have rules regarding alcohol. E-3 and below are usually allowed only a six-pack, while E-4 and above can have 12. But rules are meant to be broken, right lance corporal?** No one can have a proper night of fun with just six-pack, and besides, you stocked up on 30-packs because you only wanted to make one trip to the 7-day store. You are actually being responsible by cutting down on your carbon footprint. (**Rules are meant to be followed, according to your squad leader.)

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Photo Credit: Streetwear Deals

4. You own a 1600-watt stereo system that looks like it was stolen from a Rage Against the Machine concert.

You take your music seriously. While a barracks amateur may get something that could play tunes at a reasonable volume and can fill the room quite nicely, you need to invest in a top-of-the-line stereo system. It probably cost at least a grand, pumps out 1600-watts of sound that rattles the entire barracks, and has the “bass boost” function. Does your clock/radio have that? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

5. You have a hot tub.

If you have this, you have completely won the barracks life. We salute you.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Photo: Terminal Lance/Facebook

Anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

NOW LEARN: 13 Insider Insults Sailors Say To Each Other

Articles

The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Awesome memes from around the interwebs. Share your favorites on our Facebook page.


1. Look, when the Army started giving the Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle to more units, soldiers got excited about it (via Team Non-Rec).

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

2. Being a boot is hard (via Devil Dog Nation).

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Probably doesn’t even realize why his armor is so uncomfortable.

3. “Basic training is not nearly as much fun as I thought it would be.”

(via Air Force Nation)

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

4. Navy, this isn’t the reason we make fun of you …

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
… but it’s definitely a reason we make fun of you.

5. Do airmen do field exercises? If so, why?

(via Marine Corps Memes)

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
I mean, you park the planes at big ole bases anyway. Why go to the field?

6. You think your personnel manager is an a-shole?

(via Entertain Your Nerdy A–)

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Stormtroopers got you beat every time.

7. They’re so sweet and so, so bitter.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Sure, you’re finally leaving, but that also means you’re putting your ruck back on.

8. Look, it’s fine to be a POG (via Army Nation).

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
If you’re not infantry, stop playing like you are.

SEE ALSO: 9 reasons it’s perfectly fine to be a POG

9. Why malingerers are always so happy:

(via Military Memes)

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Wouldn’t it be great if the malingerers were all secretly Hulk-level strong? Instead of useless?

10. When your service has A-10s and F-22s, it’s hard to take your M-16 seriously (via Air Force Nation).

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
But you should still carry it with you.

11. Which would you rather have:

(via Sh-t My LPO Says)

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
The next three years of your life? Or a free soda?

 12. Car bumper stickers tell a story (via Sh-t My LPO Says).

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

13. “Sgt. 1st Class Smozart will be leading the 155mm howitzer crew through the 1812 Overture.”

(via Military Nations)

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

NOW: Troops pick which Army job is best

OR: This is the ultimate special operations weapon

Humor

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

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


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

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

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

1. Don’t let anyone punk you

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

You tell them, Gunny. (images via Giphy)

2. Know exactly who you are

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

(images via Giphy)

3. Be semi-approachable

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

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

4. Size doesn’t matter

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

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

5. Grunts vs. POGs

The rivalry is real.

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

Get him! (images via Giphy)

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

6. Lead from the front

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

(images via Giphy)

7. Being patriotic is a turn on

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

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

Lists

Here’s every weapon the Army issues its soldiers

It goes without saying that the US Army is continuously testing and adding new weapons to its arsenal.


For example, the Army recently began to replace the M9 and M11 pistols with the M17 and M18, but has only delivered them to soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Therefore, the pistols are not yet standard issue.

While the Army continues to stay ahead of the game, it undoubtedly has a multitude of weapons for its soldiers.

And we compiled a list of all these standard issue weapons operable by individual soldiers below, meaning that we didn’t include, for example, the Javelin anti-tank missile system because it takes more than one person to operate, nor did we include nonstandard issue weapons.

Check them out:

M1911 pistol

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(Department of Defense)

The M1911 is a .45 caliber sidearm that the Army has used since World War I, and has even begun phasing out.

M9 pistol

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The Army started replacing the M1911 with the 9mm M9 in the mid-1980s.

Also read: How to get one of the Army’s surplus M1911 pistols

M11 pistol

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(Department of Defense)

The M11 is another 9mm pistol that replaced the M1911, and is itself being replaced by the M17 and M18 pistols.

M500 shotgun

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M500 is a 12-gauge shotgun that usually comes with a five-round capacity tube. The Army began issuing shotguns to soldiers during World War I to help clear trenches, and has been issuing the M500 since the 1980s.

M590 shotgun

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(Department of Defense)

The 12-gauge M590 is very similar to the M500 — both of which are made by Mossberg — except for little specifications, such as triggers, barrel length, and so forth.

M26 modular shotgun accessory

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

The M26 is “basically a secondary weapon slung underneath an M4 to allow the operator to switch between 5.56 and 12-gauge rounds quickly without taking his eyes off the target or his hands off of his rifle,” according to the US Army.

M14 enhanced battle rifle

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M14, which shoots a 7.62mm round, has been heavily criticized, and the Army is currently phasing it out.

M4 carbine

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M4 shoots 5.56mm rounds and is a shortened version of the M16A2.

Related: 4 interesting things a rifleman can get away with

M16A2 rifle

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M16A2 shoots the same round and has a similar muzzle velocity as the M4. One of the main differences, though, is that it has a longer barrel length.

M16 rifle with M203 grenade launcher

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M203 shoots 40mm grenades and can be fitted under the M4 and M16, but the Army is currently phasing it out for the M320.

M249 squad automatic weapon

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
A U.S. Army soldier returns fire with a M249 light machine gun during combat operations in the valley of Barawala Kalet, Kunar province, Afghanistan, on March 29, 2011. (US Army)

The SAW shoots a 5.56mm round like the M4 and M16, but it’s heavier and has a greater muzzle velocity and firing range.

M240B medium machine gun.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M240B is a belt-fed machine gun that shoots 7.62mm rounds, but is even heavier and has a greater max range than the SAW.

There are multiple versions of the M240, and two more of those versions are Army standard issue.

More: 6 differences between machine gunners and riflemen

M240L medium machine gun

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M240L is a much lighter version of the M240B, weighing 22.3 pounds, versus the 240B’s 27.1 pounds.

M240H medium machine gun

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M240H is an upgraded version of the M240D, which can be mounted on vehicles and aircraft.

M110 semi-automatic sniper system

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M110 shoots a 7.62x51mm round with an effective firing range of more than 2,600 feet, but the Army is currently phasing it out for the Heckler Koch G28.

M2010 enhanced sniper rifle

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M2010 shoots a .30 caliber or 7.62x67mm round with an even greater effective firing range than the M110 at nearly 4,000 feet.

M107 long-range sniper rifle

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M107 shoots an incredibly large 12.7x99mm round with an equally incredibly large effective firing range of more than 6,500 feet.

M2 machine gun

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M2 shoots .50 caliber rounds with an effective firing range of more than 22,000 feet. It’s also very heavy, weighing 84 pounds.

M320 grenade launcher (stand-alone)

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The M320 is the Army’s new 40mm grenade launcher, which can be fitted under a rifle or used as a stand-alone launcher. The M203 could, too, but rarely was.

The M320 reportedly is more accurate and has niftier features, like side-loading mechanisms and better grips.

Read more: How to tell what type of machine gun you’re looking at

MK19 grenade machine gun

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(US Army)

The MK19 is a 40mm automatic grenade launcher that can mount on tripods and armored vehicles. It has an effective firing range of more than 7,000 feet, compared to the M320’s 1,100 feet.

M3 Carl Gustaf (MAAWS)

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
A soldier fires a Carl Gustav M3 84mm recoilless rifle. (Sgt. Juan Jimenez)

The M3 Carl Gustaf is an 84mm recoilless rifle system that can shoot a variety of high-explosive rounds at a variety of targets, including armored vehicles.

And this graphic, updated in February 2018, and which the Army gave to Business Insider, shows all the current and future standard issue weapons.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
All of the US Army’s standard issue weapons to individual soldier as of February 2018. (US Army)

Lists

5 things you should never say to a milspouse

1. When does he leave?

Please, please, please. Don’t ask this question. We are trying very hard to live in la la land. Right now that date is spoiling everything and haunting our every thought. Do you go to buy milk at the grocery store and cry when you happen to see THAT date on it? No? We do. We know you mean well, but instead of reminding us of impending doom….distract us. Oh, and don’t ask when he’s coming home either.



10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

2. How do you do it?

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Uh….we don’t have a choice. We are the lucky ones that fell head over heels in love with a man that happened to be in the military. It’s not something we chose, but someONE. If you really love someone, you’ll make whatever sacrifice necessary. And by the way…it’s not ALL bad! I truly love this life. Have you ever had a homecoming? You’ll never experience what I feel is the most amazing event EVER. I do it because I love him; I do it because I love military life.

3. Don’t you miss him?

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F3o7btT1T9qpQZWhNlK.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.giphy.com&s=503&h=d23b3623fa6cc9609908655a79da24fb7e015569238cfe9df81e40383020ed1c&size=980x&c=4216614831 image-library=”0″ pin_description=”” caption=”” crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F3o7btT1T9qpQZWhNlK.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.giphy.com%26s%3D503%26h%3Dd23b3623fa6cc9609908655a79da24fb7e015569238cfe9df81e40383020ed1c%26size%3D980x%26c%3D4216614831%22%7D” expand=1 photo_credit=””]

Yes. That’s why we buy wine.

4. Let me know if you need anything!

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

Just stop. Have you met a military spouse? We don’t ask for help. You don’t survive this life by being weak – we do it all ourselves. We fall into bed at the end of a very long day wondering how we’re going to do it again tomorrow and the next day for the next…how many days do we have left? In order to help us out, please be pushy. Try mowing the lawn without asking. I will never forget when I was cleaning the house one day only to look out the window and see my neighbor mowing the front lawn. He GOT it. And of course I cried. Someone noticed and didn’t make me ask for it. Yeah, maybe you don’t want to just show up with dinner because you don’t know our plans for that night…so instead pop a gift card to Panera in the mail. Or bring a dinner you prepared and froze to be used when we’re having that day. Tell her you feel the need to hang with the kids for a few hours at the park – we’ll know you are lying. But we’ll pretend you’re not. The point is, just do it. TELL us what you are doing. If you give us the opportunity to say no, we will.

5. How do you do it all?

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

Through God’s unending grace. Grace has become something I’ve been clinging to over the last several months. I always thought of grace as in forgiveness. To me they were simple synonyms. But man, God’s grace is so much more than that. It’s not just forgiveness for my screw-ups, it’s allowing me to screw up in the first place. See, I’m no longer afraid to fail. I WILL fail. It is something I have only now learned – I am not superwoman though non-military members will tell you so. I think that gets in your head after a while. We constantly worry that to everyone else we at least look like we have it altogether and I’m sure most of us take pride in that. But we forget that it’s okay to be a broken mess sometimes. We simply can’t be perfect. Once we begin to accept that, so much stress just seems to dissipate. Our life is stressful enough, don’t carry the baggage of being superwoman on top of it.

This article originally appeared on Military Spouse. Follow @MilSpouseMag on Twitter.

Lists

5 social media influencers that served in the military

Many believe that the true rise of social media began after Google bought out the video streaming service, YouTube, for $1.65 billion in 2006.


Since then, billions of people around the globe have documented their lives and ran successful businesses through various social media networks.

Out of those billions, only a handful of those people are considered “social influencers.” And out of that handful, an even smaller number are military veterans.

Related: Every way not to use social media in the military summed up in recent video

1. Dakota Meyer

This Medal of Honor recipient enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2006 after graduating high school. During a deployment to Afghanistan, Sgt. Meyer disregarded his own safety to find and save fellow members of his embedded training team while under a curtain of enemy fire.

For his efforts, Sgt. Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor by former President Obama in September of 2011. Now, Dakota continues to spread the stories of the outstanding men with whom he once served.

Today, Dakota’s social media following is one truly fit for a motivated hero. His audience has grown to nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter, 600,000 on his Facebook page, and a respectable 20,000 viewers on his YouTube channel.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Dakota Meyer with his Marine brothers. (DakotaMeyer.com)

2. Don Shipley

If you ever have a second thought about a guy claiming to be a Navy SEAL, what better way to find out the truth than contacting a real one? After serving 24 years in the Navy as a SEAL Senior Chief, this well-respected badass retired in 2003. Now, this former-SEAL busts stolen-valor phonies and even shows up to their residence to meet them face-to-face.

You can watch his hilarious, phony-SEAL-busting videos on his YouTube channel, Buds 131, along with his loyal audience of nearly 180,000 people.

If you receive a call from this Navy badass, chances are, you’re about to get busted for stolen freakin’ valor.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
Don Shipley and his wife, Diane. (Don Shipley Facebook)

3. Jacqueline Carrizosa

This motivated Navy sailor served as both a gunner’s mate and rescue swimmer during her honorable years of service. Since then, she’s worked on various films projects, including the series Oscar Mike and Peter Berg’s Battleship.

You can watch her get an awesome tattoo that pays tribute to her Navy days in an episode of USAA’s channel original series, Service and Ink. She also supports the Team 5 Foundation that travels far and wide to provide medical care to poverty-stricken countries.

Today, Jackie’s social audience is growing at a serious rate as her Instagram follows tally up to 132,000.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

4. Max Uriarte

Uriarte joined the Marine Corps in 2006 as a 0351 Marine Assaultman and was stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Uriarte deployed to Iraq twice with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom between 2007 and 2009.

During Uriarte’s four years of enlistment in the Corps, he served as a SMAW gunner, team leader, squad leader, .50Cal gunner, combat photographer, and a combat artist.

In 2010, Uriarte started the hit comic strip, Terminal Lance, which soon became the single most popular comic strip in the military.

Now, Max has over 15,000 followers on Instagram and his Terminal Lance Facebook page is followed by nearly 700,000 loyal fans.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom

Also Read: 7 reasons why social media is the devil while on a deployment

5. Dulce Candy

Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Dulce joined the U.S. Army in 2006, became a certified generator mechanic, and was stationed Fort Hood, Texas. Soon after, she deployed to Iraq for a 15 months and experienced the intensity of war.

After returning home, she continued to work as a mechanic, until she turned on her camera and began discussing makeup and fashion culture on YouTube.

Today, she has over 1.1 million followers on Instagram, 2.2 million subscribers on YouTube, and is close to reaching 1 million on Facebook.

10 life hacks to get you through deployment boredom
(Dulce Candy YouTube)

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