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Lists

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

Also known as “Washington’s Birthday,” Feb. 16 is now known as a federal holiday to honor all U.S. presidents. Military service is not a prerequisite to be President of the United States, but plenty had it on their resume when they took the oath of office.


We took a look back at four ex-commanders-in-chief throughout history and found the ones with the craziest war stories. Here they are.

President George Washington secretly planned an icy river crossing on Christmas day before surprise attacking enemy forces.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

It was the winter of 1776 and then-Gen. George Washington and his Continental Army — low on morale after a series of defeats at the hands of the British — desperately needed a victory to prove their revolution would not be short-lived.

On Dec. 26, 1776, they got it. After secretly crossing the Delaware River the previous night with approximately 2,400 troops, Washington pulled off a daring raid on Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, N.J.

From MountVernon.org:

The freezing and tired Continental Army assembled on the Jersey shore without any major debacles. Once ready, Washington led his army on the road to Trenton. It was there that he secured the Continental Army’s first major military victory of the war. Without the determination, resiliency, and leadership exhibited by Washington while crossing the Delaware River the victory at Trenton would not have been possible.

He kept the operation completely secret — even from his own men — and eventually captured nearly 1,000 Hessian fighters, at the cost of just four of his own men, according to The History Channel.

With just four or five men, Teddy Roosevelt led a daring charge up a heavily-defended hillside.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

Teddy Roosevelt was serving as the assistant secretary of the Navy at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, but he resigned his position to get himself out from behind a desk and into the fight. He organized and led a diverse mix of western cowboys, Native Americans, blacks, and easterners into the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry — better known as the “Rough Riders” — that later took Cuba’s San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898 from 500 Spanish defenders who had held off previous attacks throughout the day, according to The History Channel.

From The New York Times:

Mr. Roosevelt later said that the “charge itself was great fun” and “we had a bully fight.” He was nominated for a Medal of Honor, though he did not receive it during his lifetime. The battle buoyed his political career, as he won the governorship of New York in 1899, was elected vice president in 1900 and became president in 1901 following the assassination of President William McKinley.

Although his nomination for the Medal of Honor was rejected at the time (The American Legion’s Burn Pit has an interesting look at the reasons why), Roosevelt finally received his recognition on Jan. 16, 2001 from President Bill Clinton. Roosevelt remains the only president to receive the nation’s highest award.

“Facing the enemy’s heavy fire, he displayed extraordinary bravery throughout the charge, and was the first to reach the enemy trenches, where he quickly killed one of the enemy with his pistol, allowing his men to continue the assault,” his citation reads. “His leadership and valor turned the tide in the Battle for San Juan Hill.”

After his small patrol boat was sliced in half by a Japanese destroyer, John F. Kennedy saved the lives of his men and survived in enemy territory.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

As a Navy lieutenant in charge of a patrol torpedo boat in the Solomon Islands, John F. Kennedy and his men were tasked with engaging and (hopefully) damaging Japanese destroyers that were supplying enemy troops. On the moonless night of Aug. 1, 1943 however, it was Kennedy’s PT-109 that was damaged — or more specifically — it was sliced in half.

The JFK Library writes:

The destroyer, later identified as the Amagiri, struck PT-109 just forward of the forward starboard torpedo tube, ripping away the starboard aft side of the boat. The impact tossed Kennedy around the cockpit. Most of the crew were knocked into the water. The one man below decks, engineer Patrick McMahon, miraculously escaped, although he was badly burned by exploding fuel.

After he personally recovered some of his men and helped them to a nearby island — including towing a wounded sailor using a life-vest strap clenched in his teeth — Kennedy would later swim out from shore and to other nearby islands to look for food, fresh water, and American patrols.

They finally reached Cross Island (which was thought to be Nauru Island) and met up with some natives who agreed to pass a message along for them. On a coconut shell, Kennedy carved out: “Nauro Isl. Commander. Native knows posit. He can pilot. 11 alive need small boat. Kennedy.”

Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for the incident, along with the Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained, according to the JFK Library. He later tried to downplay his role in the incident, as his chance for heroism “was involuntary,” he quipped, according to The Smithsonian. “They sank my boat.”

After getting hit by anti-aircraft fire that set his plane’s engine on fire, George H.W. Bush still finished his bombing mission and then bailed out in the Pacific.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On Sep. 2, 1944, then-Lt. George H.W. Bush and his squadron was conducting a bombing mission on a Japanese installation on the island of Chichi Jima when they were attacked by anti-aircraft fire. The 20-year-old Bush, piloting a Grumman TBM Avenger, continued with the mission despite the damage to his aircraft.

Brian Jones at Task Purpose writes:

With him on the mission were two men — Radioman 2nd Class John Delaney and Lt. Junior Grade William White. Their aircraft was struck by intense anti-aircraft fire on the mission. With the cockpit filling with smoke and with Bush expecting the plane to explode at any minute, he completed his bombing run, flew as far as he could over the water, instructed the two men to bail out, and then parachuted out of the aircraft.

After ditching his aircraft, Bush survived for roughly four hours in a life raft before he was picked up by a Navy submarine, according to The History Channel. The only one rescued on that day, the future president would later receive the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery. The rest of his squadron however, suffered a gruesome fate at the hands of the Japanese, as James Bradley uncovered in his book “Flyboys.”

NOW: Ronald Reagan got a Marine recruiting letter while he was president — His response was classic

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.

 

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

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.”

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
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.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
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.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

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

11 hiding spots for an E-4 to sham

Yeah. Sure. Not every E-4 has an engine room to hide out in, but there are plenty of other places to skate.


Now, there’s a fine line between when you just need a moment to yourself and when you’re screwing over your comrades — don’t be the guy who crosses this line.

If you need to hide, do it in a place where you’re only just a call away. That way you can keep shamming and your buddies can still cover for you.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
You can’t win wars without ’em. (Image courtesy of Under the Radar)

This list is purely for entertainment purposes. If you get caught and blame it on an article you read — that’s on you.

1. In plain sight

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
(Meme via The Salty Soldier)

If you look like you’re squared away, people will assume you are…and will be none the wiser if you conveniently aren’t around when there’s a call for parade practice volunteers.

2. Sick Call

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

Some say it’s “malingering.” Others say it’s “documenting it for the VA down the road.”

3.  Dental

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
(Meme via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting)

As long as you actually show up, your leader shouldn’t see an issue with you getting your teeth taken care of.

4. Smoke Pit

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
(Meme via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting)

How many times have we all heard the phrase “if you smoke, take five to ten. If you don’t, I need you to…”

There’s a lot of new faces around the smoke pit whenever they hear that.

5. Alterations

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

Hey. You never know when the next Dress Uniform inspection is. Why not take the time to get it ready?

6. Post/Base Exchange (PX/BX)

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

You’d be amazed at how lenient everyone becomes when you say the phrase “Anyone want anything from the shopette?”

#7. Inside a vehicle

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
(Meme via The Salty Soldier)

Motor Pool Mondays. Someone has to check to see if the air conditioner is working or not.

8. Latrine

via GIPHYIf you got to go, you got to go. Just turn the sound off your phone before you play games.

 9. Charge of Quarters (CQ)

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

Always try to get duty on a Thursday or the day before a four day starts. Who doesn’t want an extended weekend?

10. Barracks

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

Be sure to use buzz words like “spotless” and “maintained” before sneaking off to play that new game you picked up earlier at the PX/BX.

11. Behind your rank

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

It’s called a “Sham Shield” for a reason. Push that duty onto someone else while you wait for close of business formation.

*Bonus* At Fort Couch

If none of these places work for you and you just have to sham, PCS to Fort Couch. No one will get on you to do anything. You really will be on your “own f-cking program.”

via GIPHY
Articles

13 funniest military memes for the week of Feb. 3

Funny military memes from around the Facebooks.


1. They know the three Norths on a military map, but have no idea what their name is (via The Salty Soldier).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
In their defense, they probably didn’t practice their name.

2. It’s not often that the Coast Guard has the better equipment (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
But seriously, how nice of a shovel do you need to clean off a 15-foot boat?

ALSO READ: Here’s what it would look like if the modern Army fought the Battle of Gettysburg

3. Yeah, we were all surprised our first time, Marine (via Military World).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
But hey, you’ve got that sweet uniforms going for you.

4. Abstract art always looks like a Marine threw up after a crayon binge (via Maintainer Nation).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
So pretty ….

5. He forgot to put his knife hand on safe when he was raising his compass.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
I thought Mattis always just knew whatever azimuth he is currently facing.

6. Chiefs are the first, last, and only line of defense for the buffet (via Decelerate Your Life).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Hey, they lift those coffee cups like a bunch of total bosses.

7. Hey, if I talk to them for an hour about wasting time, they won’t use all those minutes checking Facebook later (via Air Force Nation).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Side note: Don’t use this meme as evidence that your command is wasting time. Proving that you’re reading memes lists during duty hours will not go well.

8. Hands in pockets is wrong for patrols, parades, and formations (via Air Force Nation).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Shouldn’t really matter the rest of the time.

9. When the worn out Cost Guard cutters have to rescue your brand new warship:

(via Military World)

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Coast Guard is always ready to tow your ships.

10. We always get the exact same results from each Sergeant Major Day:

(via CONUS Battle Drills)

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Really not sure why we keep having it.

11. This may be a bad idea for city planners, but it’s a great one for movie producers (via The Geek Strikes Back).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

12. Someone’s NCO, battle buddies, and common sense failed them (via The Salty Soldier).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Maybe a quick Google search would help you out.

13. “Military grade” doesn’t sound so great after you’ve joined the military (via U.S Army W.T.F! moments).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
But hey, it sounds cool on Facebook.

Articles

The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Memes are the internet’s Motrin and water. They’re used for everything though they solve nothing. Here are 13 new ones to get you through that shattered femur.


1. Backseat drivers are the worst (via Air Force Memes Humor).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
That one didn’t even bring a map.

2. Just wear one of those strips on your nose (via Sh*t My LPO Says).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
It’s really too perfect of a spot to NOT skate in.

SEE ALSO: The US Military took these incredible photos this week

3. It’s not too bad. He has that mattress that conforms to his shape …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
… wait, no. That’s body armor.

4. When you don’t want your Valentine to escape.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
That guy does not look very comfortable with this photo shoot.

5. The Air Force has strict testing requirements (via OutOfRegs.com).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Tests that apply to the skills they actually use.

6. The Air Force reminds all the haters why they should be jealous (via Military Memes).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Make fun of the airmen, but you know you love the aircraft they support.

7. Inter-service rivalry began a long time ago …

(via Marine Corps Memes)

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
… in a galaxy far, far away.

8. When public affairs says they’ve seen stuff (via Sh*t My LPO Says).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

9. The vehicles are powered by JP-8.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
But all soldier move via dip and MRE power.

10. Hearing a sniper rifle means you probably weren’t the target (via 11 Bravos).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
But still hit the dirt. You could be the next target.

11. Fun fact: The radio was getting a signal on the deck (via Sh*t My LPO Says).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
The captain just doesn’t like that guy.

12. This is how you get safety briefs.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Safety briefs that are a firm 300 meters from the work location. EOD’s orders.

13. Epic battles of joint barracks:

(via Ranger Up)

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
POG’s cant get no love.

NOW: 11 weapons from pop culture we could totally use right now

OR: The 8 most worthless Cobra Commandos

Lists

The best submarine movies of all time

This is a list about the best submarine movies. Who doesn’t love a good submarine film? Be honest. You know that whenever you see a trailer for a new submarine movie or hear about a great submarine movie you’ve never seen before that you get super excited and you feel like your head is about to implode… from the pressure. That’s a submarine joke. Water. …Depth.


From some of the top submarine movies like The Hunt For Red October, and Crimson Tide, to all-time great submarine movies like Das Boot, this list has everything you’ll need to satisfy your insatiable need for input on the most famous submarine movies.

The amount of times the word “submarine” appears in this list description is not an accident. Submarines are awesome (they go underwater, and there are people in them, and they are basically magic, and they shoot rockets and win wars!) and they deserve to be talked about more.

Thankfully, Hollywood agrees. Please enjoy this list of the best submarine movies of all time.

Vote for your favorite submarine films now!

The Best Submarine Movies Of All Time

More from Ranker:

This article originally appeared at Ranker. Copyright 2015. Like Ranker on Facebook.

NOW: 27 incredible photos of life on a Navy submarine

Articles

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry

YouTube, We Are The Mighty


From fighting pirates in the First Barbary War of 1801 to seizing the Kandahar International Airport in 2001 and beyond, Marine Corps infantrymen have been fighting and winning our nation’s battles for more than 200 years.

Known as “grunts,” infantrymen receive specialized training in weapons, tactics, and communications that make them effective in combat. And while many things have changed for grunts over time, they continue to carry on the legacy that was forged from the “small wars” to the “Frozen Chosin” to the jungles of Vietnam.

After more than a decade of war following the 9/11 attacks, many grunts have deployed to combat …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… In Iraq, where they earned their place in history at Nasiriyah, Najaf, and Fallujah (shown here), and many others.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While others deployed to Afghanistan, into the deadly Korengal Valley …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

 … Or more recently to Marjah, in Helmand Province.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

But before infantrymen join their units, they need to complete initial training. For enlisted Marines, that means going to the School of Infantry, either at Camp Pendleton, California or Camp Geiger, North Carolina.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For officers, their training at Infantry Officer Course in Quantico, Va. involves both tactics and weapons, along with a more intense focus on how to lead an infantry platoon.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While most enlisted grunts become 0311 riflemen, others receive more specialized training, like 0331 machine-gunners, which learn the M240 machine gun (shown here), the MK19 grenade launcher, and the M2 .50 cal.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0341 Mortarmen learn how to operate the 60 mm (shown below) and 81 mm mortar systems, which help riflemen with indirect fire support when they need a little bit more firepower.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0351 Assaultmen learn basic demolitions, breaching, and become experts in destroying bad guys with the SMAW rocket system. The Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) is shown below.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Packing even more punch that’s usually vehicle-mounted, 0352 Anti-tank missilemen learn their primary M41 SABER (below) heavy anti-tank weapon and the Javelin, a medium anti-tank weapon.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Some more experienced infantrymen go into specialized fields, such as Reconnaissance or snipers (below).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

Always present is a focus on mission accomplishment, and to “keep their honor clean” — to preserve the legacy of the Corps …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

… That grunts are proud of. Always remembering heroics from the Chosin Reservoir Marines in Korea …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… To those who fought in Vietnam jungles, or the storied battles of Hue and Khe Sanh.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Since Vietnam, grunts have been repeatedly been called upon for minor and major engagements, such as Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation United Shield in Somalia in 1995 (below).

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

But it’s not all combat.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

Marine grunts are constantly training, whether it’s practicing amphibious landings …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

… Or learning the skills needed to survive and thrive in a jungle environment.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Sometimes they take a break to catch up on their reading.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Michael Sinclair

And when they’re not training, they are trying to have fun.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

Sometimes … maybe too much fun.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Donnie Hickman

While technology has made today’s infantrymen even deadlier, the life of the grunt has always been spartan.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Grunts often work in rough conditions, and they need to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And quite often, they need to be self-sufficient. At remote patrol bases, that means everything from burning their trash and other waste …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Paul Martin

To fixing their morning coffee in any way they can.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

Grunts learn to appreciate the little things, like care packages from home …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Matt McElhinney

… Any privacy they can get …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

… Or a “FOB Pup” to play around with in between missions.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

When they get into a fight with the enemy, they battle back just as their predecessors did.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And with solid training and leadership, they can easily transition, as Gen. Mattis says, from no worse enemy to no better friend.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

When things don’t go exactly as planned …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

… Grunts can usually shake it off with a smile.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

Especially in a combat zone, humor helps a unit through tough times.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And there are plenty of opportunities for laughs.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Marc Anthony Madding

Whether it’s graffiti on a barrier …

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

 Or taunting the Taliban with a Phillies t-shirt.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

But the bottom line is that grunts are the Marine Corps’ professional war-fighters.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

They forge brotherhoods that last for a lifetime.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And they never forget those who didn’t make it home.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Memorial ceremony for Sgt. Thomas Spitzer. (Photo Credit: US Marine Corps)

Humor

7 reasons why you’d want ‘Pvt. Pyle’ in your infantry squad

Joker, Cowboy, and Animal Mother are just some of the iconic characters in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” that audiences hoped would survive as they maneuvered their way through the dangerous battlegrounds of the Vietnam War.


One character no member of the audience gave a sh*t about, though, was Leonard Lawrence a.k.a. Pvt. Pyle because he was slow, overweight, and ended up murdering his D.I. and blowing his brains out while sitting on a toilet.

Let’s pretend that the murder-suicide never took place and Private Pyle actually went out to the fleet.

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

Check out these reasons why it would be a solid idea to have Pvt. Pyle assigned your infantry squad:

1. He’d be great to have during morning PT…if you’re hungover

Formation runs only go as fast as the slowest man. Since Pvt. Pyle was no marathon runner, the multi-mile runs would be at a pretty slow pace.

Monday morning PT would be a breeze. (Image via Giphy)

2. Everyone would look sh*t hot compared to him

He’s a f*ck up, so having him around would make everyone else look like rock stars.

Look at his silly smile. (Image via Giphy)

3. He’s actually a good shot

Even the drill instructor said so.

Having accurate trigger pullers on the battlefield is a huge advantage.

Foreshadowing. (Image via Giphy)

4. You would always have someone you can trick into standing your duty

Who could we get to stand fire-watch around the barracks on Christmas Day? Answer: Pvt. Pyle.

I wonder what he was thinking. (Image via Giphy)

5. He’d always have good snacks on deployment

If he can sneak a jelly donut into the squad bay, we’re sure he’d be able to get much more than that through customs.

To be fair, jelly donuts are delicious. (Image via Giphy)

6. You wouldn’t be the last one to finish anything

Pyle would be the last if he even finished anything he started.

You would literally never finish last. (Image via Giphy)

Also Read: A Marine explains why people love the film ‘Full Metal Jacket’ so much

7. You’d watch him and learn from his mistakes

His form is way off.

That obstacle isn’t easy for anyone. (Image via Giphy)Can you think of any others? Comment below.

Articles

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:

The Thunderbirds Delta formation flies by One World Trade Center during a photo chase mission in New York City May 22, 2015.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: Senior Airman Jason Couillard/USAF

Capt. Nicholas Eberling, a solo pilot for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron, maneuvers his F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft to close in on the refueling boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: Capt. Zach Anderson/USAF

NAVY:

The USS Constitution (America’s oldest warship) may be in drydock for the next few years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still “virtually” tour her on Google Maps.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: USN

An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Sunliners of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 launches from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an air-power demonstration.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: USN

ARMY:

A soldier, assigned to 3rd BCT, 101st ABN DIV (AASLT) and deployed as part of Train Advise Assist Command-East fires an M4 carbine rifle during a partnered live fire range with soldiers from the Polish Land Forces at Tactical Base Gamberi, Afghanistan.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: Capt. Charlie Emmons/US Army

Four containerized delivery system bundles parachute from an United States Air Force C-130 Hercules during a joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training mission, in Kosovo.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: Sgt. Melissa Parrish/US Army

MARINE CORPS:

USS WASP, At sea – Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters complete vertical landings aboard the USS Wasp during the opening day of the first session of operational testing.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: Lance Cpl. Remington Hall/USMC

 

Louisburg, N.C – U.S. Marines assigned to Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit , conduct a high altitude low opening jump during category 3 sustainment training in Louisburg, N.C.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: Lance Cpl. Andre dakis/USMC

COAST GUARD:

Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore sits side-by-side with the HMCS Glace Bay prior to the beginning of theU.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) exercise, which brings together units from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, The National Guard, U.S. Navy and others to train Caribbean partners and strengthen maritime partnerships.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: USCG

Get underway this week with Coast Guard Cutter Active and learn about their recent participation in Exercise Trident Fury alongside the U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Navy as they take over!

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo: USCG

NOW: The 13 funniest military memes of the week

AND: More military photos

OR: Watch the top 10 militaries around the world :

Intel

Video: The incredible story of the SR-71 Blackbird in 3 minutes

No military aircraft – past or present – can beat the altitude and airspeed performance of the SR-71 Blackbird.


It’s design and performance evolved out of necessity: “We had a need to know what was going on in other countries,” Jeff Duford, a historian at the National Museum of the US Air Force, said. “And the way that we were going to do that was having a photographic aircraft that could fly very high and very fast. And much faster than the U2, which proceeded it. The SR-71 was that answer for the US Air Force and for the United States.”

Here’s the remarkable story of the SR-71 in a 3 minute mini-doc:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9hSGGEOd9Y
Articles

These are the best military photos for the week of September 2nd

Our hearts go out to the lives lost and to everyone who were displaced and had their lives affected by Hurricane Harvey. I would like to dedicate this ‘Photos of the Week’ to all of the brave service members in Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast.


Of course, our troops are always training and are still fighting. This week, we will highlight how each branch is doing its part to aid in these troubling times.

Air Force:

Personnel from the 59th Medical Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, prepare their equipment to accept patients at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, in response to the devestation caused by Hurricane Harvey, August 30, 2017. The 59th MDW is part of a larger Department of Defense presence in an effort to aid eastern Texas following a record amount of rainfall and flooding.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stefan Alvarez

Brian Archibald, a rescue specialist assigned to the South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team Delta in McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., points to a someone who may need help August 31, 2017 in Port Arthur, Texas. The SC-HART are specialized in search and rescue and are capable of recovering people in distress.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez

Army:

Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Class Richard Call and members of New Jersey Task Force 1, assist evacuees into a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) to during water rescue operations in Wharton, Texas, Aug. 31, 2017, due to devastating effects caused by Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath. Harvey made landfall into the Texas coast last week as a category 4 hurricane.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Robert Shelley

U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Carnahan (front) and Staff Sgt. Tym Larson, Detachment 2, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 238th Regiment, crew members of a UH-60 “Blackhawk”, strap down cargo, Seguin Artillery Airfield, Tx., Aug. 30, 2017. This crew is taking Meals-Ready-to-Eat to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Joseph Cannon

Navy:

An MH-53E Sea Dragon assigned to the HM-15, Naval Station Norfolk, Va, flies over Houston, Texas, Aug. 31, 2017. Hurricane Harvey formed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeastern Texas, bringing record flooding and destruction to the region. U.S. military assets supported FEMA as well as state and local authorities in rescue and relief efforts.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr.

U.S. Navy AWSC Phillip Freer, assigned to the HM-14, Naval Station Norfolk, Va, guides a forklift loading a pallet of water onto an MH-53E Sea Dragon for Hurricane Harvey relief support at Katy, Texas, Aug. 31, 2017. Hurricane Harvey formed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeastern Texas, bringing record flooding and destruction to the region. U.S. military assets supported FEMA as well as state and local authorities in rescue and relief efforts.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr.

Marine Corps:

A Marine with Charlie Company, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, along with a member of the Texas Highway Patrol and Texas State Guard, escort a man to higher ground, Houston, Texas, Aug. 31, 2017. Hurricane Harvey landed Aug. 25, 2017, flooding thousands of homes and displaced over 30,000 people.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Niles Lee

Marines with Company C, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division, load Hurricane Harvey victims aboard Amphibious Assault Vehicles during rescue operations and immediate response missions in response to Hurricane Harvey at Galveston, Texas, Aug. 31, 2017. The Marines and Sailors with Marine Forces Reserve are posturing ground, air and logistical assets as part of the Department of Defense support to FEMA, state and local response efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
Photo by Sgt. Ian Ferro

Coast Guard:

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Evan Gallant, a rescue swimmer from Air Station Miami, carries a boy away from an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter in Beaumont, Texas, Aug. 31, 2017. An aircraft crew working out of Air Station Houston transported a group of people from a shelter to Jack Brooks Regional Airport in Beaumont, Texas.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Corinne Zilnicki

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Evan Gallant, a rescue swimmer working out of Air Station Houston, prepares to deploy and rescue stranded people in Vidor, Texas, Aug. 31, 2017. Anderson Cooper, anchor with CNN, accompanied the aircraft crew on their rescue missions Thursday.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Corinne Zilnicki

Lists

5 reasons why ‘Bangin’ in Sangin’ was like the Wild West

In October 2010, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines started clearing the Taliban insurgency from the Sangin District in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Once 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines handed over the area of observation to 3/5, things escalated quickly, making this campaign one of the bloodiest in American history.


Marines who headed out to clear the enemy-infested area were met by a dangerous environment and an extremely complicated IED threat — as a result, casualty rates climbed.

Eventually, the actions of the Marines of 3/5 were unofficially dubbed, “Bangin’ in Sangin.” The narrative that unfolded there was very close to that of a story set in the Wild West. Here’s why:

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

Marines of 3/5th Marine patrol through unpredictable, enemy terrain in Sangin, Afghanistan.

Paved roads were scarce

In most parts of the world, people drive on paved roads with designated lanes. Well, for British and American forces, the only option was to drive and patrol on roads made from loose gravel. The main roads in the district were described as nothing more than “wide trails.”

Since the majority of the Sangin population uses animals to haul their cargo, in the troops’ perspective, it was like jumping into a time machine and transporting back to the Old West.

The local cemeteries

How many Westerns have we seen where the cowboys, on horseback, encounter an eerie cemetery as they travel through uncharted land? Too often to count, right?

Well, Sangin was no different. Many of the graves were decorated with rocks and flags tied to wooden staves — just like the movies.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

HM3 Mitchell Ingolia, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment conducts a security patrol through the dangerous area known as Sangin, Afghanistan.

(Photo by U.S. Marine Cpl. David Hernandez)

The nasty terrain

In many Westerns, the cowboys add days to their journeys because of some unmarked obstacle blocking their path, forcing them around.

In Sangin, the rough terrain provided for some unique challenges. Harsh conditions plus the fact that mud structures can be destroyed and rebuilt quickly made keeping maps current nearly impossible.

The locals lived in tribes

In the old days, Native Americans lived in settlements and did every they could to make ends meet while answering to the chief of the tribe. In Afghanistan, Marines commonly patrolled through similar villages — and the locals answered to their Islamic religious leader, known as the “Mullah.”

Though modern in many ways, social organization on the local level remains tribal.

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jose Maldonado (left) and Cpl. Rocco Urso (right), both with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, provide over watch security during an operation in Sangin Valley, Afghanistan, on Oct. 7, 2010. The Marines conducted a two-day operation to clear insurgents from the Wishtan area.

(USMC photo by Cpl. David Hernandez)

The Marines lived like cowboys

When Marines left the wire for several days, they packed ammo, food, and their sleeping system. Since they didn’t know where they were going to be sleeping each night, Marines found rest in places most people couldn’t even imagine.

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

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
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

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
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

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories

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

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
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

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
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

The 4 US Presidents with the craziest war stories
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.

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