What soldiers really want in their care packages - We Are The Mighty
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What soldiers really want in their care packages

How do you know what a soldier really wants in a care package? If you’re not in the position to ask the recipient what they need, use this list of care package ideas for soldiers to help you figure it out. You should ask yourself a few questions before putting the box together: Where is the soldier stationed? How long will she/he be there? What would you want to receive if you were trapped in a remote space without access to all your favorite things? And most importantly, what can you send a soldier that will boost their morale?


Being in the military is a tough job, so the best care packages for soldiers include items that are absolutely necessary, like toiletries, personal hygiene items, and medical products (mostly foot repair items), as well as entertaining and/or personal items like comic books, a deck of cards, or memorabilia from home (letters, drawings, mixtapes, etc.). You want the recipient to be able to take care of their physical needs and discomforts by sending products they can’t buy when they’re away from commissary, and you want to promote some light-hearted interaction by sending games or puzzles.

You don’t need to have a friend or a family member in the military to send some care packages for troops – there are plenty of groups and websites that will guide you through the process of how to properly pack and ship care packages to soldiers. Vote up the items you consider the most important, and add any items you don’t already see listed here. If you’ve been on the receiving end of one of these packages, please add items, and leave any relative comments in the comments section below!

What Soldiers Really Want in Their Care Packages

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9 hilarious responses to Pitbull’s absurd Memorial Day tweet

So yeah, celebrities are as susceptible as any other civilian for confusing Memorial Day and Veterans Day. After pointing out the difference, it’s best to just let it go…with most people. Every now and then, some tone-deaf stuff comes from a celebrity social media account.


Forget Ivanka Trump’s champagne popsicles and stay silent on Ariel Winter’s bikini photo tribute to America’s fallen because Mr. Worldwide definitely took the cake on Memorial Day 2017.

 

Yes, that’s a tweet a musician with 24.4 million followers actually tweeted to all of them on Memorial Day 2017. Not to be outdone, Twitter let him know he done wrong.

Not enough to make him want to take it down, of course. But still, now we can relive this moment forever.

1. #TYFYS

What soldiers really want in their care packages
@theseantcollins

2. Honoring Pitbull’s sacrifice.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
@AnnDabromovitz

3. Jonboy311s does not follow.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
@jonboy311s/@Advil

4. Check and Mate, Liam.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
@GGMcClanahan/@stan_shady13

5. The double-take we all shared.

6. Nothing says “you messed up” like a Crying Jordan meme.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
@hitman41165

7. Me too, honestly.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
@kingswell/@cmlael67

8. Some gave all.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
@cabot_phillips

9. … And then there was one reply to rule them all.

Lists

These are the 8 steps Russia takes during an invasion

Long gone are the wars studied in history class where one conspicuous force goes up against another, banners flying, in a flashy display of military might. To say that war’s changed is an obvious truth — I know it, you know it, and, more important, the Russians know it.


In February 2013, General Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the Russian General Staff, published a paper that outlined a concept called, aptly, “New Generation Warfare.” This paper outlines what the Russians see as the key tenets of successful, modern war waging. These are the 8 phases of an invasion — the essential ingredients, from a Russian perspective, to war in this generation.

Phase One: Setting the Stage

This first phase is all about establishing a favorable political, economic, and military climate in the targeted area. This first phase is completely non-military. It involves gathering information, establishing economic ties between Russia and key industries in the area, understanding local ideology, and so on. It’s all about knowing your target.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Putin’s keeping a watchful eye. (Photo from Moscow Kremlin)

Phase Two: Media Misdirection

Next, the Russians mislead political and military leaders with a coordinated, tactical “leaking” of false data, orders, and directives. The Russians target the biggest media channels and the most visible public figures, creating or further instigating political strife to rile up locals. To do this successfully, the Russians use information they’ve gathered in phase one and twist it to build pro-Russian sentiment.

Related: 14 photos that show how Finland is preparing for a Russian hybrid war

Phase Three: Political Muscle

The third phase is all about making use of Russian-cultivated relationships. In this phase, the Russians intimidate, deceive, and bribe key politicians to get them to abandon their post when “convenient.”

Phase Four: Growing Discontent

In this phase, the Russians pump propaganda en masse into the targeted region, fomenting further discontent among the population. At this precise moment, Russian troops start to arrive. It’s no coincidence that this happens when the population favors Russia most.

Phase Five: Lockdown

Russian military forces are still posturing in phase five — no overt triggers are pulled just yet. In this phase, Russians establish no-fly zones, put up blockades, and exert force through the use of private military companies and local armed resistance forces.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Russian soldiers practice storming the beach during Zapad ’13 exercises. (Photo from Russian Kremlin.)

Phase Six: Military Action

In phase six, Russia finally starts to flex its military muscles. All wheels turn simultaneously — Russian forces make their move alongside an all-cylinder firing of special operations and subversive missions. Industrial espionage, satellite interference, and so on; whatever it takes to weaken the opponent.

Also Read: How 8 countries are preparing for war with Russia

Phase Seven: Precision Strikes

In phase seven, Russia employs precise strikes to hit the exposed weaknesses of their enemy. Targeted information operations, electronic warfare, and precise, long-range artillery strikes hit key pressure points, paralyzing the opposition.

Phase Eight: Clean Up

Finally, the Russians identify and clean up and pockets of remaining resistance.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
The Russian Koalitsiya-SV taking a victory lap. (Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vitaly Kuzmin)

That, by the numbers, is how Russia invades foreign territory. Of course, no war is simple enough to fit within a playbook–these phases can happen in sequence or all at once, if necessary. Though execution may vary, the key principles outlined here can be used to devastating effect.

Just how effective is this new, hybrid warfare? Russia’s official involvement in the annexation of Crimea was just 24 days—but you can safely bet that covert operations were well underway in the months prior. Years later, NATO is still figuring out how to respond.

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5 things the US Military should ban forever

The U.S. military does a lot of good around the world, but it also maintains a few quirks. Usually stemming from the mindset of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” some items common to the military experience don’t make much sense. These are those items.


1. The Navy’s blue camouflage uniform

UPDATE: This change is already in the works. We take full credit.

Here is how this went down: The Navy was wearing its completely blue working uniform, and then the Marine Corps and Army went to new and improved digital patterns. The admirals got together and thought of how to best to spend the budget.

They got into a big room with presentations about cool laser beams that can destroy an entire terrorist compound, missiles for fighter jets that can travel 300 miles, and new GPS navigation systems that can tell you where you are with pinpoint accuracy and you can hit one button to call in naval gunfire. And then they decided to spend a bunch of money on uniforms that make no sense.

What soldiers really want in their care packages

2. Wearing reflective belts everywhere

Yeah, we know. They reflect light from car headlights so that you don’t get flattened like a pancake when you’re on your run. So maybe that makes sense. But they are overused to the point of absurdity. You need to wrap a reflective belt around your pack on this hike, because drivers may not notice the 900+ people around you with flashlights and making lots of noise.

Make sure you also wear your reflective belt around your forward operating base so that Johnny Taliban can make that mortar fire more effective.

What soldiers really want in their care packages

3. Those brown dive shorts that only Navy SEALs wear

The UDT SEAL swim shorts come in khaki, have an included belt, and are short enough to show how terribly untanned your legs are. According to NavySEALs.com, the shorts were issued to the original frogmen of World War II, and now all SEALs are issued them as part of that tradition.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo Credit: Valet Mag

Holding to traditions is important, but we’re talking 1940s-era fashion here. SEALs aren’t shooting at Taliban fighters with M1 Garands, because times, trends, and technology has changed. Which leads us to …

4. Marine Corps “silkies” physical training shorts

We can officially conclude that the military has a serious problem with short shorts. The worst offender is the U.S. Marine Corps, with their “silkies.” While Marines have been issued updated physical training uniforms, the silkie shorts that looked like they were stolen from Larry Bird’s locker room still prevail. And sadly, there’s always at least one weird guy in your platoon who actually enjoys wearing them.

What soldiers really want in their care packages

5. PowerPoint

There’s a reason Gen. Mattis banned the use of Powerpoint briefings when he was in charge at CENTCOM. Creating slideshows are boring, huge wastes of time, and as he so famously said, they “make you stupid.”

What soldiers really want in their care packages

We’re absolutely certain there are other things out there. What can you think of? Add it to the comments.

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7 of the best movie aerial dogfights, ranked

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


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

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

1. Top Gun

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

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

2. Memphis Belle

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

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

3. Fly Boys

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

4. Red Tails

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

5. Tora! Tora! Tora!

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

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

6. Red Baron

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

7. The Eternal Zero

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

 

Bonus: Les Chevaliers du Ceil (Sky Fighters)

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

Just check out the trailer:

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The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Here’s your weekly ration of memes to make Black Friday a little brighter. (And be safe out there, troops):


1. The Light Anti-tank Weapon usually wins (via The Most Combat Engineer Man In The World).

What soldiers really want in their care packages
But Sergeant Major is going to win when he sees you weren’t wearing gloves or a helmet.

2. ISIS has a lot of demented dreams that will never work out (via Team Non-Rec).

What soldiers really want in their care packages
After they fail to invade Russia, they can go ahead and fail to invade other places.

SEE ALSO: The mastermind of the Paris attacks was killed in a raid

3. When you know that 5-kilometer ruck march is really going to be a 20K.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
You could use that thing as an auxiliary fuel bladder for a Humvee.

4. Don’t mess with his pile (via Sh-t My LPO Says).

What soldiers really want in their care packages
His pile is pretty much all he’s got in this world.

5. Air Force embracing the suck:

(via Air Force Nation)

What soldiers really want in their care packages

6. The new 5.56mm lightbulbs (via Funker 530).

What soldiers really want in their care packages
They can get really bright.

7. Coast Guardsmen have their own motivations (via Coast Guard Memes).

What soldiers really want in their care packages
I like turtles too, buddy.

8. Marines know every discipline except “ammo.”

(via Devil Dog Nation)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
They throw ammo discipline out the window — along with a bunch of grenades.

9. Til Valhalla!

(via The Senior Specialist)

What soldiers really want in their care packages

10. Aviation is for the elite (via Air Force Nation).

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Doesn’t matter what they are elite in. Bus driving experience is helpful.

11. How medical section does poetry:

(via Sh-t My LPO Says)

What soldiers really want in their care packages

12. McDonald’s makes the years of war worth it (via Military Nations).

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Apparently, Freedom tastes like unidentifiable meat and thin barbecue sauce.

13. Stop playing …

(via The Senior Specialist)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
… we know you’re going to sham.

Lists

6 steps troops shouldn’t skip before getting out of the military

Every single day, service members head down to their personnel office to pick up the most important document they will ever hold, second only to their birth certificate: a DD-214.


But, before they can obtain that beloved document, they must first get signatures on a checkout sheet, officially clearing them of debt of any kind, including owed gear or monetary debt.

Unfortunately, some troops may not have had the most positive experience serving and rush through the checkout process, skipping or side-stepping essential aspects to quickly get out the door.

It happens more often than you’d think.

These service members-turned-veterans end up regretting not taking the time to navigate through the process correctly. Since going back in time is impossible, we’ve created a list of things you should not skip in hopes that the next generation of veterans don’t find themselves in a world of hurt.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
True story.

Related: 8 things vets learn while transitioning out of the military

Here are the six steps troops shouldn’t skip before getting out of the military.

6. Hitting up dental

Until the day you get out, the military pays for all of your medical expenses. So, don’t skip out on getting all those cavities filled or those teeth properly cleaned before exiting.

That sh*t gets expensive in the real world.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Our advice, make every medical appointment possible before getting out. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

5. Attending TAPS

The term is really ‘TAP,’ but most service members add the ‘S’ on for some reason. Anyways, the term means, “Transition Assistance Program.” This is where service members gather the tools to help with their transition out of the military. Some branches require taking this course, while others just recommend it.

Every service member should take advantage.

4. Openly talking about future plans with others

A lot of exiting troops don’t have a realistic path for their future, they don’t like to talk about it. The problem of not talking to others about your plans is, you never know what opportunities or ideas may arise from a simple conversation.

So, be freakin’ vocal!

3. Updating your medical record

Every medical encounter you’ve been involved in should be documented. From that simplest cold you had three years ago to that fractured bone you sustained while working on the flight deck — it should be in your record.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Don’t ever expect for the medical staff to properly update your record after an encounter.

2. Getting your education squared away

If you plan on going straight to school when you get out, then hopefully you’ve already been accepted. Gather up all your training documents and school papers from your branch’s education archive. You could also save a lot of time by avoiding classes you don’t need if you have that sh*t squared away ahead of time.

Plus, the government is paying you to go to school, but don’t expect that first paycheck to be seamless — prepare for it to be late.

Also Read: 5 mistakes newbies make right after boot camp

1. Filing for your rightful disability claims

Remember when we talked about getting your medical records up-to-date? You’ll get a sh*tty disability percentage your first time up anyway, but having your medical record looking flawless will help your case in getting that much-earned money — and we like money!

What soldiers really want in their care packages
We suggest you have a Veteran Service Office fill the forms out that you don’t understand.

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These 7 tiny details changed the outcomes of wars

Sometimes the smallest thing can mean the difference between nations emerging triumphant or collapsing in defeat. Here are 7 moments from military history where the outcomes hinged on a minor detail:


1. A colonel didn’t read a note, and his men were slaughtered by Washington

 

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Public Domain

Col. Johann Rall was the commander of Hessian soldiers in Trenton, New Jersey, on Christmas Day in 1776. Rall was partying with his officers when someone handed him a note that he shoved in his pocket without reading it. A few hours later, he and his men were effectively wiped out by Patriots fighting under Gen. George Washington.

The note Rall warning him of the attack was found in his pocket after he was killed. If he had read and believed it, the Hessians could have conducted an ambush on Washington’s attacking forces, possibly ending the war. Instead, it was a huge Patriot victory that helped led to America being a thing.

2. A weather report and a birthday party changed World War II

What soldiers really want in their care packages
The Seabees land at Omaha Beach on D-Day. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Nazi and Allied planners had forecasted potential dates for a summer invasion based on tides, phases of the moon, and weather trends. The best window for the Allies was June 4 to June 6, 1944. June 4 started with clear skies but Allied meteorologists believed it would turn nasty, which was true.

Allied Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower postponed the invasion, and Nazi commanders left their coastal defenses for war games. German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel even left for home to celebrate his wife’s birthday. But the Allies had more Atlantic weather stations and found a lull in the bad weather that the Nazis didn’t know about. The invasion was launched into rough seas and winds Jun. 6, but the weather cleared early in the day.

The Allied invasion was a success partially because a single meteorologist believed the weather would clear. Hitler slept in, Rommel went to the birthday party, and other senior leaders played war games because none of them knew the weather had broken and the invasion was underway.

3. World War I began because of bad driving directions

What soldiers really want in their care packages
The Archduke and Archduchess before they were killed. Their assassination kicked off World War I. (Photo: Public Domain by Henry Guttman)

Conspirators attempted to kill the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 by attacking his car during a parade. One assassin threw a grenade but it bounced off the Archduke’s vehicle before the royal was rushed to safety.

Reports vary about whether the royal couple attempted to leave the city after the attack or continue the parade, but they definitely were driving back along the route when they were spotted by another assassin, Gavrilo Princip. The car stopped directly in front of Princip as the occupants argued about the proper directions.

Princip took two shots, killing both the Archduke and his wife, which set off the powder keg that was 1914 Europe and began World War I.

4. Germany lost the Battle of the Marne (and maybe World War I) because of a rumor

What soldiers really want in their care packages
(Photo: Public Domain)

Early in World War I, Imperial Germany was marching quickly towards Paris after forcing British and French forces into a series of retreats. At the Battle of the Marne in Sep. 1914, the British and French barely stopped the Germans through a series of desperate actions like using taxis to ferry troops to the frontlines.

Germany might have won if it had the two divisions it had sent to the Belgian coast. The Germans had believed rumors that Russian soldiers were forming in Britain for an amphibious assault. This false rumor was later traced by historians to either a shipment of 100,000 Russian eggs that was noted in a train report as “100,000 Russians now on way from Aberdeen to London” or a group of soldiers from Ross Shire being misheard by local train officials.

Either way, the rumor began circulating that large numbers of Russian soldiers were entering the fight on the Eastern Front and Germany redeployed troops to deal with them. Those troops then weren’t available for fighting near Paris, and France was able to hold on, prolonging the war and allowing an Allied victory.

5. A slight time miscalculation ended the Bay of Pigs invasion

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Fidel Castro became a close friend of the Soviet Union, something JFK tried to stop with the Bay of Pigs invasion. (Photo: Keizers)

On Apr. 17, 1961, 1,400 Cuban exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and attempted to overthrow the Castro regime. If successful, this invasion would have led to the downfall of Communist Cuba and allowed America more influence over its southern neighbor. It also would’ve cut off Soviet access to the island, preventing the Cuban Missile Crisis and giving American a stronger hand in the Cold War.

The Bay of Pigs invasion went badly from the start, and America was quickly outed as a backer of the invasion. To save the botched operation, President John F. Kennedy authorized fighter cover for bombing missions on Apr. 18 but the bombers arrived an hour late, missing the protective cover of the fighters and leaving them exposed to the Cuban Air Force.

Later investigations showed that the bombers probably arrived late because someone miscalculated the time difference between the base and the destination. The bombers were shot down, the Cuban exiles were captured, and Castro was still in power a month later when the Soviet Union asked if he would be interested in hosting nuclear missiles as a deterrent to future U.S. aggression. That meeting led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

6. Nagasaki was destroyed because of a single cloud at the original target

What soldiers really want in their care packages
The nuclear cloud spreads over Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. (Photo: Hiromichi Matsuda via Public Domain)

There are two cities that are synonymous with the destruction from atomic bombs: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But, America’s target list actually included Kokura. On Aug. 6, Hiroshima was the primary target and Kokura was the backup. Since Hiroshima was clear, the bomb was dropped there.

On Aug. 9, Kokura was the primary target and Hiroshima was the backup. The B-29 crew (bomber nicknamed Bock’s Car) flew over Kokura multiple times but had orders to only drop the bomb if they could physically see the targeted weapons factory beforehand. A single cloud kept blocking their view, and so they moved on to Nagasaki, sparing the city of Kokura.

7. Constantinople fell because of an unlocked gate

What soldiers really want in their care packages

Constantinople in 1453 was facing serious problems. The skilled conqueror Mehmed II was hammering at the walls with his cannons while the defenders fought among themselves about whether the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church of Byzantium was the true Christian faith.

These troubles got worse when somebody left an outer gate open and Mehmed’s soldiers were able to pour into the city. If the gate had remained closed, slow-to-arrive reinforcements may have been able to break the siege and relieve the city. Instead, Constantinople was conquered and became Istanbul, and Islam gained a permanent foothold in eastern Europe.

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12 best military jobs according to Glassdoor

We scraped through job reviews on Glassdoor.com, a site that lets employees rate their employers and their careers anonymously, to find out what the most loved jobs in the military are. Here are 12 of the highest rated careers in uniform:


12. Air Force Aircraft Mechanic (4.1)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Staff Sgt. Doug Miller and Master Sgt. Scott Dolese, aircraft structural maintenance technicians, work a jack support box repair from the inside and outside of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. (Photo: U.S. Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)

The job is basically summed up in the title. Someone has to be in charge of keeping all of the Air Force’s planes flying, and these are the folks who do it. The Air Force has a number of specific jobs that fall under this umbrella, from Remotely Piloted Aircraft Maintenance to Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance or Aircraft Hydraulic Systems. (Average rating is a 4.1.)

11. Coast Guard Storekeeper (4.1)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Stratton, a storekeeper with the Eighth Coast Guard District, sifts through hundreds of procurement requests for different departments for the district, Oct. 31, 2011. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Casey J. Ranel)

Access to all of the ship or command’s goods while hanging out on ships (mostly) near the coasts. Sounds great. Storekeepers can go further out, serving primarily on icebreakers and cutters when they’re not on the shore. They specialize in inventory and supply. (Average rating is a 4.1.)

10. Marine Corps Aircraft Mechanic (4.1)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Zachary Jackson, an airframe mechanic with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232, conducts maintenance on an F/A-18C Hornet. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Mason Roy)

Aircraft maintainers in the Marines Corps take care of the fleet of helicopters, fixed wing planes, and tilt-rotor aircraft that carry them and other Marines around the globe. They get a lot of first-hand knowledge of aircraft and are, for the most part, safely tucked away from the worst of the fighting. (Average review is a 4.1.)

9. Air Force Intelligence Analyst (4.2)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
The 35th Operations Support Squadron intelligence analysts and Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts plot coordinates on a map in preparation for Red Flag-Alaska 17-2, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 26, 2017. (Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

Collect all the signals, images, testimony, and other intel that’s coming from the field, and then think about it really hard. Of course, there’s tons of paperwork and your musings on the information determine whether other people live or die, so no pressure or anything. (Average rating is a 4.2.)

8. Coast Guard Information Systems Technician (4.2)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Chief Petty Officer Mark Bigsby, an information systems technician from Coast Guard Base Seattle, operates a deployable contingency communications system near Ellensburg, Washington. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Marshall Wilson)

It’s an IT job, but with the Coast Guard. Keep computers properly hooked up and set up new networks when needed; you could even get called to keep all the computers on an ocean-going cutter working together. And odd note about the Glassdoor for this job though: the IT guys are less likely to recommend the Coast Guard to a friend (62 percent vs. 88 percent) than Coasties as a whole reported. (Average rating is a 4.2.)

7. Coast Guard Operations Specialist (4.2)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Pat DeQuattro, deputy commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, talks with Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Perkins, an operations specialist, in Pohang, Republic of Korea, April 12, 2017. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Rob Simpson)

Another top Coast Guard position, operations specialists are in charge of helping plan operations for ships and then chart courses and allocate resources to make it possible. They can be tasked with everything from taking down smugglers to rescues at sea. (Average review is a 4.2.)

6. Navy Hospital Corpsman (4.2)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven Martinez, left, a corpsman, and Staff Sgt. Joseph Quintanilla, a platoon sergeant, brace as a CH-53E Super Stallion takes off after inserting the company into a landing zone. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Owen Kimbrel)

A combination of hospital nurses and field medics, Navy corpsmen give medical aid to sailors, Marines, and others both on ship and shore as well as in combat around the world. Obviously, this can result in a lot of stress but can also be very fulfilling. (Average rating is a 4.2.)

5. Army Human Resources Specialist (4.2)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
(Photo: US Army Sgt. Jason Means)

It’s one of the more ridiculed jobs, an “uber-POG” position that rarely sees combat. But human resource specialists seem happy with their desk jobs, tracking personnel and making sure pay goes through properly. (Average rating is a 4.2, vs. an average of 3.4 for the infantry).

4. Army Logistics Manager (4.2)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicles line up for a convoy. (Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Alex Manne)

The Glassdoor ratings for “Army Logistics Manager” cover a variety of jobs, mostly in the transportation branch. They drive trucks, plan routes, and send convoys through enemy territory. So, a little adventure on some days, but humdrum the rest of the time. A sweet life, unless we run into another era like the rise of the IED. Then it sucks. Horribly. (Average rating is a 4.2.)

3. Military officer (4.4)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Capt. Robert Duchaine, B Company Commander, 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, visits with children Oct. 31 at a Kindergarten school in the Khadamiyah area of western Baghdad. (Photo: U.S. Army 1st Lt. Bob Miller).

“Officer” is a wide catch-all that includes everything from the folks who manage door kickers to those who manage desk jockeys to those who manage truck drivers. (Glassdoor has a separate “Officer” category for each branch, but they all average ratings between 4.3 and 4.5.)

2. Army Operations Manager (4.5)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Master Sgt. Jeffrey Golden, the operations noncommissioned officer for the Regional Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer, plans operations on May 7, 2017. (Photo: U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Christopher Hernandez)

This is another ratings category where the reviewers came from different jobs, but these are the folks who worked their way into an operations shop and are now in charge of planning missions and ensuring the teams have everything they need for success, from engineers building new roads to infantrymen slaying bodies. (Average rating is a 4.5.)

1. Coast Guard Machinery Technician (4.8)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Bernard, a machinery technician aboard Coast Guard Cutter Healy, cleans the block of one of Healy’s main diesel engines, Sept.18, 2016. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson)

Machinery technicians work on all of the Coast Guards engines, generators, and other pumps, and they service vessels from tiny rafts to cutters and icebreakers. All that working with their hands seems to keep the technicians super happy. (Average rating is a 4.8.)

Lists

15 Can’t-Beat Care Package Goods


  • 1. “Open When” Cards

    By The Mighty

    Create a bunch of cards that your S.O. can open throughout their tour. Include jokes and encouragement, and make sure to label the envelopes with dates to open them.

  • 2. Downtime Activities

    By The Mighty

    For every moment of combat your loved one faces, they’ll have downtime as well. Make sure they’re never short on entertainment by sending their favorite card and board games, books, and movies.

  • 3. A Journal

    By The Mighty

    The pen is mightier than the sword. Give your service member a journal to reflect on their experiences. This can also be passed on as a family keepsake.

  • 4. Junk Food

    By The Mighty

    Sometimes the best cure for homesickness is good old-fashioned junk food. Salty or sweet, load up the service member in your life with their favorite guilty pleasures.

  • 5. 52 Things I Love About You

    By The Mighty

    Use a deck of cards to show your love for your military spouse. From silly quirks to sweet anecdotes, remind your S.O. of the little things that make you miss them like crazy.

  • 6. Home Videos

    By The Mighty

    Take videos of everything while your trooper’s away: baby’s first steps, family get-togethers, etc. Put these on a USB drive so they can watch these moments, big or small, as if they were there.

  • 7. Mess Hall Survival Package

    By The Mighty

    Military food can get old fast, but you can help! Spice up your serviceperson’s meals by sending some of their favorite condiments in restaurant sized packets.

  • 8. Digital Picture Frame

    By The Mighty

    This gift can help your service member enjoy pieces of home without worrying about damaging photos! Digital picture frames hold multiple photos on a small hard drive, and shuffle them on a digital screen.

  • 9. Latitude Necklace

    By The Mighty

    Give your loved one a piece of home wherever they go by engraving your house’s coordinates on a necklace. Get one for yourself with their location too, and keep each other close despite the distance.

  • 10. Matching Bracelets

    By The Mighty

    A simpler spin on the necklace idea is a classic friendship bracelet to remind your trooper he or she is loved.

  • 11. Snuggle Buddy

    By The Mighty

    Spray some of your perfume/cologne on your S.O.’s favorite sweatshirt, blanket or pillow. This way when your service member snuggles up for the night, he or she can ward off homesickness with a familiar smell.

  • 12. Helping Hands

    By The Mighty

    It doesn’t get cuter than this! Kids can trace their hands on paper, cut them out, laminate them and then send them to Mom or Dad. Parents can carry the hands in their pockets while on tour.

  • 13. Nostalgia To-Go

    By The Mighty

    Nothing beats the taste of home cooking. And while you can’t send your soldier a full meal, you CAN bake their favorite sweet treat in a jar for easy travel and eating!

  • 14. Footprint Stamps

    By The Mighty

    Another great idea for military couples with kids – if you have a baby, put their hand/footprint on each envelope or box you mail your loved one. This way, they can watch their baby grow from afar.

  • 15. Holiday in a Box

    By The Mighty

    Holidays away from home can be incredibly hard on our troops, but you can share the magic of the season by stuffing a package full of your service member’s favorite holiday music, snacks, mementos and more.

Check Out: The Gift of Gaming
Articles

These are some of the best military challenge coins

The challenge coin game is a military tradition with murky roots. The game is played where one service member at a bar challenges another to present their challenge coin. If the challenged doesn’t have their coin, they have to buy the challenger a drink. If the challenged service member has their coin, they get a round on the challenger.


Few people play the game anymore, but unit coin designs say a lot about a command. Here are some of the best challenge coin designs we’ve seen.

1. U.S. Army diver coin

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Andrew Rayle

It’s cut into a cool shape and has many of the Army’s diver badges on it. It both identifies the holder and calls them to go after even higher certifications as a diver.

2. The Mickey Mouse challenge coin

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Leticia Lapp

The military has a long history with co-opting copyrighted materials for its unit coins, murals, and posters. While most units go for something violent or that caters to an adult crowd, the Naval Air Warfare Center in Orlando made one that reminded everyone just how easy it is to get to Walt Disney World from the center. It’s a 40-minute drive.

3. Trample the weak

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: David L. Nye

Most units, especially in the Army and Marine Corps, go aggressive. But this Airborne infantry coin went the extra mile to remind everyone that the infantry has one job and Chosen Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade plans on being good at it.

4. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Abraham Essenmacher

The most senior enlisted man in the Navy has to represent, and this coin from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West lets everyone know where the coin came from. The cut of the coin is very impressive as well, with a gold chain trailing down the anchor.

5. South Park

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: David L. Nye

The South Park coin is a popular design. Everyone just changes the location and calls it a day. It gets laughs and lets the holder brag about their former duty stations.

6. Friday the 13th

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Leticia Lapp

For Navy chief petty officers, one of the major ceremonies is being accepted into the chief petty officer mess hall. The men given this coin were accepted on Friday the 13th and were rewarded with an awesome coin.

7. Aggressive POW-MIA coin (via Military-memes)

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Facebook.com/military-memes

The barbed wire and flag of the National League of POW/MIA call to mind the nature of life for prisoners of war while the crossed rifles hammer home the meaning of, “… or send us back.”

8. Tickets

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Leticia Lapp

These clever coins remind sailors of the ball they went to by appearing as their tickets into the event.

9. Medal of Honor challenge coin

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Mike Dowling

While the coin’s design is fairly basic, it’s also well done and instantly tells people that the bearer has met one of the nation’s greatest heroes.

10. Submariner memorial coin

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Doug Lapp

Members of the Silent Service patrol the world’s oceans 24/7. This coin lists the hull numbers of every ship lost to the depths.

11. The poker chip

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: David L. Nye

Poker chip coins are lightweight, iconic, and allow a phrase to be printed on the edge of the coin. This one celebrates the Marine Corps School of Infantry.

12. The classic stamp

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: David L. Nye

The classic stamped metal disc is a great coin design that seems most commonly used by iconic units. The Marine helicopter squadron of HMX-1 that flies the President gave out this coin.

13. Clear challenge coin

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Cristina Collesano

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this coin is clear. It’s a rare choice that makes it stand out despite a relatively simple design.

MORE: The 18 greatest fighter aircraft of all time

AND: 6 things the US stole from the Germans during WWII

Articles

25 photos showing why The Warrior Games is the world’s most inspiring competition

Since 2010, The Warrior Games has allowed wounded warriors from each military branch to compete in Olympic style games each year. This year’s games are being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. from June 19-28. By utilizing the therapeutic power of sports, the games enable wounded, ill, and injured service members to showcase their athletic abilities.


Here are 25 photos that show why this event is one of the most inspiring in the world.

1. The Warrior Games are attended by senior government and military leadership such as former Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta (center) and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. 

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Army Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade

2. There is an elaborate opening ceremony complete with the lighting of the cauldron to mark the beginning of the games.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Heather Kelly

3. Warrior athletes make up 6 teams including Army …

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Army

4. Air Force,

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Air Force

5. Marine Corps,

What soldiers really want in their care packages

6. Navy / Coast Guard,

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Katherine Hofman

7. Special Operations Command (SOCOM),

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Devon Suits

8. And British Armed Forces.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jonathan K. Reitzel

9. The crowd is packed with family, friends, and caregivers of the competitors.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Marine Corps Cpl. Jonathan K. Reitzel

10. You are literally watching the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded warriors taking place.

What soldiers really want in their care packages

11. It’s also chance to see the long standing rivalry between military services.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Marine Corps

12. Events include archery …

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Carson Gramley

13. Wheelchair Basketball,

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault

14. And Cycling.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: US Army

15. Then there are Field events such as seated shot put, standing shot put, seated discus, and standing discus.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Justyn M. Freeman

16. There’s track and field …

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Jennifer Spradlin

17. Shooting,

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Navy Lt. Michael Fallon

18. Sitting Volleyball,

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Marine Corps

19. Swimming,

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kaily Brown

20. And Wheelchair Rugby.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Joshua Sheppard

21. There’s even exhibition games that dignitaries and Olympic champions will play in, like Prince Harry of Wales and 3 time Olympic gold medalist Misty May Treanor.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Tyler Main

22. Beautiful medals are awarded to competitors.

What soldiers really want in their care packages

23. Individual competitors can rack up medals.

What soldiers really want in their care packages

24. And the team with the overall best performance is awarded the ‘Chairman’s Cup.’

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp

25. No matter what the result, there is a powerful spirit of camaraderie.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Justyn M. Freeman

To learn more about the games, visit the Warrior Games website here.

Now: Everyone should see these powerful images of wounded vets

OR: Here’s How A Combat Wounded Veteran Got His Dream Shot At College Football

Articles

3 reasons why Airwolf is more badass than the F-35

Okay, you’ve heard all the complaints about the F-35. It’s super-expensive. It’s got problems getting ready for combat. But in the real world, there’s no other option. And as WATM has already explained, the Marine Corps desperately needs to replace its F/A-18 Hornets.


What soldiers really want in their care packages
Airwolf about to blow through two bandits. (Youtube Screenshot)

But suppose, instead of blowing their RD money on the F-35, the Air Force, Navy, and Marines had decided to pull out File A56-7W and instead replicate Airwolf? They’d have gotten a much better deal – and it might even have helped the Army, too.

Airwolf’s specs (click here for another source) reveal this helicopter already took advantage of some stealth technology, had modern ECM systems and sensors, and very heavy armament (four 30mm cannon, two 40mm cannon, and various air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles). All in all, it’s very powerful, even if it was the brainchild of one of the big TV showrunners of the 1980s and 1990s.

So, why does it beat the F-35? Here are some of the reasons.

1. It can operate off any ship

With a top speed of over Mach 2, Airwolf may have the performance of a fighter jet, but it takes off and lands like a helicopter – without the need for the complex mechanisms used on the V-22 Osprey.

Think of it this way; with Airwolf in its hanger deck every surface combatant and amphibious ship could carry what amounts to a Generation 4.5 fighter. Even the Littoral Combat Ships could handle Airwolf, giving them a lot more punch in a fight than they currently have.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Airwolf can land anywhere this MH-60R can land. (U.S. Navy Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean M. Castellano)

2. It would replace more airframes than the F-35 would

The F-35 is replacing the AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and A-10 Thunderbolt II in U.S. service. Airwolf not only would replace all four of those airframes, but it would also replace all of the AH-1 and AH-64 helicopters in Marine Corps and Army service. The promise of the TFX program as originally envisioned in the 1960s could be fulfilled at last!

What soldiers really want in their care packages
A look at Airwolf’s ADF pod and chain guns. (Youtube Screenshot)

3. Better performance

According to an Air Force fact sheet, the F-35 has a top speed of Mach 1.6, a ceiling of 50,000 feet, and a range of 1,350 miles without refueling. Airwolf hits a top speed of Mach 2, a ceiling of 100,000 feet, and a range of 1,450 miles.

What soldiers really want in their care packages
Full-size replica of the Airwolf at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation, Sevierville, Tennessee. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

In other words, Airwolf would have the F-35 beat in some crucial areas. Now, the F-35 might have an advantage in terms of payload (fixed-wing planes usually have that edge), but the fact remains, Airwolf would have been a very viable candidate for that competition – and might have had the edge, given that the Army would have bought airframes to replace the Apache.

Oh, and here’s the Season 1 opener, just for kicks:

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