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The greatest tanks of World War II

In World War II, armored warfare played a key role in North Africa as Patton, Montgomery, and Rommel duked it out. They moved across the plains of Europe and fought through the snow in Russia. But not all tanks were created equal. Vote for your favorite tanks of World War II in the list below.


Greatest World War 2 Tanks 

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The 8 biggest global threats to watch in 2018

2017 saw a number of predictions on global security become reality.


Now, with 2017 coming to a close, many people are wondering what 2018’s biggest global threats will be.

The Council on Foreign Relations recently released their list of the top global threats to watch in 2018 and it covers brewing crises around the world.

CFR asked experts to rank 30 ongoing or potential conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring or escalating in the next year. These experts identified eight “top-tier” risks, many of which involve the U.S.

President Donald Trump may have to handle some of these crises next year:

8. Military conflict involving the U.S., North Korea, and its neighboring countries

The greatest tanks of World War II
KCNA, the state run media out of North Korea, released a photo of what it claims is the launch of a surface-to-surface medium long range ballistic missile. (Photo from KCNA).

Not surprisingly, North Korea makes the list.

With Kim Jong Un showing no signs at all of slowing down his missile program, and his increasingly brazen missile tests and strong rhetoric warning of total destruction, the situation on the Korean Peninsula hasn’t been this tense since the 1950’s.

7. An armed confrontation between Iran and the U.S. or one of its allies.

The greatest tanks of World War II
Iranian soldiers on parade. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

CFR cites Iran’s involvement in regional conflicts and support of militant proxy groups, including the Yemeni Houthis and Lebanese Hezbollah, as a potential source of a confrontation.

Coupled with Iran’s recent announcement that it will support “resistance groups” after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, conflict with Iran seems as possible as ever.

6. A highly disruptive cyberattack on U.S. critical infrastructure and networks.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(USAF photo by Raymond McCoy)

Not surprisingly, the CFR believes that cyber attacks against the U.S. require the utmost attention.

This year saw cyber attacks from Iran, North Korea, and Russia against targets like government agencies, banks, and militaries all around the world, and with the NSA coming under a number of high-profile attacks this year, cyber attacks will be something to look out for.

5. A military confrontation between Russia and NATO members.

The greatest tanks of World War II

A confrontation between Russia and NATO members, either deliberate or unintended, never stopped being possible.

Just this year, Russia’s has quietly expanded the border of the unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia illegally, and continues to foment the war in Ukraine’s Donbas region that has killed over 10,000 people.

Though these are non-NATO countries, some fear it is only a matter of time before Russia tries to see what it can get away with in Eastern Europe — especially since Syria will no longer be the Russian military’s biggest focus.

4. An armed confrontation over disputed maritime areas in the South China Sea.

The greatest tanks of World War II
The conflicting claims on territory in the South China Sea. (Graphic from naturalflow Flickr)

Recently, China has become increasingly aggressive against Taiwan — both in terms of actions and rhetoric. It has worried Japan as well.

Related: Beijing vows ‘stern measures’ after US ship sails near South China Sea islands

3. A mass casualty terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland or a treaty ally.

The greatest tanks of World War II
Soldiers from 2nd platoon, Whiskey Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, attend to simulated casualties at the casualty collection point during a mass casualty exercise on Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, Aug. 6, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Kamil Sztalkoper, 4th Brigade Public Affairs office)

CFR notes that the terrorist could be either foreign or homegrown. Lone-wolf style attacks, where the perpetrator has no connection to terrorist organizations apart from an appreciation of the ideology, could also be cause for concern.

This happened as recently as this week, with the attempted pipe bombing in New York City.

2. Intensified violence in Syria as government forces attempt to regain control over territory.

The greatest tanks of World War II
Syrian Army soldiers celebrating a victory. (Photo from Syrian Arab News Agency.)

Though the Syrian Civil War seems like it is in an ending phase, with ISIS losing almost all of its territory, it is important to remember that the fight against ISIS was only one part of a war that has killed hundreds of thousands.

CFR notes there are still heightened tensions among external parties to the conflict, including the U.S., Russia, and Iran.

What will happen when the Syrian Arab Army tries to defeat rebels in other parts of the country, as well as what will the Syrian government do about the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, is unknown, as is a potential U.S. response to hostilities.

1. Increased violence and instability in Afghanistan.

The greatest tanks of World War II

CFR is specifically worried about the increasingly strong Taliban insurgency and a potential collapse of the Afghan government. ISIS has also recently made its mark in the country.

The Trump administration appears concerned about developments there and is redeploying thousands of troops to Afghanistan.

Time will tell if the Trump administration’s efforts will help, or just put off a collapse of the Afghan government.

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Military working bees and other animals you didn’t know serve in the US military

Most people know about military working dogs, but there are some lesser known creatures that also conduct missions for the U.S. military:


1. Honeybees

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF9_y5v_A3M
Honeybees can smell explosives and other compounds nearly as well as dogs can, so researchers have begun training bees in bomb detection. The bees are trained to believe that sugar water is typically located near TNT. Once they make the association between TNT and sugar, they can be employed in two ways.

First, they can be restricted to glass tubes at check points. When people, cars, and packages are moved through the checkpoint, handlers watch the bees to see if they start moving their proboscis, a feeding tube that is part of their mouth. Movement in multiple bees is a sure sign that explosives are in the area. Alternatively, the bees can be fitted with radio transponders and released into a large area. Handlers then watch on computer screens to see where the bees swarm to and then check that spot for a mine.

2. Dolphins and Sea Lions

Though they’re slowly being replaced by drones, the Navy still uses trained dolphins and sea lions to hunt for mines and enemy swimmers. The animals are trained over a number of years and then deployed in vulnerable harbors, marking the mines and swimmers for human personnel to clear or capture. The aquatic mammals mark divers by attaching devices to their scuba tanks or limbs. They mark mines by attaching a cable or buoy to the mine. The mammals have been deployed to Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and both U.S. coasts.

One team of dolphins and handlers in the program, MK8, can deploy ahead of an amphibious landing group and indicate safe routes for ships, Marines, and other forces.

3. Mules

The Marine Corps has come up with a few innovative ideas for resupplying forward Marines, including stepping back to the days of pack animals and running mules. Mules were used in Afghanistan and the Marines maintain a training program at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California to prepare troops to use pack animals overseas.

4. Insect cyborgs

Currently going through development and testing in various DARPA programs, cyborg insects are designed for disaster relief and search-and-rescue missions. The bugs; muscles are controlled through implants. Researchers are experimenting with different power sources for the rig and any sensors strapped to the bug. One option that has been tested is nuclear cyborg bugs, where a low-radioactivity isotope is slowly broken down to power transmitters.

5. Horses

Most horse units were transitioned to mechanized in the lead up to World War II, and almost every U.S. horse unit has been shut down. But, there is an active law enforcement horse patrol in the U.S. Air Force. At Vandenberg Air Force Base, police have to clear launchpads and the surrounding area during missile launches and some of the area is too rough for ATVs. Also, patrols of the 40 miles of beach cannot always be done with vehicles due to a federally protected species that lives on the base. The horse patrols cover both the rough mountains and the beaches where vehicles can’t go. The U.S. also trains Marines and Special Forces to ride horses and other animals for certain operations.

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33 technical errors in the movie ‘Three Kings’

“Three Kings” looks at what would happen if Army reservists and a retiring special forces officer decided to steal millions of dollars in gold under the nose of their headquarters.


Before we get started, we didn’t count each individual case of “accountability” issues in this movie because it simply comes up too often to list each individual problem. But, the movie centers on the idea that a staff officer, two mid-career noncommissioned officers, and a private could disappear into the desert for hours with a Humvee, M60, and some M16s and pistols, and return hours later with no one noticing.

No actual soldier would have thought this plan would work. Sergeants are being yelled at, asked a question, or assigned a task every five minutes. No way they could disappear for hours and no one would notice.

Plot impossibility aside, there were 33 technical errors that made us grind our teeth.

1. (1:10) Sgt. 1st Class Barlow asks whether or not the unit is shooting at Iraqis. As a sergeant first class with a small element, he is probably the senior-most enlisted soldier in this scene. He should be the one who knows the rules of engagement. Also, what patrols really go outside the wire without briefing the RoE? The Army Reserve sometimes does dumb stuff but damn.

The greatest tanks of World War II

2. (1:35) Barlow wants to ascertain whether a person has a weapon. First of all, the guy was literally waving it through the air multiple times, silhouetting it to where Barlow should be able to tell the exact kind of Kalashnikov it is. Secondly, instead of just looking he flips his iron sites to the pinhole site (which it should’ve been on in the first place). This would actually make it harder to see if the enemy had a weapon.

3. (4:50) A major wouldn’t call his superior “colonel.”

4. (5:08) Major Gates is wearing his skill badges incorrectly. Army Regulation 670-1 says that when four skill badges are worn on the Desert BDU, the first three are worn above the U.S. Army tape and the fourth is worn on the pocket flap. Gates has two above the tape and two on the pocket flap. The colonel’s badges are, surprisingly, in the right spots though the spacing looks a little iffy.

5. (5:30) That colonel must be very busy if he’s going to let an ass-chewing wait until morning.

6. (7:09) Holding your weapon close to a prisoner is begging to have it stolen and used against you, but the private does it with nearly every prisoner.

7. (9:42) The colonel puts on his hat to get in a helicopter. This is the opposite of what you’re supposed to do. Also, does he really not need armor to fly outside the wire? He better hope that cease fire is super secure.

The greatest tanks of World War II

8. (12:40) Night vision in Desert Storm didn’t blur peripheral vision, it blocked it. Also, during the day, the image would be blown out and the light could ruin the device.

The greatest tanks of World War II

9. (12:50) Soldiers don’t salute indoors and rarely salute while deployed.

10. (17:30) No one notices the soldiers shooting rounds at footballs? And no one noticed them leaving base without armor or helmets?

The greatest tanks of World War II

11. (27:18) Major remembers that he saw soldiers guarding a well. Why didn’t he put two and two together while he was still in the village?

12. (28:30) What the hell is with the dune buggy? The Army doesn’t have those. And there is no way the security in the country is so good that a commander would let a soldier leave the base alone with two civilians. A single Humvee would have been unlikely to be released as well, even with a Special Forces officer “commanding” the movement.

The greatest tanks of World War II

13. (40:13) Multiple weapons can be heard charging, but the soldiers are only switching off their safeties.

14. (43:50) They see a tank and Pfc. Vig pulls a light anti-tank weapon. These guys are civil affairs reservists. It’s guaranteed that guy does not know how to use that weapon. It’s pretty shocking that he even has it.

15. (45:55) The reservist knew exactly where his LAW was, but not the mask that should have been strapped to his leg.

16. (46:05) Vig survives a massive mine blast at only a few meters. Nope.

17. (48:30) CS gas is not uncomfortable in heavy clouds, it is debilitating. Even tough soldiers tear up, cough heavily, and struggle for breath.

The greatest tanks of World War II

18. (49:20) “Where’s Troy?” would not be answered with, “We have to get out of here.” A missing soldier is a huge deal and this is their best chance to fix it.

19. (51:07) The rebels are not taking a tank. They’re taking an armored personnel carrier. You are a damn soldier and should know better.

The greatest tanks of World War II

20. (57:14) “Get the maps, check their radio transmissions. Maybe we’ll get their positions.” So, the colonel thinks he’ll find his rogue special forces major by checking the radio traffic. That makes sense. He lied about where he was, who he was taking to, and what he was doing, but he definitely called and gave his real position on the radio.

21. (1:08:55) A special forces officer is leading a massive foot movement of rebels and lets them silhouette themselves on top of a ridge.

22. (1:15:15) The colonel is personally leading the search for missing soldiers. A subordinate officer should really be in charge and reporting up to him.

23. (1:22:50) Vig was once again way too close to an explosion to live.

The greatest tanks of World War II

24. (1:21:55) This helicopter manages to fire on the rebels three times and not hit anything until the third pass. Then, all of a sudden he kills a few people with almost every run, culminating in flying sideways while gunning a guy down. Are they badass pilots or incompetent? Pick one.

25. (1:26:15) What are the triggering mechanisms on these footballs? The first went off when it was shot, which C4 is not designed to do. The second went off on a timer. The third one went off when it impacted a helicopter. A timer makes sense but the other two need some explanation.

26. (1:30:40) When you shoot a guy to make sure he’s dead, you should really put at least one in his skull. Then he won’t shoot your buddy through the lung in exactly 59 seconds.

27. (1:32:55) Where was Maj. Gates hiding every item needed to perform a needle chest decompression?

28. (1:33:50) No, a needle chest decompression will not treat a shot up lung so well that you can just release the tension with the valve every few minutes. It makes it to where you can leave the valve open and barely breath as you are immediately moved to a hospital.

29. (1:37:45) If the colonel is special forces, it’s pretty weird that he’s commanding a unit in conventional forces.

The greatest tanks of World War II

30. (1:39:30) Put up your troop strap, morons. I know you’re a bunch of thieves, but you still need to be safe.

31. (1:40:30) There is never a good reason to leave your most casualty-producing weapon unmanned.

The greatest tanks of World War II

32. (1:41:00) Maj. Gates says only American soldiers carry guns. That’s probably offensive to the French special forces soldier who is saving his ass.

33. Epilogue: Everyone who wasn’t killed has a happy ending with new jobs and a peaceful existence after they are honorably discharged. No. A soldier was killed and a humvee and M60 are missing along with a few M16s and M9s. No. You all went to jail.

NOW: 15 Unforgettable photos from Operation Desert Storm

OR: 4 Amazing military stories that should totally be movies

Lists

6 must-have New Year’s resolutions for the Coast Guard

The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all have things they’d like to work on in 2018, but what about the often-forgotten Coast Guard? This agency has a wide range of responsibilities and, with so much on their plate, there’s a lot of room for improvement in 2018. Let’s take a look.


6. Acquire more airframes

The Coast Guard has a total of 201 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft across the entire service. Let’s put this into perspective: That’s only one more airframe than the Marine Corps has of F/A-18A/C/D Hornets, according to FlightGlobal.com. Despite these numbers, they have to secure a massive 12,380 miles of coastline. This ought to change as soon as possible.

The greatest tanks of World War II
This MH-60T Jayhawk is being used to train an Air Force military working dog. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Adam R. Shanks)

5. Add more cutters

The Coast Guard website lists a total of five national security cutters, four high-endurance cutters, and 28 medium-endurance cutters on hand. The Coast Guard plans to replace the remaining four Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters with four Bertholf-class national security cutters, but the Coast Guard once had 12 Hamilton-class cutters. Furthermore, the service plans to replace 28 medium-endurance cutters with 25 Heritage-class vessels. The Coast Guard needs to resolve to replace its old cutters on a one-for-one basis at a minimum.

The greatest tanks of World War II
A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft prepares to drop supplies aboard the national security cutter USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750) in the Arctic Ocean Sept. 14, 2012, during a patrol in support of Arctic Shield 2012. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Timothy Tamargo)

4. Take some ships off the Navy’s hands

The Coast Guard adopted a number of Navy vessels after World War II. Today, the Navy’s Freedom- and Independence-class littoral combat ships could be huge assets for the Coast Guard. In fact, in 2010, USS Freedom (LCS 1) scored four drug busts in a single, six-and-a-half week deployment.

The greatest tanks of World War II
USS Coronado (LCS 4) during sea trials. (Photo from U.S. Navy)

3. Bring back some anti-drug capability

Did you know the Coast Guard once had some E-2 Hawkeyes? Yep, those eyes in the sky helped keep drugs out of the United States until the post-Cold War budget cuts ended that program. The Coast Guard also recently gave up the HU-25 Guardian and the MH-68 Stingray.

The greatest tanks of World War II
A Coast Guard MH-68 Sting Ray helicopter crew prepares to take off for a patrol of the Savannah River to provide security during the G8 Summit while Air Force One sits in the background. (USCG photo by PA3 Ryan Doss)

2. Build a Coast Guard Special Operations Command

Other services have contributed assets to Special Operations Command, but the Coast Guard is conspicuous by its absence. The Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team is an elite unit that could complement Delta Force and SEAL Team Six, while their Maritime Safety and Security Teams handle a lot of counter-terrorism ops.

The greatest tanks of World War II
A member of the Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team boards a vessel. (Photo from USCG)

1. Get more icebreakers

The Coast Guard is in a world of hurt when it comes to icebreakers. While the Coast Guard website says they have four icebreakers (three polar, one on the Great Lakes), one of the polar icebreakers is out of commission with engine problems. Meanwhile, Russia is pushing hard to control the Arctic. Right now, the Coast Guard needs more icebreakers, even if it means restarting the Polar-class production line.

The greatest tanks of World War II
The Coast Guard icebreakers USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB 10) and USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 11) during a resupply mission to McMurdo Research Station. (USCG photo)

What do you think the Coast Guard should resolve to do in 2018?

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7 times when heroic veterans saved the day

Between random shootings and the ever growing threat of terrorism, people are getting scared. Fortunately, an unexpected trend is showing up to counter the endless stream of bad news. Over the last year, numerous acts of violence, robberies, general mayhem, and even a few acts of terrorism have been completely shut down by an unexpected source: The presence of a U.S. military veteran or active duty servicemember.


Here are 7 times heroic vets and servicemembers saved the day in a big way:

1. Chris Mintz

The greatest tanks of World War II
Image courtesy of Gofundme.com Chris Mintz – UCC Shooting Survivor.

Chris Mintz is the current military man of the hour. Mintz is a 10-year veteran of the United States Army, but became national news when he protected classmates in a shooting rampage at the local community college he was attending. According to eyewitnesses, Mintz ran at the attacker and blocked a door to a classroom in the attempt to protect fellow classmates.

According to a student witness Chris “ran to the library and pulled all the alarms. He was telling people to run. … He actually ran back towards the building where the shooting was. And he ran back into the building.”

While attempting to stop the shooter, Mintz was shot an incredible seven times. He was rushed to surgery, but will require a great deal of recuperative care. To repay his heroism, a Gofundme was set up for $10,000 to go toward his medical expenses… because, you know, this wasn’t exactly something covered by the VA. That didn’t stop an army of supporters. That fund is currently just over $800,000 (and still active… right here… just sayin’.)

2. Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone

The greatest tanks of World War II
Image courtesy of mmc-news.com.

The three-man team which included two U.S. military members who stopped a European terrorist attack in the middle of their vacation deserve a head-nod. National Guard Spc. Alek Skarlatos, a recent Afghanistan veteran, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, along with a civilian friend Anthony Sadler, earned international praise for stopping nothing less than a full-on terrorist gunman.

“My friend Alek (Skarlatos) yells, ‘Get him,’ so my friend Spencer (Stone) immediately gets up to charge the guy, followed by Alek, then myself,” Anthony Sadler said in an interview with CNN.

Stone received injuries during the fight between the Moroccan-born gunman, armed with an AK-47 rifle, a pistol, several clips of ammunition and… a box cutter. The Americans wrestled him to the ground after he opened fire and pulled, of all things, the box cutter.

“He clearly had no firearms training whatsoever,” said Skarlatos.

In spite of his ineptitude, no one is faulting these military men for their assailant’s incompetence. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter praised the two for their heroism in a statement, “Airman Stone and Specialist Alex Skarlatos are two reasons why—on duty and off—ours is the finest fighting force the world has ever known.” The men received a phone call of appreciation from President Obama, which was one-upped by French President Francois Hollande, who presented them with the country’s highest award for gallantry, the Legion d’Honneur medal.

3. Kendrick Taylor

The greatest tanks of World War II
Image courtesy of wordondastreet.com.

In October 2014, 23-year-old John Zachary DesJardin was apparently expecting an easy payday. In the parking lot of a Winn Dixie, DesJardin attempted to rob a 76-year-old woman, according to police. I say attempted because of the beat down he suffered from Navy veteran Kendrick Taylor. Taylor was on his way to gym when he saw DesJardin assaulting the elderly woman. In spite of numerous bystanders doing nothing, Taylor charged across the lot to fight the man off.

“What if that was my grandmother? She was screaming for help. That’s when I ran over to help her,” Taylor said in an interview with WESH-TV in Orlando. “When I looked down I didn’t know if he had a knife or a gun. When I saw the lady was so old when he threw her down, she was so fragile…I knew she needed help.”

DesJardin took off, but Taylor ran after him, tackling him to the ground and holding him down until police arrived. Once Taylor handed off the hoodlum to police he went to the gym, since, you know, Superhero antics are the sort of thing that just happens to some people every day, but not unless you get your flex on. Later, he was able to meet with the elderly woman to see that she was shaken, but said she was blessed to have Taylor’s intervention. Taylor’s act got him so much recognition he even made the big show, with an appearance on Ellen.

4. Andrew Myers

Andrew Myers Screenshot via Youtube: Mr. Wrong House – “Burglar meets Paratrooper”

It was just an unassuming night in November 2014 when Andrew Myers noticed a man trying to enter a basement in his neighborhood. Sensing mischievousness was afoot, Myers asked the man, “Hey, what’s up?”

“I live here,” said the hooded man.

“You definitely do not live here,” Myers replied. Then the robber asked who Myers was, to which he responded,

“I do live here, buddy.”

A better question the attempted burglar might have asked was, “Hey, you wouldn’t happen to be a former US Army Paratrooper would you?” That would have been smart, since Myers was prepared for this encounter.

It was actually the second time the burglar had made such an attempt, evidenced by a break-in Myers and his girlfriend experienced earlier in the week when no one was home. This unwanted entrance prompted the couple to install an outside security camera and other defensive measures to the house. When the robber returned, Myers made sure that the incident was filmed. And film it he did. Myers captured not only the attempted entry, but also the culprit’s beat down and even his arrest, all of which Myers then uploaded to Youtube to the backdrop of delightful reggae tunes.  

In all honesty, the incompetent criminal got off easy. Myers and his girlfriend had joked about setting up “Home Alone” style traps all over the basement. Since most infantry types I know consider the claymore mine to be an essential element to any boobie trap setup, I’d say that just getting your face punched in by an Army paratrooper and humiliated on the internet a much more preferable alternative.

5. Eddy Peoples

The greatest tanks of World War II
Screenshot via ABC news.

Florida Army Staff Sgt. Eddy Peoples wasn’t expecting much when he and his two sons entered a local bank while on leave in June of 2011. He certainly wasn’t expecting 34-year-old Matthew Rogers to walk into the bank with a gun and a plan to rob the place.

During the robbery, video footage shows Peoples shielding his two boys. He tells the two to get under chairs before he moved in front of the children. He wanted to provide a covering shield through both himself and the furniture in case Rogers decided to open fire. Seeing the two boys, Rogers allegedly threatened everyone in the bank that, “If anyone tries anything, the kiddy gets it.”

I’m guessing that was the wrong thing to do to the child of an 11 year soldier and veteran of the Iraq War.

“To me, it was just I need to get this guy and he needs to go to jail. That’s all it was for me. You know, you don’t point weapons at children.”

Once Peoples saw Rodgers leave the bank, and knowing that his kids were safe, the staff sergeant followed the robber. Peoples got into his car and chased him down, disarmed the assailant before putting him to the ground.

When he returned the bank, his son asked him this, “Daddy, did you get that bad man?” to which Peoples replied “Yeah, I got that bad man.”

6. Devin McClean

The greatest tanks of World War II
Screenshot from Youtube via CBS News.

Not every story ends the way you’d like it to. In York County, Va. an Autozone was robbed for the second time in 30 days… by the same guy. Known as the “Fake Beard Bandit,” this one person was believed to be responsible for sticking up more than 30 different establishments in the city. The second time he made his way into the Autozone, he pulled his gun and demanded cash from the store’s employees.

One of those employees was Air Force veteran Devin McClean. When the bandit started to rob the store, McClean went to his vehicle, where he stored his own weapon. He went back into the store and sent the robber running. A grateful store manager thanked McClean for saving his life. In a perfect world, the story should end there… but it didn’t.

The day is saved. The bad guy chased away. The store is safe. How does Autozone say thank you to McClean? The next day, he was fired. According to McClean, upon his arrival the following morning, he was sent packing. Apparently he violated the chain’s, “Zero Gun Policy” when he brought the weapon into the establishment… you know… to save everyone… from the other guy with the gun… which he did.

Local Sheriff J.D. Diggs made the comment,

“I mean, two people with guns, no shots fired and a robbery averted is a good ending… I thought what a shame this guy has really gone above and beyond. I mean what else could you ask an employee to do for you?”

Sheriff Diggs was joined by hundreds of citizens in voicing their support for McClean, insisting that Autozone review their policy, or at the very least, make an exception for the Air Force vet. They didn’t. He’s still fired. I’m just going to be honest, my Spidey sense tells me there is more to this story, but in the meantime, to all my friends at Autozone Corporate Headquarters, this Oo-rah’s goin’ to O’Reilly’s.

7. Earl Jones

The greatest tanks of World War II
Earl Jones recounts shooting a would be robber. Screenshot from Military.com.

Earl Jones is not your average 92-year-old. He is a veteran of the Second World War and doesn’t like being woken up. He especially doesn’t like being woken by the sound of intruders entering his basement at 0200. Hearing the sound of footsteps, Jones grabbed his .22 caliber rifle and, by my understanding, set up an ambush on the door to the basement.

When 24-year-old Lloyd Maxwell and two other burglars allegedly kicked in the door from the basement into the house, one was greeted with a well-aimed shot to the chest by a guy who has been hard-core since most of our Dads were in diapers. Maxwell was later found dead by police with the other two assailants, who had grabbed his body and fled the scene.

“Was I scared? Was I mad? Hell, no,” Jones told CBS News.

When asked why he didn’t dial 911, Jones replied:

“What? I’m a military man now. I ain’t gonna dial somebody and have to wait for an hour or somethin’. The damn guys would a shoot me in the face and gone. If I hadn’t a shot him, he’d a been in here attacking more or whatever, you know. That’s seconds. That ain’t no damned hours.”

Old man, you’ve made me personally reevaluate every one of my manly achievements. I’m just going to say this… WWII veterans make all the rest of us look like pansies.

Besides being an awesome and terrifying old man, Earl Jones sums up what heroism is about. It’s seconds. It isn’t hours or even minutes. I personally support our police and am thankful for everything they do to keep us safe on a daily basis. At their best, though, it may take several minutes to respond to the scene of crime. A generation of veterans are showing that security can’t always be waited on, but sometimes revolves around individual initiative, courage, and capabilities of those who are willing to exercise extreme prejudice towards the kind of noncompliance to the public welfare that bad guys often exude.

When news of terrorist attacks, school shootings, and the old-fashioned muggings, burglary, and vandalism is the new norm, it becomes more and more apparent that people who are willing and able to act in the moment are what is needed to ensure a level of safety.

Heroism isn’t about people who go out looking for trouble, or those who plan out vigilante assaults. Heroes are those who, in the time of challenging, accept a certain degree of risk to protect others and serve the general public. Sometimes, when these acts are caused by other people, heroism comes in the form of those people at the wrong place and time, but willing to put forth just enough violence to make life livable for the rest of us.

There is a moral to this post. Men like these show how all veterans and active duty military personnel remain valuable to society even when not on duty, as well as long after they hang their discharge papers on the wall. The core values of military service, along with the skills many pick up along the way, are assets we take with us far beyond the battlefield, or at the times when our service is least expected.

Despite these truths, veterans still struggle to find a place for themselves in the nation they gave up so much for. They’ve been unconsciously branded as likely psyche cases and negatively stereotyped as a risk to perhaps, oddly enough, bringing violence into the workplace. These seven stories of the unexpected heroism by military men, along with dozens of others just like them, demonstrate how we still have incredible significance to our nation as more than just old warriors, but as valued citizens and lifelong servants, as well.

Jon Davis is a Marine veteran writer and blogger focusing on military, international defense, and veterans’ welfare and empowerment. If you would like to support his writing, please visit his patreon support page to find out more.

Articles

8 troops who kept fighting after they were wounded

The greatest tanks of World War II

To observe Purple Heart Day, WATM is celebrating some of the heroes we’ve featured on the site who kept fighting after they were wounded:


1. Air Force combat controller Robert Gutierrez thought he would die within three minutes after being shot through the lung in Afghanistan, but he kept calling in air strikes, saving his element and earning himself the Air Force Cross.

More: This combat controller kept taking it to the enemy after he was shot in the chest

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Photo: US Air Force

2. Joe Pinder left professional baseball to volunteer for the Army in World War II. He was wounded almost immediately after leaving his boat on D-Day, but refused medical aid and searched through the surf and chaos to find missing radio equipment. He finished finding and assembling the missing equipment right before he was killed.

More: Meet the 4 heroes who earned Medals of Honor for heroism on D-Day

3. Marine Cpl. Brady Gustafson kept directing heavy fire on insurgents despite an RPG partially amputating his leg.

Now check this out: 8 post-9/11 heroes who should have received the Medal of Honor — but didn’t

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Photo: US Marine Corps Pfc. Michael T. Gams

4. Jack Lummus shrugged off wounds from two grenades to take out three hidden Japanese positions in World War II.

More: 13 professional baseball players who became war heroes

5. Nine Green Berets and Afghan Commandos were seriously wounded but kept fighting in the Battle of Shok Valley, including Staff Sgt. Daniel Behr who had his leg nearly amputated by enemy fire at the start of the conflict but stayed in the fight for another 6 hours.

More: This single Afghan battle resulted in 10 Silver Stars and an Air Force Cross

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Photo: US Army Sergeant David N. Gunn

6. Five of the medics on this list continued aiding other wounded after they were injured themselves, some continuing to render medical attention until they died of their own wounds.

More: 10 incredible Post-9/11 combat medics who risked their lives to save others

7. The possible first casualty on D-Day was an airborne lieutenant who was mortally wounded before jumping into Normandy, meaning he could have stayed on the plane and sought medical attention. He led his paratroopers out the door anyway.

More: 7 crazy facts you didn’t know about the D-Day invasion

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American paratroopers wait to depart their aircraftPhoto: Wiki Commons

8. 2nd Lt. Daniel Inouye was shot just before he took out two German machine gun nests with grenades and a Thompson submachine gun. Then, after his arm was nearly severed by an enemy grenade, he took out a third machine gun nest.

Now: This World War II hero was shot multiple times and still managed to destroy three machine gun nests

Articles

7 reasons ‘Enlisted Service Member’ is actually the worst job

A bunch of data crunchers at CareerCast have released their list of the Worst Jobs of 2017 and enlisted military service member was ranked number 4, causing a few headlines.


But seriously, when did the 3 worse jobs (newspaper reporter, broadcaster, and logger) ever have to stir their buddies’ MRE dumps into a diesel mixture and then mix it while it burns?

Here are 7 things CareerCast failed to mention about why being an enlisted service member is actually the worst:

1. The aforementioned MRE dumps

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This is an airman preparing to change out the crappers on his base in Iraq. Yeah, even airmen have to take dumps with their thighs touching sometimes. (Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris Stagner)

Look, CareerCast looked at a lot of factors, but they don’t once mention diet and food choices in their methodology. Pretty sure newspaper reporters and broadcasters aren’t stuck eating 5-yr-old brisket and then trying to crap it out after it turns into a brick in their intestines.

2. Multi-year contracts guaranteed by prison time

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Holding a ceremony at the bottom of the ocean makes exactly as much sense as signing away the next four years, so why not do both at once? (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense)

They did look at “degree of confinement” as one of the “physical factors” of their measurements, but not as an emotional factor. Remember the last time a logger got tired of their job, walked off, and spent the next few years in prison?

No, you don’t. Because the only way that happens is if they set some machinery on fire or crap into someone else’s boots on their way out. But troops can’t quit, and there ain’t no discharge on the ground.

3. Long ruck marches, range days, and multi-day field operations

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Having to patrol 20 miles while wearing 65 pounds of gear is worth a maximum of five points but having tough competition for promotion is worth up to 15 points. (Photo: National Guard Sgt. Harley Jelis)

The list’s method discounts physical factors compared to emotional factors (“stamina” and “necessary energy” both top out at 5 points while facing strong competition for job placement and promotion is worth 15 points on its own).

Ummmm, anyone actually think waiting an extra year or two for promotion is harder than brigade runs every payday, 12.4-mile ruck marches every few months, and having to unload and re-load connexes whenever a lieutenant loses their radio? All so you can go face a nine-man board when you want to get promoted?

4. The barracks

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Who wouldn’t want to live here? (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

Drunken parties spill into the hallways just an hour before sergeant major drags everyone out to pick up cigarette butts whether they smoke or not. Idiots knock on your door because they don’t know where their buddy lives, which sucks for you since you have duty in the morning.

But hey, at least your boss’s boss’s boss is going to walk through the building this Friday and critique every detail of how you live. That sounds like something that happens to reporters. Sure.

5. Beards

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Half the reason to go Special Forces is to be able to grow a beard when deployed. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Look, loggers are famous for their beards. And most people in the news and broadcast businesses can grow beards as long as they aren’t on camera.

Enlisted folks, meanwhile, have their faces checked for stubble at 6:30 most mornings.

6. PT Formation

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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Senna, assigned to Joint Multinational Training Command, performs push-ups during the Army Physical Fitness Test at U.S. Army Europe’s Best Warrior Competition in Grafenwoehr, Germany, July 30, 2012. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Speaking of which, that 6:30 formation where they’ll get destroyed for having a beard is the physical training formation, the one where they have to spread out and do a lot of pushups and situps in the cold and dark while wearing t-shirts and shorts because first sergeants have some perverse hatred of winter PTs.

All of that without a beard. It’s tragic.

7. All those extra laws

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(Photo: U.S. Navy Lt. Ayana Pitterson)

The Uniform Code of Military Justice is a major part of maintaining unit discipline, but man is it annoying to have your own set of laws on top of everyone else’s. And, some of those UCMJ articles basically just say that you have to follow all rules and regulations, which are a couple hundred extra ways to do something illegal.

A sailor who smokes or eats while walking is in violation of NAVPERS 15665I, which is backed up by articles of the UCMJ and federal law Title, U.S. Code 10. Think chowing down on a donut while walking into the office is illegal for loggers, broadcasters, or reporters?

Articles

13 funniest military memes for the week of Feb. 24

There’s an internet full of military memes, and we’ve proudly sorted through it to find you the best and funniest out there.


1. Timmy, sometimes you have to bring cigarettes for others (via Sh-t my LPO says).

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Otherwise, dudes get merked.

2. To everyone who married a service member, thank you. Really, truly (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The greatest tanks of World War II
But please remember that being in the service and serving are two different things. Like, Melania seems like a great lady but she’s not the one signing executive orders.

ALSO SEE: Boeing unveils commercial for Eagle 2040C

3. Watching everyone else go through the obstacle course feels a little like CoD (via Military World).

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Going through it yourself feels like cold mud seeping through your uniform.

4. Marines do a lot of “impossible” things. Being miserable while hiking just comes naturally to them.

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Something about the choking dust, sore muscles, and drinking from a Camelbak makes it easy.

5. Pretty much any quarterly or annual training feels this way (via Coast Guard Memes).

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6. Well, this time you’ll just have to do it right (via The Salty Soldier).

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7. Freedom!

(via Team Non-Rec)

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Not sure how people resist drawing smiley faces next to the annotation in the book when their relief arrived.

8. Everywhere we go-oooo, there’s a nosy sergeant there (via U.S Army W.T.F! moments).

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Also, $10 says this photo was taken on a cell phone.

9. Worst part about complaining in the Army? People interrupting your complaints (via The Salty Soldier).

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10. “Are we going to have a good weekend, or not?”

(via Team Non-Rec)

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But really, be careful out there. MOPP level 4.

11. “Thank you for thanking me?”

(via The Salty Soldier)

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We appreciate your support, but just send care packages and pay your taxes.

12. D-mn boots. So embarrassing (via Sh-t my LPO says).

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But where did you get your onesie? I have a very patriotic girlfriend.

13. It’s always a dumb idea (via Coast Guard Memes).

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What’s really funny is to watch a young career counselor who just re-enlisted indefinite.

Lists

23 incredible photos that capture US Navy’s intense year

2017 was an unsurprisingly eventful year for the US Navy.


New ships, such as the USS Washington and USS Gerald R. Ford, were commissioned. The USS Fitzgerald and USS John McCain were involved in collisions. Hurricane victims in the mainland U.S. and Puerto Rico were aided. The terrorist group ISIS and Syrian forces were hit with cruise-missile strikes.

See More: Here are the best military photos for the week of December 9th

These are just a few of the developments and events. With 2017 coming to a close, we rounded up some of the best Navy photos taken this year that highlight its missions and duties.

Take a look:

23. Sailors create snow angels on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower on Jan. 7 after returning home from a deployment.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

22. The USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea on Jan. 22 while supporting security efforts in the region.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

21. A member of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 traverses a mud-filled pit while participating in the endurance course at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan, on Feb. 17.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

20. The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island transits the Arabian Sea on March 3.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

19. An electrician’s mate fireman and damage controlman practice pipe-patching drills during a damage-control training team exercise on the flight deck of the USS Barry on March 5.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

18. Members of the Leap Frogs, a U.S. Navy parachute team, jump out of a C-130 Hercules during a skydiving demonstration above Biloxi High School in Mississippi on April 6.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

17. Sailors assigned to Underwater Construction Team 2 conduct a pier inspection in Apra Harbor, Guam, on June 13.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

16. A medium-range ballistic-missile target is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii. It was successfully intercepted by SM-6 missiles fired from the USS John Paul Jones on Aug. 29.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

15. A Naval aircrewman rescues two dogs at Houston’s Pine Forest Elementary School, a shelter that required evacuation after floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey reached its grounds on Aug. 31.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

14. The USS Oscar Austin fires its Mark 45 5-inch gun during a live-fire exercise in the Arctic Circle on Sept. 12.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

13. A sailor interacts with students during a community engagement event at Lumut Naval Base in Malaysia on Sept. 20.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

12. A Naval aircrewman comforts a Puerto Rican evacuee following the landfall of Hurricane Maria on Sept. 25.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

11. Sailors bring the USS Washington to life during the commissioning ceremony for the Virginia-class attack submarine at Naval Station Norfolk on Oct. 7.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

10. US Navy search-and-rescue swimmers assigned to the USS Howard save a loggerhead sea turtle entangled in a half-sunken fishing boat on Oct. 16.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

9. Seabees fill a crater using a “super sack” during a rapid airfield damage repair exercise on Oct. 17.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

8. A sailor assigned to the USS Wasp reunites with her grandma (right) and aunt during a family assessment in Puerto Rico on Oct. 25 in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

7. Sailors man the rails of the USS Oscar Austin as the ship departs Oslo, Norway, following a port visit on Oct. 31.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

6. The USS Nimitz, USS Ronald Reagan, and USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carriers and their strike groups in the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 12.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

5. A sailor signals the launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the flight deck of the USS Reagan on Nov. 18.

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(Photo from U.S. Navy)

4. Airmen install a bleed air valve on an F/A-18C Hornet in the hangar bay of the USS Roosevelt on Dec. 4.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

3. A sailor returning home from a deployment aboard the USS Nimitz in support of Operation Inherent Resolve kisses his wife on Dec. 10.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

2. A US Navy diver performs underwater cutting operations using a Broco torch on a mooring system in Guam on Dec. 12.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

1. The new USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier transits the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 13.

The greatest tanks of World War II
(Photo from U.S. Navy)

Humor

9 stupid mistakes boots immediately regret

In life, making mistakes is inevitable — happens to everyone. While some screw-ups in the civilian sector aren’t considered a big deal, making them in the military can include a heavy punishment.


For many new service members, shedding that civilian mentality of “I can do whatever I want,” is a challenge — especially when you have to wait for permission to do something like go home for the day.

Too late now. (Images via Giphy)

Related: 7 military regs service members violate every day

So check out our list of stupid mistakes boots immediately regret during that special adjustment-to-active-duty period:

1. Talking back to a superior

Sometimes you feel the need to tell off someone higher ranking than you just to show your bros how tough you are. In many cases, the punishment given for that action can be worse than the crime committed.

Someone’s getting extra duty (Images via Giphy)

2. Marrying just for the benefits

Sure, the extra pay to buy beer for your friends sounds good now, but there are so many things that can go wrong right after saying the words, “I do.”

The greatest tanks of World War II
Who here married a stripper to move out of the barracks? Sorry, exotic dancer…

3. Sleeping with a grenade for your friend

We do a lot for our military brothers and sisters; this can include sleeping with someone’s friend as a personal favor.

The greatest tanks of World War II
Imagine waking up next to that.

This one is rarely a repeat mistake…

4. Over-sleeping and missing formation

It happens quite frequently, especially after a long night of drinking. I hope that sleep was worth it, because you’re gonna get reamed.

Being super cute won’t get you out of trouble every time. (Images via Giphy)

5. Getting caught with someone hiding in your trunk

After a set time, most military bases won’t allow people to enter the front gate without proper ID. So there’s only one way to sneak that special someone through security — stow them in the trunk.

Hopefully, your date will fit. (Images via Giphy)

6. Negligent discharge

Everybody wants to look cool while carrying a weapon around. But don’t be the one who accidentally fires the damn thing.

Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re prepared to fire. (Images via Giphy)

7. When you break something expensive because you don’t know how to work it

It happens, but now you either have to man up and face the situation or cover the mistake up somehow.

Yes, you did. (Images via Giphy)

Also Read: 7 important life skills you learned in the military and didn’t even realize it

8. When you try and complete a stunt but…

…it turns out to be an epic fail.

Now you’ve damaged government property. Go get your Motrin and then get ready to fill out paperwork.

His take off was good, but he failed to stick the landing. (Images via Giphy)

9. Getting a DUI

Showing your boys you can drive drunk is a dumb way to show off.

At least he didn’t spill his beer. (Images via Giphy)Can you think of any others? Comment below.
Lists

8 types of recruits you’ll meet in Marine Corps boot camp

The Marine Corps is filled with individuals from all walks of life. Regardless of where you came from, every single person who bears the title of United States Marine started out at either the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California or the one at Parris Island, South Carolina.


Marine recruits come from all over the country (some are even originally from other countries) to earn their place among the world’s finest fighting force. So, it should come as no surprise that you’re going to meet several different types of people as you train. Everyone’s different, sure, but you’re definitely going to meet these archetypes.

The greatest tanks of World War II

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Walter D. Marino II)

The athletic recruit

Atop the list is the most common type of recruit. It’s the people who spent their high school careers bouncing between different sports who have the easiest time with the physical training or “incentive” training. You might also find that some of the more physically fit recruits are some of the dumbest. But, then again, it is the Marine Corps.

The greatest tanks of World War II

They’ll have no problem doing this kind of stuff.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Joseph Jacob)

The bodybuilder recruit

At first glance, you might think this guy is the same as The Athlete — he’s not. Someone who has big muscles might not have an easy time with the cardio-based workout regimen put forth by Drill Instructors. Usually, these types are the berserker-class of recruit and they’ll do as much heavy lifting as they can to maintain their mass.

Make no mistake, though, big muscles will not intimidate Drill Instructors. In fact, they’ll probably pick The Bodybuilder out as a prime target to break mentally.

The greatest tanks of World War II

There’re always bigger fish.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Damon A. Mclean)

The JROTC douche

These are the types who show up to boot camp thinking they know how to play the game and usually try to be a guide for others right off the bat. The problem, however, is that they think their military knowledge is enough to get them through. They often underestimate the Drill Instructors and overestimate their own mental fortitude.

These d-bags show up cocky and leave feeling like the common folk.

The military brat

This person might not have been in JROTC, but they grew up hearing stories from one or both of their parents about boot camp from ages ago and show up thinking they know how it works. The truth is, they don’t — and they’ll come to understand that soon enough.

Their parents’ service isn’t encoded in their genetics. It doesn’t count for anything except (maybe) a cool story.

The ninja or thief 

They’ll try to tell you that no one steals in the Marine Corps. Yeah, that’s bullsh*t. People steal all the time and it’s certainly no secret. You’ll meet the thieving types during boot camp. The ones who will lie, cheat, and steal, either for personal gain or to help out their platoon.

When it comes time to return gear or someone needs a specific item (i.e. extra undershirts, peanut butter, etc.), you might be willing to cut a deal with them. Maybe you’ll take their midnight firewatch in exchange for their “services.” As much as it sucks to have something stolen, these types often come in handy in saving you (and the rest of the platoon) from an infamous “tornado.”

The greatest tanks of World War II

If they do become a scribe, make sure you’re friends. They may come in handy.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Angelica Annastas)

The nerd recruit

These recruits are not very common but every platoon will have at least one. You often question why they chose the Marine Corps since their intelligence and physical performance level screams Air Force. They may not always be the most physically fit, but they’re often the most mentally strong since they have to compensate in some way.

The greatest tanks of World War II

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Michael A. Blaha)

The artistic recruit

This can mean a few things. This recruit is good at drawing, painting, singing, or all of the above. Regardless, one thing is for sure: They’re here for the same reason you are. The drawing/painting types might end up as an “artist recruit” who paints emblems or draws cool things for the Drill Instructors, but they strive to be Marines first and foremost.

The grand old man recruit

They’re not actually very old, given the Marine Corps’ recruitment age cap is set to 28 without a waiver. Since a lot of recruits in boot camp are between 18 and 21, the “grand old man” is usually between 24 and 26. Most people around that age get sent during the spring or fall when the 17-year-old prospects are still in high school, but they still might end up in platoon full of much younger recruits.

They usually have a lot of life experience, some might even have college degrees or be married. These are the recruits you want to talk to for some wisdom since they know more about life than you do.

Articles

6 times Gen. ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis was a gift we didn’t deserve

One of the Marine Corps’ greatest legends is Gen. James Mattis, a hero many believe is cut from the same cloth as Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller and Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler.


Mattis has been popular with his men for his entire career — mostly for his willingness to share hardships and his outspoken and unwavering support of them.

Here are six times that he proved he is a true Marine’s Marine:

1. When he pulled duty for a junior officer on Christmas

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U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command visits with Marines stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait on Feb. 26, 2011. (Photo: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)

In a famous story about Mattis that was confirmed by Stars and Stripes, “Mad Dog” once pulled Christmas Duty so that a married Marine officer could spend Christmas with his family.

Mattis didn’t tell anyone that he would be sacrificing his Christmas for a subordinate. He just showed up.

The commandant of the Marine Corps only learned about the event when he arrived to deliver Christmas cookies and found Mattis standing watch.

2. When he made a video teaching people what military leadership is about

After his retirement, Mattis made a video with the Marine Corps that featured him answering questions. He tells a number of stories from his career, including the weight that he felt when he was ordered to withdraw his men from Fallujah and what makes Marines great.

He focuses on a few things that Marines can do every day to make themselves better warfighters, like reading and working out.

One of the greatest pieces of advice was that all Marines should treat every week like it’s their last week of peace. That will drive them to prepare for war and will accept no excuses from themselves.

3. When he led Task Force 58 through the invasion of Afghanistan

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(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

Mattis was tapped to lead Marine Task Force 58 during the invasion of Afghanistan. This team was originally tasked to conduct amphibious raids from the Pakistan coast into southern Afghanistan. But the mission was later expanded to include seizing a base, Camp Rhino, to use for operations.

Mattis assembled the team and led them through the initial invasion and follow-on operations, including a period where he employed his two Marine expeditionary units in a rotating fashion. While the 15th MEU was conducting a mission, the 26th would be preparing for the follow-on mission, and vice-versa.

4. When he blazed the trail to Baghdad

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(Photo: Department of Defense)

One of the most forward units during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the 1st Marine Division commanded by, you guessed it, Mattis. He later led the Marines through fighting in the Anbar province including the first two battles of Fallujah.

His quotes during this time became famous. Speaking of which …

5. When he gave us some of the best quotes in military history

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(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

… Mattis has given the world some of the best quotes in existence from the modern conflicts. Quotes like, “”I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f-ck with me, I’ll kill you all.”

One quote that will definitely resonate with veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts where U.S. troops are still engaged, is, “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

6. When he explained the importance of reading is to save the lives of young troops

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The general has suggested a few different things that Marines should do to become better leaders, and reading is consistently at the top of his list. In an email to a colleague, he explained that the real reason he always wants his subordinate officers to read is because it saved blood on the battlefield.

The whole email is worth a read, but this excerpt — where he is discussing the lessons that Alexander the Great and others have written in books — sums it up:

We have been fighting on this planet for 5,000 years and we should take advantage of their experience. “Winging it” and filling body bags as we sort out what works reminds us of the moral dictates and the cost of incompetence in our profession. As commanders and staff officers, we are coaches and sentries for our units: how can we coach anything if we don’t know a hell of a lot more than just the [Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures]?
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