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The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

From Langley (CV 1) to Bush (CVN 77), the U.S. Navy has operated dozens of aircraft carriers in its 245-year history. From the first time Lt. Ely had the guts to fly a rickety biplane off of the bow through the first airstrikes against targets in Afghanistan after 9-11 carrier air power has changed the face of warfare.


Here are 5 among them that earned their place in history by valiantly fighting the enemy:

1. USS Lexington (CV 2)

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

“Lady Lex” was originally designed as a battlecruiser but later modified into an aircraft carrier to comply with the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, which basically halted all new construction on battleships. Lexington was used to develop many of the carrier tactics employed during World War II (and, ironically enough, successfully conducted sneak attacks against Pearl Harbor a couple of times before the Japanese did it for real). 

On May 7, 1942 aircraft from Lady Lex sank the light aircraft carrier Shōhō during the Battle of the Coral Sea, but did not encounter the main Japanese force of the carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku until the next day. Aircraft from Lexington and Yorktown succeeded in badly damaging Shōkaku, but the Japanese aircraft crippled Lexington. Vapors from leaking aviation gasoline tanks sparked a series of explosions and fires that could not be controlled, and Lexington had to be scuttled by an American destroyer during the evening of May 8 to prevent her capture. (Source: wikipedia)

2. USS Yorktown (CV 5)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

Yorktown air wing aircraft got some payback on the Japanese on behalf of the crew of Lexington during the Battle of Coral Sea, sinking the destroyer Kikuzuki, three minesweepers and four barges. Later, after a quick drydock period to repair damage sustained during Coral Sea, Yorktown was on station for the Battle of Midway. After her scout aircraft spotted the Japanese fleet, attack aircraft were sortied to strike but met with disaster. Of 41 planes launched from three carriers, only six returned.

The Japanese followed with a savage attack that the carrier’s Wildcats tried to stop in spite of being outnumbered. The Japanese scored several direct hits on Yorktown using torpedos and bombs, but the crew fought valiantly to keep steaming while air wing aircraft continued to attack the Japanese fleet. After abandoning ship it looked as if she might be salvageable, but as a skeleton crew attempted to save the ship, she was hit by another torpedo and ultimately went down. (Source: wikipedia)

3. USS Enterprise (CV 6)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

The “Big E” was the sixth U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and one of only three commissioned before World War II to survive the war. She participated in more major actions of the war against Japan than any other U.S. ship, including the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. On three separate occasions during the Pacific War, the Japanese announced that she had been sunk in battle, earning her the name “The Grey Ghost.” Enterprise earned 20 battle stars, the most for any U.S. warship in World War II and became the most decorated US ship of World War II.

4. USS Hornet (CV 8)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

Hornet launched the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo and participated in the Battle of Midway and the Buin-Faisi-Tonolai Raid. In the Solomon Islands campaign she was involved in the capture and defense of Guadalcanal and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands where she was irreparably damaged and sunk by enemy destroyers. Hornet was in service for a year and six days and was the last US fleet carrier ever sunk by enemy fire. (Source: wikipedia)

5. USS Franklin (CV 13)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
(Photo: Life Magazine)

“Big Ben”served in several campaigns in the Pacific War, earning four battle stars. She was badly damaged by a Japanese air attack in March 1945, with the loss of over 800 of her crew, becoming the most heavily damaged United States carrier to survive the war. (Movie footage of the actual attack was included in the 1949 film Task Force starring Gary Cooper.) (Source: wikipedia)

Now: 28 photos from the Navy’s 240-year history

Lists

19 terms only sailors will understand

All sailors, from the “old salts” to the newly initiated are familiar with the following terms:

1. Chit

A chit in the Navy refers to any piece of paper from a form to a pass and even currency. According to the Navy history museum, the word chit was carried over from the days of Hindu traders when they used slips of paper called “citthi” for money.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: Kibbe Museum

 


2. Scuttlebutt

The Navy term for water fountain. The Navy History Museum describes the term as a combination of “scuttle,” to make a hole in the ship’s side causing her to sink, and “butt,” a cask or hogshead used in the days of wooden ships to hold drinking water; thus the term scuttlebutt means a cask with a hole in it.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: Wikimedia

 

3. Crank

The term used to describe a mess deck worker, typically a new transferee assigned to the mess decks while qualifying for regular watch.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

4. Cadillac

This is the term used to describe a mop bucket with wheels and a ringer. When sailors are assigned to cleaning duties, they prefer the luxurious Cadillac over the bucket.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

 

5. Knee-knockers

A knee-knocker refers to the bottom portion of a watertight door’s frame. They are notorious for causing shin injuries and drunken sailors hate them.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: Bob Perry

 

6. Comshaw

The term used when obtaining something outside of official channels or payment, usually by trading or bartering. For example, sailors on a deployed ship got pizza in exchange for doing the laundry of the C-2 Greyhound crew that flew it in.

*Younger sailors may use the term “drug deal” instead of comshaw.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

7. Gear adrift

The term used to describe items that are not properly stowed away. The shoes in this picture would be considered gear adrift. Also sometimes phrased as “gear adrift is a gift.”

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

8. Geedunk

The term sailors use for vending machine and junk food.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: Exostratics

 

9. Snipe

The term used to describe sailors that work below decks, usually those that are assigned to engineering rates, such as Machinists Mates, Boilermen, Enginemen, Hull Technicians, and more.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

10. Airdale

These are sailors assigned to the air wing — everyone from pilots down to the airplane maintenance crew.

 

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Photo: Howard Jefferson

 

11. Bubble head

The term sailors use to describe submariners.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

12. Gun decking

Filling out a log or form with imaginary data, usually done out of laziness or to satisfy an inspection.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

13. Muster

The term sailors use interchangeably for meeting and roll call.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

14. Turco

The chemical used for washing airplanes.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

15. Pad eye

These are the hook points on a ship’s surface used to tie down airplanes with chains.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

16. Mid-rats

Short for mid rations. The food line open from midnight to 6:00 a.m. that usually consists of leftovers and easy-to-make food like hamburgers, sandwich fixings, and weenies.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

17. Roach coach

The snack or lunch truck that stops by the pier.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

 

18. Bomb farm

Areas on the ship where aviation ordnancemen men store their bombs.

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: Wikimedia

 

19. Nuke it

The term used when a sailor is overthinking a simple task. Here’s how the Navy publication, All Hands describes the term:

“The phrase is often used by sailors as a way to say stop over thinking things in the way a nuclear officer might. Don’t dissect everything down to its nuts and bolts. Just stop thinking. But that’s the thing; sailors who are part of the nuclear Navy can’t stop. They have no choice but to nuke it.”

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Photo: U.S. Navy

popular

9 reasons mortarmen are so deadly

Mortars used to be considered artillery weapons because they lob hot metal shells, sometimes filled with explosives, down on the enemy’s heads.


But the mortar migrated to the infantry branch, and the frontline soldiers who crew the weapon maneuver into close ranges with the enemy and then rain hell down upon them. Here’s what makes the mortarman so lethal:

1. Mortarmen can emplace their system and fire it quickly

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Mortars are basically a tube, a site, and a baseplate, so they can be assembled at the front and placed into operation quickly. In some situations, the tube can even be sighted by hand and fired without the baseplate, though both of these things reduce the accuracy. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Sarah N. Petrock)

2. Mortars can maintain a relatively high rate of fire

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Because mortar rounds move at a lower rate than howitzer rounds, they require less propellant and generate less heat. This allows them to be fired more quickly. For instance, the M120 120mm mortar system can fire 16 rounds in its first minute and can sustain four rounds per minute. The M1911 howitzer can fire 12 rounds in two minutes and sustain three rounds per minute. (Photo: U.S. Army Spc. Patrick Kirby)

3. The mortar crew is located near the front, so it can observe and direct its own fire

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Mortars generally maneuver forward with the other infantrymen, meaning that they can see where their targets are and where they land. If necessary, the mortar can still fire from out of sight if a forward observer or other soldier provides targeting adjustments. (Photo: U.S. Army Spc. Joshua Petke)

4. Mortars are often in direct communication with battlefield leaders, allowing them to quickly react to changes in the combat situation

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Since the mortars are moving with the maneuver element, they can see friendly forces and are often within yelling distance of the battlefield leadership. This allows them to shift fire as friendly troops advance and hit changing target priorities in real time. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez)

5. Mortars can be equipped with different fuzes, allowing the weapon’s effects to be tailored to different situations

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
A 120mm mortar shell airbursts. Mortars can be set to detonate a certain distance from the ground, after a certain time of flight, upon hitting the surface, or a certain amount of time after hitting the surface. It all depends on what fuzes are equipped and how they are set. (Photo: U.S. Army Sgt. Gustavo Olgiati)

6. Most mortars are relatively light, allowing them to be jumped, driven, or even rucked into combat

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
These paratroopers are carrying the M121 120mm mortar system. Mortars can be airdropped into combat and the mortar ammunition can be jumped to the battlefield in soldiers’ rucks, as bundles dropped from the plane doors, or as pallets from the rear. (Photo: U.S. Air Force Alejandro Pena)

7. This mobility allows them to “shoot and scoot” and to stay at the front as the battle lines shift

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
(Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Timothy Valero)

 

8. Mortarmen are still infantry, and they can put their rifles into operation at any point

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
If a mortar position comes under direct attack or if the battle shifts in a way that makes mortars less useful than rifles, the mortarmen can move into action as riflemen. After all, mortarmen are infantry. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Tia Nagle)

9. Also, machineguns

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
A U.S. Marine Corps mortarman pulls security during a modern operations in urban terrain exercise. Mortarmen can even be equipped with machineguns, though we don’t envy the guy rucking a mortar baseplate and a machinegun. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Careaf L. Henson)

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

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
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

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
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

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
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

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
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

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
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

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
(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?

Lists

6 things you should know about Mountain Warfare Training

“Every clime and place” is what we say in the Marine Corps and we mean that sh*t. If anything, Marines are notorious for going to insane lengths to find the bad guys and punch them in the face, no matter where they’re hiding.


For this reason, the Marine Corps has devised training centers designed to prepare would-be war heroes to live out that line in our beloved hymn.

Here are things you should know about the most dreaded training of them all — mountain warfare and extreme cold-weather survival training.

Related: 7 things you didn’t know about the Marine Jungle Warfare Training Center

1. Pooping in bags

Most trainings in the Marine Corps will provide a place to make a sit-down restroom visit, but given the treacherous terrain and weather inherent to the Mountain Warfare Training Center, it’s difficult to provide such amenities.

Instead, they provide buckets and orange trash bags for you. If nothing else made you wonder why you joined before this, you’ll definitely ask yourself now.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
You might be familiar with this if you take your dog for a walk in the park. (Photo via Cleanwaste)

2. Cold-weather Meals, Ready to Eat

Normal MREs — the ones in the brown pouches — are, pretty much, hot piles of garbage wrapped in plastic. But when you go to cold-weather training, they provide you with freeze-dried MREs in a white pouch. These are easily the best field rations you will ever get because, not only is it hot chow, it actually tastes good.

While you may developed a few favorites among normal MREs, it’ll be hard to decide which of the cold-weather ones is your favorite because they’re great across the board. If you don’t agree, you’re wrong and everybody hates you.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
You’ll love these, don’t worry. (Photo by U.S. Marine Corps)

3. The dangers of cotton-based clothing

Cotton-based clothing tends to hold liquids and dry slowly. This is exceptionally important in an environment where liquids will certainly turn to ice. You don’t want your sweat-covered undershirt to freeze to your body and give you hypothermia.

4. It started before the Korean War

When the United States was gearing up to send the best military in the world to the Korean peninsula, they needed to prepare for the cold.

So, the Marine Corps’ solution was to establish a training center where they send you to the top of a cold mountain for nearly two weeks to be absolutely miserable to the point where you seriously reconsider your life choices.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Korea was considerably worse, though. (Photo by the National Museum of the Marine Corps)

5. Sleeping in snow trenches

Part of Extreme Cold Weather Survival Training is learning how to live like an Eskimo because, well, if it works for them, then why not? Don’t let this get you down, though. Despite their icy appearance, snow trenches offer some warmth and an escape from the bitter, cold wind.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
You can get pretty creative with these trenches and make tables, shelves, etc. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cody Ohira)

Also read: 5 reasons Deadpool would make an amazing platoon sergeant

6. You will never be warm

Even though you’ll be given an entire issue of cold-weather survival gear and you’ll have some shelter from the wind, the sad truth is that you’re still going to be cold. You’re going to be cold every second you’re on the mountain. You’ll never be warm, only slightly less cold.

You’ll sweat on the forced marches, but those marches will end eventually and you’ll still be covered in sweat. So, brace yourself for the most miserable time of your life (so far).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Even fires won’t be enough. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Roberto Villa Jr)

Articles

9 Awesome Military Christmas Cards

Christmas away from home is tough, and it doesn’t get any easier with more deployments under your belt. But getting a good card from a loved one or dear friend can help brighten the mood. Here are nine of the best:


The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
F/A-18 Hornet with Santa in the cockpit aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (Photo: U.S. Navy)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Cammo tree (and cammo snowflakes) . . .

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
‘Tis the season for Tier One.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
How does Santa do it? F-15 Eagle. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
From the holiday wayback machine. (Christmas card from the USS Saratoga.)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Rappelling Santa. (Design by John Cudal)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Git some, Santa. (Photo by SORD)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
All hands Santa. (Photo: DoD)

 

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Amen.

Merry Christmas to all of our deployed forces from the entire team at We Are The Mighty.

Articles

13 funniest military memes for the week of March 3

Military memes are some of the best things on the internet. Here are some of the best military memes available.


1. Every military career should have a deadpan narrator (via Pop smoke).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Also, things are almost never good. They are sometimes rewarding, but very rarely good.

2. None given, none expected (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Now we want to know what that code means.

3. Everyone should bring a friend with three years remaining when they go to meet the career counselor (via The Salty Soldier).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

ALSO SEE: Watch China launch planes from its only aircraft carrier

4. Ummm, families, you’ve been sent a template. You’re supposed to put your soldier’s rank, their last name, and their first name (via The Salty Soldier).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

5. Getting punished for Course 15 isn’t a big deal for people already at their personal peak rank (via @texashumor).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
So keep your Course 15. And 14. And any others you come up with.

6. For reals? Did you take a particularly hard hit on your head this week?

(via Team Non-Rec)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Just wait till he reverses the direction on his rifle as well.

7. Think about how apathetic the original terminal lances were when the Marine Corps was much smaller (via Team Non-Rec).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
That apathy must’ve been more concentrated than the salt in their cammies.

8. Gonna be honest, we would give everything to a properly tuxedoed penguin (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Little bow tie and everything.

9. That bar owner is gonna have to work hard to get open in time for lunch chow (via Military Memes).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

10. “Wait, we’re done? I can leave? Already?”

(via Air Force Nation)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

11. Yeah, it’s pretty magical (via Air Force Nation).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
That’s why everyone should buy their own jet.

12. The chipping paint and rust is just seasoning (via Coast Guard Memes).

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Dropped meat: It’s what’s for dinner.

13. “What? I closed the door and stuff.”

(via Shit my LPO says)

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops

Lists

6 simple reasons the cook should always be your best friend

There are three people you should always be friends with: The cook. The medic (or Corpsman). And whatever the MOS of the person repeating the phrase.


Everyone in the military serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things, but this week we’ll break down why the cook always belongs on the top of that list.

This is first in a series that will cover the benefits, both obvious and subtle, of befriending service members of another MOS. Stay tuned for more! Who knows? Your MOS might be next!

Why they’re important

6. Everyone needs food

Just a fact of life. The average human needs 2,000 calories a day to stay functional — and that number is far higher for people with an active lifestyle, like troops.

There’s only a certain amount of MREs you (and your digestive tract) can take. That’s where the chef comes in — with fresh food.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Even on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re so POGgy that all you eat is fast food — well…you do you. You f*cking POG.

5. Despite the jokes, they’re actually really good chefs

“But they always serve those gross eggs that come in plastic bags!” the uninformed are typing furiously in the comment section.

This is true. Not denying that they do serve mass quantities of food that can only be eaten doused in sauce. But take a look at the stuff they can make when they have the time, like on holidays or “best chef” competitions. Even that awkward E-2 you only ever see in the smoke pit can probably pull off some really impressive work those days.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Just brings up the question, why don’t they do this every day? Or let the regular Joes in to eat the food?

Why they’re actually important

4. They can get you more of the good food

They do have to hold on portion sizes during meal rushes to make sure everyone can get something to eat. It’s just the way things go if you’re told you have 400 pieces of bacon and 100 people to feed. You’d logically give four pieces to everyone. But the cooks know that there won’t be 100 people who want bacon.

Once they know that it’s cool, they will definitely toss those extra bacon strips your way.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
You know you want this to be the recommended serving size of bacon.

3. They have access to the real deployment gold: Rip-Its, muffins, beef jerky, etc.

The weirdest thing happens on deployment. Money becomes meaningless (because everyone has expendable cash and nothing to spend it on) and minor things like Rip-Its, despite being half the size of the same ones they sell at the dollar store, have more value and trading power than the 5o cents it’s probably worth.

Why barter for gold when you could go to the goldmine itself?

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
The cooks stockpile the stuff people are willing to trade Playstations for.

What happens when you’re their bro

2. They can get you food on the off-hours

If you’ve ever worked KP, you will probably notice the bullsh*t that is all of the leftover food being tossed. Just trays of bacon being thrown directly into the trashcan. Most cooks are just like every other troop: plenty of them would rather save that bacon for their bros than see it in a landfill.

On top of that, there’s this weird thing about cooks. Most actually enjoy cooking — on and off duty. They may also just whip you up something in the barracks kitchen if you ask them nicely.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
And all that bacon can be yours.

1. They will make you the food you actually want

Remember those disgusting bagged eggs from earlier in this article? Cooks can make you a real egg omelet if you ask them. Same goes for everything else in the “made to order” lines.

But the real kicker are those little comment suggestion cards they always have at the end of the dining hall. Not to blow their secret, but most cooks have a hard time coming up with countless menu options day in/day out, so they’ll stick to a schedule or a guide that has been passed down since god knows when.

If you say to your cook friend, “Hey man, I found this recipe for some Brazilian food. Looks easy enough,” they’ll likely give it a shot — and you’ll feast at “Brazilian Day” in the chow hall sooner or later.

The US Navy’s 5 fightin’-est flattops
Seriously. Brazilian food is so easy to make. Why hasn’t this become a thing?

Lists

7 animals with better camouflage than you

Shortly after the First World War kicked off, war-fighters began adopting camouflage patterns to conceal themselves during battle. Over the years, it’s gotten more and more advanced until they changed over to the digital pattern because rumor says its “better.”


It’s probably just cheaper to produce.

Show me the science. That’s all I’m saying.

No matter how good the military thinks they can make theirs, animals have beaten us to it through millennia of evolution to perfectly hide from predator and prey alike.

Here are 7 who are better at camouflage than the military (thought #1 is a close call):

7. A golden retriever is like the Navy’s ‘blueberry’ pattern

Let’s face it. Pretty much any form of camouflage pattern that is remotely the same shade as its surroundings is better than dark blue digi-cam on a light gray ship.

If it wasn’t for the fact that it technically considered a camo pattern, it would be compared to a loud, goofy puppy.

This is the animal that most closely resembles the effectiveness of this branch’s camouflage style.

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Still have much love for you guys! Even if your camo pattern only works the one place a sailor wants to be spotted easily — overboard.

6. An actual tiger compared to Air Force ‘Tiger Stripes’

Somewhere down the line, an Airman thought, “Let’s take the Army’s Vietnam-era SOF pattern but add more tiger stripes. Because we’re fierce.” And no one had the courage to stop them.

The tiger uses its stripes to blend in with tall grass. Senior Airmen use their stripes to fail at making Below the Zone.

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See Navy? You’re not the only ones on the bottom of this list

5. This cat compared to a soldier’s ACUs

The only place the Army Combat Uniform works is on Grandma’s old couch. But it does fairly well when it gets dirty, so there’s that.

I mean, house cats would still need some kind of camouflage. Animal Planet did rank them as “The Most Extreme” killer because they kill for sport instead of food or territory. Savage!

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4. A barn owl compared to a Marine’s MARPAT

Rounding out the regular service uniforms are the Marines — because they actually tried to fit into their surroundings.

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But they may have only won this by default.

3. An alligator compared to a sniper’s ghillie suit

On to actually useful camouflages, both the alligator and sniper begin the real contest.

They both adapt to their environment by adding local flora to help conceal themselves.

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Both deadly, but both have to stay still for a long period of time to get their kill.

2. A peppered moth compared to a Force Recon’s suit

Both get shared around for those “can you spot the -whatever-” photos on social media. Both cause the people trying to find them to give up and look in the comments.

Another key to excellent camouflage is keeping a low profile. Fewer shadows would help this guys’ head conceal a bit more.

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No need for a fancy suit if you know your perfect spot.

1. A spider compared to a sniper

The one things snipers will tell you if you want to join them is that you have to get comfortable with waiting around. And it’s not the standard issued “hurry up and wait” — they mean “hours without a single twitch” kind of waiting.

Don’t be afraid to dig in. You may have to hold that spot for a while.

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Believe me, they’re both in this photo and they’re both dead center in of each of their frames.

Articles

8 reasons your DTS voucher was kicked back … again

Submitting vouchers through the Defense Travel System is one of those tasks that probably originated in military purgatory. Sure, an automated, online form for documenting travel expenses and getting paid sounds like a miracle, but it’s actually like having to do your taxes a few extra times per year.


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(Meme: via Air Force Memes and Humor)

Here are common reasons that DTS vouchers get kicked back, each with a quick example of what you will hear from the DTS manager for the mistake.

1. You checked a box the way your old unit wanted it.

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(Photo: U.S. Air National Guard Lt. Col. Dale Greer)

“This isn’t your old unit. Re-do your request. No, you can’t just edit your last voucher. I deleted it so that you would learn how to do it right.”

2. You put airfare and airfare taxes in the same box.

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(Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lynette M. Rolen)

“Do you think the DoD doesn’t want to save some tax money? Figure out what your airfare is without taxes, figure out what the taxes are, and separate those numbers into different line items.”

“The system might try to make you assign different legs of your trip to each dollar amount. If your flight only had one leg, that won’t work. You should’ve booked a trip with a layover.”

3. You changed an entry to how your unit-level reviewer wants it, but the next higher reviewer wants it the opposite way because screw you.

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(Photo: U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum)

“I know how Mr. X says he likes the voucher filled out. Do I look like Mr. X? Exactly. Now re-do your voucher from scratch. And staff it through Mr. X before it gets to me.”

4. You forgot to collect passport photos from the people in front of and behind you in line while traveling.

“How do we know you went on the trip if you can’t even be bothered to steal the passport photos of people near you in line? Did you really go on the trip? No, your jump manifests, training certificates, and hotel receipts don’t count. We want those passport photos.”

5. You haven’t bribed anyone yet.

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(Photo: Department of Defense)

“Seriously, what is wrong with you? You think we handle your DTS vouchers because we’re charitable? Or because we like collecting our salaries? No. It’s for the bribes.”

6. You failed to sacrifice at least three virgin sheep to the dark undergods of the Defense Travel Service.

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“How am I going to go back to my bosses and tell them that I reviewed your packet without a single dead, unblemished sheep to gift to them?”

7. You have a firstborn son, but have not relinquished him to your reviewer.

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“We probably won’t actually take your child, but you have to offer. It’s an ‘Abraham and God’ sort of thing.”

8. You didn’t attach the right receipts.

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(Photo: U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum)

“Seriously, this is easy stuff. Just do the paperwork and you’ll get your money.”

Articles

9 Movies Every Airman Needs To Watch

The invention of moving pictures was roughly coincident with the invention of powered flight, and over the years as Hollywood searched for plot lines they found plenty of material around Air Force life.


On the surface the appeal is and always has been obvious: airplanes. Duh. But movie studios understand that machines alone won’t get audiences into theaters (or these days onto Netflix).

Those who’ve served in the Air Force know all too well that life around the Wild Blue Yonder is about more than the hardware. It’s about the people and the things they overcome – like soul-crushing bureaucracies – to get the job done.

But it’s also about the action.

Here’s WATM’s list of nine movies every airman should watch, which is to say movies that every airman should know well enough to riff on among the buds in the lounge in the barracks or at the bar just outside the main gate. (And can you say “fire rearward missiles” in Russian?):

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Plot: Base commander loses it and decides to order the wing’s bombers to attack Russia with nuclear weapons. President of the United States gathers his cabinet and other advisers in the War Room to try and figure out how to avoid Armageddon.

Reason to watch: Stanley Kubrick’s biting satire is hilarious, but more than that it nails the personalities of those at the top of the food chain and the dynamic between them. This one was years ahead of its time. And it also has some great B-52 crew coordination scenes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdJS1iatxmY

Iron Eagle (1986)

Plot: Teenage kid’s Air Force pilot dad gets shot down and taken hostage in the Middle East, and the United States government won’t help get dad out because he had trolled into enemy airspace. Kid enlists the help of a retired Air Force pilot (and friend of his father), and the two of them grab some F-16s and proceed to raise hell.

Reason to watch: Any military movie with Lou Gossett, Jr. playing a determined S.O.B. is money. “Iron Eagle” has a lot of cool visuals (never mind technical accuracy) and good action. Plus the lesson it teaches is important: You can get away with anything if punishing you would embarrass those in charge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3npr0RKBucc

Twelve O’clock High (1949)

Plot: Likable CO of a hard-luck B-17 squadron is relieved after a disastrous mission. New skipper’s hard-ass leadership style threatens to tear the ready room apart. Ultimately both sides chill out and get the job done.

Reason to watch: Great World War II bomber action, and the leadership lessons are definitive in that they show the net effect on a command of a leader being too nice or too much of an asshole. And while this may not be a ringing endorsement, it should be noted that “Twelve O’ clock High” is taught at commands throughout the Department of Defense.

The Hunters (1958)

Plot: Restless officer is tired of being in the rear with the gear and, through happenstance and a series of networking coincidences, finds himself in an F-86 squadron at the height of the air war over Korea.

Reason to watch: Based on James Salter’s beautiful novel, “The Hunters” was Hollywood first attempt to portray Air Force life in the jet age. “The Hunters” has it all: burned out CO, confused chain of command, cocky junior officers, and significant others complaining about being ignored for the glory of air combat.

Fail Safe (1964)

Plot: Bogus threat triggers the launch of six Vindicator supersonic bombers (fictional aircraft portrayed in the movie by B-58 Hustlers). Launch codes are accidently transmitted to the aircraft, which sends them on an attack profile to Moscow. A series of missteps and bad logic prevents either side from calling the whole thing off.

Reason to watch: Plot resembles that of “Dr. Strangelove” but played straight. “Fail Safe” was the first major motion picture to tee up the idea that the system wasn’t perfect and things in the nuke weps world could go a smidge wrong from time to time. Also presents the cold reality that nuclear warfare has pretty serious consequences, something those who’ve signed up to participate in should have a sense of.

A Gathering of Eagles (1963)

Plot: This nuclear-age version of “Twelve O’ clock High” deals with the goings-on around a SAC unit that has just had the CO fired because of a failed inspection. New CO is career-minded and a hard-ass and that rubs the men under his charge the wrong way. Another inspection crisis with huge career implications leads all parties to figure it out in a good way.

Reason to watch: “A Gathering of Eagles” was made with the assistance of General Curtis LeMay to counter the perception created by “Fail Safe” and “Dr. Stangelove” that SAC was hosed up to the degree they could accidentally start a nuclear war. The Air Force in this one has its shit together, for the most part. Plus if you believe the best leadership lessons are discussed among men in towels ( a la “Top Gun”) you’re in for a treat.

Firefox (1982)

Plot: The U.S. and U.K. hatch a plot to steal a new Soviet airplane that can do Mach 6 and is controlled by the pilot’s mind.

Reason to watch: Clint Eastwood at his action-packed best. Plus, what initially came off as campy in terms of technical detail of the film seems viable today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0S7uE7l_oA

Catch-22 (1970)

Plot: B-25 navigator stationed in North Africa during World War II wrestles with the tragedy, irony, and hypocrisy that surrounds him as the minimum mission requirement continues to rise.

Reason to watch: Early SNL alum Buck Henry adapted Joseph Heller’s classic WW2 novel for an American public that was at odds over the Vietnam War, evidence that it took nearly a decade and a half for the themes to resonate. In spite of the fact that parts of the story are over-the-top, the movie (and even more so the book) are prescriptive. Anyone who’s ever spent any time around the Air Force will recognize the personalities: Careerist buffoons, obtuse general officers, opportunistic (albeit very entrepreneurial) junior officers as well as the folks who are just trying to get the job done without going crazy are all here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G41SJUIawVo

Battle of Britain (1969)

Plot: A nation turns to its air force to hold back the Nazi hordes.

Reason to watch: Winston Churchill said it best when referring to the pilots and maintainers of the RAF: “Never have so many owed so much to so few.” “Battle of Britain” captures both the action of dogfights between Spitfires and Messerschmitts and the details of life in war-torn England. If you ever need to be reminded why an air force matters in modern times, watch this.

Got some movies you think should be on this list? Tell us on our Facebook page.

Articles

11 Killer photos of jets in full afterburner

Check out these shots of jets turning pounds and pounds of fuel into speed when the pilots push the throttles into afterburner.


An F/A-18C launches off of Cat 3 with both GE F-404 motors in full burner.

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Interesting to note that Hornet pilots take the cat shot with their right hand gripping the canopy rail and not on the stick. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

An Air Force F-16 launches out of Aviano, Italy at night with it’s single GE F-110 engine in full afterburner.

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(Photo: DVIDS)

An F-22 Raptor makes a high-G pass at an airshow with it’s Pratt and Whitney F-119 engines at full power.

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The F-119 is designed to allow the Raptor to reach supersonic speeds without afterburner. (Photo: Air Force)

And F-15 Eagle launches with both Pratt and Whitney F-100s in full afterburner.

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(Photo: USAF)

An F/A-18C Hornet raises the gear and starts a left hand clearing turn off the cat with vapes streaming off of the wingtips and both GE F-404s at full blower.

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(Photo: U.S. Navy)

They didn’t call the F-14 the ‘big fighter’ for nothing. Here a Tomcat rages down Cat 1 with it’s Pratt and Whitney TF-30s at Zone 5 (full power).

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Later Tomcat models used the GE F-110, which was generally considered a more powerful and reliable engine. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

A B-1 ‘Lancer’ (better known as “The Bone” — B+one . . . get it?) turns at sunset with all four GE F-110s (same engine used on models of the F-16 and F-14) in full afterburner.

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The B-1 was designed for Cold War-era missions where pre-stealth conventional wisdom was to come into a target low and fast. (Photo: USAF)

An F-111B zorches over the water with wings swept aft and Pratt and Whitney TF-30 engines at full power.

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While the TF-30 had compressor stall issues with the F-14 it worked well for the F-111. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

Another shot of an F-14A Tomcat on the cat in afterburner.

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Pilots would start cat shots with throttles at the Zone 2 setting and then push them forward to Zone 5 as the jet accelerated toward the carrier’s bow. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

A MiG-25 starts its takeoff roll with both Tumansky R-15B-300s at full power.

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The Foxbat is a scream machine, speed-wise, and has been clocked hauling at over Mach 3.

The F-35B Lightning II isn’t designed for speed as much as forward quarter lethality and survivability; but it’s single Pratt and Whitney F-135 does create a nice burner plume in this gorgeous sunset shot.

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(Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Lists

The 6 most-secret units in military history

Secrecy is one of the best currencies in war, so it’s sometimes best for commanders to keep their best assets hidden from the enemy and the public. While the military has admitted that most of the units on this list existed at some point, a lot of their missions were classified for decades before being disclosed to the public. For the units that are still operating, America still only gets glimpses into their secret activities.


1. Task Force 88/Task Force Black

They may or may not be the same group and they may or may not still be in operation. Task Force Black and Task Force 88 are names floating around the media for the unit that conducted raids against terror organizations in Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of the wars. The unit was commonly described as being a joint U.S.-U.K. force made up of the best that SEAL Team 6, Delta Force, and the British SAS had to offer. Controversy erupted when they were blamed for a cross-border raid into Syria. There is speculation that Task Force Black may be back in operation to destroy ISIS, if it ever stopped.

2. 6493rd Test Squadron/6594th Test Group

 

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Photo: US Air Force

 

These Air Force units existed from 1958 to 1986 and were tasked with catching “falling stars.” They would fly out of Hawaii and catch film canisters falling from America’s first spy satellites. The satellites, part of the Corona program, orbited the Earth and took photos of Soviet Russia. Then, the satellites would drop their film canisters over the Pacific ocean where these Airmen would try to snatch the canisters out of the air.

The recovery process was surprisingly low-tech. A plane with a large hook beneath its tail would try to catch the canister’s parachute as it fell. When the planes failed to make the grab or the weather was too bad to attempt it, Coast Guard rescue swimmers in the unit would fish the film out of the water. The unit boasted a perfect record with more than 40,000 recoveries in 27 years. When its airmen weren’t snatching film from the air, the unit supported rescue missions near Hawaii. It was credited with 60 saves.

3. Delta Force/Combat Applications Group/Army Compartmented Elements is more well known, but still pretty secret

 

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Photo: Department of Defense

 

Like many of the units on the list, Delta has gone through a few name changes over the years. Formation of an elite counter-terrorism unit had been proposed multiple times in the 1970s and Delta Force is widely believed to have been formed in late 1977. Its operational history got off to a horrible start with the failed Operation Eagle Claw in 1980. Since then, Delta has distinguished itself in combat from the invasion of Panama to the Gulf War to hunting Osama Bin Laden in the Tora Bora Mountains. Since the unit is still operational, many of their missions remain classified.

4. SEAL Team 6/DEVGRU

 

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Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eddie Harrison

 

SEAL Team 6 specializes in counter terrorism, special reconnaissance, hostage rescue and close protection missions. You’ve probably heard of them, but many of their missions are still secret. Since 9/11, their budget and responsibilities have expanded to where they are now thought to have over 1,800 members, including some women who serve in intelligence roles. Perhaps most famous for both killing Osama Bin Laden and rescuing Captain Phillips from Somali pirates, it has been conducting combat operations since 1981.

READ MORE: 5 key differences between Delta Force and SEAL Team 6

5. 7781 Army Unit/39th Special Forces Operational Detachment

 

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Photo: Bob Charest

Operating in Berlin from 1956 to 1984, this team of green berets went through a few names during their history. They worked to keep West Berlin safe from communist incursions but also prepared to foment resistance if the city was taken over. Trained in classic spy craft skills, they were equipped with Bond-like gadgets such as cigarette-lighter guns and C-4 filled coal.

Master Sgt. Bob Charest, a retired former member of the unit, wrote for WATM about the unit.

6. The OSS

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Photo: US Office of Strategic Services

The Office of Strategic Services was formed in 1942 with the very broad mission of collecting and analyzing strategic information and conducting “special operations not assigned to other agencies.” Since few agencies had special operators in World War II, this gave the OSS a lot of room to run. Under Col. William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the tiny agency conducted raids, smuggled weapons and spies, supported resistance groups in Axis territory, and collected intelligence. The OSS even employed the first “sea, air, and land” commando in U.S. history.

NOW: The secret Air Force program that his an even more secret program

OR: This is the FBI’s dream team of elite counterterrorism operators

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