How to fool your command into thinking you're dumb - We Are The Mighty
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How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb

There is a time and place in your career where being recognized as smart is advantageous. Yet there are troops out there who straight up refuse to do any administrative work. Whether it is because you’re comfortable with your current job or you’re getting out soon and do not want additional responsibility, we do not judge. If you’re a brand-new troop do not fly too high, Icarus, the brass are always on the prowl for talent.

1. Avoid filling out paperwork too quickly

soldier filling out paperwork pretending to be dumb

To be organized is a military trait that is instilled in us since basic training. However, organized room inspections are different than keeping the platoon organized. Do it too well and you’ll be drafted to desk. If you hate paperwork, then take your time doing it. Still, get it done when it counts but when the colonel needs a new gatekeeper, show that you’re I R Grunt. It’s that or else you’ll have to get used to talking to people way above your pay grade on a daily basis.

2. Never volunteer to intellectually challenging tasks

Whenever there is a technical problem let one of the boots (new troops) handle it. Once you fix a few too many computer problems, you become the go-to person every time the most mundane problem happens.

3. Never be seen teaching a class

Training the next generation is continuous. If you want to avoid being the guide to present the annual training courses to thousands of people, do not get caught teaching. Of course, train your troops but don’t let people see you do it. You want to appear to be a sh*t bag, not actually be one.

4. You’ve never heard of powerpoint

Soldier giving powerpoint presentation, Pretend to be dumb to avoid these
If you don’t want to give a Powerpoint, repeat after me: What’s a Powerpoint?

Do not believe for a second that a colonel or above makes his or her own powerpoint presentations. If you let people know that you know a thing or two about Microsoft Office, you’re going to have a bad time. It’s not enough that you have to make the weekly command and staff meetings as an enlisted NCO, but they will also hover over you the whole time. ‘Why don’t you do it?’ is unfortunately not a desirable option to say.

5. Don’t ask too many questions

The easiest way to get picked to answer a question nobody asked is if you asked it before. If you’re constantly asking questions and getting answers then you’re going to know more than most. If it is something important then, ask away. Throw in some dumba** questions in there too — for flavor.

Do not be surprised when you always get picked to explain something in layman’s terms. Suddenly you’re the training NCO at S-3 operations because you know everything about training.

6. When all else fails, eat some crayons

If you seriously are that opposed to working in an office setting or gaining more responsibility; then you can always resort to saying ‘I don’t know’. I can’t tell you how many times the situation presented itself when someone simply stated ‘I’m dumb as sh*t, staff sergeant,’ and it worked! It works best for techy kind of working parties. We knew, he knew, and the NCOIC (Non commissioned officer in charge) damn well knew it too but he moved on and picked someone else. Hearing the words is enough to convince people you actually chew crayons.

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4 pieces of military gear that no one uses (but you can’t throw out)

From the outside, the U.S. military is the finest fighting force on earth. For those who have served in its ranks, the reality behind the scenes is a bit different. In fact, most units have tons of gear that is either too old or too dangerous to use these days. But, you can’t throw them out because they’re still sensitive items in someone’s property book. Here are some of the most common.

1. Reagan-era vehicles and their associated items

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Don’t forget the drip pan and tool kit (U.S. Army)

Maybe it’s the keys to a CUCV that was turned in decades ago but never signed over. Or perhaps it’s a maintenance manual for the M880 Dodge that’s now being driven by a local who works as a contractor on post (still don’t know how he ended up with the keys). Better yet, a starter motor for a deuce and a half that keeps getting signed over from NCO to NCO because no one wants to get rid of something so valuable. This kind of stuff seems to be hanging around in every motor pool across the military. Just hope you don’t have one of the actual vehicles still hanging around. If you do, make sure your SGLI is up to date before getting in it.

2. PASGT

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
The first combat use of PASGT was in Grenada…GRENADA (U.S. Air Force)

Technically, this stuff is still used by the Navy. Even so, it’s mainly the old K-pot that’s officially in use aboard ships. Yet, somehow, these old vests and helmets in M81 U.S. Woodland camo still hang around supply rooms like an annoying party guest that you just can’t get rid of. Naturally, they’re still on the property book and can’t be DX’d either. Introduced in 1983, the Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops was a huge step forward in protective gear from the old M1 steel helmet and flak jacket. However, armor has come a long way since then. The only folks in uniform who should be wearing this stuff is ROTC cadets and that’s only so they can build character.

3. KOI-18 Tape Reader

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
The KOI-18 exhibit at the National Cryptologic Museum. Yes, it literally belongs in a museum (Wikimedia Commons)

If you’ve had to account for one of these and didn’t know what it was, you’re in good company. If you’ve ever actually used one, you’re a unicorn. The KOI-18 is a hand-held paper tape reader developed by the NSA. It’s a fill device for loading cryptographic keys into security devices like encryption systems. These days, NCOs just instruct on the history and operation of the KOI-18, but never actually use it. If you did have to use it, and thus burn the tape, you have our sympathies. The tape is thin, prone to jamming, and surprisingly difficult to burn. Most units still have them because of MTOE requirements, so don’t you dare lose track of it.

4. Old laptops

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Make sure you practice good cyber awareness on your ancient laptop or Jeff will be very disappointed (DoD)

Let’s be honest here. These things can barely run your annual cyber awareness training. The only reason they’re still signed to someone is that S6 can’t (or won’t) take them back. These things are sitting in a drawer somewhere and only come out for property inspections or when someone new arrives and you really want to mess with them. Yes, that is a floppy disk drive. No, you can’t get a new computer.


Feature image: U.S. Army

MIGHTY FUNNY

7 Urban Dictionary phrases that hilariously describe deployment

What started out as a joke between friends sent me down one of the most hilarious rabbit holes I have traveled through to date.

It was late one evening, while on a video call with two of my closest friends, when we began discussing the difficulties of deployment. During this conversation, we started looking up terms on The Urban Dictionary that accurately described deployment or long times of separation.

I laughed so hard that my eyes watered profusely and, at one point, I believe I stopped breathing. My nasals were flaring and no sound could escape from my mouth, followed sharply by belly laughs that sounded terribly similar to squawking. We had entered into the type of hallowed cackling that would alarm most people who were of sound mind. Not people like us, who were steeped in sleepless nights and unending laundry piles.

Being that I am in the throes of a year long separation from my husband, who was tasked with a 365-short tour (mere months after returning from another deployment), I have found that humor often lightens the load of stress and anguish. This particular conversation was so undeniably funny that it deserves to be shared.

Here’s to you, you solid few, who are in desperate need of a chuckle as you navigate the landmines of daily living apart from a spouse.

What is it like to go through a deployment? Here is an answer in terms defined by The Urban Dictionary.

The first few weeks could be described as being filled with “Tweaker Peekin’.” If this doesn’t describe the keen sense of paranoia during the first few weeks of sleeping alone, I don’t know what does.

According to Urban Dictionary, Tweaker Peekin’ is “the act of peeking out of blinds or curtains in a rapid and deliberately inconspicuous fashion, consistent with the effects of methamphetamine, under duress of extreme paranoia that one is being surveilled. In extreme cases this phenomenon can last days on end, and typically worsens with increasing sleep deprivation.”

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb

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After overcoming the intense need to surveil one’s front and back yard subsides, phase two of the deployment timeline commences with several “snaccidents.” I currently keep an entire stash of Twix Ice Cream candy bars inside a frozen broccoli bag for such an encounter.

A “snaccident” is “when food (a snack) is consumed in an accidental, often regrettable way. This can refer to accidentally eating food of questionable quality and/or quantity.”

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb

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Once all of the ice cream in my house has been consumed, its time for the tail end of phase two to take place – insomnia. For whatever reason, sleep deprivation takes over in the first few months and stays around until my subconscious can accept that I’m in it for the long haul and can no longer tolerate long-term sleeplessness. In the meantime, my state of mind could accurately be described as completely “sleep thirsty.”

Sleep thirsty means to be “lacking sleep” and is “the cooler way to say sleep deprivation.”

Phase three of the deployment experience is full of being “fakeawake.” By the third month of deployment, I am so physically tired that it brings me into a state of being “fakeawake,” when “you’re soooooo tired, having lack of sleep and you have to act awake, motivated, or energized.” I, personally, have spent months in the “fakeawake” stage, feigning coherency and capacity.

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb

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It isn’t until the middle to the end of the deployment cycle where I feel like I am able to get my proverbial poop in a group. My schedule levels out, my sleeping patterns improve, and I get my kids back on track. It is the “high octane” phase. According to Urban Dictionary, being high octane means to be forceful, powerful, or energetic.

urban dictionary gif

via GIPHY

After running hard, and reaching the finish line, I am totally “jacked.” Homecoming presents immense feelings of excitement and giddiness. Even now, I am extremely excited about the upcoming return of my spouse.

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via GIPHY

Last, but not least… the most accurate Urban Dictionary term for reintegration is “stressure,” or the immense amount of stress produced from high pressure. That’s right. Reintegration is a perfect mixture of high pressure to mold two lives back into one and stress from blowing a completely perfected routine into smithereens.

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb

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By the time one makes it all the way through the cycle, it is time for a brief rest and to do it all again. So, suit up folks and keep on keeping on. Make sure to laugh and stay on the bright side as you cycle through! We’re all in this together.

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

MIGHTY FUNNY

A British Marine made a hilarious video that pokes fun at officers

The divide between the military’s enlisted and officer ranks has long been a source of humor for American service members, especially when it comes to the “luxuries” that officers get.


A Royal Marine recently took the banter a step further by creating a hilarious video that shows just how easy he thinks his officers have it when it comes to their meals, which  — according to him — involves a candlelit dinner complete with silverware, baguette and newspaper. Very British indeed.

Check out the video below to see this Marine’s hilariously British take on officer eats:

 

This video was released by the Royal Marines Reserve Meyerside, a reserve military organization based in Liverpool, England.

h/t Washington Post 

NOW: The 6 most shocking military impostors ever

WATCH: Vet On The Street

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Top 20 military videos on TikTok

Military life is tough. Insanely long hours, inconvenient shifts and tons of training, all to be deployed and wait for your time to come. Nevertheless, service members form some of the greatest bonds imaginable, along with legendary memories- and some are immortalized on video! Here are 20 of the best military videos on TikTok. 

1. Wakeup call 

He doesn’t know the meaning of subtlety, but it’s funnier that way.

2. Barracks shenanigans 

Ah…making memories…

3. Fun with the boys

It feels good to be top dog.

4. Uniforms just hit different 

I wouldn’t mind a peacoat like that…

5. Put some locks on those windows 

At least you can say he’s a risk taker

6. Taser tests always get em’

Pain tolerance he has not.

7. My momma and my chicken nuggets

@maisyborden

What can I say ??‍♀️ commission in 1.5 months thank goodness #2LT #army #chickennuggets

♬ original sound – Maisy B

Trust me, it’s very different from chicken tenders

8. Their reasons unite them. Sort of.

The salary is pretty good, though…

9. Maybe give that military GPS a compass of its own

It seriously can’t find its way around some light patches of forest?

10. Sometimes you have to take the edge off

@brett_j17

Don’t even know the chick who joined in #fry #seeyouatthemovies #foryourpage #xyzbca #military @armand4l

♬ Chinese New Year – SALES

Dancing takes the nerves away

11. Stay focused

https://www.tiktok.com/@zaaylv/video/6875379870369631494?sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6934804601960318470&is_from_webapp=v1&is_copy_url=0

Keep your back to the wall, just saying…

12. It’s either a sniper or hallucinations, I swear

@thtoneboot

…They’re in the sand..but they’re one of the bois. Got the idea from @giovannimakhoul #fyp #foru #military #deployed #theyreinthetrees #humor

♬ Mood Swings – Pop Smoke

That echo sounded familiar…

13. Getting the gang back together

Brothers from another mother…

14. He shouldn’t have taken that bazooka into his cabin.

Now how are they going to repair it?….oh right, they won’t

15. Let’s be real. There are tons of Kyle’s.  

It could be worse. It could be a Chad. (No offense if your name is really Chad. We’re sure you’re one of the good ones!)

16. It sounds like ten people at once, 24/7

If you expect clear communication, hahahahaha…Sorry, I was laughing to hard to finish that sentence.

17. Patriotic as can be

Now this is what I call making the most of your job

18. Multi-thousand dollar aircraft…and no visor 

Everyone knows sticky notes are the best military grade sunglasses 

19. You can’t always get what you want

But maybe Texas is what you need?

20. A trick as old as time

Don’t you feel a little bit bad for him? Just a little?

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8 girly songs only a real squad leader sings

The infantry squad leader is a billet that demands leadership and integrity. There is an unofficial rite of passage that every squad must endure. I’m not talking about the first order issued or the trials of combat. No–it’s when your squad leader sings his favorite, stereotypically “girly” songs. Maybe it’s boredom or his brain has turned to soup because of all the stupid he has to put up with.

In Afghanistan, our squad leader lost a bet to our Staff NCO and had to do a patrol debrief wearing spandex short shorts. What we saw was not meant for mortal eyes. The constant stretching and Ke$ha songs, however, were not mandatory. If he had to pay the price, so did all of us. If your squad leader doesn’t sing ridiculous songs at some point, is he even a real leader?

 Ke$ha – Tik Tok

Vietnam Veterans had Jimi Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival – meanwhile, we have this. Out of all the things that can give someone PTSD, I can’t listen to this song without remembering the horrors of that day. Was it worth it Staff Sergeant?

Pinkfong – Baby Shark

If you have had kids this song has given you PTSD. Naturally, drill instructors sunk their teeth into it immediately at the height of it’s popularity.

Katy Perry – Firework

For a long time, Katy Perry was the darling of the Marine Corps. She has done numerous shows for the troops on USO tours and even made a tribute music video. She has partnered with UNICEF and Generosity Water to help children around the world. Her humanitarian resume stretches decades into the past making it less inhibiting to be a fan in uniform. If your squad leader didn’t at least hum this during a tactical halt, sweating and losing his marbles – yet happy, then it wasn’t a real deployment.

Britney Spears – Baby one more time

A classic. A must have on the list. Generally the older SNCOs sing this because of their aversion to pop culture, although ironically, this is pop culture – but old.

Christina Aguilera – Genie in a Bottle

Same as above.

Lady Gaga – Bad Romance

When I was a devil pup embarking on my first deployment, this song hit the air waves. Unfortunately for us, since we were without internet, it was one of the only songs people would sing. Mother Monster is beautiful and a great singer. However, when her lyrics come out of the mouth of the leadership, you start reevaluating your life choices.

The Navy’s theme song

As is tradition.

Aqua – Barbie Girl

We’ve all sung this one. Laugh it up because then we’re going in a fun run when its over. Even the Russians are doing it!


Feature image: Screen capture from YouTube.

popular

4 of the funniest boot camp stories we’ve ever heard

Far from just marching around and being yelled at by sadistic drill sergeants, basic training can be the source of hilarious stories.


Case in point comes from an awesome AskReddit thread. The thread, which originated with Reddit user mctugmutton, asked the military community for “the funniest thing they witnessed while in boot camp.” The answers run from LOL to LMFAO and glimpse at basic training differences between service branches.

Reddit user sneego: The time half my squad decided to clean their training gear naked.

Our last week of basic training, we basically spent days cleaning all of our TA-50 (pretty much all your issued gear- rucksacks, ponchos, etc).

The drill sergeants decided it would be more efficient for us to pile up some of the major items as a platoon and organize cleaning teams. Well, the cleaning team in charge of doing ponchos decided to use the showers to make things go faster and to free up the faucets in the laundry room for others to use. So they begin cleaning and then decide to go one step further: Why be careful about getting wet when you can just get naked and get things done even quicker?

Next thing you know, half of first squad is butt naked chatting like nothing unusual is going on when our drill sergeant walks in. The DS just looks in, makes a David Silvermanesque WTF look, says in his thick Puerto Rican accent, “Jesus LORD privates, what the F–K!” and walks out.

Reddit user allhailzorp: The time my friend got an imaginary bathroom siren.

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Photo: Sgt Reece Lodder/USMC

Not me, but my best friend who recently went through USMC boot camp.

It’s about Week 2. All the recruits are still scared s–tless. Literally, some of their a–holes are clenched so tight they haven’t gone number two since they got there. And by this point, with Marine chow being what it is, there’s quite a backlog building up. My buddy desperately needs to go. He wanted to wait until his individual time that night, but it was too late, he was touching cloth.

So, braving his fear of the DIs, he speaks out. “Sir, this recruit requests a head call, SIR”. Then, he blurts out, “Sir, it’s an emergency, Sir!”

The DI, with his infinite sense of humor:

“Oh really? An emergency huh? Well, you better put on your SIREN.”

My buddy has to wave his hands above his head, and scream “Bee-Boo Bee-Boo” as he ran to the restroom. This continued for the entirety of boot camp, every time he needed the bathroom.

One Reddit user witnessed E.T. phone home during Air Force basic training.

We had a really pasty kid with huge coke bottle glasses with a really high pitched almost robotic voice in our flight that seemed to be a lightning rod for TI abuse.

One morning our TI told the kid that he was on to him and he wasn’t going to allow him to complete his mission. Suffice to say the kid was extremely confused and asked the TI what he was talking about to which he replied “You’re an alien and I know you’re here to gather intelligence about our military.”

At this point, I couldn’t hold in my laughter any longer and went to the other side of the barracks as quick as possible before I got dragged into it. Well, I just got to the other side when the kid comes barreling around the corner and stops right in front of his locker and starts screaming into it that the TI was on to him and that the mission was unsuccessful.

I guess the TI told him that he had to report to the mothership through the communicator in his locker that the mission was unsuccessful and he’d been found out.

From Dan Caddy, author of Awesome Sh*t My Drill Sergeant Said: The time the DS found a Chinese boy in a wall locker. (Not in the book)

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Screen capture from Amazon.com

My Basic Training Battery had twin brothers in it, Chang L , and Chang K . Chang L was in fourth platoon and his brother was in third. One evening, there were combatives happening in the fourth platoon barracks. Chang K had sneaked into our bay to be a part of this unsanctioned event, specifically so that he could wrestle his brother. Everyone was wearing PT uniforms, except for some reason our Chang, who was wearing nothing but his issued brown briefs, and had removed his glasses for the fight. Suddenly, a wild Drill Sergeant appeared! Chang L, in his underwear, was grabbed by someone and stuffed into their wall locker.

His twin brother, Chang K, ran up to the front of the bay to take his brothers place for mail call. It was a disaster waiting to happen. After mail was handed out, the Drill Sergeant decided to hang around for a bit and have a serious heart to heart talk with us about something that had happened recently (an attempted suicide). The Drill Sergeant had gathered us close and was quietly talking about loyalty and brotherhood when all of the sudden, he was interrupted by the metallic squeal of a wall locker opening.

There was a hushed silence as the skinny little Chinese man, blind without his glasses, peeked out around the door and stepped out, in plain view of the Drill Sergeant. Apparently, we had been so quiet, that he thought we had all left.

DS: “WHY IN THE F–K IS THERE A NAKED CHINESE BOY IN YOUR WALL LOCKER?!”
Pvt 1:”Drill Sergeant, I put him there, Drill Sergeant!”
DS: What the f–k?
Pvt 2: “We were wrasslin’, Drill Sergeant.” It was silent for a few seconds as the DS’s face contorted as though he were about to have an epileptic seizure. His eyes were cartoonishly huge.

The DS pointed at the practically nude Chang L and screamed at him to get his f–king ass over to the third platoon barracks. Chang L started to interject, presumably to inform the DS that he had confused him for his brother, but was unable to finish because at this point the DS was knocking things over and screaming his lungs out. Chang ran away, blind and naked, stumbling into furniture as he fled, leaving his terrified twin brother in his place. I don’t believe that we actually got our Chang back until PT the next morning, when they were able to switch back.

Get Awesome Sh*t My Drill Sergeant Said via Amazon or Barnes and Noble locations nationwide.

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Why a woman was convicted under a witchcraft law during World War II

Long before the United States was an independent nation, the people of the British Empire were constantly on guard for anything that might disrupt their way of life. This, in part, meant witches, and lots of them. Literally thousands of alleged witches were hunted down and executed under a series of witchcraft laws that made it nice and legal. 

Eventually, Parliament had to step in and say enough was enough. In 1735, it passed the Witchcraft Act that made it a crime for a person to claim that any human being had magical powers or was guilty of practicing witchcraft. Surprisingly, it worked in Britain and eventually people stopped invoking the law.

That doesn’t mean the law was no longer on the books. Almost 200 years later, a self-professed medium named Helen Duncan was convicted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735, amid fears that she might actually be able to divulge intelligence about upcoming operations of World War II. 

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
If you weren’t expecting a “Monty Python” GIF, shame on you.

In November of 1941, Duncan held a seance in England where she claimed the ghost of a sailor aboard the HMS Barham visited her. The Barham was in the Mediterranean in 1941, fighting Axis ships attempting to cut off the resupply of the island of Malta. She was actually sunk off the coast of Egypt earlier that year. A German U-boat torpedoed the battleship, taking most of the crew down with it.

The problem was Helen Duncan wasn’t supposed to know that. The Royal Navy wouldn’t announce the sinking until 1942. The only people who were told were naval personnel and the families of those killed aboard the Barham. It caught the ears of naval intelligence, who decided to keep a close watch on Duncan the medium. 

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Behold! The face of unspeakable evil! Or… maybe just fraud and opsec violations (Wikimedia Commons)

She was later arrested in January 1944 under the Witchcraft Act, an act that many believe happened because military leaders were concerned she might actually be able to talk to spirits. Some of her followers contended that superstitious military officers were afraid that, through her ghosts, she might be able to reveal the secret plans for Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe.

That might have been the case, but the nail in the coffin for Helen Duncan did come in 1944. In January of that year, two Royal Navy officers attended one of Duncan’s seances. Duncan attempted to spook one of the men by “manifesting” first his deceased aunt, and then his deceased sister. The officer’s aunts and sisters were all still very much alive. 

He reported Duncan to the police, who raided one of Duncan’s later seances. They found a hat band from a sailor’s uniform supposedly manifested from the HMS Barham. But the medium’s lack of uniform regulations did her in. The hat bands of British sailors at the time only read “HMS” and not the name of the vessel on which they served. 

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Apparently, people were actually buying this… (Harry Price/ “Leaves from a Psychist’s Case-Book” (Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1933)

Duncan was tried and convicted of claiming to perform fraudulent spiritual activity, defrauding people of their money and generally being a public nuisance. 

The real reason for Duncan’s arrest was likely the revelation of the sinking of the HMS Barham and her sources of information. Intelligence authorities weren’t worried about her getting information from ghosts, they were worried about the very real person from which she gained classified information. Most importantly, they were concerned about how she was spreading that information. 

Duncan was sentenced to nine months in jail. 

Feature image by Rafael Zajczewski from Pixabay

MIGHTY FUNNY

Why men can’t beat the viral “Center of Gravity” TikTok challenge

The chances of you falling on your face are very good. But why?

More and more TikTok trends seem like they’re designed to embarrass men. The so-called chair challenge is a prime example of men failing hilariously where women succeed (Go ahead, try it.). In the latest TikTok trend, dubbed the “center of gravity challenge,” women dominate the battle of the sexes. Men, on the other hand, end up face-planting.

The results are the stuff made for TikTok: Women crush the challenge without breaking a sweat. When men try the same, they can’t hold their bodies up. Their torsos collapse and they faceplant into the ground. Everyone has a laugh and a challenge goes viral.

Editor’s Note: We know you’re going to try this challenge, especially the men in the audience. If you’re trying, you should probably make your attempt over a nice, cushy pillow. If you feel the need to do it over concrete on video without practicing — well, that’s the internet fame that you choose. 

But why exactly is this another challenge where women reign and men fall (hard). The reason women don’t have trouble with the challenge is, according to the most prominent theory, that they have a lower center of gravity. On average, a woman’s center of gravity is 8- to 15-percent lower than a man’s, according to an article in the academic journal Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling. It’s speculated that women’s lower center of gravity evolved not for the purpose of making fools out of men on the Internet, but to help them stay stable while walking during pregnancy.

It’s logical reasoning, but also reason that some sexes defy the odds. Not everyone is built the same. Some men may have a lower center of gravity than others. Some women won’t be able to win the center of gravity challenge, and some men will victoriously hover without faceplanting. 

Not many though. There’s only one way to find out. 

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An Air Force pilot used a commercial GPS system during the Iraq War

While flying an F-16 in the Iraq War, Air Force pilot Raj Shah had a multimillion-dollar global positioning system at his disposal. While flying combat missions in 2006, he had everything the Air Force thought he might need, including the global coordinates of his intended targets. 

His problem was there was no way of looking at the military-specific system to know where he was in relation to those targets. There was no little plane icon on the screen to indicate where he was. No dot. Not even a little triangle. 

It seems that many millions of dollars may pay for innovation, but a little common sense came at a much higher price – or did it? Shah found a simple fix, and began to revolutionize the way the U.S. military interacts with maybe its greatest asset of the 21st century: Big Tech. 

While flying those missions, it occurred to Shah that civilian-grade GPS technology was far surpassing anything the military had. The F-16 took its first flight some 47 years ago and even though its avionics and other tech had been upgraded since, getting those upgrades often comes with some intense budgetary wrangling. 

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
“In one mile — recalculating… in three miles — recalculating…” (U.S. Air Force photo SMSgt Thomas Meneguin)

Needless to say, it did not have Waze or Google Maps available to the pilots. While neither of those apps were available back then, the F-16 didn’t have the latest and greatest that was. And despite what Donald Rumsfeld has famously said about going to war with the army you have, Shah thought he could do better.

When he was able to go home on leave, one of the first things the pilot did was pick up an iPAQ HW-6500, a PC-based digital assistant launched by Compaq in the year 2000. He then loaded a run-of-the-mill aviation map application. When he returned to duty in Iraq, he put the iPAQ on his lap and used that to aid his navigation, ignoring the ultra-expensive software on his F-16. 

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
I mean… that’s fair. This thing looks complicated anyway (U.S. Navy)

Shah would later head the Silicon Valley-based Defense Innovation Unit, a Pentagon office that not only specializes in working with America’s Big Tech sector, but is able to fast-track the funding of special prototypes. This was especially important as a way to integrate emerging technologies into the U.S. military at a time when American military dominance relied on it staying ahead of technological rivals. 

The DIUx (the “x” stands for “experimental”) was founded in 2015 to do just that. Using an old Space Race-era law that allowed NASA to stay one step ahead of the Soviet Union, the DIUx was able to procure new technologies. The law was called “Other Transaction Authority” (OTA), and was a fast lane for the military and defense contractors to introduce new tech to the U.S. government and its various agencies. 

That same year, Congress passed a law expanding the use of OTA to various other projects, so long as it was blessed by the Pentagon brass for its military effectiveness. Silicon Valley executives now had a reason to sit down with U.S. government and military officials, knowing there could be a deal within weeks – instead of months or years. 

Raj Shah, the F-16 pilot who originally flew missions in the Iraq War with a civilian GPS system, took over as head of the DIUx office in 2016 and expanded its reach beyond Silicon Valley. By the time he left the post in 2018, he had branch offices in Boston and in Austin, Texas, two other important sectors of technological innovation and development. 

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Why the Soviet Union wanted to nuke this hot dog stand

For around 30 years, the food court at the center of the Pentagon’s courtyard was an easy source of mid-afternoon calories for the hungry planners of a potential World War III with the Eastern Bloc. There was just one problem, and it wasn’t the food.

It was said the Soviet Union had at least two nuclear missiles pointed at it at all times.


How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Target Acquired (Planet.com/ Fair use)

 

The hot dog stand, replaced in the early 2000s with another, presumably less hot dog-oriented food stand, was the center of life for a lot of the Cold War lunches had by the staff at the nation’s most important military building. It was said that the Soviet Union watched the comings and goings of top U.S. military brass in and out of the tiny structure in the middle of the courtyard every day.

They surmised it must be an important planning center or command and control bunker. So, obviously, when the war broke out, it would have to be one of the first things to go. Two ICBMs should take care of it.

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
And most of the DMV area.

“Rumor has it that during the Cold War the Russians never had any less than two missiles aimed at this hot dog stand,” Brett Eaton, an information and communications officer for Washington Headquarters Services, told DoD News. “They thought this was the Pentagon’s most top-secret meeting room, and the entire Pentagon was a large fortress built around this hot dog stand.”

No one in Russia has ever confirmed this rumor, but the stand still earned the moniker “Cafe Ground Zero.” In reality, substantiated or not, the hot dog stand was smack dab in the middle of the United States’ most important military building. Since the blast radius of the Soviet Union’s best and biggest nuclear missile was big enough to wipe out New York City along with parts of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, it stands to reason that destroying the hot dog stand at the center of the Pentagon would just be a win for clogged arteries.

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
A real victory (Image by jamstraightuk from Pixabay)

Feature image: DoD photo

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How military history’s greatest general was defeated by rabbits

French Emperor Napoleon was fresh from one of his greatest victories in July 1807. The previous month, his forces routed the Army of Russian Tsar Alexander I at Friedland. The victory ended the War of the Fourth Coalition, brought Russia into Napoleon’s Continental System and ended any threat to the empire from mainland Europe. 

Napoleon decided to celebrate the victory of his glorious empire with a good old-fashioned rabbit hunt. Rather than wander through the woods for hours on end looking for rabbits (and potentially coming up with none at all), he assigned his Chief of Staff, Alexandre Berthier, to go and collect a large number of rabbits for the event.

Berthier did his job beautifully. Even, you might say, too beautifully. He collected what could only be described as “too many rabbits.” Some historians believe the Chief of Staff collected as many as 3,000 rabbits for the hunt. Nothing Napoleon ever did would ever be called “understated,” so 3,000 rabbits for a handful of men to hunt doesn’t seem so unbelievable. 

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Alexandre Berthier: General, tactician, chief of staff… animal wrangler (Wikimedia Commons)

He then invited all of the emperor’s top brass to the event, which began with a luncheon before the main event. The men ate as the rabbits sat in cages on the outskirts of a grassy field. After the meal, the hunters (Napoleon included) armed themselves and signaled their readiness. With guns in hand, the rabbits were released from their cages.

At this point, it’s important to know that rabbits are usually a flighty animal, easily frightened and known to dart away when in danger. Or for any reason at all. That’s probably what Napoleon and his generals expected to happen when the cages opened. That’s not what happened when the cages opened. 

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Wrong.

Instead of darting away, the rabbits began to make a beeline for the most powerful men of the world’s most powerful empire. What was probably pretty funny at first took a turn for the worse when the rabbits, seemingly unable to take any more oppression, were suddenly taking their outrage out on the Emperor and his men.

Now too close to simply shoot, Napoleon, his generals, Berthier, coachmen and servants all began to take swipes at the bunnies with riding crops, sticks, and whatever else they had handy. The four-legged assault still continued as they climbed up the men’s legs and coats. Napoleon and his generals were about to retreat for the first time.

Napoleon ran away to his carriage, as most other attendees likely did. Then the rabbits took a page out of the Emperor’s own playbook. They broke into two smaller, but still considerably large formations and surrounded the entire party. Only when Napoleon and the others drove off did the bunny onslaught stop. 

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb

Berthier apparently was so eager to ensure the bunnies were in place for the hunt that day that he didn’t acquire live rabbits from the wooded areas nearby. Instead, he picked up the rabbits from locals. These were not the flighty, frightened rabbits we see almost everywhere these days. They were tame, accustomed to humans, and likely ready for that day’s meal when the Frenchmen opened their cages. When they made their Monty Python-esque attack for the French brass, there’s a good chance they were thinking about having a luncheon of their own. 

If we were to ask Napoleon today about his worst defeat ever, he would likely say it was Waterloo, the battle that finally ended his reign for good. But somewhere in the back of his mind, the day he faced down thousands of pointy ears might come a close second.

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7 painful things that are better than getting OC sprayed

OC qualifying is one of the most dreaded requirements in the military. Occasionally, you’ll run into some people who will try to act tough by saying that OC qualifying isn’t so bad but they’re lying. It is that bad.

Certain ranks in the military require that the troop first experience the pain of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray. For the same reasons one might opt to experience the pain of a taser, the aim here is for the person carrying such a tool to understand how it feels so they think twice before using it.


How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
At least the pain won’t last very long… (GIPHY)

Getting kicked in the family jewels

This is extremely painful for any man to experience — but it’s still not as bad as getting pepper sprayed and then subsequently having to fight people and do workouts afterward.

Getting a toenail removed without lidocaine

Granted, any type of procedure is going to be painful without a sedative, but no matter how painful that procedure is, it’s still not as bad as taking pepper spray to the face.

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Once you get some fresh air, you’ll be just fine. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Ashley Lawson)

 

CS gas qualification

This is probably the worst part of boot camp — getting put into a bunker filled with tear gas then being forced to pull the mask off your face. If you’ve got lungs of steel, no problem, just hold your breath. But, if you take the smallest breath, your entire respiratory system is going to be on fire. Even still, pepper spray is much worse.

MARSOC screener

This one will likely stir some debate, but let’s be real: At the end of a MARSOC screener, even if you don’t get picked, there’s the gratification of having completed some of the most grueling preliminary testing the military has to offer. At the end of OC qualification, you’re just in pain.

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
Some may prefer OC spray over getting tasered but they’re probably crazy. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Christian Robertson)

 

Taser qualification

People who have done both taser and OC qualification will debate this all day. You’ll hear some may say they’d rather get tasered ten times than be sprayed once and vice versa. The truth, however, is that with tasers, the pain ends when the trigger is released. With OC, the pain lingers long after you complete training.

Helo dunker

Training for a helicopter crash in water is fun for some, but a lot of people hate it. For those who don’t know, what happens is you get strapped into a simulated helicopter, which then gets dropped in a pool, submerged, and flipped upside down.

Your goal is to escape the grips of death and resurface. Once you get out of the helicopter, you’re done — that’s it.

How to fool your command into thinking you’re dumb
This one might not be worth it in the end, though… (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Dengrier M. Baez)

 

Reenlisting

The most commonly despised word across the military is “reenlistment.” While the option to reenlist is not exciting, some might even choose it over getting pepper-sprayed again.

Feature image: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariette M. Adams

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