This hilarious 2013 video footage shows the moment a female airman gets tasered and instinctively grabs for anything — which for one unsuspecting male airmen — was the worst possibility.
The airman had no control over the junk-grab, since being tased impedes your nervous system. A U.S. Air Force training article describes the experience:
Two small, dart-like electrodes strike a person’s body with 50,000 volts of electricity causing them to experience stimulation of their sensory and motor nerves resulting in strong, involuntary muscle contractions.
Those strong, involuntary muscle contractions clearly affected the airman on the right.
Every day, scores of US military commands reach millions with posts aimed to inform and inspire: videos of valor, motivational photos, and, yes, puppy pics.
The military has codified the rules for managing these official accounts. But sometimes these social-media pros — even those at the four-star command responsible for the US’s nuclear weapons — fail miserably.
Here’s a rundown of some of the military’s most embarrassing, troubling, and dumb social-media mistakes in recent years.
US Strategic Command, which oversees the US nuclear arsenal, sent out an unintelligible tweet on March 28, 2021 that went viral before it was deleted.
The post simply said: “;l;;gmlxzssaw.”
In a follow-on tweet, STRATCOM wrote: “”Apologizes for any confusion. Please disregard this post.”
The blunder received lots of humorous responses on social media, including a retired US Army lieutenant general.
‘A string of explicit tweets’
An “administrator” used Fort Bragg’s official Twitter account to send explicit sexual messages to an OnlyFans creator.
The Army installation initially claimed the account was hacked before deleting not just the tweets but its entire Twitter account. The base later acknowledged that the tweets were sent by one of their own.
Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) deleted a March 25, 2020 tweet making light of the coronavirus.
The tweet, which featured a picture of a CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, read: “Know what else has CV that isn’t #COVID19? #CV22uesday!”
The tweet was deemed to be in poor taste given the devastation the virus had caused. An AFSOC spokesman told Military Times that “we recognize it was in poor taste and have taken it down and apologize to anyone offended.” He added that the command will “review how this happened and act accordingly.”
Questions about COVID-19?
The Army put out a post on March 21, 2020 as part of an Army COVID-19 question and answer series that was considered racist and offensive. “Why did the man eat a bat?” the post asked. The answer, which was accompanied by a picture of a man shrugging, was “it wasn’t because he was thirsty.”
The Instagram post appears to have been referencing early reports that the coronavirus outbreak originated from the consumption of bats in China, which have fueled insensitive comments and jokes.
“This is simply unacceptable. We do not know how #COVID19 first infected humans but racism has no place in our Armed Forces,” Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth wrote on Twitter in response.
The social media manager responsible for the post, which, in addition to offensive content, also included inaccurate coronavirus information, was fired.
On March 6, 2020 the Defense Department flubbed a #KnowYourMil moment, when it tweeted out an image of Utah National Guard M109 Paladins but wrote: “Ready to roll out the big guns! The tanks of the @UTNationalGuard are lined up and ready to participated in #AfricaLion.”
Paladins are tracked and have large cannons, but they are not tanks. The Utah National Guard responded to the tweet, writing, “Guys … the M109 Paladin is a 155mm turreted self-propelled howitzer.”
Remembering the Battle of the Bulge with a picture of a Nazi that massacred US troops
In a move that drew significant criticism, the official Facebook pages of the Army 10th Mountain Division, the 18th Airborne Corps, and the Department of Defense all shared the picture of a Nazi responsible for the murder of more than 84 American prisoners of war in Dec. 16, 2019 posts commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, a fierce WWII battle.
The posts were later deleted. The Army said that it “regrets” that the image was included in the post that was shared on social media.
On November 20, 2019, the Department of Defense’s official Twitter account shared this stunning image of an armored vehicle firing at a training exercise with the tag, #KnowYourMil.
The only problem — they named the wrong armored vehicle.
That’s a Stryker armored vehicle firing its 105mm gun, not a Paladin self-propelled howitzer, as the DoD tweet identified it. One easy way to tell them apart is that the Paladin is a tracked vehicle like a tank. Strykers have wheels.
‘The last thing #Millennials will see if they attempt the #area51 raid today’
On Sept. 20, 2019, the Pentagon’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) tweeted out a warning to millennials planning to attend the “Storm Area 51” event that day, suggesting it was going to bomb them.
“The last thing #Millennials will see if they attempt the #area51 raid today,” the tweet read. The accompanying image was a B-2 Spirit bomber, a highly-capable stealth aircraft built to slip past enemy defenses and devastate targets with nuclear and conventional munitions.
The tweet prompted some backlash online, and the next day, DVIDS deleted the offending tweet and sent out a new one explaining that “last night, a DVIDSHUB employee posted a tweet that in NO WAY supports the stance of the Department of Defense.”
US Strategic Command, which oversees the US’s nuclear arsenal, rang in 2019 with a reminder that they’re ready, at any time, to start a nuclear war.
Playing off the image of the ball dropping in New York City’s Times Square, STRATCOM’s official account posted a tweet that included a clip of a B-2 dropping bombs. The command apologized for the message.
In May 2018, the internet was debating whether the word heard on a short audio recording was “Yanny” or “Laurel.” Then the US Air Force joined the debate, referring to a recent strike on Taliban.
“The Taliban Forces in Farah city #Afghanistan would much rather have heard #Yanny or #Laurel than the deafening #BRRRT they got courtesy of our #A10,” the official US Air Force Twitter account said.
The A-10 gunship carries a fearsome 30mm cannon used to destroy buildings, shred ground vehicles, and kill insurgents. It can fire so rapidly — nearly 3,900 rounds a minute — that the sound of each bullet is indistinguishable from the previous one, blending into a thundering “BRRRT.”
The US Air Force apologized for the tweet and deleted it, acknowledging it was in “poor taste.”
‘I’m like really smart now’
In January 2018, President Donald Trump fired off a flurry a tweets defending himself in response to the headline-grabbing details in Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury.”
Trump said he was “like, really smart” and “a very stable genius.”
That prompted a tweet from comedian Mindy Kaling from her character in the office, with the caption: “You guys, I’m like really smart now, you don’t even know.”
The US Army’s official Twitter account liked Kaling’s tweet, to which she replied: “#armystrong”
By the following day, the US Army had unliked the tweet.
Today’s soldiers hear a lot about the “Old Army,” when men were men and privates weren’t allowed to speak.
Soldiers Magazine got veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm together to check out modern first aid kits. The old-timers were impressed by how much gear was in the kit but were confused by some items.
You’ve done the crafts, you’ve read the entire internet and you’ve finished Netflix. All there’s left to do is cry, eat and laugh. We’ll help you out with the last one. Hope you and yours are staying safe, healthy and somewhat sane.
These are your top 50 memes and tweets for the week of April 20:
1. Everything is fine
At least he’s maintaining social distancing.
2. The word of the mom
3. Conference calls
Zoom backgrounds make it better.
4. Laughter IS the best medicine
Oh Dad. So smart.
5. Happy little tree
I want peopleeeeeee.
6. Atta boy
Nothing to see here, nothing to see.
7. True transformation
I’m not proud of how hard I laughed at that one!!
8. The boombox
We’ve trained our whole life for this.
9. So loud
What are you eating, BONES?
10. M.J. knew
Now if we could just heal the world…
11. More vodka, please!
These are good life skills.
12. Reality tv
No wonder my kids like to watch other kids playing with toys on YouTube. We do the same thing with HGTV.
13. No pants
I can’t imagine having to wear shoes to a meeting again…
14. Hand washing
So many temptations to touch your face.
15. Catch me outside
How bout dat?
16. Shady pines
Might have to binge watch Golden Girls.
17. So much truth
If you having tortilla chips for breakfast means I don’t have to cook…
18. Iguana private office
Something about you getting on the phone screams, “COME TALK TO ME.”
19. SPF 15
At least you’re getting your vitamin D.
20. Dreams do come true
You bought it “for the pandemic.”
21. Pro tip
It’s like working out, but easier.
The sun is not impressed.
Every parent ever.
The sweatshirt is a nice touch. I bet her Barbie dream house is covered in crafts and regret.
25. Jax beach
26. What happens in Vegas…
Quarantine needs to stay in April 2020.
27. SO much truth
And most of them look tired.
28. Pajama shorts
Trick question. You don’t have to wear pants.
29. Good PR
Mmm ice cream.
30. Singing in the rain
31. Sick car
Taped together and barely holding on — a working title of everyone’s 2020 memoir.
32. Get it girl
No but seriously, why did I eat all my snacks?
33. Dun-dun. Dun-dun. Dun-dun.
To be fair, everyone didn’t die.
34. Lightning speed
Well played, fastest man in the world.
35. All by myself
We feel you, Ernie.
The isolation has turned to boredom.
We heard there’s a DUI checkpoint in the hallway though, so be careful.
38. Last nerves
Every. Little. Thing.
39. Grooming at home
All of our DIY haircuts and grooming.
40. Apologies, ya’ll
Lots of self-awareness happening.
It does, Kermie. It does.
42. Mind over matter
Beware my special powers.
43. Dogs know the truth
Stop judging me.
44. You can’t have both
This is why we can’t have nice days.
Deep thoughts by Dad.
46. Zoom stand in
I think people would pay for this.
47. You did it!
At least you didn’t quit.
48. Pinky promise
Just boxed wine. Not the ‘rona.
49. You know that’s right
Maybe you’ll get a “spa day” in the bathroom by yourself.
Wookies. Homo Spaciens. The Anti-Gravity Gang. Rocketmen. Floaty Bois.
Those questionable offerings were among about 400 suggestions on what to call members of the military’s newest branch, submitted by Air Force and Space Force members before “Guardians” was chosen in December, according to a list provided to Military.com on Friday.
Other suggestions included Starmen, Rangers, Gladiators, Cadets, Trekkies (in honor of the popular “Star Trek” franchise), Luminaires and STARgeants.
Someone even suggested: “Nothing, because you wouldn’t hear it in space anyway.”
Last year, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations for the Space Force, said the service was sifting through nearly 700 crowdsourced names of what to call its space professionals. In December, then-Vice President Mike Pence made the official announcement that Space Force members would be called Guardians.
“Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Guardians will be defending our nation for generations to come,” Pence said during a ceremony the day before the Space Force’s 1st birthday.
Space enthusiasts and military members were quick to point out that “Guardians” evokes the Marvel Comics’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” film franchise about a motley crew of superheroes in space.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” was also a submission, according to the service’s list.
In 2016, the Air Force unveiled its list of rejected names for its new stealth B-21 bomber, which was ultimately named Raider after the Doolittle Raiders, the World War II-era bomb crews who launched morale-boosting strikes on Tokyo after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.
The Dining-In is a military custom that predates the Air Force, the military, even the United States. There are many versions of it, whether that branch calls it Mess Night, Regimental Dinner, or something else. Though other branches hold these, this is one of the oldest traditions of the youngest branch of service.
The Dining-In is held at any unit level – Wing, Group, or Squadron. This is the most traditional form of Air Force unit social events, where dress uniforms are expected and rules and ceremony are to be followed. A proper Dining-In will include hails and farewells, as well as recognition for achievement. The function is supposed to be a morale-building event, after all.
The Dining-In is one of very few events in official Air Force culture where drinking a lot in front of your unit is encouraged and being an overachiever won’t get you sent to ADAPT. Just have a designated driver (or four) on stand-by. The rules are strict and many will be sent to the Grog Bowl (more on that later).
Chief Master Sgt. William Wade, the superintendent of the 59th Clinical Support Group, samples the grog at the 2nd Annual Joint Dining-In. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robbin Cresswell)
The Air Force iteration is said to have started in the 1930s with the Army Air Corps’ General H. “Hap” Arnold’s “wing dings.” Many of its original traditions are still very much alive. While the customs of the Dining-In holds formality above all else, it’s important to remember the point of this is to have fun and build morale.
Dress is considered “Black Tie.” Officers will be in mess dress, Enlisted will wear mess dress or semi-formal dress uniforms. Some events will have a military band present, and as such, the diners may be ordered to march to their seats.
And there are other orders.
The Rules of the Mess
Thou shalt arrive within 10 minutes of the appointed hour.
Thou shalt make every effort to meet all guests.
Thou shalt move to the mess when thee hears the chimes and remain standing until seated by the President.
Thou shalt not bring cocktails or lighted smoking material into the mess.
Thou shalt smoke only when the smoking lamp is lit.
Thou shalt not leave the mess whilst convened. Military protocol overrides all calls of nature.
Thou shalt participate in all toasts unless thyself or thy group is honored with a toast.
Thou shalt ensure that thy glass is always charged when toasting.
Thou shalt keep toasts and comments within the limits of good taste and mutual respect. Degrading or insulting remarks will be frowned upon by the membership. However, good-natured needling is encouraged.
Thou shalt not murder the Queen’s English.
Thou shalt not open the hangar doors. (talk about work)
Thou shalt always use the proper toasting procedures.
Thou shalt fall into disrepute with thy peers if the pleats of thy cummerbund are not properly faced.
Thou shalt also be painfully regarded if the clip-on bow tie rides at an obvious list. Thou shalt be forgiven, however, if thee also ride at a comparable list.
Thou shalt consume thy meal in a manner becoming gentlepersons.
Thou shalt not laugh at ridiculously funny comments unless the President first shows approval by laughing.
Thou shalt express thy approval by tapping thy spoon on the table. Clapping of thy hands will not be tolerated.
Thou shalt not question the decisions of the President.
When the mess adjourns, thou shalt rise and wait for the President and head table guests to leave.
Thou shalt enjoy thyself to thy fullest.
Violations of Etiquette
Failures to comply with the rules of the mess are “punished,” generally with fines or a trip to the Grog. The Grog, held in a Grog Bowl (usually an unused toilet), consists of multiple types and flavors of alcoholic drinks blended together, and may even contain other things, like Tootsie Rolls or oysters. It is a punishment, after all.
Any member of the mess can call out violations warranting a trip to the grog bowl at any time. Members bring infractions to the attention of the President by addressing the mess and raising a point of order. If the validity of the charge is questioned, members vote by tapping their spoons on the table.
When the President sentences a violator to the grog bowl, the person proceeds to the bowl promptly, remembering to march and perform all proper facing movements. The bowl is usually located on or near the Vice’s table. Upon arriving at the grog bowl, the violator does the following:
An about face and salutes the President
An about face to the bowl and fills the cup
An about face and toasts the mess: “To the Mess”
Drink the cup completely then inverted over their head to ensure it is empty.
Does an about face, replaces the cup, about faces again, salutes the President, and returns to their seat.
Except for the toast, the violator is not permitted to speak at all.
President – the central figure of the event and primary planner, usually the ranking commander of the organization. The President will oversee the Dining-In and appoint subordinate officers:
The President also ensures the Dining-In has a speaker and a chaplain for the Invocation. He or she will greet all the guests before dinner is served and will open and close the mess.
Vice-President – The chief assistant to the President, usually the most junior-ranking officer (but the President may choose anyone to serve in this role). The VP sits alone in the back of the room, facing the President, observing the proceedings and making not of violations of the Rules of the Mess and breaches of etiquette.
While usually the VP is a comfortable position, here the VP is the MC – the toastmaster – the success of the event depends on the Dining-In VP’s wit, levity, and ability to keep the show going. The Veep is also responsible for opening the lounge, sounding the dinner chimes, and preparing toasts as directed by the President. He or she must compose poems and jokes (in good taste) at the expense or tribute only to those persons and organizations who are present. The VP is the last person to leave the party.
Arrangements Officer – Responsible to the President for handling the details involved with planning the evening’s events, but is not to make any final decisions without the advice and consent of the President.
The AO will set the seating arrangements and ensure each seat is marked with the proper name and organization, will ensure proper flags and awards are in place, set up suitable microphone and lectern systems for the speaker and chaplain, ensure the VP has the necessary dinner chimes, arrange the photographer, publish a proper agenda for the evening as well as a guest list, and hire the hat and coat check team.
The day after, the AO will prepare letters of appreciation for the President to sign and send to guests of honor and others who helped with the evening.
Mess Officer – The Mess Officer will handle all responsibilities related to the actual food preparation.
Protocol Officer – The Protocol Officer Ensures everyone receives a formal invitation at least four weeks in advance of the event and will take RSVPs and will get biographical information on special guests for the other officers. The PO will ensure transportation and billeting arrangements are made and will make the seating arrangements for the Head Table. The PO briefs the Escort Officers on protocol requirements related to the guests, handles parking arrangements, and advises on flag arrangements.
Escort Officers – One escort officer should be appointed for each official and personal guest. The EO will contact their assigned guest in advance to discuss dress, location, meeting point, and composition of the audience. If the guests are from out of town, the EO will meet them at their initial arrival point and arrange for transportation and accommodations during their stay. It is essential the EO brief the guest on the customs, courtesies, rules, and procedures of the Mess.
Make sure the guest is properly introduced to as many members of the mess as possible. They will ensure their guest is always in the company of several members of the mess, yet take care that no individual or group monopolizes the guest. Upon their guest’s departure, the EO will escort the guest to the point of departure and bid farewell on behalf of all members of the Mess.
This is how a dentist loads the Grog. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robin Cresswell)
Addressing the Mess
A member may want to raise a point of order, propose a toast, or identify infractions to the Rules of the Mess. The proper way is as follows:
Rise and state “Mr./Ms. Vice-President, a point of order”
When recognized by the VP, identify yourself and state your business.
It is required to speak in rhyme when addressing the Mess. The President may waive this and all other requirements as he or she sees fit. The penalty is being sent to the Grog.
Sequence of Events
The event starts with a cocktail hour. At the end of that hour, the VP will chime the mess to dinner. Members of the Head Table will remain in the cocktail lounge. Once the guests are in the dining area and standing at their assigned seats, whether marched or not, Head Table members file into the room in order and walk to the Head Table. After ruffles and flourishes are played, the President then calls the mess to order with a gavel and will propose the first toast. The first two are always the same and should be given as such:
Toast: “To the Commander-in-Chief”
Response: “To the President”
Toast: “To the Chief of Staff, United States Air Force”
Response: “To the Chief of Staff”
The proper response to further toasts is “Hear, Hear”.
Improper toasting procedures will be punished by a trip to the Grog. Serving staff should be prepared with a few bottles for each table – Often many toasts are given by the President, including to the heads of state of foreign visitors, the colors, other services, and more. When the President is done, the floor is open to any further toasts from the guests throughout the remainder of the evening.
Stand and identify yourself
Address the VP by saying, “Mr. Vice-President, I want to propose a toast”.
The VP informs the President and receives approval.
Everyone stands and the toast is given.
After toasting, the President will explain the POW/MIA table, make opening remarks and introduce the guests of honor – then dinner will be served. After dinner, the President will rap the gavel three times and call the house to Recess. During Recess, diners are excused to the lounge for cocktails while dinner is cleared and dessert is served. The VP will sound the chimes again to reconvene the diners (do not bring cigarettes or cocktails into the dining room).
As coffee and tea are served, the guest of honor will speak. After the guest speaks, the VP will propose a toast to him or her and the President will close the Mess, thanking the planners and retiring the colors. Between the posting of the colors and the retirement of the colors, other events are allowed, including handing out awards, and multiple guest speakers.
The Combat Dining-In
The newest of these traditions (and probably the most fun), these are very similar in function to the rules and tradition of the Dining-In, except they are far less formal. The rules are similar – but the differences are important to know. There aren’t any hard or fast ones because they vary by unit.
The sky is the limit – you may be forced to eat with your mess kit… or maybe they’re only serving MREs. You may not even get to eat because you’ll be throwing your dinner on another reveler. There are many variations to the rules of the combat version of this tradition.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks launched the war on terrorism and ruined air travel as we knew it. So the TSA was born.
You used to be able to get through security in less than 15 minutes, but with the creation of the Transportation Security Administration the process takes a lot longer. However, despite this first-world-problem, TSA has foiled over 39 terror plots, according to The Heritage Foundation.
Some may see the TSA as an inconvenience, but to the al-Qaeda fighters in this video, “they are an elite force of anti-terrorist commandos.”
Retired U.S. Navy Captain and former NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly once received a full gorilla suit in a care package while living on the International Space Station. He didn’t tell anyone about it. One day, without warning his fellow crew, he put it on. Hilarity ensued.
And luckily for us, there’s video:
Kelly was a fighter pilot in the Navy before becoming a U.S. astronaut. A veteran of four space flights, he commanded the International Space Station (ISS) on three expeditions and was a member of the yearlong mission to the ISS from March 27, 2015, to March 2, 2016. His book, Infinite Wonder, features the photographs he took during that year. In October 2015, he set the record for the total accumulated number of days spent in space.
It was his brother, Captain Mark Kelly, who sent the gorilla suit care package. Mark Kelly is also a retired U.S. Navy pilot, engineer, and NASA astronaut, and the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Who else could get away with sending such a gift?
The Kelly twins have also been part of an investigation on the health effects of long-term space flight. While Scott lived aboard the ISS for a year, Mark remained on Earth as a “genetically identical ground control.” Scientists have been able to discern the effects of space on the human body to the DNA and chromosomal level, from Scott’s gut microbiome to the thickening in his retina and carotid artery.
These kinds of studies help give clues toward human health as we explore space. While the ISS is in low-Earth orbit and not deep space like, say, Mars, the findings give scientists more information about the effects of space travel.
All Marines, infantry or other, notice that other branches of the military have better-looking bases. A collective ‘what the hell, man,’ when we realize the grass is literally greener in other branches. Marines are the jocks of the military, it doesn’t take a lot to make a Marine happy. When we try to make a case for ourselves that we deserve shiny things, someone has to ruin it for everyone. ‘Rah.
1. Barracks parties can get out of hand
Exhibit A: The barracks party. A good 90% of the time it is just a group of dudes crushing cans of Bud Light and chain-smoking cigarettes. However, every now and then the planets align to form the perfect storm that is the other 10%. It’s the first day of post deployment leave block, everybody’s significant others are in town, it’s a pay day weekend, and no one has had a drop of alcohol for months. Pray.
That next Monday there will be evidence of a fire somewhere, beer cans and cigarettes litter the quad as far as the eye can see, someone went to jail. At least 10 fights happened but now they’re friends, a busted window or two, and some Marines are at the Battalion Aid Station awaiting shots of penicillin. One Christmas leave block we had a Marine get NJP’d for streaking naked in Japan. All of this without hardcore drugs.
2. Marines get in trouble often
The streaking Marine would strike again. Marines are tough, so, eventually the novelty of punishments wears off. This is why corporal punishment doesn’t work; it’s not fair. Why not do the crime if you’re going to do the time? In the civilian world you are innocent until proven guilty, in the military you are guilty until proven innocent. Is it any wonder Marines party harder than any other branch? We know we’re going to get in trouble even if we follow the rules, cheers.
3. The Marine Corps is underfunded
The Marine Corps has no money. We’re pot, we Po’. Point blank our chow halls are garbage, our living quarters are garbage, our garbage is garbage. It is outside of our control what tools we get. We adapt and overcome, at least everything is clean. Yes, the barracks may be falling apart but it has been bleached and waxed! Regardless, we like that the money is spent on equipment and training instead. I remember the first time I shot an AT-4 rocket launcher as a private, it did not matter how bad the food was, that sh*t was cool.
4. The Air Force took all the nice locations
Why are Marines not allowed to be on Air Force bases? We would mutiny, that’s why. Marines aren’t officially banned but Marine leadership knows that morale will plummet. In the Marine Corps your meals are charged from your pay whether you used it or not. In the Air Force you pay for what you consume. Our bases are in a swamp, a desert, or an island you cannot leave. Dealers choice. Air Force bases need airspace with favorable conditions for routine flight paths. We’re a little jelly; that’s why we make fun of them the most.
5. Rank equals privilege mentality
There is a method to the madness. Tired of roommates? Want more pay? Want to be far away from junior enlisted and officers so you can crack a cold one in peace? Get promoted and gain access to the Staff NCO Club. The number one reason Marines can’t have nice things is by design. Nice things are for closers.
Oliver J. “Porky” Bickar rolled out of bed on April Fools’ Day, 1974, looked out his window to a white-topped mountain outside Sitka, Alaska, and told his wife, Patty, “I have to do it today.” She replied with age-old words of wisdom: “Don’t make an ass of yourself.”
Bickar, then 50, had lived in Sitka for 15 years. He was a logger by trade and no stranger to the local editors of the small town Daily Sitka Sentinel newspaper. The showman and serial prankster routinely entertained onlookers with a stunt that involved felling a large tree to smash a target, typically a hard hat, on the ground.
As April had arrived in each of the previous three years, Bickar had postponed a stunt for which he needed perfect weather conditions. But April 1974 provided a clear blue sky with visibility for miles. His mind raced as his elaborate plan went into motion.
He immediately phoned his conspirators. Harry Sulser, Ken Stedman, and Larry Nelson were close friends, and the group referred to themselves as the “Dirty Dozen.” They all regularly met for coffee at Revard’s Restaurant. The group met at a hangar at the local airport where Bickar had 70 old and discarded tires waiting. He had been collecting them for years for this project. Now they needed air support. Two helicopter pilots refused to join the plan, but Earl Walker from nearby Petersburg accepted.
The pranksters took all 70 tires, piled them into two large canvas bags with 150-foot rope slings, and attached them to the bottom of the helicopter. They also brought along black smoke bombs, several gallons of kerosene, some rags, and cans of black spray paint. The hooligans scrambled into the chopper and took off toward Mount Edgecumbe.
Mount Edgecumbe sits on Kruzof Island, separated from Sitka and the mainland by about 10 miles of water. While Sitka, a fishing village, sits at sea level, Edgecumbe rises to 3,000 feet, dominating ocean views from the town, which today is a favorite for visiting cruise ships and other tourists. But in the 1970s, the town was an out-of-the-way fishing village and Edgecumbe a volcano that had been dormant for 50 years.
But Bickar’s plan was to convince the town that Edgecumbe had awoken by setting the tires ablaze on the mountain’s peak.
As outlandish as Bickar’s plan seemed, he knew he had seen crazier. The jokester had enlisted in the US Army in 1942 and worked in a unit that waterproofed vehicles such as tanks and trucks in anticipation for the saltwater immersion of the D-Day invasion.
Bickar arrived in Normandy three days after D-Day. “It was all a dream,” he said in 2002, a year before he died, at a ceremony honoring veterans with the Jubilee of Liberty Medal, an award the French government created for participants in the invasion. “A big dream. I was seasick and so scared and mixed up. After I hit the beach, and got my feet settled, I came out of it — and became the man, the soldier, I could be.”
Bickar also served with Lt. Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army and participated in its march through France, Belgium, and across the Rhine River. He told the Daily Sitka Sentinel in 1984 about a harrowing experience in which he and another soldier overpowered and killed a German soldier who was marching them to a POW camp.
When the chopper landed on Mount Edgecumbe, Bickar used black spray paint to draw a message in 50-foot letters for those he knew would soon come to investigate. And the other men doused the tires in kerosene and lit them. By the time they reached Sitka to complete their getaway, an air-traffic controller reportedly told them, “The son of a gun looks fantastic.”
To prevent an overreaction, Bickar had let police, fire department, and airport officials know what he had planned. But he forgot to tell the Coast Guard, which sent a helicopter to investigate and found Bickar’s message in the snow: APRIL FOOLS.
The phones at police, fire, and radio stations rang off the wall from concerned citizens. The story even made national news on The Associated Press news wire. Jimmy Johnson, the vice president of Alaska Airlines, instructed departing planes to fly over the mountain to give all the passengers onboard a laugh.
The following year, Alaska Airlines sponsored the Alaska Brag Contest. Bickar sent in this entry: “On April Fools’ Day, I hired a chopper and flew 70 old, kerosene-soaked tires on top of the dormant volcano, Mt. Edgecumbe, that looms over Sitka. I set the tires on fire, and the billowing black smoke created one hell of a commotion in Sitka. I dare you to top that April Fools’ joke.”
Surprisingly, someone did. The contest winner was a story about a bear attack.
“No special treatment, just like any other recruit,” Colbert says in the hilarious clip, hopping out of a limo and sporting a red tracksuit. He is, of course, greeted by a drill sergeant who starts screaming at him and takes him through various physical exercises.
There were plenty of wonderful questions from the private-for-a-day:
— “I’m here for the Army. Is this the Army?”
— “I have a question about tanks. Do they have bathrooms in there, or do you just pee out the barrel?”
Marines are proud – it’s on our posters and commercials but there are things that inspire pride that should be secured and to kept to themselves. Marines take things too far and can’t have nice things. This phenomenon of belligerence has led to uniform regulations bans because we like to stick it tothe man. The Marine Corps’ green weenie got a taste of it’s own medicine and it didn’t like it.
Two sizes too tight
At the PX, Postal Exchange, everyone always bought them two sizes too small. Marines come in all shapes and sizes and there were those that really wanted to get the point across. Silkies prevent chafing if you wear the correct size. Every 6’2, small size wearing, water buffalo looking Marine on a run uses the excuse ‘they didn’t have my size.’ Okay, but was it necessary to roll them up and cut out the inner lining too? Stop asking me to be your sit up partner.
The infantry would run across base to taunt the support units
Grunts would go out of their way to run down PT road and right up to the Division Head Quarters just to jog in place. If memory serves me well, there use to be pull up bars right outside the office windows and people wanted to show their dedication to physical fitness. Pump out a full set with unwavering eye contact. Those pull up bars were moved.
They would stretch far longer than necessary
Warmups prevent injury. Unsurprisingly, Marines demonstrate that they know every stretch in perfect form, for science.
The ban has loopholes
Olive green trunks of any material, similar in design to the current standard issue general purpose trunks, may be worn at the option of the individual on all occasions for which the PT uniform is authorized/prescribed. Optional trunks may be purchased through Marine Corps Exchanges or commercial sources and are not required to contain Marine Corps approval identification. For comfort and/or modesty, Marines are authorized to wear tights under the general purpose trunks that are not longer than, and the same color as the general purpose trunks.
MCO 1020.34H, 3023 1 b.
Marines never accept defeat. It’s what makes the Devil Dog so ferocious in the face of adversity. They never retreat, never surrender. However, for some reason this is one of the hills we decided to die on and never let go.
In 2011 the base banned silkies along with the rest of the Marine Corps. From what can be observed in the order, they’re banned from unit PT due to uniformity. The first loophole is that during individual PT one can wear whatever one wants. The second loophole is if the leader of the formation decides the uniform of the day is silkies, everyone must wear it. The third and final loophole is there is no MARADMIN specifically forbidding them. There is no written rule anywhere that states you can’t other than MCO 1020.34H, which is vague at best.
Past commandants refuse to acknowledge the topic. Silkies are comfortable – for the wearer. That’s the point, they make the leadership uncomfortable while simultaneously keeping the troops cool during physical training. That’s why they’re banned on Camp Lejeune. Marines adapt and overcome, unfortunately, in this case.
Who doesn’t love a good laugh at their employer’s expense? It’s all the stuff that you have to deal with, day in and day out. Only this time, it’s poking fun at the bear. It’s not you on the chopping block, it’s someone else. That means it’s time to let loose and relax — all while getting in a solid chuckle. There’s no exception for Army jokes. In fact, we laugh that much harder, knowing there are so many solid jokes at the expense of Uncle Sam. Take a read and join us in chuckling over the expense of the institution that is the U.S. Army.
Acronyms at their best:
ARMY — a recruiter misled you
2. This low-blow at boots on the ground:
What do you call kids in the military?
3. Getting cheesy:
What do you call a soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray?
A seasoned veteran.
4. When backtalk is still funny:
As a group of soldiers stood in formation at an Army Base, the Drill Sergeant said, “All right! All you idiots fall out.”
As the rest of the squad wandered away, one soldier remained at attention. The Drill Instructor walked over until he was eye-to-eye with him. The soldier smiled and said, “Sure were a lot of ’em, huh, sir?”
5. Past careers come to light:
Did you hear about the karate master who joined the military?
He saluted and nearly chopped off his own head.
6. Training done right:
A drill sergeant grumbles at his fresh young trainee, “I didn’t see you at camouflage training this morning, Private.”
“Thank you very much, Sir,” replies the soldier.
7. The laws of nature:
If God had meant for us to be in the Army, we would have been born with baggy green skin.
8. Pulling rank:
During training exercises, the Lieutenant who was driving down a muddy back road encountered another car stuck in the mud with a red-faced Colonel at the wheel.
“Your car stuck, sir?” asked the Lieutenant as he pulled alongside. “Nope,” replied the colonel, coming over and handing him the keys. “Yours is.”
9. A macabre play on words:
Overheard at the VFW, “When I was in the Army, I got both my arms shot off.”
“I shouldered on, anyway.”
10. A trip down memory lane:
Son: Dad, what was your favorite day as a soldier?
Dad: The first time I sent some private to find batteries for the chem lights.
11. A difference in opinions:
The company commander and the sergeant were in the field. As they go to bed for the night, the first sergeant said: “Sir, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?”
The commander said: “I see millions of stars.”
Sgt: “And what does that tell you, sir?”
“Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Theologically, it tells me that God is great and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it tells me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Top?”
Sgt: “Well sir, it tells me that somebody stole our tent.”
12. Getting punny:
What do you get when you drop a piano on an Army officer?
A flat major.
These jokes poke fun at the largest military branch to date, we can all slap our knees at its expense. Whether you’ve served or just enjoy a quick chuckle, these jokes are bound to brighten your day.
Have some great Army jokes to share? Tell us below.