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.
Senior Airman Beau Bartulis, a military working dog handler with the 6th Security Forces Squadron, reacts to oleoresin capsicum (OC) after opening his eyes during OC training at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 28, 2016. The training taught Airmen how to react and detain an individual if they were to be sprayed while on duty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariette M. Adams).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each culture around the globe has its set of legendary creatures tied to its way of life. Naturally, not scientifically proven, the invulnerability associated with these beasts forms part of different cultures’ folklore. In many cases, real animals have gained attributes with supernatural capabilities and mixed with mythological lore to form invincible hybrids – at least in the mythical world.
With different levels of fame, some creatures have become more obscure while more prominent ones have been featured in stories like The Lord of Rings and Harry Potter. Being utterly indestructible except for one obscure part of the body would have given modern-day troops complete invincibility. The heroes are best known for their most terrifying actions in battle – which beast would you ride into combat?
The Centaur is a mythological creature in Greek culture with the upper human body and lower body of a horse. According to the culture, its origin comes from Lexicon’s attempt to sexually assault Hera, the wife of Zeus.
Upon finding out, Zeus modeled a cloud into a figure called Nephele and brought it near Lxion. Fooled by the nymph, Lxion sexually assaulted the Nephele, an action that angered Zeus and made him tie Lxion to a whirlwind in the underworld. The result of the union was Centaurus, who was born in the form of a hailstorm.
As far as I know, if centaurs were real, going on a foot patrol would be a lot quicker. Hikes would be less taxing because they would also be used as beasts of burden. Additionally, the added psychological effect of a horse-man going Splinter Cell on the enemies of freedom is fun to imagine.
The Chimera is a female monster commonly known to breathe fire and dominating Asia Minor. At a glance, this beast looks like a lion, but with the head of a goat breathing fire and a snake as its tail. Chimera was common for ransacking many villages – slaying innocent people and devouring cattle.
Although she was, for long, perceived to be invincible, her weakness was hidden in her fiery breath. According to mythology, while in battle, Bellerophon rode a winged horse and drove an iron sword into the beast’s fiery mouth, choking her with molten metal.
In pop culture, Chimeras can be experiments gone wrong such as Full Metal Alchemist’s child-dog hybrid. Which deviates from the traditional imagery. Other references such as in the Dungeon and Dragons tabletop game Monster Manual depict Chimeras like the ancient world. Regardless, a multi-headed, fire breathing, can-only-die-from-its-own-weapon kind of monster is exactly what the Pentagon would need.
Medusa is a famous creature in Greek and Romanian folklore and is often associated with powerful evil. She was the only mortal of her two sisters – Stheno and Euryale. Although once a beautiful maiden, her curiosity to open Pandora’s box that had been brought from the underworld to free one of her imprisoned friends turned her into a hideous creature. With the face of an ugly woman, anyone who dared look at her immediately turned into stone. Consumed with hatred, self-pity, and despair, she became as brutal as her outward appearance. Just like my ex-girlfriend.
Any monster that can turn the enemy into stone instantly is definitely going to give the military advantage. Is an enemy who is turned to stone still considered to be covered under the Geneva Convention or is there wiggle room, for let us say, it accidentally “fell” over.
The Minotaur is a half-bull, half-man beast who lived in a cave beneath the court of King Minos. It all began when Poseidon gifted King Minos with a bull he was supposed to sacrifice, but he instead kept the bull to himself. Angered by his selfishness, Poseidon made the king’s wife fall in love with the bull, and in their union, gave birth to the Minotaur.
So, ruthless was the creature that the king had to assort a dozen people each year to be devoured by the beast. Aside from demanding annual human sacrifices to be given to the bull, Poseidon threatened to cause famine in the whole of Greece if the demands weren’t met.
In the Marine Corps we already have minotaurs, they’re called heavy machine gunners. The horned variety was feared in ancient Greece, imagine a modern one with automatic weapons and a Javelin missile system.
5. The Furies
Unlike the kind of furry my staff sergeant is… when Cronus castrated his father and tossed his genitalia into the sea, as is tradition, the blood droplets became the Furies. Being conceived of genitalia blood, there isn’t a doubt that the Furies were particularly full of rage.
The Furies were good at finding people who had done wrong and obliterated their bodies until they died out of excruciating pain. Many stories depict the Furies as having dogs’ heads, snakes for hair, and black bodies, making them more goddesses than monsters. I bet they could find people to show up to duty on time or put to use at NCIS.
6. The Hydra
Perhaps the most ferocious monster Hercules fought with, The Hydra was a sea creature with nine heads who grew two heads every time one was chopped off. The heads looked similar, but it was impossible to identify which one was immortal. At the same time, its blood and breath were incredibly poisonous, and stepping on its tracks or swimming within its territory could instantly kill you. Hercules killed the dragon as part of his tests and put a colossal rock on top of the immortal head before new heads could grow back.
An immortal, amphibious poison dragon would be just the unit to deploy to the south china sea to incentivize the Chinese to play nicer with their neighbors.
Anime is a genre of animation enjoyed on a global scale. Programs like the “Dragon Ball Z” and “Pokemon” franchises have had a viral influence on American culture. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with watching cartoons as an adult, some fans take it too far. I’m not talking about those cosplayers — there is a time and place for that (conventions are such places and the appropriate time).
What I’m talking about is the darker side of fandom. The raging trolls with body pillows and unironically animated girlfriends. They are unofficial experts on Japanese culture yet they’re wrong about the majority of it and have never actually been there. In the military, there is a lot of hurry up and wait. Platoons are at risk of exploring too far into the anime genre out of boredom. If troops aren’t careful, weeaboos will reproduce at a staggering rate in tight quarters with no women. Anime fans are separate from weeaboos, because at least they’ve still retained their self-respect.
Subtle signs of a weeaboo
Weeaboo: A person who retains an unhealthy obsession with Japan and Japanese culture, typically ignoring or even shunning their own racial and cultural identity. Many weeaboos talk in butchered Japanese with the 8 or so words they know (i.e. kawaii, desu, ni chan). While weeaboos claim to love and support Japanese culture, counter intuitively, they tend to stereotype Japanese culture by how it appears in their favorite anime, which can be safely assumed to be offensive to the Japanese.
The weeaboo prefers cold dark places where it can troll online chat rooms in peace. They will only go out into the human world for sustenance or to bully children over the rules of Pokemon cards in a hobby store. While all of their living spaces have access to water, they use it to make ramen, not shower. An organized, clear room can prevent a weeaboo from becoming comfortable and spreading their mangas all over the floors. In extreme infestations, they will have hentai (don’t google that) posters taped to their wall lockers. If one day you knock on someone’s door to remind them they have duty and they open it wearing a Sailor Moon outfit, it is time to find that troop some treatment.
A weeaboo has started to take over the host body of a person when they start venturing into non-mainstream anime. Like their punk rock counterparts, they like things before they were cool. Gross. Regardless, you may find yourself slipping after watching several anime on Netflix and YouTube.
When they are not on Reddit saying derogatory things about women, they can be found grazing using chops sticks on inappropriate foods. They will be self-loathing about American culture, even though we’re the greatest country on the planet. Weeaboos will have katanas and other Japanese weapons not authorized on base. Ironically, they enjoy watching animated martial arts yet they’re also the first ones to lose in MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) grappling matches.
Weeaboo multiply through asexual reproduction – not by choice. Their defense mechanism of avoiding showers causes them to repel all interaction with the opposite sex. A weeaboo can sense a potential victim to introduce their favorite niche anime series by sound. Weeaboos can tell what season and episode you’re on just by the audio alone. If you watch “Death Note” or “Full Metal Alchemist” in public, be aware you are putting yourself at risk of unintentionally welcoming weeaboos to converse with you.
If you accidentally bond with a weeaboo talking about “Attack on Titan,” or worse, “Evangelion,” you may be exposed to more anime. When a weeaboo has successfully imprinted on you like a werewolf from Twilight, you will have a Crunchyroll account. Suddenly you will find yourself wearing a kimono with imported ramen noodles, complete with a body pillow that will bring shame to your family.
In lieu of attracting a real mate, they will order life-sized pillows that cannot give consent. When a weeaboo has successfully replicated itself, they will try to get others to join them, with a higher rate of success.
Do not shun the weeaboo because it may be misinterpreted as hazing. Alternatively, shut down any attempts to watch non-mainstream anime. You may indulge in Japanese cuisine, but shut down any embarrassing anime-speak from the weeaboo. This is different than actually knowing Japanese and trying out some language.
For example, our resident weeaboo studied more Japanese when we heard we were going to deploy to Japan. He thought he was an expert on the culture and language. Yet, when our colonel announced to the battalion the Okinawans speak a different dialect than the mainland, you could practically see the anime crying on all the weeaboos faces.
The best prevention of weeaboos multiplying in your ranks is to make things unbearable for them by maintaining military discipline. Continue to keep living quarter standards in room inspections and enforce grooming standards. If you find yourself liking anime, for the love of General Mattis, don’t show up to formation out of regs dressed like a cartoon character.
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.
WASHINGTON (April 1, 2021) A U.S. Navy graphic celebrating April FoolÕs Day 2021 and the 128th Chief Petty Officer Birthday. (U.S. Navy graphic).
So far, the year 2021 has been largely a continuation of the unprecedented challenges of 2020. However, that didn’t stop the U.S. Army and Navy from having a little fun on April Fool’s Day.
The Army is currently evaluating a new light tank prototype. Called the Mobile Protected Firepower, the competitors are being tested at Fort Bragg, N.C. However, it seems like the 3rd Infantry Division is ahead of the curve at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
On April 1, 2021, the 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office released a statement titled, “3rd Infantry Division tests new hover tank technology.” In it, 3rd Infantry announced that it had begun initial operational testing of the Main Battle Hover Tank. “We cannot be more excited to be selected to test this new technology,” said 3rd ID’s senior commander. “Our mission has always been to close-with and destroy our nation’s adversaries in combat, so adding the MBHV to 3rd ID will increase mobility, firepower and force protection to make the Marne Division an unstoppable fighting force.”
While the Army’s April Fool’s post was good for a chuckle, you have to give props to the Navy for their simple April Fool’s post that managed to combine two April 1 celebrations.
The first day of April is not only April Fool’s Day, but also the official birthday of the U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer rank. Established on April 1, 1893, Chiefs are the senior enlisted sailors in the Navy. Without them, nothing would get done. Of course, without coffee, very little would get done across the military as a whole.
On April 1, 2021, the U.S. Navy Facebook page posted NAVADMIN 04/01 — SUBJ/NAVY SERVICE WIDE CLEANING OF CHIEF’S MUGS. The post reads, “As an immediate action to help support health protection efforts, the U.S. Navy has directed the proper cleaning of all personal coffee mugs or ‘Chief’s Mugs,’ at least once per week, during cleaning stations.” You know exactly what they’re talking about too. It seems like a requirement for senior enlisted military personnel to have that crusty, stained coffee mug sitting on their desk. It probably hasn’t been cleaned since they got it after their E-7 promotion ceremony either; just filled up a couple times daily with more coffee.
The Facebook post included a link to the full NAVADMIN. Of course, the link revealed the post to be an April Fool’s joke along with a birthday greeting to Chief Petty Officers across the fleet.
With all the challenges faced in 2020 and now 2021, it’s little jokes like these that can brighten someone’s day and bring a smile to their face.
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.
“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?”
George Hand is a retired Master Sergeant from the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, and the Seventh Special Forces Groups (Airborne). The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own.
Military units are strong on tradition, well, formal tradition anyway. Then… then there are those un-recorded traditions, born and raised and assimilated into every unit’s corporate culture. In my own squadron of Delta, there was the both cherished and despised tradition of birthday hazing.
Everyone suffered from it because, well… everyone has a birthday, and if you tried to keep your date secret, a new birthdate was promptly assigned to you, and you were to be hazed with additional spirit for your insolence. Above all, you were expected to fight, to fight hard against the birthday-boy onslaught.
I fancied myself as one who despised the ritual. Over the years, I looked on in abject horror as men were blindfolded, bound, hung upside down, and dunked repeatedly into the swimming pool hanging by a rope tied to their legs. As you can imagine, I suffered minor nightmares as my birthday approached.
And that day came.
I entered my team room to the Cheshire grins of my brothers. Someone was singing “Happy Birthday” with a chuckle. I readied myself and, embracing the strategy I had devised, I spoke:
“I’ve decided, gentlemen, that I would not be participating in this ‘birthday bash’ tomfoolery. I’m protesting this with passive resistance; I won’t fight you.”
The Reverend Chill-D got his name when he suddenly, unexpectedly and inexplicably, found Jesus once… for about a week. The Reverend was the pinnacle instigator and executer of the most heinous of hazing events. He loved it; it was in his life’s blood; he could taste it; he was born again into a world where hazing held the only key.
“You’re gonna do what… you’re not gonna do what, Geo??” he questioned with our noses damned-near touching tips.
“I… I… I’m not going to fight you guys, Chill-D.” I stammered.
“Well, well, well…” the Reverend continued, “Boys, looks like we got ourselves a coward! And we all know what we do with cowards!”
Suddenly, a great pounce erupted in the room. There was much suffering and gnashing of teeth; sinew and tendon stretched dangerously close to its tinsel edge. Bone creaked and popped and nearly broke… but held fast.
When I came to, I couldn’t move. I was bound, somehow, on every inch of my body and lying supine on the floor. I was gagged with what I recognized by taste as duct tape, a thing all military folk know as “hundred-mile-an-hour tape, roll, green in color, one each.” I divined that my body, too, was bound in such fashion. From behind, I was lifted vertically at my head by an unseen force. I could understand now that I was duct-taped to a moving dolly.
“Time to go to the pool, Great Houdini… we’re throwing you in the pool taped to this dolly. Better start thinking how you’re gonna free yourself!” and I truly did start to ponder that conundrum, as I knew my men not to be simple braggarts. How long could I hold my breath? What tools might I be carrying in my flight suit?
A man shot into the room with a canteen cup and sheet of paper. With the shriek of more stripping of tape, the canteen cup was taped fast to my right hand, and the paper was slapped to my chest.
“We’re taking him right now to the finance window and standing him next to it!” reported the villain.
I was rolled to the finance window and stood. There, in line at the window, was a group of eight women from the Unit waiting to collect travel funds. As the boys left me, there was much staring and blinking between me and the women. I rolled my eyes vigorously to the extent that I became nauseous.
“Please help…” one of the women began to read the sign on my chest, “…I must raise .56 to buy each of my friends a soda. If I fail to raise this money by 1300hrs, they will kill me.”
And the kind ladies each chipped in their change from their travel funds until I had some $40.00 and even a roll of Starburst candies. Yet I stood. I stood until some valiant men from our Signal Squadron came and sliced me loose.
As I stepped back to my squad bay pushing the dolly, I realized there would be more scunion to bear from the boys. I paused… and as the pool door was just to my side, I stepped in and plunged myself into the watery goodness.
I then sloshed my way through the squadron lounge where my brothers languished before the TV, being it still the lunch hour.
“What the hell happened to you?” queried the Reverend.
“Some pipe-hitters from C-Squadron cut me loose… but then they throttled me and threw me in the pool!” I sulked as I headed for my team room. En route, I passed a bubba from our A-Assault team standing in the open doorway smiling at me.
“How that that new passive resistance policy of yours working out for ya, Geo?”
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.”
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.