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.”
One of the benefits of quarantine is catching up on every single television show ever made. There’s nothing better than revisiting some of the classics and clearly, Cheers has to make that list. What’s extra entertaining is when these 40-year-old shows accurately predict the future (like these M*A*S*H episodes).
In episode five of season one, Cheers absolutely nails it.
In this episode, titled “Coach’s Daughter,” customer Chuck (played by Tim Cunningham) sits at the bar and tells bartender Sam (Ted Danson) and the Cheers’ regulars that he has a new job at a biology lab. He shares his anxiety about working with mutant viruses and the reaction from the Cheers’ crew couldn’t be any more fitting to what we are experiencing with COVID-19.
Cheers ran from 1982 through 1993 with 275 half-hour episodes. Although it was almost cancelled early on, it made it an impressive 11 seasons. Set in a bar in Boston, visiting the friendly location on the airwaves became a weekly household staple, with everyone wanting to visit the place, “Where everybody knows your name.” Cheers earned 26 Emmy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards and many other accolades. It remains one of the best shows in history.
Cheers had several episodes with military-connected plots, although none better than “One for the Book,” which aired December 9, 1982. In this iconic episode, two customers enter the friendly neighborhood establishment, and of course their paths should meet. One is Buzz Crowder played by Ian Wolfe.
Buzz and his buddies from WWI agree to meet every 10 years for a reunion, but just as we see with our WWII veterans present day, Buzz’s peers are dwindling. In this episode, Buzz is the last one left. Luckily for him, you may walk into Cheers alone, but you’ll never leave without making friends. In “One for the Book,” that friend happens to be a young man getting ready to head to the monastery and looking for a night of fun before he becomes a monk.
Photo: Cheers, NBC Universal
While Cheers ran on NBC, all 275 episodes are now available for streaming on CBS All Access. Start today and we’re confident you can finish the series before the end of quarantine. Or, let’s be honest, by the end of the week.
Toys today are much safer than those our parents had – and that’s a good thing. Even though so many bemoan the “everyone gets a trophy” mindset, let’s face it, some of the toys of yesteryear may have seemed like fun to the adults designing them, but they weren’t the best idea in the hands of children. These banned children’s toys might actually have “fun” purposes, but we think they’re really best for training kids for war.
The toys of yesteryear had so much going for them. These fun features allowed kids to main, poison, spear, and otherwise seriously injure their playmates. All in the name of good fun! This list of banned toys might no longer be around, but they’re still alive in our hearts. If you’re too young to have enjoyed these wild toys, just ask anyone born before 1900. Chances are they not only remember them but have the scars to prove it.
1. Lawn Darts
Also called “Jarts,” anyone who grew up in the 90s remembers these banned darks. What a random idea for a toy! Lawn darts are pointed steel stakes with plastic stabilizer fins, weighted to always come down point first. The idea was to stand far from a marked target area, then toss the darts high in the air, so they come down within the area.
What really happened, as you might expect, is the darts never hit their targets and hit eyeballs, elbows, and everywhere else instead.
2. The CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit
Prayers everywhere were answered when the CSI Fingerprint Kit hit the shelves. Or at least, the prayers of 10 year olds, that is. Finally, pre-teens everywhere could solve mysteries and drop one-liners as they put on their sunglasses. The kit also helped kids learn how to operate in a chemical warfare environment since the dust used to lift the fingerprints contained tremolite, a deadly form of carcinogenic asbestos. This banned toy was pulled from the shelves shortly after its arrival, but we’re not totally sure why.
3. The Atomic Energy Laboratory
Does your little one have the problem of being lumped into some kind of “Axis of Evil?”
Well, all you need to do now is go back in time and get your hands on the Gilbert Atomic Energy Laboratory. The U-238 Lab (yes, that was its name) came complete with radioactive materials to get the little Marshal and the glorious people’s democratic revolutionary nuclear program up and running before he meets the same fate as Saddam. Wait, in case you didn’t read that all the way through – the U-238 Lab came with radioactive materials. There are so many obvious reasons why this is on the banned toy list. Can you imagine giving nuclear materials to a 10 year old?
4. Kite Tube
Ever wanted to practice some Navy SEAL skills in a CRRC when you were a kid? Not being a SEAL and not having a CRRC should have stopped no one. In fact, young kids could have had CRCC skills training and airborne training – at the same time. Enter the Kite Tube. This banned toy is actually as dangerous or worse than any military live-fire exercise. And it’s probably killed more people than ISIS.
5. Splash Off Water Rockets
They aren’t from North Korea, they just act like they are. The idea behind the Splash Off Water Rocket is that the main compartment would fill up with water pressure until it had enough pressure to slip the surly bonds of Earth.
Unfortunately for kids, instead of breaking Earth’s bond, it shattered the compartment, launching plastic shrapnel in 360-degrees at water rocket velocity. So while this could teach kids to accept failure like the North Korean missile program, it could also teach them to dodge mortar and grenade shrapnel.
6. Mattel’s Sonic M Blaster
I’m not actually certain this was ever banned, but if it hadn’t premiered in the 1950s, it would have been. Nothing beats letting your kids fire a compressed air gun that not only fired the burst of air but also was loud enough to rupture an eardrum at close range. It was a weapon meant for a young Snake Plissken.
In case you were wondering, yes, that’s a young Kurt Russell taking out his neighbor’s property. They won’t do anything about it, because hopefully, they know better than to mess with a kid that’s learning to aim and fire a bazooka.
7. Austin Magic Pistol
You know it’s a weapon when the size of the round in the toy is on the cover of the box. This 1940s-era muzzle-loaded “toy” used an explosive mix of calcium carbide (aka “Magic Crystals”) and water to fire a ping-pong ball at high velocity.
They’re not our moms or our dads, but they are just as tired of our tomfoolery. Commanders put up with our clowning while taking the brunt of responsibility from Leadership for the squadron and let’s remember: all sh*t rolls downhill. Thanks to the Commander, probably a little less rolled down to us. This holiday season, let’s show our Commanders our appreciation for driving them to the brink of insanity on a weekly, if not hourly, basis.
Ear Plugs: for when they have to sit through yet another meeting about the length of your sideburns. You could also swipe some of these guys from the front desk on your way out to the flightline.
Scotch: single malt is best, though more economical alternatives will also do the trick in case SNACKO funds are running low. Pay your SNACKO bills people. Commander deserves the good stuff.
Spoofer Email Address: to deflect orders from higher ups to requisition volunteers for Wing-wide mandatory fun. Can’t reply to an email you never get.
GPS Tile: to track that one guy in your squadron who can’t make it back in time before curfew. Which was created because of him in the first place after a night in Songan… or Iwakuni…or Sigonella…or Phuket…or Dubai…or Yuma… or….
A Giant A** Umbrella: We all have our commanders to thank for the protection they provide from the ongoing storm of sh*t that rains down from the Good Idea Fairies known as Leadership.
A Giant A** Butterfly Net: Alternatively, to keep the hare-brained shenanigan butterflies from fluttering around the squadron up to Leadership.
Flowers: for their spouses. No doubt the hours they’ve spent worrying about us have taken their attention away from their family. Their real kids probably did not drink a bottle of Fireball and then get handcuffed on the curb for peeing in the bushes near a Saddle Ranch, and yet the Commander has to answer that call at 2am. We’re sorry. And it wasn’t our fault. It was only a security guard anyway, not the real police.
A Laser Pointer – because herding cats is hard and they deserve to have their fun.
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.
From the outside, the U.S. military is the finest fighting force on earth. For those who have served in its ranks, the reality behind the scenes is a bit different. In fact, most units have tons of gear that is either too old or too dangerous to use these days. But, you can’t throw them out because they’re still sensitive items in someone’s property book. Here are some of the most common.
1. Reagan-era vehicles and their associated items
Maybe it’s the keys to a CUCV that was turned in decades ago but never signed over. Or perhaps it’s a maintenance manual for the M880 Dodge that’s now being driven by a local who works as a contractor on post (still don’t know how he ended up with the keys). Better yet, a starter motor for a deuce and a half that keeps getting signed over from NCO to NCO because no one wants to get rid of something so valuable. This kind of stuff seems to be hanging around in every motor pool across the military. Just hope you don’t have one of the actual vehicles still hanging around. If you do, make sure your SGLI is up to date before getting in it.
Technically, this stuff is still used by the Navy. Even so, it’s mainly the old K-pot that’s officially in use aboard ships. Yet, somehow, these old vests and helmets in M81 U.S. Woodland camo still hang around supply rooms like an annoying party guest that you just can’t get rid of. Naturally, they’re still on the property book and can’t be DX’d either. Introduced in 1983, the Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops was a huge step forward in protective gear from the old M1 steel helmet and flak jacket. However, armor has come a long way since then. The only folks in uniform who should be wearing this stuff is ROTC cadets and that’s only so they can build character.
3. KOI-18 Tape Reader
If you’ve had to account for one of these and didn’t know what it was, you’re in good company. If you’ve ever actually used one, you’re a unicorn. The KOI-18 is a hand-held paper tape reader developed by the NSA. It’s a fill device for loading cryptographic keys into security devices like encryption systems. These days, NCOs just instruct on the history and operation of the KOI-18, but never actually use it. If you did have to use it, and thus burn the tape, you have our sympathies. The tape is thin, prone to jamming, and surprisingly difficult to burn. Most units still have them because of MTOE requirements, so don’t you dare lose track of it.
4. Old laptops
Let’s be honest here. These things can barely run your annual cyber awareness training. The only reason they’re still signed to someone is that S6 can’t (or won’t) take them back. These things are sitting in a drawer somewhere and only come out for property inspections or when someone new arrives and you really want to mess with them. Yes, that is a floppy disk drive. No, you can’t get a new computer.
The infantry squad leader is a billet that demands leadership and integrity. There is an unofficial rite of passage that every squad must endure. I’m not talking about the first order issued or the trials of combat. No–it’s when your squad leader sings his favorite, stereotypically “girly” songs. Maybe it’s boredom or his brain has turned to soup because of all the stupid he has to put up with.
In Afghanistan, our squad leader lost a bet to our Staff NCO and had to do a patrol debrief wearing spandex short shorts. What we saw was not meant for mortal eyes. The constant stretching and Ke$ha songs, however, were not mandatory. If he had to pay the price, so did all of us. If your squad leader doesn’t sing ridiculous songs at some point, is he even a real leader?
Ke$ha – Tik Tok
Vietnam Veterans had Jimi Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival – meanwhile, we have this. Out of all the things that can give someone PTSD, I can’t listen to this song without remembering the horrors of that day. Was it worth it Staff Sergeant?
Pinkfong – Baby Shark
If you have had kids this song has given you PTSD. Naturally, drill instructors sunk their teeth into it immediately at the height of it’s popularity.
Katy Perry – Firework
For a long time, Katy Perry was the darling of the Marine Corps. She has done numerous shows for the troops on USO tours and even made a tribute music video. She has partnered with UNICEF and Generosity Water to help children around the world. Her humanitarian resume stretches decades into the past making it less inhibiting to be a fan in uniform. If your squad leader didn’t at least hum this during a tactical halt, sweating and losing his marbles – yet happy, then it wasn’t a real deployment.
Britney Spears – Baby one more time
A classic. A must have on the list. Generally the older SNCOs sing this because of their aversion to pop culture, although ironically, this is pop culture – but old.
Christina Aguilera – Genie in a Bottle
Same as above.
Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
When I was a devil pup embarking on my first deployment, this song hit the air waves. Unfortunately for us, since we were without internet, it was one of the only songs people would sing. Mother Monster is beautiful and a great singer. However, when her lyrics come out of the mouth of the leadership, you start reevaluating your life choices.
The Navy’s theme song
As is tradition.
Aqua – Barbie Girl
We’ve all sung this one. Laugh it up because then we’re going in a fun run when its over. Even the Russians are doing it!
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?”
Military brochures are colorful and glossy, full of awesome pictures showing service members doing some really cool stuff. These pictures usually feature troops flying in helicopters, firing weapons, riding in amphibious assault vehicles, jumping from aircraft, and traveling the world.
There is no question a military career can be very exciting. However, just like any other profession, there can be some mundane tasks that seem unusual and flat-out odd. This is especially true in the military. Here are 7 pictures you won’t see in a military recruiting brochure.
1. Area Beautification (Operation Clean Sweep)
This detail is very common throughout U.S. military bases around the world. One of the most well-known area beatification events happens in the home of the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations at Fort Bragg, N.C. Each May, thousands of personnel take part in “Operation Clean Sweep,” an extravagant term simply meaning a post-wide clean-up effort in preparation for the 82nd’s Airborne All-American Week, a week-long celebration of the famed division.
During Clean Sweep, Soldiers don their PT belts, grab their rakes, and gas up the lawn mowers to bring the “fight” to overgrown weeds, nasty cigarette butts, spit bottles and other items that would make your grandma blush. You can see why these images don’t make for exciting marketing products.
2. Cleaning the Barracks (GI Party)
This is one party you don’t want to be invited to. Service members living in the barracks are used to hearing the expression “G.I. party,” a term originally used during World War II to clean up the living quarters.
This detail has service members cleaning the hell out of the barracks in preparation for an inspection. So grab the buffer, gather the Simple Green, and get the trash bags, it’s party time!
3. Painting Things
Put a paint brush in the hands of a military member and they will paint anything. Whether it is painting rocks, trees, the walls at the barracks, or curbs on the road, military commands always have tons of paint cans around, keeping the good folks at DuPont very happy.
4. Chute Shake
Remember all the fun you had as a child, shaking the rainbow colored parachute during gym class. While this is not that kind of parachute shake, “shaking chutes” is one of the worst details in the Airborne community. It can sometimes take an entire night, where personnel spend their time in a tower hanging hundreds of chutes, untangling lines that are in massive knots, and taking out weeds and debris caught on the parachute after dragging a Paratrooper across the drop zone. This detail makes you appreciate your childhood.
5. Swabbing the Deck
Arrr matey! This detail is straight up old-school going back hundreds of years. This is probably not what new Sailors had in mind when they were told the Navy would “accelerate their life.”
6. Kitchen Patrol or KP
KP duty at the mess hall or galley consists of duties such as food preparation, dish washing, sweeping and mopping floors, wiping tables, serving food on the chow line, or anything else that needs to get done.
Just make it get done or the mess sergeant will go all Gordon Ramsay on you!
Movies are an art medium where every frame can answer a question before it’s even asked. The clever use of symbols, juxtaposition or a turn of phrase can lead the audience down a rabbit hole of their own interpretation. In some movies, the symbols are more obvious, such as the little girl wearing a red coat in Schindler’s List who symbolizes innocence.
These hidden clues are easier to spot in dramas because we’re subconsciously expecting them. We’ve accepted they should be there. In a comedy, however, they’re easy to miss because we aren’t ready for depth. Jo Jo Rabbit is a comedy about a little boy who joins the Hitler youth in Berlin with his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler. At face value, the movie pokes fun of Nazi Germany, but there are a few subtle details that offer a deeper look into life on the other side.
(Warning: spoilers ahead)
When Fraulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson) says, “It’s a great year to be a girl,” after saying she’s had 18 kids and would rate an award called The Mother’s Cross. At face value, it’s a tongue-in-cheek joke that there is a lot of cardiovascular value to a woman’s place aiding the Reich. Hitler really did approve and encourage the procreation of more soldiers for the party. Although she isn’t wearing it in the scene, she would have rated the highest tier of the award after her seventh child.
Hitler doesn’t smoke
The real-life Hitler loathed smoking and wouldn’t allow it in his presence. Yet, in the movie, he offers Jojo cigarettes. During the 1940s, if you were old enough to work, you were old enough to smoke. Since Jojo never met Hitler in real life, he would never have known this. The offer highlights how little the main character knows about the real dictator.
Captain K may have been a spy
At the start of the movie, Captain Klenzendorf says he lost an easily winnable battle due to the incompetence of the Nazi High Command. In reality, the micromanagement by general officers and Hitler himself did play a decisive role in losing the war. Yet, when you hear Captain K state how much he loathed their meddling, and now he has to train the next generation of soldiers, he says he’s using actual grenades.
It is suspicious that when one does blow up it fails to kill Jojo at point blank range. Are they practice grenades and he’s just saying they’re real? Was Jojo just lucky? Could Captain K have sabotaged his own mission? Is he attempting to sabotage training? It’s a stretch if that were the only piece of evidence.
The isolated incident could’ve just been a coincidence, but when the Gestapo raid Jojo’s home, the Captain was on his way to warn him. That scene confirms he is part of the resistance. How long was he part of the resistance? It’s plausible that he was a member from the start.
Real-life espionage has inspired other Hollywood films like Valkyrie and Inglorious Bastards where there is an active resistance against the Reich. So, although many people followed Hitler, there was also a handful who went against the grain.
Also known as the inverted pink triangle, the Rosa-Winkel found on gay concentration camp uniforms. When throwing “undesirables” into the camps, the Nazis also had a system of identifying which undesirable group they belonged to. When Captain K makes his last stand and reveals his true colors (literally), he and his partner both have them on their uniforms. The film hints at their sexual orientation and then confirms it without distracting the audience during his last stand. He no longer has to hide that important part of his life. To put it simply: pride.
Long before the United States was an independent nation, the people of the British Empire were constantly on guard for anything that might disrupt their way of life. This, in part, meant witches, and lots of them. Literally thousands of alleged witches were hunted down and executed under a series of witchcraft laws that made it nice and legal.
Eventually, Parliament had to step in and say enough was enough. In 1735, it passed the Witchcraft Act that made it a crime for a person to claim that any human being had magical powers or was guilty of practicing witchcraft. Surprisingly, it worked in Britain and eventually people stopped invoking the law.
That doesn’t mean the law was no longer on the books. Almost 200 years later, a self-professed medium named Helen Duncan was convicted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735, amid fears that she might actually be able to divulge intelligence about upcoming operations of World War II.
In November of 1941, Duncan held a seance in England where she claimed the ghost of a sailor aboard the HMS Barham visited her. The Barham was in the Mediterranean in 1941, fighting Axis ships attempting to cut off the resupply of the island of Malta. She was actually sunk off the coast of Egypt earlier that year. A German U-boat torpedoed the battleship, taking most of the crew down with it.
The problem was Helen Duncan wasn’t supposed to know that. The Royal Navy wouldn’t announce the sinking until 1942. The only people who were told were naval personnel and the families of those killed aboard the Barham. It caught the ears of naval intelligence, who decided to keep a close watch on Duncan the medium.
She was later arrested in January 1944 under the Witchcraft Act, an act that many believe happened because military leaders were concerned she might actually be able to talk to spirits. Some of her followers contended that superstitious military officers were afraid that, through her ghosts, she might be able to reveal the secret plans for Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe.
That might have been the case, but the nail in the coffin for Helen Duncan did come in 1944. In January of that year, two Royal Navy officers attended one of Duncan’s seances. Duncan attempted to spook one of the men by “manifesting” first his deceased aunt, and then his deceased sister. The officer’s aunts and sisters were all still very much alive.
He reported Duncan to the police, who raided one of Duncan’s later seances. They found a hat band from a sailor’s uniform supposedly manifested from the HMS Barham. But the medium’s lack of uniform regulations did her in. The hat bands of British sailors at the time only read “HMS” and not the name of the vessel on which they served.
Duncan was tried and convicted of claiming to perform fraudulent spiritual activity, defrauding people of their money and generally being a public nuisance.
The real reason for Duncan’s arrest was likely the revelation of the sinking of the HMS Barham and her sources of information. Intelligence authorities weren’t worried about her getting information from ghosts, they were worried about the very real person from which she gained classified information. Most importantly, they were concerned about how she was spreading that information.
Free image/jpeg, Resolution: 1593x1044, File size: 504Kb, Clipart of Military Branches emblems.
Civilians believe in all kinds of stereotypes about the military. Every branch believes in stereotypes about each other, too. Most are complete nonsense, but we can all stand to laugh at ourselves, right? Based on your personality, which branch of the US military would you be?
If you had average grades, an average personality, and have vaguely jock-ish tendencies, congratulations! You’re the Army.
You were probably your parent’s firstborn child. You don’t have much to prove, so you don’t have a ton of ambition. You were probably better at P.E. than any other subject in school, and getting ripped in the Army is appealing. If you can’t have a unique personality, at least you can have abs. You played sports so you’re not bad at teamwork…mostly.
You know you want to join the service, but the specifics? You haven’t a clue. The Army is, well, the Army. It’s sort of a natural default, and let’s face it; picking the obvious choice is pretty much your go-to. That’s okay. The Army is happy to make your decisions for you.
If you were asked to secure a building, you’d do it by the books. The safe choice, just like your choice of branch.
If you were a bit of an outcast and in the drama club (possibly the closet, too), congrats! You’re the Navy.
You were a middle child who wasn’t quite sure where you belonged. You probably didn’t fit in at school either, but at least you got decent grades. You didn’t want to get stuck in P.E. so you joined the track team. You never won a race, but you never came last either. You had more than your fair share of *ahem* romantic exploration, but not in a frat-boy kind of way. More of a band camp way, really. Since you’re going to be at sea with limited options, that’s probably not going to change. You’re a bit of a nerd who likes to play with legos. You want to explore a little, but you don’t really want to fight much, and that’s cool.
You’ll get to drink beer, bitch, and stare at water all over the world. In a fierce uniform, too. If you’re a middle child with something to prove, you’ll probably try to become a SEAL. Good luck with that. If you were asked to secure a building, you would lock all the doors and call it a night.
If you went to Kumon Math and liked it, congratulations! You’re the Air Force
You were an only child whose mom thought “fart” and “shut up” were bad words. Academics were easy, but you HATED P.E. Hated it. You were always picked last and the only game you were good at was dodgeball. (And only the dodging part.) You knew how smart you were though, and that restored some of your self-confidence and gave you a bit of a superiority complex in one go. If you were on the preppier side of superior, you probably wore Lacoste polo shirts. Your Air Force uniform will be the worst, but you’ll also land the highest paying job when you retire from the military. It evens out. Maybe you want to serve, maybe you just want to play with fancy tech gear. Does it really matter?
If you were told to secure a building, you’d buy it and upgrade the A/C.
If you think you’re the absolute sh*t, congratulations! You’re the Marine Corp.
You were either your parent’s favorite or least favorite. There’s no middle ground here. You have the arrogance and aggression of someone who was either told that he was the best, or wants to convince everyone that he is. In high school, you were definitely a jock. You were probably in JROTC, and during football or hockey, you were probably the hothead who started a fight.
That didn’t dissuade the cheerleaders, though. They were into it. When ladies here you call them “ma’am” while in uniform, they’ll probably be into that, too.
Remember what we said about picking fights? Yeah, that’s still a thing. Everyone knows war is part of military life, but you literally signed up for it. Blowing sh*t up sounds like a good time. You’re the kid who loved action movies a little *too* much, but at least you’re insanely tough.
If you were asked to secure a building, you’d just chuck some grenades through the windows. OOH-RAH!
If you were a class clown with a secret heart of gold, congrats! You’re the Coast Guard.
You were probably the youngest child. Your parents were a little more laidback raising you, so you kind of did your own thing. You might have been a bit shy from living in the shadow of your older siblings, so you used comedic flair to set yourself apart. You were a bit of a nuisance to your teachers, but at heart, you were a sweet kid.
You developed into an average, nice guy who wants to serve but isn’t crazy about violence. You might join the Navy, but you’d prefer to see land (and people) a little more often. If you were asked to secure a building…well, don’t worry about that. No one would ask you anyway.
Well, were we right?
Probably not, but it was all in good fun anyway. Even if you’re a ultra-nerd or a bit of a bro, if you’re a service member or vet, you have our gratitude. If you’re thinking about enlisting, check out our real tips on how to choose the right branch!
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.