Here's why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you) - We Are The Mighty
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Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)

The M1 Abrams main battle tank gets a lot of attention and respect. As well it should; it has a very enviable combat record – not to mention a reputation that is simply fearsome.


After all, if you were facing them and knew that enemy shells fired from 400 yards away bounced off the armor of an M1, you’d want to find some sort of white fabric to wave to keep it from shooting at you.

But the Abrams doesn’t operate alone. Often, it works with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, or BFV. The “B” could also stand for “badass” because the Bradley has done its share of kicking butt alongside the Abrams, including during Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
An M2A2 Bradley in action during a mission in Iraq. (U.S. Air Force)

Incidentally the Bradley took a lot of flak early on, pun intended. People called it a “coffin ready to burn.” U.S. News and World Report placed it on their list of America’s 10 Worst Weapons. Even the legendary “60 Minutes” took its shots at the vehicle.

That said, the Bradley proved `em wrong in Desert Storm. Here are some of the reasons why:

Chain Gun Firepower

The Bradley has the M242 25mm Bushmaster chain gun, and can hold up to 900 or 1500 rounds, depending on whether you are in the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle or M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle. This chain gun can handle just about any battlefield threat. Opposing armored personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles, dismounted infantry, trucks, just about anything on the battlefield short of a tank can be taken out. That sells the M242 short. In Desert Storm, one Bradley even took out a T-72 with that chain gun!

An Anti-Tank Missile, Too!

But the Bradley didn’t forget the fact that tanks are on the battlefield. It has a two-round launcher for the BGM-71 Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided (TOW) missile. The BGM-71E TOW has a range of about two and a third miles, and carries a 13-pound shaped charge. This is enough to rip just about any tank to shreds. The BGM-71F attacks the top of a tank with two explosively formed projectiles.

Oh, and the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle can stow five reloads for its launcher. The Cavalry Fighting Vehicle carries ten — almost enough to take out an entire company of tanks.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment conducts a combat patrol in Iraq. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon)

The Grunts

The Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle can carry up to seven grunts in the back. What can grunts bring to the table? Plenty. With M4 carbines, M249 squad automatic weapons, M203 grenade launchers, M320 grenade launchers, the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile, and a host of other weapons, the grunts can add to the vehicle’s already impressive punch.

The Cavalry Fighting Vehicle carries two grunts, but they have access to the same weapons that the grunts in the Infantry Fighting Vehicle do.

Versatility

The Bradley also comes in the Bradley Linebacker version. This Bradley, designated the M6, replaced the TOW launcher with a four-round launcher for the FIM-92 Stinger. Now, the Bradley could hunt aircraft and helicopters. It retained the M242, though, which still gives it the ability to handle ground targets.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Hard-charging grunts in an M6 scan the sands of Balad for insurgents. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Acosta)

The M7 Bradley Fire Support Vehicle replaced the M113-based M981, and while it still has a 25mm gun, it uses a sophisticated navigation system (a combination of GPS and inertial navigation) to serve as a reference point. The TOW system has been replaced with something far more deadly: the means to provide laser designation for anything from Hellfire missiles, to Copperhead laser-guided artillery rounds, to Paveway laser-guided bombs like the GBU-12 and GBU-24.

Other versions of the Bradley are used for command and control and for combat engineers. In short, this vehicle can do a lot.

Toughness

The Bradley has not been easy to kill. During Desert Storm, only three were lost to enemy fire. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, about 150 Bradleys were lost from all causes. Still, the vehicle still allows the crew and grunts inside to survive.

It Keeps Up

One problem with the M113 armored personnel carrier has been the fact it couldn’t keep up with the M1 Abrams. The Bradley never had that problem — and was able to fight side-by-side with the M1, allowing such feats as the 24th Infantry Division’s advance of 260 miles during the 100-hour long ground war of Desert Storm.

The combat record of the Bradley also speaks volumes. In Desert Storm, Bradleys destroyed more enemy vehicles than the Abrams.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
The M2 Bradley has seen a lot of desert miles. (National War College Military Image Collection)

It Keeps Getting Better

The Bradley isn’t standing still. Like the M1 Abrams, it has received upgrades thoughout its career. By 2018, the new versions of the Bradley will be entering service, bringing a more powerful engine, new shock absorbers, and an improved power-management system, among other improvements.

So, before you dismiss the badass Bradley, keep these things in mind. The United States Army bought over 4,600 of these vehicles — and it has outlasted two efforts to replace it in the Future Combat Systems XM1206 and the Ground Combat Vehicle Infantry Carrier Vehicle. Not a bad track record for this vehicle!

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16 photos that show how the US military responds to natural disasters

When natural disaster strikes at home or abroad, America usually sends its military to aid in rescue and recovery. Engineers, search and rescue, and logistics specialists pour into the area to save as many people as quickly as possible.


Here are 17 photos that show what that’s like.

1. Troops are rushed to the area, usually via cargo aircraft.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air Force Staff Sgt. Eric Harris

2. In the crucial first hours, disaster survivors can be rescued from collapsed or flooded structures. Engineers carefully shore up crumbling buildings and cut through obstacles.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air Force Senior Airman Tania Reid

3. During hurricanes and tsunamis, there’s a good chance some survivors will have been swept to sea. Trained swimmers work to extract them.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air Force Airman 1st Class Krystal Ardrey

4. Survivors are transported to safe areas in military aircraft and vehicles.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Blackwell

5. When possible, the Navy sends its hospital ships to the disaster zone. The USNS Mercy and USNS comfort are floating hospitals with capacity for 1,000 patients each.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Blackwell

6. Field hospitals are set up to receive and treat the injured or sick after the disaster.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air Force Airman 1st Class Justyn M. Freeman

7. As survivors are being evacuated to care facilities, equipment, food, and other necessities surge in.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air Force Master Sgt. Roy A. Santana

8. If the local transportation network has been damaged, the U.S. military finds workarounds. Here, a group of Air Force combat controllers direct air traffic at Toussaint L’Ouverture Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there knocked out the control tower.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air Force Staff Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios

9. As supplies come in, they are moved overland to shelters and distribution centers.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago

10. Sometimes, engineers have to prevent additional damage from aftershocks or continuing flooding.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago

11. The engineers can operate 24-hours-a-day to get ahead of rising water.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago

12. Sandbags and materials can be dropped into place by helicopters, vehicles, or carried in by troops.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago

13. When helicopters are used, the crew chief directs the pilots in order to get the materials in the right spot.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air National Guard Airman Megan Floyd

14. Clearing roads allows for more vehicles to move supplies and evacuees.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Air Force Airman 1st Class Clayton Cupit

15. If invited by local government officials, troops will help patrol disaster areas.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Army National Guard Sgt. Brian Calhoun

16. As the situation begins to stabilize, the military will assist with clean up as well. Eventually, they’ll be released back to their normal missions.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Stefanie Pupkiewicz

MIGHTY TACTICAL

This is how Israel used the Mirage to control the skies

When people think of the Israeli Defense Force, they usually think of the Israeli versions of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle. But the one plane that did more to help Israel control the skies over the Middle East was actually French-designed and built.


Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
An Israeli Mirage III at a museum. Giora Epstein scored the first of his 17 kills, a Su-7, in a Mirage III. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

That plane was the Dassault Mirage III. This plane was born in the wake of combat experience from the Korean War where the Soviet MiG-15 proved to be a very dangerous adversary, taking the United Nations by surprise. France quickly realized it had to be able to defeat not just Soviet bombers, but the fighters that would escort them.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
MiG-15 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The plane was delivered to the French Air Force in 1961. It was capable of carrying heat-seeking missiles, like the Sidewinder, or a radar-guided R530 missile. The Israelis, however, would depend primarily on the two 30mm cannon and how they performed in aerial combat.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
A right-side view of two Mirage III aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force taking off on a mission during the joint Australian, New Zealand, and US (ANZUS) Exercise TRIAD ’84. (USAF photo)

The Mirage went on to earn its credibility in combat during the Six-Day War in 1967, flying under the Israeli flag. Mirages helped dominate the skies, pre-empting a planned Arab attack. The gun-camera footage shows airbase attacks and air-to-air kills. Pilots like Ran Ronen and Giora Epstein used the plane on their way to reaching ace status. The Six-Day War caused France to issue an arms embargo, forcing Israel to steal the Mirage 5 plans, and, with them, develop the Kfir.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Three F-21 Kfirs in flight, arguably Israel’s ultimate version of the Mirage III family. (USMC photo)

The Mirage III also served with France, Pakistan, Argentina (where it saw action in the Falklands War), Australia, and a number of other countries. Some of these planes, or the derivative Mirage 5, are still in service today.

Learn more about this classic French jet in the video below.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Lk5fXVrXQE
(Dung Tran | YouTube)
Articles

Here’s how Russia would win if the war against the US came down to artillery

In a hypothetical war with Russia, the U.S. holds a lot of advantages. America’s Air Force and Navy are the largest in the world. The U.S. military is an all-volunteer force while Russia’s military is still reliant on conscriptions to fill out the ranks.


But there is one area of a conventional war where Russia holds a real advantage: artillery. While America has evolved into a leader in precision artillery fires, Russia has continued to build on its range and ability to deliver massed fires, which are more important factors in an artillery battle between armies.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
A U.S. Army Paladin fires at night. Photo: US Army Spc. Ryan Stroud

The U.S. Army worked hard for its precision. Artillery presents a lot of natural challenges to accuracy. The arc of the round and the time of flight, anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, means that the environment gets a lot of chances to blow artillery off target.

Plus, artillery crews can’t usually see their targets or where their rounds land. A forward observer calls the guns from the frontline and reads off target data. The gun crew uses this description to fire. The observer will let them know if they hit anything, what corrections to make, and how many more rounds are needed.

Target movement makes the challenge even harder. Crews still have to rely on the observer, but against moving targets they also have to hope that the target won’t change its direction or speed in the 30 seconds to three minutes that the round is flying to the target.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Army Cpt. Angela Chipman

But the U.S. managed to create precision fires by spending a lot of time and money on laser and GPS-guided artillery rounds that can steer during flight. It also trained its crews for maximum accuracy even when using more traditional rounds.

Because of this innovation and work, American artillery crews could engage enemy forces within a couple hundred meters of friendly troops as long as the observer agrees to a “Danger Close” mission and the crew double checks their math. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan could drop rounds near schools and mosques while remaining confident they wouldn’t destroy any friendly buildings.

The problem is this precision isn’t as necessary in a fight against another nation state. After all, if the enemy has troops camped along a ridge, missing the center by a couple hundred feet wouldn’t matter much. The round would still hit one of the tents or vehicles. And massed fires, shooting a lot at once, would ensure that any specific target would likely be destroyed.

So instead of investing as much as the U.S. did in getting super accurate, Russia invested in getting more guns and rockets that could fire faster and farther.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: Public Domain

Some of those new rockets and guns can fire farther than their U.S. counterparts, meaning that American artillerymen would have to drive their guns into position and emplace them while Russian artillery is already raining down around them.

Russia also invested in new capabilities like drones that pack into rocket tubes and kamikaze themselves against targets as well as thermobaric warheads that fit onto rockets and can be fired en masse. Thermobaric weapons release fuel or metal fragments into the air and then detonate it, creating a massive blast wave and flash fire.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
An American thermobaric bomb is dropped in the desert. (Photo: US Air Force Capt. Patrick Nichols)

These developments have not gone unnoticed by the U.S. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster gave a briefing in May where he talked about the new threats from Russia’s artillery and called for America to get more serious about artillery against a near-peer adversary.

It’s not time to go running under the tables, yet. Russia’s advantage in an artillery duel is partially countered by America’s dominance in the air. Bombers could launch strikes against the most-capable of the Russian guns provided that the guns aren’t defended by Russia’s top-tier air defenses.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Photo: US Army Spc. Gregory Gieske

America also has more numerous and more capable cruise and other long-range missiles than Russia, meaning that there would be opportunities to degrade Russia’s capabilities before the two artillery forces clashed. And America does have great drone and thermobaric capabilities, just not in its artillery corps.

But if America wants an advantage in all areas ahead of a potential war, it’s time to get serious about massed fires once again.

Articles

13 hilarious urinalysis memes every troop will understand

Time for another round of memes. This week we’re doing something a little different by highlighting the infamous urinalysis. That’s right, the pee test. They say it’s necessary for a sober military, but it’s really more like a creepy invasion of privacy. What, they don’t trust us?


Urinalysis is the fastest way to get everyone on pins and needles.

 

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
That tiny cup holds so much power.

You know it’s going to be a long day when it starts like this …

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
She seems chipper.

That reaction to urinalysis raises suspicions.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Not today.

Meanwhile, across the room, there’s downer Dave with a lot on his mind.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Downer Dave is the guy who blows his paycheck the same day he receives it.

And why are urinalysis observers people you rarely see in your unit?

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
The level of enjoyment is concerning.

Oh yea, that’s why.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
It’s the same look he gives you when you’re wearing silkies.

There’s a fine balance between going on demand and holding it.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Power through.

How it feels when it’s finally your turn.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
The creepy level goes up a notch.

Too bad “pecker checker” is already taken.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Breitbart?

Most times, peeing into the urinal is good enough, and there’s this guy …

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Asks you to turn slightly sideways so he can see the whole situation, urine stream, and cup.

What he looks like when you turn and face him.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
What are you looking at?

The feeling you get when it’s finally over, nevermind the observer.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Nailed it.

Then, there’s the pondering boot.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
Stop thinking, you’re not allowed to think.

MIGHTY CULTURE

Top 4, veteran-approved, year-round gift ideas

Christmas time is synonymous with giving and receiving presents. Everyone loves to receive a gift, even it means you have to awkwardly open it front of a person who’s eagerly watching your face, waiting for a reaction. That love of receiving doesn’t begin and end on Christmas morning, though — not by a long shot.

Gift buying is an art. Picking the perfect gift can be difficult, and when you’re shopping for someone close to you, the pressure is on. Now, if one or more of those someones is a veteran, well, you’ve got some thinking to do. Veterans are a special breed. We’ve got an odd sense of humor, an irregular view of ‘normal,’ and can be plain ol’ weird. Finding the right gift for your vet will likely be a mission.


We know the Christmas season is over, but the following gifts can be enjoyed by a vet on any calendar date.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)

Can’t go wrong with any of these choices

(Gadgets Magazine)

Liquor 

9 and a half out of 10 veterans love to drink and can likely throw down with the best of them. Consider buying your vet their favorite bottle of liquor. If it’s one of those gift boxes that comes with a few, nice glasses, that’s great! If not, that’s fine; glasses are optional.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)

Near the top of every Marine’s gift list

(Opting Out)

Functional clothing

Vets love clothing that makes sense. Help out your vet by getting them some clothing that can be useful. Think something somewhere between Under Armor and a ghillie suit.

5.11 Tactical is a good place to start.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)

Just what the doctor ordered… and the vet wanted.

(TheAdventurerr.com)

Trips

Two things veterans can always use more of: travel and relaxation. The type of travel will vary from vet to vet, but we all appreciate a good vacation. It could be as simple as some alone time, a day trip, or a spa day.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to please veterans — just a little attention to detail.

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)

Please, check on your friends this time of year

An ear and a shoulder

Transitioning back into civilian life can be a strange experience for many vets. We might move on, find a job, and start a family, but the feeling of camaraderie will never really be quite the same.

If you’ve got a vet in your life, it might not seem like a gift to you, but give them a call every now and then to check in, see how things are going. It’s a small gesture, but a worthwhile one.

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‘We’ve been hit’: A personal account of 9/11 at the Pentagon

By Cmdr. Randy Lescault, U. S. Navy (Ret.)

It was a beautiful, summer day in Arlington, Virginia, on the bank of the Potomac River on that Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The sky was clear. The blistering heat and humidity had departed the area. It almost felt as if a huge broom had swept across the area, cleansing the air of soot, pollution and pollen. 

I was serving as a Navy Reserve officer assigned as the Program Objective Memorandum (POM) Editor and Publisher in OPNAV’s Programming Division N80, (the Bullpen in Navy parlance) at the Pentagon, Room 4D683. 

At the time, I was personally burdened by the fact that my latest set of Reserve orders were about to expire. As most military folks know,  being on active duty as a reservist is a lot like being a contractor. You are brought on board for a set amount of time. The Navy Reserve was working with my N-80 colleagues to get another set of orders to take me forward through the end of the calendar year. I was quick to answer every phone call or check each incoming email to confirm whether my orders had been approved, or whether I needed to prepare to pack up and head back to Indiana. 

With no answer from the Navy, I was concerned by the uncertainty of my situation. I consider myself a devout Christian, having given my life to Jesus as a teenager, and followed Him as closely as I could. I made this issue a matter of prayer before I slept each night, but, beginning on Thursday night, September 6, and the nights following, I perceived it was perhaps something more. 

Each of those nights after laying down, I was seized by a terrible weight on my being. A sensation like a bird flapping over my face and chest, depriving me of rest, visited me. The feeling left only when I rose to walk and pray aloud or quote Scriptures (quietly, so as not to disturb my roommates) for hours, before finally falling into an exhausted sleep. 

This same routine interrupted my sleep until Monday night, 10 September. That night I slept like a baby, undisturbed. 

At my office in the Pentagon the next morning, it was the usual busy routine of checking messages and correspondence and listening to my colleagues as they chatted back and forth. We were arranged in a double row of cubicles, with one side of the cubicles with their back to the outer wall, where the plate glass windows behind us had just recently been replaced with newer blast-proof materials. We had moved into 4D683 recently, occupying the newly remodeled section, relocating from an older section of the Pentagon.  

I could hear my colleagues talking about the news, when I heard someone say, “Hey, a report here says a plane flew into one of the Twin Towers in New York City!” It was quiet for a moment as everyone logged onto the news to confirm the story. “Must have been bad weather, and maybe a Piper Club lost their way,” one said. Another offered, “Nope, that hole at the impact site doesn’t look like a Piper Cub, and the weather is as clear as a bell”. 

Moments later, at 9:03 a.m., we understood what was happening. 

Recorded live, a Boeing 767 passenger airliner crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Silence descended on the Bullpen, as we all tried to make sense of this terrible, deliberate attack. 

At that moment, I was impressed in my spirit that the Pentagon would be the next target. I said a quick prayer and sent an email to my wife to alert her as to what was going on. I also called and left a message on our answering machine, letting her know my concerns, and sending her and the children my love. A calm descended upon me, and I went back to my work.

Little did I know that she was unaware of the situation but was at home praying for me at that very moment.

At 9:45 a.m., we experienced the odd sensation of a pressure drop in our office area. It lasted only a split second before we heard a muffled explosion. The blast windows actually bulged inwardly for a moment, knocking against the blinds. The lights went out, and some of the overhead tiles popped out. I jumped from my seat and looked out the window, where I could see a dark cloud of smoke coming from the outer ring of the Pentagon, and fine debris falling into the courtyard between our Ring D, and Ring E. I immediately yelled, “We’ve been hit!”

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
USAF photo

An automated announcement instructed us to evacuate immediately. The smell of burning jet fuel (which I was very familiar with, having lived on several air bases, and served on an amphibious assault ship that carried Harrier jets) began to infiltrate the space. 

Everyone began moving quietly to the outside corridor, and from there to the Pentagon Courtyard, a five-acre, open air space in the center of the Pentagon nicknamed “Ground Zero” (because everyone assumed the Soviets used it as their aim point for a nuclear strike). There was no panic that I could detect, only people checking on each other, and trying to make their way to safety. 

When I got to the corridor, I hesitated. I knew that somewhere below me was a burning, exploding aircraft. I was seized momentarily by a desire to run. But across the corridor was a lone Marine major. He was kneeling on one knee, and, looking toward the outer ring of the Pentagon (where smoke was beginning to pour out like a chimney) he was yelling over and over ‘Follow my voice’. Encouraged by this sight, I decided to stay and help. We took turns shouting out, until the smoke was so thick we were lying on our bellies. No one showed up, so we looked at each other and nodded, and made our way to the Courtyard. 

The Courtyard was an incredible sight. Over a thousand military, civilian and contractor personnel stood or sat silently, their eyes trained toward the sky. Again, I was struck by the calm and the orderliness of it all. Finally, a civil defense officer appeared with a bullhorn, asking everyone to move out into the South parking lot. I thought I would join the crowd, but I noticed the Pentagon health clinic professionals setting up a triage area there in the Courtyard. Since I had received first aid training many times over the years, I thought I would remain for awhile to assist as needed. 

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
FBI photo

I made my way into the first floor entrance on the west side of the Pentagon, where the aircraft had obviously impacted the building. Smoke was escaping from the upper floors through broken windows. The first floor was filled with a smoky haze, but you could see figures moving in and out of the corridors. I saw the same Marine major standing there. He had been asked to prevent folks from probing deeper into the burning belly of the Pentagon, since most of us didn’t have any fire protection, breathing gear or helmets, but his efforts were fruitless.  People wanted to help and were headed in anyway. He asked me to take his place on guard, but I couldn’t stop anyone trying to help, either. 

At that moment, someone came out of the smoke and said they badly needed fire extinguishers. I stepped out into the Courtyard and yelled for everyone’s attention. I asked them to go to the other parts of the Pentagon not affected by the impact or fire and grab whatever fire extinguishers they could find and bring them to the first floor entrance. Within minutes, we had quite a pile, ready for rescuers. 

I decided to probe a little deeper into the Pentagon myself to see if I might find someone in need. Just 50 feet or so down the smoky corridor, I could see a figure walking toward me. As I approached him, I could see he had been badly burned and was in shock. There was nothing left of his dress shirt, and about all that remained of his undershirt was the collar around his neck. His skin hung down in sheets from his body, resembling wet newspaper. I tried to find a place to put my hand on him so I could guide him out. I made the mistake of placing my hand on his burned back, and he moaned loudly. I finally figured out that I could get up under his arm. A Navy colleague of mine got him on the other side, and we led him to the Courtyard, where we called out for a medic. 

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
DoD photo

I turned to go back and saw a few men bringing out a Navy petty officer, an African American lady in her summer white uniform. She was clearly in shock. When she reached the clean air of the Courtyard, she rolled her eyes to the clear sky above, slightly smiled in relief, and then collapsed in a heap. 

In the Pentagon corridor again, I saw another figure in the smoke, and walked toward him. It was an Army enlisted man. He was as red as a boiled lobster, and soaking wet from the sprinklers. His glasses were fogged up, and he kept asking me over and over if he was burned bad. I assured him he had what looked like first degree burns, and that he would be okay. I got him to the aid station, where he was collected by the medics. 

Finally, a call rang out for stretcher bearers from inside the Pentagon. An Army officer, Navy officer and I grabbed the only available stretcher, a backboard, and we raced into the smoky darkness. 

By the light filtering through windows and broken doors in the corridor, we could see the floor littered with pieces of mortar and stone, unidentified objects, and what looked like body parts. Figures moved in and out of the smoke with flashlights. We entered the courtyard between Ring C and B. We put down the backboard on a metal desk sitting on the ground. The courtyard was filled with about a foot of water from the broken fire mains. The water was filled with small, sticky pieces—it reminded me of the remains you throw into the lake after cleaning fish. I had a strange feeling as we walked around in it, trying to find a survivor. 

Fire was coming from a large hole that had been punched through the exterior wall of Ring C, probably by what looked like the remains of an aircraft wheel strut. Smoke poured out of the upper floors. Suddenly, there was an explosion, and a few large pieces of the Pentagon façade came crashing down, along with an intact blast window. An Arlington Fire Department officer approached us and asked us to leave immediately, due to the danger and our lack of protective gear. Reluctantly, we departed, finding our way out through one of the many service tunnels that honeycomb the Pentagon. 

Here’s why we love the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (and so should you)
DoD photo

There are many other things I could share personally about that day: the long delay trying to get through to my wife and family with the news I was okay; the emotional toll; trying to find my way back to my rented room some 12 miles away with the highways and all public transportation shut down; the shock of discovering the Twin Towers had collapsed; the rumors; and the reunion with my colleagues and friends. 

But my final thought is God’s keeping power in the midst of the worst terror attack on American soil in our history, for which I am continually grateful. I mourn the loss of my Pentagon colleagues, some who I knew, and many who I did not know. May they always be remembered and honored. I know I will never forget.

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This World War II-era Black tank commander was a real-life ‘Black Panther’

Warren Harding Crecy, known simply as “Harding,” graduated from high school the same year that the United States entered World War II. It was a good thing, too, because Harding was destined to kill some Nazis.

It didn’t look like he would get the chance at first, however. The U.S. Army during much of World War II was segregated and Black soldiers were often kept in the rear or relegated to support missions. As the war continued and more men were needed for combat roles, Black men were used more and more.

The Army’s tank corps was no different. At the war’s outset, white officers believed that Black men were not capable of driving or adequately fighting tanks in combat. One general, Gen. Lesley McNair, thought differently. He advocated for using Black troops in combat from almost the beginning of the war.

Necessity trumped all other considerations and Black combat units were eventually formed, under the command of white officers. The 761st Tank Battalion was one of these units and Warren G. Harding Crecy joined the 761st after completing basic training at age 18. 

The unit’s nickname was the Black Panthers and its motto was “Come Out Fighting.” That’s exactly what Harding did. Harding was a nice guy, a congenial fellow who was easy to get along with in regular, everyday life. Once seated in a tank however, he took on a whole new personality. He would need that alter ego in the war to come.

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Shoulder sleeve patch of the United States 761st Tank Battalion. (Wikimedia Commons)

When they arrived in France, the men of the Black Panthers received a welcome and a pep talk from Gen. George S. Patton himself: 

“Men, you’re the first Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren’t good. I have nothing but the best in my Army. I don’t care what color you are as long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sonsofbitches. Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you. Most of all your race is looking forward to your success. Don’t let them down and damn you, don’t let me down!”

By November 1944, the 761st was fighting in Belgium, near the town of Morville-les-Vic. They fought valiantly in their first engagement, earning the kudos of everyone who saw their actions in combat. 

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Warren Harding Crecy. (Wikimedia Commons)

On Nov. 10, 1944, the unit was engaged with the Germans in Morville, France when Harding’s tank was knocked out of the fight and set on fire. Harding jumped out of the tank and took control of its mounted .30-caliber weapon to cover the men exiting the tank. Then, he went on the offensive.

Harding assaulted a machine gun nest and another German position, knocking each one out in turn. He was soon in another tank, guiding an infantry unit through a wooded area and up a hill through heavy snow, where it came under fire and backed into a tank trench. 

Harding called for another tank, jumped out, and attached his tank to the new tank on the scene in an effort to pull it out of the ditch. The Germans began opening up on the infantry that had accompanied his tank. Harding mounted a .50-caliber machine gun and wiped them all out, then did the same to two enemy machine gun nests, all under intense incoming fire. 

The infantry was saved and Harding earned the nickname “The Baddest Man in the 761st.”

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13 funniest military memes for the week of July 28

North Korea launched a new ballistic missile this morning, so get these memes downloaded before we’re all living the real-world version of Fallout 4.


(By “all,” I clearly mean about four cities on the West Coast. It’s still just North Korea.)

13. “That stripper at the last bar was totally into me!” (via Why I’m Not Re-enlisting)

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12. Come on, what’s 10 miles with 700 feet of altitude gain among friends? (via Team Non-Rec)

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And besides, once you get to the fleet you’ll never have — actually, you will definitely have to ruck even more.

ALSO SEE: Newly released video shows just how operator AF Keanu Reeves can be

11. Look, the height of a cot makes a minimal difference in how likely you are to catch shrapnel (via The Salty Soldier).

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But it makes a maximum difference in terms of comfort. Gotta get those Zs if you’re gonna kill terrorists.

10. Just keep marching, everyone. You’ll reach the end of the rain (via Sh-t my LPO says).

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Course, that’s about when you get shot in the butt, but still.

9. Sure, it was autocorrect, not a Freudian slip (via Decelerate Your Life).

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Not sure which Putin would make Putin more excited.

8. No idea what a 1.5-mile run tests for in a Navy that’s longest ship is 1,106 feet long anyway (via Decelerate Your Life).

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Also not sure how cycling would be useful with all those bulkheads, either.

7. The preparatory drills have never looked so fabulous (via The Salty Soldier).

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He really shines in the climbing portions, though.

6. You should know better than to speak normally to a guy wearing a Darth Vadar mask and respirator (via Sh-t my LPO says).

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At least project your voice or decide on some hand signals or something.

5. Chris Morris comes in off the ropes with some epic trolling (via Coast Guard Memes).

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Forgot to share what lesson he learned, though. Read the instructions, Chris.

4. Only 1,442 days left to that DD-214 life (via Decelerate Your Life).

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Maybe they’ll give you double credit for the days you wear a pink tutu.

3. Be polite during handover; it’s only a Gatsby party for the one leaving duty (via Air Force amn/nco/snco).

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But enjoy your martini regardless.

2. This goes for all junior NCO ranks across the branches (via Air Force amn/nco/snco).

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More work, more accountability, but very little extra respect. Go ahead and keep shamming in the junior enlisted bracket.

1. Maybe some tweaks to the supply chain and training are in order? (via Coast Guard Memes)

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Nah, let’s try another title change and maybe some new uniform candy.

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This ingenious 1911 pistol modification turns it into a dart gun

The 1911 pistol has been around for over 100 years. It is beloved by many for its ergonomics, accuracy and heavy-hitting .45 caliber round. In fact, some versions are still in service with the Marine Corps as the M45.


When something’s been around for so long, it’s also a safe bet that people are tinkering with its design. You can find 1911s in various calibers aside from its original .45 ACO, including 9mm NATO, 10mm Auto, and .22 long rifle.

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In an article at PopularMechanics.com, Ian McCollum of ForgottenWeapons.com noted that during World War II, the Office of Strategic Services wanted something that could allow commandos and other secret agents to kill sentries quietly and at a distance.

This is actually very important because if the sentry sees you and sounds the alarm, he’s won. It doesn’t matter if he’s hit the alarm with his dying effort. That alarm could even be him dying very noisily.

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The key to this was a two-part system that could be added to just about any M1911 pistol that was called “Bigot.” The rear portion was inserted through the ejection port. It had to be set up right to allow the M1911’s slide to close. Then, the piston would be screwed in. After that, a variety of darts – or even mini grenades – could be inserted for use in silently dispatching a sentry of the two-legged or four-legged variety. The darts and grenades would be fired by a .25 ACP blank.

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Ian McCollum holds a M1911 with a Bigot system. The dart looks pretty nasty. (YouTube screenshot)

Tests with a quickly-made reproduction were kind of iffy (only one-third of the darts broke a glass target eight feet away). It’s probably why the Bigot never saw any real action.

Still, if Buffy needed a little extra edge to dust some vamps or if 007 wants a gadget that makes for great cinematic eye candy, it’s probably a good choice. Watch the video below to hear Ian relate what we know about this nifty-looking piece!

MIGHTY CULTURE

6 dos and don’ts you need to know to become a better marksman

Rifle marksmanship is one of the handful of skills that everyone in the military needs to master. It doesn’t matter if you’re an infantryman, a special operator, or an admin clerk in the Reserves, everyone needs to master the fundamentals of marksmanship.

Being well-versed in marksmanship is what makes all of America’s warfighters, without exception, deadly in combat. If that wasn’t enough of an incentive, it’s also the one badge that every troop, service-wide, wears to signify their combat prowess. The marksmanship badge holds enough weight that a young private with expert could easily flex on a senior NCO with just a pizza box.

Here’s what you need to know:


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These fundamentals can be applied to stress shoots, too.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Elvis Umanzor)

Don’t: overthink it

There are just four things (outside of the obvious safety concerns) to worry about while you’re firing a weapon. These four basic components are drilled into every Army recruit’s head while at basic and they’ve been incorporated into marching cadences: steady, aim, breathe, fire. This should be your mental checklist before you take a shot.

Are you and the weapon in a steady position? Are the sights properly aligned to ensure accuracy? Are you breathing normally and timing your shots accordingly? Is your finger comfortably aligned with your trigger so you can pull it straight back?

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Hey, man. It’s cheap, you can practice the fundamentals of marksmanship, and it’s fun.

(Screengrab via YouTube / ThePinballCompany)

Do: practice as much as you can

There are countless drills that you can do if your armorer lets you draw your weapon. For example, there’s the famous “washer and dime” drill. You can test how well you’re following the 4 fundamentals mentioned above by placing a single washer or dime on the barrel of an unloaded rifle. If your stance is good, your aiming isn’t jerky, your breathing is regular, and your trigger squeeze is solid, the balancing dime shouldn’t fall when you pull the trigger.

In the absence of your rifle, as odd as it sounds, you can still get some “range” time at your local arcade. If you spend your entire attention on the four fundamentals, playing some coin-operated shooter video game can be great practice. You’ll have to worry less about aiming, though — those machines are almost always misaligned.

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Spend a little extra time getting everything just right.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jericho Crutcher)

Don’t: rush zeroing

No two people will have the same sight picture, so you need to zero your almost nearly every time. Even something as slight as adjusting where you place your cheek against the buttstock will readjust the sight picture.

Even if you’ve spent the entire afternoon getting everything to surgeon-level precision, do it again. Endure whatever asschewing you’ll get from higher ups and belittlement from your peers because you’re not hurrying along.

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The only terrible part of the day is having to police call the ammo.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tiffany Edwards)

Do: relax

Firing a weapon is meditative for some people. Leave your stresses and worries at the bleachers because, right now, it’s just you and your firearm. In that brief moment when the range safety calls your lane hot, all you need to think about is hitting the target.

Don’t be intimidated by your weapon. You’re almost certainly safe if you’re on the opposite side of the barrel. There will be a bit of a kick when you fire — that’s normal. If you start anticipating the kick, you’re going to screw up all the four fundamentals because you’ll be more worried about how your weapon nudges your shoulder.

Enjoy the fact that you’re not spending your own money on ammunition or range time. If you miss a target, who cares? Don’t waste ammo trying to shoot that target a second time. The Army’s rifle qualification is 40 targets with 40 rounds. If you fire and the target doesn’t go down, don’t spend two more rounds trying to hit it or else you just screwed yourself out of two more potential hits.

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Hate to sound like that guy, but someone else can and will take care of it. Don’t stress.

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Peter Lewis)

Don’t: panic if your weapon jams

There’re plenty of different ways that your weapon might act up, preventing you from putting more rounds down range. The easiest fix is simply slapping the bottom of your lowest-bidder magazine to ensure that the next round enters the chamber.

If it’s something that takes more than a few seconds to fix yourself, simply clear your weapon and place it on the sandbags. Explain what happened to the nearest range safety officer and you’ll probably get another crack at qualifications next round.

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There is a method to the madness. If your NCO is having you clean them days or weeks after the range (and you already cleaned them then), they’re just looking for busy work.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

Do: clean your weapon afterwords

There’s a very good reason that they tell you to clean every single crevice of your rifle every time. A rifle is made up of many tiny, precise mechanisms that need to be perfectly clean and in order to avoid any kind of malfunction. A small carbon build-up can wreck the chamber of a rifle worse than any kind of mud.

On the bright side, while you’re taking your weapon apart and cleaning it thoroughly, you’ll grow a deeper understanding of how these little parts all work in relation to one another. Before you know it, you’ll think of your rifle as an extension of your body.

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5 ways for vet students to relate to their civilian classmates

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Chances are, if you’re using your GI Bill benefits, you’ve probably been in the military for at least a couple of years. That means that you’re somewhere between a bit and a whole lot older than your college classmates. Either way, you’re likely to find that there can be an uncomfortable barrier that exists within the classroom.

Even if don’t plan on running for student government or spending your weekends popping keg stands, a few friendly interactions with classmates can help you avoid four years of silently trudging in and out of class. Here are five tips during your military-to-civilian transition that you might find helpful to bridge the gap if you are going to college after the military


1. Be nice

This one might seem obvious, but it sometimes can be important to remember that “nice” is relative. Military social etiquette can be a bit, let’s call it “unfiltered,” than civilians are used to. You may find that banter with your peers where boots are threatened to be lodged in certain places may not go over quite as well in an academic setting. If possible, avoid referring to them with pet names such as “Freshman Shmuckatelli.”

One area where veterans excel in the classroom is with their ability to interact with an instructor when there is an area of confusion. An 18-year-old freshman might be unwilling to speak up and ask about an error on a syllabus, but keen veterans like yourself know unsat when you see it, and aren’t afraid to point it out. A good way to get on your classmates’ good side is to mediate any sources of confusion with the instructor, and share it with the class.

2. They may seem scary, but they’re probably as afraid of you as you are of them

You’ve completed basic training. You’ve braved the rigors of deployments and workups and KP duty. You’ve battled service bureaucracy and come out more-or-less intact. You can deal with young adults!

Remember, for most college students, their experience with the military is confined to watching Full Metal Jacket or Rambo. For many of them, the military is a scary world, with nothing other than gritty combat and Gunnery Sgt. Hartman shouting hurtful-yet-humorous insults while conducting open ranks inspections. Approach your younger classmates like you would a deer (outside of hunting season). Use slow movements. Nothing too scary. If you want to feed them, avoid grains and grasses. Pizza or a burrito is the smart play here.

3. Get smart about new slang, and use it sparingly

The goal here is to understand what the heck they are saying, not to emulate it. Remember when you were young and an older person tried to be “hip” by saying something was “groovy,” “gnarly” or “totally tubular?” Chances are, you will sound the same way. Perhaps kids today are nowhere near as “x-treme” as you may have been in the past, but it’s probably better if you don’t let them know that.

4. Don’t expect your classmates to respect your old rank, or even have any idea what it means

Sorry to say, master chief, if you tell your classmates your military rank, they are guaranteed to reply “just like Halo!” They have no idea what that means. This really isn’t as bad as it might seem. Remember how, once you woke up from the post-bootcamp haze, you realized that the work a service member does is only occasionally tied to the rank they wear? I’ll bet you’ve encountered lower enlisted members who worked miracles and higher-ranking NCOs and officers who could barely tie their shoes. In the civilian world, that means that if you can describe the work you did in the military, it goes a lot farther than explaining rank anyway. If you treated soldiers in the field, or got to steer an aircraft carrier, that means way more to a civilian than saying you were a specialist or a seaman.

Also, never tell them you were a seaman. They are 100 percent guaranteed to laugh. Heck, you probably still laugh about it too.

5. You have different life experiences, and that’s OK

Even if you’ve separated from military service in your early 20s, you are likely going to find that your experience is different from the college seniors who are around your own age. This is normal. You’ve done something far different than they have with the last few years of your life. There is no reason that you can’t have a fulfilling social experience. Maybe you’ll even learn something.

Are you ready to go back to school?

Check out our new School Matchmaker – tell us what you’re looking for in post-military education and we’ll match you with a Military Friendly® School that exceeds your expectations.

MIGHTY TACTICAL

Russia upgrades stealth on its attempted F-35, F-22 killer

Russian media announced on Jan. 11, 2019, that it had significantly improved the stealth on its Su-57 fighter jet by applying a coating to the glass canopy on the cockpit, as well as similar upgrades to its Tu-160 nuclear bomber.

Russia’s state-owned defense corporation Rostec told Russian media the new coating “doubles radar wave absorption and reduces the aircraft cockpit’s radar signature by 30%” and added that Russia’s Su-57, Su-30, Su-34, Su-35, and MiG-29K jets already have the upgrade.


But none of those jets, including the Su-57, which Russia explicitly bills as a stealth fighter, are considered that stealthy by experts contacted by Business Insider.

While Russia’s Sukhoi fighter/bombers have enviable maneuverability and serious dogfighting capability, only the US and China have produced true stealth fighters.

A stealth scientist working on US aircraft previously reviewed pictures of the Su-57 and concluded in an interview with Business Insider that Russia had hardly even tried to make the plane unobservable to radar.

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(Russian Embassy via Twitter)

Conspicuous rivets jutting out of the airframe and accentuator humps spoiled any possible stealth in the design, the scientist said.

Radar absorbing materials have been used to disguise fighter planes since World War II and have some utility, but will do little to hide Russian jets which have to carry weapons stores externally.

Other experts told Business Insider the Su-57’s likely mission was to hunt and kill US stealth aircraft like the F-22 or F-35.

TASS, a Russian state-run media outlet, described the Su-57 as a “multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities.”

But Russia has declined to mass-produce the jet despite declaring it “combat proven” after limited engagements against rebel forces in Syria that didn’t have anti-air capabilities.

Russia’s next-generation tank, the T-14, also saw its promised mass production run scaled back as Russia struggles with weak oil prices and heavy sanctions on its economy.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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