MIGHTY CULTURE

18 photos of troops lighting up the night

Artillery explosions, flares, and literal walls of fire; here are some of the best nighttime light shows the military has ever put on.

The U.S. military and its allies create some of the best light shows on the planet, filling the night sky with everything from tracer rounds to bursts of artillery fire to missile engines.

Here are 18 of our favorite nighttime light shows from American troops and their buds in battle:


18. A sailor fires a Mk. 48 machine gun on the flight deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark El-Rayes)

17. Flames explode behind the U.S. Navy Blue Angels' F/A-18 Hornets during the night portion of the 2014 Miramar Air Show aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Oct. 4.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Owen Kimbrel)

16. The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin on March 23, 2018, in the South China Sea.

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class William McCann)

15. A landing craft, air cushion (LCAC), assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, approaches the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during night LCAC operations on October 15, 2018, in the East China Sea.

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Barker)

14. A U.S. Marine fires an M777-A2 Howitzer in the early morning in Syria, June 3, 2017.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)

13. Staff Sgt. Brad Foster, a combat medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team out of Pendleton, Oregon, watches the night sky on top of an M113 Medical Evacuation Vehicle during Exercise Saber Guardian 16 at the Romanian Land Forces Combat Training Center in Cincu, Romania.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Timothy Jackson)

12. USS Monterey (CG 61) fires a Tomahawk land attack missile

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Trey Fowler)

11. A Tomahawk land attack missile flies from the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon en route to a target in Syria April, 14, 2018.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kallysta Castillo)

10. An HH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew with Company C, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, fuels up at an airfield just outside of Grafenwoehr, Germany during training Mar. 7, 2018.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory T. Summers)

9. A crew member from Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio, launches a MK-127A1 illumination flare from the bow of a 45-foot response boat during a search in western Lake Erie, June 21, 2014.

(U.S. Coast Guardphoto by Petty Officer 1st Class Phillip Null)

8. Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team 91109 crewmembers fast-rope with California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing aircrews in San Francisco Bay on April 25, 2017.

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew S. Masaschi)

7. Afghan National Army soldiers operate a 122-mm howitzer D-30 at night in Shey Khan, Paktika province, Afghanistan, May 1, 2013.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Raymond Schaeffer)

6. U.S. Army Soldiers with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment fire artillery alongside Iraqi Security Force artillery at known ISIS locations near the Iraqi-Syrian border, June 8, 2018.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Anthony Zendejas IV)

5. Army Sgt. Blayne Peterson, a combat medic representing the Army Reserve Medical Command, engages targets during the M4 carbine qualification night fire event, at the 2013 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition, held at Fort McCoy, Wis., June 26, 2013.

(U.S. Army photo by Timothy Hale)

4. Ship's Serviceman 2nd Class Maria Gonzalez fires a M9 service pistol during a live-fire exercise on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego on Dec. 29, 2017, in the Indian Ocean.

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin Schoenberger)

3. Soldiers with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment fire artillery alongside Iraqi Security Force artillery at known ISIS locations near the Iraqi-Syrian border, June 5, 2018.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Anthony Zendejas IV)

2. A mortar crew from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, fires illumination rounds into the night, Jan 28. 2018, during Inferno Creek 2018 near Thumrait, Oman.

(U.S. Army Central Command)

1. Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Smith fires the 2A18 122-mm Soviet howitzer during the night at Combat Outpost Passerlay Feb. 11, 2013, in Trek Nawa, Afghanistan.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Bobby J. Yarbrough)