Military working dogs hold a special place in the hearts of the troops who work with them. In a practical sense, they’re treated with the same honor and respect as any other troop.
They have a ceremony when they receive awards and are buried with military honors. They hold a rank, and as tradition dictates, one higher than their handler. It’s a tongue-in-cheek custom to ensure the handler treats them properly while giving the working dog some leeway to be a dog if they ever disobey an order.
They have very specific skills tailored to each mission. The role of a MWD can range from a mercy dog, assisting in locating wounded on the front lines, military police K-9s sniffing out narcotics, and EOD dogs, sniffing out explosives. Even fighting dogs join troops on raids, scouting missions, and as sentries in guard posts.
These dogs are comrades, allies, battle-buddies, and – of course –friends.
13. Cpl. Chesty XIV is the current mascot of the U.S. Marine Corps. He is also far more disciplined than nearly every Lance Cpl. in your unit
12. Sgt. Maj. Fosco was the first MWD to complete an airborne jump while being held by his handler, 1st Sgt. Chris Lalonde.
11. Selection and training of MWDs starts the moment they’re born. The more energetic the puppy, the more willing they are to learn.
10. The training process is a rough 93-day program but positive reinforcement is the key.
9. As with human troops, nothing can prepare you for a deployment.
8. Many statues and memorials have been dedicated to the commitment and loyalty of the Military Working Dogs.
7. Aeromedical personnel need to learn the basics of veterinary care in case they get the call to evacuate a wounded MWD.
6. MWDs never complain about spending time with their handlers, even if that means they have to train.
5. Did you know that tennis balls are a key item in the detection of explosives?
4. MWDs are the only troops who are 110% willing to train constantly and at all times of the day.
3. When they call us “Dogfaced Soldiers,” this isn’t what they had in mind.
2. As a handler, it is your solemn duty to love and care for your dog. If they want to play, well, technically, they outrank you.
1. MWDs are given the same respect of an American human troop. Complete with their own canine-version of the battle cross.
Let’s get this straight right away: Doing things that are clearly against the rules makes you a sh*tbag Soldier. However, just because you don’t want to be a sh*tbag doesn’t mean you have to strive to be the best. For many, the goal of Basic Training quickly becomes simply making it to the end.
Just take a few pointers from the E-4 Mafia and you’ll find your Basic Training experience to be much more bearable. Keep in mind that while these may not be against any rules, they certainly won’t win you brownie points with anyone.
5. Hide behind the fat kid
Right out the gate, trainees experience a “Shark Attack.” Every stereotype you’ve ever heard about a Drill Sergeant is unleashed upon new recruits in one fell swoop. As newbies get off the bus for the first time, DIs swarm, “attacking” each as they emerge. The Drill Sergeants will try to space themselves out to make sure every trainee gets a chance to “enjoy” the attack. Sometimes, however, they can’t help themselves when a big boy gets off the bus — every Drill Sergeant wants a chance to yell in his face.
That’s where you come in. Quietly avoid eye contact and let the big guy ahead of you take the brunt.
4. Be just good enough
You’re just trying to make it to the finish line. There’s no first place trophy. Well, technically, there’s a Certificate of Achievement, but those are remarkably easy to get after you arrive at your first duty station and rarely is an Army Achievement Medal is given to out-f*cking-standing trainees.
If you’re not already in that 0.1 percent of excellence, your sole focus should be on improving yourself and graduating.
3. Do nothing, say nothing
At some point, you’ll hear the drill sergeants call, “everywhere I go, there’s a drill sergeant there.” You have no idea how true that saying actually is.
You could just be getting ready for lights out and decide it’s safe to f*ck off. Nope, there’s a drill sergeant. You might think no one will notice you skipping out of cleaning the bay. Nope, there’s a drill sergeant. Don’t even bother shamming or slacking off with the other guys in the platoon. Just keep your nose down.
2. “Clean” the latrines while you’re on firewatch
Every night, two trainees pull fire watch. In one hour intervals, the two oscillate between sitting at the desk and cleaning.
Always volunteer to be the cleaner because chances are that whatever you’re about to clean has been cleaned already. As long as you, say, wipe down the sink, you’ve technically cleaned something.
1. Don’t stop the sh*tbag from getting in trouble
Nothing is more true in the military than the phrase, “one team, one fight.” Which brings us to the as*hole trainee that doesn’t get the message.
There will always be that one trainee who is not fit for military service and comes in with a bad attitude. There’s no redemption. When they go down in flames (which they will), you’ll look better by comparison by just not being a sh*tbag. But at the same time, don’t get in their way — you don’t want to get bunched together in their idiocy. Whatever you do, don’t try to cover for them.
This video starts with Marines engaged in a firefight against the Taliban in the Afghan countryside in 2012. All of a sudden, around the 0:50 mark, shots are fired and the helmet camera scans to the left as a Marine goes down. The next thing you hear is him yelling, “aghhh, aghhh, I’m f–king hit!”
The Marine settles into a state of temporary frantic but is quickly calmed when his battle buddy comes to assist. Trained for this type of scenario, the assisting Marine methodically removes his buddy’s gear to get to the wound while yelling for a corpsman.
The corpsman arrives, treats the wounded soldier, and by the end of the video the he walks himself to the helicopter on his own for evacuation.
A non-commissioned officer and a lower-ranking enlisted member of the 2nd Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment at that base pleaded guilty to nonjudicial punishment, instead of going to trial in military court, for comments they made on United States Grunt Corps.
That’s an online community created after Facebook shuttered the Marines United private page following allegations that some members swapped salacious images of female service members — often without the women’s knowledge or consent — and openly derided them.
On April 5, Camp Pendleton officials were alerted that the two Marines in question had used the Grunt Corps site to make contemptuous remarks against a person in their chain of command. The two Marines’ battalion commander, Lt. Col. Warren Cook, initiated an investigation and the pair admitted their guilt.
Both Marines were demoted by one pay grade, sentenced to 45 days of restriction to their barracks and given 45 days of punitive duties concurrent to the other punishments. No other details about the case, such as the two Marines’ names and what they wrote in the online forum, were disclosed.
In a statement released by the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Division to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Cook said the case proved that his unit refuses “to tolerate personal attacks on their Marines, online or elsewhere.”
“This kind of behavior flies in the face of our service’s core values and this organization refuses to condone it. Each member of this battalion is a valued part of a storied and effective combat unit, and our success is based on trust, mutual respect, and teamwork,” Cook said.
The case was first reported on April 7 by the Washington Post.
Since March 22, service members in Marine units worldwide have signed counseling statements — called “Page 11s” — that are then added to their permanent records indicating that they understand and will follow the Corps’ revamped guidelines on cyber bullying.
At its peak in February, Marines United counted nearly 30,000 members — active-duty or reserve Marines and sailors, along with veterans who served in those military branches.
Most of those members didn’t share inappropriate images or cast slurs against female service members; the ongoing criminal investigation has focused on an estimated 500 men who did.
The probe involves the Marine Corps, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice and law-enforcement agencies in various states.
During a Pentagon roundtable with reporters on April 7, Gen. Glenn Walters, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, vowed to continue going after online wrongdoing by Marines while enacting deeper reforms to root out an often toxic culture in the military that vilifies women.
“Our Marines and the American people deserve nothing less. Marines don’t fail. The vast majority of Marines live our ethos, and a part of that ethos is to correct or hold appropriately accountable those Marines who don’t,” Glenn said.
“Marines don’t degrade their fellow Marines. Marines don’t disrespect or discriminate based on gender, religious affiliation, sexuality or race. Semper Fidelis — always faithful — has a deep meaning that we are called to defend. The Marine Corps owns this problem and we are committed to addressing it for the long term.”
Glenn pointed to NCIS innovations that have increased information sharing and streamlined reporting of incidents to track online misconduct. NCIS agents can now ship investigative material on minor offenses or non-criminal actions to a “fusion cell” within the larger task force probing the Marines United scandal.
The info is then routed to local commanders to punish the online scofflaws, such as the two Marines at Camp Pendleton.
Part of the task force, which is led by Marine Col. Cheryl Blackstone, continues to study more than 150 potential changes to the way the Corps recruits, trains, and retains personnel to clean up an institution long deemed by critics to be corrosive to women.
Blackstone has commissioned studies exploring whether to increase the number of events where male and female Marines train together while looking at dozens of recently instituted changes to the training of Marine recruits, Glenn said.
Future revamping could include a “Women in the Marine Corps Advisory Council” and the creation of a forum where current and former female Marines who were victimized in their careers can share their stories without fear of retaliation or reprisal.
Since the Marines United case became public, critics of the Corps’ gender policies have expressed a range of reactions.
Some have conveyed cautious optimism that top leaders of the service, including commandant Gen. Robert Neller, appear to be taking the scandal seriously.
Others had said they can’t trust the Corps to police its own because similar incidents in the past were ignored or minimized.
Still others have given support to the Corps’ current reform efforts but question whether it, NCIS, and other enforcement agencies are nimble enough to pursue violators in the rapidly shifting world of online forums.
It’s a well-known fact the Air Force literally came from the Army. From the Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps to the Air Corps, to the complete and separate U.S. Air Force, airmen have long been in the shadow of the Army soldier.
It’s a tiny but non-negotiable fact.
1. Sibling rivalry
If you have a big brother or sister, you know how it is. They came first so they always get a certain amount of attention from mommy and daddy that we, the baby brother, will rarely get.
In this case, mommy and daddy are the American public and big brother is the Army. America will always view the Army in the way our parents view the older sibling. And that stings.
2. How’s the Army?
Every Airmen who’s ever worn their uniform in public and away from a military community has heard this or been referred to as a “soldier.” And it sucks. A lot. The worst part is that our uniforms have at least two things printed on them: our last name and U.S. AIR FORCE!
Now that we all have different uniforms, you’d think this would be enough to be accurately recognized…and you’d be wrong.
3. The Army gets cool stuff first
I distinctly remember being a young airman in the early aughts and stationed in the the great state of Hawaii. Until this point, I assumed that I had all the latest and greatest the DoD had to offer. This view was shattered when I went to the firing range on Schofield Barracks one beautiful day.
We were greeted at the gate by a handful of Army Military Police who were carrying gorgeous new rifles: the M4. I was in pure awe and full of jealousy. Was I not a part of the military police brethren simply because I wore blue and they wore green? It chafed for some three years until I would finally be assigned my own M4.
4. The Army promotes faster
I recall befriending a young soldier back in those early days in Hawaii. We arrived to the island around the same time and were both in our respective services’ law enforcement components. We were decent enough pals, but this is the early 2000s we’re talking about. It was much easier to lose contact with someone in those days.
A couple years passed and we both progressed. I was studying for my first crack at the Staff Sergeant promotion test. I ran into my old pal and he was WEARING Army staff sergeant. Yes, I was about to test for E-5 for the first time and he was already wearing E-6. The conversation was short and I cried a little in the car.
5. The Army gets bigger bonuses
This one really isn’t too hard to explain. That same Army pal re-enlisted around the same time I did. He was able to buy a brand new Cadillac Escalade with his bonus. I could afford some clothes and few nights out.
6. Army Dress Blues Air Force Dress Blues
This is actually quite a sore spot for most airmen. Our dress blues are little more than a blue suit with the appropriate military identifiers on them. So this one applies to every other service…we hate you guys for this.
7. Army Combat Uniform vs. Airman Battle Uniform
Sticking with the uniform issue could honestly take a while. Our uniforms are all at once great and horrible. The problem here is that the ACU is actually wash and wear. You can take that uniform out of the dryer and put it on. You’re out of the door in a few minutes.
I wouldn’t dare try that with the ABU. It may be an Air Force Security Forces thing but when they introduced it as “wash and wear” I laughed…then I stopped laughing because I knew that would never apply to me.
Squads are the most fundamental part of the military. While you can generally get by with having an issue with someone else in the company, a squad can’t function unless everyone is on the same level.
It takes years to earn someone’s trust to the point of knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that they have your back. To get the new guys in the squad up to speed, they’ll have to be given a crash course in earning it.
There is a difference between impressing the squad and impressing the platoon sergeant. Choose wisely.
(Photo by Spc. Noel Williams)
PT as well in the morning
the uninitiated may think that the fastest way to earn respect is to out-hustle, out-perform, and outlast the rest. The problem here is that morning PT isn’t designed to improve — it’s for sustaining one’s assumed peak performance. If you’re looking to improve, it’ll probably happen off-duty.
With that in mind, many troops who’ve been in for years won’t be impressed by the new kid smoking everyone on the pull-up bar. They’re probably hungover from drinking the night before. During morning PT, there’s no way to improve your standing with the guys, but making everyone else look bad will definitely cost you some points.
This also means don’t ever miss the 50m target — you will be justifiably ridiculed.
(Photo by Sgt. Maj. Peter Breuer)
Shoot as good at the range
This rings especially true with line units. It’s also assumed that by the time a Drill Instructor hands off a boot to the unit, they’re ready to be hardened killing machines. Taking time to train someone to shoot perfectly is no longer in the training schedule, there’re still guys who’ve been in the unit for ages rocking a “pizza box,” or Marksman badge.
If you can show everyone that you’re not some kid, but rather someone who’s ready to train with the big boys, the squad will take notice and use you to belittle the guy who missed the 50m target. That’s a good thing for you.
Or keep an eye out for staff duty and keep them occupied so they don’t crash the party.
(Screengrab via YouTube)
Party as hard in the barracks
Barracks parties are very tight-knit. There may be some cross-over with other platoons or companies that are cool with whomever is hosting, so don’t fret and be cool. It’s a real sign of trust if someone is willing to show you to the others off-duty.
Chances are that most boots are fresh out of high school. No one wants to party with the kid who’s going to get them arrested by the MPs for underage drinking. For all the legal reasons, you really shouldn’t be drinking if you’re under 21 (even though we all know what happens in the barracks). You can still play a part, however, by being the designated driver or helping others who’ve drank too much by grabbing water, junk food, and sports drinks.
Chances are that the joke, just like your first time, will be quickly forgotten by most people involved.
(Photo by Pfc. Vaniah Temple)
Joke as witty off-duty
As odd as it sounds, the surefire way to make everyone in the squad trust you is to get them to like you. They’ll overlook a lot of your flaws if you’re not quite “grunt enough” if you can make them laugh.
No one wants to be around the guy who’s telling the same unfunny story that ends with getting yelled at by the drill sergeant. No matter how mind-blowing it was to you back then, I assure you that it’s nothing special. Dig deep and find that real humor. Joke about something personal, like the first time you got intimate with someone. There’s definitely an awkward moment in there that’s funny to reflect on.
I’m just sayin’. Nearly every friendship is sealed in the smoke pit.
(U.S. Marine Corps Photo)
Be as loyal when the time comes
There’s no concrete way to know when this time will come, but it will. At some point, everything will be on the line and you need to swoop in with the clutch. When it happens, you’ll know.
This is when you’ll show the squad that you’re one of them — that you value the rest of the guys above your own well-being. It could be as large as saving everyone’s ass from an enraged first sergeant to just bringing an extra pack of cigarettes to the field. Get to know your squad and you’ll know what it takes.
Before any service member deploys, they have to visit the supply depot on their station. Now, these supply depots issue out a bunch of items. But for the most part, they’re worn down and look like something a homeless guy would reject.
The fact is — you’re not the first guy or gal to take a nap in that sleeping bag or to load rounds into that M16 magazine. It’s been well used before you even thought about touching it.
After seeing the state of some of this gear, service members typically think about the months of deployment time that lies ahead and remind themselves how much stuff the military doesn’t voluntarily distribute.
So check out our list of things you may want to consider buying before going wheels up.
1. Bungee Cords
Like 550 cord, these elastic straps are strong as Hell and will secure down nearly everything.
If you need to tow it, bungee cord will probably hold it. (images via Giphy)
2. Blow up sleeping pad
Traditionally, supply issues you a ratty foam mat which is like sleeping in a really cheap motel room.
Purchasing a quality air mattress can make all difference. (image via Giphy)
Getting issued a flashlight that’s designed to clip to your uniform (which is what you’ll get) is fine if you’re okay with tripping over everything in the pitch black (because it doesn’t point to where you’re looking).
Get a red-filtered headlamp for combat zones — it could save your life. (images via Giphy)
4. Rite in the rain
Normal paper isn’t meant to repel water. You never know when you need to take notes in the field while it’s pouring down rain. “Rite in the Rain” is waterproof paper you can still jot notes on.
With a “Rite in the Rain” it doesn’t matter if it’s raining, you can still takethose unimportant notes your commanding officer thinks is critical. (images via Giphy)
The 30 round magazine that the supply guy handed out has seen better days and has a single compression spring built inside which can increase the chances of your weapon system jamming when you need it the most. The polymer version made by Magpul is much better — so good, in fact, the Marine Corps is issuing it to all Leathernecks.
P-mags are dual spring compressed, decreasing your chances of a weaponsmalfunction. (images via Giphy)
Deciding to join the military is a huge step for anyone looking to make a life-altering change. One of the most appealing aspects of becoming a member of the armed forces is the vast array of professional opportunities the service offers.
You can sign up, ship out, and, within a few short months, be guarding a military installation as your newfound brothers- and sisters-in-arms sleep.
That’s a pretty crazy thought, right? Well, we think so. While everyone has their individual reasons for signing up for service, electing to serve in the infantry, the dangerous role, says a great deal about a person. These are the top 6 reasons that people sign up to join the ground-pounders.
A common reason for joining the military is a family connection to service. However, since joining the infantry can mean seeing some intense combat, it takes a bold person to follow in their father’s or grandfather’s war-hero footsteps. To those brave troops that serve to honor their family legacy, we salute you.
To be a part of something big
Signing up means you could help your unit rid an enemy-infested area of insurgents and free the innocent locals within — it’s a possibility. However, serving in the infantry doesn’t always mean you’re going to end up in a bloody war zone.
You will, however, likely end up deploying to another country where you’re going to work alongside a foreign Army and help them train. It’s how much of our nation’s foreign relationships are built and we think that’s badass.
Military recruiters are slick when it comes to talking a teenager into joining the infantry. That’s a pretty cut-and-dry way many end up going to the grunts.
Yes, that’s kind of messed up, but honorably completing your service contract is an outstanding feat nonetheless.
Using it as a segue
Serving in a grunt unit opens many, many doors for service members. That’s right; not all ground-pounders transition into law enforcement when they get out. You can write about your unique experiences for a living, become a military adviser for a Hollywood production, or go back to school and learn a new craft.
The choice is yours.
Sitting behind a desk isn’t the worst job you can have in the military. But serving in the infantry offers you tons of experiences that you otherwise would never see. Use the military like they’re going to use you. Take every opportunity you’re offered and you can make a career out of those experiences after you get out.
Look at all of us who work at We Are The Mighty — just sayin’.
One mistake that people outside the military make is thinking of our service members as being a homogeneous group. This is understandable. It’s easy to look at a platoon of soldiers in formation and see uniformity — the same haircut and uniform — and register it as sameness.
In fact, the military is an incredibly diverse collection of people. Not only does it draw people from all across our country with many different backgrounds, languages, and regionalisms, but the military is chockfull of different jobs and specializations which appeal to different kinds of people. But for all the jobs the military offers, you probably wouldn’t guess that it would attract an artist.
TSgt Corban Lundborg, 29, has been in the service for 11 years and isn’t planning on going anywhere. For him, being an artist and an Airman are not mutually exclusive. If anything, he’s found his calling as a Combat Cameraman.
The world of the Air Forces Combat Camera is more hardcore than you might think. The Air Force has two Combat Camera Squadrons, and while both are aligned under the Air Force Public Affairs Agency, they are responsible for much more than taking pictures at change-of-command ceremonies and training facilities.
According to the Air Force, COMCAM is responsible for “acquiring still and motion imagery in support of classified and unclassified air, sea, and ground military operations.” The imagery captured by COMCAM is “a fundamental tool of commanders and decision-makers throughout the Department of Defense [and] provides a visual record for use in operational analysis, training, public information, and as a permanent historical record.”
But on our phone call, TSgt Lundborg doesn’t tell me about “visual records” or “operational analysis.” Instead, we talk about composition, creativity, and art. He talks about his work with a kind of reverence that you’d expect from an artist, but replies with short, to-the-point answers you’d expect from a seasoned NCO.
I first discovered Combat Camera and TSgt Lundborg while searching for an image for a story about SERE School. I was tabbing through the Department of Defense archive when I came upon a grainy black and white photo of an airman, head, and neck wrapped against the cold, a cigarette tipped into the corner of his mouth.
All Airmen designated as part of an aircrew are required to attend the Air Force’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State. TSgt Lundborg attended the school as part of his training. But like any artist worth their salt, TSgt Lundborg couldn’t leave his camera behind.
In truth, a camera is an authorized item on the packing list for SERE, though trainees are only allowed to use the camera during certain parts of the course. Most use the opportunity to snap a few pics with their buddies, or record parts of their experience for personal use.
Not TSgt Lundborg.
Instead, he went to his leadership and the course cadre and proposed a project: He would bring with him a medium-format film camera and capture moments from SERE school through the eyes of an artist. The project was approved. So as TSgt Lundborg prepared for the training he also did photographic research. He found an inexpensive plastic camera that would be light and easy to carry and lashed it to an old dog tag chain.
“I wanted the imagery to transcend time,” he told me on the phone. “I wanted people to look at the images and not know if it was 1950 or 2020.” (The above photograph is from 2020.)
Capturing the images wasn’t a cakewalk. Evening temperatures dipped into the single digits. The trainees slept in snowbanks. When TSgt Lundborg suffered an injury to one of his eyes, he kept shooting, using the other one to focus and compose the exposures.
TSgt Lundborg is humble and down to earth. He takes his job seriously and loves what he does. But it’s not about glossy photos of the heroics and images for military marketing campaigns.
Airmen serving with Combat Camera also work directly with special operations teams to capture images for their use. Here, TSgt Lundborg gets to practice his art while drawing on his training and experience in the military. “We work directly with the Pentagon and with all the teams. When we’re working with a team, we’re working for that team,” he says. “Unlike a Public Affairs team, we’re there to support these teams with imagery for internal use.”
TSgt Lundborg knows that much of his work will never be viewed by the outside world. “The majority of imagery that we shoot will never see the light of day,” he says. “It will be internal imagery that will live on a hard drive somewhere. To know as a photographer that your best work may never be seen is incredibly hard.”
But TSgt Lundborg is resolute. He’s not here for fame or to launch a personal brand. In fact, he’s planning on serving well past 20 years. For him, looking at the battlefield through the photographic lens is about creating what he referred to as a “through-line for generations.” And much like the famous military photographers who have come before, TSgt Lundborg is ready to take it on.
“It’s difficult and beautiful at the same time,” he tells me.
“It’s an honor to be the one to write that history and capture these moments.”
Spoken like a true artist and a true patriot.
This article was originally published on November 24th, 2020.
Scenario #1: A young service member walks into their newly assigned barracks room and notices how nasty it is. And on top of that, they have to share the small space with two or three other people that may or may not be very clean. The struggle is real.
Scenario #2: A service member may just have received orders to go on a 13-month deployment wants to make some cash while they’re gone.
Both of these very real circumstances of military life can be strong motivators for troops to tie the knot — and not for love.
Often called a “contract marriage,” these pairings are purely for monetary gain or medical benefits. No one is suggesting you do this versus saving your money or getting a second job if your command allows, but if you do it, keep these very important things in mind.
If you do get a divorce, the military typically won’t stop the extra pay right away. So don’t go spending all that extra cash too fast. The government will take back every cent from your paycheck until they recoup what’s theirs.
The answer is, yes. (images via Giphy)You’re welcome America!
In 2001, communities near Hill Air Force Base in Utah showed a high risk of developing brain cancer, while Fallon Naval Air Station was investigated for acute childhood leukemia incidents, and Kelly Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, was revealed to have contributed to water and air pollution when clusters of cancer and leukemia popped up.
At the time, however, officials kept to a firm statement: Correlation does not equate causation.
In other words, it was clear that military bases were contaminating the water, air, and environment. It was clear that there were higher-than-expected cases of severe illness. It was not clear that one caused the other.
Air Force bases, in particular, show high cases of contamination for a few reasons: jet fuel is extremely toxic by itself, but it is also highly flammable, requiring toxic flame retardants. These leak into the ground and contaminate water supplies; jet fuel is also known to pollute the air, especially in areas like airports or flight lines, where there are high volumes of active engines.
So, while it has been clear since the first World War that the United States and its military has a global impact, and therefore an imperative to maintain military superiority so we may continue to defend not only our way of life, but the livelihoods of our friends and allies, the question remains: at what cost?
The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they’re always capturing what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:
Airmen of the 122nd Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard along with 12 of the 122nd’s A-10c Thunderbolt II fighter aircraft arrived at Nellis AFB September 7 to kick off the 2017 Green Flag-West air-land integration combat training exercise. Green Flag-West is a Close Air Support and Joint exercise administered by the U.S. Air Force Air Warfare Center and Nellie AFB through the 549th Combat Training Squadron.
An F-15E Strike Eagle fire flares over Iraq during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, on Sept. 6, 2017. The F-15E Strike Eagle is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. An array of avionics and electronics systems give the F-15E the capability to fight at low altitude, day or night, and in all weather conditions.
Sgt. First Class Roy Chandler III (left), a Soldier assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment from the Alabama Army National Guard, Sgt. Jazmin Jenkins (middle), a public affairs specialist with the 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and Spc. Benjamin Grogan (right), a helicopter repairer with the Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment, sit on the tail of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter en route to deliver hay bales to cattle that have been stranded by Hurricane Harvey near Hampshire, Texas on Sep. 3, 2017. The Department of Defense is conducting Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations in response to the effects of Hurricane Harvey. DSCA operations are part of the DoD’s response capability to assist civilian responders in saving lives, relieving human suffering and mitigating property damage in response to a catastrophic disaster.
U.S. Army Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade conduct casualty room clearing in order to identify the best medics in the Brigade at Del Din, Vicenza, Italy on September 7, 2017. The training consist of nine physically and medically tasked events over the course of 48 hours. Once identified the Paratroopers will go to San Antonio, Texas, to participate in “Best Medic Competition”.
Airman Christopher Mowrey, left, from Georgetown, Kentucky, and Airman Brian Bernard, center, from Stormville, New York, secure a CH-53E Super Stallion, assigned to the “Dragons” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced), to the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, is operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance partnerships and be a ready-response force for any type of contingency.
Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Brad Barbour, from the “Night Dippers” of helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5 (HSC-5), scans the Atlantic Ocean for threats while standing plane guard. HSC-5 is currently attached to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) while she is underway conducting training after successful completion of carrier incremental availability.
Marines with 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Delta Company prepare a Light Armored Vehicle 25 for the static display in preparation for Marine Week Detroit, Sept. 5, 2017. Marine Week Detroit is an opportunity to showcase the Corps’ capabilities and missions as America’s expeditionary force in readiness.
U.S. Marines with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conduct preliminary boarding procedures on a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (Reinforced), 26th MEU, aboard amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in the Atlantic Ocean, Sept. 7, 2017. The preparations ensure the 26th MEU is ready to respond to any requests to bolster Northern Command’s support of FEMA’s assistance to federal, state and local authorities’ ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Captain Eric King, captain of the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, conducts a port assessment of the U.S. Virgin Islands with a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. The port assessment was conducted after Hurricane Irma passed over the area.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Lee Civitarese, a crewmember from Coast Guard Station New York watches the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt, a 1,200-foot container ship, pass under the recently elevated Bayonne Bridge on its maiden voyage to the United States on Sept. 7, 2017. The Theodore Roosevelt is the largest capacity container ship to transit under the Bayonne Bridge since the project to raise the bridge started in May 2013.
The U.S. military’s uniform history is one of tradition and tactical purpose. Many tiny details on our uniforms date back centuries. The different colors in the Army’s dress blues are a call back to the days when soldiers on horseback would take off their jacket to ride, causing their pants to wear out at a different pace. The stars on the patch of the U.S. flag are wore facing forward as if we’re carrying the flag into battle.
Something that always stuck out was why the ACUs have the button and zipper locations opposite of civilian attire. All Army issued uniforms had buttons until the M1941 Field Jacket added a zipper with storm buttons on the front. Shortly after, many other parts of the uniform including pockets, trousers and even boots would start using zippers as a way to keep them fastened. The zippers, like many things in the military, were made by the lowest bidders until the introduction of the Army Combat Uniform or ACUs in ’04.
The zipper on the ACU blouse is heavy duty and far more durable than zippers on a pair of blue jeans. The zipper is useful on the blouse for ease of access but it also has a tactical reason for its use. A zipper allows medical personnel to undo the top far easier than searching for a pair of scissors or undoing all of the buttons. The hook-and-loop fasteners (Velcro) is to help give it a smooth appearance.
Buttons on the trousers serve a completely different purpose. The buttons keep them sealed better than a zipper. Think of how many times you’ve seen people’s zipper down and you’ll get one of the reasons why they decided to avoid that. Buttons are also far easier to replace than an entire zipper and a lot quieter when you need to handle your business.
Dress uniforms take the traditional route to mirror a business suit. The Army Aircrew Combat Uniform is on it’s OFP.