Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th - We Are The Mighty
Military Life

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

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:


Air Force:

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Rafael Vasco, front, and Master Sgt. Steven C. Harlow Jr., both Phoenix Raven Team Members with the 514th Security Forces Squadron, 514th Air Mobility Wing, provide security during a final check prior to taking off from Toussaint Louverture International Airport, Port-au-Prince, Republic of Haiti, Nov. 18, 2017. The 732nd Airlift Squadron, which is assigned to the 514th, delivered 76,410 pounds of food comprised of packages of fortified rice and soy protein and barley grass juice powder mix to the Foundation Mission de l’Espoir (Mission of Hope). The delivery was possible because the Denton Program enables donors to use available space on U.S. military cargo aircraft to transport humanitarian goods and equipment to countries in need. The 514th is located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen)

Staff Sgt. Manuel Lastra, an aerial port specialist with the 156th Airlift Wing, fastens down equipment on a WC-130H, Nov. 20, 2017, in St Croix Air Guard Station, U.S. Virigin Islands. The WC-130H is used primarily for cargo transport in the Puerto Rico Air National Guard.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez)

Army:

A U.S. Army platoon sergeant evaluates Soldiers’ assigned to Lightning Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, movement across the objective with the use of phosphorous smoke for concealment during a squad live fire exercise at Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, November 21, 2017.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Army Photo by Capt. Gary Loten-Beckford)

A U.S. Soldier assigned to 2nd Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, scans for enemies during Decisive Action Rotation 18-02 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., Nov. 18, 2017.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Daniel Parrott, Operations Group, National Training Center)

Navy:

An SA-330 Puma delivers cargo during a vertical replenishment aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88). Preble is conducting maritime security, forward presence and theater security operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Morgan K. Nall)

U.S. Navy Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman James Totten directs an aircraft on the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier and flagship of Carrier Strike Group Five, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), during Annual Exercise 2017 over the Philippine Sea, Nov. 20, 2017. Annual Exercise 2017, the premier training event between the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, is designed to increase the defensive readiness and interoperability of Japanese and American Forces through training in air and sea operations.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class MacAdam Kane Weissman)

Marine Corps:

U.S. Marines with the Maritime Raid Force (MRF), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), climb aboard the United States Naval Ship (USNS) Big Horn during a simulated Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) mission as part of Combine Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) in the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 20, 2017. The MRF conducted the VBSS as part of the Combined COMPTUEX to certify the ARG/MEU team in maritime operations for an upcoming deployment at sea.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jered T. Stone)

U.S. Marines with Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), provide security after at staging area prior to conducting a night mechanized raid at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Nov. 18, 2017, as part of Combined Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). Combined COMPTUEX serves as the capstone event for the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/MEU team prior to deployment, fully integrating the ARG/MEU team as an amphibious force and testing their ability to execute missions across a range of military operations.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Staff Sgt. Dengrier Baez)

Coast Guard:

A member of the Pacific Paradise response team prepares to dive inside the Pacific Paradise to get measurements of interior compartments on board the vessel grounded off Kaimana Beach, O’ahu, Nov. 20, 2017. The diverse salvage team is improving the watertight integrity of the vessel before buoyancy is added and they attempt to tow it further offshore to an EPA approved disposal site.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class DaVonte Marrow)

A puppy welcomes the Coast Guard Cutter Spencer crew home to Boston, Tuesday, November 21, 2017 following a highly successful 90-day patrol fighting transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and training for multi-national search and rescue response in the Arctic. The puppy met his new human dad for the first time after the cutter moored up.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham. )

Military Life

Why the ‘Good Cookie’ isn’t a guaranteed medal

The Good Conduct Medal is one of the easiest medals an enlisted troop can earn. It’s an award given to enlisted personnel for every three years of “honorable and faithful service.” During times of war, the GCM can given out at one year of good service and can be posthumously awarded to service members killed in the line of duty.

But the GCM isn’t the same as a service stripe, which is given to soldiers every three years, Marines, sailors, and Coast Guardsmen every four years, and is never given to airmen. To earn a GCM, you need to keep your nose clean (or don’t get caught doing something you shouldn’t) for three years. If you’re a solider, boom, that’s an instant 10 promotion points.


 

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
Hey, 10 points are 10 points. Promotion is hard for an MOS that requires as many as 798 in a given month. (Photo by Pvt. Paul R. Watts Jr.)

The intent behind the GCM is to award outstanding troops who’ve managed to go three years without ever failing to be at the right place, at the right time, in the right uniform. The disqualifying factor for this medal is if you ever receive an NJP.

Now, what is and isn’t considered eligible for a non-judicial punishment is loosely defined and is entirely at the discretion of the commander. Talking too severely to a subordinate could be considered an NJP-worthy offense by a commander that’s cracking down on hazing, while another unit’s commander may turn a blind eye to horrendous acts that discredit the military.

The moment a troop gets a “Ninja Punch,” their 3-year GCM timer restarts. Three years after a sergeant knifehands a private, that private is once again eligible for a Good Conduct Medal. A scumbag who has brown-nosed the commander or has a commander who “doesn’t want the unit to look bad” will receive this medal every third anniversary of their enlistment. Do you see the discrepancy?

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(Photo by Cpl. Brady Wood)

Once again, one unit may make an elaborate ceremony to honor the troop for their three years of good conduct while another may just ask a troop to buy a Good Conduct Knot to add to their ribbon rack. Again, this is at a commander’s discretion.

There is a silver lining to all of this. Fresh young troops who are giving the military their best can feel like their world’s been shattered the first time they screw up. Stern talking-tos and regular bad conduct counseling statements don’t blemish one’s good conduct streak — take the lickings and move on. An offense typically only turns into an NJP when it’s one in a series of misconduct.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
Ask anyone who’s ever been in trouble in the military. They’d much rather be doing flutterkicks until their NCO gets tired than any form of paperwork. (Photo by Spc. Adeline Witherspoon)

The Good Conduct Medal should be awarded to those troops who exemplify the military values. It is a flawed system that sees undeserving scumbags awarded while good troops who make a genuine and innocent mistake aren’t — but the troops that do deserve it and earn it make the military proud.

Articles

5 reasons why your contract marriage wasn’t the worst thing ever

“I, Private Schmuckatelli, take you, whatever your name is, to be my lawfully wedded wife.”


Many service members (not mentioning any names) spoke these words right before a deployment to move out of the small studio-sized barracks most likely for the extra money every month.

This money comes from the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). Implemented in January 1998 BAH pays housing expenses for service members to move off-base if the barracks are overcrowded or if a change in the member’s lifestyle warrants it (i.e., having a baby or getting married. After a certain pay grade, everyone receives BAH, but it is restricted in the lower ranks. That’s why some take the risk of a contract marriage.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
Who here married a stripper to move out of the barracks? (images via Giphy)

Although contract marriages are frowned upon by the chain of command, it’s a well-known practice utilized by all ranks today. Capitalizing on this financial loophole could benefit your future (depending on the person with whom you join in court-approved matrimony).

Here are a few added bonuses to your contract marriage that you may have never noticed before.

1. Renter’s History  

Signing a lease with a rental company starts your “Renter’s History.” As long as you pay your rent on time, this keeps you in good standing with the rental bureaus. Young service members may not have the best credit, but having good rental history is a step in the right direction.

Your contract marriage could help prevent you from being homeless in the future.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
“I am serious and don’t call me, Shirley.”  (Paramount Pictures)

2. Learn to Budget

Although the medical benefits are valuable, they could throw a curveball and require more money every month than you planned. Checking to see how much a service member earns is simple: you can Google it. Waiting to get paid on the 1st and 15th of every month could feel like a freaking eternity without a budget.

A contract marriage probably didn’t make you a millionaire even if it made you feel that way after that first check. So learn to…

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(Paramount/Dream Works,)

3. It Follows

Unfortunately, one crappy aspect of being in the military is how your command intervenes in your personal life. They like to know about everything and if you don’t tell them upfront, somehow they manage to find out.

If you plan on making the military a career, I advise against a contract marriage, especially when word gets out about your legally-binding “spouse” while you’re out hitting on every single person at the bar. Remember: it’s technically fraud, so good luck getting promoted.

People can often suck.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

4. Emotional Maturity

The average marrying age range in the civilian world is 25 to 27. However, in the military, the median falls at 22 – above legal drinking age, but not yet a mature adult. No one is condoning getting married for the benefits, but if you do and it doesn’t work out, you shouldn’t be surprised.

You were young, dumb and full of one bad idea after another. Your temporary spouse may not have been the perfect soulmate, but at least you narrowed it down.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

5. The Silver Lining

Looking back on it, would you do it again? Overall experiences will vary depending on if everything went to plan. The memories you have are what separates you as an individual and makes you unique. If it made you into a grumpy old man, then that sucks.

Take it for what it is. It’s always better to look toward the future than dwell in the past.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
“Beautifully put.” (New Line)                                                                                            

Articles

These 3 active duty officers served as National Security Advisor before McMaster

With the news that Army Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster has been chosen to serve as National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, this marks the fourth time an active-duty military officer has filled this position.


Here is a look at the previous three.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
Air Force Lt. Gen Brent Scowcroft meeting with Vice President Nelson Rockefeller during his tenure as Deputy National Security Advisor. Scowcroft would later become the National Security Advisor – serving 28 days until retiring from the Air Force. He later served under George H. W. Bush. (White House photo)

1. Air Force Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft

Brent Scowcroft was active-duty for less than a month while serving as National Security Advisor to President Gerald Ford, taking the job on Nov. 3, 1975, and retiring on Dec. 1, 1975. Still, he is technically the first active-duty military officer to serve in this position.

Scowcroft served for the remainder of the Ford administration, then was tapped to serve as National Security Advisor for a second stint under George H. W. Bush – holding that post for the entirety of that presidency. During his second run as NSA, Scowcroft’s tenure saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, Operation Desert Storm, and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
(Official U.S. Navy biography photo)

2. Navy Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter

Perhaps the most notorious active-duty officer to hold the position due to his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, Poindexter was National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan during the 1986 Freedom of Navigation exercises in the Gulf of Sidra that turned violent, Operation El Dorado Canyon, and the Reykjavik Summit in October, 1986.

Poindexter was initially convicted on five charges connected with Iran-Contra, but the convictions were tossed out on appeal. In 1987, he retired at the rank of Rear Admiral (Upper Half).

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
Colin Powell briefing President Ronald Reagan in 1988. (Photo from Reagan Presidential Library)

3. Army Lt. Gen. Colin L. Powell

Probably the most notable active-duty officer to serve in the post, Colin Powell served as National Security Advisor from November 1987 to the end of Ronald Reagan’s second term. While he was in that position, the U.S. and Iran had a series of clashes culminating in Operation Praying Mantis and the downing of an Iranian Airbus by the guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes (CG 49).

After his tenure as National Security Advisor, Powell went on to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – then was Secretary of State during George W. Bush’s first term as president.

As a note for the fashion-watchers, while all three predecessors wore suits, We Are The Mighty has learned from a source close to senior Trump staffers that incoming Nationals Security Advisor McMaster has been given the option to wear his uniform while holding the post.

A spokesperson for Scowcroft noted, “It is not against the law but it is not usually done.”

Neither Powell nor the White House Press Office responded to a WATM request for comment by post time.

Articles

This airman uses horses to help troops and their families adapt to service

Air Force Airman 1st Class Lauren Nolan remembers running around the woods of North Carolina trying to catch a wild horse while she was a kid. She had fallen in love with a flea-bitten, little gray Arabian horse that nobody could manage to catch — except her.


Not yet tall enough to put the halter on, she remembers, she would put the rope around the horse’s neck and look to her dad for help.

For Nolan, a 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron materials management journeyman, this is where her passion for horses began, and that passion continues to be a blessing in her Air Force career.

“She can pick up on a horse’s personality in a second; she has a natural gift with them,” said Teresa Nolan, the airman’s mother. “Lauren would always get up really early. By the time I woke up, she would already be out in the pasture to see her horse and have her tied up, grooming her by herself.”

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
Airman 1st Class Lauren Nolan, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron materials management journeyman, poses for a photo with her horses, Tiz and Shoobie, Oct. 13, 2016, in Wichita, Kan. When Nolan moved to McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. her first duty station she had her horses shipped to the area and now boards them off-base in the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

Stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas since 2015, Lauren has two horses that occupy her time: Tiz Sunshine, 4 years-old, and Shoobie, 6 years-old — both off-the-track thoroughbreds. She boards them in the local community and spends her off-duty time taking care of them and training them for barrel racing.

“When I leave work, if I’m not helping out at the barn, I’m working with them on barrels,” Nolan said. “Shoobie is a diva, and Tiz is a little doll button. If you’re trying to teach Shoobie something and she doesn’t understand, she’ll give you attitude right back. Tiz will do whatever you tell her; she doesn’t care. She will stand there, look at you and stick her tongue out at you — she is so quirky.”

Much as a military training instructor develops civilians into airmen, training horses takes the same time and perseverance, although it’s a milder process. Nolan works with the horses almost every day, and has even set individual goals for them. She wants them to be patterned with the barrels and running well by the spring, she said.

“I have to have a lot of patience,” she added. “You can’t take a 1,200-pound animal and turn it into a superstar overnight. It takes months and months, but it’s very rewarding to take a horse that didn’t really have a chance, work with it and make it into something.”

Nolan also uses patience at work. She works in an office ordering aircraft parts for the KC-135 Stratotanker. The stress of having the responsibility of ordering millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and the potential for mistakes can be somewhat daunting. If she has a bad day at work, she said, her outlet for stress is in the dusty barn and muddy pasture.

“It’s very relaxing to go and just hang out with them and get rid of all the stressors of the day,” Nolan said. “My family is over 1,000 miles away. I can’t see them but once a year, so the horses mean everything to me. Tiz and Shoobie have helped me more than anything else ever could.”

With the unique challenges military members face, from frequent moves to deployments, everybody needs a way to unwind. Spending time with the horses is Nolan’s way, and realizing how much Tiz and Shoobie help her, she is sharing this experience with others.

“Every once in a while, I’ll take airmen out to see them so they can have their little getaway,” she said. “They could come ride them, brush them or just interact with the horses to help them cope with whatever they’re dealing with.”

Nolan also brings airmen’s families out to see the horses. She specifically wants to help first-term airmen who are new to base, as well as children with deployed parents, she said.

“I take anybody out to see the horses who needs it,” she added. “Being on base and in military life is stressful for a lot of the people. It has impacted and helped everybody I have ever brought out there — you can see it. The kids grin, laugh and giggle the whole time. It’s instant. They get all giddy the moment they see them.”

Just as Nolan takes pride in her work as an airman, she has pride in her horses. When she brings other people out to the barn to see Tiz and Shoobie, she said, she wants them to look their best.

“It’s in her nature, it’s who she is and what she loves,” Teresa Nolan said. “Lauren will do whatever she has to do to keep them healthy and well-fed, even it means she’s not going to have something, just to take care of the horses.”

She gets off work and switches from combat boots to cowboy boots. When she gets to the barn and heads to the pasture to round up the horses, she stops in her tracks. She’s got fellow airmen coming to the barn to see the horses and Shoobie looks like a walking mud puddle from rolling on the ground after a night of Kansas rain.

With a sigh, a few words mumbled under her breath and a hint of smile, she gets the watering hose and brush. Here they go again.

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This is why sailors wear neckerchiefs with their dress uniform

Any enlisted Navy sailor can tell you that their dress uniform wouldn’t be as famous today without one of its most iconic pieces — the historic neckerchief.


Reportedly, the neckerchief made its first appearance in the 16th century and was primarily worn as a sweat rag and to protect the sailor’s neck from rubbing raw against their stiff collared shirts.

In some cases, the 36-square-inch silk fabric could also be used as a battle dressing or tourniquet in a life saving situation.

The color black was picked to hide any dirt or residue that built up during wear.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
The iconic Navy dress blue uniformed with a neckerchief being steamed before a uniform inspection.

In 1817, the Navy wanted each one of its sailors to tie their neckerchief the same way, so it introduce the square knot. The square knot was hand-picked because it was commonly used on ships to secure its cargo.

The knot was later added to the dress blue uniform to represent the hardworking Navy tradition, and it remains that way today.

How to tie a square knot:

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
Step-by-step instructions for the tradition square knot. (Source: Navy.mil)

During the inspection, each sailor is carefully examined by a senior at least twice a year. While under observation, the sailor must display a properly tied square knot which needs to hang at the bottom of the jumper’s V-neck opening, and the ends of the neckerchief must appear even as shown above.

Do you remember your first uniform inspection? Comment below.

Military Life

A Marine was just reunited with his only photos of Iraq after 9 years

Marine is being reunited with a camera full of pictures that a landscaper found on the side of the road in Washington nine years ago.


Ben Zellmann was found Nov. 11, a day after Fox 5 DC aired a report about the camera.

The report generated tips and calls identifying Zellmann as the owner of the camera, the station reported.

Zellmann told FOX 5 reporter Lauren DeMarco that his computer and camera were stolen from his home and he never thought he’d see the photos again, especially after all this time.

Matt Walker found Zellmann’s smashed Nokia camera while working on a landscaping job in northwest Washington. The memory card containing the photos was not damaged.

Read Now: This man found $2.5M in gold stashed aboard a surplus Russian tank

“I’ve never been in the military, but by the photos, I can feel what they were going through and this is why it makes it so important to give it back to him,” Walker told the station.

Walker said he had no luck finding Zellmann over the years.

“I’ve contacted recruiters, I’ve contacted Marine buddies trying to figure out how to get this back to him. Nothing,” Walker told the station.

He contacted Fox 5 for help in locating the Marine after watching the station’s coverage of Veterans Day and the Marine Corps’ 242nd birthday.

Walker told the station that if the Marine is found he will tell him, “Thank you for your service. Here’s your card. I kept it safe for you.”

Check out some of Zellmann’s recovered photos here (Images acquired by We Are the Mighty and courtesy of Ben Zellmann):

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

*Correction: an earlier version of this story misspelled Ben Zellmann’s name.

Articles

Feds sentence two who scammed Marines looking for love

Two people who ran a fraud scheme that took roughly $160,000 from active duty Marines were sentenced June 5 in federal court.


According to a release by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Jones Tyler Martin and Hailey Tykoski carried out a “catfishing” scheme targeting Marines. Officials say the two persuaded Marines to hand over personal and financial information by posing as women interested in relationships.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
US Marines training with small arms. (US Navy photo)

According to an October 2016 release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Tykoski was accused of impersonating the women in phone and online conversations, while Martin would use the information the pair acquired to obtain credit or make wire transfers.

The two were taken into custody after an investigation by the Navy Criminal Investigative Service’s Carolinas Field Office out of Camp Lejeune. The two were later indicted on charges of conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting.

The Charlotte News and Observer reported that Martin and Tykoski used the social network MeetMe.com to lure the Marines in. Over a two-year period between 2013 and 2015, they hooked several Marines by convincing them they would be moving into to an off-base apartment.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
Cyberspace recently proved dangerous to some Marines’ wallets. (DOD photo)

On Jan. 30, Martin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, and on March 27 Tykoski pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Martin was sentenced to 57 months in prison and five years of supervised release while Tykoski was given five years of probation.

Both were also ordered to make restitution. Martin was ordered to pay $117,306.42m while Tykoski was ordered to pay $42,289.05.

“The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this district treat cases such as this one with high priority,” U.S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce said in the release. “There will continue to be vigorous prosecution of those who commit fraud and cybercrimes targeting members of the armed services and veterans.”

H. Andrew Goodridge, the NCIS Special Agent in Charge of the Carolinas Field Office, added, “This case reminds all of us to remain vigilant about what information we provide to strangers, it also demonstrates that NCIS is committed to pursuing those who exploit US service members.”

Articles

Here’s what it takes to be on the Marine silent drill team

Discipline, self-control, and honor are just some of the defining characteristics of a U.S. Marine who serves as a member of the 24-man silent drill team. Also known as the “Marching Twenty-Four,” the drill team’s function is to demonstrate the outstanding professionalism of the Marine Corps.


In 1948, they first performed at the Sunset Parades at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. Their perfectly executed movements received such an amazing response from the crowd, the drill team was born.

Serving on the team requires extensive discipline, so finding new recruits is a challenge.

Related: 21 photos showing the awesomeness of the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon executes their refined movements with hand-polished, 10.5 pounds, M1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets during the Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Each fall, the drill team prospects are hand-selected from the School of Infantry located in Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif. After a detailed interview process and rifle drill audition conducted by experienced personnel, those Marines who are selected are assigned a position and will serve a two-year ceremonial tour.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
These Marines spend hours practicing their drill to craft perfectly executed movements. (Source: US Military Videos and Photos/YouTube/Screenshot)

In addition to their ceremonial duties, the drill team members train alongside infantry Marines in the field to maintain their skills during the offseason.

When experienced team members request to move up in ranks and become rifle inspectors, they will go through a series of inspections graded by rifle inspectors who served in the previous season.

Also Read: 5 military training drills that’ll blow your mind

Although the team practices using verbal communication, not a single word will be spoken during their exceptional performance.

Military Life

This is the intrepid history of the military sea bags we know and love

The modern olive-green seabag we have in service today is from the 1970s era. It’s sturdy, the straps can carry a lot of weight and they are deceptively spacious. Sometimes troops write the places they been on them. To have an ol’ salty looking one is a badge of honor in the Corps – as long as it’s not unserviceable. The evolution of the sea bag stretches back to when it wasn’t even a bag at all. From the humble beginnings of a bungle of clothes and bedding, to the timeless pack we now today, this reliable piece of gear has always had the military’s back, literally.

Pre-World War II

1918 ca. Seabag Inspection during World War I. (NHHC photo)

Early in the 1800s before the War of 1812, Commodore Edward Preble banned the use of chests by Navy sailors under the rank of petty officer. The first sea bag is painted black. Naturally it is a nightmare for a sailors to dig through it below deck at night. They would attempt to divide their belongings between the bag and the hammock they were issued to make things easier to find at night. Decades later this technique would become known as a ‘Lash-up’ in the 1900s. The black seabag was made of flax linen and stood at 42 inches with a diameter of 18 inches.

By the early 1900s the sea bag changed from black to white and the ‘Lash-up’ had become tradition. The white sea bag was reduced to 36 inches in height and 12 inches in diameter. Just like today, sea bags at the time did not have straps but had to be labeled with the sailor’s name and number. When Reveille was called, sailors had to take down their hammocks suspended on hooks, pack up their bedding and get dressed. Ships in the 1930s phased out hammocks and equipped ships with racks.

Post-World War II

By the end of World War II, hammocks ceased to be issued. The navy set its sights on updating the sea bag design with the ‘clothing-bedding bag’. The bag would carry the same issued gear as before such as bedding and uniforms. However, the new design took into consideration the freed-up space from the loss of a hammock. It incorporated the new space for the mattress instead. The new bag was only issued to new recruits and was not widely adopted throughout the Navy due to ALNAV 278-45 which removed the need for sailors to own a personal mattress. It was upgraded with a strap, outside pocket and locking system that is still used in today’s olive-green seabags. You can almost feel the relief of those sailors from that era that they now had a lighter, more secure sea bag.

1954 Navy Receiving Station Norfolk, Virgina. Sailors reporting for duty. Sailors were no longer required to carry a hammocks and mattresses after 1945. (Naval History and Heritage Command photo)

In 1952, an olive-green canvas version of seabag was introduced. The seabag design still included the over-the-shoulder carrying strap and an outside pocket. The color was now olive drab since all U.S. Armed Forces were using the same type bag. Naval personnel still referred to the clothing container as a “sea bag” — to all other armed services it was a “duffel bag”.

James L. Leuci, ITCM, USN (Ret.)

During the Vietnam-era 1970s, the sea bag received another upgrade in the form of straps, and were now made of nylon. The new, functional improvements allowed the sailor to comfortably carry the sea bag like a backpack. The military is always inventing and reinventing the way troops use gear. By trial and error, the military considers how gear impacts readiness. No matter how the sea bag evolves in the future, one thing is for certain, we will always love our sea bag.

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Military applicants will now take same drug tests as active duty members

Drug testing for all applicants for military service is expanding to include the same 26-drug panel used for active military members, the Defense Department’s director of drug testing and program policy said.


The change, effective April 3, 2017, is due to the level of illicit and prescription medication abuse among civilians, as well as the increase in heroin and synthetic drug use within the civilian population, Army Col. Tom Martin explained.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
Army Maj. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, commander, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, performs a ceremonial swearing-in of Delayed Entry Program enlistees at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Jan. 11, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by David Vergun)

Currently, military applicants are tested for marijuana; cocaine; amphetamines, including methamphetamine; and designer amphetamines such as MDMA —also known as “Molly” or “Ecstasy” — and MDA, also known as “Adam,” he said.

The expanded testing will include those drugs as well as heroin, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and a number of synthetic cannabinoids and benzodiazepine sedatives, Martin said.

Related: 13 hilarious urinalysis memes every troop will understand

The new standards apply to all military applicants, including recruits entering through military entrance processing stations, as well as appointees to the service academies, incoming members of the ROTC, and officer candidates undergoing initial training in an enlisted status.

Ensuring the Best Enter Military

With drug use incompatible with military service, the expanded testing is meant to ensure readiness by admitting only the most qualified people, Martin said. Incoming service members will be held to the same standards as current military members, who are subject to random drug testing up to three times a year, he added.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th
It’s not like at the doc’s office. It’s so much more than that.

“Military applicants currently are tested on a small subset of drugs that military members are tested on,” Martin said. “Applicants need to be aware of the standard we hold our service members to when they join the service.”

About 279,400 applicants are processed for entry into military service each year, with roughly 2,400 of them testing positive for drugs, Martin said. Data indicates that about 450 additional people will test positive using the expanded testing, he said.

Policy Details

The updated policy allows applicants who test positive to reapply after 90 days, if the particular service allows it, Martin said. Any individual who tests positive on the second test is permanently disqualified from military service, he said, but he noted that the services have the discretion to apply stricter measures and can disqualify someone after one positive test.

Current policy allows for different standards for reapplication depending on the type of drug, Martin said. The updated policy is universal and allows only one opportunity to reapply for military service regardless of drug type, he said.

The update to Department of Defense Instruction 1010.16 was published Feb. 27.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)

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Travis Manion Foundation honors fallen Marine — and builds America at the same time

Travis Manion Foundation empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes while striving to strengthen America’s national character. The non-profit was named for 1st Lt. Travis Manion, a Marine who was killed by an enemy sniper while saving his wounded teammates on April 29, 2007.

Today, Travis Manion Foundation exists to carry on the legacy of character, service, and leadership embodied by Travis and all those who have served and continue to serve our nation.


Now, three Gold Star family members are carrying on the legacy of their own fallen loved ones through Travis Manion Foundation. Ryan Manion, Amy Looney, and Heather Kelly sat down with Jan Crawford from CBS This Morning to share how they are working to impact their local communities, strengthen America’s character, and empower veterans.

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When asked what they would say to other family members suffering the loss of a service member, Travis’ sister Ryan said, “Your suffering is probably the most horrible thing that will ever happen to you but there is a light ahead.”

Over the past decade, TMF has helped over 60,000 veterans, and it began with a phrase Travis said before he left for his final deployment. “If not me, then who?” He is not the first person to speak those words, but in many ways, he captures the spirit that our military takes to heart when they volunteer to serve.

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 25th

A testament to Travis’ impact, in fall 2014, at the age of 73, Sam Leonard set out to walk across the country to raise funds for the Travis Manion Foundation. He began in Florida but was forced to stop in Houston when he was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. He sadly passed away four months later. Albie Masland, the TMF west coast veteran service manager reached out to his good friends and TMF ambassadors Nick Biase and Matt Peace, to see if they wanted to help honor Sam by completing the last 1,500 miles of his journey and raise money for the TMF on his behalf. They finished the trek in 30 days at the USS Midway and on the anniversary of Travis’ death.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anna Albrecht/ Released)

Travis Manion Foundation volunteers help by cleaning up communities here at home, building houses in underdeveloped countries, and inspiring school-aged children growing up in America. The organization is defined by its core values:

  • Build, Measure, Learn, Repeat
  • Be accountable
  • Purpose begins with passion
  • Out of many, one
  • We are fueled by gratitude
  • Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo

Travis Manion Foundation is launching a Legacy Project, with ten projects over ten days beginning April 20, 2018. Volunteers can make a difference in their own communities by joining an Operation Legacy Project.

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