The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked - We Are The Mighty
Military Life

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked

Ah, the MRE. Known by such illustrious nicknames as “Mr. E,” “Meal, Rarely Edible,” and “Meal, Ready to Excrete,” the military meals ready-to-eat aren’t exactly known for their delightful taste.


Luckily, the taste of (at least) some MRE’s has improved over the years. Troops these days don’t have to deal with the terror that was the “Four Fingers of Death” — aka hot dogs — or the bean burrito. If you are opening a box of meals out in the field, these are the ones to look for.

#6: Chili with Beans

It’s got a Ranger Bar! Sadly, this bad boy comes with cheddar cheese and snack bread — which sucks — so you should probably trade that out with the one weird guy in your platoon who actually likes snack bread. Oh, and the chili is kind of good too.

#5: Maple Sausage

This is obviously better around breakfast time, since most of the contents are geared toward that very important meal of the day. The sausage, if heated up, isn’t half bad. But the big takeaway here is the Maple Muffin Top. Unfortunately they couldn’t jam a full muffin in there, but hey, the top is the best part anyway.

This also has the trail mix, crackers and cheddar cheese, and orange beverage powder. Don’t eat it all in one sitting.

#4: Cheese Tortellini

There are so many MRE’s with totally crappy main meals. I’m throwing it out there right now: I actually like the cheese tortellini. Unless you don’t heat it up. Not only is the main meal pretty damn good, but it’s got all kinds of goodies, including wet pack fruits, a first strike protein bar, peanut butter and crackers, and beverage powder.

And if you are feeling extra brave, throw that extra hot hot sauce on top of the tortellini. Just make sure a port-a-john is on standby.

#3: Beef Ravioli

If you are Italian, you are going to hate this meal, since calling this concoction ravioli is probably a grave sin. But for the rest of us, it’s actually a decent meal when it’s hot. But the best part: Bacon cheese spread. In the field, you can probably sell that stuff and make serious bank.

#2: Meatballs in Marinara

Just like the beef ravioli, this one is pretty decent. It also has jalapeno cheese spread and tortillas, and who doesn’t like that Jal-op-eno? The potatoes au gratin are fairly terrible, but at least there’s a first strike bar, and beef snack strips. Unless you are a fatty who eats the entire meal, there’s lots of trading opportunity here.

#1: Chili and Macaroni

Chili Mac is the best. There’s no question. Main meal: delicious. But wait, there’s more. This has a pound cake, jalapeno cheese spread and crackers, candy, and beverage powder. Even the accessory packet is the best: There’s coffee AND matches in there. Brew up a cup of joe then burn things when you’re bored.

There are way more Meals Ready-to-Eat in existence of course. We didn’t rank them all. If you want to see what’s in the current batch, you can check out MREInfo.com.

Articles

Pentagon to pursue bonuses mistakenly paid to Guardsmen

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook updates reporters about the California National Guard bonus repayments at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., Jan. 3, 2017.


The Pentagon announced yesterday that they had met Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s deadline of January 1 to set up a streamlined system to recover bonuses they had accidentally paid to thousands of California National Guardsmen several years ago.

Late last year, Carter ordered the suspension of efforts to recover the funds from soldiers until a system could be set up to fairly recover the bonuses.

Peter Levine, acting as the undersecretary for personnel and readiness, headed up the team to develop the recovery system. Levine spoke to reporters during the press conference, admitting that, though some of the Guardsmen might have made mistakes, “sometimes the service does” as well.

Levine said he had worked with the National Guard Bureau, the Army Audit Agency, the Army Review Boards Agency, and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to develop the system, and that part of that system involved screening each case to determine if there was even enough information to pursue a resolution.

Cases that are determined to have enough information will go before the Army Board for Correction of Military Records, and Guardsmen will have an opportunity to make their cases then.

There are currently about 17,500 cases up for review which have been separated into two categories.

Also read: Gary Johnson speaks out on California Guard repayment scandal

The first category consists of roughly 1,400 cases where the Guard has determined that recoupment should happen, and they have been referred to DFAS for collection of those funds.

Levine said that he expected to see half of those debts forgiven.

For the remaining approximately 16,000 cases, Levin anticipated about 15,000 not meeting the criteria for pursuit.

The other thousand cases, according to Levine, will go through the same process as the 1,400 currently referred to DFAS.

In all, he said, he expects “fewer than 1,000” of the cases to go before the Board of Correction of Military Records.

Levine believes that the Board of Correction of Military Records will be able to hear all of the cases by July — the deadline set by Carter.

Military Life

5 things you need to know to fight an NJP

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time but some errors are permanent. Maybe you’re innocent, maybe you did it, maybe the command doesn’t care what the facts are and want to make an example out of you. Regardless of what went down, you’re still an American with rights. Higher ups will try to intimidate you into believing you don’t have rights and pressure you to give in – especially if you’re innocent because of ego. This is how you fight back against a Non Judicial Punishment (NJP).

1. Shut up

Demand a lawyer immediately and stay firm. Answer NO questions. In fact, do not say anything to anyone. Do not mention your case or any details. Not even to your friends – especially your friends. Everyone not on your side is going to interrogate your allies. Your strongest weapon is silence. Do not talk to witnesses or the opposing party. Do not confirm or deny anything is even taking place.

A soldier demonstrating the process of reviewing an NJP
Screenshot from a training video intended to familiarize the Alaska National Guard force with nonjudicial punishment, or NJP.

2. Lawyer up

You have the right to an attorney, if they can’t provide you with one, the NJP is postponed until they can. If you’re underway at sea or deployed you won’t have one for awhile. They will threaten throw you in the brig, ration your food and attempt to force you to sign a guilty plea. Stay strong and wait for your lawyer. Once, they know your lawyer is in communication with you they will immediately change their tune. Remember that Staff NCOs are not lawyers, they’re not your friends, and never believe anything they say when it comes to your case. You have the right to meet with your lawyer when they’re available. They cannot stop you from attending your scheduled meetings with your legal council. Do everything your lawyer advises to a T.

3. Write a statement

You have the right to know the charges brought up against you. Process them and write a statement in private. This will help you keep the facts straight while it is still fresh in your mind. Do not hand it over until your lawyer takes a look at it. Be as detailed as possible but do not say you have a written statement ready. This is your secret weapon and you will often catch the opposition off guard. Staff NCOs expect you to roll over and just take it. In their hubris they will provide a verbal statement. This is when you provide your written statement. Any question you are asked just say ‘that information is provided in my written statement’ over and over again.

They’re trying to make you contradict yourself. They may play cop, bad cop, point to the statement and stay firm and respectful.

4. Take corrective action before the trial

Delay, delay, delay. They want to get it over as fast as possible but this is a war of attrition. Set your meetings with your council as frequently and as far across that calendar as you can. If you did it and you know you won’t be able to win, fill those gaps in the calendar with seeking professional help. When it comes time to pay the piper, it will reflect positively that you show remorse and are going above and beyond to make sure this never happens again.

If you are innocent, fight for every second. At first you will have the lawyer provided by the military, use this time to find a lawyer that specializes specifically in the circumstances of your case. It’s easier said than done to not think about the price but your entire life could be changed by the outcome of this case. Stand your ground. Gather as much evidence of your innocence as you can.

Screenshot from a training video intended to familiarize the Alaska National Guard force with nonjudicial punishment, or NJP.
The result of NJP proceedings have a lot to do with how you conduct yourself throughout them.

5. They could be relieved of command themselves

If you’re innocent and they’re still going to crucify you, request a court martial instead — it is also your right. The risk is bigger, yes, but if you win, your reputation will remain intact. Also, the higher ups do not want it to go to court martial because if you win, and they know they’re wrong, it will go very badly for them.

Here is a little secret I learned in S-3 Operations, if the battalion commander has three or more court martials during his time as the commanding officer of your unit he will be placed under investigation. ‘What is going on in this unit?’ If they see tons of NJPs and court martials thrown around for frivolous things people will be relieved of command. If you’re innocent and you know other court martials have happened since the last change of command – do it. Force their hand and call their bluff. They will either drop all charges or risk an investigation where they may lose their rank too. No one is safe from that kind of thorough investigation, every case will be investigated. Just because your command wants you to fry doesn’t mean your service branch wants you to.

If you’re guilty, have your attorney stand down, plead guilty, write a statement, take corrective action, and you may get a slap on the wrist. It can be in the form of keeping your rank, keeping your pay, restriction to your quarters, and some extra duty like sweeping and mopping the company office for two weeks. If it’s a company level NJP and you’ve only had one or two for minor offenses, chances are good you’ll be able to leave with an honorable discharge – and get away with NJP.

Articles

The 13 funniest military memes for the week of July 25

Guys, there are so, so many memes on the internet. Here are 13 of our favorite military ones:


1. So vicious. Much danger.

(via Air Force Nation)

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
And seriously, who puts their 1-quart on their back?

2. “Guys. Guys, this is going to be so funny.”

(via Do You Even Jump?)

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked

SEE ALSO: Vietnam War Huey pilot Charles Kettles awarded Medal of Honor for saving 40 soldiers

3. Every soldier is a part of the total fight. No job is more important than any other (via The Salty Soldier).

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
Take pride in your service, private. You’re doing the Lord’s work.

4. The one on the left who’s just pointing at the drowning stuffed animals is the future officer (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
Why weren’t the bunny and kitty cat wearing life vests?

5. Just 27 more months. Just 27 more months. Just —

(via Team Non-Rec)

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked

6. “No, sergeant. I’m completely caught up. Are you going to send me home?”

(via Grunt Style)

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked

7. “You give your dog bones? We make the bird find its own.” (via Military Memes)

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked

8. “There, there, sir. How about a nice box of apple juice?”

(via The Salty Soldier)

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked

9. “Hooked on phonics worked for me.”

(via Sh-t my LPO says)

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
Once he can read, he can go anywhere in his imagination.

10. You tell him, Seaman Dobby (via Sh-t my LPO says).

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
That’s what chief gets for throwing you that nasty sock.

11. Am I misreading this or is the helicopter being sent to rescue a stranded Coast Guardsman?

(via Coast Guard Memes)

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
Having to rescue doesn’t seem like a real point of pride, but whatevs, guardians. You do you.

12. We remember, too, Pepperidge Farm! It was back when it was called the “Army Air Corps.”

(via Air Force Memes Humor)

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
Fine, the Air Force was pretty impressive in Vietnam and Korea.

13. Every Marine is a (insert whatever the Corps needs at this moment).

(via Devil Dog Nation)

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Jacks of all trades, masters only of amphibious warfare.

Articles

Here’s how medical aid stations handle mass casualty situations

When you’re forward deployed fighting the enemy, people are going to get hurt— it’s the nature of the job. One aspect our military excels at is reaching its severely wounded troops with medical treatment quickly.


A mass casualty situation, however, is a problem. A mass casualty situation means any amount of injured patients that exceeds the number of resources available.

For example, if five soldiers become wounded on the battlefield and there is only one medic or corpsmen on deck, and they’re unable to treat their victims quick enough, that’s a mass casualty or “mass-cas.”

It happens more than you think.

The real problem is the medical aid stations (or battalion aid stations) only have so many personnel on deck and can’t take care of everyone at the same time — that’s when it’s time to call for back-up.

Boom!

An IED just went off a few miles away from the medical aid station. The medic or corpsman on deck is unhurt but now has to spring into action and rapidly start checking the wounded to account for the worst injuries. After they check their patients, the R.O., or Radio Operator, will call up a medevac, sending vital information to the aid station about the incoming troops.

Related: 5 key differences between Army medics and Navy corpsmen

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
The interior of an aid station. Hopefully a place you’ll never have to visit.

Medical aid stations work like a well-oiled machine, and the staff members know their exact roles.

Typically, an aid station consists of a few doctors, a few nurses, and a few medics or Corpsmen. Once the wounded enter the medical station, their life status is quickly re-determined. Although the medic did this earlier in the field, the aid station will reassess using the same process of triage, as the patient’s status could have changed during transport.

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
Mass casualty triage cards

The color that’s issued reflects the order in which the patient is seen. Treatment can be especially challenging because medical stations are temporary facilities and they don’t always have the most advanced technology; most get their power from gas-powered generators.

Also Read: This is how medical evacuations have evolved over the last 145 years

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
U.S. Army soldiers litter transport a simulated injured patient to the Charlie medical tent during Joint Readiness Training in Fort Polk, Louisiana.

In the event the casualty needs to move to an upper echelon of care, a helicopter will be called up to transport them to a more capable hospital. This could also have happened while in the field. Since time is the biggest factor, getting the wounded to the closest aid station is key.

Based on the triage label color issued by the medical staff, that evacuation could take minutes or up to 24 hours. So you may have to sit tight if you’re just nursing a broken arm.

Military Life

Here are the best military photos for the week of January 13th

The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they’re always capturing what life as a service member is like, both in training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:


Air Force:

1st Lt. Lauren Vinson, 333rd Fighter Squadron weapon systems officer, performs a preflight check on an F-15E Strike Eagle barrier during exercise Thunderdome 18-01, Jan. 11, 2018, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The exercise was designed to prepare and test the response efforts of Team Seymour Airmen in the event of a real-world contingency.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kenneth Boyton)

Airmen from the 130th Airlift Wing take aim at their targets as part of a weapons qualifications course Jan. 10, 2018 at the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Facility for the Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Miss. Airmen must be weapon qualified every 18 months to ensure mission readiness.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Caleb Vance)

Army:

Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper awards Spc. Hess from Combined Task Force Defender, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, an Army traditional coin at Seongju, South Korea on Jan. 10, 2018. Esper visited Korea to discuss readiness with units throughout the Korean theater and to inform Soldiers, Families and Civilians on his position and policies as the Secretary of The Army during his three-day visit.

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(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Carl Greenwell)

German Soldiers shoot the M4 Carbine during the U.S. Marksmanship Range held at Camp Bondsteel Jan. 8.

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(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Michael A Parker)

Navy:

Former National Football League (NFL) player Tim Tebow shakes hands with Cmdr. Stephen Henz, executive officer of the guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), during a distinguish visitor tour of the ship. Tebow and family members also plan to visit USS Battleship Missouri Memorial and USS Arizona Memorial during their visit to Pearl Harbor.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jessica O. Blackwell)

An explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 12 fires his M4 rifle from behind cover during a live-fire training exercise in Moyock, N.C. EODMU 12 provides credible, combat-ready EOD forces capable of deploying anywhere, any time in support of national interests.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles Oki)

Marine Corps:

Heavy rains drench the flight line of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 9, 2018. With inclement weather, the potential for heavy flooding and road closures increases on the installation. The predicted total rainfall will reach three inches by the time the storm dissipates.

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(U.S Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Drake Nickels)

U.S. Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 171 conduct zone reconnaissance training during exercise Kamoshika Wrath 18-1 at Japanese Ground Self-Dense Force Maneuver Area, Haramura Higashihiroshima, Japan, Jan. 9, 2018. The exercise allows Marines to test mission performance and meet training requirements by placing them in simulated real-world scenarios. MWSS-171 trains throughout the year completing exercises like Kamoshika Wrath to enhance their technical skills, field experience and military occupational specialty capability. Additionally, it serves MWSS-171 as a building block for increasing squadron proficiency in command and control.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Marcus Campbell)

Coast Guard:

Chief Warrant Officer Paul Ricketson and Petty Officer 2nd class Steve Knight, members of Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara, take note of the debris that has been carried down to the beach by the mudslides in Santa Barbara, California, Jan. 11, 2018. Members of Coast Guard MSD Santa Barbara mobilized to spearhead the removal of hazardous materials along the shoreline.

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(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class DaVonte’ Marrow)

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Shackle, a 65-foot Small Harbor Tug, breaks ice Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 near Logan International Airport in Boston Harbor. Shackle is capable of breaking up to 12 inches of ice.

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi)

Articles

8 steps to evacuate casualties from combat zones

Technically, aeromedical evacuation has been around since World War I, bringing our wounded back home by way of aircraft. Present day, AE is still a critical component to getting injured troops back to safety.


AE crews, medics, and personnel outside the wire are expertly trained to care for combat-related injuries and conditions. With others’ lives on the line, it’s not surprising that the many-step process of evacuating a casualty of war has been refined to achieve the highest survival rate possible.

1. Triage

The injured are first examined by a medic, corpsman, or any medical personnel available to assess injuries. The medical personnel will continue to attend to the wounded until transportation arrives to transfer them to a higher level of care.

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
Soldiers conduct simulated casualty triage at Forward Operating Base, Solerno, Kandahar. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Kamil Sztalkoper)

2. Patient movement

It is of utmost importance to quickly transport the triaged to the nearest hospital or Mobile Air Staging Facility (MASF). The only hardened hospital capable of caring for critical combat-related injuries for a longer period of time is Bagram AB, Afghanistan.

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Marines carry their comrade to Huey medevac helicopter. (photo by Stars and Stripes)

The means of transportation for moving a troop to Bagram AB is dependent on where they were injured. If the service member is injured just outside of base, then a Humvee is the obvious choice. If personnel are wounded at a Forward Operating Base, a Huey dust-off mission will be spun up to retrieve casualties.

3. Diagnosis

Once patients are transferred to the hospital, they are stabilized by doctors working in the facility and their diagnosis is entered into a database, called Tra2ces. Tra2ces is relatively new and is one of the sole reasons why the wounded have been tracked so efficiently on their journey from the point of injury to back home with their families.

4. TACC

After patients are successfully entered into the tracking system, the next step is to continue moving back to the States. Tactical Airlift Command and Control (TACC) is responsible for scheduling all planes flying in- and out-of-country.

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Lt. Col. John Keagle coordinates a C-17 Globemaster mission to Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Justin Brockhoff)

Depending on the injury, patients are categorized and listed in order of priority. In other words, the most critically wounded will top of the list and will typically be sent home first.

5. AEOT

It is the responsibility of the Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team (AEOT), specifically the admin mission controller, to assign a medical crew to take care of patients in flight. The crews have strict guidelines and must be current in all of their medical training. There is zero tolerance for sandbagging in this career field.

6. AE medical crews

The AE crew consists of three enlisted medical technicians and two flight nurses. The crews are given all patient information and medical equipment needed before mission take-off.

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Master Sgt. Russel Goodwater and Master Sgt. Timothy Starkey assess their checklist for proper protocol during a AE training mission. (photo by Master Sgt. Christian Amezcua)

In the crew, each member has their own task and they work together to guarantee mission success. After all, they are caring for the most precious cargo — their fellow service members.

7. CASF

Before take-off, patients are moved from the hospital to the flight line. The Casualty Air Staging Facility (CASF) could be considered a tent hospital, located on the flight-line, close to the aircraft. Patients will be moved to the CASF in preparation and set up for the flight that will take them one step closer to home.

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CASF personnel litter carry a patient from an ambulance bus onto C-17 aircraft at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sergeant Adrian Cadiz)

8. Mission launch

After medical and ground personnel load all patients onto the aircraft, they are flown to Ramstein AFB, Germany, where they can get more in-depth medical care for their injuries. Bagram AB simply does not have the extended-care capability to continually treat critically injured patients.

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
Above, patients have been securely loaded onto a C-17 Loadmaster and await transport to Ramstein AFB.(Photo by Master Sgt. Christian Amezcua)

After a stay at Ramstein, patients are sent back to home base on another AE flight. All the while, AE medical crews are in the air with their patients, providing them with expert care, comfort, and, if needed, a hand to hold.

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
A medical tech holds the hand of a patient during an Aeromedical Evacuation mission transporting patients from Kandahar to Bagram Air Base.(U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller)

Military Life

How a pilot in one of America’s least stealthy aircraft saved a downed pilot from one of the stealthiest

In March 1999, NATO announced that coalition forces would begin a massive air war and bombing campaign against Serbia. Within hours after the first round of strikes, an A-10 squadron received an urgent call that one of America’s stealthiest aircraft had been shot down — the F-117 Nighthawk.


It was reported the stealth pilot managed to bail out in time but was trapped deep behind enemy lines.

As rebel forces assembled to hunt down the American pilot, allied forces gathered and quickly began designing a search and rescue mission to locate their missing brother.

“One of the things I have to do as the on-scene commander is figure out if he’s ready to be picked up,” Air Force pilot John Cherrey explains.

Related: 5 countries that tried to shoot down the SR-71 Blackbird (and failed)

Since landing an A-10 in enemy territory was impractical, using Black Hawks to pick up the missing pilot was the only option. But with Serbian missiles on high alert, there was no way helicopters could outrun enemy defenses.

The rescue mission must be handled with extreme caution or risk losing more men, so developing a clever plan was in order.

The Warthog’s commanders decided to create a diversion that would prompt Serbian anti-air missile radar to look in one direction, while the slower Black Hawks swooped in through the enemies’ back door.

Also Read: That time American POWs refused a CIA rescue mission in Vietnam

Their plan worked as the two Black Hawks managed to sneak their way to the downed pilot and egresses out of the Serbian air space. Once the A-10s were notified the pilot was safe, they bugged out and went home. No additional casualties were reported.

Mission complete.

Check out the Smithsonian Channel‘s video to see how Allied forces went on this daring rescue mission for yourself.

(Smithsonian Channel, YouTube)

Military Life

5 sweet ways troops have shown love to those waiting for them

One of the most heartbreaking things troops must do is say goodbye to their loved ones before they deploy. If they’ve found a good one, they know their love will be waiting for them back home. Those troops will look cling on to that bittersweet silver-lining while their beloved waits, always dreading, on some level, the realities of war.


It falls on the shoulders of the troops to let their love know that things will be okay. Even if the worst happens, they will always love their spouse, fiance, girlfriend/boyfriend, children, and family. No matter how long they’ve been together or how many times the troop has deployed, it never gets easier — even if they say it does.

1. Right before they leave

Logically, troops should be spending every waking moment getting ready for war — training, making sure their gear is right. And yet, troops always spend every last second they can with the ones they love.

It’s the kiss that no one ever wants to end, but it must. Duty calls.

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You’ve got to fill an entire year’s worth of love into one hug and kiss. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)

2. Mementos

It doesn’t have to be as expensive as a diamond necklace and it doesn’t have to be as elaborate as a diary full of love notes.

Troops can leave behind something even as simple as an old sweatshirt for their loved ones and they’ll never let it out of their sight. But they probably won’t complain if it’s something nicer than the junk they forgot to clean before shipping out.

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3. Mail

Loved ones will always send out care packages filled with sweet cards, treats, and whatever else troops asked for.

Troops don’t usually send care packages back — there’s not much to send back from Afghanistan. But it’s always nice when troops return the favor by writing letters.

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I don’t want to get anyone in trouble with their loved ones, but the mail system does work both ways. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Smith)

4. Phone and video calls

While deployed, it feels like life returns to normal for just a few moments when troops get their hands on a phone just to hear those three words: “I love you.”

Because technology is amazing, troops can now call home on video. This is a perfect chance for dads to read their kids a goodnight story (even if it’s morning time for them).

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Always a peaceful moment… until the internet craps out or the video buffers one frame per minute. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Ashlee J. L. Sherrill)

5. That first kiss upon return

It’s finally over. The plane landed. The formation is over. They’ve been trying their hardest to stand at attention while also trying to find their loved ones among the waiting crowd.

You’ll never see a truer and more passionate kiss like the one a troop’s waited an entire deployment to give.

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Happy Valentine’s Day from the troops to our loved ones! (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Holli Nelson)

Articles

The complete hater’s guide to the Warthog

So, we are back with another complete hater’s guide to one of the Air Force’s aircraft. Last time, we discussed the F-16 Fighting Falcon.


This time, we will go to the plane that everyone in the Air Force loves…and yet, it keeps ending up on the chopping block. That’s right, it’s time for us to discuss the Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.

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A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron out of Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, takes off from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 10, 2016, during the first combat training mission of RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 17-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Karen J. Tomasik)

Why it is easy to make fun of the A-10

Let’s see, it’s slow. It doesn’t fly high, if anything, the plane is best flying very low.

The best military Meals Ready-To-Eat, ranked
As any of its pilots will tell you, it’s ugly — but well hung. (U.S. Air Force photo)

It’s not going to win any airplane beauty pageants any time soon due to being quite aesthetically-challenged. Also, when it was first designed, it was a daylight-only plane with none of the sensors to drop precision-guided weapons.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Corey Hook

Why you should hate the A-10

Because it has this cult following that seems to think it can do just about anything and take out any one. Because its pilots think the GAU-8 cannon in the nose is all that — never mind that a number of other planes took bigger guns into the fight — including 75mm guns.

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Because that low, slow, flight profile means it is a big target. Because you’d rather claim that a relative died in a motorcycle accident than admit they fly that ugly plane.

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Retired Air Force Gen. Charles Horner had a major role in the air power strategy of the Gulf War of 1990-1991. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Because that plane always seems to stick around when the Air Force wants to retire it. Because it is useless in a dogfight.

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Representative Martha McSally, pictured in her office during her Air Force career, preparing to distribute BRRRRRT. Helps explain why the A-10 will be around indefinitely. (Photo credit unknown)

Why you should love the A-10

Because this plane can bring its pilot home when the bad guys hit it — just ask “Killer Chick.” Because it also has a proven combat record in Desert Storm, the Balkans, and the War on Terror.

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Kim Campbell looks at her damaged hog, which she landed at her base after a mission over Baghdad in 2003. (Photo via National Air and Space Museum)

Because it not only has a powerful tank-killing gun, it can carry lots of bombs and missiles to put the hurt on the bad guys.

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An A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft takes part in a mission during Operation Desert Storm. The aircraft is armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, and Mark 82 500-pound bombs. (Air Force Photo)

Because while it is designed for close-air support, it also proved to be very good at covering the combat search-and-rescue choppers.

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An A-10 Thunderbolt II, from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., approaches the boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., for refueling Sept. 12, 2013, over southern Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Colby L. Hardin)

Because, when it comes right down to it, the A-10, for all its faults, has saved a lot of grunts over the years.

MIGHTY TRENDING

David Goldfein is the leader the military needs right now

Another Memorial Day has come and gone and, along with it, comes another report from the family of a service member who was killed in action about encountering a man in civilian clothes at Arlington National Cemetery. Calling himself Dave, the man talked to a Gold Star spouse for a bit, then moved on.

The wife of the fallen service member had no idea she was talking to Gen. David Goldfein, the 21st Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

She only found out because her friend noticed the coin that “Dave” left on the headstone of her husband — the coin of his office. She posted the story on social media some time later, which was confirmed by the popular Air Force Facebook page Air Force amn/nco/snco.

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That’s the kind of person General Goldfein is. This isn’t an isolated incident. On Memorial Day 2017, an airman at Arlington spotted a man in his dress blues walking among the graves at Section 60 — the resting place for those who fell in Iraq or Afghanistan — putting his hand on each for a moment of reflection.


When he reached a sobbing widow, he embraced her and talked to her for a while. It was General Goldfein. The post also appeared on Air Force amn/nco/snco.

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I guess he tried to go more incognito in 2018 by wearing civvies, but was still recognized.
(Facebook photo by Cody Stollings)

Cody Stollings, the airman who recognized Gen. Goldfein, introduced himself and talked to the general for a bit. It turns out General Goldfein keeps the names of every airman who is killed under his command in a book. Each year, he visits them at Arlington to pay his respects.

For many Americans, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Niger, and Somalia have become a fact of life. When news about OIF, OEF, OAE, or OIR hits, no one really listens anymore. The acronyms change, but everything else stays the same. This is the cost of endless war. Andrew Bacevich, a historian and retired colonel whose son died in Iraq, said it best,

“A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America.”

Bacevich has also noted that those who aren’t serving in the U.S. military are encouraged to support the troops, but no one ever “stipulates how this civic function is to be performed.”

Those in charge of prosecuting the wars, however, should find it relatively easy to support the troops — by reaching their objective and bringing those troops home. But the Chiefs of Staff don’t hold that kind of command authority. They’re in an advisory position for the National Security Council.

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In case we forgot who is on that council.

In a time where the War in Afghanistan seems like it will never end and new hot spots seem to pop up all the time, it’s good to know the Air Force has someone at the top who’s seen and fought in war and knows that the people who die fighting them are more than numbers on a PowerPoint slide.

It’s nice to know that someone at the top really gives a shit.

Military Life

Here are the best military photos for the week of January 20th

In the military, you never know what the week will bring. Thankfully, there are some very talented photographers in the ranks and they’re always capturing what life as a service member is like, both in training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:


Air Force:

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis speaks with Col. Joseph Kunkel, 366th Fighter Wing commander, after a town hall meeting at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Jan. 16, 2018. Mattis met with base leadership and fielded questions from Airmen during the town hall.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

A B-52 Stratofortress navigator, assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, provides overview of different radars during a strategic bomber mission over Europe, on Jan. 16, 2018. The deployment of strategic bombers to RAF Fairford, England, helps exercise United States Air Forces in Europe’s forward operating location for bombers. Training with joint partners, allied nations and other U.S. Air Force units help the 5th Bomb Wing contribute to ready and postured forces.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride)

Army:

Cpl. Kevin Johnson (right), a Norfolk, Virginia native and a human resource specialist assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas, shows photos from his hometown to a group of students at an elementary school in Nowa Sol, Poland on Jan. 17, 2018. The purpose of the visit was to give the students the opportunity to learn more about the U.S. military and its involvement in Atlantic Resolve.

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(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Hubert D. Delany III / 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

U.S. Army Paratrooper assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade engages a pop-up targets with M249 light machine gun during the marksmanship training at Cao Malnisio Range, Pordenone, Italy, Jan. 16, 2018. The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of projecting ready forces anywhere in the U.S. European, Africa, or Central Commands’ areas of responsibility.

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(U.S. Army Photos by Davide Dalla Massara)

Navy:

Belgian Commander Peter Ramboer (L), incoming Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) Commander, congratulates outgoing SNMCMG1 Commander Gvido Laudups as he receives the NATO Flag representing the conclusion of his command during the SNMCMG1 operational handover ceremony at Zeebrugges Marine Base, in Belgium.

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(Photo by FRAN CPO Christian Valverde/Released.)

Capt. Robert Jacoby, right, and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Raymond Bedard, from Expeditionary Resuscitative Surgical System 19, prepare medical supplies aboard Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Cardigan Bay during exercise Azraq Serpent 18. Azraq Serpent 18 is a bilateral exercise between the U.K. Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy dedicated to developing interoperability between partners across the medical domain in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin J. Steinberg/Released)

Marine Corps:

Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan High, a Combat Skills Training instructor, teaches Soldiers with the Japan Ground Self Defense Force how to applying gauze to a simulated wound during Exercise Iron Fist, January 16, 2018. Exercise Iron Fist is an annual bilateral training exercise where U.S. and Japanese service members train together and share technique, tactics and procedures to improve their combined operational capabilities.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Robert Alejandre)

A Japan Ground Self Defense Force soldier leaves a pool during a Marine Corps intermediate swim qualification as part of exercise Iron Fist Jan. 16, 2018. Iron Fist brings together U.S. Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Soldiers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, Western Army Infantry Regiment, to improve bilateral planning, communicating, and conduct combined amphibious operations.

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(U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Jacob A. Farbo)

Coast Guard:

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Station Maui patrol off the coast during Operation Kohola Guardian, Jan. 16, 2018. Operation Kohola Guardian is a cooperative effort between state and federal agencies to reduce risk to mariners and whales in Hawaiian waters while supporting conservative efforts to ensure future generations have the opportunity to experience these animals in their natural habitat.

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(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

Members of the Hurricane Maria ESF-10 response work to dewater vessels impacted by the hurricane in Palmas del Mar, Puerto Rico, Jan. 16, 2018. The team was comprised of members of the Coast Guard and local salvage crews, working in the ESF-10 effort to remove the boats that were stranded in the hurricane. The ESF-10 is offering no-cost options for removing these vessels; affected boat owners are asked to call the Vessel Owner Outreach Hotline at (786) 521-3900

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(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lara Davis)

MIGHTY TRENDING

4 ways airmen party while deployed to Afghanistan

Whether you’re on a small FOB — let’s face it, most airmen won’t be here — or a military base, Afghanistan deployments can either be the most boring or a little bit exciting, depending on how you play your cards. Okay, fine — it’s going to be a little boring no matter what.


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That reminds me, you will probably play a lot of cards.

Yes, deployments are most often filled with binge-watching TV on time off or working out multiple times a day, but these are some tips that can make time in the sandbox a little more exciting.

That is, if you can get away with them and not get an Article 15 or court-martial.

4. Alcohol in mouthwash bottles.

Everyone knows that drinking while deployed is against general orders — meaning this you could get in heaps of trouble if you’re dumb and get sh*t-faced. Tip: Don’t be dumb.

It’s easy to get alcohol into Afghanistan if you utilize everyday items to smuggle it in and send it through regular mail. Just don’t go around swigging out of the mouthwash bottle or else someone is going to figure out what’s up.

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It’s not just for cruise ships and prisons anymore!

And if you’re going to share, make sure the ones you share with don’t f*ck it up by opening their mouths to supervisors.

3. Befriend a loadmaster.

Okay, okay — this might only work if you have access to a loadmaster or if you work near the flightline, but networking saves the day in dire times.

Make friends with a loadmaster — or heck, even a pilot — and they’ll willingly bring you back anything you want from wherever they go, probably for a price. Obviously, you’ll pay the price of whatever they bring back, but you might find yourself owing them a favor later (No, not that kind of favor, sicko. Just be willing to help them when they need it).

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Spot the contraband in this photo. (Hint: It’s green). (U.S. Air Force photo)

2. Hang with the foreign military.

Any chance you can spend time with military personnel from different countries, do it. New Zealand is particularly delightful because they can drink on deployment and their accents are easy on the ears (ladies).

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If David Boreanaz were in a military, he would join the New Zealand Air Force and fit right in. Just sayin’.

Besides the allure of alcohol and the accents, getting to know others from other countries just opens up new lines of communication, and meeting people kills time. You might also end up with some cool challenge-coin swag and squadron T-shirts by the end of deployment.

1. Last Resort: O’Doul’s at the BX and binge watch TV shows.

If you’re not daring enough to do any of the above for fear of a court-martial or an Article 15, stick with a couple of O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beers and watch movies on your laptop or smartphone. The Air Force Exchanges are notorious for selling almost anything you can get at a Walmart, so go wild, go crazy, and buy some fake beer.

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The only acceptable surrender.

It might sound boring and pointless, but at least there are no general orders being broken. So, airman, crack open that O’Doul’s and re-watch Dexter for the third time, because that might be as good as it’s going to get.

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