The origin of the 'best' rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal) - We Are The Mighty
Military Life

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Insane work environments, low-income housing, cafeteria food, and a general tone of condescension from leadership, combined with big personalities from all over the United States and beyond, have produced the “best” rank in the Marines — the lance corporal.


Also known as “third from the bottom,” lance corporal is one of the most common ranks in the Marine Corps. Despite the number of Marines who have received this humble endowment, the lance corporal is often called the “best” rank by those who have served in the Corps.

The origin of the rank’s title is both French and Italian and roughly translates to “one who has broken a lance in combat” and “leader.”

Related: 5 reasons veterans love the Terminal Lance perspective

Today, this would be similar to calling a Marine salty. The rank spawned from a need to establish small-unit leadership on the ground. Lance Corporal, as a rank, was used in medieval Europe for the same purpose. When one became a Corporal, they would receive their own horse and lance with which to ride into battle.

 

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
A U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal, right, addresses guests during the Evening Parade reception at the Home of the Commandants in Washington, D.C., May 24, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Adrian R. Rowan)

The horse became a symbol of rank, but if the horse died and the soldier was grounded, what was there to separate them from the rest? Thus, lance corporal was established to distinguish corporals on the ground by giving them a lance.

In the U.S. Marine Corps, lance corporal didn’t officially become a rank until 1958, when Congress amended the Career Compensation Act of 1949. However, the rank has a much longer history than that. In the 1830’s, Lance Cpl. was used as a billet title for Marines that were on track to become corporal.

It wasn’t until the rank of private first class was established in 1917 that Lance Cpl. was almost totally removed from Marine rank structure. The U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Commandant of the Marine Corps, at the time, felt that the rank of Pfc. ended the usefulness of Lance Cpl., although the rank dies hard, and one writer on Marine Corps tradition asserts that privates were being detailed as lance corporals as recently as 1937.

Despite its turbulent past, the rank has been immortalized not only by heroic actions but also by the ridiculous conduct of Marines who wear its chevron with crossed rifles. Make no mistake — there is a reputation that goes along with this rank, and it has many sides.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Marine lance corporal service alpha dress chevrons.

Yes, it is the senior-junior rank, yes, many great leaders bear the mosquito wings with honor, however, the rank is also synonymous with those who will do anything to get out of a working party. They’re also the one ones who have the best liberty stories, barracks room socials, and an endless stream of comments ridiculing anything the Corps can come up with.

Every Marine who served as a Lance has stories detailing the debauchery consistent with the rank, and if they didn’t serve in the rank, like an officer, they have stories of a young Lance Criminal acting accordingly.

Lance Corporal is considered the best because of the distribution of responsibility amongst its ranks.

Also Read: What it’s like having a submarine crash into your ship

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Living Marine legend Kyle Carpenter wears the rank of lance corporal.

When you wear the rank, you are among the highest density of eligible working party Marines, creating an environment primed for skating. It is here that legends are born. These legends range in notoriety from the heroic medal of honor recipients to hilarious battalion level shit-baggery. One of them has even become a dark lord of the Star Wars universe.

Only those who have served in the USMC will ever really know just how much of an impact a Marine Lance Cpl. can have with the proper amount of motivation and creativity, and it is in the name of those hard chargers that we honor the history of the Corps’ best rank.

For more reference, check out the Terminal Lance comics by Maximilian Uriarte, a former Marine Lance who has been chronicling the mind and spirit of the USMC E-3 in the most comprehensive way (comic strips) for years.

Military Life

4 reasons why showering on deployment is disgusting

Before deploying to a developing country, service members go through a variety of medical screenings and receive vaccinations to prepare their bodies for the microorganisms they’ll come in contact with while overseas. After we arrive at our destinations, it’s necessary to keep ourselves as clean as possible to prevent getting sick and developing skin infections.

Some troops have to rough it, rinsing off using bottles of water, showering under bladder systems, or wiping themselves down with baby wipes to keep clean. Others are lucky enough to have showers setup near their berthing areas.

At first glance, cleaning our ourselves with a handful of baby wipes might sound pretty bad compared to using community showers — but you might prefer those wipes after reading this.


The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Navy Seabees as they shower while stationed in the Pacific, WWII.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Senior Airman Dustyn White collects a water sample at the Lima Gate entry point at the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia. The water entering the base is tested for pH, chlorine, and fecal coliform.

(Photo by Master Sgt. David Miller)

Questioning the water source

The bacteria on our bodies like to grow and get smelly, making frequent showers an essential. However, the quality of that shower is dependent on the type of soap you use and the cleanliness of the water with which you rinse.

If there are showers set up in your FOB, be sure to look into how often the water is tested. Someone should be checking pH, chlorine, and fecal matter levels.

The baby-wipe option might actually be a healthier choice.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Always wear your shower shoes.

I’m standing in a puddle of… what?

Military showers are known for being use at high frequencies by service members who use the facility in a timely manner. As with any community-shower setup, not all the water goes down the drain immediately, and puddles being to build up.

As the next person in line, it’s pretty gross to have to step into a pool of murky, leftover water. You should be wearing shower shoes, but even then, puddles could’ve risen higher than your protective soles — and it might not be just water you’re dipping your toes in.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Open bay showers

The open bay shower has been around for decades and will be around for many more. This setup is ideal for rinsing off large crowds who need to freshen up. Unfortunately, getting sprinkled with water that’s splashing off of someone else’s dirty body can make you feel even nastier than before.

Cleanliness of the highly-used, private shower stalls

On deployment, the vast majority of the military community wakes up, shaves, and then takes a quick shower. Showering off in a private stall may feel a little closer to home, but it also might be a curse in disguise.

When you’ve been forward deployed for months, you’ve probably found yourself in some fairly filthy places. Once you return to the FOB, a hot shower sounds like a good idea before settling down. However, the private stalls are pretty small — there’s not much moving around in there. Be careful as you touch the walls and knots — they might not be sanitized as often as you’d hope.

Military Life

Here are the best military photos for the week of December 9th

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. Jojie Arcega, a loadmaster with the 36th Airlift Squadron, pushes a practice bundle from a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft during Operation Christmas Drop, Dec. 8, 2017, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Over the course of 12 days, members of OCD provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands, impacting about 20,000 people covering 1.8 million square nautical miles of operating area.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres Chardon)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stands by for takeoff Dec. 5, 2017, at Gwangju Air Base, Republic of Korea during Exercise Vigilant Ace-18. Vigilant Ace gives aircrews and air support operations personnel from various airframes, military services and ROK partners an opportunity to integrate and practice combat operations against realistic air and ground threats.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristen A. Heller)

Army:

Soldiers assigned to the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, conduct a parachute insertion and foot march on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Dec. 5, 2017. The jump was part of a larger situational training exercise to test the Soldiers proficiency with combat related tasks.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher)

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas, dismount an M-1 Abrams tank during training Dec. 6, 2017 at Smardan Training Area, in Smardan, Romania. The crews are required to qualify as a team if any member leaves or joins, or re-qualify every six months.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Shelton Smith / 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Navy:

U.S. Navy Culinary Specialist 3rd Class James Washington, from Dallas, left, and Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Cole Sams, from Salem, Ore., lower the ensign aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as the ship departs Naval Air Station North Island, Dec. 6, 2017, in the Pacific Ocean. The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific region routinely for more than 70 years promoting peace and security.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly L. Herline)

An MH-60R Sea Hawk attached to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 descends to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The ship is in port Norfolk, Virginia, conducting routine maintenance after a seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mario Coto)

Marine Corps:

Marines sight-in on a target with an M777 A2 howitzer during a direct-fire exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 4, 2017. The M777 provides timely, accurate and continuous indirect fire support, while having the capability to engage targets directly in the event of enemy contact. The Marines are with 1st Battalion 10th Marine Regiment.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Luke Hoogendam)

U.S. Marines conduct simulated village raids at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan, December 5, 2017, during the 3rd Marine Division Annual Squad Competition. The raids were a timed event in which the Marines had to hike and raid the village within two hours. The squad competition is conducted to test and compare each unit to see which is the fittest for combat. The squads are with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment and Combat Assault Battalion.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carl King)

Coast Guard:

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew searches the Gastineau Channel in Juneau, Alaska, for two men in the water after their skiff capsized Dec. 6, 2017. Five people were aboard the vessel when it capsized, one of which was rescued by the Coast Guard and two were able to safely swim to shore.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios)

Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba crew stand next to approximately 12.4 tons of cocaine Dec. 7, 2017, aboard the cutter at Port Everglades Cruiseport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba offloaded the cocaine in Port Everglades worth an estimated $378 million wholesale interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean between mid-October and late November.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Woodall)

Articles

6 times ‘Murphy’ was an uninvited guest on special operations missions

When special operators (or any armed force, for that matter) goes on an operation, Murphy (of “Murphy’s Law” fame) can be an uninvited and very unwelcome guest — whether with last minute changes in the plan, an inopportune discovery by civilians, or gear breaking down.


America’s highly-trained commandos have an amazing track record of achievement, wracking up huge wins with very few losses over the decades since World War II. But their missions are often so high stakes that when Murphy does pay a visit, the damage has an outsized public impact.

Here are some of the more notable instances where Murphy’s Law sent spec ops missions into a tailspin.

1. Desert One

On April 24, 1980, the newly established Delta Force attempted a daring rescue mission of the 66 Americans being held hostage in Iran.

At the initial landing site codenamed “Desert One,” the mission went south in a big way. Ultimately, eight special operators died in the abortive effort, which contributed to the undoing of the Carter administration. The mission did become the backdrop used for the opening of the Chuck Norris classic, “The Delta Force,” which was also Lee Marvin’s last role.

2. Operation Urgent Fury

After a Marxist coup seized power of the small Caribbean nation of Grenada in 1979, tensions between the country (essentially a Cuban puppet) and the United States increased. After an internal power struggle ended up leaving the island nation’s president dead, President Ronald Reagan ordered American forces to settle the matter.

Unfortunately the SEALs involved with the invasion really had a rough time of it.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

The Navy SEAL Museum notes that a drop that was supposed to be in daylight and calm seas got delayed to night. A bad storm resulted in the loss of four SEALs. The lack of reconnaissance and bad comms (SEALs who rescued the island’s governor, had to use a phone to call HQ for support) created problems, but the operation was successful.

The SEALs at the governor’s mansion were eventually rescued by Force Recon Marines. Other SEALs managed to destroy a radio tower and swim out to sea, where they were picked up. Grenada was a success, and many of the lessons learned were applied in the future.

3. Operation Just Cause

The SEALs again were involved in an op where Murphy paid a visit when the United States decided to remove Manuel Noriega from power after Panamanian troops killed a U.S. Marine.

SEAL Team 4 drew the assignment of taking Punta Paitilla airport and disabling Noriega’s private jet. According to the Navy SEAL Museum’s web page, Noriega’s jet had been moved to a hanger.

As a result of the move, the SEALs ended up into a firefight that left four dead. One of those killed in action. SEAL Don McFaul would receive a posthumous Navy Cross, and have an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS McFaul (DDG 74), named in his honor.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

4. ODA 525 – Desert Storm

In this special op, Murphy took the form of children discovering the hide site of nine Green Berets lead by Chief Warrant Officer Richard Balwanz. Balwanz made the decision to let the kids, go, and his force found itself under attack.

Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Daily Caller noted that Balwanz brought his entire team back. In this case, the special operators overcame Murphy in an outstanding feat of arms that few Americans have heard about.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

5. Mogadishu

If you’ve seen “Black Hawk Down,” you pretty much know the story of how the firefight in Mogadishu went down. In this case, a 2013 article at RealClearDefense.com noted that two MH-60 Blackhawks from the 106th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (the “Nightstalkers”) were shot down. Murphy had a lot of room to maneuver when armor and AC-130 support was denied.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

6. Operation Red Wings

If you read the book, “Lone Survivor” (or saw the movie), you have a very good sense as to what went wrong here. Lieutenant Michael Murphy’s team of SEALs was discovered by civilians, a force of insurgents launched an attack and three SEALs were killed in the harrowing firefight.

It got worse when a Chinook helicopter carrying a quick reaction force was shot down by insurgents, killing 11 SEALs and eight Nightstalkers.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Articles

Here is how aerial gunners were trained to fight their way past the Luftwaffe

The United States Army Air Force’s daylight bombing campaign in Europe involved thousands of bombers, and tens of thousands of crewmen. While there were pilots, crew chiefs, radiomen, bombardiers, and navigators on planes like the B-17, about 40 percent of the crew were aerial gunners.


The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
A U.S. Army Air Forces Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress flying through flak over a target. A hit by flak lead to the capture of Brigadier General Arthur Vanaman, placing ULTRA at risk. (USAF photo)

What did it take to get these specialists ready? In some ways, it didn’t take long – maybe a few weeks. But these gunners had to learn a lot. Maintenance of their machine guns was vitally important. But they also had to learn to hit a moving target – because the Nazi fighters trying to shoot the bombers down were not going to make things easy for them.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Messerschmidt Bf 109. (Photo: Kogo CC BY-SA 2.0)

So, what did it take to teach gunners how to hit a moving target? Well, for starters, there were lessons on maintenance for both a .30-caliber machine gun (mostly used early in the war) and the M2 .50-caliber machine gun, and how fix them when they jammed. Then, they had to learn how bullets traveled downrange, and how to adjust for the drop of the bullets from the guns.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
A look at the ball turret of a B-17 Flying Fortress, carrying a pair of M2 .50-caliber machine guns. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

When that was done, the trainees were started on full-auto BB guns at an indoor range. Once that was mastered, they then did a lot of skeet shooting with 12-gauge shotguns.

Yep, a popular shooting sport was used to train the folks whose job involved keeping Nazi fighters from shooting down a bomber with ten airmen on board.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

The training went on to include live-fire of the machine guns, as well as how the turrets used on planes like the B-17 and B-24 worked. Aircraft recognition — including knowing an enemy fighter’s wingspan — was also very important.

Following that, they took to the air, and learned how to fire the guns while wearing the gear they’d need on board a bomber – including a life vest, parachute, and the helmet.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
B-17 gunners wearing bulky sheep-shearling flying clothing to protect against the deadly cold at the altitudes typically flown in Europe.— At 25,000 feet, the temperature could drop below -60 degrees Fahrenheit. (U.S. Air Force photo)

As you can imagine, this included a lot of learning and skills to master. You can see an introductory video for aerial gunners made during World War II below.

Military Life

6 ways to have the best reenlistment ever

When you first enlist, there isn’t much room in the process for you to get what you want. Yeah, you can choose your MOS and you’ll probably get lucky with an enlistment bonus and some school options, but there’s only so much a recruiter can get you. Once you’re in for a few years and your reenlistment window opens, however, the retention NCO is the person you really want to sweet talk. Retention NCOs hold the real power — they’ll move heaven and earth to keep troops in the unit and the military.


Keep in mind, the retention NCO isn’t a wizard who can fix all your problems with a whisk of a pen. Whatever you do, don’t ever confuse their willingness to work with you as an invitation to make demands. If you start holding your enlistment for ransom, you will get laughed out of the office.

Think of these more as poker chips for retention to ante up in exchange for you putting up more time in the military. The more valuable you are and the more time you are willing to give to the unit, the more “chips” they’ll put down. If you’re just Joe Schmoe hiding in the back of the platoon, don’t expect more than a few of these.

6. Get into a school

An easy win you can score is the option to get into a school whenever the slot opens up. This is a pretty simple request since it doesn’t involve HRC.

When a commander is notified that there’s room in a school opening up, the retention NCO can shuffle your name up to the top of that list.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Just a tip: If you go to The Sabalauski Air Assault School, don’t wear an 82nd patch. Just throwing that out there — but it will be hilarious for every 101st guy there. (U.S. Army Photo by Army Spc. Brian Smith-Dutton)

Related: These are the difference between Airborne and Air Assault

5. Choice of duty station

A key goal of the retention NCO is to keep the good troops in the unit, but if you request a change of duty station, they’ll understand the bigger picture here is keeping you in the military.

A change of scenery might also give you a new perspective on the military as a whole.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
You, too, can join in on the military tradition of hating your new duty station, loving your old one, and looking forward to the next one! (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Daylena S. Ricks)

4. Have fun with the ceremony

There are very few moments in anyone’s military career where they have the power to dictate what they want and have it happen. Troops can have fun with where the reenlistment takes place, invite friends and family, and, for a brief period during the ceremony, you’re technically “honorably discharged,” so the enlistment period timer is set back to zero.

Of course, you can’t do anything stupid because the ceremony isn’t done yet and the command and retention will hem your ass up if you make a fool of yourself, but briefly “discharged” troops can laugh at the fact that they can finally put their hands in the pockets of their uniform for a whole ten seconds.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
A CS Chamber sounds funny until you have to take your mask off to say the oath… (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Caleb Barrieau)

3. Help with promotion

This one is especially helpful for lower enlisted troops looking for a way to prove to the commander that they’re ready to take the next step in the military.

Reenlisting indefinitely won’t make your name appear on the Sergeant First Class List, but it can help an Army Specialist or Corporal get into the Sergeant board.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Retention can help you get to the board. You’re on your own when you’re there. (U.S. Army Courtesy Photo)

2. Change of MOS

Recruiters (usually) don’t lie, but they don’t shine a light on the reality of certain MOS. If you enlisted hoping for a fun and exciting time in that obscure MOS and now you’re feeling some buyer’s remorse, you can finally reclass.

I mean, you can finally learn that everyone has to embrace the suck: just some more than others.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

1. The money

Nothing sounds better than pure, hard-earned cash. The amount you can earn is dependent on a lot of factors, including available funds, time during the fiscal year, your MOS (or what MOS you want), and your time in service. But you can at least squeeze something out of Uncle Sam if you know how and when to push for a reenlistment bonus.

If you don’t want to haggle for anything else on this list, at least get yourself some zeroes on that paperwork. Just be sure to reenlist while you’re deployed in a combat zone so you can get that money tax-free.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Hey! You might finally be able to pay off that ’69 Camaro you got at a 24% interest rate! (Photo by Cpl. Reece Lodder)

Military Life

This Marine Corps video is the most moto thing you’ll see today

Facebook now allows you to use full-motion video as cover imagery for your profile page. We are either one step closer to bringing back ugly MySpace pages or maximizing everyone’s creative potential.


The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
I think we’re safe.

The Marine Corps updated their official Facebook page to include not just some awesome shots of Marines doing Marine things, but also to teach a little about the Corps’ history. It’s basically the best primer to fool kids into learning while simultaneously getting their malleable brains ready to be washed in the cult that is the U.S. Marine Corps.

 


Damn. I’m a 35-year-old Air Force veteran and I’m already primed to go to MCT after watching that. But, for the uninitiated, these are some the historical battles the video covers.

1. The Raid on Nassau

Yes, the Marines invaded the Bahamas. They captured the island of New Providence in the Bahamas in 1776 in an attempt to raid British gunpowder stores there.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
I bet Marines wish we still invaded Caribbean countries.

The Continental Marines didn’t get much gunpowder but it was the first amphibious landing of what would become the United States Marine Corps.

2. The Battle of Derna

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
But no, the Middle East it is.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard of the infamous “Shores of Tripoli” from the well-known hymn. Marine Lt. Presley O’Bannon led a ragtag group of Marines and Arab allies against the Barbary pirate states in North Africa and won against all odds.

3. The Battle of Chapultepec

If you know the aforementioned hymn, you’re probably familiar with this battle, too. Marines captured the citadel of Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City during the 1847 Mexican-American War.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
“It’s just a small hill, I think!”

They fought up a 200-foot slope and over a 12-foot wall just to enter the castle. Then, they took it from the Mexican Army, sometimes fighting hand-to-hand to do it.

4. The Battle of Belleau Wood

This bloody World War I slugfest is a fight nobody thought was winnable. Even after the French fell back from the woods, the Marines stood their ground against the oncoming Germans. When the Marine lines held, it astonished all their allies.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

It’s said that this is where the Marines earned the nickname, “Devil Dogs.”

5. The Battle of Iwo Jima

Of all the battles on display in the video, this is the one that likely needs the least explanation. The iconic image of Marines raising the American flag over Mount Suribachi is legendary.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Yeah, this one.

It took 110,000 American troops nearly a month to capture the island. And of the 21,000 Japanese defenders, only 216 survived to be taken prisoner.

6. The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir

This is the most amazing fight that was almost lost to history. The 1st Marine Division took on 10 attacking Chinese divisions in a blinding, freezing snowstorm in North Korean Siberia — and they won.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
No words.

The individual stories of surviving Chosin veterans — calling themselves “The Chosin Few” — are the stuff of legend.

7. The Battle of Hue

In one of the most pivotal moments of the entire Vietnam War, a forgotten area on the border between North and South Vietnam became a focal point for the Tet Offensive.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Capturing Hue City was a brilliant strategy for the North Vietnamese. The only problem was that it was defended by U.S. Marines – and they spent a month taking it back, house-by-house.

8. Iraq and Afghanistan

As for Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the history of those entire conflicts is too long to list out here, but find out (or ask Marines) about their time in Desert Storm, or in places like Sangin in Afghanistan or Fallujah in Iraq.

Articles

This is why some Marines wear the ‘French Fourragere,’ and some don’t

You may have noticed a select few Marines and sailors walking around in their uniforms with a green rope wrapped around their left arm — it’s not just for decoration.


That green rope is called a “French Fourragere,” and it was awarded to the members of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments for their heroic actions during the Battle of Belleau Wood from the French government in WWI.

This rite of passage extends to Marines who serve in those respected units today to commemorate their brothers in that historic battle.

The Fourragere is authorized on all service uniforms, and dress coats or jackets where medals or ribbons are prescribed.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

During the bloody summer months of 1918, the Marines and the Germans fiercely fought one another just northwest of the Paris-to-Metz road. For weeks, German Gen. Erich Ludendorff had his troops attack U.S. forces with artillery, machine guns, and deadly gas.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Although the Marines sustained thousands of casualties during the skirmish, the infantrymen charged their opposition through the wooded area with fixed bayonets.

It’s reported the French urged the Marines to turn back, but the grunts proceeded onward frequently engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.

By June 26, 1918, the war-hardened Marines confirmed that they secured the woods from German forces and took many prisoners.

And the French Fourragere reminds Leathernecks in this storied units of their World War I bravery.

Articles

This is what the potential US Space Corps could look like

A sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces may be a reality soon. But it will likely still be decades before “Star Trek’s” Starfleet becomes a thing.


On June 21, The House Armed Services Committee proposed forming the U.S. Space Corps. Both Republican and Democrat representatives suggested cleaving the current Air Force Space Command away from Big Blue and forming its own branch of service.

Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers is spearheading the Space Corps into the 2018 Defense Authorization Bill. Rogers spoke with NPR and said “Russia and China have become near peers. They’re close to surpassing us. What we’re proposing would change that.”

Opposition to the Space Corps comes from the confusion that it would create at the Pentagon. Both Air Force Sec. Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein argued against the proposal. Gen. Goldfein said in May “I would say that we keep that dialog open, but right now I think it would actually move us backwards.”

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Photo via Wikimedia

The formation of new branches of the military isn’t new. The Air Force was of course part of the Army when it was the U.S. Army Air Corps. Even still, the Marine Corps is still a subdivision of the Navy.

Funding for the Space Corps would be coming from the Air Force. The budget for the existing Air Force Space Command would increase before it would become its own branch.

With the ever growing sophistication of war, the “red-headed step children” of the Air Force would be in the spotlight. The Space Corps would most likely be absorb The Navy’s space arm of the Naval Network Warfare Command into its broader mission.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
As an integral part of the 21st Space Wing, Cheyenne Mountain AFS provides and employs global capabilities to ensure space superiority to defend our nation and allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Hoffman)

There has not been a proposed official designation for Space Corps personnel yet.  Air Force personnel are Airmen so it would be logical for Space Corps troops to be called spacemen.

The life of spacemen wouldn’t likely be too different from the airmen in Space Command and sailors of the Naval Network Warfare Command already. There are only a few bases that would garrison spacemen. Their mission would likely remain the same as it is today — “to provide resilient and affordable space and cyberspace capabilities for the Joint Force and the Nation.”

To crush the dreams of every child, the fighting would mostly be take place at a desk instead of space. It costs way too much to send things and people into space. Until there’s a great need to send troops into space, Spacemen won’t be living out any “Halo,” “Starship Troopers,” or “Star Wars” fantasies.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
But we can still dream, right?

In all likelihood, spacemen would focus their efforts on the threats against cyber-security, detection of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and maintenance of satellites in the early days. No major changes from what currently exists today, but the Space Corps would have more prestige and precedent in future conflicts.

Yet, President Donald Trump has recently reestablished the National Space Council. Trump made clear his goals of a “Deep Space Gateway” to help astronauts reach more distant locations along with his goal of reaching Mars “by the end of his second term.

The concept of the Space Corps is still up for debate. It would still need to pass the Senate Armed Services Committee and then to President Trump.

Military Life

Here are the best military photos for the week of February 10th

In the military, it’s impossible to say what the next week will bring. Thankfully, the ranks are chock-full of talented photographers that are always capturing what life as a service member is like, both in training and at war.


These are the best photos of the week:

Air Force:

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, left, greets Airman 1st Class Jessica Provencal, a fire team member assigned to the 736th Security Forces Squadron during his visit to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 8, 2018. The contingency response Airmen of the 736th SFS provide first-in force protection for the 36th Contingency Response Group during airbase opening, contingency, and humanitarian assistance operations throughout the Indo-Pacific area of operations.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Stone Williford, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron real property specialist, removes dirt to level the ground at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 6, 2018. Volunteers worked together and combined their various skills to rebuild the overflow bridge at Memorial Lake.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Destinee Sweeney)

Army:

Pfc. Hunter Wood (left), military policeman assigned to the 287th MP Company, 97th MP BN, 89th MP BDE, deployed in support of Battle Group Poland receives a 2nd Cavalry Regiment coin of excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Muhlenbeck, 2CR senior enlisted advisor, for his unwavering work ethic as a gunner and initiative on being accountable for his military vehicle’s maintenance and progress while simultaneously ensuring mission success, near Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland Feb. 8, 2018. Battle Group Poland is a unique, multinational battle group, comprised of U.S., U.K., Croatian and Romanian soldiers who serve with the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade as a deterrence force in northeast Poland in support of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(Courtesy photo by 2nd Lt. Francine Alba, 287th MP Company)

2nd Lt. Isaac Bandfield, infantry officer, 1st Battalion, 77th Armored Regiment, qualifies on the M240B to obtain an Expert Infantry Badge Feb. 6 at Fort Bliss, Texas. The qualification includes three steps, which are disassembling the weapon, assembling the weapon, and clearing then firing the weapon.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Felicia Jagdatt)

Navy:

Rear Adm. Steve Koehler, second from left, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, speaks with members of the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces and U.S. Army in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt and its carrier strike group are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex Perlman/Released)

Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Samuel Wellington helps Fire Controlman 1st Class John Willman practice aiming down the sight of an M4 rifle during a small-arms gun shoot aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71). Ross, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its sixth patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners and U.S. national security interests in Europe.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kyle Steckler/Released)

Marine Corps:

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller shakes hands with Marines during a visit to Recruiters School aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif., February 8, 2018. Neller addressed the Marines about his latest Message to the Force: Execute and answers questions.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz)

Marines with Company F, 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, pause to check the scheme of maneuver before a platoon formation rehearsal during exercise Winter Break 2018 near Camp Grayling, Michigan, Feb. 8, 2018. Winter Break 18 challenges Marines of Fox Co., 4th Tank Bn. to contend with employment problems caused by extreme cold weather and snow and adapt to the operational challenges of a severe climate.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dallas Johnson)

Coast Guard:

Leighton Tseu, Kane O Ke Kai, gives a Hawaiian blessing during the arrival of the Coast Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126), at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Feb. 4, 2018. The Joseph Gerczak is the second of three Honolulu-based FRCs that will primarily serve the main Hawaiian Islands.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jawhawk helicopter crewmember medevacs a 42-year-old man suffering from stomach pains from the cruise ship Koningsdam Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 approximately 46 miles east of the Bahamas. Coast Guard 7th District watchstanders launched the aircrew who hoisted the patient with his nurse and transferred them to local emergency medical services at Nassau, Bahamas.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. George Menze)

Military Life

4 tips to pass the Army’s SIFT Test

College applicants need to take the SAT and/or the ACT. Medical students take the MCAT. Before your orders are cut to attend the Army’s flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, prospective aviators will have to pass the Selection Instrument for Flight Training. Better known as the SIFT, both commissioned and warrant officers are required to obtain a score of at least 40 in order to qualify for flight school. The multiple-choice test is broken down into seven sections and can take up to three hours. Full disclosure, I managed a nice SIFT score of 69. Here are some tips to help you achieve the highest score possible so you can be above the best.

1. Study Guides

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Don’t just look at the pictures (U.S. Army)

This one may seem like an obvious answer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t bother going through the resources that are readily available to them. Books have been published that detail the types of questions that are on the SIFT. While you can take the shotgun method and go through all of them, focus on understanding the reasoning behind the questions you will be asked. Additionally, take the practice tests and, crucially, don’t cheat yourself. Yes, the answers are in the back. But, you’re not learning anything if you peek ahead. Online study guides and quizzes are also available with a quick search. These help to prepare you better since the SIFT is only administered via computer.

2. Play ‘Find It’ Games

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
One of these things is not like the others (KnowYourMeme)

Once you’ve exhausted your conventional study resources, it’s time to get creative. The first two sections of the SIFT are Simple Drawings and Hidden Figures. The former requires you to pick out a drawing that is different from the ones around it and the latter asks you to identify an object hidden in a mess of other objects. In both sections, speed, accuracy, and attention to detail are essential. Having a quick eye to spot differences and pick them out in a crowd will help you succeed here. Who knew all that time looking at “Where’s Waldo?” and hidden picture books as a kid would come in handy?

3. Play Video Games

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
It helps to know which way your aircraft is pointing (Activision)

No, I’m not kidding. But, I’m not talking about Call of Duty or Fortnite either. While those games could help with reaction times which will allow you to submit your answers faster, you’ll want to play flight games in preparation for the SIFT. The next two sections are the Spatial Apperception Test and the Army Aviation Information Test. During the SAT, you will be shown a scene from the pilot’s perspective in the cockpit. Using that, you will have to select the image that depicts the aircraft in that same position relative to its surroundings. The AAIT is a little more straightforward and will ask questions about general aviation knowledge, Army Aviation history, aircraft mechanics and components, principles of flight, and common aviation words and phrases. If you’re a military aviation buff, you’ll have a leg up in the knowledge portion. To help with other questions in these sections, arcade flight simulators like Apache Air Assault and Ace Combat can help immensely, especially with the SAT. You don’t have to be a master pilot on Microsoft Flight Simulator, but more detailed simulations like it will help you to understand the more intricate principles of flight.

4. Pay Attention in School

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
It’s never too late to learn (U.S. Army)

If you’re still in school, do yourself a favor and pay extra attention in math, science, and English. If you didn’t do that well in school and have already graduated, pay extra attention to the SIFT practice tests and seek additional related practice tests. The last three sections of the SIFT are the Math Skills Test, the Mechanical Comprehension Test, and the Reading Comprehension Test. When it comes to the MST, it’s not advanced calculus. But, you will be tested on algebraic expressions, geometric equations and basic trigonometry. You can also expect to calculate percentages and rates over time in word problems. The MCT is a mix of physics, math, and science theory. Be familiar with the laws of physics, simple machines, heat transfer and the inter-connectivity of systems. The best practice for the RCT is to read each passage and the available answers in their entirety. Remember that words have meaning and focus on details to identify context clues and extrapolate the information needed to determine the correct answer.

While the SIFT is not an indicator of how well you will perform in flight school or as an Army Aviator, it does determine your aptitude to train in the skills necessary to fly with the best. A pass/fail result is displayed immediately upon completion of the SIFT and the Test Control Officer/Test Examiner will provide you with the numerical score. Remember that they have to sign your testing letter for your score to be valid. Once you obtain a passing score, you are ineligible to retake the SIFT. Additionally, if you don’t pass on your first try, you will have to wait 180 days before you can retest and a second failure to pass will disqualify you from the Army Aviation Program. As with all tests, study hard, be prepared, and do your best.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Fly Army. Above the best. (U.S. Army)
MIGHTY TRENDING

New blended military retirement system will take effect Jan. 1

One of the most wide-reaching and significant changes to military pay and benefits over the last 70 years goes into effect Jan. 1 with the implementation of the Uniformed Services Blended Retirement System, known as BRS.


The new system blends aspects of the traditional defined benefit retirement pension system, with a defined contribution system of automatic and matching government contributions through the Thrift Savings Plan.

All new entrants into the uniformed services on or after Jan. 1 will be enrolled in this new retirement system, Pentagon officials said. The uniformed services are the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Some Can Choose Between Systems

Nearly 1.6 million current service members will have the option to remain in the current legacy “high-3” retirement system or to choose the BRS when the opt-in period for eligible service members opens Jan. 1. Opt-in eligible service members from all seven of the uniformed services will have an entire year to make their retirement system election. The open period for the majority of service members is from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018.

Read Also: 5 basic things you should know about the thrift savings plan

Service members will need to visit one of these designated resources to opt into BRS:

  • Army, Air Force, Navy: MyPay.
  • Marine Corps: Marine Online.
  • Coast Guard, NOAA Commissioned Corps: Direct Access.
  • U.S. Public Health Service personnel should contact the USPHS Compensation Branch.

Service members who believe they are eligible to opt in, but do not see the opt-in option available online should contact their local personnel/human resources office to verify eligibility, officials said.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Decision Irrevocable

The decision to opt in is irrevocable, officials emphasized, even if a service member changes his or her mind before the Dec. 31, 2018, deadline. Eligible service members who take no action will remain in the legacy retirement system, they added.

Prior to opting in, officials recommend that service members take advantage of all available resources to assist in making an informed decision on the financial implications specific to their retirement situation. The Defense Department endorses several training and informational tools to support a service member’s decision, including the BRS Opt-In Course, the BRS Comparison Calculator, and numerous online BRS resource materials. Service members can receive no-cost, personal support from an accredited personal financial manager or counselor available at their installation’s military and family support center or by calling Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.

Articles

Gene Hackman’s response on why he joined the Marines is TV gold

“I couldn’t get laid.”


That’s the reason actor Gene Hackman gave to former late-night talk show host David Letterman as an explanation for why he joined the Marine Corps.

At the young age of 16, Hackman dropped out of high school and used his acting ability to convince his way into enlisting in the Marine Corps.

In 1947, the acclaimed actor completed boot camp and was quickly sent off to serve in China as a field radio operator. Hackman also spent time serving in Hawaii and Japan.

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)
Young Marine Cpl. Gene Hackman. (Source: Pinterest)

Related: 70+ celebrities who were in the military

During his time in the Corps, Hackman was demoted three times for leaving his post without proper authorization.

After Hackman had been discharged, the San Bernardino native went on to study journalism and TV production at the University of Illinois. By 30, he had broken into a successful acting career and would be nominated for five Academy Awards and winning two for his roles in “The French Connection” and “Unforgiven.”

The origin of the ‘best’ rank in the Marines (Lance Corporal)

Hackman is credited with approximately 100 film and TV roles and is currently retired from acting.

Also Read: Here’s how Hollywood turns actors into military operators

Check out Zschim‘s channel to watch Gene Hackman’s epic response to TV show host David Letterman’s question for yourself starting at 29:10.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z5onX0SQME
(Zschim, YouTube)
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