6 things not to do while getting an Article 15 - We Are The Mighty
Military Life

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15

For better or worse, non-judicial punishment (NJP) is exactly what the name implies. As authorized by Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a commander may discipline their troop without the need for a court-martial.

On the one hand, a commander is keeping things at the lowest level possible and punishments can only be so extreme (depending on the type of NJP, of course). On the other, due process is sidestepped and the judge, jury, and executioner is a single person.


But there are a few ways to make sure your Article 15 process goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s what you shouldn’t do:

Don’t think not signing means you’re in the clear

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Why the hell would there be such a glaring loophole that says you can’t be in trouble if you don’t want to be? (Photo by Naoto Anazawa)

It’s an embarrassingly common misconception. Some people think that signing an Article 15 is an admission of guilt. It’s not. It’s just saying that you agree to go down that route. More often than not, depending on the circumstances, you’ll want to just take the NJP.

Escalating the hearing to court-martial means that you’re putting yourself at risk of confinement and possibly an administrative discharge. If you are facing just a summarized Article 15 (the least severe of NJPs), the most you can get is 14 days of extra duty, 14 days of restriction, and an oral reprimand.

Don’t cry for a lawyer

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Every situation is unique, but it’s more than likely that you want to stay at just the NJP level.
(Photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Carter)

Your civil rights are still a thing when facing a NJP, but it’s not always the best course of action to call for a lawyer when the punishment can be kept in house. You are allowed legal representation (if you’re not facing the extremely light summarized), but remember, you’re not convincing a military judge who has heard many trials.

Instead, you’re trying to convince your commander who has long been with you and should (probably) know who you are as a troop by now. You may bring spokesmen, evidence, and witnesses and you should probably let the person who knows the commander best do all the talking.

Don’t mouth off to your commander

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Why would you want to upset the one person who holds your career in their hands?
(Photo by Lance Cpl. Donte Busker)

Now is not the time to pop off with an attitude. If you know with 100% certainty that you are innocent, explain the situation as calmly and soundly as possible. If you know you’re guilty and the commander has you dead-to-rights, then don’t dig your grave deeper.

Actual judges and justices must hide emotion and let the facts do the talking. Your commander doesn’t want the unit to look bad and is doing what they must. The fact that they allowed you to just take an Article 15 instead of automatically going to court-martial means they’re at least a little bit on your side.

Don’t scoff at the chance of a suspended punishment

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Just hide back in the formation and keep your nose clean.
(Photo by Cpl. Justin Huffty)

Another element unique to an Article 15 is that the commander may suspend the punishment. Meaning, if they choose, a commander can put you on probation without any actions taken against you. This probation can last up to six months and, at the end of those six months, the commander may believe your punishment was paid for with a very stern lecture (if your behavior’s been good).

Thank your commander if they give you this option and keep your word when you say, “it’ll never happen again.” One slip up and your actual punishment begins. This could even happen for something small, like being a minute late to PT formation.

If you feel you were unjustly punished, don’t forget to appeal

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Each link on the chain may be more and more time consuming…
(Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

But let’s not give every single commander the benefit of the doubt. We’ll admit it; there are bad apples who may drop the hammer for a slight infraction because they hold a grudge against you. You always have the right to appeal the verdict, escalating the issue to the next highest level.

If you appeal within five days, your case will be brought higher. Worst case scenario, your appeal gets denied. If it gets accepted, then the worst case is that your punishment stays the same. You don’t really have anything to lose by appealing.

After two years (or you PCS/ETS), don’t bring it up again

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
But your buddies will still laugh with you. Or at you, depending on what you did.
(U.S. Marine Corps Photo)

This final tip is for E-4 and below. After two years (or if you PCS/ETS), an Article 15 is destroyed and can’t be used against you.

E-5 and above, unfortunately, have the Article 15 on their record forever (unless you have it expunged). If you messed up as an E-3, took it on the chin like an adult, and now you’re thinking of staying in, just keep that embarrassing blemish on an otherwise clean career to yourself and nobody will give a damn.

Articles

Veterans clap back at those demanding Starbucks hire 10,000 vets

Starbucks Armed Forces Network, a private group within the company of Starbucks, released a statement yesterday asking that those calling for Starbucks to hire 10,000 veterans instead of refugees check their facts.


Recently, Starbucks came under fire for announcing that they would hire 10,000 refugees. The general reaction was anger and calls for boycotts of Starbucks until they vowed to also hire 10,000 veterans.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Devin Craig (second from right), a district manager for Starbucks Coffee Company, Wash., and his team talk to Soldiers and Veterans during the Boots 2 Work Military Career Fair at Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, Wash., Aug. 27. The career fair gave Soldiers the opportunity to meet with local businesses and learn job hunting skills. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Cody Quinn, 28th Public Affairs Detachment/Released)

The problem with that? Starbucks vowed to hire 10,000 veterans in 5 years way back in 2013. And they’re ahead of schedule.

One of the many internal groups at the coffee giant, Starbucks Armed Forces Network, penned a note to their customers to explain why the anger at the refugee program was misdirected.

The note, simply signed by The Men and Women of Starbucks Armed Forces Network (AFN), began, “We write to you today as representatives of the thousands of veterans and spouses who currently work for Starbucks Coffee Company.”

The writers went on to express their gratitude to their customers and then they moved right into addressing the refugee and veteran initiatives.

“The false and inaccurate statements [about the veteran hiring initiative were] deeply troubling to those of us who’ve served,” the group wrote.

The statement described how the CEO and his wife, Howard and Sheri Schultz, had visited military installations around the country to learn more about how they could advocate better for veterans and military spouses after announcing the veteran hiring initiative in November 2013. The couple invested their own personal funds into “plans for transitioning service members,” according to the group.

“We respect honest debate and freedom of expression,” the statement read. “But to those who would suggest Starbucks is not committed to hiring veterans, we are here to say: check your facts. Starbucks is already there.”

The 5 year initiative has only used about 60 percent of its time, but has met 88 percent of its goal. This means that, if they continue at this rate, Starbucks will surpass their initial goal of hiring 10,000 veterans by 2018 by 4,600 veterans.

Starbucks operates 32 Military Family Stores near several major installations. Owned by veterans, military spouses, or family members, the stores participate in “Military Mondays.” Weekly, Starbucks partners with local Veteran Service Organizations to provide space for the organizations to offer pro-bono legal support and other services to the military community.

The company also offers Military Service Pay to employees who have to report for National Guard or Reserve assignments. Eligible partners can receive up to 80 hours of paid time to fulfill their reserve service obligations yearly.

Starbucks provides a Military Allowance to eligible employees that are called to active duty, as well.

Starbucks has made a name for themselves as a veteran friendly company, even being awarded Gold status by G.I. Jobs in this year’s annual “Military Friendly” list.

Military Life

6 reasons military service members are the best lovers

Since the beginning of time, the dichotomy of love and war are two sides of the same coin. You must have yin to have a yang, an alpha and omega. Most war movies depict what it is like for a spouse to be away from their love who’s fighting half-a-world away. Military service members play romantic interest roles in movies for a reason: they’re lovers and fighters – and they’re the best at both.

Here are 6 reasons military service members are the best lovers:

1. Love letters

Tinder and other apps have changed the way people find someone but they will never change the romanticism of love letters between star-crossed lovers. Love letters from warriors and their beloved are something that technology cannot compete against. When I was in Afghanistan I could only use the satellite phone once a month due to the remote area we operated in. There is something about those private correspondences you share that is difficult to put into words.

It’s borderline magical, like a fairytale. My then-girlfriend used to sign her letters calling me her ‘Knight in shining armor.’ It may be corny, fine. It hits different seeing those words on paper, in the handwriting of your love, with her perfume on the sheets of paper, after literally taking off your armor returning from fighting the enemy.

Love letters are something that you never see in the civilian world which makes them even more impactful. When kindred spirits finally rendezvous, sparks are going to fly, I guarantee it.

2. Military service members are usually in shape

military service members exercising
All this exercise has its perks.

There isn’t much to the science here, military service members are in shape – not by choice – but in shape regardless!

3. Spare no expense

Warriors do not earn a lot compared to their civilian counterparts. If we did it for the money we wouldn’t be who we are. Returning from deployment, troops are known to spare no expense living life to the fullest and will bring you along for the ride. Post Afghanistan; there were cliques that vacationed together with their spouses in the Virgin Islands, others went on skiing trips, or other adventures. Believe me, vacationing with a military service member is nothing to take for granted, these MFs know how to party.

4. Smooth talkers

Military service members can sell water to a fish. It’s hard to not like someone that’s actually a good person. If a troop, especially a Marine, likes you – you’re going to know it. They’re warrior poets, some are rougher around the edges, but they have their own way of communicating that you’re the best thing since sliced bread.

5. Military service members are protective

military service members with children

Rest assured that you won’t end up like Batman’s parents, a military service member is brave. Any clime, any place, we’ll knock anyone out who disrespects someone we love.

6. Endless choices

If intellect isn’t your forte then you have an endless buffet of to choose from. I had one friend from high school I kept in contact with when I was active duty. She asked if I could hook her up with someone, I responded with ‘say no more.’ I asked her preferences and on a leave block she flew down for the holiday weekend. Every detail she mentioned was taken into account and I had a wall of handsome ready for her to pick whomever she wanted. We have 5,000 Marines per company element, one of them is bound to float your boat.

Military Life

Grunt Style now runs the best air shows in America

The launch of the inaugural 2018 Grunt Style Air Show Majors tour was just announced at the International Council of Air Shows annual convention in Las Vegas. Grunt Style Air Show Majors is a collection of America’s most prestigious air shows: SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In Expo in Lakeland, Florida, the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, Cleveland National Air Show, and the Commemorative Air Force “Wings Over Houston” Airshow.


The mission of Grunt Style Air Show Majors is to celebrate aviation, honor the military, and increase

mainstream awareness of the air show industry. By becoming an official tour stop, the four selected air shows will receive national promotion through a variety of marketing efforts, visibility for their air show at the other participating air shows, and additional mainstream recognition and benefits through partnering with tour creators, with Red Frog Events, and with the title partner, Grunt Style.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15

Grunt Style is a military, patriotic apparel company-meets-lifestyle brand with a perennial goal of instilling a sense of pride in everyone they reach through their products. More than 50% of their employees are veterans and they are known for their strong philanthropic values.

“Partnering with the inaugural Air Show Majors tour was an easy decision for us as our core values are very similar,” says Mike Birt, Chief Marketing Officer at Grunt Style. “We’re looking forward to boosting the aviation industry to a larger demographic and working with the participating shows to continue to honor our military.”

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15

Red Frog Events, a Chicago-based, large-scale event production company, is the creator and promoter of Grunt Style Air Show Majors. The company’s background in the air show space varies from providing concessions, operational expertise, and ticketing for air shows across the country. They are a supporter and member of the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) and are well-known for their nationwide Warrior Dash obstacle race series, as well as Firefly Music Festival, the east coast’s largest music festival.

“The launch of the Grunt Style Air Show Majors tour provides an opportunity to showcase the aviation industry and the selected shows to a new and broader audience,” says Scott Howard, Chief Marketing Officer at Red Frog Events, creators of the Grunt Style Air Show Majors tour. “We look forward to collaborating with these established and respected shows, as well as our partners at Grunt Style, for our inaugural year and during the exciting evolvement ahead.”

The four 2017 Grunt Style Air Show Majors shows will attract over 1.3 million total spectators. These shows have demonstrated their commitment to advancing the air show industry by participating in the nationwide tour.

The 2018 Grunt Style Air Show Majors tour dates and locations (in order of occurrence):

  • April 10 – 15, 2018: Sun’N Fun International Fly-In Expo, Lakeland, Florida
  • May 26 and 27, 2018: Bethpage Air Show, Jones Beach, Wantagh, New York
  • Sept. 1 – 3, 2018: Cleveland National Air Show, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Oct. 20 and 21, 2018: CAF Wings Over Houston Airshow, Houston, Texas

For more information on Grunt Style Air Show Majors, visit their website.

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.

Military Life

18 photos that show the intensity of keeping warships supplied at sea

“UNREP” (short for “underway replenishment”) is the term used to describe the transfer of fuel, food, ammunition, repair or replacement parts, people and mail from supply ships to combatants like frigates, destroyers, and aircraft carriers.


Simply put, UNREP keeps Navy ships at sea. It’s a dangerous and intense evolution.

UNREP begins by raising the Romeo flag. On the control ship, it means, “I am ready for your approach.” On the approaching ship, it means, “I am commencing.”

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

One of the most challenging aspects of UNREP is matching the speed of the control ship and steering into position.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

Once the ships are on a parallel course, a shotline is sent for the phone and distance (PD) line, which is marked by flags every 20 feet. Once the shotline is fired, sailors on the supply ship catch it like a wedding bouquet.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

After the shotline is received, line handlers must haul in the messenger line, which is much heavier.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

After the wires and hoses are connected, the teams on deck and in the pump room are ready to begin the transfer of cargo and fuel.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

Sailors in the pump room monitor fuel levels…

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

… while pallets of food, mail, and supplies are transferred topside.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

At the same time sailors man the .50 cals, ever-vigilant for threats.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

Thousands of pounds of fuel and cargo are transferred between the ships while maintaining the same speed and distance apart.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

The exchange can be dangerous for both sides…

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

Sailors have to watch out for rogue waves.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

Helicopters can also be used for resupply …

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

They call this process “VERTREP,” short for “vertical replenishment.”

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

Resupplying the ship is an all-hands task. In this photo, sailors and Marines on an amphibious ship form a human chain to transfer packages.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

Sometimes ships will tag-team a supply ship to save time. In this photo, two missile destroyers — an Arleigh Burke class and a Ticonderoga class — are attached to the USNS Lenthall (T-AO 189).

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

Sometimes an UNREP could go well into evening…

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

… and package distribution could go on for hours after the ships have disconnected.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

But, the long hours and hard work pay off when you receive a care package from home; it’s like Christmas.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Photo: US Navy

Military Life

7 little life tips troops can pick up from their NCOs

Troops are a direct reflection of their NCO. A good NCO will always try to impart whatever bits of information they can whenever possible. Now, this doesn’t mean they need to be constantly teaching their troops the benefits of proper sight alignment (even though this is important). Sometimes, troops benefit from the little, practical lessons, like “it’s a bad idea to drink heavily the night before a ruck march.” Other times, troops learn best by example.


Whatever the teaching style, this is what troops can learn from a good NCO.

1. Get a head start on the right schools.

The military is ever changing — new equipment gets fielded daily and old techniques are retired. There’s always something new to learn.

If an NCO is trying to pick up a skill later in their career, chances are it’ll be important to a younger troop, too. Take note.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
If they’re trying for a physical school — go for it. (U.S. Army Photo by Army Spc. Brian Smith-Dutton)

2. Don’t request a duty station your NCO hated.

The old saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side” applies to every single military base. Your current unit is usually seen as sub-par, your last duty station is the best, and the next one will be better. If anyone thinks any differently, that’s an immediate red flag.

If your NCO hated their last duty station, they’re speaking from experience. You’ll probably hate it, too.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
If they say they’d kill to go back, put it on your wishlist. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Pablo Piedra)

3. What’s actually needed on a packing list.

Packing lists in the military are pointless. If the packing list says to bring seven pairs of underwear for a three-day field op, you can probably leave a few at home.

NCOs have been on more field ops than the average Joe, so, if you see them bringing something else, it’ll probably be a good idea to bring it along yourself.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
They probably also have a better insight on what’s actually going to happen on the field op, too. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jennifer Spradlin)

4. Don’t go where they won’t go off-post.

It’s almost always a joke when an NCOs tell their troops, “have a good weekend, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” But seriously, if you have a by-the-books NCO, they’ll hem your ass up for doing dumb sh*t.

Down-to-Earth NCOs, however, will probably show you some leniency if you get caught up doing something stupid that they’ve already done dozens of times before.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15

5. Pay attention to who is most “useful” in the unit.

Let’s be completely real for a moment: There are idiots in the service. But, as stupid as they are, you still have to treat them with courtesy deserving of their rank.

NCOs who need to get things done will professionally avoid the troops that probably needed an ASVAB waiver and go straight to the ones that can help them out in a snap. Remember who your NCO trusts.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
If they sigh because it’s that guy working the armory that day, you won’t be out of there by 1700. (Photo by Sgt. Emily Greene)

6. Don’t fake stories they can fact check.

There’s a huge difference between embellishing and outright lying. You can easily spot the outrageous stories — like someone claiming they fired two AT-4s at the same time. But no one bats an eye if you claim that summers on the deployment are a little hotter than they actually are.

NCOs impart great knowledge through stories from previous deployments — but even their stories aren’t free from embellishment. Read between the lines and use common sense as a filter and you’ll quickly learn the difference between an insightful story and a complete fabrication.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15

7. If they can get away with something, know how and why.

Nobody is perfect and corners get cut. It all comes down to figuring out why you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.

For example; if an NCO knows that they can be late to something by a few minutes, you probably can, too, but don’t overdo it.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
If it’s a medical or dental appointment, they’ll never be later than fifteen minutes early. For a good reason. (Photo by Brandy Gill).

Articles

7 items every Marine needs before deploying

Your orders just posted and you’re shipping out on a 7 to 13-month deployment. Good luck with all that!


The checklist your first sergeant passed out is several pages of stuff you just cram into the bottom of your sea bag — like extra PT gear, running and shower shoes — just to mention a few.

Pretty much all work and no play items. That’s no fun.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Marines assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit embark aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Julio Rivera).

There’s another list the NCOs don’t hand out; the list of stuff you’ll actually use on a day-to-day — one that will make that long deployment more manageable and fun.

Remember, you won’t have much storage where you’re headed off to, so plan accordingly.

1. Extra undies

While manning the front lines, there’s no guarantee when you’ll have free time to do laundry. It’s amazing how wearing a clean, dry set of underwear can boost morale.

2. 550 cord

Also known as “Paracord,” this traditional interwoven cord gets its name from the 550 pounds of heavy tension it can withstand and its ability to tie stuff together. The versatile cord was even used by Space Shuttle crews to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

You’ll use it as a multi-tool, including to tie down cammie netting, attach extra gear to your body armor and air dry your laundry.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
24th December 1956: The laundry at the United Nations (UN) camp in Abu Seuir, Egypt.

3. Shock resistant camera

Deployments are life changing experiences. You’re going to want to capture the moments, but not any camera will do.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15

Shock resistant Cameras are designed for rugged outdoor use and are great when ambushing ISIS. They tend to run a little more expensive than traditional digital cameras, but when you’re on patrol and take heavy fire, these little bad boys shouldn’t let you down when recording your personal history.

That’s badass.

4. A Cheap laptop

Deployments can be boring, with loads of downtime if you’re lucky. Consider bringing a cheap laptop with as many movies as your external hard drive can hold. Don’t spend too much money on one; chances are dust and debris will ruin it after too long.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Movie time!

What better way to spend a Friday night with your brothers then huddling around a 15-inch screen watching an action movie. The more variety of movies you have in stock the better.

5. Calling cards

No, we don’t mean that unique object you leave after getting away with a heist.

A calling card or phone card allows you to make calls from any working phone without charging the expenses to the receiver. It can get pretty expensive that way.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15

Many foreign bases around the world have USOs set up for deployed members to call home or use the internet. Some require the purchase of calling cards so have one handy dandy if you walk into one where Uncle Sam is too cheap to fit the phone bill.

 6. Music player

Self-explanatory, because everyone likes music.

7. Magazine subscriptions

Having new magazines show up during mail call is one of the greatest gifts a Marine can receive. Especially, when you’re in an all-male infantry unit stationed in the middle of  bum f*ck nowhere and Maxim magazine arrives. Everyone celebrates.

Can you think of anymore items? Comment below.
Articles

These vintage photos prove the military has always worked hard (and played harder)

Pictures of off-duty soldiers capture the everyday, mundane moments of what life is really like on the front lines. Much of a soldier’s time in the field doesn’t involve combat or danger, but rather, ordinary tasks, down time, and simple boredom. No matter where the war is or what it’s about, troops in the field often have a lot of time on their hands, not much to do, and a lot of alcohol around. This leads to some great candid moments, and when cameras are around, great pictures.


Soldiers going on leave would often take photos to remember the good times they had, or to memorialize their comrades. There were also performances, bands, and card games to wile away the time, and this is true on all sides of every war. There are as many pictures of German soldiers smiling and goofing off as there are British and American. These photos humanize wars and the people who fought them.

Here are some of the best pictures of soldiers off-duty, taken all over the world.Vote up the best vintage photos of off-duty soldiers below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.

Vintage Photos of Off-Duty Soldiers

MIGHTY HISTORY

How General Patton’s granddaughter is honoring his legacy

History books will forever speak of the countless heroics and astonishing life of General George S. Patton. He’ll always be remembered as the Army officer who became an Olympian, the “Bandit Killer” at Columbus, the “Father of Armor” in WWI, and the liberator of Europe. It’s hard for anyone to stand in that shadow, but Helen Patton, his granddaughter, would have made him extremely proud.

Like every member of the Patton family, Helen has done many great things with her life while also carrying the torch for her father and grandfather. From attending ceremonies commemorating WWII anniversaries to heading up the Patton Foundation, which aids returning troops and veterans in need, Helen continues the Patton tradition of giving to our great country.

Her work with the Patton Foundation and the Patton Stiftung Sustainable Trust keeps the memory of the WWII generation alive.


6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
A yearly tradition of hers is to lay flowers and wreaths at the American cemeteries and memorials in Europe.
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)

She also set out to fix a missed opportunity in history by hosting the soldiers of the 101st Airborne in a game of football. In 1944, there were plans for the troops to play what was dubbed “The Champagne Bowl.” These plans were cut short on Christmas Day because they needed in a march toward the Battle of the Bulge.

With Luxembourg firmly liberated for the past 74 years, Helen Patton played in integral role in hosting what was renamed the “Remembrance Bowl.” The game was played on June 2nd, 2018, in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France by men of the 101st. Patton told the Army Times,

“I felt that we should play the game that never happened for them. It’s a new way to commemorate. It’s a way to turn the page of history.”

The event will now be an annual tradition.

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(Army)

Helen Patton champions military history as well. She has produced two award-winning documentaries, one about General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing and another about the continued struggles of war long after troops return.

She also hosted an amazing TEDxTalk about her grandfather, which can be seen below:

Military Life

4 tips for corpsmen who want to earn their FMF pins

It’s the goal of almost every young corpsman who enters into their first unit to one day earn a Fleet Marine Force pin. Like everything else in the military, the pin is earned through plenty of hardship and many hours of studying.

The FMF pin itself has a beautiful design. It’s an extension of the Marine Corps’ Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, adorned with a wave that’s crashing onto a beach, signifying the historical sands of Iwo Jima. Two crossed rifles lie behind the globe, symbolizing the rifleman’s ethic that this program is designed to instill into sailors assigned to Marine Corps units.

 

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
All hail the mighty FMF pin. Semper Fi (Photo by Marine Cpl. Rose A. Muth)

Before a corpsman can proudly wear the badge, each sailor has to prove themselves through a series of written tests and oral boards. These tests are stringent, but we’ve come up with a few tips to help you navigate your way into earning the beloved pin.


Sailors with the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force listen as their senior Fleet Marine Force corpsmen instruct them on FMF knowledge at the unit's task force aid station.

(Photo by Marine Cpl. Paul S. Martinez)
Sailors with the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force listen as their senior Fleet Marine Force corpsmen instruct them on FMF knowledge at the unit’s task force aid station.
(Photo by Marine Cpl. Paul S. Martinez)

Study the manual

When a sailor checks into their first unit, they will receive a thick book full of Marine Corps knowledge that’s nearly impossible to memorize. It’s a good thing you won’t have to.

The information within the manual is divided up into three different sections: the Marine Division (infantry), Marine Logistics Group (supply), and the Marine Air Wing (pilots and sh*t).

Outside of Marine Corps history, all you have to study are the sections that apply to you — which is still a sh*tload.

Learn by doing

For many sailors, it’s tough to sit down, read from a book, and retain all the information you need to qualify. Many of us learn better by doing. Go through the channels necessary to get your hands on a few weapon systems so you can learn the disassembly and reassembly process. Do this before you go in front of the FMF board.

Have your Marines quiz you

Remember how we talked about getting your hands on those weapon systems? Nobody knows those suckers better than the Marines who use them every day. So, when you’re with your new brothers, have them put you through a crash course on their gear.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Hospital Corpsman Billy Knight get pinned with his Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist pin by Chief Petty Officer Garry Tossing during a ceremony at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.
(Photo by Sgt. Justin Shemanski)

Board while on deployment

When you go before the board to earn your pin, you should know everything, inside and out. That being said, most sailors don’t pass the board on their first time up.

If you opt to be evaluated stateside, the board will expect you to know everything there is to know, since you’re not on deployment and patrolling daily. If you board while on deployment, they usually stick to the basics — you’re under enough as it is patrolling the enemies’ backyard.

Secondly, studying for your FMF is an excellent way to pass the time — and it gives you a solid goal to accomplish before you pack up and go home. Frankly speaking, getting pinned by your Marine brothers is a great way to end a stressful deployment.

Articles

Beware the American booby trap rigger in Vietnam

Booby traps are terrifying weapons of choice for the troops who want to seriously wound their enemies without having to spend precious time waiting for them to show up.


Placed at specific areas on the battlefield where the opposition is most likely to travel, these easily assembled devices have the ability to take troops right out of the fight or cause a painful delayed death.

Snake pits, flag bombs, and cartridge traps are just a few of the creative inventions the Viet Cong engineered to bring harm to their American and South Vietnamese adversaries.

With mortality rates in Vietnam reaching almost 60,000, trip wires or land mines contributed to 11% of the deaths during the multi-year skirmish.

Related: These are the most terrifying Vietnam War booby traps

Although VC troops were productive in their dead trap concepts, Americans like Tom Schober were just as creative and clever.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Tom Schober cooling himself down in a Vietnamese river (Source: Wisconsin Public Television/YouTube/Screenshot)

“The VC weren’t the only ones who rigged up booby traps,” Schober admits, “We got pretty good at rigging up mechanical ambushes with claymores.”

Sporting a 1st Cav jacket throughout his time in the war, Tom managed to use the basic materials the Army gave him to get some much-earned payback against his VC enemy.

6 things not to do while getting an Article 15
Proud American and Vietnam veteran Tom Schober (Source: Wisconsin Public Television/YouTube/Screenshot)

“I feel kind of strongly that we all owe a debt to those who didn’t make it,” Schober says. “To live our lives better.”

Also Read: Once upon a time, this ‘little kid’ was a lethal Vietnam War fighter

Check out Wisconsin Public Television‘s video for Schober’s thrilling tale of how he would use an old battery, blasting cap, some string and a spoon to help take down the enemy.

(Wisconsin Public Television, YouTube)
Articles

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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