We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military - We Are The Mighty
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We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military

The MTV Music Video Awards was filled with stars that support the military. Our hosts, Marine Corps veteran Weston Scott and Air Force veteran Skye P. Marshall ran into Tito Ortiz, Kool Mo Dee, Jasmine Villegas and more.


We asked our celebrity supporters to snap to attention and give us their best salute, here’s how they fared:

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President ponders review of terrorist suspect interrogation and black sites

President Donald Trump is reportedly considering an executive order setting up a review of interrogation practices, including whether to re-open so-called “black sites” run by the CIA under the George W. Bush administration.


According to a report by CBSNews.com on a leaked draft of the order, the initiative would reverse executive orders issued by President Obama regarding Guantanamo Bay and interrogation techniques. Those orders were signed on Jan. 22, 2009.

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military
Photo provided by Crown Publishing

The draft order raises the specter of the return of enhanced interrogation techniques. One of those who developed the techniques, retired Air Force Lt. Col. James Mitchell, fiercely denied they were torture in a forum at the American Enterprise Institute this past December.

The order also would keep the detention facilities at the U.S. Navy’s base at Guantanamo Bay open, saying, “The detention facilities at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, are legal, safe, and humane, and are consistent with international conventions regarding the laws of war.”

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military
Detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the watchful eyes of Military Police at Camp X-Ray at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during in-processing to the temporary detention facility on Jan. 11, 2002. The detainees will be given a basic physical exam by a doctor, to include a chest x-ray and blood samples drawn to assess their health. (DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st class Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy)

“If it was torture, they wouldn’t have to pass a law in 2015 outlawing it because torture is already illegal, right?” Mitchell asked. “The highest Justice Department in the land wouldn’t have opined five times that it wasn’t torture — one time after I personally waterboarded an assistant attorney general before he made that decision three or four days later, right?”

When contacted for comments on the draft executive order, Mitchell said, “I would hope they just take a look at it.” He admitted he had not been contacted by the Trump administration or the Trump transition team, but pointed to an ACLU lawsuit that made him “damaged goods,” but did wish that they would “talk with someone who has interrogated a terrorist.”

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military
Senator John McCain campaigns for re-election to the senate in 2016. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

In a statement released after the reports of the draft order emerged, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said, “The Army Field Manual does not include waterboarding or other forms of enhanced interrogation. The law requires the field manual to be updated to ensure it ‘complies with the legal obligations of the United States and reflects current, evidence-based, best practices for interrogation that are designed to elicit reliable and voluntary statements and do not involve the use or threat of force.’ Furthermore, the law requires any revisions to the field manual be made available to the public 30 days prior to the date the revisions take effect.”

Mitchell was very critical of McCain’s statement, noting that it essentially boils down to relying on terrorists to voluntarily give statements about their pending operations. “It’s nuts,” he said, after pointing out that counter-terrorist units don’t reveal their tactics. He also noted that “beer and cigarettes” or social influence tactics, like those Secretary of Defense James Mattis favored, are not included in the manual.

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military
Detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay during prayer (DoD photo)

Retired Army Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis backed up Mitchell’s comments.

“I favor giving the interrogation decisions to those with the need to know.  Not all threats are the same and there are situations where tough techniques are justified,” Maginnis told WATM. “I’m not with the camp that says tough interrogation techniques seldom if ever deliver useful outcomes. That’s for the experienced operator to know.”

Maginnis also expressed support for the use of “black sites” to keep suspected terrorists out of the reach of the American judicial system. He also noted, “Some of our allies are pretty effective at getting useful information from deadbeats.”

Senator McCain’s office did not return multiple calls asking follow-up questions regarding the senator’s Jan. 25 statement on the draft executive order.

Intel

These Marines teach infantry Marines what happens when they go ‘too gangster’

The boys at “Terminal Boots” published a hilarious YouTube video that was deemed too risky by the higher-ups in their chain of command.


In simple Terminal Boots speak, they went “too gangster.”

In true Marine fashion, they improvised, adapted, and overcame by taking down the original and re-releasing a friendlier safe-for-work version. The end result is a funny video that serves as a navigation guide for Marines confused about the rules of the Corps. You can even say it’s educational.

Watch:

Intel

A Russian weather girl gave a forecast for bombing runs in Syria

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military


In a story that should have most certainly been Duffel Blog but is actually real-life, a Russian weather forecaster proclaimed the skies over Syria were perfect “flying weather” for Russian jets bombing rebel positions, The Guardian reported.

“Experts say the timing for [the airstrikes] was chosen very well in terms of weather,” Ekaterina Grigorova said in her report for Rossiya 24 on Sunday, according to The Washington Post.

The Russian military has carried out more than 100 sorties in Syria since its aerial campaign began last week. Moscow has claimed it has been bombing militants affiliated with ISIS, but so far strikes have overwhelmingly targeted anti-Assad and Kurdish forces instead.

“In these meteorological conditions, planes can dive below the clouds and conduct effective strikes on ground targets, and only climb higher if there’s active anti-aircraft fire,” Grigorova said in front of a graphic depicting a Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft dropping bombs on an enemy tank from the “optimal height for targeting and bombing” of three to five kilometers off the ground, according to the translation from The Guardian.

Here’s the Russian-language report:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmM7YD8cBS8

Check out the full story at the Washington Post

Intel

The new stealth fighter designed by South Korea and Indonesia has been revealed

Developing and building a high-cost, low-volume product in the 21st century is extremely resource intensive. It’s for this reason that companies and nations across many industries are seeking partnerships to embark on such undertakings. While some joint projects like the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ have found commercial success, others like the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter seem to hit roadblock after roadblock. Although it has hit some snags, the prototype reveal of the joint South Korean/Indonesian KF-21 Boramae stealth fighter is a sign of good progress.

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military
President Moon Jae In speaks at the KF-21 unveiling (KAI)

With a total project cost of $7.9 billion, the Boramae (Korean for Hawk) is not a cheap plane. Indonesia’s commitment of 20% of the development costs and a purchase of 50 examples upon completion helped to offset the hefty price tag. Despite late payments earlier in development, Indonesia’s Minister of Defence Prabowo Subianto attended the KF-21’s rollout ceremony on April 9 and confirmed that the partnership was intact. Moreover, the stealth fighter is slated for export which will further offset the costs incurred by Indonesia and South Korea.

The unveiling of the prototype KF-21 took place at the Korean Aerospace Industries facility in Saechon, South Gyeongsang province. South Korean President Moon Jae In addressed the attendees calling the KF-21, “a historic milestone in the development of [South Korea’s] aviation industry.”

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military
The first prototype KF-21 during final assembly at KAI (KAI)

Development of the Block 1 variant is scheduled to be complete by 2026 with 40 aircraft delivered to the Republic of Korea Air Force by 2028. ROKAF plans to acquire a full fleet of 120 KF-21s by 2032. They will replace the arsenal of aging F-4E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II fighter planes. The KF-21 is also intended to compliment South Korea’s acquisition of 60 F-35A Lightning IIs and the older F-15K Slam Eagle and F-16C/D Falcon fighters.

The Block 2 air-to-ground variant will require further development than the exclusively air-to-air Block 1. Its scheduled completion date is yet to be announced. However, the Block 2 is expected to carry advanced weapons like the GBU-12 Paveway II, GBU-31/38 JDAM, and GBU-54/56 Laser JDAM. With six under-wing hardpoints, four under-fuselage hardpoints, and an expected payload of up to 16,975 pounds, the KF-21 will be able to deliver a lot of fire from the sky. With a planned top speed of Mach 1.83 and a range of 1,800 miles, it will also have the legs to move around the modern battlefield.

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military
Concept artwork of the KF-X, now the KF-21, armed with MBDA missiles and JDAMS (MBDA)

Although the ROKAF already outmatches the Korean People’s Air Force of North Korea, which is equipped primarily with Cold War MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, China and Russia are on the cutting edge of modern stealth fighter technology. While the ROKAF’s F-35A serves as the tip of the fighter wing’s spear, the KF-21 will provide a domestically-produced augmentation to the Joint Strike Fighter. It will also be more capable than the F-15 and F-16 as a frontline fighter. Moreover, the KF-21 created 12,000 jobs in South Korea between 2016 and 2020. President Moon announced that the project is expected to create another 10,000 once mass production begins. South Korea has the goal of becoming the world’s seventh-biggest aviation industrial power by the 2030s. If the KF-21 lives up to its hype, they just might be.

Intel

This guy on roller blades firing an AK-47 is the best combat footage you’ll see all day

If you need to cross a danger area, why run when you can just skate?


That seemed to be the reasoning shown in this video, which purportedly shows a Libyan rebel wearing roller blades in the middle of a firefight. The fighter points his AK and fires off a few rounds as he crosses the street, which the opposing side can probably claim as a drive-by shooting.

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52x9zn79ovE

(h/t Funker 530)

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The Battle Of Iwo Jima Began 70 Years Ago — Here’s How It Looked When Marines Hit The Beach

The Battle of Iwo Jima kicked off 70 years ago, on Feb. 19, 1945.


One of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific war, the 35-day fight for the desolate island yielded 27 recipients of the Medal of Honor, along with one of the most famous photographs ever taken.

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military

According to the The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, American military planners thought the battle would only be a few days. Instead, it dragged on for five weeks, at a cost of more than 6,800 American lives. The Japanese lost more than 18,000.

Also Read: This Was The Secret War Off The US Coast During World War II

Here’s what the Marine Corps Historical Company wrote about the first day:

This Day in Marine Corps History. 19 February 1945: At 08:59, one minute ahead of schedule, the first of an eventual 30,000 Marines of the 3rd Marine Division, the 4th Marine Division, and the new 5th Marine Division, making up the V Amphibious Corps, landed on Iwo Jima The initial wave did not come under Japanese fire for some time, as General Kuribayashi’s plan was to wait until the beach was full of the Marines and their equipment. By the evening, the mountain had been cut off from the rest of the island, and 30,000 Marines had landed. About 40,000 more would follow.

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military
Photo: US Marine Corps

NOW: Soldiers Who Survived The Bloodiest American Battle Of World War II Tell Their Stories

OR: The Legendary Rock Band KISS Has Surprising Roots From World War II d

MUSIC

5 facts about the iconic US Army song

The United States Army was founded on June 14, 1775, making it the oldest branch of the military. Our soldiers have a damn proud heritage of defending our right to freedom and we are lucky to have them. You might not be familiar with the lyrics of their official song, but you definitely know the tune.


Here are a few more things you might not know about it:

1. It was written by a West Point graduate in 1908

First Lieutenant (later Brigadier General) Edmund Louis “Snitz” Gruber (that’s a mouthful)
wrote what was originally called “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” during a particularly challenging march while stationed in the Philippines. A caisson was a wheeled cart used by the Army to carry ammunition and supplies.

Gruber overheard one of his section chiefs shout to the drivers, “Come on! Keep ’em rolling!” Inspiration struck.

2. That West Point grad had music in his blood

“Snitz” was the second Gruber in the family to compose a famous, belovéd, and enduring song; one of his ancestors was Franz Gruber, who gave us all “Silent Night.”

3. It became a popular march before it became the official U.S. Army song

In 1917, John Philip Sousa transformed the song into a march and renamed it “The Field Artillery Song”

Yep. I’d march to that.

4. It took a minute for the U.S. Army to adopt it as an official song

After nationwide contests in 1948 and 1952 failed to uncover an appropriate song, Army leadership was polled and the overwhelming majority voted for “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” — but only after new lyrics were written. About 140 sets of lyrics were submitted, and finally phrases by Dr. H. W. Arberg were selected by a committee.

In 1956, it was renamed “The Army Goes Rolling Along” and adopted as the official U.S. Army song.

5. It is played first when performed as part of a medley of service songs

Per Department of Defense guidance, the order of performance for service songs is:

Army: “The Army Goes Rolling Along”

Marine Corps:
“The Marine’s Hymn”

Navy:
“Anchors Aweigh”

Air Force:
“U.S. Air Force Song”

Coast Guard:
“Semper Paratus”

It is authorized to play the songs in reverse, featuring “The Army Goes Rolling Along” as the finale, but on the condition that the relative order of songs must be maintained.

(P.S. I dare you to tell me this medley doesn’t make your heart burst with patriotic pride. Watching veterans stand for their service kills me every time.)

Here are the official lyrics to the U.S. Army song:

“The Army Goes Rolling Along”

Intro: March along, sing our song, with the Army of the free

Count the brave, count the true, who have fought to victory

We’re the Army and proud of our name

We’re the Army and proudly proclaim

Verse: First to fight for the right,

And to build the Nation’s might,

And The Army Goes Rolling Along

Proud of all we have done,

Fighting till the battle’s won,

And the Army Goes Rolling Along.

Refrain: Then it’s Hi! Hi! Hey!

The Army’s on its way.

Count off the cadence loud and strong (TWO! THREE!)

For where e’er we go,

You will always know

That The Army Goes Rolling Along.

Verse: Valley Forge, Custer’s ranks,

San Juan Hill and Patton’s tanks,

And the Army went rolling along

Minute men, from the start,

Always fighting from the heart,

And the Army keeps rolling along.

(refrain)

Verse: Men in rags, men who froze,

Still that Army met its foes,

And the Army went rolling along.

Faith in God, then we’re right,

And we’ll fight with all our might,

As the Army keeps rolling along.

(refrain)

Intel

Zack Snyder wants to give George Washington the ‘300’ treatment

Jason Heuser Jason Heuser


How does a massively successful director like Zack Snyder follow up box-office smahes (and future box-office smashes) like 300, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League? If you answered a film retelling the magnificent rise of the first president of the United States in the style of 300, you guessed correctly. Speaking with Bloomberg Business, Snyder explains that George Washington is next on the docket.

He has a picture in his office of the Revolutionary War hero crossing the icy Delaware on his way to decimate the British in the Battle of Trenton. “We were talking about it,” Snyder says. “The first thing we asked was, well, how are we going to make it look? I pointed at this painting. It looks like 300. It’s not that hard.”

He isn’t wrong, but we’re guessing it will look something like a mix between the iconic painting and the epic illustration above.

We asked celebs at the VMAs to pick their favorite branch of the military

Head over to Bloomberg Business to read the full feature.

Intel

Snowmaggedon? This wounded warrior and his wheelchair can help

A disabled vet in Nebraska has found an awesome way to continue serving his community. After receiving an off-road wheelchair with sweet treads, Justin Anderson fitted the front of his chair with a short snow plow.


He now uses it to clear the sidewalks of his block and help his neighbors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFjqHeXnT6Ifeature=youtu.be

Anderson lost a leg in the Iraq War and was given the wheelchair by Independence Fund, a non-profit that helps severely wounded warriors.

He also received help from the local community during his surgeries and other medical care.

“The community has supported me immensely with my struggles and tough times as I had a leg amputated and my fight with brain cancer,” he told the local news. “This is my way of giving back.”

The response from the community has been great, with people asking to take photos with him and saying thank you.

“It’s very gratifying. It’s nice to know you’re appreciated,” he says in the video, “But even if I didn’t get any response from anyone – or nobody said Thank You – I’d still do it.”

Intel

Researchers are making big progress in diagnosing Gulf War Syndrome

For decades after Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, doctors, scientists and the Department of Veterans Affairs have all struggled to determine what happened to the roughly 25-30% of Gulf War veterans who suffer from a mysterious mix of symptoms from a seemingly unknown cause. The condition and its host of symptoms became known as Gulf War Syndrome, or Gulf War Illness, and wasn’t immediately recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

In 1997, Congress found that the VA and Department of Defense did not listen to Gulf War veterans affected by the series of illnesses associated with Gulf War Syndrome, acknowledging there was no “silver bullet” definition or diagnosis. They also blamed the VA for writing off the condition as post-traumatic stress disorder.

gulf war syndrome symptoms
While PTSD symptoms are well-known, Gulf War Syndrome has a number of strange symptoms, including widespread pain and some heart conditions.

A Congressional committee went on to suggest a number of possible underlying causes of the condition that were present in the war zone, including depleted uranium dust and pyridostigmine bromide used to protect against chemical nerve agents. They blamed the VA for its lack of experience in environmental health and toxicology.

In that same committee meeting, the House of Representatives recommended a medical research body other than the VA or DoD look into the condition, and that’s exactly what happened. 

A body of research has been conducted that has since shed new light on Gulf War Syndrome. The VA has since recognized a number of conditions that are now “presumptive,” meaning gulf War veterans don’t need to prove they happened as a result of military service. This includes:

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Other undiagnosed conditions, such as weight loss, fatigue, unexplainable pain and some heart conditions
  • “Brain Fog”

Researchers at Georgetown University have also discovered physical evidence of the condition in the brains of Gulf War veterans. Nerve fibers connected to pain receptors in the brains of these veterans fire differently than in other humans. This means Gulf War veterans could feel pain while doing something as simple as changing a shirt. 

The same researcher who conducted that study, Dr. James Baraniuk, also found that there may be two distinct subsets of Gulf War Illness. By scanning the brains of more than 30 Gulf War veterans before and after moderate exercise, Baraniuk noted changes in two areas of the brain, each correlating to a different set of symptoms.

One group experienced changes in the area of the brain responsible for processing pain, which was consistent with their symptoms. The other group, who reported cardiovascular symptoms, specifically, increased heart rates while doing something as simple as standing up did not have significant activity in that part of the brain.

Instead, the brain of the cardiac-centric group showed decreased activity in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for fine motor control, cognition, pain, and emotion. Healthy patients showed no changes. 

“While these findings present new challenges to treating people with Gulf War illness, they also present new opportunities,” said Stuart Washington, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow and lead author on the study.

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