Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military - We Are The Mighty
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Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military

Located in the North Pacific, Guam has been a staple of U.S. military operations for decades — even before the World War I broke out.


In fact, the first American shots of WWI weren’t fired in some German trench, but rather in Guam.

Although Guam is more than 7,000 miles away from the mainland, Guamanians serve in the U.S. military at a higher rate than any of the 50 United States.

Related: This CIA teaches its students to cook – not how to spy

 

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher D.L. Perez (left) and Staff Sgt. Charles C. Chiguina discuss a route to a Kabul airport to drop off the first group of Task Force Guam Soldiers who are leaving Afghanistan after the 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard, nears completion of its Operation Enduring Freedom mission. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Edward Siguenza)

In the mid-16th century, the island was colonized by Spanish Catholic Missionaries. As a result of the Spanish-American War, Guam was ceded to the U.S.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japanese forces captured the fertile island and occupied the land for over two years.

But America’s always had Guam’s back and fought for the area in 1944 — eventually winning the war.

Also Read: This whiskey pays homage to the men of the 10th Mountain Division

Now, both the U.S. Navy and Air Force have installations that, combined, occupy nearly 29 percent of the island’s area and house over 7,000 service members.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
Two Airmen stand with pride in front of Andersen Air Force Base (Source: DoD)

Today, many Guamanians believe that the American effort to liberate the island from Japanese control created a unique, tight-knit relationship between the Military and the locals.

To get a taste of that relationship, check out the fourth episode of We Are The Mighty’s original show, Meals Ready to Eat:

(Meals Ready to Eat, KCET)Watch Meals Ready To Eat on KCET’s site at the link above. New episodes are posted every Wednesday night — and they’re awesome.

MIGHTY TRENDING

Watch these airborne veterans sing a paratrooper classic

Our veterans have done a lot for the country over the years. They keep us safe from terror organizations and dictators who would use weapons of mass destruction for selfish politics. They took down Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. They’ve led singalongs of somewhat inappropriate songs. Wait… what?


That’s right! Recently, a video went viral on Facebook showing Vince Speranza, a World War II paratrooper, leading others along in singing the paratrooper classic, Blood on the Risers, a parody of immortal Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
Paratroops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade jump from a C-130 transport. They use static lines to ensure their main chutes open. (DOD photo)

Blood on the Risers is probably most famous from its rendition in the award-winning HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers. This morbidly funny tune is a cautionary tale about what happens when one fails to follow proper exit procedures during an airborne jump. The grim lyrics follow a young, rookie paratrooper who, after his chute fails to deploy, plummets to his death. The extended version, however, goes on to reveal that the singer has a son who would later join the 101st Airborne Division, serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, and be killed in action.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
Later versions of Blood on the Risers depict the son of the song’s hero serving with the 101st Airborne, pictured above during the operation that took out Uday and Qusay Hussein, during the War on Terror. (US Army photo)

In some ways, it’s very much like the Navy’s Friday Funnies — a way to use humor to get important safety information through to the troops. This is especially important for something so routine as hooking into a static line.

Watch the video below and feel free to join in on the singalong! Don’t worry, the Screaming Eagles have a pretty dark sense of humor — it’s all in good fun.

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Here is a look at the 16-inch turrets on a battleship

The three-gun turrets on an Iowa-class battleship are perhaps some of the best-known (and most-loved) naval guns. When they are fired, there is a sense of immense power — and they have a reputation for being able to take out just about anything.


Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military

It’s a well-deserved reputation. During Operation Desert Storm, a bunch of Iraqi troops saw the RQ-2 Pioneer unmanned aerial vehicle circling overhead. Knowing that a lot of powerful shells were going to come soon, the Iraqis decided not to wait to get hit and surrendered to the drone.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
A RQ-2 Pioneer UAV is recovered on an Iowa-class battleship. (U.S. Navy photo)

So, how do these three-gun turrets work?

Now, this is a key distinction to keep in mind. A triple turret raises and lowers all three guns at the same time. A three-gun turret can raise and lower each of the guns separately. Don’t call ’em a triple turret — that could end up getting you in almost as much trouble as getting on the clip/magazine thing wrong.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
A cutaway diagram showing a three-gun turret from an Iowa-class battleship. (Youtube screenshot)

The Iowa-class battleships have served off and on since World War II. Two of them, USS Missouri (BB 63) and USS Wisconsin (BB 64) saw action during Operation Desert Storm. All four were reactivated in the 1980s and equipped with BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and Mk 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
USS Wisconsin (BB 64) launches Tomahawks during Desert Storm. (Dept. of Defense photo)

The Iowa-class fast battleships (they had a top speed of 35 knots) displaced 45,000 tons, and their main armament was nine 16-inch guns in three three-gun turrets. When built, they had twenty five-inch guns in ten two-gun turrets. Six were ordered, but only four were commissioned. Two ships, USS Illinois (BB 65) and USS Kentucky (BB 66) were scrapped after World War II.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
USS Wisconsin fires her main battery during Desert Storm. (U.S. Navy photo)

Take a look at this 1955 training film about the big guns on the Iowa-class battleships. Then think about how they no longer sail the seas, and mourn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wT1xkRpCKk
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Coming to a highway near you: Finnish F-18s

Things you should expect to see on the highway include people texting and driving, dead animals, and Finnish F-18s landing and taking off.


Well, that last one may be only true in the Finland. While it’s a myth that the Interstate Highway System in America requires one straight mile for every five miles of road, many military aircraft are perfectly capable of landing and taking off from civilian highways. Finland practices this capability to ensure they can disperse their fighters if necessary during a conflict.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
(GIF: YouTube/Александр Ермаков)

And as you can see in the above GIF from a similar exercise, the fighters don’t need anywhere near a mile of road. The minimum takeoff distance for an F-18C on a flat surface is 1,700 feet, about 0.33 miles. The Finnish F-18 taking off in the video is using a downhill slope, letting it gather speed a little more quickly and get off the road.

The whole video from the Finnish Defence Forces is fun, but skip to 0:18 if you only want to watch the jets.

(h/t: War History Online)

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This is how pilots pull off insane combat landings

Ask any troop who has deployed about their most uncomfortable moment and they’ll probably mention the combat landing on their first day in-country. You can prepare grunts for the rigors of combat, yes, but you can’t prepare them to be sloshed around in an aircraft that’s packed like a can of sardines as it descends downward in a near-vertical corkscrew that stops on a dime.


Also called an assault landing or Sarajevo landing, cargo pilots have to do a combat landing if enemy presence is expected in the area. To avoid giving them an easy target, pilots must do three things: A corkscrew over the area to come down from cruising altitude, descend in a sharp drop before landing, and come to a complete stop using as little runway as possible.

Before coming to the airfield, cargo planes like the C-130 have an average cruising altitude of 18,000 feet. The plane will then arrive roughly seven to ten minutes before the scheduled landing. This is where the fun landing begins.

 

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
It’s a pretty view… if you’re on the left side… (U.S. Air Force photo/Osakabe Yasuo)

When the plane is in line with the landing strip, it will drop. While commercial airliners come in at around 3 degrees to provide a nice, gentle landing for the passengers, the Air Force is perfectly fine with coming in at 60 degrees. At the last possible moment, pilots pull up so the landing gears are what hit the runway.

If that wasn’t fun enough, the plane will then need to stop on a dime. To do this, as soon as the wheels touch, they open the slats (or spoilers) and put the plane into full reverse.

Inertia is not your friend.

If you’re riding in the back, no one will judge you if you expel what remains of your lunch. However, you will get laughed at. Troops will always laugh at each other.


Feature image: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum

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Revenge and duty to country motivated this Vietnam War Marine

By the late 1960s, more than a half a million Americans were serving in Vietnam. Among them was revenge-seeking Marine, Lt. Dan Gannon.


Serving on the front lines was never the plan for this college grad, but after learning his brother had been shot in the arm during a combat operation, Gannon was ready to get in the fight.

“I got to go over and get those suckers for shooting my brother,” Dan humorously states.

Wanting to serve his country honorably, Gannon deployed with the Marines somewhere north of Danang where he would spend over 300 grueling days fighting in the humid jungle.

Related: This video shows the ingenuity behind the Viet Cong tunnel systems

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
Dan takes a brief moment for a photo op while serving in the Vietnam jungle. (Source: Iowa Public Television/YouTube/Screenshot)

In order to stay razor-sharp on the battlefield, Gannon chose to defer his RR leave to the end of his tour of duty.

“You don’t stop to think I want to be patriotic right now,” Gannon mentions during an interview. “You have a job to do and I want to do it the best way I can.”

Ganon’s Marines were commonly spread out thin and up to distances of a quarter of a mile. Throughout his dangerous deployment and multiple firefights, Gannon hardly acquired a single scrap — until one fateful day.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
Proud Marine and Vietnam Veteran, Dan Gannon. (Source: Iowa Public Television/YouTube/Screenshot)

Also Read: Beware the American booby trap rigger in Vietnam

While taking contact, Gannon felt a sting in his arm and had to be told by one of his Marines that he’d been hit. He looked and saw blood streaming down his arm. The wound had to be quickly cleaned by the squad’s Corpsman as the enemy would frequently dip their bullets in feces before they were used.

Soon after, Gannon collapsed when his wound became infected and was evacuated by helicopter for medical treatment.

“I felt bad that I had to leave my Marines. I was that committed,” Gannon says.

Gannon was recommended for the purple heart but decline the accommodation.

Check out Iowa Public Television‘s video how Dan Gannon wanted to get into the sh*t and do his part.

(Iowa Public Television, YouTube)
MIGHTY TRENDING

This trainer will make you a card-carrying member of the log-carrying elite

Make sure you train properly before you venture into any log-carrying evolution. Max “The Body” Philisaire shows you how to get yourself into the right physical shape before you even try to move that log.


Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
(Image from Wikimedia Commons, Adelson Raimundo Reis Amaral, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Having trouble logging in?

Max wants to help you.

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
It’s easy. Just follow Max’s step-by-step guide. (Go90 Max Your Body screenshot)

Step 1: Type the word “log” into Google Images. Tell Max the image that you see.

Step 2: Recognize that you are not looking at an image depicting an action that involves sitting casually while making twiddly fingers on your keyboard.

Step 3: Acknowledge to Max that the first image Google showed you when you entered the word “log” resembles this one:

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military (This is the search result internet usage rules allow us to show.)

Step 4: Assume an upright position.

Step 5: Clean and jerk your computer/desk/cubicle over one shoulder and march your candy ass eight laps around your office parking lot.

Step 6: Repeat.

Step 7: And like it.

Oh sorry, what? You don’t like it?

Max would like to help you with that, too.

Because this is Max. Max does not log you in. Max lugs you out. Of harm’s way. With a large log over his other shoulder. In that scenario, you’re lumber. Max logs long hours lugging lumber. Max lugs logs longer than limber lumberjacks. If Max was a rockstar instead of a ruckstar? He be goddamned Kenny Luggins.

In this episode, Max attacks your shoulders and back, the muscle groups essential for mastering the classic log carry. Don’t be dead weight for other people to lug. Don’t be lumber. Do these exercises regularly and with great vigor. Do these exercises and you may one day be, like Max:

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
Goddamned lug-xurious. (Go90 Max Your Body screenshot)

Watch, and be dumbbell impressed, in the video embedded at the top.

Watch more Max Your Body:

This elite veteran trainer will make you aim true

This elite veteran trainer is why your ammo shows up on time

Our trainer will make you want to play Ruck Ruck Goose

This is how squats can open doors for you

This is how to beat the rope-a-dope

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This Green Beret lived in a cave before receiving the Medal of Honor

After spending two years in college, Gary Beikrich decided he wanted to join the Army and become a distinguished member of the Green Berets — and that’s precisely what he did.


Once Gary enlisted, he trained his way through the tough pipeline and earned the elite title of Green Beret. With a sincere desire to help others, he received advanced training as a combat medic before shipping out to the dangerous terrains of Vietnam.

In 1967, Gary was assigned to 5th Special Forces Group stationed in the Kon Tum Province.

Related: This was the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor

Gary and his team were ordered to protect and teach a group of Montagnards tribesmen located in the area. The experience of working with the loyal tribesmen allowed Gary to go “native,” spending days without speaking a word of English.

On the early morning of Apr. 1, 1970, the NVA decided to attack Gary’s camp — one he worked so hard building up. As the enemy rained down heavy artillery into the area, the massive force tore through the peaceful compound — causing allied forces to suffer terrible casualties.

Gary sprang into action and rendered treatment. Then, boom!

A 122mm artillery shell landed near Gary and shrapnel ripped into his back, causing a spinal cord concussion. Now immobile, two of Gary’s trusted Montagnards tribesmen came to his aid. The men assisted Gary around the compound so he could patch up the other wounded as quickly as they could — until he finally collapsed.

Bleeding and severely wounded, Gary was placed on a medevac and was sent back home to the States. After recovering, Gary went back to college as a pre-med student. But his time in the classroom didn’t last long; Vietnam protesters tormented him, shouting hateful remarks.

Gary decided to pack his van and drive away, eventually finding a peaceful area all to himself — a cave.

Literally.

One day, Gary went to the post office where he received his mail, and an unexpected message was waiting for him. The Army veteran was to receive the Medal of Honor for his bravery and service during that enemy raid.

Also Read: This Green Beret was the first Medal of Honor recipient in Vietnam

 

Check out Medal of Honor Book’s video below to hear Gary’s story from the Green Beret legend himself.

Medal of Honor Book, YouTube

Editor’s note: This article originally identified Gary Beikrich as completing only two months of college. Mr. Beikrich completed two years of college. The update has been made and WATM regrets the error. 

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This is how you decontaminate a ‘slimed’ helicopter

If you hear of something getting “slimed,” you might be thinking about the green slime that has been a standby of Nickeloeon for decades. Well, if you’re talking to grunts, the word “slimed” can be something much more sinister.


Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
Lance Cpl. Michael Pleminski, tank maintainer, 1st Tank Battalion, decontaminates an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank during 1st Tanks’ operational decontamination training on Bearmat Hill, March 10, 2016. 1st Tanks held the exercise to sharpen its skills decontaminating tanks, tactical vehicles, and personnel who are exposed to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear contaminants. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Julio McGraw)

 

To wit, when military personnel talk about something being “slimed,” it means that somebody’s used chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and the vehicle or gear have been contaminated. Or, in the vernacular, the situation – or quite possibly, the entire world – has gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

 

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
Sailors scrub the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan following a countermeasure wash down to decontaminate the flight deck while the ship is operating off the coast of Japan. Sailors scrubbed the external surfaces on the flight deck and island superstructure to remove potential radiation contamination. Ronald Reagan is operating off the coast of Japan providing humanitarian assistance as directed in support of Operation Tomodachi.

 

Okay, state of the world aside, there is a more immediate problem. Now those vehicles and gear need to be decontaminated. The Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear, including that chemical suit, has saved your life – if you got it on in time. But you can’t stay in that hot, uncomfortable suit forever. But some chemical weapons can last a long time. Mustard gas is particularly persistent, and was used in an ISIS attack on American troops in September 2016.

 

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department assemble a hazardous material decontamination (HAZMAT) pool during training at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 19, 2017. During the joint simulated chemical spill training, fire fighters established cordons and assembled HAZMAT pools for their wingmen, explosive ordnance disposal and bioenvironmental Airmen, who needed to be decontaminated before departure from the training site. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

 

So, you need to decontaminate the stuff that got slimed. Now, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, one of the most effective tools is to use water and detergent with perborates. It also helps if the water is hot. The equipment is then washed down.

 

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
A U.S. Soldier with the 76th Army Reserve Operational Response Command decontaminates a vehicle after a simulated chemical weapons attack during a base defense drill in Camp Taji, Iraq, July 23, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson/Released)

You can see some Marines practice their decontamination drills on the chassis of an old helicopter in the video below. Note the protective gear.

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Watch the Coast Guard bust the biggest Narco-Sub ever

Narco-subs, aka drug subs, aka Bigfoot submarines, are custom-made submarines used by cartels in Central and South America to smuggle drugs (usually cocaine) from Colombia to Mexico and/or the United States. For more than twenty years the U.S. Coast Guard has been on the watch for these kinds of smuggling techniques. The first time they found one, they dubbed it Bigfoot, because before they actually found one, they had only heard rumors of their existence.


 

Over 1/4 of Guam is made up of US military
A narco-sub under construction in Ecuador

 

Sometimes the subs are self-propelled, sometimes, they’re dragged by a surface ship. Sometimes the subs are fully submersible, sometimes, they aren’t. This all depends on the level of expertise in their creation. The subs can typically carry tons of illegal cargo. Before subs, fishing vessels and speed boats were the main enemy in the war on shipping, but they can be seen on radar and the Coast Guard developed a special kind of helicopter to catch the fast boats. Much of cocaine moved that way was intercepted.

In July 2015, the Coast Guard caught a semi-submersible running just below the waterline.

 

In the video, the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton crew seizes bales of coke from a self-propelled semi-submersible submarine caught 200 miles off the coast of Mexico, July 19, 2015. They captured more than six tons of drugs from the 40-foot ship, worth an estimated $181 million. Another two tons of cocaine sank with the homemade sub.

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WATCH: Australian Army soldiers are pretty smart

The Australian Army has found a fairly ingenious way of helping machine gunners hold their weapons steady. Gunners need to be able to do this while standing, and sometimes that can be easier said than done. The Australian Army has come up with a great solution. It’s called the Reaper and it looks pretty rad. The Reaper Weapon Support System (RWS) is a backpack that gunners can wear. It helps redistribute some of the weight from the machine gun across the gunner’s back. That makes it easier to stand, easier to fire, and easier to stay alive. 

Ask any gunner what it feels like after a day in the field and they’ll tell you they’re tired. Especially after a long ruck or a never-ending FTX, the last thing a gunner wants to worry about is how to properly fire. The Australian Army uses the RWS to help its soldiers get in more firing practice. And it helps them save reserves and energy for when they really need it. The Reaper helps them get more rounds on target and reduce how far their barrels wander due to flagging arm strength.

The Australian Army has been around since 1901. Some of the colonial forces were officially united in 1903. Since then, the Australian Army has shifted to meet the needs of the country. It has participated in both World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. Unit 1916, it was known as the Australian Military Forces. Now it’s officially called the Australian Army. Inventions like the Reaper show that the leadership of the Army is consistently looking for ways to improve the lives of those who are risking theirs for the country’s freedoms. 

The Reaper definitely looks pretty sweet sticking over their back like a scorpion’s tail. 

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