Mel Gibson has returned to the director’s chair after a 10-year hiatus with the WWII epic “Hacksaw Ridge.”
The film tells the tale of real-life Army medic Desmond Doss. Torn between his conscientious objection to violence and his desire to serve his country in its time of greatest need, Doss joined the Army as a medic but refused to carry a weapon.
Despite suspicion and contempt from his fellow soldiers, Doss repeatedly braved danger and even disobeyed orders to make sure his countrymen made it home alive. Doss received the Medal of Honor for his actions, one of only three conscientious objectors to ever do so.
Gibson is no stranger to the classic American war film, having previously starred in “We Were Soldiers” and “The Patriot.” “Hacksaw Ridge” is the actor’s first directing outing since 2006’s “Apocalypto,” but that film and 1995’s “Braveheart” proved Gibson is right at home capturing epic battles on film.
Bet you think you’re a good driver. No one can knife across three lanes of traffic and make an exit doing 73 mph like you can, hoss. You even throw around the occasional courtesy wave.
Former Army Engineer and “Oscar Mike” host Ryan Curtis fancied himself above average in the driving department until he met Jim Wilkey at Bobby Orr Motorsports, where the two-tour Vietnam Vet proceeded to hand our host his ass.
A former Navy Seabee, Wilkey is now one of Hollywood’s most highly-regarded stunt drivers, flipping cars and drifting in such modest cinematic offerings as “The Dark Knight” trilogy and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
When he’s not rolling on “action,” Wilkey teaches the art of stunt driving to amateur road warrior wannabes on his home track in Camarillo, CA.
Watch as Wilkey puts Ryan through a day’s worth of paces and Ryan makes an unwise decision to challenge the master in a timed stunt lap, in the video embedded at the top.
The new head of Air Force Special Operations Command has said he’s bullish on outfitting part of his fearsome AC-130 gunship fleet with lasers to blast ground targets — and is even considering placing such weapons on CV-22 Osprey tiltrotors for his air commandos.
Admittedly a high-energy laser cannon on an airplane as small as a C-130 Hercules (others have fit on Navy ships and 747-sized airplanes) is still in the research phase, but that hasn’t kept AFSOC from pursuing the technology since 2015.
When you think “Marines,” your mind conjures up images of fighting on the Pacific Islands of Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. Or perhaps you immediately think of the Battle of Fallujah. Well, did you know that the Marines also train for arctic warfare? In fact, during the Cold War, portions of the 2nd Marine Division were designated for deployment to Norway.
The Marines planned to send a Marine Expeditionary Brigade to Norway. This brigade consisted of three battalions of infantry in a regiment, a battalion of artillery, plus company-sized units of M1 Abrams tanks, LAV-25 light armored vehicles, and 1970s-vintage AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles, two squadrons of AV-8B Harriers, three of F/A-18 Hornets, seven helicopter squadrons, and a squadron of electronic warfare planes.
That deployment is making a comeback, but this time, F-35B Lightnings will replace the Hornets and Harriers. To get ready for that deployment, Marines are training for Arctic combat in places like Alaska. This is very beneficial, especially since the Marines may need some time to get familiar with the newly purchased M27.
The Marines had used the M16, M4, and M249 in Arctic conditions over the years. The M27, however, hasn’t time yet to iron out all the kinks — in fact, there was a recent hiccup with the M27 when it used Army-supplied ammo. While the Marines do have a round of their own, sometimes, in theater, you have to take what you can get.
The good news was that the ammo problems were discovered during testing at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Better to find out your rifle has issues during exercises than during a firefight. Now, Marines in extremely cold conditions will get a chance to see if the M27 holds up.
See the Marines do their Arctic training in the video below!
While the F-35 has been in the headlines and the F-22 is perhaps the most dominant jet in the sky, there are some other advanced jets in the air that are not from the U.S., Russia or China. Two of them are the French-designed Dassault Rafale and the multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon.
The Rafale is a purely French design. The French did face the challenge of coming up with a fighter meant to not only replace older Mirage fighters for the French air force, it also had to operate from the French navy’s aircraft carrier, the Charles De Gaulle, replacing aging F-8 Crusaders and the venerable Super Etendard.
According to MilitaryFactory.com, the Rafale has a top speed of 1,190 miles per hour, a range of 1,150 miles, can carry almost 21,000 pounds of ordnance, and is equipped with a 30mm cannon. Among the ordnance it can carry are Mica air-to-air missiles, the ASMP nuclear cruise missile, the Exocet anti-ship missile, laser-guided bombs, rocket pods, and various dumb bombs.
The Eurofighter Typhoon, on the other hand, is a joint design primarily from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. Those same countries teamed up to create the Panavia Tornado, an aircraft that had air-defense, strike, and “Wild Weasel” versions. The Eurofighter team was a bit larger as this time, Spain joined in.
MilitaryFactory.com notes that the Typhoon has a range of 1,802 miles and a top speed of 1,550 miles per hour. It can carry 16,500 pounds of ordnance, and has a 27mm cannon. It carries a very wide array of weapons, including the AIM-120 AMRAAM, the AIM-132 ASRAAM, the IRIS-T air-to-air missile, the MDBA Meteor air-to-air missile, the S-225 air-to-air missile, the Brimstone anti-tank missile, the AGM-88 HARM, the ALARM, laser-guided bombs, dumb bombs, and even land-attack missiles like the Storm Shadow and KEPD 350.
Perhaps the only thing the Eurofighter can’t carry is the kitchen sink.
Which plane is more likely to win in a head-to-head fight? Given the wider variety of ordnance, including long-range air-to-air missiles like the S-225 and Meteor, the Eurofighter has an edge – at least when it comes to land bases. The Rafale, though, can operate from an aircraft carrier, and that gives France a very potent naval aviation arm.
Check out the video below to see how these planes stack up.
Engaging a target with a grenade couldn’t be simpler, you pull the pin and throw it. Yet for some weird reason, perhaps out of fear or fascination, it doesn’t always go so smooth.
U.S. Army weaponeers designed modern grenades like balls to capitalize on soldiers’ experience with sports. Today soldiers typically refer to the small bomb as a “baseball grenade” because of its size and overall feel. The Army even experimented with football shaped anti-tank grenades during the 1960s. Perhaps they foresaw baseball’s decline as America’s past time and the rise of football.
It’s dangerous when you don’t do it right but also entertaining. Regardless, it shouldn’t be as hard as the people in this video make it out to be.
Each year around this time, tensions rise between Army and Navy. Like clockwork, the U.S. Naval Academy makes a spirit video and then West Point does it better. Sure, they may have a YouTube celeb getting their alumni to make ship-related puns, but this year, the Army stepped up their game in a big way.
Over the years, both sides’ spirit videos have ranged from “silly but good” to “AFN levels of bad.” This year, Army’s spirit video is based off the old tradition of stealing Annapolis’ beloved Billy the Goat, who’s protected by alleged “above-top-secret” security. Army cadets’ first goat theft happened back in 1953, and since then, there have been many attempts to replicate that ultimate, symbolic middle finger. Normally, the prank is reserved for the young cadets with something to prove, but this time around, Generals and Command Sergeant Majors got involved.
The short film was shot in 4K and employs some impressive film-making techniques. It stars the U.S. Military Academy Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy A. Guden, and Commandant of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Steve Gilland as they green-light the mission to sneak into Annapolis and steal the prized mascot.
The short plays out like an action film, complete with mission briefing, infiltration of the facility, deadly use of a knife-hand, and a welcome home back at West Point with the Goat. Bear in mind that the “actor goat,” as it was called by the Capital Gazette, isn’t the real deal. The actual Billy XXXVII is still in Maryland, safe and sound. For now.
Writer’s Note: As the sole U.S. Army dude currently on WATM’s editorial staff, I’m holding down the fort while our other Army guy is currently kicking ass deployed… Go Army! Beat Navy!
The military is always working to improve technology in order to stay ahead of the threat. From on-demand satellite launches to intuitive prosthetic limbs, here are some of the coolest high-tech projects the military is currently working on.
The Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) is an organization based in Virginia that builds communities for veterans, service members, and military families through classes, performances, and partnerships in the arts. As part of their mission, ASAP offers a Comedy Bootcamp for veterans to explore and develop their comedic abilities. These three veterans are alumni of the Comedy Bootcamp program and have been given the unique opportunity to perform their standup routines at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. Backed by veteran headliners PJ Walsh and Dion Flynn, the alumni put on a great show for their New York audience and proudly represented the armed services on the big stage.
Two Russian fishermen were just minding their business when a true predator of the sea popped up right next to them.
That’s a nuclear submarine of the Russian Navy. According to translations in Russia Today, the fishermen released a stream of curse words when they realized that a nuclear submarine was so close to them, and one of them asks the other to check out how badly his hands are shaking.
YouTube user Vlad Wild played it cool when he uploaded the video, though. He titled it “Nothing unusual, just submarine.” Check it out below:
Submarines work using stealth, so it’s rare to see them in the wild. These two men were extremely lucky to be able to see the boat in action.
As Americans, we love to the hear stories and watch the videos of our service members coming home and surprising their families at the most unexpected times, especially during the holiday season.
Whether a troop shocks their son or daughter with a school visit, surprises their family by taking the field a professional sporting event, or simply shows up, unexpected, at a social gathering — the specifics don’t matter so long as we get to watch the joy spread.