Nobody wants to get lost out in the wilderness as snow falls at a rapid rate and darkness begins to settle in. Hell, it’s scary enough getting turned around while your walking in downtown Los Angeles at 3 a.m. and the streets are littered with homeless people. (We’re only kidding — sort of.) If you get trapped out in the great unknown, hopefully, you have some survival equipment with you already. But let’s say your compass is broken, for one reason or another. Don’t worry, we can fashion an alternate, magnet-powered one in no time. It’s actually pretty easy!
First, check in your survival kit for needle or pin. Pull that out, because you’ll need it. Next, if you have a radio on you (and it’s not proving more useful than a compass), pull out some of the wire and the battery pack. Wrap some easy-to-find paper around the pin, then follow that up by wrapping the wire around that pin. The paper wrap will insulate the pin from the electric current.
Hold (or tape) the ends of the wire to the positive side and negative side of the battery. The needle will heat up, but that’s normal. It’s just science.
Once your pin is magnetized, disconnect the wire and pull it out from the paper. Place the needle on a leaf — or something close to that — as it floats on the surface of a small body of water.
If you did all those steps correctly, the floating pin should point to magnetic north. Now, carry your new field-made compass with you so you don’t get lost again.
Make sure and check out Black Scout Survival‘s video below to watch a complete breakdown of how to make a field compass.
In 1968, then-Maj. Colin Powell was a Ranger assigned to the Army’s 23rd Infantry Division. It was his second tour in Vietnam.
Just five years earlier, he was one of the American advisors to South Vietnam’s fledgling army. While on a foot patrol in Viet Cong-held areas in 1963, the 25-year-old Powell was wounded by a VC booby trap.
That ended his time in combat. Powell was reassigned to the 1st Army of the Republic of Vietnam division headquarters for the rest of that tour.
On his second tour in Vietnam, he was again behind a desk as the assistant Chief of Staff for the Americal Division (as the 23rd was known). Though a staff officer, when you’re a man of destiny like Colin Powell, the action comes to you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re on a speeding boat, jumping off a building, or zooming through the air on a fighter; Gyro-stabilized Systems (GSS) makes some of the best gear for action film shoots.
The common stabilizing system for aerial filming is made to withstand speeds up to 135 knots and usually helicopter-mounted. But when Swedish aerial specialist, Peter Degerfeldt at Blue Sky—one of Scandinavia’s premier aerial filming companies—challenged GSS to build something that could withstand at least 300 knots, aerial filming took a giant leap forward.
GSS’s calling came when Saab Defense and Security required a film shoot from a Gripen fighter.
“Our philosophy is to push boundaries in everything we do,” said Jonas Tillgren, Brand and marketing manager at Saab, according to the film’s description. “In this case, we needed to do both still photography and footage at the same time to maximize outcome. One advantage of this system is that we can fly in speeds where Gripen flies more naturally.”
This past week saw We Are The Mighty at the 2015 Blue Angel Airshow at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu.
It was a full day of weaving in out of the crowds of people excited to see incredible planes, crazy stunt pilots, and (of course) the legendary Blue Angels performance. WATM managed to snag interviews with a couple of pilots, the executive officer of the VAW-112 Air Wing, and the crew of the gargantuan C-5M Super Galaxy (who let us take a peek inside!) before the Blue Angels took the skies in an impressive display of flying.
Middle Eastern oil, the happy kind. (Go90
Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)
Host August Dannehl toured a Palestinian-owned olive farm in the West Bank that was being guided by consultants from the
Near East Foundation and USAID’s Olive Oil Without Borders project. Similar aid was being offered to neighboring Israeli olive farmers and, far from begrudging the competition, the Arab farmers seemed relieved just to be able to get on with their livelihoods and happy to wish their Jewish counterparts the same.
In Part 2, Dannehl dives deeper into Israeli military, farm, and food culture, meeting with an Arab gourmet chef who helms a cutting edge restaurant in Tel Aviv, talking to young Israeli Defence Force soldiers about how they view their nation’s foes and learning from diners of both nationalities the frank similarities between Israeli and Palestinian cuisine.
“We’re kind of the same people, you know? We love hummus, they love hummus…” (Go90
Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)
Finally, he returns to West Bank olive country, to the farm of Israeli olive oil maker Ayala Meir in order to attend a traditional kibbutz dinner, joined this time by Meir’s family and a number of their Palestinian friends from across the border wall.
Olive oil is culture. It brings people together. This is now the season that Jewish and Arabs and Muslims and Christians meet together. We all love this product. And it’s a way to know our neighbors. Actually an ancient olive tree is many individuals living in the same house. Every branch has a different root system. —Ayala Noy Meir
A toast to friends and neighbors. (Go90
Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)
The recent success of efforts like Olive Oil Without Borders, not to mention the more live-and-let-live worldview that can be found among younger citizens of both nations, gives the world a glimmer of hope that this, one of the thorniest conflicts in human history, may one day be no more than a story neighbors reminisce about around a communal dinner table.
Magic hour in occupied territory. (Go90
Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)
A US Navy aircraft carrier is like a small floating town (a well-armed one), and there’s always something going on. An aircraft carrier never truly sleeps. From reveille to rec time, here a look at what a day in the life of a sailor is like aboard one of these combatant behemoths.
Coasties (as the other branches of the military tend to label members of the U.S. Coast Guard) often come off as black sheep of the family of military veterans, which isn’t fair. They are members of the military and serve in deployed locations in the Middle East and elsewhere, they just happen to be under the Department of Homeland Security, and not the Department of Defense. Coast Guard basic training is difficult as all get out, despite what other branches tend to believe. The day to day life of the USCG isn’t a walk in the park either. And when all is said and done, having a primary mission of saving lives, especially those who could not save themselves, is a mission worthy of respect.
This day was no different. The 229-foot Glory Pacific No. 8 fishing boat was a Papua New Guinea-flagged ship which caught fire some 2,070 miles off the coast of Hawaii. The Coast Guard dispatched a C-130 Hercules to locate the ship based on its emergency beacon. The found the Glory Pacific engulfed in flames, unmanned and adrift. They coordinated the rescue of the ships 36 crewmembers with another civilian ship in the area, the Lomalo, out of the Marshall Islands, using smoke flares. Lomalo will take the rescued crew back to their home port.
It’s all fun and games to make fun of the Coasties, and as you do, just hope you’re never stranded adrift in the middle of 2,000 miles of ocean. That’s a lot of crow (or seagull) to eat.
Military recruiters are trained to convince young adults to sign up for service, but many prospects need a more than just a smooth talker to get them to enlist.
We’ve all seen the Air Force recruiting posters of high-spirited airmen, standing tall that make us think about how cool it’d be to become a combat controller. And while those posters are nice, having an epic recruiting video in your arsenal is what might put the final touches on someone’s decision to join.
WATM’s Ryan Curtis hits the streets with stunt driver Jim Wilkey, a Vietnam War vet whose Hollywood credits include “Die Hard With a Vengeance,” “Rush Hour,” “Inception,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “The Dark Knight Trilogy.’ Jim’s experience in the Navy working with a wide range of equipment gave him the knowledge to get started as a stuntman and stunt driver.
Now, watch as Jim takes our man Ryan for a ride through the obstacle course.
But it wasn’t always this way. During the Cold War, Airborne forces relied on the M551 Sheridan, an Airborne-capable light tank first fielded in 1969.
The M551 Sheridan tank was a 16-ton tank made primarily of aluminum and employed by airborne forces. (Photo: U.S. Army)
The Sheridan was a replacement for the World War II-era Mk. VII Tetrarch tank and the M22 Locust Airborne tank. The Tetrarch was a British glider-capable light tank and the M22 was an American tank custom-built for glider insertion.
The M551, unlike its predecessors, was airdrop-capable, meaning it could be inserted using parachutes instead of gliders. The tank was also used with the Low-Altitude Parachute Extraction System, an airdrop system that allowed the U.S. to drop the tanks from a few feet to a few dozen feet off the ground.
An M551 Sheridan is pulled from the back of a C-130 by the Low-Altitude Parachute Extraction System. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)
The tank used an experimental 152mm gun that could fire missiles or tank rounds. Even its tank rounds were experimental, though — they used a combustible casing instead of the standard brass casings.
The M551 Sheridan tank firing a Shillelagh missile. (Photo: U.S. Army)
The Sheridan served well in Vietnam and Panama. During Operation Just Cause, it was even airdropped into combat, allowing paratroopers to bring their own fire support to the battlefield.
The tank’s main gun could inflict serious damage at distances of up to 2,000 feet, allowing it to punch out enemy bunkers from outside the range of many enemy guns.
Unfortunately, the light armor of the Sheridan posed serious issues. Some Sheridans were pierced by enemy infantry’s heavy machine guns, meaning crews had to be careful even when there was no enemy armor or anti-armor on the field. Worse, the main gun started to develop a reputation as being unreliable.
Firing the main gun knocked out the electronics for the longer-range missile, meaning that a tank firing on bunkers or enemy armor at close range would usually lose their ability to punch targets at long range. And there was no way to avoid this issue as the Shillelagh missile couldn’t hit targets at less than 2,400 feet.
The only way for an M551 to punch at close range was to give up its capability at long ranges.
By 1980, most cavalry units were moving to the M60 Patton Main Battle Tank, which was actually introduced before the Sheridan. The Patton featured heavier armor, more power, and a more reliable gun. It had also just been upgraded with new “Reliability Improved Selected Equipment,” or “RISE.”
The airborne forces would keep the Sheridan through 1996, partially because they had no other options. A number of potential replacements were canceled and modern airborne forces just make do without true armored support.