Russia’s Mil Mi-26 is one of the world’s largest helicopters and an absolute beast, capable of carrying 44,000 pounds, including 90 soldiers or 60 stretchers, anywhere. The 8 rotor blades are powered by two engines to generate the necessary lift.
Often called the world’s largest helicopter, it’s actually based on a prototype that was larger, the Mil V-12. The V-12 never went into full production, so the Mi-26 is the largest helicopter ever mass produced.
It was originally designed to carry heavy vehicles and ballistic missiles flown into country on large cargo planes. Now, the Mi-26 is used for a variety of military and civilian heavy-lift tasks, including sling loading large helicopters and carrying them to maintenance facilities.
Watch one of these monsters carry a Chinook in the video below:
The 2004 Second Battle of Fallujah will be talked about among Marines for years to come, but for some who fought in those deadly streets and from room-to-room, the battle continues to play out long after they come home.
“The most difficult part of transitioning into the civilian world is the fact that I was still alive,” says Matt Ranbarger, a Marine rifleman who fought in Fallujah, in a new documentary released on YouTube called “The November War.”
The end result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, “The November War” gives an intimate look at just one event that changed the lives of the nearly dozen Marines profiled in the film: An operation to clear a house in the insurgent-infested city on Nov. 22, 2004.
“I remember we got a briefing that morning, and I didn’t like it,” squad leader Catcher Cutstherope says, describing how his leaders told the Marines they could no longer use frag grenades when room clearing. Instead, they were instructed to use flash or stun grenades, and only use frags if they were absolutely certain there was an insurgent inside.
“We were all pretty much ‘what the f–k are we gonna do with a flash grenade, it’s not gonna do anything,'” Nathan Douglas says. “We were pretty much right on that part.”
With part interview, part battle footage — shot by Marines during the battle with their own personal cameras — the film is unlike other post-9/11 war documentaries. Similar docs give the viewer insight into a full deployment — “Restrepo” and the follow-up “Korengal” are good examples — or a bigger picture look at both the planning and execution of a combat operation, like “The Battle for Marjah.”
“The November War” takes neither of these approaches, and the film is much better for it. Instead, Garrett Anderson, the filmmaker and Marine veteran who also fought in the battle, captures poignant moments from his former platoon-mates years after their combat experience is over. Some describe going into a room as an insurgent fires, while others talk through their thoughts after being shot.
In describing clearing the house — a costly endeavor that resulted in six Marines wounded — the film reveals the part of that day that still haunts all involved: The death of their friend, Cpl. Michael Cohen.
The documentary captures visceral stress among the Marines. Years later, sweat beads off their foreheads. As they speak, they are measured, but their voices are tinged with emotion. Viewers can tell they see that day just as clearly, more than a decade later.
Perhaps the most revealing part of the film is when Anderson asks all his interviewees whether it was worth it. One Marine filmed is offended by the question, answering that of course every Marine would answer yes. But that doesn’t play out onscreen, as two members of the unit express their doubts.
“Losing that many guys, friends … any of them,” says Brian Lynch, the platoon’s corpsman. “I don’t think it was worth it.”
In the end, “The November War” is one of those must-watch documentaries. It gives a look into what it’s like for troops in combat, and beautifully captures the raw emotion that can still endure long after they come home.
“You know how people say ‘freedom isn’t free?'” asks Lance Cpl. Munoz soon after the film opens.
“Well, you, the one watching this at home on TV right now … sitting eating popcorn, or a burger,” he says, pointing to the camera. “Living the high life. And if you’re a Marine watching this sh– and you’re laughing, it’s because you already went through this sh–.”
You can watch the full documentary below:
YouTube, That Channel
When Gabe Greiss graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1995, he went on to fly the C-130 Hercules as part of a career that lasted 20 years and two months. He commanded a squadron that sent advisors across Latin America, and also served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
“Vets make sense in politics,” the retired lieutenant colonel said. “We’ve spent an entire lifetime putting our own interests second and still getting things done, and we need more of that.”
The Greiss family lives in the Buck Mansion, a 126-year-old icon in the city of Vacaville, California. Designed and built in 1891, it received a remodeling in the 1990s.
The Greiss family kept many of the Buck family’s furnishings, but also had to keep it contemporary to accommodate their young kids who “love their markers.”
Greiss, who described himself as having a “heart of service,” admitted that being in the military meant “being present is something we lose because we’re always planning for what’s next.”
“I’ve needed to slow down and really connect with my kids,” he said.
What’s next for Greiss includes a lot of travel to teach his kids “what it is to be citizens of the world.” That means the Buck Mansion will be getting only its third owner in just under 130 years.
“We love this house, it’s been great to us, but it really fit a different chapter in our lives, albeit only 16 months,” he said.
Despite the resplendent setting and old world charm, Greiss said it’s family, rather than bricks and mortar that make a home.
“Where ever [my wife] is and where the kids are, that’s home,” he said. “It can be in a tent or a 126-year-old house.”
WATM hosted groups of veterans to answer several questions about their time in the military. The vets kept it real when responding to topics ranging from relationships to recruiters.
In this episode, our group of veterans discusses whether or not Hollywood portrays the military accurately on the big screen.
Editor’s note: If you have ideas for questions that you’d like to see a group of veterans answer, please leave a comment below.
Built in the 19th century, the Osowiec Fortress was constructed by the Russian Empire in what is now eastern Poland as a way to defend its borders against the Germans. It was a strategic location for Russian troops.
On September 1914, German forces turned their attention to the fortress and launched a massive offensive, looking to gain control of the stronghold.
They bombarded the fortification with artillery guns for six days straight. However, the Russian troops managed to successfully counter their incoming attacks and continued to man the fort.
Despite Russian fortitude, the Germans remained optimistic as they decided to deploy their massive 420mm caliber cannon known as “Big Bertha.” The Germans pounded the fort and expected a quick surrender from the Russians within. Although the fort suffered greatly, it didn’t crumble, sustaining heavy fire for months to come.
In early July 1915, German Field Marshal Von Hindenburg took command and came up with a new offensive.
The Germans decided to use poisonous gas on their enemy knowing that the Russian troops didn’t have gas masks. 30 artillery guns hit the range and launched 30 gas batteries at the fort on Aug. 6.
A dark green smog of chlorine and bromine seeped into the Russian troops positions. The grass turned black. Tree leaves turned yellow. Russian copper guns and shells were covered in a coat of green chlorine oxide.
Four Russian companies stationed at the fort were massacred as they pulled the poison into their lungs.
Once the gas cleared, 14 German battalions surged in to finish the job. As they approached, Russian troops from the 8th and 13th companies, who came into contact with the poison, charged the Germans. Their faces and bodies were covered in severe chemical burns and the troops reportedly spit out blood and pieces of infected lung as they attacked.
Seeing this gruesome images caused the German troops to tremble and quickly retreat. In the process, many got caught up and twisted in their own c-wire traps.
Within the next two weeks, the fort’s survivors finally evacuated the area. Later on, the newspapers reported this story, calling it the “Attack of the Dead Men.”
Check out Simple History‘s animated video below for more about this incredible story.
(Simple History | YouTube)
A Kansas City Marine veteran is shocked when three fellow veterans show up at his work to fulfill his dream of going to the World Series.
Iraqi armed forces have pushed out Daesh from Tal Afar city while some parts of the district bearing the same name remain under the terrorist group’s control, a senior army official said Aug. 27.
“Joint forces of the army and the Hashd al-Shaabi — a pro-government Shia militia — have liberated two neighborhoods of Al-Askari and the Al-Senaa Al-Shamaliya, as well as the Al-Maaredh area, Tal Afar Gate, and the Al-Rahma village in the eastern part of the city,” Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, Mosul operation commander, said in a televised statement.
While all parts of the city have been recaptured, fighting for control of some parts of Tal Afar district continues.
Yarallah said only the Al-Ayadieh area and its surrounding villages in the district now remain in Daesh’s grip, adding the armed forces were advancing “towards the last targets in order to liberate them”.
On Aug. 27, the Iraqi government launched a major offensive to retake Tal Afar, involving army troops, federal police units, counter-terrorism forces and armed members of Hashd al-Shaabi — a largely Shia force that was incorporated into the Iraqi army last year.
Ministry of Displacement and Migration official Zuhair Talal al-Salem told Anadolu Agency 1,500 people fled the district’s surrounding villages and areas.
“The displaced people were transferred from security checkpoints to Nimrod camp, where they are receiving relief assistance,” Al-Salem said.
Nimrud camp in the southeast of Mosul is said to have a capacity to house 3,000 families.
The ministry transferred some 500 displaced families to the camp after checking their names August 26 in the district of Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a full season of plunging into the high-octane, post-service worlds of veterans like Russell Davies, Mike Glover and Jacqueline Carrizosa, Oscar Mike host Ryan Curtis was feeling understandably uneasy about the state of his own manhood.
After all, over the span of 9 episodes, he’d been out-driven, out-paddled, out-shot, out-jumped, and, well, knocked out — not to mention the emotional pasting he took in Navy SEAL-turned actor David Meadow’s acting class.
Each of these vets has taken some slim notion of a civilian future, paired it with the skills and discipline he or she learned in the military, and then proceeded to kick ass with nary a backward glance.
Curtis, however, found himself in need of some help.
Luckily for him, he had a team of “Oscar Mike” vets ready and willing to support their brother, starting with Meadows. Of course, it didn’t go smoothly.
In the season one finale, Curtis learns the most important lesson of all: Lean on your mates. Be there for them to lean on you. Do that, and we’ll all be “oscar mike” together.
Watch him limp toward enlightenment in the video embedded at the top.
Watch more Oscar Mike:
As an artist, Jim Morrison was obsessed with the barriers that exist in our own minds between what we know and the mysteries hidden just beyond. By means of artistic expression, philosophical musing, and a wide variety of mind-altering drugs, he spent his short, bright tenure as a rockstar searching for the breach points in those barriers: the famous “Doors of Perception.”
And that is why The Doors are called The Doors and not The San Fran Drug Lovin’ Band. True story.
As a veteran trainer and WATM in-house ruckstar, Max Philisaire is likewise obsessed with the Doors of Perception, but rather than approaching the breaching issue as a question of which weed strain to choose, Max would prefer that you simply squat so hard that the doors implode.
Because this is Max. Max’s front door doesn’t have a mat, it has a moat. Max’s doorbell is a grip test. His mail slot is a bazooka. Max hopes Weakness tries knocking, so he can breach his own door outward and sick himself on the whole Weakness sales force.
In this episode, Max is out to rock the socks right off your under-developed legs. Breaching doors is a key skill in modern urban combat and Max wants your quads, hamstrings and glutes to be up to the task. You will proceed through a progression of squat drills designed to send your legs a message, a message that reads: Ten hut, ham hocks!”
Oh. But if you’re thinking of knocking on Max’s door to thank him?
Watch out for the mail slot.
Watch as Max sneezes and the gym falls over, in the video embedded at the top.
Watch more Max Your Body:
U.S. Navy Surface Warfare officer, Jesse Iwuji, is a rising star in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. A veteran of two Arabian Gulf deployments, Jesse spends his time on land meticulously building each element of his pro racing career.
And of course, the bedrock of pro racing is the ability to move a ton of steel around a track at bone-rattling velocity.
“Jesse, let me know when it’s safe to unpucker.” (Go90 Oscar Mike screenshot)
As he related to Oscar Mike host Ryan Curtis when they met up at the Meridian Speedway in Boise, Idaho, success in life is all about finding the thing you’re passionate about and then making a firm decision to go and get it.
In Iwuji’s experience, hot pursuit starts with putting one foot in front of the other. He finished the 2016 season ranked Top 10 overall in points and entered the 2017 season newly partnered with three time NFL Pro Bowler Shawne Merriman as his car owner for Patriot Motorsports Group.
Curtis, of course, couldn’t wait for his chance to get behind the wheel.
“How about now?” “Just drive the car, man.” (Go90 Oscar Mike screenshot)
Watch as Iwuji pushes the K&N Pro Series stock car to it’s outer limits while Curtis makes the lamest joke in military history in the video embedded at the top.
Watch more Oscar Mike:
We sent our “Vet On The Street” to downtown Hollywood to find out if people could name the five major branches of the United States military. U.S. Marine Corps veteran and comic James P. Connolly interviewed Freddy Krueger, Captain America, Jack Sparrow and others and got a range of entertaining answers.