This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat - We Are The Mighty
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This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat

Airborne forces face a problem whenever they have to jump behind enemy lines — whether it’s to seize an enemy airfield or to take and hold territory.


The paratroopers can’t bring their own armor support, because America doesn’t currently have an airborne-certified tank or large armored vehicle. (The Stryker and the Light Armored Vehicle have undergone successful airdrop tests, but neither has been certified).

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.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat

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.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat

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 Sheridan was crewed by four people and weighed 16 tons, light enough that it could actually swim through the water. It was powered by a 300-hp diesel engine and could hit approximately 45 mph. It could travel 373 miles between fill-ups.

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.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat

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.”

According to an Army history pamphlet, one cavalryman told the Stars and Stripes, “We can get the job done with the Sheridan, but most cavalrymen would rather have the tank.”

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.

The Army is, once again, looking at new light tanks or heavy-armored vehicles to support paratroopers. The new solution could be another custom-built tank, like the Sheridan. But as of summer 2016, its specifications were up in the air. It just has to be capable of an airdrop, and it has to get the job done.

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President Trump proclaims Armed Forces Day

In a proclamation signed before he left on the first foreign trip, President Donald Trump proclaimed the third Saturday of May to be Armed Forces Day.


“For almost 70 years, our Nation has set aside one day to recognize the great debt we owe to the men and women who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard,” Trump said in a statement. “On Armed Forces Day, we salute the bravery of those who defend our Nation’s peace and security.  Their service defends for Americans the freedom that all people deserve.”

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
(DOD Poster)

According to the Department of Defense website, the celebration of Armed Forces Day first began in 1950, following a proclamation on Aug. 31, 1949, by then-Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson. Johnson’s intention was to replace separate holidays for the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

“I invite the Governors of the States and Territories and other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to provide for the observance of Armed Forces Day within their jurisdiction each year in an appropriate manner designed to increase public understanding and appreciation of the Armed Forces of the United States.  I also invite veterans, civic, and other organizations to join in the observance of Armed Forces Day each year,” Trump said in the proclamation, which has been issued by his predecessors in virtually the same form, including George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
West Point U.S. Military Academy cadets march in the 58th Presidential Inauguration Parade in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)

Trump’s proclamation did make special note of the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, citing the 4.7 million Americans who served in that conflict. Trump also re-tweeted a Defense Department tweet featuring a video.

“Finally, I call upon all Americans to display the flag of the United States at their homes and businesses on Armed Forces Day, and I urge citizens to learn more about military service by attending and participating in the local observances of the day,” Trump’s proclamation concluded.

 

MIGHTY TRENDING

This soldier recounts celebrating Halloween in Baghdad with a toga party

John Daniel was an Army infantryman who remembers his Iraq deployment as long, hard, and constantly on the move.


Though is unit suffered its share of casualties, miraculously there were no fatalities. So to celebrate a KIA-free deployment, he and his men snuck some bootleg hooch and had a toga party.

Daniel has many tattoos — from a Roman helmet atop modern combat boots to his staff sergeant’s favorite phrase “Pain and Repetition.” He points to the one on his shoulder with particular pride. It reads: “The Real 1%ers.”

“We’re the ones in America who will stand up to fight and defend our country,” Daniel explains.

Daniel’s story is part of a video series presented by We Are The Mighty. War Ink: 11 for 11 features 11 combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan using tattoos to tell their stories on and off the battlefield. Each week for the next 11 weeks, a different tattooed veteran will share his or her story.

Do you have a tattoo that tells the story of your war experiences? Post a photo of it at We Are The Mighty’s Facebook page with the hashtag #WeAreTheMightyInk. WATM will be teeing up the coolest and most intense ones through Veteran’s Day.

Video Credit: Rebecca Murga and Karen Kraft

MIGHTY BRANDED

Vietnam War vet and NFL great takes to the gridiron with these wounded warriors

As part of the events surrounding Super Bowl 50, the Military Benefit Association sponsored the Wounded Warrior Amputee vs. NFL Alumni Flag Football game. The game was a chance for these veterans to compete against NFL greats while raising awareness about the issues wounded veterans face.


Rocky Bleier, Pittsburgh Steeler great, Vietnam War veteran, and spokesperson for the Military Benefit Association, has been involved with the WWAFT games for the past five years.

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Watch these vets say what they miss (or don’t) about military life

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.


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.

 

 

Music courtesy of Jingle Punks:

Bring Me Home – Auracle

Anyone Else-JP – The Beards

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The Russian military actually used this hilarious video to recruit paratroopers

Russia’s paratroopers serve in the VDV, or vozdushno-desantnie voiska. Like America’s airborne forces, the Russian VDV is considered elite and recruits soldiers from both within the Russian armed forces and from the civilian population.


But their tactics for doing so can be a little confusing. For instance, they created a commercial where your mom’s ex-boyfriend sings about his clothes every minute or so.

When he’s not doing that, he’s watching large groups of men dance fight against imaginary enemies.

But the Russian paratroopers totally redeem themselves when they hop over fences while shooting their weapons and dash past explosions without turning to look at them.

See the full video below. For the truly hardcore fan, there’s a 10-hour version on Youtube.

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This video perfectly captures the highs and lows of Navy advancement

If you’ve ever taken a Navy advancement exam, chances are you walked out of the testing center feeling more confused than the day the Navy issued aqualfage.


You’re not alone, sailor. A quick look at the comments posted to a Reddit thread called, “How I felt during today’s E-5 advancement exam” shows bewilderment across the fleet.

From Reddit:

User: Achibon – Yeah, I studied for the last 2.5 months and still felt like a moron during the test. Good luck to you.

User: Furmware – Thank God I’m not the only one who felt like a moron after the test.

User: dcviper – I used to cut mid-70s on the test and I always walked out feeling like an idiot. The test I made E-6 off of I thought I had bombed because I didn’t study. Even our department head, a mustang LCDR, said he thought it was a really difficult test. No one was more surprised than me that May.

After reading the comments above, you could imagine the excitement some sailors get when they find out they passed. Oh the joy! It means more pay, no more being talked down to, and most importantly, no more working parties! Well, maybe not entirely true but there will be fewer.

And then, there are the sailors who’ve taken the test many times. You know who they are, they’re always bitter. This video by Chalee Jr. perfectly captures the attitudes sailors have when passing and failing the advancement exam.

Watch:

 

Articles

Watch how Marines get these savaging rocket launchers ready to destroy faster

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System can fire 6 rockets at targets as far as 298 miles away. A group of HIMARS trucks firing together can wipe out entire enemy bases, a mission the Army actually conducted in Desert Storm.


This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
Screenshot: US Marine Corps

But the rocket system is heavy and can only move as quickly as the operators can drive them. Lately, the Marines have been experimenting with how to get HIMARS to the battle more quickly, establishing operational capabilities that they refer to as “air raids” by driving them off of C-17s or C-130s or using amphibious craft to deliver them in “sea raids.”

As part of Exercise Balikatan, an annual exercise between the Philippines and the U.S., the Marines took their HIMARS to that country and fired practice rockets. Watch the video and see how they quickly got the artillery systems to the country and into the fight:


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.


This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
(Image from Wikimedia Commons, Adelson Raimundo Reis Amaral, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Having trouble logging in?

Max wants to help you.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
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:

(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:

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
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 year saw the inaugural Los Angeles Fleet Week

This year Los Angeles hosted the first ever LA Fleet Week at the LA Waterfront in San Pedro.


The four-day long festival hosted active military ships along the waterfront and held public ship tours, equipment demos, live entertainment, and more!

We Are The Mighty’s August Dannehl, a Navy veteran himself, went down to join the festivities and participate in Los Angeles’ inaugural Fleet Week.

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How to start a fire in any rainy condition

Every time we step foot out into the wild, we need to be prepared in case she decides to throw some nasty weather our way. From torrential downpours to blinding blizzards, Mother Nature can be a fearsome beast. Knowing how to start a fire is among the most important skills to have.


So, as you pack supplies to spend some time out in the sticks, remember to bring along these two valuable, inexpensive items: a small candle and a hat. They might not seem like much at all, but when correctly used, they’ll help you start a fire in some wet conditions.

Fire needs three things to burn appropriately: oxygen, heat, and fuel. So, let’s get this fire party started.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
Tactical Rifleman

 

Step 1: Create a base for the fire

Place two small logs parallel to one another, allowing for only a few inches between them through which to insert a shim. If available, use a split log as the shim — it must be shorter than the two base logs.

Next, collect several thin twigs and lay them across the base logs. Make sure they cover the shim when inserted.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
Tactical Rifleman

 

Step 2: Build the base up

Continue to add layers of thin twigs and, after creating a sizeable chunk, stack some more small base logs on there perpendicular to the last, Lincoln Log-style. Slightly spacing the wood out will help keep your newly constructed base aerated.

Step 3: Light the small candle

The wax of a candle is waterproof, so rainy weather won’t affect it. However, water will put the flame out. We’re going to explain how to get around that soon — so just be chill.

Light the candle, place it on the shim, and slide the shim underneath you new, aerated firewood setup.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
Tactical Rifleman

 

Step 4: Protect the flame

If the rain continues to pour, place a hat or another type of cover over the top of the fire setup. By this point, you should have constructed a few tiers of logs and twigs, making it tall enough that your hat will never touch the open flame.

The hat will help contain the heat which will start drying out the wood. The twigs will dry first and soon, you should start seeing some smoke. Soon, the wood will catch and you’ll have a nice fire to keep you warm in the rain.

Check out Tactical Rifleman‘s video below how to exact replicate this genius setup for yourself.

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Check out the celebrities we spoke to at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards

WATM’s Skye P. Marshall took us to the red carpet of the 2016 MTV Movie Awards – held this year at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California. Marshall snagged interviews with Bellator MMA fighters, the New York hip-hop trio Salt-N-Pepa, Blake Anderson of Workaholics fame, and even a surprise interview with 2016 MTV Movie Awards host Kevin Hart!

Articles

This is how the Roman Empire structured its military

The Roman Empire had one of the best militaries of ancient times. It steamrolled over the Carthaginians, Greeks, Egyptians, Gauls, more than held their own against many other forces for centuries.


So, how did the world’s most powerful government organize its deadly legions? Well, it started with a group of eight men known as a contubernium – which was a little smaller than a typical infantry squad (usually nine personnel). Ten contuberniums, plus the command staff, formed a century of 85 men.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat
Some of the specialist roles that were usually filled by auxiliaries. (Youtube Screenshot)

Six centuries – about 540 men – made up a cohort. This unit was roughly the size of a present-day infantry battalion. Ten cohorts, plus attachments including a force of cavalry, made a legion of about 6,000 men, roughly the size of a brigade.

The legions were the largest force in the Roman military. Only citizens could serve in the legions but the Roman military also had cohorts of auxiliaries which allowed non-citzens to serve in the Roman army.

This is the last tank airborne units jumped into combat

These auxiliaries were usually slingers, archers, and additional cavalry. Many Roman citizens, who had to provide their own equipment, served as infantry.

After 25 years of service in the Roman army, legionnaires and auxiliaries could look forward to a generous retirement. Those who weren’t citizens gained Roman citizenship and all that meant, plus a plot of land and a generous retirement bonus.

ISO Design, YouTube