Watch these beautiful moments of US soldiers coming home to surprise their dads for Father’s Day!
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress has the nickname “Big Ugly Fat F***er” — or just the BUFF — but is it the biggest bomber that ever served? Believe it or not, that answer is, “No.”
There was a much bigger bomber in the fleet — and while it never dropped a bomb in anger, it was the backbone of Strategic Air Command in its early years. That plane was the Convair B-36 Peacemaker.
The Peacemaker was immense, according to a fact sheet from the National Museum of the Air Force: Its wingspan was 230 feet (compared to 185 feet for a B-52), the B-36 was 162 feet long (compared to just over 159 feet for the B-52), and it could carry up to 86,000 pounds of bombs, according to aviation historian Joe Baugher. The B-52’s maximum bomb load is 70,000 pounds, per an Air Force fact sheet.
How did you get such an immense craft off the ground? Very carefully.
The B-36 had six Pratt and Whitney R-4360 engines in a pusher configuration and four General Electric J47 jet engines. These were able to lift a fully-loaded B-36 off the ground and propel it to a top speed of 435 miles per hour.
Depending on the model, the B-36 had up to 16 20mm cannon in twin turrets. The B-36 entered service in 1948 – and it gave SAC 11 years of superb service, being replaced by the B-52. Five planes survive, all of which are on display.
Below, this clip from the 1955 movie “Strategic Air Command” shows how this plane took flight. Jimmy Stewart plays a major league baseball player called back into Air Force service (Stewart was famously a bomber pilot who saw action in World War II and the Vietnam War).
Also recognizable in this clip is the flight engineer, played by Harry Morgan, famous for playing Sherman Potter on “MASH” and as Detective Rich Gannon in the 1960s edition of “Dragnet.”
Russia is busy trying to drum up sales for its newest high-tech weapons, and one of those is the Su-35S Flanker – a heavily upgraded version of the Su-27, also called the Flanker.
According to the London Daily Mail, Russia has released a brief video of the Su-35 being taken for a test flight.
The Su-35’s biggest change is the use of thrust-vectoring engines. This only enhances the maneuverability inherent in the Su-27 design. The Su-27 is famous for being able to do the Pugachev Cobra, a maneuver that allows it to fly tail-first for a period of time.
The Daily Mail noted that the Su-35S has a top speed of Mach 2.25, the ability to fire a variety of missiles and drop up to 17,000 pounds of bombs from 12 hardpoints, and is equipped with a 30mm cannon for close-in dogfighting. Some Su-35s were sent to Syria by the Russian government, which backs that country’s dictator, Bashir al-Assad.
Russia also did a video of its aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. The video, though, omitted relevant details, like the carrier’s poor operating condition. There were also at least two splash landings during the Kuznetsov’s deployment off Syria.
The video is below: Watch, and enjoy!
The Air Force has made the F-15 Eagle an icon of air superiority fighters. The Navy’s F-14 Tomcat has its iconic status, thanks in large part to Top Gun and JAG, among other Hollywood productions.
But the Navy could have flown the F-15 off carriers. In fact, McDonnell-Douglas, who had made the iconic F-4 Phantom, which was in service with the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, proposed what was known as the F-15N “Sea Eagle.”
There was, though, a problem with the Sea Eagle. Aviation historian Joe Baugher notes that the design could not carry the AIM-54 Phoenix, which the Navy needed in order to counter Soviet long-range bombers armed with heavy anti-ship missiles.
The track records of both planes are nothing to sneer at. The F-14 proved to be a superb addition — it never had to face the big fight with the Soviet Union, but it nevertheless scored five air-to-air kills in United States Navy service. The F-15 scored 104 air-to-air kills with no losses across all operators, including the United States Air Force and Saudi and Israeli planes.
Here’s a video showing just what might have been, and why it didn’t happen.
Hostage rescue is one of the most dangerous missions special operations troops can be assigned to.
One of the big reasons: You have to pull your punches, lest you accidentally kill the people you’re there to rescue. You have to be very stealthy, or you will be detected and the bad guys will kill the hostages. You must move quickly, or the bad guys will kill the hostages.
But it’s hard to find people who want to be in the middle of training for hostage rescue. The answer, according to one DoD release, may be to use robots.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians with the 27th Special Operations Wing conducted some hostage rescue training using the robots this past December – and some of it was caught on video:
The 24-hour Korean-language YTN News Network based in Seoul, South Korea broadcasted video of North Korean dictator and alleged Swiss chocolate enthusiast Kim Jong Un looking at the “unusual” fighter training methods of the North Korean Air Force.
The video, from North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency, the media mouthpiece of the regime, shows pilots using what looks like cardboard cutouts of their cockpits along with toy fighter models, walking over a large map of the country.
The training is purportedly for what the pilots should do in a low fuel situation, which probably happens a lot in the North.
Kim is not only watching the pilots train. It’s customary for the dictator, like his father Kim Jong-Il, and grandfather Kim Il-Sung before him, to administer “on the spot guidance.” The dictators conduct what are known as business inspections. They visit critical areas of the North Korean defense, industrial, and agricultural centers, and offer advice on how to better perform their job functions.
This is why so many photos of the leaders include them standing around talking while any number of aides are standing around taking notes. Accompanying military officers and leaders of the local area are expected to take meticulous notes of everything the leader says. When the guidance is given, it is usually memorialized with a plaque, including a quote from the leader’s advice.
Jeff Slater was an Army small weapons expert who served in Iraq. He later volunteered for route clearance duty where his job was to intentionally run over IEDs.
On his return home, Slater struggled with depression and feelings of isolation. But he stayed focused on the goal of finding his own enlightenment.
Slater has many striking tattoos, including one on his chest of a hand grenade with wings and the word “Serenity” above it.
“I see the world as a balance between beauty and hate,” Slater says. “Serenity isn’t freedom from the storm. It’s finding peace amidst the storm.”
Slater’s story is part of War Ink: 11 for 11, a video series presented by We Are The Mighty. The series features 11 combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan using tattoos to tell their stories on and off the battlefield. Each week for 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
The WATM team sums up the classics to save you time as you go about living your busy lives. VX gas, chemical warfare and Alcatraz-infiltrating SEALs are all a part of this rundown of Michael Bay’s classic flick, “The Rock.” And it’s all presented in under 2 minutes. You’re welcome.
In Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”, the actors were mentored by the type of warfighters they portray in the film in order to accurately depict their abilities and experiences. Each of these men was a member of an elite group called the Global Response Staff, which draws from the full suite of special operations units.
We Are The Mighty partnered with “13 Hours” to bring together spec ops vets of each branch to discuss the differences between Army Rangers and Green Berets, Air Force Pararescuemen, Navy SEALs, and Marine Recon.
Their explanations are specific and nuanced and explained as only those who’ve “been there and done that” can.
When a commander asks a service member where they’d like to be promoted, most people go with a nice backdrop for photos.
Marine Sgt. Lindsey Vedsted of Sterling, Colorado got her stripes in 2005 in what appears to be boring stretch of desert, but is actually an active minefield near Bagram Air Force Base, Afghanistan.
As her gunnery sergeant points out in the video, most of the mines are older than Vedsted or about the same age. The mines are still dangerous though, as Air Force security forces when they strayed into an unmarked minefield near Bagram in 2004.
Just a warning: The video jumps around a little bit and doesn’t have a narrator explaining what’s going on.
Video courtesy Armed Forces Network Afghanistan.
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 talks about their experiences going to college after serving in the military.
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.
The Swiss Guard, the Pope’s elite security force, had humble beginnings 500 years ago as infantrymen defending their lands against cavalry. In medieval times, the Swiss perfected the use of the pike in battlefield formations, and quickly became known as one of the greatest fighting forces of their time.
Guinness World Records stopped tracking the world’s most decorated soldiers because the importance and distinction of certain medals outweighs the objective number of medals a service member can receive —a distinction veterans certainly understand.
What brought this to their attention was the medal count between Audie Murphy – long regarded as the most decorated U.S. soldier ever – and a little-known WWII veteran and Medal of Honor recipient named Matt Urban, whose medal count matched Murphy’s.
But no one knew that Urban had matched the well-known Murphy until 36 years after the end of WWII because Urban’s recommendation and supporting paperwork were lost in the bureaucratic shuffle.
He was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Merit but never knew until his military records were reviewed to award his Medal of Honor.
And there were a lot of actions to review…