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Moving bombs around for a living

Eglin AFB, Florida (April 29, 2022):  Talk about no margin for error! In this photo by Samuel King Jr., Senior Airman Jahee Standley and Staff Sergeant Summer Lankford move a GBU-39B small diameter bomb into place during the 96th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s F-15 Eagle weapons load competition.

Air Force weapon loaders have the tricky task of quickly and safely placing a variety of high explosives onto fighter planes in real time and in any type of conditions. Working in three person teams, the weapons loaders transport munitions, prepare the weapon bays and ensure the bombs match their assigned mission. They conduct the final safety checks, pull the safety pins, and watch with great pride as their pilots take off to defend America.

Surfers Paradise, Australia (May 8, 2022) remembrance battle of the coral sea

Surfers Paradise, Australia (May 8, 2022): It had been six months since Imperial Japan’s dastardly attack on Pearl Harbor and the Americans had yet to slow the inexorable march of Japan’s naval fleet across the pacific, until the Battle of the Coral Sea.

This was the worlds’ first modern naval engagement. Unlike previous wars where enemy ships squared off, firing directly at one another, this battle was fought between airplanes out of sight of their carriers. U.S. and Japanese warplanes dueled for two vicious days with both sides suffering tremendous losses.

It all began when the Americans broke Japan’s secret code and discovered a large Japanese fleet was enroute to the Coral Sea (a vast expanse of ocean between our ally Australia and New Caledonia in the pacific).  Japan planned to invade strategic Port Moresby, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands so the Americans sent every available carrier strike group to confront the Japanese armada.

A horrendous air battle ensued that resulted in the loss of the U.S. aircraft carrier the Lexington and 216 of her sailors. Although costly, the battle not only halted the Japanese advance but reduced, by one third, the number of carriers available for an even bigger battle to come, the Battle of Midway.

In this photo by Corporal Anthony Pio, Staff Sergeant Marco Casillas, an instructor for the Formal Marksmanship Training Center, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, demonstrates a drill during Combat Pistol training.

Paris Island, South Carolina (April 28, 2022): The most terrifying, and yet most reassuring figure a Marine recruit encounters when they “step on the yellow footprints” on their first day in Basic Training is the Marine Drill Instructor.

Unlike Hollywood portrayals of sadistic sergeants abusing trainees, today’s Marine Corps Drill Instructors  are consummate professionals who, despite their stern bravado, are there to encourage and protect their charges.

The honor of shaping the “future of the Marine Corps” is not bestowed easily.

Only elite Marines are selected to attend the grueling 11-week Drill Instructor Course at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Paris Island, South Carolina.  They are the Marines’ best and brightest, eager to continue the 238-year tradition of “making Marines” by instilling the values and ethos that make the Corps the finest seaborne infantry in the world.

This is serious business.

 In this photo by Sergeant Therese Prats, Army Reserve Sergeant Christine Won performs during a band competition at Joint Base McGuire-Dix, Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The first recorded performance of a military band in America occurred in 1756 when fife players and drummers marched alongside the 1,000 strong Regimental Artillery Company of Philadelphia commanded by Colonel Benjamin Franklin.*

(* Yes, THAT Ben Franklin. In a strange historical twist, this founder of our nation was in his fifties, both rich and famous for his inventions, yet volunteered to lead troops during the French and Indian Wars (1754-1763).  Although he lacked any military experience, Colonel Franklin became the highest ranked American military commander at the time. (Source: Smithsonian Institution Magazine article by Brooke C. Stoddard, October 7, 2010).

Some might question the need for soldiers to serve as musicians in military bands as a waste of taxpayer money.


Ask anyone on active military service, they will tell you that loneliness and isolation is a silent enemy that comes with serving our nation in far flung locations around the world. Distance from family and loved ones weighs heavily on our troops so the ability to call home or to connect on-line with loved ones is priceless.

Here is how YOU can help.

SupportOurTroops.Org operates a Satellite Communications Support program that lets our servicemembers call home, access the internet, and even do a video chat with their loved ones. Our network, funded by patriotic Americans like you, connects thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coastguard members to their families and friends no matter where they are, from remote Pacific Islands to the Arabian Desert.  True operational yellow ribbon soldier support.

Nobody likes a Bully.  Putin thought he was a tough guy, now we know how puny he really is. China, are you listening?

Aboard the U.S.S. Tripoli, Pacific Ocean. May 10, 2022: One of the biggest hazards our nation’s sailors face at sea, a sudden is an uncontrollable fire. Unlike on land, there is no place to run from a fire aboard a ship, especially a warship full of explosives.

Imagine yourself on a modern aircraft carrier with fighter jets taking off, helicopters landing on a deck with tons of high explosives below.  Any accident could cause an explosion threatening thousands of lives in mere minutes. The fate of the crew lies in the hands of its highly trained Damage Controlmen. Yes, they fight fires, but are capable of so much more.

Danger is ever present in naval operations, on ships as well as submarines.

All American sailors receive training on damage control and basic emergency medical skills in such an emergency, Damage Controlmen are the Navy version of “first responders,” trained in firefighting, chemical, radiological, and biographical warfare, and the steps necessary to stabilize a ship on fire.