We all know the tell-tale signs of a military service member: high-and-tight haircut, camo backpack, polo shirt and cargo shorts combination, unit t-shirts or hats, decals on cars, and of course, “Affliction" t-shirts. These are all easy ways to spot military folks in public places. And while many of us try not to stand out, there are still subtle indicators. Most civilians would never notice these things, but they are dead giveaways to those who have served. Here are the top ten.
1. Walking fast. You might be doing a great job of blending in to your civilian surroundings, but your walk is always going to give you away. Military personnel walk with a purpose, as if their trip to the grocery store is actually a Pentagon press briefing.
2. Hair. Broke your habit of getting a high and tight? Good for you. But that leaves you two options: the fade and the classic “officer or pilot hair." Yes, we see you pushing the edges of the “three inches on the top" rule as proscribed in Army Regulation 670-1.
3. Eating fast. Habits are hard to kick. And rarely in the military did you ever have ample time to appreciate your food even if you wanted to.
4. The power stance. Noncomissioned officers and officers are easy to spot: Just look for the person attempting to own the room through the “thumbs through the belt power" stance or the “crossed arms and not leaning against anything" stance.
5. Jargon. Just try not to say “roger" or “negative" in conversations. Just try. Eventually, your language will out you.
6. Walking. There is no way that a group of military members can take a casual stroll down a sidewalk without eventually falling into step. Even if you try not to, you will.
7. Sunglasses. Congratulations, you're not wearing Oakleys or G.I. frames. Well done. But you're still wearing sunglasses all the time. Even when it is cloudy out.
8. Absurd politeness. You can easily pick out service members by their over usage of “sir" and “ma'am." It is a credit to the military's discipline that a cashier receives the same clipped tones and politeness a four-star general would.
9. Scanning crowds. Go to a party and you're bound to see the one person who is constantly scanning usually somewhere where they can see the whole room. And God help the person acting suspicious because the military promotes being confrontational.
10. Sleeping anywhere. Military personnel can sleep approximately anywhere, in any weather, on anything. They also come out of it rapidly and coherently, which paid dividends for the people aboard the Paris-bound train with the gunman aboard who was overpowered by two U.S. service members.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."