7 Weird Guys You Meet In The Military


The military's a strange place. They make you dress alike, wake up at 0530 every morning, and endure years of horribly produced safety videos. So, it only follows that strange people, lured by the prospect of free juice and unlimited salad bar in the chow hall, would find military life appealing. Below are the seven types of oddballs that cause well-adjusted privates everywhere to ask themselves, “What the fuck am I doing here?"

The LARPer

Task & Purpose illustration by Matt Battaglia

The LARPer considers his brief military career an epic struggle between himself — a High Elf of Ulthuan — and the orcs, trolls, wood elves, and dark elves (yes, there's a difference). In the field, he's often seen clearing the wood line of goblins while honing his fighting skills with a breaker bar. In garrison, he spends most of his free time in the barracks drinking mead with the rest of the LARPers over a 17-hour game of Warhammer. Unfortunately, his command of the Silver Helm Knights leaves little time for actual training. Thus, he usually bombs the PT test, gets flagged, and is eventually chaptered out of the military.

The Ghost

Task & Purpose illustration by Matt Battaglia

You swear you've seen him, maybe even passed him in the chow hall, but the truth is that you've never had a conversation with the Ghost longer than three syllables. He's on the company rooster, gets a monthly leave earnings statement, but — barring the laws of physics — doesn't technically exist. In garrison, the Ghost is always on a work detail, staff duty, or company quarters, but you've never seen him in the supply and arms or battalion HQ. On deployments, he's always running missions with the supply sergeant; yet, you can't recall the last time he dropped off chow or MREs. Not much about the Ghost is known, except for the fact that you envy him.

The Porn Addict

Task & Purpose illustration by Matt Battaglia

At first the porn addict seems normal enough; soft spoken, a firm grip, and well-moisturized hands. When he deploys, however, his packing list resembles the inventory of an adult bookstore: 12 vintage porno mags, two three-ring binders with high-gloss photos in sheet protectors, and tubes of both silicon and water-based lubricants. In garrison, his tech is all bookmarked with Pornhub, Red Tube, and Xhamster web addresses, ready to be accessed at a moment's notice. The main difference between the Porn Addict and the Barracks Rat — both of whom rarely leave their rooms — is that the Porn Addict doesn't steal furniture from the common area.

The Conspiracy Theorist

Task & Purpose illustration by Matt Battaglia

Did you know that that the invasion of Iraq was a pretense for the Illuminati to secure the Babylonian ruins for Satanic rituals? How about the moon landing being produced at a nondescript studio in the San Fernando Valley? According to the Conspiracy Theorist, it's all true. On deployments, the Conspiracy Theorist frequently lectures his squad about the dangers of television and satellite radio, both of which are used as a form of Illuminati mind control. During his free time, he's rarely seen in the barracks, preferring to spend his nights in the freezing New Mexican desert tracking UFOs while posting updates on his conspiracy blog in ALL CAPS. But hey, at least he has an active social life.

The Foreigner

Task & Purpose illustration by Matt Battaglia

Hailing from an obscure town in Yorkshire or the Balkans, the Foreigner wants you to know just how pussy-whipped he thinks the U.S. Army is. You see this is the Foreigner's second time around, as he'd previously served in his own country's military where — claims the Foreigner — they play hot potato with live hand grenades and break each other's ribs for fun. In garrison, the Foreigner can easily drink anyone under the table, even E-9 alcoholics. On deployments, the Foreigner often complains about the coffee (not espresso) and the use of a clearing barrel (why bother to safety your weapon?). But late night traffic checkpoints, shit-burning details, and 12-hour guard shifts? You'll never hear a peep from him.

Related: 7 Types Of NCOs You Deal With In The Military »

The Top Chef

Task & Purpose illustration by Matt Battaglia

Did you ever wonder what that wonderful smell was at 0430 in the morning? That's the Top Chef whipping up a caramelized onion and prosciutto frittata. Why he opted for airborne infantry over culinary school you'll never know, but the Top Chef is a great friend to have in garrison, especially when he's attempting duck confit on his barracks hot plate. On deployments, he's often seen harassing the company interpreter for locally sourced produce and artisan cheeses to use with his fusilli, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers (which he packed in his rucksack in lieu of his wet weather gear). But ask him to eat an MRE? He'd rather starve.

The Prophet

Task & Purpose illustration by Matt Battaglia

The Prophet's name needs little explanation. Vague about his upbringing in a religious compound just outside of Biloxi, the Prophet feels called to convert his fellow enlistees away from their false religions to join him in his worship of the “Leader" — who's currently under investigation by the FBI. In garrison, the Prophet frequently complains to the chaplain about the Army's failure to accommodate his Sabbath holidays, which always seem to coincide with training and field exercises. On deployments, the Prophet spends most of the time proselytizing to the locals, who don't understand a word he's saying. But that doesn't stop the Prophet, who's confident that his message of eternal damnation “transcends the limits of tongues."

(U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith)

Three U.S. service members received non-life-threatening injuries after being fired on Monday by an Afghan police officer, a U.S. official confirmed.

The troops were part of a convoy in Kandahar province that came under attack by a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police, a spokesperson for Operation Resolute Support said on Monday.

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Marine Maj. Jose J. Anzaldua Jr. spent more than three years during the height of the Vietnam War. Now, more than 45 years after his release, Sig Sauer is paying tribute to his service with a special gift.

Sig Sauer on Friday unveiled a unique 1911 pistol engraved with Anzaldua's name, the details of his imprisonment in Vietnam, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" accompanied by the POW-MIA flag on the grip to commemorate POW-MIA Recognition Day.

The gunmaker also released a short documentary entitled "Once A Marine, Always A Marine" — a fitting title given Anzaldua's courageous actions in the line of duty

Marine Maj. Jose Anzaldua's commemorative 1911 pistol

(Sig Sauer)

Born in Texas in 1950, Anzaldua enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam as an intelligence scout assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

On Jan. 23, 1970, he was captured during a foot patrol and spent 1,160 days in captivity in various locations across North Vietnam — including he infamous Hỏa Lò Prison known among American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton" — before he was freed during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.

Anzaldua may have been a prisoner, but he never stopped fighting. After his release, he received two Bronze Stars with combat "V" valor devices and a Prisoner of War Medal for displaying "extraordinary leadership and devotion to his companions" during his time in captivity. From one of his Bronze Star citations:

Using his knowledge of the Vietnamese language, he was diligent, resourceful, and invaluable as a collector of intelligence information for the senior officer interned in the prison camp.

In addition, while performing as interpreter for other United States prisoners making known their needs to their captors, [Anzaldua] regularly, at the grave risk of sever retaliation to himself, delivered and received messages for the senior officer.

On one occasion, when detected, he refused to implicate any of his fellow prisoners, even though severe punitive action was expected.

Anzaldua also received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in December 1969, when he entered the flaming wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that crashed nearr his battalion command post in the country's Quang Nam Province and rescued the crew chief and a Vietnamese civilian "although painfully burned himself," according to his citation.

After a brief stay at Camp Pendleton following his 1973 release, Anzaldua attended Officer Candidate School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, earning his commission in 1974. He retired from the Corps in 1992 after 24 years of service.

Sig Sauer presented the commemorative 1911 pistol to Anzaldua in a private ceremony at the gunmaker's headquarters in Newington, New Hampshire. The pistol's unique features include:

  • 1911 Pistol: the 1911 pistol was carried by U.S. forces throughout the Vietnam War, and by Major Anzaldua throughout his service. The commemorative 1911 POW pistol features a high-polish DLC finish on both the frame and slide, and is chambered in.45 AUTO with an SAO trigger. All pistol engravings are done in 24k gold;
  • Right Slide Engraving: the Prisoner of War ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and "Major Jose Anzaldua" engravings;
  • Top Slide Engraving: engraved oak leaf insignia representing the Major's rank at the time of retirement and a pair of dog tags inscribed with the date, latitude and longitude of the location where Major Anzaldua was taken as a prisoner, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" taken from the POW-MIA flag;
  • Left Side Engraving: the Vietnam War service ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor engraving;
  • Pistol Grips: anodized aluminum grips with POW-MIA flag.

The top leaders of a Japan-based Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet squadron were fired after an investigation into a deadly mid-air collision last December found that poor training and an "unprofessional command climate" contributed to the crash that left six Marines dead, officials announced on Monday.

Five Marines aboard a KC-130J Super Hercules and one Marine onboard an F/A-18D Hornet were killed in the Dec. 6, 2018 collision that took place about 200 miles off the Japanese coast. Another Marine aviator who was in the Hornet survived.

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A former Army soldier was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday for stealing weapons from Fort Bliss, along with other charges.

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(U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Airman 1st Class Corey Hook)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Department of Veterans Affairs released an alarming report Friday showing that at least 60,000 veterans died by suicide between 2008 and 2017, with little sign that the crisis is abating despite suicide prevention being the VA's top priority.

Although the total population of veterans declined by 18% during that span of years, more than 6,000 veterans died by suicide annually, according to the VA's 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report.

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