This Retro Army Training Video For Vietnam-Era Door Gunners Is Scarily Adorable

Humor

If there’s one combat billet that gets crapped all over by Hollywood, it’s the modern helicopter door gunner.


Armed with a muscular M60 7.62mm machine gun and perched high above the kill zone, the door gunner doles out and destruction as though it were a casual neighborhood drive-by. Which is why all those “Hey man, whoa, that’s enough!” scenes in war movies from Full Metal Jacket to X-Men Origins: Wolverine (lol) usually involve an overzealous aircrew corporal mowing down scads of innocents below. If the Bell UH-1 Huey was the pale horse of Revelations, then the M60-toting door gunner was the death that follows.

How did the military ward off that bad stereotype? With another bad stereotype! Door-gunning is more like fighting off bandits on the stagecoaches of old, according to this jarringly upbeat 1966 Army training film, unearthed by Guns.com, on “shotgunners,” the “tough, skilled Soldiers trained to protect the sky-coaches flying over South Vietnam."

As a little four-minute morsel of history, this training video is positively adorable. We get some nice shots of clean-cut young soldiers at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii — likely from the 25th “Tropic Lightning” Infantry Division — just a few years after the Department of Defense began arming helicopters with machine guns like the M1919A4 Browning. (The 25th shoulda been called “Tropic Thunder,” but whatever, fuck you.)

Of course, the coming years would bring all-new murdergear to Army helos, from rocket pods to the ubiquitous M60, shown rolling deep in the clip above. The Army training video offers a nice little vision of the modern door gunner as an earnest protector (“Gee whiz, gotta keep my battle buddies safe!”), while the reality may be a little more “Get some get some GET SOME!”

You know what they say about hindsight: It’s the only weapons system the Pentagon will never invest in. 

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On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.

Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.

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(U.S. Army/Pvt. Stephen Peters)

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After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.

Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.

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(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa)

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

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The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.

They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.

It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.

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(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."

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