A pair of photos posted by U.S. Army WTF! Moments on Instagram show one way the Army can improve retention. No, not beards (though that wouldn’t hurt), but with a Howitzer and a roll of “100 MPH” tape. Simple, right?

The two photos show a pair of 101st Airborne soldiers, a specialist and his battery commander, taped to 155mm M777 Howitzer gun tubes as the oath of enlistment is administered above their fellow soldiers. Normally, when a service member is taped to something like this it’s considered hazing, but in this case, it’s a sign of a motivated soldier and an officer willing to go above and beyond for their troops. 

To outsiders, this might look ridiculous. While that may be true, it’s actually a well-established tradition to do absurd things when a service member reenlists, gets promoted, or even receives an award. Some consider it an informal incentive to keep up the good work, but the truth is most just use it to have some fun and get a cool pic of themselves raising their right hand.

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Disclaimer: If you’re reenlisting just so you can be photographed while taped to a gun tube, you’re probably going to have a few regrets. There are easier ways to get a few likes on Instagram, after all.

While soldiers taped to a Howitzer is one of the best ceremonies we’ve seen in a while, there are plenty of outstanding examples of this tradition we can look back on.

In 2021 a group of soldiers in Kuwait swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States flanked by M-ATVs with a “fireball” detonation providing a fitting background. 

A soldier reenlisted while taped to a Howitzer cannon and that’s awesome

A mass re-enlistment for Soldiers with the Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade and 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. A “fireball” detonation was constructed to make the re-enlistment more memorable. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Elorina Santos, 3DSB Public Affairs).

But not all ceremonies are enjoyable, or even fun — at least for most people. But Marine Scout Snipers are, or were, a different breed as evidenced by this Marine getting promoted in a swamp in Okinawa with his fellow Devil Dogs submerged to their necks in formation. Nobody appears to be having a good time, but at least their ghillie suits are getting seasoned.

A soldier reenlisted while taped to a Howitzer cannon and that’s awesome
Marine Sgt. Jordan James, a Scout Sniper, while being promoted to sergeant. (Twitter).

On the complete opposite end of the misery spectrum is this Marine being promoted to sergeant inside a “Raising Cane’s” restaurant on Camp Pendleton, California. 

A soldier reenlisted while taped to a Howitzer cannon and that’s awesome

Unfortunately, not all ceremonies end well. Some of you may remember the 2018 Tennessee Air National Guard reenlistment ceremony where an airman wore a dinosaur puppet on their right hand. Everybody involved in that incident was fired, and one officer was even demoted. Good intentions, bad execution. 

A soldier reenlisted while taped to a Howitzer cannon and that’s awesome

Whether it’s feeling the searing heat of an explosion or a cannon tube on your back, it’s always nice to see service members get creative as they celebrate milestones in their careers. Just don’t ask the Marine Corps to take you up in a jet.

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