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If you've ever wondered what two fighter wings worth of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters looks like, you now have your answer.
Personnel from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base in Utah conducted a combat power exercise on Monday with an eye-popping 52 F-35A fighters — an exercise that included an impressive "elephant walk" of the assembled fifth-generation aircraft down a runway.
Marines are putting an "extreme emphasis" on the number of pull-ups leathernecks can do, a recently published internal study found. And that, some fear, could result in other important qualities that are vital to the Corps' mission being overlooked.
Participants in a study on Marine Corps culture were often focused on pull-ups as a best measure of a person's value and worth, researchers found. Marines' ability to lift their own body weight on a pull-up bar was "routinely what Marines referenced when discussing physical standards, a Marine's value, and physical readiness," the report's authors wrote.
One officer interviewed for the study recalled seeing a bunch of cyberwarfare Marines — a specialty the service struggles to retain — leave the Marine Corps because they "ran 26-minute three miles and only did five pull-ups."
"So we told them they were bad Marines," the captain said. "But now they make six figures for Microsoft ... and we don't have any of them for our future cyber fight."
Love it or hate it, all service members have to take part in a time-honored military ritual of group masochism known as "PT."
Since music, as Shakespeare so aptly put it, is the "food of love," we at Task & Purpose are dedicated to asking important people what's on their PT play list. (So far, none has said AC/DC, yet the rock group seems to have become a staple of the dreaded brigade run.)
The topic of this week's opus is physical fitness, and that is laughably ironic considering this reporter could never meet any of the military services' height and weight standards. (Your humble narrator once considered opening a restaurant called "Pvt. Pyle's Forbidden Fruit," which would only sell jelly donuts.)
As you beloved readers likely already know, at least 31 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are too overweight to serve in the military. For those young men and women who are physically fit enough to enlist or get commissioned, the rigors of initial training are only the first hurdle.
Once in the military, service members must regularly pass physical fitness tests, and as the Defense Department prepares to fight big wars again, some of the services have made their physical standards more demanding.
While researching another story, I came across a recent exercise designed to steel NATO for battling Russian subs. The war game was named for a ferret-like creature that subsists on insects and worms.
Nothing like a small mammal to drive terror into an adversary's heart.
How do military leaders come up with these? In the case of the U.S., military commands are assigned blocks of the alphabet, say from AA to AD, from which they can choose two word names. Such as Agile Diver. The rules forbid "commercial trademarks," "anything offensive to good taste," or that are similar in spelling to a code word.
They also set aside words for certain commands. "Cheese," for example, is only to be used by the chief of naval operation's office. Ditto "rabbit."
(Great Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill specifically warned about "frivolous" words, saying no one would want to tell a grieving mother her son died in an operation named "Bunnyhug.")
Here's a totally objective guide to the worst-named military operations and exercises of all time.
While explaining the specifics of the Army’s new Combat Fitness Test recently, Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost turned to a reporter and delivered a subtle challenge to members of the press: “Yes, you can take it if you want.”