The nation's highest award for valor is getting the "Wham," "Bam," and "Kapow" treatment.

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Task & Purpose illustration by Matt Battaglia

During World War I, beyond the wire and away from the confines of the trenches lived the wild men of No Man’s Land. These soldiers — stragglers from seven armies that clashed on the battlefields of Europe — came together as a band of deserters to make a home in the desolate space between their warring countrymen, slipping into abandoned trenches to scavenge for loot and food to stay alive. In the first global war, they became soldiers with no nation.

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Army photo

Ask any soldier about the most essential part of their MRE,  and I guarantee most of them will say either the hot sauce or the instant coffee. And during World War I, the reply would likely be the same minus the hot sauce.

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Photo by Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

One of the most iconic pieces of equipment worn by American service members is the combat helmet. From the flat-brimmed “Brodie” M1917 helmet worn by doughboys in World War I, to the M1 “Steel Pot” that troops wore throughout World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, helmets have come to represent American troops at war. Historically, these helmets have mainly been about protection against bumps, exploding shrapnel, and debris; until recently, helmets were not even rated to stop handgun bullets consistently. But in the past 15 years, helmets have evolved far past simple protection.

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