Gallery: 23 photos of soldiers looking completely badass

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Best Warrior

“A Soldier competing in the “Best Warrior” competition participates in a night-fire exercise at Fort Lee, Va., Oct. 2. Twenty-four of the Army’s finest warriors representing 12 commands from across the Army gathered at Fort Lee, Va., from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, 2008, to compete in the competition which named the Army’s soldier and noncommissioned officer of the year.”

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Field Artillery

“Field artillerymen of Battery A, 2-218th Field Artillery, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, fire a 105mm shell from a Howitzer at Yakima Training Grounds, Wash., during the units annual training Aug. 9. Photo by Sgt. Chad Layton of Battery A, 2-218th Field Artillery, Oregon Army National Guard”

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Working at Night

“A transport worker walks ahead of a heavy generator trailer as it crosses a bridge, Aug. 22, 2008. U.S. Soldiers of Charlie Troop, 3-89th Cavalry Regiment, 5th Squadron, 25th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (not shown) provided security for four heavy power generators as part of Operation Silver Mammoth II. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brian D. Lehnhardt/Released)”

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Canal Fire

“U.S. Army Sgt. William Reese watches flames rise into the night sky after setting canal vegetation ablaze in Tahwilla, Iraq, July 30, 2008. Extremists have been using the canal’s thick vegetation to plant bombs under the cover of darkness. The soldiers are assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment.U.S. Army photo by Spc. David J. Marshall”

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Loading the Globemaster

“1st Sgt. Jon A. Martin, Company D, 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (Assault), stands atop a UH-60 Black Hawk before it’s pulled into the belly of an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III. The Black Hawk was the very last of the 3-158 aircraft to be loaded before the unit’s redeployment to Germany.”

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Jumping Dutch

“COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Paratroopers assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conduct airborne operations from a Colorado Army National Guard CH-47D Chinook assigned to 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, into the snow-covered terrain of Fort Carson, Colo., Dec. 10, 2008. The airborne operation conducted under the command of Dutch Special Forces with the assistances of a 10th SFG (A) jumpmaster, helped familiarize the American paratroopers with Dutch commands. Operations like this help sustain and foster a good working relationship with the Dutch, said a 10th SFG (A) operations officer. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Liesl Marelli, Colorado National Guard)”

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Thriller

“Cpl. Amber Jones (right) of Fort Bragg, N.C., portrays Michael Jackson, sneaking up on Pfc. Casey Long of the Tennessee Army National Guard during the 2008 U.S. Army Soldier Show’s salute to the 25th anniversary of Jackson’s Thriller album and video.”

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Jump Door

“U.S. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division conduct pre-jump mock door training during a joint forcible entry exercise on Pope Air Force Base, N.C., Oct. 21, 2008. JFEX provides U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division with training on real-world contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. William Greer/Released)”

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Flamethrower

“Sgt. Joshua Robbins, native of Dickson, Tenn., serving with the 66th Engineers Company, “Sappers,” 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, “Warrior,” 25th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, torches an area with a flame thrower in an effort to deny terrorists concealment, and give coalition forces at Joint Security Station Mushada East a clear line of sight along a road, which lies between Mushada and Tarmiyah in the Tarmiyah Qada.”

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Weight Training

“A Soldier uses a tank as an anchor to exercise with a TRX Suspension Trainer Force Training Kit. Photo by Courtesy photo”

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Starry Night

“U.S. Army Spc. Stephen Highberger, left, and Pvt. Charles Joiner from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army Europe, sit in a patrol base on an overnight mission near Forward Operation Base Lane, Zabul Province, Afghanistan, March 13, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini/Released)”

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Scrap Yard

“Sgt. Robert Solesbee, a native of Corona, Calif., assigned to 710th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 3rd Ordnance Battalion, 71st Ordnance Group, glances around at his surroundings, looking for potentially dangerous ordnance among the scrap metal at the Sheik Khalid scrap yard March 18. Photo by Spc. Laura Johnson”

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Palm Grove

“U.S Soldiers detonate firebombs in an Iraqi palm grove to destroy hidden booby traps, explosives and weapons, Dec. 22, 2008. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Walter Pels, Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq.”

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Another Globemaster

“The sun sets behind a C-17 Globemaster III as Soldiers wait in line to board the aircraft taking them back to the United States Nov. 17 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. C-17s can carry payloads up to 169,000 pounds and can land on small airfields. The C-17 is deployed from the 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson)”

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Lighterage

“CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (July 17, 2008)- A Bulldozer pushes Army Lighterage back out to sea to make another practice run during Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore (JLOTS) 2008. JLOTS 2008 will establish command and control of Army and Navy units, construct a Life Support Area (LSA), conduct force protection operations, execute an in-stream offload of shipping from a sea echelon area, employ OPDS, retrograde and safely redeploy allocated forces. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian P. Caracci.”

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Fallen Angel

“A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter provides aerial security for Soldiers in Company F, 3rd Helicopter Assault Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, as they move wounded Soldiers during a downed aircraft training exercise Jan. 15 on Fort Hood, Texas.”

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Flying Tractor

“National Guardsmen help guide a rancher as he loads bundles of hay aboard a CH-47 Chinook helicopter to deliver to stranded livestock who have been trapped by the flooded salt-waters without food or fresh water since Hurricane Ike struck the Southwest coast of Louisiana.”

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Flying Boat

“U.S. Navy Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) on board a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) observe an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter assigned to the 159th Aviation Regiment as it lifts another RHIB during a maritime external air transportation system (MEATS) training exercise in the Virginia Capes near Fort Eustis, Va., July 16, 2008 MEATS trains members of SWCC on extending their operational reach by attaching special operations crafts to helicopters for transport to remote locations for further training. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robyn Gerstenslager)”

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Flying Pinto

“U.S. Air Force explosive ordnance disposalmen from the 447th Air Expeditionary Group detonate explosives attached to the wings of a C-130 Hercules aircraft at Sather Air Base in Iraq July 7, 2008. The aircraft was disabled after it made an emergency landing last month, and the Airmen are using a series of controlled detonations to divide the aircraft into smaller pieces so it can be moved. DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Allen, U.S. Air Force.”

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Night Jump

“Paratroopers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, jump into the frigid night sky during the brigade-wide Joint Force Entry Exercise on Jan. 29. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Frank Smith, 982nd Combat Camera)”

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General Lee

“General Lee lies on its side aftrer surviving a buried IED blast in 2007. The Stryker was recovered and protected its Soldiers on more missions until another bomb finally put it out of action. Photo by courtesy of C-52 of 3/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team”

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Engaging Local Puppies

“U.S. Army Spc. David Cartwright from Martinsburg, W. Va., of the 1st Platoon, 230th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, improves community relations by engaging with local Iraqi puppies at the Iraqi Police District Headquarters in Mahawil, Iraq, on Dec. 21.”

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Joint Patrol

“Airmen and Soldiers prepare for Operation Lewis and Clark Sept. 11 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Operation Lewis and Clark was a joint patrol in which Air Force security forces Airmen were introduced to Balad’s outer perimeter, an area in which they will assume responsibility for from 5th Battalion 82nd Field Artillery Soldiers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon/Image has been cleared for public release)”

Previously: Gallery: The Gear of War

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53 Responses to Gallery: 23 photos of soldiers looking completely badass

  1. dculberson says:

    I never made any of the claims you refute, and am staunchly anti-torture, believing the “ticking time-bomb scenario” to be a fallacy. But I do believe that defending oneself doesn’t make you a “bad guy,” and that guilt doesn’t have to come from doing wrong. I occasionally feel guilt about allowing my father in law to be disconnected from the ventilator, but I also feel that it was right.

    You’re applying an absolute value judgment on an act that isn’t able to be judged that way. Regardless, that has nothing to do with what I was taking issue with, and is another sidestep. I’m not sure what can be gained by pushing further, though.

  2. XanderBennett says:

    Happy Imperial Propaganda Day, everyone! Enjoy your imperial propaganda!

  3. Pvt Knox says:

    I am apparently not the only one here that acknowledges Zuzu’s rantings not only as false, but ignorant as well. Ustabeasoldier is absolutely right, no one joins to kill; we join to create a safer nation. You may not agree with some of the actions our country may take. But the men and women of the military are, as a matter of fact, the “good” guys. There are only a handful of us that actually join to kill or feel “hardcore”. But they are quickly identified and discharged or end up getting themselves killed in action. We are not thugs. And only someone of a smaller mind could even possibly think that. The only “brainwashing” that takes place would be our training, and that is to give us the upper hand on any “hostiles” they may attack. I wouldn’t say we even have a lesser freedom than the civs, we’re just slighlty more restricted to keep us focused, that we don’t get our battle-buddies killed. You have to put yourself in the situation to fully appreciate what we do and what we go through to keep you safe. We still get to go out and party, smoke cigarettes, (which apparently they are pushing to ban smoking on bases and while in uniform)and have families. The Army is very family friendly. So think a little more on your response to us next time.

    Pvt Knox

  4. O_M says:

    …I think it’s pretty clear, kids. Zuzu is just a troll, hiding behind his modem, laughing as he jerks our chains.

  5. Dorie says:

    These are incredible photos. Do you have other photo galleries archived? Dorie

  6. dculberson says:

    Dorie, I believe these pictures were all taken by US government employees and as such are public domain.

  7. Sea Daddy says:

    Zuzu has never served a day in his life. He feels himself “above that”. He is most likely a rich kid from a privileged family that had everything handed to him, or he would throw a tantrum until he got his way. He obviously can’t understand the concept of standing up for your convictions to the degree that these men and women do. He chooses to belittle them by equating them with street gangs, yet he would be glad to see one of these troops if he found himself in say, Compton, in the open and vulnerable. On the other hand, he might be one of the type that volunteers to pick up the soap in a jail shower. Just sayin……….

  8. zuzu says:

    @ Matty0713

    as having the strongest military in the world protects us from challenges to our position in the world’s economy that ensures the way of life most Americans enjoy- everything from cheap(ish) gas to the right to rant on the internet about the “illegal and immoral” activities of my government and it’s military.

    So we use the threat of violence to protect us from fair dealing with the global economy? That’s called imperialism!

    (Not to mention the absurdity of a soldier proud that his life in the military amounts to a subsidy for artificially cheap oil.)

    Echoes of the “corruption speech” in Syriana:

    Some trust fund prosecutor, got off-message at Yale thinks he’s gonna run this up the flagpole? Make a name for himself? Maybe get elected some two-bit congressman from nowhere, with the result that Russia or China can suddenly start having, at our expense, all the advantages we enjoy here? No, I tell you. No, sir! Corruption charges! Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That’s Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win.

  9. Doc Taylor says:

    One of my buddies sent this to me because right now I’m a few weeks out from Kuwait and on to Iraq.
    He had no idea that Picture #2 is my deploying unit: A BTRY, 2-218 FA, 41st IBCT.

  10. akshay hada says:

    hay i am from india and realy liked the pic’s they hav a profectional touch, just wnted to know are all the comments made on this made by americans i think they have 0 respect for the forces who are fighting there and the issue of substance abuse man these are boys of 18 to 30 whohve seen more action than u will see in 7 life times, rehab is the need of the hour.And some wise guy said self defence only pls understand except US there is no watch dog in the world, people are ither for or againt US and extreamist muslim pop need a watchdog ,as u r the school bully u get the abuse or get the candy, bless US forces.

  11. Hi folks,
    I am looking for Staff Sgt. Brian D Lenhardt. That man was stationed with me at NATO HQ SHAPE Belgium Jun 91 – Jul 92. We both worked at SECCOS / Media Section. You left SHAPE after he participated the seargent course in Germany. Brian, your rank was Specialist. I was member of the German Army (Bundeswehr) rank Sgt. I graduated to Staff Sgt. at the end of 91. Brian I am glad to find you. Hope I’ll read you soon. You can check my webside for contact address http://www.hermann-it.eu or mail address hermann@hermannclan.de.
    best wishes
    Markus

  12. Daniel says:

    Zuzu, I think your whole arguement has just been invalidated by the fact that you chose to quote a movie… and a mediocre movie at that.

  13. Jacksonbaker323 says:

    I think we can all agree that puppies are adorable.

  14. Killslowly says:

    Regardless of anarchists postings and apologist answers, thank you for remembering the U.S. Servicemember by posting these beautiful photographs.

    It must be nice to live in a world where you can pontificate from a keyboard and spout “ideology” and higher than thou paraphrasing on the interwebs, invented by the war machine you so despise.

    Cue Crass’ “Fight War Not Wars” in the background, fade away…

  15. dculberson says:

    There’s no room for discussion when you paint the whole of an enormous, diverse group as bloodthirsty animals. I think it’s enough to say that I think you’re wrong and being very, very rude.

    So which of the limited number of actions you listed were the soldiers involved in tsunami relief performing? What about the men that liberated Dachau – were they all thugs? Was it wrong of them to do that? You think they should have left well enough alone?

    I know I will not change your mind; I’ve never seen you waiver from a position that you strongly hold. You knew you would be offending people when you made your posts. And it’s disappointing – usually I think your positions are at least well reasoned and this one isn’t.

  16. dculberson says:

    Zuzu, setting aside questions of whether or not you’re “right,” you can be right and still communicate the information in the wrong way. “You’re not wrong Walter. You’re just an asshole.

    Do we need a permanent standing army for relief efforts?

    Large scale relief efforts and justifiable wars do need enormous infrastructure, organization, and logistics, none of which can be set up after the need for them arises. “Sorry about your city, give us 3-6 years to get up to speed and we’ll be right over.”

    It took the same thuggery to create the Dachau internment camps in the first place.

    So, since it took thuggery to create it, we shouldn’t fight it? Shrug, roll our eyes, and leave Dachau operating? My point is that armies and soldiers perform plenty of good and positive actions. You’re saying that their only purpose is murder. That is simply not true, regardless of how your phrase it, and your phrasing just compounds your error.

    The Soviets liberated Auschwitz; was the Red Army the good guys or the bad guys?

    Perhaps this is the root of the issue here. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the world is a little bit more complicated than “good guy or bad guy.”

  17. Dorie says:

    Thanks DCULBERSON! I wondered about that but wasn’t sure. It’s about time we honor and thank these men and women ~ and all the ones who proceeded them.

  18. Brandon says:

    Yeah, I think this whole ‘condemn the war, not the warrior’ meme is just a way to put a halt to any criticism of either entity.

    What would it really mean to condemn the war? It would mean that the war was wrong, and presumably that entails that any actions taken in waging that war are wrong. From the initial declaration of war, to every command decision, to every personal decision to pull every trigger. It doesn’t make sense to say that it was wrong to wage the war, but right to pull every trigger that killed every foreign victim. If everything the soldiers did was right, the overall war would be too!

    I imagine the Nazis said something like ‘condemn the war, not the warrior’ – it’s nothing more than a way of excusing atrocities. People who repeat this phrase every time the troops are criticized are helping to pound in the coffin nails of the civilians who are murdered in these conflicts.

    I get that some soldiers are desperately poor when they enlist, but they would probably wind up killing fewer people and making more money if they joined the mob instead. I get that it’s very noble and brave to sign up to defend your countrymen against foreign aggression, and I applaud those guys (in the National Guard, for example). And I applaud the guys who make sure that they are only doing hurricane or tsunami relief, etc, but in my book if you sign up to a role where you’ll be a cog in the machine of murdering civilians, you don’t get to pass the buck.

  19. Matty0713 says:

    As a member of the Armed Forces of our Great Nation (third generation, in my family). I would like to thank ZUZU for exercising his right to free speech with such vigor. I would also like to remind him that whether or not he agrees with the actions of our military, every single one of us would gladly deploy at a moment’s notice anywhere in the world and engage any enemy to defend his right to lambast us in any public forum. Freedom must sometimes be defended at great cost, and there must always be men and women willing to serve or we as a nation can not survive.

  20. bp says:

    @#6 ILLRYON

    I immediately stopped paying attention to your comment shortly after the second sentence started; I hope I didn’t miss anything important. Or maybe you were just speaking in absolutes as a more efficient way to communicate, with the underlying assumption that people are smart enough to realize that there are almost always (no, don’t stop paying attention now! I used a qualifier!) exceptions.

  21. TJ S says:

    Keep up the galleries, please. Very enjoyable.

  22. O_M says:

    …Man, these are moving photos to say the least. They reiterate the lesson that so many missed about war: it’s your right to agree and/or disagree about the war itself, but *never* should you ever do or say anything against the troops themselves on the line. They’ve earned the respect, kids.

  23. Angel says:

    I just think that some people need to remember that those “hired killers” are the reason their able to get on that dinky little laptop of theirs and talk shit. These soldiers have lost their lives so that we could have the few freedoms the government has left us.

  24. zuzu says:

    Perhaps this is the root of the issue here. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the world is a little bit more complicated than “good guy or bad guy.”

    No, that was my point actually. It’s not that “our” killers are the “good guys” but “their” killers are the “bad guys”. All killers are “bad guys”. (Even in self-defense, it’s a great psychological burden to bear for the rest of your life.)

    So, since it took thuggery to create it, we shouldn’t fight it?

    Because the problem originates with a false belief that the ends justify the means — that thuggery is acceptable for “justifiable wars” as you say.

    “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”

    Shrug, roll our eyes, and leave Dachau operating?

    A better question is how Dachau was created to begin with.

    My point is that armies and soldiers perform plenty of good and positive actions. You’re saying that their only purpose is murder. That is simply not true, regardless of how your phrase it, and your phrasing just compounds your error.

    Shooting German Army soldiers to liberate Dachau just happens to be the “good kind” of murder, eh?

    (And it’s not like the USA invaded Germany because of the immorality of Nazi death camps. The US Military didn’t even know that was going on until they got there. The belief that World War 2 was a morally righteous war is historical whitewashing.)

    c.f. Niall Ferguson’s The War of the World

  25. Illryion says:

    @11 BP –
    O_M Seems to think that –

    it’s your right to agree and/or disagree about the war itself, but *never* should you ever do or say anything against the troops themselves on the line.

    That doesn’t leave a lot of room for exceptions. It implies that it’s within my rights to disagree with the war, but that I’m crossing some kind of imaginary boundary when I don’t think the people fighting this war are knights in shining armor come riding in with nothing but good intentions.

    @25
    the “We’ll happily defend your right to speak your opinion, even if we disagree” propaganda only holds water when our government is somehow doing something to protect our rights, rather than fighting illegal, unjust and immoral wars on false pretenses, while quietly taking more and more of the rights of it’s own citizens away, again under false pretense.

  26. zuzu says:

    but *never* should you ever do or say anything against the troops themselves on the line. They’ve earned the respect, kids.

    Fuck that shit. Soldiers are just glorified gangbangers (in one of the biggest gangs around). They murder people as their profession.

    Want to “support the troops”? Get them to change jobs to something actually productive for society. Stop asking them to fight wars of imperialism abroad. Close down all military bases on foreign soil (e.g. Germany, Korea, Japan, Cuba, Iraq). Let’s keep it to a self-defense force only.

    Here’s how I feel about gays in the military: Anyone dumb enough to want to be in the military should be allowed in. End of fucking story. That should be the only requirement. I don’t care how many push-ups you can do; put on a helmet, go wait in that foxhole. We’ll tell you when we need you to kill somebody. I’ve been watching all these Congressional hearings and all these military guys and all the pundits going, ‘The esprit de corps will be affected, and we are such a moral …’ Excuse me, but aren’t you all a bunch of fucking hired killers? Shut up! You are thugs, and when we need you to go blow the fuck out of a nation of little brown people, we’ll let you know.

    Bill Hicks

    http://www.piratesandemperors.com/

  27. Agies says:

    #9 You clearly have no idea what Memorial day is about.

  28. bobby.mack says:

    fuck you you pieces of shit i bet you fucks would love to be ass raped by terriost huh you fucking phagets i bet you punk bitch ass wouldnt say that shit to d co 1-153 39th infantry brigade you selfish fucks i hope you die in a slow agganizing way you fucking pieces of shit my dad was in the army my grandpa an my great grandpa all of my family served proudly to defend phagets like you i would to catch one of you fucks when i am off duty youre bitch ass would never be found again you trackin you pussy mother fuckers

  29. dculberson says:

    All killers are “bad guys”.

    That makes no sense. You yourself advocated the use of force in self defense in this very thread. So in defending yourself, you become a bad person?

    Let me try to summarize it: “Self defense is right, but in defending yourself, you become wrong.” I’m not sure I can figure out how to respond to such a confusing line of thought.

    You keep sidestepping things to make your position more defensible. Liberating Dachau would be, to me, a net positive. Understanding how it happens, and preventing the next one, is even better, but once it has happened what do you do? Study it while allowing the camp to continue operation?

    You’re the one with the black and white stance here. I’m saying there’s a good bit more complexity to the issue than you’re willing to recognize.

  30. Maddog5150 says:

    You have to love the E-thugs here.
    This is for you e-thugs who believe we should roll over and take it and whine and cry about how horrible this country is. Unlike many third world countries out there, the citizens of this nation have the option to leave any time they want. If you look into North Korea, even the beaches are fenced off to prevent its own people from making a long shot swim to freedom.
    Oh and Zuzu, from a soldier to you. Your welcome.

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself”
    - John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

  31. Dorie says:

    Does anyone know how I might get permission to use some of these photos for an honorable, compelling video? Thanks! Dorie

  32. ExSoldier says:

    Number one I would like to say this is a fantastic gallery. Secondly to all of you that are posting hate on soldiers, it makes me want to cry and scream in your face. You obviously have no idea what it’s like to be a soldier. No one asks to be taken away from their families for a few months, a year, or even years in todays military. Soldiers missing the births of their children, and not because they want to, but because they have a duty to this United States of America. What do you think? The soldiers sat around one day and decided to invade, umm…. let’s say… Iraq, come on. You all need to stop the hate you dip sticks. Join the military and then say something, do something with your life and then come back and say that stupid crap, it wouldn’t even cross your mind.

  33. Bryan Price says:

    It’s all well and good until somebody gets hurt:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bytehead/sets/72157601003332163/

    Warning, real blood.

    The good news is that everybody survived. Some parts when missing (the gunner lost her leg, the team leader lost some muscle out of his back, the driver got his bell rung a bit)

  34. ustabeasoldier says:

    Zuzu,

    I wanted you to know I signed up just so I could make a comment to you. I won’t quote movies or literature, it is not my style. I have no interest in juvenile pissing contests, and won’t be drawn into one. I just give you food for thought.. To the point: By your definition, I’m a “killer”. Accurate enough on the surface. But don’t forget that I also could just as easily been the one killed. You call us thugs, but the difference between the thousands of servicemembers out there, and the folks like you who sit around coffee shops or on their computers proselytizing about “good and evil”, is that we have the conviction and fortitude to put EVERYTHING we are and hold dear, on the line for principles that we feel are larger than us as individuals. This includes compromising our natural moral aversion to taking life. Have you EVER cared about anything enough to risk your life for it? Most often I find the people who are the most vocal in deriding others from “moral high ground” are simply woofing to cover for their own shortfalls in the testicular department.

    I have been where you are. You are engaged in the mental gymnastics of trying to equate all human life as equal (and by extension the taking of it as evil) as if people exist in a moral vacuum. They do not. To understand good and evil, you need to get out of your bubble and go stare real evil in the face so you will know it when you see it.

    I didn’t join the military to kill people. Almost nobody does, save a small number of teenage wannabe Rambos, and they grow out of it pretty damn quick. Service means just that. You serve. You serve a system you believe in despite its many flaws, giving up many of the freedoms most citizens enjoy. You live and work in conditions that would not be tolerated in the worst prison systems of America. War is part of the job description. You or any of your friends could die at any time, and some do. Sometimes you are required to kill, it’s the nature of the beast. Nobody likes it. It requires that each person do something truly abhorrent in its nature. Only an overiding believe in a larger purpose makes it possible. This is not achieved by brainwashing or by recruiting persons of low cognitive ability. It comes from strength of conviction of what REAL good and evil are. I know, and all of my brothers out there know. It is not a cerebral exercise for us. We know it at a gut level. I’m sorry that you are having such a hard time with it. And no, self-defense isn’t evil unless you think dying at someone else’s whim is “good”.

    I hope you figure it out one day.

    Good Luck.

  35. zuzu says:

    You clearly have no idea what Memorial day is about.

    Unification Day after the conclusion of the War Between the States.

    Though as long as we’re transmogrifying it into remembering the death toll of all war, I’d like if we also remember all of those casualties who weren’t fatalities: those who’ve lost limbs, had their flesh severely burned, who’ve been demolished psychologically, and so on.

    And not just soldiers, but also the civilians whose homes, farms, factories, and stores were turned into war zones.

    And perhaps on the following day we can contemplate the crushing financial burden war places on the rest of us who are compelled to pay taxes or who have saved U.S. Dollars (as inflation is a stealth tax). We can consider the opportunity costs of what’s been sacrificed not only in human terms (life and limb), but those who’ve had the food taken from their mouthes, the shirts from their backs, and the roofs from over their heads, and the medicine for the sick, because those resources were diverted to causing death and destruction, and the fallout there from.

  36. bp says:

    @ ILLRYION

    I get what you are saying; I was just having a little fun with semantics. Reading it again, I can see how it might have come off a little mean spirited, but I’m actually right there with you on the rejection of absolutes, and never intended to belittle your point or counter your argument. But dude, please, leave my mom out of this.

  37. matty0713 says:

    My friend was one of the crewmembers aboard that C-130 that crash landed in Iraq. He has been told that he may not be able to fly anymore because of an issue with his vision. All he wants to do is get back to flying, the thing he loves to do more than anything else. Mostly, we move soldiers around in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we also move food, medical supplies, farming equipment, and non-governmental agency personnel to impoverished or disaster-affected regions in Africa, South America and southwest Asia. I’ve never even so much as drawn my weapon (in defense or anger) and most of the members of todays military have more in common with my experience than the pictures you’ll see in the papers of soldiers on foot patrol. Most of us, in the Air Force and the Navy specifically are just cogs in the wheel of the largest and most far-reaching logistics organization in the world. We move what must be moved the world over. I personally am proud to serve no matter what my government directs me to do, or where it decides I should be sent. Without addressing any specific threat, I personally feel that my service helps to ensure our freedoms in a general sense, as having the strongest military in the world protects us from challenges to our position in the world’s economy that ensures the way of life most Americans enjoy- everything from cheap(ish) gas to the right to rant on the internet about the “illegal and immoral” activities of my government and it’s military.

  38. O_M says:

    …Zuzu, it wouldn’t surprise me one iota if your car has a “Luka Deserved It” bumper sticker on it.
    Again, condemn the war, not the warrior. That’s the big mistake you’re making in this.

  39. RedShirt77 says:

    Great gallery. We need heros, would be nice if we only used them when we need them.

    Should have called that personnel carrier the “General Grant”, it might have turned out better.

  40. dculberson says:

    Zuzu, noun, \zəzə\, circa 1998*: Strong opinions, almost always thoroughly thought through and exhaustively researched, occasionally a total prick.

    *I completely picked a date at random.

    More seriously, while I always respect the strength of your convictions, and the depth to which you support them, in this instance I think you’ve both overstated your case and been a complete ass about it.

  41. zuzu says:

    @ Matty0713

    I would also like to remind him that whether or not he agrees with the actions of our military, every single one of us would gladly deploy at a moment’s notice anywhere in the world and engage any enemy to defend his right to lambast us in any public forum. Freedom must sometimes be defended at great cost, and there must always be men and women willing to serve or we as a nation can not survive.

    Do you really think Free Speech, Freedom of Travel, and Right to Privacy have been well defended in this past decade in the United States? Have they not been eroded from within?

    How would you killing other people on my behalf defend my freedom? Freedom is exercised. The only person who can defend my freedom is me by using it.

    Repealing the USAPATRIOT Act would do more to restore my Freedom.

    @ DCluberson

    There’s no room for discussion when you paint the whole of an enormous, diverse group as bloodthirsty animals.

    I’ve never described soldiers as “bloodthirsty animals”. You’re invoking a kind of cognitive dissonance. Killing is a very human thing to do. It’s not as if the only way for humans to become killers is to “devolve into animals”.

    The important consideration is how civilized and sophisticated will each of us be in determining our own individual morality for appropriate circumstances for killing — and the resolve to hold to that personal morality. Cowardice can be both a failure to shoot a home invader before he rapes your wife, and it can be a failure to refuse to shoot someone despite being given a direct order or because you were induced into a gang initiation.

    So which of the limited number of actions you listed were the soldiers involved in tsunami relief performing?

    Do we need a permanent standing army for relief efforts? Can’t that be done by some other group? Relief efforts are not the purpose of maintaining a standing army, it was a convenient byproduct of sunk costs.

    What about the men that liberated Dachau – were they all thugs?

    It took the same thuggery to create the Dachau internment camps in the first place.

    (After all, the leadership principle originates from the military chain of command.)

    The Soviets liberated Auschwitz; was the Red Army the good guys or the bad guys?

    You knew you would be offending people when you made your posts. And it’s disappointing – usually I think your positions are at least well reasoned and this one isn’t.

    Offending people is irrelevant; reality is often offensive. However, well-reasoning is very important for discerning reality from fantasy, so again, I welcome further elaboration on how exactly you consider my argument unreasonable.

    And some wise guy said self defence only pls understand except US there is no watch dog in the world, people are ither for or againt US and extreamist muslim pop need a watchdog ,as u r the school bully u get the abuse or get the candy, bless US forces.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Now you just have an even bigger bully as the “watchdog”. The problem is bullying regardless of who is doing it.

  42. O_M says:

    …Amazing. If *I* had posted a pile of crap like that, I’d have been banned again.

    Oh, and I knew Bill Hicks. He wasn’t *that* funny.

  43. Dorie says:

    Hi, These photos are amazing. Is it possible to get permission to use them in a music video we’re making for a museum we’re starting. The museum will honor individual soldiers ~ living, injured or deceased. If any one knows who i can contact, please let me know. Thanks! Honor to you, and thank-you!

    Dorie

  44. Dorie says:

    I think I mistyped my email address. Thanks! Dorie

  45. zuzu says:

    DCluberson, I’d be better able to respond if you state your disagreement specifically with regard to my “being a complete ass about it”.

    O_M, feel free to elaborate on how an army differs from a street gang in any way other than scale. (Again, Pirates and Emperors) Although they are sanctified by the State and wrapped up in formalized ceremony, this does nothing to change the factual reality that they are hitmen (and hitwomen). They are hired to carry out the murder of “undesireables” as defined by their handlers. Like a gang, they might also provide “protection services”, defend their “turf” from rival gangs, and they identify each other through gang signs (i.e. flags, rank insignia, etc.)

    (Likewise, the argument could be made that “organized crime” are merely rival governments (ala micronations) providing goods and services proscribed by the dominant government of the realm. Hence why trafficking in illicit drugs and illegal immigration are services provided by such organizations. They also challenge the monopoly on use of force by providing competition in the exercise of violence.)

    So, to address your claim: “condemn the war, not the warrior. That’s the big mistake you’re making in this.” “Warrior” is just a euphemism for murderer; except instead of going to jail they get a medal, because they murder “foreign” people — devaluing those lives.

    You are responsible for your actions. When you, as a soldier, pull the trigger and kill someone, even under a direct order, it is you who are responsible — not your superiors, not the President as commander-in-chief, only you. And if it weren’t for you, and people like you, there’d be no one to participate in fighting these wars to begin with.

    (Yet, I’m strongly pro-gun rights, for the purpose of self-defense against aggressors and occupational forces. But you can’t claim self-defense when you’re in someone else’s house uninvited and eating their food.)

    p.s. Forgive my ignorance, but I have no idea who the Luka is that you’re referring to. (Which is why hyperlinks are so useful! ^_^ )

  46. l3enny says:

    Amazing that you can appreciate a system whose continued existence depends on the perpetuation of violence. Honestly, I can’t say I respect the troops so much as pity them for joining a group that manages to cause more collateral damage than intentional under the guise of creating a safer tomorrow. It’s refreshing that people can still subdue their empathy enough to ooo and ahh at pretty pictures.

  47. deathofregret says:

    to suffer from the opinion that the sole job within all branches of the u.s. military is to shoot a gun and kill is to be sorely misinformed.

  48. Illryion says:

    but *never* should you ever do or say anything against the troops

    when the words never and always are used, I immediately stop paying attention to what follows them up. There’s always room for disagreement with what our government, troops, police, or for that matter, what your mom is doing.

  49. nehpetsE says:

    Pics have the look of officially sanctioned pravda. Do you get these of recruitment website?

    And the sad truth is that even those who come home alive with their bodies intact, have a highly elevated risk of suicide, substance addiction, violence, and overall inability to function in civilian life.

    For every story of a kid headed down the wrong path who learned to be “A MAN” in the service, there are five stories of lingering tragedy and dysfunction.

    Being in situations of ambiguous morality, where you are forced to kill strangers, and watch your friends die, over and over, breaks people’s souls into little tiny pieces.

    It has always been this way.
    It can always be guaranteed that a percentage of the soldiers who come home will be a liability to their country and families for the remainder of their lives.

    But it is a small price to pay for keeping the top .01 percent of the population filthy rich.

  50. zuzu says:

    to suffer from the opinion that the sole job within all branches of the u.s. military is to shoot a gun and kill is to be sorely misinformed.

    Sure, some of them drop bombs on people. Some of them fire rockets and missiles. Some of them use flamethrowers and napalm. Some of them fire cannons and mortar shells.

    Some of them only drive the getaway vehicle, or help deliver the weapons to the people who’ll be using them, or provide the “lookout”.

    But the purpose of any military is clear: murder, generally mass-murder (referred to euphemistically as “war”).

    Just because one killer identifies as a “Blood” and another as a “Marine” cannot confer any excuse from responsibility for their individual behavior.

    A rose by any other name…

  51. zuzu says:

    That makes no sense. You yourself advocated the use of force in self defense in this very thread. So in defending yourself, you become a bad person?

    Yes, actually.

    Consider the example of people trying to defend torture (i.e. waterboarding). They frequently cite the “ticking time-bomb scenario”, that it’s so important that they have to torture for a “net positive” as you say. Yet, they want immunity from the legal repercussions of the war crime of carrying out torture.

    If they really believed that a situation was so grave that they would have to commit torture, they should be willing to accept the full consequences for committing those war crimes — not trying to excuse themselves from those consequences or seeking “forgiveness”.

    Should those who engage in self-defense still be tried for manslaughter? I’d like to think that someone thoughtful enough to limit their exercise of violence to self-defense is “punished” enough by their conscience.

    But they’re not absolved from the “guilt” of that murder, no matter how justified. They made a choice of doing the “lesser evil”, but it’s still evil.

    Where I’m baffled by people throwing around words like “respect” and “hero” for soldiers is that they’re doing evil (i.e. killing people). You might even argue that it’s a “necessary evil” (although I’m unconvinced by this so long as they’re on foreign soil), but it’s still evil.

    None of us are “pure good” or “pure evil”. Though, we’re frequently much worse than we’d ever like to admit. People who talk a great deal about what a “good person” they are, are likely much worse than average.

    But let’s not dress up murder as some noble “defending our freedom” rigamarole. Terrorists don’t take our Freedoms; we give our Freedom away to politicians seeking power and prominence under the pretense of “keeping us safe”.

    If you want to talk about “respect” and “heroes”, how about looking to the scientists, the mathematicians, the industrialists who have improved our knowledge of the universe and improved our lives in the process. Look to the people who create rather than destroy.

  52. Bloodboiler says:

    O_M seriously?

    Nobody, absolutely *nobody* deserves automatic respect for being a soldier. Especially not paid volunteer soldiers of an occupation force.

    The ‘Flying tractor’ was uplifting though. The rest was just destruction, pompousness and hardware for killing.

  53. matt says:

    “The ‘Flying tractor’ was uplifting though. The rest was just destruction, pompousness and hardware for killing.”

    Especially the puppies!

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