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Top Drone Pilots Battle At Elite Training School

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Top Drone

CORONADO, CA – Two months ago, Senior Airman Rod Wilkins was a flyboy without a war. Due to what he describes as “typical military bureaucracy,” his Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) unit at the time remained stateside without any real mission.

So Wilkins—who goes by the call sign “Ghostbuster”—spent his days flying UAVs around base, harassing Security Forces on patrol by zipping in front of their vehicle windshields and startling them.

“One guy veered off the road and died,” Ghostbuster said with a chuckle. “It was a tragedy.”

In Ghostbuster’s mind, though, the real tragedy was that his skills were being wasted. He had finished at the top of his class in tech school, well ahead of his peers.

“I think I did so well because I got a headstart as a boy flying radio-controlled planes and kites,” Ghostbuster said. “Actually, mostly kites.”

Ghostbuster’s command eventually recognized his talent and sent him to Top Ground Command and Control Station School (GCCSS) in Coronado—the so-called “Top Drone” program that produces the military’s elite drone pilots.

“I knew right away that I was facing some stiff competition,” Ghostbuster said. “As soon as I walked in the building, there were all these pilots who were overweight and soft and pale, and their faces were covered in acne. You don’t get that kind of body without hours and hours in the cockpit [sic], away from the light of the day. These guys were the real deal.”

Ghostbuster was soon paired up with A1C Jeremy Rodriguez, a Pilot Supply Specialist who goes by the call sign “Pidgey,” after the Pokémon creature. (It is common for Drone pilots to take call signs of flying Pokémon.)

Pidgey’s job was to make sure that Ghostbuster stayed well-stocked with snacks and soda during long training missions.

“I feel the need,” the two were known to say in unison, “the need to feed.” Then Pidgey would drive out to Taco Bell and bring back an order of Nachos Bell Grande and a large Pepsi.

If Top Drone had the best of the best drone pilots, then Ghostbuster and Pidgey were the best of the best of the best. They outperformed every other team in the program, except for one: SrA Ted “Ice Tea” Kazinsky and his partner, A1C Frederick “Cheesesteak” Hawkins.

“Ghostbuster thinks he’s such hot shit,” Ice Tea said, “but every time his drone is in the air, it’s unsafe. I don’t like his drone because it’s dangerous.”

“That’s right, Ice Tea, my drone is dangerous,” Ghostbuster replied, before turning back to the YouTube video he was watching on his second screen.

The tension between the two teams came to a head during a volleyball game at the beach last weekend. Spectators reportedly couldn’t keep their eyes off the four men glaring at each other before the match, circling each other like testosterone-filled Brahma bulls.

The spectators left, however, immediately after the men took off their shirts.

Despite his undeniable talent, Ghostbuster’s cocky attitude and risk-taking have made him a target for his superiors’ ire.

“If you screw up just this much,” one instructor was overheard saying, “you’ll be flying a drone full of propaganda leaflets out of the Rio Grande.”

The course is still in progress, but Ghostbuster and Pidgey have already been on a real-world mission. They were assigned to monitor drug smugglers operating in an undisclosed location in the American South.

During the operation, Ghostbuster lost control of his plane. Ice Tea was the first to notice.

“Mayday, mayday,” Ice Tea said. “Ghostbuster is in trouble. He’s in a flat spin heading out to sea.”

Pidgey tried to help his partner out, but he couldn’t reach the ejection handle.

“You’re gonna have to punch us out,” Ghostbuster said to Pidgey, with panic in his voice.

After a tense couple seconds, Ghostbuster sat forward in his chair and reached around the back of his computer screen.

“Okay, never mind,” he said. “Who’s been dicking with the monitor’s V-hold?”

For scaring everyone, Ghostbuster was grounded by his Commander for three weeks.

Upon hearing the news, Ghostbuster went out to the parking lot and drove home, leaving Pidgey to fly the UAV back to base himself.

Pidgey stuffed a handful of Cool Ranch Doritos into his mouth and wiped off the orange film on his fingers onto his cubicle wall. Then he pressed a button for autopilot and leaned back in his chair.

“Ghostbuster taught me everything I know,” Pidgey said. “He can be my wingman anytime.”

“Wait, I didn’t mean it like that,” Pidgey quickly added.

Duffel Blog reporters Jerry, Dark Laughter, G-Had, John “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” Mittle, and Mike enthusiastically contributed to this article.

Air Force

Parents bribe service academies to not accept their children’s applications

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WEST POINT — As a string of high-profile college bribery scandals come to light, the FBI has also uncovered that affluent parents are covertly paying service academy admissions to reject applications coming from their children, sources confirmed today.

“I wouldn’t want my child to suffer through a service academy either,” says chief investigator Gary Burkmire. “But there’s a right way and a wrong way for your kids to get ahead in life, and helping them avoid a subpar education through lies and crime is not the way to do it.”

Parents with children in service academies are outraged.

“So I, a poor single mother, have to watch my son go to West Point while rich parents have the privilege of seeing their kids amount to something in life?” asks Sheila Jones. “The wealthy elite really are evil.”

Burkmire has emphasized that the bribes were done without the knowledge of the children.

“Let’s make sure not to blame the kids here,” he told reporters. “Many of them were bright enough to be able to avoid a military education all on their own, but their parents didn’t have enough faith and made things worse.”

In some instances, the fraud even included paying up to $500,000 for an impostor to show up to the child’s Candidate Fitness Test and fail for them.

The legal repercussions of the scandal fall somewhat on the youth, despite the crimes originating with their parents.

“Unfortunately, regardless of qualifications, all applicants involved in the bribery scandal have been admitted to the service academy of their choice, and must report on the first day of school,” says Burkmire. “I hate to see this kind of thing, but it’s what happens when you mess with the system.”

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After North Pole moves, NORAD assures Eric Trump it can still track Santa

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Department of Defense officials assured Eric Trump that a natural geologic shift of the magnetic North Pole would not jeopardize Santa Claus, his toy workshop, or Trump’s chances of receiving Christmas gifts, sources confirmed today.

Trump expressed concerns about observations that the magnetic north pole is drifting, which he believed could interfere with Santa Claus’s navigation capabilities or prevent the U.S. Northern Command (NORAD) from using its famous “Santa Tracker” to monitor Saint Nick’s’ toy deliveries on Christmas Eve. Either situation, according to Trump, would constitute “probably the biggest national security issue of the entire world. Like, ever.”

Trump’s concern stemmed from recent news reports that the Earth’s magnetic north pole is moving from the Canadian Artic towards Russia at 34 miles per year. Magnetic north normally moves slowly over time due to energy from the planet’s core. The current drift is significantly faster than in the past and requires updates to navigation systems.

With no official role in the White House, Trump leveraged his father’s influence and convened an emergency meeting to review the situation.

Using a model of the Santa’s workshop made from legos, Trump declared that navigation issues for Santa or a gap in NORAD tracking abilities presented a national security crisis “every bit as real as the emergency on our southern border.”

Based on the pole’s drift towards Russia, Trump was particularly concerned that Vladimir Putin is “stealing” magnetic north.

The attending CIA representative stated that the intelligence community has no evidence linking the drift to Putin or any of the “bad guys” that Trump suggested as Putin’s accomplices – Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Dr. Evil, or the Hamburgler.

“Not a chance sir,” said the CIA representative, “pretty much because they’re all fictional characters.”

Trump replied that he “totally knows” that the Hamburgler is not a real person, saying “that costume is an obvious cover disguise. Duh.”

The staff duty officer at NORAD drew a picture that depicted the drift of magnetic north and placement of NORAD sensors with the words “really big antennas here,” which eventually reassured Trump.

Trump said that he is committed to be “really really super good” in 2019 to give Santa extra incentive for overcoming the magnetic shift.

As the meeting convened, attendees overheard an Air Force representative tell Trump that NORAD “should probably get a couple of billion dollars for sensor improvements, just to be safe.”

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B-52 crew relieved for drawing self portraits

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MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — Controversy erupted when a local commander relieved a B-52 crew for creating what could be either penis pictures or crew self portraits, sources confirmed today.

“We found drawings on a B-52 navigation computer of five phallic-shaped objects,” base spokesman Maj. “Needle” Dick Johnson said. “The Air Force policy is clear — cockpits are no places for dick depictions.”

The sky penis, a phallic shaped symbol made using contrails, took off in popularity after a pilot at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island used his aircraft to create the image. The atmospheric art has since been recreated multiple times, although the Air Force has yet to create its own version.

“I’ll admit that we envied the attention that Navy and Marine Corps aviators got for flying in formations that resembled penises,” commander of the accused B-52 crew,” Capt. Rodney “Ramrod” Schwantz, said. “I was absolutely deflated about not being able to maneuver my aircraft in the same way. Those air dorks are big and visible, and we all know that in sky writing, size matters.”

“But we’re getting shafted for no reason,” Schwantz added. “Our missions are long and hard, so we need ways to entertain ourselves. After our navigator took a life drawing class at the learning center, he sketched some pictures on our navigation computer showing us as a crew. It’s art, not a dick pic.”

The base command pushed back at the idea the drawings constituted art.

“Art my ass,” said Maj. Johnson. “Those drawings are obviously penises. They’re multiple shapes and sizes, bulbous on top with round objects underneath resembling testicles.”

The flight crew maintained that the images were merely self-portraits, and the command had misconstrued the drawings.

“The drawings show us preparing for a mission,” Capt. Schawntz said. “We’re wearing our flight helmets, and those ‘round objects’ are our kit bags of equipment. Is it our fault that we all stand tall and straight? Except our weapons officer, Lt. Chubbie, who’s kind of short and wide. We mistook him for a 55-gallon drum once. His call sign isn’t ‘Tuna Can’ for nothing.”

Johnson admitted that the crew may have a point.

“It’s possible that the Air Force is applying its penis picture policy in an indiscriminate, one could say, ‘drunken, manner,'” Johnson said. “We should probably apply it with more skill and dedication and probably with a follow up call the next day, or at least a text.

Regardless, navigator 1st Lt. Ron Chubbie intends to enter the crew portraits/penile depictions in a local amateur aviation art contest.

“The contest judges include Navy and Marine Corps aviators,” Chubbie said. “They’ll definitely appreciate my style.”

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ISIS unfollows STRATCOM on Twitter after offensive New Year’s tweet

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Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. – The terrorist group ISIS has “unfollowed” the U.S. Strategic Command on Twitter after suffering mental anguish by recent STRATCOM messaging, possibly taking information warfare to a new direction, sources confirm today.

The ISIS move is a reaction to a Dec. 31, 2018, STRATCOM tweet that stated as the famed ball dropped on Times Square, the Command remained ready to “drop something much, much bigger.” A video of a B-2 aircraft dropping bombs accompanied the tweet. STRATCOM deleted it after complaints about its aggressive message.

ISIS released the statement criticizing the video.

“In the name of Allah, the most merciful, we will no longer follow the criminal crusader U.S. Strategic Command on Twitter,” the statement reads. “The images STRATCOM tweeted on New Year’s Eve, threatening to drop bombs on our brethren, was hurtful and frightening. Several of our brothers who viewed it have already scheduled emergency sessions with their therapists. The tweet also disturbed our enjoyment of the Ryan Seacrest New Year’s Times Square special.”

STRATCOM questioned ISIS’ response in a press conference.

“Our information warfare team is examining the ISIS announcement for any hidden messages to followers.” public affairs officer Capt. Pamela Vasquez said. “We’re also analyzing the possibility that ISIS is acting like a big international wuss.”

“We constantly tweet splashy pictures of B-1s, B-2s, B-52s, ICBMs, aircraft of all types, heavily armed Airmen, and nuclear submarines –  basically an endless advertisement of our ability to deliver nuclear annihilation at any place of our time and choosing,” Vasquez added. “If those tweets didn’t scare anyone, we weren’t doing our job. So we’re not sure why ISIS or anybody else is butthurt over our one measly New Year’s message.”

“What do people think our bombers do?” Vasquez questioned.“Despite the press stories last year, military aircraft are know for killing people, not just drawing contrail dicks in the sky.”

The STRATCOM Twitter home page indicates that the command still has over 98,000 followers despite the ISIS departure.

“We hope ISIS re-follows us soon, because we’re planning some great imaging for President’s Day depicting George Washington and Abraham Lincoln turning the launch keys on an ICBM that people should really enjoy,”  Vasquez said.

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Touching! This charity helps dying retirees make one last visit to the commissary

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MACDILL AFB — One nonprofit has gone above and beyond to help dying military retirees make one last trip to their favorite place before they die — the base commissary.

Serving Love for Our Warriors, or SLOW, has raised over $12,000 in coupons and gathered over 300 volunteers to help retirees get back to the Commissaries where they feel most at home.

“George was about to go, we could tell,” said Candy Reynolds of her grandfather, Korean War veteran Maj. George Campbell (Ret.)  “But he was hanging on to something. When the SLOW volunteers showed up and he could yell at the teenager bagging his groceries to move faster without leaving a tip, he could finally say goodbye. It meant so much to my family. Thanks, SLOW.”

Margaret Reed, SLOW’s executive director, has found that although we live in a society that often ignores the elderly and has difficulty understanding death, SLOW’s clients find solace in being surrounded by so many other retirees going through the same phase of life in the commissary.

“I had one client who had become a complete shut-in,” said Reed. “But when we offered to let him drive 4 miles per hour in the commissary parking lot, he really came alive. As soon as it looked like he was going to lose the last handicapped spot to a Gulf War Veteran, we saw the kind of fighter no one had seen since Chosin come back out.”

SLOW volunteers can assist clients with a wide array of their favorite tasks, ranging from blocking the aisles with carts, chatting with cashiers too long and making inappropriate remarks about their grandchildren, or writing strongly worded letters to the deli managers about the quality of liverwurst.

“Ethel had been in memory care for years,” said Kelsey Raintree, a SLOW volunteer. “When she started calling the commissary tips bagger Mama-San I really thought we were going to have a scandal on our hands. But it turns out that they served together at Camp Humphries. It was really touching.”

In the future, SLOW hopes to lobby congress to allow military retirees to be buried in the Commissary parking lot.

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North Pole warns of pilot shortage as reindeer leave for commercial sleighlines

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SANTA’S WORKSHOP — The North Pole is in the midst of a readiness crisis as it struggles to fill its pilot ranks with qualified reindeer, who are leaving the service in record numbers to work at commercial sleighlines, sources confirmed today.

Santa Claus claims he has only 75 percent of the deerpower he needs to deliver presents this year, especially in crucial heavy lift squadrons.

“This is truly alarming. There is no way I’ll be able to deliver presents to all the good girls and boys, let alone coal to all the naughty ones,” said Claus. “The reindeer we do have are being worked to the antler, flying three or four gumdrop sorties a day.”

Santa is offering hefty incentive bonuses to keep reindeer from leaving for more lucrative jobs at commercial sleighlines like Hoofthansa. But even offers of triple helpings of moss and herbs are not enough to keep them in the service. Unless he can fix the retention problem soon, Santa says he might have to cancel Christmas across large swaths of North and South America.

“We’re trying to do more with less, but the fact is that’s impossible,” said Lt. Col. Rudolph, commander of Red Squadron. “With this Op Tempo, my guys already refuse to fly over Detroit and Chicago. It’s just too dangerous.”

The average reindeer costs about $1 million and takes 3 years to train, according to North Pole figures. The North Pole needs to keep those ruminants in its ranks past their initial commitment to maximize return on its investment.

“Not only are large numbers of reindeer getting out, our best reindeer are getting out,” said Rudolph. “Donner and Blitzen dropped papers last week, and Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen all took private jobs at Doeing testing unmanned sleighs.”

While Claus increasingly has been filling the ranks with unmanned aerial sleighs (UASs), turnover among the elves who pilot them has also been an issue.

“These UAS pilots are always on the clock, delivering presents to hundreds of houses an hour from thousands of miles away,” he said. “Nobody can handle that much Christmas cheer. Nobody.”

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Charles ‘Wide Neck’ McDowell leads USO Tour request voting

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ARLINGTON, Va. — After weeks of neck-and-neck voting, Charles “Wide Neck” McDowell has pulled ahead of adult film actress Riley Reid as the most requested USO star for an upcoming international tour, sources confirmed today.

Service members from throughout the military placed more than 645,000 votes for McDowell and 320,000 for Reid this month following McDowell’s fame after his mugshot went viral.

“This is the kind of guy that everyone has necks-level love for,” commented Andrew Green, a specialist with the 82nd Airborne Division. “Soldiers across the world are coming together and neckworking to bring this god to bless our troops and potentially end racism.”

Though the voting does play a large role for the USO in selecting and funding the star, many more factors come into play before booking can actually begin.

“We sent someone down to Charles’ neck of the woods in Florida where he is currently training for his MMA debut. But despite his schedule he seemed interested, and we will discuss more necks week,” said Robert Hales, booking agent for the USO.

Hales did show some hesitation about bringing McDowell along for the European and Middle East tour starting next March.

“I want to give the troops what they have requested, but they’re in for a shock as soon as they see his neck is normal and his head is just tiny,” he said.

Reid volunteered to go on the tour for free if McDowell decided to attend.

“No lie, wide neck, a go pro, and me could trade his 15 min of fame to 15 min of bliss,” she tweeted.

Florida authorities have also voiced their full-throated support for McDowell to give back to the troops, offering to count it as community service and allowing him to travel internationally. Currently out on bail, McDowell has been capitalizing on his fame by appearing on MTV’s show “Necks,” singing in a feature of Ariana Grande’s “Thank You, Necks” hit song, and swallowing watermelons whole for five dollars in Orlando. Hopes are Ol’ Saint Neck could travel by Christmas.

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Space Force now soliciting uniform concepts from industry

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Two months ago, President Donald Trump announced the creation of a new branch of military service within the Department of Defense, the U.S. Space Force. A recently released Pentagon report revealed that, almost immediately after the President’s announcement, a Pentagon official named Mr. James Fortran deployed to various locations within the U.S. in an attempt to find an answer to the question that what was cited as “the Space Force’s most significant hurdle in its long road to activation:”

“What will the uniforms look like?”

The report details that Fortran was first sent to California to meet with interested uniform suppliers. Bored by extraordinarily simple suggestions like “let’s make human exosuits with built-in jetpacks” or cost-effective, nonsensical ideas such as “just keep the same design as the rest of the military, you idiot,” Fortran decided to head to the San Francisco Comic Con event for inspiration.

The images featured above represent a portion of Fortran’s portfolio, which he submitted to the Pentagon at the conclusion of his trip. Published transcripts from his presentation cite him as commenting that “they’re perfect… look at how eccentric, robust, and forward-thinking these designs are! When Americans think of space marines, this is what they will picture in their minds.”

Fortran’s portfolio also mentions a meeting with Bungie, the creators of the Halo gaming universe. Details from this meeting were unfortunately classified, but Fortran was cited as stating that the meeting went “very, very well” and that the ensuing discussion was “very, very promising” in the presentation’s transcripts.

Fortran has returned to the Pentagon, where a series of meetings are currently underway to evaluate his findings. The Pentagon declined to comment on any specifics relating to the consideration of Fortran’s uniform findings. However, inside sources revealed that Captain Charles Bunkley of the United States Navy, who led the introduction of the blue type 1 working uniform made to have sailors blend in with the ocean, suggested a black uniform imprinted with various constellations, nebulas, and galaxies. It appears as if this idea is also being seriously considered.

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