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Reflective Belts, Risk Management Required After ROTC Commissioning Tragedy

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General Mattis speaking, shortly before he leapt into the crowd to kill a cadet

TAMPA, FL – It’s graduation season at colleges across the nation, and for the cadets of the Reserve Officer Training Corps, it means the start of their Army career. But what is supposed to be a joyous occasion and a proud moment for new Second Lieutenants has taken a turn into disaster at one ceremony, prompting the Army to review safety for commissioning cadets.

Over thirty new officers were supposed to be commissioned at the University of Tampa.

“This is our favorite time of the year,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Olson, the commander of the ‘Spartan Battalion’ ROTC Detachment. “It’s always an honor to see these men and women grow and learn and start their careers. But it’s a shock when we have a mishap.”

The Spartan Battalion had been mishap-free for over three years — but their luck ran out at the commissioning ceremony weeks ago. One lieutenant fell off the stage right after being commissioned, breaking his back and bringing an immediate medical discharge. Another didn’t place the coin in his hand properly for the handshake. Instead of it being transferred harmlessly to the enlisted man who gave him his first salute,  the silver dollar went flying into the crowd, striking a retired Sergeant Major in the head, killing him instantly.

“Pa always said that the most dangerous thing in the Army was a new second lieutenant,” said Jane Hester, the man’s daughter. “I just can’t believe he was killed by one right after he was commissioned. Couldn’t he at least wait until he reported in?”

But those weren’t the only problems. The training cadre were able to convince the CENTCOM Commander — Marine General James Mattis — to make an appearance, and to offer words of encouragement to the new officers.

“My fine young men and women,” said Gen. Mattis, “congratulations on your achievement and for your dedication to our country.” He continued his speech, but as he looked out into the crowd, however, he saw something he didn’t like — one lieutenant who had fallen asleep.

“I told them to pay attention to the General. I gave them a safety brief on it,” said Olson. “With all the men General Mattis has killed with his bare hands, I figure he wouldn’t have any problems with killing a second lieutenant. Turns out I was right.”

Soon after noticing the snoozing cadet, Mattis threw down his speech notes, reached into his dress blue jacket to grab a Ka-Bar fighting knife, and jumped into the front row on top of Cadet Ted Eldridge.

“I honestly was just going to scare him,” said Mattis, “you know, make the knife across the neck motion and say ‘This is what the enemy will do if you want to take a nap’; that sort of thing. Turns out I got a little too close to the neck. Guess I’m just getting old.”

One Second Lieutenant, having been commissioned earlier in the year, returned to the university to see Eldridge earn his shoulder boards.

“That shit was fuckin’ bananas,” said 2nd Lt. Jed Eckert. “I’m sort of bummed having come all the way from Italy — instead of my bro getting commissioned, he gets killed by a General. In hindsight, I guess it’s a great story to go back and tell my platoon to reinforce the importance of staying awake on post.”

Officials at the Department of the Army were upset over the losses to the officer corps. A KIA and WIA in addition to one cadet being brought up on murder charges was regretful — but one other mishap was “completely understandable,” according to Sergeant First Class Ian Poloquin of Army Public Affairs.

General Mattis speaking, shortly before he leapt into the crowd to kill a cadet

The incident that didn’t surprise the Army were seven cadets who got lost trying to find the theater across from the University of Tampa.

“We gave them clear instructions. Go across campus and across one street and there’s the theater,” said Olson, “but with land navigation, it’s definitely a struggle for some.”

The seven never made it to the ceremony. Disoriented and confused, they struggled to make their way to the theater, and at one point, attempted to cross the Hillsborough River next to the campus. Their bodies have not yet been found.

To minimize the losses in preparation for fall commissioning ceremonies, the Army has started a review of policies for safety and risk management protocol. Initial suggestions included the requirement for all cadets to wear their reflective belts as soon as they get dressed the morning of the ceremony, extensive risk management paperwork requirements, and the use of enlisted guides to help navigate the new lieutenants to the ceremony. They’ve also done away with the silver dollar coin, and will require a plastic poker chip instead.

“We think these steps will help keep the cadets safe, and the use of enlisted guides is one of the best changes to minimize risks,” said Poloquin, “and besides, it’s what already happens in the Army throughout the world.”

Army

Troops on border continue winning hearts and spades

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1-8 Inf. Regt. works to bring security to east Mosul

NOGALES, Ariz. — U.S. service members deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border are winning Hearts at an unprecedented level, embedded journalists within the task force have learned.

The troops, who have been on the mission since October, have now won hundreds of Hearts — and Spades — one round at a time.

“We’re trying to take the lessons we learned in Iraq and Afghanistan to heart,” said Task Force Commander Col. James Fisher. “As Americans, we’re used to holding all the aces. But sometimes you have to give up a trick to win the game.”

Between their duties walking around, poking at concertina wire, checking for cell service, and talking about when the best time to get lunchtime chow is, service members taking part in Operation Faithful Patriot have won an estimated 987 games of hearts, 1,289 games of spades, 18 house of cards building competitions, and one half-hearted emergency game of Go Fish!

“Echo Company has always been the best at listening to locals, building alliances, and then taking their tricks,” said Spc. Travis Keller, a light wheeled vehicle mechanic. “We used to play to 100, but at this point in the deployment, we’re playing to 1,000.”

While many pundits have publicly debated if the estimated 5,000 troops still mobilized to the border are a good use of government resources, the estimated 5,268 decks of playing cards have received so much attention and mentorship at the border that many are saying they’ll be ready to take on the operation for themselves in the next three to six months.

“Even if we never have to stop migrants at the border, our troops’ time will not be wasted,” said Fisher. “Just today, I’ve seen some of our military police learn pip hearts, shoot the moon and even schwartz kartze. These are valuable fieldcraft skills our brave men and women will use in field exercise, National Training Center rotations, and future deployments.”

Defense analysts are concerned that if the troops aren’t deployed by Christmas, they’ll be forced to turn to Bridge — long a weakness for ground troops, particularly combat engineers.

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Army

Caravan of strippers stopped at Mexican border by soldiers with engagement rings

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TIJUANA, Mexico — A massive caravan of illegal strippers heading to the U.S.-Mexico border was stopped at the border by a deployment of U.S. soldiers with engagement rings, sources confirm today.

The strippers, most of whom were from South America, had joined the annual march to the U.S. border seeking asylum at one of the many strip clubs outside of 29 Palms. Most had been walking for months with little food, water, or shelter. The drastic conditions resulted in the perfect storm of losing a bit of weight, tightening up c-section scars, and weakened judgement, which made them the perfect target for a third marriage.

“We met them in a three to one ratio, so we knew that it was critical to engage them immediately,” said Col. Todd Richardson, Task Force Lonely Patriot Commander. “Then they started throwing rocks. By our Rules of Engagement, that meant we could throw rocks back at them— and by that, I mean cubic zirconia.”

“Tear gas? Oh, that’s not tear gas,” said Richardson. “They’re crying because they’re happy. This will be the best 3-6 months of their lives.”

At last estimate, 30 percent of the strippers, which arrived just today, are pregnant with military dependents to be born in six months.

“It’s hell out there,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Bobby Weatherly. “I’ve never been under so much strain to pull together so many marriages so quickly. We’re out womanned out there. I had to call in close pair support.”

The troops have been stationed on the border since October to stop any illegal immigrants from entering the country. By the end of the month, 100 percent of the stripper caravan is expected to enter the country legally as military spouses and build their own businesses selling essential oils.

“This has been a glorious military exercise,” said Richardson. “From the second they started throwing those rocks, I told the boys the penguins threw rocks as a sign of affection and that they were weapons free with those rings.”

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Air Force

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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Army

Navy pranks Army with 17 years of sustained land-based combat just before Army-Navy game

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PHILADELPHIA — Midshipmen carried on a long tradition of friendly hijinks just before their collegiate rivalry game by pranking Army with 17 years of sustained land-based combat to just “get in their heads” before the big game today.

“We thought, what if these guys who aren’t old enough to drink figure out they’ve dedicated their futures to sprawling forever wars?” said Midshipman Michael Nelson, the senior leading the prank. “Who could mimic the tactics of war for screaming football fans? Once they hold the knowledge that blood and sacrifice will never accomplish the political ends we call victory, they’ll never be able to focus on the game. Navy Wins! Dude, we pwned them good.”

“Plus, after that thing with the Air Force Falcon, we didn’t want to touch animals.” added Nelson.

Nelson got the idea for the hilarious prank while making an Army-Navy rivalry video in his room in Bancroft Hall.

“We ran out of gay jokes, and I was thinking about getting stationed in Oahu with my hot first wife while West Point’s players were going to be leading pointless presence patrols on a route called futility. That’s when I realized that it was the perfect prank!” he said.

Darnell Woolfolk, West Point’s starting running back, fell victim to the hijinks late Friday night when his roommate’s sort of hot cousin called. Little did he know she was working for Team Navy and would subtly let him know that win or lose, he could look forward to multiple rotations in the same wars his father fought.

“I was really pumped up for the game.” Said Woolfolk. “I was listening to Future and thinking about crushing Navy. Then I slowly started thinking about the sacrifices I was making for an American populace that grows further disconnected and disinterested in what we say we’re fighting for. I immediately snuck into Washington Hall to eat spaghetti on ice cream from our special athlete refrigerators.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Woolfolk added, staring into an existential void of multiple deployments, football-induced brain injuries, and strawberry ice cream. “None of it matters anymore.”

As a battered copy of the ‘The Quaker Guide to Gaining Conscientious Objector Status” circulated around the student section of Lincoln Financial Field, West Point’s Corps of Cadets fought back in the healthy spirit of inter-service rivalry by reminding the Brigade of Midshipmen that soon, they’d be wearing an Army uniform and calling themselves “sand sailors” no matter how many aircraft carriers Congress to gave them.

The practical joke strategy worked so well that Navy plans to get in conference rival Tulane’s head by reminding them about the crippling interest rate on student loan debt and the chances of finding job after graduation.

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Army

Army sniper unable to hit toilet bowl

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FORT BENNING, Ga. – A local Army sniper met his match as he failed to successfully hit a toilet bowl at a nearby tavern, sources confirmed today.
Sgt. Doug Taylor, a 28-year old native of Des Moines, Iowa, missed his mark after whipping out his rifle and repeatedly failing to strike the water in the bottom of a toilet bowl during multiple ‘long shots’ that were fired after hours of heavy drinking.
“I don’t get it,” said Taylor who was unable to stand in one spot without swaying. “I adjusted to account for wind speed, altitude, and the ballistics involved – just like I was taught in sniper school. But, it was a no-go.”
Prior to the failed mission, reports show that Taylor properly identified and stalked the target and positioned himself for the most optimal shot by leaning up against a wall. He then fired, missing instantly and instead shooting the floor, spraying shrapnel all over his shoes.
One witness, Sgt. 1st Class Stan Hope, was disappointed to see one of his fellow snipers fail so miserably on what should have been an easy hit.
“He was out of range but only a little bit,” said Hope, who was assigned to follow Taylor into the bathroom and serve as the spotter. “He fell short. So I grabbed his hips and helped him readjust like we do in the field. He took a deep breath, relaxed, aimed, and I yelled ‘Send it!’ But, he was still off the mark by several inches and hit a nearby toilet plunger.”
Blaming the Coriolis Effect, the sniper and his spotter then quickly decided to take another shot. They immediately adjusted to an alternate firing position and squeezed off another round, missing by mere millimeters.
“We train with the M2010 Winchester Magnum rifle and can hit targets up to 1,300 meters. This, on the other hand, shouldn’t be a problem for him, even with his mini-rifle,” continued Hope. “Plus, this is a no-stress environment. I mean it’s not like toilets fire back at you.”
Staff Sgt. Salvatore Rotella, a tavern patron and designated marksman at another unit, saw the messy aftermath of the snipers handiwork.  “
“Isn’t accuracy supposed to be a priory for these guys?” he asked while his shoes stuck to the smelly floor. “Just last week I was able to chip off the edge of a urinal cake from a distance of 1 meter. The Army is going to deploy these guys? Embarrassing.”
Sources report that Taylor has been reprimanded by his teammates and will be provided supplemental training to attain the skills necessary to be successful during his next bathroom op.
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Army

ALL THE WAY! This Airborne Ranger refused to accept a blood transfusion from a leg!

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FORT BENNING, Ga. – They say that when you become an airborne ranger, it’s for life! This airborne ranger took it ALL THE WAY when he refused to accept a life-saving blood transfusion from a dirty, dirty leg, sources confirmed today. Hooah!

Army Spc. Ryan Collins, a graduate of the U.S. ARMY AIRBORNE SCHOOL, was so airborne! that when he took a bad landing, broke his leg, and started bleeding out, he motivated everyone around him by pulling out of consciousness long enough to say he’d only accept blood from an airborne-qualified soldier assigned to an airborne unit and receiving jump pay. No six jump chumps for this ranger!

“We wouldn’t usually accept yelling ‘Rangers lead the way’ as an advanced medical directive,” said Army doctor Lt. Col. Josh Malloy. “But woah, check out that motivation. He made me remember why I earned the tab.”

Collins was last seen on his way to Martin Army Community Hospital begging his medics to let him die in his jump boots rather than set the broken bone. He passed out again in the front leaning rest.

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Army

General breaks jaw while talking out of both sides of mouth

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WASHINGTON – Legislators, members of the press, and hearing attendees were stunned today when a general’s jaw fell apart during testimony in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee after a career of talking out of both sides of his mouth.

The fracture came on the heels of the general saying, “We remain an agile fighting force ready to fight and win the nation’s wars,” moments after remarking that “the force is under-resourced, over-deployed, and suffering from low morale.”

Sources close to the general suggest that this injury is not the result of an isolated moment but rather a career of wear and tear.

“He’s been a people pleaser as long as I have known him,” remarked one former aide-de-camp.

The general was only a few minutes into his prepared remarks when the injury occurred. Among the topics not yet addressed was the recent embarrassment of numerous service members involved in a nude photo phishing scam run by prison inmates.

“It’s actually lucky his jaw fell apart when it did,” remarked the general’s current aide. “He was about to say, ‘I continue to be nothing but inspired by the intelligence and integrity of our young soldiers every day,’ right before announcing that he was mandating an Army-wide safety stand down to learn about the dangers of sexting.”

The general expressed regret over the years of self-service that lead to his injury.

“I am ashamed of my years of pandering to whatever audience is in front of me and like a good soldier, I will fade away,” the general said in a press release after the incident. “I plan to distance myself from my embarrassing past by posting weekly nonsensical leadership platitudes to LinkedIn.”

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Army

Report: every warrant officer in the Army is still worthless

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A comprehensive study released today of all motor pools, supply shops, and personnel stations in the Army concludes that every single warrant officer in the service remains totally and infuriatingly useless.

The main finding comes without great surprise, but a key observation has raised concerns that warrant officers may in fact waste resources and reduce readiness and morale.

“We’re talking costs around paying and giving benefits to these officers, but we’re also talking about the collateral damage of giving them any power or authority whatsoever,” said Devin Wilson, lead author of the exhaustive 7,000-page RAND study.

Wilson points to measurable losses incurred when leaders break anything near them in a fit of rage at the dearth of utility they find in their warrant officers.

“The very existence of a warrant officer is fraud, waste, and abuse, according to our research,” he added.

The study, “which of course excludes helicopter pilots, who are awesome,” surveyed and observed every non-aviation warrant officer in the Army for a five-year period and concluded that the prototypical subject had the “smugness of a top-of-his-class West Point lieutenant combined with the laziness and apathy of a three-times-non-promoted staff NCO.”

The report also indicated that a warrant officer’s propensity to do anything helpful at all diminishes exponentially with each promotion.

DuffelBlog reached out to over 2,000 active Army warrant officers and their supervisors for comment, but only two responded.

“This isn’t my job,” a warrant officer said.

His supervisor stated simply, “I don’t know what that guy does, and I don’t want to ask because he’s pretty terrible to talk to.”

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