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US Military Begins Annual Exercise ‘Enduring Freedom’

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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – With tensions in the Middle East rising over Iran’s nuclear program and the Syrian civil war, the United States and NATO began their largest annual joint-exercise this week, Operation Enduring Freedom.

The exercise is a 365-day event conducted annually since 2001 on Joint Base Afghanistan and involves over 100,000 military personnel from 50 countries as diverse as Albania and Texas, working with another 400,000 host nation forces.

“In an uncertain world, we believe that Enduring Freedom shows that the NATO alliance is still a relevant force,” said International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) spokesman Col. Nick Page.

Enduring Freedom features extremely realistic training in small unit warfare, counterinsurgency, aid distribution, government relations, and improvised explosive device handling. The exercise will also eventually feature the successful transition of security operations from ISAF to local forces from the fictional country of GIROA.

While people were amazed at the ultra-realistic training environment, some participants have complained that the exercise was poorly designed.

“Why do we have to keep holding Enduring Freedom in a landlocked country?” complained 5th Fleet commander Vice Adm. John Miller.  “I’ve got a Carrier Strike Group with enough firepower to take on God, but they never get to do anything!  And all those [Rules of Engagement], where we can’t drop a bomb without seven generals giving us permission. I miss the days when we could just blow the shit out of Vieques.”

Some found the exercise vague and confusing.

“This is my third time doing Enduring Freedom,” said Sergeant Vince Wegner, “and I’m still unclear what my objective is. Am I supposed to be building mosques and wells, fighting the enemy, removing corrupt officials, or building those same corrupt officials up?”

Col. Page responded, “There is no particular objective associated with Enduring Freedom. We originally tried developing this elaborate backstory involving a massive terrorist attack on the United States, but too many commanders were questioning how that tied in with passing out money to illiterate farmers.”

Some independent defense analysts disagreed, saying Enduring Freedom was clearly designed to send a message to China.

“Why else would the U.S. be operating in the middle of Central Asia, hundreds of miles from anywhere important?” asked Oliver Schirmer, from the Institute for the Study of War.

“No,” he continued, “Washington is clearly trying to send a message to Beijing, and that message is: if you so much as twitch at Japan, we will invade your country, topple your government, recreate it using most of the same people, then mull around for a decade while passing out kickbacks until we run out of money and forget why we’re even there.”

Despite the controversy, many service members are just happy for the training.

“We’ve done Enduring Freedom so many times it’s become a nice refresher for us before we deploy to somewhere important, like Australia or Africa,” said Marine Lt. Col. Morris Siegel.

Col. Page added that after eleven years, the United States and its allies were working to keep Enduring Freedom fresh and relevant.

“In a way we’re a victim of our own success because now everyone wants to show off their new hardware in Enduring Freedom. Over the years we’ve had to find missions for tank battalions, bomber squadrons, legions of support personnel, things we never would have thought of in 2001 when it was just a dozen guys on horses.”

“Last year we got so desperate we started throwing in random scenarios where host nation forces would open fire on friendly forces for no reason,” Page said.

Joint Base Afghanistan is a 650,000 km2 live-fire range in Central Asia and the largest of its kind in the world. Originally built by the Russians in 1979 over an abandoned British hunting preserve, it was briefly leased by the Pakistani military until acquired by the United States and NATO in 2001 for the sole purpose of combat training.

Marine Corps

Battalion commander eliminates all liberty incidents by telling Marines to ‘do the right thing’

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TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — Marines from 1st Battalion 7th Marine Regiment are determined not to have any incidents this weekend after their battalion commander urged them to “do the right thing” at his weekly liberty brief, sources confirmed today.

Lt. Col. Mark Branfield’s remarks normally focus on training highlights from the past week and implicit calls to “protect what you’ve earned,” but this Friday, Branfield explicitly addressed liberty incidents. He told the Marines not to commit any felonies or haze each other, according to Marines present for the briefing.

“The boys are disciplined,” he explained. “I told them to do the right thing, and I’m sure that is exactly what they will do.”

Branfield’s straightforward approach seems to have had an immediate effect on the battalion.

“You know, I was dead set on murdering a hooker and burying her in Joshua Tree tomorrow,” Lance Cpl. Kevin Carlos said, “but that wouldn’t be right, and I am going to do the right thing this weekend because the battalion commander told me to.”

Pfc. (Third Award) Alonzo Morris of Baker Company, who currently holds the regimental record of six consecutive weekends with a Sunday morning call to his platoon sergeant, said Branfield’s words inspired him.

“I don’t mean to get in trouble. I just don’t know what to do with myself when my team leader isn’t around,” Morris admitted. “All you gotta do is tell me to do the right thing, and I’ll do it.”

At press time, Marines in the battalion were standing in a school circle listening to the sergeant major piggyback off the battalion commander’s remarks. It is unclear whether they will be released by Monday morning.

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News

Judge won’t hear case on faulty combat earplugs

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DES MOINES — Despite a class-action lawsuit victory for combat veterans against 3M for selling earplugs they knew did not work, local judge Michael Lois will not hear the case of an individual soldier who is almost completely deaf, sources confirmed today.

“Hearing loss is a natural part of aging, and I see no evidence to the contrary,” Lois shouted at reporters in his quiet office. “Back when I served, we didn’t even believe in earplugs and hearing loss, and we ended up just fine.”

David Ross, the soldier bringing the case forward, reached out to an attorney after seeing hundreds of ads on his Facebook feed about the deficient ear protection.

“As a two-forty gunner, the 3M earplugs were so useless I didn’t even wear them after the first month,” he wrote in an email to reporters. “My disability rating from the VA for hearing loss is nice, but it’s certainly not enough to make up for the fact that I don’t want to work anymore and have to play video games on full volume in my parents’ basement for the rest of my life.”

Lois believes the legal system will function properly in everyone’s interests.

“Even if the case came into the courtroom, the young man’s arguments would fall on deaf ears,” Lois noted over the full-volume ringing of his phone, to which he was oblivious. “It sounds to me like he’ll get enough compensation through the class-action settlement.”

For veterans who believe they may be entitled to some portion of the class action payout, contact the attorneys responsible to collect your $.94 check.

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Army

Black Mold replaces Black Knights as official Army mascot

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WEST POINT, N.Y. – The United States Military Academy at West Point announced today that all academy sports teams, previously known as the “Black Knights,” are re-named the “Black Mold” in solidarity with Army families suffering from the deadly spores in military quarters.

The re-naming is a reaction to recent Congressional inquiries into the deteriorating state of living quarters throughout the Department of Defense. Multiple service members and their families report being plagued by persistent black mold as well as mice, rats, and other disease-inducing conditions. The plight of quarters residents invoked outrage in Congress and support from West Point.

“We sympathize with Army personnel and families suffering from black mold, said USMA historian Allison Wright, “and we understand the value of tradition. Believe it or not, we’ve never been certain how that ‘Black Knight’ nickname started, but black mold is actually a deep-rooted Army tradition.”

“Throughout our history, American soldiers have encountered black mold in other places that are equally as comfortable as current Army quarters, like Valley Forge, Andersonville Prison, and World War I trenches just to name a few,” Wright continued. “And since black mold is a tenacious adversary, it reflects the resiliency of Army personnel. As a deadly substance it sends a badass message to young cadets.”

The re-naming is part of a larger effort. The USMA will begin teaching cadets the rich history of black mold. West Point will also update its etiquette guide so new lieutenants and their spouses know how to tactfully and politely inform Congress about living in slum-like living conditions.

Recognizing the need for updated symbology for the new name, USMA leaders are consulting with the Army Heraldry Institute, the Army Center of Military History, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We want new imagery that is inspiring, historically accurate, and serves as a bio-hazard warning,” said Wright. USMA is reportedly receiving several symbology suggestions from the Army Chemical Corps.

“This finally gives all the chemical officers out there real jobs beyond battalion unit status reporting and voting officers,” she said.

Possibly echoing the Army move, the DOD is encouraging families to adopt household rodents as pets while Congress develops solutions to the situation.

Reports that “Golden Spores” is replacing “Golden Knights” as the name for the Army parachute demonstration team could not be confirmed.

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Advice

Advice: Ask an NCO’s Signature Block

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Dear Signature Block,

I love my boyfriend, but there’s one thing I don’t love about him: his chain smoking. When we met, he’d occasionally have a cigarette at a party, but things got stressful at his work this year and now he smokes constantly. I’ve talked to him about stopping, but he says that I don’t understand how difficult things are for him right now. Our apartment reeks, I’ve developed a case of bronchitis that won’t go away, and I hate being near his smell. Am I being unreasonable? Help!

–Smoked Out Girlfriend

Dear SOG,

LEADERSHIP is not about a ROLE isn’t about a GOAL. If you can’t believe, you can’t achieve. It’s about the HUSTLE.

Hooah,
Signature Block

Dear Signature Block,

A group of NCOs always goes lifting together on the weekends. They always come back with personnel issues resolved or new training ideas. That’s great, except they don’t invite me. I’m the only other person of the same rank in the company, and I feel like I’m being excluded. How can I ask them to include?

–Left out Staff Sgt.

Dear LoSS,

Good, Better, Best. Never Settle ‘till your good is better than your best. Are you in the team or on the team? It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. “Charles Darwin”

Respectfully submitted,
Signature Block (P)

Dear Signature Block (P),
My husband and I had out dream wedding last month. One strange thing happened, though. Even though his platoon sergeant had been very supportive of the wedding and helpful in the planning, he didn’t attend the wedding. Should I be worried?
–Frowning Observant Bride

Dear FOB,
“…Never put your own personal well-being, or advancement…ahead of the accomplishment …of your mission and taking care… of your men…” –Pete Blabber
S/r,
Signature Block, SWI, USS, LCSW

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Miscellaneous

ISIS leader has volunteers for suicide bombings but no one will read his screenplay

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HAJIN, Syria – In the last 6 years, ISIS leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi has called for jihad, death to westerners, and martyrdom, but al-Baghdadi now faces his most ambition request so far: notes on his new screenplay, sources confirmed today.

“A Terrorist and a Gentleman” is al-Baghdadi’s first attempt at writing drama. He describes the work as a struggle between the experiential and narrative self that asks “what does it mean to be a terrorist in the 21st century?” He called his work the “‘Casablanca’ of the Arab world,” in an online video.

Unfortunately, that claim has gone unchallenged. After widespread calls for followers to take up 180 pages of heavy dialogue and exposition, al-Baghdadi has not received a single call or email.

“I haven’t read it,’ said a new recruit who asked not to use his name. “I’m not saying I won’t, I just don’t know if I’m going to have time between now and killing myself.”

“Come on just read it,” replied al-Baghdadi when asked for comment. “Seriously, I can take it. I know its good, so you’re not going to hurt my feelings. Just please read it?”

Several ISIS prisoners were offered time outside and extra rations on the condition that they provided constructive criticism. All prisoners responded with name, rank, service number and date of birth.

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Duffel Blog Presents

Duffel Blog Presents: 5 tips for a killer beach body

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Winter can be full of holiday parties, lazy snow days on the couch, and a few too many glasses of eggnog. Don’t get too comfortable, though, because spring is just around the corner! Are you ready for sand and sun? As you get ready for that big trip to Normandy or Tarawa, Duffel Blog is here to help you with 5 great tips for getting a killer beach body.

  1. Massing Firepower

Workin’ it is more fun with friends! When you hit that beach, your kill count will be higher with an array of direct and indirect fires. Give that killer beach body the love it deserves with a classic crew-served weapon like a sleek ma deuce. Suppressive fire is a great warm up for closing in and destroying your enemies in close contact.

  1. Battle Drill 1A

There are a lot of fancy sounding boutique exercises out there, but when getting ready for an action-packed day on the beach, you can’t do better than getting back to basics with battle drill 1A. Movement to contact or deliberate hasty assault? Either way you’ll be ready for anything by keeping it tight with actions on the objective. Get it together with eight of your hottie friends and make everyone in the amphibious assault jealous of your #SquadGoals.

  1. A Grappling Hook

Nonstop cardio will only get you so far. For the rockiest outcrops, try a large grappling hook. Postcard beaches may be smooth and sandy, but Pointe Du Hoc looks like a rock climbing gym without the crag bunnies to belay. Not only is this a killer core workout, there’s also a machine gun nest full of krauts at the top to neutralize. Not enough? Look into a Bangalore torpedo to kick your landing up a notch.

  1. Have a goal in mind

Getting a killer beach body is easier if you have a role model. Find someone you idealize, like Pvt. Carlton W. Barrett, who was forced to wade ashore in neck deep water on D-day and returned to the beach repeatedly to assist causalities to an offshore boat and help others to shore while floundering in the rough surf–all while being pinned down by German mortar and machine gun fire. Paste a picture of Barrett to the inside of your gym locker, and before every workout say, “today’s time on the elliptical is dedicated to your coolness and natural leadership under direct fire.” Look at yourself in the mirror while you’re lifting, and say, “Looking more like Carlton every day.”

  1. Dehumanizing the enemy

You can be physically fit, but making that toned body a killer body is all about the mindset. One helpful tip is to dehumanize the enemy. Practice these visualization drills on your landing craft: see your enemy in an exaggerated, mutated form, then give them a callous nickname. Remember, a killer beach body takes some work, but you can’t argue with the results.

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News

Army leadership calls for “disruptive thinkers” to step forward so they can be more easily liquidated

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FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Senior Army officers and enlisted service members called for “disruptive thinkers” to come forward, so that they can more easily be identified and marginalized or even murdered, sources confirmed today.

In the “Disruptive Thinkers” seminar, a select group of senior non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers of all ranks listened to Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the Army, address the crowd and speak about the importance of identifying disruptive thinkers.

“It’s of vital importance to identify you and the others among our ranks who have a good idea about how better to manage our promotion systems, our tactical doctrine, our technical training, and even the way we interact with the other instruments of government power,” said Milley, nodding curtly to the back of the room.

His personal security detail then locked the doors to the room and began the slaughter.

Other senior leaders, both currently active and retired, applaud the Army’s efforts to identify disruptive thinkers.

“I myself made a great effort to identify those officers in my command who were disruptive,” said retired Brig. Gen. William King, who before retiring led 20th Support Command ALL BY HIMSELF!

“It’s crucial to winnow the chaff from the wheat and then make sure the wheat gets cut down and made into white bread,” he said. “That’s the whole reason I was such an effective leader that I managed to disseminate anthrax and ricin to the general public over fifty times!”

Reached for comment, spokesmen for the Army general staff confirmed that disruptive thinkers are indeed a critical asset who must be quickly identified and disposed of, otherwise the Army might start winning wars, and nobody wants that.

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Marine Corps

Camp Lejeune residents invoiced for any superpowers developed after water poisoning

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SMALLVILLE, Kansas — Past residents of Camp Lejeune were recently sent invoices for any superpowers they may have developed from a series of incidents starting in 1953 that led to the toxic contamination of the drinking water supply in base housing, sources confirmed today.

The invoices arrived after the Department of Veterans Affairs received several reports of superpowers concerning an aging population that was living on base at the time. The exact source of the contamination was never determined, but rumors link it to a combination of fuel farm leakage, off-base dry cleaning mismanagement, and runoff from excess motivation of second lieutenants.

The Beckett family received invoices in the mail for a combined total of $45,000. Stephanie Johnson and her husband Glenn, 65 and 68 respectively, developed their superpowers about 10 years prior.

“I can understand billing my husband. He got teleportation,” Stephanie said. “But all I got was an enhanced sensitivity to race relations. What am I supposed to do with that? I’m a Republican!”

The controversy has increased over the years as various internal investigations have cleared the U.S. government of accountability while some whistleblowers still insist that base officials were aware of the problem and attempted to cover it up. One retired service member said he submitted an official report — which showed water toxicity levels up to 3,400 times over the recommended safe amount — to the base commander.

The commander “crumbled up the documents, stuffed them underneath his shirt, and pretended they were boobies,” the service member said.

James Holder, another local resident, received an invoice for $8,000. At first, he attempted to contact Defense Financing and Accounting Services to negotiate payment, but after being routed through several different departments, he was told that since he directly benefited from the contamination the U.S. government was entitled to reimbursement and garnishment of his disability payments if necessary.

“I guess the laser eyes aren’t that bad,” Holder said. “I can’t look in the mirror anymore or gaze lovingly into my wife’s eyes, but hey, at least I don’t have cancer.”

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