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Captain Spends 13 Hours Coming Up With Cool Operation Name, 15 Minutes Planning Mission

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File Photo: Patrol Brief
File Photo: Patrol Brief

PANJWAI, AFGHANISTAN — U.S. Army Capt. Mike Aldrich hunches over his makeshift desk at Forward Operating Base Sperwan Ghar. He is the commander of Alpha Company, 1-16th Infantry Regiment, and currently nearing the end of a marathon 13 hour planning session. Functioning mainly on caffeine powders and poorly made coffee, the haggard officer is surrounded by a sea of crumpled notebook paper. On his walls are two white boards filled top to bottom with scratch work.

His job is not easy. In about 20 minutes, one of his platoons will be leaving the wire for an early morning combat patrol with the Afghan National Army. Joint missions like this always receive a lot of attention from higher headquarters, and Aldrich is still struggling to find a cool sounding name that will really pop when he talks about it in the battalion update brief tomorrow night.

“It’s getting down to the last second now,” Aldrich says. “At first I was gonna go with Operation Anvil Hammer Sweep, you know, since we’re Anvil company. But then I thought, Anvil…Hammer… that’s too obvious. People will think I’m not even trying.”

He sighs and gestures to the heap around him on the floor. “I’ve been at this for hours. I really wanted to work something that makes it sound badass. Like Operation Whore Smashing Hammer.”

The captain chuckles.

“I wish, right? That one would definitely turn some heads in the battalion brief,” Aldrich tells Duffel Blog. “I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t send the right message to the locals though. All about hearts and minds here. Maybe Operation Stealth Badass, since we’re going out early in the morning?”

Aldrich pauses for a moment, and looks back at his paperwork.

“Damn. Stealth makes me think of the F-117, and I don’t want someone to think my company is some weak Chair Force unit. Plus I don’t think you can use profanity in the name. That’s a real shame. I was kind of leaning towards Operation Taliban Cock Stomp. That one had kind of a nice ring to it.”

Aldrich looks out the dirty window of his office, located in an old Taliban school at the top of a hill. The sun is just starting to rise, illuminating the grape rows and marijuana fields that surround the U.S.-Afghan outpost, and the war-weary Infantry leader grunts.

“It’s almost time. I guess I’ll just have to go with a classic. Operation Anvil Thunder.”

He types the name into a blank Power Point slide and nods with satisfaction.

“I told the lieutenant to be ready for a mission this morning about 14 hours ago,” Aldrich says, as he checks his watch. “So he’s had this entire time to prep. Guess I’m well within the one-third, two-thirds planning guidelines. Man I wish I had that kind of time back when I was a lieutenant!”

When asked what the mission actually is for the day, Aldrich’s eyes grow large.

“Shit! The plan. Goddamn it!”

Frantic, the officer leaps into action, scribbling poorly drawn military symbols on the back of a piece of scratch paper covered with discarded operation names.

“They can infil from the south. I’m pretty sure we haven’t had any IEDs there recently,” Aldrich reasons. “Or was it the north? I haven’t seen the historical data in a while. How many vehicles did I say were going? Let’s just call it five. The Afghans can bring their trucks too. Do they have trucks? Did I remember to tell their commander there was a patrol today?”

Suddenly there’s a loud knock at the door.

“Stand by!” shouts the commander, still drawing feverishly as the sun continues to rise. Finally he’s finished, and calls out for his subordinate.

1st Lt. Chuck Mercer, the 3rd Platoon leader, walks into the cramped space, already sweating from the weight of body armor, weapons, ammo, and his Harris radio, over the earpiece of which the rest of his soldiers can be heard completing their final comm checks.

“Good morning,” says Mercer. “Uh, sir….it’s 0600 and we’re about to step off. Do we have the operations order yet for that mission you…umm…..ordered us to do?”

“Of course. Here you go lieutenant,” says Aldrich as he hands the young officer his work. The paper is a terrible mess of symbols, arrows, and hastily written notes wedged between the margins. At the bottom is a six digit grid coordinate, circled with the label ‘Objective 1.’

The Lieutenant looks at the paper in his hands, incredulous.

“Sir, with all due respect, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

“I know I know,” Aldrich tells him. “Operation Anvil Thunder wasn’t my first choice either, but it’s too late to change it. Now have a safe patrol.”

Army

Major forced to go to morning PT spontaneously combusts

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Fort Bragg, N.C. — An Army major met a disastrous end when he was forced to attend morning PT formation for the first time in seven years, sources confirmed today.

Maj. Eric Hindenburg burst into a ball of fire the moment the battalion commander called the unit to attention.

“We couldn’t tell if it was the sun coming up or one of the joes lighting more fireworks or what. I’ve seen some strange things before, but I’ve never actually seen a major at PT formation,” Sgt. Mark Tunguska told reporters.

Famous for delegating nearly all responsibility, sitting in upwards of eight hours worth of meetings a day, and a near universal acceptance of the dad bod, majors have long been an acceptable and simultaneously disdained reality the Army has sustained to keep the wheels of the machine coasting forward.

“Major Hindenburg was … well, come to think of it, he was sort of like all the other majors I’ve ever met. Uh, he was a guy. I guess that’s the only thing I remember about him,” continued Tunguska.

Fellow majors reacted with shock and remorse. Maj. John Morrison buckled and wept at the new of Hindenberg’s demise.

“Oh, the humanity!” he cried.

The battalion’s majors scheduled a vigil to take place tonight at the local Waffle House.

Hindenburg is survived by ten cats, air stream, and fridge micro brews in his garage.

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Air Force

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

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naval academy annapolis

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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Army

Army to name new attack helicopter after Elizabeth Warren

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FORT RUCKER, Ala. — The U.S. Army will honor Elizabeth Warren and her Native American ancestry with the latest addition to its helicopter fleet, the AH-68 Warren, sources confirmed today.

The Warren will join the Black Hawk, Kiowa, Apache, and Lakota in the Army’s impressive legacy of combat aircraft named after Native American tribes.

The Warren conquered its two chief competitors, the AH-67 Redskin and V-23 Columbus, to win the Army contract.

“The Redskin just offended too many white people, and frankly, I’m not even sure Redskin is a real tribe,” said Army Acquisition Corps Spokesman Maj. Darren Snyder. “And the Columbus, well that death trap killed people every time it landed.”

Snyder dismissed concerns regarding Warren’s Native American ancestry.

“Do you really think Harvard hired her just to brag about having a Native American law professor?” he asked.

Unlike Warren’s heritage, there are no questions about the AH-68 Warren’s cost efficiency. The Warren will utilize a collectivized fuel economy, despite the system’s legacy of abject failure. Department of National Acquisitions reports show the entire Warren project totaled only 1/1024th of the cost of the Air Force’s F-35 Lightning program.

Not everyone shares the Army’s optimism about the Warren. College students across the nation accused the Army of cultural appropriation.

“Warren is a tribe, not an aerial death machine,” said Chystal O’Callahan, a general studies major in her sixth year at Evergreen State College. “Hasn’t the Army victimized the peaceful Warren people enough?”

Warren thanked the Army, tweeting, “The U.S. Army and Native Americans go together like peas and carrots, which is an old Cherokee recipe my grandmother taught me. Hopefully the Warren will see service by January 2020!”

Many experts believe the Warren will crash and burn long before then.

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Army

Russians training pudgy, tattooed honeypots to target enlisted

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MOSCOW – The Russian Federation intelligence “sparrow” school has launched a new program to train fat, tattooed women to seduce lower enlisted analysts, sources confirmed today.

“For decades, we’ve trained elegant, sensual, intelligent women to lure high-level officers and diplomats into compromising ‘honeypot’ traps,” said Col. Vladimir Nutskoff. “As we tried to expand the program to send ballerinas and rocket scientists to seduce e-6 imagery analysts, we found that they couldn’t make eye contact with our agents. The system had to change.”

The newly-fielded Tactical Human Intelligence Collection Cell (THICC) is an outgrowth of the Foreign Intelligence Service’s existing Targeted Honeypot Operations Team (THOT), which is targeted at mid- and lower-ranking enlisted personnel who have regular access to classified information. The THICC Program was devised when SVR officials noted that many millennial analysts are too socially awkward to actually talk to spies who resemble supermodels.

SVR agent Natalia Karlovna Korchnoi has been successfully working a source since she gained ten pounds, got a dolphin tattooed on her ankle, and adopted a cover as part time nursing student at Cochise College who waitresses at Texas Roadhouse on Military Mondays, sources confirmed.

In another successful recruitment, SVR agent Anya Egoranoff, bought glasses and dyed a purple streak into her hair. She met her targets at The Android’s Dungeon Magic Lair, a Dungeons and Dragons meet-up and board games store near Fort Huachuca. At least four analysts are giving her classified documents, but none figured out how to kiss her.

“This elite training program has exceeded our highest goal, with one agent becoming a military spouse,” continued Nutskoff. “Now she’s in the freest, most open military information environment in the world — the family readiness group. She’s only been there a month and now has detailed information about troop movements and a white wine belly. She even started a multi-level marketing home-based business scheme intended to generate massive debts for blackmail “kompromat.”

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Army

Green Beret fights off cougar at local bar

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Source: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A Special Forces soldier is in serious but stable condition in his team room this morning after a cougar attack in a Fayetteville bar last night, sources confirmed today.

Staff Sgt. Grant Anderson, a twenty-four-year-old junior weapons sergeant in 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), was walking out of the Tap House bathroom in downtown Fayetteville when he saw a flash of golden hair out of the corner of his eye. Before he could react, the prowling creature had leaped on her unwitting prey.

“She came out of nowhere, dug her claws into my hips, and immediately went for my face, neck, and crotch,” said Anderson, still shaken by the event. “I’ve survived two deployments to Afghanistan, Boko Haram in Africa, and a liver transplant after a training exercise in Vegas. But frankly, I didn’t know if I would make it out of this one alive.”

Anderson responded to the attack by avoiding eye contact, yelling loudly to scare the creature away, and eventually pretending to be gay, as he learned to do in SERE school. Nevertheless, she persisted. Eyewitnesses claim the once majestic creature, now haggard from years of prowling the wild Fayetteville bar scene, dragged Anderson through the parking lot before he was able to reposition himself and choke the beast, breaking free of its grasp.

“She has probably been living off of young paratroopers out here for years,” said Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins. “The poor kids don’t seem to know how dangerous it can be in a bar near closing time. If soldiers straggle behind the pack, these seasoned apex predators pounce. When we eventually find the soldiers, they’re scared, hungry, and usually drained of their fluids.”

Fayetteville police have teamed up with a few young cougar hunters from the 82nd Airborne Division to track down and capture the creature. This incident marks the nineteenth such attack in Fayetteville’s bar district this week, sources confirmed.

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Army

Army adds “basically 6 feet” height option to Apache flight physical

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AH-64 Apache pilot

FORT RUCKER, Ala. — U.S. Army Aviation Medical Command has elected to include “basically 6 feet” as a height option on the AH-64 Apache flight physical in a move heralded as long overdue within the Apache helicopter community, sources confirmed today.

The move will be instituted in the coming weeks and was met with general approval from the Apache flight community.

“This is a no-brainer,” said 1st Lt. Mike Ryan who is 5 foot 9 and three-quarter inches in these shoes. “People always comment that I seem taller in person anyway.”

Head instructor of the Attack Helicopter Training Program Chief Warrant Officer Doug Mamone agrees.

“Up until now our pilots have been forced to waste valuable time trying to write ‘pretty much like 5’11” but probably more if I really stand up straight’ on forms that ask only for numerical measurements,” he said. “That’s time that could be spent flexing while talking to the one girl in their flight school class or taking Tinder profile pictures at a low angle without a shirt on.”

“This will go a long way towards erasing the stigma that all Apache pilots are short guys with Napoleon complexes,” Attack Flight Company Commander Maj. Peter Thompson, who can’t be more than 5’7” even with spiked hair, said. “Plus, Napoleon was actually above average height for that time so saying that doesn’t even make sense and just makes you look ignorant.”

All participants interviewed for this article also specifically mandated that it be pointed out that 5’6” is the average male height anyway so anything above that is technically tall already.

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Army

Lieutenant goes missing after chewing out command sergeant major

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CAMP HUMPHREYS, Korea – Alpha Company soldiers and military police are still searching for 2nd Lt. Trevor Senseman after he reportedly ordered the brigade command sergeant major to stand at the position of attention before addressing him, sources confirmed today.

“No one has seen or heard from him in three days,” said Capt. Andrew Upshaw, the Alpha Company commander. “I know every LT has their screw-ups, but this? Not good.”

Upshaw is currently due to change out of command in three weeks, but the date could be pushed until his company executive officer’s whereabouts are determined.

The situation unfolded during ‘Motor Pool Monday’ when brigade Sgt. Maj. Billy Jackson paid an unannounced visit to greet and observe soldiers, according to sources.

“We scrambled around the second we saw him,” said Sgt. Dan Parsons, “but he waved and told us to carry on. He was drinking coffee out of a ceramic mug and just wanted to get away from the flagpole.”

Motor pool ops eventually returned to normal until 2nd Lt. Trevor Senseman confronted the sergeant major. Senseman approached Jackson and demanded confirmation on whether enlisted soldiers still had to salute officers.

“The pucker factor was off the charts,” Parsons said. “The sad part is we have a giant ‘No Hat, No Salute Zone’ sign posted in our AO.”

Jackson reportedly smirked as the second lieutenant continued shouting. That’s when the lieutenant told him to ‘lock it up.’

Sources say the sergeant major polished off his coffee, clicked his heels together, and rendered a salute with a loud, ‘Sir, forgive me, sir!’

“I’m a captain,” said Upshaw. “I’ve paid enough dues to get away with being a passive aggressive smartass to a sergeant major, but hemming one up? I still wouldn’t go there.”

All soldiers who witnessed the exchange claimed the confrontation appeared to be over. However, when Senseman failed to report for duty after lunch, soldiers started to speculate that his absence might be connected to Jackson.

“I thought, maybe Trevor’s at a dental appointment,” said Upshaw, “but I noticed the orderly room soldiers were more unsettled than usual. They told me what happened.”

With the help of his first sergeant, Upshaw brokered a meeting with specialists rumored to be active leaders in the local E-4 Mafia. The specialists offered no inside information despite offers of four-day passes and additional duty exemptions. They also declined to accept any concessions in exchange for their support, claiming the well-being of one lieutenant wasn’t worth risk of retaliation from the small but powerful E-9 Clan.

Jackson refused to speak with reporters but replied in an email that “Senseman wouldn’t be the second lieutenant to have wandered off and gotten lost and likely won’t be the last.”

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Army

Army opens Klobuchar Center of Excellence

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FORT JACKSON, SC — The U.S. Army marked the opening of the Klobuchar Center of Excellence today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Fort Jackson’s Drill Sergeant School.

The facility, named after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, will provide the Army’s drill sergeant school a facility to “better instruct candidates on leadership, mental health awareness, and the handling of millennial age Soldiers in the 21st century.”

“We couldn’t think of a better role model for the Army’s future drill sergeants,” said Maj. William Morrison, public affairs officer for the Army’s Drill Sergeant School. “After meeting with her, she sat me down and aggressively convinced me that there was no other option, uh, I mean, a better person, to name our facility after. She totally did not scare, harass or intimidate me into doing this, for the record.”

Klobuchar, whose tough leadership style has been the subject of multiple reports, was on-site to cut the ceremonial ribbon as well as discuss the new “Klochubar Curriculum,” which will be exclusively taught at the new facility.

“This type of education and job training is similar to my Senatorial internship program — tough, hard-nosed, and will make you question your entire existence as a human being,” Klochubar said. “Also, did you know I was running for president? Write that down.”

When further asked by reporters about her leadership style, Klochubar was initially apprehensive to share.

“It’s called being ‘Minnesota nice,’ you idiot,” she said. “Did all the humidity down here get to your brain? Jesus Christ, it is hot out. Somebody should fix this.”

Additional details about the curriculum were not immediately made available, but the following modules were outlined in the unit’s upcoming training schedule:

Crisis Administration
Getting In Tune With Your Millennial Soldiers
Expecting Complete Perfection Out of the Recently Graduated
Using Humiliation for Cognitive Development
Ruining Young Lives in the 21st Century
Publicly Shaming your Soldiers
Your Soldiers Aren’t Actually Tired, You Just Suck at Motivating
Eating Salad with a Comb

Similar to basic training, candidates will be put through a field training exercise where they will be evaluated on their leadership skills and overall mental toughness.

“This program and this facility weren’t created to help people make friends, or even put them in a position to succeed professionally. It was created to separate the weak from the strong,” Klochubar said, lighting up a cigarette. “Is it tough? Absolutely. Is it over the line? Possibly. Does my leadership methodology cause a lifetime of mental trauma? Probably, but get over it.”

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