Battle Rattle

Targets that actually deduct from overall rifle score are in the works for big marksmanship changes

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coverWe just finished our cover story on changes coming to Marine Corps marksmanship qualifications.

Naturally, we know that any changes to marksmanship are a huge deal (I can remember when ACOG rifle sights were incorporated, I thought my fellow Marines were going to lose their minds). Now, I’m not going to give you all the details, because I want you to buy the paper, but there is one little tidbit I’ve decided to share.

The idea of shoot/no-shoot scenarios are almost certainly some changes coming to Table 2. More importantly, shooting a no-shoot target will result in penalty, and an assessment of negative points.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 (Marine Gunner) Vincent Pope, Director, Marksmanship Doctrine and Programs Management Section, Weapons Training Battalion, explained to us via email:

“While shoot/no-shoot scenarios are currently being tested, definitive score value or deduction has yet to be worked out. The four sites currently conducting these tests will present their results at the FY-15 Combat Marksmanship Symposium (CMS) for further discussion and refinement. Conceptually, no-shoot targets that are engaged would result in an equal point value reduction from their overall score.”

This may be the first time in history an actual penalty has been introduced to Marine Corps basic marksmanship, and it reflects a growing trend of more sophisticated operations, against a more sophisticated enemy. In a world where enemy uniforms are rare, and civilians have become commonplace camouflage, target identification is king.

Especially when one false move has proven time and again to result in global, viral outcry.

There’s more on shoot vs. no-shoot targets, and there are other big changes coming, but … you’ll have to wait until the paper hits newsstands Monday to read about them.


Marines returned Obama’s latte salute on social media, and the results are hilarious

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Obama’s controversial latte salute has entered the world of self-parody — and it’s hilarious.

Maximilian Uriarte, the grunt-turned satirist who created the “Terminal Lance” comic strip, posted a slew of pictures on Facebook of people doing their own salute with a beverage in hand. We can’t guarantee they are all Marines, but the vast majority of Uriarte’s audience is comprised of active and discharged Marines. Some substituted the latte for a beer, a glass of scotch, a giant bottle of vodka or put on a horse mask and saluted with a half-filled bottle soy sauce (that contributor wrote “Of course I was drinking soy sauce. Horses love soy sauce. How do I type with these hooves?”)

Some were cross-eyed, others were left-handed, they all looked pretty derpy and hilarious.

Here’s some of what Uriarte posted:

Salute1 salute2 salute3 salute5 salute6 salute7

Earlier this week the White House posted a short clip on Instagram of the president leaving Marine One, and rendering a salute with a coffee in his right hand. In uniform this type of salute is a big no-no, and it sparked a debate about whether Obama was disrespectful or, as the commander in chief and  civilian, he can salute (or not salute) however he pleases. Of course, debates like this fell into partisan camps faster than you can chug a shot of espresso.

Uriarte, like he always does when debates like this emerge, said he stayed out of the fray and just looked for the laughs.

Obama salutes Marines with coffee cup, outrage ensues

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President Barack Obama salutes Marines with a coffee cup in his hand.

President Barack Obama salutes a Marine with a coffee cup in his hand.

On his way to participate in a United Nations talk on Climate Change, and coming from his national address on airstrikes in Syria, President Barack Obama stepped off Marine One and proceeded to salute Marines with a coffee cup in his hand.

White House aides later posted that video to Instagram, and that’s when things went downhill. The White House press department didn’t immediately respond to queries about the salute.

ABC published a story dubbing it the “Latte Salute.” Washington Times ran a headline that incorporated the words “Semper Latte.” Finally, a Daily Caller story cited the manual for Marine officer candidates stating the salute is “the most important of all military courtesies.”

Of course the comment sections in each of these posts featured more than a few disgruntled folks. Twitter also hosted a horde of trolls.

Obama isn’t the only president who’s had a salute snafu (or two). Then-President George W. Bush was somewhat infamously captured awkwardly saluting while holding his dog.

The presidential salute, while not required, has become somewhat of a protocol since the Reagan years.

Carey Winfrey, the retired editor of Smithsonian Magazine and a former Marine, wrote an outstanding article for the New York Times about the presidential salute. In it, he asserts, “when it comes to salutes (and one or two other matters), presidents deserved to be cut some slack.”

NOW CHECK OUT: Did the 15th MEU and 13th MEU engage in a bit of a Twitter war? >


Girl at shopping mall kicks JROTC’s member’s butt in pushup contest

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Update: This post originally identified the male as a Marine. Upon further inspection, the uniform is not consistent with Corps regulations, but those of the Marine JROTC program. The girl in the video, Kaylyn Mintz, is headed to tryouts for the Junior Olympics team. That, at least, would explain how she cranked out so many push-ups.

Losing can be tough on the psyche, but losing in front of a crowd in a shopping mall must be brutal.

One JROTC cadet is likely licking his wounds after getting trounced by a sandal-wearing opponent in a push-up contest at a mall.

“She won! She won!” the crowd screams after Kaylyn Mintz tires after around 84 push-ups. The guy, who has her well out-sized, quit after around 54 (at least that’s how many were captured on the video).

“Oh my God!” the Marine exclaimed as she keeps going after he tired. Other cadets and the crowd cheered her on, and a few laughed at the unexpected outcome of a slender young woman outperforming her bigger, uniformed competitor.

This took place at the Independence Mall in Wilmington, N.C. at a Stand At Attention charity competition organized by Active Heroes, a charity that raises money for military families.

Maybe their different performances are due to their push-up techniques. The cadet kept his hands positioned close to his sides and just under his shoulders. It looks like he didn’t always return to the full upright position, and he sometimes appeared to bend backwards from the hip, similar to the cobra pose in yoga. Kaylyn didn’t descend entirely to the deck during her push-ups, so completing a push-up isn’t as hard. Also, she changed up her hand position allowing different muscles to lift her up and lessen fatigue.

Granted, the Marine Corps doesn’t have a physical training test that details the nitty-gritty requirements of an “official” push-up.

Maybe the difference is due to their footwear? Maybe flip-flops have secret push-up power that can’t be found in boots.

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Video: Kyle Carpenter leads South Carolina fans in pregame cheer

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Medal of Honor recipient and current University of South Carolina sophomore Kyle Carpenter led the traditional “Game! … Cocks!” cheer prior to last night’s season opener against Texas A&M.

The Afghanistan vet had said prior to the game that he was nervous to get in front of the crowd of 80,000, but as you can see below, his execution and showmanship were on point.

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Carpenter’s performance might have been the highlight of the evening for Gamecock fans, as their 9th-ranked squad was beaten 52-28 by the 21st-ranked Aggies.

15th and 13th Marine Expeditionary Units launch Twitter war

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Shots fired.

The Marine Corps’ seven Marine Expeditionary Units are designed to deploy at a moment’s notice for combat or emergency response, but it seems two of the MEUs have been waging a war a little closer to home.

The 15th MEU, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., has had an official account on Twitter for over a year, tweeting a regular stream of Marine Corps news and photos. But when its neighboring 13th MEU joined Twitter in July, things started heating up.

On Aug. 23, the 13th MEU account issued a friendly shout-out to all the MEUs on Twitter.

Then it got personal.

MEU Feud 1


There were memes.

MEU Feud 6


Chesty Puller, the patron saint of Marines, was invoked.

MEU Feud 5


So was Condescending Wonka.

MEU Feud 3


Yeah, it was on.

Typically, the Marine Corps presence on social media is formal to a fault, so I inquired with the MEUs to see what was behind this highly entertaining Twitter feud.

“It’s an opportunity to show people that the Marine Corps is not just your [drill instructor] and new recruits,” said Capt. Brian Block, a spokesman for the 15th MEU. “There’s people behind the public face and those people like to have fun. We’ve got a personality too.”

I asked him if there was a standing rivalry between the 13th and 15th MEUs, Red Sox-Yankees style.

“Any opportunity to dig the cousin to show them that you’re better,” Block said.

But, he said, rivalry was all relative.

“If the [East Coast-based] 22nd MEU tries to dig the 13th, we’ll come to their aid,” he said. “And then we’ll all join up against the Army.”

Asked for their take, the 13th MEU had the following response:

Hollywood Marine Adam Driver appears on GQ cover

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Adam Driver has done quite well for himself in his second career.

Former Marine Adam Driver appears on the cover of September's "GQ" magazine. // Courtesy Photo

Former Marine Adam Driver appears on the cover of September’s GQ magazine. (Courtesy photo)

Driver was disappointed to find himself a civilian again just three years after he became a Marine after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He was forced out of the Corps as a lance corporal following injuries he sustained during a mountain biking accident.

But Driver’s post-Corps career has been anything but unsuccessful. He’s now a professional actor, with roles in “Girls” and the new “Star Wars” movie. He’s also appearing on the cover of the September edition of GQ magazine.

In the cover story Driver, who was a mortarman with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, talks about how the  Corps put his later struggles as an aspiring actor into perspective, and gave him a lust for working through pain in the way to success. From the issue:

Driver applies the discipline acquired in the military to everything he does, from the quotidian details of existence to his work.

“I think it’s good to live an artful life,” he says, sipping a pink smoothie in the Brooklyn cafe we’ve safely landed in after our helicopter ride. ”I like everything I do to have some kind of meaning.

To attain something worthwhile, one must experience a certain amount of suffering: “The more masochistic the part, the more appealing.”

Driver has a role in the next “Star Wars” movie, and  he reportedly plays a villain (those involved with the movie are secretive about who Driver plays in the film). My colleague Jon R. Anderson profiled Driver in June. He pressed the actor on his thoughts on evil roles and got this great back-and-forth exchange about how to make a bad guy on the screen seem real.

Ask Driver who his favorite villain is, and he suddenly gets cagey.

“The guy at the coffee shop who screws up my order,” he says after a long pause. “It’s an actual guy.”

Ask him to describe any villain that he’s played to date and he takes even longer.

“That’s hard because I don’t think anyone is really a villain,” he said. “I don’t think of any character as a villain because then you judge them and distance yourself from them.”

Driver’s story in GQ came with a cover shoot. The Klieg lights might be bleaching out the salty habits ingrained into Driver from his Marine Corps days — he’s actually smiling in a few of the photos, a departure from the SOP of official military portraits.

Also worth noting: There’s a report about male sexual assault in the military in the same edition.

Terminal Lance creator sends ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ to commandant

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It’s on now.

If you’re on Facebook and don’t live underneath a rock, you’ve probably heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge fad sweeping the nation. It reportedly started in Boston with former Boston College baseball star Peter Frates, who was diagnosed with the degenerative disease ALS in 2012. The concept is simple: if you’re challenged, you have 24 hours to film yourself dumping ice water on your head for ALS awareness, or donate $100 to ALS research. Or, preferably, both. Then you get to challenge another handful of people.

Well, this morning Maximilian Uriarte, creator of the wildly popular web comic Terminal Lance, turned up the volume. He took the challenge — sporting a pair of classic Silkies — and turned up the heat on Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos and Duffel Blog founder Paul Szoldra to do the same.

Watch the ice-cold action below:

Uriarte also donated $100 to the ALS Association under the Terminal Lance name to prove it’s not just about the showmanship.


The challenge was posted on the Terminal Lance site early this morning, and so far, the Amos and Szoldra camps have yet to post a video. Will they bite the bullet and take the drenching? We’ll have to wait and see.


Sacred text from the ‘Church of the Silkie’ found

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It’s undeniable that Marines built the Church of the Silkie.

(Mike Morones/Staff)

(Mike Morones/Staff)

Even though the super-short shorty-short that doesn’t do much to cover up the body’s lower half isn’t technically a part of the uniform, the garment holds a cult-like status within the Corps. Like many religions, there are sacred texts. The Church of the Silkie, I recently learned, is no exception.

While researching this week’s cover story, I found a solemn devotion to the shorts written in an review by a Marine stationed in Cairo. I kind of felt like Indiana Jones finding the Ark or the Holy Grail when I stumbled upon this missive. It says, in part:

“These shorts are the best thing to happen to me since the creation of democracy. Nothing screams freedom like … these justice inducing booty shorts. …I especially love to duo these buttocks displaying power pants with a skin tight American flag tank-top. If you love bald eagles, freedom, and flexing your quads at strangers for the simple pleasure of gauging their reaction, then I highly encourage you to hop on the freedom train and purchase these shorts. They do not disappoint.”

Church of the Silkie doctrine requires believers recite this prayer before every workout. The faithful will be rewarded with the comfort only silkies can provide and a perfect score on the PFT.

You can read that homage to silkies in full, along with many other entertaining reviews on the short shorts, here.


Parents of former Marine still missing in Syria write impassioned ‘birthday card’ to their son

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Today marks two years since former Marine Austin Tice disappeared while working as a freelance journalist in Syria.

Debra and Marc Tice have written a letter to their son published by McClatchy in the hopes that somehow their words can reach him, wherever he is.

“From hard tips about your possible whereabouts to simple prayers for your well-being, we have received an overwhelming show of support from every continent on the planet,” they wrote. “We are eternally grateful to every person who has reached out – and we fully expect even more people to come forward in the coming weeks and months. The piece of information that will bring you home safely is out there, somewhere. Rest assured that we will find it.”

Tice left the Marine Corps as a captain in January 2012, according to his Linkedin profile. During his seven years in the Corps, Tice deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, served as a joint terminal attack controller, and an infantry platoon and company commander.

He arrived in Syria in May 2012 and was last heard from on Aug. 13 of that year. That October, he was seen in a 47-second YouTube video, in which he was seen blindfolded and surrounded by armed men. It was unclear whether his captives were rebels or forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

After reciting a prayer in Arabic, Tice said: “Oh Jesus, oh Jesus.”

Read the entire birthday card here at McClatchy >