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10 Weirdest Military Traditions

10 Weirdest Military Traditions
Some

military

traditions

make sense to most everyone. Little things that show mutual respect like when leaders wait to eat until after their team has been served. Other

traditions

are odd at first, like messing with the f***in' new guy to make him feel like part of the team. But civilians can generally understand where that comes from. Then, there are the

traditions

that need a lot of explaining to your civilian family members. This is our list of 10 time-honored

military

traditions

that civilians find totally weird. (upbeat rock music) Number 10, paratroopers and cherry pies. When troops finish Army Airborne School, they're packed full of knowledge that keeps them safe from static line to landing. They've hooked in, they've studied wind conditions, and they've PLF'ed frontwards, backwards, and sideways over and over and over. The key is for the body to remember the parachute landing fall without the brain thinking about it. Because when the ground comes at an airborne jump, it comes fast. Finally it's the moment of truth, when troops get to make their first jump from a plane. It's tradition for experienced jumpers to fill trainee's cargo pockets with Hostess cherry pies first. Adrenaline hits and training kicks in. The PLF is second nature. Legs together, five points of contact, bent knees, roll to the side. Everything happens so fast, troops forget those cherry pies in their pants, 'til they look down and see a nice red stain on their...
10 weirdest military traditions
uniform. Welcome to Airborne. Number nine: actual call signs. In pop culture, call signs are the coolest things ever. You'll see badass names like Iceman, Maverick, or however many times Snake is used. They're always just made up because they sound cool and the storytellers don't really know how the

military

works. In reality, call signs are usually unit designations followed by a number to signify who they are in said unit. So, the commander of Alpha Company Black Sheep would be known as Black Sheep Six, and the first sergeant is Black Sheep Seven. Not quite as sexy. It is true, however, that pilots get unique and personalized call signs, but there's no guarantee that the name will be cool. Pilots have a tradition of telling stories about the rookies in their unit, much like a roast. Some of the stories are embarrassing. Actually, most of the stories are embarrassing. But some are awesome and some might just be hilariously suited to the aviator. The squadron then votes, and the call sign they pick is for life, so try not to loose your juice on those long sorties, or you could end up explaining why all your friends call you Whiz. Number eight: the grog bowl. At normal people parties, a punch bowl is considered festive and fun. It might even be spiked. How quaint. Whenever the

military

throws a unit ball, they have a punch bowl, too, only it's in a toilet. And it most certainly has alcohol in it, plus a whole slew of other random things that would put your...
10 weirdest military traditions
gag reflexes to the test. Depending on the

traditions

of the unit, different members get to add ingredients to the grog bowl and give some kind of nonsense explanation, often in prose, as to why it has some kind of significance to the unit. You can expect such classic grog bowl ingredients as hot sauce, because of the deserts the unit deploys to, ground coffee, because of the long hours the troops give, a cup of salt, because of the sweat the troops give, and a dirty sock, because reasons? Number seven: blood wings and blood stripes. When civilians get promoted or graduate from school, it's usually met with a party or a card that everyone in the office signed. That's nice and all, but the troops almost always lose a bit of blood, literally. Blood wings are when the jump master or training superior pin new jump wings onto a troop's chest, without the backing, and then punch the prongs in, biting through the uniform and into the skin just enough to draw some blood. Blood stripes are similarly violent. After promotion, the new enlisted rank is placed on the promotee's upper arm. Then everyone takes turn punching it in. It's technically considered hazing, but, you know, it's tradition, so there's an unspoken rule that everyone agrees to it, I guess. There usually isn't any malice or hate involved, and in fact, the bigger the bruise, the bigger the pride of the promotee. Number six, challenge coin duels. There's nothing really odd about...
10 weirdest military traditions
challenge coins in general. They have a neat history, and they're basically like collecting trading cards as a kid, but instead of a holographic Charizard, it's coins with cool designs or a badass backstory. Officers will usually keep them on their desk in their office just to casually gloat, or enlisted troops keep them in some drawer at home. But sh** gets real when troops take their coins with them to the bar. The game basically goes like this: If someone produces a coin and you don't have one on you, you have to buy a drink for every coin-toting warrior in the room. If everyone has a coin, whoever has the least valuable coin buys the drinks. Since the backstory and design are subjective, this will almost always end in a shouting match over who has to pick up the tab. Number five: mustache contests. Basically, the

military

is in a perpetual pissing contest of who can do literally anything better than their fellow troops. It should come as no surprise that one of the most subjectively macho things out there, facial hair, gets quantified into some sort of challenge. The problem with this is that the

military

doesn't allow most versions of facial hair, with the exception of a very thin and very creepy mustache. Be warned, the first two weeks of a mustache-off makes every contestant look pathetic and, again, super creepy. Mustache contests usually begin at the start of a deployment, presumably when the troops' wives have less of a say in the matter. And...
after a certain point, someone is declared a winner. The Air Force, however, has unanimously decided to make March their official contest month, regardless of where they're stationed. Whichever airman grows the best mustache by the end of March wins a high five or whatever and, I don't know, probably sleeps on the couch. Number four: the West Point pillow battle royale. The first-years at West Point had a unique way of handling the stress of a

military

academy, and do note the use of past tense here. This particular tradition was unceremoniously banned in 2015 after numerous injuries forced the Academy to end it. After their first summer of intense training, our nation's best and brightest would gather for a war game otherwise known as a pillow fight. As goofy as it sounds, they got serious. In 2015, the most hardcore cadets donned full Kevlars and vests and beat the hell out of each other with pillows. More than 30 plebes that year were sent to the hospital for serious injuries, despite the strict no-hard-objects-in-the-pillows rule. Thankfully, they had PT belts on or this could've really gotten out of hand. Number three: blasting up the lieutenant's patrol cap. In the technical terms, a blasting cap is a small sensitive primary explosive device used to detonate a larger, more powerful and less sensitive secondary explosive. Soldiers in the artillery world take this term literally whenever they welcome a new platoon leader. When the platoon first goes...
out for a live-fire exercise with a brand-new lieutenant, they'll take the officer's patrol cap, either willingly or by stealing it, and tape it to the end of the barrel or back plate of a rocket pod. When the first round goes off, it'll take the cap with it. The LT is then expected to retrieve the nearly-burnt-to-a-crisp cap so they can remain in uniform after the ceremony is done. No one really knows when or where this began, but every artillery officer since has then had to go and buy a new cap the following day. Number two: the sword butt tap at weddings. Ah, the

military

wedding, one of the most beautiful ways to introduce a new civilian spouse into our world. The troop's comrades will join wearing full dress uniforms, and each carry a sword which is meant to signify the protection they'll offer the new bride, as she is now one of their own. The new comrades will serve as either groomsmen or bridesmaids and post guard outside the chapel or wherever the ceremony was held and form a beautiful archway made with their swords for the married couple to walk through. Then, whoever is at the very end on the civilian spouse's side will give the bride a loving slap on the ass with their sword. Not hard, mind you, just a nice gentle way of letting her know that they're now part of the grander and rather bizarre

military

family. Number one: the Court of Neptune. Whenever a Navy vessel crosses a certain point on the globe, newbie sailors get to be...
initiated into an unofficial fraternity of shellbacks who have been there before. The most famous example of these ceremonies is the moment when a vessel crosses the Equator at any point in the world. Officially, it's called the Crossing the Line ceremony, but sailors know it as the Court of Neptune. The uninitiated, known as slimy polliwogs, must bow before King Neptune, portrayed by the ship's captain, and entertain his queen, Davy Jones, the Royal Baby, and his dignitaries, all portrayed by other high-ranking members of the crew. They do this with a talent show. Now, regardless of how the young sailors perform, they're found guilty of being polliwogs and must answer for their crimes. They're punished by eating an extremely spicy or disgusting breakfast and kissing the Royal Baby's greasy belly. Only then can they have their slimy polliwog-ness washed in seawater and finally become trusted shellbacks. (patriotic orchestral music) That's our list of 10 weird-ass amazing

military

traditions

. Leave us a comment to tell us your favorite

traditions

from your own service. Check out the rest of our list to find out more weird-ass and amazing

military

traditions

.