About Tyler Berg

Tyler has over ten years of experience in the military and tactical industry. The son of company founder Steve Berg, Tyler grew up assisting with the business and absorbing everything about the industry. Having recently graduated from college with a degree in Business and Communications, Tyler has joined our team full time. Follow Tyler as he shares fresh perspectives on everything from military history to cutting edge tactical gear.

Preserving Dried Fruits

fruit header

Have you ever noticed how quickly fresh fruit seems to go out of date? By drying fruit, it extends the length of time during which it’s still suitable to eat – sometimes by up to a year. Dried fruits are great, tasty snacks, and they’re high in energy. You can dry almost any type of fruit, but the most common include apples, pears, apricots, strawberries and pineapple.

To begin with, some fruits need to be pre-treated before they are dried. These include common fruits such as pears, peaches, apples and apricots. There are many different techniques which you can use to pre-treat your fruit, but the simplest is by simply combining equal parts of water and lemon juice (from a bottle is fine), then placing the fruit in this mixture. It should be left for 10 minutes or so, before being placed on the drying tray. By pre-treating fruit in this way, it will give your dried fruit a much better color, and also reduce the amount of vitamins that are lost during the drying process. In addition, you will be able to store and eat your dried fruit for longer periods of time.

It isn’t strictly necessary to peel your fruit before drying it, but it can help with thefruit process, as often the skin makes it difficult to remove moisture. Thinly, evenly sliced fruit works the best, as it will dry quickly and evenly. These sliced pieces of fruit should be placed on a tray inside a special food dehydrator, and make sure that none of the slices overlap. For the first hour, the fruit should be kept at a temperature of about 145ºF, after which the temperature can be reduced slightly.

There are several other methods which you can use to dry fruit, but using a dehydrator is by far the easiest and most reliable method. You can use your oven, as long as you’re able to set it to the correct temperature; convection ovens work effectively, as their fans move the air inside the oven around. Drying fruit outside of an oven at room temperature is possible, but very tricky, as the levels of humidity, temperature and air flow all have to be finely balanced. The same is true for drying fruit in the sun, as humidity levels may mean that there is too much moisture in the air for the fruit to dry properly.

Condition Fruit in JarsNevertheless, once your fruit has dried, it should be conditioned before being stored. Conditioning is the process by which all the remaining moisture within the fruit (which should be at about 20%) is distributed evenly amongst all the pieces. To do so, it is simply a case of packing it loosely into a glass jar for around a week to 10 days. By shaking the container daily, you will help to distribute the moisture evenly, but if any condensation does appear then the fruit will need to be dried some more.

Once your fruit has been properly dried, it can be stored in home canning jars, or plastic bags or containers for freezing. Luckily, dried fruits require less storage space than home canned foods, as well as less effort!

As you can see, preserving fruit by drying it is such a simple technique. With minimal effort, preparation and storage, you now have all the tools you need to create a delicious, healthy snack which will last for ages!

Home Fermentation of Vegetables: A Modern Resurgence of Classic Preservation Techniques

Home Fermentation of Vegetables: A Modern Resurgence of Classic Preservation Techniques

Egyptian Fermentation Containers

Egyptian Fermentation Containers

For thousands of years, people have been fermenting their home-grown vegetables for their own consumption. It started out due to the need to preserve foods for as long as possible without modern refrigeration. Since then, the popularity of fermented foods has increased and decreased, but lately many more people have been returning to old techniques.

Essentially, fermented vegetables are ‘the flavorful space between fresh and rotten’; at least The Art of Fermentation author Sandor Katz thinks so. They are actually vegetables which have had their starches and sugars converted into lactic acid – a naturally-formed preservative which stops ‘bad’ bacteria from growing. It sounds gross, but fermented vegetables taste great! Some common examples of fermented foods include sauerkraut, pickles, kefir – even ketchup and mayonnaise started out their lives as fermented foods before they became mass produced.

It is believed that thousands of years ago, wine, cheese and bread were the original fermented foods. Alcohol probably started it all off over 7,000 years ago in what is now known as Iraq (formerly Babylon). In addition, hunter-gatherers may have eaten fermented and rotting fruits when food was scarce. Having to continue to eat this over time would have led them to develop a taste for fermented fruits. Evidence of bread (another fermented food) has been found in 3,500 year-old Egyptian tombs, and fermented milk and meat products are also thought to have been invented in Babylon.

These fermentation techniques and recipes were passed down through the generations, being developed as they went, to become what they are today. You may think you know a lot about modern bread and alcohol fermenting techniques, but when it comes to vegetables, there’s a big difference in how they were fermented in the past to the techniques used today.

One modern technique is to ferment the vegetables in a clay crock, before transferring them to jars, but a far quicker and tastier option is to simple ferment the vegetables while already in glass Mason jars.

Modern Fermentation of Cabbage (Sauerkraut)

Almost any vegetables can be fermented, but cabbage is a great starting point. It is important to remember that fermentation intensifies flavors, so onion, garlic and some herbs will be too overpowering. The washed and shredded vegetables need to be squeezed until their juices come out, then a little salt, celery juice or starter culture (such as kefir grains or whey, for example) should be added. Salt is the traditional ingredient; its purpose is to inhibit the growth of bacteria which will cause the food to putrefy. The more salt that is used, the slower the fermentation process will be. Next, once placed in the jar, the vegetables must be pushed down firmly to remove all oxygen, which unwanted bacteria need to grow. Within the jar, the vegetables should be weighed down (covering them with a cabbage leaf is perfect), before the lid is tightly sealed. The jars need to be kept in a warm environment – room temperature should be fine – in order for the fermentation process to take place. The length of time that this will take varies from a couple of days to a few weeks. To a large extent it depends on taste, so keep tasting it by dipping in a sterilized spoon. Once it’s ready, it can be moved to the refrigerator and enjoyed!

With improving knowledge and technology, fermenting vegetables at home is becoming easier, quicker and more efficient. Techniques have changed a lot since the cavemen tried this out, but the principle and some of the ingredients remain the same to this day. As you can see, home fermentation of vegetables is actually a surprisingly simple process, so you have no excuse not to test out this time-honored, classic tradition yourself!

Camo Patterns and Their Origins

Camo Patterns and Their Origins

Camouflage print is instantly recognizable as being part of a military uniform. This is true all around the world, as it is the best method for troops from any nation to blend into their surroundings. Nowadays, camo patterns are becoming increasingly popular, having spread to prom dresses, jewelry and even wedding gowns, but where did it all begin?

Origins of Camo Patterns

In America, camo patterns were first introduced to the military at the time of the First Frogskin Camo PatternWorld War. Initial designs copied from European militaries were supposed to resemble foliage, and one design was made specifically for hiding in trees. However, camo patterns were not widely used until the Second World War, around 20 years later.

When it was introduced on a much larger scale, the camo print was brought in very quickly. 150,000 uniforms were requested by General D. MacArthur, and they were distributed in August of 1942. Primarily used by the U.S. Marine Corps (as well as the U.S. Army, to a much lesser extent), the uniform was reversible, having a ‘jungle’ pattern on one side and brown ‘beach’ design on the other. A similar double sided camo pattern was also printed onto waterproof fabrics, to make ponchos.

There was limited use of a leaf print camo pattern in 1953, with some clothing being worn during the Vietnam War. It was commonly known as the ‘wine leaf’, or ‘vine leaf’, print, and was once again reversible – this time with a ‘cloud’ pattern in different shades of beige and brown. These patterns were used for shelter covers, as well as for helmets towards the end of the decade.

Development of Camo Patterns

The camo pattern which was developed in 1948, shelved and later reintroduced in the 1960s, gives us the first glimmer of the camo print which we know today. The pattern was made up of patches of grass and lime green, with brown shapes and black ‘branches’, Woodland Camo Patternand eventually earned the nickname of ‘flower power’ fatigues. It is still copied to this very day, and variations can be seen worn by militaries all over the world. A variation of this camo pattern was printed in mostly brown colors, which was most suitable for mountainous or rocky areas.

Once the war in Vietnam came to an end, the use of this camo pattern diminished, although the U.S. Marine Corps still used it. It was not until the late 1970s that camo patterns were reconsidered for military uniforms, so the ‘Hot Weather Uniform’ was born. It reused old camo print fabric with the last pattern, although the colors did change slightly while in production.

This pattern was developed further in 1981, to become the ‘Woodland Camouflage’ pattern that is still known and loved today. The pattern was 60% larger than before, although the colors remained pretty much the same as they had been – a combination of brown, black, light green and dark green. Initially the pattern was designated as the standard dress uniform for both combat and everyday wear for the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, but by the late 1980s it had been rolled out across all branches of the U.S. military.

When the operations known as Desert Shield and Desert Storm began in the early 1990s, for the first time there was a real need for the U.S. military to have a camo pattern suitable for desert wear, rather than just the ‘jungle’ pattern. The pattern that uniforms were made of comprised wave type shapes in sandy brown and beige tones.

Modern Era Camo Patterns

Digital camouflage is a relatively new invention, as it only came into existence less than 20 years ago. The Canadian government wanted its Marines to wear a distinctive uniform Multicam Camo Patternwhich was different from the other branches of the U.S. military, so they used computer algorithms to come up with a pixilated pattern. Three MARPAT designs were produced, so called because they are ‘MARine PATterns’.

In 2004, the U.S. Army brought out its version of the digital camouflage pattern, which was, in fact, just the same as the Canadian version, but in a different color. The idea behind it was to create a single camouflage pattern which could be worn by soldiers in any situation, regardless of the environment in which they were working: urban, desert, or jungle. However, this technique has not proved successful at all as it seems only just to be ‘adequate’ as a measure of camouflage in any one of those settings.

The MultiCam pattern is the camo print which is most widely used in the U.S. military today; it has been issued to various military personnel, including the U.S. Special Forces, and all ground troops who are deployed to Afghanistan. It was introduced just four years ago in 2010, and is copied all around the globe.

The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy also have their own designated uniforms, although it was only in 2002 and 2007, respectively, that these were introduced. The U.S. Air Force settled on a ‘Digital Tiger Stripe’ pattern, and five years later the U.S. Navy introduced a uniform which has come to be known as the Navy Working Uniform Type I, or NWU-1. The difference with the naval camo pattern in comparison to other branches of the military is that it is not intended to camouflage the person wearing it, but rather it is designed to hide oil spills, paint and stains, which are all part of the job.

Discontinued Camo Patterns

Over the years there have been several rather unusual camo patterns used by the U.S. Night Desert Camo Pattermilitary, such as the ‘chocolate chip’ pattern which was designed in 1971. Intended for use in rocky climates, it was made up of brown shapes over a tan colored background, with a sprinkling of small shapes in black and white which were supposed to look like rocks. Another unusual pattern was the ‘Night Desert’ print, which was created around the time of the Vietnam War. It consisted of a green-grey grid with several small green spots arranged on top and was supposed to camouflage wearers from special Soviet night vision equipment. However, it failed miserably and was short lived as the night vision technology was far too advanced.

Of course, while camo patterns have been developed, there have been several designs which the military experimented with, but were dismissed along the way. Some of these include patchy brown and khaki fabric covered with well-defined green spots, a very simple pattern mostly in grey (termed the ‘urban MOUT pattern’), and a tiger stripe pattern for the U.S. Air Force, which was predominantly blue in color.

Although the fundamentals of U.S. military camo patterns have remained the same since they began around 100 years ago, the designs themselves have gone through quite a number of changes and developments. As technology is improving and we are constantly finding new ways to keep troops safe and hidden from threats, who knows what the next camo pattern will be?

Beards in the Military Historically: Fear the Beard

It’s no secret that members of the Armed Forces have to follow a strict set of guidelines about how they present themselves. This includes facial hair, although the rules have changed over time, and they differ around the world. The ability to grow a beard is often considered a sign of masculinity and strength, which are terms often associated with members of the military, but how does this fit in to the military way of life?

During the 18th and 19th Centuries, beards were commonplace in militaries around the world. Find any picture of an American Civil War General, and chances are he’s sporting some rather impressive whiskers. The existence of facial hair even went as far as having shaving above the top lip banned for British soldiers after the Crimean War, which effectively made mustaches compulsory.

It wasn’t until the First World War that beards in the military became much less common, and for good reason. With the advances in chemical warfare, facial hair presented a very real risk to lives, as it could have caused gaps in the seals on gas masks. It was at this point that beards were prohibited.

This ban still applies for many forces around the world. It was briefly abolished in 1970 for acting U.S. Navy personnel by Elmo Zumwalt, who was Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) at the time. According to Zumwalt, ‘we must learn to adapt to changing fashions. I will not countenance the rights or privileges of any officers who enlisted men being abrogated in any way because they choose to grow sideburns or neatly trimmed beards or moustaches or because preferences in neat clothing styles are at variance with the taste of their seniors’. As accommodating as this was, it seems a little liberal and at odds with the strict guidelines in place today which promote discipline, uniformity and camaraderie. Incidentally, the ban on Naval beards was reinstated fourteen years later by James D. Watkins, who had taken over the CNO position.

Despite beards not being permitted in many countries’ militaries, the rules have been relaxed in certain situations. Troops from many countries, including the United States, Britain and Denmark, have been allowed to grow facial hair while on operations in Afghanistan. This is a tactical move in order to grow relations between the Armies and the local Afghan people, where beards are seen as a sign of power and masculinity.

Furthermore, several groups within the U.S. military have been permitted to grow beards while on home soil, as well. This includes men who need to grow beards for medical or religious reasons, although it is not a blanket rule; each person needs to apply individually and it is reviewed on a case by case basis. If a man has a skin condition which is aggravated by shaving then he may be granted leniency, as would Sikhs, Muslims, Rabbis, and members of other religions who grow facial hair. In the case of Sikhs, they have also been permitted to leave their hair ‘unshorn’, as long as it is covered by turbans; other religions can request to wear other items of clothing in the same way, if it is for religious reasons.

These guidelines vary around the world. In some countries such as India and Spain, beards and moustaches are permitted, but in others (including the United States and England), members of the Armed Forces are required to be clean shaven. Within the military, the beard has had a colorful history, from the flamboyant sideburns and handlebar moustaches from centuries gone by, to the neatly trimmed beards which are only occasionally allowed today. There’s no question that being clean shaven makes our troops look smart and like a cohesive team, but it would be a shame to see originality in the form of facial hair disappear from military history altogether.

 

Buying a New Car? Should you Buy Used or New? Lease or Purchase?

Buying a new car can be a bit of a minefield. There are so many different options that it’s difficult to know whether to go for something new or used or whether to lease or purchase. Here we’ll take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each, so that you can make an informed decision!

Most of the differences between used and new cars are fairly obvious. New cars are far more expensive than those which are a few years old – this is due to something called depreciation, which we will touch upon later. However, car dealers often offer finance packages to help you spread the cost over time, which private sellers of used cars won’t do. Furthermore, used cars are much more likely to face problems in terms of reliability, as the parts will wear down over time. New cars are usually covered under the manufacturers’ warranties for problems like this, which isn’t the case with used cars – meaning that repairs and maintenance can be cripplingly expensive.

The trouble with cars is that they’re unlike houses, which usually rise in value over time. Cars, on the other hand, are constantly losing value, from the moment you drive them out the parking lot – even while they’re sitting unused in your driveway. This is the aforementioned depreciation, and it’s influenced by a number of factors including fuel consumption. If you choose a gas guzzler, its price will depreciate much more quickly than a car with good fuel consumption, especially if fuel prices rise.

With that in mind, is it best to lease a car or buy one?

Leasing has experienced a boom in popularity in recent years. It’s estimated that one in four cars in the United States are bought using this method. Essentially, it is a long-term rental system where you pay a deposit (usually around the equivalent of three months’ worth of payments), then pay a fixed price each month for a set period of time. This is usually two or three years. At the end of the contract, you hand the car back. It’s as easy as that!

Purchasing a car outright is obviously an arrangement where you pay a set amount each month for a fixed period of time, after which you own the car and can do with it as you please.

In these simple terms, it might sound like purchasing is the best option, however, the monthly payments are usually two or three times the amount that you would pay should you lease a car. With that said, you would pay more each month, but you have something to show for it at the end of the payment period- you have the car, which you can sell and earn some money back (taking into account the fact that its value has depreciated). With leasing, you might pay less each month, but at the end of the two or three years, when you hand back the keys you’re left with nothing.

Regarding the deposit, purchase agreements require a much larger deposit than leasing – it is between 20% and 50% of the car’s price. This can be hefty; the deposit alone can be more expensive than the entire price for a used car! The down payment for leasing a car is much more affordable, though. Typically, it is equivalent to the monthly payments made over three to six months. The fact that it’s cheaper is a benefit in itself, but it gets better. Most lease companies will offer you a choice on whether to put down a bigger deposit. Doing so is a good idea, as it will reduce the subsequent monthly payments for the rest of the contract.

When you lease a car, often there’s an option to add a small extra charge onto each monthly bill, which covers the cost of servicing. This is very helpful, rather than having to pay out one bigger lump sum once a year, as is the case with purchasing a car. However, the warranty from the manufacturer normally covers the period for which you’ll be paying for the car in both the case of purchase and lease, so there is no benefit to be gained in this case from one above the other.

As if all of this wasn’t good enough, one of the most appealing aspects of car leasing is that most of the time, it’s possible to get a car which would generally have been out of your price bracket to be affordable. This is made possible by the set monthly repayments and the fact that you don’t own the car at the end. In addition, every few years you’re able to drive a new model, rather than being stuck with an older model which is constantly depreciating in value and becoming outdated in terms of technology.

It’s clear that there are advantages and disadvantages to all the options, whether buying new or used, lease or purchase. With the lease and purchase options, buying a new car is becoming a lot more affordable nowadays than it used to be. Car leasing is a fantastic option – the only major drawback is that you pay thousands of dollars over a few years, and you’re left with nothing to show for it. This is one of the main reasons why you might want to choose purchase over lease instead. However, for many people, even these options are too far out of reach financially. Sometimes buying used is the only option, and there are still some great deals to be had. Sure, there are more risks, but if you search long and hard you might find a hidden gem. Whichever route you go down, choosing a new car is all about finding the best deal within your price range!

Battle Streamers of the United States Marine Corps: Part 10

In the tenth and final installment of our 10 Part Series on the Battle Streamers of the Marine Corps we cover a wide array of foreign military awards that have been presented to United States military units for service in support of their troops. Much like the medals and streamers of the United States Marine Corps, foreign militaries make their awards eligible to American troops for outstanding service. Follow along as we cover six more today to wrap up the series.

Philippine Independence

The Philippine Independence streamer is an award of the Republic of the Philippines military in recognition for repeated participation in Philippine military campaigns, specifically during World War II. In order to receive the Philippine Independence streamer, a unit must first have received the Philippine Defense and Philippine Liberation streamers, which we covered last week. Upon participation in the initial resistance of Japanese invasion as well as the liberation efforts to rid the Philippines of Japanese troops, the Philippine military would award the unit the Philippine Independence streamer to provide distinction for repeated efforts to assist the Philippine military. For individuals who meet the requirements, the Philippine Independence Medal is awarded; the most noteworthy recipient of that award was Army General Douglas MacArthur.

French Croix De Guerre

The French Croix De Guerre streamer is an award of the French military created to recognize French units as well as their allies who served during World War I. After World War II, the Croix De Guerre streamer became known as the Croix De Guerre 1914-1918 streamer. The streamer is awarded for gallantry and at least one mention of gallantry is required for receipt of the French Croix De Guerre.

Philippine Presidential Unit Citation

The Philippine Presidential Unit Citation is an award of the Republic of the Philippines designed to recognize units of the Philippine or United States military who served in either the defense or liberation of the Philippines during World War II. After World War II, the award was given twice more, once for assistance to the Philippines in relief efforts after devastating Typhoons in 1970 and monsoon rains and flooding in 1972.

Korean Presidential Unit Citation

The Korean Presidential Unit Citation is an award of the government of South Korea for units that were individually cited by the President of South Korea for excellence in duty. While this award is still being issued today, the primary issuance of this award was given to United States troops during the Korean War. The South Korean government authorized distribution of the award to every unit of the United States military that deployed to Korea between 1950 and 1954. Since then, awards of this streamer to units of foreign militaries have been sporadic and rare.

Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation of the Gallantry Cross

The Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation of the Gallantry Cross is an award from the, now defunct, government of South Vietnam in recognition of valor and heroism during combat with the enemy. Designed primarily for the Vietnamese military, the award was given to every unit of the nations that assisted and supported South Vietnam. Because of the mass issuance, the award lost its prestige somewhat and is now the second most common Vietnamese award given to foreigners.

Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Actions

The Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Actions streamer is an award of the former South Vietnam for units that performed outstanding duty in civil affairs. In order to receive the award, the service must be extraordinary to a degree that would warrant the Civil Actions Medal, which is an individual award for outstanding civic action. Units of the Army and Marine Corps received the streamer from the Republic of South Vietnam due to their participation with the local police force and assistance in quelling civil unrest in South Vietnam.

As we conclude our 10 part series, we invite you to browse through our previous editions below.

PART 1  PART 2  PART 3  PART 4  PART 5  PART 6  PART 7  PART 8  PART 9

Battle Streamers of the United States Marine Corps: Part 9

In the ninth installment of our 10 Part Series on the Battle Streamers of the Marine Corps, we move forward in time to the present day. The Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns are covered as well as a number of streamers designated for recognition of the United States’ Global War on Terrorism.  Follow along as we take a look into modern campaigns, some of which are still ongoing, before we move on to awards of foreign countries that have been given to the United States Marines in recognition for their service in support of their operations.

Afghanistan Campaign

Established in 2004 by President George W. Bush, the Afghanistan Campaign Streamer is awarded to units in recognition of their service within the borders of Afghanistan. In order to be eligible for the streamer, the unit must have served for a period of 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days. For units that engaged in combat with the enemy or had personnel wounded or killed, the time requirement is waived and the streamer is awarded. There are five phases in which a unit may be eligible for award of the Afghanistan Campaign Streamer: Liberation of Afghanistan (Sept. 11-Nov. 30, 2001), Consolidation I (Dec. 1, 2001-Sept. 30, 2006), Consolidation II (Oct. 1, 2006-Nov. 30, 2009), Consolidation III (Dec. 1, 2009-June 30, 2011) and Transition I (July 1, 2011-Present). The streamer was first awarded in 2004 and it is still being issued today. 

Iraq Campaign

Established in 2004 by President George W. Bush, the Iraq Campaign Streamer is awarded to units in recognition of their service within the borders of Iraq. In order to be eligible for the streamer, a unit must serve for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days. For units that engaged in combat with the enemy or had personnel wounded or killed, the time requirement is waived and the streamer is awarded. Units conducting aerial missions are also eligible for the streamer. Each day spent conducting a mission counted as a day towards receipt of the streamer. The first award of the Iraq campaign streamer was in 2003 and it was awarded to units until the conclusion of Operation New Dawn on December 31, 2011. If a unit conducted a mission within the borders of Iraq after the close of Operation New Dawn in 2011, they were not eligible for the award. There are seven phases in which a unit may be eligible for award of the Iraq Campaign Streamer: Liberation of Iraq (Mar. 19-May 1 2003), Transition of Iraq (May 2, 2003-June 28, 2004), Iraqi Governance (June 29, 2004-Dec. 15, 2005), National Resolution (Dec. 16, 2005-Jan. 9 2007), Iraqi Surge (Jan. 10, 2007-Dec. 31, 2008), Iraqi Sovereignty (Jan. 1, 2009-Aug. 31, 2010) and New Dawn (Sep. 1 2010-Dec. 31, 2011).

 Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary

Established in 2003 by President George W. Bush, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Streamer is awarded to units in recognition of their service while deployed overseas in “direct service to the War on Terror.” Originally intended to recognize service in Iraq and Afghanistan, the streamer was replaced by the aforementioned Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign streamers, therefore the streamer is now utilized for recognition of service in areas outside of Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the War on Terror beginning on September 11, 2001 and running to present day. While the service must be performed outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important to mention that the service must also be outside of the United States in a deployed status.  In order to eligible for receipt of the award, the unit must be deployed in an anti-terrorism operation for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days. For units that engaged in combat with the enemy or had personnel wounded or killed, the time requirement is waived and the streamer is awarded. 

Global War on Terrorism

Established in 2003 by President George W. Bush, the Global War on Terrorism Streamer is awarded to units in recognition of service performed during the War on Terror. In order to be eligible for the award, a unit must serve for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days between September 11, 2001 and present day on an anti-terrorism operation. For units that engaged in combat with the enemy or had personnel wounded or killed, the time requirement is waived and the streamer is awarded. Initially established for the “Airport Security Operation”, the streamer began to be issued for support activity on anti-terrorism operations, even if the unit did not directly participate. With the streamer being issued for the broad term “support”, the streamer became somewhat of a “blanket award” issued to most units in the armed forces who performed 30 days of duty after September 11, 2001.

Philippine Defense

The first of several foreign military streamers that the United States Marine Corps has received, the Philippine Defense Streamer is awarded to units for their support of the Philippine military during the initial resistance against Japanese invasion between the months of December 1941 and June 1942. In order to receive the streamer, the unit must have participated in “any engagement against the enemy in Philippine territory, in Philippine waters, or in the air over the Philippines or over Philippine waters.” Members of the United States Marine Corps who were captured at Bataan and endured the Bataan Death March received the individual version of this award, the Philippine Defense Medal.

Philippine Liberation

The Philippine Liberation Streamer is a Philippine military award issued to recognize service performed during the liberation of the Philippine Islands. The streamer was awarded to units of both the “Philippine Commonwealth and allied militaries, who participated in the liberation of the Philippine Islands between the dates of October 17, 1944 and September 2, 1945.” In order to receive the streamer, the unit must have performed duty in the Philippines for a minimum of 30 days. Other qualifications for the award include participation in: “the initial landing operation of Leyte and adjoining islands from October 7 to October 20, 1944” as well as “any engagement against hostile Japanese forces during the Philippine Liberation Campaign of October 17, 1944 to September 2, 1945.”

Join us next week as we cover the: Philippine Independence, French Croix De Guerre, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation of the Gallantry Cross and Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Actions streamers. Be sure to check out the previous editions of our 10 part series below as well.

PART 1  PART 2  PART 3   PART 4  PART 5  PART 6  PART 7  PART 8

Battle Streamers of the United States Marine Corps: Part 8

In the eighth edition of our 10 Part Series on the Battle Streamers of the Marine Corps, we move forward in time to cover the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well as modern campaigns such as the Persian Gulf War and Kosovo.  Follow along as we delve into each streamer and the qualifications for award.

National Defense Service

Established in 1953 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the National Defense Service streamer is awarded to units that served honorably during a period of national emergency during a time of conflict or war. Designed to be a “blanket” streamer, the streamer was originally issued to units for which there was no official recognition. Currently, the streamer is authorized for award for the following periods: Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War and Global War on Terrorism. Because the Global War on Terrorism is still ongoing, the National Defense Service streamer is still being awarded today to units that serve honorably.

Korean Service

Established in 1950 by President Harry Truman, the Korean Service streamer recognizes participation in the Korean War. The streamer is awarded to units that “performed duty in the Republic of Korea, between June 27, 1950 and July 27, 1954.” There are thirteen official campaigns recognized by the United States Department of Defense in the Korean War and Marines took part in twelve of them. Because of this, the national streamer for the United States Marine Corps is adorned with two silver stars, each representing six campaigns. 

Armed Forces Expeditionary

Established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Armed Forces Expeditionary streamer is awarded to units in recognition of “any military campaign of the United States for which no other service streamer is authorized.” The streamer acts as a “blanket” award to recognize duty that was performed for which there are no formal awards; therefore, this streamer covers a broad spectrum of duty, however the duty must fall within one or more of three specific categories: “U.S. military operations; U.S. military operations in direct support of the United Nations; and U.S. operations of assistance to friendly foreign nations.” Because the streamer is so broad in its criteria for award, participants in the early years of the Vietnam War were given the Armed Forces Expeditionary streamer instead of the Vietnam Service streamer. When the Vietnam Service streamer was created in 1965, units were given the option to exchange the Armed Forces Expeditionary streamer for it, therefore, some units may have received the award, however it is not adorned on the flag staff because it was subsequently exchanged.

Vietnam Service

Established in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Vietnam Service streamer is awarded in recognition for “military service during the Vietnam War”. In order to receive the streamer, the unit must have “served on temporary duty for more than 30 consecutive days, or 60 non-consecutive days, attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days with an organization participating in or directly supporting ground (military) operations or attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days aboard a naval vessel directly supporting military operations in the Republic of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos within the defined combat zone.” The dates that the service had to be performed between are as follows: November 15, 1961 and March 28, 1973, and from April 29, 1975 to April 30, 1975. The single date in April of 1975 is the historic “Fall of Saigon”, in which the capital of South Vietnam was captured, marking the end of the Vietnam War and the beginning of a reunified Vietnam.

Southwest Asia Service

Established in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush, the Southwest Asia Service streamer is awarded to units in recognition of their service during the Persian Gulf War. In order to receive the streamer, the unit must have served in support of Operation Desert Shield or Operation Desert Storm in at least one of the following areas: Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea from north of 10° N latitude and west of 68° E longitude, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. The dates that the service had to be performed between are August 2, 1990 and November, 30 1995. Units who served in Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Syria or Jordan in direct support of combat operations between January 17, 1991 and April 11, 1991 are also eligible to receive the Southwest Asia Service streamer.

Kosovo Campaign

 Established in 2000 by President Bill Clinton, the Kosovo Campaign streamer recognized units that performed service in Kosovo between March 24, 1999 and December 31, 2013. In order to receive the award, the unit must be “participating in, or be engaged in direct support of, the operation for 30 consecutive days in the area of operations or for 60 non-consecutive days provided this support involves entering the area of operations.” Award of the streamer can be given in special circumstances for less than 30 days of service, provided one of the following criteria are met.

The unit or a member of the unit must:

“Be engaged in actual combat, or duty that is equally as hazardous as combat duty, during the operation with armed opposition, regardless of time in the area of operations;

While participating in the operation, regardless of time, is wounded or injured and requires medical evacuation from the area of operations.

While participating as a regularly assigned aircrew member flying sorties into, out of, within, or over the area of operations in direct support of the military operations.”

Stay tuned next week as we move forward in time to cover the: Afghanistan Campaign, Iraq Campaign, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary, Global War on Terrorism Service, Philippine Defense, and Philippine Liberation streamers. Be sure to check out the previous editions of our 10 part series below.

PART 1  PART 2  PART 3  PART 4  PART 5  PART 6  PART 7

Battle Streamers of the United States Marine Corps: Part 7

As we continue on our journey forward in time, the seventh part of our 10 Part Series on the Battle Streamers of the Marine Corps takes us up to and through World War II and the awards handed out for service during World War II and immediately following World War II. Because the war took place in a number of different locations, many awards were created to recognize service in differing regions of the world. While World War I was fought nearly exclusively in Europe, World War II had a number of different theaters to include the American Theater, European Theater, and Pacific Theater. Follow along as we cover each theater and the awards associated with service in each.

American Defense Service

Established in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the American Defense Service streamer was awarded to units that “performed military duty between September 8, 1939 and December 7, 1941.” These dates signify the period of World War II in which the United States had not formally participated. On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the United States in the famous Attack on Pearl Harbor. After the attack, the United States became heavily involved in the war and subsequent service streamers were created to commemorate those campaigns.

American Campaign

Established in 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the American Campaign streamer was awarded to units who served in the American Theater during World War II. The American Theater consists of North and South America as well as the neighboring islands in the region. The vast majority of the action during World War II took place in Europe and Asia; however many well known battles did take place in the American Theater, including the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the Aleutian Islands Campaign and the attacks on Newfoundland. To receive the award, a unit must have served with the American theater between December 7, 1941 and March 2, 1946 and met one of the following criteria:

-On permanent assignment outside the continental limits of the United States

-Permanently assigned as a member of a crew of a vessel sailing ocean waters for a period of 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days

-Outside the continental limits of the United States in a passenger status or on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days

-In active combat against the enemy and was awarded a combat decoration or furnished a certificate by the commanding general of a corps, higher unit, or independent force that the Soldier actually participated in combat

-Within the continental limits of the United States for an aggregate period of 1 year

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign

Established in 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign streamer was awarded to units that “had performed military duty in the European Theater (to include North Africa and the Middle East) during the years of the Second World War.” The majority of the conflicts during World War II occurred in the European Theater and US Marines were instrumental in securing victory on the European front. Known as the EAME streamer for short, the award is given to units who served between December 7, 1941 and March 2, 1946 assuming the service took place between the following locations:

-West boundary – From the North Pole, south along the 75th meridian west longitude to the 77th parallel north latitude, thence southeast through Davis Strait to the intersection of the 40th parallel north latitude and the 35th meridian west longitude, thence south along that meridian to the 10th parallel north latitude, thence southeast to the intersection of the equator and the 20th meridian west longitude, thence along the 20th meridian west longitude to the South Pole

-East boundary – From the North Pole, south along the 60th meridian east longitude to its intersection with the eastern border of Iran, thence south along that border to the Gulf of Oman and the intersection of the 60th meridian east longitude, thence south along the 60th meridian east longitude to the South Pole.

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign

Established in 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign streamer was awarded to units that “served in the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945.” The United States Marine Corps participated in 50 campaigns in the Pacific Theater. Therefore, the streamer is adorned with eight silver stars and one bronze star. Each Silver Star signifies six awards of the streamer and each bronze star signifies an additional award. Some notable campaigns that occurred in the Pacific Theater include the Battle of Midway, Wake Island and Guadalcanal.

World War II Victory

Established in 1945 by an Act of Congress, the World War II Victory streamer was awarded to units “for service between 7 December 1941 and 31 December 1946.” Originally called the “Victory streamer,” the award was issued to units, both active duty and reserve, who served between the dates listed above. In an interesting twist, despite the namesake, some units received the award without actually participating in World War II. This is because President Harry Truman did not declare an official end to war until the end of 1946, even though the war ended on September 2, 1945. Therefore, receipt of the award does not necessarily signify that a unit fought in World War II, but instead was a part of the military at some point prior to December 31, 1946.

Navy Occupation Service

After the close of World War II, much like after World War I, United States troops occupied regions of Europe and Asia to enforce post-war sanctions and ensure stability in the region. While the streamer is a Navy award, it can be “issued to Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel who participated in the European and Asian occupation forces during World War II, and following the close of the World War II.” Because forces occupied regions of Europe and Asia, two service clasps bearing the name of the region are authorized for attachment if a unit served in that region. If a unit served in both regions, both clasps are authorized.

Follow along next week as we move forward in time to cover the National Defense Service, Korean Service, Armed Forces Expeditionary, Vietnam Service, Southwest Asia Service, and Kosovo Campaign streamers. Be sure to check out the previous editions of our series below as well!

PART 1  PART 2  PART 3  PART 4  PART 5  PART 6

Battle Streamers of the United States Marine Corps: Part 6

In the sixth installation of our 10 Part Series on the Battle Streamers of the United States Marine Corps, we move forward in time to cover more modern history. In this installation, we see the rise of Germany as the primary enemy of the United States. In our previous edition, you learned that Germany supported the rebel forces during the Haitian Campaign, leading to tense relations between the two nations. In this edition, you will see the tension develop and finally reach a breaking point during World War I. This period of United States military history also signifies the rise of the United States as a true world power and dominant presence in international relations.

Dominican Campaign

By 1916, the Dominican Republic had endured a number of military coups and changes in power. This was causing tension and unrest in the area and the United States felt it necessary to intervene and stabilize the region, especially since they were simultaneously reconstructing Haiti, which shares a border with the Dominican Republic. On May 13, 1916, under the threat of military action from the United States, the Dominican Republic’s Secretary of War Desiderio Arias left the Dominican Republic for good. Within two months, the United States Marines had seized control of the country and began to restore order. Only the eastern region, the area that borders Haiti, was still in utter chaos. However by 1921 the eastern rebels were defeated and the United States had restored complete order to the Dominican Republic. Crippling debt was eliminated, the government had a balanced budget, and the economy was once again growing. Massive infrastructure was also built and new roads were paved while a new and legitimate military was formed. By 1924, a democratic President had been elected, and control was once again handed over to the Dominican Republic, making them a sovereign nation.  For a unit to receive the Dominican Campaign streamer, they “must have performed active military duty in the Dominican Republic between the dates of May 5 and December 4, 1916.”

World War I Victory

World War I is a war with which most Americans are familiar. The war was one of the deadliest in world history, with over 9 million soldiers killed in battle. Initially, the United States stayed neutral, attempting to reach peace without intervention. However when a German U-boat sank the British ship RMS Lusitania, 128 Americans were killed and the wheels were set in motion for American involvement in World War I. The breaking point was the Zimmerman Telegram, sent by the German Foreign Minister, which urged Mexico to join the war as a German ally against the United States. The Mexicans would receive German financing to win back Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in return. The telegraph was intercepted and published for the American public. They believed this was a reason to enter the war. The United States entered the war and helped to secure victory for the Allies on November 11, 1918. Originally known as the Victory Streamer, the World War I Victory streamer was awarded to units who had served in the United States armed forces between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918. It was also awarded between November 12, 1918 and August 5, 1919 in European Russia or November 23, 1918 and April 1, 1920 with the American Expeditionary Force Siberia.

Army Occupation of Germany

After World War I, Germany faced a number of sanctions as part of the terms of the armistice that ended the war. From 1918 until 1923, members of the United States armed forces, including a number of Marines, served in Germany or areas formerly occupied by Germany and Austria-Hungary to enforce the terms and occupy the countries to ensure civility. The Army Occupation of Germany streamer was awarded retroactively to units “of the U.S. military who served in the European occupation force following the close of the First World War.”

Second Nicaraguan Campaign

Following the initial campaign in Nicaragua in 1912, the United States turned oversight of rebel forces over to the Nicaraguan government. By 1926, the rebels were once again wreaking havoc and causing civil unrest. On August 27, 1926, Marines entered Nicaragua to protect the lives, as well as property of American citizens. Bandits had been pillaging goods and harming US citizens to get it. Once the Americans were protected, the Marines turned their attention to supporting the Nicaraguan government in suppressing thievery and insurrection. The Marines were also instrumental in training the national police force and supervising national elections in order to avoid corruption and unrest. By 1933, the job was done, and Nicaragua was once again a civil nation capable of governing itself. The Second Nicaraguan Campaign streamer is awarded to units that “served on a United States ship or as an embarked Marine, in the waters or land territory of Nicaragua between the dates of August 27, 1926 and January 2, 1933.”

Yangtze Service

From 1926-27, the US Navy, supported by Marines on the ground, served in China on the Yangtze River and in Shanghai to protect American civilians during the Chinese Civil War. Acts of violence against foreigners were rampant, and the United States decided to step in to protect lives. Once peace was reached, the US military presence retreated; however they were called back into action on March 1, 1930 when the Yangtze River valley experienced severe flooding. This time, the military was working in a humanitarian capacity to aid millions of Chinese who were left homeless by the flooding until 1932. The Yangtze Service streamer was awarded to units “for service in the Yangtze River Valley between the dates of September 3, 1926 and December 31, 1932.”

China Service

From 1937-1939, Marines worked in conjunction with the Navy to protect Americans residing in the international settlement in Shanghai. Tensions between China and Japan had boiled over, and Japan was becoming increasingly hostile towards neutral parties such as Americans in China. Aerial bombings were becoming increasingly more frequent as the US Military worked to evacuate United States citizens. By 1939, Americans had been safely evacuated just prior to the start of World War II. After World War II, US troops once again entered China to enforce the Japanese terms of their surrender. The troops were stationed in China and assisted the Chinese government both militarily and in humanitarian efforts to provide food and supplies to famished civilians along the Yangtze River and in Chinese mainland. The effort was complete in 1957 and troops withdrew from the region. The China Service streamer was awarded to units that “served ashore in China or who were attached to any of the vessels that operated in support of the operations in China between 7 July 1937, and 7 September 1939 or between September 2, 1945 and April 1, 1957.”

Stay tuned next week as we cover the American Defense Service, American Campaign, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, World War II Victory and Navy Occupation Service streamers. Also, be sure to check out the previous editions of our 10 part series below!

PART 1  PART 2  PART 3  PART 4  PART 5