Stay On The Move With Salomon Forces Footwear

Christian Beekman2 comments
Salomon has been a huge force in the outdoor sports industry for decades, becoming a top brand for skiers, hikers and mountaineers. Over the past 15 years, their shoes also began to gain a foothold within military and law enforcement special operations units throughout the world.

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Quick Step-Guide for Quicklace Replacement

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In this video, Ed Castellanos and Hugh Rickenbacker give step-by-step directions on how to replace the laces on your Salomon boots.

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Warrior's Way with "Mad Max" Mullen

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The idea of a warrior is defined by those who embody the Warrior Spirit.  He may be retired, but "Mad Max" is still an active member of the tactical community.  Find out more about him in this interview with US Elite's CEO Steve Keefer.

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Mad Max Pays Tribute to Major Thomas Greer

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Howard "Mad Max" Mullen shares a story about a pair of Salomons that remind him of something so much more.

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Bone Induction Headphones [WHAT!!]

Christian Beekman1 comment
Time to remove the earbuds and take in all that motivates you. The Aftershockz Treckz Air are designed to stay in place and keep up with you during the most rigorous activities.

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Baldy – a True Role Model Fighting the Ultimate Fight

Steve Keefer2 comments
Too often we memorialize someone when he/she passes. Well I want to turn that upside down and give a shout out to an incredibly special person who I’m proud to call friend and fellow American/human. Stage 4 cancer has a death grip on him but he keeps hanging on (and he’ll kick my ass for outing him!). He lives the ‘Quiet Professional’ ethos through and through but Baldy, may you inspire others as you’ve inspired me and so many! 

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Toolin Around with Sex, Drugs & Rock n’ Roll! A Spiritual Journey with Veterans

Steve Keefer

This is a story about a bunch of Veterans, an RV, a U-Haul with a stripper pole, free love, and an education in American history. And on top of all that, we got to see Tool play at The Gorge. What a deeply spiritual experience – a truly epic weekend!

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When Hell Freezes Over

Steve Keefer1 comment

Tired of the summer heat yet? Take refuge with Steve's memoir as they brave -2 degree temperatures.

Hell yes! I’m talking about the National Toboggan Championship. Camden, Maine. February 9-11, 2017. That was one for the ages. And I’m finally ready to share some of that fateful occasion with you.

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Historical Highlights - June 22nd

Christian Beekman

Photo by Pvt Bob Bailey, USMC

 

The last major battle of World War II came to a bloody end on June 22nd, 1945  when the last few Japanese soldiers remaining on the southern peninsula of Okinawa.

82 days of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific Theatre had begun on April 1st, 1945. Okinawa was to be the last objective in a long campaign of island hopping. it would serve as a base for aircraft supporting the planned assault on the home Japanese islands.  Casualties were immense on both sides, with US forces suffering 12,520 killed in action, and 55,162 wounded, while estimates of Japanese killed in action totals range from 77,000 to 110,000. Over 7,000 Japanese soldiers would surrender, a significant departure from previous battles in the Pacific. However, some of these were local Okinawan civilians who had been pressed into service by Japanese forces.

The presence of civilians on Okinawa provided a dark contrast to to previous island campaigns. Okinawa had an estimated civilian population of around 300,000. By the end of the battle, nearly half of them would be dead. Many, including children were forcibly drafted by the Japanese, or used as human shields. Others were directed to commit suicide, as Japanese propaganda indicated that the Americans would brutalize them. And many were simply caught up in the fighting, killed by airstrikes or artillery, or indiscriminate gunfire.

The unprecedented carnage on all sides got amplified by the dismal conditions  Heavy rains turned Okinawa into a thick, muddy soup. Vehicles were nearly useless in those kinds of conditions. Bodies would be swallowed up by the muck, so it was difficult to retrieve them for burial. As a result, thousands of dead would litter the battlefield, permeating everything with the stench and taste of death. These horrifying conditions, coupled with constant artillery and mortar fire, lead to more cases of what we would today call PTSD than any other Pacific Theatre engagement

While the US did eventually capture the island, securing the needed airbase to support a direct invasion of Japan, the sheer brutality may have contributed to American military leaders seeking an alternative to an amphibious landing on the mainland. That would come in the controversial use of two atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and so Okinawa was the last major battle of the war.  

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Historical Highlights- June 20th

Christian Beekman
June 20th, 1925 is the birthday of America’s most decorated service members, Audie Murphy. In his service as a US Army infantryman in WWII, Murphy would receive virtually every combat valor award the Army had to offer, as well several high profile awards from France and Belgium.
 
Audie Murphy came from humble beginnings. Born into a large, impoverished family of Irish sharecroppers in Texas, Murphy was the seventh of twelve siblings. His father Emmett, was largely absentee, and eventually left his family altogether. Dropping out of middle school to support his family by picking cotton, Murphy also helped feed his family buying hunting small game and honed his shill with a rifle. Tragically, his mother Josie died of pneumonia and endocarditis in May 1941 when Murphy was only sixteen.
 
Audie Murphy had wanted to be a soldier since an early age, and after his mother's death, that desire intensified. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, Murphy attempted to enlist. He was turned down by the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, all for the same reasons: He was underage and underweight. Undeterred, Murphy tried again, gaining some weight and getting a fake signed affidavit from his sister that stated he was of age for military service. On June 30th, 1942, Audie Murphy enlisted into the United States Army in Dallas. Even after packing on the pounds, Murphy was considered undersized at 112 pounds and 5 feet 5 inches of height. He had to resist attempts to transfer him out the infantry to a non-combat role. After completing basic training and advanced infantry school, Private Audie Murphy was sent to the North African theatre assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, part of the 3rd Infantry Division.
 
Murphy would see combat in Sicily and Italy, and earn many awards and commendations, but his most famous action is the one cited for earning him the Medal of Honor. Murphy ,who had by this point received a battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant, was the only officer left to lead Company B as they awaited badlyneeded reinforcements near Holtzwhir, France. On January 26th, 1945, a German infantry counterattack supported by six tanks began. Company B was woefully under strength with only 18 soldiers of it’s original 235 available for action. After a M10 tank destroyer got struck German rounds, setting it ablaze and forcing the crew to dismount, Murphy ordered his men to fall back to prepared positions in a treeline. Reaming at his post with just an M1 carbine, he fired at the advancing German force, while using his wire telephone to direct artillery onto the enemy force. He then mounted the flaming M10, and engaged the enemy formation with the mounted M2 heavy machine gun while under withering fire from German troops for an hour. Murphy continued to pour on the rounds even after getting wounded in the leg. After running out of ammo for the M2, Murphy returned to his men and rallied them for a counterattack, with total disregard for his wound. When asked about why he mounted the M2 to fight alone, Murphy replied “They were killing my friends.”
 
Murphy’s Medal of Honor joined a staggering list of battlefield awards: A Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars (one with “V” device), and three Purple Hearts. Murphy also received the both the French and Belgian version of the Croix de Guerre, as well as the French Legion of Honor. After the war, Murphy began a burgeoning career in films in the late 1940s, famously playing himself in the screen adaption of his autobiography To Hell and Back. Murphy struggled heavily with post traumatic stress, financial issues, and addictions to drugs and alcohol. He spoke honestly about the horrors of his military services and advocated for a greater investigation into the effects of battle stress, and improved health care for returning veterans. Murphy died in a plane crash on May 28th, 1971. He was only 46.
 
Audie Murphy’s life is a testament to the diverse circumstances that lead to military service. Never the prototypical chiseled image of a soldier, he rose above perceived physical limitations with his dedicated character and service above and beyond all expectations . His struggles later in life also serve to highlight the continued need to help servicemembers deal with the trauma that war will always bring.

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