You Won’t Believe These Incredible Military Stories

Members of the armed forces know that they often come away with plenty of stories. These range from sad, to inspirational, scary, to downright hilarious. We found some of the best military stories service members had to share. You will not want to miss out on any of these tales from those who keep our countries safe.

1. Dirty barracks made for a gross discovery

cat watching mouse
These military members could have used one of these. | fergregory/iStock/Getty Images

Reddit user Securitywyrm did a tour of duty in Korea. During the end of their deployment, his unit received an order to switch barracks. They did not particularly like the idea, since their members slept in a brand new building with nice facilities. When they moved into the older facilities, they made a horrifying discovery.

“The former residents of the terrible barracks … were the medical staff of the on base hospital,” Securityywyrm explained. They got moved because some of the residents befriended mice and kept them as pets. As a result, the drop ceilings became infested. “One of our soldiers made the mistake of lifting one of the ceiling panels and several corpses and a flood of [poop] fell down.”

Next: This soldier saw such a beautiful sight, he never forgot it.

2. This experience stuck with him for a decade

a field of golden wheat under a blue sky
A field of tranquility made an impact on this military man. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Reddit user Lapsed__Pacifist spent a tour in Hawijah in Iraq in 2008, in a heavily agricultural area. One day, he got sent to examine a crop-processing plant. They stopped about a mile from the plant by accident, and had to cross a field of wheat to get there. He never forgot the way his patrol leader made them walk through the field.

“The wheat was just about waist high, soft as silk and it smelled like home. After a year of smelling dust, sand, diesel fuel and burning trash, the wheat smelled heavenly,” he said. “There was a light breeze, that made the wheat ripple in waves, like the wind over an ocean I hadn’t seen (and sorely missed) in months.” Each soldier left enough space between them that they each became “like a little ship sailing through an ocean of wheat,” he said.

“Each man was alone with his thoughts, the distances were too great for casual banter, and for the once the radios were silent. That silence, after almost a year of living life at full volume was as golden as the wheat we tramped through.” He still thinks about that field, remembering a perfect moment in such imperfect circumstances.

Next: Not staying familiar with your equipment can carry consequences.

3. This parachute gave one recruit a scare

a parachute man lands during military exercises in myanmar
When learning to parachute, you should know what kind you’re using. | Lynn Bo Bo/AFP/Getty Images

“Knowing is half the battle,” explained Funnytoss. “Something perfectly innocuous can appear dangerous, and vice versa.” When working in Taiwan, this particular unit used T-10B parachutes, and had not seen a failure in more than 10 years. Those parachutes also did not give the user much control, so they introduced MC-1 parachutes with holes in them for better steering. When that happened, some of the new chutes got mixed up into a warehouse full of T-10Bs.

“One fine morning, a student class freshly done with ground training is jumping out of the Air Force’s C-130s for the first time,” he explained. When one recruit went to jump out of the plane, he got freaked out when he looked up to inspect his parachute. “There are holes in my canopy! Pull the reserve chute!” he shouted. He made it to the ground with two perfect parachutes.

Next: This guy learned how to talk to his superiors in the following story.

4. Pro tip: Don’t threaten your superiors like this guy

Jake LaMotta fights against Sugar Ray Robinson in 1951
We imagine that beat-down did not look as professional as this one. | Staff/AFP/Getty Images

Reddit user RememberU2U recalls his grandfather as a chain-smoking, East Texas native who joined the Navy to get three square meals and a change of clothes each day. As a kid, his smart mouth got him into trouble during basic training. “He felt like his instructor was being unfairly harsh on him, so he, a rail-thin, 5’5″ 17-year-old, told him that if it weren’t for the stripes on his shirt, he’d kick his ass.” According to family legend, the instructor took him behind the barracks, removed his shirt, and invited the recruit to do just that. Of course, the commander won that battle.

Next: If you ever shower in communal places, you might already know this one.

5. Use this tip for a successful communal shower

a man showering, close-up
When heading to the shower, this military man has a good tip for you. | iStock/Getty Images

Securitywyrm also shared a great tip for how to make sure you make it into the shower. “You take a big glob of it and put it on top of your head,” he explained. It gives recruits one fewer thing to carry to and from the showers, but also serves another purpose. “If a sergeant it looking for ‘a body’ to do something … they’re going to grab the first person they see, even if that person is on the way to the showers,” he said. “if you already have shampoo on your head, then you can’t be ‘in uniform’ with that on your head!” Remember that, if you ever find yourself in that situation.

Next: Speaking of showers, you might want one after the following story.

6. This man got himself into a dirty situation

a port-o-potty in a field
This man really regretted not keeping better track of his rifle. | Natalie Behring/Getty Images

As a young British soldier, Operatornaught got the urge in the middle of the night and went to the port-o-potty. Since the unit had a policy against lights at night, he had to get the job done in the dark. “I put my rifle in the corner in the pitch black and, unknown to me, the sling had dropped into the toilet pan,” he explained. After finishing, the results were stinky and bright orange from the rations they ate. He picked up the rifle and slung it over his shoulder to head back to bed.

“The whole way back, I’m smelling s***, but I just think it’s lingering because of time I’ve spent in the loo,” he explained. Recruits had to sleep with their rifles around them or in their sleeping bags, and he chose the latter. I make it back to my sleeping back and go to zip up. Your rifle has to either be slung around you or in your sleeping bag with you. “I zip my sleeping bag right up over my head, so I can put my head [lamp] on and then I see it.” He had gotten covered all over with his own excrement. Needless to say, he stunk for the entire 10-day exercise.

Next: This next fire marshall made a mistake his ship could never forget.

7. No one forgot this malfunction for a long time

a firefighter sprays dry, brown woods with a fire hose
Imagine a stream this strong of, well, something else. | Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

As part of Bobula_Bob’s duties as fire marshall, he had to deal with vacuum collection holding tank toilet malfunctions. That means the toilet required a pump to suck out the contents. On his first night on the job, the entire system went down. “It requires taking apart several pipes, hammering wooden plugs into the openings, and connecting the fire main and flushing full pressure firehouses into the pipes to unblock the clog,” he explained. And yes, the job gets as messy as it sounds. The fire marshall and one other man took an hour to get everything plugged in and ready to go. At that point, he switched channels on his radio so he could switch on the controls and talk to the fireman making sure the plugs stay in.

“Everything’s going fine, but then I hear a half garbled message on the radio, and then frantic shouting,” he said. “I headed down to see what happened and all of the plugs popped and I was blowing s*** at the speed of a firehouse.” The poor fireman, the walls, and everything got completely covered. To add insult to injury, when flushing it all out with fire hoses, the marshall accidentally flooded the berths below with dirty water.

Next: Readers with sensitive stomachs might have to skip this next one.

8. You do not want to try this ‘brand’ of soda

cans of coca-cola
If you picked up this coke can, you would regret it. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

When TtDilbert served in the Navy, a lot of his fellow sailors used tobacco. Some smoked, some dipped, using a paper cup, a napkin, or toilet paper for a spittoon. A man nicknamed Petty Officer Dipper used to drink half a can of coke and then use that instead. Petty Officer Slab, on the other hand, used to mooch other people’s cokes.

One day, PO Dipper, PO Slab, and others all hung out drinking cokes. PO Slab grabbed the first half-empty one he saw to steal a sip. He took a drink and said, “This coke tastes weird.” You can guess whose can he grabbed. “Once somebody calms down enough to explain why it tasted funny, he goes green about the gills and takes off for the nearest [toilet],” TtDilbert explained. Those ended Slab’s mooching days.

Next: This recruit gave a unique reason for enlisting.

9. The most interesting reason to join the Navy

military members marching wearing combat boots and camo
People join the military for lots of reasons, including this one. | ChrisSupersea/iStock/Getty Images

When Reddit user Tincansailorman joined the Navy, the Company Commander lined everyone up during boot camp and berated them for their reasons to join. According to him, if you needed money for college, you should have gotten a student loan. Then again, he said, you may not have the smarts if you wound up in the Navy. Family tradition? You must be a mama’s boy. “Our CC rolled up Rodney Rufus Thibodeaux III who was 35 years old … and perhaps had five teeth in his head,” Tincansailorman recounted. “Scowling up at at Rodney he snarled, What the f*** are YOU doing in my Navy, old man?’”

“Nonplussed, Rodney, starting straight over his head and keeping a straight face replied in his gentle Cajun accent, ‘I wants me a new set of teeth, suh.’” The CC tried to think up a comeback, but couldn’t do it. “I’ve never had a funnier situation I couldn’t laugh at in my entire life,” Tincansailorman said. For his part, Rodney became a legend. And yes, he left the Navy with a full set of new teeth.

Next: The next recruit learned an odd way to land a copter.

10. This man learned to land a helicopter in a strange way


a military helicopter landing in a field
This military member expected to see something more like this. | Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

When he finished his training as a Radio Systems Operator, Redditor Ancisace got sent to Germany for his first exercise. He ended up on the night shift, checking the oil in the generator and doing frequency changes. “It was dull, boring and my Gameboy Advance got one h*** of a workout,” he said. One night, the duty sergeant asked him to wave off a helicopter from a courtyard next door, since it did not have enough room to land.

“Go get some glow sticks from the support tent and the storeman will tell you what to do. Make sure you have your helmet,” the sergeant told him. He did as he was told, making sure he had glowsticks, a rifle, and a helmet on. “Finally, I hear the sounds of the helicopter coming in … The ‘helicopter’ was six blokes huddled together, walking out from among the bushes. One of them was swinging a glow stick on a piece of paracord in lieu of a rotor, and all six of them were helpfully making helicopter noises as they ‘came in to land..’” He “waved them off,” but the errant “helicopter” ignored him. “I guess I needed more practice handling ‘helicopters.’”

Next: Stomach bugs happen in the military, too.

11. When you gotta go, you gotta go

Canine TSA dog and partner
Even this hard-working dog does not approve of this kind of behavior. | Mark Mainz/Getty Images

After the camp cook forgot to wash his hands, MisterKillam and the rest of the platoon all got sick. Since they could not get rid of him, MisterKillam subsequently got assigned to keep an eye on the chef. A week in, he went to the kitchen to read and give his roommate some privacy, and one of the camp workers joined him.

“One of the [camp] dogs walked past, pooped on the ground, and kept going on. ‘Whatever,’ I thought to myself. ‘Someone will get that in the morning.’” A few pages later, a team medic came by with toilet paper in his hand. “I watched on in confused horror as he stopped in front of the dog poo, dropped his trousers, and [went] on top of it. He wiped, pointed and laughed for a bit, and went on his way.” MisterKillam looked to his companion to confirm what he just saw. He will never forget what his friend said next: “Don’t look at me, I just make the coffee.”

Next: This supervising officer learned not to ask a question if you do not want the answer.

12. Were you raised in a barn?

an abandoned barn in a green field
We all grow up in different environments, some more civilized than others. | mcrosno/iStock/Getty Images

When a new recruit spat on the floor, the drill sergeant — understandably — took him to task. As Securitywyrm heard it, the following exchange took place. “Did you just spit on that floor?” “Yes Drill Sergeant.” “Were you raised in a barn?” “Yes Drill Sergeant.” As it turns out, the young soldier really did not know not to spit indoors. “The look on [the drill sergeant’s] face was one of bewilderment.”

Next: Sometimes, getting your own room comes at a price.

13. This guy’s great room turned into a nightmare

Close-up of assorted incense products representing Zen idea
This is one way to get rid of a military haunting. | istockphotoluis/iStock/Getty Images

When Reddit user and Air Force member ValentineSmith22 first arrived in his new military assignment, he got a private room in the barracks. When he had trouble sleeping, he chalked it up to a new time zone and a new situation. “A few weeks later, a Chief Master Sergeant from the squadron paid me a friendly visit. After entering the room, he walked over to the the wall where the bed was tethered, and pointed to a painted-over hole in the wall.” The chief master sergeant told him an airman had committed suicide in that room.

Some time later, ValentineSmith22 consulted a psychic about it, who told him the soul still inhabited the room because he did not know he died. “She told me to light a candle, burn incense, and speak to the ghost over and over again, telling him that he was dead and he had to move on.” While the airman did not really believe in the supernatural, he figured it couldn’t hurt. He slept a little better after that, but still transferred the next chance he got.

Next: This recruit almost got discharged for a strange reason.

14. Dietary restrictions almost got this guy out

military members eat at a mess hall
The military apparently could not accommodate this dietary restriction. | Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

When Reddit user Razumny first enlisted in the military, he got introduced to the mess hall officer by his squad leader. The mess hall officer asked if he was Jewish, and he replied in the affirmative. He wanted to talk dietary needs. “See, here’s the thing, if you tell me that you need Glat Kosher, I’m unable to accommodate you, and you will be back on the train to Oslo this evening,” said the mess hall officer. Razumny asked if that meant he would get discharged if he needed Glat Kosher food, and the mess hall officer affirmed that yes, he could not accommodate those restrictions.

“Well, I want to be here,” said Razumny. “I don’t eat pork or shellfish, and I don’t mix milk and meat. Other than that, I’m good to go, sir.” In case you ever wondered, apparently certain dietary restrictions make a good cause for discharge, at least in one man’s experience.

Next: What happens when you meet your enemy after the war?

15. When you meet the enemy, this is what to do

Handshake between two colleagues in office
This grandfather had an important lesson from his military service. | Saklakova/iStock/Getty Images

Reddit user Osiris32’s grandfather served in the military during World War II and became a firefighter when he came home. One day, he stopped at a diner on his way home from the overnight shift to read the paper and grab some breakfast. When he sat down, the other man at the counter said hello in a heavy German accent. “Grandpa, being an extroverted and curious individual, got out of his seat and moved over to introduce himself,” Osiris32 explained. “The German eventually admitted that he’d been a soldier in the war, captured in Italy in 1943, and sent to to States to work in a POW camp in Idaho.” They got talking, and it turned out the two served on opposite sides in North Africa.

When he finished his meal, the firefighter stuck out his hand to the German man. “The war is over,” he said. “No hard feelings, right?” The man smiled, shook his hand and said, “Ja, no hard feelings. We both did our jobs. That’s all that was expected of us.” They never saw each other again. Osiris32’s grandfather told the story for the rest of his life, to teach one important lesson: When the war is over, don’t hold onto hate.

Follow The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!