Genghis Khan. Conan the Barbarian.

John Wayne Troxtell?

Count Army Command Sgt. Maj. Troxtell, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the most senior NCO in the armed forces, among those martial leaders whose boasts of martial mercilessness drive legends — or memes, at least. We refer, of course, to the controversial post Troxtell published on his Facebook page yesterday:

ISIS needs to understand that the Joint Force is on orders to annihilate them. So, they have two options should they…

Posted by Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sure, it’s a SEAC’s job to get the troops amped up for duty. But when Defense Secretary James Mattis unveiled a new “annihilation campaign” against ISIS last year, it’s not clear he had entrenching-tool beatdowns in mind. Maybe Troxtell was just trying to one-up that anonymous British SAS sergeant who (allegedly) decapitated an ISIS militant with a spade after running out of ammo. (Who wants to be outdone by the British?)

Unsurprisingly, there’s a long, proud tradition in the U.S. military of beating down adversaries with whatever you have on hand in those extreme moments when it’s called for. Whether it’s with an E-tool, a rifle butt, or just your mitts, there’s nothing that screams dedication like bludgeoning the enemy to death. Here are some of our favorites, with thanks to Military Times’ Hall of Valor:

Navy Corpsman Fred Henry McGuire

Date: September 24, 1911

Mission: Moro rebellion, Philippines

Weapon of choice: His spent rifle

What’s the deal? Part of a shore party deployed to an island in the Philippines a decade after the U.S. war there, McGuire defended his wounded colleagues amid a sudden attack by 20 ethnic Moros until reinforcements arrived.

Tell me more: From the citation: “After emptying his rifle into the attackers, he closed in with rifle, using it as a club to wage fierce battle until his comrades arrived on the field, when he rallied to the aid of his dying leader and other wounded.”

Marine Maj. Smedley Darlington Butler

Marine Maj. Smedley Darlington Butler

Date: November 17, 1915

Mission: U.S. occupation of Haiti

Weapon of choice: His bare hands

What’s the deal? The son of a well-connected former U.S. congressman, as well as an anti-war crusader later in life, Smedley Butler is one of two Marines who received two Medals of Honor — including this one, earned in Haiti, for getting grabby in an assault on Fort Riviere.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Reaching the fort on the southern side where there was a small opening in the wall, Major Butler gave the signal to attack and Marines from the 15th Company poured through the breach, engaged the Cacos in hand-to-hand combat, took the bastion and crushed the Caco resistance.”

Army Pvts. Jerome Buschmann, William F. Rockwell, John C. Rockwell, Alfred Shimanoski, and Watzlaw Viniarsky

Date: July 18, 1918

Mission: World War I

Weapon of choice: Their mitts

What’s the deal? The five privates, all from Company G, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2d Division, American Expeditionary Forces, all picked up Distinguished Service Crosses during World War I for beating the living daylights out of a detachment of 60 German soldiers.

Tell me more: From their citation[s]: The men distinguished themselves by “attacking a party of more than 60 Germans and, in an intense and desperate hand-to-hand fight, succeeded in killing 22 men and capturing 40 men and five machine-guns.”

Army Sgt. Troy McGill

Date: March 4, 1944

Mission: World War II

Weapon of choice: His spent rifle

What’s the deal? McGill’s eight-man squad was pinned down in a fortification on Papua New Guinea’s Los Negros Island amid “a furious attack by approximately 200 drink-crazed enemy troops,” leaving only McGill and one other soldier standing under heavy machine-gun fire. Cut off from his fellow troops, McGill ordered the other soldier to retreat before holding his ground to the death.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Courageously resolved to hold his position at all cost, he fired his weapon until it ceased to function. Then, with the enemy only five yards away, he charged from his foxhole in the face of certain death and clubbed the enemy with his rifle in hand-to-hand combat until he was killed.”

Marine Corps Platoon Sgt. James P. Whalen

Date: June 19, 1944

Mission: World War II

Weapon of choice: His E-tool and an enemy saber

What’s the deal? When his rifle suddenly failed during a firefight with Japanese forces on the Mariana Islands, Whalen used his E-tool to hold off a gaggle of charging Japanese soldiers wielding swords.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Bravely swinging his shovel he almost decapitated the first Japanese thereby temporarily disorganizing the group and giving his comrades time to organize effective gun fire which killed the entire enemy group.”

Army Sgt. Harold O. Messerschmidt

Army Sgt. Harold O. Messerschmidt

Date: September 17, 1944

Mission: World War II

Weapon of choice: His spent submachine gun

What’s the deal? Wounded by automatic fire while supporting his unit in France, Messerschmidt spent the last moments of his life braining angry Germans with his submachine gun.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Virtually surrounded by a frenzied foe and all of his squad now casualties, he elected to fight alone, using his empty submachine gun as a bludgeon against his assailants. Spotting one of the enemy about to kill a wounded comrade, he felled the German with a blow of his weapon. Seeing friendly reinforcements running up the hill, he continued furiously to wield his empty gun against the foe in a new attack, and it was thus that he made the supreme sacrifice.”

Army Pvt. 1st Class Warren Nilchee

Date: January 8, 1945

Mission:  World War II

Weapon of choice: His bare hands

What’s the deal? While on a mission protecting an enemy flank during operations in Luxembourg to repel the German military’s final counteroffensive, Nilchee’s squad spent four hours clearing an entire building. When he ran out of ammo and hand grenades, Nilchee turned to his fists, earning a Silver Star.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Finally forced to withdraw to a building after carrying three wounded men to the building with him, Private First Class Nilchee refused to retreat further and doggedly fought from room to room using hand grenades, bayonet, and captured weapons against the numerically superior enemy. After four hours of savage hand-to-hand combat, twenty-five Germans surrendered to the remaining eight Americans, five of whom were wounded.”

Army Pvt. 1st Class Bobbie L. Merrill

Date: March 7, 1945

Mission: World War II

Weapon of choice: His E-tool and an enemy saber

What’s the deal? Merrill was awarded his Distinguished Service Cross for protecting a critical defensive position in the Ryukyu Islands in Japan from multiple enemy assaults, using his E-tool to commandeer a Japanese officer’s katana.

Tell me more: From the citation: “When with mounting intensity the enemy attacked for the third time, he emptied his pistol into the charging forces, and grasping an entrenching tool, attacked and killed a Japanese officer. Seizing the dead man’s saber, he turned upon another enemy officer and engaged him in a violent duel, finally killing him.”

Army Sgt. John R. McKinney

Date: May 11, 1945

Mission: World War II

Weapon of choice: His spent rifle

What’s the deal? With a machine gun nest rendered inoperable at a strategic outpost in the Philippines, McKinney resorted to using his rifle butt to beat down Japanese soldiers between reloads, earning the Medal of Honor.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Leaping into the emplacement, he shot seven of them at point blank range and killed three more with his rifle but … He warily changed position, secured more ammunition, and reloading repeatedly, cut down waves of the fanatical enemy with devastating fire or clubbed them to death in hand-to-hand combat.”

Army Pvt. 1st Class Jack Glennon Hanson

Army Pvt. 1st Class Jack Glennon Hanson

Date: June 7, 1951

Mission:  Korean War

Weapon of choice: His empty pistol and a machete

What’s the deal? Hanson earned a Medal of Honor for making an extremely bloody last stand to allow his fellow soldiers to escape and regroup, expending all of his ammo and fighting until last breath.

Tell me more: From the citation: “After the 1st Platoon reorganized, counterattacked, and re-secured its original positions at approximately 0530 hours, Private First Class Hanson’s body was found lying in front of his emplacement, his machinegun ammunition expended, his empty pistol in his right hand, and a machete with blood on the blade in his left hand, and approximately 22 enemy dead lay in the wake of his action.”

Army 1st. Lt. Wiley McGarity

Date: September 1, 1951

Mission: Korean War

Weapon of choice: His E-tool

What’s the deal? After coming under attack while defending a strategic hill, McGarity resorted to his entrenching tool after he ran out of ammo and grenades.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Seizing a trenching tool, he closed in hand-to-hand combat, killing two more hostile soldiers. Maintaining his magnificent stand, he inflicted such sweeping destruction that the enemy broke off the engagement.’

Army Pvt. 1st Class Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano

Date: September 1, 1951

Mission: Korean War

Weapon of choice: His E-tool

What’s the deal? On the same day as McGarity’s last stand, Hawaiian-born Kaho’ohanohano earned a Medal of Honor by throwing himself upon enemy forces after he ran out of ammo protecting the defensive positions of nearby U.S. troops.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Coming upon Private Kahoohanohano’s position, the friendly troops found eleven enemy soldiers lying dead before it and two in the emplacement itself, beaten to death with an entrenching shovel.”

Army Pvt. 1st Class Melvin Louis Brown

Date: September 5, 1951

Mission: Korean War

Weapon of choice: His E-tool

What’s the deal? Brown earned his Medal of Honor by playing a one-man game of E-tool Whack-A-Mole while perched atop a 50-foot wall.

Tell me more: From the citation: “The attackers continued to assault his position and Private First Class Brown weaponless, drew his entrenching tool from his pack and calmly waited until they one-by-one peered over the wall, delivering each a crushing blow upon the head. Knocking ten or twelve enemy from the wall, his daring action so inspired his platoon that they repelled the attack and held their position.”

Army Pvt. 1st Class Herbert K. Pililaau

Army Pvt. 1st Class Herbert K. Pililaau

Date: September 7, 1951

Mission:  Korean War

Weapon of choice: His trench knife and mitts

What’s the deal? After expending all his ammo and grenades while staying behind to cover his squad’s withdrawal, Pililaau faced down a wave of enemy troops with little more than his trench knife and his fists, holding a key terrain feature until his unit could regroup.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Closed with the foe in hand-to-hand combat, courageously fighting with his trench knife and bare fists until finally overcome and mortally wounded. When the position was subsequently retaken, more than 40 enemy dead were counted in the area he had so valiantly defended.”

Army Capt. Otis H. Ashley III

Date: September 28, 1966

Mission: Vietnam War

Weapon of choice: His spent rifle
What’s the deal? Severely wounded after an ambush on his jeep, Ashley earned a Silver Star for beating an enemy fighter so hard with his spent rifle he collapsed from exertion.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Another enemy soldier then rushed him and, after struggling to a standing position, Captain Ashley struck his assailant repeatedly with the now-empty rifle until the exertion and his multiple wounds caused him to pass out. When he regained consciousness Captain Ashley was being dragged away by another enemy.”

Army Spc. (4th Class) Ronald E. Meadows

Date: May 5, 1968

Mission:  Vietnam War

Weapon of choice: His bare hands

What’s the deal? Finding himself disarmed by two enemy soldiers with anti-tank rockets after killing one of their comrades, Meadows earned a Silver Star for using his bare hands to wrangle an escape.

Tell me more: From the citation: “Displaying exceptional proficiency in the art of hand-to-hand combat, Specialist Meadows engaged both assailants with his waning strength and knocked them to the ground. Scrambling out of the trench, he rapidly directed reinforcements into the enemy positions, insuring their destruction.”

Army Capt. Robert G. Mayor

Date: October 19-25, 1968

Mission: Vietnam War

Weapon of choice: His spent rifle

What’s the deal? Mayor earned a Distinguished Service Cross while leading a reconnaissance-in-force operation in the enemy-infiltrated mountains, resorting to using his spent rifle as a club.

Tell me more: From the citation: “After the perimeter troops had unleashed a barrage on the invaders, the command group engaged the fleeing enemy soldiers at close range. Captain Mayor shot one hostile soldier and used his empty rifle to bludgeon another to death.”

Army Maj. Richard Dennis Ator

Army Maj. Richard Dennis Ator

Date: March 5, 1970

Mission: Vietnam War

Weapon of choice: His spent grenade launcher

What’s the deal? After Ator’s district HQ came under heavy mortar bombardment, the major engaged advancing enemy troops with a grenade launcher until he exhausted his ammunition.

Tell me more: From the citation: “He continued his courageous defense using his weapon as a club, and blunted the enemy’s main attack until he was mortally wounded.”

Army Spc. Joseph E. Gibson

Date: April 26, 2008

Mission: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Weapon of choice: His bare hands

What’s the deal? While clearing a field on patrol with the 75th Ranger Regiment, Gibson literally stepped on terrorist concealed under tall grass in a ditch. After disarming the terrorist, Gibson wrestled him to the ground, only to find his charge reaching for the detonator of a suicide vest. Left with no other choice, he beat down the target before he could detonate the thing.

Tell me more: From the citation: “The terrorist screamed ‘Bomb!’ in English. As Specialist Gibson worked to stop the terrorist from detonating his vest, the terrorist had maneuvered into a position that was cutting off his circulation. Specialist Gibson, in an effort to save himself, began to hit the terrorist as hard as he could. His blows rendered the terrorist unconscious.”

Army Master Sgt. Anthony S. Pryor

Date: January 23-24, 2002

Mission: Operation Enduring Freedom

Weapon of choice: His bare hands

What’s the deal? In the first citation for hand-to-hand in the Global War on Terror, this Green Beret braved automatic fire during a nighttime firefight in Afghanistan, killing four militants — including one with his bare hands.

Tell me more: From the citation: “He single-handedly killed four enemy personnel at close range including one enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat. Master Sergeant Pryor sustained a dislocated shoulder during the struggle, but continued to fight and lead his men.”

Marine Cpl. Clifford M. Wooldridge

Marine Cpl. Clifford M. Wooldridge

Date: June 18, 2010

Mission: Operation Enduring Freedom

Weapon of choice: An enemy’s machine gun

What’s the deal? During a mission to foil an enemy ambush, Woolridge disarmed a militant and beat him to death with his own weapon, earning himself a Navy Cross.

Tell me more: From the citation: “As he crouched back behind the wall to reload, he saw the barrel of an enemy machine gun appear from around the wall. Without hesitation, he dropped his empty weapon and seized the machine gun barrel. He overwhelmed the enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat, killing him with several blows to the head with the enemy’s own machine gun.”

“The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy,” Genghis Khan reportedly said before his death, “to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

If any update to Khan’s missive on victory is fit for the post-9/11 era, it has to be Troxtell’s Facebook gem.

The post 21 Of The Most Epic Combat Beatdowns From US Military History appeared first on Task & Purpose.

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