The Top 10 Most Badass Soldiers of All Time
Any soldier has to be a tough guy just to fight. But then there are the guys who take it one step further. Here are 10 of the baddest asses in armies full of badasses.
Source: U.S. Marine Corps
By Dan Seitz
10. Brian Chontosh
Brian Chontosh, currently serving in the Marines, got the Navy Cross in 2003, which is hardcore, but not quite hardcore enough to make a top 10 list.
Now, being ambushed and driving your Humvee directly at the enemy's entrenched position, after which you leap into the trench, shoot terrorists until you run out of bullets for your Marine-issue guns, then take two AK-47s and kill some more terrorists, and then you find a rocket-propelled grenade and blow the hell out of even more terrorists? That's hardcore enough to make this list and then some. Chontosh killed twenty terrorists and seriously wounded several others, and probably ate three steaks and drank a keg of beer after, because he's ridiculously manly enough for that to be his lunch.
9. Craig Harrison
Source: Francis Flinch
It's very rare to set a world record in your field. And it's even rarer to break that record immediately after you set it. Unfortunately for two members of the Taliban, they were volunteered to secure Craig Harrison a place in the history books.
Harrison was a British sniper assigned to Afghanistan, and on this particular day, he had a Taliban fighter in his sights. One problem: they were almost two miles away. But it was perfect sniping weather, the air pressure was just right, and Craig was feeling lucky.
After nine shots to gauge the distance, he got his bearings, placed the target precisely on the Taliban fighter, and made him go away. Then Harrison noticed the friend of the guy he just wasted a little further back, and drilled him too. Two world record shots, and the record is currently set at 2707 yards. Modern Warfare players across the world are jealous.
8. Dirk Vlug
It takes a lot of balls to go up against a tank, even if you happen to have a rocket launcher. Dirk Vlug probably had three of them.
In 1944, Dirk Vlug and his balls were in the Philippines, helping General Douglas MacArthur settle a small disagreement over whether the Japanese were allowed to stay or be removed forcibly with dynamite. He had a fairly boring guard job, and just had a pistol and a rocket launcher with six rounds.
Then he saw two Japanese tanks coming up the road. Vlug, being a sane, rational man, quickly figured out that he had enough rockets to really ruin the Japanese's day, which he proceeded to do by marching out under machine gun and artillery fire, and blowing up one of those tanks one-handed with his rocket launcher. The second tank crew decided they were going to beat the crap out of him, something he promptly explained was a bad idea by shooting one of them in the face with his other weapon, a pistol. So they get back in the tank, which he promptly blew up before they could even get started.
Three more tanks show up, and make the serious mistake of irritating Dirk Vlug. By the time he's done, two are burning wrecks, one has been knocked off the road, and Vlug has earned the Medal of Honor...and the eternal fear of the Japanese.
7. Alvin York
Alvin York was a man who'd put violence behind him. After years of drinking and fights, his best friend had been beaten to death, and Alvin had sobered up and was flying right as a pacifist. Unfortunately, they don't really let you be a pacifist when you're drafted into the Army, so Alvin was packed off to World War I, given a gun, and told to kick some ass. So he kicked the absolute minimum needed.
Unfortunately for Germany, the minimum was pretty high.
York and his unit were trapped by German machine guns, and thanks to everybody else in charge being dead or wounded, York was running the unit. So York, not particularly enjoying the situation, began sniping the Germans out of their nest with his standard-issue rifle while politely asking them to surrender, kind of like a cross between Mr. Rogers and Dirty Harry. Instead they sent eight men with fixed bayonets to kill him, so he drew his pistol and drilled all eight.
Keep in mind, he was being shot at the entire time. With machine guns. From some increasingly scared and angry Germans. Finally, after the commander had emptied his pistol trying to kill York and realizing he was rapidly running out of men, volunteered to surrender. So York and the seven guys he had left wound up escorting 132 Germans back behind American lines, much to the shock of the Germans.
Then York went home and founded a high school. Seriously. Something to think about the next time you want to make fun of your principal.
6. Charles Upham
Source: Kurt Hutton/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Charles Upham is one of the few men who won the Victoria Cross, and then promptly found it so nice he did it twice.
The first time he was granted the highest award England can give a soldier because he took on a machine gun nest with a pistol and won, and then decided he really should rescue all those wounded. Keep in mind he did this while surrounded by Germans trying to kill him, and in the process put quite a few Germans into the ground.
For the second time, obviously the bar was raised higher. They don't just hand these things out in Crackerjack boxes. So he'd have to go really over the top to land a second VC, which he did handily by wasting a truck full of Germans with some grenades, getting wounded twice in the process. Deciding that medical attention was for wusses, and that he really liked what these grenades could do, he decided to lead the charge into battle, and managed to destroy a tank with grenades. Did we mention one of his injuries was a broken arm?
Later he was captured, and sent to Colditz, where he proceeded to bring new meaning to the term “pain in the ass” by repeatedly trying to escape. One of his escape attempts involved him jumping from a moving truck and getting 400 yards away on a freshly broken ankle.