5 military archive photos that are so awful we can’t even give a damn


Bad stock photos never hurt anyone, but they didn’t do much good either.

Sure, there are sometimes gruesome stock images that perpetuate negative stereotypes about the military community and American veterans, but those seem to be outliers. Overall, they’re still bad in the same predictable, if not laughable way.

And look, it’s hard to find that perfect shot. We get it, it’s not like the Pentagon or the subscription services and news wires have vast archives of footage showing real service members doing their jobs, wearing the proper uniforms and behaving in a way that suits the service they are in. It would be too easy. (On an unrelated note, check DVIDS, the Associated Press, or Getty Images, among others, if you’re looking for photos of actual troops, doing actual “troop things.”)

But sometimes a misguided business, ad agency, political group, or news site has to turn to a photo archive for that one-in-a-million photo — or more than likely, the first one they see out of a sea of ​​millions. And that’s how you end up with gems like this:

Everything is wrong with this uniform. Screenshot via Veterans Legal Institute.

Images like the one above explain why it’s high time your intrepid cyber sleuth returned to the bowels of online image databases in search of the crème de la crème of terrible military photos. If you’re looking for our previous summaries, you can find Volume 1 and Volume 2 here.

Without further ado, here is your latest addition to our growing collection of the best bad military photos. And yes, you are welcome for my service.

So many questions; no good answers.

These photos are so awful, we're not even mad - we're actually impressed

Did he accidentally click on a video that was playing Awakening Where Retirement? Was this the end of a very high-stakes videoconference with his commander, presumably in a war zone, given all that PPE? Or did he just get his old lady’s ass of a lifetime chewed out for skipping family time to go play in the sweet air with the boys?

No one will ever know, but it’s fun to speculate.

Also: Those elbow pads and that goofy as hell salute. Lol.

And then I said, “Mr. President, ‘Space ISIS’ is not a real thing.

These photos are so awful, we're not even mad - we're actually impressed

Aptly captioned “Happy senior veteran communicating on his cell phone while relaxing in his office with his feet on the table”, this image might as well be a now-retired general relaxing at home and regaling his buddies also very retired generals with stories of his last day as a four star.

That where he reads the latest news on Afghanistan and says “Thank God I have my DD-214”, like all of us.

Join the Army: Become Jesus

These photos are so awful, we're not even mad - we're actually impressed

Have you ever dreamed of serving your country and being a paragon of heavenly power at the same time? From this photo, military service seems to come with a parallel order of holiness.

Why Hello, Off-Brand Action Heroes

These photos are so awful, we're not even mad - we're actually impressed

No one joins the military expecting to be stuck on the job anxiously waiting for a super secret squirrel operator to come crawling behind you with a knife. No, we all want to be Solid Snake from Metal Gear, but that bar is a little too high, so sometimes you have to settle for the Safeway Select version.

On that note, the discounted Delta operator here could use a gun safety refresher – that or he’s about to get his first desk, given his finger is on the trigger.

seems legit to me

These photos are so awful, we're not even mad - we're actually impressed

Sometimes you come across a stock photo that’s all so spectacularly fake that you have to pause and ask yourself: Is this a really good practical joke that I just don’t get?

It’s this picture. From the bizarre decision to use a Navy or Marine Corps style eight point blanket with a late 2000s/early 2010s army camouflage pattern; with belligerently rolled up sleeves; and the finishing touch, the left hand salute – it’s so bad it’s practically a masterpiece of modern art.


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