Why The US Air Force Is Way Tougher Than People Think [PHOTOS]

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As the youngest branch in the military, the Air Force gets a bad rep. Other service members are often critical of the relative comfort and higher standard of living afforded to airmen.

But they're no runt of the litter - the Air Force has the highest budget of the four branches, and their operational capabilities are robust and exciting.

In short, the Air Force is way tougher than you think.

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Typically, when people think about the Air Force, they think planes and cushy jobs.

Typically, when people think about the Air Force, they think planes and cushy jobs.

But it's much more complicated than that.

But it's much more complicated than that.

Yes, there are lots of planes.

Yes, there are lots of planes.

About 5,500 actually.

About 5,500 actually.

Ranging from fighters.

Ranging from fighters.

To bombers.

To bombers.

To helicopters.

To helicopters.

To heavy transport.

To heavy transport.

The Air Force also has about a $140 billion budget, which is about 5 times the Marine Corps.

The Air Force also has about a $140 billion budget, which is about 5 times the Marine Corps.

Because they can work in bulk.

Because they can work in bulk.

And F-35s and F-22s aren't cheap.

And F-35s and F-22s aren't cheap.

Neither is truly remarkable technology.

Neither is truly remarkable technology.

So it's true that the Air Force plays with the coolest toys on planet earth.

So it's true that the Air Force plays with the coolest toys on planet earth.

But these guys and gals also get dirty.

But these guys and gals also get dirty.

And wield some big guns.

And wield some big guns.

Seriously, really cool toys.

Seriously, really cool toys.

They also fight. Yes, even on the ground.

They also fight. Yes, even on the ground.

They do a lot of missions you wouldn't expect.

They do a lot of missions you wouldn't expect.

And navigate some large obstacles while doing them.

And navigate some large obstacles while doing them.

There are several AIr Force special operations units.

There are several AIr Force special operations units.

And their Security Forces (Military Police) are some of the best in the biz.

And their Security Forces (Military Police) are some of the best in the biz.

Airmen fight fires.

Airmen fight fires.

On several different levels.

On several different levels.

They mold metal.

They mold metal.

And saves lives.

And saves lives.

They're ready for any mission.

They're ready for any mission.

Even their dogs fly.

Even their dogs fly.

Of course, a lot of it comes back to unparalleled air logistics.

Of course, a lot of it comes back to unparalleled air logistics.

There's nowhere the Air Force can't go.

There's nowhere the Air Force can't go.

And they can bring their friends.

And they can bring their friends.

Along with gear.

Along with gear.

Sometimes drop themselves into some of the toughest spots.

Sometimes drop themselves into some of the toughest spots.

And swim their way to success.

And swim their way to success.

The work takes extraordinary focus.

The work takes extraordinary focus.

And a lot of it goes in behind the scenes.

And a lot of it goes in behind the scenes.

They train hard.

They train hard.

Lifting themselves.

Lifting themselves.

To go to great heights.

To go to great heights.

Until the time comes to drop.

Until the time comes to drop.

They're clearly not afraid of heights.

They're clearly not afraid of heights.

And they're not afraid to get low, either.

And they're not afraid to get low, either.

They're no strangers to low-crawling through dirt, sand, and mud.

They're no strangers to low-crawling through dirt, sand, and mud.

They're agile.

They're agile.

And deadly.

And deadly.

Keeping watch.

Keeping watch.

Keeping fit to fly.

Keeping fit to fly.

And delivering the goods.

And delivering the goods.

The sun never sets on national security.

The sun never sets on national security.

And like the other 1.4 million active duty service members, airmen remain ready.

And like the other 1.4 million active duty service members, airmen remain ready.

The Air Force just gets going a bit faster.

The Air Force just gets going a bit faster.

Ultimately, no matter the branch, all troops are there for each other.

Ultimately, no matter the branch, all troops are there for each other.

And the sacrifices are the same.

And the sacrifices are the same.

We still got mad love for the Marines, though.

We still got mad love for the Marines, though.

Check Out 49 Reasons Why America Can't Fold Its Marine Corps>

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