11 photos that show the cramped, uncomfortable places where troops sleep

A Navy Chief sleeps between exercises during a combined field training exercise near Azusa, California.

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A Navy Chief sleeps between exercises during a combined field training exercise near Azusa, California.
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Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Peter Blair/US Navy

  • The rigorous demands and stress of military service often lead to sleep deprivation.
  • Soldiers and sailors endure prolonged periods of training and operations – and they often get creative on where they drift off.
  • That’s why they’re skilled at sleeping where they can, when they can.
  • From torpedo rooms to tanks, aircraft to truck beds, here are some of the strangest and most uncomfortable places troops nod off.

1. In ready rooms before heading out on a mission.

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Paratroopers catch some sleep after working through the night to prepare for an early morning combat jump in Italy.
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Lt. Col. John Hall/173rd Airborne Brigade

2. On location — like this soldier hauling the mattress he’ll sleep on later.


3. Torpedo rooms on US submarines.

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Capt. Jesse Zimbauer, commanding officer of the submarine USS Indiana, gives an interview in the submarine’s torpedo room.
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Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey Richardson/US Navy

Junior members of submarine crews are often required to “hot rack,” where another crewmember sleeps in their bunk while they are on duty.


Sailors draped towels over themselves to shield them from the lights.

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Sailors of the USS Indiana sleep in the boat’s torpedo room while the ship is underway.
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Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey Richardson/US Navy

4. On aircraft.

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US soldiers sleep during a flight home from Afghanistan on C-17 Globemaster.
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Staff Sgt. Jordan Castelan/US Air Force

5. Tanks.

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An Iraqi soldier sleeps on a tank during a break in fighting against ISIS in September 2017.
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AHMAD AL RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

6. Armored vehicles.


7. In a field of artillery shells.


8. In the shade provided by vehicles, sometimes using each other as pillows.


9. During field training, in sleeping bags in sub-freezing temperatures.

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Soldiers sleep during cold weather gunnery training, where they had to use only sleeping bags for five nights in single-digit temperatures.
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Airmen1st Class Ariel Owings/325th Airborne Infantry Regiment

10. Small boat operations are extremely dangerous. But when they’re not launching their boats, US sailors sometimes use them to catnap.

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Sailors assigned to USS Preble prepare to launch their rigid hulled inflatable boat off the boat deck.
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Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel/US Navy