While the U.S. military may be considered unrivaled in most respects, it was handed a humbling scorecard at the World Military Games in Rio de Janeiro, held July 16-24.
With 141 athletes competing in a dozen disciplines, the U.S. contingent brought home just five medals, striking gold only once. That showing earned the U.S. a 27th overall ranking, a spot it shared with Estonia and Lithuania.
Iran, North Korea and Kazakhstan were among those earning at least twice as many medals; host Brazil took top honors with an awards table weighed down by 114 medals, including 45 golds.
All members of the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, it was up to the female skydivers to zero in on the top two U.S. medals.
Sgt. 1st Class Elisa Tennyson, Sgt. 1st Class Angela Nichols, Staff Sgt. Laura Dickmeyer, Staff Sgt. Danielle Woosley and Staff Sgt. Jennifer Schaben combined to win gold in women's formation skydiving and silver in team accuracy.
The men's skydiving team took third place, bested by Germany and gold-winning Belgium. "Belgium was just on top of their game," said Golden Knights spokesman Staff Sgt. Scott Janise. "They were amazing."
The men's basketball and women's sailing teams rounded out the U.S. medals, both bringing home bronze.