He’s the most famous sniper you’ve probably never heard of. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock II was a Marine Scout Sniper who served two tours in Vietnam, first in 1966, and returning in 1969. Until the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq he held the record for the most confirmed kills in the United States military. During the course of his two tours in Vietnam he recorded 93 confirmed kills and over 300 unconfirmed kills, building a reputation that was so renowned the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong placed a bounty on his head that was equal to three years pay or approximately $30,000. He was known by the army he hunted as “White Feather” for the single white feather he kept tucked in a band on his bush hat. His exploits against such deadly adversaries as “The Apache,” “The Cobra,” and “The General” were the stuff of legend!
What drives military members to murder? Maybe it’s the violent nature of the work; or some childhood trauma; or a psychological disorder; or maybe they’re just bad people. Maybe it’s all of these things or a combination or none of them. The truth is we often don’t know what compels someone to kill. If you’re looking for answers, you’re not going to get them here. What you’re going to get are six stories of military murder that will leave you shaking your head: The Infidelity Solution Murder; The Hi-Fi Murders; The ‘How Far Can I Get’ Murder; The Proposition Murder; The Coward Contractor Murder; and The Canadian Panty Thief Murders. And although it’s not a murder story, we chat about the Air Force’s ‘Master Solution’ to a missing finger mystery and how it backfired.
Most of you have probably heard of Antonio López de Santa Anna, the self-proclaimed “Napoleon of the West,” and the story of the Alamo. What you probably haven’t heard is how, just a few months after the Alamo, Santa Anna parked his army directly next to Sam Houston’s much smaller American force by the San Jacinto River and ordered everyone to take a siesta. Houston literally caught the Mexican force napping and after convincing himself that the scene before him wasn’t some heat-induced hallucination, he plowed his troops through Santa Anna’s army while they slept, crushing them in just 18 minutes!
The Amazing 25th Episode Podcast Spectacular! Of course, it’s really no different than our regular episodes…okay, so it’s a regular episode, but it’s special because it’s number 25–a podcast milestone! To celebrate #25, we talk about the origin of The Digression Podcast on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And, as if that wasn’t enough, we share some stories about a favorite topic that has received several mentions throughout our podcasts: Star Trek, the sci-fi series that wouldn’t die! This time it’s more than a mention, as we explore how the series raised social awareness and literally saved lives during the Vietnam war.
This is the story of Chris, who takes a job hauling a mobile long-range acoustic device from Florida to San Diego which results in a spiraling digression into the hilarious deficiencies of the giant voice system at Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea, with a few stops along the way prompted by a snake, a couple of blown tires, and the Radiator Springs-like hardtop of the southwest. This show is our tribute to USAF Command Post Communication.
Halloween is fast approaching and what better topic for this month’s podcast than The Top 10 Most Haunted Military Sites? Our military serves to project power around the globe and the men and women who serve are often thrust into dangerous and violent situations. Needless to say, the stress endured by these soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines can be tremendous. Who knows how this stress coupled with the violent nature military work affects a soul that is stripped from its earthly vessel? Would the retention of these souls on the grounds and within the buildings of these military sites be such a far-fetched idea? Of course it would! C’mon, there’s no such thing as ghosts, but that doesn’t mean ghost stories aren’t a lot of fun…and extremely funny!
On February 20, 1947, the Kee Bird, a US Army Air Forces B-29 Superfortress, lifted off the runway and into the sky above Ladd Field near Fairbanks, Alaska. It’s Cold War mission was Top Secret, would take them to the North Pole and back, and involved photo-reconnaissance and mapping of the Arctic areas as part of a Strategic Air Command effort to monitor for Soviet activity and develop attack routes over the North Pole. This was the Kee Bird’s seventh mission and it was to be it’s last, as the pilot, Lt Vern Arnett, grew disoriented in a storm over the polar ice pack and turning to the south eventually made an emergency landing on a small frozen lake in northern Greenland. Although Lt Arnett put the B-29 down successfully and with no injuries to his 11-man crew, the plane was badly damaged and would not fly. So, they settled down for what would be a three-day wait for rescue.
Each year, the Darwin Awards pay tribute to those individuals who “improve our gene pool–by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.” Named after Charles Darwin, the English biologist and the father of evolution theory, these awards are a testament to the dumb shit people do to precipitate their premature demise (or that of an appendage…or two). The Darwin Awards are certainly not lost on the military. I mean, what do you expect? You have the inherent danger of live munitions and operational machinery combined with a “hurry-up-and-wait” mindset that results in a population of bored GIs on some God-forsaken piece of real estate who have nothing better to do than turn to their buddy and say, “hey, watch this shit.” And, KABOOM!
In anticipation of State Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz report on possible FISA abuse by the DOJ and FBI, we thought we’d share some of our experiences with the inspection side of the IG during our time in the US Air Force. Jody’s perspective comes from his experiences as an asshole IG inspector with the Air Force Inspection Agency (AFIA), while Chris shares his perspective from the point-of-view of a member of the poor bastard shop chief in the inspected unit. Although Jody’s work was focused in Air Force hospitals and Chris’ worked in operational units launching aircraft, the process of compliance inspections is essentially the same, as is the stupid shit we saw and laughed at…and now we’re sharing it with you!
A hundred years and a thousand storytellers have blurred the legend of the Maco Light and we’re not going to make it any clearer. Joe Baldwin was a brakeman and was traveling in the caboose of an Atlantic Coast Line train through the little town of Maco, North Carolina, when all of a sudden it became uncoupled from its train. Was there something nefarious about this?
We don’t know. But, Joe, who may or may not have been asleep and/or drinking, realized that another train following close behind was about to collide with his car that sat motionless on the track. He ran to the back of the caboose, wildly swinging his lantern to get the engineer’s attention, but the engineer who may or may not have been asleep and/or drinking, didn’t see Joe’s light in time. And the oncoming train crashed into Joe’s caboose taking Joe’s head in the process and flinging it into a nearby swamp.