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!
IN THE NEWS: You’re fired!; Space Force deploys; Charlie Brown in TIME’s 100; Training for the new Cold War; What’s old is new again; Nellis leads the way; Army’s new A.I., sorta, not really; Three big Army deployments! What could it mean?; Beetle Bailey turns 70; The Navy has a real pirate ship; Big new mission for the Carl Vinson; Marines reshape from within; Diversity saves lives; Diversity quotas; Military couples still divorcing; SECDEF guts military healthcare; State Department restores auto-citizenship; Appeals Court says the male-only draft is Constitutional…for now.
The U.S. Army’s Fort Hood is on track to have the biggest year yet in soldier deaths due to accidents, illness, suicide, and murder! The Texas military installation, on which Army psychiatrist Maj Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and injured 32 others in a 2009 mass shooting, has seen more than its share of bloodshed. In 2014, five years after Hasan’s killing rampage, Iraq War veteran and Army veteran SPC Ivan Lopez opened fire on the base, killing three soldiers and injuring another 16 before killing himself. Today, it seems not much has changed. Not only is Fort Hood the army’s premier installation to train and deploy heavy forces, but it also leads the service in soldier murders and sexual assault cases. Of course, this should come as no surprise because, from 2014 and 2019, there was an average of 129 felonies committed annually at Fort Hood, including cases of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault. Maybe the base should think about changing its name to Fort Hoodlum. Anyway, to try to glean some perspective into the chilling number of deaths on Fort Hood, we invited SFC Ron Barteau, a former tank commander and Fort Hood alum, to share his experience and insight into the base climate and culture, and what leaders today might be missing.
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.
Ever since the American occupation of the Marianas, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, the main Japanese islands had been under constant bombardment by long-range bombers of the United States. The city of Tokyo and many other cities on the Japanese mainland were leveled by day-and-night firebomb raids. As Italy and Germany had already done, Japan was paying the price for its grandiose plans for world conquest. But the island nation wasn’t ready to surrender.
Then the United States unveiled the biggest surprise in the history of warfare. It was the deadliest weapon ever designed–the atomic bomb. And although the initial test detonation at Trinity was several times more powerful than scientists had predicted, U.S. officials questioned if it would be enough to compel Japan’s surrender.
On August 6, 1945, “Little Boy” provided an answer.
IN THE NEWS: Killer garden gnomes; Time wasters; The Space Force 2400; Space Force partners with the UK; What Trump knows about Roswell; Racial bias in grooming standards; Drawdown in Iraq; Moving troops in Germany; The military’s assault on religious liberty; Congress “okays” senior leader promotions; Rogue leaders; New Senior NCOs in the Air Force; COVID19 grounds Thunderbirds; USFK tells GIs to follow beach rules; 40 Mark Strasse; The Ugly American Syndrome; Air Combat Command Chief takes an interest in crashed planes; The Air Force invests in a new old airframe; JAG takes jurisdiction for capital crime; Dead soldier was not AWOL.
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!
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, what may have begun as peaceful protests against racism quickly turned violent, as riots and looting broke out throughout the city, then rapidly moved across the country. The military was not unaffected by this turmoil, as National Guard troops were called up to keep the peace, military leaders shared their perspectives on race, and the services march down the road of introspection. In this podcast, we discuss the Pentagon’s look at racial inequality in the military; on-base protests at Osan and Camp Humphreys in the USFK; the State Department’s struggle with diversity; the outgoing CMSAF’s hot take on racial injustice and the balanced commentary of the incoming CSAF; and the real numbers we’re dealing with related to racially-motivated killings in the U.S.
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.
In the news: The DOJ cracks the Pensacola terrorist iPhone and they’re pissed at Apple; Apple is also pissed at the DOJ; Corporations are People, too; A new Space Force Chief is enshrined on the Leadership Wall; Space Force goes on the road to explain Space Force; A new look at USAF mission-capable ratings; The United Federation of “Planet”; SkyBorg…it’s coming!; Pause for safety; Teddy Roosevelt heads back to sea; The Fired-Up Chief is still recovering; Stolen Valor takes a year; PLUS, an Offsite Announcement.