Regular listeners of the show know we like strange tales (and alliteration), so for our 50th episode, we thought we’d have a little fun with some military murders that just don’t add up. Fair warning! This episode contains some dark humor. So, what caused the untimely deaths of Lt Paul Whipkey, SPC Chad Langford, Lt Kirk Vanderbur, Col James Sabow, Col Yosef Alon, Sgt William Miller, and Cpl David Cox. We may never know what happened to these men, but one thing we know for sure: suicide is always a convenient explanation.
To the mysteries of the sky add the case of the U.S. Navy blimp, L-8. Since the dawn of aviation, aircraft have flown into the clouds never to be seen again. The L-8 disappeared into the clouds all right, but when she reappeared and eventually came back down to earth, she was missing her crew!
During WWII, the L-8 patrolled the California coast near San Francisco looking for Japanese submarines. On August 16, 1942, she took off from the Treasure Island Naval Base on a routine flight with a two-man crew, Lt (J.G.) Ernest Cody and Ensign Charles Adams of Airship Squadron 32. About two hours into the flight, Lt Cody radioed the control tower at the base and told them they were investigating a large oil slick, which could indicate a Japanese submarine was in the area. Neither Cody nor Adams were heard from again. Their ship returned to earth without them.
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.
The Pentagon “officially” releases three videos of UFOs encountered by US Navy F/A-18 pilots. Although these videos have been in the wild for years, the Department of Defense was always tight-lipped about the whole affair. Not surprising, really. After all, what is a government without secrets, right? So, we take a listen to these encounters and share a bit of insight into the tech involved, as well as a little background into the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which was the latest in a string of UFO investigation organizations funded by the US military. We also share an exclusive first-hand report of a recent UFO sighting, along with intelligent commentary of the exchange between a prominent dentist and the base security personnel.
The back-and-forth that inspired the show. Chris takes a winter vacation to Florida where he and Jody do some boating on the St Johns River; search for a crashed airplane; compare car-crash stories; debate irritating Prius drivers; intubate a stunt man who broke his pelvis leaping off a moving motorcycle; discover there’s more than one kind of frequent-flyer; and finally discuss the mechanics behind the powerful magnets in MRI machines.
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!
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.
On the night of Christmas day, December 25, 1980, and into the early morning hours of December 26th, there were massive reports of UFO activity in the Rendlesham Forest area in the southeast of England. The forest is situated between two RAF bases operated by the USAF, Bentwaters and Woodbridge, so a crack team of USAF security forces personnel from Woodbridge were sent into the forest to investigate. They were never heard from again.
That’s not true, but they did report seeing a strange craft aloft a yellow mist. One of the Airmen took pictures of the craft, which had the film not been confiscated by the military would have provided definitive proof of the existence of UFOs. However, the siting and the spacecraft’s landing site was investigated by the local police who did indeed confirm the Airmen’s story.