There Was No Way a P-51 Could Replace the A-10
This story originally appeared on Dec. 17, 2014. The U.S. Air Force has a complicated relationship with its low- and slow-flying A-10 Warthog attack jet. And that’s putting it mildly. The flying branch has tried more than once to retire the ungainly A-10 in favor of speedier planes, only... Read more
American Hand Grenades Have Some Odd Connections to Sports
This story originally appeared on Dec. 29, 2014. Most people would probably agree that playing catch with a hand grenade is a bad idea. On one occasion in 2005, three young people died in Bosnia while horsing around with one of these small bombs, according to Reuters. But throwing... Read more
Spies Helped the USAF Shoot Down a Third of North Vietnam’s MiG-21s
This story originally appeared on Dec. 30, 2014. On Jan. 2, 1967, around 30 U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom fighter jets flying from Ubon in Thailand shot down a full third of North Vietnam’s MiG-21s—for a loss of just one of their own. It was a strategic victory in... Read more
The U.S. Army Had a Whole Unit of Psychic Spies
This story originally appeared on Aug. 27, 2016. On Sept. 15, 1995, Army chief of staff Gen. Gordon Sullivan held a meeting with a colonel from the service’s top watchdog agency as well as with another colonel who had served as a psychologist at Army Intelligence and Security Command. The... Read more
Dated U.S. Army Manual Tells Female Troops to ‘Guard Against Rape’
This story originally appeared on Oct. 31, 2014. Decades ago, the U.S. Army offered sometimes degrading suggestions on how to avoid rapists, survive a sexual assault and what to do in the aftermath of an attack. Advocates for victims of sexual trauma say the Pentagon is still struggling to... Read more
The Air Force Can’t Quit NASCAR
This story originally appeared on Feb. 29, 2016. America’s most famous auto raceway looms large between a beach and a mall not far from the airport in Daytona Beach, eastern Florida’s self-styled “Spring Break Capital of the World.” From a distance, the Daytona International Speedway’s 10,000 red, white and... Read more
Soviet Nuke Attack Could Have Cut Off U.S. Missile Submarines
This story originally appeared on Oct. 16, 2015. A key component of the U.S. doctrine of mutually assured destruction — commonly and appropriately known as MAD — was that American troops would still be able to retaliate if the Soviet Union launched a nuclear attack. But for a time, the Pentagon... Read more
The U.S. Army’s Failed Quest to Create Floating Tank Divisions
This story originally appeared on Feb. 1, 2016. Amphibious assaults are the domain of the U.S. Marines, not the Army. But there was a period in history when the Army tried to out-do the Marines in hitting the beach — including planning how to deploy entire divisions of amphibious... Read more
The Pentagon Dropped Billions of Leaflets … That No One Read
This story originally appeared on March 20, 2015. The United States and its allies dropped some 2.5 billion propaganda leaflets during the Korean War. But after the 1953 armistice which halted the fighting, the Pentagon discovered that few enemy troops ever read the messages, let alone understood them. One reason was that pilots rarely... Read more
Here Are the Leaflets the United States Dropped on Islamic State
This story originally appeared on Jan. 22, 2016. On Nov. 15, 2015, U.S. Air Force A-10 ground-attack planes and AC-130 gunships blew up a truck park near Abu Kamal, Iraq. The American pilots destroyed more than 100 tankers carrying oil that could fund the Islamic State. The Pentagon followed this... Read more
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