The Three Strategic Lessons of Guadalcanal
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The battle is one of seven naval engagements that — together with hard-ground fighting on the part of the U.S. Marines and Army — make up a six-month bloodletting known to history as Guadalcanal. It’s a... Read more
In 1950, the Puerto Rican National Guard Bombarded a Pro-Independence Uprising
In November 2017, more than a month after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, territory residents continue to die due to lack of access to electricity and running water. The troubled recovery effort highlights questions over U.S. sovereignty over the island. Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and indeed a majority... Read more
A Brief History of Weird Shoot-Downs
This story originally appeared on Nov. 24, 2013. On Sept. 25, an Afghan air force MD-530F helicopter crewed by an Afghan student pilot and his American instructor touched down on a hilltop near Shindand air base, in western Afghanistan, as part of routine training. An Improvised Explosive Device exploded,... Read more
What ‘Tales From the Crypt’ Taught Us About Illustrating War
This story originally appeared on Aug. 21, 2013. Comic shops are full of war stories. The Unknown Soldier is a bleak book about a haunted man with a face wrapped in bandages waging a lone war against the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group. The Pride of Baghdad tells... Read more
The Unloved, Forgotten Bolo Bomber
The rescue team slashed through eight miles of marshy thicket on their way to the crash site. Two days before on Feb. 15, 1941, the USAAF B-18 Bolo bomber — serial number 36-446 — carrying five crew and two passengers suffered a left-engine failure and went down in thick... Read more
These Madmen Flew B-52 Bombers at Wave-Top Heights
This story originally appeared on July 22, 2013. 160 feet from tip to tail. 185 feet across. 240 tons of metal, fuel, bombs and human flesh traveling at 650 miles per hour. You wouldn’t think something so big, moving so fast, would also be capable of skimming the ocean... Read more
North Korea Forced Richard Nixon’s First Foreign Crisis
When Pres. Richard Nixon was inaugurated in January 1969, North Korea wasn’t his primary focus. During the 1968 campaign, Nixon had promised “an honorable end to the war in Vietnam.” Compared with Vietnam, Korea was a Cold War backwater. Yet it produced Nixon’s first foreign policy crisis. Nixon’s term... Read more
The U.S. Navy’s Secret Undersea Lair
This story originally appeared on June 24, 2013. Point Sur is 600 feet of tough rock facing Pacific rollers that come 6,000 miles to pound the central California coast. Like the 19th-century lighthouse that marks the Point, the now-derelict compound of the former Naval Facility Point Sur evokes another... Read more
Inside JFK Docs — Plots to Kill Castro and Infiltrate a Texas Militia
It will take days for researchers to sort through the trove of FBI and CIA documents regarding the Kennedy assassination released in October 2017. But we’ve found memos and reports with interesting details about the activities of anti-Castro paramilitary groups and their attempts to overthrow Cuba’s socialist government —... Read more
Five Times the U.S. Navy Was ‘Sunk’ in Battle
It’s crucial to remember and learn from defeat. People and the institutions they comprise commonly tout past triumphs while soft pedaling setbacks. That’s natural, isn’t it? Winning is the hallmark of a successful team, losing a hateful thing. And yet debacles oftentimes have their uses. They supply a better... Read more