Military Myths and Legends

Why Americans Use Yellow Ribbons To Support the Troops?

Why Americans Use Yellow Ribbons To Support the Troops?

You just can't keep a good tradition down. The good stuff will always come back up to the top in the ebb and flow of history. Using yellow ribbons to remember the troops is based on that kind of tradition. The Use of a Yellow Ribbons in American Popular Culture There are a lot of myths and legends surrounding when ribbons were first tied on, why the color yellow is used, and where exactly one is supposed to tie the ribbon. Those legends are only a part of the full story. For centuries, people...

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Does the U.S. Military Really Use Saltpeter to Calm the Urges of Basic Trainees?

Does the U.S. Military Really Use Saltpeter to Calm the Urges of Basic Trainees?

This old legend might be the first military myth new recruits come across, and it might have been around for as long as saltpeter itself. Despite the combined efforts of science, health education, and common sense, somehow, the myth of the military adding saltpeter to the food or beverages in basic training still persists.  History with Using Nitrated Sodium Salts Why would the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Marine Corps do such a thing? The legend says they would add saltpeter to...

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‘Only Son’ Law and the Draft

‘Only Son’ Law and the Draft

This military urban legend is only as old as World War II, and probably because out of so many Americans registered for the war, a relatively small number were actually drafted for the war. It makes sense that more than a handful might not understand why they weren't called up to serve or what the rules for being called up or passed over might be.  Only Son Being Exempt from the Draft When the war ended, a number of myths and legends began to circulate. Stories about things that happened...

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US Navy C-130 Hercules Plane Lands & Takes Off From An Aircraft Carrier

US Navy C-130 Hercules Plane Lands & Takes Off From An Aircraft Carrier

Aircraft carriers are enormously important. They serve as mobile bases for warplanes at sea. They have flight decks for planes to take off and land. They carry equipment for arming warplanes and recovering planes that have been damaged. An aircraft carrier is considered a capital ship, the most important ship. This is because the Navy can use it to extend its power anywhere in the world. Countries that want to exercise influence need to have aircraft carriers. History of the C-130 Hercules...

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The Death of the Red Baron

The Death of the Red Baron

In 1915, von Richthofen transferred to the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkrafte). He studied aerial tactics under the master German strategist, Hauptman Oswald Boelcke, flying his first combat mission after less than thirty hours of flight instruction. Despite an indifferent start as a fighter pilot, he nonetheless was invited to join Boelcke's Jagdstaffel 2 squadron and soon excelled in combat following the Boelcke Dicta, which included approaching his enemy from above with the...

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The Civil War Began and Ended at the Same Guy’s House

The Civil War Began and Ended at the Same Guy’s House

When a war breaks out on your front lawn, and your chimney explodes from enemy fire, it’s time to find a new place to live. Neighborhoods like those are no place to raise children. That was Wilmer McLean’s opinion in the Civil War, anyway. That’s exactly what he did when the Battle of Bull Run erupted in front of his property.  The Confederate Army and the Union Army in the Civil War The real fighting didn’t break out until three months later when the Confederate Army and the Union Army met in...

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CSM Patrick Gavin Tadina – Vietnam War’s Longest Continuously Serving Ranger

CSM Patrick Gavin Tadina – Vietnam War’s Longest Continuously Serving Ranger

A 30-year Army veteran who was the longest continuously serving Ranger in Vietnam and one of the war's most decorated enlisted soldiers died. Patrick Gavin Tadina served in Vietnam for over five years straight between 1965 and 1970, leading long-range reconnaissance patrols deep into enemy territory - often dressed in black pajamas and sandals and carrying an AK-47. The retired Command Sergeant Major Patrick Gavin Tadina died May 29, 2020, in North Carolina. He was 77. "Early this...

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Did a Scottish Soldier Really Play Bagpipes at Normandy?

Did a Scottish Soldier Really Play Bagpipes at Normandy?

On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces launched Operation Overlord, the largest and most complex amphibious landing in history until that point. Invading Hitler's Fortress Europe was no small matter, even with all the preparations and forethought Allied planners made in advance of the landings. In the years and decades that followed, D-Day became one of the most thoroughly studied and documented events of World War II. Still, it seems like more and more personal stories, fascinating accounts, and...

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The Marine Corps Memorial

The Marine Corps Memorial

The Battle of Iwo Jima is one of the most important battles in the history of the Marine Corps. More than 26,000 United States Marines were killed or wounded for the strategically vital eight square miles of the island. It allowed the United States to attack the Japanese home islands from the air without warning and become the staging point for the coming invasion of Japan. It also came to define the modern Marine Corps. The image of Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi became the...

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Ted Williams’ Cryogenically Frozen Head

Ted Williams’ Cryogenically Frozen Head

Despite urban legends that say otherwise, Walt Disney was not the most famous person who had their remains cryogenically frozen in the hopes of a future revival. Disney wasn't frozen at all - but baseball legend and Korean War veteran Ted Williams was.  The legend of Ted Williams' frozen body has been the subject of rumor and speculation that it was just as much a myth and urban legend as that of Walt Disney's. Mostly because his will stated that he wanted to be cremated. In the end, a...

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