Military Myths and Legends

The True Story of The Great Escape

The True Story of The Great Escape

More than likely, many of us have seen the 1963 American World War II epic film "The Great Escape" based on a real escape by British Commonwealth prisoners of war from a German POW Camp during World War II, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Sir Richard Attenborough. The film is based on Paul Brickhill's 1950 book of the same name, a non-fiction first-hand account of the real mass escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Zagan, Poland), in the province of Lower Silesia, Nazi Germany....

read more
The Wreck of the First U.S. Navy Destroyer Jacob Jones  Has Been Found

The Wreck of the First U.S. Navy Destroyer Jacob Jones Has Been Found

Just 40 miles off the coast of the Isles of Scilly, in the southwest of England, a team of expert divers located the wreck of the USS Jacob Jones (DD-61). The Tucker-class destroyer was built prior to WWI and was sunk on December 6, 1917, by a German submarine. Of her crew of seven officers and 103 men, 2 officers and 62 men lost their lives according to the U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command. The Jacob Jones was the first American destroyer lost to enemy action. On April 6, 1917,...

read more
Was Mr. Rogers a Vietnam-Era Sniper?

Was Mr. Rogers a Vietnam-Era Sniper?

At some point in their military career, U.S. troops will likely hear the rumor that television's Mr. Rogers, host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," was a death-dealing, hardcore Vietnam-era sniper in either the Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, or the Marine Corps.  Fred Rogers and his past are just one more file to add to the mounting list of military myths and urban legends. It might be fun to think of a man as smart and wholesome as Fred Rogers picking off a North Vietnamese general or Viet...

read more
The First Purple Hearts

The First Purple Hearts

It might come as a surprise to many, but the United States did not offer its troops medals or ribbons as uniform decorations until the Medal of Honor was introduced by President Lincoln during the Civil War. It was only offered to enlisted troops in July 1862, but by December, it was made available to officers who displayed exceptional gallantry.  Until that point in U.S. military history, military medals were more of a European tradition. Medals and ribbons were seen as a custom...

read more
Mustache March

Mustache March

Every November for the past few years, more and more American men are adopting the custom of growing out their mustaches to raise awareness about men's health issues. "Movember," as it's come to be called, raises awareness on such topics as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide.  "Mustache March" is a Military Tradition to Honor Robin Olds The men of the United States Air Force adopted a similar custom, except theirs comes in March and for a very different reason....

read more
The Passing Of “Rosie The Riveter”

The Passing Of “Rosie The Riveter”

Rosalind P. (Palmer) Walter passed away at the age of 95. She is known to millions as the original inspiration for the "Rosie the Riveter" character. She is appreciated by many for her years of service and support for public broadcasting. Rosalind P. Walter's Early Life Walter grew up in a wealthy family in Long Island. Her father was Carleton Palmer, who was president and chairman of E.R. Squibb and Sons (which is now part of Bristol Myers Squibb). Squibb and sons sold penicillin, which was...

read more
Russian Sniper Roza Shanina

Russian Sniper Roza Shanina

In the deep silence of the vast Russian pine forest, a small, lonesome figure was walking. It was just a few years before the outbreak of the Second World War. She had set out alone, without the permission of her parents, carrying only enough food to keep her on her feet for the long march. She was used to walking. Every day for years she had walked eight miles to and from her school in the little village closest to her home; she knew she could do it. Her self-belief and determined spirit...

read more
General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Meteoric Rise

General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Meteoric Rise

Speaking of Eisenhower, Field Marshal Lord Montgomery once said, "nice chap, no general." General George Patton once lamented that it was too bad that Eisenhower had no personal knowledge of war. General Omar Bradley would write that Eisenhower "had little grasp of sound battlefield tactics." That might seem like some pretty harsh criticism considering the West tends to look back on Eisenhower as the man who led the allies to victory in Europe. His iconic status was further cemented in history...

read more
The Only Woman Ever to Join the French Foreign Legion

The Only Woman Ever to Join the French Foreign Legion

The Legion Etrangere is better known as the French Foreign Legion - a military organization open to men who are foreign nationals. In 1945, however, the Legion made one exception (and so far, the only one) for a very deserving person. Biography of Susan Mary Gillian Travers Susan Mary Gillian Travers was born in London on September 23, 1909, to a wealthy family. Her father was Francis Eaton Travers, a Royal Navy Admiral, who married the heiress Eleanor Catherine Turnbull for her money. Theirs...

read more
Did World War II Soldiers Mutiny after V-J Day?

Did World War II Soldiers Mutiny after V-J Day?

On May 8, 1945, the Allies accepted the formal surrender of Nazi Germany. The capitulation of the last Axis power in Europe marked the end of World War II there. The war in the Pacific, however, was still raging. American troops, along with the rest of the Allies, began to reorient their forces to concentrate on fighting the Japanese. But they didn't have to work for very long. Just a few months later, the Japanese Empire also surrendered. On August 15, 1945, the Japanese forces officially...

read more
The USS Recruit in Union Square

The USS Recruit in Union Square

In 1917 the U.S. Navy built a full-size battleship in New York City's Union Square Park near the entrance to the subway and faced south. It would stay there for the next three years. The ship - USS Recruit - was commissioned as a normal seagoing ship, under the command of Acting Captain C. F. Pierce and with a complement of thirty-nine bluejackets from the Newport Training Station. It functioned as a recruiting office and training center with sailors training on the ship to demonstrate a small...

read more
Joachim Ronneberg (1941–1945) – The Man Who Crippled The Nazi Atomic Bomb Project

Joachim Ronneberg (1941–1945) – The Man Who Crippled The Nazi Atomic Bomb Project

The plan was audacious, requiring a midnight parachute jump onto a snow-covered mountain plateau, cross-country skiing in subzero temperatures and an assault on an isolated, heavily guarded power plant in southern Norway. And the stakes, though no one in the five-man commando team knew it at the time, were spectacular: Destroy the Nazis' sole source of heavy water, a recently discovered substance that Hitler's scientists were using to try to develop an atomic bomb or risk the creation of a...

read more