Great Military Stories

The Battle of New Orleans

The Battle of New Orleans

The War of 1812 held a lot of meaning for the young United States. It was an assertion of its independence from Great Britain, a demand to be recognized and respected as a nation of the world, and it was a chance to show that the U.S. would assert itself militarily if the need arose.  What most people, even Americans, remember about the War of 1812 (aside from the burning of the White House) is that the conflict was fought to a draw. Very little tangibly changed following nearly three...

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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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The Battle of the Alamo

The Battle of the Alamo

Few battles in American history resound so powerfully in our collective memory as that of the Alamo. The Battle of the Alamo had everything we could ever want in an epic story. It featured a handful of defenders fighting for freedom, facing down an overwhelming but cruel enemy, and among those defenders were some of America's most legendary names.  When the defenders of the Alamo were killed to the last man, it inspired a country to take up arms and win their freedom, lest they all meet...

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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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PFC Oscar Palmer Austin, U.S. Marine Corps (1968 – 1969)

PFC Oscar Palmer Austin, U.S. Marine Corps (1968 – 1969)

One of the bravest, most extraordinary acts of valor American troops are known to do in combat is throwing themselves on a grenade to save their brothers and sisters in arms. Few survive such a selfless act of heroism. Even fewer get the opportunity to risk sacrificing their lives for a fellow service member twice. Oscar Palmer Austin was a Marine who did just that. It happened on the same fiery night in Vietnam, and he did it to save the same person. For his selfless bravery in saving...

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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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WW2 – Battle of Guadalcanal

WW2 – Battle of Guadalcanal

Though it probably didn't feel like it at the time, the Allies in the Pacific Theater of World War II were able to respond to the Japanese advances relatively quickly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor wasn't the only surprise target that day. The Imperial Japanese Navy also struck targets held by the Dutch and British and the American-held Philippines.  The Naval Campaign at Guadalcanal By August of 1942, just nine months after its coordinated surprise attacks across the...

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Lt. Col. James Rowe, U.S. Army (1958 – 1989)

Lt. Col. James Rowe, U.S. Army (1958 – 1989)

Throughout the Vietnam War, the United States estimated that more than 2,500 American service members were taken prisoner or went missing during the Vietnam War. North Vietnam acknowledged only 687 of those unaccounted for. Most of them were returned during Operation Homecoming in 1973 after the Paris Peace Accords ended U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Of those 687, only 36 U.S. troops managed to escape their captors in North Vietnam and Laos. Of course, there were other attempts, but only those...

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John W. Hinson – A Civil War Sniper Hell Bent on Revenge

John W. Hinson – A Civil War Sniper Hell Bent on Revenge

John W. Hinson, better known as "Old Jack" to his family, was a prosperous farmer in Stewart County, Tennessee. A non-political man, he opposed secession from the Union even though he owned slaves. Friends and neighbors described him as a peaceable man, yet despite all this, he would end up going on a one-man killing spree. Jack's plantation was called Bubbling Springs, where he lived with his wife and ten children. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he was fiercely determined to remain...

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The Dogs of the Vietnam War

The Dogs of the Vietnam War

Former dog sentry handler Richard Cunningham shared a history about well-trained dogs as a new kind of warfare. In the Vietnam War about 350 dogs were killed in action and 263 handlers were killed. When U.S. forces exited from Vietnam only 200 of the dogs made it back to the states. "I would wager that 90 percent of American combat troops killed in action during the Vietnam War never saw their killers. Whether it was a sniper at 200 yards, a rocket fired into a base camp or an attack from a...

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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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