The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II - We Are The Mighty
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The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

The legendary rock band Kiss is known for their makeup, over-the-top stage show, and hits like “Rock ‘n Roll All Night” and “Detroit Rock City.”


They aren’t known as historians, although two of the band’s members — Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer — have remarkable stories to tell about what their families went through during World War II. And equally remarkable is how these stories link the two members of Kiss to each other.

Backstage at a Kiss concert in northern Virginia in late July, lead guitarist Tommy Thayer talked about his father’s military service. James B. Thayer retired as a brigadier general in the mid-60s, but in 1945 he was an first lieutenant in charge of an anti-tank mine reconnaissance platoon that made its way across France into southern Germany. The unit saw a lot of action, including battles with Waffen SS troops – among the Third Reich’s most elite fighters – that involved bloody hand-to-hand combat.

As the platoon made its way farther south they stumbled upon the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. “The SS had just fled,” Tommy Thayer said. “They left behind 15,000 Hungarian-Jewish refugees who were in bad shape.”

Ironically enough, based on time and location, among the refugees that U.S. Army Lieutenant Thayer liberated was most likely a family from Budapest that included a teenage girl who would later give birth Gene Simmons, Kiss’ outspoken bassist and co-founder.

“My mother was 14-years-old when they took her to the camps of Nazi Germany,” Simmons explained. “If it wasn’t for America, for those who served during World War Two like James Thayer, I wouldn’t be here.”

As a result of this connection, the band has thrown its clout behind the Oregon Military Museum, which will be named in honor of the now 93-year-old Brigadier General Thayer. Tommy Thayer is on the museum’s board, and the band recently played at a private residence in the greater Portland area to raise money and awareness for the effort.

“The idea that Americans enjoy the kind of life that the rest of the world is envious of is made possible – not by politicians – but by the brave men and women of our military,” Simmons said. “The least we could do is have a museum.”

“There is evil being done all over the world,” Simmons said. “And the only thing that keeps the world from falling into complete chaos is our military.”

Beyond supporting the Oregon Military Museum, in the years since 9-11, Simmons has worked as a military veteran advocate. Among some of his more high-profile efforts is the band’s hiring of veterans to work as roadies for Kiss on tour.

While other celebrity vet charities could rightly be criticized as something between Boomer guilt and vanity projects, the bass guitarist’s desire to help vets is fueled by what his mother’s side of the family went through to make it to America a generation ago.

Simmons has a few things to say about national pride, something he thinks the country has lost a measure of.

“When I first came to America as an eight-year-old boy people were quiet when the flag was raised,” Simmons said. “We all stood still.”

To Simmons’ eye that respect is lacking in too many Americans now, particularly younger Americans who are surrounded by information and media but may not appreciate the relationship between history and their daily lives.

“Just stop yakking for at least one minute,” he said. “The rest of the day is all yours to enjoy all the benefits that the American flag gives you.”

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‘Tokyo Rose’ claimed she was trying to undermine Japanese propaganda in World War II

Iva Toguri had the bad luck of being sent to Japan to take care of her aunt in 1941. While she was there, the Japanese Empire launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, starting the Pacific War with the United States. 

The Los Angeles-born Toguri was stuck in a country at war with her home country at age 25. She refused to renounce her American citizenship and was closely watched as an enemy alien. She moved to Tokyo where she took a job as a typist at Radio Tokyo. 

By the end of the war she would find herself wanted by the U.S. Army, the FBI and other counterintelligence agencies on charges of aiding the enemy – but that’s not how she saw what she was doing at all. 

While working at the Radio Station, she met an Australian prisoner of war, Capt. Charles Cousens. After he was captured in the Japanese invasion of Singapore, his captors learned he had worked in radio before the war and he was put to the task of producing a morale-sapping propaganda show called “Zero Hour” with a handful or other POWs. 

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
alking with Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Thomas Gode and a Japanese policeman outside her Tokyo home during the making of a CinCPAC newsreel 9 September 1945 (National Archives)

He and two other prisoners, U.S. Army Capt. Wallace Ince and Philippine Army Lt. Normando Ildefonso “Norman” Reyes were determined to make the show as lame and harmless as they could, effectively canceling out the enemy propaganda effort. After meeting Iva Toguri, he decided he would bring her in on the joke. 

She outright refused to say anything anti-American on the show. Instead they openly mocked the idea of being a propaganda message. When she finally took up the mic in earnest, she lampooned the idea of the show, even explicitly saying things like “here’s the first blow at your morale.” Their Japanese captors didn’t understand the Western humor and double entendres they used. 

Toguri even used her salary on the show to get supplies for prisoners held there. She would eventually marry Felipe D’Aquino, who also worked at the station. 

Now named Iva D’Aquino, her personality on the show was a character called “Orphan Ann,” but American troops in the Pacific began referring to her (and other Japanese women on the radio) as “Tokyo Rose.” 

“Zero Hour” only ran for little more than a year and a half, and her appearances became less frequent as the war turned south for the Japanese. When Japan surrendered, she found herself wanted by almost everyone who had ever heard one of the broadcasts. 

When a magazine reporter offered a $2,000 reward for an interview with Tokyo Rose, she actually stepped forward to claim the reward. Instead she was apprehended and accused of treason for aiding the enemy in her broadcasts. 

Tokyo Rose
Toguri’s mugshot (Wikimedia Commons)

D’Aquino was originally held in jail for a year while the Army tried to gather evidence against her, but nothing she ever said on Radio Tokyo was anti-American. Neither the FBI nor the Army in Japan could find any evidence of treason. The officers she worked with on “Zero Hour” would not say anything against her. She was eventually released. 

After trying to return to the United States, public opinion was turned against her by the American media and she was arrested yet again, sent to San Francisco, and put on trial once more, facing eight counts of treason for her work at Radio Tokyo. She was convicted on one count, mentioning the loss of ships on the radio, “on a day during October, 1944, the exact date being to the Grand Jurors unknown.”

There was no evidence of D’Aquino mentioning any ships, and Charles Cousens was present as a defense witness, but she was convicted anyway and sentenced to 10 years in prison. She served six years in a West Virginia reformatory, alongside Mildred Gillars, also known as “Axis Sally.”


Feature image: National Archives

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Navy set to deploy first submarine with female enlisted crew

The Bangor, Washington-based USS Michigan (SSGN 727) will soon put to sea and submerge with a crew that includes four female NCOs and 34 junior enlisted women, marking the first time the Navy has deployed a submarine with women in the enlisted ranks.


The female sailors will be divided between the Gold and Blue crews of the guided-missile submarine.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
INDIAN ISLAND, Wash. (Aug. 1, 2015) Sailors assigned to the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) Blue crew arrive at Naval Magazine Indian Island following a 20-month deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray/Released)

According to the Kitsap Sun newspaper, the USS Michigan has undergone a $6 million retrofit to build out the crew quarters and heads to accommodate the female crew, including converting a bunkroom into shower space, splitting the aft washroom to allow for a shower and head combination and a watchstander head, and creating a new bunkroom from the old crew’s study.

The chief petty officers will bunk together two or three to a room, while the other women will split into nine-person bunkrooms and share a head, the newspaper said.

The Navy opened up the all-male submarine force several years ago to female sailors and deployed its first crew with women officers in 2011.

The USS Michigan’s crew is made up of 15 officers and about 140 enlisted sailors. The female enlisted submariners were chosen from 113 applicants, the Kitsap Sun reported.

The Navy reportedly plans to add as many as 550 female sailors to the submarine service by 2020.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Why shows like ‘The Punisher’ are more likely to get cancelled early on

Many Netflix shows are short lived. With the exception of some of its earliest series, such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,” Netflix has a tendency to cancel shows after two or three seasons.

Ampere Analysis tracked 61 canceled TV shows between September 2018 and March 2019 across streaming and traditional TV. The report, released on April 9, 2019, found that streaming services are more likely to cancel a show early on. Original streaming shows have an average lifespan of two seasons, compared to four seasons on cable and six-and-a-half seasons on broadcast networks.

Netflix accounts for 68% of video-on-demand cancellations, and 12 of its 13 canceled shows since September 2018 were for series with three seasons or fewer, according to Ampere.


“The VoD services seem determined to drive subscriber growth through a continuous pipeline of new content, but this comes at the cost of missing out on long-running franchises like NBC’s ‘Law Order’ that keep customers coming back year after year, reducing churn,” Fred Black, an Ampere analyst, said in the report.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Season six of “Law Order.”

It’s worth noting that Netflix shows are ordered straight to series, and the streamer drops entire seasons at once. On traditional TV networks, a pilot is typically ordered first, and many shows don’t even make it past the pilot phase.

Netflix’s recent cancellations include “One Day at a Time” and its Marvel TV shows, such as “Daredevil” and “The Punisher.” Netflix canceled “One Day at a Time” in March 2019 after three seasons, saying “not enough people watched to justify another season.” It canceled its remaining Marvel shows, “The Punisher” and “Jessica Jones,” in February 2019.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

“Marvel’s Daredevil”

(Netflix)

Deadline reported March 2019 that Netflix sees little value in long-lasting shows, and prefers ones that run 10 episodes a season and 30 episodes total. After that, they often become too expensive to continue to invest in, unless they are a breakout hit that Netflix owns like “Stranger Things.” And the shorter the season, the easier it is for new viewers to jump into a show for the first time.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Articles

Pentagon looks to laser-armed drones for enemy missile shootdowns

The U.S. Department of Defense is exploring options that would see drones fitted with lasers that could shoot down incoming enemy missiles.


The U.S. Missile Defense Agency tested a “directed-energy airborne laser” that can be fired from a drone, according to a report by the Last Vegas Review-Journal. Theoretically, the new weapon would allow the U.S. to fly drones over suspected enemy ballistic missile launch sites, allowing them to shoot down any missiles shortly after launch.

“Our vision is to shift the calculus of our potential adversaries by introducing directed energy into the ballistic missile defense architecture,” agency spokesman Christopher Johnson told the Review-Journal. “This could revolutionize missile defense, dramatically reducing the role of kinetic interceptors.”

The laser-mounted drones would add another layer of missile defense to U.S. capabilities. The drones offer an advantage over current missile defense systems, which rely on an intricate system of radars and satellites that guide a missile interceptor to a target. The laser drones would be much simpler and possibly just as effective, as they could loiter in a potential launch area and take out an enemy missile before it gets too far in its course. Current systems require an enemy missile to be in mid-course or descent phases before a traditional interceptor can be deployed.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
Image via General Atomics

North Korea would be a likely potential deployment for such a system. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un has engaged in more than 20 missile tests, the most recent of which occurred Feb. 12. The missile tested was propelled by solid fuel, as opposed to combustible liquid, marking a major advance in missile technology. Solid fuel missiles are more dangerous, as they can be concealed on mobile launchers.

The idea for drones armed with lasers originated with former President Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense shield, part of which envisioned using space-based lasers to shoot down incoming Soviet missiles. While Reagan’s contemporary critics scoffed at the project, it helped spawn missile defense systems used today.

Laser-armed drones as an effective missile deterrent is still in the planning stages. The top major defense contractors — including Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon — are all currently involved in a $230 million, five year-long demonstration program at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The Pentagon will engage in the first official demonstrations of laser-armed drones in 2020 and 2021, according to Johnson.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Rob Riggle and Seth Herzog are livestreaming a comedy show tonight. Here’s how to watch.

One of the few perks of quarantine is watching the entertainment community rally around those of us at home by providing us with incredible content to consume while we’re eating all of our quarantine snacks and longing for the days of simply being around other people.

If you’re going to be in social isolation, you might as well be laughing through it. And tonight, thanks to the great folks at the Armed Services Arts Partnership, you absolutely will be when you watch renowned comedian Rob Riggle interview Seth Herzog and other veteran comics perform. Here’s how to watch.


The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

The what

Tune in to ASAP’s live-stream show featuring a conversation with Rob Riggle and Seth Herzog, and stand-up comedy from ASAP veteran comics. Tonight’s event is just one in a series of great performers. For the full list, visit ASAP’s website.

Rob Riggle is a comedian, actor, and Marine Corps veteran best known for his roles on The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, The Hangover, and The Other Guys.

Seth Herzog is a NYC-based stand-up comedian featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

The where

Access to the live-stream will be provided to ticket holders after registering. Space is limited. Here’s where you can purchase tickets for only . Stage Pass holders gain free access. All proceeds from ticket sales support ASAP’s community arts programs.

The who

The Armed Services Art Partnership’s mission is to cultivate community and growth with veterans, service members, military families, and caregivers through the arts. Learn more here.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FF_9rTV_NCrm_C9jMySBA1-v8qBYcQnUOWjxPkiltDk081GOVqctX7jKeehjQheiS708VtLbxmVOrKYs4EP66vcOjciBBbbc-sRY4bH9vrimBxgs981U5Jdq3IWE1MGmixN7XhRC2&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh6.googleusercontent.com&s=637&h=cccecf12a17a3e2518229fc12e8f144f98823f68d01dc032649ca55a6c3ee797&size=980x&c=2278284520 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FF_9rTV_NCrm_C9jMySBA1-v8qBYcQnUOWjxPkiltDk081GOVqctX7jKeehjQheiS708VtLbxmVOrKYs4EP66vcOjciBBbbc-sRY4bH9vrimBxgs981U5Jdq3IWE1MGmixN7XhRC2%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh6.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D637%26h%3Dcccecf12a17a3e2518229fc12e8f144f98823f68d01dc032649ca55a6c3ee797%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2278284520%22%7D” expand=1]

Michael Garvey and Liberty perform at The White House in Oct. 2016.

The why

For one, this show is going to be awesome. Also, ASAP has an incredible mission. Here’s their story:

We believe that trauma and loss breeds creativity and discovery.

The veterans and military families in Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP)’s community prove this point. But, it also holds true for our founder, Sam Pressler. After losing a family member to suicide while in high school, Sam turned to comedic expression to cope. When he later learned about mental health challenges affecting veterans through his college research at William Mary, Sam felt compelled to act. While at WM, he launched the country’s first comedy class for veterans, as well as the largest veterans writing group in the Southeast. Within a year, a supportive community formed – one that gave veterans permission to process and express, connect and grow, heal and serve others.

After receiving the Echoing Green Fellowship, Sam converted the student organization into ASAP, a 501(c)3 non-profit. Today, ASAP is thriving in the D.C. Metro area and Hampton Roads, VA, serving thousands of veterans and military families, and empowering its alumni to become artistic leaders in their communities. As a result of our impact in the communities we serve, we have received significant attention. We have performed at The White House, have been featured on a PBS documentary, and have been recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 list for “Social Entrepreneurship.”

The reintegration of our nation’s veterans is not just a veterans issue. It involves veterans and civilians, community arts organizations and local health providers, military recruiting and VA care. It requires social, physical, and artistic outlets just as much as it demands traditional medical care. Through our collaborative, community-driven, and deeply focused program model, we are forging a new path for veterans to reintegrate into civilian life, and for our communities to welcome them home.

Articles

Metal Giants ‘Queensryche’ Take On War

There has been a major split between lead singer Geoff Tate and the rest of the band in recent months, but a few years ago, legendary metal band Queensryche was tightly focused on “American Soldier,” the band’s take on the modern experience of war.


Here’s the first video they produced for the album:

Articles

6 of the biggest failed gambles of World War II

Everything in war is risky but depending on who’s leading an army, some gambles are better than others. Mistakes are always made, but when the biggest risks on the battlefield pay off, they pay off big. When they fail, they often fail just as hard. 

In war, however, a failed gamble can mean thousands of lives lost, losing the initiative or losing the war altogether. In World War II, the stakes were high enough that the generals in command were risking all three every time they planned an operation. Some of those risks were worth it, others were not. 

These are the risks that were not. 

1. Germany: Not capturing Moscow when it had the chance

At its outset, Operation Barbarossa was a stunning success. The Nazi Wehrmacht made incredible territorial gains in the earliest days of the fighting. They were capturing hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers with every advance. Hitler’s belief that he could kick in the door of the Soviet Union and break the whole rotten structure down was coming true. Then, he inexplicably stopped listening to his staff.

Hitler ordered his army groups to capture Soviet forces on the flanks of the main advance rather than press on to Moscow. If he had pressed his advantage for the Soviet capital instead of diverting his panzer forces, he would have avoided a two-month delay and could have negotiated a separate peace with the USSR, maybe even convincing the Japanese to attack the Soviets in the East instead of Pearl Harbor.

2. Japan: Midway

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
Japanese carrier Hiryū, shortly before sinking (U.S. Navy)

While there was no way for the Japanese to know that the United States knew when and where the next Japanese invasion would come, they still committed four carriers to the Battle for Midway and lost all of them. Worst of all, Midway wasn’t even necessary to the Japanese Navy’s planned defense of the home islands. They only targeted the island because the U.S. believed it was vital to its interests. 

To top it all off, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto designed an overly complex invasion plan for such a tiny atoll, based on intelligence that was optimistic at best and dead wrong at worst. Since the first casualty of war is the plan, an overly complex one was a bad idea for such a gamble. The battle resulted in a game-changing, lopsided win for the United States. 

3. Italy: The Invasion of Greece

In 1940, Italy was still very much the lesser power of the Axis Pact. Still, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was riding high from Fascist Italy’s victories over Ethiopia and Albania, as well as its contribution to the Fascist victory in the Spanish Civil War. So, despite being at war with the British in North Africa, he decided to launch an invasion of Greece to help fulfill his vision of a new Roman Empire. 

That, however, never materialized. About two weeks after the initial invasion, the Greeks stopped the Italians (literally) dead in their tracks. With help from the British Royal Air Force, the Greeks not only pushed the Italians out of Greece, but pushed into Italian-held Albania. Only after Germany’s intervention were the Greeks subdued and Mussolini’s hope for great power status were dashed. 

4. The United States: Monte Cassino 

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
Monte Cassino in ruins after Allied bombing in February 1944 (Bundesarchiv)

The fight for Monte Cassino was a battle the Allies technically won, but a handful of victories like Monte Cassino would have been devastating for the United States. Monte Cassino was an ancient abbey built from stone, perched on a high hill, an excellent defensive position, and one the U.S. 5th Army spent a lot of manpower to take. 

The Allies launched four assaults on Monte Cassino, a fortification that many contemporaries believe could have been bypassed. They had to assault the abbey first through a minefield and once through a flood. When the Allies did take it, they found just wounded soldiers. The rest had simply fallen back to the Hitler Line. 

5. Britain: Operation Market Garden

For some reason, Western armies have an obsession with “being home by Christmas” and Operation Market Garden was one more in a line of failed attempts to win this baffling achievement. It was an ambitious, overly complex operation that could have been avoided given the various alternatives. 

The Allies allowed a substantial German force to escape after capturing the port of Antwerp, there was another way to cross the Rhine River at Driel, and the help of the Dutch resistance was ignored. These were all potential game-changers for the operation. Instead, the result was an Allied advance that stretched far too long with a command structure that was best described as “loose.”

6. The Soviet Union: Not preparing for a German invasion

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
Stalin in 1937 — apparently before crippling paranoia had set in (Wikimedia Commons)

Soviet intelligence at this time was one of the best among what would become the wartime Allies. Almost every agent in the Soviet NKGB (forerunner of the KGB, the Soviet intelligence service) was screaming at Stalin from all four corners of the globe that the Germans would attack the USSR in 1941. But Stalin wouldn’t have it. 

According to the Mitrokhin Archive, a trove of secret KGB documents published by a Soviet Defector in the early 1990s, Stalin preferred to analyze intelligence reports himself, rather than have them fed to him by an analyst. NKGB agents reported the planned invasion of the Soviet Union for a year preceding Operation Barbarossa, but Stalin refused to believe it and threatened every agent reporting such intelligence with execution.

Articles

Watch a US Air Force pilot pull mind-bending moves in the world’s most lethal combat plane

The F-22 Raptor combines extreme stealth with supermaneuverability, and the pilots of the US Air Force, through excellent training, make it the most lethal combat plane in the world.


Also read: How China’s stealthy new J-20 fighter jet compares to the US’s F-22 and F-35

In the clip below, an F-22 performs several mind-bending moves in the air. More than once, the Raptor goes completely vertical, nose up to the sky, while draining off nearly all of its speed, and for a brief, shining moment, pauses at the crest of its ascent.

Then the pilot twists the F-22 into flips and rolls. At one point, the Raptor goes into a “falling leaf” maneuver, where it spins and drifts in a way that makes you almost forget that two massive jet engines power it. Seconds later, the engines roar back to life, and the plane is on its way again.

In a dogfight, figures like maximum speed don’t mean a whole lot. Sure, the F-22 can supercruise, but the ability to slow down and bear down on a target matters more in an air-to-air confrontation at close range.

In the clip below, see how a US Air Force pilot in an F-22 owns the sky with incredible maneuvers:

Articles

American troops tried to find Viet Cong tunnels using witching rods

For more than five centuries, farmers, treasure hunters, and others have applied a pseudoscientific practice known as “dowsing” to find water, caves, graves and more.


During the Vietnam War, American troops tried using the method to divine the location of Viet Cong tunnel networks.

It didn’t work.

Continually frustrated by the underground networks, the Pentagon made locating and destroying the subterranean passages a main goal in 1967. A year later, defense contractor HRB Singer told the Office of Naval Research that dowsing might hold the answer.

“Undoubtedly, any system that offers some promise of improving the odds above pure chance of discovering and locating the enemy is worth a try — if nothing else is available,” the scientists explained in a 1968 report. The U.S. Army and Navy had both so far failed to build a machine that could reliably detect the tunnels.

In spite of repeated studies failing to prove any scientific basis for dowsing, the practice has endured to the present day. HRB Singer was optimistic that dowsing could help in South Vietnam.

Debates have raged about whether dowsing works since the practice first evolved in Germany in the 15th century. In 1518, Christian theologian Martin Luther decried the practice as occultic — and an affront to God.

A common understanding surrounding dowsing is that certain people can either innately sense small shifts in Earth’s magnetic fields that indicate open underground areas such as caverns. These individuals can train others to feel these changes. Others have linked the diving to psychic abilities or other factors.

Dowsers may use a Y- or L-shaped wood or metal pole —typically called a “divining rod” or “witching rod” — to help in their search. However, some practitioners don’t use any special tools.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
U.S. Army troops investigate a Viet Cong tunnel. | U.S. Army photo

Despite widespread skepticism, HRB Singer was quick point out dowsing’s clear military applications — if it worked. In South Vietnam, Communist rebels routinely ambushed American troops from camouflaged spider holes and bunkers linked to extensive underground networks.

“The evidence suggests that this network of underground installations which has been under construction for more than 20 years is an even better base for communist guerrilla … than was Castro’s Sierra Maestra range in Cuba,” HRB Singer’s Richard Bossart wrote in the report.

The Pentagon was trying pretty much anything it could think of to close these tunnels. In 1963, the Army tried using anti-tank rockets to blast into the underground pathways.

Three years later, the ground combat branch started working on a handheld device that could accurately measure differences in magnetic fields to find the Viet Cong hideaways. Dogs were another option.

In 1967, the Air Force looking into trying liquids that would change colors if surface temperature was markedly colder from that underground. This could indicate a large heat source such as a mass of people or a cooking fire.

None of these projects were working out. Between 1966 and 1971, the Army spent more than $500,000 on the portable magnetometer — nearly $3 million in 2016 dollars — and only got a dozen prototype devices to South Vietnam for tests.

With few options, American troops had already turned to dowsing in the field before HRB Singer started their research. Around the same time HRB Singer started their research, the U.S. Marine Corps went so far as to “train” a small group to dowse for tunnels.

The Marine Corps Development and Educational Command put the leathernecks through a four-hour course in the practice. In March 1968, Associated Press reporters spotted the troops near their base at Khe Sanh using bent brass rods to find their subterranean foes.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
U.S. Army specialist Marvin Miller drops a smoke grenade into a tunnel. | U.S. Army photo

Bossart and his colleagues hadn’t been able to figure out if the Marines’ had any luck with their witching rods. But it wasn’t enough to dissuade him from moving forward with his own investigations.

“The fact that detecting and locating tunnels is so critical that the niceties of scientific rigor can be de-emphasized, if necessary,” the HRB Singer researcher noted. In his opinion, the fact that American forces were doing it already made objections “somewhat academic.”

After reviewing the available literature, the HRB Singer team — including a number of employees who were amateur spelunkers — kicked off its own experiment. Having already used dowsing in their hobby, these individuals were happy to explore the phenomenon.

The company’s experts worked together with locals and students in and around Pennsylvania State University. The test subjects found a underground cavern in one case and a septic tank in another.

“These experiments are by no means meant to indicate proof of dowsing,” Bossart was quick to acknowledge in his conclusions. “They are in general uncontrolled and subject to reasonable doubt.”

Still, Bossart felt the results showed the potential of dowsing and the need for more and better studies. The key was trying to conclusively prove whether the practice was a science, an art or pure luck.

In the end, neither HRB Singer nor the Marine Corps could prove a scientific underpinning for dowsing. In 1971, with the Vietnam War steadily winding down, the Marines canned their program.

With its continued popularity in certain regions of the United States, the practice continues to pop up in military circles. In 1988, Air Force lieutenant colonel Dolan McKelvy made the case for dowsing among other types of “psychic warfare” as part of an Air War College research project.

The Marine Corps “did not discredit dowsing, but merely pointed out it is a special skill his marines hadn’t mastered,” according to Dolan. “It probably requires more than a four-hour short course for use operationally.”

In 1990, Lewis Carl, a “professional dowser,” tried again to get the Army interested in dowsing. Carl claimed the practice could help solve water problems for American troops rushing to the Persian Gulf following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

Four years later, David Gaisford conducted his own experiments into the procedure as a student at the Air Force Institute of Technology. In reviewing the historical record, he noted that the Marines had concluded there was no “scientific basis” for the practice.

The ground combat branch wasn’t interested in Carl’s offer. And just like those before him, Gaisford couldn’t find any solid evidence and called for more research.

Today, civilian scientists and engineers and their military counterparts generally rely on advanced magnetometers, radars and lasers to see enemy tunnels and other threats beneath the surface. So far, no one has been able to convince the Pentagon to add witching rods to soldiers’ packs.

MUSIC

Listen to these 10th Mountain Division soldiers revive an old WWII song

The Army’s legendary 10th Mountain Division was constituted as the 10th Light Division (Alpine) on July 10, 1943. Five days later, the division was activated at Camp Hale, Colorado. When the troops weren’t conducting specialized winter training, they often made up songs to entertain themselves around campfires and in the barracks. One of the most popular songs that spread across the division was “90 Pounds of Rucksack.”

Soldiers brought the song with them to Europe during WWII. Even after the war, it remained a popular tune for the legacy ski troops. “The original song is a huge part of the World War II generation – they sang it at all the 10th Mountain Division reunions and get-togethers,” said 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Museum director Sepp Scanlin. “There was even an album made of their ski songs during the war. The descendants group is also well familiar with the song from their fathers’ time at reunions and trips back to Italy.”

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
The 10th Mountain Division served as elite ski troops during WWII (U.S. Army)

Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division Band recorded a modern version of the classic song for the 21st century. The performance pays homage to 10th Mountain soldiers both past and present. The new lyrics and barbershop quartet arrangement are the work of Cpl. Nicholas Smith. “I had personally never arranged in this style before, but I was familiar enough with what it was so I only had to do a little bit of research and studying on it before getting to work on the arrangement,” Smith said. “I really enjoyed the process. It was a fun way to improve my skills in composition and arranging.”

The new version of “90 Pounds of Rucksack” was performed by Sgt. Benjamin Garnett, Sgt. Jeremy Gorman, Spc. Alexus Monroe and Spc. Toney Williams. The video was produced by Spc. Pierre Osias of the 27th Public Affairs Detachment.

10th Mountain Division Quartet (Facebook)
10th Mountain Division Quartet (Facebook)

 “It exceeded my wildest expectations,” Scanlin said of the new version. “It kept the tune and the spirit of the original, but the new lyrics pay tribute to the WWII generation while still highlighting what it means to be a 10th Mountain Division Soldier today. They all did an incredible job.”

Two more videos are in the works. They will culminate with a concert later in 2021. “What we want to do with both the videos and the concert is to honor the spirit of the 10th Mountain Division, and bridge the gap between the proud lineage and service of those World War II Soldiers who served in the division and the modern light infantry Soldiers that are currently here,” said 10th Mountain Division Band public affairs NCO and trombone player Staff Sgt. Robert Carmical. “That’s a fundamental part of our mission – to capture the spirit of the fighting men and women who we serve and then share that with the community both on and off post.

Watch the video below:

Premiere of a modern remake of 10th Mountain Division’s “90 Pounds of Rucksack”

Posted by 10th Mountain Division & Fort Drum Museum on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

MIGHTY MOVIES

10 photos show how the battle in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ looks without visual effects

“Avengers: Endgame” was one of the biggest films of 2019, earning more than $1 billion at the box office.

The film, which was a culmination of a decade of Marvel movies, featured time travel, heartbreaking moments, and a major battle sequence. Larger-than-life moments were made possible through the use of computer-generated imagery (also known as CGI) and other special effects. And oftentimes, the most exciting scenes in the movie were filmed in front of a green screen.

In a new video shared by Marvel Entertainment, “Endgame” visual effects supervisor Dan DeLeeuw broke down the film’s major battle sequence with Ryan Penagos.

Keep reading to see how different “Endgame” looks without special effects.


The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

The superheroes returned after stepping through portals.

(Marvel/Disney)

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

The portals were created using special effects.

(Marvel Entertainment)

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

The Avengers prepare for their final “Endgame” battle.

(Walt Disney Studios)

2. The Avengers ran straight toward Thanos and his army.

They assembled once everyone returned.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Thanos’ army was much smaller.

(Marvel Entertainment)

When the stars filmed the scene, they were just running toward six men in motion capture suits.

DeLeeuw said that having the six people facing the actors helped them figure out where their eyes should move during the scene.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Spider-Man giving Captain Marvel the gauntlet.

(Marvel)

3. In the movie, Spider-Man passes the infinity gauntlet to Captain Marvel, with Scarlet Witch, Valkyrie, Okoye, Pepper Potts, Shuri, and Mantis nearby.

Captain Marvel meets all the Avengers for the first time in “Endgame.”

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Brie Larson stars as Captain Marvel.

(Marvel Entertainment)

The scene was actually filmed without Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and her winged horse.

Holland and his stunt double wore motion capture suits to film. Special effects were later added to create the iron suit that’s seen in the movie.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Captain America wielded Thor’s hammer in “Endgame.”

(Marvel/Disney)

4. Captain America finally get his hands on Thor’s hammer.

He was always worthy.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Chris Evans stars as Captain America.

(Marvel Entertainment)

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Korg and Drax attacked an alien.

(Marvel/Disney)

5. Drax and Korg teamed up to take down one of the aliens from Thanos’ army.

Drax is portrayed by Dave Bautista and Korg is played by Taika Waititi.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Dave Bautista stars as Drax.

(Marvel Entertainment)

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Hulk is played by Mark Ruffalo.

(Marvel/Disney)

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Dave Bautista, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans filming.

(Marvel Entertainment)

Ruffalo wore a motion capture suit and headpiece while filming.

The Hulk that appeared on screen was made possible thanks to CGI technology.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Captain America threw his shield at Thanos.

(Marvel/Disney)

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Chris Evans stars as Captain America.

(Marvel Entertainment)

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Elizabeth Olsen and Tessa Thompson.

(Marvel/Disney)

8. One scene in the film showed Scarlett Witch and Valkyrie jumping into the action.

Elizabeth Olsen plays Scarlet Witch and Tessa Thompson stars as Valkyrie.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Valkryie was introduced in “Thor: Ragnarok.”

(Marvel Entertainment)

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.

(Disney/Marvel)

9. Pepper Potts wore a suit designed by Tony Stark.

The suit also included wings.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Gwyneth Paltrow has been part of the MCU since “Iron Man.”

(Marvel Entertainment)

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Benedict Wong stars as Wong in the MCU.

(Marvel/Disney)

10. Wong used his sorcery to open portals.

Peter Parker referred to the rings as “yellow sparkly things.”

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Benedict Wong and Evangeline Lilly.

(Marvel Entertainment)

Obviously, there were no fiery rings used in the making of the scene.

The character was first introduced in “Doctor Strange.”

This article originally appeared on Insider. Follow @thisisinsider on Twitter.

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Articles

‘Sgt. Bilko’ aired a generation ago but vets can still get a kick out of it

Dust off your VHS tape, grab a DVD, or search Netflix for the 1996 comedy ‘Sgt. Bilko’ starring comedic icons Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd and the late, great Phil Hartman and give it a rewatch sometime. The movie is a remake of the hit 1950’s series The Phil Silvers Show. Most will agree that the movie was not nearly as good as the show. In fact, the numbers to prove it. “Sgt. Bilko” has a 32 percent critic favorability rating on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. Users score the film a bit better at 45 percent.


Martin plays the wheeling and dealing Army Master Sgt. Ernest Bilko, a motor pool supervisor who uses his soldiers to make a quick buck by running an illegal gambling ring on a fictional Army base called Fort Baxter. Aykroyd plays Army Col. John T. Hall, the base’s commanding officer. The colonel seems mostly unaware of or unconcerned with Bilko’s antics and Bilko practically runs the base.

It’s all smooth sailing for Bilko until an old rival (Major Colin Thorn, played by Hartman) arrives to inspect his motor pool. It’s part of a plan to punish Bilko for the fixed boxing match that sent him to Greenland years before. He also seeks his revenge by trying to steal away Bilko’s fianceé.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II
Phil Hartman, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin, 1996

The movie is also centered on the development of a Hover Tank that can rise over land and water. However, the tank is not yet ready for prime time. The fate of Fort Baxter and Bilko’s career rest on the tank performing well in a high-profile demonstration in front of a Congressional delegation and senior military officials.

Although it’s not a great military film and several blunders are clearly noticeable in the movie. The wear of military uniforms and errors in military customs and courtesies are the most egregious errors, but there are some scenes that many veterans will find funny.

Casino Clean-Up

In the opening scenes of the movie, Bilko is signaled by the base radio station that Col. Hall is on his way to his location. The motor pool is a mini Las Vegas with craps and roulette tables, full bar and massage room. The Soldiers are in a hurry to hide all the illegal activities but find themselves in a dilemma when they have to hide a horse used in a previous gambling scheme. In classic Bilko fashion, he tries to smooth talk his way out of trouble.

Boxing Fix

The rivalry between Maj. Thorn and Master Sgt. Bilko is explained in this flashback scene. In anticipation of a big boxing championship match, Bilko takes in bets. Like the good con man he is, Bilko pays off one of the fighters to take a dive hoping to score some big money. But a problem arises when Bilko’s assistant pays off the wrong fighter. The miscommunication leads to a double knockout. Somehow though it’s Thorn and not Bilko who gets in trouble for the botched fight.

 

Surprise Inspection

Bilko’s platoon is given a surprise barracks inspection. The motor pool barracks are trashed. Facing certain failure, Bilko switches the signs between his barracks and a neighboring women’s barracks. In typical military fashion, the men line up in front of the rooms. When Thorn finds a bra in one of the closets, he asks the soldier if it’s his. His DADT-related reply is classic: “It is my understanding that you can no longer ask me these questions, Sir.”

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

Fake Push-Ups

Duane Doberman is one of Bilko’s most lovable soldiers. However, he is clearly out of Army weight standards. Maj. Thorn is out to get him but his battle buddies come to his rescue, helping him complete some push-ups in front of the officer. See the push-ups for yourself:

 

Viva Las Vegas

Bilko’s dream of going to Vegas comes true when he is allowed to go to a military exercise in Nevada. He is overjoyed and cruises the Vegas strip in some military hardware.

The legendary rock band KISS has surprising roots from World War II

The Hover Tank

Like a good NCO, Master Sgt. Bilko outwits Maj. Thorn and gets the tank up and running with some deceptive tactics. Eventually, it leads to the dismissal of Thorn back to Greenland. Bilko is once again the ruler of his domain. “It’s no wonder why they call him a Master Sergeant.”

Follow Alex Licea on Twitter @alexlicea82

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