Retired U.S. Navy Captain and former NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly once received a full gorilla suit in a care package while living on the International Space Station. He didn’t tell anyone about it. One day, without warning his fellow crew, he put it on. Hilarity ensued.
And luckily for us, there’s video:
Kelly was a fighter pilot in the Navy before becoming a U.S. astronaut. A veteran of four space flights, he commanded the International Space Station (ISS) on three expeditions and was a member of the yearlong mission to the ISS from March 27, 2015, to March 2, 2016. His book, Infinite Wonder, features the photographs he took during that year. In October 2015, he set the record for the total accumulated number of days spent in space.
It was his brother, Captain Mark Kelly, who sent the gorilla suit care package. Mark Kelly is also a retired U.S. Navy pilot, engineer, and NASA astronaut, and the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Who else could get away with sending such a gift?
The Kelly twins have also been part of an investigation on the health effects of long-term space flight. While Scott lived aboard the ISS for a year, Mark remained on Earth as a “genetically identical ground control.” Scientists have been able to discern the effects of space on the human body to the DNA and chromosomal level, from Scott’s gut microbiome to the thickening in his retina and carotid artery.
These kinds of studies help give clues toward human health as we explore space. While the ISS is in low-Earth orbit and not deep space like, say, Mars, the findings give scientists more information about the effects of space travel.
Today’s soldiers hear a lot about the “Old Army,” when men were men and privates weren’t allowed to speak.
Soldiers Magazine got veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm together to check out modern first aid kits. The old-timers were impressed by how much gear was in the kit but were confused by some items.
Far from just marching around and being yelled at by sadistic drill sergeants, basic training can be the source of hilarious stories.
Case in point comes from an awesome AskReddit thread. The thread, which originated with Reddit user mctugmutton, asked the military community for “the funniest thing they witnessed while in boot camp.” The answers run from LOL to LMFAO and glimpse at basic training differences between service branches.
Reddit user sneego: The time half my squad decided to clean their training gear naked.
Our last week of basic training, we basically spent days cleaning all of our TA-50 (pretty much all your issued gear- rucksacks, ponchos, etc).
The drill sergeants decided it would be more efficient for us to pile up some of the major items as a platoon and organize cleaning teams. Well, the cleaning team in charge of doing ponchos decided to use the showers to make things go faster and to free up the faucets in the laundry room for others to use. So they begin cleaning and then decide to go one step further: Why be careful about getting wet when you can just get naked and get things done even quicker?
Next thing you know, half of first squad is butt naked chatting like nothing unusual is going on when our drill sergeant walks in. The DS just looks in, makes a David Silvermanesque WTF look, says in his thick Puerto Rican accent, “Jesus LORD privates, what the F–K!” and walks out.
Reddit user allhailzorp: The time my friend got an imaginary bathroom siren.
Not me, but my best friend who recently went through USMC boot camp.
It’s about Week 2. All the recruits are still scared s–tless. Literally, some of their a–holes are clenched so tight they haven’t gone number two since they got there. And by this point, with Marine chow being what it is, there’s quite a backlog building up. My buddy desperately needs to go. He wanted to wait until his individual time that night, but it was too late, he was touching cloth.
So, braving his fear of the DIs, he speaks out. “Sir, this recruit requests a head call, SIR”. Then, he blurts out, “Sir, it’s an emergency, Sir!”
The DI, with his infinite sense of humor:
“Oh really? An emergency huh? Well, you better put on your SIREN.”
My buddy has to wave his hands above his head, and scream “Bee-Boo Bee-Boo” as he ran to the restroom. This continued for the entirety of boot camp, every time he needed the bathroom.
One Reddit user witnessed E.T. phone home during Air Force basic training.
We had a really pasty kid with huge coke bottle glasses with a really high pitched almost robotic voice in our flight that seemed to be a lightning rod for TI abuse.
One morning our TI told the kid that he was on to him and he wasn’t going to allow him to complete his mission. Suffice to say the kid was extremely confused and asked the TI what he was talking about to which he replied “You’re an alien and I know you’re here to gather intelligence about our military.”
At this point, I couldn’t hold in my laughter any longer and went to the other side of the barracks as quick as possible before I got dragged into it. Well, I just got to the other side when the kid comes barreling around the corner and stops right in front of his locker and starts screaming into it that the TI was on to him and that the mission was unsuccessful.
I guess the TI told him that he had to report to the mothership through the communicator in his locker that the mission was unsuccessful and he’d been found out.
My Basic Training Battery had twin brothers in it, Chang L , and Chang K . Chang L was in fourth platoon and his brother was in third. One evening, there were combatives happening in the fourth platoon barracks. Chang K had sneaked into our bay to be a part of this unsanctioned event, specifically so that he could wrestle his brother. Everyone was wearing PT uniforms, except for some reason our Chang, who was wearing nothing but his issued brown briefs, and had removed his glasses for the fight. Suddenly, a wild Drill Sergeant appeared! Chang L, in his underwear, was grabbed by someone and stuffed into their wall locker.
His twin brother, Chang K, ran up to the front of the bay to take his brothers place for mail call. It was a disaster waiting to happen. After mail was handed out, the Drill Sergeant decided to hang around for a bit and have a serious heart to heart talk with us about something that had happened recently (an attempted suicide). The Drill Sergeant had gathered us close and was quietly talking about loyalty and brotherhood when all of the sudden, he was interrupted by the metallic squeal of a wall locker opening.
There was a hushed silence as the skinny little Chinese man, blind without his glasses, peeked out around the door and stepped out, in plain view of the Drill Sergeant. Apparently, we had been so quiet, that he thought we had all left.
DS: “WHY IN THE F–K IS THERE A NAKED CHINESE BOY IN YOUR WALL LOCKER?!” Pvt 1:”Drill Sergeant, I put him there, Drill Sergeant!” DS: What the f–k? Pvt 2: “We were wrasslin’, Drill Sergeant.” It was silent for a few seconds as the DS’s face contorted as though he were about to have an epileptic seizure. His eyes were cartoonishly huge.
The DS pointed at the practically nude Chang L and screamed at him to get his f–king ass over to the third platoon barracks. Chang L started to interject, presumably to inform the DS that he had confused him for his brother, but was unable to finish because at this point the DS was knocking things over and screaming his lungs out. Chang ran away, blind and naked, stumbling into furniture as he fled, leaving his terrified twin brother in his place. I don’t believe that we actually got our Chang back until PT the next morning, when they were able to switch back.
Get Awesome Sh*t My Drill Sergeant Said via Amazon or Barnes and Noble locations nationwide.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks launched the war on terrorism and ruined air travel as we knew it. So the TSA was born.
You used to be able to get through security in less than 15 minutes, but with the creation of the Transportation Security Administration the process takes a lot longer. However, despite this first-world-problem, TSA has foiled over 39 terror plots, according to The Heritage Foundation.
Some may see the TSA as an inconvenience, but to the al-Qaeda fighters in this video, “they are an elite force of anti-terrorist commandos.”
Wookies. Homo Spaciens. The Anti-Gravity Gang. Rocketmen. Floaty Bois.
Those questionable offerings were among about 400 suggestions on what to call members of the military’s newest branch, submitted by Air Force and Space Force members before “Guardians” was chosen in December, according to a list provided to Military.com on Friday.
Other suggestions included Starmen, Rangers, Gladiators, Cadets, Trekkies (in honor of the popular “Star Trek” franchise), Luminaires and STARgeants.
Someone even suggested: “Nothing, because you wouldn’t hear it in space anyway.”
Last year, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations for the Space Force, said the service was sifting through nearly 700 crowdsourced names of what to call its space professionals. In December, then-Vice President Mike Pence made the official announcement that Space Force members would be called Guardians.
“Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Guardians will be defending our nation for generations to come,” Pence said during a ceremony the day before the Space Force’s 1st birthday.
Space enthusiasts and military members were quick to point out that “Guardians” evokes the Marvel Comics’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” film franchise about a motley crew of superheroes in space.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” was also a submission, according to the service’s list.
In 2016, the Air Force unveiled its list of rejected names for its new stealth B-21 bomber, which was ultimately named Raider after the Doolittle Raiders, the World War II-era bomb crews who launched morale-boosting strikes on Tokyo after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.
Toys today are much safer than those our parents had – and that’s a good thing. Even though so many bemoan the “everyone gets a trophy” mindset, let’s face it, some of the toys of yesteryear may have seemed like fun to the adults designing them, but they weren’t the best idea in the hands of children. These banned children’s toys might actually have “fun” purposes, but we think they’re really best for training kids for war.
The toys of yesteryear had so much going for them. These fun features allowed kids to main, poison, spear, and otherwise seriously injure their playmates. All in the name of good fun! This list of banned toys might no longer be around, but they’re still alive in our hearts. If you’re too young to have enjoyed these wild toys, just ask anyone born before 1900. Chances are they not only remember them but have the scars to prove it.
1. Lawn Darts
Also called “Jarts,” anyone who grew up in the 90s remembers these banned darks. What a random idea for a toy! Lawn darts are pointed steel stakes with plastic stabilizer fins, weighted to always come down point first. The idea was to stand far from a marked target area, then toss the darts high in the air, so they come down within the area.
What really happened, as you might expect, is the darts never hit their targets and hit eyeballs, elbows, and everywhere else instead.
2. The CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit
Prayers everywhere were answered when the CSI Fingerprint Kit hit the shelves. Or at least, the prayers of 10 year olds, that is. Finally, pre-teens everywhere could solve mysteries and drop one-liners as they put on their sunglasses. The kit also helped kids learn how to operate in a chemical warfare environment since the dust used to lift the fingerprints contained tremolite, a deadly form of carcinogenic asbestos. This banned toy was pulled from the shelves shortly after its arrival, but we’re not totally sure why.
3. The Atomic Energy Laboratory
Does your little one have the problem of being lumped into some kind of “Axis of Evil?”
Well, all you need to do now is go back in time and get your hands on the Gilbert Atomic Energy Laboratory. The U-238 Lab (yes, that was its name) came complete with radioactive materials to get the little Marshal and the glorious people’s democratic revolutionary nuclear program up and running before he meets the same fate as Saddam. Wait, in case you didn’t read that all the way through – the U-238 Lab came with radioactive materials. There are so many obvious reasons why this is on the banned toy list. Can you imagine giving nuclear materials to a 10 year old?
4. Kite Tube
Ever wanted to practice some Navy SEAL skills in a CRRC when you were a kid? Not being a SEAL and not having a CRRC should have stopped no one. In fact, young kids could have had CRCC skills training and airborne training – at the same time. Enter the Kite Tube. This banned toy is actually as dangerous or worse than any military live-fire exercise. And it’s probably killed more people than ISIS.
5. Splash Off Water Rockets
They aren’t from North Korea, they just act like they are. The idea behind the Splash Off Water Rocket is that the main compartment would fill up with water pressure until it had enough pressure to slip the surly bonds of Earth.
Unfortunately for kids, instead of breaking Earth’s bond, it shattered the compartment, launching plastic shrapnel in 360-degrees at water rocket velocity. So while this could teach kids to accept failure like the North Korean missile program, it could also teach them to dodge mortar and grenade shrapnel.
6. Mattel’s Sonic M Blaster
I’m not actually certain this was ever banned, but if it hadn’t premiered in the 1950s, it would have been. Nothing beats letting your kids fire a compressed air gun that not only fired the burst of air but also was loud enough to rupture an eardrum at close range. It was a weapon meant for a young Snake Plissken.
In case you were wondering, yes, that’s a young Kurt Russell taking out his neighbor’s property. They won’t do anything about it, because hopefully, they know better than to mess with a kid that’s learning to aim and fire a bazooka.
7. Austin Magic Pistol
You know it’s a weapon when the size of the round in the toy is on the cover of the box. This 1940s-era muzzle-loaded “toy” used an explosive mix of calcium carbide (aka “Magic Crystals”) and water to fire a ping-pong ball at high velocity.
One of the benefits of quarantine is catching up on every single television show ever made. There’s nothing better than revisiting some of the classics and clearly, Cheers has to make that list. What’s extra entertaining is when these 40-year-old shows accurately predict the future (like these M*A*S*H episodes).
In episode five of season one, Cheers absolutely nails it.
In this episode, titled “Coach’s Daughter,” customer Chuck (played by Tim Cunningham) sits at the bar and tells bartender Sam (Ted Danson) and the Cheers’ regulars that he has a new job at a biology lab. He shares his anxiety about working with mutant viruses and the reaction from the Cheers’ crew couldn’t be any more fitting to what we are experiencing with COVID-19.
Cheers ran from 1982 through 1993 with 275 half-hour episodes. Although it was almost cancelled early on, it made it an impressive 11 seasons. Set in a bar in Boston, visiting the friendly location on the airwaves became a weekly household staple, with everyone wanting to visit the place, “Where everybody knows your name.” Cheers earned 26 Emmy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards and many other accolades. It remains one of the best shows in history.
Cheers had several episodes with military-connected plots, although none better than “One for the Book,” which aired December 9, 1982. In this iconic episode, two customers enter the friendly neighborhood establishment, and of course their paths should meet. One is Buzz Crowder played by Ian Wolfe.
Buzz and his buddies from WWI agree to meet every 10 years for a reunion, but just as we see with our WWII veterans present day, Buzz’s peers are dwindling. In this episode, Buzz is the last one left. Luckily for him, you may walk into Cheers alone, but you’ll never leave without making friends. In “One for the Book,” that friend happens to be a young man getting ready to head to the monastery and looking for a night of fun before he becomes a monk.
Photo: Cheers, NBC Universal
While Cheers ran on NBC, all 275 episodes are now available for streaming on CBS All Access. Start today and we’re confident you can finish the series before the end of quarantine. Or, let’s be honest, by the end of the week.
“No special treatment, just like any other recruit,” Colbert says in the hilarious clip, hopping out of a limo and sporting a red tracksuit. He is, of course, greeted by a drill sergeant who starts screaming at him and takes him through various physical exercises.
There were plenty of wonderful questions from the private-for-a-day:
— “I’m here for the Army. Is this the Army?”
— “I have a question about tanks. Do they have bathrooms in there, or do you just pee out the barrel?”
Who doesn’t love a good laugh at their employer’s expense? It’s all the stuff that you have to deal with, day in and day out. Only this time, it’s poking fun at the bear. It’s not you on the chopping block, it’s someone else. That means it’s time to let loose and relax — all while getting in a solid chuckle. There’s no exception for Army jokes. In fact, we laugh that much harder, knowing there are so many solid jokes at the expense of Uncle Sam. Take a read and join us in chuckling over the expense of the institution that is the U.S. Army.
Acronyms at their best:
ARMY — a recruiter misled you
2. This low-blow at boots on the ground:
What do you call kids in the military?
3. Getting cheesy:
What do you call a soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray?
A seasoned veteran.
4. When backtalk is still funny:
As a group of soldiers stood in formation at an Army Base, the Drill Sergeant said, “All right! All you idiots fall out.”
As the rest of the squad wandered away, one soldier remained at attention. The Drill Instructor walked over until he was eye-to-eye with him. The soldier smiled and said, “Sure were a lot of ’em, huh, sir?”
5. Past careers come to light:
Did you hear about the karate master who joined the military?
He saluted and nearly chopped off his own head.
6. Training done right:
A drill sergeant grumbles at his fresh young trainee, “I didn’t see you at camouflage training this morning, Private.”
“Thank you very much, Sir,” replies the soldier.
7. The laws of nature:
If God had meant for us to be in the Army, we would have been born with baggy green skin.
8. Pulling rank:
During training exercises, the Lieutenant who was driving down a muddy back road encountered another car stuck in the mud with a red-faced Colonel at the wheel.
“Your car stuck, sir?” asked the Lieutenant as he pulled alongside. “Nope,” replied the colonel, coming over and handing him the keys. “Yours is.”
9. A macabre play on words:
Overheard at the VFW, “When I was in the Army, I got both my arms shot off.”
“I shouldered on, anyway.”
10. A trip down memory lane:
Son: Dad, what was your favorite day as a soldier?
Dad: The first time I sent some private to find batteries for the chem lights.
11. A difference in opinions:
The company commander and the sergeant were in the field. As they go to bed for the night, the first sergeant said: “Sir, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?”
The commander said: “I see millions of stars.”
Sgt: “And what does that tell you, sir?”
“Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Theologically, it tells me that God is great and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it tells me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Top?”
Sgt: “Well sir, it tells me that somebody stole our tent.”
12. Getting punny:
What do you get when you drop a piano on an Army officer?
A flat major.
These jokes poke fun at the largest military branch to date, we can all slap our knees at its expense. Whether you’ve served or just enjoy a quick chuckle, these jokes are bound to brighten your day.
Have some great Army jokes to share? Tell us below.
So far, the year 2021 has been largely a continuation of the unprecedented challenges of 2020. However, that didn’t stop the U.S. Army and Navy from having a little fun on April Fool’s Day.
The Army is currently evaluating a new light tank prototype. Called the Mobile Protected Firepower, the competitors are being tested at Fort Bragg, N.C. However, it seems like the 3rd Infantry Division is ahead of the curve at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
On April 1, 2021, the 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office released a statement titled, “3rd Infantry Division tests new hover tank technology.” In it, 3rd Infantry announced that it had begun initial operational testing of the Main Battle Hover Tank. “We cannot be more excited to be selected to test this new technology,” said 3rd ID’s senior commander. “Our mission has always been to close-with and destroy our nation’s adversaries in combat, so adding the MBHV to 3rd ID will increase mobility, firepower and force protection to make the Marne Division an unstoppable fighting force.”
While the Army’s April Fool’s post was good for a chuckle, you have to give props to the Navy for their simple April Fool’s post that managed to combine two April 1 celebrations.
The first day of April is not only April Fool’s Day, but also the official birthday of the U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer rank. Established on April 1, 1893, Chiefs are the senior enlisted sailors in the Navy. Without them, nothing would get done. Of course, without coffee, very little would get done across the military as a whole.
On April 1, 2021, the U.S. Navy Facebook page posted NAVADMIN 04/01 — SUBJ/NAVY SERVICE WIDE CLEANING OF CHIEF’S MUGS. The post reads, “As an immediate action to help support health protection efforts, the U.S. Navy has directed the proper cleaning of all personal coffee mugs or ‘Chief’s Mugs,’ at least once per week, during cleaning stations.” You know exactly what they’re talking about too. It seems like a requirement for senior enlisted military personnel to have that crusty, stained coffee mug sitting on their desk. It probably hasn’t been cleaned since they got it after their E-7 promotion ceremony either; just filled up a couple times daily with more coffee.
The Facebook post included a link to the full NAVADMIN. Of course, the link revealed the post to be an April Fool’s joke along with a birthday greeting to Chief Petty Officers across the fleet.
With all the challenges faced in 2020 and now 2021, it’s little jokes like these that can brighten someone’s day and bring a smile to their face.
Every day, scores of US military commands reach millions with posts aimed to inform and inspire: videos of valor, motivational photos, and, yes, puppy pics.
The military has codified the rules for managing these official accounts. But sometimes these social-media pros — even those at the four-star command responsible for the US’s nuclear weapons — fail miserably.
Here’s a rundown of some of the military’s most embarrassing, troubling, and dumb social-media mistakes in recent years.
US Strategic Command, which oversees the US nuclear arsenal, sent out an unintelligible tweet on March 28, 2021 that went viral before it was deleted.
The post simply said: “;l;;gmlxzssaw.”
In a follow-on tweet, STRATCOM wrote: “”Apologizes for any confusion. Please disregard this post.”
The blunder received lots of humorous responses on social media, including a retired US Army lieutenant general.
‘A string of explicit tweets’
An “administrator” used Fort Bragg’s official Twitter account to send explicit sexual messages to an OnlyFans creator.
The Army installation initially claimed the account was hacked before deleting not just the tweets but its entire Twitter account. The base later acknowledged that the tweets were sent by one of their own.
Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) deleted a March 25, 2020 tweet making light of the coronavirus.
The tweet, which featured a picture of a CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, read: “Know what else has CV that isn’t #COVID19? #CV22uesday!”
The tweet was deemed to be in poor taste given the devastation the virus had caused. An AFSOC spokesman told Military Times that “we recognize it was in poor taste and have taken it down and apologize to anyone offended.” He added that the command will “review how this happened and act accordingly.”
Questions about COVID-19?
The Army put out a post on March 21, 2020 as part of an Army COVID-19 question and answer series that was considered racist and offensive. “Why did the man eat a bat?” the post asked. The answer, which was accompanied by a picture of a man shrugging, was “it wasn’t because he was thirsty.”
The Instagram post appears to have been referencing early reports that the coronavirus outbreak originated from the consumption of bats in China, which have fueled insensitive comments and jokes.
“This is simply unacceptable. We do not know how #COVID19 first infected humans but racism has no place in our Armed Forces,” Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth wrote on Twitter in response.
The social media manager responsible for the post, which, in addition to offensive content, also included inaccurate coronavirus information, was fired.
On March 6, 2020 the Defense Department flubbed a #KnowYourMil moment, when it tweeted out an image of Utah National Guard M109 Paladins but wrote: “Ready to roll out the big guns! The tanks of the @UTNationalGuard are lined up and ready to participated in #AfricaLion.”
Paladins are tracked and have large cannons, but they are not tanks. The Utah National Guard responded to the tweet, writing, “Guys … the M109 Paladin is a 155mm turreted self-propelled howitzer.”
Remembering the Battle of the Bulge with a picture of a Nazi that massacred US troops
In a move that drew significant criticism, the official Facebook pages of the Army 10th Mountain Division, the 18th Airborne Corps, and the Department of Defense all shared the picture of a Nazi responsible for the murder of more than 84 American prisoners of war in Dec. 16, 2019 posts commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, a fierce WWII battle.
The posts were later deleted. The Army said that it “regrets” that the image was included in the post that was shared on social media.
On November 20, 2019, the Department of Defense’s official Twitter account shared this stunning image of an armored vehicle firing at a training exercise with the tag, #KnowYourMil.
The only problem — they named the wrong armored vehicle.
That’s a Stryker armored vehicle firing its 105mm gun, not a Paladin self-propelled howitzer, as the DoD tweet identified it. One easy way to tell them apart is that the Paladin is a tracked vehicle like a tank. Strykers have wheels.
‘The last thing #Millennials will see if they attempt the #area51 raid today’
On Sept. 20, 2019, the Pentagon’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) tweeted out a warning to millennials planning to attend the “Storm Area 51” event that day, suggesting it was going to bomb them.
“The last thing #Millennials will see if they attempt the #area51 raid today,” the tweet read. The accompanying image was a B-2 Spirit bomber, a highly-capable stealth aircraft built to slip past enemy defenses and devastate targets with nuclear and conventional munitions.
The tweet prompted some backlash online, and the next day, DVIDS deleted the offending tweet and sent out a new one explaining that “last night, a DVIDSHUB employee posted a tweet that in NO WAY supports the stance of the Department of Defense.”
US Strategic Command, which oversees the US’s nuclear arsenal, rang in 2019 with a reminder that they’re ready, at any time, to start a nuclear war.
Playing off the image of the ball dropping in New York City’s Times Square, STRATCOM’s official account posted a tweet that included a clip of a B-2 dropping bombs. The command apologized for the message.
In May 2018, the internet was debating whether the word heard on a short audio recording was “Yanny” or “Laurel.” Then the US Air Force joined the debate, referring to a recent strike on Taliban.
“The Taliban Forces in Farah city #Afghanistan would much rather have heard #Yanny or #Laurel than the deafening #BRRRT they got courtesy of our #A10,” the official US Air Force Twitter account said.
The A-10 gunship carries a fearsome 30mm cannon used to destroy buildings, shred ground vehicles, and kill insurgents. It can fire so rapidly — nearly 3,900 rounds a minute — that the sound of each bullet is indistinguishable from the previous one, blending into a thundering “BRRRT.”
The US Air Force apologized for the tweet and deleted it, acknowledging it was in “poor taste.”
‘I’m like really smart now’
In January 2018, President Donald Trump fired off a flurry a tweets defending himself in response to the headline-grabbing details in Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury.”
Trump said he was “like, really smart” and “a very stable genius.”
That prompted a tweet from comedian Mindy Kaling from her character in the office, with the caption: “You guys, I’m like really smart now, you don’t even know.”
The US Army’s official Twitter account liked Kaling’s tweet, to which she replied: “#armystrong”
By the following day, the US Army had unliked the tweet.
Oliver J. “Porky” Bickar rolled out of bed on April Fools’ Day, 1974, looked out his window to a white-topped mountain outside Sitka, Alaska, and told his wife, Patty, “I have to do it today.” She replied with age-old words of wisdom: “Don’t make an ass of yourself.”
Bickar, then 50, had lived in Sitka for 15 years. He was a logger by trade and no stranger to the local editors of the small town Daily Sitka Sentinel newspaper. The showman and serial prankster routinely entertained onlookers with a stunt that involved felling a large tree to smash a target, typically a hard hat, on the ground.
As April had arrived in each of the previous three years, Bickar had postponed a stunt for which he needed perfect weather conditions. But April 1974 provided a clear blue sky with visibility for miles. His mind raced as his elaborate plan went into motion.
He immediately phoned his conspirators. Harry Sulser, Ken Stedman, and Larry Nelson were close friends, and the group referred to themselves as the “Dirty Dozen.” They all regularly met for coffee at Revard’s Restaurant. The group met at a hangar at the local airport where Bickar had 70 old and discarded tires waiting. He had been collecting them for years for this project. Now they needed air support. Two helicopter pilots refused to join the plan, but Earl Walker from nearby Petersburg accepted.
The pranksters took all 70 tires, piled them into two large canvas bags with 150-foot rope slings, and attached them to the bottom of the helicopter. They also brought along black smoke bombs, several gallons of kerosene, some rags, and cans of black spray paint. The hooligans scrambled into the chopper and took off toward Mount Edgecumbe.
Mount Edgecumbe sits on Kruzof Island, separated from Sitka and the mainland by about 10 miles of water. While Sitka, a fishing village, sits at sea level, Edgecumbe rises to 3,000 feet, dominating ocean views from the town, which today is a favorite for visiting cruise ships and other tourists. But in the 1970s, the town was an out-of-the-way fishing village and Edgecumbe a volcano that had been dormant for 50 years.
But Bickar’s plan was to convince the town that Edgecumbe had awoken by setting the tires ablaze on the mountain’s peak.
As outlandish as Bickar’s plan seemed, he knew he had seen crazier. The jokester had enlisted in the US Army in 1942 and worked in a unit that waterproofed vehicles such as tanks and trucks in anticipation for the saltwater immersion of the D-Day invasion.
Bickar arrived in Normandy three days after D-Day. “It was all a dream,” he said in 2002, a year before he died, at a ceremony honoring veterans with the Jubilee of Liberty Medal, an award the French government created for participants in the invasion. “A big dream. I was seasick and so scared and mixed up. After I hit the beach, and got my feet settled, I came out of it — and became the man, the soldier, I could be.”
Bickar also served with Lt. Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army and participated in its march through France, Belgium, and across the Rhine River. He told the Daily Sitka Sentinel in 1984 about a harrowing experience in which he and another soldier overpowered and killed a German soldier who was marching them to a POW camp.
When the chopper landed on Mount Edgecumbe, Bickar used black spray paint to draw a message in 50-foot letters for those he knew would soon come to investigate. And the other men doused the tires in kerosene and lit them. By the time they reached Sitka to complete their getaway, an air-traffic controller reportedly told them, “The son of a gun looks fantastic.”
To prevent an overreaction, Bickar had let police, fire department, and airport officials know what he had planned. But he forgot to tell the Coast Guard, which sent a helicopter to investigate and found Bickar’s message in the snow: APRIL FOOLS.
The phones at police, fire, and radio stations rang off the wall from concerned citizens. The story even made national news on The Associated Press news wire. Jimmy Johnson, the vice president of Alaska Airlines, instructed departing planes to fly over the mountain to give all the passengers onboard a laugh.
The following year, Alaska Airlines sponsored the Alaska Brag Contest. Bickar sent in this entry: “On April Fools’ Day, I hired a chopper and flew 70 old, kerosene-soaked tires on top of the dormant volcano, Mt. Edgecumbe, that looms over Sitka. I set the tires on fire, and the billowing black smoke created one hell of a commotion in Sitka. I dare you to top that April Fools’ joke.”
Surprisingly, someone did. The contest winner was a story about a bear attack.
This hilarious 2013 video footage shows the moment a female airman gets tasered and instinctively grabs for anything — which for one unsuspecting male airmen — was the worst possibility.
The airman had no control over the junk-grab, since being tased impedes your nervous system. A U.S. Air Force training article describes the experience:
Two small, dart-like electrodes strike a person’s body with 50,000 volts of electricity causing them to experience stimulation of their sensory and motor nerves resulting in strong, involuntary muscle contractions.
Those strong, involuntary muscle contractions clearly affected the airman on the right.