The 11 most beloved characters in military movies - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

We all have our favorite military movies. Whether or not they depict combat isn’t as important as the aspects of military life they bring to the screen. Military films remind us of our own experiences and those with whom we deployed. The characters in these movies have been with us so long, it’s like we know them personally. Like the real-life people you deployed with, the characters are mixed bag: you like some more than others. Some you can’t stand, some you absolutely love. These are the military movie characters closest to the hearts of America’s veterans.


These are the military movie characters closest to the hearts of America’s veterans.

1. Everyone in “Full Metal Jacket”

“Full Metal Jacket” is supposed to be an anti-war movie, a treatise on the effects of overly macho masculinity, brainwashing in military training, and the combination of those forces in war.

Inside of the military, however, it’s the single most quoted movie ever. Everyone knows these characters and R. Lee Ermey’s performance as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman cemented everyone’s view of the Marine Drill Instructor in his own image, forever. Everyone from Animal Mother to Joker to Private Pyle makes this the perfect storm of characters.

2. Sgt. 1st Class Norm “Hoot” Gibson, “Black Hawk Down”

Hoot is actually based on three real people, based on Sgt. 1st Class John Macejunas, Sgt. 1st Class Norm Hooten and Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Rierson. In a movie full of memorable lines and moments, Hoot’s stand out and stay with you, especially his speech at the end.

Related: This is why ‘Black Hawk Down’ has the best military movie cast ever

3. Lt. Aldo Raine, “Inglorious Basterds”

Brad Pitt is really getting into World War II movies. On top of 2014’s “Fury,” he has another coming out in 2016 called “Allied.” Before all that, he was Aldo Raine, the gung-ho leader of a band of Jewish troops dropped into Fortress Europe to strike fear in the hearts of Nazis. It worked and we loved watching him do it.

4. Staff Sgt. Sykes, “Jarhead”

Swoff’s scout sniper training instructor is funny, good at his job, cares about his Marines, and is one of the most memorable Marines in film and television history. Which is saying a lot.

5. Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, “Apocalypse Now”

Apocalypse Now is an older film, the second oldest on this list (1979), so it may move a little slower than audiences today are used to. Still, in a movie full of legendary characters and performances by the actors portraying them, Kilgore stands out among them because he’s not paranoid or crazy, but he genuinely enjoys war.

6. Lt. (j.g.) Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, “Top Gun”

Goose was the ultimate wingman, the guy who always has your back.

Related: 7 military movie deaths we’re still bummed about

7. Private Trip, “Glory”

Trip was angry, brooding, and resentful of the country he had to fight for. He’s the first to voice his displeasure with the idea that nothing will change for blacks in post-Civil War America. He’s the first to protest unequal pay. It makes you wonder why he bothers to fight at all until you realize he’s fighting for everyone around him and for what lives they could have.

8. Gen. George S. Patton, “Patton”

This is the oldest movie on the list here, but is so chock full of moments that, in movie buff circles, more people remember George C. Scott’s depiction of the man than the man himself.

9. Lt. Dan Taylor, Forrest Gump

Even Gary Sinise once said that Lieutenant Dan became a part of the actor himself and make Sinise dedicate his time and energy toward wounded veterans. When the actor walks through veterans hospitals, the attitudes of the patients literally change because Lt. Dan just walked in. That’s powerful.

10. Pvt. Dewey “Ox” Oxberger, Stripes

It’s not easy to choose which character in “Stripes” stands out the most. There are strong cases for Bill Murray’s John Winger and Harold Ramis’ Russell Ziskey, but John Candy’s Ox will steal your heart.

11. Adrian Cronauer, Good Morning Vietnam

The relatively recent death of Robin Williams may have made this performance a little more poignant, but the real-life Adrian Cronauer himself admitted that Williams’ portrayal of him was more epic than he ever was in real life.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Exclusive interview with former CIA operative Ben Smith and host of HISTORY’s Roswell: The First Witness

“Roswell: The First Witness” takes an unconventional look at the iconic 1947 Roswell, New Mexico crash with new evidence and a secret diary left by the first person to investigate the wreckage, Major Jesse Marcel. The investigation, led by former CIA operative Ben Smith, follows the grandchildren of Major Marcel and artifacts he left behind that may reveal what really happened at Roswell. Through the use of new advanced technologies, personal stories and expert witness interviews, the Marcel family and our decorated team of investigators hope to cement the truth about this mysterious site of intrigue once and for all.

WATM: How did you first become interested in extra-terrestrials?

I think pretty much everyone at this point is interested in UFOs, especially with the release of all the classified footage from the Navy pilots. In the 80’s and 90’s when paranormal activities had a celebrated cultural moment. It always fascinated me and when I Left the CIA I thought ‘You know what? Let me use my skills to answer some questions; what is out there? Have they been here?’ I wanted to use my skills to tackle some of those big universal questions.

WATM: During the initial coverup at Roswell the government’s official stance was that aliens do not exist. However, now the government’s stance is the opposite. What is your opinion on the government’s stance on aliens?

I personally have not had any firsthand accounts myself. I have met people who claim they have seen UFOs and they have survivor groups trying to figure out what is going. I think the universe is big enough for all kinds of intelligent life out there. I think the technical hurdles to get here are, in time for us to know about it, are difficult but not insurmountable. I wouldn’t call myself an agnostic, I would say I’m open minded. I think it is totally possible. We need hard evidence. My training as an intelligence officer instilled in me says ‘we need hard evidence; we need to validate the information of what we have.’ 

As far as the government cover up, that’s what makes the Roswell case so interesting. It was the only time in history that the government claimed it had debris of a crashed UFO. It’s pretty interesting and there was debris. They collected something in a field in New Mexico. It makes me feel like ‘well, what was it?

The government is not officially claiming that there were aliens at Roswell. Well, the government takes all kinds of stances to protect the country’s national security. Sometimes they turn out to be true and sometimes not. That’s why I’m diving right in. I worked for the government for a number of years, I know how it functions, why it functions the way that it does. I’m not totally convinced, and I don’t buy it all the time either. This is a big question I’m hoping to answer for myself as well as for the viewers. 

WATM: In the show, Major Jesse Marcel’s personal journal was discovered by his family. How did that document help in the investigation?

As a former intelligence officer, we always look for first-hand documentation. We want something from the source and in this case we have a diary that belonged to and was in the possession of Jesse Marcel Sr. when he passed. Talking to his grandchildren it came to them and they didn’t have a chance to talk to their grandfather about it before he passed. It was an enigma, when I crack it open I think, ‘There is a strong possibility that there is all kinds of information here.’

I was trained to protect information in plain sight and maybe that’s what he may be doing here. That was really the basis of our investigation. We have this new piece of evidence and let’s see where it leads us. It can change the established narrative about Rosewell and Marcel senior. Working with his family was a total privilege. They’re levelheaded, great, normal – for lack of a better word – normal people. They answered questions about their family history. 

I found out about [the diary] through a production company, a new production circulating around with potential new evidence. I thought to myself ‘well, I got to be a part of it.’ I lobbied pretty hard to get involved with HISTORY and the Marcel family it worked out and we clicked. We had the same vision, the same process information and discovery, and it turned into a successful and productive relationship.

WATM: What was your favorite behind the scenes moment while working on this project?

This whole thing has been a real trip! Getting to know the ins and outs of the UFO research community, the Marcel family, to be out in that debris field is a special experience. It really connects you to American history, world history, in a way I haven’t anticipated. I have not been to New Mexico before but to stand out in the middle of the steppe, the grazing lands of New Mexico at 5,000/6,000 feet, in the middle of January. It kind of really drives home the rugged nature, the rugged experience of cowboy life. 

These are real people who lived out here on the edge, homegrown, homey, honest and they saw something strange. To be up there and be part of the wonder was really magical for me. I really enjoyed it, I loved New Mexico. I hope this season is a success and the audience enjoys it so we can go back and keep digging. It’s really cool to be out there and be part of history.

WATM: Is there anything you would like to say to the military community?

It was really cool learning about the Marcel family’s connection to the military. Jesse Sr. retired as a colonel, his son Jesse Jr. as well, and John was a former Army mechanic. This is a family with a rich military history. They served their country, and in many ways did their duty to protect and serve. The military audience is really going to connect with some of the experience – that they experience themselves. The frustrations of national security and protecting our nation. Also, they’ll see some wonderful and strange things and connect with the Marcel’s experience.

WATM: Our readers would never forgive me if I didn’t ask, what is it like to be a CIA operative? 

Being a CIA intelligence officer you get a lot of practice dealing with nefarious, criminal, underground, terrorists, foreign intelligence and US intelligence officers to even just random US citizens. You get to hear these fantastic stories and the challenge is to sift through all the information and report it back to Washington D.C. back to the President. That’s kind of the approach I took with this investigation. This is a real lead, I‘m treating it like a real intelligence lead, where does it go? Can I make a final conclusion? That kind of approach is great for this mysterious topic. It’s been out there for so long but never had a resolution. 

That’s my goal and your audience members, many of whom work in intelligence who have a duty to report truthful information, I think they’re going to connect with this investigation.

MIGHTY CULTURE

How iconic actor James Dean will star in the latest Vietnam War movie

If silver screen legend James Dean hadn’t died in a 1955 car accident, he would be 88 years old, much too old to portray a Vietnam War-era soldier in the upcoming film Finding Jack. But he did die in that car crash, and he’s not actually being resurrected to star in the new movie – but his image and likeness are.


The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

Set against the background of the Vietnam War, Finding Jack is about Fletcher Carson, a volunteer troop in the U.S. Army who lost his family and his will to live back home. He joins, hoping to lose his life in combat. Instead, he gains a Labrador Retriever who helps nurse him back to physical and emotional health. When it comes time for the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, the dogs are declared surplus equipment and are destined to be left behind. Carson, like many troops, wasn’t willing to part with his new battle buddy.

The story is based on the real events surrounding the withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam. The Nixon Administration really implemented this policy as a cost-saving measure. Thousands of military working dogs who helped American forces in the Vietnam War really were left behind at war’s end, their fate (like many Americans, POWs, and MIAs) would forever be unknown.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

An estimated 10,000 dogs were left behind in Vietnam.

The legendary actor, who originally died at age 24, has been cast in the film adaptation of the book. The production company producing the film got the permission of his family before casting the star of Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden. Dean will star as a secondary character named Rogan in the film.

“We searched high and low for the perfect character to portray the role of Rogan, which has some extreme complex character arcs, and after months of research, we decided on James Dean,” Anton Ernst, one of the directors, told The Hollywood Reporter.

While Finding Jack will be a live-action film, James Dean will be reproduced through the use of computers, using actual footage and photos. His voice will be dubbed by another actor. So far, Dean is the only known cast member of the film.

MIGHTY MOVIES

What the movies get wrong about blacksmiths

It’s one of the coolest moments in medieval fantasy films. A blacksmith sweats over the forge, slowly pouring bright-orange, molten iron into an open-topped stone mold of a mighty sword while the audience watches a cool shot of the weapon taking shape.

Go ahead and toss in a shot of the warrior looking on with joy, let the audience watch as they quench the hot blade in snow, a person, or whatever, and presto, our hero has a neat toy for the next scene.

It’s too bad that this isn’t how any of it’s done in real life — and if it were, it’d be a sign of terrible craftsmanship.


The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

The switch to iron and steel meant that they could make weapons longer without sacrificing durability. Which is important when you’re trying to stab someone without getting stabbed.

(Picture by J.J. Luder)

First, it should be stated that there’s a huge difference between casting a weapon and forging one. Back in the Bronze Age, before blacksmiths knew any better, they would take molten bronze and pour it into a stone cast to create a battle-ready weapon. This is casting.

Bronze was made from mixing copper and tin. For blacksmiths in 1200 BCE, this wasn’t a problem as both were abundant enough. Mankind had known about iron for hundreds of years at this point, but using it required a tremendous effort to create a product that was on par with bronze alternatives. When it was discovered that just a bit of carbon could turn the Earth’s most abundant metal into steel, they embraced the challenge.

Steel makes for stronger, more durable weapons, so blacksmiths began using this metal instead, but the process required was much different. To create something, smiths needed to forge it, starting from a blank (or piece of metal) that was the relative size of the weapon they intended to make, heating it, and painstakingly hammering it into shape.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
(Universal Pictures)

No matter how cool of an opening scene this is, it’s still kinda of wrong.

It’s not impossible to cast iron weapons — but the process will yield a cheap, crude weapon. This works for the Uruk-hai Orcs of The Lord of the Rings, but it’s just not practical for anyone else. This is also how most cheapo swords that medieval fans have on their walls are made. For decorative weaponry, that’s fine, but the blade would probably snap in half given just a bit of pressure.

When you pour the metal into the cast, it’s going to take shape of the mold. Which means that it’s only going to be half made when it’s done with an open-top cast. The other half of the sword will be flat when the metal hardens. If they were to rework the metal into a complete shape after that, it’d defeat the purpose of the mold all together.

If you want a durable weapon made out of anything but bronze and looks beautiful, you’re going to need to forge it. This process can take days — even just to get a standard-looking sword. You’re looking at weeks of master craftsmanship to get the caliber of weapons used by main characters.

Most films opt to go with the more cinematic approach. Bright-red liquid (fun side note: Molten iron heated to the point where it can be cast is actually more of a pale yellow. They’re using aluminum) looks cool when it takes form, but the actual process of making real weapons is far more impressive — even if it takes a lot longer than a montage.

To see how it’s done, check out the video below!

MIGHTY MOVIES

Everything we know about the state of the Top Gun sequel

Top Gun is one of the most beloved action films of all time so it should come as no surprise that fans everywhere rejoiced when Tom Cruise officially announced that a sequel, titled Top Gun: Maverick, was in the works. But what exactly do we know about the upcoming sequel besides its name and the fact that it exists? Cruise and the rest of the Maverick crew have remained mostly tight-lipped but thanks to the power of the internet, we have a decent amount of information about the film. Here is everything we currently know about Top Gun: Maverick.


The original Top Gun starts and ends with Maverick, so it should come as no surprise that megastar Tom Cruise will be reprising his leading role as the baddest fighter pilot on the planet. Along with Cruise, Val Kilmer is onboard, once again playing the part of Iceman, Maverick’s semi-friendly rival.

“I can’t comment on the screenplay, but we all know what we want to see!” Kilmer wrote on Facebook.

The biggest news in terms of casting came in early July 2018, when Miles Teller (Whiplash) announced via Twitter that he had been cast to play the son of Goose, Maverick’s original flying partner, in the highly anticipated sequel. It is believed that Goose’s son will be one of Maverick’s proteges in the new film.

Tony Scott, who directed the original film, was attached to direct until his death in 2012. Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) has been brought on as Maverick‘s director in Scott’s place. Cruise and Kosinski previously worked together on Oblivion (2013), which received mixed reviews from critics and underperformed at the box office.

Justin Marks (The Jungle Book) wrote the first version of the script, which was then tweaked by Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle). As for the story itself, not too much is known in terms of actual plot, beyond Cruise telling E! News, “It’s about a guy who flies jets.”

Initially, it was believed that the movie might focus on drones and how they have changed warfare and made fighter pilots, like Maverick, increasingly less relevant in society. However, it has been reported that the drone storyline has been abandoned in favor of a more action-focused plot.

“Personally, I would never want to see a movie about drones,” Kosinski explained. “For me, Top Gun has always been not about fighter planes. It’s been about fighter pilots.”

Based on Cruise’s tweet, it appears that Maverick began filming on May 31, 2018, a date that was confirmed by the Department of Defense. Cruise and a crew shot for two days at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego before Cruise headed off to promote his upcoming film Mission Impossible: Fallout. Shooting will continue in September 2018.

So when will Top Gun: Maverick actually fly into theaters? The sequel is currently slated to be released on July 12, 2019.

Perhaps most importantly of all, Cruise said in an interview with ET Canada that the sequel could revisit the iconic volleyball scene, which featured an epic showdown between Maverick and Iceman.

“There could be a beach scene,” Cruise said. “That’s all I can tell you.”

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

The 5 most commonly cast military movie roles

It’s easy to laugh at Hollywood when filmmakers use a basic blueprint to create one-dimensional “war hero” characters who are clearly clobbered together using stereotypes. But that got us thinking: What if Hollywood sees something in our military and veteran community that we’re too close to see for ourselves?

We talk so much about the disconnect between being a member of the military or being a civilian. It’s easy to see the differences and spotlight them – from language to attitude to what we choose to wear, a veteran always knows another veteran. But can a civilian spot one, too? Or is our community reduced to what film portrays us to see?


To help answer these questions, we turned to some of our favorite war movies and took a critical look at the main characters. We explored how they were presented – either as the hero, the anti-hero, the wildcard, or the leader, and then tried to distill what Hollywood is saying about us. What we discovered was pretty surprising. It turns out that Hollywood might just be onto something when they give us characters like Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglorious Basterds.

Here are the 5 most common archetypes we found in film.

The jokester

Goose’s character in Top Gun did a lot to create this sort of irreverent service member who always has something quippy to add to briefs. Of course, we all know this person in real life, but the military is all about doing what we’re told to do, so when we see these jokester characters, it doesn’t totally ring true.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

The superman

Ask civilians, and they’ll tell you that everyone in the military is just like Rambo … or at least, wants and tries to be as Rambo-esque as possible. We all know the type: a gym bro who spends all his extra hours building tree trunk thighs and a thick neck. Unfortunately, when we get characters like this in film, they’re all too trigger happy to be authentic. They’re so far from what real service members would consider a “superman” that the trope falls flat.

We’re really looking for a superman character who cares about those they lead, someone whose loyalty is unflinching and unwavering. A person who can take charge when needed and who possesses that rare confluence of confidence and competency. Sort of like Staff Sgt. Sykes in Jarhead. Sykes is funny, cares about his job, and those in his unit, traits that, by our count, make him a superman.

The strong, reserved and humble leader

Strong, humble leaders should be the cornerstone to our military, just like Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins in Glory. Rawlins’ insight helps him gain the trust of his command, which leads him to promotion. But even as he gets his stripes, Rawlins is still questioning his ability to lead well. That’s a big distinction here since most films show us leaders who are so overly confident and never do any self-assessments. We’d much rather see more Rawlins-type characters than leaders who lead their units into peril.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

Warner Bros. Pictures.

The lifer

Lifers are only golden for a few years in the middle of their careers – somewhere between years eight and twelve when they have enough experience to see things differently and still have enough relevance to make change happen. At least, that’s the way we see it on film. Just take a close look at Heartbreak Ridge. Gunnery Sgt. Tom Highway is all Marine, all the time. But as his years stack up and his influence begins to lessen, the lifer ultimately comes to a crossroads where reinvention is required in order to keep on living.

Here’s the thing: yes, many lifers have this experience, but many don’t. We all know plenty of people who have done their 20, gotten out, and started new and successful careers in civilian sectors. What we need to see more of is the way that the military helps shape second careers and how the lessons learned in uniform translate to what happens once the boots come off.

The mentor

What’s not to love in a mentor character? Well, of course it’s all about recognizing talent early on and honing it. Pushing younger military members further than they think they can go is a big part of mentorship. Getting down in the weeds and explaining to younger members of a unit just what life is like is the only way to pass on lessons learned. Except all too often, we see mentors use this platform to their own advantage and to advance their agendas. Hollywood does a decent job of this – we’re thinking about Maverick and Viper in Top Gun.

Explaining the military culture to outsiders can be tough, especially if all they know about us is by watching war movies. What people seem to understand is that there are certain archetypes. Now it’s up to scriptwriters and Hollywood to make sure we get a clearer and more accurate picture of life in the military.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Don’t miss this eye-opening documentary about Native American veterans

Throughout history, Native American warriors have given a wide mix of motives for joining the U.S. military. Those include patriotism, pride, rage, courage, practicality, and spirituality, all mingling with an abiding respect for tribal, familial, and national traditions.


The Warrior Tradition on PBS (promo)

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This Veterans Day, explore the complicated ways the Native American culture and traditions have affected their participation in the United States military when The Warrior Tradition airs at 9 pm ET on PBS. The one-hour documentary, co-produced by WNED-TV and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc., tells the stories of Native American warriors from their own points of view – stories of service and pain, of courage and fear.

Warrior Tradition PREVIEW

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The Warrior Tradition premieres on PBS nationwide on Monday, Nov.11, 2019, at 9/8c (check local listings).

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Watch Jimmy Fallon and Adam Sandler do a hilarious version of a country fave for troops at Fleet Week NYC

jimmy fallon
Jimmy Fallon

There are lots of Fleet Weeks held around the country every year, but there’s only one New York City Fleet Week. And as Bill Murray’s character said in “Ghostbusters,” right before they flame-sprayed the Sta-Puff Marshmellow Man: “New York City knows how to take care of a sailor.”

One time, Jimmy Fallon filled his Late Night audience seats with troops from all branches, and then Adam Sandler and he serenaded them with this hilarious (and too true) version of “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places.”

Watch the hilarity ensue below:

Jimmy Fallon & Adam Sandler Sing a Song For The Troops

In honor of Fleet Week, Jimmy and Adam Sandler perform "Friends on All Bases" (parody of "Friends in Low Places").

Posted by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday, May 25, 2016
MIGHTY MOVIES

5 veterans making great television

Stories of heroism have been a fascination for humans for as far back as we can trace our sentient history. From ancient tales like The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Iliad to modern blockbusters like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, war stories permeate our culture and entertainment.

It’s especially poignant when warfighters themselves share their own experiences. As military veterans transition from their service to a career in the arts, so too do the military stories themselves begin to morph, adding insight into the warrior that hasn’t always been associated with the archetype.

It can be easy to place the hero on a pedestal, but it is critical to remember that every war story is, at its core, a story about mankind. With this in mind, stories told from the perspectives of the veterans themselves carry with them the authenticity and the humanity of the military.

These are five veteran storytellers to watch in the coming months:


“SEAL Team” partners with former special forces for guidance

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Tyler Grey, U.S. Army Ranger

“What we’re trying to do as a group is make something that’s not real, obviously, but to make something that’s authentic and feels authentic,” said Tyler Grey about SEAL Team on CBS. Former Army Ranger Tyler Grey was, in his own words, “blown up on a nighttime raid in Sadr City, Baghdad, in 2005.” He was medically retired after sustaining a critical injury to his arm, which still bears the scars from that attack.

Now, he gets to use his training and experience to help tell the stories of U.S. Navy SEALs. His role on SEAL Team has ranged from consultant to actor to producer. This season, Grey tackled another title: Director. He helmed Season 3 Episode 10, which will mark his first foray into television directing.

Also: We need to talk about this week’s ‘SEAL Team’ death

How Amazon’s ‘Jack Ryan’ series will stay true to Tom Clancy’s books | Comic-Con

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Graham Roland, U.S. Marine Corps

After his military service, U.S. Marine Graham Roland started his writing career working for iconic projects like LOST, Fringe, and Prison Break. In 2018, he released Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Amazon with co-Showrunner Carlton Cuse.

“I may never do a show that big again, in terms of budget,” he told We Are The Mighty. “We shot all over the world, on five continents. It was awesome and a huge learning experience. It was a huge property and there were a lot of people involved with a lot at stake.”

After creating a second season of the successful show, Roland has now shifted his focus to a new project with HBO that is based on the Navajo Nation in the 1970s.

Related: This Marine’s epic journey from service to ‘LOST’ to ‘Jack Ryan’

Fox has given a put pilot commitment to #ChainOfCommand, a one-hour drama from writer April Fitzsimmons, @jamieleecurtis, Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. TVhttps://deadline.com/2019/10/fox-drama-chain-of-command-april-fitzsimmons-jamie-lee-curtis-greg-berlanti-put-pilot-1202766505/ …

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April Fitzsimmons, U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force veteran April Fitzsimmons is writing Chain of Command, a Fox pilot that will tell the story of “a young Air Force investigator with radical crime-solving methodology who returns to her hometown to join a military task force that doesn’t want her, a family who has traumatized her, and must confront the secrets that drove her away,” reports Deadline.

This isn’t the first adventure into military storytelling for Fitzsimmons, whose credits also include Doom Patrol, Valor, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Justice. She is also the director of the Veterans Workshop at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, where she mentors veterans as they write and perform original monologues that deconstruct the idea of a hero.

She’s also a mentor for the Veterans Writing Workshop at the Writers Guild Foundation, paying it forward to a community of future writers who served.

ABC Developing Navy Flight School Drama Produced By Freddie Highmore http://dlvr.it/RFmSGy pic.twitter.com/0iDHPb6V4n

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David Daitch, U.S. Navy

After his active duty service in the United States Navy, David Daitch joined the Naval Reserves and started working as a technical advisor and a writer. Together with his writing partner, Katie J. Stone, Daitch’s writing credits include USA’s Shooter and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. In October 2019, Deadline announced that Daitch’s next endeavor will be Adversaries, a drama that centers on the leader of the Navy’s Top Gun fighter pilot school in Key West.

Daitch and Stone have teamed up with Sean Finegan to write and executive produce the pilot, with Freddie Highmore producing. Adversaries will tackle the intensity of the male-dominated pilot training environment.

Our writer for the finale…. Brian Anthony and our very own @monty11bravo who was an actor this evening @NBCNightShift #NightShiftpic.twitter.com/3RHTsnFxKj

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Brian Anthony, U.S. Army

U.S. Army vet Brian Anthony has a steady career in service of adding authenticity to film and television’s portrayal of the military. Most notably, he has been a producer and writer for series like FBI and The Night Shift, the latter of which notably created an episode that was both written and directed by military veterans and featured them in multiple guest roles on camera.

Anthony also serves as a mentor for the Writers Guild Foundation Veterans Writing Workshop, where he helps his fellow vets develop their writing careers.

Featured Image: David Boreanaz and Tyler Grey in SEAL Team (CBS Image)

Articles

9 fictional characters that would make great drinking buddies

Picking a reliable drinking buddy in the military is a difficult decision to make. You don’t want someone who brings too much drama to the table, but you also don’t want someone who isn’t interesting.


Since drinking is about having fun and getting to know other people, having someone who can serve as an awesome wingman can make your evening out that much better.

Related: 7 reasons why ‘Top Gun’ made you want to become a fighter pilot

Check out our list of fictional drinking buddies we’d like to toss a few back with.

1. Gunny Highway (Heartbreak Ridge)

He can eat concertina wire, piss napalm, and put a round through a flea’s ass at 200 meters. We’d love to see that after tossing a few back.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
He also probably brings beer to the field. (Source: WB/ Screenshot)

2. Topper Harley (Hot Shots! Part Deux)

Because a fighter who battles his competition with gummy bears and sprinkles honey-glued to his fists, better know how to hold his liquor.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
We would have chosen crushed jolly ranchers and jaw-breakers bits. (Source: Fox/Screenshot)

3. Col. Walter E. Kurtz (Apocalypse Now)

For someone who was bat-sh*t crazy and a genius at the same time — you know he has some crazy drinking stories to tell.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
A diamond through your brain? That’s cool. (Source: MGM/Screenshot)

4. Lt. Aldo Raine (Inglourious Basterds)

This guy snorts tobacco and cuts Nazi swastikas into his enemy’s foreheads. Why wouldn’t you want him as your drinking buddy?

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
Plus, it would take a few beers before we’d ask him how he got that badass scar on his throat. (Source: Weinstein Company/ Screenshot)

5. Animal Mother (Full Metal Jacket)

After smashing a few shots, he’d be the first guy to have your back during a bar brawl.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
I need a beer! (Source: WB/Screenshot)

6. Pvt. Valentine (Private Valentine: Blonde Dangerous)

Since she’s a “looker,” she’ll be able to bring her hot friends to the bar for you to meet. It’s a win-win situation.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
She wears that shirt well. (Source: Oasis Films/ Screenshot)

7. Bill Kilgore (Apocalypse Now)

This Army renegade loves the smell of napalm in the morning and killing the enemy while shirtless. You know he has some epic stories that only come out with some expensive scotch.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
(Source: MGM/Screenshot)

8. Gunny Hartman (Full Metal Jacket)

Before his untimely murder in the first act, this fair but tough drill instructor probably had some hilarious stories of how he used to mind f*ck Marine recruits.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
I ordered a double whiskey you miserable puke! (Source: WB/ Screenshot)

Also Read: 7 life lessons we learned from Gunny Highway in ‘Heartbreak Ridge’

9. Maverick (Top Gun)

Who else would be your wingman at the bar, fly inverted, and then go buzz the tower during the after party with you?

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

Who would be on your list of drinking buddies? Comment below.

Articles

‘Terminal Lance’ creator gets real with ‘The White Donkey’

It was tempting to make the headline for this review-interview “‘Terminal Lance’ creator Maximilian Uriarte gets dark with The White Donkey. That wouldn’t be truthful, at least not completely.


Much of Uriarte’s self-published graphic novel could be considered dark — and likely will be. But the word “dark” could also be substituted with the word real. Though the book opens with a disclaimer that it is a work of fiction, veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom will find a lot of familiar feelings in its pages.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

It’s 90 percent true and then there’s a lot of fictional elements put into it,” Uriarte says. “I don’t like saying that it’s a true story because it’s not. It’s fictional. I feel like once you add one fictional element to anything it becomes a fictional story. The white donkey was real. I really did run into the white donkey in real life, which I write about it in the back of the book. In real life, I only saw the donkey once when we stopped for convoy and that was it. I thought about it a lot every day after that though.”

The White Donkey is a departure from his bread and butter work on Terminal Lance. But Uriarte’s graphic novel was a long time coming. He first conceived the idea in 2010, and launched the Kickstarter for the project in July 2013, a funding process Uriarte will not soon repeat.

“I don’t think I would ever do a Kickstarter again because I hated that. I still hate it,” he says. “It’s one thing to have an investor to answer to. It’s another thing to have 3,000 investors to answer to when things take too long. It’s really stressful.”

Uriarte may be producing the first graphic novel written and illustrated by an Iraq veteran about the Iraq war, but the process of telling this story far outweighed the stress of the financing, in Uriarte’s opinion.

He loves writing, even though he didn’t even know how to make a graphic novel at first. But writing is writing, except when it comes to novels. It’s important to note there’s no corporate ownership to his work. His graphic novel is an independent endeavor, the culmination of more than five years of work.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

“I love writing,” he says. “I wrote this book as a screenplay first and that was how I approached it. I went through a few different processes of trying to figure out how to make this into a graphic novel because I had no idea how to make a graphic novel when I got into it. I started writing it out really novel-like, as a book. It didn’t really do me any favors because I needed a screenplay. I needed a script for the graphic novel. Waxing poetic in sentences and paragraphs didn’t really do me any favors. I thought, ‘Why write all this beautiful poetic language that no one is going to see?'”

Fans of Terminal Lance may wonder why The White Donkey seems so different from the comic strip. The reason is because that’s the reality of war, or at least Max Uriarte’s experience with war.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

I wanted it to be a grim war story,” he says. “I wanted it to be more self-aware in a way. I think the usual Hollywood narrative is always very heroic. I feel like a lot of being a Marine is not heroic in the slightest sense of it. I think I wanted to have a narrative that combats that idea of that glorified American ideology, that going to war is heroic. Even the “personal journey” aspect of it is pretty arrogant of people to think they’re going to experience some enlightenment at the expense of people dying. It’s a very sad and a very false reality I think.”

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

The White Donkey is a thought-provoking, poignant work, on the level of Alan Moore’s Watchmen, and is bound to raise Uriate’s profile beyond the large and loyal audience he’s already earned. Still, no matter how successful The White Donkey is, he wants fans to know Terminal Lance isn’t going anywhere.

“Terminal Lance is going to be around for a while if I can help it,” he says. “There’s going to be some changes on the site. I want to open it up more for op-eds and some other content. I want it to be a place any branch can come to for entertainment.” 

The White Donkey will available on Amazon in February.

Articles

This is why the future of motocross is female

Pop quiz, hot shot:

What do gun enthusiasm, maritime rescues, and high-velocity dirt biking have in common?

? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Time’s up.


Those divergent interests all come together in Navy Vet and motocross racer, Jacqueline Carrizosa.

The former Navy gunner’s mate and rescue swimmer is, in post-military life, a rider on the rise in the Western U.S. amateur motocross circuit. And the time it took her to try to teach Oscar Mike host Ryan Curtis to stick one basic jump is, believe us, no reflection on her abilities.

Check out a side-by-side comparison, Ryan v. Jacqueline, leaping the same stretch of track.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies
Ryan (top), floating like a tank. Jacqueline (bottom), flying Navy Air. (Go90 Oscar Mike screenshot)

Yeah. She’s awesome.

As a teenager, Carrizosa had trouble staying on the straight and narrow after her family moved from California to Las Vegas, but she thrived in the Navy, excelling at physically demanding and traditionally male-dominated disciplines.

When things got rocky again after she left active duty, the same approach helped her. She found structure and purpose in highly skilled action sports, specifically motocross. Her advice?

“Establish something that makes you money, you know what I mean? But also keep your soul alive. You gotta follow your heart. I would say 85% heart, 15% brain.”

Jacqueline Carrizosa. WISE.

But it all proved a little too much for Curtis. The motocross badassery, the beauty, the sheer volume of withering sass. A day at the track with Carrizosa hit him right in the feels (understandable).

And so, completely biffing the ratio, he went 100% heart, 0% brains.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

You don’t have to imagine how that went over. All you gotta do is watch as Curtis gets his motocross mojo crossed, in the video embedded at the top.

Watch more Oscar Mike:

This Green Beret will make you a mental commando

The Marine Rapper will make you shake your Citizen Rump

This Iraq vet kayaker will make you rethink PTSD

This is what happens when a Navy SEAL becomes an actor

This is what happens when a SEAL helps you with your lady problems

Articles

This female WWII veteran terrified a Saudi King while driving him around

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died in 2015, age disputed but well into at least his 80s. His death sparked a number of stories about his life, travels, and interactions with foreign heads of state. One such “interaction” was with Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.


While still a Crown Prince, Abdullah visited the Queen’s castle in Scotland, Balmoral, in 2003 and she offered him a tour of the place. When the cars were brought around and Abdullah got in the front passenger seat, the Queen herself hopped into the driver’s seat.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

Turns out the Queen knows a thing or two about bombing around in a motor vehicle. The now 91-year-old monarch served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II.

As Princess, she wanted to join the women serving as drivers, bakers, postal workers, ammunition inspectors, and mechanics to free up men for the front lines. She remains the only female member of the royal family to join the military, and is the only living head of state to serve in WWII.

The 11 most beloved characters in military movies

Not only did the Queen get into the driver’s seat — she didn’t even hesitate before turning the car on and rolling out. And as an Army driver during a war, she knew how to roll along Scotland’s winding roads.

British diplomat Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles recounted for The Sunday Times that during an audience with Her Majesty, she told Coles that she was talking to Abdullah the whole time, even as he pleaded for her to pay attention to the road.

Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t even have a driver’s license. As Queen, she doesn’t need one.

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