Let’s be honest: When it was announced that the Space Force was going to be a real thing, it was met with either disdain among those who anticipated a ridiculously high cost for something that doesn’t seem like a big deal or with excitement from those eager to live out all of their sci-fi fantasies.
The truth is that the Space Force is likely going to fall somewhere in the middle, doing logical things like defending military satellites and whatnot — but where are all the fun, sci-fi adventure bits?
Now that we’ve all seen the new trailer for the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, the general public is getting their first taste of the intergalactic team called the Starforce. So, let’s merge our extensive, geeky knowledge of comic books with the real-world military to take a look at what life would be like if the US Space Force were more like Marvel’s Starforce.
Potential spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
I, for one, welcome any opportunity to gain superpowers.
(Marvel’s Captain Marvel vol. 1 #1)
We’d all get superpowers
Each member of the Starforce has some ridiculously awesome superpower. Superhuman strength, flight, and durability all come standard, but each member has their own thing that makes them special, like shooting lasers out of their hands or telepathy.
Members of the Starforce weren’t bit by some radioactive plot device. Instead, they were all sort of given their powers, which would be awesome for Space Force recruits. These powers would make for a pretty great addition to a post-service resume.
(Marvel’s All New Invader vol. 1 #3)
We’d have competent leadership
The team is led by a being called the Supreme Intelligence that is basically a giant amalgamation of the world’s greatest brains — we find it best not to question comic book logic. Anyway, according to comic book lore, the being is said to be one of the smartest things in the galaxy, so there’s that.
Chances are, in the real Space Force, the GT score required to get in will likely bar most of the idiots from joining. Who knows? Maybe it’ll take a masters in astrophysics just to commission.
And it’s kind of confirmed for the film.
We’d all fight intergalactic aliens
The ultimate dream of every Space Force hopeful is to go f*ck up some aliens on some distance planet. In the comics, the Starforce has fought nearly everyone in space in one shape or form.
In the opinion of this writer, conflicts with extraterrestrials is an eventuality once we start turning our eyes outside of our solar system. But there’s a glaring downside to that….
I’m still in, though. You had me at “free superpowers.”
(Marvel’s What If: The Avengers Lost Operation Galactic Storm #1)
…We’d kinda be the bad guys
We said spoiler warning earlier, right?
Well, here’s the thing. The Starforce aren’t actually “heroes,” nor have they ever been. If you know the comics, then it’s kind of obvious what’s going to happen in the film. Captain Marvel, the model airman-turned-superhero, is going to join them very early on — and things will turn sour. Both Korath and Ronan the Accuser are also on the team (as shown in the trailer) and they’ve both proved to be interstellar as*holes in Guardians of the Galaxy. So, infer what you will.
While the good Kree mostly fought with the objectively evil Skrulls, the Starforce fought against the Shi’ar empire — a peaceful race of aliens who just want to learn and study things — and the Avengers.
To be honest, given the amount of hype we’ve seen at the prospect of “f*ckin’ some aliens up,” it’s not too much of a stretch to think that we’d be the ones to fire first in space.
There’s aren’t many military-themed new releases for December, so take a dive deep into the Netflix catalog for some fascinating catalog titles.
1. The Longest Day
Producer Darryl F. Zanuck was determined that his movie was going to be the definitive movie about D-Day and it probably was before the release of “Saving Private Ryan.” While “Ryan” focused on the personal stories of men on the ground, “The Longest Day” aims to tell the WHOLE story. There’s a massive cast that includes Henry Fonda, Sean Connery, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Rod Steiger, Richard Burton, Peter Lawford, Gert Fröbe, Eddie Albert and Curd Jürgens. If you’re under 40, you might wonder how anyone could watch a 3-hour movie with so much talking, but “The Longest Day” is the greatest generation’s most ambitious tribute to itself. (1962)
“Kagemusha” (a/k/a “Shadow Lord”) was a worldwide success for Japanese director Akira Kurosawa in 1980. It won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Foreign film, but it’s of interest here for its epic battle scenes. The plot revolves around a street criminal hired to imitate a medieval war lord and fool enemies in battle. If you can deal with subtitles, this movie features staggering swordplay. (1980)
3. Von Ryan’s Express
Frank Sinatra (and his hairpiece) were almost 50 years old when he played a World War II Army Air Corps pilot shot down over Italy. He ends in a POW camp with a bunch of Brits and takes over as their commanding officer, because he’s a colonel. And American, full of American leadership. After the Italians surrender, the newly-freed POWs are chased by the Germans. The good guys highjack a train and try to escape to Switzerland. There are heroics and some heroic deaths. Are there better WWII movies? Sure, but the Chairman is determined to prove he can carry a war movie by himself and he’s always fun to watch when he’s angry. (1965)
4. The Enemy Below
Film noir star Dick Powell tried to make a move into the director’s chair in the late ’50s, but it was bad luck that his first gig was “The Conqueror” starring John Wayne. Early scenes from that (terrible) movie were shot in Utan downwind from nuclear bomb test sites and almost half of the cast developed cancer over the next twenty years and Powell was gone by 1963. The only other movie he directed was this WWII “KILLER-SUB versus SUB KILLER” movie starring Robert Mitchum as a Naval reserve captain hunting a German U-boat commanded by a Curd Jürgens. We’re supposed to feel sympathy for the German because he’s not enamored of his Nazi leaders, so this one’s about the mutual respect that warriors feel in battle. It’s surprising to see Hollywood moving on from Evil Nazis so soon after the conflict ended. (1957)
5. Last Days in Vietnam
This PBS documentary details the American withdrawal from Saigon in April 1975. As the North Vietnamese army closed in, the U.S. military had to evacuate 5,000 Americans and made efforts to rescue a large number of Vietnamese who had supported the U.S. during the war. (2014)
6. Inglourious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino’s alternate history of World War II stars Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, who leads a squad of Nazi hunters who successfully carry out a plan to assassinate Hitler and his top brass in a movie theater. It’s profane and funny: Tarantino is more interested in paying tribute to the low-rent drive-in war movies he saw as a kid than exploring the history of WWII. (2009)
7. Black Hawk Down
Ridley Scott’s drama is based on a real-life 1993 raid in Somalia to capture faction leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The 75th Rangers and Delta Force go in and things quickly go south, the troops face down enemy forces in a brutal battle and 19 men (and over 1,000 Somali citizens) are killed before the mission is complete. Scott brings a compelling visual style to the material and the cast features a host of young actors who went on to great success, including Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana. Sam Shepherd and Tom Sizemore also play key old-guy roles. (2001)
8. Hell is for Heroes
Steve McQueen gets to work the moody anti-hero magic in a World War II flick directed by Don Siegel of “Dirty Harry” fame. Pop singer Bobby Darin and Bob Newhart round out a cast that also features tough guys Fess Parker and James Coburn. Sticklers for accuracy will be quick to notice where the production cut corners and McQueen’s struggles with a balky M3 in the final reel. Still, it’s all about his performance and he’s fantastic. The whole think clocks in at 90 minutes, so you’re not committing your entire night to the experience. (1962)
9. Bravo Two Zero
Former SAS commander Andy McNab is sort of the UK version Chris Kyle. He’s had a successful career writing military thrillers. Sean Bean plays McNab in this 2-hour BBC TV film detailing an SAS mission McNab led to capture Iraqi SCUD missile launchers aimed at Israel during the first Gulf War. There aren’t many movies about that conflict and this one serves as a reminder that we’ve been fighting alongside the Brits in almost every war for the last 100 years.(1999)
10. The Navy SEALs: Their Untold Story
This PBS documentary begins with Navy frogmen in World War II and does a fascinating job of detailing the evolving mission and eventual official creation of the SEAL units. There are extensive interviews with the men who served and a lot of filmed footage you haven’t seen endlessly recycled on those History and Military (sorry, “American Heroes”) channel programs. (2014)
Hollywood does its best to try and capture the essence of what it means to be in the military and transcribes it for a civilian audience in ninety-minute chunks. Sometimes, they fall flat on their face. But, on occasion, there are outstanding moments when they knock it out of the park.
Most big-budget military films often put the focus on the Army or the Marines, leaving the Navy on the sidelines. When sailors do get an opportunity to shine on the silver screen, the glory often goes to the SEALs — or it’s Top Gun. But everyone’s already seen Top Gun and most sailors would roll their eyes if we mentioned it in this list.
In no particular order, here are six awesome films about sailors that you should put on your must-watch list:
As was the case with many of the great war films set in the 1990s after the collapse of Soviet Union, Crimson Tide showcases the “what-if” of the Russian Federation squaring off against the United States in another Bay of Pigs incident.
Denzel Washington stars as the mild-tempered XO to Gene Hackman’s temperamental Captain. The two are at odds with one another on how to prevent World War Three. Fun Fact: Though uncredited, Quentin Tarantino wrote much of the pop-culturey dialogue.
Annapolis is an indie drama that follows Jake Huard (played by James Franco) as he attends the Naval Academy. It’s the story of a poor nobody trying to make it as one of the elite. It kind of toes the line between being a Marine film and a Navy film because it’s never made clear which route he’ll take, but it’s still steeped in Navy traditions.
It tanked at the box office, but eventually found its footing with a home release. The fact that it shows pledges getting hazed upset the Department of the Navy so bad that they called for its boycott. It’s still a great film, in my opinion.
This 1945 musical came out right before the Japanese signed the surrender and put an end to the Second World War. The film follows Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as two sailors on liberty in golden-age Hollywood. In this musical comedy, the sailors come across a lost, innocent kid who wants to one day join the Navy himself. Then, the sailors proceed to hit on his aunt.
It’s nice to see that nothing’s changed in the way sailors think since then.
‘Master and Commander’
Set during the Napoleonic Wars, this film is heavily focused on what it means to complete the mission and the importance of safeguarding the welfare of the troops underneath. Russell Crowe’s crew aboard the HMS Surprise are locked in seemingly eternal combat with French privateers.
It was nominated for ten Academy Awards the year it came out, including Best Picture and Best Director, but would lose all but two (Cinematography and Sound Editing) to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Still one of the best military comedies is Down Periscope. It stars Kelsey Grammer, who plays one of the worst commanders in the Navy and who’s given an even worse crew of submariners who all manage to fail upwards.
It’s packed full of 90s comedians in their prime. It also stars William H. Macy, Rob Schneider, and even a young Patton Oswald.
‘The Hunt for Red October’
What else can be said about The Hunt for Red October? It’s a cinematic masterpiece. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you should honestly clear your evening schedule and watch it today.
Set during the conclusion of the Cold War, Sean Connery plays a Soviet submarine captain and Alec Baldwin is a CIA analyst. Both struggle to find peace while their respective forces do everything in their powers to avoid it. Technically, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears, and Shadow Recruit are all sequels to this masterpiece, but none come close.
If you can think of any that we missed (and there are a lot), feel free to let us know! We’d love to hear it.
It’s right up there with Rogue One as one of the greatest Star Wars stories yet. From Jedi lore to fan favorite characters to stunning visuals, this is the kind of episode we’ve been waiting for from The Mandalorian.
Spoilers through Season 2 Episode 5 ahead.
We’ve suspected for a while now that Rosario Dawson would make her appearance as Ahsoka Tano in this episode and we were not disappointed. Episode writer and director Dave Filoni nailed this episode, beginning with the foggy outskirts of Calodan on the planet Corvus. The brownness of the forest wastes mixed with the white blades of Ahsoka Tano’s lightsabers made for an incredible display of her abilities.
And her character.
For anyone who has not seen Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ahsoka Tano was assigned by Master Yoda as the apprentice and Padawan learner of Anakin Skywalker. She served in the Grand Army of the Republic, fighting against enslavement and oppression across the galaxy. She faked her own death during Order 66 and, among other notable adventures, she confronted Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, and Darth Vader — her old Jedi Master.
So it was no surprise that she would now be taking on an Imperial tyrant known as Morgan Elsbeth, who threatens to torture and kill civilians if Tano refuses to comply with Elsbeth’s orders. Tano, instead, gives Elsbeth one day to give her the information she seeks before disappearing into the mist.
The next morning, Djarin and his little charge arrive on Corvus and enter the city. Elsbeth tries to hire him to kill Tano, thinking a Mandalorian would jump at the opportunity to take out a Jedi. She offers a spear made of pure Beskar Steel as payment.
Without accepting her offer, Djarin asks where Tano can be found.
After a pretty cool confrontation (Beskar vs. Lightsaber — fun!), Djarin announces that he’s been sent by Bo-Katan — but it’s the moment that Tano sees the Yoda Baby that really makes things interesting. Remember, Tano knew Master Yoda; she recognizes the Child’s species. She’s then able to communicate with him and she learns many things.
First and foremost, his name is Grogu. He was a Jedi Padawan during the purge of the Jedi, when he was secreted away for his protection. After he was captured by the Empire, he suppressed his powers in order to hide and survive.
Tano senses much fear in him and decides not to train him. Instead, she tells Djarin that his connection with the child is strong and they should let Grogu’s abilities with the Force fade. Djarin, still mission-oriented, insists that the Yoda Baby be returned to the Jedi. He offers to help Tano free Corvus from Elsbeth in exchange for taking the child.
They make an excellent team, swiftly taking out Elsbeth’s forces — along with a few small hero moments from brave civilians — very in line with one of the best themes of Star Wars wherein any one person can make a difference. Tano fights Elsbeth in a cinematically fantastic scene, demanding to know where her mysterious master is. Upon her victory, we also learned the name of said master: Grand Admiral Thrawn.
To which I gleefully shouted, “Oh sh**!”
Because when I was a nerdy middle-school kid, you better believe I was reading Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire and the Thrawn trilogy. Though those books have since been decanonized, Thrawn was re-imagined in Star Wars: Rebels, where he served as the final main antagonist. He was last seen disappearing into hyperspace with the Rebels protagonist, Ezra Bridger — and Tano was last seen setting off on a quest to find him (along with the Mandalorian Sabine).
It would seem that Disney is, very cleverly, opening doors for live action films or series about not only Bo-Katan, but Tano, Ezra, Sabine, and of course Thrawn, as well.
In the end of this episode, Tano still refuses to teach little Grogu — but she does tell Djarin of a sacred Jedi site where Grogu can choose his own path, and perhaps call out through the Force to one of the few remaining Jedi. Oh, and she gives Djarin the spear.
John Rambo changes lives. Not just in movies, but in the real world. From the flawed antihero of
First Blood to the immortal god of death and destruction in 2008’s Rambo, Sylvester Stallone’s action-hero prototype isn’t just the forerunner of modern, big-budget action stars, he’s a real-life game-changer. A cinematic visit from John Rambo has historically been an omen of big changes to follow in the real world.
Stallone just announced the
production of a new Rambo movie — and it couldn’t come at a better time. He’s definitely going to take on Mexican drug cartels in the film, which is a good move, but there are many other places that need the help. Call it the “Rambo Effect.”
For the uninitiated, Vietnam veteran John Rambo goes off to find some personal peace after the war, meeting up with old Army friends and traveling the world, looking for meaning. What he ends up finding is a personal war everywhere he goes. He fights the bad guys in the movies and wins – but in the real world, something always happens in the country he visits, often within a year of a film’s release, changing them for the better.
Anyone who’s a big fan of Sylvester Stallone’s
Rambo series knows the sequels are a far cry from the story and intent of the first film. In First Blood, he was a flawed Vietnam veteran who became a rallying cry for a generation of vets who were all but ignored by society. Seriously, this is a really great, thoughtful movie with a good message.
The Vietnam War took a toll on America in a way the country still hasn’t fully recovered from. It was the first time Americans learned to distrust the President of the United States and this fostered a general mistrust of the government ever since. First Blood takes America to task about things Vietnam veterans still talk about today: Agent Orange, public indifference toward veterans, public perception of “crazy” Vietnam veterans, veteran unemployment, post-traumatic stress, and more.
The 80s were a crazy time for everyone.
What people really noticed while watching First Blood is how awesome that Green Beret stuff really was, so by the time First Blood Part II came about, Rambo was a full-on action hero — the mold for the Bruce Willises, Arnold Schwarzeneggers, and the Steven Seagals yet to come. The real message was lost amid big-budget explosions and fight sequences.
Crewmen of the amphibious cargo ship USS Durham (LKA-114) take Vietnamese refugees from a small craft, April 1975
(U.S. National Archives)
The second installment of the Rambo series was released almost ten years to the day after the fall of Saigon. In the real-world, reunified Vietnam under Communist rule, chaos ensued. Thousands were herded into reeducation camps, a crippled economy suffered from triple-digit inflation, the state went to war with Cambodia and then China. Thousands of refugees took to fleeing by boat to anywhere else.
Still, some things just don’t age well.
The year after First Blood Part II had Rambo return to Vietnam, the Vietnamese government began implementing massive reforms to move away from the strict Communist structure that dominated it for the previous decade. In the intervening years, the economy began to recover as the government moved to a more socialist form.
In 1988’s Rambo III, John Rambo sets off to rescue Colonel Trautman after he’s taken captive in Soviet-dominated Afghanistan. Of course, Rambo goes right into Afghanistan, destroys every Soviet in his wake and rescues his old friend in a blaze of fiery glory. That same year, the Soviet Union began its final withdrawal from Afghanistan, a war that was a major contributing factor to the fall of the Soviet Union.
Coming to theaters of war near you.
In 2008’s Rambo, the former Green Beret joins a group of missionaries headed to Myanmar. 2008 Myanmar was a brutal totalitarian dictatorship scarred by rampant human rights abuses — both on screen and in the real world. In the film, a warlord is brutalizing the Burmese people and the missionaries become victims. A team of mercenaries goes back into Myanmar with Rambo. Rambo kills everyone who isn’t a good guy.
Two months after the film’s release, the actual Myanmar government suddenly held a real constitutional referendum intended to guide the country down the path away from the military junta and into democratic reforms. By 2010, Myanmar held contested, multiparty elections. The military government was fully dissolved in 2011 and, by 2015, there were serious elections held in the country.
I’m not saying John Rambo had anything to do with any of this, all I’m saying is that John Rambo could be the harbinger of positive change in the world. Which is good, because there are a few place that really need a change.
Even though this is hardly the world’s longest ongoing conflict, it has to be one of the most intense and well-attended. Anyone who’s anyone is sending troops to Syria, and soon Germany may even join the party. All joking aside, this is a conflict that has, so far, killed more than a half-million people in seven years by moderate estimates, but no one really knows for sure.
A war this intense should end sooner rather than later. Even though Richard Crenna (the actor who portrayed Col. Trautman) died in 2003, maybe Rambo can be sent to Syria to rescue Trautman’s son? I’ll leave that for Stallone to decide, but he’s got to get Rambo there somehow.
Just one North Korean parade and it’s all over.
2. North Korea
While the intensity of this conflict peaked more than 70 years ago, the ongoing human rights abuses and detainment of North Koreans in prison camps is exactly the kind of thing John Rambo would hate to see.
And if there’s anyone who could reach Kim Jong Un on his own, it’s John Rambo.
Pictured: Rambo sneaking back into Burma.
3. Back to Myanmar
Even though his first visit to Burma (Myanmar) foretold the coming of democratic reforms, an argument could be made that they didn’t exactly reach what anyone would call true quality before the law. In fact, a number of civil conflicts are ongoing in Burma, including the Rohingya slaughter and insurgency read so much about in the news lately, but there are others — at least 18 different insurgent groups operate in Burma to this day.
If ever a war needed to end, it’s the ongoing Saudi-led coalition’s war against Houthi-dominated Yemen. If ever any single country needed a John Rambo to finish things off, it’s this devastating embarrassment. For three years, Saudi Arabia and its 24 coalition partners have been hammering away at little Yemen and the Houthis who took it over, killing tens of thousands of people — many civilians — and are no closer to winning right now than they were three years ago.
Name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.
5. The Philippines
The Moro people of the Philippines have pretty much been resisting invaders since the beginning of time. For at least 400 years, the Moro have resisted Spanish, American, Japanese, American, and Philippine dominance over their traditional area of the country.
If there’s a world leader that would make an excellent Hollywood villain, it’s Rodrigo Duterte, current president of the Philippines. He’s not crazy, he thinks he’s doing the world a favor, and his methods are shocking. After a few centuries, this conflict should be ready to end and who better to bring that about than Rambo and a giant hunting knife?
Somalia has been in the throes of civil war since the 1980s and it has never even begun anything close to a recovery. After the fall of the Barre dictatorship, no one has held a controlling area of the country, including the United States, the United Nations, and even Ethiopia, who invaded Somalia not too long ago, crushing just one more in a long line of Islamic Insurgents who want to control the Somali people.
More than half a million people from all over the world have died in this conflict and it has displaced more than 1.1 million Somalis. It is time for this conflict to end — that’s your cue, Rambo.
Airman 1st Class William “Pits” Pitsenbarger was a Pararescueman during the Vietnam War. Less than a year after receiving orders, he would go on to fly nearly 300 rescue missions and save over 60 men before sacrificing himself to aid others during one of the most brutal battles of an already harsh war. When offered the chance to escape on the last helicopter out of the combat zone, Pits stayed behind to protect the lives of others and was later killed by Viet Cong snipers.
The Last Full Measure is the long-awaited story of how the men he saved would try to procure him the Medal of Honor — and the dark reason why the American government resisted.
Check out the final trailer, released today:
“The sacrifices of the fallen will never be forgotten,” intones Christopher Plummer, who plays the father of William Pitsenbarger. The Last Full Measure, written and directed by Todd Robinson, also stars Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, and William Hurt.
“Todd Robinson’s riveting drama chronicles one man’s sacrifice and valor on the battlefield, and we believe it also highlights an aspect of American patriotism overdue for recognition. Everyone should know about William Pitsenbarger’s bravery and life, and it’s a privilege to bring this film to theaters where it should be seen,” said Roadside’s Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff, as reported by Deadline.
Pits was initially posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, becoming the first enlisted Airman to receive it, before it was upgraded to the Medal of Honor.
William “Pits” Pitsenbarger
(U.S. Air Force photo)
Medal of Honor Citation
“Airman First Class Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extreme valor on April 11, 1966 near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, while assigned as a Pararescue Crew Member, Detachment 6, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. On that date, Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties incurred in an on-going firefight between elements of the United States Army’s 1st Infantry Division and a sizable enemy force approximately 35 miles east of Saigon. With complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered to ride a hoist more than one hundred feet through the jungle, to the ground.
On the ground, he organized and coordinated rescue efforts, cared for the wounded, prepared casualties for evacuation, and insured that the recovery operation continued in a smooth and orderly fashion. Through his personal efforts, the evacuation of the wounded was greatly expedited. As each of the nine casualties evacuated that day were recovered, Pitsenbarger refused evacuation in order to get one more wounded soldier to safety. After several pick-ups, one of the two rescue helicopters involved in the evacuation was struck by heavy enemy ground fire and was forced to leave the scene for an emergency landing. Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind, on the ground, to perform medical duties.
Shortly thereafter, the area came under sniper and mortar fire. During a subsequent attempt to evacuate the site, American forces came under heavy assault by a large Viet Cong force. When the enemy launched the assault, the evacuation was called off and Airman Pitsenbarger took up arms with the besieged infantrymen. He courageously resisted the enemy, braving intense gunfire to gather and distribute vital ammunition to American defenders. As the battle raged on, he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to care for the wounded, pull them out of the line of fire, and return fire whenever he could, during which time, he was wounded three times. Despite his wounds, he valiantly fought on, simultaneously treating as many wounded as possible.
In the vicious fighting which followed, the American forces suffered 80 percent casualties as their perimeter was breached, and airman Pitsenbarger was finally fatally wounded. Airman Pitsenbarger exposed himself to almost certain death by staying on the ground, and perished while saving the lives of wounded infantrymen. His bravery and determination exemplify the highest professional standards and traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Air Force.”
He was also posthumously awarded the rank of Staff Sergeant. Other awards and medals include the Air Force Cross, the Airman’s Medal, and two Purple Hearts. His name can be found on Panel 06E Line 102 of the Vietnam Wall.
Following the battle, Pitsenbarger’s fellow PJ’s and soldiers who he saved in combat embarked on an over 30 year effort to upgrade his Air Force Cross to a Medal of Honor. In the trailer, William Hurt, who plays a fellow PJ, describes the situation as “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Finally, in 2000, Pitsenbarger received the Medal of Honor in a cermony attended by his parents, fellow veterans and the Secretary of the Air Force. The Last Full Measure will release in theaters on January 24th, 2020.
Being clean shaven every day in the military is an absolute must — unless you’re a special forces operator and are allowed to grow out a manly beard. Every morning, men (and some women) wake up during with a 5 o’clock shadow that is required to disappear before morning muster.
But the day you signed your DD-214 and no longer fall under the rules and regulations of shaving, it’s time to grow out that impressive separation beard — just because you can.
Not every beard is right for the individual. With several types of styles to choose from, it’s necessary to grow one that fits your specific personality. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you pick one out that fits your unique look.
Not to be mistaken for the “Homeless Man,” this style says “I work my ass for a living, but it’s usually somewhere outside in the cold.” It’s popular for keeping your face warm and catching food crumbs.
2. The Chuck Norris
One of our favorites, this traditional style relays to the world that not only can you be rugged, but you take enough time to trim up. This typically looks good enough to step into the boardroom for a presentation, then head right out to the gun range.
Chuck Norris doesn’t shave — he orders his beard to stop growing.
3. The “I’m not too worried about it”
This unique look informs the world you’re just chilling, you’re in no hurry, and whatever happens, happens.
Named after the talent actor-comedian Zack Galifianakis, this ensures your fellow man that you’re a hard worker, but you know how to crack a good joke and don’t take life too seriously.
5. The Fuzz
Not everyone can grow a full separation beard — some of us grow them in thin-to-thick patches.
This doesn’t inform the world you have low testosterone (the male’s dominant hormone) because it isn’t a facial hair growth factor — dihydrotestosterone is the chemical that promotes thick beard growth and unfortunately is linked to hair loss. Bummer!
We still respect your commitment.
6. The Shaggy
A fashionable look for those who received their separation paperwork and ran straight to the bar, leaving their razor or clipper behind in the barracks.
Joanna Mendez, former Central Intelligence Agency Chief of Disguise, watched spy scenes from a variety of films and television shows in order to break down how accurate they really are. From Jason Bourne finding his cache of passports and foreign currency to Carrie Mathison’s (Homeland) half-assed “disguise” through airport security, Mendez doesn’t hold back in her opinions and expertise.
During her 27-year career, her position in the CIA’s Office of Technical Service involved providing operational disguises and alias training in hostile theaters of the Cold War from Moscow to Havana. Her duties included clandestine photography and preparing CIA assets with the use of intelligence-collecting equipment like spy cameras, as well as processing the information brought in.
Think “Q” — James Bond Q, not Star Trek…
Now retired, Mendez continues to consult with the U.S. Intelligence community as well as lecture with her husband Antonio Mendez, also a retired intelligence officer, with whom she has published several books about their covert experience including Spy Dust, which reveals “the tools and operations that helped win the Cold War,” and Argo, which would become an Academy Award-winning film of the same name that told the story of “the most audacious rescue in history.”
In the video below, Mendez lets her critiques fly. Check it out:
Former CIA Chief of Disguise Breaks Down 30 Spy Scenes From Film & TV | WIRED
“Carrie’s disguise, which basically consisted of dying her hair…was absolutely ineffective. She’s still Carrie…but with dark hair. She could have cut her hair and restyled it. She could have changed her makeup. She could have put on sunglasses to hide that crazy-eyed look she has…” claps Mendez.
She then jumped to a scene from Alias where Jennifer Garner nails her disguise. “She didn’t just dye her hair — she dyed it outrageously red and then adopted the whole persona to go with it. We could have used that as a training film!” she laughed.
Mendez moves on to Matthew Rhys’ character in The Americans. “He was never trying to look good. He came really close to projecting ‘the little gray man’ that we would talk about at the CIA. You wanted to be forgettable,” she commended.
Mendez then moves on to a “quick change,” the name for a move where an agent clandestinely changes his appearance in 37 seconds. She commented on Mission Impossible III, and in particular discusses why Tom Cruise’s “priest” would have been ethically off-limits.
From Megan Fox in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver, Mendez breaks down the “quick change” further — and also warns against stealing.
The video covers blending in with the crowd in James Bond — and CIA inventions that helps its agents remain discrete; being assigned a new identity in Spy; cultural customs in Inglorious Bastards; and life-like masks that cover the entire face in order to give the appearance of a completely different face.
The video is highly entertaining, not just because it grabs clips from iconic pop culture favorites (Austin Powers and Sherlock Holmes make appearances) but also because Joanna Mendez has a great, wry humor (“we never tried to disguise ourselves as furniture at the CIA…”).
Watch the full video above and find out what the CIA really thinks about black cat suits and seducing the enemy!
Gathering Storm is an intense new show on National Geographic featuring the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force. Each branch is highlighted as they race against time to complete vital missions during catastrophic storms.
Keo Films spent over a year developing the six-part series for National Geographic. The show will bring viewers inside the intensity of the world’s most powerful storms and outline the devastating impacts of climate change. Keo Films gave hundreds of cameras to maritime workers to document a year at sea and what happens during a major storm. Cameras also followed the three military branches serving in the midst of deadly storms.
The Coast Guard can usually be found right in the middle of it all, always ready.
Chief Warrant Officer Paul Roszkowski is a part of the leadership within the Coast Guard Motion Picture and Television office and was involved in the series from the start. “The Coast Guard worked with Keo Films for more than a year to coordinate filming part of our mission the public generally doesn’t get to see. This involved getting international film crews cleared to film at a moment’s notice at a number of Coast Guard units across the country and prestaging cameras at some units in case a storm formed. We are grateful to all of the units that participated in this which include USCGC Cypress, USCGC Alex Haley, Sector Guam and Sector Miami. Gathering Storm will give a peek behind the curtain of what Coast Guard personnel are doing before a major storm hits and the rescues start,” he shared.
Sector Miami is one of the busiest areas of responsibility for the Coast Guard. When hurricane season approaches, that responsibility increases tenfold. “We have two of the busiest cruise ports in the country… The port coordination team is vital. The decisions that are made [during a storm] are impactful. When we set those port conditions, the implications they have on all the stakeholders in the area are huge,” Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Daniel Delgado explained.
As the Incident Management Division Chief for Sector Miami, Delgado worked closely with Keo Films for the series. “They were interested in seeing the preparation that goes into the ‘before the storm’ work. A group of people were here with us here in the sector building and also gave cameras to our teams that went out to verify pre-storm preparations. It was great working with the crew and they were very respectful of us and the work we had to do and didn’t impede it,” Delgado shared.
When hurricanes are approaching, the Coast Guard receives daily updates from the National Hurricane Center, which is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Although the public has probably heard of the term “hurricane hunters,” they may not realize who’s flying many of those planes to gather vital weather data that gets dispersed to the Coast Guard: the United States Air Force.
In the first episode, viewers watch as the production crew follows members of Sector Miami navigating the Coast Guard’s response to Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane which devastated the Bahamas and Abaco Islands in 2019. The damage left the islands in ruins and Hurricane Dorian was soon declared the worst natural disaster in Bahamian history. The Coast Guard saved the lives of over 400 people, flying and sailing through hurricane force winds and almost zero visibility to do it.
While the first two episodes focus on powerful hurricanes, the series then takes viewers into typhoon alley and through the roughest and most deadly fishing ground on the earth – the Bering Sea. Then watch as the Coast Guard and Navy rush to respond to typhoons in the Pacific, all while the Air Force is flying through the storms to gather the important data needed to respond.
“We featured the ‘Hurricane Hunters’ of the 53 Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the USAF Reserve, based out of Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi,” Executive Producer Matt Cole said. He shared that he enjoyed getting to personally interview veteran Hurricane Hunter Lieutenant Colonel Sean Cross about what it’s like flying into powerful storms.
Viewers will also watch the Navy become storm chasers with their advanced technology. “It was fascinating to see how the US Navy center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii plays a lead role for the whole of that region in tracking typhoons and even providing life-saving forecasts. So, out there where typhoons are such a serious and life threatening problem, the forecasts provided by the US Navy using satellite data are invaluable,” Cole said.
The Keo Films also learned a lot during the filming process. For instance, prior to working on the series Cole and the film crew thought ships were safer in harbor during a storm – an assumption the Coast Guard was quick to correct.
“The folks who work out at sea face these huge storms at their fiercest. By filming with maritime workers on ships at sea we were able to capture the reality of cyclonic weather events and to track their development, through the eyes of these people who work in their path,” Cole explained. Although Hurricanes receive a lot of attention from the media during hurricane season, the show goes even deeper by revealing what it’s like to be in the middle of it all.
Film taken from over 1000 cameras paint a stark and terrifying picture of the impact of storms and climate change, felt on every corner of the globe. “I think that like us, the viewers of the series will come away with a lot more respect for the workforce that makes a living out on the ocean and the military teams that are on constant vigil to try to keep them safe when storms are brewing, through understanding the power and scale of the dangers they face,” Cole said.
The six-part series on National Geographic will air two episodes in a row each Saturday beginning August 15th, 2020 at 10pm.
Remember that scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” when Luke Skywalker and Han Solo brown-bag some forties of Miller High Life at Echo Base on Hoth? Oh, you forgot? I think it’s in my super-secret directors cut. But, anyway, the point is, people in Star Wars usually drink booze when they are in space cantinas, which is mostly true of real life, too. At Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, if you want to drink space booze, you have to do it in Olga’s Cantina. But, soon, if you want to feel the Force-buzz in Florida, you won’t even need to be inside of a bar.
On Aug. 1, 2019, WDW News (Walt Disney World News) broke the news that although two food courts in Galaxy’s Edge were dry at Disneyland, their Disney World counterparts will have alcohol. According to the report from WDW: “Disney has confirmed the presence of alcoholic beverages at both food locations that did not have alcohol at Disneyland. Both Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo and Ronto Roasters will each feature two alcoholic beverages.”
The report also claimed that Disney World will add alcoholic versions of Blue Milk and Green Milk to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which again, did not exist at the Disneyland version of the attraction. And in case you forgot, Blue Milk is what Luke drank at the dinner table in the original Star Wars movie in 1977, and green milk is what Luke drank out of that alien sea cow’s breast in “The Last Jedi.” So, yes, Disney World is now offering you a booze-filled version of something that is basically space-animal breast milk. Let’s try explaining that one to the kids, shall we?
Galaxy’s Edge will open at Disney World in Orlando, Flordia on Aug. 29, 2019.
This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.
While on a Christmas tour in the Middle East, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, spoke to the troops and brought up the potential of a future fight in North Korea. He told the troops, “It would be Game of Thrones-like, and a lot of people would get hurt. I might be wrong, but it’s a very complicated issue.” He’s not entirely wrong.
While his words were in reference to the bloodshed and brutality of war, the build up to conflict isn’t too much of a stretch. The fighting in Game of Thrones is brutal and many of the foot soldiers are up against insurmountable odds — much like a full-scale war between several nations. Many of the events in Game of Thrones happen because of a war that took place before the series began — much like the real world after the Korean War.
It also doesn’t hurt that both military life and the show have a lot of fighting, sex (including prostitution, unfortunately), and alcohol in them.
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t caught up to the season finale of season seven, we recommend viewing one of our other great articles. If you have been keeping up with the series or just don’t care about spoilers, please enjoy a nerdy tongue-firmly-in-cheek response proving the Commandant of the USMC is more correct than he lead on.
6. North Korea is basically House Lannister
If you think about it, Kim Jong-un and King Joffery Baratheon have countless similarities. They’re both spoiled, rich, psychopathic brats who paint an image of godliness, who are very privileged thanks to the work of their predecessors, and yet they both demand unwavering respect without doing anything to earn it themselves.
As much as we laugh at the young dictators, they have plenty of power and control. One reason the Lannisters and North Korea weren’t eliminated right away was because of how they retaliate. The Starks won every battle in the War of Five Kings, but were slaughtered at the Red Wedding. The Tyrell line was straight up murdered in a holy place — along with thousands of innocent civilians. Hell, even the Lannister song Rains of Castermere is about how they’ll obliterate anyone in retaliation (damn, it’s a great song, tho…).
In real life, Seoul could suffer the same ruthless fate. Even if without the threat of nuclear warfare, just the conventional artillery on the border laying siege on the South Korean capital could put the death toll in the millions.
5. South Korea is basically House Targaryen
South Korean history is rich and beautiful, dating back to when the Korean Empire stood tall much like House Targaryen. They were both overthrown and crushed to near nothingness, but quickly rose to be key powers in their conflicts.
The post-Korean War economy of South Korea was devastated and their military might was worse, just like how the Targaryens would eventually dwindle to just Daenerys Targaryen. With the simple push from a friend (Daenerys’ gift of the dragon eggs and South Korea’s support from the U.S), they are now each among the most intimidating militaries in the world.
The Republic of Korea Armed Forces is one of the most technologically advanced modern militaries, which will be the cornerstone of the next battle, should it come to that.
Just like a Dragon.
4. Japan Self-Defense Force is basically the Freefolk from Beyond the Wall
Once a primary enemy of many others on this list, they’re refocused on turning foes into allies to face the real threats.
Now their small populations are the most threatened, making them willing to do whatever it takes to survive.
3. China is basically House Greyjoy
Each have the most intimidating naval forces in their given worlds, even if they’re not the largest. While the Lannisters (North Korea) could talk a big game and maybe hold their own currently, their strong arm is still House Greyjoy (China.)
The Chinese government also “does not sow” when it comes to taking islands in the South China Sea. On the bright side, the rebels (Theon and Yara Greyjoy AKA Taiwan) who left the main land/house are devoted allies to the Targaryens.
2. The United States of America is basically House Stark
Which leaves the honorable and — hardest fighting — armies, the Starks and the Americans. Each of the four remaining Starks make up the four branches of the Department of Defense.
The toughest fighter is definitely Jon Snow, our Marine. They even have experience fighting in the last war in the frozen north at (Battle of Chosin Reservoir for Marines and Beyond the Wall for Jon Snow). The special operations of the Special Forces and over all battle skill matches Arya Stark. The invaluable support and “eyes in the sky” that both the Air Force and Bran Stark have will be what makes this war. This leaves Sansa Stark for the Navy, because neither are really fighters — they’re more tactical support.
1. Putin is basically a White Walker
The sleeper threat. Though they emerge as the real enemies of the balance in their respective worlds, everyone turns a blind eye to them while they destroy, conquer, and expand their reach. Neither seem interested in having allies, just minions.
It also doesn’t hurt their cause when everyone focuses on them; the Lannisters (North Korea) and Greyjoys (China) benefit. They’re also the primary enemy of the Freefolk (Japan) and, eventually, the Starks (Americans.)
Did the retired Marine general say these things or did the rapper say these things?
On the surface, the two have nothing in common. The rapper-actor out of Queens, NY started his career selling drugs at age 12 during the crack epidemic. On the other hand, Mattis began his career as an enlisted Marine during 1960s.
As their careers progressed, 50 Cent left drug-dealing to pursue a music career. He quickly gained a reputation for being a shrewd businessman, becoming an actor, opening an apparel line, and eventually becoming an investor.
“Mad Dog” Mattis had a different path. He graduated to the officer ranks during the 1970s and became known as the “Warrior Monk” because of his bachelor life and lifelong devotion to the study of war. “Saint Mattis of Quantico, Patron Saint of Chaos” is the current secretary of defense.
Besides their different walks of life, the two seem to have a similar outlook. We gathered some of their most famous quotes to make this quiz. Can you guess who said what?
In a decade full of big mustaches and goucho pants, bell bottoms ruled the earth; something about extra ankle space was all the rage. Meanwhile, military surplus clothing was a must-have hit, and when it came to hair styles, bigger was better. These are only a few attributes that describe the 1970s. It’s also a decade that loved a good macho war flick — gruff soldiers with heartfelt stories fit right in with the counterculture and everything it stood for.
From these titles which are still modern favorites, to the films that changed the face of cinema as we know it today, take a look at these blockbusters and campy faves.
Released in 1970, Catch-22 is the film adaptation of the classic war novel of the same name. It’s considered a black comedy, “anti-war” movie where the main character tries to get himself declared insane so he no longer has to participate in the war — therefore a catch-22. It’s known for starring big names such as Art Garfunkel, Bob Newhart, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight, and Orson Welles.
2. M*A*S*H, 1970
Yes, MASH made a movie! In fact, the movie came before the show. An acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, MASH was first based on a book, then made into a film starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, and Robert Duvall. The Korean War film won an Academy Award for best film adaptation, as well as taking home the title for Grand Prix du Festival International du Film at the Cannes Film Festival.
3. Johnny Got His Gun, 1971
Another anti-war flick — a common theme in the 70s — comes with Johnny Got His Gun. Donald Sutherland also plays in this film, however, it was a box office bomb and not well received. Years later, in 1988, the band Metallica used clips from the movie in their music video. They even purchased the rights to avoid paying ongoing royalties, and in the process, brough the film to prominence and turned it into a cult classic.
4. The Last Valley, 1971
Michael Caine stars in this movie covering the thirty-years war in Central Europe. Set in the 1600s, the flick follows Caine as a mercenary soldier, during a religious war. Despite being one of the most popular movies at the box office, it still became a financial failure, only gaining popularity in decades since.
5. The Hiding Place, 1975
Another WW2 classic, The Hiding Place follows a Jewish family who’s taken into captivity and their hardships within a concentration camp. The film is based off of Corrie ten Boom and her family’s struggles and her famous book of the same name.
6. Midway, 1976
The Battle of Midway is arguably one of the more famous battles from WW2, partly thanks to this film. Midway covers the invasion of Midway Island when the U.S. attacked the Japanese Navy in April of 1942. The movie comes with a star-studded cast, including: Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, and Hal Holbrook.
7. The Eagle Has Landed, 1976
This flick takes place in a world where the Germans plotted to kidnap Winston Churchill at the end of WW2. It was directed by John Sturgess in his last film as a director. Donald Sutherland, Michael Caine, and Robert Duvall star in yet another war film, this time playing Germans in their attempt to find and take down the British Prime Minister.
8. Coming Home, 1978
Set in the timeframe of Vietnam, Coming Home brings a fresh twist to war films; it’s set back in the states and covers a love triangle between a military spouse, her husband, and another injured soldier. Jane Fonda stars as the film’s temptress, with Jon Voight playing another leading role.
9. The Inglorious Bastards, 1978
The original title to this film is actually an Italian film. The translation means, “That damned armored train.” A Euro War movie, the film was pitched to American filmmakers, but moved to Italy when it was not picked up. The film gained most of its success decades later when director Quentin Tarantino made his own war flick reusing the name Inglorious Basterds.
The 1970s was certainly a power decade for WW2 films, among others. Whether you’ve seen them or simply have these titles on your “must watch” list, don’t overlook the power they can bring to modern day viewers in cultural and historical importance.