How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food

Morale.

In the military, it’s what’s for dinner.


How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
Cookie, your goulash fills me full of pep!

And for the military chef, the job is a lot more than just filling bellies with fighting fuel.

Cooking for the Armed Forces concerns the Art of Building Morale. And if an army marches on its’ stomach, then it follows that an Army chef operating at the highest level — who’s able to create culinary magic under the demands of budget, field deployment, and operational extremity — can have a huge individual impact on the health of the mission.

That holds true for every branch, in every situation, from boot camp to battlefield.

Searching for inspired military cooking and meeting the chefs responsible is the central mission of Go90’s series Meals Ready To Eat. And host August Dannehl, a Navy veteran and chef, has a nose for this type of story. For his first foray, he paid a visit to Fort Lee, Virginia to reconnoiter some of the U.S. Armed Forces’ top chefs, who’d gathered there for the annual Military Culinary Arts Competition and Training Event.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
In the thick of it: Military Culinary Arts Competition, Fort Lee, VA (Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
There’s nothing like the smell of morale in the morning. (Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)

Modeled after the World Culinary Olympics and sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation, the 40-year-old event is a bubbling cauldron of ideas, inspiration, and good old-fashioned inter-service rivalry. But at its heart, the event, like Dannehl’s series, seeks to champion the importance of culinary artistry to the overall operational effectiveness of the military.

Watch more Meals Ready To Eat:

This veteran farmer will make you celebrate your meat

This is why soldiers belong in the kitchen

What happens when a firefighter’s secret identity is revealed

This Galley Girl will make you want to join the Coast Guard

This is the food Japanese chefs invented after their nation surrendered to the Allies

Articles

This is how Stalingrad’s most epic sniper duel ended

Snipers are considered one of the most dangerous warfighters in the battlefield — taking out targets from concealed and undisclosed locations while homing in on prey that has no clue that they’re in the crosshairs.


During the Battle of Stalingrad, the massive damage the city suffered provided insufficient cover for ground troops, but it was perfect for sharpshooters who could hide in the crumbled buildings and wrack up kills.

Out of all the snipers that were most feared, none came close to Soviet Red Army sharpshooter Vasily Zaitsev.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
A German soldier during the battle of Stalingrad. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Related: This is the rifle Vasily Zaytsev used to wage a one-man war in ‘Enemy at the Gates’

Reportedly within 10 days of fighting in the streets of Stalingrad, Zaitsev’s body count reached about 40 kills. Once the Soviet press learned of the Siberian native’s incredible progress, they promoted it by releasing propaganda to anyone who would read it — even the Germans.

In response, the Germans sent their first-rate sniper, Maj. Erwin Konig into Stalingrad. Konig’s mission was to eliminate the Red Army’s most efficient marksmen and to display the Nazi’s superiority.

Word broke out that Konig was inbound after a German POW bragged to the Russian Army that it was only a matter of days before Zaitsev and the other snipers would be defeated. This news reached Zaitsev nearly immediately.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
Vasily Zaytsev and his trusty Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle.

Also Read: This is the German general who inspired a terrifying ‘Wonder Woman’ villain

After a few days, there were no signs of Konig being in the area until three Russian snipers were wiped out within a small section of town. With a hunter’s caution, Zaitsev worked his way into the area where Konig claimed the three Russians lives for an epic duel.

On the second day of Zaitsev’s stalk, a political commissar joined him to report the news of the kill after it had occurred. But the political commissar soon saw something move down the street, and as he stood up to point it out to Zaitsev, Konig killed him with a single well-placed shot.

This kill helped Zaitsev zero in on Konig’s hide. He removed his glove from his hand and placed it on a stick. He then raised the glove up, and Konig accurately shot it — exposing his muzzle flash.

Zaitsev quickly aimed and fired scoring a direct kill shot. The story’s finale isn’t exactly what audiences saw in 2001’s feature film “Enemy at the Gates” starring Jude Law.

Check out Gun Crazy 81’s video below to hear how this epic duel between these historic snipers went down.

Youtube, GunCrazy81

Articles

This D-Day vet played the role of his British commander in ‘The Longest Day’

On D-Day, Richard Todd was one of the paratroopers who took part in the capture of Pegasus Bridge. Todd had parachuted in after the original assault and helped reinforce the British Army’s Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry led by Maj. John Howard.


Little did Todd know at the time that he would find himself portraying that same British commander when legendary director Daryl Zanuck was making Cornelius Ryan’s book “The Longest Day” into an epic movie.

Imdb.com reports that Todd was very nearly killed on D-Day. He had been assigned to a new plane. The switch was a fortunate one since his original transport was shot down by the Nazis, killing all aboard. A 2004 article by the London Guardian reported that Todd’s D-Day involved making his way to Pegasus Bridge, reinforcing Howard’s unit, and helping to fend off German attacks on the bridge while under Howard’s command until seaborne forces linked up with the paratroopers.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
Pegasus Bridge, June 9, 1944. Richard Todd helped defend this bridge. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Todd never discussed his actions on D-Day. However, in his memoirs, “Caught in the Act,” he would write, “There was no cessation in the Germans’ probing with patrols and counter-attacks, some led by tanks, and the regimental aid post was overrun in the early hours. The wounded being tended there were all killed where they lay. There was sporadic enemy mortar and artillery fire we could do nothing about. One shell landed in a hedge near me, killing a couple of our men.”

By 1962, Richard Todd had become a well-known actor, with his most notable role having been Wing Commander Guy Gibson in the 1954 movie, “The Dam Busters.” Todd had also starred in “D-Day, the Sixth of June” three years later as the leader of a commando group sent to take out German guns.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food

When he was asked to play himself in “The Longest Day,” he demurred, admitting his own role in the invasion had been a small part. The London Telegraph quoted him as saying, “I did not do anything special that would make a good sequence.” Zanuck, determined to have Todd in the film, cast him as Howard instead.

“The Longest Day” was one of Todd’s last big roles, as British cinema moved in a very different direction in the 1960s. He still found work acting, narrating the series “Wings over the World” for AE Television and appearing in several “Doctor Who” episodes, among other roles.

Todd would die on Dec. 3, 2009, after having been named a member of the Order of the British Empire in 1993. Below is the trailer for “The Longest Day.”

MIGHTY MOVIES

How you can stream all of the ‘Halloween’ movies right now

Michael Myers is once again on the hunt for Laurie Strode in Halloween, the 40-year sequel that confusingly shares its title with the original film. And before you head to the theater to witness Myers wreak some suburban havoc, you may want to revisit a few of the original eight Halloween films, even with the knowledge that only the first film is now considered canon. Here is where you can stream every Halloween movie, from the iconic original to the seven mediocre sequels that follow.


“Halloween” 1978 Original Movie Trailer (HD)

www.youtube.com

Halloween (1978)


Widely considered the foundation of modern horror, this John Carpenter classic is every bit as scary today as it was 40 years ago. So if you want to have trouble sleeping for the next few nights, you can rent (.99) or buy (.99) the original Halloweenon Amazon Prime and stream it tonight.

Halloween II (1981)

From here on out, we have left the official Halloween canon, as the upcoming film is ignoring the seven Halloween sequels, with good reason. While the first Halloween is one of the most celebrated horror movies ever made, the sequels are decidedly less so. And it all began with this clunky sequel, which makes the unnecessary family tree connection between Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers (Dick Warlock). But if you love bad horror, you can stream Halloween II on Hulu.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (5/10) Movie CLIP – Test Room A (1982) HD

www.youtube.com

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

While Halloween II was a confusing misstep, Season of the Witch is when it became clear studio executives were more than happy to destroy this franchise to make a few bucks. The movie is a part of the Halloween franchise in name only, as Myers and Strode are nowhere to be found in this forgettable flick. If you really want to test your tolerance for terrible horror, you can rent (.99) or buy (.99) Halloween III: Season of the Witch on Amazon Prime and stream it tonight.

Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Cinema’s most terrifying killer may have returned but he forgot to bring back quality story-telling and genuine tension with him. Myers is officially a supervillain in this movie and his greatest power seems to be destroying a beloved franchise. If you are a masochist, you can rent (.99) or buy (.99) Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers on iTunes and stream it tonight.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

The less said about this movie, the better. Revenge of Michael Myers is most commonly referenced as the worst film in the Halloween franchise, which is impressive considering the fact that basically every Halloween movie except the original is a flaming pile of garbage. If you hate happiness, you can rent (.99) or buy (.99) Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers on iTunes and stream it tonight.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Much like the titular character, Halloween finds a way to come back to life even when its own terrible quality seemingly forces it into the grave. Six years after the abysmal Revenge comes Curse and you probably already know where this is going: This movie is terrible. If you have lost all hope, you can rent (id=”listicle-2612882044″.99) Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers on YouTube and stream it tonight.

Halloween H20 Twenty Years Later Official Trailer #1 (1998) – Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett HD

www.youtube.com

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

By 1998, the Halloween franchise seemed to be long past its prime but against all odds, Myers made a comeback with this sequel, which wisely circumvented the nonsense of Halloweens III-VI and framed itself as a direct sequel to the second Halloween movie, which was bad as opposed to terrible. The result? This movie isn’t good by any means but it may be the second best in the franchise so far, with the much-welcomed return of Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. If you are a fan of adequate horror, you can rent (.99) or buy (.99) Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers on Amazon Prime and stream it tonight.

Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

While H20 seemed to be a return to form for Myers, this sequel derailed the Halloween franchise to the extent that it was rebooted by Rob Zombie five years later. The eighth chapter of the Halloween story stars Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks and is nonsense from start to finish. If you want to watch a franchise nearly destroy itself, you can rent (.99) or buy (.99) Halloween: Resurrection on Amazon Prime and stream it tonight.

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

MIGHTY TRENDING

Watch these five vets get real about dealing with military stereotypes

WATM hosted groups of veterans to answer several questions about their time in the military. The vets kept it real when responding to topics ranging from relationships to recruiters.


In this episode, our group of veterans discusses the various military stereotypes they’ve encountered from civilians over the years.

Editor’s note: If you have ideas for questions that you’d like to see a group of veterans answer, please leave a comment below.

Articles

Here are 5 ways Sienna Miller got the milspouse experience right in “American Sniper”

Historically, actresses playing military wives come off as hollow, very flat, one-dimensional. In short, something is always missing. As a movie goer, we tend to let it go because we are used to whatever it is that is missing, being missing for the entire movie. We can’t name it, we can’t place it, we don’t have a box for it. But, it’s still there.


“American Sniper” is different. I believe Sienna Miller as Taya Kyle, wife of the legendary sniper, Chris Kyle. I believe her with my whole body in nearly every single circumstance. I don’t want to know how or why she was able to pull it off because I think that’ll ruin it for me.

So here are the 5 ways Sienna Miller got it right:

1. Where she is so over him at the bar

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
(Warner Bros.)

How many of military spouses started off with a military guy wearing the “there is no way, no how I’m hooking up with a military guy” hat? More than most. The way Sienna pulled that off in the bar was amazing. Just the right amount of being able to see through Bradley Cooper’s BS balanced with “Ok, he’s hot, but still” attitude. We knew it was going to happen, but damn if she didn’t make us believe it wouldn’t.

2. When they are dancing at their wedding and she puts her hand right there on his chest

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
(Warner Bros.)

That moment was perfect because it signified all that was coming. We’ve all had our hand in that very same place over and over. It always means the same thing: Something is coming and it probably isn’t good. But, I’m going to stand by you no matter what. Somehow, Sienna captured that — all with the touch of her hand.

3. When she puts the crib together

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
(Warner Bros.)

Alone. While on the phone with her husband overseas somewhere. I believed that moment completely. We’ve all been there, doing something that was meant for two, by ourselves. In that moment? Sienna was well on her way to being a military spouse.

4. Outside the hospital

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
Sienna Miller performing the scene outside the hospital when Taya Kyle is on the phone with her husband and hears gunshots. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

You remember? When she was on the phone with him, and she heard gunfire? She yelled and screamed for him, falling to her knees and crying. That moment was about as real as it will ever get. That moment was it. The worst fear, the moment we dread and the moment that to me was probably the most believable . . . except for one.

5. When he’s leaving and she obviously knows something is “off”

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
(Warner Bros.)

When Sienna watches Bradley leave their home for the last time, something obviously didn’t feel right to her. She captures that essence, that sense of death looming so perfectly. We’ve all been there when we sense something is off, but we can’t put our fingers on it and can’t wrap our hands around its neck to keep it from happening.

 

MIGHTY HISTORY

This Hollywood star’s secret radio invention changed war forever

Glamour, grace, and poise was everything that Hedy Lamarr portrayed when she walked into a room and in film. However, it turns out, Lamarr was not just a pretty face.

She was an avid inventor who created one of the most groundbreaking patents dealing with high-frequency technology that changed the way we fight wars today.


How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food

Hedy Lamarr, above, was one of the most glamorous faces of MGM’s golden era.

(CBS News)

Everyone knows Hedy Lamarr as one of the most famous starlets of the 1930s who took Hollywood by storm when she appeared in numerous films. The public just couldn’t get enough of her beauty and ate up whatever she had to sell. Hedy was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1913, in Vienna, Austria. She immigrated to the U.S. during WWII after she was discovered by an Austrian film director.

A patriot to the core, she made it her duty to visit USOs and help in the war efforts as much as she could. Mostly, this consisted of using her status as a movie star to sell war bonds. She began to think beyond the scope of Hollywood and wanted to be more impactful with her actions.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food

The original patent that Hedy Lamarr created with George Anheil in 1941.

Already an inventor at heart, with countless inventions set to the wayside, she started to think of how the military could communicate with one another without the enemy obstructing messages or intercepting intel. Lamarr wanted to bring her latest idea to fruition and shared them with a fellow patron of the arts.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food

Hedy Lamarr and George Anthiel came together to streamline the patenting of a secret communication messaging system.

She enlisted the help of George Anthiel, an Avante-Garde composer, and they constructed a patent for a secret communication system based on manipulating radio frequency intervals between transmission and reception. What was created was an unbreakable code that helped keep classified messages concealed. Ultimately, ‘spread spectrum’ technology was born of this patent and was first used during the Cuban Missile Crisis on Navy ships.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food

Hedy Lamarr finally gets her story told in the film Bombshell, where her passion for inventing is revealed.

(Vanity Fair)

Unfortunately, it took years for Lamarr to get recognition for her invention, and she is often just shrugged off as a pretty face of a bygone era. She was finally honored in 1997, along with Antheil, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Pioneer Award. In the same year, she was the first female recipient of the BULBIE™ Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, given to those that impact society through their inventions. Lamarr and Antheil were also inducted into the Inventors Hall of fame in 2014.

What’s even more impressive is that Lamar’s patent was the blueprint of all wireless communications we have today. Yes, that includes technology that is used in cell phones, GPS systems, Bluetooth, and WiFi. All of these technologies have especially benefited the military and our war-fighting capabilities. Lamarr’s ideas live on and continue to benefit not only the military, but society at large.

WATCH

Who would win a war between the U.S. and the rest of the world?

It’s the big fight, the heavyweight championship — the U.S. against the world. The whole world. And not just traditional rivals.


In this scenario, the U.S. has to fight off its allies like the United Kingdom, France, and South Korea as well.

So if it’s the U.S. against the world, who’s going to win?

In short, the rest of the world is going to have a rough time of it — especially if American forces pulled back to the continental U.S. and made a stand there.

It’s a little more complicated than just who has the biggest military force, but the U.S. is still in a pretty decent position.

You can read more about the specifics here and listen to the author and other veterans discuss the subject on the We Are The Mighty podcast.

Articles

How a pilot in one of America’s least stealthy aircraft saved a downed pilot from one of the stealthiest

In March 1999, NATO announced that coalition forces would begin a massive air war and bombing campaign against Serbia. Within hours after the first round of strikes, an A-10 squadron received an urgent call that one of America’s stealthiest aircraft had been shot down — the F-117 Nighthawk.


It was reported the stealth pilot managed to bail out in time but was trapped deep behind enemy lines.

As rebel forces assembled to hunt down the American pilot, allied forces gathered and quickly began designing a search and rescue mission to locate their missing brother.

“One of the things I have to do as the on-scene commander is figure out if he’s ready to be picked up,” Air Force pilot John Cherrey explains.

Related: 5 countries that tried to shoot down the SR-71 Blackbird (and failed)

Since landing an A-10 in enemy territory was impractical, using Black Hawks to pick up the missing pilot was the only option. But with Serbian missiles on high alert, there was no way helicopters could outrun enemy defenses.

The rescue mission must be handled with extreme caution or risk losing more men, so developing a clever plan was in order.

The Warthog’s commanders decided to create a diversion that would prompt Serbian anti-air missile radar to look in one direction, while the slower Black Hawks swooped in through the enemies’ back door.

Also Read: That time American POWs refused a CIA rescue mission in Vietnam

Their plan worked as the two Black Hawks managed to sneak their way to the downed pilot and egresses out of the Serbian air space. Once the A-10s were notified the pilot was safe, they bugged out and went home. No additional casualties were reported.

Mission complete.

Check out the Smithsonian Channel‘s video to see how Allied forces went on this daring rescue mission for yourself.

(Smithsonian Channel, YouTube)
MIGHTY MOVIES

Watch Aquaman actor perform a maori dance with his kids

Movie premieres are usually the same. Celebrities walk the red carpet in glamorous clothes, get their pictures taken thousands of times and maybe give a few interviews. Dec. 12, 2018, at the Aquaman premiere, Jason Momoa and his kids decided to liven up what would have been a typical movie premieres and honor their heritage in the same awesome moment.

Momoa took off his suit jacket and necklace and performed a traditional haka, which is a Māori ceremonial dance that includes chanting and stamping. His Aquaman castmembers, including Temuera Morrison who plays Aquaman’s father in the film, and Momoa’s two children, 11-year-old daughter Lola and 9-year-old son Nakoa-Wolf, joined him.


Together, they showed the red carpet the Māori “Ka Mate,”which is a dance often performed by New Zealand rugby teams before games. Momoa did this dance while holding a golden trident, but Aquaman’s trident was no match for this dance. Moma snapped it easily over his knee.

This energetic and exciting dance set the tone for the rest of the evening. This premiere isn’t going to be forgotten any time soon. No doubt, Momoa is a proud papa that his kids are so enthusiastic about celebrating traditions. In an interview with ET, Momoa revealed that his kids are super fast learners. Although they looked like pros on the red carpet, they were picking it up as they went.

“They just learned right now,” Momoa told ET. “But they’ve done a lot of hakas. I used to do it too when I was little, so they already knew how to do it.”

He also told ET that was a little nervous for his kids to see Aquaman where Momoa plays the titular hero. This is the first stand-alone Aquaman movie that reveals the DC superhero’s origin story.

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

MIGHTY MOVIES

This is how your fantasy football skills can help the US war effort

It doesn’t really matter what kind of skills you actually have when playing fantasy football. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve ever played before. The only thing that matters is that you’re playing for a cause.


On Sunday, Nov. 12., the daily fantasy football site FanDuel is hosting its first Duel for a Difference competition. The entire $3 entry fee to the contest will go to Operation Supply Drop, a non-profit organization that supplies morale boosting gear to American troops deployed overseas, as well as wounded warriors in hospitals.

Of course, there’s still a prize for winning the competition. Just because the proceeds go to a good cause doesn’t mean there can’t be a prize – the top spot gets a new GAEMS system, Xbox One console, Plantronics Headset, and 8 of the year’s best new video games. Other prizes include Operation Supply Drop swag and NFL memorabilia.

This is one instance where it really doesn’t matter if you win or lose — it’s a great way to have fun on a Sunday while providing real help to our fighting men and women abroad. FanDuel alone raked in an estimated $1.8 billion in entry fees in 2016, making it the number one daily fantasy site on the internet.

U.S. troops are about to get a cut of that. And you can help make that slice even bigger.

It’s easy. You get a set budget to choose your team. One quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker, and a defense. Just like in regular fantasy football, the better the player, the more each individual costs – so you can’t just bump up your team into the Mutant League All-Stars.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
Sorry, Cleveland. Webster Slaughter doesn’t play anymore.

But every entry directly helps American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and – yes – Coast Guardsmen deployed.

Operation Supply Drop is more than just delivering video games to troops. There are many facets to what they do every day. OSD programs include helping veterans transition back into civilian life, while addressing mental health, homelessness, and employment problems in the veteran community.

Of course, even if you don’t play fantasy football and don’t want to give it a shot, you can always just donate $3 (or however much you want) to Operation Supply Drop.
Military Life

Why it’s okay to hate your duty station

Some military families love to PCS. The sense of adventure that comes with moving to another duty station every few years is exciting to them. Even when they receive orders to a location not on the top of their wish list, they find a way to embrace the suck and learn to love their new home until military orders move them once again.


Being positive about the process is an important coping skill, but what happens if you find yourself really unhappy? What if you just can’t shake truly hating your duty station?

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
Minot. Am I right? (Image via Parks and Recreation)

It’s okay.

Seriously.

My husband’s final duty station was at an Army base in Arizona. As a Florida native, and as someone who loves the south and being close to the beach, I tried to embrace the new high desert landscape. I firmly believed it was best to make the most of where we were. But in reality, I loathed being stationed there. It was extremely dry, the temps were super hot in the summer (dry heat or not, 110 is miserable) and we got snow in the winter.

Also read: These are the 10 best duty stations for beer lovers

I missed all of the tall trees, greenery, and water I was accustomed to. We were also 2-3 days drive from our family. That had always been a difficult aspect of military life for me, but we had been blessed with orders within a days drive in the past, which made it bearable.

I was miserable.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
True story. (Image via giphy)

And I felt like a spoiled brat. My husband was home and out of the fleet. Friends at other duty stations were saying goodbye to their spouses for yet another deployment, and mine was home every night. How dare I be so miserable because the beach was not close by. 

And then I realized that me feeling guilty and forcing myself to pretend it wasn’t so bad, was making it worse. There is nothing wrong with having a preference when it comes to where you live. I wasn’t being a spoiled brat because I desperately missed the area I called “home,” but I did need to survive it without being completely miserable or making those around me the same.

Related: If you think your duty station sucks try serving on ‘Snake Island’

So I accepted that I was never going to love the place.

Instead, I focused on the people. It doesn’t matter where you go, there will always be good people. We joined a Cross Fit gym, I sang with a local community choir and we made an effort to get to know our neighbors. 

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
It’s called friendship and I won’t be judged. (Image via giphy)

I focused on the opportunities. We traveled to southern California, the Grand Canyon, and other places we would probably not have the opportunity to visit after retirement. We visited interesting local spots like Bisbee and Tombstone frequently.

I focused on the future. With retirement just a few years away, we started to pay off debt in anticipation of buying our first home. We started to dream about what our lives would look like when we were able to plant permanent roots in an area we both loved.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
You gotta start somewhere. (Image via giphy)

And we survived. Acknowledging that Arizona was not my favorite has made me appreciate  our forever home location even more. In the summer when we have 100% humidity, I am reminded how miserable that dry heat was for me. In the winter when it drops to 20 for a few days, I am reminded how I hated all that snow. And when I am at the beach, I appreciate it’s beauty in a way I didn’t before.

It could be worse: The worst duty assignments for every branch of the military

Hating your duty station? Embrace it. Focus on the people, opportunities, and the future.

It’s okay. I promise.

How military chefs will make you consider re-enlisting just for the food
Soon. Soon. (Image via Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘A Call to Spy’ film tackles WW2 espionage

Virginia Hall was one of the most successful espionage operatives of World War II, earning not only the contempt of the Gestapo, but also the Distinguished Service Cross — the only civilian woman to be so honored. As a spy, she organized agent networks, recruited the local population of occupied France to run safe houses, and aided in the escape of Allied prisoners of war.

Oh, and she did it all with a wooden leg named ‘Cuthbert.’

Hall’s story is coming to the big screen in the feature film A Call To Spy, written and produced by Sarah Megan Thomas, who also plays “the limping lady” herself alongside Stana Katic (Castle, Absentia) as Vera Atkins and Radhika Apte (Andhadhun) as Noor Inayat Khan. 

A Call To Spy features the unsung spies of Winston Churchill’s Secret Army — including their personal sacrifices, particular challenges and dangers, and social barriers that still resonate today.

Watch the trailer right here:

Virginia Hall was recruited by British spymaster Vera Atkins to report on German troop movements and recruit members for the resistance in France. Posturing as an American news reporter, she encoded messages into news broadcasts and passed encrypted missives to her contacts.

She signed up with the U.S. Office of Strategic Service and in 1944 she organized missions to sabotage the Germans. She is credited with more jailbreaks, sabotage missions, and leaks of troop movements than any other spy in France.

In a conversation with Thomas, I asked why she was drawn to tell this particular story. “I loved James Bond. I loved Dunkirk and 1917. But by and large, if a woman is in a military film, the story involves a romance — and I know they have more significant roles than that,” she told me. “I studied World War II spies extensively and finally uncovered the women in Churchill’s Secret Army. For my film, I decided to concentrate on women who were part of the mission before it became a success.” 

In studying women’s roles in particular during World War II, Thomas was surprised to discover just how many untold stories there actually are.

“In 1941, we were losing the war. Americans hadn’t yet joined the Allies. Women were recruited as an experiment. They were sent in because they were inconspicuous, they were unexpected. And it turned out they were very good spies,” Thomas observed.

“I was also surprised at how different the women were. Their only commonality was that they spoke French — but they came from all walks of life,” she explained. As women are featured more and more in stories previously centered on men, audiences are seeing the spectrum of personalities and strengths they have to offer.

A Call To Spy won the Audience Choice Award at Whistler Film Festival and the ADL Stand Up Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Thomas’ previous Sony Pictures Classic film Equity, a film about women on Wall Street, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Thomas created the concept, co-wrote the story, produced, and starred in the film alongside Anna Gunn.

“It’s important to tell all stories. It’s important to tell original stories. There are so many interesting stories yet to be told, and with the female lens we’re starting to see change happening. It’s exciting for diverse voices everywhere,” she told me.

A Call To Spy shares the 2020 challenge of being released during the COVID-19 pandemic. For an independent filmmaker, it came with a whole new host of challenges to solve. “We don’t have a $50 million press budget — we need word of mouth,” she explained. The film screened successfully and won awards at festivals before the pandemic, but afterwards Thomas and her team had to pivot.

She’s been following her own advice for emerging filmmakers: “Just do the work. It’s a difficult profession no matter what level you’re at — don’t let that be daunting. The right people will say yes at the right time.” Thomas is currently working on a mini-series that is a spin-off of the film.

“Audiences can expect a thrilling and entertaining spy film, but I also hope after they watch that there’s something to discuss on a personal level. How many people would put their lives on the line with such difficult odds? Right now we’re at a global crossroads — what sacrifices are we willing to make for each other?” she pondered.

Distributed by IFC films, A Call To Spy is currently available in some theaters or for streaming online.