3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind - We Are The Mighty
Podcast

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind


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For over a decade, actor Stephen Lang has performed a one-man show based on the real-life stories of eight Medal of Honor recipients. The play has taken him to U.S. military bases and ships around the world performing for the troops and even before the people he portrays. Recently, footage from his performances was stitched together for the film “Beyond Glory.”

For this episode of the We Are The Mighty Podcast we invited Lang to discuss “Beyond Glory” and three Medal of Honor stories from the film.

Related: 6 special benefits that Medal of Honor recipients are entitled to

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Guest: Stephen Lang

Lang is an acclaimed stage, TV and film actor; you may know him for his role as Ike in “Tombstone” or as Miles Quaritch, the badass Marine colonel with the scars across his face in the movie “Avatar.” Lang began his career in theater. Broadway roles include his Tony-nominated performance as Lou in “The Speed of Darkness,” Happy in the Dustin Hoffman revival of “Death of a Salesman,” Colonel Jessep in ”A Few Good Men,” and Mike Tallman alongside Quentin Tarantino and Marisa Tomei in “Wait Until Dark.”

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind
Image: Beyond Glory

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

  • [01:40] Lewis Millett’s Medal of Honor story – Millett was an Army officer who received the Medal of Honor during the Korean War for leading the last major American bayonet charge.
  • [05:40] Discussion with Lang about Lewis Millett.
  • [08:05] Discussion with Lang about James Bond Stockdale.
  • WATM stories that mention Stockdale:
  • [10:55] James Bond Stockdale’s Medal of Honor story – Admiral Stockdale was the highest-ranking naval officer held prisoner during the Vietnam War. He received the Medal of Honor for his leadership among the prisoners and work to galvanize the resistance to their captors.
  • [20:40] Lang’s experience performing for the troops
  • [22:05] Preparing for a “Beyond Glory” performance.
  • [26:05] From Navy warships to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, Lang discusses the unique locations he has performed for the troops.
  • [28:15] Lang’s drunken experience with Marines during a performance in Bahrain.
  • [31:15] Common questions from the troops after a “Beyond Glory” performance.
  • [34:15] Meeting the Medal of Honor recipients Lang portrays in his show.
  • [36:30] Lang’s painting versus photograph analogy of his performance.
  • [39:15] Lang’s recognition by the Medal of Honor Society.
  • [40:50] Avatar sequel and other projects Lang is currently working on.
  • [45:00] Nick Bacon’s Medal of Honor story – Bacon was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat during the Vietnam War.
  • 8 amazing Medal of Honor recipient war stories recited by 1 man

Beyond Glory – Trailer

Gravitas Ventures, YouTube

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Podcast

How playing cowboys and Indians prepared this commander for war


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake speaks once again with Jimmy Blackmon, the author of Pale Horse, a book about his time commanding an Army aviation task force with the 101st Airborne Division at the height of combat in the Afghan War.

The book is set in the very valleys where the 9/11 attacks were conceived and where 10 Medals of Honor were earned.

Related: How to stay fit and not get fat after you get out of the military

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind

These are the stories of the pilots behind the lethal Apache helicopters who strike fear into the heart of their enemies as they work with medevac crews who risk their lives to save their fellow troops.

Jimmy was also in the area when Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl decided to go for a stroll in Afghanistan.

In this episode, we talk on a wide-range of topics including:

  • [1:45] Jimmy humorously explains why he decided to join the military.
  • [5:50] How growing up in Georgia prepared Jimmy for a career in the Army.
  • [7:55] This is how playing Cowboys and Indians as a child helps develop skills for combat operations.
  • [11:45] Jimmy compares his life as an enlisted soldier to growing up in Georgia.
  • [13:45] The difference between situational awareness and situational curiosity.
  • [15:05] The combat rules of flying vs. the combat rules on the ground.
  • [17:15] The most challenging aspect of war according to a pilot.
  • [24:30] How pilots develop skills to read the enemies’ intention from high above.
  • [27:50] How the enemy uses their terrain and weather to combat allied forces.
  • [30:10] Jimmy’s coolest memory from the battle at Observation Post Bari Alai.
  • [35:00] What Jimmy’s been doing since exiting the military.

Also Read: Dale Dye wants to make this epic World War II movie with veterans

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Managing Editor

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran and Editorial Coordinator

Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

Podcast

How to kidnap Marines — according to a combat training role player


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake speaks with Kelvin Garvanne about his life as an Arabic/Iraqi role player who took training U.S. ground troops to a whole new level — even conducting mock kidnapping scenarios.

During these training drills, Marines are “killed” (taken out of play for a period of time) or held hostage by the role players if they’re caught off on their own.

“We kidnapped Marines,” Mr. Garvanne explains. “One of the things we wanted to do in real time was capture a Marine.”

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind
Kelvin Garvanne teaches these Marines cultural immersion. The Leathernecks learn about Afghan culture and customs from the experts.

Related: These are the Hollywood actors who train our troops for combat

Before U.S. forces deploy to a foreign region like Afghanistan, pre-deployment training is conducted in environments similar to the terrain in which they’ll be exposed.

Since the landscape and elevation of 29 Palms almost mirrors that of Afghanistan, Marines are sent there to partake in Mohave Viper — an intense, five-week long training course. The Marines live there for the scenarios and receive cultural training from experts — immersing themselves in war games against native speaking role players for an all-out showdown.

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind
A bird’s eye view of the largest MOUT town in Marine Corps Base 29 Palms.

These highly supervised training scenarios are considered the best exercises troops can receive as they live in enormous MOUT (military operation urban terrain) areas built to reflect life in Afghanistan.

Also Read: This is how drunken shenanigans influence pilot callsigns

Guest: Kelvin Garvanne, Consultant Human Factor Analysis

Kelvin Garvanne attended the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He is an Emmy award-winning creative artist who is fascinated by the world and enjoys investigating the context of national and world events.

Garvanne is a native New Yorker who has lived in Washington, D.C., Bogota, Colombia, Madrid, Spain, and Los Angeles, California. He has traveled through several countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Panama, Mexico, and Haiti.

For the last nine years, he provided Islamic culture and Iraqi and Pashto language training to military and civilian personnel deploying overseas.

Garvanne continues to develop opportunities to advise and train military and civilians positioned in careers involving global service. He also develops creative projects to expose the human condition.

For more about Kelvin Garvanne:

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Podcast

This is what happens to every state in a modern American Civil War


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Join us for an entertaining wargaming discussion in which every state declares war on one another. We talk about fighting tactics, how long it will last, and who the winners and losers would be.

Read the original article “Here’s what would happen if every US state declared war on each other” by Jon Davis, a Marine Corps veteran who writes about the military, international defense, and veterans’ welfare and empowerment.

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Related: What if the US took on the rest of the world?

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

  • The states with large populations, existing military assets, and a population open to fighting fare the best:
    • California, Texas, New York fare best
    • Lesser states: WA, CO, IL, VA, FL, GA
    • Alaska and Hawaii left untouched, unbothered
  • [03:00] First Period: Massive migration back to home states
    • Repatriation of Foreign Nationals
    • Resource Grabbing
  • [11:00] Second Period: Power Centers Form – 6 Powers
    • Texas:
      • Take Whiteman AFB, MO for B-2 Bombers
      • Move on Colorado; Coloradans mount resistance in the mountains (Texans unfamiliar with mountain warfare)
      • Texas moves to take Mississippi River – First Battle of New Orleans (port artery)
    • New York:
      • New York moves to take New England, and food produced there
      • New England has mostly nonmilitary population
      • Refugees fled to Canada
    • •Illinois:
      • The Midwest Alliance grew to secure the Great Lakes
      • Ohio falls after fierce but brief encounters
      • Captures Minnesota and North Mississippi River
    • •West Coast:
      • CA seat of power in SF, Northwest Union centered in Seattle
      • California takes control of all states West of the Continental Divide
      • NW Union takes states West until Wyoming
    • Old South
      • Former Confederate States, including TN and MS
      • Florida slips into isolation
    • Virginia tries to recreate the old United States, moral responsibility for reunification
      • Captures DC
      • Intel, military strength, symbolic leadership
      • Use of the dollar provides stability
      • A treaty with Kentucky gives them access to Fort Knox
  • [23:00] Third Period: Fighting Resumes
  • [27:20] A Short Peace Lasts 100 Days As Forces Mass Along Borders – 4 Major Powers
  • [31:20] War Comes to a Standstill – 3 Major Powers
  • [33:00] Texas Nuclear Strike

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Articles

5 Air Force legends with incredible stories you need to know about


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Hundreds of heroes have emerged through the ranks of all service branches with remarkable stories of courage and selflessness.

And while some stories are well known, the ones we talk about in this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast are seldom told. You’d think these stories are made up, like the tale of airman “Snuffy,” or propaganda ploys to recruit more troops. Either way, every service member should know about these Air Force legends and their badassery.

Also read: 10 legendary heroes of the US Air Force

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Here’s a brief description of our heroes for reference:

1. Col. Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr., the Tuskegee airman who almost shot Muammar Qaddafi. Chappie was already a legend before calling out Qaddafi in 1968, having served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

2. Sgt. Maynard “Snuffy” Smith, the original airman Snuffy. Despite being an undisciplined slacker avoided by everyone, Snuffy rose to the challenge in the face of certain death to save his crew.

3. Douglas W. Morrell, the combat cameraman who lived the entire history of the Air Force.

5. Eddie Rickenbacker, the race car driver-turned airman who broke all of the Air Force’s records.

6. Charlie Brown, the B-17 Flying Fortress pilot who was spared by German ace fighter pilot Oberleutnant Franz Stigler. These two rivals became close friends after meeting in 1990.

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Podcast

The origins behind some of the best military nicknames


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A nickname is a revealing indication of a man or woman’s character. Whether it’s bad or badass, it’s usually determined by peer evaluation — unless there’s something so obvious about a person’s appearance that a nickname is impossible to avoid.

In this episode of the WATM podcast, we discuss our favorite military leader nicknames and how they earned their labels. Some leaders wear them with pride, while others resent their given monikers.

Related: 7 badass nicknames enemies have given the American military

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Selected links and show notes from the episode:

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Podcast

How the Gurkha warriors of Nepal became so feared


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The Gurkha warriors of Nepal are fearless soldiers who famously serve in the British and Indian militaries. Their reputation for bravery, fighting ability, and heroism dates back to the Middle Ages.

Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw of the Indian Army, once said, “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.” A fitting statement for a force who’s motto is, “better to die than to be a coward.”

Don’t miss this episode about Gurkha badassery!

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Podcast

The wars that could break out in the next 4 years – Pt. 2


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Now that the conventions are over and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the official presidential nominees for their respective parties, how will the incoming Commander-in-Chief handle the turmoil around the world? Will America be led down the path of imminent war, or will the new president avoid these chaotic scenarios?

Join us for part two of the potential wars that could break out in the next four years.

Related:  The wars that could break out in the next 4 years – Pt. 1

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Selected links and show notes from the episode:

  • Here are 10 wars that could break out in the next four years
  • [02:10] Israel versus Hezbollah.
  • [12:00] Turkey Civil War.
  • [17:30] Afghan Civil War.
  • [22:30] China versus India.
  • [38:00] North Korea versus anyone.
  • [29:30] Discussion about jet fuel’s flammability. Here’s a demonstration of jet fuel putting out a match and how it compares to other fuels.

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Podcast

6 military movies you need to watch in 2018


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, the crew discusses what military movies veterans need to see in 2018.

Since all veterans have their own idea of what makes a good military movie, Blake, Tim, and even the new WATM contributor, Sean chime in what they think makes a solid war film.

Is having a war film based on a true story more important than having epic explosions? Or a movie where the real heroes of the day play themselves make for a better cinematic experience?

Related: This is why it’s so damn hard to play a veteran, according to an actor

1. 12 Strong

Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig, the film chronicles one of the first Special Forces teams to deploy to Afghanistan after the attacks on 9/11. The SF team joins forces with the Afghan Northern Alliance and rides into battle against the Taliban on horseback.

12 Strong brilliantly captures how difficult it is for ground troops to work and fight alongside Afghan freedom fighters against the insurgents due to the language and cultural barrier.

The film stars WATM friend Rob Riggle, Chris Hemsworth, Michael Pena, and Michael Shannon.

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind
A partner has formed. (Screenshot from Warner Brother’s 12 Strong)

2. The 15:17 to Paris

Directed by Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood, the film focuses on the American soldiers who discover a terrorist plot on a train headed to Paris.

Interesting enough, the three Americans who thwarted a terrorist attack play themselves in the film alongside actress Jenna Fischer — and we like Jenna Fischer. 

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind

3. Tough As They Come

Starring and directed by Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone, the film tracks Travis Mills (played by Marine veteran Adam Driver), a quadriplegic soldier returning from Afghanistan after his horrific injury.

Back in the U.S., Mills has to reconcile with his stepfather while coping with his new life using prosthetic legs and arms.

You may recall that Mills’ book was a New York Times bestseller.

4. The Last Full Measure

Directed by Todd Robinson, the film showcases a Pentagon investigator who teams up with a few veterans of “Operation Abilene” to persuade Congress to award deceased Air Force medic, William Pitsenbarger, the Medal of Honor 35 years later.

Pitsenbarger is accredited with saving over 60 ambushed service members in one of the bloodiest campaigns of the Vietnam War.

The film stars Sebastian Stan, William Hurt, and Samual L. Jackson.

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind
Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan) speaks with Tulley (William Hurt) Airman William H. Pitsenbarger Jr. heroics. (Screenshot from Warner’s Brothers The Last Full Measure).

5. Ruin

Directed by Justin Kurzel, the film chronicles a nameless ex-Nazi captain who navigates the ruins of post-WWII Germany to atone for the crimes he committed during the war by hunting the surviving members of his former SS Death Squad.

Gal Gadot is rumored to have a role, but additional information hasn’t been released.

6. The 34th Battalion

Directed and produced by Luke Sparke, the film follows four friends from Maitland, New South Wales who join the 34th Battalion to serve on the Western Front. The film depicts the experiences of the unit, which was recruited in 1916.

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind
The first teaser poster The 34th Battalion. (IMDB)

Also Read: This Green Beret will change what you know about action movies

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Managing Editor

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran and Editorial Coordinator

Orvelin Valle (aka O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

Guest: Former Marine Chef and WATM Contributor Sean Dodds

Articles

What you need to know about North Korean threats


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For the past 40 years, the United States and South Korea participate in a joint military training exercise simulating a war against the Communist north.

The exercise mobilizes around 20,000 U.S. and South Korean troops in land, sea and air maneuvers. In return, North Korea typically responds with missile launches and nuclear tests — increasing tensions and the potential for conflict on the peninsula.

In this episode of the We Are The Mighty Podcast Mark Harper and Shannon Corbeil — two former Air Force officers — share their experience with these war games and what you need to know about the threat from the DPRK.

Related: When life gives you Tootsie Rolls, use them to escape North Korean forces

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Guests:

  • Mark Harper: Air Force veteran and SVP of Creative and Business Development at WATM
  • Shannon Corbeil: Former Air Force intelligence officer

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

Podcast

These are the weapons you need to know about at AUSA 2016


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The Army’s hard-charging chief of staff Gen. Mark Milley is making big changes to the Army, and this year’s annual Association of the U.S. Army conference features the weapons and technology to make his vision a reality.

From kamikaze drones to dream vehicles, here’s our favorite gear from AUSA 2016.

Related: Why a new sidearm replacement is a big deal to the troops

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Guest:

  • Christian Lowe: Executive Editor at We Are The Mighty
    • Christian is a veteran reporter and digital editor with nearly 20 years of experience covering the U.S. military at home and abroad. He deployed six times to Iraq and Afghanistan as an embedded reporter and has covered all the services in the conflict zone, on base and in halls of Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. Christian worked previously at Army Times and Military.com as well as a stint in the firearms industry as Editor in Chief of Shooting Sports Retailer and Tactical Retailer magazines. He’s a competitor in IDPA, USPSA and 3-Gun Nation.

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

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This Green Beret will change what you know about action movies




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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we speak with actor, TV host, and former U.S. Army Green Beret, Terry SchappertYou may remember Terry from the popular History Channel show Warriors and, more recently, Hollywood Weapons on the Outdoor Channel with Israel Defense Forces reconnaissance man, Larry Zanoff.

Terry was a Special Forces Team Sergeant who happened to serve alongside WATM’s own, Chase Milsap.

Related: Why your next business book should be a military field manual

3 incredible Medal of Honor stories that will blow your mind
Larry and Terry smash Hollywood’s biggest myths in the Hollywood Weapons. (Image source: Outdoor Channel)

Hollywood Weapons gears up to take on the most insane challenges to accurately reproduce our favorite action movie stunts while breaking the myths that movies perpetuate. From breaking through the glass of a tower window, like that of the Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard, to blowing up a Great War shark with a single shot, like in Jaws, this show recreates all your favorites using only practical effects.

“I have to make those real shots, with those real guns, under real conditions,” Terry pridefully states.

The show breaks everything down using high-speed cameras to catch all the little details that audience members might miss as a movie’s action sequence flies across the screen.

Terry and the team literally break it all down. (Image via GIPHY)Although the show’s primary objective is to entertain, the talented and creative minds behind Hollywood Weapons have a unique way of educating their loyal viewers by scientifically breaking down what it would take to pull off our favorite stunts in the real world.

Also Read: How unconventional tactics won the battle for Ramadi

Before the show started, Terry graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a degree in Anthropology and was classically trained as an actor, all while serving in the Army.

“I remember I had to stop training, so [Terry] could go to an audition,” former Army Green Beret officer Chase Milsap humorously recalls.

Check out Outdoor Channel‘s video to see the trailer for their original series, Hollywood Weapons.

(OutdoorChannel | YouTube)

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Managing Editor

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran and Editorial Coordinator

Orvelin Valle (aka O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

Special Guest: Former Army Green Beret Terry Schappert

Podcast

7 amazing badass war prisoners who defied their captors


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Imagine being a prisoner of war (POW) at the hight of a major conflict. You’re hundreds of miles away from the closest allied territory and thousands of miles from home. Are you prepared for months or years of hardship and torture? Will you give into being a propaganda prop in exchange for food and better treatment? Will you plan an escape?

In this episode of the WATM podcast, the boys of the editorial team discuss how a handful of badass war prisoners handled their captors and made the best out of their terrible predicaments.

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Selected links and show notes from the episode

• Referring WATM articles:

• [00:42] Horace Greasley, the ballsy POW who broke out of prison to visit his girlfriend overnight and then sneak back into his own camp. Editor’s Note: The original wording of our first post on Greasley incorrectly stated that he was Czech and our discussion in the podcast reflects this. In actuality, Greasley was a draftee in the British Army.

• [02:00] Horace Greasley: 6 unbelievable military love stories

• [05:50] Nazi POWs in Arizona: Papago Park housed captured Nazi Kriegsmarine U-boat commanders and their crews. It was the POWs from #84’s compound 1A who would trigger the biggest manhunt in Arizona history.

• [08:40] The only prisoners who can be forced to work are junior enlisted under the Geneva Conventions.

• [12:25] The Nazi POWs made a boat in a U.S. prison camp.

• [16:05] Tibor Ruben: Holocaust survivor escaped his Korean War prison camp every night to forage for food for fellow prisoners.

• [19:20] George H.W. Bush escapes prison camp and avoids being eaten by Japanese soldiers: That time Japanese soldiers cannibalized US pilots in World War II

• [21:40] The WATM boys discuss the work detail they would choose if they were captured.

• [25:15] Douglas Bader: Double amputee begins his escape attempts while his second prosthetic leg was still damaged.

• [28:30] French general escapes an inescapable prison to celebrate Hitler’s birthday.

• [29:47] The British soldier who escaped The Gestapo’s “unescapable” castle.

• [33:15] Special Forces officer beats up his executioners and escapes with the help of his beard

• [35:25] Hippies identify 1st Lt. James N. Rowe to Vietnamese captors

• [35:30] Jane Fonda: The real story of Jane Fonda and the Vietnam vets who hate her

• [40:20] A senior officer in “Hanoi Hilton” beats himself with a stool and cuts his scalp and wrists to resist North Vietnamese propaganda attempts.

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