How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force - We Are The Mighty
Podcast

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we talk to former Air Force Chief of Staff, General Merrill A. McPeak, who served as a military adviser to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council, and the President.

He’s also a career fighter pilot with more than 6,000 hours under his belt, including time as a solo pilot with the elite Thunderbirds.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
The salty and well-respected Air Force Chief of Staff General Merrill A. McPeak (Photo from Wikipedia Commons)

The General currently has three books out, Below The Zone, Roles and Missions, and Hangar Flying, about his time being ringside during one of the most tumultuous moments in recent history: the Vietnam War, where Gen. McPeak was an attack pilot and high-speed forward air controller.

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

  • [1:35] The Mandatory Fun crew introduces General McPeak and his epic resume.
  • [4:00] How allied troops managed to set traps for their North Vietnamese enemy.
  • [7:00] The general discusses what it was like kicking off Operation Desert Storm.
  • [10:30] The reasons behind why air doctrine changed since the Vietnam War ended.
  • [13:45] The general breaks down the stats of the fighter pilots who have been shot down.
  • [21:00] What it’s like flying in an Air Force air show in front of political VIPs.
  • [28:50] What influences the general had on Ken Burn’s PBS Vietnam documentary and what it was like working with the filmmaking legend.
  • [34:35] How the Air Force attempts to retain it’s outstanding and well-trained fighter pilots.
  • [35:30] What things the general loved about being a fighter pilot.
  • [45:15] The importance of having nuclear weapons on station.

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran

Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran

This podcast originally produced in December 2017.

MIGHTY HISTORY

The story of the slave who survived the Alamo

The attack on the Alamo in 1836 was not a 13-day siege and slaughter as often portrayed in film and television. Don’t get me wrong – the defenders of the mission-turned-fortress were killed en masse as Mexican troops stormed the structure. It’s just that not everyone inside the Alamo died that day.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
Maybe standing in the open wearing the brightest clothes isn’t the best idea.

That’s how we came to know of Joe — just Joe, any other names he had are lost to history now. Joe was the slave of William B. Travis, the commander of the Alamo during Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s siege of the Texian fort. But no one knows exactly how Joe got there. No matter how he ended up there, he was one of many slaves and free blacks who fought or died at the Alamo.

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Joe was a stalwart defender alongside Travis and other Texians. When the din of the fighting died down and the Mexicans firmly controlled the fort, Joe was shot and bayoneted, only to be saved by a Mexican field officer. Because Joe could speak Spanish, he was able to be interrogated afterward.


All that is known about Joe after the Alamo is that he was questioned by Santa Anna and then later questioned by the Texas Cabinet. A little more than a year later, Joe escaped to Mexico on two stolen horses.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
One supposed photo of Joe, the slave and survivor of the Alamo.

That’s where attorney-turned-author Lewis Cook picked up the story. His first book, called Joe’s Alamo: Unsung, is a fiction-based-on-history account of what came next, after the Alamo, and after Joe escaped.

Cook was waiting to go to medical school when he discovered Joe’s story and was compelled to write about the Alamo. Cook discovered the Alamo was more than a bunch of white, male landowners fighting for Texas. The fort was full of women, minorities of many color, and followers of many religions. So, he set out to tell the story of the Alamo, a story that, he believes, belongs to all of us through the diversity of its defenders.

In his book, Cook tells a different story from what is commonly told in textbooks, film, and TV shows. It includes recently discovered facts about William Travis, Susana Dickinson, Davy Crockett, and Joe himself.

Resources Mentioned

Sponsor

Audible: For you, the listeners of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out some of the books and authors featured on Mandatory Fun. To download your free audiobook today go to audibletrial.com/MandatoryFun.

About Mandatory Fun

Mandatory Fun is hosted by:

Share your thoughts about this episode on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.

Podcast

The insane Vietnam War adventures of legendary sniper Carlos Hathcock


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Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock is a Marine Corps legend and one of the most lethal snipers in history. His incredible true-life war stories are the stuff Hollywood movies are made of. In this episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast we talk about his sniper duels, that time he crawled two miles to kill a Vietnamese general, and more. Don’t miss this episode of a real American badass.

Hosted by:

Selected links and show notes from the episode

Music licensed by Jingle Punks

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  • Jimi Jingle Thing-JP
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Articles

Catching up with triple amputee Bryan Anderson


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Bryan Anderson is an Iraq War veteran turned model, actor, motivational speaker, book author, and more. He achieved all of these noteworthy accomplishments while dealing with life as a triple amputee.

Bryan enlisted in the Army in early 2001 and shipped out to his duty station on September 11, 2001. He served two tours in Iraq as an MP (Military Police) Sergeant before being injured by an IED that resulted in the loss of both legs and his left hand. He was awarded a Purple Heart and spent over a year rehabilitating at Walter Reed Hospital.

Bryan’s story has received extensive media coverage including features in Esquire Magazine and articles in major publications, such as LA Times, New York Times, and Chicago Sun. He appeared in the HBO documentary, Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq with the late James Gandolfini, CSI: NY, The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke, and American Sniper with Bradley Cooper.

As you’ll hear in this special edition of the WATM podcast, Bryan’s energy is contagious.

Hosted by:

Selected links and show notes from the episode

• [00:00] Bryan Anderson website

• [02:05] Quantum Rehab

• [05:17] iLevel Power Chairs

• [07:25] Bryan Style

• [07:40] Bryan Anderson YouTube channel

• [11:15] This former SEAL Team 6 members is climbing Everest for vets

• [12:20] This Marine could be the first combat-wounded veteran to climb Everest

• [20:50] Watch these 5 vets admit what branch they’d pick if they joined again

• [22:10] Fort Hood is the black hole of the Army: The 7 funniest Yelp reviews for military bases

• [25:30] Bryan Anderson’s film career

• [31:50] Meeting Gary Sinise and working for his foundation

• [37:45] Gary Sinise Foundation 

• [40:20] Building houses for fellow vets with Gary Sinise

Music license by Jingle Punks

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  • Heavy Drivers
Articles

What you need to know about the Navy SEAL Trump picked for his cabinet


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New York Times best-selling author of “American SniperScott McEwen joined us to discuss Ryan Zinke, the co-author, and subject of his latest book “American Commander.”

McEwen teamed with Zinke — a former SEAL Team Six Commander and the only US Navy SEAL in Congress — to write a book about the now-politician’s life.

Zinke is also Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Interior.

Zinke’s military career began in 1985 when he graduated from Officer Candidate School and attended SEAL training (BUDS class 136). He was first assigned to SEAL Team One in Coronado, California, then was later selected for SEAL Team Six where he was a Team Leader and a commander.

As McEwen tells it, after a decade of service, Zinke was assigned as Deputy and Acting Commander of Combined Joint Special Operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom where he led a force of over 3,500 Special Operations personnel. In 2006 he was awarded two Bronze Stars.

An author experienced in telling the stories of high-level special operators, McEwen goes on to explain how Zinke retired from active duty 2008 after serving 23 years as a Navy SEAL. Zinke later ran for Congress and was sworn into the House of Representatives on January 6, 2015, and became the first Navy SEAL in the House.

Hosted by:

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

  • [04:40] The general who wanted special operators to find out how many dogs were neutered before carrying out an operation.
  • [07:35] What the process for clearing a book through the Department of Defense is like.
  • [09:25] Why the book does not say “SEAL Team Six” even though it is referring to SEAL Team Six.
  • [11:50] Military family sacrifice.
  • [15:30] Common threads of special operators.
  • [17:30] The differences in Navy SEAL operators.
  • [19:30] Zinke and Gen. Mattis.
  • [25:35] What military veterans —like Zinke and Mattis— bring to U.S. politics.
  • [30:15] Defining Zinke through his relationship with his family.
  • [36:10] That time Navy SEALs were chastised by upper leadership for nabbing a bad guy.

Music license by Jingle Punks

  • Bad News Travels Fast
  • Game Up
Articles

It will make you angry to learn how a veteran lost $100k in benefits

Before you read any further, the lesson here is don’t listen to anyone with an opinion about your VA benefits. Even when the Department of Veterans Affairs makes a “final” decision on your case, you can still appeal. So, don’t listen to your Staff Sergeant. Anyone still wearing a uniform is not an expert on your personal VA claim.


Unfortunately, this happens a lot more frequently than you might think. That’s where Moses Maddox comes in. Maddox is more than just a veteran who advocates for his fellow vets. For almost a decade, the former Marine has built a career in helping other veterans with personal, academic, financial, and success counseling through various organizations.

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Maddox talked to us about finding your veteran community, managing our veteran ego, and how to thrive in your post-military life. He talked to David Letterman about his experience, so we’re grateful he took a moment to sit down with us on the Mandatory Fun podcast.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
Yeah, we’re totally on the same level.
(Worldwide Pants)

Maddox believes we’ve come a long way and the military is getting better at preparing us for our post-military lives. The problem in his mind is that the military is designed to weed out the weak among us and the weakness in ourselves, a necessary process to prepare military members for what they may have to do. But once you’re out, that process proves detrimental – the perception that mental issues are weaknesses is what keeps us from addressing those problems.

The greatest challenges he faced when transitioning out of the Marine Corps stemmed from his admitted lack of planning. He set a countdown to his EAS date and was excited as the day approached. When it came, he felt nothing. He was so fixated on getting out that he didn’t have a plan for what he was going to actually do when the day came.

Over the course of two months, he went from handing out millions in humanitarian aid to handing out gym memberships at an LA Fitness.

“The nothingness and monotony of civilian life has just as much potential to beat you down as war did,” Maddox says. It’s a refrain he tells to many transitioning veterans. When the military is gone, the silence is the biggest hurdle.

But all that changed. One day, Maddox drove to the VA to see if they could help him. When he was there, a Vietnam veteran saw the despair in his eyes — and told him that the feeling was normal. No one had ever told him that his struggles were normal and treatable. So, armed with this knowledge, Maddox took care of it.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
IAVA Member Veterans Moses Maddox (L) and Dave Smith attend IAVA’s Sixth Annual Heroes Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on November 13, 2012 in New York City.

Now he advocates for veterans in many areas of post-military life. He looks back on his service fondly, but acknowledges that the Marine Corps was not the only thing he had going for him. Helping people is his passion, helping veterans is now his life’s work.

Learn more about Moses Maddox and how he discovered his “new why” on this episode of Mandatory Fun.

Resources Mentioned

Sponsors


Audible: For you, the listeners of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out some of the books and authors featured on Mandatory Fun. To download your free audiobook today go to audibletrial.com/MandatoryFun.

About Mandatory Fun

Mandatory Fun is hosted by:

Share your thoughts about this episode on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.

Podcast

How a single Christmas tree brought the spirit of the holidays to a deployed unit


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we speak with Army veteran, national speaker, and acclaimed author of the 2017 Independent Publishing Award-winning book The Frontline Generation: How We Served Post 9/11Marjorie K. Eastman.

Eastman is also an accomplished executive and operational professional with over 20-years experience in leading people and various organizations.

Her award-winning book began as a personal memoir for her son. Eastman’s goal was to capture the lessons and inspirations she learned serving beside men and women who represent the very best of what it means to be American — the 1% of the population in the military.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
The Frontline Generation: How We Served Post 9/11. (Source: marjoriekeastman.com)

She respectfully identifies this group as the Frontline Generation and notes that it is an untapped reservoir of leaders who have been strengthened by their Post 9/11 service.

Christmas Lights All Year

“Can someone please tell me why in the hell this big-ass box is still cluttering the entryway to the CP?”

It was early in the morning, and I was standing in the front part of my company’s command post (CP), staring at a box that was just over six feet tall (a height I can quickly surmise since I am six feet tall). This designated area was meant for my soldiers, as it was an “orderly mess” of numerous bins, all of which were overflowing with freebies from countless care packages. At any hour of the day, soldiers could stop by and grab extra soap, snacks, toothbrushes—you name it. While deployed, my unit received an abundance of care packages that were crammed with just about anything and everything—and the CP was beginning to be littered with boxes, especially since we were approaching the month of December.

It was Sergeant Marco Vasquez who popped his head over his computer, my quiet, stellar NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) sergeant who was also my driver on several convoys. He probably was swearing underneath his breath that he was the unlucky one, the only person in the office to answer my cranky question. My headquarters team caught on quickly that I was the most unpleasant after my morning beatings from Battalion, where I had to give my company’s daily battlefield update briefs, and on top of that, I was currently embroiled in an unnecessary battle over my company’s combat patch ceremony.

“Yes, ma’am. I think First Sergeant said it was a care package that was simply addressed to HHC.” Top walked into the CP at that moment, a to-go breakfast plate in hand, not missing a beat. “Good morning, ma’am. Yes, we still need to open it and see if we can identify the individual it belongs to, or if it is just a care package meant for the company.”

I instantly had a flashback of those damn duffels and tough boxes that were left at the reserve center back in Texas—for years! To put it lightly, I was annoyed that it had already sat there for several days. So I grabbed the box, which was leaning against the wall, and I laid it on the ground. With one quick slice along the taped seam from my Benchmade knife, the smell of a fresh evergreen tree burst from the box and engulfed the room.

“What in the hell?” I wondered out loud. With Top and Sergeant Vasquez peering over my shoulder, I unwrapped a live, six-foot-tall Douglas fir Christmas tree. The more and more I breathed in that glorious smell—an absolutely foreign fragrance on Bagram Airfield—I was overcome with joy and peace. I turned around to see that this tree was also having the same effect on Top and Vasquez—both had sloppy grins ear-to-ear.

Once we stood it up, and began to loosen the boughs, a card dropped to the floor. I picked it up, and read, “To the Soldiers of HHC, enjoy this reminder of home during the Christmas season. Take care, (signed) Charles Eastman.” My husband had sent the live Christmas tree, the piece of home, and gifted it to my soldiers. He was wise enough to include a tree stand, tree skirt, and numerous strings of Christmas lights.

Charles knew all too well what it felt like to be deployed over the holidays, considering he had spent the past two Christmases in Iraq. This was our third consecutive Christmas in which one of us was serving in combat; outside of our family and close friends, not many people knew this. Thus, his gesture meant so much more . . .

To read more, you can purchase a copy of The Frontline Generation online at Amazon, Barnes Noble, or signed and personalized copies available at www.thefrontlinegeneration.com.

Related: How the US Air Force tricked CSAF McPeak into staying in the military

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

  • [2:00] The reason why this acclaimed author decided to join the military.
  • [7:25] Eastman explains how she received her direct Army officer commissioning.
  • [11:50] What gave Eastman the motivation to move forward and write her now acclaimed book.
  • [16:10] The story behind why Eastman smiled at a drill sergeant during boot camp
  • [20:30] What helps define a strong female presence in a leadership position.
  • [25:00] What veteran stories Eastman loves to tell during her public speaking events.
  • [31:15] The complete explain behind the story “Yes, man. No, man.”

To continue following Eastman’s public appearances and other work, be sure check out her website: marjoriekeastman.com

Also Read: These veterans may be the future of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals

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

Listen as Rob Riggle tells us his most awesome Marine Corps sea stories


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Marine Corps veteran Rob Riggle joins us for a hilarious conversation about his transition to acting, what he thinks about celebrities at the Marine Corps Ball, and how he advocates for veterans.

Guest: Rob Riggle

Rob retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after 23 years of service, departing as a lieutenant colonel, but was recently promoted to full-bird colonel by virtue of his role as Colonel Sanders in the KFC commercials. (See what we did there?)

Outside of his movie roles — “The Hangover”, “The Other Guys”, and the “Jump Street” movies, to name a few — as well as appearances on Fox NFL Sunday — Rob is best-known from his time on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

The Rob Riggle InVETational Golf Classic:

The veteran-celebrity golf tournament will raise money and awareness for Semper Fi Fund, one of our nation’s most respected veteran nonprofit organizations, in support of wounded, critically ill and injured service members and their families.

The tournament will take place at the world-class Valencia Country Club in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2016. During this exclusive golf tourney, veteran and celebrity teams contend for the lowest scores and most laughs to raise funds and awareness for the renowned Semper Fi Fund. Semper Fi Fund provides immediate and lifetime support to post-911 wounded, critically ill and injured service members from all branches of the military. Since inception, Semper Fi Fund has assisted over 16,800 service members and their families totaling more than $133 million in assistance to veterans and their families. Semper Fi (“always faithful”) is the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps. Semper Fi Fund’s goal is to always be there faithfully helping Heroes in need.

Hosted by:

• Logan Nye: Army veteran and Associate Editor

• Tracy Woodward: Benevolent smartass and Social Media coordinator

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

Related: How some famous military celebrities spent their time in service

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

  • [01:50] 20 different ways Rob Riggle can kill everyone on “The Daily Show.”
  • [03:00] How Rob Riggle spent his time in the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • [08:00] Rob Riggle’s roots in improv comedy.
  • [11:00] That time Rob Riggle was an Iraq corespondent for “The Daily Show.”
  • [17:00] How the Navy Blue Angels made Rob Riggle pass out during his “Top Gun 2” audition video.
  • [21:00] It turns out that Rob Riggle had his pilot’s license before he joined the Marine Corps.
  • [23:30] How Rob Riggle’s InVETational Golf Classic helps veterans.
  • [29:50] Rob Riggle’s advice for inviting a celebrity to the Marine Corps Ball.
  • [36:55] Rob Riggle sets the record straight about being a pilot.

Music licensed by Jingle Punks:

  • Cheval Vapeur
  • Goal Line
  • Slick It Instrumental
Podcast

‘This is War’ is a raw look at the combat vet experience few will ever know


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What is it like to fight in combat? What toll does it take on someone, emotionally, physically, and mentally? What toll does the personal aftermath take on the relationships in the life of an American troop?

Most American Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen join the military at a very young age. Turning 18 and then going off to war will affect them for the rest of their lives. Even officers, who first get a college degree or graduate from a service academy, will be only as old as 23 when their military career begins.

What comes next? That’s what This Is War is about. This Is War is a new podcast from the Wondery Podcast Network. This Is War is full of first-hand accounts of what it’s like to fight and survive combat while protecting our freedoms, the bonds that form between our nation’s fighting men and women, and the psychological toll it can take on a human being.

Today on Mandatory Fun, we give you a preview of This Is War. Today’s story is about Ian Mearns, who joined up in the deferred enlistment program in August 2001. We all know what happened just one short month later. Ian was just 17 and starting his senior year of high school. His life would never be the same.

“Telling stories of the American combat veteran gives us the chance to look at heroism, honor, and duty through the lens of real lives,” says the opening of This Is War. “To see the practical influence of a life of service to one’s country.”

Listen to Ian Mearns tell the story of his first days in Iraq and much more.

Mandatory Fun is 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

Catch the show on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.

MIGHTY TRENDING

The military superpower veterans have but sometimes fail to use


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Tim, O.V., and Blake speak with The Marine Rapper a.k.a. TMR about all the A-level training our service members receive but don’t capitalize on it when they get out.

Every veteran’s journey after the military is different.

While some of us pursue the career along the lines in which the military trained us for, others take a different path and sometimes fall short of their full potential.

“They [veterans] have a set of skills, they have leadership abilities, and there is so much more we can do,” Blake passionately states. “Granted, I’m a writer, and I have five degrees, and none of them have to do with writing.”

A veteran finding his or her purpose is essential to life outside of the military.

Related: How an aspiring sergeant major became a stand-up comedian

So when did TMR decide to become a rapper after serving the Corps?

“When I started getting better at it,” TMR jokingly admits. “In the Corps, I wasn’t at the level I am now.

If you’ve ever surfed the internet looking for military rap songs, chances are you’ve come across the unique sound of “The Marine Rapper.”

Known for sporting a red mohawk and wearing an American flag bandana, TMR served 10 years in the Marine Corps as a Combat Correspondent where he earned a Combat Action Ribbon and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals during his service.

After successful tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, TMR left the Marine Corps in February 2014. After entering back into civilian life, TMR began focusing on music as a profession and for cathartic expression.

Also Read: These simple luxuries can make your next deployment tolerable

Check out The Marine Rapper‘s video for his latest song “Instructions.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKbJIbskndk

Hosted by:

Podcast

5 insane stories from the life of Britain’s most successful double agent

The real James Bond is finally revealed: A few years ago Larry Loftis decided to stop publishing legal articles and work full-time on researching and writing the story of Dusko Popov, the daring World War II double agent who worked tirelessly to keep the Nazis off guard about the upcoming D-Day invasions.

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How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force

1. Popov was captured by the Nazis before he became a spy.

Dusko Popov was a student in Germany as the Nazis took power and began to persecute the German Jews. No fan of the Nazis, Popov thumbed his nose at the thugs who came to intimidate patrons of Jewish businesses. He was quickly visited by the Gestapo, who imprisoned him and tortured him for information.

He was able to escape Germany because of his family’s connections. Hermann Göering ordered his release to Yugoslavia.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force

Johann-Nielsen “Johnny” Jebsen

(MI5 Archives)

2. He was recruited by his best friend.

Johann-Nielsen Jebsen – known as “Johnny” – went to school with Popov. But Jebsen is from a very wealthy European family with German roots. They met each other at the university of Freiburg but where Popov was expelled from Germany, Jebsen, as a German citizen, was forced to join the Nazi war effort. He joins the Abwehr (German military intelligence) as a spy recruiter.

His first recruit is Dusko Popov and the two both became double agents for the British.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force

3. He warned the U.S. about the attack on Pearl Harbor

Popov warned the FBI on Aug. 18, 1941, that the Japanese were about to attack Pearl Harbor. Popov and his MI6 supervisor met FBI officials at the Commodore Hotel and for three hours laid out the entire plan. Popov was in the country to set up a spy ring in New York and recon the defenses at Pearl Harbor.

The attack was supposed to be a repeat of the British attack on the Italian fleet at the defended port of Taranto in 1940. The Japanese wanted to know how they could be as successful as they enter the war against the Americans. The reason President Roosevelt never saw the information will enrage you.

Check out the book (or finish this podcast) to find out!

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force

4. He was critical to the success of D-Day.

The British determined that the best way to keep the Germans off guard on D-Day was to convince them that the invasion would come at Pas-de-Calais, not Normandy. At the risk of his life, with interrogators who were convinced that Popov was compromised by the British, Popov returned to Germany.

He gave the Nazis the false information the British wanted them to believe during multiple, marathon interrogation sessions that lasted for hours at a time over a series of days. Popov was the only spy who was interrogated by the Nazis about D-Day.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force

Simone Simon in 1942’s “Cat People.”

5. His real-world girlfriend was a movie star.

Just like his silver screen counterpart, James Bond, Popov had a slew of women he used for various reasons as a undercover agent for two opposing countries. But his heart belonged to just one – and she was as glamorous as the rest of his World War II life: Hollywood movie star Simone Simon.

Mandatory Fun is hosted by:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Managing Editor

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran and Editorial Coordinator

Eric Milzarski: Army veteran and Senior Contributor

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

Catch the show on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.

Larry’s next book will be The Courier: The True Story of World War II’s Most Highly Decorated Woman, about the World War II spy heroine Odette Sansom and Captain Peter Churchill. Learn more about Larry, The Courier, and Into the Lion’s Mouth at Larry Loftis’ website. You can also follow Larry Loftis on Twitter and Facebook.

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.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
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. 

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force

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.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
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.

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
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

Podcast

These veterans may be the future of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake speaks with Army veteran turned co-founder and CEO of RMR Laboratories, Mike Lui, about his over-the-counter cannabis pharmaceutical company.

RMR Laboratories produces cannabinoid oil that’s applied as a topical cream to relieve pain and other medical ailments.

Mike served in the Army for eight-years and deployed to Iraq where he led teams that helped rebuild the country by setting up its first democratic elections.

Even our WATM podcast producer O.V. (who suffers from arthritis in his knees) tried out the CBD lotion.

“It tingles,” O.V. humorously states. “But [my knee] feels better.”

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force
(Source: RMR labs)

Related: How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion

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

  • [1:14] An introduction to RMR laboratories’ CBD lotion that’s designed to treat chronic pain.
  • [3:20] The population of who using this new CBD based lotion and the immediate results.
  • [5:45] Why and how Army veteran Mike Lui decided to enter the cannabis market.
  • [8:45] Why some veterans wish cannabis treatments were more accepted the general population and the image behind its use.
  • [10:15] Some interesting statistics on cannabis use in America.
  • [12:36] Reasons why RMR is different than any other cannabis pharmaceutical companies.
  • [13:20] Mike answers the ultimate question: “If I use this lotion, will I get high?”
  • [16:25] Some of the challenges in operating a start-up cannabinoid company.
  • [17:40] The cost of using this new and inventive product and how to get more involved with RMR labs.
  • [19:00] The RMR team answers your Facebook questions.
  • [20:45] Will you pop “dirty” on a drug test?
  • [21:00] What the future could hold for cannabinoid product users and manufacturers.
  • [23:40] The RMR lab team members speak out their final thoughts.

Also Read: How an aspiring sergeant major became a stand-up comedian

For more information about RMR Laboratories and/or are interesting in investment opportunities click here.

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