That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building - We Are The Mighty
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That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building

Decades before the terror attacks of 2001 struck New York City, another, very different plane crashed into the Empire State Building, arguably one of New York City’s — America’s —most iconic buildings. It was July 1945, and it wasn’t terrorism or even an attack from the Japanese Empire (with which America was still at war).


It was a simple wrong turn from a U.S. military B-25 bomber.

The aircraft flight plan indicated the plane was coming from Massachusetts and would land at La Guardia. Instead the pilot decided to land in Newark but got lost in the heavy fog while flying over Manhattan. Believing he was on the West Side of the island, he flew to the right instead of the left when he went around the Chrysler Building. That was his fatal error.

According to a 1995 story in the New York Times, Lt. Col. William F. Smith Jr. heard from the tower at La Guardia airport that the top of the Empire State Building wasn’t visible in the fog. Minutes later, he hit the iconic skyscraper between its 78th and 79th floors at 200 miles per hour.

The crash blew an 18-by-20-foot hole 913 feet above 34th Street. It’s tail section was stuck in the hole in the building.

 

That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building
The aftermath of a B-25 Bomber that crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945.

Luckily, the bomber was an unarmed trainer aircraft with no bombs on board. The explosions that rocked the area came from the B-25’s fuel tanks exploding.

“It was as if a bomb went off,” said harpsichordist Albert Fuller, who was shopping across from the Empire State Building that day. “The floor moved. I looked at the clerk and said, ‘Isn’t that strange?’ And I thought it couldn’t be an earthquake.”

That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building

Fourteen people died, all told; the three bomber crewmembers and 11 people working in the building that day.

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A Navy SEAL describes what it’s like to receive the MoH

Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Edward C. Byers, Jr., was on an assault team conducting the rescue of Dr. Dilip Joseph. After a four-hour foot patrol to the target location, a group of special operations volunteers hit the suspected building.


That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building
Senior Chief Edward Byers, a Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Byers distinguished himself multiple times in the moments that followed, sprinting to the building after a guard spotted the team 25 yards out, fighting against multiple enemies while trying to fix a problem with his night vision and find the doctor, and protecting the doctor with his own body while engaging multiple hostile targets.

He was later honored with a well-earned Medal of Honor for his actions.

In this video from the Navy’s All Hands Magazine, Byers talks about a seldom explored part of becoming a Medal of Honor recipient, the actual process of learning you will receive the award. From scheduling and receiving the president’s phone call to being inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon.

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These are the slave soldiers that defeated the Mongols

The rulers of the Islamic world in the 1200s were not born into aristocracy or priesthood, as was the custom in Europe. They were an army of former slaves. Trained in combat and Sunni Islam from a young age, these “Mamluks” (from the Arabic for “property”) soon grew so vast in number that they wrested control of the Empire from the Abbasid Caliphs — one of very few times in history.


 

During the Crusades, it was Mamluks who met the Crusaders as they attempted to retake the Holy Land for Christendom. But the most important imprint the Mamluks have on history is a single battle that took place in modern-day Israel that meant the difference between centuries of rule and utter annihilation.

In the 13th Century, a wave of destruction flowed across Asia and into Europe. The Mongols, an amalgamation of far-east tribes and clans from the Mongolian Plateau, united their people, reorganized their armies, and began to expand their controlled territory.

 

That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building

The Mongols began to expand under Genghis Khan, and that expansion continued long after his death. For over 100 years, the Mongol armies swept South and West, demanding immediate surrender and destroying and slaughtering those who didn’t submit.

They didn’t suffer a real defeat until more than 60 years into the conquest at the Battle of Ain Jalut, near the Sea of Galilee — at the hands of the Mamluks.

 

That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building
I don’t know what that weapon is but I want one.

The Mongols’ loss at Ain Jalut shattered the image of Mongol invincibility and slowed their advance so much they actually had to retreat from the Levant. The Mamluk victory kept the Mongols from taking Cairo and sweeping into Africa.

The Mamluks continued to rule the Islamic world for centuries, where they were subsumed by the emerging Ottoman Empire — though they remained influential in the Empire for centuries afterward, even fighting both Napoleon and U.S. Marines (but losing to both).

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This MARSOC recruiting video looks like a Hollywood movie

Every day, young men and women walk into their local Marine recruiting office with the prospect of joining the Corps. How could they not? The military knows how to make a compelling commercial or inspirational poster. The recruiter will also toss out some motivating terms like honor and respect just to wet an idealist’s beak.


But there’s one epic recruiting tool that helps give the individual that much needed push to make their final decision to sign up — the motivating recruiting video.

For MARSOC — or Marine Special Operations Command — the standard recruiting video takes it one step further. Their video comes with a unique narrative and badass soundtrack, and showcases a well-disciplined Marine rising out of the river in slow motion.

Related: This is what ‘Black Friday’ is like for new Marine recruits

Where do we sign up? (Image via Giphy)MARSOC is one of our nation’s most elite fighting forces; its members are ready to respond to any crisis, anywhere.

These small but well-trained Marine units embrace the unknown and are prepared to face any challenge. To earn a position on a MARSOC team takes a superhuman effort and the willingness to go above and beyond.

Also Read: 7 unrealistic Navy SEAL characters in the movies

Training takes place in three different phases consisting over a ten-week period. Each stage is specifically designed to expose each the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses before continuing.

The assessment and selection process mentally and physically challenges each potential team member, and completion of the course doesn’t guarantee a spot on the team. Only the best make the cut.

Once selected, team members can deploy anywhere at anytime with limited notice. Their missions are secret, as well as the identities of the members.

Check out MARSOC’s video below to see the cinematic recruiting video for yourself. We dare you not to join.

MARSOC, YouTube
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.


That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building
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.

That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building
In the thick of it: Military Culinary Arts Competition, Fort Lee, VA (Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)

That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building
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

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Watch the Coast Guard help rescue 36 fishermen from a burning ship

Coasties (as the other branches of the military tend to label members of the U.S. Coast Guard) often come off as black sheep of the family of military veterans, which isn’t fair. They are members of the military and serve in deployed locations in the Middle East and elsewhere, they just happen to be under the Department of Homeland Security, and not the Department of Defense. Coast Guard basic training is difficult as all get out, despite what other branches tend to believe. The day to day life of the USCG isn’t a walk in the park either. And when all is said and done, having a primary mission of saving lives, especially those who could not save themselves, is a mission worthy of respect.


This day was no different. The 229-foot Glory Pacific No. 8 fishing boat was a Papua New Guinea-flagged ship which caught fire some 2,070 miles off the coast of Hawaii. The Coast Guard dispatched a C-130 Hercules to locate the ship based on its emergency beacon. The found the Glory Pacific engulfed in flames, unmanned and adrift. They coordinated the rescue of the ships 36 crewmembers with another civilian ship in the area, the Lomalo, out of the Marshall Islands, using smoke flares. Lomalo will take the rescued crew back to their home port.

It’s all fun and games to make fun of the Coasties, and as you do, just hope you’re never stranded adrift in the middle of 2,000 miles of ocean. That’s a lot of crow (or seagull) to eat.

 

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This is why grunt gear isn’t for the average man

Throughout military history, the gear our ground troops wear has depended on different aspects, for instance: the available technology, budget, and the weather (for the most part).


The needs of the mission and the environment determine what gear our infantrymen haul on their backs, around their waists, and even what they stuff into their many cargo pockets.

But the endgame of the mission always remains the same — win the war at all cost.

Related: These were the terrifying dangers of being a ‘Tunnel Rat’ in Vietnam

Today, the modern battlefield of Iraq and Afghanistan has prompted our military to change what our troops take with them. “SAPI” plates (Small Arms Protective Insert) were added to help protect the service members vital organs from small arms fire.

That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building
All that gear adds up. (Photo: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago)

Travel back in time where medieval Knights wore several layers and different types of heavy body armor to protect themselves from sharp swinging swords to the accurately shot arrows. These fearless men would spend countless hours training while cloaked in their protective garments, acclimating their bodies for war.

Fast forward to the rice patties of Vietnam where Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Soldiers bravely left the wire typically sporting only their thin layered green t-shirts due to the constant humidity of the jungle while still toting pounds of extras.

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

One 155-pound TV show host wanted to experience just how heavy the gear of an American GI in Vietnam was. So after donning the full Vietnam War style combat load — complete with ammo, an M-16 rifle, an individual medical bag, and 2 quarts of water — the TV show host’s total weight amounted to just under 235 solid pounds of gear. It was an 80-pound difference.

Check out the Smithsonian Channel‘s video below to see this TV show host play grunt for an afternoon.

(Smithsonian Channel, YouTube)
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This is the research and development that goes into producing MREs

For decades, MREs have been a staple in military culture as troops have lived off the nourishment the bagged rations have provided.


At the U.S. Army Natick Labs in Massachusetts, top food scientists and chefs have researched and developed ways to improve the legendary military MRE.

Their work has contributed to making the meals tasty while keeping the ration’s shelf life up to three years at 80-degrees.

Related: 11 regional American foods we’d like to see in MREs

These researchers did everything from examining the molecules in the food matrix to reaching out to the troops themselves for input about the food they consume.

During the durability testing phase, MREs take a beating to prove they can hold up to intense environments —that’s before they’re even shipped off the troops who need them.

Developing each MRE requires plenty of time and careful construction to support operational habits like being dropped out of C-17 planes — sometimes at an altitude of 1,000 feet.

That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building
These soldiers load up an MRE supply to transport them to troops stationed on the ground.

The chef’s mission is to create full individual meals to give that troop a sense of being home through their variety of entrees and sides.

Once the MREs reach the hands of hungry troops, the items within the pouch can be quickly heated up for a hot meal or negotiations can take place so that hungry service members can make their favorite blend.

That time an Army Air Corps bomber crashed into the Empire State Building
The Air Force takes a moment to chow down on their issued MREs.

On deployment, meals are rarely consumed in an individual setting, but in a supportive group — as troops use their mealtime as a way of reflecting on their life back home through a warm pouch of chili mac.

Also Read: Amazon could soon deliver its own version of MREs

Check out the very first full-episode of Meals Ready to Eat below to see how military cuisine is created and tested in high-tech kitchens then shipped to the troops on the front lines:

(Meals Ready to Eat, KCET)
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This is what it takes to become a Combat Controller

The teams that have completed some of America’s most stunning special operations include a few airmen who are often overlooked when it comes time to glorify the heroes: Combat Controller Teams.


Combat Controllers are Air Force special operators trained to support all other special operators and to conduct their missions behind enemy lines. Here’s how they train to be effective under such challenging conditions.

Read more about why Combat Controllers are among the deadliest forces on the battlefield

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This incredible rap song perfectly captures life in Marine Corps infantry

Serving in the Marine Corps infantry is one of the most taxing occupations the military has to offer. Whether you’re out patrolling in a hot zone, calling in mortars on an enemy position or just humping hundreds of pounds of gear, it’s tough.


For one former Marine, military service fuels his music and reflects his experiences in the Corps.

“So you’re the newest PFC? Well, welcome to the infantry. Around here we like to do things a little differently. I know your drill instructor taught you those morals and ethics, but you got to put that to the side to kill more efficiently. ”

These are the opening lyrics of “Welcome to the Infantry” performed by Marine rapper, Fitzy Mess, and they couldn’t be more truthful.

Related: 7 things you should know before joining the infantry

Check out Fitzy Mess‘ video below for his cathartic rap song about life in the Marine infantry. And turn your sound up!

(Fitzy Mess, YouTube)
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