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The Fire Pit

Lore, Adventure, Stories of Fortune, Books, Entertainment, Veterans’ Issues

Hijack and Murder on the High Seas: The Very Strange Case of a Captured Oil Tanker

Everyone thought that the oil tanker Brillante Virtuoso ran afoul of pirates in 2011 in the Gulf of Aden. The assumption was that the hijackers attacked the ship and set her ablaze. When David Mockett, a maritime surveyor, inspected the vessel, he was left with more questions than answers. But …

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When ‘Concrete Bob’ Kicked the Ghouls Off the Front Gate at Walter Reed Hospital

by Susan Katz Keating 2006 The traffic along Georgia Avenue going south was sparse throughout the stretch of Maryland road. The bus proceeded unhindered, ferrying wounded warriors strapped into gurneys or propped up with i.v. lines attached, and belted into seats. Many were profoundly changed men and women with missing …

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‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ – World War I Classic Gets New Look From Netflix

Netflix’s remake of “All Quiet on the Western Front” is coming to the streaming platform on Friday, 28 October. The film tells the story of a young German soldier on the Western Front of World War I. Paul and his comrades experience first-hand how the initial euphoria of war turns …

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When the KGB Took on the Soviet Police

by Boris Egorov At the end of 1980, just before New Year, on the outskirts of Moscow, a number of Soviet policemen picked an argument with a KGB major. They had no idea what dire consequences the encounter would have for them and the entire Soviet police force.  On the …

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‘They Were a Brotherhood’: Working With Mercenaries in the Congo

 by William Boudreau    Editor’s note: Former American diplomat William Boudreau encountered mercenaries during his career with the Foreign Service. Here are his recollections and observations about them. I will not advocate for a humanitarian award for any mercenary I have known. However, they embrace humanity. My point is they …

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We Attacked the Jungle With Flamethrowers and Explosives

by Marvin J. Wolf, The War Horse Tall, muscular, broad-shouldered, with a full head of white hair, Brig. Gen. John M. Wright Jr. scrambled up a termite mound, some 30 feet wide at the base and seven or eight feet high, and gestured for us to draw into a semicircle. …

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A Coyote Named ‘Jeep’ Flew Combat Missions Over Wartime Europe

The wildest aviator ever to step inside a fighter plane was actually a coyote named Jeep, who flew combat missions in World War II. While still a puppy, Jeep was rescued by a human pilot, John “Wild Bill” Crump. A Nebraska farmer had asked Bill to get rid of the …

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When the Lance Corporal Met His Match Against Gummy Bears

by Mitchell “Taco” Bell Back in 2005, I spent a tour living in an old Iraq bathroom in the control tower on Al Taqqadum airbase.  Great place, you get a bit smell tone deaf to the room, but it was better than tent living. We received a ton of care …

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‘Pyro’ Was Famous for Sprinting Through the O-Club With a Flaming Newspaper Tucked In His Butt; And Then Came the In-Flight Emergency

by Mitch “Taco” Bell The Marine KC-130 was flying over the chilly North Atlantic at 25,000 feet, taking my crew to Keflavik, Iceland. There was a layer of clouds about 10,000 feet below us hiding the cold water and howling winds. This was a milk run from Mildenhall, England, to …

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