War machines flying over civilian entertainment seems odd when you think about it

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A lineup of military planes, 1917 (Public domain)

“That’s a lot of jet fuel just to do a little flyover,” Troy Aikman says.

“That’s your hard-earned money and your tax dollars at work,” Joe Buck quipped.

They were voicing feelings and raising questions that we have all probably felt at one point or another.

If you have ever attended a professional outdoor sporting event in the United States, you have probably witnessed a military flyover. Most professional sports venues will feature a close approach by various kinds of military aircraft before the start of the event, usually coinciding with the playing of the national anthem. …


The least known wonder of the ancient world explored

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A diagram depicting the mausoleum. (Sir Banister Flight Fletcher / Public domain)

Despite its grandeur and its pedigree, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is probably the least well known of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.

1. All mausoleums are named after this one

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The man from which all mausoleums are named. (Shakko / Public domain)

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was the brainchild of a ruler by the name of Mausolus. By all accounts, Mausolus was a minor lord with great vision. He ruled over a small corner of the Achaemenid Empire from the city of Halicarnassus. …


A lesson on bias and embellishment

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Land based French troops capture a Dutch fleet (Charles Louis Mozin)

This was an important event in the War of the First Coalition which would set up future clashes between the upstart French and the Dutch in Northern Europe. …


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(Credit: Antonio Zucchi)

Admit it, you’ve been guilty of it too

This trope is one that plays out in our media, our literature and our personal studies of the past far more often than anyone should be comfortable with. History Channel has a show titled Ancient Aliens in which the whole premise is that past people were too stupid to achieve the things they did. …


Mars’s tiny moon sure is a strange beast

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Phobos (Credit: NASA / Public domain)

It is so small and so close to Mars that it was only discovered in 1877 and even then, we could not get much meaningful data on it until we started conducting space flybys in the 1970s. Even now, we are still collecting data from the relatively new addition to the landscape of our solar system. …


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A tripod mounted Davy Crockett (Public domain)

It posed a severe danger to the user as well as enemy combatants

When people think of terrifying weapons from human history, they usually focus on the macro-scale “doomsday” weapons of the 20th century — especially Cold War weaponry. Things such as germ warfare bombs and thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles often make the cut. However, the most terrifying weapon ever designed comes to us from a smaller more tactical level.

The Davy Crockett Weapon System was a recoilless gun that was just as likely to kill the user as it was to kill the enemy. A single shot from the Davy Crockett Weapon System also known as the M-28/M-29 was almost guaranteed to lead to dozens of friendly fire casualties, hundreds of enemy casualties and the outbreak of a world ending thermonuclear war. …


How greed fueled a fever dream of corruption and independence

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19th-century painting of New York City (Public domain)

On January 6th, 1861, mere days before the rest of the south began formalizing their secession from the Union, Fernando Wood, the mayor of New York City at the time, put in an impassioned plea to the city council to follow suit and secede as well. …


The crime did not always fit the punishment

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A tapestry entitled “The Baker’s Punishment” (Public domain)


A labor struggle that pitted miners against each other, the US Army, and private security forces

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Coal miners circa 1915 (Library of Congress)


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America’s first fighter jet, the Shooting Star (Public domain)

I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning

Beginning on September 15th, 1950, the United States began running air support missions over North Korea in support of United Nations forces at the outbreak of the Korean War. These carrier based bombing runs were focused on slowing and destroying North Korean positions in the north of the country in an attempt to hamper organizational efforts by the Koreans and Chinese who were planning on being deployed to the south.

This was the first large scale, live combat, operation in which United States jet planes were activated. …

About

Grant Piper

Political scientist. Hobbyist historian. Story teller. grantapiper.com

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