How NORAD Tracks Santa

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The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa’s route since 1955, when a Sears advertisement encouraging kids to call Santa Claus accidentally published a top-secret military phone number at the Continental Air Defense Command in Colorado.

Col. Harry Shoup had his men answer the phone as Santa, someone drew a sleigh on the tracking board as a joke and that joke inspired Shoup to call a local radio station to report an unidentified flying object that looked like a sleigh. Listeners loved the joke and Santa sightings became a popular tradition on the rip-and-read wire news reports every holiday season. Then, we got the Internet. +Continue Reading

Louis Zamperini’s Family Talks ‘Unbroken’

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Cynthia Garris and Luke Zamperini were both born after World War II and best knew their father after he’d found his faith. They grew up in the Hollywood hills in a house their father bought after he first sold the movie rights to his life story in the 1950s.

That movie never happened and, after Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken was published in 2011 and Hollywood finally came back around, Louis’ adult children were ready to help him make the film he wanted and deserved.

Cynthia, Luke and producer Matt Baer talked about their father and the Unbroken movie in New York City at a press day in early December. They’re adamant that he endorsed Jolie’s approach to his life story and insist that the movie’s non-specific portrayal of religious faith was a conscious decision by everyone involved with Unbroken. +Continue Reading

Director Angelina Jolie Tells Louis Zamperini’s Story in ‘Unbroken’

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Unbroken is one of those movies that arrives with the weight of enormous expectations. Louis Zamperini’s story  was most recently told in Lauren Hillenbrand’s bestselling book, a biography that touched millions of lives. At least 50 people over the last year or so have told me that it’s their favorite book ever.

Making a film out of a such a beloved book is always a risk and crafting a film out of what could be five different movies (the story of a young delinquent, the experiences of an athlete at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the bravery of a man who survived 47 days at sea after a plane crash, the even more striking bravery of a man who survived a Japanese POW camp and the story of a WWII veteran who battled PTSD and put his life back together. +Continue Reading

Bail Yourself Out With Last-Minute Tech Gift Ideas

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If you’re still scrambling for some last-minute gifts, we’ve got a few tech ideas that might help save Christmas at your house.

1. The Keyport Slide 2.0 replaces a conventional keychain with individual blades that slide in and out of the case. You can get key blades (including ones with transponder chips), a flashlight, USB drives in several sizes starting at 4GB, bottle opener and even a ballpoint pen. +Continue Reading

Satire, Dictators & the American Way of Life

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Sony has canceled the December 25th release of The Interview, a comedy about two tabloid journalists asked by the United States government to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, in response to what’s now been confirmed as a massive hack of the company’s computer network. That hack as been followed by threats of violence against Sony employees and theatergoers in any cinema that chooses to show the movie.

Let’s call this what it is: North Korea is behind a terror attack on United States soil. There may not have yet been any violence, but over 6,500 current and former employees have violated: their personal email correspondence, their Social Security numbers, their office presentations and even some of their salaries have been exposed in ways they could’ve never imagined. +Continue Reading

Forget the Boat, I’m on a LAV!

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A Canadian Army LAV3 crew had a little time on its hands and decided to turn the clock back to 2009, when T-Pain was a big star and Andy Samberg was still on Saturday Night Live. Samberg’s Lonely Island comedy crew recruited T-Pain for “I’m on a Boat” and had a big hit.

You may have forgotten “I’m on a Boat,” but these guys have been thinking about it for five years and they’ve busted out with “I’m on a LAV,” a parody video filmed at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright. +Continue Reading

10 Great POW Movies

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Unbroken, the new movie based on the life story of World War II hero Louis Zamperini, opens Christmas Day. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the movie tells the story of the former Olympic athlete’s will to survive, first at sea after his plane crashes and then as a prisoner in a Japanes POW camp for the duration of the war.

Prisoner of war stories have inspired some great movies. Here are nine more of the best. +Continue Reading

American Sniper Gets It Right for Veterans: Why That Matters

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By Chris Marvin

Managing Director, Got Your 6

There’s something unique about American Sniper. If this were just another modern war movie, Chris Kyle might be portrayed as a replica of the hollowed out versions of the soldiers we often see splashed across the big screen. Their faces smeared with sand and eyes void of emotion. Their only value derived from acts of courage during a heated battle scene. But this movie goes deeper and delivers an important lesson.

American Sniper — directed by Clint Eastwood and opening in limited theaters on Dec. 25 — is based on the true story of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, portrayed impressively by Bradley Cooper. The film shares the story of a man who, even as a boy, saw himself as someone bound to protect those around him. Kyle lived by a simple code that drove his dedication to the men he served alongside, a sentiment that binds together many of us who have served. Kyle’s infectious passion to accomplish a mission took him through four tours in Iraq and 160 confirmed kills, earning him the nickname “Legend.”

Over the past decade, many, through cinema, have experienced the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through explosions and gunfire. Yet, there is no realization of the lives that our service members and veterans live in between the battlefield and the home front. American Sniper takes the audience through the complexities of war and the families who have lived through it. There are noble struggles for hardened souls and the quest to find a sense of normalcy, which Eastwood and Cooper have found a way to accurately portray.

Kyle, with pinpoint precision, quells the threat of enemies hiding in alleys waiting to ambush American convoys. His dedication to the mission causes the sounds of war to echo at home as he contemplates the lives he could have saved. In the same manner, the responsibilities of life and family are ever present for him on the battlefield. It’s through this journey that we see the depth of the man, once the uniform comes off. In the movie, a SEAL says, “You can’t shoot what you can’t see,” yet somehow Eastwood has managed to capture the dichotomy of traveling home from the battlefield and back again like no director has before.

When Eastwood and Cooper move beyond the reputation of Kyle, we begin to understand the true value of a battle-tested veteran. As Kyle helps his fellow veterans cope with loss of limbs and reintegration challenges, he is able to exorcise his own demons. “Why do you do it?” a veteran asks Kyle as they shoot at a range. His response: “We take care of each other, right?”

I have spoken with many veterans who have screened American Sniper, and they all say the same thing: this movie gets it right. American Sniper is in a new breed of Hollywood war films. It is an inspiration for how to properly and thoughtfully showcase veterans and the reintegration process — a model the entertainment industry should adopt more often.

American Sniper is also the quintessential example of the types of portrayals of veterans that Got Your 6 — a coalition of 30 veteran-focused nonprofits — is promoting in film and television as a way to demonstrate the nuance of the veteran experience. As Hollywood continues to tell the stories of those who have served, deployed, and returned home, depictions like these help bridge the civilian-military divide. American Sniper is the story of a man who ultimately succeeded on the battlefield and at home –and we all have responsibility to recount it.

Chris Marvin is a retired Army Black Hawk helicopter pilot, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and the managing director of the Got Your 6 campaign.

Follow Chris Marvin on Twitter: www​.twitter​.com/​C​h​r​i​s​M​M​a​r​vin

This article originally was originally published by The Huffington Post.

Scenes From Navy’s Win over Army in 115th Army-Navy Game

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By Michael Hoffman

The Naval Academy beat their academy rivals, West Point, by a score of 17–10 in the 115th Army-Navy Game held Dec. 13 in Baltimore, Maryland. The day started with ESPN’s Gameday show live from the Baltimore Harbor next to the site of this year’s game. The traditional fly-overs, parachute jumps and other events preceded the game. Army put up a fight against Navy who has recently dominated the series. However, Navy pulled away in the second half and beat Army 17–10 for the Midshipmen’s 13th straight victory.

Top 8 Photos From West Point’s Army-Navy Pentagon Pep Rally

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By Michael Hoffman

Army’s top two officials led a pep rally on Friday in the Pentagon courtyard for the U.S. Military Academy ahead of Saturday’s annual Army-Navy football game, which will be played in Baltimore, Maryland. Army Secretary John McHugh rode in on a Humvee armed with a t-shirt cannon. Meanwhile, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, a West Point grad himself, promised that this would be the year Army would end its 12-game winning streak. West Point’s band and cheerleaders joined in on the festivities.