Definitive Guide to US Special Ops



You’ve heard about the men who come in the night, the badasses, the snake eaters. These are the rough and tumble soldiers who spill out of helicopters and kick in doors, neutralizing a high value target and egressing before locals get a clue. These are the gritty recon Marines who stalk through the underbrush before taking down a terrorist camp.

But special ops isn’t one thing; it’s a bunch of different things. Operators from different units conduct missions in very different ways.

Check out this handy WATM guide that covers the basics of special ops: +Continue Reading

Improve Your Phone’s Audio With HRT

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HRT has introduced two DAC devices designed to improve the sound of the music you’re listening to from your smartphone. The i-dsp ($69.99) is designed to work with iOS devices that use a Lightning connector (iPhone 5/5s/6/6 Plus and any iPad less than 3 years old) and the dsp ($69.99) works with Android phones running 5.0 or later and any laptop with a USB port. I tested out the i-dsp with an iPhone 6. +Continue Reading

Brandon Webb Remembers the Fallen in ‘Among Heroes’


Former Navy SEAL (and longtime contributor to’s Kit Up! blog) Brandon Webb has just published Among Heroes: A U.S Navy SEAL’s True Story of Friendship, Heroism, and the Ultimate Sacrifice. Written with John David Mann, the new book features Webb’s personal accounts of  eight SEALs who gave their lives in service: Matt “Axe” Axelson, Chris Campbell, Heath Robinson, JT Tumilson, Mike Bearden, Dave Scott, John Zinn and Glenn Doherty. +Continue Reading

Another Naval Academy Pitcher Makes MLB Debut

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Just one month after Naval Academy grad Mitch Harris made his debut for the St. Louis Cardinals and only 94 years after previous Naval Academy pitcher Nemo Gaines pitched for the 1921 Washington Senators, Oliver Drake made the big leagues, making his debut on Saturday, May 23rd in a 1–0, 13-inning loss to the Miami Marlins. Drake went three innings, with two strikeouts, giving up only two hits and zero walks.  He also pitched a perfect 8th inning on Memorial Day in a 4–3 Orioles win over the Houston Astros.

The Orioles, home team for Annapolis fans, wasted no time in promoting the connection and posted a Memorial Day video promoting Drake’s Naval Academy connections. +Continue Reading

An Army Vet Faces a Decision on ‘The Briefcase’

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Army veteran Dave Bronson and his wife Cara are featured on the new CBS reality show The Briefcase, premiering on Wednesday May 28 at 8pm ET/PT. Dave was injured in Iraq when an IED destroyed his Humvee and now he uses a prosthetic leg. The couple lives in Manchester, NH and, when the program was filmed, were building a new home using VA grants and expecting their second child.

The show’s premise is pretty tough: families who are dealing with financial issues are given a briefcase containing $101,000 and they’re given 72 hours to decide what to do with the money. They can keep all of it for themselves or give some or all of the cash to another family in need. Everything gets filmed and America gets to watch. +Continue Reading

‘Aloha’ — What Alec Baldwin Really Thinks of the Military

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As an actor, Alec Baldwin has played some played some iconic roles: Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross (“Coffee is for closers only!”), “Cucumber” Frank DeMarco in Married to the Mob, Pete Schweddy on Saturday Night Live, the narrator in The Royal Tenenbaums and NBC exec Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock. You could even argue that his portrayal of Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October is the performance that’s most representative of Tom Clancy’s version of the CIA analyst in the original novels. +Continue Reading

Facts Are Overrated: ‘Sons of Liberty’

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Sons of Liberty, the History Channel’s dramatic series about the events leading up to the American Revolution, is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. The show features big production values (even though it substitutes Romania for Colonial America) and an impressive cast that features Dean Norris (Hank from Breaking Bad) as Benjamin Franklin , Henry Thomas (E.T.) as John Adams, Jason O’Mara as George Washington and focuses on Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian in the Chronicles of Narnia movies) as Sam Adams and Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist) as Dr. Joseph Warren.

The program is 100% created for an audience that believes that costume dramas and the American Revolution are boring. The colonists seem more like the bootleggers from Boardwalk Empire than the noble idealists that put everyone to sleep in high school and the chase scenes more like the video game Assassin’s Creed 3 than anything you’d see at a Bunker Hill reenactor event. +Continue Reading

PBS Highlights Military Families on ‘The Homefront’


It’s a fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans have little or no direct connection to our all-volunteer military force. For those of us who spend every day living the life or thinking about military issues, The Homefront (premiering Monday at 9pm on most PBS stations) might seem like a portrait of the obvious. But that would be missing the point: the program makes a straightforward presentation of the struggles (and triumphs) faced by military families in a way that will educate (and hopefully motivate) a disconnected America. +Continue Reading

The Birth of the Texas Rangers

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On Memorial Day, the History Channel is launching Texas Rising, a new dramatic series about the Texas Rangers and the rise of the Lone Star republic. Starring Bill Paxton and directed by Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields), the ten-part series will offer insight into the Texas psyche for modern audiences, especially those viewers who are puzzled by contemporary protests about a potential “invasion” of Texas by the United States military.

In connection with the series, noted historian Stephen L. Moore has just published Texas Rising: The Epic True Story of the Lone Star Republic and the Rise of the Texas Rangers, 1836–1846. Moore, who’s a descendent of Ranger Captain William T. Sadler, has condensed a lot of his previous research into a readable and colorful version of the Ranger story. +Continue Reading

How NASA Helped Make ‘Tomorrowland’


Disney’s Tomorrowland is a movie based on the Disneyland Park area that aims to get back to the original ‘50s-style futurist vision that inspired Walt when he built the park. Starring George Clooney and directed by The Incredibles’ Brad Bird, the picture is far less dark and bombastic than what you’re getting from most of the sci-fi/superhero franchises out there lately.

At NASA, there’s been a kind of holding pattern over the last few years while they wait for Congress to wake up and make space exploration a priority again. Part of their strategy has been to give technical support to Hollywood movies that remind viewers why astronauts and outer space were such a part of our national identity. Tomorrowland joins movies like Gravity and Interstellar on the quality roster of movies with NASA technical advice. We spoke to NASA’s Bert Ulrich, the agency’s liaison for film and TV collaborations, about Tomorrowland. +Continue Reading