Rumor Doctor blog archive

Did Marines land in North Korea only to learn Bob Hope got there first?

From World War II to the first Gulf War, you could find Bob Hope wherever U.S. troops were fighting. But was the entertainer so omnipresent that Marines landing at the east coast of North Korea in 1950 waded ashore, ready for battle, only to find that Hope and a USO show were already there?

The episode happened at Wonsan, North Korea, in October 1950, where the landings had been delayed until mine sweepers could clear all of the magnetic mines from the approaching waters, according to the Marine Corps’ official history of the Korean War.

Do luggage limitations apply to pets for families leaving Japan?

Ever since eligible military families were allowed to leave Japan, one question has kept popping up: Can they take pets? The answer so far has been a qualified yes, but no more than two pets are permitted per family.

Travelers are also limited to two bags, each of which can weigh up to 70 pounds, and that has given birth to a rumor that the pets’ weights count toward that maximum weight threshold. Do families have to decide whether to take their luggage or pets with them?

Is radiation from Japan heading to the U.S.?

Japan is facing the very real possibility of a massive release of radiation following three explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, where workers are frantically trying to cool the overheating reactors before they completely melt.

Perhaps more alarming to our readers in the United States is a map circulating on the Internet that purportedly shows the fallout from the ongoing disaster will expose the U.S. West Coast to 750 rads of radiation. The map, allegedly from the Australian Radiation Services, doesn’t say what exactly that means, but it sure sounds bad.

Has the Army eliminated bayonet training?

Warfare has evolved since Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin led the bayonet charge down Little Round Top to save the Union army at Gettysburg, so it wasn’t a surprise when media outlets reported the Army had dropped bayonet training as part of the sweeping changes to basic training that went into effect in July.

But the Army insists it has not abandoned the bayonet. While soldiers may no longer be learning how to fix a bayonet to the end of a rifle and stab an enemy, they are still learning to use the bayonet, just in a different way.

Should you be afraid of camel spiders?

The camel spider is one of the most feared critters that troops encounter downrange. These monster-sized creatures are allegedly carnivores that inject venom that anesthetizes their victims before they devour them. Legend has it they are so fast that they can outrun a person. And they supposed emit a high-pitched scream before leaping long distances.

But camel spiders should elicit more respect than fear from U.S. troops, said Kristie Reddick, who has studied camel spiders since 2005.