Rumor Doctor blog archive

Did the Army move Fort Irwin's front gate to shortchange soldiers?

Many soldiers train at Fort Irwin, Calif., before heading downrange because the terrain is so rough and inhospitable that it easily passes for Iraq or Afghanistan. Those who’ve been there may have heard that the base front gate was moved closer to the nearest city so that soldiers would not be eligible for a special pay to compensate them for being in the middle of nowhere.

That may sound far-fetched, but considering that the U.S. government came close to halting troops’ paychecks altogether during the recent budget showdown, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. 

Is the American flag flown at Guantanamo Bay?

When the book “Mastermind” about alleged Sept. 11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was released earlier this month, a blog quoted the book’s author as saying he had learned detainees at Guantanamo Bay had convinced military officials not to fly the U.S. flag there because doing so offends them.

The story quickly circulated through the internet, inspiring rage from people who saw such a move as an outrageous affront to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and U.S. troops who have died since. But The Rumor Doctor discovered the facts portray a different story.

Will SEALs get secret awards for killing bin Laden?

The SEALs fight in the shadows, so the names of the special operators who killed Osama bin Laden will likely remain secret for the foreseeable future. But is it possible any awards they might receive for the mission would also be kept secret?

That’s what the Associated Press speculated in a recent story; however, an alert reader told The Rumor Doctor that in his 23-year career in the Army, he’s never heard of a secret award, prompting The Doctor to peer into the dark.

Did a Mississippi town beat the Westboro Baptist Church?

It sounded too good to be true, and it was.

Last month, someone posted on a University of Mississippi message board that local officials in Rankin County, Miss., had launched a covert effort to prevent the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting at the funeral of Marine Staff Sgt. Jason A. Rogers, who was killed in Afghanistan.