Rumor Doctor blog archive

Can pigs be used to detect roadside bombs?

Pigs serve a number useful functions, perhaps most importantly providing The Rumor Doctor's favorite pizza toppings, but one reader believes pigs could also save troops' lives by sniffing out roadside bombs.

Why pigs?

Does the A-10's gun slow the plane when fired?

Affectionately known as the "Hawg," the A-10 Thunderbolt II is essentially a flying gun designed to provide close air support to troops on the ground. The aircraft features a seven-barrel 30 mm Gatling gun that fires about 65 rounds per second. In layman's terms, that's a big can of whoop-ass.

Ground-pounders love the whirring sound the A-10's cannon makes when fired -- lovingly called a "Hawg fart" by pilots -- because it announces certain death to whoever is on the receiving end. An old rumor that a reader recently asked about is the A-10's gun is so powerful that when fired the recoil slows the plane down almost to a complete stop.

Did the Army ever issue 'stress cards' to recruits?

You can read a follow-up story here.

More than a few of you have asked The Rumor Doctor to look into the longstanding rumor that the Army once issued “stress cards” for recruits who could not endure the rigors of basic training. Allegedly, these cards provide a reprieve to recruits too tired to exercise or stressed out from being yelled at by a drill sergeant.

Do you automatically get a disability rating for breathing the air at Kandahar?

If you’re the type of person who enjoys filling your lungs with crisp, clean air, then Afghanistan would fit your definition of hell on Earth. Rumor is the air quality at Kandahar Air Field is so bad that troops stationed there automatically get a 10 percent disability rating.

Having caught a nasty case of bronchitis in Iraq two years ago, The Rumor Doctor has tremendous sympathy for troops who have to breathe the dust and other nasty stuff in the air downrange, so he decided to investigate.