Everyone has an absurdly awe-inspiring drinking story. Some of them are awesome ("Remember that time Dan broke into the zoo and rode a bear?"), some of them are tragic ("Remember when Dan was killed by a bear?"), but all of them are memorable.
However, any stories we could tell pale in comparison to the inebriated shenanigans of a chosen few legendary drinkers, whose stumbling binges squatted in the face of logic, national security, and history, and ripped a wet, beery fart.
5A U.S. Air Force General Parties Down In Moscow For Three Days, Gets Fired (And Maybe Helps Some Spies)
In a brilliant display of the art of the understatement, the U.S. military released a report in 2013 about a man who "acted in a manner that exceeded the limits of accepted standards of good conduct" while in Moscow for, ironically, a security exercise. What they really meant was "Air Force Major General Michael Carey, the guy in charge of all of our land-based ballistic nuclear missiles, got hammered for three straight days with -- his words -- 'hot women,' who did everything but shriek, 'We're spies, jackass!' in his face over and over again."
US Air Force
Pretty sure one was Vladimir Putin wearing a wig.
It started in Zurich, where Carey and his aides were laying over for a bit. He walked into a bar, had himself a few drinks, and then ... didn't stop. For three days, Carey's "security exercises" seemed mostly composed of trying to beat John Barleycorn and get crunk with some fly honeys on the rooftop bar of the Ritz-Carlton. In retrospect, Carey admitted that they were shifty as hell, but he was too busy getting wrecked to think about things like "Why have we seen these ladies twice in the last two days?" or "Why are they so eager to party with a 60-year-old general from a foreign country?" or "Why are we talking about physics and optics at 3 a.m. in a cigar store?"
The Washington Post
"I said, 'I've got a launch code for you right here, baby.' And then I gave her an actual launch code."
Furthermore, the ladies couldn't quite decide whether they were British or Russian. But it didn't matter, because Carey immediately made it easy for every spy within earshot to do their job, reportedly ranting about how he "saves the world from war every day ... as commander of the only operational nuclear force in the world."
To cap it all off, General Carey also insulted the heck out of his Russian hosts, showing up late to meetings, constantly interrupting the translator during a tour of a monastery, trying repeatedly to force a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant to let him get on stage and play with them, making, uh, untoward comments about the women he'd met at the Ritz in front of his Russian colleagues, and bitching about Snowden and Syria. Carey somehow made it back to the United States without getting his frigging uniform stolen, at which point he was understandably fired.
Speaking of drunken American generals ...
4General Grant's Yazoopalooza (And His Long-Suffering Designated Driver)
General Ulysses S. Grant (aka "Mr. President" Ver. 18) has the weird distinction of being both one of the most beloved war heroes in every high school textbook ever, and one of history's most famous alcoholics.
Mathew Brady/Mads Madsen
You know this photo was colorized wrong because his eyes aren't completely bloodshot red.
We've talked before about Grant's hobby of measuring sidewalks upside down, and how his being a sad, drunk man with nothing to lose helped win the Civil War -- the binge to end all binges. While drinking his way up the Yazoo River, Grant ran into Sylvanus Cadwallader, a Chicago Times war correspondent and probably the century's most tenacious designated driver. Grant was already shitfaced at this point, but he immediately started drinking again as soon as he got on Cadwallader's boat. The belligerent Major General had to be lured out of the barroom with trickery (not that hard, since drunks aren't particularly clever), and the key to the liquor cabinet was "lost" for the remainder of the trip.
Cadwallader also threw all the alcohol he could lay hands on out the window and into the river, which pissed Grant right the hell off. The general swore and bristled his mustache at him for a while, and Cadwallader basically had a one-man intervention with him. This ended with the reporter taking Grant's clothes off and fanning the booze-sweat off of him until he passed out.
US Army Corps of Engineers
The river is still 30 percent Grant puke.
When Grant woke up (still tanked), he decided that he wanted to make a nighttime landing in a backwater town full of angry, armed, Union-hating rednecks with nothing but a handful of increasingly uncomfortable soldiers and his alcohol-inflated balls. Cadwallader was able to barely stop him from embarking on this suicidal plan, and Grant sobered up -- momentarily. By the time the ship touched land, he was somehow once again plastered (because getting drunk in secret is entry-level alcoholism, and Grant was a professional). After getting a few more drinks in him at a bar, the general took off on a horse and tore ass through the base, mowing down soldiers, scattering equipment and campfires, and almost getting shot by his own men. Cadwallader chased him for most of a mile, grabbed the reins, and again made Grant take a nap, this time on his saddle in the dirt. "Unconditional Surrender" Grant had to be carried back to base via ambulance.
Again, all of this happened in front of not just his (traumatized) men, but also a member of the press.
Joseph Ferdinand Keppler
The poster boy for drinking and galloping.
However, Cadwallader stuck by Grant even after this, and kept a tight lid on his buddy's antics ... until they were both dead, anyway. Now, Grant's epic bender belongs to history.