The 5 Goofiest Pranks Ever Pulled (In The Middle of Wars)
To become a soldier, one must train until they're borderline superhuman. Not only must they sharpen their mental and physical faculties to a razor's edge, but they must also master a wide array of skills, ranging from combat techniques and arms handling to spitballing, swirly-giving, and how to instinctively judge the elastic limits of waistbands for flawless wedgie effectiveness. What, you didn't know that pulling off hilariously childish shenanigans was an integral part of military service? Then obviously you've never heard about the time that ...
U.S. Navy Sailors Toilet-Bombed Vietnam
If movies have taught us anything, it's that while war is hell, Vietnam was somehow heller. But say you've just spontaneously Quantum Leapt into the body of a Vietnam-era Navy pilot, and you find yourself in a unique situation: on the one hand, you've got the six millionth pound of ordinance about to be dropped on North Vietnam, and on the other hand, you've got a broken toilet. What would you do?
Commander Clarence "Bill" Stoddard didn't have to think too hard about that particular quandary.
"What are the aerodynamic implications if I actually take a dump in it before we put it on the plane?"
With a looming a milestone like dropping the six millionth pound of freedom, Bill knew he had to do something special. So rather than allowing a broken toilet to be dumped overboard, the ordinance crew "made a rack, tailfins, and nose fuse for it." Hell, they even went so far as to slap the squadron's "Fist of the Fleet" insignia on there.
"Oh sure, it can be symbolic of a fist to the face, too. We're not picky about where it ends up."
This literal stink bomb was fitted onto Stoddard's plane, then the flight deck crew stood between the aircraft and the ship's air boss to block his view of the special payload as Stoddard took off. When he arrived at the target area, Stoddard read off his ordinance list to the flight controllers -- ending with "and one code name Sani-Flush" -- and then taught a toilet how to fly. After turning and almost striking his aircraft (he didn't teach it very well), it plummeted to earth, reportedly whistling the whole way down.
Sadly, Commander Stoddard was lost in a later engagement over Vinh ... but he died with the distinction of being the only pilot to drop a shitter on Charlie. If there's not a medal for that, there damn well should be.
American POWs Behaved Like They Were Trapped In a '60s Sitcom
If being a POW is bad, being a POW in a country like North Korea -- where even the country's citizens live under, um, less-than-ideal conditions -- must be a veritable Purgatory. But there was at least one group of captured Americans who were unrelenting in their resolve to not let a hellish situation get in the way of a good time.
In the appropriately named POW Camp #2, the prisoners all looked around one day and collectively said, "You know what? What are prison camp guards here for if not to entertain us?" For example, they'd spend one morning moseying about, picking their noses and doing their damndest to delay the 4:30 a.m. roll call by as much as a half hour. Then, the very next morning, they'd all get up early and wait in anticipation for the guard to open the door, whereupon they'd rush out of the barracks howling and snap into a military formation so sharp you could cut cheese with it.
Which we also hope they did on the way to formation.
Another time, they stole the antique dinner bell that their captors used to signal the prisoners to assemble and plopped it into their latrine. When Korean laborers emptied the latrine for fertilizer an unspecified amount of time later, they finally found their precious bell, coated in POW crap.
Every day, when called to formation, Navy Lieutenant Jack Thornton would ride an imaginary motorcycle to his spot in line. Thornton approached with an invisible handlebar gripped in each hand, even making the "vroom vroom" sound effects with his mouth. He would circle the formation a few times, then park his Wonder Woman Cycle, making sure to rev the engine once before dismounting for full effect. He did this twice a day, every damn day, until the guards called him to their headquarters and "confiscated" his "motorcycle," stating that it was "against rules and regulations."
"The glorious leader has seen The Great Escape and is wise to your plans, stupid American."
Eventually, the POWs organized and confronted the guards about the rampant mistreatment at camp. Their demands? Give Thornton back his imaginary motorcycle.
Syrian Rebels Trolled a Sniper With a Makeshift Bobblehead
A sniper is never a laughing matter, outside of perhaps those oblivious Call of Duty campers. Unless, of course, you've become so disillusioned with death that you pass the time by trolling people who are actively trying to kill you with high-powered rifles. Like these guys:
In case you didn't watch the video, it shows a small crew of Uzbekistani rebels pinned down by a hidden sniper. So what do you do in such a situation? Try to flank him? Hunker down and wait for reinforcements? Pee yourself uncontrollably while politely asking your commanding officer if you can go home (we'd choose this option)? Well, if you're this particular band of rebels, you dress up a shovel in a face mask and a jacket and use it to taunt the sniper, recording the whole thing so you can post it on YouTube later.
"I'm so glad they got us GoPros instead of flak vests."
In a modified version of the old "dollar bill on a string" trick, the rebels stuck Shovelhead around the corner and waited until the sniper opened fire on it, then laughed hysterically as they yanked their crude puppet back to safety. They did it again and again, a full two and a half minutes of a crude decoy dancing around tauntingly, all the while slowly dying of laughter instead of sniper bullets.
"Haha, shooting at us with an incredibly precise weapon of death from a safe location, what an idiot."
An Army Major Raced Rat-Rodded World War II Bombers
During World War II, there were two primary aircraft used for dropping bombs on Hitler's stupid emo haircut: Consolidated Aircraft's B-24 Liberator and Boeing's B-17 Flying Fortress. Thousands of these floating behemoths were manufactured, and "Chevy versus Ford"-type rivalries were common. Hypothetically, a B-24 would shame a B-17 in a race -- of course, the pilots were far too busy fighting a world war to test that hypothesis, right?
Curiously, they still had stickers of Calvin peeing on Boeing and Consolidated logos.
A relevant tangent: Operation Aphrodite involved stripping old B-17s down to the bare essentials required to allow them to still achieve flight, loading them up with explosives, and then using a crude remote control system to kamikaze them into German fortifications. It worked about as well as any plan straight out of a Warner Bros. cartoon could be expected to, and the U.S. Army found themselves with a lot of pointlessly stripped-down B-17s on their hands.
Apparently bored with the greatest war in history, Major Ralph Hayes decided it was time to defend his beloved B-17's reputation. He managed to nab one of the planes that had been prepared for the now-defunct Operation Aphrodite, and christened it the Gremlin Gus II. Gus had been stripped of everything from its armor to the freaking cockpit framing and windshields, transforming it into a sort of 75-foot-long flying roadster. It was considerably faster than your run-of-the-mill B-17.
"I'm glad you're willing to put all the gunners' lives at risk for a non-existent pissing contest, sir."
Hayes would sneak into the back of a formation of B-24s in his questionably flight-worthy jalopy as they headed out on a bombing mission. Then, once positioned, he'd gun it straight to the front of the pack like a suped-up Honda Civic at a stoplight. Then, to rub it in, he would stand up (remember, no cockpit roof), turn around, and salute the B-24 pilots.
We're assuming that two raised middle fingers and a naked butt count as a salute.
An American POW Told the World He Wanted to Pee On North Korea
Commander Lloyd M. Bucher was the captain of the USS Pueblo, a spy ship operating off the coast of North Korea in 1968. Bucher and his crew were captured by North Korean forces, held against their will, and tortured. We've already covered how Bucher and his crew were secretly flipping off their commie hosts in propaganda photos, and were in return severely punished. But while something like torture is generally an effective deterrent against misbehavior, it really only encouraged Bucher to step up his prank game.
He's like the Bart Simpson of horrific war crime conditions.
Bucher was forced by threat of execution to write a false confession. Not his own execution, of course; they put a gun to his head, even pulled the trigger only to reveal that it was empty, but he wouldn't budge. Only when they threatened to kill his crew did he give in and generously laud his gracious North Korean captors. However, Bucher included some strangely colorful language -- namely, the word "paean," which translated to "to praise" in the Korean-English dictionary. Oh great, another one of these insufferably erudite ship captains. Damn those sailors and their notorious eloquence.
But here's the thing: his confession was never intended to be printed -- it was to be read aloud to a worldwide radio audience. Now, say "paean" out loud.
The North Koreans fired up their propaganda-phone and Bucher started into his carefully-worded confession, ending with what his captors were convinced was torture-induced (but otherwise totally sincere) praise for their great country and its even greater leadership: "We pee on the North Korean state, we pee on their great leader Kim Il Sung."
"We pee on their great leader, Kim Il Sung. We pee on his face, and on his tongue."
Fortunately, Bucher and his crew were repatriated before North Korea realized that the U.S. military had just announced the most diplomatically disastrous golden shower ever.
For more times war got lighthearted, check out 6 Hilarious Pranks Pulled by Soldiers in the Middle of War and 6 Inspiring Tales of Friendship in the Middle of Brutal Wars.
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