History’s 50 Incredible Badasses You Should Know About

31Jack Churchill

Jack Churchill is the only man with a confirmed Longbow kill in World War 2. He carried a longbow, broadsword, and bagpipes. He played the pipes before battles, and survived the war. He is known for the motto “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.”

32Neerja Bhanot

An Indian flight attendant named Neerja Bhanot was aboard the Pan Am Flight 73, which was hijacked by terrorists during a stopover in Karachi, Pakistan in 1986. She hid the passports of American passengers on board the flight to save them from the hijackers. She died while shielding three children from a hail of bullets.

33John R. Fox

During World War II, American soldier John R. Fox died when he deliberately called an artillery strike on himself. Realizing that German troops were overrunning his party's position, the strike delayed the enemy long enough for other American units to organize a counterattack.


During World War 2, a Newfoundland dog named Gander fended off two Japanese ambushes. When they came back again, with a grenade this time, Gander picked it up and charged back at them, killing more Japanese, saving his wounded team, going out in a blaze of glory and earning a posthumous medal.

35Daniel M'Mburugu

In 2005, a 73-year-old man named Daniel M'Mburugu in Nairobi, Kenya killed a leopard which had attacked him, with his bare hands by shoving his fist into its mouth and ripping out its tongue. He dropped the machete he was carrying while he was being attacked and instead chose to fight with his bare hands.

36Susan Kuhnhausen

In 2006, a man in Portland, Oregon hired a hitman to kill his 51-year-old wife. When his wife Susan Kuhnhausen, an overweight ER nurse, was confronted in her house by a crab-hammer wielding hitman, she struggled with him, got her hands on his neck and asked him “Tell me who sent you here and I will call you a fu*king ambulance!", before choking him to death.

37Cliff Young

In 1983, when a 61-year-old Australian potato farmer named Cliff Young took part in a 544-mile ultramarathon race, he won and broke the record by almost 2 days. He had no formal training and beat sponsored, young athletes because unlike them he didn't stop to sleep. He remarked that the race “wasn’t easy.”

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38Leonard A. Funk

During World War 2, when Sergeant Leonard A. Funk was confronted by 90 German soldiers that had captured his squad, he began to laugh hysterically at the situation. Many of the enemy soldiers began to laugh along with him, until Funk wiped out his machine gun, gunning down 21 and capturing the rest.

39Joseph Bolitho Johns

In the 1800s, there was a man named Joseph Bolitho Johns who escaped Australian prisons so many times that the authorities built a special cell just to hold him. It was so strong that they promised to forgive his crimes if he could escape again. He escaped that as well.

40Dip Prasad Pun

Dip Prasad Pun, a British Gurkha soldier, single-handedly fought off at least a dozen Taliban insurgents assaulting him in Afghanistan. He fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades, detonated a mine, and used his tripod as a weapon when his gun failed. He was awarded Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, United Kingdom’s second highest medal for bravery.


  1. It’s a shame those who have not killed, mamed, blown up or murdered but instead found ways of peace to resolve conflict (and there are many) are not considered “bad ass.” Although all these men and women were brave and the ones who saved lives rather than just take them truly bad ass it would be refreshing to promote those who chose nonviolence to resolve conflict rather than those who instead chose to kill. Maybe it’s just me.

  2. That’s not fair. Wang Weilin stood up against 4 tanks at 19 years old after watching over 10,000 people, his friends, coworkers, and peaceful protestors, get literally slaughtered in Tiananmen Square. All he was holding was shopping bags, and all he did was talk. No one will ever forget “Tank Man”. He knew he would be killed (no one knows what happened to him), he knew he wouldn’t be able to stop the slaughter. He didn’t even think he’d be remembered considering the Chinese government did everything they could to prevent anyone from ever finding out about him or Tiananmen.

    He’s every bit as badass as these guys, but that doesn’t make them any less badass.

  3. Consider for a moment that three American conscientious objectors have received the Medal of Honor. The movie, Hacksaw Ridge, is about the heroics of one of them, Desmond Doss. The other two conscientious objector Medal of Honor recipients are Thomas W. Bennet and Joseph G. LaPointe. Doss received his award for his actions during World War II; Bennet and LaPointe received their awards for their sacrifices in Vietnam (they both were killed in action). Were they cowards because they refused to fight? On the contrary, they were heroes before their cited heroics as they continued in their faith despite abuse and dedicated their lives to their medical missions.

  4. Men who save lives through peace efforts or prevent future lives from being lost are every bit as “bad asses” as men who killed to save lives. Different methods, same results. You can’t have good without bad, nor bad without good.


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