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41George S. Patton
General George S. Patton received orders to bypass the German city of Trier as it was estimated that 4 divisions would be needed for a successful assault, but he had already taken Trier by the time the message arrived. He responded, ‘Have taken Trier with 2 divisions, do you want me to give it back?’
As a Navy teletype, Richard “Demo Dick” Marcinko had to punch an officer to get into elite Special Forces after his requests were denied. While serving as a Navy SEAL, Vietcong offered a reward of 50,000 piasters to kill him. He once body-surfed behind a military patrol boat while under enemy fire. He even headed Red Cell with the job of infiltrating U.S. bases around the world to test their security. He once managed to kidnap a high-ranking officer, his family and “mildly tortured” them to get nuclear codes. Out of embarrassment, the Government spent $60 million to find something to pin on him and convicted him on trumped-up charges, sentencing him to a year in a minimum-security prison, during which time he wrote Rogue Warrior, which embarrassed the military again. He is now forbidden by law from writing anything about the military, so he writes popular “fiction” about the adventures of an elite badass who is “totally not him.”
Belgian flying ace Willy Coppens was known for his skills as a balloon buster; with 34 kills to his credit. During WW1, Germany deployed observers in hot air balloons to radio back on enemy action. Each balloon was guarded by anti-aircraft batteries and squadrons of fighters. They were also booby-trapped with silk covered kites. He once landed on a balloon and took off before destroying it. To kill him, Germans hatched a plan to fill a balloon full of explosives, so that when he destroyed it, the explosion and the fireball would kill him. In spite of knowing this plan, he destroyed the balloon and escaped, but the fireball and explosion killed a dozen German officers who were observing from below.
Airey Neave was a British soldier during WW2 who was captured by Germans and managed to escape POW camps twice and was sent to Oflag IV-C Castle for problematic prisoners. He once tried to escape by painting his uniform to look like a German uniform and managed to walk out the front door but was captured again. Five months later, he wore a fake German uniform made out of cardboard and cloth and pretended to be a German officer and managed to escape the castle. He then made it to Switzerland pretending to be a Dutch worker with papers and finally managed to get back to Britain.
45Tom R. Bennett
In 1960, a Russian terrorist armed with a bomb tried to hijack Trans Australia flight 408. Co-pilot Tom R. Bennett punched him in the face and ripped the wires off the bomb saving 49 lives.
On Scott’s doomed Antarctic expedition, Lawrence Oates sacrificed his life when his ill health began to compromise his companion’s chances of survival. Walking into a blizzard he said, “I am going outside and maybe some time.” Scot said it was the “act of a brave man and an English gentleman.”
RAF pilot Douglas Bader lost his legs after his plane crashed while doing a zero altitude barrel roll. He was fitted with artificial legs, learned to walk again, became a racecar driver, became an expert golfer, a decent tennis player and finally a fighter pilot again. During WW2, he quickly learned that he could sustain more G-forces than an average pilot because he had no legs. Before his plane crashed and being captured by Germans, he smashed 22 German airplanes, with another six probable kills.
48Herbert K. Pililaau
U.S. Medal of Honor recipient Herbert K. Pililaau during the Korean War voluntarily held his ground when ordered to retreat. He fired his automatic weapon into the ranks of assailants, threw all his grenades and, with ammunition exhausted, closed with the foe in hand-to-hand combat, courageously fighting with his trench knife and bare fists until finally overcome and mortally wounded. When the position was subsequently retaken; more than10 enemy dead were counted in the area he had so valiantly defended.
A stray dog saved a Georgia woman after she crashed down an embankment and was thrown through the back window of her car. The German Shepherd emerged from the woods, pulled her by the collar off the trunk and 50 yards through the briars to the road where she could be seen by passing motorists.
In 2009, a bomb disposal officer named Kim Hughes saved a group of maimed soldiers after they became trapped in a field littered with IEDs. Against a backdrop of insurgent fire, the sergeant shunned protective clothing to save time and dismantled 7 consecutive bombs, clearing a safe path for the wounded.