Things I didn’t know: The bow and arrow in WWII, Cessna’s military jet, and where will Iran’s militias operate after Iraq?
- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Best Defense is in summer re-runs. This item originally appeared on March 20, 2015.
Things I didn’t know:
–In 1940, a British officer killed a German soldier in France with a shot from a bow and arrow.
–I didn’t know that Cessna built a military jet.
–“An Air Force salute” is Marine slang for the shrug of “I don’t know.” (But I must say in 25 years of being around the U.S. military, I have never heard this term.)
–Supposedly, “at least 20 Americans were executed for desertion” from the Communist-run International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.
–And something else that surprised me: An American pilot who joined the RAF in 1940 said that he was told he would be stripped of his citizenship for swearing allegiance to a foreign military and a foreign leader.
–The birth of airpower overpromising: In 1793, the Frenchman who invented the hot air balloon proposed building an enormous balloon to carry and drop a 30-ton explosive to destroy the royalist-held city of Toulon. (Instead, it was expelled by the artillery of a young captain named Napoleon Bonaparte.)
Finally, things I still don’t know: What will Iran’s militias do after they are finished in Iraq? I am guessing, first, move on to Syria. And then will they turn south, or west?
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force