Top 10 Weirdest Japanese Snacks and Drinks

Japan has become one of the most shocking nations on the planet. Or more precise one of the nations that likes to shock people the most. There is no such phrase as “gone too far” for the Japanese. The image of that country has been tarnished forever ever since Google was first turned on, when it became less about ninjas and Godzilla and more about bizarre game shows and traumatizing sex fetishes.

The only thing left really is concentrating on the more adorable kind of Japanese zaniness that relates to their odd food choices. With this, here are the 10 Weirdest Japanese Snacks and Drinks.

10. Candy Squid

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When you are living on an island, it’s natural that most of your daily diet will come from the sea, and the Japanese have proven over the years that if it swims, they will eat it without exception. This is the nation that willingly eats Fugu for Pete’s sake, a fish so poisonous that unless you prepare it correctly you will die very painfully. Compared to that, candied squid seems almost sane… the key word being “almost”.

You can get these at any convenience store or on a stick during a traditional Japanese festival. Funny thing though, the candied squid isn’t actually sweet (don’t ask how that works) and often comes in such appetizing flavors as “Cod Roe” or “Spicy Korean Cabbage.”

9. Cheese Drink

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The product of the NEEDS cheese factory in Hokkaido, the Cheese Drink has allegedly been produced to raise cheese awareness in Japan. It is estimated that over 20 million Japanese kids don’t know what real cheese looks like* and more than 30% of all Japanese adults think you can get cancer from touching cheese ** so what the NEEDS company is doing is actually very noble indeed***, slowly easing the society to the idea that cheese is not evil. Because it’s not like they simply had a full batch of industrial grade cheese-byproduct liquid and decided to sell it to the general populi. Nah, couldn’t be.

The cheese drink can also be used as salad dressing.

* Completely false.

** Made up on the spot.

*** Not in the least.

8. Rose Sweat Gum

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Aptly and yet very horrifyingly named “Otoko Kaoru” (“Man Smelling Sweetly”) this product is a brand of chewing gum that makes your sweat smell like roses.

Believe it or not, there actually is a very good explanation for this product. The Japanese spend a great portion of their lives in the overcrowded public transportation systems (according to my calculations, if you add the hours every Japanese man spends in a train and multiply it by a Billion, you get a really large number). Can you imagine what would happen if 50 of these old Japanese dudes started sweating their natural manly musk?

Suddenly the gum doesn’t sound so crazy after all. Hell, it should probably be made mandatory for some people. You know the type I mean.

7. Cream Collon Biscuits

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What would you do if I came in to your office (assuming you had an office and were the head of a major candy company) and proposed a new type of biscuit snack in the shape of small tubes filled with cream? You would probably let me keep talking, cause that doesn’t sound so bad. OK, but then just how many guards you would send after me if I said I wanted to name this new snack “Collon”, without the slightest bit of irony? 5, 20 guards?

If your answer was anything more than zero then sadly you do not have what it takes to be the president of Glico, the biggest candy company in Japan and the proud manufacturers of the Cream Collon snack. See Japan, this is why everybody is laughing AT you, not WITH you. It’s things like that.

6. Curry Lemonade

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Ah, curry and lemonade, together at last! Wait, what?! This has got to be either a joke or some sort of Fear Factor merchandise tie-in. But we all know that is not the case, otherwise it wouldn’t make the list. No use fighting it, let’s just acknowledge that somewhere in Japan there is a person (a whole lot of persons to boot) who willingly swig curry flavored lemonade. Let’s now acknowledge that this is really freaky.

Oh, and look at the label: “A miraculous collaboration of curry and lemonade”. Can’t argue that this product is a miracle. This Curry Lemonade had to be devised, presented in front of a group of businessmen, taste-tested and then marketed. And during that time no one stopped to say “Guys, isn’t this product actually very strange?” A miracle if I ever saw one…

5. Scallops and Mayo Flavored Chips

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When I was a kid, we used to have these Ketchup favored crisps and even then I thought of that as a little bit weird, so imagine how I must feel about scallops and mayonnaise flavored chips from Japan. The answer: somewhere between “Ghwaa…?” and “Oh sweet lord, no…”

The fact of the matter is that the snack business in Japan is humongolarge. Unless you have literally millions of dollars to throw into a marketing campaign that will employ a new type of science ray that injects commercials straight into people’s dreams, the only way for your brand to stand out over there is coming up with really bizarre flavors. And thus, the Scallops & Mayonnaise Chips from Calbee were born. Just be thankful they didn’t go with their other idea: Dog Turd Crisps.

4. Bizarre Pepsi Flavors

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Same as with the snack business, you really need a gimmick in order for your drink to stand out east of China. This applies even to giants as Pepsi, who during the course of several years came up with such Japan-exclusive Pepsi flavors as: Yogurt, Cucumber and Shiso (which is something like a cross between basil and mint).

None of those really stuck around, proving that even the complex Japanese pallet could not handle such atrocities against God for long, but who knows what the future might bring? Pepsi is undeniably second to Coca Cola in Japan (they even sell Coca Cola brand water over there, believe it or not) so they will probably keep coming up with more and more original flavors. Pepsi Kitten Blood perhaps? Who knows?

3. Roasted Baby Crabs

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This is a very sad entry…

These are actual crab babies we are talking about. Roasted crab babies. It might just be me but I keep getting this image of a Daddy, Mommy and Junior crab playing together in their underwater house when suddenly the kid is yanked out in a net and roasted alive for the gluttonous needs of sadistic Japanese. It’s sadder than 20 orphans watching “Bambi” for the first time. Let’s just move to the next item…

2. Eel Soda

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The “Surging Eel” fizzy pop is a carbonated yellow liquid made out of *SPOILERS* eel. It is produced by the Japanese Tobacco Company. No, it doesn’t make sense even to me, so don’t worry about it.

Now, I do have to acknowledge that the eel is a delicacy in Japan, but bottling and selling it as a soft drink has to be against some kind of law. Hell, if not court laws then I am willing to invoke the law of God if I have to. The western equivalent of this monstrosity would be… I don’t know, to bottle an entire Thanksgiving dinner in soda form? Which of course would never happen because no one is that crazy and… (…Dammit.

1. Meat Flavored Ice-cream

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You see those? Those are, in order, Beef Tongue, Horse and Chicken Wings flavored ice-cream. HORSE!

There is absolutely nothing I could think of to excuse this. So OK, beef tongue is quite often eaten in Japan. It tastes simply delicious when cooked over some charcoals and washed down with a beer. Chicken wings? KFC is everywhere here. Then there is HORSE…!

I just don’t get it.

How in the world did any of those end up as ice-cream? Now that I think about it, I am starting to fear for my life. Because you know, if already the Japanese are scrapping the bottom of the idea barrel for new meat themed ice cream like HORSE and all, how long will it take them to try and package us, the foreigners, into the mix? Filthy-Foreigner Ice Cream… I can already see it.



Top 10 Endangered Trees

When you think of something being endangered, you probably automatically think of animals. In the entire world, there are about 5,000 endangered species of animals, and despite the importance of protecting these endangered animals; there is also an importance in protecting endangered trees all over the world.

Arbor Day has just passed and this is a good time for a reminder that there are trees in every country that are slowly becoming extinct. This is often due to deforestation and the fact that the wood of most of these trees is used for making lumber as well as furniture, flooring, and even the handles on knives.

While you might not think about it every day, trees are especially important. For one, trees are able to produce oxygen. It is said that one matured tree can produce enough oxygen for ten people to breathe for one year. Trees are also good for cleaning soil as well as the air. Carbon dioxide is a huge problem in today’s world, but trees are able to absorb and hold onto carbon dioxide as well as sulfur dioxide and even nitrogen dioxide.

Perhaps this list will inspire you to add a tree to your backyard, to participate in a community tree project, or to sponsor tree planting through an organization like Oxfam Unwrapped. Here are ten trees that are close to extinction:

10. Loulu

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If you’ve ever been to the Hawaiian Islands, you’ve possibly seen one of these trees during your visit. The 25 different variations of this tree are found on each island, some growing as large as 60 feet tall. Each island has its own species and every species is distinct, not only in size but where they grow and the color palm it provides. The trees only have one trunk and have various branches that grow palms on the end. There are young Loulu trees in many home gardens – you can grow one of these trees in a pot until they start to mature; however, there are only about 300 Loulu trees in the wild.

What’s the cause?

The Loulu tree has been living on the Hawaii Islands for around 40,000 years. The Polynesians who used it for making spears and thatching first brought it there. The trees flourished until the ancient Hawaiians arrived, bringing pigs and other animals with them that either ate the seeds or ruined the roots of young trees.

Thankfully, to slow and hopefully turn around the decline of these trees, the Oahu Army Natural Resource Program has began collecting and growing seeds, allowing them to mature and then planting them at a time when the tree is sure to survive. Photo:

9. Hinton’s Oak (Encino of Hinton)


You’ll find this tree in Mexico, mainly the southeast corner where there are three known species that thrive in the dry desert areas. The neat thing about the Hinton’s Oak tree is that the spring foliage is a bright red color that eventually turns to a dark green before they fall off. The bark of the tree is extremely dark, which sets a contrast to the red leaves. The trees can grow as large as 49 feet and are extremely important to many in Mexico, as the wood of the tree is made to use handles for many utensils, such as knives.

What’s the cause?

Due to the growing need of agricultural locations in Mexico, the Hinton’s Oak is declining in numbers. Road construction, more planting fields, and coffee plantations have all taken over the land that was once inhabited by the Hinton’s Oak. These trees are also sometimes cut down for firewood. It is said that the smoke the tree gives off has a very distinctive smell and taste and because of this people will use the wood to bake bread called “las finas” (“the fine ones”). The tree has also decreased in population due to grazing by livestock, which is known to prevent trees or any kind of tree from regenerating year to year because the animals eat the seedlings that would produce a new tree.

Researches from the University of Puebla and Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum in the United Kingdom are working together to create a conservation plan for the trees.

8. St. Helena Gumwood


The St. Helena gumwood is definitely unique. In fact, it’s so unique that St. Helena Island chose it to be their national tree. The tree grows with a crooked trunk, but despite this it is able to support an umbrella-like canopy with an endless amount of branches. During the winter and into the end of the spring months, each branch produces white dangling flowers. Accompanied by the flowers are leaves that can be up to 5 inches long. Not only are these leaves somewhat large, but they are also hairy and can be a green color while others have more of a grey tone to them. In St. Helena, the population of this tree was once so large that is covered tropical forests all over.

What’s the cause?

When it comes to the St. Helena gumwood tree, the main problem is humans. Many people who have access to these trees often cut them down and use them for building as well as for firewood. This has probably happened since the beginning of 1659 when the island was first settled. Also, some type of animal often accompanies settlers. It’s said that the St. Helena settlers brought goats along with them that often ate the seedlings that freely fall from the existing trees each year. In 1991, the population of the tree was hurt immensely when the jacaranda bug attacked them and took the sap from the trees and promoted black mold growth. Not only have these events caused a drastic decline in population, it’s also leaving many rare and unusual species of animals without a home.

Because of this decrease, the Millennium Gumwood Forest Project has decided to help regenerate the gumwood tree. Ten years ago, 4,300 trees were planted at a location that was once a wasteland. Photo: St. Helena National Trust.

7. African Blackwood (Mpingo)

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In Swahili, the population of the African Blackwood continues to diminish. The name comes from the color of its heartwood which is a color closely resembling black. The tree is said to grow in areas where most other trees or plants couldn’t, as it prefers infertile and rocky soil. The Mpingo is also very slow growing, taking between 70-200 years to grow to a mature size and many only grow to be able 9 feet. tall. It is the national tree of Tanzania even though the tree can be found in about 26 different African countries, including Ethiopia, Angola, Senegal, and many others. This tree is great for those who do agricultural work as it is known to improve the fertility of the soil as well as the soil’s stability. The Blackwood is a great source of food for various herbivores as well as livestock as these animals will eat its leaves. Despite being a very hardy tree (most of the mature trees are even able to survive a fire), the population of the African Blackwood has been on the decline.

What’s the cause?

The extremely dark heartwood of the Blackwood is definitely one of the most widely sought after timbers in the entire world. Some of the highest class instruments, mostly woodwinds, are made of this wood. It is also used to make furniture as well as for carving purposes. Carving this wood has been done since the 1930s, but today it’s extremely hard for the carvers to find enough wood to use, which means many times that the timber is imported. The trees are often harvested for this timber and other seedlings are rarely planted in their place. Even though mature Blackwoods can survive a fire, the seedlings cannot, which greatly slows down regeneration.

The African Blackwood Conservation project is working each day to help regenerate these trees because they are declining in population so rapidly. The group plants new trees each year in hopes that the tree population will be replenished. Seedlings are grown at the Moshi Mpingo Plot and the transported to a place where the tree can mature. Photo: African Blackwood Conservation Project.

6. Monkey Puzzle


Just by the name, you can probably tell that this is a pretty unique type of tree. Represented as the national tree of Chile, the Monkey Puzzle can be seen all over Europe, especially in botanical gardens. Sometimes called the living fossil, the Monkey Puzzle can live thousands of years. In Chile, the tree is known as Pehuén to the Pehuenche people. These people have a large history with the tree and often need it to provide a great part of their diet. The Monkey Puzzle tree provides nuts that people as well as animals often eat and are said to be very similar to pine nuts. The tree grows to about 131 feet tall but has a very slender trunk. The branches are often described as being thick and reptilian and the tree as a whole prefers to grow somewhere with a lot of rain, and cold temperatures aren’t a bother.

What’s the cause?

Because of things such as logging, grazing, and fires, the forests once made up of Monkey Trees are slowly diminishing. The timber is often used for building bridges, roofs, boat structures, furniture, and plenty of other things, but this is mostly due to the fact that it is resistant to fungal decay and also has a lot of mechanical resistance. Many forests have been cut down and used for tree farms, which seems a little ironic- cutting down trees to grow different trees. In essence, it seems that a lot of Central American countries have a hard time taking good care of the forests within the various countries.

In any case, various plans are in the work to rebuild the Monkey Tree forests. Up to 10 million acres of land will be home to new trees and this project should be done in about 12 years.

5. Honduras Rosewood


You can find the Honduras rosewood in Belize, Southern Mexico, and Guatemala. They are on the endangered list due to the heavy use of its lumber for various products. The timber produced with this wood is said to be some of the best but surprisingly, there isn’t too much information known about the tree. The wood that is taken from the tree is often of very high quality and the color is what really attracts people. The wood is usually a red purple color with streaks of black. The wood is so unique that people from all over vie to own some of it.

What’s the cause?

The timber made from the Honduras rosewood is highly valuable. A lot of this wood is used to create musical instruments such as guitars and various other stringed instruments. It is most used to create claves and xylophones due to the fact that the timber is said to be heavy and very durable which allows it to provide a very loud but clear note. Also, the wood is often used for carving. Sometimes you’ll even find that the wood is used as a covering for cabinets, knife handles, and even furniture. Sadly, a lot of these trees are being used, but there isn’t nearly as many of them being planted, so the population continues to decline. It’s said to be the worst in Belize where slash-and-burn agriculture is widely used.

To help build up the population again, the Ya’axché Conservation Trust (YCT), the Global Trees Campaign, and the Government of Belize’s Forest Department are all working together to plant Honduras rosewood in private forest reserves so that they can grow and begin to flourish again. The group hopes to plant about 7 tree seedlings per hectare.

4. Clanwilliam Cedar

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Often characterized as a majestic tree, the clanwilliam cedar can be found throughout the Western Cape Province of South Africa, especially in the Cederberg Mountains. The trees are extremely tall, growing up to 82 feet in height and they like to take things slow: some of these trees can live to be up to 1,000 years old, and it takes almost 30 years for a tree to produce seeds. The tree has foliage that is needle-shaped and is close together. The foliage often produces small cones at the end of each small twig during the autumn months.

What’s the cause?

Like many other trees on this list, the Clanwilliam cedar is on the endangered list of trees because of the wide need for its timber. The timber that the tree provides is often used for building because it is rot-resistant, as well as for telegraph poles and even for furniture. The tree has been widely used since the 18th century, if not longer, especially by the Europeans. The trees have also slowly been taken over by fine bush vegetation, which often clogs up the habitat needed for a new tree to grow. Besides being used for timber, the tree is also prone to being in areas that are prone to wildfires. Many of these fires destroy the already existing trees and ruin those that have yet to even fully grow. In 2000, 200 hectares of the Clanwilliam cedar trees were burned because of a fire.

In the 20th century, logging of this tree was banned but the trees have not been able to make a strong recovery due to fires. A Cedar Reserve has been created to provide land that will allow the trees to thrive. The reserve also collects and plants seeds to encourage new growth. Photo: UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

3. African Baobab Tree

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If you’ve ever seen The Lion King, you’ve seen a Baobab Tree. It’s the one Rafiki makes his home. The African Baobab tree is another on the list that has a long history. It is said that some of the trees in existence today have been around for at least 1,000 years. You will find these massive trees, often growing up to 82 feet in height, in the Blue Nile as well as Kordofan and Darfur. Not only is the African Baobab tall, its trunk is also pretty large, measuring in at an average of 32ft. in diameter but others can be as wide as 91 feet. The tree also has fruit, which is also seen in The Lion King, ranging from 3-17 inches that has a dry powdery pulp inside of it. The tree’s fruit is used for various things such as medicine and food.

What’s the cause?

The Baobab tree is on the endangered list for many reasons. For one, droughts within the tree’s habitat have caused them to not have enough water to grow properly. Also, these trees are often cut down so that people can use the trunks to store water in, which can hold about 2376 gallons of water. The fruit is also used for making porridge as well as the leaves, which can be used to make a salad. Some of these seeds are even eaten by elephants, but the elephants would be able to break the seed dormancy which will cause regeneration; however, the population of the elephant is also endangered. Because of all of this, many Baobab trees are used for multiple purposes which then cause the trees population to decline because no one is taking the time to replace the trees that were used.

To help regenerate the Baobab Tree, a group known as Practical Action has come about, which aims to save this species of tree before it’s too late. They collect and plant seeds, raise awareness, and encourage others to plant Baobab trees as well.

2. Dragon Tree

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This tree probably has the coolest history on the list, but you’ll only find the Dragon Tree in Morocco, Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands, and on five of the seven Canary Islands. Tall and slender, the tree has prickly leaves with white-green flowers as well as brown berries that are recovered in a red sweet substance. The history behind this tree goes back for centuries. It is said that in Ancient Rome, the tree was used as a colorant that would cover iron tools. Many times the colorant was used as a varnish. The Dragon Tree also has history in various Greek myths. The most well known is one that tells the story of Hercules and the Apples of Hesperides. Landon, the hundred-headed dragon is killed, who was said to be the guardian of Hesperides so that Hercules could bring back the three golden apples. When the dragon was killed, it is said that various Dragon Trees sprung up from Landon’s blood, which then flowed across the land, causing more trees to grow. Though the tree has so much history, that history may soon be cut short due to the declining number in population.

What’s the cause?

In Cape Verde the Dragon Tree is considered endangered. However, Brava and Santiago, two places in Cape Verde, consider the tree to be extinct. Due to animals that eat the seedlings of the tree, such as goats, rats, and rabbits, it’s extremely hard for the tree to regenerate. Fires have also been a problem for these trees.

Sadly, there is no conservation of any sort for the Dragon Tree. Instead, various universities and scientists are attempting to cultivate the tree on their own. However, this doesn’t do much help for those trees that are living in the wild.

1. Bois Dentelle


The Bois Dentelle is a truly beautiful tree; sadly there are only two of these trees in existence today (both in Mauritius). This tree is not huge like others on this list; instead, the Bois Dentelle is pretty small, but the flowers that it provides are one of a kind. The flowers are in the shapes of a bell but the petals are lacy. Imagine a piece of cloth that is frayed at the end and you’ll see what these flowers look like. They are extremely distinct and only blossom between January and March. The white flowers hang off of long branches and are often in clusters.

What’s the cause?

No one is exactly sure why the Bois Dentelle has ended up on the endangered tree list. Research is ongoing to determine the tree’s decline to such a low number. Many believe that an alien invasive species, namely Litsea monopetala and Psidium cattleianum, are slowly taking over the Bois Dentelle’s habitat.

Thankfully the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture Division of Horticulture have been able to graft the tree, keeping it from becoming totally extinct.



Top 10 Most Common Explanations for UFOs

It is a fact that literally millions of people around the world claim to have seen a UFO at one time or another, and many thousands of reports have been officially filed going all the way back to World War Two. However, investigation into just what these objects may have been have pretty conclusively demonstrated the vast majority of these reports have prosaic explanations such as hoaxes, hysteria, or misidentified natural or man-made objects, much to the chagrin of the UFO community. While many dismiss such explanations as simplistic attempts to skirt the issue or, worse, a carefully contrived and orchestrated effort at debunking the entire phenomena, the fact is that many, if not most, UFOs can usually be explained away. As such, it’s important we examine each of the many explanations offered, if only in an effort to better appreciate the difficulties investigators frequently face when looking at the phenomena from a scientific perspective, compelling me to create my list—in no particular order—of the top ten alternative explanations usually given to explain UFOs.

10. The Planet Venus


It’s no coincidence that UFO reports go up sharply whenever Venus makes an especially bright appearance in the night sky, so this explanation is not as far-fetched as it seems. Under the proper conditions, Venus can be among the brightest objects in the sky—particularly on a moonless night—and has even been known to be visible in the daytime under the proper conditions, making it a frequent explanation for many a mysterious “bright light in the sky.” For those already predisposed towards accepting any unusual light in the sky as a potential close encounter, Venus makes an excellent candidate for being a UFO—especially when it is seen low on the horizon from a moving automobile (when it can appear to be “chasing them”), or on a partly cloudy night when it will seem to abruptly appear and disappear as fast-moving clouds obscure it from view. Additionally, it can be extremely difficult to convince people that the bright light in the sky they saw was merely sunlight reflecting off a nearby planet, largely because of the natural human reluctance to admit error as well as the trauma such an experience can sometimes induce.

9. Meteors, Comets, and Fireballs


This is a less common explanation, since most people are familiar with meteors (or “shooting stars” as they are commonly called) and so are unlikely to mistake one for a UFO. Comets are even less likely to be mistaken for a UFO, especially since they remain fixed in the sky, can be seen for weeks at a time, and are usually not particularly bright in the first place. A fireball, however—basically a large, brightly lit meteor observed at close range—is a better candidate, as they can be very bright, last several seconds, appear to split into smaller pieces, and even abruptly disappear from sight as if “zooming away at great speed” as many UFO witnesses describe. When seen head-on, a fireball can be particularly impressive, as it would appear to be an extremely bright and slow-moving object that suddenly vanishes from view, much like a UFO frequently does. Such astronomical phenomena are not, however, adequate explanations for an object that makes abrupt course changes in mid-flight, changes color (or shows multiple colors) or that lasts more than a few seconds, and as such they probably constitute only a very tiny fraction of all UFO reports.

8. Lenticular Clouds

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Technically known as altocumulus standing lenticularis, lenticular clouds are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form at high altitudes, normally where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains. Normally these air currents form long strings of clouds known as a wave cloud, but sometimes, under the right conditions of wind and thermal currents, they can take on a roundish or oval shape that can be extraordinarily unnatural and even “saucer-like” in appearance, which in turn can be confused for an extremely large disk by people unfamiliar with such meteorological phenomenon. Only those entirely unfamiliar with this phenomenon are likely to be fooled by a lenticular cloud, however, especially once they observe one for a while and realize it is not moving or that it doesn’t appear to be mechanical in nature. Still, for the unaware, it can be a strange sight and one that might be easily confused for something otherworldly.

7. Ball Lightning


Among the more unusual and lesser understood electrical curiosities known to science is something called “ball lighting”, a phenomenon that has only been identified within the last fifty years or so. Basically, ball lightning is a sphere of static electricity that has the ability to glow intensely for several minutes at a time and, when seen in broad daylight, can even take on a fluid silvery-like sheen that can be easily mistaken for metal, giving them a “disk-like” appearance. Additionally, though usually seen to move randomly, sometimes the discharge is described as being attracted to a certain object—normally an aircraft—giving these orbs the appearance of “following” a plane and even matching it in terms of speed and maneuvers, thereby giving it the impression of being under intelligent control. Commonly described as spherical, ovoid, teardrop, or rod-like in shape, and with colors that vary from red to yellow (though other colors have been observed) it’s not difficult to see how they could easily be mistaken for an unnatural object, especially after it disperses, is absorbed into something, or—though rarely—vanishes in an explosion. As such, ball lightning appears to be a perfectly adequate explanation for some of the more erratic lights seen in the sky—particularly those observed from aircraft.

6. Weather Balloons

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Though frequently lampooned as the most simplistic of explanations for UFOs, the fact is that helium filled weather balloons make excellent UFOs, especially when seen from below when their spherical shape can appear disk-like. Further, these balloons can be quite large, are often coated in a highly reflective material (giving them a polished or shiny appearance), and can fly at altitudes as high as 120,000 feet where winds aloft can sometimes push them along at hundreds of knots, giving them the illusion of moving at high speeds. Furthermore, when seen moving through a partly cloudy sky when winds can blow in different directions at different altitudes, sometimes pushing clouds in one direction and a balloon in the opposite, the illusion of high speed is enhanced.

5. Satellites

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As the demand for improved communications, weather forecasting and aerial surveillance grows, the orbital lanes around our planet are growing increasingly cluttered with a wide array of fast moving and highly reflective satellites of all sizes and configurations. To give you some idea of how cluttered our skies are getting, the United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN) currently tracks more than 8,000 man-made objects orbiting the planet, of which about seven percent (approximately 560) are operational satellites. Often trapped in their orbits for years at a time, these silent sentinels of the skies can usually be picked out by anyone with a pair of binoculars and some patience, so they are not an uncommon sight. However, as they can often appear to pulsate in intensity (a natural illusion created by atmospheric inversion layers) and even “wink out” when their angle to the sun changes, they doubtlessly account for at least some of the many thousands of UFO sightings made over the years.

4. Flares


Military aircraft often drop flares while conducting night training operations (or, in combat areas, as a means of diverting heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles). These flares, unlike the tiny ones used to mark highway obstacles or for emergency use, are quite large and will burn brightly for up to a half an hour at a time and, when suspended from parachutes, can remain airborne for some time. As such, if dropped in a cluster, they can take on a beaded necklace effect that gives them the impression of either aircraft hovering in formation or, if close enough together, can even appear to be a string of running lights or “portholes”. To a public generally unfamiliar with such ordnance and its characteristics, the effect can be spectacular and even frightening, making flares an especially good candidate to be mistaken for a UFO. This, in fact, may be the explanation behind the mysterious lights that were seen hanging over Phoenix, Arizona in 1997 (which does, in fact, lie near a military training ground where evening bombing exercises are frequently held.)

3. Birds, Lens Flare, Reflections, and Other Abnormalities


Few people can accept the possibility that something as seemingly commonplace as a bird could be mistaken for a UFO, but it must be realized that under certain circumstances—for example, when flying at very high altitudes (some birds have been spotted flying as high as 40,000 feet or more)—birds can be highly reflective and, when wet, even appear to glisten like metal, giving them an “artificial” or metallic appearance. Additionally, bits of tin foil or panels of corrugated metal driven skyward by high winds and strong updrafts, falling chunks of ice broken off from a high altitude airliner, and other bits of aerial flotsam can also take on a silvery sheen and appear quite luminescent, making them occasional candidates for flying disks. Even cockpit lights reflecting off a canopy have been misidentified as high-speed UFOs (especially in the early years of UFO pursuits).

2. Aircraft

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While it is difficult to imagine that anyone could mistake a modern airliner or military jet for an extraterrestrial vehicle, there are circumstances when an aircraft can appear quite unusual, particularly to a highly excitable observer. For example, anyone who has ever seen a jet’s landing lights diffused by thick fog (or suddenly turned off during a steep ascent, making the aircraft appear to abruptly vanish) could easily imagine they are witnessing something otherworldly. Additionally, an aircraft flying through thick clouds on a dark and windy night (when the sound of engines is often masked) could easily appear as a mysterious, bright object winking on and off and changing brightness as it moves silently through the darkness. It can be problematic to identify a mysterious object in the sky as an aircraft during the daytime as well. For example, the brushed aluminum fuselage and wings of an aircraft can give off an eerie sheen at high altitudes on a bright and sunny day. This characteristic, when combined with the fact that most aircraft’s navigation lights are invisible in daytime and engine noise is often indiscernible from that height, can make it appear to be a mysterious, silvery object moving swiftly across the sky. Also, if seen straight on, an aircraft can appear to be hanging motionless, at least until it makes a sudden turn, thereby mimicking the sudden stops and start movement often associated with UFOs and further enhancing its otherworldly effect.

While a fixed wing aircraft are less likely to be misinterpreted as a UFO by a growingly savvy flying public today, they were undoubtedly the cause of many early UFO reports when aircraft were less common and, as such, more “unusual”. Blimps, helicopters, and VTOL aircraft (fixed wing planes capable of hovering) are also frequently mistaken as UFOs due to their unconventional flight characteristics—in particular their ability to hover and then suddenly fly away. Normally, one has only to watch these vehicles for a few minutes to ascertain their true identity but the highly excitable witness may never take those few minutes before deciding they are seeing an alien spacecraft.

1. Experimental Military Aircraft


If regular aircraft can be a source for confusion, it makes sense that unusual looking experimental aircraft should be even more prone to being misidentified as a UFO, especially considering the vast array of often unusual or, at very least, unconventional designs being introduced. In fact, this hypothesis was very popular during the early years of ufology, when it was widely assumed—even by our own government—that the strange vehicles seen in the skies were either test-flights of captured Nazi aircraft or new and exotic Soviet vehicles capable of penetrating our airspace with impunity. In fact, the Air Force’s first official attempt to investigate UFOs—Project Sign—worked from the premise that UFOs were such weapons, thus necessitating both the urgency and the secrecy under which Sign operated.

However, considering how rare such craft are, the fact that they are usually flown only over restricted areas well away from public viewing, and that their flight characteristics are not usually all that far removed from traditional aircraft, it’s difficult to see how these would account for more than a tiny percentage of all reports. As such, it’s a near certainty that the unusual craft you see doing right angle turns, darting at incredible speeds across the sky, and changing color and intensity is not one of ours (or anyone else’s, for that matter).



Top 10 Greatest Military Blunders of World War II

There’s no doubt that the Second World War was the greatest conflict in modern history and the one event that continues to impact our world to this day. Consider how the world would look today had it not been fought, or had Japan and Germany won? And, even more intriguing, what if B had happened instead of A and the world taken a different direction as a result? It staggers the imagination.

The fact that it turned out the way it did, however, was the result of a number of factors, both positive and negative. What’s perhaps most important in understanding why one side won and the other lost is in recognizing that victory was not determined so much by who won the most battles—although ultimately that was a factor—but by who made the fewest costly mistakes. With that in mind then, below is my list of the ten greatest blunders, missed opportunities, bad judgment and just plain bad luck committed by both sides that were instrumental in either lengthening the conflict or in managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


Douglas MacArthur lands

Not a defeat, but an unnecessary operation that may have extended the war by months. After having been kicked out of the Philippines two years earlier, General Douglas MacArthur was itching to get back and convinced Roosevelt that he might lose reelection in 1944 if he didn’t liberate the island chain he had so ineptly tried to defend in 1942. However, by 1944 the Japanese air and naval presence on the island had been largely nullified and it was too far from Japan to be of use as a base from which to launch raids on its cities, leaving little reason to invade the place other than because that’s what Douglas wanted (and what Doug wanted, he usually got). The time spent securing the islands and the resources committed to doing so delayed the more important invasion of Okinawa in 1945 and probably extended the war by several months—but at least it gave MacArthur the chance to wade ashore at Leyte Gulf to proclaim that he had returned.

10. (Tie) KURSK, RUSSIA, 1943

Kursk Battle Illustration

Having apparently learned nothing from the trouncing he had just taken at Stalingrad six months earlier (see below), Hitler decides to launch yet another big offensive against the now large and well entrenched Soviet defenders, this time at a place called Kursk (an important industrial city some 300 miles south of Moscow). Billed as the largest land battle in history, the Soviet lines bent but didn’t break, and ended up costing the Germans pretty much the rest of the best of its army and air force and initiating Germany’s long and slow retreat back to Berlin, with all the unfortunate consequences for Hitler and the German people that eventually entailed.

9. ANZIO, 1944

What is not well known to the average history buff is that American troops had a golden opportunity to finish off the Germans in Italy early on with their surprise landing at Anzio, Italy—a quaint little place just a hop, skip, and a jump from Rome. So taken by surprise were the Germans, in fact, that a few yanks in jeeps managed to drive all the way to Rome without hindrance, demonstrating that the way was open for allied forces and portending a major disaster for the Germans dug in to the south of the city. Unfortunately, the allied commander of the operation, Major General John P. Lucas, proved to be a bit timid and decided to consolidate his beachhead before pushing on to Rome, which gave the Germans time to move their forces and contain the Americans there for the next few months and costing Lucas his job. Had the man shown a little Pattonesque-like bravado, the Germans might have been forced back to the Austrian frontier two years earlier than they eventually were and countless allied and axis lives might have been saved in the process.


Italy invades Greece

With dreams of restoring the glory that was Rome, Mussolini unleashed his oversized but inept army against Albania (yes, I said Albania) and Greece in the summer of 1940, and decided to push into Egypt from his colony in Libya as well. Not remarkably, Mussolini had his head handed to them by the British-Greek forces in the Balkans and the British-Allied forces in Egypt, forcing Hitler to have to send in his army to save his hapless ally. This ended up costing the Germans dearly, for it pulled valuable resources away from other fronts and delayed Hitler’s time-table for the conquest of the Soviet Union (see below), gumming up the whole affair. Chances are had Mussolini followed Franco’s lead in Spain and simply had Italy remain neutral, Germany may have won the war.

7. MAGINOT LINE and the FALL of FRANCE, 1940

Maginot Line

Having apparently learned nothing from World War One, the French set about creating an impenetrable line of fixed defenses on its border with Germany guaranteed to keep the Huns at bay. Called the Maginot line, it proved to be every bit as formidable as advertised; the problem was it didn’t go all the way to the coast, leaving a hundred mile wide gap that the Germans were able to plow through with relative ease in the spring of 1940, thereby encircling the British and French Armies in Belgium and handing the French a humiliating defeat that they don’t like to talk about to this day. Debate rages whether the Maginot Line would have stopped the Germans even if it had been complete, but considering how much warfare had changed since the trench warfare of World War One, it probably would only have slowed them down. Once the Germans breached it at any point, most likely the results would have been the same—just a little later in being realized.


Japanese Troops Bataan 1942
Japanese soldiers celebrate victory on Bataan

General Douglas MacArthur’s hare-brained scheme to defend the entire archipelago from the Japanese in the spring of 1942 was doomed from the start. Scattering his supplies of food and ammunition throughout the islands in hopes of defending every square inch of the place only ended in disaster for his men when he was quickly forced to abandon the plan—along with the stockpiles of food and ammo—and pull them all back to the Bataan Peninsula. After a few futile months of resistance, over 76,000 American and Filipino troops were starved into surrendering, leading to the greatest defeat in American military history. Not to worry, though; ‘ol Doug high-tailed it out of there before the end came and spent the rest of the war lobbying to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his brilliant defense of the place (which he got, by the way).


London Blitz

With the fall of France in June of 1940, England stood alone against the Germans, making the likelihood of a sea-borne invasion of England—already in the planning stages—a very real possibility. Only Britain’s undersized air force—the RAF—stood in the way of keeping the German’s much vaunted Luftwaffe from seizing air control and making a sea invasion possible. At first the Germans were winning the war of attrition by attacking British airfields, but after a small-scale RAF bomber raid on Berlin on August 25th, 1940 (which did little real damage) enraged der Fuhrer, Luftwaffe Air Marshal Goering decided to retaliate by switching targets from the RAF airfields to London. In doing so, he gave the British a much needed chance to regroup and rearm, the result being the Luftwaffe’s eventual defeat and the cancellation of the invasion of England a few months later.

4. INVASION of the SOVIET UNION, 1941-1945

Invasion Soviet Union

Hitler’s ambitious plan to defeat Communism on his own doorstep by knocking out the Soviet Union in one bold move very nearly worked, but it also forced him to fight a two-front war against two enemies—the USSR and USA—that far outmatched Germany in terms of manpower and industrial capability. After Stalingrad (see below) in 1942, Germany was on the defensive and defeat, pending some miracle weapon that never managed to emerge, was inevitable. Had Hitler finished off England first and secured his western front before taking on his Soviet foe (and staying out of war with America in the process) history could well have had a very different ending.


Pearl Harbor Newspaper Headline

A well-planned and executed operation that resulted in a spectacular victory for Japan, it also planted the seeds for their own eventual defeat. In concentrating their efforts on the largely obsolete battleships, the Japanese pilots failed to knock out the major infrastructure on the island—the oil farms, repair shops, and munitions storage facilities—that made it possible for the Americans to use Pearl Harbor as their forward base of operations throughout the war. Had they done so, it would have forced the U.S. to fall back to the west coast, making operations in the Pacific far more difficult and probably extending the war by a year or more. The Japanese also failed to sink the aircraft carriers—their primary targets that were out to sea at the time and a force that would come back to extract retribution later on—or attack the submarine pens. This was truly a case in which short-term victory resulted in a long term defeat.

2. DUNKIRK, 1940

1940 Dunkirk troops

Having successfully encircled the combined Anglo-French army in northern France and Belgium in June of 1940, German forces were poised to deliver the coup d’grace to the allies when Hitler inexplicably ordered his armies to halt their advance just miles short of final and total victory. It was said he did this to make a point to his generals that he was the hero of the day, not they. As a result, over 300,000 British and French soldiers were able to be evacuated to England before the noose was closed, allowing them to fight again. Had they not been evacuated, it is doubtful the British could have stood up to the Germans and Italians in North Africa the following year, potentially altering the outcome of the war by permitting the axis to take Egypt and the oil-fields of the Middle East—in which case it really would have been game over.


Battle of Stalingrad

This is the battle which essentially cost the Germans the war. Hitler’s ambitious plan to seize the oil-rich Caucasus region of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1942 ground to a halt on the shores of the Volga River at a city named after the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. After months of brutal fighting that left hundreds of thousands dead on both sides and the city leveled, Hitler’s man on the spot, Field Marshal Von Paulus, found his army entirely surrounded and was forced to surrender over a quarter million men in February of 1943. Had Hitler allowed him to withdraw a few months earlier when victory was truly out of reach, it would probably have staved off Germany’s ultimate defeat by months or, possibly, even years (giving them the time needed to develop an atomic bomb, perhaps?)



Top 10 Women Who Changed the Face of the Military

As said by comedian Elayne Boosler, “We have women in the military, but they don’t put us in the front lines. They don’t know if we can fight, if we can kill. I think we can. All the general has to do is walk over to the women and say, ‘You see the enemy over there? They say you look fat in those uniforms.”

For decades, women weren’t allowed in the military. In the past, women were expected to keep house, not fight in wars. Though today women are allowed to join a military branch, they aren’t allowed to be Navy Seals nor can they be put on the front line of a battle. However, they do make up 20% of today’s military force in the U.S. Advances towards equality in the military have been made, but still there are some discrepancies. Below is a list of ten women who have changed the face of the military:

10. Joan of Arc

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Though she grew up as a peasant girl in eastern France, today, Joan of Arc stands as a symbol of the power that women can have, even in the military, despite the fact that many did, and still do doubt a woman’s success in a militaristic career. During the Hundred Years’ War, Joan of Arc helped lead the French army to numerous victories in several different battles. Of course, Joan had to adapt to the life of being a male, which led her to cut her hair and wear men’s clothing. While many didn’t believe in her divine guidance that was calling her to help the French become victorious and gain their homeland from the British, she was in fact able to succeed. In fact, she was sent to the siege at Orleans by King Charles VII and was able to end the siege in just 9 days, but not until she was able to convince and overcome the arrogance of the long-time generals.

Joan Van Arc was highly successful in the beginning, winning several different battles against the Burgundians and even able to go to Chinon to speak with the King. However, she was captured on May 30, 1430 and was sent to prison in Rouen, France, where she was tried and convicted of heresy. In the end she was sentenced to death by burning at the stake. However, in June 1456, Joan was given a posthumous trial in which she was found not guilty and was even considered a martyr and was canonized. Today, she is a saint, heroine, and has been given the title “Maid of Orleans.”

9. Elizabeth C. Newcume


If you’ve ever wanted to read the life of a modern-day Joan of Arc, Elizabeth C. Newcume definitely comes pretty close. While she didn’t have any divine spirit calling her to fight, in September of 1847, Newcume made her way into the military at Fort Leavenworth in order to fight in the Mexican-American War. As a woman she needed to find ways to fit in, so she, just like Joan of Arc, dressed herself in male attire. Newcume was able to successfully battle against Native Americans in Dodge City, though she was eventually exposed to be a woman ten months later. Once it was made public that she was a woman, she was quickly discharged and was never allowed back in.

In July 1848, Newcume was able to receive some sort of thanks for her duties in the military. Through a private act of Congress approved on July 19, 1848, Newcume was able to receive a land warrant for 160 acres. Not only was she given land, but she was also given the pay equal to that of a soldier that was in battle for ten months with an additional three months of payment. Not much is known of Newcume after she was discharged due to a lack of government documents with information about her. (Photo: 1850’s Dodge City, Kansas)

8. Opha M. Johnson

Opha M. Johnson

Opha M. Johnson got her chance to make history on August 12, 1918 when the Secretary of the Navy publically granted total authority for females to enroll for clerical duty in the Marine Corps Reserve. With the news of this, Johnson wasted no time and the next day her name was on the list. Throughout the duration of WWI, only 304 more women enlisted. Most of these women were given jobs involving cooking, cleaning, learning to become nurses, and acting as secretaries. At the time, the women who enlisted were “freeing a man to fight.” Many of the women who took over these jobs allowed for more male soldiers to be sent to France.

Opha M. Johnson, the first woman to enlist in the Marine Corps, was the first of the 18,000 women who enlisted in the Marines during WWII. In fact, women made up about half of the personnel at various bases throughout the U.S., as most of the men enlisted were sent to the west coast to fight against the Japanese.

7. Loretta Walsh

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Born in Philadelphia, PA, on April 22, 1896, Loretta Walsh stands as the first woman in the U.S. to enlist in the Navy. By 1917, WWI had been going on for many years and Germany had just announced its plans to re-use unrestricted submarine warfare upon the Allies, including ships flying the American flag. With this said, the German u-boats ruined four American ships, killing fifteen people. Because of this, the U.S. merchant ships were then armed and told to attack any u-boats if necessary. All of this action attracted Walsh to enlist, and on March 17, 1917 she did so. A few days later, the eighteen year old became the first female Chief Yeoman. Once armistice was declared, Walsh was put on inactive reserve, but still carried out her duties as a yeoman.

Even though women had been serving in the Navy decades before Walsh ever did, she was the first to have identical pay and benefits as the men. Those who enlisted before she did often worked as nurses and were treated as civilians, not military personnel. Walsh stands as the first of 13,000 women who would go on to enlist in the Navy. Today she is a very important piece of female history as well as naval history.

6. Oveta Culp Hobby

Oveta Culp Hobby

Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby stands as the first woman to be awarded the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, which she received in 1945. She was born in Killeen, Texas and attended Mary Hardin Baylor College for Women as well as the University of Texas at Austin to achieve two separate degrees. She soon married William Hobby who was an ex-governor of Texas as well as a publisher of the Houston Post. Hobby was given the job as one of the newspaper’s editors and often focused on the War Department’s Women’s Interest section. However, during the war manpower was falling short, so Hobby decided to join the Women’s Army Corps. These women were the first to wear uniform after the military nurses. She became a colonel and was soon awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the first woman to ever receive the medal.

Hobby continued to be politically active after her time in the Army Corps. At the time, President Eisenhower elected her to be the president of the Federal Security Agency. She later worked for several different government agencies. In time she went back to working as an editor and, soon after taking care of her dying husband, died in 1995. Hobby has so much importance that there is a school in Texas named after her, as well as a quote of hers engraved into the WWII Memorial located in Washington, D.C.: “Women who stepped up were measured as citizens of the nation, not as women…this was a people’s war and everyone was in it.” (Photo by USAMHI)

5. Elsie S. Ott

Elsie S. Ott

Though many other females on the list are nurses, Lieutenant Elsie S. Ott was a specialized flight nurse. What makes her so important is the fact that she took part in the first intercontinental air evacuation flight in January 1943. The most surprising fact is that Ott had no sort of formal training in air evacuation and had never flown in an airplane before. Stationed at the 159th Station Hospital at Karachi, on January 26, 1943 she was told to prepare herself for the daunting task of taking care of five patients while in flight. Ott didn’t let this new unknown task allow for failure. For six days she took care of each patient until the plane arrived in Washington, D.C. By ship or some other sort of transportation, this journey would have taken months.

Despite having to complete an unfamiliar task without any type of training, Ott succeeded and was rewarded for her great efforts. She was given the first Air Medal that was ever presented to a female and she was also given the opportunity to undergo formal flight nurse training. Not only did she properly take care of each patient, she paid money out of her own pocket to pay for their meals, and even found the time to write very detailed suggestions for flying patients from one place to another. Some of her recommendations included having readily available oxygen on planes as well as a small first-aid kit, and Ott even suggested a change in uniform for nurses, as a skirt was not very practical for the required duties.

4. Cordelia E. Cook

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One of the many medically inclined females on the list, Cordelia E. Cook served as an Army Nurse Corps during WWII and stands as the first woman to receive two awards for her actions during the war: the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Cook was stationed in Italy and was able to successfully perform her duties as a nurse during a time of tough battles and swarms of wounded and dying soldiers.

In 1943 First Lieutenant Cordelia E. Cook was awarded the Bronze Star, making her the first woman to ever receive such an award. Soon after, she was also given the Purple Heart, making her the first woman in history to ever receive two very honorable awards for her time and efforts given during WWII.

3. Margaret Corbin

Margaret Corbin

Margaret Corbin fought in the American Revolutionary War, despite the status of women during her time. Born on November 12, 1751, Corbin lived the life of a normal woman of that era until she married John Corbin in 1772. They both fought alongside the hundreds of men battling against the British troops, most notably at Fort Washington in Manhattan. Though John was enlisted in the First Company of Pennsylvania Artillery, Margaret was not, but she was known as a camp follower, which was highly common for those who had husbands in the military. Her main role was to cook, clean, and provide for the soldiers; basically a housewife away from home.

Once her husband and others were put into battle, Margaret went as well. She helped alongside her husband in firing the cannon until he was injured and died. Bravely, she was able to successfully take over the job of firing the cannon. Margaret didn’t come out unharmed: she was hit in her jaw, chest, and arm, and eventually had to surrender due to her injuries. She then moved to Philadelphia in 1779 and was granted money, the amount equaling to the pay of a soldier in battle for half a month. With this, she became the first woman to ever receive pension. She is also the first and only Revolutionary soldier to be buried at West Point cemetery. (Image above, artist: Herbert Knotel)

2. Annie G. Fox

Annie Fox

Annie G. Fox, born on August 4, 1893, was the first woman in the military to receive a Purple Heart for her courageous and outstanding performance in the Army Nurse Corps. Though the award was canceled due to a change in requirements, most notably the fact that to be given the Purple Heart, you have to be injured, she was still given the Bronze Star, which is almost always given for an act of bravery. Fox played a big role in helping U.S. soldiers during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Here, Fox was the First Lieutenant and Chief Nurse at Hickam Field, Oahu, Hawaii.

As a nurse she was of course trained to take care of the injured and dying, but it is said that she bravely continued her job, even while extremely heavy bombardments were still taking place. She was able to properly administer anesthesia and was even able to teach the civilian volunteer nurses how to properly dress wounds. Fox was definitely calm under pressure and completed very meritorious acts for which she was given the Purple Heart. During WWII, about 964,409 Purple Hearts were awarded. Today, there is an estimated number of 287 Purple Hearts that have been given to women in the armed forces.

1. Mary E. Walker

mary walker

Born in Oswego, New York into an abolitionist family, Mary Walker today stands as the first and only woman in the entire military force to have ever received the Congressional Medal of Honor for her actions and duties during the Civil War. While she didn’t start off in the military, Walker was known for pushing for women’s rights as well as dress reform. Before the Civil War broke out, Walker was the only female in her class to graduate with a medical degree from Syracuse Medical College. Soon after getting her degree, the war broke out and Walker volunteered to join the Army as a medical officer, but was given a stern “no.”

Though discriminated against because of her gender, Walker pushed on, becoming the assistant surgeon in the Army of the Cumberland in 1863. During this time she was able to modify an officer’s uniform in order to properly travel alongside with soldiers. She was then made assistant surgeon to the 52nd Ohio Infantry but was captured in 1864 by the Confederates and released four months after. She then worked in Tennessee at a woman’s and orphan asylum. On November 11, 1865, she was awarded the Medal of Honor. It was taken away in 1917 (after she didn’t match up to the set standards at the time), but reinstated in 1977 posthumously.