CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 18, 2015 – Wednesday is trivia day, where we delve into the world of little known facts and tidbits of interest with an eclectic potpourri of information.
1 – All about the Pentagon: With all the news surrounding ISIS and terrorism throughout the world, the Pentagon seems like a place we should know more about.
Construction began on the new headquarters for the current United States Department of Defense (DOD) in 1941. The massive building has about 6,500,000 square feet, of which over half is used as offices. With approximately 23,000 military employees and 3,000 more non-defense support personnel, the building consists of five equi-dimensional sides with five floors above ground and two basement levels.
It has informally been known as “ground zero” since the days of the Cold War due to the assumption that the Pentagon would be a primary target in the event of a nuclear attack by Russia.
When American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked in 2001 and flown into the western side of the building, it was the first significant foreign attack on Washington’s government facilities since the burning of Washington by British forces during the War of 1812.
Of the 189 people who were killed in the hijacking and attack, 59 victims were passengers on the airliner and five were perpetrators on board for the endgame. The remaining 125 deaths were people who were at work in the Pentagon.
Interestingly enough, the attack of Sept. 11, 2001 occurred exactly 60 years after ground was broken for the construction of the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 1941.
2 – Custer’s Last Stand & Crazy Horse Troop: The more familiar name of the Battle of the Little Bighorn is Custer’s Last Stand, in which the combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes fought against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army led by General George Custer.
The two-day battle in June 1876 was an overwhelming victory for the tribal leaders, which included Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, both of whom were inspired by visions of Sitting Bull.
The U.S. defeat was resounding, with five of the 7th Cavalry’s 12 companies annihilated, including Custer himself, two of his brothers, a nephew and a brother-in-law among the 268 casualties.
In the century-and-a-half that has passed since Custer’s defeat, historians have studied the general’s actions extensively to uncover the reasons behind General Custer’s colossal defeat.
But times change.
More recently, U.S. Army Troop C, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment distinguished itself in Iraq during the Second Persian Gulf War. They’re known as the “Crazy Horse Troop.”
After deploying from its base in Fort Lewis, Washington, this “green” Crazy Horse Troop of the Army’s first operational Stryker unit had been in Iraq only nine days before participating in Operation Arrowhead Blizzard in the streets of Samarra, Iraq. It was the first combat operation involving eight-wheeled armored Stryker vehicles.
For most of the soldiers of the Crazy Horse Troop it was their first combat experience. Suffice it to say the Samarra operation turned those “green” troops into veteran combat soldiers overnight, and thanks in part to their efforts, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was finally captured.
3 – The strangest trade in sports history: Way back in 1927, a young man named Walt Disney created a cartoon character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit for Charles B. Mintz of Universal Pictures. Disney directed 26 of his Oswald cartoons for Mintz before being forced to leave due to a budget dispute. Though Disney was Oswald’s creator, Mintz owned the rights to the character, which was a bitter pill for Disney to swallow.
Later, Universal purchased Oswald from Mintz, whose cartoons were then being directed by Walter Lanz, an animator who later became famous for his own creation, Woody Woodpecker.
Now, The Rest of the Story:
Enter Al Michaels who was scheduled to team with John Madden in the broadcast booth for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” in 2006. On the previous day, Disney-owned ESPN had announced that Joe Theismann, Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser would be the broadcast team for “Monday Night Football” on ESPN.
However, before both announcements were made, it was believed that Theismann and Michaels would be the commentators for “Monday Night Football.”
In consideration for releasing Michaels from his ABC/ESPN contract, the Disney organization regained the rights to the earlier Disney-directed Oswald cartoons, while ESPN obtained other considerations from NBC, which, under its then-parent company General Electric, had been merged with Universal in 2004.
As a result, sports broadcaster extraordinaire Al Michaels was traded to NBC in exchange for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a cartoon character who happily returned home to Disney at last.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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