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In Memoriam: James Gandolfini, Star Of ‘The Last Castle’, Dead At 51

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James Gandolfini playing Col. Winter in The Last Castle
James Gandolfini playing Col. Winter in The Last Castle

James Gandolfini, star of such films as The Last Castle, Crimson Tide and most recently Zero Dark Thirty, died Wednesday in Italy, from an apparent cardiac arrest. He was 51.

Gandolfini was best known for his portrayals of military figures, although many celebrate his greatest achievement as his HBO documentaries, Alive Day: Home from Iraq, and Wartorn: 1861-2010.

In Alive Day, Gandolfini interviewed ten Iraq War veterans about their experiences in combat and the healing process they went through, both physically and psychologically.

Wartorn examined the phenomenon of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its effects on American service members from the Civil War through to 2010, when the film was produced.

Gandolfini’s first acting role was as high-strung supply officer Lt. Bobby Dougherty in Crimson Tide. In the film, his character was at odds with Cmdr. Hunter, played by Denzel Washington, and his plan to mutiny in order to deter a nuclear exchange with Russia.

In The Last Castle, Gandolfini portrayed Col. Winter, the commandant of a maximum security military prison. The film raised questions of loyalty, duty and honor in its exploration of the concept of military justice and the difference between what was “legal” and what was “right.”

The run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq is addressed in the film In the Loop. Gandolfini played Lt. Gen. Miller, an advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The satirical look at events leading to the outbreak of hostilities in the Middle East received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2010.

His final role, of the CIA Director in Zero Dark Thirty, may have been overshadowed by the harrowing depiction of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, but it stands as his final tribute to the men and women who defend the United States.

The son of a WWII veteran, Gandolfini also took part in USO tours to visit and entertain U.S. troops deployed to Southwest Asia.

Navy

Crop-dusting ensign set for flight school

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Source: USDA

PENSACOLA, Fla. — After a gut-wrenching selection process, Ensign Pierce A. Stinkfeld was chosen as a student naval aviator, sources confirmed today.

Stinkfeld, who graduated last year from the University of Missouri with a double major in flatology and ungulate digestion, was also enrolled in Naval ROTC where he received rank honors.

“I’ve been preparing for this my whole life,” Stinkfeld said as he sniffed the air. “From those clumsy days of crop-dropping in Ms. Stummerfurz’ third-grade class to winning the state ‘North by Northwest’ award as a high school junior, I’ve been dusting off home plate since I was in diapers. Now, I’m ready to throw caution to my recently-released wind and have a career in the U.S. Navy.”

Stinkfeld noted that he’s exploring various fleet aircraft options.

“I’m looking at rotary wing because of the awesome downdraft,” he said. “But I’m also considering the F-35 for its killer afterburner turbofan. I can really foul up an enemy’s day with that.”

Stinkfeld is also looking forward to getting his callsign.

“I bet it will be something cool like ‘Danger’ or ‘Snake,’” he said with an overconfidence normal reserved for newly-commissioned American heroes.

However, instructor pilots seemed certain that Stinkfeld will be forever known as ‘Beefwalk.’”

“Don’t quote us on that,” said one. “But it’s in the fart jar, so to speak.”

Stinkfeld was last seen arguing with the station commissary manager over adding more selections of asparagus, gummi bears and beans.

“It’s for everyone’s digestive health,” he said right before hustling up the baby food aisle for no apparent reason.

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Veteran insecure about not having USAA card at group lunch

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NORFOLK, Va. — A veteran found himself in an predicament when it came time to pay for his traditional wing combo after a group lunch break at the local Buffalo Wild Wings — he did not have a USAA card, sources confirmed today.

Navy veteran Phil Cohen watched in utter humiliation as coworker after coworker placed down USAA debit and credit cards to split the check.

“I was right about to flip out my Diner’s Club card when I just froze and realized I’m not part of the whole USAA club,” said Cohen. “There wasn’t enough cash in my wallet, so I had to go through several scenarios on how to handle the situation — pretend someone stole my wallet, go to the bathroom and never come back, or pour the rest of my beer on my head and plead insanity.”

Cohen began sweating profusely before sliding his card across the table, according to his co-workers.

“I thought to myself, ‘Why does he hate freedom?’ and ‘Doesn’t he know he can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase?’ He’s probably been paying ATM fees this whole time!” said Tim Howell, a member of the USAA cult.

Other coworkers report Cohen probably could have asked for someone to spot him. However, it seemed like he was going to spontaneously combust.

“We all calmly asked him to join us in unison, to join the USAA clan, to pledge allegiance to savings and military friendly discounts. That seemed to make things worse,” said Jennie Aldrich, whose USAA face tattoo made it clear where her loyalty lies.

“They probably think I’m a Russian operative pretending to be American. What if they mention this during my next clearance interview? Am I going to have to start having lunch alone? I’m so sad,” Cohen said.

Cohen added that he has been using the General Car Insurance, that his bank is SunTrust Bank, and he has been investing through his cousin Steve who “has lots of stocks.”

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Marine Corps

Wait training added to Marine PFT

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QUANTICO, Va. — Headquarters Marine Corps will add wait training to the physical fitness test to reflect increased demands on the time of today’s Marines, sources confirmed today.

The test itself will feature a four-hour wait check, and the preparatory program will incorporate lengthy waits in multiple settings.

“We’ve found that Marines spend a significant portion of their day — in garrison, in the field, and on deployment — waiting around for something, and some of them are just not prepared,” said Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller. “No hip-pocket classes ready to brief, nothing from my professional reading list and no PME homework. Hell, not even any hydration, tobacco or sunflower seeds.”

The revised training program will require Marines to wait in a classroom for 55 minutes before the instructor shows up. At the close of the classroom portion of the wait training, Marines will divide into groups and proceed to the base clinic, armory, consolidated issue facility and range. There they will participate in round-robin training consisting of sitting, kneeling or standing at each location for 75 minutes before a role player turns them away for lack of ID or appropriate attire. They will finish the training day by waiting on the word for 84 minutes.

As with any change the Corps has introduced in its storied history, there have been vocal objections from those who consider themselves “Old Corps.”

“Those millennials need training for everything. Real Marines already know how to wait. I’ve been waiting for my check-in sheet to be signed since ’89. Chesty would roll over in his …” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Jedediah Smith, before choking on the baseball-sized dip in his mouth.

Some have questioned the feasibility of incorporating so much extra training into the annual training requirements of a force that is continually preparing for war in Afghanistan, North Korea, China and Texas. However, the concerns have largely fallen on the deaf ears of leaders waiting around at DEERS.

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Army

Army targets horny teens with Pornhub recruiting ads

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FORT KNOX, Ky. — The Army has shifted strategy and is now focusing advertisements on the website Pornhub after missing their 2018 fiscal year recruiting goal by 6,500 recruits, sources confirmed today.

The ads, which promise “hot singles in your area,” ask potential recruits for identifying information before scheduling them for an appointment with a recruiter.

“We haven’t been talking to prospective recruits in a language they understand or in places they spend their time” said Col. Mike Riggins, head of US Army Recruiting Strategy. “Then, one day at work, I accidentally clicked on a link advertising local MILFs and accidentally input my personal data, credit card information and emailed the site several images of my junk. I realized that if I could unintentionally set up a robust profile during work hours on a government laptop, recruits could do the same at home.”

It’s a new and innovative way of addressing the problem and one that is paying big dividends. Since making the change, the Army has already exceeded its full year quota of recruiter appointments for 2019 and 2020. Also, unprompted, hundreds of applicants are sending in nudes, which recruiters are able to forward to MEPS as part of medical pre-screening.

As a result, the Army has begun officially referring to all recruiters as “hot singles” and has relabeled Army recruiting stations as either “Cougar Dens” or “Bone Zones.”

When asked if he’s received complaints from married recruiters over being classified as “singles,” Lt. Col. Jesse Gabriel of the newly re-flagged Chicago “Hammer-Dong” Battalion said, “No, honestly now that you mention it, it hasn’t really come up.”

The program is not without its downsides, however. Several tens of thousands of recruiters are currently under investigation for illegal acts related to the program.

“We have way too many recruiters who are allegedly screwing applicants,” said Gabriel. “And not screwing them in the traditional ‘enlist them as a fueler with no bonus and tell them they can probably get Airborne when they get to their unit’ sense. I’m talking about screwing them in the equally traditional ‘creep on applicants and try to have sex with them’ sense.”

The program is likely to continue in spite of issues and even expand as the Army has announced a partner program for the active force.

“It’s basically the Tinder app specifically for Soldiers except swiping right in our program connects the Soldier with a branch manager or retention NCO in the area who is definitely looking to f-them,” said Riggins.

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“The VA is doing a great job” finds joint study by prescription drug, alcohol industries

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs received high praise from a study commissioned by the pharmaceutical and alcohol industries published today.

“The VA is doing an exceptional job providing just the right level of care and shouldn’t change a thing,” according the study. The findings stands in direct opposition to earlier criticism from veterans, congress, and anyone else who has ever interacted with the VA for any reason.

The report cites as evidence the number of veterans not receiving care despite their experiences, injuries, or requests to receive care.

“These are heroes who have served their country honorably, so, obviously, if they really needed care, the VA would get it for them,” stated Pfizer spokesman Tom Schnettler. “The fact that so many don’t receive care clearly shows how good the VA is at determining they don’t need it.”

The report also outlines how effective the VA is at managing the delicate transition soldiers have to make from active duty — where trauma is managed via Motrin and beer — to veteran status where pain is managed with opioids and also beer.

The majority of negative sentiment about the VA comes from haters and losers who would rather troops do lame, commie stuff like yoga, according to the study.

“If these fine American’s want to enjoy powerful prescription meds, whiskey, and UFC pay-per-views at many times the national average, they’ve earned that right,” said alcohol executive Nickolas Plum.

The study notes all numbers are normalized to remove accounting for individuals who served but now smoke marijuana on occasion as they are snowflake traitors to the nation and not true veterans.

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Chelsea Manning comes out as cisgender, asks Trump for clemency

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Chelsea Manning has come out as a heterosexual man and is asking President Donald Trump for clemency, sources confirmed today.

Manning, who once orchestrated the largest intelligence breach in U.S. military history, is currently in federal custody for refusing to testify against WikiLeaks and the recently arrested Julian Assange.

“As we know, Chelsea is a tremendously courageous person,” said Manning’s lawyer Mena Finelli. “But right now, he is the only straight man in a jail full of women. Can you imagine? It’s unconscionable.”

Speaking at a rally in Lima, Ohio, Trump indicated he would not entertain Manning’s latest request.

“Only an idiot or a traitor would get involved with WikiLeaks. Trust me, I know,” the president told his supporters amid chats of “lock her up.” “And besides, Chelsea is locked up with a bunch of women. What is there to complain about?”

Meanwhile, the public reaction has been every bit as fluid as Manning’s gender.

Joshua Shleemi, a former pro-Manning activist, expressed doubts about Manning’s sincerity.

“We stood with Chelsea from the very start when she first betrayed her country,” he said. “But we never thought Chelsea would pull a stunt like this just to appeal to the president. She turned her back on us, her allies. Chelsea is a traitor! A gender traitor!”

The military community has expressed similar sentiments.

“That traitor doesn’t know the meaning of sacrifice or selfless service,” said Michael Polk, who recently separated from the Marine Corps after failing a drug test during boot camp. “She never stood for anything, never risked anything for what she believed in.”

While it is anyone’s guess what trouble or gender will befall Chelsea Manning in the future, one thing is abundantly clear — everyone now agrees she is a traitor.

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Retired General Quixote warns of threat posed by windmills of mass destruction

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NEW MADRID, Mo. — Retired Lt. Gen. Donald Quixote urged the Pentagon not to underestimate the emerging new WMD threat — windmills of mass destruction, in a statement to reporters today.

Quixote thanked the president for bringing attention to the national security threat and expressed hope that the international community would condemn the blatant proliferation of windmill technology to nation states known to cause instability in their respective regions.

“Evidence of recent windmill construction in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria is incontrovertible,” Quixote said. “I myself have read the reports and seen the aerial surveillance. It’s clear that even North Korea has availed themselves of this dangerous technology.”

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in a rare display of coherence urged caution in universally condemning windmill technology.

“People said I wasn’t quote unquote ‘qualified’ to be secretary of energy, but under my leadership, Texas became one of the world’s largest wind energy producers in the world. Are they suggestin’ there’s something wrong with Texas?”

After being assured that nobody in his vicinity cared about Texas, Perry clarified that he fully supports the president and that his remarks were being taken out of context.

“It is clear that detractors and doubters of the WMD threat know little of the true ways of the world,” added Quixote. “Our steadfast commitment to peace and global good shall prevail over evil, if only we continue to support leaders who have the stomach for it!”

NATO member states responded that they literally could not even.

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Army

Command and General Staff College ranked among nation’s top 500 community colleges

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FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – Faculty and staff at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, known as CGSC, are celebrating the school’s debut appearance on the U.S. News and World Report list of the nation’s top 500 community colleges, sources confirmed today.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our professors, students, and alumni,” said Army Combined Arms Center Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy. “We almost beat Webster University, and we tied with the University of Phoenix Junior College. Even better, none of the other service staff colleges made the list!”

Lundy directed his staff to apply for regional accreditation last year as part of the Army’s broader effort to translate military skills into civilian credentials. After receiving a community college charter, the school began offering associate degrees in operational planning, business micromanagement, and reimagining historic military treatises.

Alumni have long considered CGSC the “Harvard of mandatory professional military education” due to its selective acceptance, rigorous curriculum, and near 100% graduation rate.

The school’s curriculum is designed to prepare senior captains and junior majors to become operational level staff officers by teaching them to skim or ignore volumes of doctrine, overanalyze simple problems, and brief senior officers while nursing crippling hangovers.

To many students, it is no surprise the institution was rated the 492nd best community college in the U.S.

“Yup, sounds about right,” said Maj. Joe Muto, a former Rhodes Scholar and current CGSC student. “I’m often stunned by the level of intellect and depth of my peers and instructors. Honestly though, I couldn’t think of a better way to train a few top performers on how to lead an inept staff through military planning for a pointless operation. It would be brilliant if I actually believed they planned it that way.”

At press time, sources heard Lundy calling the other service staff college leaders to console them and wish them better luck in 2020.

Duffel Blog reporters W.T. Door and Lieutenant Dan contributed to this article.

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