Hello and welcome to the Duffel Blog press kit. Here you will find background information on Duffel Blog and its writers, history, and other pertinent information. If you are looking for images, logos, and other documents, you can download that here.
For interview requests, please contact [email protected].
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is behind Duffel Blog?
Duffel Blog was founded by Paul Szoldra. A former U.S. Marine infantryman, Szoldra created what he originally called The Duffel Blog as a side project in 2012 while working on a startup meant to help transitioning service members in their college search.
Who is Paul Szoldra?
Paul Szoldra is the founder and editor-in-chief of Duffel Blog. After receiving an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps as a sergeant in 2010, he made writing his full-time career, juggling his role as editor-in-chief of Duffel Blog with more serious journalistic writing pursuits, to include stints with Business Insider and We Are The Mighty. He lives in Orange County, California.
His military deployments include a six-month rotation to Okinawa, Japan and ship service while attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) with 81s Platoon, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/3 in 2003. He deployed to eastern Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment for seven months from 2004 to 2005.
Szoldra’s military awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Korean Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
You can find more information about Paul at his personal website.
How did Duffel Blog start?
While attending The University of Tampa in 2012 as an entrepreneurship major, Szoldra created Duffel Blog as a section on his now defunct military-to-college transition website, CollegeVeteran.com. Frustrated with other satire publications and their lack of military knowledge, Szoldra began writing stories specifically for a military audience that were authentic and showcased the unique sense of humor of men and women in uniform.
After receiving positive feedback on Duffel Blog, it was separated from the transition website and hosted on its own domain on March 4, 2012.
What was the first article ever published?
The first article ever published was Tired of ‘Chair Force’ nickname, Air Force colonel bans chairs.
Who writes for Duffel Blog?
Although all Duffel Blog content was crafted solely by Szoldra in the beginning, it wasn’t long before he was hearing from veterans who wanted to write their own military satire. Presently, Duffel Blog content is produced by a highly-talented pool of more than 100 part-time contributors, which run the gamut of enlisted, officer, and every branch of service.
Has Duffel Blog ever fooled anyone?
Yes. Duffel Blog is frequently taken seriously despite its satirical nature. Perhaps the most noteworthy example happened in 2013, when Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote a letter to the Pentagon asking for more information on a Duffel Blog article that reported GI Bill benefits would be offered to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The letter made national news.
Other examples include a story that fooled a writer at Gizmodo, another story that led to constituents calling into the office of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) (prompting an official statement in response), and frequent cases that have appeared on the fact-checking website Snopes.
What does the Pentagon think of Duffel Blog?
We like to think the top leadership at the Pentagon enjoys Duffel Blog, despite a number of public affairs officials complaining over the years after they’ve received angry calls that can be traced back to this site.
Duffel Blog counts Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as one of its fans. In an interview with CBS News in 2013, Mattis said, “they’ve made a lot of fun of me and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” adding, “It’s good that these young men are poking a little bit of fun at us … I enjoy the feedback actually.”
In another interview with The Washington Post in 2013, he said, “Duffel Blog is a beautifully crafted response to an increasingly stuffy environment in today’s America. Duffel Blog reminds us of much of what we in the military fight for — the freedom to think our own way and to laugh about the absurdities without being mean-spirited.”
Pentagon spokesman George Little also praised Duffel Blog in 2013, telling The Washington Post that “it helps put many things in healthy perspective, even when it’s a little over the top or overly satirical. In the very serious world we live in at the Pentagon, a bit of levity can actually help advance the mission.” He also urged military public affairs professionals to read the site in a speech he gave at Fort Meade.
Duffel Blog frequently gets positive feedback from military service members, veterans, and civilian national security professionals.
Who else has praised Duffel Blog?
Duffel Blog has been delighted to receive compliments from outside of the military community. Here are some examples:
- “Some of what it turns out just might be the best military satire since Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22.” — David Martin, CBS News’ national security correspondent
- “The site reminds me of The Onion in its early days. They’re clearly having fun doing it, which is part of what makes it successful.” — Scott Dikkers, founding editor of The Onion
- “[Duffel Blog is] a must-read for national-security nerds — and anyone who enjoys humor, really — it provides pitch-perfect military parody online.” — Spencer Ackerman, national security reporter for The Daily Beast
- “Hilarious.” — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
Have any other news outlets written stories about Duffel Blog?
Where can I find photos to illustrate my story about Duffel Blog?
We have created a .zip file of images that can be used in your reporting.
Who can I contact for more information?
For further inquiries, please contact [email protected].