What is Duffel Blog?

Duffel Blog is the first and only satirical news organization devoted to the U.S. military community. Over the past decade, we’ve poked fun at generals, lieutenants, and everyone in between while helping military members and civilians to think critically about national security through satire and smart humor.

“I think I have learned more about U.S. military culture from reading Duffel Blog than I have from many hundreds of academic articles on the subject.”

Tom Ricks, Foreign Policy Magazine

Since its founding in 2012 by Paul Szoldra, a military journalist and Marine Corps veteran, Duffel Blog has been produced by a highly-talented group of writers, editors, and artists from both the enlisted and officer ranks in every branch of the U.S. military. It would not be possible without the support of thousands of people like you.

“Some of what [Duffel Blog] turns out just might be the best military satire since Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22.”

David Martin, CBS News

Why you should subscribe

Duffel Blog was started on the premise that there was plenty of absurdity in the military and it needed to be pointed out. Now after a decade of publishing and millions of readers later, it’s safe to say that we were right.

Yet times are tough in digital media, even more so for a small operation like Duffel Blog. The laughs over the years have gone up, but our social media reach and advertising revenue have steadily declined. So in 2020, we moved to an email newsletter on Substack so we could sustain Duffel Blog for decades to come. And now that all those annoying and intrusive advertisements are gone, we need your help.

Duffel Blog
The Duffel Blog story (aka why we're a newsletter now)
Dear reader, I recently moved Duffel Blog from a website to an email newsletter hosted on a platform called Substack. The primary and perhaps unsurprising reason? 2020. Duffel Blog has never made a ton of money. It's been kept alive mostly by the amazing writing of its military veteran contributors who do it more for the love of it than the small amount of money I manage to pay them. And with relatively low overhead (no offices, just me, a wonderful part-time editor and freelance writers, web hosting, software), it didn't cost that much to keep up…
Read more

Free subscribers to Duffel Blog get occasional emails but paid subscribers will be able to directly support the amazing creators of Duffel Blog, and will get:

  • Huge appreciation for backing a team of military veteran writers keeping you laughing every day

  • Every single piece of new Duffel Blog content (~4 emails/week)

  • Exclusive access to our comment community and archive

Lesser Media Coverage of Duffel Blog

  • Rep. Pat Fallon claimed SPLC listed 2 veterans organizations as ‘hate groups.’ His source? A satirical news blog. (The Washington Post)

  • Duped by Duffel Blog, a congressman claims that the VFW and American Legion were labeled hate groups (Task & Purpose)

  • GOP Politicians Have Repeatedly Been Bamboozled by Satire. Are We One Onion Article Away From Total Chaos? (Washingtonian)

  • Move Over, Sammich Jokes: Women Make Their Mark on Military Humor (Military.com)

  • A New Era of Military Comedy from the Ranks (War on the Rocks)

  • Duffel Blog Founder Releases Book to Mark 5 Years of Military Humor (Military.com)

  • Duffel Blog makes fun of military absurdities — and has the Pentagon laughing, too (The Washington Post)

  • The Duffel Blog: Like 'The Onion' In Camo (NPR)

  • Oops! McConnell duped by parody news report on Gitmo (MSNBC)

  • Senate Minority Leader Fooled by Report in Military Version of The Onion (Wired Magazine)

  • Where the U.S. Army Is Winless (Time Magazine)

  • Military satire on display via the Duffel Blog (Military Times)

  • Prank and File: These Military Reports Are Out of Line (The Wall Street Journal)

  • The Military's Version Of The Onion Is Now So Popular Its Server Just Crashed (Business Insider)

  • Fake military news site gains traction (Columbia Journalism Review)

  • US Army Changing Bayonets For Tomahawks (Gizmodo)

“They’ve made a lot of fun of me and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

Praise for Duffel Blog

“Behind the biting wit and outrageous headlines is a satirical prowess that not only engages the reader with pointed absurdist humor but does so with the intent to challenge every level of the military experience.”

Maximilian Uriarte, New York Times bestselling author and creator of Terminal Lance

“[Duffel Blog] 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

Frequently asked questions

Who writes for Duffel Blog?

Duffel Blog is produced by a highly-talented pool of hundreds of part-time contributors, which run the gamut of enlisted and officer ranks in every branch of the U.S. military.

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 G.I. 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 that led to constituents calling into the office of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), which prompted 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 us (sorry not sorry).

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.

Disclaimer

Duffel Blog is not intended for readers under 18 years of age or those without a sense of humor.

Duffel Blog is a parody of a news organization, and all content it publishes is satirical in nature. No content should be regarded as truthful, and no reference of an individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or emotional harm. All characters, groups, and military units appearing in these works are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual military units and companies is purely coincidental.

Miscellaneous

To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.