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Left of Boom | A Military.com Podcast

News & Politics Podcasts

In Left of Boom, Military.com managing editor Hope Hodge Seck talks to legends and pathfinders who made U.S. military history; gets the ground truth on military myths, rumors and legends; and decodes the big ideas shaping the military of the future.

In Left of Boom, Military.com managing editor Hope Hodge Seck talks to legends and pathfinders who made U.S. military history; gets the ground truth on military myths, rumors and legends; and decodes the big ideas shaping the military of the future.


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In Left of Boom, Military.com managing editor Hope Hodge Seck talks to legends and pathfinders who made U.S. military history; gets the ground truth on military myths, rumors and legends; and decodes the big ideas shaping the military of the future.




15: What It's Like to Be a Medal of Honor Recipient (ft. Kyle White)

Receiving the Medal of Honor -- the nation’s highest honor recognizing bravery in combat -- means joining an elite fraternity: there are only 69 living recipients, spanning conflicts from World War II to Afghanistan. At 33, Kyle White is one of the youngest. And now, six years after receiving the medal, he’s making a point of telling his whole story, including his fight to overcome personal demons from battle and his adjustment to the unexpected fame that comes with the medal. He joins Left...


14: Is the US Losing the Fight for Arctic Dominance?

Things are heating up in the Arctic -- literally and figuratively. As ice melts and new sea lanes open, the region is the site of intense new military competition between the world’s largest power players: the U.S., Russia and China. While the U.S. Coast Guard is working hard to protect American interests in the Arctic, including the wellbeing of those in remote regions of Alaska, it has to operate aging equipment on a tight budget. Rear Adm. Matthew Bell, commander of Coast Guard District...


13. Did 10 Army Bases Get Named for Traitors?

We’re in the middle of a national reckoning over racism and representation, and it has thrown new attention onto the fact that 10 of the U.S. Army’s bases, including some of the largest ones, are named for generals who fought against the Union in the Civil War -- men who by definition are traitors to the nation and who in some cases passionately defended racist ideas and segregation. How did this happen, and why are some people fighting hard to keep these bases from being renamed? We’ll...


12: The Wild Science of Military MRE Meals

It’s hard to think of a more beloved -- and sometimes hated -- cultural touchstone in the military than meals ready to eat, or MREs. They’ve been around since the C-Rations of World War II and beyond, and have for decades offered a touch of comfort and a taste of home -- albeit a highly engineered one that can last for years at high temperatures without spoiling. You can find MRE cookbooks that will tell you how to turn drink mix and generic toaster pastries into gourmet desserts, and there...


11. All Your Space Force Questions Answered

It wasn’t so long ago that the notion of a military Space Force conjured up images of Star Trek and other fictional future worlds. But our own world is changing, and with a lot of work behind the scenes and a very public push from President Donald Trump, U.S. Space Force became the 6th military service on December 20, 2019 -- the first new military service since the creation of the U.S. Air Force 72 years prior. There’s no roadmap or guide book for creating a new military service’s...


10: Meet the First Mom with a Ranger Tab

At 37, Lt. Col. Lisa Jaster was not only one of the first women to graduate the Army’s grueling Ranger School, she was also 15 years older than most of the students who went through. Six months after getting a buzz cut and entering a course that had never had a female graduate, Jaster would become the Army’s first mom with a Ranger Tab. She talks about her new “Delete the Adjective” campaign, her obsession with strength and fitness and what she still wants to accomplish in her military...


9. Why the Military Helps Hollywood Make Movies

Ever wondered how big blockbuster movie productions are able to feature real tanks and fighter aircraft -- or, in the case of the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick, actors actually launching off an aircraft carrier? Turns out the U.S. military gives many movies a major helping hand, from providing access to bases and ships to actually recruiting troops to serve as background actors. But first, scripts have to get vetted to make sure they're in line with the DoD's core values. In this episode, we'll...


8. Meet the Real Charlie from 'Top Gun'

Sometimes truth is more interesting than fiction. Christine Fox was a defense analyst working at the Navy's legendary fighter school in Miramar, California when a Hollywood producer decided she'd be the perfect inspiration for Tom Cruise's love interest in the 1986 blockbuster "Top Gun." But that was just the start of Fox's incredible career -- she'd go on to become the most senior woman at the Pentagon, serving under multiple defense secretaries. In this episode she talks about her role in...


7. Super Soldiers Part 2: The Dark Side (Ft. Edward Barrett and Peter Pfaff)

If Episode 6 left you scared about the terrifying Cyborg military future that awaits us, this sequel may offer a small dose of comfort, in that there are thoughtful people thinking through the major problems that this future presents, and how we might solve them. Last episode, we talked about the technology itself, from smart body suits with implants to bionic eyes and Cyborg brain enhancements. Today, we're going to follow that up by diving deep into the new world of ethical concerns that...


6. The Future of Bioenhanced Super Soldiers, Pt. 1 (Ft. Peter Emanuel and Diane DiEuliis)

Steve Rogers was just an ordinary young man who tried to enlist to fight in World War II but was turned away due to health problems. Until, that is, he was approached by a Defense Department scientist who injected him with a special serum that turned him into the perfect specimen of military strength and stamina: Captain America. When Marvel’s beloved comic book hero was first introduced in 1941, such a biological upgrade was strictly in the realm of fiction. But now, some say it’s the next...


5. Adding Women to the Military Draft (Ft. Brig. Gen. Joe Heck)

It has been 50 years since the last Americans were drafted, but the nation continues to require men ages 18 to 26 to register with the Selective Service, an insurance policy in case the nation faces and unforeseen security crisis requiring mass mobilization. This spring, a congressionally appointed commission completed a multi-year study of military and national service that addressed, among other questions, whether America should still have a draft system, and whether women should be...


4. Pilotless Black Hawk Takes Flight (Ft. Igor Cherepinsky)

As the military tests out new unmanned aircraft platforms, are pilots soon to go the way of the dodo? On this episode, we talk to Sikorsky Innovations Director Igor Cherepinsky about the future of autonomous aviation, its uses in the military and the status of Sikorsky efforts to develop a pilotless Black Hawk helicopter that could lift off without a human aboard as early as next year. Sure, at this point we’re familiar with tiny quadcopter drones that hover above sporting events and even...


3. The Politics of the Medal of Honor (ft. Doug Sterner)

On this episode, we talk about military awards for heroism. They've been around for almost as long as the republic itself, dating back to George Washington's Badge of Military Merit, first awarded in 1782. They're granted judiciously and closely policed to retain their value and meaning. The nation's highest award for battlefield heroism, the Medal of Honor, has a mystique all its own. While the lower awards, including the Bronze Star, Silver Star and service crosses, can be awarded simply...


2. Top Military Myths Debunked (ft. Jeff Schogol)

Today we're tackling a beloved piece of military culture: the myths, rumors and legends that get passed down from generation to generation of service members, and sometimes are even taught as history -- whether or not they actually happened. To do that, Military.com managing editor Hope Hodge Seck sat down with a colleague and personal friend, who for years was known to readers of Stars and Stripes by another title: The Rumor Doctor. Jeff Schogol is one of the most beloved faces in the...


1. The Civilian Who Got a Bronze Star from the Army (ft. Joe Galloway)

Welcome to the first episode of Military.com's new podcast, Left of Boom. I'm Hope Hodge Seck, managing editor for news. Every day, our reporting team is out there covering the news affecting the military community. But we felt we wanted a place to go deeper on the topics you care about, and to let you hear directly from the legends and trailblazers and changemakers who have left their mark on the military. So that's what we'll do. In this our first episode we'll talk to Joe Galloway, a war...


Coming Soon: Left of Boom

For two decades, Military.com has reported on the flash points, crises and catalysts that shape U.S. defense policy, and the decisions that affect the lives of men and women in uniform. Now, we’re going deeper. In our new podcast, Left of Boom, we’ll talk to the legends and pathfinders who made U.S. military history; get the ground truth on military myths, rumors and legends; and decode the big ideas shaping the military of the future -- from “Iron Man” suits and pilotless planes to Arctic...