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-   -   His head just popped right off! (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=745776)

obbn 01-09-2015 06:39 AM

His head just popped right off!
 
Hello Everyone,

I'm reading a book now called American Warrior: The true story of a Ranger legend by Gary O'Neil. This is an autobiographical book covering Mr. O'Neil's time as a special forces soldier. It's been a quite interesting read so far, but I'm having a hard time buying what I'm reading. If what O'Neil says of his time in special forces are true he makes even Rambo look like the biggest pussy to ever walk the face of the earth. This guy is the Forrest Gump of military men, apparently being involved in every military event from Vietnam to the Gulf War. And of course he is a master of every weapon ever invented and a Bruce Lee equal when it comes to martial arts.

I've looked his name up on Wikipedia and apparently he was in the special forces, but how much of his book is true, I just don't know. I was believing it for the most part until I read a passage last night where he claims to have, using nothing more than his bare hands, decapitated a enemy soldier. He then threw the severed head at another enemy, hitting him square in the chest causing him to run away in terror.

So my question is: Is it possible to remove a human head with nothing but a quick twisting motion and human strength? From his book:

Instantly, I was back in combat. All my American Warrior Free Fighting practice got unleashed. React. React. React. No thought involved. I grabbed the one guy closest to me, a small guy but real strong, and spun him around. Using his body weight I put my arm around his head and twisted, and I pulled his head right off his body. That was not my intent. It just happened. I just grabbed him, put him in that technique, threw his body, and his head snapped and ripped. Taking somebody’s head off is not as difficult as people imagine. You just need enough torque and anger. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw somebody else coming toward me, so I flipped the head and hit him right in the chest. Nobody’s real comfortable having a head thrown at him. He scrambled away from it, terrified.



So, what do you think? Possible or compete bullshit?

Smitty 01-09-2015 07:09 AM

I'm going to call shenanigans on this one. Sounds like a complete load of horse shit.

CalMeacham 01-09-2015 07:47 AM

"It could be his head wasn't screwed on quite right










But I think that the likeliest reason of all

May have been that his heart

was two sizes too small."

obbn 01-09-2015 07:52 AM

Oh, correction. It wasn't Wikipedia I found him on, butan article about him on the US Army's website:

http://www.army.mil/article/42408/Fo..._Hall_Of_Fame/.

Saint Cad 01-09-2015 08:08 AM

It had happened before. From the documentary Crank Yankers.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bobcat Goldtwait
My momma had a baby and it's head popped off.


obbn 01-09-2015 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saint Cad (Post 18038947)
It had happened before. From the documentary Crank Yankers.

I would think am infant head would be relatively easy to detach. This guy is claiming he took a full grown man's head off, like he was removing a twist cap off a bottle.

Anaamika 01-09-2015 09:03 AM

I say it's bullshit.

Really Not All That Bright 01-09-2015 09:13 AM

It's pretty difficult to take somebody's head off even with a heavy axe. Also calling bullshit.

Ranger Jeff 01-09-2015 09:24 AM

The SF guys I knew, although reeking of confidence, were more likely to describe incidents like that like "Well, I got into a bit of a fix but managed to wiggle my way out of it" if they were talking to muggles.

Johnny L.A. 01-09-2015 09:30 AM

The first thing I thought of was (F-word used twice, so possibly NSFW)

RickJay 01-09-2015 09:44 AM

People who brag about their Rambo-like exploits are always lying. Always.

When they made a movie about Audie Murphy, staring Audie Murphy, a legitimate real-life Rambo, Murphy insisted they tone down his genuine exploits a bit.

Lucas Jackson 01-09-2015 10:02 AM

Not possible, complete horseshit.

johnpost 01-09-2015 10:09 AM

keeping your head on a swivel isn't always the best thing.

Zeldar 01-09-2015 10:13 AM

Maybe he's just gilding the lily and it was really more like this!

longhair75 01-09-2015 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RickJay (Post 18039201)
People who brag about their Rambo-like exploits are always lying. Always.

When they made a movie about Audie Murphy, staring Audie Murphy, a legitimate real-life Rambo, Murphy insisted they tone down his genuine exploits a bit.

Among firearms enthusiasts, there seem to be a huge number of people who were Marine Recon Special Operations Snipers. There are also a great many who are former Navy Seal Team Special Operations Snipers.

They are on the internet, so it must all be true

RitterSport 01-09-2015 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by obbn (Post 18038961)
I would think am infant head would be relatively easy to detach. This guy is claiming he took a full grown man's head off, like he was removing a twist cap off a bottle.

Crank Yankers was a TV comedy show with puppets. So, whoosh, I guess.

leahcim 01-09-2015 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 18039111)
It's pretty difficult to take somebody's head off even with a heavy axe.

Which is why "executioner" was a job, back in the day, instead of making capital punishment a "get a couple of guys together and pull real hard" situation.

wevets 01-09-2015 11:39 AM

Sometimes older 1977- and 1978-model heads have been known to pop off under low pressure situations, like high-altitude mountaineering or attempting to remember the phone numbers of ex-lovers, but I believe they were all recalled and the faulty pins that caused the problem were replaced. He must just have come across one of those older heads that had not been repaired.

CalMeacham 01-09-2015 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wevets (Post 18039635)
Sometimes older 1977- and 1978-model heads have been known to pop off under low pressure situations, like high-altitude mountaineering or attempting to remember the phone numbers of ex-lovers, but I believe they were all recalled and the faulty pins that caused the problem were replaced. He must just have come across one of those older heads that had not been repaired.

Well, heck, the Trollenberg units had no problem pulling off heads, even of mountaineers. But they weren't human beings, after all. And they usually froze them, first.

Just Asking Questions 01-09-2015 12:01 PM

(assuming this guy really was a SF soldier) Why do people write crap like this? Maybe us muggles don't know for sure, but his fellow SFers know. Does the author get calls from his old SF buddies where they laugh and make fun of him?

Shodan 01-09-2015 12:08 PM

Considering the amount of force needed to break the neck in cadavers, under "ideal" conditions, is in excess of 800 N (cite - pdf), and adding to that the further force required to shear the soft tissues and decapitate the subject, I would say that someone being able to bring off a bare-handed beheading is implausible in the extreme - especially unintentionally.

The British government put together a table to determine how far a hanging subject should be dropped in order to break the neck and kill, but without severing the head. Note that a 120-lb. subject needs to be dropped well over seven and a half feet in order to reliably break the neck. To actually sever the head, one would have to generate considerably more force over a considerably shorter distance, and is thus that much less likely.

I would say that Mr. O'Neil is telling a good story rather than being strictly accurate.

tl;dr version - BS.

Regards,
Shodan

buddha_david 01-09-2015 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by obbn (Post 18038827)
From his book:
Nobody’s real comfortable having a head thrown at him.

I LOL'ed.

bob++ 01-09-2015 01:13 PM

It's not well known that heads are screwed on with a left hand thread. Most people would try to unscrew them anti-clockwise which would just tighten them more. I guess that this guy knew the secret.

gotpasswords 01-09-2015 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnpost
keeping your head on a swivel isn't always the best thing.

My head is literally on a swivel, and there's so much anatomy holding the spine together and surrounding it to make the idea of just popping a head off absurd.

One of the primary ligaments that holds the vertebrae together from the base of the skull to the pelvis is the anterial longitudinal ligament, and its mean breaking load is described as 600 Newtons. Tensile strength of the ligamentum flavum is 300 N, and the third end-to-end spinal ligament is the posterior longitudinal ligament, coming in at a relatively puny 67-138 N. (From: Sanford J. Larson & Dennis J. Maiman (1999) Surgery of the Lumbar Spine

And that's not counting the resistance offered by the muscles such as the scalenes and trapezius, and the skin.

zoid 01-09-2015 01:23 PM

The A2s always were a bit twitchy

Really Not All That Bright 01-09-2015 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 18039728)
I would say that Mr. O'Neil is telling a good story rather than being strictly accurate.

If the blurb is anything to go by, he's telling a really awful story.
Quote:

The epic story of one of America's greatest soldiers, Ranger Hall of Fame member Gary O'Neal, who served his country for forty years

Chief Warrant Officer Gary O’Neal is no ordinary soldier. For nearly forty years, he has fought America’s enemies, becoming one of the greatest Warriors this nation has ever known. Part Native American, O’Neal was trained in both military combat and the ways of his native people, combining his commitment to freedom with his respect for the enemy, his technical fighting skills with his fierce warrior spirit.

From his first tour in Vietnam at seventeen to fighting in both Gulf wars, O’Neal was nothing less than a super soldier. A minefield of aggression bordering on a justice-seeking vigilante, O’Neal kept fighting even when wounded, refusing to surrender in the face of nine serious injuries and being left more than once. O’Neal earned countless military honors as a member of the elite Army Rangers corps, a founding member of the legendary first Department of Defense antiterrorist team, a member of the Golden Knights Parachuting Team, and more, devoting his life to training the next generation of soldiers. His unbelievable true stories are both shocking and moving, a reminder of what it means to be a true American hero.

In O’Neal’s own words, he "wasn’t born a warrior"—life made him one. American Warrior will serve as inspiration for American men and women in uniform today, as well as appeal to the countless [it cuts off here on Amazon.com].

md2000 01-09-2015 01:34 PM

It's hard enough to pull a piece of raw steak into pieces, and those are sliced across the grain usually... and aged... and drained, and the sinews detached. It's hard enough to pull apart uncooked chickens.

I can't imagine a head popping off - it seem at the very very least there'd be some stringy connections left, turning his maneuver into a game of bloody tetherball and getting the head back in his face. Plus, wouldn't there be blood galore gushing all over the place, all over him? I mean he's basically hugging this guy to his chest and letting loose many pints of blood, probably up into his own face. I would imagine blood gushing all over the place and splattered all over him would be as intimidating as a flying head, if not more, yet not a word about that aspect...

chacoguy 01-09-2015 02:07 PM

I'm reading the same book and I've gotten to the point of just skimming. Between his invention of 'Rex Kwon Do' and doing a fucking Sun Dance, to all of his ninja bullshit, I've pretty much just given up.

Dag Otto 01-09-2015 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 18039728)

The British government put together a table to determine how far a hanging subject should be dropped in order to break the neck and kill, but without severing the head. Note that a 120-lb. subject needs to be dropped well over seven and a half feet in order to reliably break the neck. To actually sever the head, one would have to generate considerably more force over a considerably shorter distance, and is thus that much less likely.

Sure but that is for a rope. This guy used his hands. Probably Wolverine hands.

April R 01-09-2015 02:21 PM

You all have to post exerpts, like a straight dope serial of BS. It would be amazing

April R 01-09-2015 02:25 PM

http://closecombatinstructors.com/gary-oneal/

This write up is even better

msmith537 01-09-2015 02:26 PM

Yeah. He was pretty old.

jimbuff314 01-09-2015 02:53 PM

Quote:

Part Native American, O’Neal was trained in both military combat and the ways of his native people, combining his commitment to freedom with his respect for the enemy, his technical fighting skills with his fierce warrior spirit.
Okay, now I'm pissed. I mean, I have a fierce warrior spirit (it has stood me in good stead these many years on the Dope) but I don't go around popping people's heads off. That sort of thing is frowned upon among the Lenape.

Hampshire 01-09-2015 03:07 PM

I can't think of any better way to "respect your enemy" than to rip their head off and throw it at somebody.

dracoi 01-09-2015 03:09 PM

The closest thing I can think of is someone's head coming off during a hanging. If the rope is too long, it can happen that they're jerked to a halt so quickly that the head could come off.

So the necessary force is some multiple of body weight. That's a lot of force to apply at short range by hand.

I'm not sure I'd say it's totally impossible. There's always those freak alignments of circumstance that might make it the one-in-a-million outcome.

The problem is that it sounds like this guy is a million one-in-a-million outcomes. After a certain number of these, I stop being willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

TSBG 01-09-2015 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by April R (Post 18040151)


From the link:

"his lifelong commitment to training—mine, body and spirit—"

Maybe that explains the explosive force he generated with his hands.

Left Hand of Dorkness 01-09-2015 03:16 PM

I wonder if this guy is the real-life inspiration for the Red Rascal. Seriously, that sounds straight out of Doonesbury.

wevets 01-09-2015 03:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by April R (Post 18040151)


Quote:

Ranger O’Neal spent over fifteen years training and fighting with American and Latin American forces in Central and South America to oppose communism. When compromised while bringing home the body of a comrade killed in action, Ranger O’Neal was captured, shot and left to die. His wife and children were murdered in reprisal before his eyes.
Wow. Good thing the Army stopped soldiers from bringing their wives and children along on special ops - his experience must have been the instigation for that policy. He can't be blamed though, how could he have known the enemy would kill to keep that body in their country?

Left Hand of Dorkness 01-09-2015 03:27 PM

From the write-up:
Quote:

Tailoring the techniques to military combat, he developed what eventually became his own school, the American Warrior Free Fighting System for combat, in which he holds a 10th-degree black belt
Man, that's nothing. I've developed my own school of fighting, the Empty Left Hand, and I've got a bajillionth-degree polka-dot tiara in my school! Booyah!

TSBG 01-09-2015 03:32 PM

Seriously, there must be some easy way to check if the guy is who he says he is. I believe he was in the military, but what about the rest of it?

DrDeth 01-09-2015 03:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RickJay (Post 18039201)
People who brag about their Rambo-like exploits are always lying. Always.

When they made a movie about Audie Murphy, staring Audie Murphy, a legitimate real-life Rambo, Murphy insisted they tone down his genuine exploits a bit.

My experience has shown the same, but this guy is on the US Amy site, and is known to be a top Ranger and Green Beret.

Lemur866 01-09-2015 03:51 PM

The front fell off.

Saint Cad 01-09-2015 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by April R (Post 18040151)

Quote:

commissioned Special Forces warrant officer
Ummm... isn't a warrant officer made by warrant because if he had a commission he'd be a commissioned officer.

DrDeth 01-09-2015 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saint Cad (Post 18040623)
Ummm... isn't a warrant officer made by warrant because if he had a commission he'd be a commissioned officer.

http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r601_100.pdf
Appointment of Commissioned Warrant Officers in the Regular Army,

bubba001 01-09-2015 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by longhair75 (Post 18039320)
Among firearms enthusiasts, there seem to be a huge number of people who were Marine Recon Special Operations Snipers. There are also a great many who are former Navy Seal Team Special Operations Snipers.

They are on the internet, so it must all be true

I've noticed, in a long career of drinking, that most everybody I've ever met that told me that they were in Nam, was either a Marine sniper, special forces, black ops guy, or CIA. I question if a lot of these folks were ever in the military at all. I've had guys that were several years younger than me, tell me that they were in the Vietnam. One guy told me that he was a door gunner during the Tet offensive in 68? I was 13 in 68, and he was 5 years younger than I. The same idiot told me that he was a seal, a marine aviator, LURP, and a few other things. When somebody tells me that they were in that war, I immediately think "Bullshit".

DrDeth 01-09-2015 06:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bubba001 (Post 18040653)
I've noticed, in a long career of drinking, that most everybody I've ever met that told me that they were in Nam, was either a Marine sniper, special forces, black ops guy, or CIA. I question if a lot of these folks were ever in the military at all. I've had guys that were several years younger than me, tell me that they were in the Vietnam. One guy told me that he was a door gunner during the Tet offensive in 68? I was 13 in 68, and he was 5 years younger than I. The same idiot told me that he was a seal, a marine aviator, LURP, and a few other things. When somebody tells me that they were in that war, I immediately think "Bullshit".

Yeah but if the US Army posted a website about them, I'd be less inclined to say "Bullshit".

Read obbn's post #4.

Saint Cad 01-09-2015 06:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 18040636)
http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r601_100.pdf
Appointment of Commissioned Warrant Officers in the Regular Army,

Except the document you linked to is titled
Appointment of Commissioned and Warrant Officers in the Regular Army

DrDeth 01-09-2015 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saint Cad (Post 18040672)
Except the document you linked to is titled
Appointment of Commissioned and Warrant Officers in the Regular Army

Yes, that's the title of the document.

So?

Section III
Appointment of Commissioned Warrant Officers in the Regular Army

simster 01-09-2015 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saint Cad (Post 18040672)
Except the document you linked to is titled
Appointment of Commissioned and Warrant Officers in the Regular Army

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 18040675)
Yes, that's the title of the document.

So?

Section III
Appointment of Commissioned Warrant Officers in the Regular Army

now now - don't go ripping each other's heads off!

April R 01-09-2015 07:09 PM

I asked my dad who is a retired CW-5 and Chinook pilot, along with being a retired member of the 10 1st Airborne Division said he has never heard of the guy but doesn't doubt he was military. He said this to me when I asked him about his opinion of the legitimacy of Warrior Man's war stories
Quote:

Originally Posted by MyDad
The only difference between a Fairy Tale and a war story is how they start : Fairy Tail......
"Once upon a time."
War Story.........
"And this ain't no shit. "



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