History Repeats?

A new Urban Legend is born.


6:59 PM 10/27/2018 | USJoe Simonson | Media Reporter 7353

After American troops landed in Iceland in preparation for a major NATO military exercise, locals found that their visitors drank every single beer in their capital city.

According to local media reports, Navy soldiers and Marines plundered Reykjavik’s bars throughout their stay during the largest NATO military drill, named Trident Juncture, since the Cold War. Between 6,000 and 7,000 soldiers were in Iceland during the drill.

Roughly 60 percent of all Icelanders live in Reykjavik and the surrounding capital region.

Local reports say bar owners had to make emergency trips to suppliers in order to keep up with the demand by the Americans. One bar owner said he and others “were fighting an overwhelming force.”

USS Constitution Mythical Cruise USS Constitution

 This myth of maritime warfare has been around a long time. It can be found in numerous places on the Internet and was published verbatim in Navy News some time back. The story (in italics throughout) basically reads:

The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) as a combat vessel carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last 6 months of sustained operations; she carried no evaporators.

On 22 July 1798, the USS Constitution set sail from Boston. She left with 475 men, 48,600 gallons of water, 7,400 cannon shots, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum. Her mission – to harass British shipping. 2

Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. Then she headed for the Azores, arriving on 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.

On 18 November she set sail for England. In the ensuing days she defeated five British Man of War and captured and scuttled 12 English Merchant ships, salvaging only the rum. By 27 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Unarmed, she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde. Her Raiding Party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.

The USS Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799 with no cannon shot, no food, no rum, no wine, no whiskey and 48,600 gallons of stagnant water.

The story regarding the USS Constitution is demonstrably false. The US was not at war with England in 1798. If it had been, why did the Constitution put into a British port, Jamaica? No war with Britain, no harassment of British shipping.

The modern day version US troops drank Iceland dry is in much the same vein. Why let a good story be bogged down with reality?