• Power Players

    When Matthew VanDyke set out on a “crash course in manhood” in 2007 – a motorcycle journey that would take him through North Africa and the Middle East – the 27-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder was at first afraid to leave his hotel room in Morocco. Four years later, he would become a foreign fighter, taking up arms with Libyan rebels to overthrow then-dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

    A new documentary, “Point and Shoot,” tells VanDyke’s story of transformation through footage he shot himself over his years-long adventure.

    VanDyke’s odyssey would take him through Iraq, where he spent time embedded with U.S. troops as a war correspondent for a Baltimore-area newspaper. While there, VanDyke said he began to feel that he was “on the wrong side of the camera.”

    “I felt that I wanted to affect events, not just document events,” VanDyke said. “I felt not at place necessarily being behind the camera and just filming. Part of me wanted to be with them. When the mission is

    Read More »from An American tells his story of becoming a foreign fighter
  • Power Players

    What has three legs, a Purple Heart, and fur all over?

    Meet German Shepard mix Lucca, a Marine Corps veteran and Purple Heart recipient (albeit unofficial) credited as a war hero for her work sniffing out IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Lucca, who lost a front paw while serving on the front lines, is the subject of new book “Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca.” And along with her first handler and current owner, Gunnery Sgt. Chris Willingham, this furry war hero recently sat down for an interview with “Power Players.”

    Willingham is part of a special unit of dog handlers within the Marine Corps and was first assigned to be Lucca’s handler when she was still a young, untrained dog. The two quickly became a pair and trained together for a year before being deployed to Iraq, where Lucca quickly put her sniffing skills into action.

    “In our first week in our first big mission … Lucca went up and indicated there was an explosive there and that was the first time she saved my

    Read More »from Meet one of America’s furry war heroes
  • Top Line

    Here’s a Thanksgiving pop quiz: Who was the nation’s first president?

    If you answered George Washington, pass the gravy and get ready for a history lesson. It was actually John Hanson, a founding father whose name is largely forgotten in the pages of American history – until now.

    “They were both first presidents. We've had two governments,” said Peter Michael, a descendent of Hanson’s who is working to revive his memory as the first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation, the precursor to the Constitution.

    “George Washington was very famously the first president of our second government under the Constitution,” Michael told “Top Line” during a recent interview outside a replica of Hanson’s historic home in Frederick, Maryland. “But for eight years before the birth of that second government, we had an original government chartered under the Articles of Confederation. It had its presidents, the first of whom was John Hanson."

    Michael, who has

    Read More »from The forgotten first president (Hint: It wasn’t George Washington)

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