General Reinwald
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This is the story of
Lieutenant General Reinwald, the obstreperous Army commander who put some sniveling left-wing bimbo in her place with one of the great snappy comebacks lines of all time. Chauvinists and Rambos everywhere applauded their new hero as this story flew around the Internet at a furious pace in early 1999... This would have been the Paramilitary Feel-Good Story of the Millennium except for one small detail: 

The whole thing never happened. First let's read the email that got passed around. Gary Richardson sent me this email copy in March, 1999, and several other people sent it to me even before that. However I didn't have the energy to research back that far, so Gary's copy will do just fine. Here goes: 

This interview below is an exact replication of National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster, and US Army General Reinwald who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:  So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?"

GENERAL REINWALD:  We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting."

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:  "Shooting!  That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?"

GENERAL REINWALD:  "I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range."

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:  "Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?"

GENERAL REINWALD:  "I don't see how.  We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm."

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:  "But you're equipping them to become violent killers."

GENERAL REINWALD:  "Well, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?"

The radio went silent and the interview ended.

And all I could think was, "Go Army!"


An email from Richard Bevis on April 10, 1999, suggested I go visit the famous Snopes Urban Legends web site at this specific page:

Then I typed "Reinwald" into their search engine. Barbara Mikkelson had done the research. Her conclusion was that the Reinwald story was nonsense.

Basically, what she said by the Urban Legends web site was that it was an interesting story, it was plausible, but it was basically a hoax. For one thing, according to their research, the US Army denied there was ever even a Lieutenant General Reinwald in the first place. 

According to Ms. Mikkelson, National Public Radio had this to say about the matter:

We are aware of an erroneous story posted on the Free Republic Website, and possibly elsewhere, which mentions a supposed interview between an unnamed NPR reporter and a U.S Army Lieutenant General Reinwald. The story is false -- the dialogue mentioned was not an NPR interview, and it never aired on any NPR program.

Furthermore, the Snopes people said a version of the "Reinwald" story existed as a joke as far back as October 1997 when it surfaced in England. You can read more about it at their web site.

Furthermore, the key element of the Reinwald legend has appeared in other tales. As the Snopes people carefully pointed out, the joke below is an obvious parallel to the Reinwald theme.

Barbara Mikkelson listed this joke at the end of her story about Reinwald.  

A couple went on vacation to a fishing resort up north. The husband liked to fish at the crack of dawn. The wife liked to read. 

One morning the husband returned after several hours of fishing and decided to take a short nap. Although she wasn't familiar with the lake, the wife decided to take the boat out. 

She rowed out a short distance, anchored, and returned to reading her book. Along came the sheriff in his boat. He pulled up alongside her and said, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?" 

"Reading my book" she replies as she thinks to herself, "Isn't it obvious?" 

"You're in a restricted fishing area," he informed her. 

"But officer, I'm not fishing. Can't you see that?" 

"Yes, but you have all the equipment. I'll have to take you in and write you up." 

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with rape," snapped the irate woman. 

"But, I haven't even touched you," groused the sheriff. 

"Yes, that's true," she replied, "but you do have all the equipment." 

I might add there is a great deal more information about Internet Lies at the Snopes Web Site. If you enjoyed reading this story and have other "legends" you would like to debunk for your own satisfaction, I highly recommend you visit the site directly.


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