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Meet ‘The Most Armed Man In America’ And His Insane Arsenal
The video starts innocuously enough. A bearded gentleman waddles into a room covered floor-to-ceiling with guns and ammo belts and introduces himself. “I’m the Dragon Man, from Dragon Land,” he says, with a slight New York accent, his arms sleeved in tattoos, “and today we’re going to explain why they call me The Most Armed Man In America.”
What follows is a tour through an arsenal that’ll make your jaw drop: 3,000 working firearms, 88 military-grade vehicles, and hundreds upon hundreds of mannequins festooned in military uniforms.
“Everything works. Nothing’s fake,” the Dragon Man says. “Because this is a private collection, not a government museum, everything can work.”
The Dragon Man was once Mel Bernstein, a wimpy Jewish boy who used to get his ass beat on the streets of Brooklyn. But after a brief stint working on weaponry for the Army at Fort Bliss during the Vietnam War, Bernstein opened a motorcycle repair shop in Long Island, where he earned the name “Dragon Man” for “pop[ping] wheelies on the Harley that he fashioned with a fire-breathing dragon head,” as the Colorado Springs Gazette reported in a lengthy 2017 profile.
In 1982, Bernstein and his wife Terry Flanell moved to El Paso County, Colorado, where Bernstein set to work on his massive collection of firearms and military vehicles. For the last 30 years, he’s owned and operated “Dragon Land,” the sprawling 260-acre shooting range and military gallery, overflowing with high-powered weaponry (he has a Class III federal firearms license) and military memorabilia from World War I through Vietnam.
Among the most impressive items in his collection: a 65,000-square-foot military museum with rooms for every country that’s gone to war with the U.S. between World War I and Afghanistan; more than 150 M-1 Garands’ six “brand new” 1000-pound bombs; a baker’s dozen of .50-caliber machine guns; 48 swords (including a Japanese “suicide sword”); and his infamous motorcycle, now equipped with two Colt 9mm submachine guns. Oh, and a 40-ton Russian tank:
Photo via YouTube
Now 71, Bernstein now operates Dragon Land alone: In 2012, Flanell was killed in a freak accident after being struck by two smoke bombs, moving at 150 mph, that were part of the special effects for a reality TV show on the Discovery Channel. "I've been running this rifle range for 30 years and no one's got hurt, because it is very safe here," Bernstein told ABC News at the time. "Out of eight days of filming, it happened in the last 30 seconds, the last frame. And it happened to my wife."
So what does the Dragon Man do during the day? “I have weapons so big I can’t even shoot them here,” he jokes in the video. “I’m going to have to wait until something big happens in town.”
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.