In Praise of the Heroic Marine Who Gave Us Taco Bell

History

I've always been drawn to stories about service members finding success after their time in the military is over. There's no shortage of inspiring stories to highlight.


Entrepreneurs, politicians, athletes, educators, and entertainers are all covered in the arena of successful veterans. But there are some whose stamp on our culture is almost unequaled.

Glen Bell is one of those veterans. After his time in the Marine Corps during World War II — he served as a steward in the general's mess through during the Guadalcanal campaign — he opened a string of successful burger and taco stands. After selling his shares, he founded Taco Bell in 1962, franchised it by 1964, and had 868 locations by the time he sold it to PepsiCo in 1978.

"You would think that serving food to generals in Guadalcanal wouldn't have much relevance later on," Bell said of his time in the Marines in his 1999 biography, Taco Titan: The Glen Bell Story. "But it taught me how to estimate how much food was needed based on the number of people served. That knowledge gave me confidence to start a restaurant."

He's the hero America needed, and his legacy should always be remembered as you're drunk and struggling to stay conscious at 3 a.m. as you shove a hastily assembled gordita down your gullet.

Bell passed away in 2010.

It sure would be nice to know what the hell is going on in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently claimed the U.S. military had killed more than 1,000 Taliban fighters in little more than a week – because body counts worked so well in Vietnam – and President Donald Trump said during his speech commemorating the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that the United States had gone on the offensive against the Taliban.

"The last four days, we have hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before, and that will continue," Trump said, without elaborating further.

It's clear that Afghanistan is the new hotness, but the only people who aren't talking about how the strategic situation has changed since Trump abruptly ended peace talks with the Taliban via tweet are the U.S. military leaders in charge of actually fighting the war.

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Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)

Nearly a decade after he allegedly murdered an unarmed Afghan civilian during a 2010 deployment, the case of Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn is finally going to trial.

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In this May 28, 2019 file photo, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group's top political leader, second left, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow, Russia. (Associated Press/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Taliban have sent a delegation to Russia to discuss prospects for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan following the collapse of talks with the United States this month, officials from the insurgent group said.

The move, days after President Donald Trump canceled a planned meeting with Taliban leaders at his Camp David retreat, came as the movement looks to bolster regional support, with visits also planned for China, Iran and Central Asian states.

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Joe Heller (Legacy.com)

Per his final demands, Joe Heller was laid in his casket Thursday in a T-shirt featuring the Disney dwarf Grumpy and the middle finger of his right hand extended. He also told his daughters to make sure and place a remote control fart machine in the coffin with him.

"My father always wanted the last laugh," daughter Monique Heller said.

The Essex volunteer firefighter and self-described local "dawg kecher" died on Sept. 8 at age 82, and the off-color obituary written by his youngest daughter has become a nationwide sensation — a lead item on cable news sites, a top story on The Courant's website and a post shared far and wide on social media.

Laced with bawdy humor, the irreverent but loving obit captured Heller's highly inappropriate nature and his golden heart, friends who filled the fire station for a celebration of his life on Thursday evening said.

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A 19-year-old man who planned a July mass shooting at a West Lubbock hotel that was thwarted by his grandmother was upset that he was considered "defective" by the military when he was discharged for his mental illness, according to court records.

William Patrick Williams faces federal charges for reportedly lying on an application to buy the semiautomatic rifle he planned to use in a shooting, according to a federal indictment filed Aug. 14.

He is charged with a federal felony count of making a false material statement during the purchase of a firearm on July 11, a day before he planned to lure people out of a hotel and shoot them. The charge carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

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