Flashback: Soapy the Germ Fighter

Flashback: Soapy the Germ Fighter


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In the 1950s, cleanliness was king. In this Flashback, learn proper hygiene techniques from Soapy, a talking bar of soap.


Copper’s Virus-Killing Powers Were Known Even to the Ancients

When researchers reported last month that the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic survives for days on glass and stainless steel but dies within hours after landing on copper, the only thing that surprised Bill Keevil was that the pathogen lasted so long on copper.

Keevil, a microbiology researcher at the University of Southampton in England, has studied the antimicrobial effects of copper for more than two decades. He has watched in his laboratory as the simple metal slew one bad bug after another. He began with the bacteria that causes Legionnaire's Disease and then turned to drug-resistant killer infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). He tested viruses that caused worldwide health scares such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Swine Flu (H1N1) pandemic of 2009. In each case, copper contact killed the pathogen within minutes. "It just blew it apart," he says.

In 2015, Keevil turned his attention to Coronavirus 229E, a relative of the COVID-19 virus that causes the common cold and pneumonia. Once again, copper zapped the virus within minutes while it remained infectious for five days on surfaces such as stainless steel or glass.

“One of the ironies is, people [install] stainless steel because it seems clean and in a way, it is,” he says, noting the material’s ubiquity in public places. “But then the argument is how often do you clean? We don’t clean often enough.” Copper, by contrast, disinfects merely by being there.

Ancient Knowledge

Keevil’s work is a modern confirmation of an ancient remedy. For thousands of years, long before they knew about germs or viruses, people have known of copper’s disinfectant powers. "Copper is truly a gift from Mother Nature in that the human race has been using it for over eight millennia," says Michael G. Schmidt, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina who researches copper in healthcare settings.

The first recorded use of copper as an infection-killing agent comes from Smith's Papyrus, the oldest-known medical document in history. The information therein has been ascribed to an Egyptian doctor circa 1700 B.C. but is based on information that dates back as far as 3200 B.C. Egyptians designated the ankh symbol, representing eternal life, to denote copper in hieroglyphs.

As far back as 1,600 B.C., the Chinese used copper coins as medication to treat heart and stomach pain as well as bladder diseases. The sea-faring Phoenicians inserted shavings from their bronze swords into battle wounds to prevent infection. For thousands of years, women have known that their children didn't get diarrhea as frequently when they drank from copper vessels and passed on this knowledge to subsequent generations. "You don't need a medical degree to diagnose diarrhea," Schmidt says.

And copper’s power lasts. Keevil’s team checked the old railings at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal a few years ago. "The copper is still working just like it did the day it was put in over 100 years ago," he says. "This stuff is durable and the anti-microbial effect doesn't go away."

The East Tower of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. The contrast between the refurbished copper installed in 2010 and the green color of the original 1894 copper is clearly seen. (Wiki Commons)

Long-Lasting Power

What the ancients knew, modern scientists and organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency have confirmed. The EPA has registered about 400 copper surfaces as antimicrobial. But how exactly does it work?

Heavy metals including gold and silver are antibacterial, but copper’s specific atomic makeup gives it extra killing power, Keevil says. Copper has a free electron in its outer orbital shell of electrons that easily takes part in oxidation-reduction reactions (which also makes the metal a good conductor). As a result, Schmidt says, it becomes a “molecular oxygen grenade.” Silver and gold don’t have the free electron, so they are less reactive.

Copper kills in other ways as well, according to Keevil, who has published papers on the effect. When a microbe lands on copper, ions blast the pathogen like an onslaught of missiles, preventing cell respiration and punching holes in the cell membrane or viral coating and creating free radicals that accelerate the kill, especially on dry surfaces. Most importantly, the ions seek and destroy the DNA and RNA inside a bacteria or virus, preventing the mutations that create drug-resistant superbugs. “The properties never wear off, even if it tarnishes,” Schmidt says.

Schmidt has focused his research on the question of whether using copper alloys in often-touched surfaces reduces hospital infections. On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control, costing as much as $50,000 per patient. Schmidt’s landmark study, funded by the Department of Defense, looked at copper alloys on surfaces including bedside rails, tray tables, intravenous poles, and chair armrests at three hospitals around the country. That 43-month investigation revealed a 58 percent infection reduction compared to routine infection protocols.

Further research stalled when the DOD focused on the Zika epidemic, so Schmidt turned his attention to working with a manufacturer that created a copper hospital bed. A two-year study published earlier this year compared beds in an intensive care unit with plastic surfaces and those with copper. Bed rails on the plastic surfaces exceeded the accepted risk standards in nearly 90 percent of the samples, while the rails on the copper bed exceeded those standards on only 9 percent. "We again demonstrated in spades that copper can keep the built environment clean from microorganisms," he says.

Schmidt is also a co-author of an 18-month study led by Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, an environmental microbiologist at Grinnell College, that compared the bacterial abundance in occupied and unoccupied rooms at Grinnell Regional Medical Center's 49-bed rural hospital. Again, copper reduced bacterial numbers. "If you're using a copper alloy that's always working," Hinsa-Leasure says, “you still need to clean the environment, but you have something in place that's working all the time (to disinfect) as well."

Harnessing Copper

Keevil and Schmidt have found that installing copper on just 10 percent of surfaces would prevent infections and save $1,176 a day (comparing the reduced cost of treating infections to the cost of installing copper). Yet hospitals have been slow to respond. "I've been surprised how slow it has been to be taken up by hospitals," Hinsa-Leasure adds. "A lot of it has to do with our healthcare system and funding to hospitals, which is very tight. When our hospital redid our emergency room, we installed copper alloys in key places. So it makes a lot of sense when you're doing a renovation or building something that's new. It's more expensive if you're just changing something that you already have."

The Sentara Hospital system in North Carolina and Virginia made copper-impregnated surfaces the standard across 13 hospitals in 2017 for overbed tables and bed rails after a 2016 clinical trial at a Virginia Beach hospital reported a 78 percent reduction in drug-resistant organisms. Using technology pioneered in Israel, the hospital has also moved to copper-infused bedding. Keevil says France and Poland are beginning to put copper alloys in hospitals. In Peru and Chile, which produce copper, it's being used in hospitals and the public transit systems. "So it's going around the world, but it still hasn't taken off," he says.

If copper kills COVID-19, should you periodically roll a few pennies and nickels around in your hands? Stick with water, soap, and sanitizer. "You never know how many viruses are affiliated with the hand, so it may not completely get them all,” Schmidt says. “It will only be a guess if copper will completely protect."


The FDA’s Position

Perhaps the most important role of the FDA is to protect public health. One way it can do so is by ensuring compounds in consumer products are “generally recognized as safe and effective.” While there is little evidence to suggest triclosan and other antibacterial additives are directly unsafe for humans, the actual effectiveness of these additives in household soaps had still not been proven as of a few years ago. With that in mind, the FDA issued a ruling in 2013 that required manufacturers to provide direct evidence that household soaps marketed as antibacterial are better at reducing germs and chances of infection compared to plain soaps. Companies had one year to submit their studies.

To date, there has been no conclusive evidence to suggest household antibacterial soaps are an improvement over non-antibacterial soaps. In fact, one study found it didn’t matter whether a household used plain or antibacterial soap containing triclocarban, a compound that is closely related to triclosan and is a part of the FDA ban: both cut the incidence of childhood pneumonia and diarrhea in half.

This means that if you are washing your hands with antibacterial soap, you are exposing yourself and the environment to increased amounts of these chemicals without any measurable benefit. It is for this reason that the FDA has banned adding triclosan and 18 other common antibacterial agents to household soaps, and manufacturers will have until September 2017 to comply with the ruling.

Nonetheless, there are still consumer uses for triclosan that have been proven extremely beneficial, and these are not banned by the FDA. For instance, toothpaste with triclosan has been shown to significantly reduce plaque formation, cavity formation and gingivitis compared to toothpaste without triclosan. Additionally, there are some antibacterial additives in soaps that are not subject to the FDA’s recent ruling. Many companies have replaced the banned ingredients, like triclosan, with one of these three not banned ingredients, and the FDA has granted these companies another year to demonstrate these additives are safe and effective.


Sneezing Spreads Germs

A little sneeze is a powerful way to send thousands of bacteria and germs flying into the air. If a child happens to be in the vicinity of that sneeze, he can pick up the germs just by breathing. So teach the children to cover their sneezes the best way is to sneeze into your elbow crease. Little children do not always think that fast so sneezing into their hands could create a problem. Anything they touch, toys, other children’s hands, doorknobs, and such can be covered with germs. Hand washing is imperative after a sneeze.

To demonstrate how a sneeze produces droplets of germs into the air, fill a spray bottle with water. Spray the water into the air and into a facial tissue. Explain that when a sick person carries germs it is like the water spraying from the bottle as it gets on everything.

Tissues do help the distance of the flying bacteria so by making “personal packs” of tissue for an art project can remind children to grab a tissue when a sneeze or runny nose comes about.

  1. Give each child a zippered plastic sandwich bag and a supply of fresh tissues to put inside.
  2. On paper, invite the children to draw a person (or themselves) sneezing. Let them color the drawing and even attach pretty stickers to decorate their sneeze packet. On the top write, These Tissues Belong To ________.
  3. Punch two holes at the top and thread a strand of yarn to make a necklace. Instruct the children to carry their packet with them on days of a sneezy, drippy nose or to keep the tissues in their cubbies for future use.

Teach the children this fun song that relays a concept. The tune is “Oat, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow.”

When I have to go KERCHOO,

Do you know what I always do?

My tissue covers both mouth and nose

And into my tissue my kerchoo goes. KERCHOO!


2. CHRISTMAS SHORTS-STRAVAGANZA

December 16, 2009

Availability: VOD/DVD

This is one of the select few RiffTrax Live shows that isn’t about a specific movie, but just a series of shorts one after the other. Lots of Christmas-related stuff for the season, usually playing up the insanity that is the concept of Santa Claus. I’ve written at length about all the December holiday-based RiffTrax stuff here, so that covers much of the madness.

Outside of the sexual undertones in Rudolph’s world and the horror of stop-motion dancing dolls, there are a couple shorts that have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but get featured here anyway. For instance, Parade of Aquatic Champions is just a news reel of sorts that talks up a swimming event.

Ad – content continues below

Better is Three Magic Words, with guest riffer Weird Al Yankovic. It’s a quirky pork advertisement starring a trio called the Jesters who play multiple roles to help a housewife prepare a dinner for her husband’s bosses (also the Jesters). It may not have anything to do with the Christmas season, but it will have its song about quality, freshness, and flavor stuck in your head for days.


Contents

The host unit is the 86th Airlift Wing (86 AW), commanded by Brigadier General Joshua Olson. The 86th Airlift Wing is composed of six groups, 27 squadrons and three bases in Germany, Spain, and Belgium. Its mission is the operation and maintenance of airlift assets consisting of C-130Js, C-20s, C-21s, C-40B and C-37A Gulfstream aircraft throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Also at Ramstein is the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing (formerly the 435th Air Base Wing) (435 AGOW), which focuses on base-support responsibilities within the KMC. It is composed of five groups and 20 squadrons. The wing provides rapid mobility and agile combat support for military operations, and maintains expeditionary forces and infrastructure.

The commander of the 435th AGOW is Colonel Michael T. Rawls. [2]

The new 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing stood up on 4 September 2008. [3] The current commander of the 521st AMOW is Colonel Thomas Cooper. [4]

Ramstein's wings are assigned to the headquarters 3rd Air Force also based at Ramstein AB, which controls most of the USAF Wings throughout Europe.

Ramstein AB is part of the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC), where more than 54,000 American service members and more than 5,400 US civilian employees live and work. U.S. organizations in the KMC also employ the services of more than 6,200 German workers. Air Force units in the KMC alone employ almost 9,800 military members, bringing with them nearly 11,100 family members. There are more than 16,200 military, U.S. civilian and U.S. contractors assigned to Ramstein AB alone.

In 1984, an enlisted airman (Sgt Darrel Dietlein) assigned to the 1964th Communications Group, solicited National Headquarters Civil Air Patrol to charter the first "Cadet Squadron" in Germany, naming the unit "Ramstein Cadet Squadron" and becoming the unit's first commander as a CAP 1Lt. The Ramstein Cadet Squadron was formed with Captain Mark Bailey serving as the unit's first liaison officer, as well as other like minded military volunteers and roughly six cadets. To this day, the squadron enjoys vibrant member participation, as well as base support, hosting drill competitions and encampments along with their traditional military studies and aerospace education efforts. The Ramstein Cadet Squadron commander as of February 2019 was Lt Col Chris Blank. The squadron is the parent unit for 2 flights located at Wiesbaden Army Airfield and Patch Barracks, Stuttgart. Current membership as of April 2019 was 124 members.

In the subsequent years, a companion cadet squadron was formed at Spangdahlem Air Base. Distance learning cadets are located at SHAPE, Belgium and Hohenfels, Germany.

From 2004 to 2006, Ramstein Air Base underwent an extensive expansion with a major construction project – including an all-new airport terminal, among other new facilities, through the so-called Rhein-Main Transition Program which was initiated in support of the total closure of Rhein-Main Air Base on 30 December 2005 and transferring all its former capacities to Ramstein Air Base (70%) and Spangdahlem Air Base (30%).

While the KMC remains the largest U.S. community overseas at 53,000 people, the defense drawdown continues to shape its future. Due to the departure of other main operating installations, more than 100 geographically separated units receive support from Ramstein.

Ramstein Air Base also served as temporary housing for the United States men's national soccer team during the 2006 World Cup. [5]

There is often a Summer Camp to Ramstein from British CCF (RAF) and ATC cadets, as well as Civil Air Patrol encampments and tours like the ones held in July 2015 [6] and June 2016. [7]

Currently, Ramstein Air Base consists of two runways - 09/27 and 08/26 - two large aprons, one near a hangar north of Runways 27 and 26, and one to the north of 09 and 08. The north-western apron also has a small passenger terminal with two jetways. This means the air base is capable of joint-use operations, although currently there are no scheduled airlines running flights to and from Ramstein.

The construction of the air base was a project designed and undertaken by the French Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1949 to 1952. It was an example of international collaboration: designed by French engineers, constructed by local businesses and large number of temporary and migrant workers of Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Turkey and operated by Americans.

The area was a swamp that had to be built up by two meters (six feet). A train line was laid out from Einsiedlerhof-Kaiserslautern in a yoke shape around to the current base and back down to the Landstuhl spur in 1948 by agreement of the U.S. and French Occupational Forces. Trainloads of earth were moved over the line and spread over the base's current area to raise it to its current level. Once the ground was level, building construction began. Two bases were laid out. Landstuhl Air Base on the south side and Ramstein Air Station (station, no airstrip) on the north. From 1948 to the opening of the bases in 1953 it was the largest one spot construction site in Europe employing over 270,000 Europeans at one time. [ citation needed ]

Previous names Edit

  • Landstuhl Air Base, 5 August 1952
  • Ramstein Air Base, 1 June 1953
  • Ramstein–Landstuhl Air Base, 1 December 1957
  • Ramstein Air Base, 15 August 1958 – present

Major USAF units assigned Edit

Source: Fletcher, Air Force Bases Volume II [8]

  • 86th Air Base Group, 5 April 1952 – 14 November 1968
  • 7030th Combat Support Group, 6 April 1953 – 1 May 1960
    , 27 April 1953 – 1 January 1958 , 1 May 1954 – 25 September 1957 , 22 March 1954 – 12 August 1955
    , 1 September 1985 – 1 July 1992
    , 15 November 1959 – 7 October 1972 1 October 2008 – 24 April 2012
  • HQ, Atlantic Air Rescue Center (various designations), 8 October 1961 – 30 June 1973 , 5 October 1966 – 31 January 1973 , 10 March 1973 – present , 15 August 1976 – 30 June 1978 , 1 July 1978 – 1 February 1992 , 14 June 1985 – 1 May 1991
  • NHQ119 Civil Air Patrol – Ramstein Cadet Squadron – Unit 3395, 1984 – present , 14 June 1985 – 1 May 1991 , 15 January 2004 – 16 July 2009 , 16 July 2009–present , 24 May 2005 – 30 June 2007 , 4 September 2008 – present

Major U.S. Army units assigned Edit

Source: Fletcher, Air Force Bases Volume II [8]

    / 39th Movement Control BN. (2008 – Present)
  • USAREUR Movement Control Team / AMC Logistic Center
  • USAREUR Overseas Replacement Center – Contingency Operations / AMC Passenger Terminal

Origins Edit

In 1940, construction of today's Bundesautobahn 6 was stopped when a bridge that was being built across the Rhine River near Mannheim collapsed, leaving a section of autobahn that could not be used. A part of the unused autobahn to the west of Mannheim, near Kaiserslautern, was used as an airstrip by the Luftwaffe. The airstrip was also used by the advancing U.S. Army Air Forces during the final months of World War II. The old autobahn section is still used as the access road to the east and west gates of the base and the A 6 was rebuilt south of the air base after the war.

During the initial postwar era, the USAAF repaired several former Luftwaffe airfields in Bavaria which was part of the American occupation zone of Germany. With the advent of the Berlin Blockade and the chilling of relations with the Soviet Union by 1948 it became obvious to United States Air Force planners that these bases were tactically untenable because of their proximity to the East German and Czechoslovakian borders.

With the creation of NATO in response to Cold War tensions in Europe in 1949, USAFE wanted its vulnerable fighter units in what was then West Germany moved west of the Rhine River to provide greater air defense warning time. France agreed to provide air base sites within their zone of occupation in the Rhineland-Palatinate as part of the NATO expansion program.

Construction of the modern USAF base near Kaiserslautern began in April 1948 under the provisions of a Franco-American reciprocal agreement. Two separate, but adjoining bases were designed. A headquarters base for Twelfth Air Force, along with several NATO organizations, designated as Ramstein Air Station and an operational fighter base, designated as Landstuhl Air Base. What is today known as Kisling Memorial Drive would separate the two facilities.

Enough construction was completed in mid-1952, that Landstuhl AB was opened on 5 August. Its facilities included a runway, dispersal hardstands, a control tower, ramps, and other flight-related facilities and the associated flying and support units. On 1 February 1952, Det 1, 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing arrived at Landstuhl AB from Neubiberg Air Base near Munich.

On 1 June 1953 Ramstein Air Station was opened. Ramstein was the location of headquarters, Twelfth Air Force, and supported family housing, base exchange, commissary, dependents' schools and other administrative offices for the WAFs (Women's Air Force). The barracks that were built at Ramstein AS were used to house WAFs and single women that worked as U.S. Government Employees at both Ramstein AS and Landstuhl AB. On 27 April 1953, Headquarters, Twelfth Air Force was activated on Ramstein Air Base, having moved from its joint facilities with HQ USAFE at Wiesbaden AB. What was not generally known at the time, and not made public until after the end of the Cold War in 1993, was the desire to have HQ Twelfth Air Force in close proximity to the Air Defense Operations Center (ADOC) – Kindsbach, AKA 'Kindsbach Cave' – the site of NATO's underground combat operations center.

The 86th Air Base Group was activated as the main base support unit for Landstuhl, while the 7030th HQ Support Group was the main base support unit for Ramstein. On 1 December 1957, the two bases were consolidated into the largest NATO-controlled air base in service on the continent. It was called "Ramstein–Landstuhl Air Base", but later, after the German government continued construction of the A6 autobahn from Kaiserslautern to Saarbrücken the autobahn cut off access at the south of the base which is where the main gate was in the city limit of Landstuhl. The main gate was moved to the west side of the base which was in the town of Ramstein. The two bases were joined and the current Kisling Memorial Drive cut off to the public which made one base. In 1961 the base was officially named "Ramstein Air Base".

One legacy of the two separate air bases is that the north side of Ramstein retained a separate APO from the south side. The north side (Ramstein AB) is APO AE 09012, while the south side (Landstuhl AB) is APO AE 09009. Also separate Combat Support Groups, the 7030th for the north side, and the 86th for the south side existed. These were consolidated in the 1980s, and the two Combat Support units were merged into the 377th Combat Support Wing. There is still a north and south side Fitness Centers. The current northside Community Center before housed the WAF NCO Club. As well, there were two Movie Theaters on the North side and two on the South side. Currently, only two (still stand on the north side, a remodeled Nightengale Theater (known before as the Four Corners Theater)) on the corner across from the Base Gase Station and the north side AAFES dry cleaners was known as the Ramstein Rocket Theater. On the South side the current Hercules Theater (Falcon Theater) next to HQ 86th Air Wing and a non-existent theater for which new barracks are currently under construction at the corner across the street from Moms/Gear-up shops called the Landstuhler Knights Theater.

Near the Ramstein Air Base is the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC), operated by the United States Army. Although part of the Kaiserslautern Military Community, LRMC has a separate history and was never a part of Ramstein or Landstuhl Air Bases, although both facilities have utilized the medical facilities at LRMC since they were established in 1953. Currently there are plans on the drawing board from the U.S. Department of Defense to build a new Medical Center on the current U.S. Army Weilerbach Storage Installation just to the east of Ramstein AB. Construction is to begin in early 2012 and to be completed in and around 2024. A twelve-story facility to house all departments of LRMC and the current Ramstein AB Clinic along with Dental Clinic facilities for the whole KMC. In turn, the East Gate to Ramstein AB will be extended from its current location to just off the Autobahn 6 Einsiedlerhof exit to the base at what is known as the Elvis Gate.

Operational history Edit

86th Wing Edit

Reassigned from Neubiberg Air Base, West Germany in 1952 and except for a period between 1968 and 1973, the 86th Wing, under various designations, has been the main operational and host unit at Ramstein Air Base.

Throughout the 1950s the 86th was primarily a Fighter-Bomber Wing. In 1960, it was realigned to an air defense mission and became the 86th Air Division (Defense). The 86th AD was inactivated in 1968. Returning as an F-4 Phantom II Tactical Fighter Wing in 1973, the 86th TFW performed that mission until 1994, deploying components to the middle east during the 1990 Gulf War.

On 14 August 1976, the Strategic Air Command 306th Strategic Wing was activated at Ramstein with a KC-135 air refueling and an RC-135 reconnaissance mission. The 306th also functioned as the focal point for all SAC operations in Europe, and as liaison between SAC and USAFE. The wing moved to RAF Mildenhall, England on 1 July 1978.

In June 1985, the 316th Air Division was activated, centralizing command authority at Ramstein. The 86 TFW became the division's flight operations arm, while the newly formed 377th Combat Support Wing, also activated in 1985, became responsible for the logistical and administrative support on base, replacing the 86th and 7030 Combat Support Wings. On 28 August 1988, Ramstein Air Base was the site of the tragic Ramstein airshow disaster, which killed 72 spectators and three pilots, and injured hundreds.

After the Cold War, the 86th was realigned to become the 86th Airlift Wing. On 1 July 1993 the 55th Aeromedical Airlift Squadron moved from the 435th AW at Rhein-Main Air Base Germany to Ramstein. On 1 October, the 75th and 76th Airlift Squadron arrived at Ramstein from the 60th AW at Travis Air Force Base California, and 437th AW at Charleston AFB South Carolina, respectively. A year later on 1 October 1994, the 37th Airlift Squadron was transferred to Ramstein from Rhein-Main.

In 1999, the activation of the 86th Contingency Response Group brought the airfield and aerial port operations and providing force protection at contingency airfields mission to the wing.

On 24 May 2004, the 38th Combat Support Wing was activated to enhance support to USAFE geographically separated units. This wing was inactivated in 2007. The 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing was activated on 4 September 2008. The wing is the headquarters for the existing 721st Air Mobility Operations Group at Ramstein and the 521st AMOG at Naval Station Rota, Spain. The 521st AMOW provides an enhanced level of control for the AMC route structure in Europe, which includes critical locations for getting people, cargo and patients to and from current war zones. [3]

26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing Edit

On 7 March 1966, French President Charles de Gaulle announced that France would withdraw from NATO's integrated military structure. The United States was informed that it must remove its military forces from France by 1 April 1967.

As a result, the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, based at Toul-Rosieres Air Base, France and two of its squadrons, the 38th and 32d, equipped with the RF-4C Phantom II were relocated to Ramstein on 5 October 1966.

Assigned squadrons of the 26th TRW at Ramstein were:

  • 38th Tactical Reconnaissance (RF-4C, Tail Code: RR)
  • 526th Fighter Interceptor/Tactical Fighter (F-102/F-4E (1970) Tail Code: RS)
  • 7th Special Operation (C-130, C-47, UH-1)

While at Ramstein the 26th TRW acquired a number of other units with different flying missions. One function gained by the 26 TRW, almost immediately after arriving at Ramstein, was the maintenance and flying of the HQ USAFE liaison aircraft. In addition, the Wing was responsible for flying members of the HQ USAFE staff to Air Force and NATO bases throughout Europe. In addition, the 26th TRW was only designated as a flight, because of its small size. It consisted of a mixture of aircraft, including: T-29s, T-33s, T-39s, C-54s, O-2s, H-19s, and UH-1s.

In 1971 a detachment of the 630th Military Airlift Support Squadron from Rhein-Main Air Base was assigned to Ramstein and a large cargo aerial port constructed. This allowed Military Airlift Command C-141 and C-5 Galaxy aircraft to use Ramstein as a transshipment point for material, which was then moved within USAFE by C-130 tactical transports.

In the spring of 1972, the 7th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) was assigned flying C-130Es, C-47As, and UH-1Ns. Because of the special operations mission of the 7 SOS, it reported directly to HQ USAFE for operational control.

As part of operation "Creek Action", a command-wide effort to realign functions and streamline operations, HQ USAFE transferred the 26th TRW from Ramstein to Zweibrücken Air Base, and the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing was reassigned from Zweibrücken to Ramstein on 31 January 1973.

NATO command center Edit

From its inception, Ramstein was designed as a NATO command base. In 1957, Ramstein provided support for NATO's HQ Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force, which moved to Ramstein from Trier Air Base on 10 November 1957 upon the closure of that facility. Also on that date, HQ Twelfth Air Force was transferred to Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas and was assigned to Tactical Air Command. It was replaced by HQ Seventeenth Air Force (USAFE) which was moved from North Africa. In turn, the 17th AF was replaced by its mother unit HQ USAFE from Lindsey Air Station, Wiesbaden, Germany in 1973. The HQ 17th AF was moved to Sembach AB at that time and controlled all USAF Air Divisions and Wings north of the Alps, with the exception of the British Isles and Scandinavia, which were controlled by HQ 3rd AF at Mildenhall.

On 31 January 1973, several headquarters were relocated into and out of Ramstein, when Seventeenth AF moved to Sembach Air Base to make room for the expected move of HQ USAFE to Ramstein. This entire operation, code-named "Creek Action", was carried out as part of the USAF's new worldwide policy of locating the most vital headquarters in thinly populated rural areas rather than near cities. Later, HQ USAFE was moved due to the fact that US Intelligence found that the Soviets had plans to invade Western Europe through the Fulda Gap in Germany. The military thought to move vital HQs on the other side of the Rhein River for protection.

As a result of this policy change, Ramstein air base became a large multi-national NATO center: in addition to the USAFE's headquarters, it also housed the new NATO headquarters of the Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE).

The AAFCE also commanded the 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force (2ATAF) and the 4th ATAF. The 4th ATAF, which had been headquartered at Ramstein for many years, included the 1st Canadian Air Group, 1st and 2nd Divisions of the West German Air Force, and units of the USAFE's 3rd and 17th Air Force.

HQ USAFE fully completed its move from Wiesbaden to Ramstein early 1991.

With USAFE's arrival in 1973, Ramstein entered a period of expansion. The duel commander of the 316th AD / 86 TFW became host commander of Americans living in the Kaiserslautern Military Community instead of the US Army 21st Commanding General. The Wiesbaden USAF Community was then traded to the US Army Control as for an even Kaiserlautern switch. The KMC through the 1950s – to the early 1990s had an average population of Americans of 110,000 outnumbering those Germans in the City of Kaiserslautern for that time.

Allied Air Forces Central Europe was established at Ramstein on 28 June 1974. Ramstein subsequently provided support for other headquarters, including the 322nd Airlift Division which arrived on 23 June 1978, and SAC's 7th Air Division, which arrived on 1 July 1978.

In December 1980, HQ Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force was moved from Ramstein to Heidelberg and co-located with HQ Central Army Group.

Today, the base is home to the Allied Air Command, which is responsible to Joint Force Command Brunssum which is the only and main NATO command unit on Ramstein AB.

ADOC Kindsbach Edit

Close to Ramstein was the site of Air Defense Operations Center (ADOC) – Kindsbach, AKA 'Kindsbach Cave' – the site of Europe's underground combat operations center.

The facility was located in a former German western front command headquarters. The French took control of the underground bunker after World War II, and USAFE assumed control in 1953. After major renovations, USAFE opened the center on 15 August 1954.

The center was a state-of-the-art, 67-room, 37,000-square-foot (3,400 m 2 ) facility where USAFE could have led an air war against the Soviet Union. The center had a digital computer to work out bombing problems, cryptographic equipment for coded message traffic and its own photo lab to develop reconnaissance photos. Responsible for an air space extending deep behind the Iron Curtain, the center interacted directly with The Pentagon, NATO, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and all USAFE bases. With its massive telephone switchboard and 80 teletype machines, the cave was plugged into everything in the outside world. The center was receiving more than 1,000 calls a day.

As a further measure of protection, the cave was fully self-contained with its own water supply, electric backup-generators, climate controls, dining facilities and sleeping accommodations for its 125-man crew. Visitor passes were rarely issued to this secret facility.

Throughout the years, leadership changed but USAFE led the operations through numbered Air Forces. The center's commander was the USAFE Advanced Echelon. The glassed-in office was on the top floor of the three-story underground command center. Directly under the office was the management for offensive air operations. And the bottom floor office was the management for defensive air operations – to include support for U.S. Army forces and German Civil Defense. All three offices had a full view of the massive Air Operations Center map on the opposing wall.

The AOC was the largest room in the complex. Its three-story map was used to plot minute-by-minute movements of friendly and unidentified aircraft. But the center was much more than just a tracking station, because it could also react to threats. They always knew the current operational status of air weapons in theater including missiles, and could dispatch armed response "at a moment's notice".

By the early 1960s, the manual plotting system used to track aircraft at the cave and elsewhere throughout Germany was too slow and inaccurate for the quick responses necessary. Beginning in 1962, airmen trained in the new 412L air weapons control system began to arrive in Germany and at the cave. Over the next year, the new GE semi-automatic system was installed. When complete at the cave, the current air picture over East and West Germany, as well as parts of the eastern soviet bloc countries, was displayed on a 40-foot by 40-foot (12 x 12 m) screen with radar information provided by various 412L sites located throughout Germany. Senior U.S. staff monitored the dynamic display 24/7. Over the next several years, additional 412L sites throughout Germany joined the network until the manual system had been totally replaced.

By 1984, the Kindsbach Cave had become too small and its cost for renovation too high. The USAFE vacated the facility and on 31 October 1993, control was returned to the German government and the German government returned the facility to the original owner of the land. Today the Kindsbach Cave is private property, through tours of the cave can be arranged. The cave is overgrown by vegetation, trees, and new housing.

Drone war control center Edit

In April 2015 the Ramstein Air Base was reported by German and international media as an important control center in the drone war staged under the Obama administration against targets in areas like Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia. [9] [10] [11] The German government claimed not to have been informed about this function of the U.S. base.

In a TV and online documentary, the German Das Erste channel cited 2014 reports from Norddeutscher Rundfunk, WDR und the Süddeutsche Zeitung that revealed Ramstein to be an important hub in the drone war against terror suspects. New data provided by Edward Snowden affiliate Glenn Greenwald supported these reports with classified documents from inside the U.S. administration, and were also presented in the Citizenfour video documentary. [12] [13]

The revelation of US drone activities from Ramstein lead to nationwide anti-drone protests under the banner of "Stop Ramstein Air Base". [14]

In 2019 three Yemenis, who lost relatives in a 2012 US drone strike, took legal action against the German government for aiding the breaking of international law by the United States, by tolerating these operations from Ramstein. The German Higher Administrative Court in Münster ruled that the German government must take appropriate measures to control whether the US army follows international law at Ramstein Air Base. [15] [16] But the possibilities of Germany to control US activities on their territory are very limited as the United States have the jurisdiction of Ramstein Air Base. [17]

Illegal arms and munition transports Edit

In 2015, the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti reported about Ramstein Air Base being used by the United States Armed Forces to transport arms and munitions to Syria. [18] At the end of 2017, an anonymous US official stated that the US does indeed use Ramstein Air Base to supplement Syrian rebels with arms and munition. [18] The Cabinet of Germany stated that it did not grant the necessary permits for these transports, nor that it had been informed about them. [19] The public prosecutor's office of Kaiserslautern is currently auditing whether an official investigation should be launched. [20] However, such investigations are complicated by the fact that despite Ramstein Air Base being located on German territory, German officials and politicians are not allowed to enter the base without permission of the US commander. [19] [20] Previous investigations of the Ramstein Air Base, such as the Abu Omar case, have proven to be unsuccessful as of yet. [20] Should the investigation about the arms and munition transports be successful, it would constitute a violation of the German War Weapons Control Act. [21]

Flying and notable non-flying units based at Ramstein Air Base. [22] [23] [24]

United States Air Force Edit

  • Headquarters US Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa
    • Headquarters Third Air Force
          – C-130J Hercules – C-20H, C-21A, C-40B
    • 86th Operational Support Squadron
      • 786th Force Support Squadron
      • 4th Air Support Operations Group
        • 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron
        • 7th Weather Squadron
        • 1st Air & Space Communications Operations Squadron
        • 1st Combat Communications Squadron
        • 1st Communications Maintenance Squadron
        • 435th Contingency Response Squadron
        • 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron
        • 435th Construction and Training Squadron
        • 435th Security Forces Squadron
          • 721st Air Mobility Operations Group
            • 10th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight
            • 313th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron
            • 721st Aerial Port Squadron
            • 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

            US Army Edit

            NATO Edit

            There are four schools at Ramstein Air Base: Ramstein Elementary School (grades PreK-2), Ramstein Intermediate School (grades 3-5), Ramstein American Middle School (grades 6-8), and Ramstein High School (grades 9-12). All of these schools are run by DoDDS, a component of DoDEA.

            Fictional entities Edit

            In films Edit

            • Ramstein was the location where Colonel Masters is taken after being rescued by his son in Iron Eagle (1986).
            • Ramstein was the location of the aborted landing of Air Force One when it is hijacked by a group of terrorists in Air Force One (1997). Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base stood in for Ramstein as the film was shot mostly in the state of Ohio.
            • Ramstein was the location where Ethan Hunt and his team are given a second chance to retrieve stolen plutonium in Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

            In games Edit

            • Ramstein Air Base appears in the video game Tom Clancy's EndWar as a possible battlefield. In the game, NATO has since collapsed, and the base is controlled by the European Federation. [26]
            • In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Ramstein Air Base suffers a surprise invasion by Russian Ground Forces after a gas attack.
            • In Wargame: European Escalation, one mission of the NATO campaign takes place in the base.

            In literature Edit

            • Both Ramstein Air Force Base and the Ramstein air disaster figure as plot points in Donna Leon's second Guido Brunetti novel, Death in a Strange Country (1993)
            • The Air Force Base was mentioned in Walter Dean Myers' book Sunrise over Fallujah.

            In music Edit

              , a German metal band, formed in 1994. They have stated that they take their name from the Ramstein air show disaster in turn, the asteroid 110393 Rammstein is named after the band. The band's self-titled song (on the album Herzeleid (1995)) refers to the event. [27]

            In television Edit

            • In The West Wing episode "Memorial Day", Donna Moss is flown to Ramstein to be treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center nearby.
            • In The West Wing episode "Red Haven's on Fire", Air Force Veteran Leo McGarry refers to "Ramstein Air Force Base".
            • In the pilot of Homeland, Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody is debriefed in Ramstein after being rescued from an al-Qaeda base in Iraq.
            • In the Madam Secretary episode "The Seventh Floor", journalist Colin Mitchell is flown to Ramstein after being released by the Sudanese government.
            • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, chief medical examiner Melinda Warner reveals in season 7's "Blast" that she served on the base in the U.S. Air Force during the Gulf War.

            Red Army Faction car bombing, August 31, 1981 Edit

            The U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) headquarters became the target of a terrorist attack on August 31, 1981, at 7:21 a.m. carried out by a Red Army Faction commando called 'Sigurd Debus'. A total of 20 victims were injured, some being seriously injured. [28]

            Ramstein air show disaster, August 28, 1988 Edit

            The Ramstein air show disaster was a mid-air collision that occurred at the Ramstein Air Force Base during the Flugtag '88 air show on Sunday, August 28, 1988, killing 70 people.

            C-5 crash, August 29, 1990 Edit

            On August 29, 1990, a C-5 Galaxy Transport plane carrying U.S servicemen to the Persian Gulf crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 13 people and injuring 4 others.

            Environmental scandal Edit

            In 2014 it was revealed that poisonous extinguishing foams (PFCs) were used on Ramstein Air Base and other US airforce bases in the region. These are now contaminating lakes, rivers and the ground water in the region. In one river the contamination was 7700 times higher than the safety limit of the European Union. [29] These contaminations are linked to cancer and birth defects. [30]


            List of Incognito Cinema Warriors XP episodes

            The following is a list of Incognito Cinema Warriors XP (abbreviated ICWXP), DVD, comic books, and online videos. ICWXP is a post-apocalyptic zombie comedy DVD and web series created by Rikk Wolf and produced by Agonywolf Media. The first season of the show follows the same "host segment-movie segment" format that MST3k established, while featuring completely original characters and plot. The second season is more plot-driven and riffs short films as opposed to full-length movies. [1]


            Classic Health Debates

            Go ahead and opt for the real stuff. Not because artificial sweeteners aren’t safe (they are, as regulatory authorities confirm), but the premise that we should eat “real foods” in moderation is persuasive. Whereas your body knows how to deal with sugar (ie, you burn it for energy and, if you eat too much of it, store the rest as fat), emerging animal research suggests that, on the other hand, a habit of artificial sweeteners may interfere with metabolism and blood sugar regulation, possibly even contributing to weight gain and glucose intolerance. (One possible exception: people with diabetes, who must closely monitor their blood sugar levels, should talk to their doctor about the healthiest choices for them.)

            But more important than how you sweeten your cuppa is your overall intake of sugar or artificial sweeteners, says dietitian Elisa Zied, the author of Younger Next Week. The World Health Organization says adults should limit sugar intake to about six teaspoons total each day (one can of soft drink can have about ten teaspoons). While recommended limits for sweeteners vary, Zied advises using no more than a couple of packets a day.

            Which provides a superior workout – treadmill or cross-trainer?

            Winner: Treadmill.

            You can raise your heart rate and burn kilojoules on any piece of cardio equipment, but every time your foot comes down on that treadmill belt, you get the bonus of building bone strength too, points out Jessica Matthews, senior adviser for health and fitness education for the American Council on Exercise. Unlike the cross-trainer (elliptical), only weight-bearing exercises – such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, and weight training – help to preserve bone density.

            Most exercisers also simply like the treadmill more than the cross-trainer, found a recent study published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills, which is a helpful factor if they’re trying to stick to an exercise programme. That said, folks with arthritis or who are overweight may find the lower-impact elliptical to be more comfortable for their joints, says Matthews.

            Which diet is more effective for weight loss – low fat, low carb or Mediterranean?

            Winners: Low carb and Mediterranean.

            Researchers have been bickering over this diet dilemma for decades, but a major 2015 meta-analysis of 53 published studies involving more than 68,000 adults has tipped the scales slightly in favour of low-carbohydrate and Mediterranean diets over low-fat diets. Trials that included dietary supplements or meal replacement drinks were excluded from the study.

            The researchers found that lowering fat content did not offer any long-term benefit in actually losing weight or in maintaining weight loss over other dietary interventions. Nevertheless, people on low-carb diets only lost 1kg (2.2lbs) more than those on low-fat diets and the overall average weight loss after a year in the trials was 3.75kg.

            The researchers found that no diets worked particularly well in the long term – defined as more than a year. The key to success seems to have more to do with sticking to a diet rather than any one particular weight-loss plan, notes Dr Deirdre Tobias, lead researcher in the study.

            “We need to look beyond the ratios of calories from fat, carbs and protein to a discussion of healthy eating patterns, whole foods, and portion sizes,” she points out.

            Which is better when you’re tired – exercise or an extra hour of sleep?

            Winner: Both, but sleep wins out slightly.

            “When you look at the research, regular physical activity is important for high-quality sleep, and high-quality sleep is important for physical performance,” says Cheri Mah, a sleep medicine researcher at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, in a recent TIME article.

            Experts say healthy routines start with going to bed and waking up at the same time to ensure enough rest. With a well-rested mind and body, you’re more likely to have the energy to exercise.

            Making time for the recommended at least seven hours of sleep a night and a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week could come down to cutting out other less important activities.

            “Almost everyone could forgo 30 minutes a day of internet or TV time,” Mah says.

            Which is the better germ fighter – soap or hand sanitiser?

            Winner: Soap.

            While soap doesn’t kill microbes, as the alcohol in some sanitisers can, washing with suds and water makes for cleaner hands, according to the infectious-disease experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Multiple studies have found that the combo of running water, lathering with soap, and friction from rubbing hands for 20 seconds removes the highest number of certain sickness-causing bacteria and viruses. No need to use warm or hot water – it doesn’t seem to help clear any more germs than cool water does and may actually dry out your hands more. When you can’t get to soap and water, a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol is a decent second choice, says the CDC.

            Which is healthier for your feet – wedge heels or ballet flats?

            Winner: Wedge heels.

            Both allow for even distribution of your body weight, since there’s ample contact between the sole of the shoe and the floor (versus, say, stiletto heels). But more support can put wedges on top, says podiatrist and shoe designer Dr Michele Summers Colon. “Very flat flats are the worst shoes you can wear,” says Summers Colon. “There is no support for the mid-foot, so the ankle tends to roll inward, causing ankle, calf, and even knee soreness.”

            Which toothbrush works better – electric or manual?

            Winner: Electric.

            Studies have seesawed, but finally a Cochrane review of 56 studies confirmed in 2014 that powered brushes removed 21% more plaque and delivered an up to 11% reduction in gingivitis. Another helpful feature of many electric brushes? The timer. “Patients often don’t realise how little time they spend cleaning their teeth,” says Dr Ricardo Vidal Gonzalez, of the Mayo Clinic. “Most dentists agree that proper brushing takes at least two minutes and recommend this to their patients, but many people brush less than a minute.”

            Good brushing is one of the most critical ways to promote not only good oral health but systemic health as well, Gonzalez adds. “An infection in the mouth can negatively affect the cardiovascular system, diabetic patients, and the health of pregnant women.”

            While most healthy people can keep their mouths in shape by brushing with a regular toothbrush twice a day, he says, those with gum disease or issues like arthritis, which can make regular brushing tough, will probably get more benefit from an electric toothbrush.

            Which is preferable for good digestion – yoghurt or a probiotic supplement?

            Winner: Yoghurt and other fermented foods.

            “Food is always the best way to get your nutrients,” says Dr Gerard Mullin, director of Integrative GI Nutrition Services at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and author of The Gut Balance Revolution. The synergistic effects of all the components in whole foods can’t be duplicated in a supplement. When you’re shopping for probiotic-containing foods such as kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, yoghurt, and kombucha, look for live and active cultures on labels. If you can’t stand the taste of foods that contain probiotics, ask your doctor to recommend a high-quality supplement, says Mullin.


            Comment 10

            The A/V Geeks Film Archive is an ephemeral film collection curated by Skip Elsheimer. What started as a hobby more than ten years is now a lifetime commitment. His collection has grown to over 25,000 films gathered from school auctions, thrift stores, closets and dumpsters. He presents themed film shows in his home base of Raleigh, North Carolina and he's taken his shows on the road across the United States. Films from Skip's archive have been released on DVDs. For more information about A/V Geeks upcoming shows, the DVDs, stock footage inquiries and donating to the collection, visit http://www.avgeeks.com. Skip is happy to be able share these selected films from his collection online - giving them a life beyond their intended purpose as little cultural time capsules of our immediate past. Enjoy!

            What is an "A/V Geek?" Short for "audiovisual geek." The semi-derogatory term used to describe the kid who was allowed to operate the film projector in school. Such were considered to be "teacher's pets," but were often allowed to avoid classwork and freely roam the school halls eventually ending up at the library to get the projector and films.

            To license these films and get a higher quality versions for broadcast/film purposes, contact A/V Geeks LLC for reasonable rates.


            Contents

            Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York of Irish descent, the sixth of eleven children, and the second son of Hutton Gibson, a writer, and Irish-born Anne Patricia (née Reilly, died 1990). [10] [11] Gibson's paternal grandmother was opera contralto Eva Mylott (1875–1920), who was born in Australia, to Irish parents, [12] while his paternal grandfather, John Hutton Gibson, was a millionaire tobacco businessman from the American South. [13] [14] One of Gibson's younger brothers, Donal, is also an actor. Gibson stated his first name is derived from St Mel's Cathedral, the fifth-century Irish saint, and founder of Gibson's mother's local native diocese, Ardagh. [15] His second name, Colmcille, [16] is also shared by an Irish saint, [17] and is the name of the Aughnacliffe parish in County Longford where Gibson's mother was born and raised. Because of his mother, Gibson retains dual Irish and American citizenship. [18] Gibson is also an Australian permanent resident. [19] [20]

            Gibson's father was awarded US$145,000 in a work-related-injury lawsuit against the New York Central Railroad on February 14, 1968, and soon afterwards relocated his family to West Pymble, Sydney, Australia. [21] Mel was twelve years old at the time. The move to his grandmother's native Australia was for economic reasons, and his father's expectation that the Australian Defence Forces would reject his eldest son for the draft during the Vietnam War. [22]

            Overview

            Gibson gained very favorable notices from film critics when he first entered the cinematic scene, as well as comparisons to several classic movie stars. In 1982, Vincent Canby wrote that "Mr. Gibson recalls the young Steve McQueen. I can't define 'star quality,' but whatever it is, Mr. Gibson has it." [25] Gibson has also been likened to "a combination Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart." [26] Gibson's roles in the Mad Max series of films, Peter Weir's Gallipoli (1981), and the Lethal Weapon series of films earned him the label of "action hero". [27] Later, Gibson expanded into a variety of acting projects including human dramas such as the Franco Zeffirelli film version of Hamlet (1990), and comedic roles such as those in Maverick (1994) and What Women Want (2000). He expanded beyond acting into directing and producing, with: The Man Without a Face (1993), Braveheart (1995), The Passion of the Christ (2004), and Apocalypto (2006). Jess Cagle of Time compared Gibson with Cary Grant, Sean Connery, and Robert Redford. [27] Connery once suggested Gibson should play the next James Bond to Connery's "M". Gibson turned down the role, reportedly because he feared being typecast. [28]

            Stage

            Gibson studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney. The students at NIDA were classically trained in the British-theater tradition rather than in preparation for screen acting. [29] As students, Gibson and actress Judy Davis played the leads in Romeo and Juliet, and Gibson played the role of Queen Titania in an experimental production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. [30] After graduation in 1977, [31] Gibson immediately began work on the filming of Mad Max, but continued to work as a stage actor, and joined the State Theatre Company of South Australia in Adelaide. Gibson's theatrical credits include the character Estragon (opposite Geoffrey Rush) in Waiting for Godot, and the role of Biff Loman in a 1982 production of Death of a Salesman in Sydney. Gibson's most recent theatrical performance, opposite Sissy Spacek, was the 1993 production of Love Letters by A. R. Gurney, in Telluride, Colorado. [32]

            Australian television and cinema

            While a student at NIDA, Gibson made his film debut in the 1977 film Summer City, for which he was paid $400. [33] Gibson then played the title character in the film Mad Max (1979). He was paid $15,000 for this role. [33] Shortly after making the film he did a season with the South Australian Theatre Company. During this period he shared a $30 a week apartment in Adelaide with his future wife Robyn. After Mad Max, Gibson also played a mentally slow youth in the film Tim (also 1979). [34] During this period Gibson also appeared in Australian television series guest roles. He appeared in serial The Sullivans as naval lieutenant Ray Henderson, [35] in police procedural Cop Shop, [34] and in the pilot episode of prison serial Punishment which was produced in 1980, screened 1981. [36] [37]

            Gibson joined the cast of the World War II action film Attack Force Z, which was not released until 1982 when Gibson had become a bigger star. Director Peter Weir cast Gibson as one of the leads in the World War I drama Gallipoli (1981), which earned Gibson another Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute. [6] Gallipoli also helped to earn Gibson the reputation of a serious, versatile actor and gained him the Hollywood agent Ed Limato. The sequel Mad Max 2 (1982) was his first hit in America, where it was released as The Road Warrior. Gibson again received positive notices for his role in Peter Weir's romantic thriller The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). Following a one-year hiatus from film acting after the birth of his twin sons, Gibson took on the role of Fletcher Christian in The Bounty (1984). Gibson earned his first million dollar salary for playing Max Rockatansky for the third time, in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). [38] [39]

            Hollywood

            Gibson's first American film was Mark Rydell's drama The River (1984), in which he and Sissy Spacek played struggling Tennessee farmers. Gibson then starred in the Gothic romance Mrs. Soffel (also 1984) for Australian director Gillian Armstrong. He and Matthew Modine played condemned convict brothers opposite Diane Keaton as the warden's wife who visits them to read the Bible. In 1985, after working on four films in a row, Gibson took almost two years off at his Australian cattle station. [40] He returned to play the role of Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon (1987), a film which helped to cement his status as a Hollywood "leading man". [41] Gibson's next film was Robert Towne's Tequila Sunrise (1988), followed by Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). Gibson next starred in three films back-to-back, all released in 1990: Bird on a Wire, Air America, and Hamlet.

            During the 1990s, Gibson alternated between commercial and personal projects. His films in the first half of the decade were Forever Young, Lethal Weapon 3, Maverick, and Braveheart. He then starred in Ransom, Conspiracy Theory, Lethal Weapon 4, and Payback. Gibson also served as the speaking and singing voice of John Smith in Disney's Pocahontas.

            Gibson was paid a record salary of $25 million to appear in The Patriot (2000). [42] It grossed over $100 million, as did two other films he featured in that year Chicken Run, and What Women Want. [27] In 2002, Gibson appeared in the Vietnam War drama We Were Soldiers and M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, which became the highest-grossing film of Gibson's acting career. [43] While promoting Signs, Gibson said that he no longer wanted to be a movie star and would only act in film again if the script were truly extraordinary. In 2010, Gibson appeared in Edge of Darkness, which marked his first starring role since 2002 [44] and was an adaptation of the BBC miniseries, Edge of Darkness. [45] In 2010, following an outburst at his ex-girlfriend that was made public, Gibson was dropped from the talent agency of William Morris Endeavor. [46]

            Gibson also played two villains: Voz in Machete Kills in 2013, opposite Danny Trejo, and Conrad Stonebanks in The Expendables 3 opposite Sylvester Stallone in 2014.

            Gibson appeared in the lead role of director S. Craig Zahler's police brutality-themed film Dragged Across Concrete, released in 2018. [47] He then starred in The Professor and the Madman – he and the director both disowned the film.

            Producer

            After his success in Hollywood with the Lethal Weapon series, Gibson began to move into producing and directing. With partner Bruce Davey, Gibson formed Icon Productions in 1989 in order to make Hamlet. [ citation needed ] In addition to producing or co-producing many of Gibson's own star vehicles, Icon has turned out many other small films, ranging from Immortal Beloved to An Ideal Husband. Gibson has taken supporting roles in some of these films, such as The Million Dollar Hotel and The Singing Detective. Gibson has also produced a number of projects for television, including a biopic on the Three Stooges and the 2008 PBS documentary Carrier. Icon has grown from being just a production company to also be an international distribution company and film exhibitor in Australia and New Zealand. [48]

            In June 2010, Gibson was in Brownsville, Texas, filming scenes for the film How I Spent My Summer Vacation, about a career criminal put in a tough prison in Mexico. [49] In October 2010, it was reported [ by whom? ] that Gibson would have a small role in The Hangover Part II, [50] but he was removed from the film after the cast and crew objected to his involvement. [51]

            Director

            Gibson has credited his directors, particularly George Miller, Peter Weir, and Richard Donner, with teaching him the craft of filmmaking and influencing him as a director. According to Robert Downey Jr., studio executives encouraged Gibson in 1989 to try directing, an idea he rebuffed at the time. [52] Gibson made his directorial debut in 1993 with The Man Without a Face, followed two years later by Braveheart, which earned Gibson the Academy Award for Best Director. Gibson had long planned to direct a remake of Fahrenheit 451, but in 1999 the project was indefinitely postponed because of scheduling conflicts. [53] Gibson was scheduled to direct Robert Downey Jr. in a Los Angeles stage production of Hamlet in January 2001, but Downey's drug relapse ended the project. [54] In 2002, while promoting We Were Soldiers and Signs to the press, Gibson mentioned that he was planning to pare back on acting and return to directing. [55] In September 2002, Gibson announced that he would direct a film called The Passion in Aramaic and Latin with no subtitles because he hoped to "transcend language barriers with filmic storytelling." [56] In 2004, he released the controversial film The Passion of the Christ, with subtitles, which he co-wrote, co-produced, and directed. The film went on to become the highest-grossing rated R film of all time with $370,782,930 in U.S. box office sales. [57] Gibson directed a few episodes of Complete Savages for the ABC network. In 2006, he directed the action-adventure film Apocalypto, his second film to feature sparse dialogue in a non-English language. In November 2016, film critic Matt Zoller Seitz named Gibson as "the pre-eminent religious filmmaker in the United States". [58]

            As a director, Gibson sometimes breaks the tension on set by having his actors perform serious scenes wearing a red clown nose. [59] Helena Bonham Carter, who appeared alongside him in Hamlet, said of him, "He has a very basic sense of humor. It's a bit lavatorial and not very sophisticated." [60] During the filming of Hamlet, Gibson would relieve pressure on the set by mooning the cast and crew, directly following a serious scene. [61] Gibson inserted a single frame of himself smoking a cigarette into the 2005 teaser trailer of Apocalypto. [62]

            Year Title [63] Box Office/Status Notes
            1993 The Man Without a Face $24.8 mill.
            1995 Braveheart $75.6 mill. Won an Oscar for Best Director
            2004 The Passion of the Christ $370.8 mill.
            2006 Apocalypto $50.9 mill.
            2016 Hacksaw Ridge $67.2 mill.

            Future projects

            Gibson has expressed an intention to direct a movie set during the Viking Age, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Like The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto, he wants this speculative film to feature dialogue in period languages. [64] However, DiCaprio ultimately opted out of the project. [65] In a 2012 interview, Gibson announced that the project, which he has titled Berserker, was still moving forward. [66]

            In 2011, it was announced that Gibson had commissioned a screenplay from Joe Eszterhas about the Maccabees. The film is to be distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures. The announcement generated significant controversy. [67] In April 2012, Eszterhas wrote a letter to Gibson accusing him of sabotaging their film about the Maccabees because he "hates Jews", and cited a series of private incidents during which he allegedly heard Gibson express extremely racist views. Although written as a private letter, it was subsequently published on a film industry website. [68] In response, Gibson stated that he still intends to make the film, but will not base it upon Eszterhas's script, which he called substandard. [69] Eszterhas then claimed his son had secretly recorded a number of Gibson's alleged "hateful rants". [70] In a 2012 interview, Gibson explained that the Maccabees film was still in preparation. He explained that he was drawn to the Biblical account of the uprising due to its similarity to the American Old West genre. [66]

            In June 2016, Gibson announced that he will reunite with Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace to make a sequel for The Passion of the Christ, focusing on the resurrection of Jesus. [71] In early November 2016, Gibson revealed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that the sequel's title will be The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection. He also stated that the project could "probably be three years off" because "it's a big subject". [72]

            In May 2018, it was announced that Gibson would be directing a WWII film titled Destroyer. [73] Destroyer, similar to Hacksaw Ridge, will also deal with the Battle of Okinawa in the Pacific Theater, although from a different front. It will be based on the heroic story of the crew belonging to USS Laffey (DD-724), who defended their ship from 22 kamikaze attacks.

            As of 2019, Gibson's cancelled projects included a Richard Donner-helmed film with the working title Sam and George. [74]

            Gibson's screen acting career began in 1976, with a role on the Australian television series The Sullivans. In his career, Gibson has appeared in 43 films, including the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon film series. In addition to acting, Gibson has also directed four films, including Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ produced 11 films and written two films. Films either starring or directed by Mel Gibson have earned over US$2.5 billion, in the United States alone. [75] [76] Gibson's filmography includes television series, feature films, television films, and animated films.

            Mad Max series

            Gibson got his breakthrough role as the leather-clad post-apocalyptic survivor in George Miller's Mad Max. The independently financed blockbuster helped to make him an international star. In the United States, the actors' Australian accents were dubbed with American accents. [77] The original film spawned two sequels: Mad Max 2 (known in North America as The Road Warrior), and Mad Max 3 (known in North America as Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). A fourth movie, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), was made with Tom Hardy in the title role. [78]

            Gallipoli

            The 1981 Peter Weir film Gallipoli is about a group of young men from rural Western Australia who enlist in the Australian Imperial Force during World War I. They are sent to invade the Ottoman Empire, where they take part in the 1915 Gallipoli campaign. During the course of the movie, the young men slowly lose their innocence about the war. The climax of the movie centers on the catastrophic Australian offensive known as the Battle of the Nek.

            Peter Weir cast Gibson in the role of Frank Dunne, an Irish-Australian drifter with an intense cynicism about fighting for the British Empire. Newcomer Mark Lee was recruited to play the idealistic Archy Hamilton after participating in a photo session for the director. Gibson later recalled:

            "I'd auditioned for an earlier film and he told me right up front, 'I'm not going to cast you for this part. You're not old enough. But thanks for coming in, I just wanted to meet you.' He told me he wanted me for Gallipoli a couple of years later because I wasn't the archetypal Australian. He had Mark Lee, the angelic-looking, ideal Australian kid, and he wanted something of a modern sensibility. He thought the audience needed someone to relate to of their own time." [79]

            Gibson later said that Gallipoli is, "Not really a war movie. That's just the backdrop. It's really the story of two young men."

            The critically acclaimed film helped to further launch Gibson's career. [80] [81] He won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role from the Australian Film Institute. [6]

            The Year of Living Dangerously

            Gibson played a naïve but ambitious journalist opposite Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hunt in Peter Weir's atmospheric 1982 film The Year of Living Dangerously, based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Koch. The movie was both a critical and commercial success, and the upcoming Australian actor was heavily marketed by MGM studio. In his review of the film, Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "If this film doesn't make an international star of Mr. Gibson, then nothing will. He possesses both the necessary talent and the screen presence." [82] According to John Hiscock of The Daily Telegraph, the film did, indeed, establish Gibson as an international talent. [83]

            Gibson was initially reluctant to accept the role of Guy Hamilton. "I didn't necessarily see my role as a great challenge. My character was, like the film suggests, a puppet. And I went with that. It wasn't some star thing, even though they advertised it that way." [84] Gibson saw some similarities between himself and the character of Guy. "He's not a silver-tongued devil. He's kind of immature and he has some rough edges and I guess you could say the same for me." [26]

            The Bounty

            Gibson followed the footsteps of Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, and Marlon Brando by starring as Fletcher Christian in a cinematic retelling of the Mutiny on the Bounty. The resulting 1984 film The Bounty is considered to be the most historically accurate version. However, Gibson has expressed a belief that the film's revisionism did not go far enough. He has stated that his character should have been portrayed as the film's antagonist. He has further praised Anthony Hopkins's performance as Lieutenant William Bligh as the best aspect of the film. [84]

            Lethal Weapon series

            Gibson moved into more mainstream commercial filmmaking with the popular action comedy series Lethal Weapon, which began with the 1987 original. In the films he played LAPD Detective Martin Riggs, a recently widowed Vietnam veteran with a death wish and a penchant for violence and gunplay. In the films, he is partnered with a reserved family man named Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and starting with the second film, they're joined by a hyperactive informant named Leo Getz (Joe Pesci). Following the success of Lethal Weapon, director Richard Donner and principal cast revisited the characters in three sequels, Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Lethal Weapon 3 (1993), and Lethal Weapon 4 (1998). With its fourth installment, the Lethal Weapon series embodied "the quintessence of the buddy cop pic". [85]

            The film series has since been rebooted with a television adaptation, currently airing on FOX.

            Hamlet

            Gibson made the unusual transition from action to classical drama, playing William Shakespeare's Danish prince in Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet. Gibson was cast alongside experienced Shakespearean actors Ian Holm, Alan Bates, and Paul Scofield. He compared working with Scofield to being "thrown into the ring with Mike Tyson". [86] Scofield said of Gibson "Not the sort of actor you'd think would make an ideal Hamlet, but he had enormous integrity and intelligence." [87]

            Braveheart

            In 1995, Gibson directed, produced, and starred in Braveheart, a biographical film of Sir William Wallace, a Scottish nationalist who was executed in 1305 for "high treason" against King Edward I of England. Gibson received two Academy Awards, Best Director and Best Picture, for his second directorial effort. In winning the Academy Award for Best Director, Gibson became only the sixth actor-turned-filmmaker to do so. [88] Braveheart influenced the Scottish nationalist movement and helped to revive the film genre of the historical epic the Battle of Stirling Bridge sequence is considered by critics to be one of the all-time best-directed battle scenes. [89]

            The film's depiction of the Prince of Wales as an effeminate homosexual caused the film to be attacked by the Gay Alliance. The Gay Alliance was especially enraged by a scene in which King Edward I murders his son's male lover by throwing him out of a castle window.

            Gibson, who had previously been reported making several homophobic statements, [90] now replied, "The fact that King Edward throws this character out a window has nothing to do with him being gay . He's terrible to his son, to everybody." [91]

            Gibson asserted that the reason that King Edward I kills his son's lover is because the king is a "psychopath". [92] Gibson also expressed bewilderment that some filmgoers laughed at this murder:

            "We cut a scene out, unfortunately . where you really got to know that character (Edward II) and to understand his plight and his pain. But it just stopped the film in the first act so much that you thought, 'When's this story going to start?'" [93]

            The Passion of the Christ

            Gibson directed, produced, co-wrote, and funded the film The Passion of the Christ (2004), which chronicled the passion and death of Jesus (Jim Caviezel). The film was shot exclusively in Aramaic, Latin, and Hebrew. Although Gibson originally intended to release the film without subtitles he eventually relented for theatrical exhibition. The film sparked divergent reviews, ranging from high praise to criticism of the violence.

            The Anti-Defamation League accused Gibson of anti-semitism over the film's unflattering depiction of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.

            In The Nation, reviewer Katha Pollitt said, "Gibson has violated just about every precept of the (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) conference's own 1988 'Criteria' for the portrayal of Jews in dramatizations of the Passion (no bloodthirsty Jews, no rabble, no use of Scripture that reinforces negative stereotypes of Jews, etc.) . The priests have big noses and gnarly faces, lumpish bodies, yellow teeth Herod Antipas and his court are a bizarre collection of oily-haired, epicene perverts. The 'good Jews' look like Italian movie stars (Magdalene actually is an Italian movie star, the lovely Monica Bellucci) Mary, who would have been around 50 and appeared 70, could pass for a ripe 35." [94]

            Among those to defend Gibson were Orthodox Jewish rabbi Daniel Lapin and radio personality Michael Medved. [ citation needed ] Referring to ADL National Director Abraham Foxman, Rabbi Lapin said that by calling The Passion of the Christ anti-semitic, "what he is saying is that the only way (for Christians) to escape the wrath of Foxman is to repudiate (their own) faith." [ citation needed ]

            In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Gibson stated, "If anyone has distorted Gospel passages to rationalize cruelty towards Jews or anyone, it's in defiance of repeated Papal condemnation. The Papacy has condemned racism in any form. Jesus died for the sins of all times, and I'll be the first on the line for culpability". [95]

            Eventually, the continued media attacks began to anger Gibson. After his father's Holocaust denial was sharply criticized in print by The New York Times writer Frank Rich, [96] Gibson retorted, "I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog." [97] [98]

            Gibson's Traditionalist Catholic upbringing was also the target of criticism. In a 2006 interview with Diane Sawyer, Gibson stated that he feels that his "human rights were violated" by the often vitriolic attacks on his person, his family, and his religious beliefs which were sparked by The Passion. [99]

            The film grossed US$611,899,420 worldwide and $370,782,930 in the U.S. alone, [100] surpassing any motion picture starring Gibson. [101] In U.S. box offices, it became the seventh-highest-grossing (at the time) film in history [102] and the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. [103] The film was nominated for three Academy Awards [104] and won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture. [105]

            Apocalypto

            Gibson received further critical acclaim for his directing of the 2006 action-adventure film Apocalypto. [106] Gibson's fourth directorial effort is set in Mesoamerica during the early 16th century against the turbulent end times of a Maya civilization. The sparse dialogue is spoken in the Yucatec Maya language by a cast of Native American descent. [107] [108]

            Gibson himself has stated that the film is an attempt at making a deliberate point about great civilizations and what causes them to decline and disintegrate. Gibson said, "People think that modern man is so enlightened, but we're susceptible to the same forces—and we are also capable of the same heroism and transcendence." [109] [110] This theme is further explored by a quote from Will Durant, which is superimposed at the very beginning of the film: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."

            The Beaver

            Gibson starred in The Beaver, a domestic drama about a depressed alcoholic directed by former Maverick co-star Jodie Foster. [111] The Beaver premiered at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2011. The opening weekend in 22 theaters was considered a flop it made $104,000 which comes to a per-theater average of $4,745. [112] The film's distributor, Summit Entertainment, had originally planned for a wide release of The Beaver for the weekend of May 20, but after the initial box-office returns for the film, the company changed course and decided instead to give the film a "limited art-house run". [113] Michael Cieply of The New York Times observed on June 5, 2011, that the film had cleared just about $1 million, making it a certified "flop". [114] Director Jodie Foster opined that the film did not do well with American audiences because it was a dramedy, and "very often Americans are not comfortable with [that]". [115]

            Before its release, much of the coverage focussed on the unavoidable association between the protagonist's issues and Mel Gibson's own well-publicized personal and legal problems (see § Alcohol abuse and legal issues), including a conviction of battery of his ex-girlfriend. [116] Wrote Time magazine: "The Beaver is a somber, sad domestic drama featuring an alcoholic in acute crisis . It's hard to separate Gibson's true-life story from what's happening onscreen." [117]

            Hacksaw Ridge

            In 2014, Gibson signed on to direct Hacksaw Ridge, a World War II drama based on the true story of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss, played by Andrew Garfield. [118] The film premiered at the 73rd Venice Film Festival in September 2016 [119] and received what The New Zealand Herald calls "rave reviews". [120] [121] It has won or been nominated for many awards, including Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Director for Gibson, and Best Actor for Garfield. Hacksaw Ridge was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. [122] [123] The film grossed $164 million worldwide, four times its production costs. [124]

            Relationships

            Gibson met Robyn Denise Moore in the late 1970s, soon after filming Mad Max, in Adelaide, South Australia. At the time, Robyn was a dental nurse and Mel was an unknown actor working for the South Australian Theatre Company. [125] On June 7, 1980, Mel and Robyn were married in a Catholic church in Forestville, New South Wales. [126] They have one daughter, Hannah (b. 1980), and six sons: Edward (b. 1982), Christian (b. 1982), William (b. 1985), Louis (b. 1988), Milo (b. 1990), and Thomas (b. 1999) and three grandchildren as of 2011 [update] . [127] [128]

            After 26 years of marriage, Mel and Robyn Gibson separated on July 29, 2006. [129] [130] In a 2011 interview, Gibson stated that the separation began the day following his arrest for drunk driving in Malibu. [131] Robyn Gibson filed for divorce on April 13, 2009, citing irreconcilable differences. In a joint statement, the Gibsons declared, "Throughout our marriage and separation we have always striven to maintain the privacy and integrity of our family and will continue to do so." [16] The divorce filing followed the March 2009 release of photographs appearing to show him on a beach embracing Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva. [132] [133] Gibson's divorce was finalized on December 23, 2011, and the settlement with his ex-wife was said to be the highest in Hollywood history at over $400 million. [134] The couple reportedly did not have a prenuptial agreement because California is a community property state, [135] Robyn was entitled to half of everything earned during the marriage. [134]

            On April 28, 2009, Gibson made a red carpet appearance with Grigorieva. Grigorieva, who had previously had a son with actor Timothy Dalton, [136] gave birth to Gibson's daughter Lucia on October 30, 2009. [137] [138] [139] By April 2010, Gibson and Grigorieva had split. [140] On June 21, 2010, Grigorieva filed a restraining order against Gibson to keep him away from her and their child. The restraining order was modified the next day regarding Gibson's contact with their child. [141] Gibson obtained a restraining order against Grigorieva on June 25, 2010. [141] [142]

            Grigorieva accused Gibson of domestic violence, leading to an investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in July 2010. [144] [145] On July 9, 2010, some audio recordings of a rant, allegedly directed by Gibson toward Grigorieva, were posted on the internet. [146] The same day Gibson was dropped by his agency, William Morris Endeavor. [146] Gibson's estranged wife Robyn filed a court statement declaring that she never experienced any abuse from Gibson, [147] while forensic experts have questioned the validity of some of the tapes, Gibson himself did not deny they were accurate at the time. [148] In March 2011, Mel Gibson agreed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge. [149] In April 2011, Gibson finally broke his silence about the incident in question. In an interview with Deadline Hollywood, Gibson expressed gratitude to longtime friends Whoopi Goldberg and Jodie Foster, both of whom had spoken publicly in his defense. About the recordings, Gibson said,

            "I've never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality—period. I don't blame some people for thinking that though, from the garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited. You have to put it all in the proper context of being in an irrationally, heated discussion at the height of a breakdown, trying to get out of a really unhealthy relationship. It's one terribly awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn't represent what I truly believe or how I've treated people my entire life." [131]

            In the same interview, Gibson stated,

            "I was allowed to end the case and still maintain my innocence. It's called a West Plea [150] and it's not something that prosecutors normally allow. But in my case, the prosecutors and the judge agreed that it was the right thing to do. I could have continued to fight this for years and it probably would have come out fine. But I ended it for my children and my family. This was going to be such a circus. You don't drag other people in your life through this sewer needlessly, so I'll take the hit and move on." [131]

            In August 2011, Gibson settled with Grigorieva, who was awarded $750,000, joint legal custody, and a house in Sherman Oaks, California until their three-year-old daughter Lucia turns 18. In 2013, Grigorieva sued her attorneys accusing them of advising her to sign a bad agreement, including a term that taking legal action against Gibson would compromise her financial settlement. [151]

            As of 2014, Gibson is in a relationship with former champion equestrian vaulter and writer Rosalind Ross. [152] [153] Ross gave birth to their son, and Gibson's ninth child, Lars Gerard, on January 20, 2017 in Los Angeles. [154]

            Investments

            Gibson is a property investor, with multiple properties in Malibu, California, several locations in Costa Rica, a private island in Fiji, and properties in Australia. [155] [156] In December 2004, Gibson sold his 300 acres (1.2 km 2 ) Australian farm in the Kiewa Valley for $6 million. [157] Also in December 2004, Gibson purchased Mago Island in Fiji from Tokyu Corporation of Japan for $15 million. Descendants of the original native inhabitants of Mago, who were displaced in the 1860s, have protested the purchase. Gibson stated it was his intention to retain the pristine environment of the undeveloped island. [158] In early 2005, he sold his 45,000 acres (180 km 2 ) Montana ranch to a neighbor. [159] In April 2007 he purchased a 400 acres (1.6 km 2 ) ranch in Costa Rica for $26 million, and in July 2007 he sold his 76 acres (31 ha) Tudor estate in Connecticut (which he purchased in 1994 for $9 million) for $40 million to an unnamed buyer. [160] Also that month, he sold a Malibu property for $30 million that he had purchased for $24 million two years before. [161] In 2008, he purchased the Malibu home of actors David Duchovny and Téa Leoni. [162]

            Jersey Leaks

            Records of Gibson using offshore accounts and business were revealed in the Jersey Leaks, records of more than 20,000 individuals held with the wealth management firm Kleinwort Benson. [163]

            Philanthropy

            Gibson and his former wife have contributed a substantial amount of money to various charities, one of which is Healing the Children. According to Cris Embleton, one of the founders, the Gibsons gave millions to provide lifesaving medical treatment to needy children worldwide. [164] [165] They also supported the restoration of Renaissance artwork [166] and gave millions of dollars to NIDA. [167]

            Gibson donated $500,000 to the El Mirador Basin Project to protect the last tract of virgin rain forest in Central America and to fund archeological excavations in the "cradle of Mayan civilization". [168] In July 2007, Gibson again visited Central America to make arrangements for donations to the indigenous population. Gibson met with Costa Rican President Óscar Arias to discuss how to "channel the funds". [169] During the same month, Gibson pledged to give financial assistance to a Malaysian company named Green Rubber Global for a tire recycling factory located in Gallup, New Mexico. [170] While on a business trip to Singapore in September 2007, Gibson donated to a local charity for children with chronic and terminal illnesses. [171] Gibson is also a supporter of Angels at Risk, a nonprofit organization focusing on education about drug and alcohol abuse among teens. [172]

            In a 2011 interview, Gibson said of his philanthropic works, "It gives you perspective. It's one of my faults, you tend to focus on yourself a lot. Which is not always the healthiest thing for your psyche or anything else. If you take a little time out to think about other people, it's good. It's uplifting." [173]

            Religious and political views

            Faith

            Gibson was raised a Sedevacantist traditionalist Catholic. [22] During the filming of The Passion of The Christ he had daily visits from both local priests and priests from the Institute of Christ the King in France. [174] When asked about the Catholic doctrine of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, Gibson replied, "There is no salvation for those outside the Church . I believe it. Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She's a much better person than I am. Honestly. She's . Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it's just not fair if she doesn't make it, she's better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it." [97] [175] When he was asked whether John 14:6 is an intolerant position, he said that "through the merits of Jesus' sacrifice . even people who don't know Jesus are able to be saved, but through him." [176] Acquaintance Father William Fulco has said that Gibson denies neither the Pope nor Vatican II. [177] Gibson later told Diane Sawyer that he believes non-Catholics and non-Christians can go to Heaven. [99] [178]

            In a 1990 interview with Barbara Walters, Gibson said: "God is the only one who knows how many children we should have, and we should be ready to accept them. One can't decide for oneself who comes into this world and who doesn't. That decision doesn't belong to us." [179]

            Politics

            Gibson has been described as "ultraconservative". [180]

            In a July 1995 interview with Playboy magazine, Gibson said President Bill Clinton was a "low-level opportunist" and someone was "telling him what to do". He said that the Rhodes Scholarship was established for young men and women who want to strive for a "new world order" and this was a campaign for Marxism. [181] Gibson later backed away from such conspiracy theories saying, "It was like: 'Hey, tell us a conspiracy'. so I laid out this thing, and suddenly, it was like I was talking the gospel truth, espousing all this political shit like I believed in it." [182] In the same 1995 Playboy interview, Gibson argued against ordaining women to the priesthood. [183]

            In 2004, he publicly spoke out against taxpayer-funded embryonic stem-cell research that involves the cloning and destruction of human embryos. [184] In March 2005, he condemned the outcome of the Terri Schiavo case, referring to Schiavo's death as "state-sanctioned murder". [185]

            Gibson questioned the Iraq War in March 2004. [186] In 2006, Gibson said that the "fearmongering" depicted in his film Apocalypto "reminds me a little of President Bush and his guys." [180] He later said in 2016 that he is anti-war but has an appreciation for the sacrifices made by "warriors". [187]

            Gibson complimented filmmaker Michael Moore and his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 when he and Moore were recognized at the 2005 People's Choice Awards. [188] Gibson's Icon Productions originally agreed to finance Moore's film, but later sold the rights to Miramax Films. Moore said that his agent Ari Emanuel claimed that "top Republicans" called Mel Gibson to tell him, "don't expect to get more invitations to the White House". [189] Icon's spokesman dismissed this story, saying "We never run from a controversy. You'd have to be out of your mind to think that of the company that just put out The Passion of the Christ." [190]

            In a 2011 interview, Gibson stated:

            "The whole notion of politics is they always present you with this or this or this. I'll get a newspaper to read between the lines. Why do you have to adhere to prescribed formulas that they have and people argue over them and they're all in a box. And you watch Fox claw CNN, and CNN claw Fox. Sometimes I catch a piece of the news and it seems insanity to me. I quietly support candidates. I'm not out there banging a drum for candidates. But I have supported a candidate and it's a whole other world. Once you've been exposed to it, once or twice or however many times, if you know the facts and see how they're presented, it's mind-boggling. It's a very scary arena to be in, but I do vote. I go in there and pull the lever. It's kind of like pulling the lever and watching the trap door fall out from beneath you. Why should we trust any of these people? None of them ever deliver on anything. It's always disappointing." [131]

            Gibson revealed in a 2016 interview with Jorge Ramos that he voted for neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton in the 2016 United States presidential election. [191]

            In October 2020, Mel Gibson released a statement regarding Azerbaijan’s aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) and the Armenian people, expressing his solidarity with Armenians. [192]

            Alcohol abuse and legal issues

            Gibson has said that he started drinking at the age of 13. [193] In a 2002 interview about his time at NIDA, Gibson said, "I had really good highs but some very low lows. I found out recently I'm manic depressive." [194]

            Gibson was banned from driving in Ontario, Canada for three months in 1984, after rear-ending a car in Toronto while under the influence of alcohol. [195] He retreated to his Australian farm for over a year to recover, but he continued to struggle with drinking. Despite this problem, Gibson gained a reputation in Hollywood for professionalism and punctuality such that frequent collaborator Richard Donner was shocked when Gibson confided that he was drinking five pints of beer for breakfast. [99] Reflecting in 2003 and 2004, Gibson said that despair in his mid-30s led him to contemplate suicide, and he meditated on Christ's Passion to heal his wounds. [99] [175] [196] He took more time off acting in 1991 and sought professional help. [197] That year, Gibson's attorneys were unsuccessful at blocking the Sunday Mirror from publishing what Gibson shared at AA meetings. [198] [ clarification needed ] In 1992, Gibson provided financial support to Hollywood's Recovery Center, saying, "Alcoholism is something that runs in my family. It's something that's close to me. People do come back from it, and it's a miracle." [199]

            On August 17, 2006, Gibson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge and was sentenced to three years' probation. [200] He was ordered to attend self-help meetings five times a week for four-and-a-half months and three times a week for the remainder of the first year of his probation. He was also ordered to attend a First Offenders Program, was fined $1,300, and his license was restricted for 90 days. [200]

            The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) accused Gibson of homophobia after a December 1991 interview in the Spanish newspaper El País in which he made derogatory comments about homosexuals. [90] [201] Gibson later defended his comments [90] and rejected calls to apologize even as he faced fresh accusations of homophobia in the wake of his film Braveheart. [181] However, Gibson joined GLAAD in hosting 10 lesbian and gay filmmakers for an on-location seminar on the set of the movie Conspiracy Theory in January 1997. [202] In 1999, when asked about the comments to El País, Gibson said, "I shouldn't have said it, but I was tickling a bit of vodka during that interview, and the quote came back to bite me on the ass." [182]

            On July 28, 2006, Gibson was arrested by Sheriff's Deputy James Mee of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for driving under the influence (DUI) while speeding in his vehicle with an open container of alcohol. According to a 2011 article in Vanity Fair, Gibson first told the arresting officer, "My life is over. I'm fucked. Robyn's going to leave me." [203] According to the arrest report, Gibson exploded into an angry tirade when the arresting officer would not allow him to drive home. Gibson climaxed with the words, "Fucking Jews. the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?" [204] [205] [206]

            After the arrest report was leaked on TMZ.com, Gibson issued two apologies through his publicist, [207] and—in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer—he affirmed the accuracy of the quotations. [208] He further apologized for his "despicable" behavior, saying that the comments were "blurted out in a moment of insanity", [200] and asked to meet with Jewish leaders to help him "discern the appropriate path for healing." [209] After Gibson's arrest, his publicist said he had entered a recovery program to battle alcoholism.

            Gibson's controversial statements resulted in his being blacklisted in Hollywood for almost a decade. [210] Robert Downey Jr. [211] and journalist Allison Hope Weiner [212] advocated for forgiveness for Gibson in 2014. In 2016, Gibson's film Hacksaw Ridge received Academy Award nominations, and actors and agencies were becoming eager to work with him again, which was perceived as a "thaw" for Gibson. [213]


            In July 2010, Gibson had been recorded during a phone call with Oksana Grigorieva suggesting that if she got "raped by a pack of niggers", she would be to blame. [214] [215] [216] [217] Gibson was barred from coming near Grigorieva or their daughter due to a domestic violence-related restraining order. [214] The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department launched a domestic violence investigation against Gibson, [145] later dropped when Gibson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge. [149]

            In 1985, Gibson was named the "Sexiest Man Alive" by People, the first person to be named so. [218] Gibson quietly declined the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government in 1995 as a protest against France's resumption of nuclear testing in the Southwest Pacific. [219] On July 25, 1997, Gibson was named an honorary Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), in recognition of his "service to the Australian film industry". The award was honorary because substantive awards are made only to Australian citizens. [220] [221]


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