Fake News: Army Did NOT Calls For 200,000-man Detail to Fill Sandbags on US-Mexico Border

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Army Did NOT Calls For 200,000-man Detail to Fill Sandbags on US-Mexico Border

Is the U.S. military busy building a wall out of sandbags on the border with Mexico after President Donald Trump hinted that funding for his wall would come from the military budget? And are they rounding up 200,000 troops to get the job done? Nope, that's not true: this story was invented by a military satire weblog and has no connection to reality.

It appeared as an article published on March 29, 2018 by Duffel Blog titled "Army calls for 200,000-man detail to fill sandbags on US-Mexico border" (archived here) which opened:

EL PASO, Texas -- The U.S. Army's top enlisted man has been seen walking around a number of U.S. Army installations in an attempt to round up at least 200,000 soldiers for a detail on the U.S.-Mexico border, sources confirmed today.

According to a number of sources at Fort Bliss, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey was seen screaming in the parking lots of various barracks for "a couple hundred thousand bodies."

"Hey get me some soldiers out here right now!" screamed Dailey outside barracks belonging to the 1st Brigade Combat Team of 1st Armored Division on Tuesday, according to witnesses. "I need a detail on the border. This one's important, people."

Dailey has been attempting to rally hundreds of thousands of soldiers for a detail filling sandbags and Hesco barriers on the southwestern border of the United States, after President Donald Trump privately indicated he wanted the military to pay for the much-talked about wall that Congress wouldn't pay for that Mexico was supposed to pay for.

The story looked believable enough if you squint a bit and only saw the summary on social media:

Army calls for 200,000-man detail to fill sandbags on US-Mexico border

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey was seen screaming in the parking lots of various barracks for "a couple hundred thousand bodies."

We wrote about duffelblog.com before because sometimes their humorous satire gets mistaken for real news by people who don't know anything about military matters:

The website Duffelblog.com is a military-themed satire website which sports following legal disclaimer on its 'about' page:

Legal

We are in no way, shape, or form, a real news outlet. Everything on this website is satirical and the content of this site is a parody of a news organization. No composition should be regarded as truthful, and no reference of an individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or emotional harm.

All characters, groups, and military units appearing in these works are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual military units and companies is purely coincidental.

They are sometimes refered to as the military version of The Onion but that same 'about' page points out:

Duffel Blog is sometimes referred to as "The military version of The Onion," but this is a misnomer. The gaffe was cleared up in May 2012 when Duffel Blog staff successfully conducted an airborne assault on the offices of The Onion News Network so that others would know "The Onion was actually the civilian version of Duffel Blog."

So don't fall for any of their stories...

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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