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Drive a tank, shoot a flame thrower at Texas ranch

Published: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 @ 2:11 PM

A Sherman tank. (Photo: Randen Pederson/Flickr/Creative Commons) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Randen Pederson
A Sherman tank. (Photo: Randen Pederson/Flickr/Creative Commons) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/(Randen Pederson)

About two hours west of San Antonio, an 18,000-acre ranch offers a vacation getaway unlike any other.

A portion of the OX Hunting Ranch has been converted into a battlefield, a military buff’s fantasy camp, giving nearly anyone the chance to operate a tank, shoot a flame thrower or fire an artillery or other large gun at DriveTanks.com

"There's an element of ‘Yeah, let's shoot 'em up and have fun’ but I think even a bigger element is coming out and getting a feel for how these things operate -- the power, the majesty of these systems," owner Todd DeGidio told KTRK

The experience isn’t cheap. All-day tank packages can cost more than $8,000.

Prices range from $40 to fire a machine gun; $125 to fire a mortar to nearly $3,000 to operate a World War II-era Sherman tank, and fire its 76 mm main gun. 

DeGidio gives participants a run-through on the equipment and guides them through the courses, according to ABC News.

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The tanks seat up to five people, but there is only one operator. It takes about 15-20 minutes to maneuver through the course. If the tank’s gun is going to be fired, the course can take up to an hour to complete. 
Tanks and other tracked vehicles available include an American Sherman tank similar to the one Brad Pitt used in the movie “Fury,” a Russian T-34 tank that saw duty on the Eastern Front in 1945 during World War II and a German Kettenkrad tracked motorcycle that was captured in Belgium in 1944.

There is no age limit. Owners leave that up to the discretion of parents. They have had children as young as 8 shoot and as young as 12 operate a tank. 

“We see everyone from single moms bringing their kids for their birthday to the top 1 percent income earners,” DeGidio told the Houston Chronicle. “This allows our demographic to open up to virtually everyone, and we are very happy to have been able to do that.”

He said one group could not get enough and spent $30,000 for the day.

“That’s everything we had and shooting everything we had,” DeGidio told ABC News. “It was even hard for us to keep up with them.”

DeGidio, a former Houston police officer and Green Beret, opened the immersive experience in 2016. 

"I think it's important for us to keep this part of our history alive," DeGidio told KTRK.

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American Airlines plane with hydraulic fluid leak safely lands at Florida airport

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 7:12 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)(Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

An American Airlines plane flying from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Palm Beach International Airport developed a hydraulic leak Saturday afternoon. 

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Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crews responded to the airport after the plane landed safely at the gate at about 1:07 p.m, according to Capt. Albert Borroto.

The plane -- which was scheduled to land at PBI -- did not need to make an emergency landing, and there are no reports of injuries, Leonard Serratore of PBI said. 

It is unclear if the plane experienced the leak before or after the plane took off from Charlotte. 

In August 2016, a similar incident with an American Airlines plane occurred at PBI in which the plane developed a hydraulic leak on a taxiway. In that instance, 23 passengers and one flight attendant were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries, including burning eyes, itchy skin and difficulty breathing.

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Trump considers pardon for late boxer Jack Johnson

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 7:04 PM

FILE - This undated photo shows boxer Jack Johnson.  President Donald Trump says he's considering
FILE - This undated photo shows boxer Jack Johnson. President Donald Trump says he's considering "a Full Pardon!" for boxing's first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after Jack Johnson was convicted by all-white jury of "immorality" for one of his relationships. Trump tweets that the actor Sylvester Stallone called him to share Johnson's story. Trump says Johnson's "trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial." The president adds: "Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!" (AP Photo/File(AP)

Prodded by actor Sylvester Stallone, President Donald Trump said he’s considering a posthumous pardon for boxing's first black heavyweight champion, more than 100 years after he was convicted by an all-white jury of accompanying a white woman across state lines.

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Jack Johnson, who died in 1946, was convicted in 1913 for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for "immoral" purposes.

"His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial," Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon from Mar-a-Lago. "Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!"

Johnson's family has tried to get a posthumous pardon for years. The tweet comes a week after Trump pardoned I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a top aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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'Mini-Me' actor Verne Troyer dead at 49

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 4:21 PM

Verne Troyer, famous for his role as
Verne Troyer, famous for his role as "Mini-Me" in the Austin Powers comedies, died Saturday. He was 49. (Photo: Verne Troyer/Facebook)

Verne Troyer, famous for his role as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" comedies, died Saturday. He was 49. 

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‘Full Metal Jacket’ actor R. Lee Ermey dead at 74

Published: Sunday, April 15, 2018 @ 7:09 PM

Remembering R. Lee Ermey

Actor R. Lee Ermey, famous for his role as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket” died Sunday. He was 74. 

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