Veterans Ronnie Adkins and Rudy Reyes Bring Combat Experience to the History Channel's 'The Proof Is Out There: Military Mysteries'

Former Army intelligence analyst Ronnie Adkins (left) and veteran Recon Marine Rudy Reyes host "The Proof is Out There," on HIstory. (Jai Lennard/The HISTORY Channel)

What really happened to U.S. Navy aviator Lt. Cmdr. Scott Speicher, the first American combat casualty of the first Gulf War? Did the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, assassinate a Palestinian businessman in 2010, or did Hamas frame the agency for its own political gain? Did the Soviet Union accidentally release a biological weapon on its own citizens? Or was it an intentional test?

These are some of the more modern mysteries that have baffled military historians, researchers and even official investigators over the past few decades. Former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Ronnie Adkins and Marine Corps Reconnaissance veteran Rudy Reyes delve into the facts behind these stories and more on the History Channel's new documentary series, "The Proof is Out There: Military Mysteries."

Fans of prolific online combat footage repository Funker530 are likely already familiar with Adkins, who's been livestreaming on YouTube as a shooting sports competitor, fitness enthusiast and podcaster since 2015. Reyes is probably best known for portraying himself in HBO's beloved Iraq War miniseries, "Generation Kill," but he's been plenty busy since leaving military special operations as the co-founder of Force Blue, a nonprofit that pairs former operators with marine biologists to help marine life conservation efforts.

"The Proof is Out There: Military Mysteries" is "really grounded in our experience, rooted in something tangible," Reyes recently told "If you've been in the military, you know it's no nonsense. Ronnie's got the 30,000-foot view ... I am used to freaking snake-eating out there in the field and having that intimate experience with combat, with the enemy and in interesting conditions."

The pair make an interesting team. Adkins is a military deception expert who deployed to Afghanistan as an information operations chief attached to special operations forces in Afghanistan. Reyes is a SERE-trained paratrooper, combat diver, demolition expert and scout sniper, trained in close-quarters combat, with 50 missions behind enemy lines in Iraq and Afghanistan (and probably elsewhere).

Together, the duo is bringing a world of experience (along with other military, scientific and investigative experts) to unlock the truth behind modern unsolved historical anomalies.

"Ronnie and I, in a sense, are point men," Reyes said. "We're point men on a team, and our experts, our scientists and our writers are backing us up. We have all come together to gain some insight; we are presenters with skin in the game and we bring our insight to these stories -- and it's pretty freaking rad."

The History Channel might be internet famous for some of its historical mystery shows, but you won't find stories of ghouls and little green men on "The Proof is Out There: Military Mysteries." Adkins and Reyes are looking at stories that deal with real people and events that occurred during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf War and today's ongoing conflicts.

"It's still about modern conflict, but you'll also find mysteries surrounding current conflicts," Adkins said. "When you try to cover current conflict, with how dynamic the battlespace is and how rapidly things change, you have to update some things right in the process. There were instances where we had to go back and rehash the facts because things had changed. What was true at that time, maybe months ago, was no longer. So it's because it's covering such a wide era of warfare, a lot of time and energy had to go into it all. We were working on this up to and including just a couple months ago."

The show will open with the story of Lt. Cmdr. Speicher, the only naval aviator shot down during the Gulf War. He was originally listed as missing in action, but by the end of the war, his status changed to killed in action/body not recovered. Some in the Navy, along with the Speicher family, however, did not believe that he'd died in his plane. Later evidence revealed clues that the aviator successfully bailed out and left a trail of proof he survived, but his final fate remained a longtime mystery.

"Speicher's story was one that I'm really excited we opened with," Adkins said. "I don't want to give away too much, but it's a story of sacrifice. He was the only Gulf War pilot shot down by enemy fire. We worked through some of the challenges the family saw, the ebb and flow of what they were told. Those are the stories Rudy and I want to be sharing. Of course, there's going to be the fun stuff, but digging into military sacrifice is always going to be top of the list for us."

The sad truth is that service members on the battlefield have sometimes vanished, seemingly into thin air. Warships suddenly explode without anyone, even their enemies, knowing how or why. Modern propaganda and deception tactics can make the truth even more difficult to uncover. But with a team of expert researchers and their own personal wartime experiences, Adkins and Reyes try to shine a light on the ongoing unresolved conundrums of recent memory.

"The Proof is Out There: Military Mysteries" premieres on the History Channel on April 22, 2024, and will be available for streaming on the following day.

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