I got a nice e-mail yesterday from Ginger Cucolo, to wit:
If you are receiving this note, you contributed in some way to my project for researching the history of Military Identification Tags.
Dog Tags: The History, Personal Stories, Cultural Impact, and Future of Military Identification has now been completed. For this, I want to thank you.
Ginger went on to note her book is available at Amazon and through her book's web site, if'n you're interested. I participated in her project by filling out a questionnaire, which came to me as a result of this post:
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Via Kris, another one of those quiz thingies. This time, it’s “What Book Are You?”
by Hermann Hesse
You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in. This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in ferries.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.
This one is closer than most, aside from the fact the test results say I’m really lonely. Au contraire. I’m alone, true, but I am not lonely. Big difference. Boy-Howdy is it ever true when they say “you've spent some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in.” That statement really nails it! And I do believe in ferries, having been on quite a few. The book selection is interesting in one other aspect: check out this photo of my USAF-issued dog tag (click for larger). I’m Buddhist, by an official act of the US Gub’mint. The story behind that lil bit of trivia goes like this…
Once upon a time while I was still on active duty it came to pass, via directive, that all personnel had to have Official ID tags in their possession, at all times. Those of us who had lost their ID tags were ordered to report to the CBPO and get re-issued. So, I took my ol’ self down to the personnel shop, found the ID-tag foundry and presented my ID card to the airman in charge. He looked at it in a bored manner and asked “What’s your religion?” “No preference,” sez I. “No go,” sez he, “You have to choose a religion…pick one from this list…” and he shoves a list of about 25 religious denominations across the desk to me. I scan it quickly, and he’s right: there are no “No preference” or “Agnostic” categories. So I said “I’m Buddhist.” The airman didn't bat an eye and proceeded to pound out my dog tags. Ten minutes later I walked out of the personnel shop with my newly-minted dog tags and a brand-new religion. The Second Mrs. Pennington was most impressed when I got home, she being a closet Buddhist and all.
This is the third time I've run this post; I last published it in March of 2009. A couple o' you Gentle Readers commented back then to let me know "No Pref" was an option on your dog tags, which caused me to doubt my memory. I swear the story is true and I'm backed up by The Second Mrs. Pennington, who made one of her rare appearances in comments to that post to validate the story (and my religion, such as it is) in her left-handed way. So, there.
I never mentioned this in previous iterations of this chestnut, but if ya look closely at the photo you'll see another war-relic: my P-38. I've carried that puppy on my key chain ever since 1968, or so. I use it, too.