Weird Universe


How the AMC Building got its name, 1973

Warren Times-Mirror and Observer - Jan 15, 1973

ARMY ORIGINALITY — To boost morale, the Army Materiel Command recently held a contest to name its new national headquarters. More than 524 names were suggested, and the AMC's official Contest Committee to Name the New Building solemnly studied the offerings. At last, Maj. Gen. Charles T. Horner, the AMC chief of staff, announced with pride: "The name of the new AMC building is the AMC BUILDING." The lucky winner, Francis Sikorski, received $100 in appropriated monies for his shrewd suggestion.

The AMC Building - 5001 Eisenhower Ave. via Flickr.

I first encountered the story of how the AMC Building got its name in Chuck's 1989 News of the Weird book. Later, I also noticed it in National Lampoon's True Facts. So because I'm amusing myself over at by telling the story of some classic weird news stories in more depth, I recently decided to try to find out if there were any more details to the AMC story. For instance, what other names were submitted in the contest? Were all the other entries so bad that the committee decided it had to choose the most obvious name possible? Or was this really just "army originality" at work.

But after a lot of digging, I've come up empty.

The story of the name-choosing contest is mentioned in the Army Materiel Command's own official history (pdf), published in 2013. So I contacted the AMC and asked them if they knew of any more details to the story. Their pr rep contacted the historians, who returned the answer that, no, that's all there is to the story. No other details survive. So we'll never know exactly why the "AMC Building" was the winning entry in the "Name the new AMC Building" contest.

But I can report that the AMC Building no longer houses the headquarters of the AMC. The AMC moved out of the Eisenhower Ave. building in 2002, relocating its headquarters first to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and later to Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, where it currently can be found.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Nov 15, 2015 | Comments (12)
Category: Military, Odd Names, 1970's

Army puts price tags on equipment

Back in 1951, the U.S. Army was told it needed to cut costs, so it initiated the "cost-consciousness" program. This involved putting price tags on all the equipment, so that the soldiers could see how much everything cost. The theory was that this would make them use the equipment more "wisely and well."

After the program was implemented, one Army Reserve staffer said, "It looks just like a department store here."

There were claims that the program saved the Army millions of dollars. So I wonder what caused it to be shelved?

The News-Herald (Franklin, Pennsylvania) - Dec 14, 1951

The Spokesman-Review - Feb 27, 1952

Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Nov 12, 2015 | Comments (14)
Category: Military, 1950's, Armed Forces

Veterans Day 11/11/2015

This post is a bit early, but for good reason. This year on Veterans Day Bob Evans is honoring all military personnel, past and present, by offering free breakfast to all of you on Veterans Day. So, I am doing my Veterans Day post early to inform all of our esteemed veterans and active duty WUVians so that you have a chance to enjoy a free breakfast. Thank you all for your service.
Posted By: patty | Date: Mon Nov 09, 2015 | Comments (7)
Category: Military

Nothing To Bragg About

What do you suppose would be the most inappropriate Halloween costume to wear to any military base, especially Ft. Bragg? Yep, emergency response was initiated and a gate was shut down over some idiot showing up to the base in a suicide bomber costume.
Posted By: patty | Date: Sun Nov 01, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Costumes and Masks, Holidays, Military, Terrorism and Terrorists, Goofs and Screw-ups

Mystery Illustration 11


Without googling, try to guess what military event this insignia celebrates.

Answer after the jump.
More >>
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Oct 21, 2015 | Comments (9)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, History, Military

Norwegian Navy Beard Form

If sailors in the Norwegian Navy want to grow a beard, they must submit a form requesting permission to do so. This form should include a drawing of what their beard will look like. Redditor "aellgutta" recently shared a photo of such a form that he submitted, along with a translation:

On the top it says "BEARD APPLICATION", then it's rank/ military ID-number, full name and platoon/ division. Then it says "Reason:" to which I wrote "I get irritated skin from daily shaving and it's starting to get cold outside." Under the sketch I drew, it says "DRAW HERE!" and at the bottom the Lieutenant has written that he will inspect it after the next excercise (which gave me about 2,5 weeks) followed by a stamp to show my application was accepted.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu May 28, 2015 | Comments (8)
Category: Military, Hair Styling


Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Aug 27, 2014 | Comments (2)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Military, PSA's, Diseases

Second Shortest Man in the Air Force

This picture and caption ran in papers back in October 1951. It's not clear why it was considered newsworthy. It also left unanswered the question of who the shortest man in the Air Force was, if Sgt. Perkins was the second shortest.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Oct 25, 2012 | Comments (10)
Category: Military, 1950's

The Inflatoplane

Developed by Goodyear in the 1950s, the Inflatoplane could fit in the trunk of a car, and then be inflated to full size in 10 minutes. The idea was that the air force could drop inflatoplanes to pilots stranded in enemy territory, allowing them to fly themselves to safety. But the project was eventually abandoned because of a series of accidents, and the military's concern that the plane could too easily be shot down. Link:

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Aug 15, 2012 | Comments (4)
Category: Inventions, Military, Air Travel and Airlines

The Flying Platform

According to the Air and Space Museum:

In the mid-1950s, Hiller constructed a series of innovative Flying Platforms for an Army-Navy program as a one-man flying vehicle that the pilot could control with minimal training. The pilot simply leaned in the desired direction and the platform would follow. The platforms, which utilized the aerodynamic advantages of the ducted fan, were incapable of tumbling, because if the pilot leaned over too far, the platform would pitch up and slow down.

Unfortunately, the flying platform was plagued by engineering problems. Otherwise, we'd probably all be floating around cities in these today. More info here

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon May 21, 2012 | Comments (6)
Category: Inventions, Military
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.