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 - Sun Nov 15, 2015
     Category: Military | Odd Names | 1970s

Brought to you by Captain Obvious.
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 11/15/15 at 12:10 PM
Since it was Army, of the 524 entries, 502 were obscene or so misspelled no one could make out what it's supposed to be. 19 wanted it named after themselves. 1 named some obscure military leader of the 14th Century (the Army's token intellectual). The remaining two entries were: Army Material Command Building and AMC Building. They simply chose the easier of the two.
Posted by Phideaux on 11/15/15 at 04:22 PM
@Phideaux: I agree.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 11/16/15 at 01:36 AM
It's a step up from numbers, which is how the buildings were identified on every base at which I was stationed.

Speaking of numbers, Phideaux, you should avoid starting a sentence with a number unless absolutely necessary. If you must do so, the number should be spelled out as a word. Primary numbers (one through ten) should always be spelled out, regardless of their location in the sentence. I learned these very basic rules of grammar in middle school, long before I went into the military.

On a related note, participles and conjunctions are your friends.

The lesson here is simple: if you're going to accuse an entire organization of illiteracy, you really should try to avoid looking like an uneducated ass in the process of leveling said accusation.
Posted by Nonya Bidniz on 11/16/15 at 09:04 AM
1 minut agao ah wuz a'gonna ansur this'ere post 'caz Phidaux iz ma frin but ah'll let hem do hit hizzelf dis tahm.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 11/16/15 at 09:16 AM
@ Phideaux
I learned a lot of things in school, and a lot more in life. I find that I can follow your writing rather well, so don't feel inclined to change a thing.
Posted by GFinKS on 11/16/15 at 10:58 AM
@Expat47 -- Thanks for saying I'm your fiend . . . er, um . . . friend! Strangely, it means a lot to me.

I don't think Nonya Bizniz's post needs an 'answer' -- it's a completely accurate statement of grade-school grammar rules.

@GFnkS -- It's likely you don't know how much of a compliment you just gave me! I'm a writer (sf/f short stories in national magazines, contract for YA novel arrived last week) currently experiencing a stereotypical insecurity/muse left in a huff/writer's block slump. It's heartening to receive affirmation that even my quickly-tossed-off posts are understandable.
Posted by Phideaux on 11/16/15 at 01:08 PM
The main admin building at McClellan AFB was numbered 100 and that was the way it was referenced. And it looked amazingly just like the one pictured here, although with fewer floors.
Posted by KDP on 11/16/15 at 02:56 PM
So the AMC Building and Building 100 are exactly the same except different.
You're Army, right? :coolsmile:
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 11/17/15 at 12:44 AM
Expat, I worked as a civilian / student while at university for three years. This was nearly thirty years ago, just before McClellan AFB was declared redundant and closed up.

The architecture style of the two buildings seems like they were drawn from the same specifications, big and square with lots of windows. I suspect that they just determined the number of floors by the amount of personnel need for the division.
Posted by KDP on 11/17/15 at 09:59 AM
I was thinking this might have been a gag. But I googled the winner's fairly unusual name, and came up with this obit from last year:!/Obituary

Lt. Colonel Sikorski was 95 when he died. He retired from the AF in 1963. But his last assignment was "Base Deputy Commander for Materials." That can't be just a coincidence.
Posted by Frank on 11/17/15 at 12:51 PM
Frank -- nice find! So if I had investigated this story just one year earlier, I might have been able to get Sikorski's take on the contest. But no longer! Bad timing.
Posted by Alex on 11/17/15 at 07:07 PM
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