After Hours

Geek Trivia: The Quibble of the Week for Aug. 19, 2008

This week's quibble comes from the Aug. 12, 2008 edition of Geek Trivia, "Major motion pictures." TechRepublic member jsaubert felt that my roster of cartoon characters that have been granted honorary ranks in the U.S. military was missing someone.

If you uncover a questionable fact or debatable aspect of this week's Geek Trivia, just post it in the discussion area of the article. Every week, yours truly will choose the best quibble from our assembled masses and discuss it in a future edition of Geek Trivia.

This week's quibble comes from the Aug. 12, 2008 edition of Geek Trivia, "Major motion pictures." TechRepublic member jsaubert felt that my roster of cartoon characters that have been granted honorary ranks in the U.S. military was missing someone:

"Donald Duck was listed 'inactive' in the roster for the Army (as a sergeant after he was promoted in 1984). My cousin, who is now a First Lieutenant in the Army, came across this information years ago while he was reorganizing and helping to scan old records. He thought it was hilarious and had to tell me as I'm a big Disney person. I'm not really sure how one would go about checking. If you called the Army asking they might think you were crazy or something."

Well, you're right on at least one count: I couldn't find any evidence that Donald was ever given an honorary Army rank. And before anyone quibbles the quibble: Yes, Donald's early animated shorts showed him as an Army serviceman (er... serviceduck), even going on commando raids during World War II.

I did, however, find evidence of Donald being an official and Disney-sanctioned mascot of several U.S. military units, some of which were originally in the Army. Donald Duck is the official mascot of the 309th Fighter Squadron, which was originally an Army Air Corps unit when Donald signed on but is now a unit of the U.S. Air Force. The same holds true for the 415th Fighter Squadron, 438th Fighter Squadron, 479th Bombardment Squadron, and the 531st Bombardment Squadron, all of whom count Donald as their mascot. Finally, Donald is the official mascot of the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary. Despite the sailor suit, Donald has never been officially associated with the U.S. Navy, at least so far as I can find.

Thanks for the quibble, though. And keep them coming!

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About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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