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Posted: 10/3/2001 7:29:36 PM EDT
OK, I'm hoping someone here knows what I'm talking about. I remember being told a story regarding what the historical significance is of the ball on top of the flagpole at United States military bases. Supposedly, it is hollow, and contains a piece of paper, a bullet, and a match. On the piece of paper is printed instructions for the proper way of burning the U.S. flag. If a military base is going to be overrun, the commanding officer is supposed to have the pole brought down, burn the flag in an efficient military manner, and then use the bullet to shoot himself. I'm sure that if this is true today, it is only done as tradition. What I'm trying to determine is whether this is/was ever actually done. If anyone has any information about this, please let me know. Thanks [marines]
Link Posted: 10/3/2001 7:38:22 PM EDT
I did a short stint on the honor guard while in AIT in the army. I remember being told this story also. I don't remember exactly how it goes but I do recall the bullet/match/instructions in the ball as well as something about a gun being buried so many paces in a certain direction from the base of the pole. Wish I could be of more help other than to say your not nuts...
Link Posted: 10/3/2001 8:06:45 PM EDT
The top of the flagpole is called the truck. It is supposed to contain: .45 bullet razor handfull of sand match under the flagpole is supposed to be burried a .45 pistol. The flag is supposed to be brought down, cut into pieces, burned, and burried with the sand. The .45 bullet is for the .45 burried under the pole to die with honor. I have heard of a .45 being burried under a flagpole on certain occasions incased in concrete or whatever for a ceremony or purposes like that. I hope this helps....and if I have got something wrong...don't flame me...just correct me...this is the best I can remember..thanks, medcop [usa]
Link Posted: 10/3/2001 8:08:07 PM EDT
I second his not being nuts. I thought it was a box buried at the base of the flagpole. Matches,a single round and a .45(probably a 9mm now). Realistically, while being overrun who has time to bring down a huge flagpole? As far as how to burn a flag (Strike match with cover closed) The commanding officer probably already choppered out hours before being overrun. So the guy doing flag detail that month would probably wind up doing the dirty deed!!! [flag]
Link Posted: 10/3/2001 8:08:40 PM EDT
The ball is referred to as the truck. I was stationed at Ft. Bragg and was told the same story. The only differance was it a razor blade, match and bullet. The razor blade is for cutting up the flag and so on and so forth.
Link Posted: 10/3/2001 8:26:16 PM EDT
You learn something new every day. Thanks guys!
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 2:26:28 AM EDT
Just out of curiosity... has anybody ever actually seen any of this stuff? Somebody has to put it there, right? So has anybody ever been on a flag pole erection (so to speak) detail? Lots of bases were closed in the last couple decades, was anybody there for a closing and the presumable removal of this stuff? It's a nice story, but I think that's all it is.
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 4:13:19 AM EDT
Haha, yep, everyones heard this story
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 4:23:51 AM EDT
Time to go dig up some vintage 1911's !!! Woo Hoo, how much do you think they're worth now? M.
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 5:55:00 AM EDT
Thanks for everyone's feedback. Well, at least if it is a sort of military urban legend, it's a fairly widespread one. If anyone out there has ANYTHING concrete on this, it would still be appreciated. [USA]
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 6:06:32 AM EDT
I was stationed in Washington DC as a MP in the mid 80's. We were a support unit for the Old Guard and we were also told the story about the bullet in the "truck" I also recall the the turck itself is sybolic of a cannon ball. We used to ask the new guys how many trucks there were on an Army post. The correct answer is "one". There are many vehicles but only one truck. For really new guys, doing flag detail for the first time we would send them all over the post asking for the the keys to the flag pole, to take it down. Kinda like telling them to go find a box of map grid squares, liquid squelch for the radio, spools of pipe thread, etc.
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 6:18:29 AM EDT
Good jokes smoky, In the Navy we'd send guys up to the flight deck to get "30 ft. of Flight Line", send them to the boiler room to "Get a BT Punch" from the Boiler Tech, also ever heard of "Mail Bouy Watch"? Even sent guys around looking for "Charlie Nobel" (name for the smoke stack on ships of old). M.
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 6:23:55 AM EDT
WHAT DO I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS THREAD. AS THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF THE 101-AIRBORNE WHO GOT THEMSELVES SURROUNDED IN FRANCE(BATTLE OF THE BULGE) , "NUTS!" DON"T GET OVER-RUN. Ben
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 6:31:37 AM EDT
On Air Force bases it contains a backpack to stuff the flag in, a pair of running shoes, and an open airline ticket for flights departing from the nearest airport. [;)]
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 6:33:53 AM EDT
And then there's 'buckets of prop wash." Norm
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 6:48:22 AM EDT
For the more in-depth practicle jokes, in the winter the night shift would take spray bottles of water down to the flag pole and spray the ropes and the cleat, freezing them together. You wanna see some red faced guys at reveille trying to chip away ice to put the flag up. Or we would also use smoke grenade striker heads (after we used the grenade in training) and put shot gun shell primers in them and make trip wires accros the path leading up to the flag pole. I was hillarious to watch the flag detail fall out of formation when someone stepped throught the line, scaring the crap out them. Ther was a whole host of stuff we would do to each other. Like puting oranges, grapefruit or tennis balls in the muzzle of the cannon for reveille or call to the colors in the evening. You either got fruit salad or people running off the parade grounds. Its amazing what a 10gauge shotgun blank in a 75mm cannon can do to citrus fruit.
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 6:56:29 AM EDT
Same stuff about the contents of the truck in the USMC 20 years ago and no doubt has been around for a long time.
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