April Fools' Day pranks include ‘military working cats,’ Marine ‘drill sergeants’
By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 3, 2018
Military working cats were in the news along with a slew of other unbelievable stories on April 1.
U.S. Forces Japan celebrated April Fools' Day by tweeting a photo of “MWC (Military Working Cat) Muffins” wearing tactical patches and the sort of camouflage harness you might expect to see on a military working dog.
The image shows Muffins alerting on a suspect during a tracking exercise, according to USFJ’s post.
“Muffins is part of a prototype program recently unveiled by the DOD Working Animal Program,” the tweet said. “Ten cats have made it to the final phase of training and will be sent to military installations.”
The Marine Corps also got in on the act, telling its social media followers that “the term Drill Instructor will be replaced with Drill Sergeant beginning next quarter.”
“The Marine Corps plans to modify recruit training in efforts to streamline training across the ground forces of the Department of Defense,” the message said.
After clicking a link to find out more, readers are brought to an image of a shouting drill instructor with the words: “April Fools! Say aye, sir!”
Military April Fools' pranks are a time-honored tradition. In 1915, a French aviator dropped what appeared to be a large bomb onto a German camp. The Germans scattered but eventually discovered that the object was actually a football with a note attached reading, “April Fool,” according to press reports posted on the Museum of Hoaxes website.
Stars and Stripes got in on the act in 1943, announcing plans for 30-day home furloughs for all personnel who had served for a year in Europe.
The men were to be transported back to the States on the SS Normandie, salvaged after capsizing in the Hudson River the previous year, crewed by members of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and staffed with entertainers including Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee and pin-up girl Betty Grable, the prank said.
“The Governor of the State of Texas has promised a sufficient number of Texas long horn yearlings to provide “inch-thick steaks” for each evening meal,” it added.
Rhode Island was sending a generous supply of fresh eggs while Florida would provide all the citrus fruit that veterans could consume on the voyage. On arrival in New York each servicemember would get the keys to the city and a date with “a charming debutant” before travelling back to home towns first class.
“Requests for furlough should be forwarded in triplicate to Stars and Stripes, where they will be carefully filed until next April Fool’s Day, on which date we hope to have the entire plan in actual operation,” the editorial concluded.