That Was 17 Years Ago!


I’m riffing off of Amy here.  This started as a comment on her post about streamlining the number of acronyms, but I think it can be its own post. Here’s how I started:

Ha, I’ll believe it when I see it. The problem is that the military can suggest that we eliminate redundant terms, but that’s not gonna get people to stop using them! The Army has a collective memory like an elephant.

We moved to Bragg seven years after the grand opening of the new Womack hospital. They turned the old hospital into the inprocessing building. I can’t even tell you the official name of this place because everyone calls it “old Womack.” It hasn’t been the hospital for over a decade, but newcomers show up to the post and people act like they should know which building used to be the hospital!

And it was worse on our post in Germany: people would refer to one building as “the old Shoppette.” I finally asked a civilian who had worked on post since the dawn of time, and apparently it hadn’t been the Shoppette in like 17 years or something.

Military types are set in their ways. If an acronym once existed, half the people are still going to use it anyway, which will continue to confuse new recruits. And if a building ever at one point used to be something else, it will still be referred to by its old designation. Despite the fact that the population turns over at these places every three or four years, the names stay the same. Twenty years from now, people will still be calling that dilapidated building “old Womack.” Heck, maybe someday they’ll build a new hospital and Bragg will then have buildings called “old Womack” and “old old Womack.”

And the problem is that, as stupid as I think it is, I too call the place “old Womack.” I perpetuate the problem.

Encountered this on other installations?

About the Author

Sarah has been married to her soldier for a bit more than 10 years. In the past decade, they've been at six different duty stations in four different branches of the Army. They've also endured three deployments, six miscarriages, and a failed IVF. Sarah's blogging focus has shifted some in the past five years, from common military issues to something more personal: the difficult intersection between the military and infertility. It's hard for some couples to start a family; it's even harder when one person spends a lot of time on the other side of the globe. But Sarah was lucky enough to declare Mission Accomplished when their daughter was born 10 days after her husband's return from Afghanistan. And she tries to remind herself how irreplaceable and cherished that daughter is now that she's entered the terrible two's. In her free time, Sarah is a pioneer housewife: knitting, crocheting, and cooking ... and sometimes even firing a weapon.
  • Petra

    Soldier Service Center here on Ft.Rucker is referred to as “fifty-seven hundred”, as that is its house number…I wondered what people will do if the center ever moves, but I guess it’ll be as you described, people WILL call it 5700 till the end of time :))

  • tankerswife

    Here’s one that’s not service specific per se, nor is it limited to a particular base. Folks from every branch of the service, enlisted to officer, will call the passenger terminal the MAC terminal (short for Military Airlift Command). Flights in and out are called MAC flights. MAC became AMC in 1992…19 yrs ago. Some of the kids using “MAC” weren’t even born yet when it changed.

    Sorta makes a gal feel old.

    • MrsAirman

      That explains SO much about my trip overseas. I kept telling the cab driver the AMC and he kept saying “the movie theater?” Took another service member to get it sorted out to the MAC.

  • Amanda

    Those are the type of directions we use in The South too! We live in a small town and everything is what it used to be, where so and so used to live, or where such and such was….but I wouldn’t trade it for anything =)

    • That’s what I was thinking! Haven’t encountered it on base yet, but when we moved to Georgia, I noticed that people give a lot of directions based on where things used to be instead of where things currently are. My favorite was a guy giving me directions to a park and told me it was near where the old VFW hall was — hadn’t been the VFW since maybe the late 80’s or late 90’s, but he had no idea what it currently is, even though he goes to the park all the time! LOL.

    • twocents

      yea – here we have the following names regarding the buildings (current & former) for the high school. the new high school (built in 1999) the old new high school ( the junior high) and the old old high school ( the middle school)

  • CavWife

    That’s so funny, but so true. I can admit to doing it as well. Army had been wearing ACUs for years now, but I still tell my husband I’ve washed his’ BDUs. BAH is still BAQ to me some times. It’s the same with housing too. When someone moves out and another family moves in, there house is referred to “So and so’s old house.” For instance, my friend Tara PCS’d almost a year ago and a new friend (Renee) moved in, with whom I’m very good friends. But when anyone asks, Renee lives in Tara’s old place! It’s just the way we all are and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    • Dana

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that messes up the name of the ACU and BDU’s. My husband was in the army, then they switched the army name, then he switched to Air Force. I’m so confused that I sometimes just make up an acronym or list them all because I can never remember if he is wearing an ACU, BDU or as I just looked up the ABU which apparently is what they call it in the Air Force. I’m glad that 4 years in the Air Force and I just figured that out. haha

      • Sarah

        Ha, you just reminded me that I do this in other realms too: my husband gets so annoyed when I sometimes still call the DVD player our “VCR”…ha! Whatever, you know what I mean!

  • Alton

    I remember way back a long time ago I lived at Hickam AFB in Hawaii and after I grew up, i joined the service and five years after that I was on a plane that broke down there. So in the spirit of “They can’t move those things like the PX/ BX or anyhting else that big”, I started walking to where it used to be. I had folks stop there car and ask me where the old beach was “turn left at the PX and follow that road until it ends” and someone else that asked me where the main gate was ” Gee, it used to be over on the right but they got a hi-way there now. Go that way anyway”. Oh yeah, found the PX and it brought back a lot of memories. Ten years later I told my Squadron that i would met them in Hawaii when they changed ships… and they thought i was crazy. Should have bet them money cause I met them on the docks and their jaws dropped. “How do you know?” “I used to live here”. “So you know uhh?” ” Don’t go ther, go here”. “tell you what just follow me Ok?”