For the past two weeks, I’ve been in Korea and Japan entertaining troops and their families with my pals the GIs of comedy. We had the great privilege of entertaining members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. I’ve been doing this military thing since 1992, so I know a good bit about each branch, but sometimes, I ask dumb questions. Yes, dumb questions do exist.
During a meet and greet at Osan Air Base in Korea, the base commander mentioned something about golf.
“Y’all have a golf course here, sir,” I blurted out.
“This is the Air Force, son. Of course, we do,” he replied.
In hindsight, I realize that was like asking a Navy commander if he was adjacent to a body of water. I knew better; I just wasn’t thinking. The Air Force is notorious for having golf courses. I think they have air planes, too.
One of my fellow GIs of Comedy pals is Jose Sarduy. He is a pilot in the Air Force reserves and tells a great joke.
“You Army guys yell HOOAH! Marines yell HOORAH, and in the Air Force, we yell FORE!” he jokes.
They do indeed have the best golf courses, but something tells me the Navy has nice golf courses, too. I’ve never played a round on a naval base, but I have played around on several naval bases, and they have the best lodging. The Air Force is a very close second, but the Navy wins by a bow.
On this trip, we stayed at Chinhae and Sasebo Naval Bases in Korea and Japan, respectively. I didn’t want to leave either place. I think we stayed at 10 different places over the course of 14 days. Now I know how the fugitive felt. Yesterday, I even saw a one-armed man. Really.
Our last stop was at Marine Corps Air Base Iwakuni in Japan. The Marines surprised me with the quality of their lodging, but I was bummed when I didn’t see complimentary amenities in the bathroom. I just figured it was Marines being Marines until I opened the medicine cabinet. It was incredible. I heard angels. It was like opening King Tut’s tomb had he had a medicine cabinet filled with soaps, shampoos, and golden toothbrushes.
I still give the lodging edge to the Navy, but the Marines, no doubt, have the best uniforms. Whether it’s the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform or the dress blues, they just look sharp.
So, in summary, the Air Force has the best golf courses. They Navy has the best lodging. The Marines have the best uniforms, and the Army has the best—the Army has the best comedians, because three of the five GIs of Comedy on this tour were Army veterans. The GIs of Comedy are indeed “Army Strong.”
The truth is that each branch has its pros and cons. I’m proud of every man and woman who makes the choice to raise his or her right hand to serve this nation. It’s great to be able to make them laugh but it’s a true honor to be able to offer a sincere, heartfelt, face to face thank you.
Veterans Day is rapidly approaching, and I encourage you to thank a service member and their family today, because they are serving voluntarily so that there’s no need for you to have to serve involuntarily. Don’t wait until November 11. Do it today. They’ll appreciate it and so will you.
Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.