I'll probably regret this, but here is the story of how I got my nicknames in the Air Force. I had two of them. The first one was Wild Man.
If you look at the pictures of me to the left, you might think, "He doesn't look that wild to me." You're right, I'm not. This is the story of a nickname that makes no sense.
I was stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. A typhoon was headed our way. When typhoons come, airmen are ordered to stay in their barracks. Everyone loves this, because it means party time.
In anticipation of this typhoon party, I bought a gallon of rum at the liquor store. These huge bottles of cheap booze were ridiculously cheap, something like $3. (A carton of Winstons set me back $1.80 on base. That's 18 cents a pack.)
With my big gallon of rum proudly in hand, I knocked on a friend's door in the barracks. We'll call him Arnold. "Let's party!" I said to Arnold.
Arnold must have seen a two-day hangover in my bottle because he said no thanks and shut the door.
I went to another room filled with five or six lively chaps and the party began. Of course, none of these idiots had thought to buy their own gallon of firewater, so they all drank mine.
After three hours we were all toasted and there was only an inch of fuel left in my bottle. I weaved over to Arnold's door and pounded on it. "Let'sh party!" I yelled.
Arnold's eyes got all wide when he saw there was only an inch left in the gallon bottle. "You're a wild man!" he yelled, thinking I had drunk it all myself.
For the rest of my time in Okinawa I was called Wild Man. I think the name stuck because I'm not at all wild. I'm calm, rational and centered. But no one gets a nickname like "Centered" -- unless one is a screaming psycho. The guys enjoyed the humor of calling me Wild Man.
Later I was stationed at NSA in Ft. Meade, Maryland. I worked with a bunch of civilians. One day I picked up the phone at work. Someone on the phone asked if I was in charge there. "No," I replied, "I'm just an Airman."
For the rest of my time at NSA my coworkers called me Justin. (They call me that to this day.) Justin Airman.
I think I preferred Wild Man.