The story of Sgt. Fats, or, how I got that name

It was on my very first mission with Bravo Company 2/47th (mech.) that I acquired my nickname, "FATS".

On the first night I was with the company Hodges, (also a new guy), myself, and one other Bravo vet, (whose name I can't remember), were sent to create a listening post outside of our company's ambush position. Not long after getting into place, we drew fire from a nearby wood line. Since I had been given the obligation of being the radio man I was calling in information on the location from which the fire was coming. The company commander decided it was best that we return to the more secure position of our company's tracks (armored personnel carriers). I advised the other two men and we ran back, right into some concertina wire (barbed wire) that had been placed out in front of some of the tracks! Since I was fortunate enough to get some excellent trianing in my A.I.T. classes (advanced infantry training, Co. A-1-3, Ft. Lewis, Washington), I knew how to quickly overcome the wire. When we arrived back at the C.O.'s (commanding officer's) track, the C.O. said he was very impressed with my radio and concertina wire knowledge. I thanked him and he asked : "What is your name, son?", I replied "Spizzirri, sir!" ...He asked again " WHAT is your name?" ... I repled again "Spizzirri, sir!" ...A third time he asked "WHAT?!!", ...I replied a third time "SPIZZIRRI, SIR!" . (None of this was making me feel very comfortable). Finally he said my name was too tricky (or something similar) and asked if I had a nickname, (while I didn't, I seemed to recall something like "Fats" as a nickname I liked as child from an old war movie, "The Steel Helmet"), and told him "FATS, sir!", he said OK that's what we will be calling you from now on. At the time I just wanted to get settled in so I never objected to it all.

There are up and down sides to being known by a nickname, the up side was that everyone felt at ease calling you by it, it was so easy to remember, the down side was that many of my friends never really got to know my real name. I didn't give any of this much thought until I got a computer several years ago and was asked for a screen name, lo and behold "Sgt. Fats" was resurrected. Little did I know that I would run into fellow 2/47th vets on the Internet, but as luck would have it I used that old nickname and people remembered who I was! I guess I should thank that C.O. for being unable to say my name and someday, maybe, I will.


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