When I was in 7th Army Special Services in Germany, there was a
clown in the outfit. Really. The whole unit ... sort of an oddball,
oversized company ... was made up of entertainers, and one of them
was a circus clown who had gotten drafted. They put him in Special
Services so he could entertain the kids at the Army dependants'

Well, we got a new CO, who did not appreciate our lack of military
discipline, and he called a full dress inspection, giving us 24 hours
to get ready. Everybody was busy that night polishing shoes and
insignia, making beds the Army way, arranging footlockers just so,
removing all the German civilian clothes we'd bought, from our wall
lockers, and replacing them with our uniforms in the prescribed Army
arrangement, and so on.

Except for the clown.

He painted his footlocker Magenta, Orange and Yellow. Next morning,
he put on his clown suit, explaining, that it was his dress uniform.

About 08:00, the First Sergeant showed up at the door, shouted
"Tennnnn---Hut!" and in walked a Bird Colonel with a
clipboard-carrying Captain.

The Colonel started down the line of soldiers standing at attention,
looked each one over, sometimes stopped and asked a question,
sometimes told the Captain to make a note of some infraction ...
until he came to the clown, who was standing there in front of his
circus-painted footlocker, plaid blanket on his bed, brightly colored
polka dot shirt and baggy orange pants, giant floppy two-tone shoes,
face made up with clown white, with exaggerated features, a blue
rubber ball on his nose, and a bright chartreuse fuzzy wig on his

The rest of us were suppressing hysterical laughter, and we almost
lost it when the clown honked a little tin squeezeball horn he was
holding at "present arms", as if it were his rifle. But the Colonel
just stared for a suspenseful minute or so, then, with a totally
straight face, and without a word, turned and walked out of the

We never had another inspection, and we never heard a word about it.
But I think the Colonel had a sense of humor, and just didn't think
it was proper to let us know it was cracking him up.