Separating Chad and 0000Z
Posted: 20 September 2008 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  1438
Joined  2008-08-18

Reported by Kaipo Simpson.

Another trick we played on the new guys (“weeds” in Army parlance, “jeeps” in AF) was the old “Top Secret purple chad” trick.

Chad is what we called the holes cut out of the paper tape on the teletype machines. The color of the tape was yellow until you got to within 3 feet of the end and then it turned purple to let you know it was time to install a new tape. We would sit the new guy at a table and tell him that he had to separate the purple chad from the yellow chad because the purple chad was classified, but the yellow wasn’t. After he’d spent an hour separating chad you sweep both piles in a paper sack and tell him that both piles had to be burned. Maybe this is why they started drinking heavily.

Another trick using the teletype was the 00 Zulu code change. At 0001Z (midnight Zulu time or the start of a new “raday”) the encryption codes changed on the teletype machines that connected us with Augsburg. During the synchronization of the codes, the teletype in ops would spew pages of garbled print. We’d tell the new guy that this was important coded messages for the Army analysts. After he left, we’d call them on the intercom to let them know he was coming. Somehow we kept him going back and forth for several trips before clueing him in on the deception.


6913th Security Squadron USAF
Rimbach, West Germany