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Mideast US Air Force flight uses call sign ‘Pickle Rick’

Air Force KC-10 Extender flying out of Al-Dhafra Air Base in the UAE identified as classic episode from Cartoon Network’s ‘Rick and Morty’ while on mission over Gulf of Oman

Two KC-10 Extender crew chiefs board the aircraft at Al-Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, January 5, 2021. (US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride, via AP)
Two KC-10 Extender crew chiefs board the aircraft at Al-Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, January 5, 2021. (US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride, via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Someone in the US Air Force apparently watches the cartoon “Rick and Morty.”

An Air Force KC-10 Extender that flew out of Al-Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday used the call sign “PIKLRICK” on a mission that saw it fly east over the Gulf of Oman, according to flight-tracking data. The KC-10A is an aircraft that refuels warplanes in flight.

The call sign appears to be a nod to an episode in which one of the titular characters in the Cartoon Network show turns himself into a pickle to escape a family therapy session. In it, the typically foul-mouthed, drunken scientist Rick Sanchez shouts “I’m Pickle Rick!” as his grandson Morty stares at him with a sad look.

Asked about the call sign, US Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Kay Magdalena Nissen said it came from “no particular reason other than a bit of morale for the crew.”

“We acknowledge that the call sign is not in accordance with our operational guidance and we’ve provided that feedback to the airmen involved,” Nissen said.

Warner Bros.’ Cartoon Network, which airs “Rick and Morty” during its nightly mature-themed segment known as “Adult Swim,” did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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