another 1964 "the whole nine yards"? (UNCLASSIFIED)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 26 01:25:18 UTC 2011

 Bonnie Taylor-Blake wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 1:11 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC
> <Bill.Mullins at> shared:
>> "It must have been a lot of work to provide a little happiness for a lot
>> of guys, and we of the 'Whole Nine Yards' barracks want to thank you."
>> So, by 1970, the phrase was common enough in Vietnam to use as a name
>> for a barracks.
> A year or two ago I found in Google Books a Vietnam-era reference to a
> "FSB Nine Yards."  Here I don't know whether "FSB" designated a
> Forward Support Battalion or a Fire Support Base.  In any event, this
> group was affiliated with the 82nd Airborne Division and was involved
> in action in Vietnam.  (In fact, I'm pretty sure this snippet appeared
> in a history of the 82nd Airborne, but I didn't think to save what I
> had seen and now it seems to have vanished.)  I made contact with the
> 82nd Airborne historian at Fort Bragg and asked whether he knew
> anything about this unit (particularly what significance its name
> held).  Unfortunately, he had nothing on this.  (And he didn't seem
> too impressed with my reason for asking about the unit.)
> I assume that "FSB Nine Yards" was related to "the [whole/full] nine
> yards."  I'm certain, though, that it was just "FSB Nine Yards."

Here is a rather late and not very plausible explanation in 1984 for
"whole nine yards". I post it on this thread only because it refers to

Cite: 1984 February 12, Youngstown Vindicator, The Writer's Art: Nine
Yards Or Cloud Nine? by James J. Kilpatrick {Universal Press
Syndicate], Youngstown, Ohio. (Google News Archive)

A serviceman in Schweinfurt, Germany, recalled that a standard
barracks used to be 27 feet long. It had to be cleaned every week,
wall to wall, "the whole nine yards."

The American Dialect Society -

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