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

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Someone in the U.S. 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, U.S. 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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