ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The P38

Updated on February 29, 2012

P-38? No, not the twin engine plane built by Lockheed, nor Walther’s semi-automatic…the P-38 designation invading my memories stems from the little metal device I was issued when I joined the service. Originally designed to open the K-rations issued in the forties, ours were meant for the C-rations we might at some point have to endure.

The U.S. Army Pocket Can Opener, Folding, Type 1 had many names official and otherwise as well as uses. Fortunately mine was seldom used as intended but used it was. The tough little tool opened many a can of shoe polish in basic training. Late at night, we’d sneak into the well-lit latrine area to shine our boots with polish lit on fire and applied while hot. Ah, the memories…

The handle of the P-38 worked as a screw driver, the curved blade a pen knife and of course it was used as a can opener. A larger device called the P-51 was also available but not part of our regular issued gear. The similarity of the names with WWII fighter planes was mere coincidence. The P-38 was approximately 38mm longs and the P-51 measured approximately 51mm long…thus lending heavily to their monikers.

Although the P-51s apparently are still included in “Tray-Rations,” the P-38 was discontinued when C-rations were replaced by the much more tasty MREs that were issued beginning in the eighties. Meals Ready to Eat come in plastic packages.

Every day I was in the service I wanted to be anything but in the service. The chain of command, the drills, the inspections…all lent to a life difficult for a young rebellious kid like me to respect or enjoy. Today, for some odd reason I recalled the P-38 and other memories surged like flood waters from a broken dam.

Today, I’d give anything to be in the service. Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines… Semper Fi!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • The RV Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      The RV Guy 

      6 years ago from Somewhere In America

      Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for commenting, too!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      This sounds like a tool I would like to have. I can think of many instances where it would have come in handy. Enjoyed reading your hub!

    • The RV Guy profile imageAUTHOR

      The RV Guy 

      6 years ago from Somewhere In America

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, always appreciated.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 

      6 years ago

      Good Morning,

      I enlisted in the army the summer of 1978 and remember the P-38 very well. You would be in a world of hurt to be in the field and not have this with you as all the MRE's required one for the canned stuff. I ask my sons a while back do you use that little metal gadget..p..something..and sadly, I do not think it exists anymore. Maybe I just didn’t explain it well

      Thanks for the reminder and yes, I do remember...:)



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)