TURTLE CLUB MEMBERSHIP CARDSIGNED.
"ARE YOU A TURTLE?"
"International Turtle Club (Outershell Division)" official membership card. Color heavy stock card measuring 3½ x 4½ inches with one fold.
The Mercury astronaut corps continued the traditions of this club started by pilots from World War II. The card has the "Turtle Creed" and the membership requirements that read in part: "We assume all prospective Turtles own a Jack Ass. This assumption is the reason for the password. This password must be given if you are every asked by a fellow member, 'Are you a Turtle?' You MUST then reply, 'You bet your sweet ass I am.' If you do not give the password in full because of embarrassment or some other reason, you forfeit a beverage of his choice...."
Wally Schirra was asked this question by CAPCOM Deke Slayton during his Mercury Atlas 8 launch in 1962. Rather than broadcasting the answer to the world over an open microphone, Schirra spoke his response onto the onboard recorder for later playback. Schirra returned the favor to Slayton during a TV broadcast on his Apollo 7 flight in 1968 with a printed "cue card" asking Deke if he was a Turtle. Slayton left a recording for Schirra to play back after his flight. An additional card during the TV broadcast asked Public Affairs Officer Paul Haney the same question, with no reply from Haney. The flight CAPCOM later said, "Somebody tells me he isn't talking, but just buying."
The card has been signed by SCOTT CARPENTER, GORDON COOPER, and WALLY SCHIRRA.