Spec. Chip Gizmo, reporting for duty

Camp Swampy, fret over technology no more. Spec. Chip Gizmo is joining your ranks.

The latest addition to Beetle Bailey, the daily cartoon strip featuring all things Army, is a cyberwhiz information technology officer who will debut July 4. And he can thank a group of civil servants for his techno-sounding moniker.

Melinda Isachsen, Bob King, Ken Hill and Earl Hemminger, who call themselves "Team CG," are IT managers at the State Department in the Foreign Affairs Systems Integration Office. Mort Walker, Beetle Bailey creator, presented Hemminger with a drawing of Gizmo at a press conference June 25 as Secretary of State Colin Powell looked on.

And how did they come up with "Spec. Chip Gizmo?" They say they created the name on a lunch hour.

"This was true teamwork collaboration by four staunch Beetle Bailey fans," they said in a written statement. "We are pleased and proud to be a part of Beetle Bailey's history." The group said Hemminger was the one who remembered to actually enter the contest, so they are giving him main credit for the name.

"Spec. Chip Gizmo" was chosen from more than 84,000 names submitted in the contest, which was announced at the FOSE 2002 trade show in Washington in April. FOSE is presented by PostNewsweek Tech Media, publisher of Washington Technology magazine.

Hemminger received two Northwest Airlines tickets to any destination in the United States. Twelve finalists will receive original Beetle Bailey artwork.

The contest raised more than $100,000 for the Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that coordinates 29 homes away from home for families of patients at major military and Veterans medical centers.

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