How Many Military Personnel Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

Do you know of the jokes about how many people it takes to change a light bulb? Like:

As far as I know, that was only a joke. However, the following, although old, is real:



Fort Dix, New Jersey 08640


NUMBER 420-13 Fort Dix Regulation (FDR) 420-13)                                                       



1.  PURPOSE:  This regulation outlines the procedures for replacement of electric light bulbs and prescribes the correct voltage of light bulbs to be used in various areas throughout this installation.


    a.  Replacement of burned-out fluorescent tubes and starters will be accomplished by Facilities Engineering personnel or by personnel possessing certificates issued by the Facilities Engineer.

    b.  Commanders will procure light bulbs through their own Utilities facility.  Individuals in the using activity will obtain light bulbs from the Facilities Engineer Warehouse, Bldg 5133, upon submission of DD Form 3161.

    c.  Quarters occupants may obtain light bulbs from the Family Housing Self-Help Store located in Building 5170.

    d.  In the event lighting is considered inadequate, requests to improve candle power will be submitted on DA Form 2701 in accordance with FDR 420-10.

3.  CORRECT WATTAGE TO BE USED IN BUILDINGS:  Followng is the correct wattage of light bulbs to be used in buildings throughout the post:

    LOCATION                                    AUTHORIZED WATTAGE

Exterior lighting (entrance and exit)                                       25

Heater room (boiler room)                                      100

Latrine (toilet)                                         60

Corridor (hall)                                                 50

Stairwell                                                  100

Kitchen area                                                  100


This regulation supersedes Regulation 420-13, this headquarters, 15 March 1967, subject:  Replacement of Electric Light Bulbs (Regulation 420-13, DA, Hq USATC, Inf, and Fort Dix, , subject: Replacement of Electric Light Bulbs).

[End of p. [1], followed by p. 2.]

Reg 420-13, DA, Hq USATC, Inf, and Fort Dix                                  

    LOCATION                                AUTHORIZED WATTAGE

Gymnasium                                            300

Auditorium                                           200

Squad room                                           100

Utility and store rooms                                40

Shops                                                150-200

Mess Hall                                            150

Classrooms                                                 150

Offices                                              150

In no case will light bulbs be used which exceed the correct wattage rating indicated on the light fixture.

FOR THE COMMANDER:                                     (AHBOEN [?])

OFFICIAL:                            JAMES W. LOVE [?]

                                     Colonel, . . .

                                     Chief of Staff

[/s/] C A Ballester [?]


Major, . . .

Deputy . . .


A (1 thru 60 only)


[End of the regulation. The regulation is quoted in full except where ellipsized and that the handwriting (probably not part of the regulation per se) in the upper right corner of the first page, some line breaks and lowlines, some spaces where fewer spaces can represent original formatting of nonspace characters, and most of the blank lines immediately above the page number on the second page are omitted here. Some of the source document is faint and thus difficult to read but is as received from the Army, probably ca. in the mid to late s. Because viewport widths vary, including between devices, the displayed format will vary, but the content will be the same. Even in commonly-used display widths (viewport widths), columns may not align properly, but the content is as it is in the original.]

To download a copy of the two-page regulation, reproduced as PDFs, click here (the quality of the original was not very good and possibly a browser may require a minute to render all of the text):

Ft. Dix used to have a large number of soldiers at a time taking basic training and maybe a commander thought the electric bills were too high and bulbs were disappearing because of lack of supervision and control, but that’s just my speculation.

(Sources: The URLs from the links for a joke about psychiatrists, Ft. Dix, and basic training are as accessed .)