| During WWII|| Are you a Turtle?|
| Informal and formal groups|
The Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles ("International Association of Turtles", "Turtle Club", or similar title) started as an informal "drinking club" between World War II pilots, self-described as "an honorable drinking fraternity composed of ladies and gentlemen of the highest morals and good character, who are never vulgar."
Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles Wikipedia
According to Denis P. McGowan of the "Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles", his father, the late Captain Hugh P. McGowan, U.S. Army Air Corps/U.S. Air Force Reserve (Ret.) and several pilots of the U.S. Army Air Corps 8th Air Force founded the Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles in an officers' club while stationed in England during the Second World War: "We were flying daytime bombing missions over Hitler's Third Reich. We just wanted a little fun. We had seen a sign showing that the 'Ancient Order of Foresters' and the 'Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes' would meet in the local pub, so I devised the name 'Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles' for the fun of it. It was not meant to be serious, it had no constitution or by-laws, and was a relief from the horrors and dangers we saw every day on our missions. It spread after the War through the VFW and American Legion posts, and eventually, to Masonic groups, colleges and even to the high schools of the U.S.A."
To gain admission, one must correctly answer a number (usually three or four) from a list of questions, each of which suggests a vulgar, lewd, or salacious answer, but the actual correct answer is rather innocuous. It is assumed that all prospective Turtles own a diabetic donkey, or one of a sweet and kindly disposition; therefore once inducted, a member must reply to the question, "Are you a Turtle?" with "You bet your sweet ass I am." or must buy the questioner a drink. If the member is unable or unwilling (perhaps because of a social restriction on vulgarity) to provide the correct answer, he or she owes to each other turtle present a drink of the recipient's choice. A large part of the tradition of the order involves the qualifying questions that prospective members have to answer. These fun questions are actually small riddles: each suggests a vulgar or lewd answer, but the candidate has to provide a completely innocuous answer.
A popular example would be the question:
What does a woman do sitting down, that a dog does on three legs, and a man does standing up?
The obvious answer to this question would be "pee" or "urinate", but the correct answer is "shake hands" (as western etiquette demands that a man needs to rise from his seat to shake hands, while a woman needs not).What does a cow have four of and woman only two?
What is a four letter word ending in K that means to have intercourse?
What is it on a man that is round and hard, and sticks so far out his pajamas that you can hang a hat on it?
A candidate must answer four from a list of twenty-five of such questions. While there is a traditional set of questions, some modern clubs also make up new initiation questions along the same lines.
The term Turtle Based Organization (TBO) refers to groups that have formed based on the original order founded by Hugh P. McGowan and the 12 other bomber pilots in his squadron. After its founding in 1943, with no constitution or formal mission besides initiating new members, the unincorporated order gave way to several spin-offs or independent groups based around the original organization. Though all of these groups paid homage the original order, and maintained use of the ritual, secret sign, and password, they functioned under names such as the "International Turtle Club", "International Association of Turtles", "Turtles Worldwide The Movement" and etc.