Tue, Oct 10, 2006 - Page 7 News List

US marine seeks online bids to choose new name

AP , JACKSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

He could be Sergeant King Taco. Or maybe Sergeant Oprah Winfrey.

Cody Baker will still be Cody Baker when he transfers to the Camp Lejeune military base this month, but at midnight on New Year's Eve, he could be named just about anything else.

The 29-year-old Marine is running an online auction to raise money for college and for an orphanage in Thailand. The winning bidder will get to give Baker a new name -- and Baker promises he will make it legally binding.

"I've always thought about different cool inventions and neat ideas like this," Baker said. "It's just the way my mind works. Most of them are off the wall like this. They just sound ridiculous."

The bidding at Baker's Web site, www.choosemyname.com, began inauspiciously on July 20, with a US$5 offer to name him "Mr. Clean."

Later bids supported such names as "George Bailey of Bedford Falls" (the character played by James Stewart in the film It's a Wonderful Life), "Mr. Right," "Oprah Winfrey" and "King Taco." But they have given way to a US$26,333.31 offer -- the highest as of Sunday -- from an online coffee vendor that wants the name tape on Baker's uniform to display its slogan, "Finest Freshest Fastest."

"It will be my name, legally on paper," he said. "I guess everything that comes with the name Cody Baker will transform into whatever my name becomes."

Baker said the money will help support his wife and son while he goes to college when he leaves the Marine Corps in a year and a half.

Some of the proceeds are earmarked for Im Jai House, an orphanage in Thailand that Baker has supported during his six-year career in uniform.

So what do the Marines think of the possibility of barking orders to, say, Sergeant MyFatRobot.com?

Headquarters Marine Corps referred comment to his command. As of last week, however, Baker was en route from the 1st Marine Air Wing in Okinawa to Camp Lejeune's 2nd Marine Logistics Group.

"Whatever his name is, we'll put him to work doing what the Marine Corps does best: accomplishing missions," unit spokesman Lieutenant Philip Klay said.

Baker's father, a "conservative and traditional" man, appeared to have been won over when his son described the plan as a business.

His mother, on the other hand, seems mostly confused.

"She doesn't get it," he said. "When I told her, she said she was praying for me."

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