Battle Cries

Sunday, July 22, 2012



Jeff and I have been engrossed in the post-nuclear-war drama "Jericho." We recently watched an episode where Marines had come to town, promising aid. As the episode progresses, it becomes apparent that these
Marines are actually imposters - a realization that occurs to the former U.S. Ranger-turned-Mayor when one too many of the men in the group say "Hooyah!" instead of "Hoorah!"

Jeff and I also had an epiphany - we know next to nothing about the battle cries of the various military branches. The little I know comes from my childhood experiences as an Army brat watching my dad at family picnics or weekend family-friendly PT. Ever curious, I pulled out my handy-dandy not-so-little Smartphone, and began my quest for knowledge.

The information on the Internet is by no means unanimous. Many people claim that neither the Navy or Air Force possess a battle cry, or at the very least, that they use them infrequently. Some falsely assume this is because these branches don't "touch the ground"  (see below).

Now, don't rely on this post to be overly informative, because I found nothing that was credibly decisive. Instead, I wanted to share some of the more comical suggestions posited around the web.

  Verified battles cries:  
  • Marines: Oo-rah
  • Army: Hoo-ah
  Tenuous-at-best battle cries:  
  • Navy: Hoo-yah (Navy Seals, in particular), Oo-rah, Shiver me timbers, Aye aye Cap'n, Anchors Aweigh, Ahoy, Arrrgh, Yo-ho-ho, "I'm on a Boat" song
  • Air Force: Air Power (smartly short-lived), Hoo-ah, Uh-oh, Whoops
  • Coast Guard: ?
Interestingly, many seemed to believe that the Air Force did not need a battle cry because they engage in "thumb wars" and apparently Navy sailors never leave their boats (yeah, right!).

Majority opinion also suggests that some of the cross-over of the above categories is related to the frequent interactions between Navy-Marines and Air Force-Army. 

My personal favorite has always been "Huzzah!" which apparently dates back to the Civil War. I didn't know this until I read a fairly funny blog post on suggested Navy battle cries on the Broadside Blog of Military Times.

If you have any personal experience with battle cries, as military personnel or as a spouse, please feel free to share!

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