04 January 2010

Worst. Callsigns. Ever.

In one of his "Welcome to Afghanistan" essays, Benjamin Tupper mentions the tradition of military callsigns, a topic both near and dear to my ever-bloggin' heart. Here's a snippet:
"A military nickname is normally forged through some act of performed in the line of duty. Rarely is this act complimentary or positive. Usually the nickname is a result of misfortune, accident, or sheer stupidity."
Any Gen-Xers who may have been motivated into joining the military by, say, one too many viewings of "Top Gun," might not have been aware that "Goose," "Maverick," and "Ice Man" might have been monikers bestowed more in the spirit of "Animal House." Consider:
Bluto: "Kroger, your Delta Tau Chi name is 'Pinto.'"
Pinto: "Why 'Pinto'?"
Bluto: "Why NOT?!"
Bonus quote from Top Gun follows:
Maverick: "That's right, Ice ... Man, I am dangerous ..."
(And then, if I recall correctly, they kiss.)
Anyway, I probably have too many callsign war-stories to effectively share here. (Like the time that that the new Brigade Support Battalion commander decided--correctly, I might add--that her organization's callsign should NOT be "Beaver," for reasons that would be obvious to any foul-mouthed and chauvinistic high schooler with limited sexual experience or potential. We immediately changed the Signal Operating Instructions, or SOI.)

Still, something in today's e-mail, together with Tupper's book, caused me to come across this Film Junk post about the "Top 10 Lamest G.I. Joe Action Figures." It's worth clicking on, just for the vaguely Village People line-up pictured at the top of the blog, but consider their nominees for Worst Callsign Ever:
  • Chuckles
  • Raptor
  • The Fridge
  • Big Boa
  • Ozone
  • Gristle
  • Scoop
  • Hardball
  • Colonel Courage
  • Ice Cream Soldier
Yeah, I'll take "Sherpa" any day, particularly over "Scoop" and "Maverick." (Ironically, two nicknames that people have also tried to stick on me.) The day I became Sherpa wasn't the exactly the proudest of my life, but, in retrospect, it kinda sums up my military career. You know, nothing much.

Buy me a beer sometime and I'll tell you about it.


  1. That's OK, I got stuck with the moniker "Zool" (after the Sumerian god in the movie "Ghostbusters"). I suppose I should have made something of how Zool rhymes with "cool," but I didn't think of it at the time. Besides, it was better than our usual "Truck Three" call sign on convoys (we weren't particularly original...)

    Jeff Courter (Zool, Out!)

  2. Oh, I LIKE it! Just think of the possibilities:

    "Keymaster, this is Gatekeeper. OVER."

    I can't wait to use that one myself ...


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