Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Lingo

Just about every work environment in America, and probably the world, has developed and instituted certain terms or phrases that are idiosyncratic to its inhabitants. In Washington, you're bound to hear some that might seem foreign to you, while insiders see it as nothing more than common verbiage. Same for Hollywood, Wall Street (if it's still around anymore!), and most definitely the military. Having experience in both the Navy and the Army, I've come across an array of different terms that have all but absolved those I commonly used as a civilian.
Words like Roger and Negative, instead of simply saying Yes or No are used in practically every conversation; or rather than saying "Nevermind", a soldier will say "As you were" (or "Belay my last" if you're a sailor). When I first joined the service and heard these terms used, I thought to myself that I'd never succumb to using these silly terms instead of the ones I (and the rest of civilization) were more familiar with. However, this is one area that I've really had no choice but to adhere to. Instead of saying someone is a hard worker or an all around good soldier, some will say he's "high speed." If a person or situation is really messed up, it's a "soup sandwich", or he's "lost in the sauce." There's also the phonetic alphabet, which is a way of identifying a letter without simply saying it. B and D might sound similar to each other, but by saying Bravo or Delta, you've differentiated between the two.
Of course, there's the most (in)famous word in the Army....well, it's not really even a word. "HOOAH" is Army slang for just about anything you want to say. It can be used to say yes or Roger, hello or goodbye, I'm hungry or I'm tired, that's a nice shirt or is that cologne you're wearing? Ok, ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it's bound to come out of a soldier's mouth at least 15 times a day. When someone is really energized about being a soldier, others will say, "he's really HOOAH." You can have almost an entire conversation with someone using only this term, although I doubt it will have any substance. While the other branches have their own term of endearment - USMC/OORAH, USN/HOORAH, USAF- YEAH!!! (just kidding) - you might find HOOAH on the bumper of a car, the window of a house, or even tattooed onto some soldier's arm!
So, when you see me again please don't look at me funny if one of these terms slips out while having a conversation. It's going to be a pretty tough habit to break when things are all said and done, but at least you'll know what branch I was in! Hope all is well and take care.
Juliet Charlie (see phonetic alphabet)


Leslie said...

I think you are totally HOOAH!

Anonymous said...