Military nicknames? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Biscuitsjam
03-18-2008, 10:02
Why is it that soldiers in Hollywood movies always have nicknames? In my time in the Guard, including an Iraq deployment, very very few soldiers have ever had nicknames. It didn't matter that a guy was 6'7", or that he was overweight and had one leg two inches longer than the other, or that he was likely retarded, or that he used to be homeless and made money by volunteering for medical experiments. People just used their last name anyway...

The only exceptions that I can think of are Behbehani (nobody could pronounce his name, so they called him "BB"), our former Sergeant Major (he introduced himself as "Shorty Pimp"), and one strange soldier that insisted on being called "Spanky." Others might have a nickname for a few days or weeks around the barracks, but those nicknames never became widespread. Out of hundreds/thousands of soldiers that I've known, only three went by a handle other than their own name.

In books, movies, newspaper articles, and even some veteran's accounts, everybody gets a nickname though. Big John, Iceman, Joker, Elephant, Tex, etc. etc.

Anybody been in a unit where the Hollywood stereotype is actually true?

dat19k
03-18-2008, 10:14
the unit i deployed with to iraq had a few, our plt.sgt was a huge indian and former marine and everyone including the commander knew him as big daddy. we had a guy called hillbilly by everyone. everyone knew me as big d. but i know what you mean it is not that common.

Revelations
03-18-2008, 10:57
When I was in everyone just called each other by their last name. For awhile guys would call me "Easy E", just cause my last name began with an E.

Although we did have one guy that we called Butthead.

He looked, talked and acted just like Butthead from Beavis and Butthead.

It was unreal.

MrMurphy
03-18-2008, 11:10
Air Force, not Army, but we've had a few.

Guy named Bohnenstingel gets called "B" or "B12" cause a lot of people can't pronounce it. Another guy was known as Tiny, because, well, he was tiny (about 5'3).

A guy I was deployed with was named something like Al-Kharaekpen, which absolutely no one could pronounce (It's Nigerian) so he was known as A-Con, AK47 and various other A-sounding names.

hokieglock
03-18-2008, 11:25
it's pretty prevelant in aviation squadrons. just about all aircrew has some kind of "call sign". fighter squadrons especially so.

w5kxo
03-18-2008, 12:04
During my time in the Army (mid-1980s), I generally didn't see nicknames used in place of actual last names.

One exception was my unit in the Ops Group at Ft. Irwin. We got to the point where we used our radio callsign suffix in lieu of names. Our unit callsign was Werewolf 21-(insert alphabetic suffix). This led to the platoon sergeant being Werewolf 21-A (Alpha)....I was Werewolf 21-S (Sierra). 21-H (Hotel), 21-J (Juliet), 21-K (Kilo) etc, etc.

So in general conversation, I would often be called Sierra rather than my name. This was a unit-wide thing...no one called each other by name.

Funny story. A buddy was Werewolf 21-K and applied for a personalized car license plate in California and wanted his plate to be "KILO". His application was denied due to the drug connotation of the word "Kilo". We laughed.

md2lgyk
03-18-2008, 12:47
My active duty was in the nuclear submarine Navy. Practically everybody, officers included, had a nickname. Those who didn't, officers included, were usually called by their first name unless the CO or XO was around. Subs were a lot more relaxed than the surface Navy.

gruntmedik
03-18-2008, 13:33
We had a mortarman in our platoon that was 5'1" or 5'2". We called him Short Round.

Sam White
03-18-2008, 16:54
In my Army Reserve unit, we had a Sgt who always kept his head clean shaven. Everyone called him Mister Clean, because he looked like the guy on the cleaning product label. There was a Spc everyone called Fez, who looked like a character from the '70's show. They called me Gene, after Gene Simmons. We also had a kid called Alphabet Soup because of his long, unpronounceable last name. And there was a guy from Africa we called Where Were You? because no one could pronounce Waweru correctly.

In the Air National Guard, some call me SSgt Sam White, or White, but most call me Sam.

For the most part, though, the trend in the Army was for people just to be called by rank+last name. In the ANG, not surprisingly to some, people are often/usually called by first name.

fourdeuce2
03-19-2008, 10:17
With a last name like Simoneaux, I was more often called something other than my last name. In Basic Training, I don't think any of my Drill Sergeants bothered to learn how to pronounce it. They didn't need to. It was always either "Dip$hit" or some other term of endearment. Of course, that was back before the modern Army. I've heard they can only refer to the trainees as Private "whatever your name is" now.:whistling:

BattletweeteR
03-19-2008, 10:50
i was airforce and everybody that had a "nickname" was based off there long last name.

willi for williford
mac for macdonald
bogi for bogati
spooge for spurgen


although i knew one guy we called spanky...cause he was caught in the act.

the iceman
03-22-2008, 23:46
My platoon was loaded with nicknames. Mine was "the iceman" My last name is Berg and at first, I was called "iceberg" then after many drunken nights of coming home with different european chicks suddenly I as being called "the iceman" because I was always smooth with the ladies.

We had everything from dog****, eddie, flojo, poly, danimal, slug, PM (pogue marine- ex marine supply), ched 1, mikey (mikey from the old life commercial in the 80's who would eat anything because this guy would always be "eatin" at the red light)...I could go on and on.

Fun times!!

USMC1369
03-22-2008, 23:55
I knew they were talking to me when they said "Sir" & I knew they were talking about me 'cause someone would always refer to yours truly as "that Mother:wow:" but that was then...

Fallguy173
03-23-2008, 09:36
The one that comes to mind, was in one of my units. We had a guy named Czerapack, simply pronounced serapack. I think the "z" confused everyone. We called him "6-Pack".

mikeflys1
03-23-2008, 23:59
In my Army Reserve unit, we had a Sgt who always kept his head clean shaven. Everyone called him Mister Clean, because he looked like the guy on the cleaning product label. There was a Spc everyone called Fez, who looked like a character from the '70's show. They called me Gene, after Gene Simmons. We also had a kid called Alphabet Soup because of his long, unpronounceable last name. And there was a guy from Africa we called Where Were You? because no one could pronounce Waweru correctly.

In the Air National Guard, some call me SSgt Sam White, or White, but most call me Sam.

For the most part, though, the trend in the Army was for people just to be called by rank+last name. In the ANG, not surprisingly to some, people are often/usually called by first name.

I think every unit i was in had one of those.

4TS&W
03-24-2008, 00:55
We had a comm guy named Stankie....

He usually didn't smell too bad, but no one could consistently pronounce Stankiewicz....

xxiv
03-27-2008, 11:33
Guys had nicks, "Gucci" for one of the idiot cherries that thought a full Gucci track suit was in style, stuff like that. Lots of abbreviated and bastardized last names.

fourdeuce2
03-27-2008, 11:43
I was stationed with a lieutenant who had the last name Loiacano, and he was always going around telling people "I'm in charge here!"(if you have to keep reminding people, maybe you're NOT in charge:dunno: ). His nickname(behind his back) was Lieutenant Lock & Load. Guys used to call on the radio and mimic his voice saying "I'm in charge here!".:tongueout: Sometimes he'd be standing around the radio and hear them, but he never got it(I don't think). He did mellow out eventually.

DaScotsman
03-27-2008, 12:08
We had a FSgt who was fairly certain every one of us was actually named "F-head". Does that count? :supergrin:

Glock 21 Dan
03-27-2008, 21:51
Had an LT in 'Nam called "John Wayne" because that's who he thought he was! Went home without his much sought after Purple Heart.

"Pineapple" was of course from Hawaii and no one could pronounce "Alphabets" name.

Other than those it was mostly last names. If the person was higher in rank than you, his rank and last name was used. Close friends were usually called by their first names.

Dan: U.S. Army 1966 to 1969. RVN '67-'68.

jeff copeland
04-09-2008, 19:08
most nicknames are "earned"

such as "crap-in-pants boy"
"Sgt Booger"

jbylake
04-09-2008, 21:23
"Java" Jim, for my heavy reliance on the substance, especially on long watches in our never ending stream of "exercises". Don't know who started it, even the commander called me that.....when he was in a good mood.....Oh, and even after being retired since 95I still usually hit StarBucks first thing in the morning..

USAF (RET)
:supergrin:

alphajaguars
04-22-2008, 21:02
Other than plays on people's names (Mikey for Michaels, Lou for Luraas, Badge for Badger) we had two I can remember. One was Strong. Dude had a huge upper body, worked out with weights every day. Had some of the skinniest legs. Also had a Sgt in 3rd platoon, kinda built like Strong but only about 5'2" or so. We called him Mighty Mouse behind his back.

Currahee
04-23-2008, 06:20
I had a soldier who really really loved to eat fish so I called him "Manny". We had a soldier who hid and slept during a night land nav course, we all called him "the Green Burrito" after that.

But yea, nicknames were not all that common. They really had to be earned for some reason or other.

kirgi08
04-23-2008, 08:30
My Father was a "Grunt"then he became a "Mustang".'08.:)

Turk173
04-23-2008, 10:10
Thinking back a lot of years RVN 68-69



Old Man or Old Hardcore (my Platoon Sergeant and mentor SFC John Leake he was 38 years old and the greatest warrior Iíve ever known. He was pulling his third combat tour Korean War with the 2<sup>nd</sup> Infantry, 1<sup>st</sup> Air Cav. And was at X-ray in the Idrang and then with the 173<sup>rd</sup> Abn, Hippie (wanted to be a hippie but got drafted), Chow Wound (we would carry 3 days supply of rations C rats and Lurps he would eat everything up in a day and bum from others), Z, last name was Zapprilli, Mad Dog? Peewee small guy, Weasel small skinny guy good with an M-60, Smitty last name Smith, Soul 6 our Battalion Commander a black American Lt. Col. As I think back we used mostly last names for our Platoon Leader and if we talking within the platoon he would just be called 6, I personally was called by my last name but some times Double 1 which stood fro 1<sup>st</sup> squad 1<sup>st</sup> platoon squad leader Double 1 alpha was the RTO. But then I was probably called a lot worse.