Recently — because the internet is now just three websites in a trench coat — I came across this Tumblr post on Reddit about military nicknames:
In it, Tumblr user Cardinel says that "badass" military nicknames that we usually see in movies — think Maverick or Iceman from Top Gun — are completely unrealistic, because military nicknames are 99.9% about embarrassing incidents, or they're just straight-up insults. To support that claim, Tumblr user mlle-uton chimed in with this:
Redditors in the comments with military backgrounds started sharing their stories about their military nicknames to help prove Cardinel's point. Here are some of the funniest stories:
1."My buddy's was Spoon. Because he wasn't as sharp as a knife, but he was in the drawer."
2."My dad was Tex (he’s Canadian). He showed up to training straight off the farm wearing cowboy boots, the only footwear he owned."
3."When my dad was training in the reserves, he was nicknamed Gramps because he was, like, 30 at the time."
4."From the male pilots I knew, there was Shack (had to drop live bombs on base and killed an electrical shack), Stuka (did a training mission with his landing gear out going 400 kts, LOL), and Mobile (last name was Holmes) to name a few."
5."I used to game with a guy who went by his Marine nickname 'Grymm.' Naturally, we assumed it was something badass like that. Turns out, he got it when he was added to an already established sniper team of 'Mother' and 'Goose.'"
6."Heard a story from my brother who met a pilot whose callsign was 'Lightning' which led to the obvious question on what could possibly earn him that. He had been in two crashes, and both aircrafts had been struck by lightning."
7."My dad was Q-Tip, because once while cleaning his ear on deployment, he struck his eardrum and went deaf for six weeks."
8."Saw one online where someone’s callsign was 'Frodo.' They lost their engagement ring at a strip club."
9."I once got nicknamed 'Angel of Death"...by a drill sergeant, in field-medic school."
10."Navy boot camp winter of '98, we had a 'Nosedive' because he wouldn't stop locking his knees when standing at attention and would pass out, face first."
11."I know a guy whose nickname in the military was 'the Bear.' Sounds imposing, right? Turns out, his squad called him that because he'd get up in the night for snacks, i.e. 'foraging for food.'"
12."My dad still goes by 'Sam' because his drill instructor said he looked like Yosemite Sam from Looney Tunes because my dad is 5'4", was wearing boots, and had a handlebar mustache on his first day. From that day on, he was Sam."
13."My mate was in the RAF. His nickname was Fireball. Badass, right? Wrong. He once leaned over an exhaust vent while working on a plane and scorched his right testicle, followed by a shriek and him having to stand on tippy-toes over a sink to splash cold water on his nards. After that, when he entered a room, the squadron would sing 'Great Balls of Fire.'"
14."My dad was a volunteer firefighter for about 20 years. His nickname was 'Whoop-Whoop' because he had a habit of overusing the sirens."
15."We had a guy show up who needed a callsign. On the evening of his first day, we're at the bar throwing darts; it's his turn, and he lets loose. I don't know if he was trying to arc his throw or is just super unlucky, because his first dart breaks a lightbulb on the overhead lamp. Now everyone knows him as Bullseye."
16."I was only ever in cadets, but I was called Taco because I once showed up to class one day with two dozen tacos from Taco Bell."
And finally, here's a bit of Marvel trivia that I didn't know:
17."You know how in the movie Captain Marvel it's revealed in the end that her callsign was 'Avenger?' In the comics, it's 'Cheeseburger.' Because she ate a cheeseburger right before going on a centrifuge and...yeah."