Starlight == Medic to the Brits?
November 29, 2005 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Is "Starlight" some form of British slang for "Medic"?

This is a bit of a weird one, but in playing Battlefield 2's Special Forces, you can play as a British SAS Officer. When "critically wounded," you yell our "starlight," or something close to that, just as the US soldiers yell out "medic!" in a similar situation.

Also, the medics yell out "starlight here" when handing out medic packs, again relating directly towards the US soldier's declaration of "medic here."

I've found some reference to a "starlight pack," which includes medical supplies, but I have no earthly clue where this phrase comes from, and I cannot find any other mention of the phrase as a euphemism for medic or doctor anywhere else. Since Battlefield tends to keep their respective languages relatively straight, (as best I can tell—they nail "thank you" in Mandarin) I have no reason to believe this is entirely without basis, so do any Brits or cunning linguists care to help?

posted by disillusioned to Grab Bag (15 answers total)
Hi, just asked my pal who was in the Parachute regiment as a pathfinder, one step below the SAS and he says that he has never heard the term before! Maybe it's a kind of made up thing!
posted by maxmix at 6:40 AM on November 29, 2005

Just a very random guess... could it be a reference to morphine in the starlight pack? The only reason I say this is that I made a recent trip to a children's hospital that had the "Starlight Room", where the kids were sedated before surgery.
posted by shinynewnick at 6:49 AM on November 29, 2005

I had a little search and found some references to a 'starlight' night scope
posted by lunkfish at 6:51 AM on November 29, 2005

It could very well be a codename for a medic. My memory is very, very hazy on this right now, but in the Canadian Forces the codename for the commander of a unit was Sunray. There was a whole list of these names that represented some functionary in the unit (or other units).

I also seem to vaguely remember that starlight was one of the codenames.

I'll have to mull this over and see if I can remember any of it.
posted by smcniven at 6:58 AM on November 29, 2005

Best answer: Here's one reference so far.
posted by smcniven at 7:00 AM on November 29, 2005

A bit of googling with 'medic' and 'starlight' leads to results that suggests this is more likely to be an Australian term rather than British - the first results are from .au domains.
posted by viama at 7:03 AM on November 29, 2005

While the link I provided refers to WWII comm procedures, I was taught these as last as 1992. Some I remember (Sunray, Bluebell, Sheldrake and Starlight) but others don't seem familiar (Pronto, Holdfast, Rickshaw).
posted by smcniven at 7:11 AM on November 29, 2005

Here's some Aussie ones
posted by smcniven at 7:14 AM on November 29, 2005

A couple of more:

An aide memoire from a CF Exercise

Another one from some Canadian Military Forum

And a reference from alt.folklore.military

The aide-memoire one is my favourite as it dredges up arcane procedures from the deep recesses of my memory. All I need is the startup drill for a Cougar ("Master Switch On ..."
posted by smcniven at 7:33 AM on November 29, 2005

I'll bet the game designers looked at the same web pages above.
posted by atchafalaya at 8:59 AM on November 29, 2005

In other words, while radio procedure calls for code names, actual on-the-ground talking does not. The game designers probably saw the radio page and went with it.
posted by atchafalaya at 9:00 AM on November 29, 2005

Don't you mean "Turret on, Sight on, Selector switch off..."
It is amazing the people you find lurking on MeFi.
I assume that you are of the old guard, given that the BP in the initial document you reference has COPPED in it, and we have not used that in a long time.
Ahoy fellow cougar jockey!
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 9:33 AM on November 29, 2005

My Grandpa was Royal Signals (as was I, briefly) and I've never heard or used the term.
posted by longbaugh at 9:37 AM on November 29, 2005

TheFeatheredMullet: I learnt the craft in the early 90's, so that COPPED appreciation doesn't seem familiar. I believe I was taught another method. Too bad I through out my aide-memoire a long time ago!

I was with the Sherbrooke Hussars. Yourself?
posted by smcniven at 10:24 AM on November 29, 2005

SALH. We were Recce in the early 90s and went cougar in about 96. I got involved in 97. Funny thing is, we are back to Recce again. What was old is new again.
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 11:41 AM on November 29, 2005

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