Tommy Atkins, Jack Tar, GI Joe
February 11, 2017 6:32 PM   Subscribe

What are some other names that represent soldiers? Any country, any era.
posted by LonnieK to Society & Culture (36 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Johnny Reb and Billy Yank, Confederate soldier and Union soldier, respectively, in the US Civil War.
posted by holborne at 6:41 PM on February 11, 2017

in Turkey, Mehmetçik, or sometimes just Mehmet.
posted by karayel at 6:52 PM on February 11, 2017

Jarhead and leatherneck reporting for duty. Also tunnel rats in Vietnam.
posted by vrakatar at 7:05 PM on February 11, 2017

Digger (Australia)
posted by GeeEmm at 7:08 PM on February 11, 2017

Doughboy, Grunt, Mustang
posted by Rob Rockets at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2017

Germans, esp. in WWII: Jerry
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:20 PM on February 11, 2017

Russian: Ivan
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:23 PM on February 11, 2017

Colloquial Cantonese: Bing' ("soldier")
posted by porpoise at 7:33 PM on February 11, 2017

posted by Sassyfras at 7:34 PM on February 11, 2017

Sailor Sam
Dear John
posted by BoscosMom at 7:50 PM on February 11, 2017

I've only ever heard of "jarhead" and "leatherneck" for Marines, not soldiers. (Speaking as a former Marine.)
posted by maurreen at 8:00 PM on February 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Squaddie (UK)
posted by pompomtom at 8:02 PM on February 11, 2017

Swaddy, swaddie, swattie, swoddy (all variant spellings)

discussion here
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:20 PM on February 11, 2017

India and Pakistan: Jawan - literally means "young", and refers to non-officer soldiers.
posted by peacheater at 8:23 PM on February 11, 2017

Latin: "Miles."
posted by jamjam at 8:33 PM on February 11, 2017

posted by old_growler at 8:38 PM on February 11, 2017

GI Jane
Gertrude (office clerk)
posted by BoscosMom at 8:39 PM on February 11, 2017

Couple of them on reddit: Bloggins, Snuffy
posted by Miko at 9:02 PM on February 11, 2017

posted by rw at 9:20 PM on February 11, 2017

Redcoats: British Infantry during Revolutionary War

Doughboy: any American service member during WWI
Dogface: WWII term that replaced doughboy

Tonton Macoute: Haitian special forces officially known as the Milice de Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale

Red Devils: British Army's Parachute Regiment

Screaming Eagles: US Army 101st Airborne Division

Immortals: elite heavy infantry of the army of the Persian Empire. NB: the unit's original and/or native name is unknown

Mustang: Any US military officer that started off in the enlisted service

Pogue: US Army slang for non-combat/rear-echelon/support units. US Air Force equivalent is "penguin" for anyone who doesn't fly planes. German equivalent of "Etappenschwein" ("rear swine")

FNG: "Fucking New Guy." Self-explanatory

Iron Eagle: any O-6 (army/air force colonel, navy captain) that will never make O-7 (army/air force Brigadier General, navy rear admiral)
posted by BadgerDoctor at 9:49 PM on February 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Checkpoint Charlie
posted by effluvia at 10:47 PM on February 11, 2017

Matelot is the navy version of squaddie (above).
posted by biffa at 1:09 AM on February 12, 2017

This is some rare US Army infantry slang from when I was in 1990-1994. I heard most of the above, but these three were always particularly amusing:

Joe Shit the Rag Man
Private Smuckatelli
Norman Clature
posted by seasparrow at 2:25 AM on February 12, 2017

Swabbie -- Navy guys as addressed by Marines and Army guys WW2

Tommy -- Germans called English "Tommies"
Jerry -- English called Germans "Jerry"
Fritz -- Russians called Germans "Fritz"
Kraut -- US soldiers called Germans "Krauts"
Ivan -- Germans called Russians "Ivan"
Japoon -- US Marines called Japanese "Japoons" in WW2

Gook -- US soldiers/marines called Vietnamese "Gooks"
Nagoolian -- US Marines in Nam called North Vietnamese "Nagoolian"; USMC had real respect for NV Army, they were pros, unlike the Viet Cong, and unlike the South Vietnamese army.

Gyrene – Nickname for a Marine, considered an insult; combination of the words "GI" and "Marine".
posted by dancestoblue at 2:25 AM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

We call enlisted soldiers jawans in India, it's basically Hindi for soldier.
posted by Tamanna at 2:52 AM on February 12, 2017

Am I really the first to suggest Charlie?

(Vietnam, doesn't surf, etc)
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:17 AM on February 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

Pongo - I've heard it in Australia but apparently from UK.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 5:06 AM on February 12, 2017

Ruperts are fresh-out-of-Sandhurst officers of upper class families, and do not have a great reputation for intelligence.
posted by scruss at 6:05 AM on February 12, 2017

Lobsterback for British soldiers circa the American Revolution.
posted by leaper at 8:23 AM on February 12, 2017

US Navy sailors are all called Squids by people from other services, but among themselves they're divided among Airedales (aviators), Blackshoes (surface), and Bubbleheads (submariners). Deck-apes are the big guys who haul lines.

Among the sailors, there are also Wogs (i.e. polywogs) and Shellbacks, for crewmembers who haven't and have (respectively) experienced an initiation called the Line-Crossing, when they cross the equator.

From what I've read, "soger" was an age-of-sail insult to a sailor, because suggesting that a sailor or marine has the qualities of a soldier is not a kind suggestion.

Along the lines of Squid, Marines are Jarheads (as mentioned) and Army soldiers are Ground-Pounders. You can take a guess who is meant by Chair Force.

US Marines are called Devil Dogs, so named by a captured WWI German soldier who, following the Germans' first engagement with USMC, said they fought ferociously, like "Teufel Hunden."
posted by Sunburnt at 11:53 AM on February 12, 2017

REMF. Like pogue, above.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 7:00 PM on February 12, 2017

Dutch: Jan Soldaat
posted by monospace at 10:03 PM on February 12, 2017

WWII era Coast Guard - sailors were called Gobs.

My grandfather served, and Gob stuck with him. When he had kids, folks started calling him Daddy Gob. Nobody ever called him Harold; he was Gob the rest of his life.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 5:04 AM on February 13, 2017

Flyboy, for Navy WWII pilots.
posted by Miko at 5:42 AM on February 13, 2017

Thanks everybody. These are great!
posted by LonnieK at 4:26 PM on February 20, 2017

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