Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Back in My Day...


Interesting article about Marines and (now) common perception of the phrase, 'Devil Dog' from The Marine Corps Times.

The part that made me chuckle was when a former Marine, walking with his gal, pointed out another hard charger, also with his 'lady' friend, and referred to the younger Marine as a 'Devil Dog', the girl friend of the Marine being referenced responded with, " ‘Before you make a comment like that, why don’t you grow some f---ing balls and serve your country.' "


Well howdy.


For my non Marine / non Marine lore familiar readers, 'Devil Dog' is a term that's been around for a little while from a particularly difficult battle in WWI, as a description of the tenacious drive of the Marines. I dunno about the absolute veracity of the story (Q: How many Marines does it take to change a light bulb? A: 100. One Pfc. to do it and 99 to issue the PR, write the After Action Report, edit the history books...), but the Corps, long experienced with adapt, overcome, and survive (read: steal what works and run like hell with it), adopted the term and made it their own.

It has apparently fallen out of favor with younger Marines, apparently because it was most commonly identified with being the precursor to an ass-chewing.

What the Hell?

Back in my 'Olde Corps', 'Devil Dog' was a proud and honorable term. Its use reminded Marines of the glory and honor of Marines past, and encouraged them to strive to do their utmost in the future. How could it possibly be associated with anything less than... than...

... hold on....

You know, come to think of it, most times when I heard it used, it was right before a particularly memorable reaming, often by some higher staff NCO who missed his Drill-Instructor days and felt like reminiscing for a bit...

Also, the phrase, 'Devil Dog' has led to its use in many notable impressions of those same senior staff NCOs, and it's modification amongst the regular enlisted types to fit different situations. For example, hopefuls in the Young Marines program as well as newly minted Pvts and Pfcs were referred to as 'Devil Pups', close buddies might be called by the term 'Devil Nuts' and, when the ever popular Big Green Weenie of Doom and Mayhem came to pay a (yet another) visit, one might describe it as 'getting Devil Doggy-styled'.

I guess the phrase has been evolving for a bit, but it was obviously good (comedic wise) evolution back in my day...

6 comments:

Snigglefrits said...

'getting Devil Doggy-styled'

Can you say that three times real fast without getting tongue tied?

:-P

Old NFO said...

I still like Jarhead myself :-)

kvegas911 said...

Like Old NFO, Jarhead is my fave too, but I did not realize that Devil Dog was bad. The Marines I work with use it, 1 or 2 have tshirts with it, ??? Kids today, tsk tsk,LOL

The Loon said...

This is beyond understanding. How could even one Marine not feel it an honour to be called by the same name that honours the Marines who fought with such ferocity, and honour, at the Battle of Belleau Wood and were forever named "teufelhunde" by the enemy.......not as a term of derision, but of admiration and honour? Please excuse me, Sgt. Murphy, but it appears I truly don't understand

Murphy said...

Me, I kinda liked (after the fact, of course) the introduction to my vocabulary of the boot camp phrase, 'Thing'. DIs used it a lot, probably to avoid voicing the more descriptive words, when in the company of Officers and such. Snarky Pfcs. used it equally as much in the never ending game of, 'I got the best impression of my Crazy-Assed DIs'.

"Come 'ere, Thing!" was one phrase that I head quite a bit.

I always had to fight the urge to begin with the Adams Family theme song.

'dum-dum-da-dum
*snap snap*
dum-dum-da-dum
*snap snap*...'

I can only kinda sorta understand the change, I just always felt that the history behind the word meant much, much more than currant usage. We'll have to see if it sticks around or no...

Larry said...

I have often greeted young Marines with "Oorah Devil Dog!" I have never had to explain myself. However, I have a similar feeling about the word "Shipmate", which was used just before or during a one-way conversation with a Chief.
It's a shame that the phrase has fallen into disfavor.