Go on any United States Army base around the world and you will hear soldiers right and left using the term Hooah.
Many civilians have often asked what exactly Hooah means and where it originated from.
If you are asking me, I have one thing to say to you…
I will try to answer your question to the best of my ability.
What Does Army Hooah Mean?
While there have been many people who have tried to answer this question in my opinion, The Department of Military Science and Leadership hit the nail on the head when they said it refers to anything except no.
Sergeant to Private – “Brace up that wall with sandbags soldier.”
Private responds – “HOOAH”
Major to Sergeant – “Have the unit at formation at 14:00 hours.”
Sergeant responds – “HOOAH sir!”
So essentially, you will the term Hooah used regularly in the Army because seldom is the word no used.
Here are 2 other quotes on the meaning of Hooah:
“An affirmation that I fully agree with and support the idea or intent expressed by the person to whom I make that response… It applies not only to the letter of what was said, but to the spirit of what was said.” Major General F.A. Gorden Military District of Washington Commander
“It means we have broken the mold. We are battle focused. Hooah says Look at me. I’m a warrior. I’m ready. Sergeants trained me to standard. I serve America every day, all the way.” Former Army Chief of Staff General Gordon Sullivan
So Where Did Army Hooah Originate From?
Nobody can answer that question with a proven fact. But there are many speculations which all make some sense. I am just going to give you all the speculations I have found and I am asking that you tell us which one you believe is accurate.
- Hooa used by World War II Airborne soldiers meaning Head Out Of Ass.
- In the 1840’s the 2nd Dragoons in Florida were meeting with Indian Chief Coacoochee. The officers all made toasts the Chief asked the interpreter what they meant. When he was told the overall meaning was “How Do Ya Do,” the Chief raised his glass and said Hough.
- Possibly a variation of war cries from other languages such as Turkish, Mongolian, Prussian, Dutch, Etc…
- One source stated it was used by the British in Afghanistan in the 1800’s.
- Some say it came from the Vietnamese word for yes which is pronounced u-ah.
- Army radio operators would use HUA for Heard, Understood and Acknowledged.
- Some believe it was from General Cota on D-Day when he told the 2nd Ranger Battalion to “Lead The Way.” They exclaimed “Who, us?” and General Cota heard “Hooah”.
These are a few of the theories. Which one do you think is accurate? Or do you have a different theory?
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So What Do Soldiers Think Of Hooah?
I must admit that I get a kick out of reading the various opinions about using Hooah. Here are a few:
Better Hoo-ah than “Air-Power!” I remember that one… I’m a Hoo-ah kinda guy. It really can be used for everything except no! Just my two cents.
I really haven’t used this since Basic. Oh, a few commanders here and there liked it so we used it then. I can’t say as if I care one way or another, really.
I occasionally squeeze out a ‘hooah’ while sittin’ on the crapper.
Marketing Using Hooah
In 1996, the military created an energy bar that was packaged in MREs called Hooah. They came in several flavors. In 2004, D’Andrea Brothers began marketing the bars for the public. They are known now as The Soldier Fuel Bar and you can get them here: http://www.soldierfuel.com/
I know that Hooah became a huge part of my vocabulary during basic training at Fort Benning.
I would have to say that like it or not, Hooah has its place in the United States Army. I do believe it is a morale booster and personally, I love it.
So what are your thoughts? Tell us your Hooah stories.
Thank you for visiting.
About The Author
Greg Boudonck is a full time freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He served in the United States Army in the early 1980’s and enjoys writing about military subjects. You can see Greg’s books on Amazon by searching his name and you can also visit his website at Lancerlife.com.