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Did you have a nickname in military?


Did your platoon ever give you a nickname?

 

Nicknames in the military can be very interesting.  Most people who’ve never been in think they’re supper cool and dangerous sounding like the ones in Call of Duty.  That actually couldn’t be further from the truth.  The reality is any nickname given in the military usually isn’t a compliment. 

 

The military can be like The Lord of the Flies in some cultures.  You’re pretty much left to interact with other very immature people under very uncomfortable conditions.  This almost always resorts to one of two things; throwing rocks at random things or singling out someone in the crowd for harassment.  One of my old friends used to always say, “don’t bleed in the shark tank!”.  This was a reference to showing weakness in front of a crowd of savages that would be sure to verbally pounce on you.  To put it nicely; nicknames in a platoon aren’t generated to make you feel good about yourself, they’re made to entertain the crowd both in the moment and for years to come.  They’re obscene, offensive, very demeaning and definitely not something you ever want your spouse to know about.  It’s literally a group of peers waiting to exploit and make fun of your lowest moments so they can have a good laugh about it for years to come.

 

When I came into my platoon I heard some good nicknames.  Over the years of deployments, I heard even more.  My defining feature was that I was baby faced and adorable.  I would go to a patrol brief and have teammates say, “doc, why are you so pretty?” with chuckles erupting.  There wasn’t a weapon or dark pair of sunglasses on earth that could make me intimidating back then and I took shit for it just about every day.


One day, right after a mission brief for an air assault, I was walking out of the talc to see my team circled up and joking about the upcoming mission.  These were always capture/kill missions and usually went very uneventful with no enemy contact.  I walked up to join in and got met with the scowl of one of my team leaders who was both mean mugging me and laughing at me all at once.  “God damn it, Doc!”  How in the fuck you do always look so damn pretty!  It fucking makes me sick.”  The whole circle of teammates started cracking up and I was too.  My team leader interrupted the laughter with, “I’m fucking serious!  You’re supposed to be a bad mother fucking killer, and look at you!   You look like you belong on the fucking Disney channel!” 


 

Now, the laughter was roaring.  Heads were swinging and hands were clapping.  This included me.  I was the ass end of all of this fun, but it was funny and it was true.   He kept on, “God fucking damn.  I might get shot tonight and fucking die, and here I am taking the mickey mouse club out with me on a fucking air assault.  How in the fuck did this happen and what the fuck did I do wrong in life to get stuck with you?  Look at the rest of us!  A bunch a hard ass motherfuckers, and then…and then there’s you?”  I was laughing so hard at this point I cound’t even get a comeback out.  Everyone could barely hold still from how entertaining this was.  It was all true.  If you had seen me back then you probably would have asked if I was lost and looking for my mother. 

 

We mounted up that night and did what we always do.  I think we actually did capture someone that night and took him back via vehicles without a fight.  When we got back to the FOB, the jokes and fun were still in full swing.  I walked down the pad to get a shower and I could hear a group of teammates still laughing and talking about the jokes getting cracked earlier.

 

The next day, we huddled around for our patrol brief and the mood was still in full effect.   I could hear one of my teammates telling someone who wasn’t on the air assault all the fun they missed at my expense.  This is when my team leader picked up where he left off the night before, “I still can’t believe they let you in here!  Put some scars on that face or something!  God damn!”  I replied with, “Roger that sergeant.  I’ll make sure to get shot in the face today” as I raised my redbull to toast his words.  Again, more laughter erupting.  This is when another teammate jumped in and said, “You’re seriously about as fucking scary as a cupcake with rainbow sprinkles”.  Well, that’s not actually what he said, but I had to tone it down for the sake of keeping my blog up and not getting my page banned from facebook.  It was about my appearance, however, and being less threatening than rainbow sprinkles.  This was immediately met with “Doc Sprinkles!”  and “Hahahaha! Yeah, sprinkles! Doc fucking sprinkles!”  This was still very early on in the deployment so my fun with my new name was just beginning.  It received many renditions in the months to come. 


 

I’m not gonna lie, I actually think I got off pretty easy considering some of the names I’ve heard.  My platoon even named one of their LT’s “speed bump one-six” after he was accidently ran over by his own vehicle.  That one’s not that bad either.  I won’t even tell you the others.   

 

Getting a stupid nickname in a platoon sucks, but, it could’ve been worse.  I could’ve been back at Speicher in a support unit changing sandbags and guarding the DFAC.  Sprinkles?  I’ll take it, roll with it and put it on a fucking t-shirt.  Patrolls, helicopters, firefights and air assault missions were awesome compared to other lifestyles I’ve seen in the Army.  Sprinkles it is, all day long.

 

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1 Comment


J R
J R
Feb 12

Yeah, my nickname was Bigrele; served 20 years active duty, 3 of those years alongside you CPL Jon Smith 😉

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