[Author's note: this post is an excerpt from The Gentlemen of Gloucester, a book available here on Amazon.]
When the First City Troop deployed to Bosnia in 2003, its platoon sergeants unanimously vowed to never utter the word “Hooah,” a morale-boosting yell used throughout the United States Army to demonstrate (real or imagined) enthusiasm. By refusing to "Hooah,” the Troopers were drawing the line at how much of the “Big Army” lockstep mentality they were willing to embrace. This decision led to some comedic encounters with the regular army.
For example, one day, a regular army NCO concluded a training session with a loud "Hooah," expecting a robust and resounding “Hooah” to echo back to him in response. Instead however, the entire platoon stared at him in silence.
The NCO, thinking his own “Hooah” must have lacked sufficient enthusiasm, delivered his entire brief again from the beginning and ended it with a more rousing “Hooah!” than before. But again, the Troopers gave no response.
Flummoxed, the NCO repeated his entire speech for a third time, this time ending with a very loud, and exceedingly drawn out, “Hooooaaaahhhhh?” posed like a question. Yet again, the thirty Troopers stared back at him utterly blankly..
At this point, Tom Farley intervened. A Vietnam veteran and former cavalry commander who resigned his officer's commission to join the Troop as a sergeant, Farley raised his hand and said, “Sergeant, sorry, but we don't ‘Hooah’ in this unit. From private to captain, not a single man here knows what you mean by it. You can go over to that tree and ‘Hooah’ it all you want, but we won't ‘Hooah’ back."