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View Full Version : The origin of the USMC Battle Cry "OORAH"



badbob
08-26-02, 08:30 PM
New Corps Ė Old Corps

Itís sometimes hard to tell where the old Corps leaves off and the new Corps begins.

I guess it has a lot to do with when you actually served.

Those of us who put in our 4 years and jumped ship, have less of a prospective than those who went for the long haul, 20 to 30 years.

Times are always changing, and so must the Corps, however subtle.

For me, it was the Utilities and the Battle jacket or (Eisenhower jacket).

When I enlisted they had just implemented a major changed to our Utility Uniform (I believe they call them BDUís today)

There were two significant changes that stood out like a sore thumb and told the world that you were a Boot.

First they changed the material from herringbone to plain cotton. Second they changed from Metal Buttons to Plastic Buttons.

Then there was the battle Dress Jacket, OD Green, wool and short, anyone wearing one of these in 1964 was a true Salt.

In Boot Camp I qualified Marksman with the M-14, a Rifle I learned to love in Nam, and still to this day think it to be the best overall combat rifle.

Two years later I qualified High Expert with the M-1 and Expert with the .45 Ė All gone today.

Now for the big question Ė OORAH - when did oorah first hit the Grinder? ---- And do they still call the Parade Deck, the Grinder?

In the early mid 60ís when I was in, our Battle cry was Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr - Let me hear you GROWL Marine! - "I Cant Hear YOU" -- GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR:rambo:

My first encounter with OORAH was back in 1997 while viewing a Marine guestbook on the internet, I remember thinking OORAH, thatís cool, why didnít we think of it!

Someone out there, One of you Liferís, had to have been there, and heard or used it for the first time while still in uniform.

Who, Where, When, What, was the origin of OORAH - ??????

below is a link to an article in Leatherneck Magazine, submitted by a 1959 era Marine with the same questions, frustrations and a few parodies relating to change and OORAH.

http://www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/ooraharch.htm

Semper Fi - OORAH
Bob

LadyLeatherneck
08-27-02, 10:46 AM
Thanks for the link badbob. Great Article!
Good reading in the morning. :D

Ooh-Rah

Sparrowhawk
08-27-02, 12:14 PM
after her first time....





<B>ROTFLMAO</B>

What was it she said?


<b>"I finally did it last night!!!!" </b>



http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1039&highlight=first+time

mrbsox
08-29-02, 03:32 PM
After reading that link article, it has sparked more questions. Got the ORAH in Boot Camp, in '76, so it had to be older than that. Used it regular through the years.

Heard somewhere that it came from a TURK (are they still on our side these days) work for 'kill em', or something close to that.

Feedback ????????????

Terry

mrbsox
08-29-02, 03:36 PM
Check this out, for sh!ts and giggles. Pretty cool for hard to find definitions, or trivia.


http://4mermarine.com/USMC/dictionary.html#O (http://4mermarine.com/USMC/dictionary.html)

Oohra.... holler in a croud, and see how many friends you make.

:p :p Terry

dnelson
08-29-02, 04:37 PM
Was around in 74 also. most Marines in the fleet knew about is so it was there even longer than that.

Semper Fi

gunnyg
09-16-02, 10:32 AM
http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/oohrah.html (http://)

dnelson
09-16-02, 10:47 AM
Sorry to say your post is not working.

gunnyg
09-16-02, 10:53 AM
but I have no idea why it is not working--it takes me back to Leatherneck.com when I click on it--it is a correct URL as shown below.???

http://www.angelfire.com/ca/dickg/oohrah.html

Semper Fidelis
Dick Gaines

dnelson
09-16-02, 10:59 AM
Well that one worked. I agree we should be able to determine when it came about by the members of this board. As I said in my other post it was there in 74. As far as this old foggy brain can remember. This was West coast. The right coast.

Semper Fi

badbob
09-16-02, 11:51 AM
The Leatherneck.com frame page has a tendency to occupy too much of the window, and if you do not realize that you have the ability to resize the window, you may not get the picture, so Iíve cut and pasted the text here for simple viewing, without the Frame page interference.


OohRah!

Ever wonder where some of the most common items of our Marine Corps history came from? Things like the term "Jarhead," etc.? Most of these things are pretty well known by all Marines. But, then, there are also numerous cases where our accepted history is just plain inaccurate. For instance, Major Devereaux's last message from the besieged Wake Island in early World War Two--"Send Us More Japs"--or that the red stripe on the blue uniform trousers of officers and NCOs (sometimes referred to as bloodstripes) commemorates the Marine blood spilled at the battle of Chapultapec in 1847. These two items are not true, and there are many more things like this that I have addressed elsewhere on my websites.

And then there are some cases where the origin of certain traditions are altogether unknown. Take for example, the case of the well known OohRah! What is its origin? What is its meaning? When and where did it start? Is it related to similar cries now in use by other military services? Nobody knows for sure. Yeah, most everybody has an opinion, but what is the straight scoop? Some of the more popular "opinions" on this include that OohRah comes from either (take your pick) a Turkish or a Russian battle cry, and was somehow adopted by U.S. Marines. For many years, I, myself, leaned in the direction that it may have originated with the 1956 film, The DI, starring Jack Webb as T/Sgt Jim Moore, who, in that movie, commands his recruit platoon, "Let me hear you ROAR, tigers!"

In any case, opinions on this abound--some ridiculous, some even humorous, but like I already said, nobody seems to know for sure. OohRah is now well-entrenched in Marine Corps tradition, and although I have found that it is generally disliked and its use disapproved of by many old time Marines, one thing is for sure--it is here to stay! Personally, I think that provided we could determine valid and meaningful historical origin, much of this disapproval by old timers would soon be forgotten. And it seems like OohRah's origin is not so far distant in our past that there should still be some old salts around even now who can clue us in on the straight scoop.

Somewhere I read.... "The Sea Story is the traditional, preferred means by which wisdom is passed on from one generation of Marines to the next."
-Author Unknown

That makes sense to me, and I have thought that if we're ever going to get an answer on this it will be from Marines who were there and know. For at least a couple years now I have been using the resources of my e-mail and websites to seek information from Marines on this question, but the results have been disappointing. Up to now, that is.

On 12 May 2002, I received the following information from Marine Bob Rader (Sgt Wolf); the info had first been posted to the Sgt Grit's Bulletin Board and then e-mailed to me. *****************
From Whence It Came?

Received this among some other stuff from an old college classmate and former Force Troops Recon Marine, Dr. Frank Osanka:

The Recon Marines (and maybe all Marines), have their "OORAH" and the Army its "HOOAH"! But what is the origin of these exclamations by troops (can't call them words-- they are better described as sounds)? When used they are unmistakenly expressions of verve, spirit, morale, espirit, eliteness and sometimes derision! They are responses, greetngs, etc.

You won't find anything in Navy BuPers files. Marine Corps directives or Army regulations prescribing that they be used. Yet, they permeate the ranks and their origins ought to be recorded for they are as much military lexicon as "SNAFU," "GI", "Kilroy was here", "P38", etc. And, woe betide the commander who thinks he can put an end to their use! They are exclusive property of those who use them and rightfully so--for what it means to them transcends anything a leader can do to give them unity and a sense of belonging!

Whey did they start? Who started them? Why are they so popular with the troops? I can't answer the question..."OORAH"is answered below, courtesy of Gary "Buddha" Marte, (former Marine).

OK, HERE IT IS! THE DEFINITION AND HISTORY OF 'OORAH'

Right after Korea in 1953 the 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Company, FMFPAC can be credited with the birth of "OORAH" in the Corps.

Specifically, where it came from was when Recon Marines were aboard the Submarine USS PERCH, ASSP-313. The Perch was an old WWII diesel boat retrofitted to carry UDT and Amphib Recon Marines. If you remember the old war movies, whenever the boat was to dive, you heard on the PA system, "DIVE,DIVE", and you heard the horn sound "AARUGHA", like an old Model "A" horn.

Sometime in 1953 or 1954, 1st Amphib Recon Marines, while on a conditioning run on land singing chants, someone imitated the "Dive" horn sound "AARUGHA", and it naturally became a Recon Warrior chant or mantra while on runs. It is sort of like the martial arts yell and adds a positive inference to the action. And this became part of Recon lexicon.

Former SgtMaj of the Marine Corps, John Massaro, was the company gunny of 1st Force in the late 50s and when he tansferred to MCRDSD as an instructor at DI school he took "AARUGHA" with him and passed it on to the DI students and they , in turn, passed it on to recruits.

Just as "Gung Ho" became symbolic of the WWII Raiders, so did "AARUGHA" become part of the new "running Marine Corps."

Over time, "AARUGHA" EVENTUALLY CHANGED TO "OORAH". The official Marine Corps Training Reference Manual on the history of Marine Recon is titled "AARUGHA", giving credence on the orgination of the 'POSITIVE RESPONSE' accenting anything that is meant to be good and uniquely Marine Corps.

It is part of Marine Corps language, like "Pogey Bait", "SOS", etc.

Semper Fi & Gung Ho,

Sgt. Wolf"
**************************

Since May I have been attempting to contact Major Marte for his verification of this story. On 12 August 2002, I received the following e-mail from the major.

Gunny...
When I was in ist Amphib Recon Company (54-57) when we went on our conditioning runs we would chant and one of the sayings was "AARUGHA" which was imitating the sound of the klaxon horn on board the submarine whenever the announcement was made "DIVE, DIVE". This was started by SgtMaj Dave Kendricks (Then a Gunny in 1952 in Amphib Recon) Today, it is part of the Marine Corps language as is Semper Fi, Gung Ho, etc. Loosely translated it means acknowledgement to a question and anything positive. Hope this helps!

Semper Fi
Gary "Buddha" Marte
Major, USMC, Ret
(1952-1982)

In my opinion, we have most likely finally hit paydirt here! It has long been thought, as expressed by many responses to my queries, that OohRah was grounded in Marine Recon. The fact that Maj Marte is an old-time Recon Marine, and was there in the early 50s, lends credence to an altogether plausible explanation as to the beginning and evolution of OohRah. I expect to publish this information on Gunny G's websites; hopefully, other Marines with knowledge of this will also come forward to comment on this

My most sincere thanks to Major Marte, Dr. Osanka, Bob Rader and others mentioned above..

Semper Fidelis
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952-72

__________________________________________________ __

This does put us much closer to fact. RECON makes sense and MCRDSD also makes sense.

I trained in 64 at MCRDPI and we were still using the Tiger Growl Ė I never spent any time with Recon and I never heard OORAH or AARUGHA used during my 4 years.

Gunny Gaines is getting close, and if we canít nail this down, here on the Leatherneck forum, we all need to go back to Boot training. Which, by the way, I started 38 years ago today, Plt 285 2nd Recruit battalion MCRDPI

Semper Fi, & AARUGHA
Bob

froggman
09-04-10, 05:58 PM
I remember my senior DI telling us recruits that Devil Dogs and "OOrah" came when Marines surrounded by Germans in WW1. Heres a story and it didn't say anything about the Oorah, but I think this is where it came from?;
In World War I the Marine Corps distinguished itself on the battlefields of France as the 4th Marine Brigade earned the title of "Devil Dogs" for heroic action during 1918 at Belleau Wood, Soissons, St. Michiel, Blanc Mont, and in the final Meuse-Argonne offensive. Marine aviation, which dates from 1912, also played a part in the war effort, as Marine pilots flew day bomber missions over France and Belgium. More than 30,000 Marines had served in France and more than a third were killed or wounded in six months of intense fighting.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

froggman
09-04-10, 06:02 PM
I remember my senior DI telling us recruits that Devil Dogs and "OOrah" came when Marines surrounded by Germans in WW1. Heres a story and it didn't say anything about the Oorah, but I think this is where he said it came from?;
In World War I the Marine Corps distinguished itself on the battlefields of France as the 4th Marine Brigade earned the title of "Devil Dogs" for heroic action during 1918 at Belleau Wood, Soissons, St. Michiel, Blanc Mont, and in the final Meuse-Argonne offensive. Marine aviation, which dates from 1912, also played a part in the war effort, as Marine pilots flew day bomber missions over France and Belgium. More than 30,000 Marines had served in France and more than a third were killed or wounded in six months of intense fighting. <O:p