Donald Bruce’s Story on the Origin of the word “Hooah”
Donald Bruce tells the Story of “Hooah” from his perspective in B/75th Rangers in 1972-1974. This story confirms, contradicts and overlaps Pete Parker’s stories of Hooah from 1975-79. This is taken from a post Ranger Donald Bruce made in a Ranger group on Facebook. Notice the spelling of the word yet again different from later versions. (See Pete Parker’s observations on spelling). Some minor editing was done to clean it up.
Donald Bruce: HOO AH, It is time Ranger Buds to tell the real story of HOO AH, there are a lot of us who know it, but don’t realize it, because it has become just a part of service in the United States Defense Department world wide, It has been in movies, and it is used by civilians who have never even served a day. It started along time before I was a part of the Ranger legacy. This can be authenticated by several of you and especially Ranger Voyles. [Note: there are two Ranger Voyles, and they are brothers]
I got to B/75 at Fort Carson [Colorado] on the 2nd of February 1972, I came from CCN MAC SOG as a Sergeant [SGT] E-5, and damn my head was bigger than my Green Beret I was wearing. I was assigned to the Stockcade the 19th MP Company as a turn key. And Found the Ranger Company orderly room, The first person was a Spec-5 Company Clerk, I told him my story and was basically begging for them to change my orders, and asked to see the 1SG. Spec-5 told me you can’t do that until you get a Ranger haircut and loose the mustache his head was shaved. Damn my hair was pretty, bright Blonde, so to the main post I went to get a Ranger Hair cut. Asked this nice old black barber for a nice trim and he said is that all you want SGT, and I said I think it will do. Reported back to the orderly room and the Spec-5 Company clerk said SGT I said a RANGER HAIRCUT, I said nothing, back to the barber, got that same nice black gentleman again. He said SGT what unit are you assigned to, I said hopefully the Ranger Co, he said why didn’t you tell me the first time, he said look in the mirror to see your hair for the last time SGT, and away it went. I got back and my orders had already been cut ,I was Happy and a little pissed about my pretty blonde hair I had no more. He told me to be at the company formation on the company street at 0600 the next morning.
I got there at 0530 looking sharp with my Green Beret on the Company Clerk was there and told me to stand behind 2nd Platoon. At about 10 to 6 all the Platoon Sergeants [PSG] came out to their Platoons and called them to attention and put them at parade rest. I was just watching there were three line Platoons and three support Platoons over 250 strong. Then First Sergeant [1SG] Joe Gooden appeared, He was magnificent, tall and very black and he was starched from head to toe. He called “Fall in!” and the the entire unit snapped to attention I had not seen anything like that in my little army career. Then with his voice that sounded like a bull horn, he lead the Company in a rant of HOO Ah Kill, HOO AH Kill for ten minutes I was in the back and was stunned, I had never heard anything like it. My first thoughts were, first My hair is gone, and then there ranting for ten minutes, what the Hell Had I gotten my self into. Well that was the company battle cry for B/75. We spoke in a new language for me to learn, Hoo Ah was include in how you addressed each other about everything, it was a Language.
Herbert Baugh: I always wondered where it started, my first time hearing it was from Pappy Voyles in 74. He used it a lot. I guess it caught on and the rest is history. I thought maybe it started in the Ranger Dept. Thanks for clearing that up, I will be able to sleep better at night now.
Donald Bruce: 2nd Chapter, When 1st Battalion [BN] 75th was formed the first two selected was 1SG Jack Schmidt, and RV Voyles they left B/75 in Jan 74 came back to Fort Lewis in late Feb, 1SG recruited myself, Bump, Lucket, Broyles, Toney, Bovin, Pichete , Murphy, Purdy, Bangs and a bunch more to join the new Ranger BN, naturally we answered HOO AH, so to Fort Benning we went for pre cadre. 1SG Schmidt got all most all of in C Company with him and RV when we Jumped in to Fort Steward we received our soldiers and the training began. Once we were through the Tactical Exercise, Lieutenant Colonel [LCT] Leuer came around to have each Company presented to him. 1GT practiced us with HOO AH to greet the BN Commander with, and we did and after, he called Captain [CPT] Barnhill to BN HQ and forbid HOO Ah, for us from old B/75 it was a part of us so in the company area we used it amongst us. After our first BN Change of Command. PSG Voyles got with the 1SG and we had a new Company Commander [CPT] Montano and a new and a new BN Commander LTC Stang. So we got CPT Montano on board with it and when he presented us to LTC Stang we sounded off with HOO AH he had us do it again, he loved it and adopted it for the BN, then on banner days we would have skits about Hoo AH etc
Michael Magee: Don Awesome story.
Donald Bruce: Last chapter on HOO AH, I was PSG of 3rd Platoon [PLT] Company a couple of years later, RV Voyles was the BN Ops SGT, Maj Wayne Downing was the S-3, I was called to S-3 to set up advanced demo training and RV and I were in a deep conversation, and every time he told me something I would say HOO AH in varying degrees , and Maj Downing interrupted us and asked RV how in the hell he knew what I was responding when I had not said one yes or no, Just HOO Ah, RV explained it was our way of talking AND WE UNDERSTOOD EACH OTHER , Maj Downing asked where did this language come from. RV explained that we from B/75. and we had a 1SG that was the last member of the All Black Rangers of Korea the last All Black unit in U.S. Army history, 1SG Joe Gooden was a PSG in that Unit, and that was there Company Battle CRY HOO Ah Kill!! and he brought to B/75 we had kept it alive in 1st Ranger BN, and he said Sir once you start speaking HOO AH it is a understanding from the Heart of One Ranger Warrior to the heart of another Ranger Warrior HOO AH and Maj Downing smiled and Laughed and SAID HOO AH. How did it spread Defense Department wide, well when we were first formed our manadate was to spread through out a post Viet Nam Army in disarray and spread HOO AH, And as we read the post on this site we see we as RANGERS filled our Mandate HOO AH!!!! When ever I hear HOO AH from some unknowing soldier,sailor, Airman or civilian my Chest Swells up with PRIDE in Knowing in a small way I was apart of something so big, we could have never designed it be this as good as our
Donald Bruce: 1SG Gooden by the way became CSM Gooden CSM of 2nd Ranger BN 75th Inf HOO AH KILL!!!!!!