Where do call signs come from?


In celebration of the impending return of Battlestar Galactica to the airwaves, I refer to you the blog of Major John M. Bell, one of our brave Marines stationed in Iraq. His entry from 26 Oct 2005 gives some real-world examples of military call signs and how they were chosen.

Comments (18)
  1. James Schend says:

    Is the new Battlestar Galactica making it to a broadcast network now? (In the US, I mean; it’s been broadcast in the UK for like 2 years now.) Or is this the original one coming back in re-runs on a network? What’s the story?

    If it’s the new Galactica, make sure you sit down and watch it– it’s an excellent show. Don’t judge it based on the name, it’s nothing like the old 70s series at all.

  2. Joe says:

    Now the US Army propaganda has spread all the way to Raymond’s blog.

    What a waste of an entry.

  3. Randolpho says:

    The new BSG airs on the Sci Fi network here in the U.S.

    Every Friday. The second half of Season 2 starts today.

  4. jg says:

    Marines? Militant? <sarcasm No! />

  5. jg says:

    It’s not Army propaganda, just a dude writing a blog from Iraq. Raymond’s blog isn’t MS "propaganda", is it? Lighten up, Joe.

  6. James Schend says:

    Randolpho, Raymond’s posting that it’s coming "to the airwaves" which, to me, implies that it’s moving/being shown on a broadcast network. People don’t call cable networks "the airwaves." And since it "returned", what, a year and a half ago?, it’s not really news otherwise.

    Then again, maybe he’s just talking about the start up of new episodes. But that’s not what I got from reading the post… Raymond, can you clarify?

  7. Brian says:

    I think Battlestar Galactica <a href="http://www.udolpho.com/weblog/?id=00856&title=Rumor-has-it-youre-a-genius">leaves a little something to be desired</a>, but then there’s no accounting for taste.

  8. Woooow. Hair-trigger hate. Two people need to take some deep breaths.

  9. oldnewthing says:

    Yeesh people, the amount of deconstruction that goes on here truly baffles me. "On the airwaves" = "on television", a throwback to the days of rabbit ears. "Return" = to come back to the place it was before (i.e., "on the airwaves").

    Yes, BG is on cable, but it’s fun to say "airwaves". In the same way people still say "dial the phone" even though phones haven’t had dials for years.

  10. Chris says:

    Ha ha, what a militant. He spends almost an entire paragraph complaining about the bad AFN "don’t write bad checks" commercials and how they cut off the end of shows. I guess he’ll go to any length to spew his right wing US Army propaganda, oh wait, isn’t this guy in the Marines?

  11. Mike says:

    I actually read two (well, one and a half, then I skimmed a few) of this soldiers entries.

    He’s sent to Iraq to kill civilians he never met, for a cause he wouldn’t believe in if he even knew what it was all about, for people he’d piss on if he knew how bad they were, and now Raymond someonw connected that to "our brave Marines" (whos "brave Marines"? Microsoft’s)?

    I bet Raymond would also scream "Antisemitism" at first sight of someone criticising jews, while at the same time happily cheer the people killing thousands, tens of thousands, of civilians at the other side of the planet. So long as the ones doing the killing were Americans.

    Actually, this is exactly what he did. Way to go, Raymond. You rub elbow with Hitler, Staling and GWB too? Dumb shmuck – stay out of politics. It’s bad enough as it is.

  12. Mark says:

    <sigh> Take a chill pill, Mike.

  13. <i>Ha ha, what a militant. He spends almost an entire paragraph complaining about the bad AFN "don’t write bad checks" commercials and how they cut off the end of shows. I guess he’ll go to any length to spew his right wing US Army propaganda, oh wait, isn’t this guy in the Marines?</i>

    At the risk of getting this post deleted for being off-topic, you win the non-sequitur of the month award.

  14. chris says:

    Dang, that wasn’t long.

    When I was in the Marines, guys in my unit used radios so much (Radio Battalion) that we would talk to each other using radio speak. Sometimes you could catch the more geeky morse operators talking to each other with dits and dots. I don’t remember any significant call signs though.

    As far as being non-sequitur, sorry about that. I was really just responding to the 2nd and 4th comment posted here.

    Don’t feed the trolls, please.

  15. :: Wendy :: says:

    I’ve had an instant message conversation with a microsoft developer who used ‘perl’ as a shorthand within the messages (he told me that’s what it was when i asked). I’m guessing that’s what some of the ‘shorthand’ i see in these blog comments are… …i dont know. Origins of short-hand languages just are fascinating… I have not intention of learning perl proactively, but I am incidentally learning some ‘editing’ rules…

  16. James Schend says:

    Yeesh people, the amount of deconstruction that

    >goes on here truly baffles me. "On the airwaves"

    >= "on television", a throwback to the days of

    >rabbit ears. "Return" = to come back to the

    >place it was before (i.e., "on the airwaves").

    >Yes, BG is on cable, but it’s fun to say

    >"airwaves". In the same way people still say

    >"dial the phone" even though phones haven’t had

    >dials for years.

    It wasn’t deconstruction, that’s just how I read the message and I was confused. Criminy.

  17. Joe O says:

    It’s sad reading the knee-jerk comments. I thought the link was very interesting and fun.

    Assuming those comments are from Americans, I can’t for the life of me understand how they can feel that way against our soldiers. The leaders, sure, but not the fodder. I guess the old new thing is to bring back the “baby-killer” attitude from the 1970’s. Oh and “Mike”, it’s Stalin not Staling.

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