What’s Your Military Name?

By: Zoe Samuel
Estimated Completion Time
8 min
What’s Your Military Name?
Image: avid_creative/ E+/ Getty Images

About This Quiz

Military names go back a long way, though there is no way to know if they go back to the beginning of war. In biblical times, there were figures like Judah Maccabee ("the Hammer"), whose name, depending on whom you ask, stemmed from his weapon of choice, general demeanor, his battle cry, or something else. Charles Martel, the Frankish king who turned back the Moores and fathered Charlemagne was not named Martel, but rather Martel was a nickname that meant "the Hammer" as well. Basically, early on there were a lot of hammers, which one supposes were popular at the time.

More modern names come from the ways of modern warfare. Admiral Arleigh Burke, who served in the Pacific during WW2, was nicknamed "31-Knot" because of a successful mission that required him to travel at full speed, but due to damage to one of his ships, the fastest his squadron could travel was 31 knots. Organized military culture also plays a role in names, as anyone who has seen "Full Metal Jacket" will attest. In these modern times, with war governed more by law than any time in the past and personal mystery less of a factor, military names either reach more deeply into one's sense of identity, or are assigned as a sort of joke, either by other soldiers or sailors, or the press, as was the case with General Mattis.

Do you wonder what your military name would be? We'll work it out for you. Just take this quiz!

Question 1 - communicate with soldiers How would you prefer to communicate with soldiers or sailors under your command prior to going into battle for the first time?
Speak honestly and plainly. Clarity inspires confidence, and confidence inspires valor.
I'd give them their commands and expect them to follow me. What more can one ask of a soldier?
I'd walk among them like Henry V, speaking in the vernacular of the soldier, peppering my language with curses and high rhetoric.
I'd keep it short and sweet, then lead the charge myself.

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Question 2 - dress How do you view military traditions like dress uniforms, as they fit into military traditions like "dining in"?
Regulations are what they are, and we abide.
I love getting into my finest and pinning on my medals. I wish I could do that every day.
It's all ... well, bull excrement.
I'll take a pass, thanks. I've got to sharpen my knives.

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Question 3 - commanders How do you modulate your language around superiors?
Say as little as possible.
Be respectful, and take credit for the good stuff.
I don't. They were grunts once. They can take it.
I try to confine statements to writing, to avoid accidental cursing.

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Question 4 - life What about military life appeals to you the most?
Being a part of something big and important appeals to me.
I just love all the pomp and circumstance of the military. I love the traditions.
For me, it's all about serving my country in any way I can.
For me, it's personal, since I lost a friend to one of America's enemies.

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Question 5 - artillery How do you feel about the 20th-century battlefield paradigm, with fast-moving artillery and the de-emphasis on infantry?
It's only good when you're the army with the tanks.
It's fine, but I miss the days of generals on horseback with tricorn hats.
It raises the stakes, but it also means that at least death is swift.
It's already going the other way, and I'm on board with the golden age of the commando.

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Question 6 - Marines Which branch of the US military engages in the sort of work in which you would most like to take part?
The Army
The Air Force
The Navy
The Marine Corps

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Question 7 - Communicate How would you describe your style of communication with those under your command, under normal conditions?
I'd try to keep a bit of a distance with my men to remain less familiar, to be less of a soldier and more of an idea to them.
Very formal, all the time!
I'd say it would not be casual, but honest and a bit salty.
I'd call it "no sense of humor, no nonsense, nothing extra".

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Question 8 - gun What would you most like as your signature tool of your trade?
A pistol
A dress saber
My fruit salad (the bars on the chest denoting accomplishments)
A combat knife

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Question 9 - unit Which of the following real military unit nicknames sounds like your cup of tea?
Gunslingers
Yellow Jackets
Headhunters
The Magnificent Bastards

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Question 10 - uniform How would you prepare for the military tradition of "dining in"?
I'd bone up on the traditions and keep my glass properly charged.
I'd polish every bit of leather and metal until they shine like the sun, and get my hair cut.
Prepare some remarks, and try to keep it clean.
I'd get my dress uniform cleaned.

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Question 11 - coins If you were to have challenge coins struck for your unit, what sort of motto would you have on them?
"Persevere in the name of brotherhood."
"Defeat the enemy, and look good doing it!"
"Kill the enemy and spit on their graves."
"Come and go in silence."

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Question 12 -  WW2 Using past wars as examples, in which kind of theater of war would you want to serve?
A conventional battlefield like Western Europe in WW2.
A place with profound beauty and cultural significance, with soldiers face-to-face, like in the Napoleonic Wars.
Early in a major conflict, when advantages can be obtained, like in China just before WW2.
Anywhere behind enemy lines where a small group of irregulars can make a difference, like in the hunt for Bin Laden.

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Question 13 - rank How high would you want to rise in the ranks?
As high as possible!
Not so high that my responsibilities would put my life in danger!
High enough to take full advantage of my skills in the name of Uncle Sam.
I want to be boots-on-the-ground, not boots on the back of a horse or boots far from the battlefield.

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Question 14 - war crime How would you react if you found out one of your close comrades may have committed a war crime?
I would arrest them myself, even if I wasn't an MP.
I would talk to them about it, and see if I could convince them to turn themselves in for justice.
I'd call them in for a meeting, along with some MPs and the evidence I had on hand.
If we were in a mission, I'd leave it until after, and include it in my report.

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Question 15 - politics How would you express your political thoughts while not actively serving?
I wouldn't do that.
I'd go on TV and be a pundit if I could!
I'd say little, but if asked, I'd speak in plain English, with perhaps a little "French."
I don't have political thoughts.

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Question 16 - retire How long would you want to stay in the service?
Forty years, maximum.
Twenty years I think.
I'll stay in the service until they force me to retire.
I plan to wear out my body in ten years, and then get out.

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Question 17 - war How far back in your family does the military tradition go?
The Revolutionary War
The Civil War
WW1
WW2

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Question 18 - Cyberwarfare What technical specialty would you want to go into?
Tank turret mechanic
Media
Cyberwarfare
Sniper

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Question 19 - warrant officer How long would you be willing to spend as a warrant officer, so you could have lots of time in your specialty without running out of time in grade?
I'll do it as long as my commanders require.
That depends. Does it mean I don't need to fight?
As little time as possible!
My whole career, if I may.

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Question 20 - civilian How would you adjust to civilian life when you have time off?
It would take time, but I'd find my feet eventually.
Easily! Finally, I can make some real money and live like a king!
I think the adjustment will be hard, mostly because of the style in which civilians talk to each other. Social rules can be a pain.
It'll be hard. I require structure or I go stir crazy.

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Question 21 - tattoo How would you refer to your military service while not on active duty?
I'd try not to get into it with civilians.
I'd wear my medals, perhaps bits of uniform, and show my military tattoos whenever I could. I want to tell people about how cool it was to be a soldier or sailor.
I wouldn't.
I guess it'd be unavoidable, given the tattoos, but I'd try to keep the details light and minimal.

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Question 22 -  service What would you look to get from your military service, personally?
I'd be looking for character reformation, and then buttressing.
I'd be looking for a reputation and glory.
I'd be looking for skills both interpersonal and organizational.
I'd be looking for stories I'd later write about.

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Question 23 - abuse If you saw abuses of power but knew that blowing the whistle would mean punishment and possible jail time, what would you do?
I'd go up the ladder, over the power abuser if I must, and take the consequences.
I'd try to get someone else to make it public. If I had to say something myself, I'd try to do it anonymously, and if I was named, I'd flee the country to avoid punishment.
I'd confront the abuser publicly, and humiliate them.
I'd go to the press if I had to, and I'd go to jail if I had to. Justice is American, and injustice, especially coming from someone in the service, cannot be tolerated.

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Question 24 - question How would you treat your service in an unpopular war that was being morally questioned by your friends and family back home?
I'd serve my brothers and sisters, and do what I could to act in a way that is morally upright in all things.
I'd tell the critics that they could criticize me once they've worn the uniform, which, of course, would mean that while in uniform they couldn't criticize the war anymore.
I'd do what I was ordered to do, but make notes on anything I found questionable, and if crimes were committed, I'd bring them up later, even if it were to tank my career.
I'd be unable to listen to that claptrap, so I could just focus on my job.

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Question 25 - Alexander Of these, which military leader do you look up to the most?
The First Duke of Wellington
Julius Caesar
Alexander
General Sherman

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Question 26 - commanding officer How would you cope with having a commanding officer who you really don't like?
I'd grumble to my spouse if I have to.
I'd make jokes abut them to others in my rank and under their command.
I'd keep it to myself and bottle it up.
I'd try to forget about that person and focus on their orders.

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Question 27 - desk job If pushed to do it by national interest, would you take on desk jobs in which you have little to no interest?
Yes, but I might reduce the duration of my service as a result.
I'd prefer a desk job! There's less of a chance I'll be shot!
Really? Ah nuts. Yeah, I'd do it if that's what Uncle Sam wants.
No. I'd find another way to serve my country, outside of the military.

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Question 28 - after What would you want to do with your life after your military service ends?
Retire!
Parlay my service into writing novels along the lines of the Jack Ryan series.
I'd probably go into an industry where my leadership skills can be useful.
I'd go to college.

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Question 29 - headquarters Which job description reads like a good fit for you?
Field commander
Headquarters personnel
Organizational support
The tip of the spear

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Question 30 - Boot camp When do you think you'd get your military name?
I'll probably get it after my first major engagement as a leader.
I imagine I'll get it after I make a good impression with the right people.
Boot camp!
I'll probably get it in the field, after my first or second mission.

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