No one can say with 100% certainty where any military phrases or slang starts. However, we have tracked down a pretty good origin story for a few.
The Global War on Terror- “Wagner Loves the…”
The Combat Operations Center (C.O.C. …. yep…. keep reading…) is the place you see in movies with all the maps and satellite feeds. As a result, this is typically the safest place in a combat zone. Legend has it that an intelligence Sergeant, named Wagner, loved to spend all his time there. In contrast, his colleagues were constantly leaving friendly lines. They would cultivate sources, collect raw data, and develop it into actionable intel. Consequently, this information fueled dangerous missions to the take down of some top terror cell leaders.
After the raids, the intel team would exploit any tactical site opportunities, and the cycle would begin again. This intelligence-based targeting made the our special forces even more lethal, and feared. However, the infamous Wagner allegedly refused to ever leave his desk. In fact, he would find any excuse to never even leave the wire.
Since this was viewed as a fear of danger, he was gossiped about and ridiculed. Soldiers simply can not accept that in their ranks. This turned into the tongue-in-cheek insult of “Wagner loves the C.O.C.” The graffiti sprung up everywhere. Grunts, passing through in convoys, adopted the phrase and it spread like… (well, insert whatever you think spreads fast on a military post).
By 2007, it was on nearly every base in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The spelling changed, but many troops repeated it without truly understanding the origins. Understandably, this taunting infuriated all others named Wagner in the military to no end. Many claim to know the Wagner in question, but that can never be proven. Feel free to send us a message if you can prove who this was.
World War II – “Kilroy was here”
This rapid evolution of military culture found it’s roots in the tag “Kilroy was here,” made popular in WWII. Never fear, we will cover that one in part two. As well as many other tasty nuggets of military lore.
Let us know what obscure military phrases we should cover next. Comment below! Also check out our article on the Best Lines from Movie Drill Instructors!