Confession: try as I might, I can’t say “hooah” correctly. And I don’t think I’m in the only one.
I’m not sure what it is about these grunting military calls that make them so challenging. Do I lack the proper gusto? Am I just not, well, hooah enough to even SAY “hooah?” Is it sheer lack of practice?
Should I even be thinking this hard about this?
I go back and forth between thinking I have it down and embarrassment that I’m even trying. Sometimes I’ll let loose with a real heartfelt “hooah” at an event (when everyone else is saying it, too) and my husband will give me the “what was THAT?” look. Last year at the Association of the United States Army meeting, one of the most hooah places on the planet, I sat in a room full of “hooah-ers” for a week. It was clear who were the spouses and who were the pros. And even after all that exposure I’m still hooah-less.
But if you think I’m bad at it, you should hear some of the civilians I’ve run across. A few weeks ago I attended an event on post where the speaker asked the audience for a response to “hoo-yah” at least 20 times. It was awkward. People were trying not to laugh.
Maybe the Army is the only one with this problem. My personal opinion is that the Marine’s “hoorah” can be said without quite as much finesse as “hooah” and just flat out isn’t as hard (although surely you have to have the guts of the Corps to say it with the proper force). An Air Force friend (sarcastically) suggested that their saying is “hip-hip-hooray!” so that’s easy. And who knows what the Navy says? "Ahoy?" (just kidding).