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Sturgeon's House

Slang terms for Infantry: Doughboy vs GI

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It's pretty common these days to associate the term "Doughboy" with WWI US soldiers and "GI" with WWII US soldiers.  However, the term "Doughboy", or simply "Dough" was used extensively in WW2 to describe infantry.  I first realized this when reading Harry Yeide's books on US Armor, he refers to the infantry as "Doughs" throughout his books.  I had a chance to ask him about this, he said that in the course of his research, " Tankers always called the infantry doughs or doughboys.  Always.  And if you look back at writings by US infantry officers, they also do that.  Nobody talks about the G.I., that’s a postwar construct.


Today I was scanning through old newspaper article on the Korean war.  Interestingly, I found a 1951 article that uses the term "Doughboys" to describe US infantry.  


"Allied ground forces smashed forward today with three powerful tank columns to the last hills guarding the plain of shattered Seoul.  American doughboys with flashing bayonets drove Reds from vital heights at one point."




Anyhow, I thought it was interesting that the term doughboy was still being used by the general public as late as the Korean war.  

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One of the best I picked up was from a friend of an uncle, who "learned me" the phrase "Joe is a hell of a guy", which can fit into a number of situations.. I've used it to explain why a can intended for general issue needed to be stout enough to drive tent stakes into rocky soil, and to explain why I had to ride herd on a load of slick-sleeve AB's when they went to the PX that first week in basic.


I later heard it used by a friend who was a graduate of the Army Ranger school, when we were talking about headspacing the .50" Browning. He was complementing me on my ability to quickly swap tubes, and I mentioned that I was taking shortcuts  that likely would not be kosher in the military.


Another I heard while in was "Airman Snuffy" which (at the time) seemed to be a holdover from the USAAF/USAF split in '47. It was usually used in a less than pleasant way.

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