'Oorah,' 'I'm tracking,' and other well-worn cliches


Here's one Marine who knows how to "Oorah" correctly. (Photo by Cpl. Patrick M. Johnson-Campbell/Marine Corps)

Fellow blogger ninja Phil Ewing has an interesting post on Scoop Deck today that pokes fun at some well-worn phrases that are as common in the Marine Corps as brass on a range.

As Phil points out, a Scoop Deck commenter and sailor expressed displeasure that the Corps’ throaty “oorah” is apparently making inroads into the Navy — although the sailor wrote it “Hoorah,” so maybe he was talking about some sort of Army motivation.

In any event, the sailor also mentioned that he’s sick of hearing ” You tracking?” from individuals who want to know whether not the person they’re speaking with understands what they are saying. I have to admit: Spending day after day with Marines, that’s something I certainly have done, along with acknowledging in the affirmative that, yes, I was indeed “tracking” on something.

Now, a variation on a cliche that is sure to blow Scoop Deck’s mind. When I was out in Marjah, Afghanistan, in May with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, I learned that grunts patrolling out of the Yellow Schoolhouse there had sarcastically shortened “Oorah” down to a flat, groaning “rah” in some situations. An Example:

Marine 1: Hey, you ready to head back out on another six-hour patrol? How about manning the watch tomorrow?

Marine 2: (With gutteral extension) “Raaaaaah.”

Your own motivational cries are requested in the comments section below. Additionally, I’d like to wish good vibes to 3/6, which was relieved of command in Marjah recently by 2/9 and will probably be coming home soon.


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


  1. Momof2Marines on

    My personal fav form the Stan was “Mullahpaloooza” .

    Yes! We will see our 3/6ers VERY SOON!!!! Welcome home Fearless! Godspeed and our prayers to the 2/9.

  2. one that we used in 1st LAR when I was still active (2003-2007) was if we received good news we would shout “YET!!” Pronounced as it looks. Or our sarcastic remark of “Rrr…” for mundane tasks/working parties. Ah the good ole days..

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