7 Totally Badass Nicknames For The U.S. Military Given by Our Enemies

7 Totally Badass Nicknames For The U.S. Military Given by Our Enemies - Nine Line Apparel

Trash talking has been used throughout the ages to intimidate or demean the opposition. Trash talking’s close cousin, name-calling, is employed for a similar effect. Most of the nicknames used to intimidate or demean are no longer politically correct and cannot be repeated in polite company. So when people who don’t like you give you totally cool nicknames, you really have to take it as a compliment.

Logan Nye, writing for We Are The Mighty, presents seven awesomely badass nicknames for the U.S. military that were actually coined by our enemies.

1. Steel Rain

In 1991 during Operation Desert Storm, the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment deployed the Multiple Launch Rocket System to provide artillery support to the 24th Infantry Division. The MLRS fired rockets that exploded over the enemies’ heads and released hundreds of lethal bomblets. In just one 72-hour period, the 3rd Battalion took out 41 Iraqi battalions, two air defense sites, and a tank company. The Iraqi soldiers who survived an MLRS attack dubbed the weapon “Steel Rain.” Not surprisingly, the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment adopted “Steel Rain” as their official unit nickname.

2. Black Death

The AH-64 Apache is perhaps the most advanced multi-role combat helicopter for the U.S. Army. The attack helicopter was introduced to U.S. Army service in April 1986 and used to great effect during Desert Storm, destroying radar stations, and many tanks and troops. The helicopters were so fearsome and effective, Iraqi soldiers began calling them “Black Death.”

3. Blue Ghost

During World War II, Japanese propaganda fake news reported over and over again that the aircraft carrier USS Lexington had been sunk — no less than four times. Yet, each time she returned to fight again, leading the propagandist Tokyo Rose to nickname her “The Blue Ghost,” in honor of the ship’s blue hull.

4. Grey Ghost

Tokyo Rose writers must have been getting a bit tired of the ass-whooping they kept receiving from the U.S. Navy. They nicknamed a few ships “Grey Ghost” including The USS Hornet, the USS Pensacola, and the USS America.

5. Bloody Bucket

During the Normandy Campaign in WWII, soldiers in the 28th Infantry Division became known for their particularly vicious fighting tactics. The Germans began calling the division the “Bloody Bucket” for the blood-red keystone insignia they wore, shaped like a bucket. The red keystone is actually the official emblem of the State of Pennsylvania as the Division was originally a Pennsylvania National Guard organization.

6. Phantom

As the Battle of Bulge began in 1944, the 9th Armored Division was deployed to the northern front. The Germans began referring to the unit as “Phantom” because it seemed to materialize everywhere.

7. Devils in Baggy Pants

Ok this one isn’t quite that badass. More like “baggy ass.” In 1943, airborne infantrymen from the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment conducted regular raids into Italy to defend the right flank of the 3rd Infantry Division. Supposedly, the nickname “devils in baggy pants” was found in a dead German officer’s diary, referring to the trousers of the airborne Americans.


Which one is your favorite?


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  • Bryan

    Black Death. Curious question, nothing from Vietnam? or Korea. Just heard a few stories of Vietnam. Salute to all that have and do serve.

  • Chris

    Steel rain is top but Black Death is pretty good too.

  • AL

    You forgot “Devils in yellow leggings” for Marines by Chinese troops during Korean War. Also, “white sleeved Devils” by Cubans and Haitians refugees during their detainment at Guantanamo Bay in the mid 1990’s.

  • John McCarthy

    You forgot one: “Devil dogs” – WW1 German soldiers’ name for US Marines for their ferocious fighting.

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