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This page was originally put together by Former MFI member John Harris in 2001, from a collection of web articles, to act as a "Resource Page" for the MFI Academy Aviation College's Squadron Leader exam. Thanks John!


The Three Rules of Nicknames

1. If you don't already have one, you will be assigned one by your "buddies".

2. You probably won't like it.

3. If you piss and moan too much about 1. and 2., you'll get a new nickname you'll like even less!

So, how do you get a Call Sign?

Do something stupid, or have it fit with your last name. Obvious examples: 'Crash', or "LT 'Cheese' Kraft". Some times it's based on a physical appearance thing, like 'Carrot'. MFI's General Christine Doane is ALWAYS talking about going after people with her "Foam Fishy of Doom", so there's a FEW ways you could go with Her Call Sign!! [LOL]

Some nicks, and the stories behind them

  • 'ALF': [1] Annoying Little F**k [2] Alien Life Form
  • 'Bambi': This pilot, who is now flying F-15s at Tyndall, hit a pregnant deer with his nosegear while taking off in a T-38 at Columbus. Needless to say, there were guts all over the runway and they had to close it for half an hour to clean-up.
  • 'Bambi Killer': Some years ago a guy was in Gagetown learning to fly the Kiowa. One of the events was learning to fire the gun pod; the mission was to pop up from behind a hill and shoot at a target a mile away. It takes a few seconds for the lead to travel downrange, and as one pilot was watching to see if he'd hit the target, a deer made the fatal mistake of leaping from behind cover at the wrong moment. For the rest of this fellow's career in the Canadian Forces, he was tagged "Bambi Killer".
  • 'Boom-Boom': Jeff "Boom-Boom" Paulk, a 10TFS pilot got his name for a funny thing. He used to be the Nr2 Quarterback at the USAF Academy football team, so a very competitive guy... One night at the O'Club one of the Sabres challenged all his bro's with the Sabre coin....which means: A pilot challenges another with the sqdn coin at places where alcohol is served, his fellow has to show his coin within a 60 seconds..if all his bro's have the coin, the one who challenged has got to pay a round, however, if there's someone who doesn't have the coin he'll buy a round for the rest. Anyway, that day Jeff had left his coin in the car when he was challenged, he immediately runs out of the bar, tried to push the door open in this violent football- player- manner... and wham.... guess what happened... He slammed the main entrance door of the O'club, which was fully glass, into a million pieces. So they gave him the name : Boom-Boom
  • 'Bramage': Brain + Damage = Bramage
  • 'Bubbles': Capt. Douglas S. Champagne
  • 'Calvin': Capt. Mark Cline
  • 'Carrot': a redhead
  • 'Chevy': Capt. Vervolet
  • 'Crow': Cromartie
  • 'Dawg': Capt. Steve Kennel
  • 'Dipstick': A would-be Fighter Pilot attended Flight Encampment for Civil Air Patrol. There while doing Preflight on the Cessna 172 he was checking the fuel quantity when he almost slipped and fell off the step. He dropped the dipstick into the tank. This of course caused a maintance problem and in the end they couldn't get it out. Afterwards he had to fill out a form saying the plane weighed 3 oz's more.
  • 'Divot' : ejected from an F-16. Wreckage landed in a golf course (in Belgium).
  • 'Drugs' : because women "just say NO!"
  • 'Elvis' :This guy was always hard to find when you needed him, so when someone was looking for him, other people reported sightings ('I saw him over at the...').
  • 'Flex': a muscular guy
  • 'FNG': standard nickname for the new guys
  • 'Frolic': Capt. Alfred Frohlich
  • 'Gasm': a guy at TopGun in 92, LT 'Gasm' Orr
  • 'Ghandi': Mark "Ghandi" Hebein, he was called so because he once ran through a little field of hot, burning ash barefooted! It was to compare him with Mahatma Ghandi....."Ghandi, the firewalker!"You might know that is a sort of ritual in India to cross a field of ash barefooted to show that a man can withstand pain.
  • 'Ghost': last name was Casper
  • 'Hurl': from a party where the pilots had a few and he began eating raw eggs. For some reason his stomach didn't go along.
  • 'Jim': Maj. Davies
  • 'Yo-yo': "While I was a student pilot at ENNJPT 96-08 . I went to 'flying evaluation board' 3 times and was reinstated 4 times. The OPS oficer Lt. Brouwer said to me:" I'm throwing you out and... you come back up, you piece of a shit - you are just like a yoyo!" At the end I washed back a class and graduated at 97-01 . They said I would be assigned to C-130 at school but I just went to freedom fighter (f-5 at 133 sqrd)."
  • 'Kanga': Capt. Rew
  • 'Killer': Killian
  • 'L/D Max': Larry Danner has a degree in Aerospace Engineering and it has stuck on him for the past 24 years!
  • 'Link': Mono brow, neanderthal hairy, flat forehead, large knuckles. The missing link between ape and man.
  • 'Lipo': Did a really large woman.
  • 'Lude': This dude was extremely slow. We were convinced he was on a 24 hour supply of qualudes.
  • 'Magellan' : poor sense of direction
  • 'Martini' : Capt. Wermuth
  • 'Mongo': Big dude. Small peach inspediment.
  • 'New One': New guy
  • 'New Two': Other new guy
  • 'NOID' : A friend of mine is an F-15C pilot in the 493d FS at RAF Lakenheath. His call sign is NOID. The way he got it was one day, as he went up for a BFM engagement, he did a great job. He shot up all of the targets, including his flightmates! His problem? No visual ID... hence the name NOID. (Mark Andrews)
  • 'Pink': last name was Floyd
  • 'Roid': Android or Hemorrhoid ?
  • 'Rhino': We had 2 of these; had to do with their last name. To make the distinction they were subsequently known as 'Stupid Rhino' and 'Fat Rhino'
  • 'Salesman': Apparently a guy who had a hard time closing the deal. (use your imagination)
  • 'Sledge': Capt. Hammer
  • 'Sparky': A guy at Eglin AFB was called 'Sparky' after dragging his F-15s tail halfway down the runway and causing quite a fireworks show.
  • 'Spider': Capt. Chip Webb
  • 'Splatt': Lt. Sam Platt
  • 'Slush': Right after Top Gun came out there was a "new guy" who wanted (pleaded) to be called Ice. The rest of the squadron decided he wasn't cool enough to be called Ice... so they named him 'Slush'.
  • 'Snacko': standard nickname for the most critical job in the squadron
  • 'Snake': 'O' Club antics...
  • 'Snapple': There was a guy who took a Snapple up in his plane and it exploded all over the cockpit... of course his call sign is 'Snapple'.
  • 'Soup' : Capt. Campbell
  • 'Stitch': An ex 307FS viper driver, 6'4" tall, walked into a wingtip AIM-9 and cut his forehead open.
  • 'Tank' : A brand new F-16 pilot at Pope AFB looked down at his fuel gauge and "Oh crap!" it was almost empty and he was a ways from base. "Uh. . . Tower, this is Tiger 2 declaring an emergency!" Never a good thing for a fighter pilot's ego anyway. Ooops, my bad, I just forgot to switch from my wing tanks to my main tanks. "Tower, Uh. . . forget that emergency." From that day forward he was known as TANK.
  • 'T-bone' : dropped a practice bomb through a cow
  • 'Trax': Passed out on the railroad tracks in his Choker Whites after a tough night at an airwing party.
  • 'Turgon': The story goes that during one of his first bombing runs in the A-7, he pickled off the entire bomb rack (TER or Triple Ejector Rack) instead of just the bombs hung on it.
  • 'Waxer': avid surfer
  • 'Web': Capt.J.D. Williams When he was first at Hahn, he was a young 1Lt. and had still the upgrade to do to become a Mission ready pilot. He was pissed (like every F16 Viper Driver) to fly in a two seat F16 with an F16 IP in the back. So he went to the squadron's HOG LOG one night at the bar and wrote: " Damned, I am an F16 pilot, I don't need an IP in the back, I can fly by myself..." Several days later he came back from a Night Mission, taxiing on the runway and he forgot to put the hook down for the Viper to come to a complete stop. If you miss to put the hook down there is (like on carriers for emergencies) a barrier web. So he continues to taxi and ...wham..runs into that web ....!! A little worried he went to the bar that night and wrote in the HOG LOG: " Guys, forget what I said! " Since that day he was called "WEB" at the 10TFS but to be honest...I think he hated that callsign!
  • 'Zulu': There was a quiz on marking various timezones. Scott O'Grady put down his answer, but used the wrong time zone. The time zone he was supposed to use was "Zulu", or GMT. Hence, his callsign.

Other stories related to nicks

The Navy may indeed use squadron nicknames for callsigns in peacetime, but when the shooting starts, they use the same type callsigns as the Air Force does. The whole idea behind callsigns is not to let the bad guys know who/what you, are based on the callsign. In the case of the Wild Weasels, they sort of wanted the Iraqis to know who they were, as the bad guys were so terrified of them. I've also heard of Weasels using someone else's callsign when they didn't want to have the bad guys turn the radars off. If the Iraqis thought the Weasels were F-15s or something else, they'd stay lit up... for a few seconds. :)

If a strike package wasn't being escorted by an F-4G, sometimes they would designate one of the guys in the package to use a Weasel call sign. As soon as the Iraqis heard the callsign, they usually turned everything off, even though there wasn't actually a HARM for miles!

Go to Academy Main Page, MFI Main Page

Original Author: John Harris, MFI 2001
Transcribed by:
Rob-sig-sm.jpgR.Johnson, IC 19:39, 29 January 2006 (PST)
Watchdog 20 October 08

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