ARLINGTON, Va. — Contrary to what you may have read, the Army has not embraced the more intimate term “warrior companion” to replace the platonic “battle buddy.”
The idea was addressed in a letter to the editor in Stars and Stripes earlier this week, citing an online Army message as the source. Posted on Facebook, it claims that the drawdown in Iraq means that the term “battle buddy” no longer describes what soldiers do in noncombat environments:
“As the need to [sic] soldiers to travel in groups is higher than ever before due to increased risk of kidnapping or assault, and as the Army transitions to the term ‘warrior’ for its soldiers to enhance the commitment to warrior ethos, soldiers are directed to use the phrase ‘warrior companion’ when referring to a soldier pair or groups of soldiers gathered together for the purposes of protection and safety.”
On Thursday, Army officials said there is no record of such an Army message, and they noted it is not properly formatted.
“Our conclusion is that this appears to be fake,” said Army spokesman Gary Tallman.
One soldier told Stars and Stripes that rumors about the supposed change were percolating even before the letter to the editor ran.
“People on base here are talking about it and there are also links on yahoo questions and other forums about it,” said Staff Sgt. Teresa Tennyson in an e-mail. “Once the Stars [and Stripes letter] printed, it was on a lot of RSS feeds. There is even an iTunes podcast with the letter.”
The rumor has had a demoralizing effect on her soldiers, Tennyson said, so she is spreading the word that the term “battle buddy” is here to stay.
Maj. Ruby Wayman, who wrote the letter to the editor, said she was glad to learn it was a joke.
“I don’t feel embarrassed at having written to you about it,” Wayman wrote in an e-mail. “It is what it is.
“I’ve seen our Army implement some silly things over the years. For instance, what is with this ‘Warrior Ethos’ all of a sudden? We’ve always been warriors.”
So watch out for your buddy, but keep it professional.
Know of any other military rumors floating around? Want to know the truth? E-mail Jeff Schogol at firstname.lastname@example.org