Spouses Can’t Say “Hooah”


Confession: try as I might, I can’t say “hooah” correctly. And I don’t think I’m in the only one.

I’m not sure what it is about these grunting military calls that make them so challenging. Do I lack the proper gusto? Am I just not, well, hooah enough to even SAY “hooah?” Is it sheer lack of practice?

Should I even be thinking this hard about this?

I go back and forth between thinking I have it down and embarrassment that I’m even trying. Sometimes I’ll let loose with a real heartfelt “hooah” at an event (when everyone else is saying it, too) and my husband will give me the “what was THAT?” look. Last year at the Association of the United States Army meeting, one of the most hooah places on the planet, I sat in a room full of “hooah-ers” for a week. It was clear who were the spouses and who were the pros. And even after all that exposure I’m still hooah-less.

But if you think I’m bad at it, you should hear some of the civilians I’ve run across. A few weeks ago I attended an event on post where the speaker asked the audience for a response to “hoo-yah” at least 20 times. It was awkward. People were trying not to laugh.

Maybe the Army is the only one with this problem. My personal opinion is that the Marine’s “hoorah” can be said without quite as much finesse as “hooah” and just flat out isn’t as hard (although surely you have to have the guts of the Corps to say it with the proper force). An Air Force friend (sarcastically) suggested that their saying is “hip-hip-hooray!” so that’s easy. And who knows what the Navy says? “Ahoy?” (just kidding).

Hooah! Ahem.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Dana

    OMW I’m laughing so hard at this that I’m crying. Hilarious!

  • Wifey

    Navy says Hooyah ;-)

  • Marine Corps says “Ooh-Rah”, no?

  • John

    I hear my wife say Hooyah, but most of the time she’s saying it to make fun of the Marines. ;) I try to avoid saying those things, because as a guy I’m going to look REALLY bad if I say it wrong…

  • SemperSteen

    It’s OO-RAH, and it is very fun to yell. My personal victory cry is “BOO-YAH” but obviously it doesn’t pack the same punch. And it’s often accompanied by awkward white girl dancing. Navy doesn’t even need a battle cry, they have that awesome “I’m on a Boat” song. I’m the king of the world, on a boat like Leo if you’re on the shore, then you’re sure not me OOHHHH…

    • Amy

      See! I can’t even TYPE them correctly! This is going down hill fast ….

  • amandajennison

    SemperSteen, I am now going to be singing “I’m On a Boat” in my head for the rest of the day! >_< And laughing at the thought of some sailors I know acting like the guys in the video... Great post!

  • Amy – you have the “Hooah” right, but yea the Jarheads say “OO-rah”! Funny enough, having worked with the Russian army, they say “oo-RRRAH” with the tongue trill on the R. Try that one a few times!

    RE: Hooah – don’t worry too much about it. There are as many ways to say “Hooah” as there are soldiers in the Army. Funny article tho – good stuff.

  • Kevin McCarthy

    Has any spouse been helped into a job that pays more than 80K a year, by the special millitary spouse program?

  • HF7

    At our last post there is an annual running event and they always have the same civilian mc trying to pump the crowd up. Year after year he repeatedly yells “HOO-HAH!!” I’m not sure what branch that is supposed to be from but it sure isn’t Army and I wonder if anyone has ever tried to help him out with the correct pronunciation. Poor guy, this is why I don’t hooah, hooyah, or oorah, I’m too afraid it will come out wrong or all girly and I know my husband would never let me live it down.

  • Susan

    My Mom says: ‘Hooah Hooah!’ Her way does not have the gusto of a real Army ‘Hooah!’, but the main point is – she loves saying it when she is excited about something that happens to me in my Army life and that is all that matters to me – the love and support she expresses to me by trying to use a little of my ‘language’.

  • SCB

    I was in my husband’s unit building when someone from his office walked by and said “Oorah!” to me. I could only laugh when they paused and retracted with “Oh right, you’re a spouse. You don’t speak ‘oorah’!”

  • sara

    Navy says “hooyah.” As a spouse it is sometimes awkward, but I have so much fun and pride shouting out my hooyah’s! all i can say is if you have difficulty because you feel silly, try just thinking about how proud you are of your spouse or how proud you are of yourself for being a military spouse and belt one out!

  • I thought I was the only one (my husband is AF)! Although I would like to point out that I can say the Marines “Hoorah” – but only because when I tried saying it as a girl (my Dad was a Marine) and I didn’t get it right, I got to practice until I did get it right.

  • AF says HUA (“hoo-ah”), which stands for “Heard, Understood, Acknowledged.” I don’t think it’s universal, but we said it throughout tech school at Keesler this last summer.