Sharp Divisions Rise From Controversial Hooah-Free Zone At Fort Benning
FORT BENNING, GA — In the tragic wake of an Army recruit being hooahed to death by his Drill Sergeants last week, top leadership is trying to find a solution that will end senseless hooah-related tragedies and also maintain motivation across the force.
Much to the dismay of activists, the commander of the Army's basic training program has now declared all training areas hooah-free zones. "I will use my powers to the best of my ability to ensure that no soldier must ever endure the pain of hooah suffering," said Col. Richard Avery.
"Outlawing hooah only stops regulation-conscious soldiers from hooah-ing," said Specialist Frank Alvarado. "The drill sergeants don't respect anti-hooah regulations and they'll continue to say it anyway. I mean, that's 70% of their vocabulary right there."
That sentiment is echoed by Sgt. Maj. Alan Greenberg, who also chairs the National Hooah Association.
"It's absolutely ridiculous that these guys think they can pass a regulation and make hooah disappear," said Greenberg. "What we need is more hooah out there, not less. Soldiers confronted with real motivational hooah need to be able defend themselves with false motivational hooah. How else can they fight back?"
"Our right to hooah is enshrined in our constitutional right to freedom of speech," he added, "and they can have my hooah when they take it from my scratchy, dry throat."
Avery however, doesn't see it that way.
"I did not come to this decision lightly. It came after a large amount of research," said Avery. "I looked at the Marine Corps and they adopted a similar stance in 2008 that worked extremely well."
Avery is alluding to a then-controversial program at the Marine Corps' School of Infantry, which banned the use of oohrah in June 2008, making it the first oohrah-free zone in the world.
"If you look at the statistics, you can see that as our hooah-related incidents went up and soldier motivation fell, the motivation at the School of Infantry skyrocketed with only a small fraction of oohrah-related incidents," Avery said.
"See this is a clear case of picking," said Greenburg in disagreement. "The Marine Corps is a very small branch. It's not the loss of oohrah that led to increased motivation, it's the fact that they have a very different culture."
Despite sharp divisions on both sides of the hooah-control debate, the arguments are sure to continue as Sergeants Major convene a special regulations-writing session.
"If hooah becomes regulated, the Army will seek control over every other part of your life from when you can go on leave, haircuts, to whether you can put your hands in your pockets," said Specialist Alvarado. "The line must be drawn."