Informant E was born in Korea and moved to El Centro California when she was 4. Before she came to USC she found that she was accepted into the school but also enlisted in the military. She put school on hold and deferred for a semester and went to training at the age of 17, and was one of the youngest soldiers to graduate. And after her experience with boot camp she came back to USC and started school and contracted to army ROTC. She has been deployed over the summers to Korea. She studies Psychology and Linguistics as a double major and a Forensics Criminality minor combined with dance as well. She wants to use her schooling and military experience to be in the FBI one day.
In the military we have a lot of acronyms we use throughout like AR, PT, APFT, UCMJ, MJP, EAS, basically ROTC and the army is just full of acronyms. I feel like when we get together we talk about these things and we know what they all stand for and the abbreviations but other people really don’t and there’s this specific one called the CNN. And CNN is like a news network and we call it the Cadet News Network so its basically like the rumor mill you know like what only the cadets know. And so in the military there’s the cadets and then there’s the cadres who are like the people in charge of us and then there’s the NCOs, Non-Commissioned Officers, that’s an acronym right there, and none of them are aware of the CNN. That’s only within like our group. Especially when its something so tailored, it can really exclude everyone else and they have like no idea what’s going on. So we might say like, ‘Oh did you hear about cadet so and so doing this on the weekend?’ then we’ll say like oh I heard through the CNN that he was over here or here and like none of the people above us will understand what were talking about. It all stays within the CNN. We all kind of know what’s happening on the outside all within this professional setting, and to us its almost like an inside joke and were not supposed to talk about this outside occurrence. Were supposed to be integrating into the actual army so if someone found out about the kinds of stuff we talk about it could be really bad. They expect us to be professional and its kind of hard to balance that, you know like being a soldier but also a college student too. We try to keep them separate but we all live kind of the same lives and its funny when these mix and someone usually gets in trouble, which is why we try and keep it usually within the CNN. It happens though.
So we have this thing too, its kind of vulgar, called the Blue Falcon and the B in Blue stands for Buddy and the F in Falcon stands for…you know…basically and we use that acronym to label or address people who get their friends in trouble. Especially in the military when were doing stuff that we would be evaluated on, the Blue Falcon would be like ‘hey you forgot to do this’ like right in front of everyone and so we would address them as the Blue Falcon. Everyone else then would understand that this guy is like a Buddy uhhhhh, and everyone would understand what that meant. And the person would probably know that they’re the Blue Falcon like someone would say to the person like ‘Hey you’re being a Blue Falcon right now’. It’s kind of a universal military term, like everyone knows what that means. The military is about the group, and they use mass punishment too. So like if one person does something wrong then we all have to do like pushups and so we would call that person who got us all in trouble the Blue Falcon because they screwed their buddies over. In the real world you don’t see much of mass punishment where everyone hates on 1 person for getting everyone in trouble. It’s a specific military thing.
Here informant E talks about some of the specific vernacular that the military uses. Some of these acronyms may have come out of the need in the military to do specific things quickly and efficiently. She explains how it separates the out-group from the in-group and also helps them balance the 2 different sorts of lives they live. The military expects them to be extremely professional while often college students are casual and crude. These acronyms allow them to remain professional, while alluding to some other crude things, like maybe what the did on the weekend, or even just in the acronyms itself. She also talks about how they can call out members of the in-group, which actually serves to bring the group closer together. Community and support are extremely important in the military, which explains this strong emphasis on the in-group and not getting their friends in trouble. The military emphasizes unity and cohesion which is why the term Blue Falcon might be so popular across the military, because someone who is a Blue Falcon is deviating from the norm of unity and should be called out for doing so.