An ROTC student at the University of Southern California, the informant explained the significance behind the army recognition cry, “Hooah!” He called the army cry both an acknowledgement of another serving member as well as “a different way of saying ‘yes’ with motivation and enthusiasm.” The cry is limited to soldiers only, but he has always liked that there are no rank or level associations with the cry―anyone who has been enlisted or who has served in the U.S. army has access to the “Hooah!” cry.
When a soldier in the army responds to an acknowledgement from another member in the army, he or she usually says, “Hooah!” Marines usually say, “Hoorah!”
This traditional response from soldier to soldier is similar in theory and practice to the “Fight On!” chant that USC students exchange with one another. For one, it identifies an “inside” group; an exclusive community can use it as well as understand it because there is a particular university history and tradition attached to the chant.
Additionally, the chant transcends boundaries of seniority and rank, just as the “Hooah!” cry does. Prospective students, alumni, and faculty alike are all welcome to use and exchange the “Fight On!” In the case of “Hooah!,” it marks a solidarity and collectivity between soldiers―a symbol of respect for one another’s service to the country.
Lastly, the unique sound and zeal behind the “Hooah!” cry boosts soldier morale in the same way a drummer boy behind the ranks or a welcoming parade does. The wildness and loudness of the cry emblemizes an abandon of inhibition that has zero representation in the regulated, disciplined setting of the military.