The 15 Coolest Unit Nicknames in the US Military



Every unit in the military has a nickname, but some are way cooler than others. We looked around for some of the best nicknames across the military. Here’s what we found:

1. Hell On Wheels

2nd Armored Division, US Army: The 2nd Armored Division was active from 1940 to 1995 and was once commanded by Gen. Patton. It played an important role during World War II and was deactivated shortly after the Gulf War. Gen. Patton gave the unit the nickname after witnessing its maneuvers in 1941.


2. Old Iron Sides

1st Armored Division, US Army: The “Old Ironsides” nickname was given by Maj. Gen. Bruce R. Magruder after Gen. Patton named his division “Hell on Wheels.” Feeling that his division should have an awesome nickname too, Magruder announced a contest to find a suitable name before settling on “Old Ironsides,” as an homage to the famous Navy warship.


3. Bloody Bucket

28th Infantry Division, US Army: Originally nicknamed “Keystone Division,” the unit acquired the nickname “Bloody Bucket” by German forces during World War II because the red keystone patch resembled a bucket.


4. Red Bull

34th Infantry Division, US Army: This National Guard unit participated in World War I and World War II and was deactivated in 1945. It was once again activated in 1991 and since 2001 its soldiers have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and homeland security operations.


5. Yellow Jackets

Electronic Attack Squadron 138 (VAQ-138), US Navy: This EA-18G Growler squadron based out of Whidbey Island, WA has a fitting name for what it does. It buzzes adversaries with electronic attacks rendering them useless.


6. Gunslingers

Strike Fighter Squadron 105 (VFA-105), US Navy: This squadron was originally commissioned in 1952 as the “Mad Dogs” and was decommissioned in 1959. It was recommissioned as the “Gunslingers” in 1969 to participate in combat operations in the Gulf of Tonkin and has remained active ever since.


7. Diamondbacks

Strike Fighter Squadron 102 (VFA-102), US Navy: Based out of NAF Atsugi, Japan, the Diamondbacks are attached to Carrier Air Wing 5 and deploys aboard the USS George Washington (CVN-73).


8. Bounty Hunters

Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), US Navy: Based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, CA, this F/A-18F Super Hornet Squadron is attached to Carrier Air Wing 2 and deploys aboard the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).


9. The Professionals

2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, U.S. Marine Corps: Based out of Camp Pendleton, CA, this infantry battalion consists of about 1000 Marines and sailors.


10. Betio Bastards

3rd Battalion 2nd Marines, US Marine Corps: Based out of Camp Lejeune, NC, this infantry battalion has about 800 Marines and sailors.


11. Destroyers

2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, US Marine Corps: Based out of Camp Lejeune, NC, this battalion’s primary weapon is the 8-wheeled LAV-25.


12. Magnificent Bastards

2nd Battalion, 4the Marines, U.S. Marine Corps: Based out of Camp Pendleton, CA, this infantry battalion has about 1,100 Marines and sailors.


13. Kickin’ Ass

148 Fighter Squadron, US Air Force: Based out of Tucson Air National Guard Base, AZ, this F-16A/B Fighting Falcon squadron’s main role is to train foreign military pilots.


14. Headhunters

80th Fighter Squadron, US Air Force: Based out of Kunsan Air Force Base, South Korea, this F-16 Fighting Falcon squadron has served in operations in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.


15. Rocketeers

336th Fighter Squadron, US Air Force: Based out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC, the “Rocketeers played key roles during Operation Desert Storm dropping more than six million pounds of ordnance on scud missile sites, bridges and airfields.


7cc2d58a75f63dd62c48af721ef7b5af  Orvellin Valle –Social Media Editor at We Are The Mighty

Orvelin Valle is a U.S. Navy veteran who served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk with VAW-115 Liberty Bells.


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  • 12345

    Black Sheep ‘We’re not wanted til we’re needed.” Fleet Surgical Team 3.

    • DCS

      Also the nickname for the 69th Chemical Company, 1st Armored Division.

    • GHW

      Jumpin’ Jews, U.S. Army Paratroopers, Alaska

    • Willoughby

      There is also a Black Sheep @ CMTC, Hohenfels, Germany. However, the list needs to be redone as it doesn’t have the Nightstarkers, 16oth SOAR.

  • Juanito

    If yer gonna’ be one be a BIG RED ONE!

    • steve

      Ain’t heard that one since Ft. Riley days ’79-’81 4/63 Armor.

    • Leon Suchorski

      The older the outfit gets, the more it is forgotten.

    • wtpworrier

      You forgot the word “THE”, “THE BIG RED ONE”…there’s only one…that’s what we use to say.

  • 12345

    HMM 163 “Evil Eyes.”

  • Muttling

    You should do one on unit mottos (official and unofficial.) Moody AFB aerospace ground equipment guys used to have t-shirts that read “23rd AGE……Nobody gets off until we come.” The shirts were eventually outlawed by the base commander.

    • Gregg

      The aeromedical airlift squadron at Bagram had tee shirts made that said, “The louder you scream, the faster we come.”

      The OSI unit at the same base/same timeframe had morale patches that read, “Secret squirrels: We go for the nuts!”

  • CTOCS77

    Crusaders – VMFA-122

  • Wtf

    Nut busters

  • Airdale

    VFA 143 Pukin Dogs

  • MrMai

    First Battalion 9th Marines- the original “Walking Dead”.

    • Radio_Grunt

      You beat me to it. H&S 1/9 1974 Semper Fi

    • Norm Stalliviere

      I was in that unit and there is not Kool about how they got that name.

  • hayduh

    you have missed one the devil brigade4 the nist special orce

  • peter sora

    3/5 Dark Horse

  • John B Billips Jr

    7th Infantry Division aka. “LIGHT FIGHTERS MASTERS OF THE NIGHT”)

  • Leon Suchorski

    And then there was VMCJ-2, the PLAYBOYS, because we had the Playboy bunny on our tails, with one ear cocked. PLAYBOY wanted to do a spread for their magazine, with us and their Bunnies, but they could not get the clearance because of the gear on our birds. Talk about an issue that would have sold out all over this country.

  • Robbie

    Missed the 7th Inf. Widowmakers!

  • Boyd

    What about Dark Horse? 3/5. Get some.


    Ghost Riders, the men of the Mohawks 146 Avn .

  • MJ

    What about VFA-103 The Jolly Rogers or VFA-195 Dambusters

  • Jim jacoby

    609th sp. Op. Sq. A-26 fly by nights (nimrods)

  • Steve


  • Larry Alexander

    HML-367, now HMLA-367 – Scarface. The call signs weren’t changed, because we were well known in I-Corps (Stationed at Phu-Bai)

  • William D. Callahan

    Harlem Hell Fighters NYARNG 369th 42d Inf Div

  • Lee Gray

    The 2nd FIS at Suffolk County, NY

    The Horny Horses, Second to None.

    • MDisRed

      Really, an OSI Det. C’mon bro, we’re talking war fighters here.

  • Joe Frank

    The Professionals.Need I say more?

  • Charlie Yocum

    My dads unit in the Korean War…91st Strategic Recon Squadron…Outhouse Rodents

  • Dave

    REDTAILS they counted too

  • Rich

    7th Army – 7 Steps to Hell

  • joseph

    Hell on Wheels.Fort Hood Texas. 1/3 FA

  • Ace

    All Americans (82nd Airborne Division)

  • jshansen

    What about Navy radio call signs for ships????? Fleet Fox, Fleet Fox (USS Joseph Strauss DDG-16), this is Gunpowder (HMS Perth DDG-25)…..or the Gray Ghost from the East Coast (USS Newport News CA-148)…….

  • Charlie Lockwood

    I can’t believe that VF-301, the Devil’s Disciples, didn’t make the list.

  • Bill R.

    Just one correction. It is Kunsan Air Base, not Kunsan Air Force Base. American air bases on foreign soil are Air Bases. Anderson Air Force Base, Guam does not qualify because Guam is an American Territory. Other than that, Juvats rule!!! (Headhunters are also known as Juvats) Great article.

    • artymgysgt

      Thanks never heard that before.

  • Michael

    I am twice blessed when I was in the Marine Corps I served some of my time with the 1st Mar-Div . got out later went Army and served with the 2nd AD Time in U.S.M.C 1 mar 72 to 20 Jul 80 Time in Army 23 Oct 83 to 27Sept 2008 . miss them both

  • Rancher514

    Where are the “Pukin’ Dogs”? The “Hormel Hogs”? The “Sundowners”? And…”The Super Shit Hot World Famous Golden Dragons”?

    • jburrill

      Sounds like someone else from CAG 11 and KittyHawk! Go Knightriders! (VA-52)

      • Rancher514

        Actually VA-185, CAG 5, U.S.S. Midway. Long time ago.

  • Kava

    RAF Mildenhall (USAF) Marauders

  • Jesse

    2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (formerly 2nd Light Armored Vehicle Bn. before a name change in 1994) was also known as The Wolfpack. Pretty cool to see my old unit made the list!

  • Colin

    187th Infantry Regiment – “Rakassans” – because their parachutes looked like falling down umbrellas to the Koreans.

  • AlfonsoJacquez

    Alfonso Blackhorse regiment

  • R. Vessells


  • Jaws

    525 Military Intelligence Bde…’Mexican Infantry’

  • JJMurray

    As is obvious from the comments, picking 15 “coolest” nicknames is just asking for trouble.

  • wtpworrier

    I was apart of the first two, in fact I served in all three Armored Division, 1st, 2,nd and 3rd Armored Division. I liked all three, but for some reason, 2nd Armored is dearest to my heart, may be because it was my first division. 1/92 FA., “Brave Cannons”, of the “Hell On Wheels” Division.

  • Rich

    VF-211 World Famous Fighting Checkmates!!

  • Scott

    VMFA-232 Red Devils

    Oldest and most decorated Marine Corps squadron.

    Having 90th year reunion in San Diego November 2015.

    • Scott

      Almost forgot, squadron motto “First to Fight”

    • – Rick Carlton

      Can you shoot me some info about the reunion? Flew FJ-4, F-8 ’59-’62.


  • Sluggo Compton

    …and we ALL know the top spot goes to the VF-84 “Jolly Rogers”

    The ‘Bones’ are as cool as it gets!

  • hayduh

    all of you guys missed the most decoreted unit in tyhe army the 442RCT & 100th INF BN Hayduk

  • CPL Agarn

    I served in the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment…”Brave Rifles”

  • Jim

    Green Hornets – 20th Special Operations Squadron (Viet Nam)

  • Navyjag907

    My Dad’s Korean War outfit–865th Antiaircraft Group (the 8WhiskeyFifth).

  • James

    25th TFS – Assam Draggins

  • KenLand

    No Night Stalkers?

  • artymgysgt

    Lightning from the Sky Thunder from the Sea …..ANGLICO

  • 45k20

    III Mobile Armored Corps – Phantom Warriors…with a Frank Frazetta Death Dealer sculpture as it’s “mascot”.

    1/9 Cav – Head Hunters

  • Rob Maschmeier

    VA-75 The Sunday Punchers. CVW 3 USS Saratoga A6 Intruders. “Penetrate deeper, stay longer and deliver a bigger load”.

  • Richard Arndt

    3d Howitzer Bn 6th FA. Without fear, favor or hope of reward.

  • Joshua Manglona

    100th Bn 442nd INF, “The Purple Heart Battalion”

  • Lorin Welker

    My father fought with the 78th ID “Lightning” in WW2. Division also fought in WW1.
    309th IR “Diehard”
    310th IR “Heads Up”
    311th IR Timberwolves My Dad’s Unit

  • Wx Guesser

    USS Enterprise (CVN-65) – aka Mobile Chernobyl

  • JAllen

    VS-33, “World Famous and Internationally Traveled Screwbirds”.

  • mike

    USS SARATOGA aka The Fighting Cock

  • Jeanna

    VF-302 Formerly VF-301 “the Devil’s Disciples” NAS Miramar.

  • Dave W

    VA-22/VFA-22 Fighting Redcocks

  • Larry Dahlka

    B-2nd of the 34th 25th division and then re-assigned to the the first division. were the Drednoughts named after they were able to un-mire the whole company of mired/stuck tanks in one day and were ready for battle.

  • Rooftop Voter

    VA-34, The Blue Blasters. Even Bob Hope made a remark during his Christmas Show in Souda Bay 1970. He said something like “Watch out how you pronounce the name of this squadron!”
    Plank Owner 1Apr70. IYAOYAS!