Murphy's Law: Politically Correct Call Signs


October 24, 2007: U.S. Army combat units headed for Iraq have been advised to be sensitive to Iraqis, in order to avoid making anymore enemies than they already have over there. So one unit headed there, the 1/35 Armor (1st battalion of the 35th armored regiment) will change its call sign from "Conqueror" to "Iron Knight." It was felt that the word "Conqueror" might be misinterpreted by Iraqis. Actually, it's not the Iraqis that officers worry about in situations like this, it's U.S. journalists who, on a slow news day, might round up a few English speaking Iraqis and get them to complain about the American tank battalion that refers to themselves as "Conqueror." Oh, the horror. Especially when this stuff reaches Congress, and the incident is brought up when the army asks for money.

The 1/35's call sign is actually derived from the unit motto; "Vincere Vel Mori," (Conquer or Die). In a further twist, the unit previously used the call sign "Iron Knights" for decades, until nine years ago. At that time, there was an army reorganization, and the 1/35th found itself in the same division with an aviation units that also used "Iron Knights" as a call sign. So the 1/35th changed to "Conquerors." But now the aviation unit is gone, and "Iron Knights" is available again.

Just in case you were wondering. Now you know.




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