Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's in a Name?

The United States Air Force recently announced the name of the new long-range stealth bomber now in development. The B-21 will be known as the "Raider," in honor of the Doolittle Raiders who flew the first bombing mission to Japan in World War II.

There is a long tradition of giving fearsome, intimidating names to weapons of war. World War II Germany fielded the "Tiger" and "King Tiger" tanks, and American warplanes have borne names like "Flying Fortress," "Superfortress," "Avenger," "Lightning," "Thunderbolt," and "Warthog." A weapon should make our enemies quake in their hobnailed boots - naming a warplane after a flower wouldn't have the same effect.

In seeking a name for the new bomber, the Air Force held a competition in which airmen were encouraged to submit proposed monikers. About 2,100 "original" names were submitted, and the list of finalists from which the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff made their selection was:

Liberator II
Mitchell II
Night Fury
Shadow Fortress
Zeus II

However, the full list of submissions* included some ... interesting ... recommendations. Here are a few of them:

Lurking Sasquatch
Nukey McMeltface
Chuck Norris
Hammer Time
1,000 Schools
Insert Sponsor
Bomble Bee
Cost Overrun
D.E.A.T.H. (Deterring Enemies Around The Hemisphere)
Hole in the Sky to Throw Money Into
Mecca Wrecka**
Primordial Atlas
Sequester Bomber

You can read the entire list here.

The cascade of tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, and politically incorrect submissions was expected, based on the experience of the British government when it sought names for its new polar exploration ship by means of an Internet competition. The winner was "Boaty McBoatface," although the government decided to ignore that result and name the vessel after Sir David Attenborough. One of the ship's remotely-operated submersibles, however, was named "Boaty" in a nod to the competition results.

The lesson: be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* More than 4,000 were received, many of them duplicates, which is why I mentioned the 2,100 "original" submissions above.

** The ultimate in political incorrectness.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

I like Shadow Fortress.

Big Sky Heidi said...

B-21 Boogerman

Mike said...

I sort of like Bomble Bee.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Night Fury has panache.

The old P-61 Black Widow had a great name,

allenwoodhaven said...

Chuck Norris made me laugh! Now THAT shows how tough we are.

Raider is okay, I guess, as a name to indicate potential aggression, but I like Boomerang better.