Geronimo! (1941); V-Sign

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Mon Aug 13 18:08:17 UTC 2001

V-SIGN (continued)

   An editorial cartoon in the Sunday NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 4 May 1941, part II, page 10, cols. 5-7, shows Uncle Sam giving the V-sign.  "COME ON!  WE'VE GOT TO PITCH IN AND HELP THE DEMOCRACIES!" he says.


   OED has November 1942.
   From the NYHT, 9 May 1941, pg. 19, col. 1:

_Life in the Army: Parachutists_
_Refute Charge America Is Soft_
_There's Sergt. Finley, a Real "Cold Jug"--His 'Chute_
   _Caught on Plane, So He Used Spare, Was Hurt_
   _Landing, but Is Ready to Jump Again_
   When a parachutist steps to the open door of a plane 1,500 feet above the landing field, braces himself, and then catapults his body out into the air, he invariably shouts "Geronimo!"  If there are twelve men making a mass jump they all yell "Geronimo!"  They shout it with such vehemence that those watching from the ground can hear it distinctly.  It means that they are not afraid.
   The use of "Geronimo" dates back to the early days ofthe 501st Prachute Battalion, 'way back in last October.  Two sergeants got into an argument about being afraid, when the first left the plane.  One said that to prove he was not scared stiff he would yell something as he jumped.  When he left the plane the only thing that came to mind was the name of the famous Indian chief.  So he hollered out "Geronimo!"  It has since become the watchword of the battalion.  There is a note of mixed defiance and assurance in it.

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