Discovery on "Whole Nine Yards"

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Apr 27 09:03:55 UTC 2004

Thanks, Barry, for trying at the War College. Your suggestion to read White
Elephant News and other Danang Naval Support Activity in I Corps sounds like a
good idea to me. That Montagnards were also called 'Yards is well attested
before The Doom Pussy (1967). For example, in the book The Green Berets by
Robin Moore (1965). In fact, Yards and Montagnards are both used in The Doom
Pussy itself (1967--to be distinguished from Doom Pussy II), the same book with
the "whole nine yards" and the "full nine yards."

Thanks, Fred, for the additional citation; I welcome all early citations. But
are you suggesting that the phrase origin is from U.S. real estate talk? If so,
please explain.

I merely stumbled on this, after hearing Jesse on NPR, and reading the book,
and finding Mole's book from the same time and space.  My interest in it now
has much to do with the sources of dismissal. A (to me) more important case
that I studied at length, the history of scholarship on the origin of the
name "Essenes," made me aware of various reasons to deny or forget.

For one aspect on this case, e.g., see "The Great Montagnard Debate" of the
Vietnam Study Group (via google), cached before the etymology was raised there.

Does anyone have a more plausible explanation?

Robert L. Mole, the chaplain who taught and wrote on nine Montagnard tribes of
I Corps was born in 1923 and died in 1993.

"Smash" Crandell, the speaker in Doom Pussy, was actually named [Major] Frank
[still nicknamed "Smash"] Chandler. He died in the early 1990s.

Stephen Goranson

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