GI: "Government Issue"?

sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Mon Dec 27 22:53:53 UTC 2004

>Is there any evidence of any kind, even anecdotal, to support the claim
>that "GI" means or once meant "government issue"? During my time in the
>military, I never once heard the term, "government issue," (and yes, I
>*was* listening for it) used by anyone to designate or to refer to
>anything. Terms actually used were "Army issue" or "military issue" or
>"regular/regulation issue" and these were never abbreviated to "AI" or
>"MI" or "RI." On the other hand, "GI" was universally used in a million
>different contexts, e.g.
>GI beans and GI gravy!
>Gee, I wish I'd joined the Navy!
>Sound off!
>-Wilson Gray
What else might it mean?  My WWII vet husband has no doubt at all about its
"government issue" meaning. He also remembers a sort of glossary of
military terms that came out in /Time/ right after Pearl Harbor.  Possibly
this is archived somewhere.
Paul Fussell's /The Great War and Modern Memory/ might usefully be consulted.
I can't remember any ambiguity about it during the years both of my parents
were teaching English in several different  Army & Army Air Force programs
based at the Uni of Neb. (ASTP & a sort of catch-up program for
under=prepared recruits).
A. Murie

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