[78thASA] For the _Ditty-Boppers_

James A. Landau <JJJRLandau@netscape.com> JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Sun Jan 20 16:57:10 UTC 2013

On Sat, 19 Jan 2013 23:44:01 Zone minus 0500  Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> asked:

I occasionally wonder when "Special Ops" got the bellicose connotation
that it has today. Back then, "special" in "special operations" had
the same cachet as the "special" in "special troops" - cooks, firemen
(of furnaces), facilities managers, painters, etc. - "special
education," "special borrower," etc.

My reply:

"Special" with the mean "unconventional warfare" goes back at least to the beginning of World War II, when Winston Churchill created the "Special Operations Executive" to run sabotage and midnight raids into Occupied Europe.  A little while later the US Army created the "Special Service Force" aka "The Devil's Brigade" as an unconventional-warfare unit.  I wonder if this title inspired the name "Special Forces" for the post-war guerilla-training and special-operations unit, formed I believe in 1952 at Fort Bragg.

Once the commander of the Special Service Force got called out of combat by some general who wanted to know about entertainments for the troops---said general confused the title with "Special Services".

Does anyone know when the name "Special Branch" was applied to the part of Scotland Yard that investigates espionage etc.

    - Jim Landau

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list