Origin of 'Oohrah'

Origin of 'Oohrah'

The submarine’s klaxon that sounded ‘Aaroogah’ in preparation to dive came from the fondness of the Model-T Ford’s horn we learn from an old Navy man, not from Germany, even though ‘klaxon’ sounds German.

Anyway, the WWII Marine Raiders from the old Camp Catlin used to go out of Pearl Harbor aboard a submarine for rubber boat drills. They would pull their rubber boat up through the sub’s hatch, inflate it on deck and go ashore. In actual circumstances, they would sneak ashore under cover of darkness.

These Marines copied the klaxon sound and said ‘Aaroogah’, but it never caught on. It was 1st Amphib Recon that heard the Raiders, and made their own ‘Oohrah’ which we use today.

In the early 1950’s, 1st ANGLICO, out of Camp Catlin conducted rubber boat drills from a destroyer out of Pearl Harbor, again hitting a beach on Oahu, and when finished, met a 6×6 with a keg, and ended with a beer bust, and bringing the equipment back to base. Oohrah!

Sgt. Max Sarazin, 1194840
1951-1959, Korean War veteran.

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Andy Terry Sgt. 66-70

    I was in from 1966 to 1970 and never heard it. I think it must have been a recon thing, although I spent a while on a hill used as a recon team insertion point and never heard any of them say it.

  • Joe Rainey L/cpl 75-79

    Went to Parris Island in November of 1975 and it was definitely being used at that time.

  • CWO-5 Noble Callaway

    CWO-5 Noble Callaway. I first heard it in 1968 when a recon Marine just back from Vietnam reported for duty aboard the USS Northampton. He would yell like that when we went on road runs. I picked it up from him. Later in 1970 in Vietnam we would use the yell when we attacked or opened up a ambush. When I first heard it ,it was known as the recon yell, but in time it spread across the hole Corps.

  • Harold Berke

    Parris Island Feb 1959, it was a growl, never heard of Oohrah.

  • Michael Sovereign

    I heard this the first time while at ITR in Camp LeJune in 1969. A RECON group of Marines were jumping off the local water tower screaming this out in the night. The next time I heard this was in staging battalion at Camp Pendelton CA forming up to go in-country.We had several RECON Marines in our mix that used this frequently. Never heard it afterward until many years later. Sgt. Mike Sovereign 2/5 Ist Marines An Hoa 1970

Leave a comment