January 26, 2020

For Crying Out Loud

The tradition of invoking the name of Apache chief Geronimo during big leaps began in 1940, when US Army Private Aubrey Eberhardt was part of an early parachute test jump. He vowed to call out the name as he leapt to prove he wasn’t scared, and people still yell “Geronimo” during big jumps to this day.

“Banzai” just means “ten thousand years” in Japanese and is a longtime general-use cheer wishing a long life. However, “Tenno Heika Banzai,” or roughly “long live the emperor,” was a battle cry that became associated with all-or-nothing “Banzai charges” of Japanese troops against US forces and the final cry of attacking kamikaze pilots in WWII.

Joyous whoops of “yee-haw” or “woo-hoo-wee” are likely rough replications of the “Rebel Yell,” the high-pitched battle cry of Confederate troops during the American Civil War.