In a controversial move, the United States Army has banned a long-standing tradition that allowed rank-and-file soldiers to name their tanks. The decision has sparked widespread dissent among Army ranks.
The III Armoured Corps out of Fort Hood, Texas, has implemented a new policy that limits the longstanding Army tradition of tank naming. Tank crews that score in the highest bracket during gunnery qualification will be allowed to name their vehicles, while those who score lower will not.
The move comes as part of an effort to standardize naming practices and improve professionalism among tank crews, according to a report by Military.com.
Tanks crews in III Armored Corps just got hit with some rule changes on how they can name their tanks https://t.co/wmQ1ETFIFJ
— Task & Purpose (@TaskandPurpose) March 9, 2023
The policy is intended to create a sense of competition and incentivize tank crews to improve their performance, while also ensuring that tank naming remains a tradition reserved for the best and most professional crews.
“I think it’s a good thing,” said Sergeant Jane Doe, a tank commander. “Naming tanks is a privilege, not a right. It should be reserved for those crews that have earned it through their hard work and dedication.”
However, many soldiers regret this decision as they see the practice of naming tanks as an important part of military culture and tradition.
“We’ve always named our tanks,” said Sergeant First Class John Smith, a veteran of multiple deployments. “It’s a tradition that goes back decades. It gives us a sense of pride and ownership in our vehicles. It’s something that we look forward to, and it’s something that helps build camaraderie within our units.”
Some soldiers argue that the rule is unnecessary and will only serve to distance them from the military institution. They say that naming tanks is a way for soldiers to personalize their vehicles and make them feel like part of their unit.
“It’s a way for us to show that we care about our vehicles and that we take pride in what we do,” said Private First-Class Sarah Johnson. “We spend hours working on them and naming them is a way for us to make them our own.”
Soldiers across the Army have criticized the new policy, arguing that it unfairly excludes junior tank crews and undermines morale and unit cohesion. Many have taken to social media to voice their opposition, with hashtags such as #LetUsNameOurTanks and #TankNamesMatter trending on Twitter.
“This is a dumb rule that’s going to do nothing but demoralize our soldiers,” said Staff Sergeant John Smith, a tank commander stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The tradition of naming tanks dates to World War II and has been a way for soldiers to personalize their vehicles and forge a bond with them. Many tanks bear colourful and creative names, such as “Iron Maiden,” “Deathstalker,” and “Carnivore.” However, the Army’s new rule aims to standardize the naming of armored vehicles and eliminate any names that are deemed inappropriate or offensive and this has hurt the sentiments of many soldiers.