Gung Ho

Gung Ho! Is a term associated with the U.S. Marines. The word has come to mean someone who has a strong attitude and dedication to some cause. It still has an association with the Marines, although it’s mostly historic, centering on World War 2. Gung Ho! originates in a Chinese dialect, a word picked up and used by Evans Carlson, an officer stationed in China. Carlson became the leader of a famed group of Marine raiders, one of the origins of today’s Special Forces. He used gung ho! to describe an attitude, using it as a theme for meetings with his officers. His Marine battalion started using the word to describe themselves, and a 1943 movie Gung Ho! made the words nationally known. The Chinese meaning is something like “working effectively together.” There’s more to the story. Apparently Carlson got his phrase from some Chinese contacts who were somehow connected with Mao. Gung Ho! distantly connects the USMC with Maoist tactics.

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