Pilot Callsigns

The web's largest collection of callsign stories

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The Three Rules of Callsigns

  1. If you don't already have one, you will be assigned one by your "buddies".
  2. You probably won't like it.
  3. If you complain and moan too much about 1. and 2., you'll get a new nickname you'll like even less!

So, how do you get a callsign?

Do something stupid or have it fit with your last name. Obvious examples, 'Crash' or LT 'Cheese' Kraft. Sometimes it's based on a physical appearance thing like 'Carrot'. After you've earned the respect of your buddies, you'll get a more 'heroic' callsign.

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Most recent additions

Our callsigns list contains 1474 callsigns. Here are the latest additions:

OPEC

 (added: 19 Sep 2017)
Dutch F-16 pilot's Name was Oliemans. Translated his name is 'Oil man' so a good call sign was quickly found.......

Ratdog

 (added: 8 Sep 2017)
A C-17 pilot (Jeff Daniels) spotted several vehicles headed to the Iranian border in SW Afghanistan. After calling it in, two fighters did a "show of force" to check them out. They were fired upon and subsequently destroyed the vehicles. During the intel debrief, a young intel airman was impressed that the C-17 pilot was "a dog" for "ratting out" the Taliban... "A Ratdog". The EAG/CC was in the debrief and immediately named him.

Alphabet

 (added: 31 Mar 2016)
Had this new guy in the squadron by the name of Varsonofy Krestovozdvizhensky. After the first day, everybody just called him Alphabet.

Sparkles

 (added: 15 Mar 2016)
I was the only female in the unit for a long time, so at military banquets and other events, I would always be the only person in the unit dressed in a fancy dress and shoes. The guys made fun of me for being so "sparkly," and the callsign "Sparkles" stuck.

Hedge

 (added: 27 Feb 2016)
Last name Bushroe. (Hedge = a row of bushes)

Hurl

 (added: 11 Feb 2016)
As a young 1stLt, got a little too liquored up on a chartered bus taking the squadron pilots and the wives to the USMC Birthday Ball. Barfed all over everything. Even managed to get barf on some of the wives dresses....it was classic! Call sign was given as "Hurl".

Hefty

 (added: 3 Jun 2017)
Our navigator was gun shy in regards to using the forward latrine on our platform. I was too, but I could hold it. We would lock the rear latrine when he was heading down from the outside of it to see how long he would stand there. One day he couldn't take the wait and eventually just pissed in the trashbag hung up in the very rear of our jet. While he was in fact a larger man, his callsign had nothing to do with his weight.

Guido

 (added: 25 Jun 2017)
My hero was Steve Bales, a NASA guidance officer. He was a GUIDO -- "guide - oh". He was the GUIDO on duty in the control room who called "Go" for Neil and Buzz to continue landing Apollo 11 on the Moon, through the guidance radar failures and landing computer crashes. I got named after him, and thought it was pretty cool. Only later did I realize that when it's spelled out, nobody says "guide-oh" -- and I became Guido the Italian.

Grip

 (added: 11 Aug 2017)
As in "get a grip." Wrote a letter to my sponsor, "Biggus" before getting assigned to the 36 FS "Fiends" in 1990, asking him to take care of a few things for me ahead of time.

Free Willy

 (added: 20 Sep 2017)
Prowler ECMO who used the relief tube, and forgot to zip up until he stepped out of the aircraft.

Smudge

 (added: 22 Sep 2017)
While gawking at a dancer at the Viking Club on Guam the dancer took off my buddies glasses and attempted to clean them on herself after which she placed the glasses back on his face and he couldn't see through the smudges.

Squidbait

 (added: 14 Oct 2017)
Captain Michael Ross, RF-4C driver was shot down by USN F-14 Tomcat during exercise over the med.

1N

 (added: 16 Oct 2017)
Air Battle Manager, his name was "Glen", not "Glenn" and he made sure everyone knew it.

OMAR

 (added: 7 Nov 2017)
Oh Man, Another Retard

Scoofer

 (added: 23 May 2017)
WWII commander of a Navy TBF Avenger Squadron haggled a great deal on a souvenir (goat?) from an Arab trader. As he walked away, the old trader repeatedly yelled "Scoofer!" ("crook!") at him.

Snoopy

 (added: 6 Jun 2017)
Told everyone, assuming alcohol was involved, that Snoopy flying ace was the inspiration for him becoming a fighter pilot. The name stuck with him in the squadron.

SPIN

 (added: 7 Jun 2017)
Shortest Pilot In NATO

FATSO

 (added: 17 Apr 2015)
Repeat offender for supersonic in non-supersonic airspace. FaTSo (FAster Than SOund). This was a hostile renaming after being mistaken for a UFO. Primary callsign was sufficiently bribed off.

BUGS

 (added: 18 Apr 2015)
Boobs Under G Suit...Warthog driver

Captain

 (added: 30 Apr 2015)
F-16 Driver in Japan - real name was James Kirk

Killer

 (added: 17 May 2015)
Given to a Marine F-4 RIO that locked up on the wrong target during an east coast missile shot. Ended up shooting down a Navy A-4.

Press Dent

 (added: 11 Jun 2015)
Corrupted version of "president". Aircraft was accidentally hit by a tug in 2008, and the incident was compared with John McCain's Navy plane being shot with an accidental discharge. Of course, there was a real dent.

Nails

 (added: 19 Jun 2015)
Charles McDaniel was an instructor in advanced jet instruction. He was a hard grader, believed that if he passed a pilot who was killed due to lack of proper training, it would be his fault. When he passed a pilot as being jet proficient, that pilot was ready for the fleet and combat. He was considered to be an excellent instructor and hard as nails.

Bulltaco

 (added: 19 Jun 2015)
F-18 pilot stubborn as hell, pussied out on a lot of social events, via the taco. Hard core as a Marine.

SLOE

 (added: 16 Jul 2015)
A Naval Aviator I once worked with whose last name is Lehner, he was known as Slow Lerner