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pudge (1)

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Journal of pudge (1)

Wednesday October 23, 2002
07:04 PM

Hand Signals

[ #8550 ]

I can never figure out the hand signals used by the military personnel in TV and movies. I found an interesting and entertaining web site with some information about such things. Warning: many B&W images ahead!

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  • Typically an army shares a basic hand signal vocabulary but small units develop stuff to fit their particular mission. They have to be distinct and easily recognizable to work though, since we typically use them at great distances (think of an baseball infielder making the sign for two outs, for comparison). Besides that, the American military, at least, has ways to confirm signals and pass them along. I hardly ever see that in movies.

    Watching most military movies is like watching most computer movies o
    • Somehow I figured you might respond. :-)

      Yeah, I'm sure many / most portrayals are bad, though some are obviously quite good, detailed, and accurate. I was specifically thinking of this while watching Stargate SG-1, which is (or was at some point) granted the seal of approval by the USAF. "The USAF carefully reviews every script for accuracy in scenes involving military storylines, procedures, conduct, chain of command, and policy." (From the DVD of the first three episodes.)
      • Huh---we were sitting around making fun of Stargate [] this weekend. :)

        Our complaint with this and similar movies is that they pick a bunch of bozos to be soldiers.

        The commander guy (Kurt Russel?) radios pack to their base camp "Secure base camp." We, in our live action version of MST3K, respond "Oh, you mean stop goofing off and don't let the natives keep stealing stuff, because that wasn't clear before."

        That movie was full of people asking to die or to kill their buddies. In real life we do not walk in
        • To clarify, I meant the (first Showtime, now SciFi) TV series [], not the movie. It's completely different acting, writing, producing, directing. The TV series got the USAF seal of approval in 1999, five years after the movie was released.
  • One thing I find amusing about Stargate and JAG is that they give you the impression that military personnel wear their uniforms 24/7. Man, when I was forced to wear my blues while in the USAF I couldn't wait to get out them and into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Are you aware that the men have to wear garters to get their shirts to stay tight? Those shiny shoes aren't the most comfortable things, either.

    BDU's (aka fatigues) were comfortable, though. Sometimes I'd leave those on if I was feeling lazy

    • No, that's not the case with Stargate SG-1. When SG-1 is off duty, or off the base, they are in civilian clothes. But most of the time you see them, they are on duty and on the base (or offworld :-), and usually in fatigues when on duty.