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REMF - rear-echelon motherfucker [mil.] - der Etappenhengst

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Examples/ definitions with source references
I learned a new word shortly after arriving at my assigned camp A-502, Camp Trung Dung: REMF (Rear Echelon MF, and the MF doesn't stand for Mighty Fine).

REMFs were a viciously maligned group whose numbers were legion. Technically, a REMF was a support person who lived and worked in the relative safety of rear areas behind barbed wire, ate hot meals, took hot showers, and slept in a bed, usually in air conditioned comfort. Loosely defined, a REMF was anyone who had it better than you.

In Vietnam, everyone had it better than you.
AuthorREMF03 Nov 03, 13:44
@REMF: ich befürchte, du meinst diesen Vorschlag Ernst und finde er hat wenig im Wörterbuch zu suchen. LEO ist nicht der Platz für den Spezialslang von Vietnam-Vetereanen, oder die Insiderwitze von camp A-502 oder des II. Panzerabwehrbattalions Grafenrheinfeld (Habe gehört, letztere haben auch ganz lustige Namen für Ufze (!) die sie nicht leiden können...). Die von dir angegebene Quelle ist nicht besonders valide und belegt im übrigens, dass REMF selbst im gegebenen mil. Kontext erklärungsbedürftig ist.
#1AuthorPA03 Nov 03, 14:20
REMF kommt allerdings auch bei Tom Clancy vor, was IMO darauf hindeutet, dass es schon allgemeiner Militärslang ist.
#2AuthorAnwar03 Nov 03, 14:33
Context/ examples
"Etappenhengst" is actually a lot more elegant and evocative than its counterpart from the Vietnam era, "REMPF."
Etappenhengste--"rear area stallions" – (REMFs)

Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English:
Remf. 'The base camp of a unit moving forward was known as its "echelon". Hence those who never wnet to the front line, but stayed with the echelon were known as "Remfs" ot Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers' (McGowan & Hands, Don't Cry for Me, 1983): Fighting forces': Falkland Is. campaign, 1982. The US influence is clear here.

Duden Universalwoerterbuch:
Etappenhase, der (Soldatenspr. abwertend): Soldat, der in der Etappe (2) bleibt; Etappenhengst, der (Soldatenspr. salopp abwertend): Etappenhase; Ettappenschwein, das (Soldatenspr. derb abwertend): Etappenhase

Ich erläutere: „Der Etappenhengst führt Krieg in der Etappe! Also hinter der Front, wo es nicht gefährlich ist.“

singularis porcus fragt:
was ist ein Etappenhengst ?
Pappnase antwortet:
ich kenne nur Etappenhase oder Etappensau. Das waren Soldaten, die zwischen der Heimat und der Front, zurückgezogen, auf Etappe eben stationiert waren und sich z.B. um den Nachschub kümmerten. Bei den Frontsoldaten natürlich nicht sonderlich beliebt, da sie in der trockenen warmen Sicherheit waren

Such einfach mal das Gespräch mit einem ehemaligen Frontsoldaten, einem wirklichen Frontsoldaten, keinen Etappenhengst, dessen einzige Feindberührung seine Stoßtruppunternehmen durch die örtlichen Bordelle besetzter Städte waren, und dann erzähl dem alten Landser mal, wie toll du den drohenden Krieg findest.
Unterstuetze den Vorschlag. Zusaetzlich schlage ich vor: "Etappenhengst" (de) = "Etappenschwein" = "base wallah":

base wallah noun
(militaryslang) Etappenhengst m (military) () (slang)

Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English:
base wallah. A soldier employed behind the lines; orig. and esp. at a Base: military coll.: 1915-18 (F. & G.) See wallah; and C. E Montague's Honours Easy, Cf. base pup

#3AuthorNorbert Juffa09 Aug 04, 02:14
No opinion on the translation or whether it needs to be in LEO, but AFAIK 'wallah' is basically IndianE or BE, so if used should be marked as such.
#4Authorhm -- us09 Aug 04, 02:55
Context/ examples
Lighter: Historical Dictionary of American Slang
base wallah n. [orig. Brit. mil. slang, base + wallah 'fellow' (< Hindi)] Army & Journ.
a rear-echelon soldier serving at a base establishment. Rare in U.S.
@hm -- us: Yes, "wallah" is an Indian term that apparently was adopted into British army slang during colonial times. Partridge's slang dictionary is mostly focused on BE slang. Interestingly enough, the term is also found in Lighter's Historical Dictionary of American Slang, where it is marked rare. See above.

Harper Collins Unabridged German Dictionary has "Etappenhengst" (de) = "base wallah" (en) without making note of any regional restrictions.
#5AuthorNorbert Juffa09 Aug 04, 03:29
@Norbert: HarperCollins (= Collins = Pons Großwörterbuch für Experten und Universität, so I call it Pons-Collins; look at the first couple of title pages, the Harper [US] contingent apparently only contributed the dust jacket) is basically BE-edited (Collins), as is Oxford-Duden (Oxford). They both include AE when they know it, and always mark it because it's unfamiliar to them, but as you might expect, they don't always notice when something is only BE, hence don't always mark it.

I'm not saying 'base wallah' shouldn't go in, just that no one should necessarily expect average AE speakers to understand it.

I would imagine there must have been a word for this in AE even before REMF, but not being into military stuff myself, I can't think what it would be. Maybe something else with behind-the-lines, rear, base...
#6Authorhm -- us09 Aug 04, 04:44
@hm -- us:

> [..]I'm not saying 'base wallah' shouldn't go in, just that no one should
> necessarily expect average AE speakers to understand it.

I'd be surprised if the average BE speaker would understand "base wallah". I'd also be surprised if the majority of Germans knew what an "Etappenhengst" is. I don't recall the term being in use when I served in the "Bundeswehr" (German military) in the early 1980s, but then there wasn't a war going on at the time. I assume the last time the word saw wide spread use was during WW2.

I am not opposed to marking up "base wallah" as BE, I merely wanted to explore whether the word does exist in AE, and based on this, whether it should be marked up in this fashion. I think we are once more in violent agreement :-)

Your statement with respect to the editorial teams of the major German/English dictionaries is interesting, and made me think. Is there _any_ German/English dictionary whose editorial staff is mostly comprosed of AE speakers? Come to think of it, are there any bilingual dictionaries for commonly needed languages (say Spanish or French) whose contents originates mostly in the US? I can't think of any.
#7AuthorNorbert Juffa09 Aug 04, 06:14
@Norbert: I'm not aware of any large AE-edited bilingual dictionary for German or French (but Peter <us> might know more about the latter). It wouldn't greatly surprise me if there simply weren't any, given America's general weakness with regard to European languages, which I guess is geographically understandable if not commendable.

For Spanish, I'm still quite fond of my tattered University of Chicago dictionary (3rd ed.; I think the current one is the 5th). It's hard to compare at a glance because it's paperback and much smaller print, but I don't think it has anywhere near as many total entries, certainly not as many specialist terms. But it does have lots of helpful tips on regional usage in various parts of Latin America.

Good luck dealing with your workload, and do keep stopping in when you get a chance. We have the New Entry backlog (apparently) always with us, even if the laborers are few. *g*
#8Authorhm -- us09 Aug 04, 06:51
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