FN Herstal

Meet JOE

Yesterday, I found out why the Parachute Regiment refers to its troops as “Joe.”

Meet JOE.

In 1942 the PARAs were formed from soldiers already in the Army. The volunteers on transfer had their documents stamped with the letters J.O.E, standing for ‘joined on enlistment’. New members of the Regiment today are still refered to in this way.

It helps to place everyone on the same footing, building a cohesive team and family. Joe is genderless, doesn’t have a sexuality, finacial history, race, religion or come from a certain background. Joe is equal.

14 Responses to “Meet JOE”

  1. Jim says:

    Nothing to do with ‘Joe Crow’ then?…
    Recruits or extremely new soldiers from most regiments are commonly referred to as ‘Crows’

  2. Lad says:

    Is that also where Gi Joe comes from?

    • Stefan S. says:

      No. In the 1930’s-40’s US vocabulary, everyone you didn’t know was called Joe. Like “Well hello Joe, what do you know? I just got back from a Vaudeville show”. Etc. GI Joe was a US term from WW2.

  3. Mac says:

    Really? In two years working with the Para Rest I never heard of the squaddies being referred to as JOE.
    I suspect the author was the subject of a bit of squaddie humour!

    • Lurker says:

      It’s only used when they are in training. The rest of the time they call the private soldiers ‘Toms.’ Might explain how you missed it.

  4. Maroon Beret says:

    If this were in the US someone with a microagression would complain and claim that Joe is a sexist term and that the only way that could be corrected is to use non gender specific language. Then the complainer would be allowed to see the shrink, and a “career” advisor to review other kinder, gentler careers in the Army, and be issued a fuzzy blanket, and a cuddly toy to soothe their feelings.

    • Vic Toree says:

      Did you just assume Joe’s gender? Joe can be a woman (see: Facts of Life sitcom from the 80s).

      Report to the sensitivity retraining camp immediately!

  5. Ex Coelis says:

    ITV in United Kingdom is presently showing a three part TV series called “The Para’s – Men of War”. First episode actually discusses and describes the Regimental history behind the reference of JOE.

    • SSD says:

      I’ve seen a preview where the Corporal Instructor calls them Joes.

      • Jim says:

        Very true, it’s caused no end of confusion over here amongst Paras past and present, not to mention the wider army.

        ‘Toms’ used to be the predominant catch all phrase for Pte soldiers in Para Regt another is ‘Jocks’ for yes, you’ve guessed it the Royal Regt of Scotland privates

        • Steve says:

          Sounds like a possible case of a backronym–not unlike the undying POG silliness that constantly crops up like a genital wart.

        • Lurker says:

          Toms is for the trained lads in Battalion, Joe is used for them whilst they are at depot.

  6. Kit Badger says:

    Because knowing is half the battle…