An army or police officer comes into a room and someone always says this word and the men come to “attention”. How did the word “attention” morph into “ten-hut”? Or am I wrong, and “ten-hut” means something else?
Beats me. In my 21 years total service in three components (US Army, US Army Reserves (drilling Reservist), and US Navy), I never actually heard anyone say “ten hut” or even “tin hut” (“That’s a Quonset, Mister; NOT a command!”) except in movies and TV shows. My best guess is that some script writer or director just thought it sounds better than the actual command and it got traction on screen.
I had a WAG about this. But then I tried this new thing called google, and it seemed to match up my WAG, which was this: Try and shout ATTENTION to a group of 40 people. And draw it out. It sounds weird, right? Now try shouting “A- TEN -HUT” all drawn out. It actual sounds close to the word.
Well, that was my WAG and wikipedia tends to agree:
When we call a group to the position of attention in the Air Force, we say “Tench- HUT.” It is easier to project one’s voice when pronounced this way. Or, what Frumpy Jones said.
I thought it was “ten-shun” but shouted so shortly and loudly that it’s distorted to the ear.
When I did basic training the drill sergeants hated that, and would correct our pronunciation of “attention”.
“This is the army. Your barracks are a brick building. Only Marines sleep in tin huts.”
Yep, that was my experience as well, virtually to the word. They made a point to always keep the sibilant and ending in an “n”. But when yelling sharply the final “n” can drift into “t” territory" to the listener.
From various media I get that Brit/Commonwealth militaries tend to abbreviate it to merely “shun”. (As in “Squwaaahd, Shun!”)
BTW the Marine reference did have something to it in that when at joint bases we had different services co-located, to our ears the Marine commands and count calls were far more “clipped”/guttural (Joke being that ours attempted to somehow resemble the words, whereas a Marine would say something that to us sounded like “Hyuurhn – Wep!” and then his comrades would move in obvious undestanding of what was intended; we concluded they rehearsed it beforehand just to make everyone else look stupid).
Tennnnnnn - SHUT… rusted!
IME, it was more like “uh-tennn-HUH!” Easier to expel the breath loudly on the last syllable than “shun”.
In my (limited) experience it was always Ateeeeen-SHUN.
When I was in the army, they explained us that close order drill commands consist of two parts.
The first part is the preparatory part. This lets the soldiers know that a command will be issued and also which drill they are going to execute. Then there’s a very short pause and then comes the executionary part which signals the execution of the drill. This part has to be spoken sharply because that helps the soldiers execute the drill simultaneously.
The word “attention” is awkward cannot be cleanly split into these two parts. Therefore it becomes teeeeen-HUT!
Former platoon sergeant here. Yes, like Dog80 said,
a preparatory command, clearly given and somewhat drawn out, to prep the troops for what’s coming next;
a distinct pause, but not too long; and then
a sharp, quickly-given command of execution so that the facing movement or marching order is executed together and the platoon (or squad, or detail or rank) moves as one.
If you don’t give commands this way, you end up with a CF, or a GF. Sloppy COD.
a - tench, HUH! (this was how I did it)
lay - eft, HUH! (left face, the “t” being clear)
a - bout, HUH!
Drop and give me 50! For the true fuck ups.
For the Air Force, it’s “drop and give me however many you want, if you feel like it.”
When I was in boot camp, the RPOC tried to call us to attention by saying “ten-HUT!” The Company Commander stopped him and said, “Don’t bark, RPOC - Marines and other dogs bark.”
In the Army, the person in charge shouts, “ATTEN-TION!” Leaders are taught that in the Leadership courses they take.
When I went to the Airborne School for the Army, we had a Marine Gunny Sergeant as our Platoon Sergeant. He would say, “TIN-HUT!” to bring us to attention. He would also say “HEP, Right, HEP, Right” when marching us. When I finally had the balls to ask him why Marines talk so funny, he said that the words don’t carry so well over the sounds of combat and the Marines have developed a way of issuing commands that carry better.
I don’t know if he was screwing with me, or if that is the actual explanation.
“TEN HUT” shows up in Bugs Bunny cartoons from the 40s and 50s. It makes me wonder if it came into use by the general public from stories and movies (and cartoons) about WWII drill sergeants.
Right flank ( just before the right foot hits the ground ) march ( on the right foot ) so everyone is ready to pivot on their next left foot.
If march is called too early, there is 100% chance that 1 or more will screw it up.
And when the General’s wife is driving by & you are marching to jody cadence, tis best to be looking sharp.
Of course this is from pre 1964 ARMY before it got all PC & dainty in the military where you have to say please all the time.
Forgot to add that march, harch, huh, or whatever had to be short, loud & fast for crisp marching.
CF, GF, sloppy cod
I know I’ll get another 50 for asking…
close order drill
No 50 just for asking, but 50 tomorrow if you ask the same question!
I need help with the RPOC.