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Origin of "Phrog"?

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  • Origin of "Phrog"?

    What's the origin of the term "Phrog"?

  • #2
    From the Marine Dictionary

    1. Nickname for the CH-46 helicopter, which sits with the rear portion of the craft lower than the front, squatting like a frog (some people spell it Phrog).

    Does not however say when the term started.


    • #3

      The nickname certainly dates back to the very early days when the H-46 had a nasty habit of shedding the tail at Station 410 as Joe Reed wll no doubt remind me. There was a cartoon about that time of an obvious 'Phrog". shedding its tail complete with some appropriate caption. That would make it around 1965/6. I'll bet Norm Clark, Boeing rep at Miramar would know. He went 'in country' with HMM-164, in 1966, the first to go. First squadron, first Tech Rep. I remember vaguely something connected with John Morganstern, in Norfolk, about the same time, 1965. so the old bird came by her name pretty early. And by God, she does look like a frog.

      The early cartoons were not very complimentary and some senior exec at Boeing tried to get it quashed, the one sure way to assure its acceptance firmly by the troops. They never learn though, do they.

      In 1970, someone at Boeing Corporate decided that the term 'droop snoot' then in very common use for the new high lift blades which were terrific (bear me out here, Joe Reed) did not give proper credit where it was due. The correct terminology was 'High lift blade' (I liked droop snoot better) and we were to brief all squadron personnel on the correct term to use. And if we heard anyone using the incorrect term we were to tell them politely but firmly that the correct term was 'HIGH LIFT". not "DROOP SNOOT".

      My first reaction was this is some kind of bad joke but I decided that the guy was serious. I sent him a memo, with a copy to Tharrington, the GM at Vertol, whom I was sure hadn't seen the original memo. He had a good sense of humor, he put up with me and my bomb thrower Field Reports. He told me he liked the turmoil they caused in Engineering. He read every Field Report. I didn't know that at the time. Would it have made a difference to my reports. I doubt it. What were they going to do with me, send me to Vietnam.!!!


      I have followed your instructions and have briefed all customer personel starting with the Commanding General and working my way down to the pfc. on the flight line, as you requested, regarding the proper use of 'High Lift' or rather, not using the incorrect terminology of 'Droop Snoot'.

      The General was easy, he said, "No problem" I'll just file it here, with all the other stupid memos I get all the time". I don't read them either. I'll try to remember but don't hold your breath".

      The Senior Officer Squadron personnel, Major and above, all agreed it was easy enough to do but they doubted that they would remember, in which case "Fuck you. Boeing" And you too, John Dullighan. Don't those idiots know there's a war on and we have more important things to worry about.

      But it was when I came to the Sergeant Major and the Gunnery Sergeants that the trouble really started. i was informed firmly and not in the least bit politely that just as long as the airplanes belonged to Boeing, Boeing could call the airplanes wharever the fuck they wanted to. But the moment they became the property of the Marine Corps, he, a Sergeant Major of the US Marine Corps,would call the Mariine Corps airplanes and anything on them, just whatever the fuck he wanted to and if that included 'droop snoot', just what the fuck was I, Boeing, and with all due respect to my British nationality and all of her Majesty's Army, Navy, Air Force and fucking Royal Marines going to do about it. The airplanes belonged to the Marine Corps and they could call them just whatever the fuck they wanted to and if I, or Boeing or her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip, fuck him too, had any objections, we could shove them up our collective asses. Do I make myself clear, Mr Dullighan or does any part of it need repeating or clarifying".

      I assured him that his reply was a wonderful example of simple clear declaritory writing properly linked together by subordinate words and phrases, cleverly woven into a statement that from its unique and 'in your eye' aggressive style could only have been written by a Marine, a very senior Marine with many years of undetected crime to his credit, shining from his lower sleeve. Such writing is developed ony by long years of wrestling with reams of dense forms until eventually they can be battered and twisted into something with some form of sense. They are by now of necessity completely incomprehensible and are capable of being used to explain the unexplicable, to justify the unjustifiable, and can be made to cast a spell of such density that a state of total misunderstanding can be woven over anything. That can only be achieved by many years of hard work.

      That's OK, I didn't understand it then either.

      When Tharrington saw the exchange of memos he quickly wrote to the field, as I knew he would, saying "The customer is entitled to call whatever he has whatever he wants and no Boeing employee is to correct him, ever.

      Snce this is a 38 year old memory, i cannot vouich for its complete accuracy but the Sergeat Major's spiel is pretty close and I did write a report. The memo from Tharrington said "Don't corect a Marine, He may not like it.
      I didn't get fired.

      Yours truly John Dullighan


      • #4

        Outstanding reply John. In 66 in 261 we always called them PHROGS and I even have an old patch of "PHROG FLYERS" somewhere. Never knew the original designation but the bird always looked like a frog squating to catch a fly. Marines have a tendency to relate to an object in reference to what it looks like or abreviate its actual designation. EG UH1E, HUEY. 261 also had a flag which I had at one time, displaying Snoopy lying on the top of his doghouse with the back part of it breaking off. The caption was "F**K IT" and related to the 410 problems but aircrews still decided to fly as it was all we had to support our guys in the field. All in all the aircraft turned out to be a grand lady and I have many memorable hours in it. It is about as hard to see them in the bone yard as it was to see the 34 DOG there....SEMPER FI...Bill McMillian


        • #5
          Go to the following site for the whole story by John Morgenstern himself. I have a Phrog Phlyers patch sewn in the armpit of my flight jacket that I used to flash at John (a good man) whenever I saw him while we were stationed at HMX. The Phrog was the easiest to fly helo I ever piloted. Lanny


          • #6
            Phrog Phlyers

            John Dulligan said:
            (bear me out here, Joe Reed)
            I will, Sir! It was as you said...However I was RAD in March of 1970....we called them "Droop Snoot" blades since they tended to be a little closer to your head if you were standing in the front of a bird, so equipped. They "drooped"! I don't recall you or any Tech Rep advising us to call them anything else. It was probably a good idea not to correct those that referred to them as such.
            As the the Phrog designation, I never heard it until I arrived in RVN in 1967. We never used it in New River that I ever heard anyway. When we were externalling junk cars in HMM-163 (LTA 1969) the junk yard guys got a kick out of us saying "hook 'em up boys, here come the Phrogs"!! (we were dropping the cars in the Santa Ana River to halt the terrible erosion for flooding and very high waters that threatened the very houses people lived in)
            Semper Fidelis

            Phu Bai tower:
            YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
            Remember, These are "A" models!
            YW-11 BuNo-151939
            '65 Model CH-46A


            • #7

              I agree with Joe Reed. "Phrog" was not used at New River, at least when I served.

              Indeed, I never heard the phrase until after I left in the 70's. I learned of it in James Webb's book, Fields of Fire, where he described an H46 arriving in a Vietnam zone. It looked like "a frog lowering its rear end as if to squat."

              At Phu Bai, as a member of HMM 161, I believe we had a patch or a logo that said "Phrog Phylers," but I never heard anyone speak or write about a "Phrog."

              Orlando Ingvold's post was very helpful.

              Raymond J. Norton
              1513 Bordeaux Place
              Norfolk, VA 23509-1313

              (757) 623-1644


              • #8
                Easy Phrog

                Lanny says:
                The Phrog was the easiest to fly helo I ever piloted. Lanny
                Dang Lanny, I thought I was was "special" since as a L/Cpl I could do pretty good roll on landings! You're hurting my feelings! LOL!
                Last edited by Joe Reed; 05-28-2009, 20:19. Reason: sp.
                Semper Fidelis

                Phu Bai tower:
                YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
                Remember, These are "A" models!
                YW-11 BuNo-151939
                '65 Model CH-46A


                • #9
                  Phrog Phlyers

                  When the 161 46s came over from New River, they had Pineapples painted on the front forward pylon in deference to the time the squadron spent in Hawaii. When I arrived in Aug 69, there were a few birds that still had the Pineapples on them, but most had the Phrog Phlyer insignia on them, replacing the Pineapple.

                  Bob Quinter
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by Bob Quinter; 05-27-2009, 22:18. Reason: add attachment


                  • #10
                    From Bruce Colbert

                    Larry. Fritz Zander and I were standing on the ramp at MCAS Quantico
                    in the '64 - '65 time frame when the Ch-46 was first delivered to HMX-
                    One. Never having seen one before we were both amused at the shape of
                    it on the ground and both called it "The Frog"
                    Neither the command nor the Boeing Vertol Tech Rep, John Morganstern
                    were pleased with the nickname but it stuck and gained instant
                    credibility within HMX personnel.
                    I don't know when or where the name FROG was bastardized to PHROG but
                    I like it better than Frog.

                    S/F Bruce


                    • #11
                      The Phrog

                      Recently had this subject come up in the course of conversation with a close friend of mine.
                      He & I were "raggies" in '46 units from mid '64 until our RAD in '68.
                      We,.. as well as many of our squadron mates never heard the '46 being referred
                      to as "Phrogs",albeit an appropriate descriptive.
                      They do indeed,resemble a great green frog perched on a lily pad.
                      No offense taken on our part.
                      Semper Fi,
                      Mike "Craze" Collins
                      TAKE NO PRISONERS.,SHOW NO MERCY.


                      • #12
                        I considered Fritz Zander a friend for many years. It doesn't surprise me at all that he came up with the original concept and drawing. In fact, I've got a great cartoon of the C-131 that the Colonel drew, emphacising our 131s similarity with a Taradactel. Why Phrog? The hottest aircraft of the day was the F-4 Phantom.