military The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations  

Mike Rothschild
8.7k votes 1.7k voters 330.8k views 28 items Embed

Military operation code names can be tricky to pull off. You want to have a name that conveys power and majesty, striking fear into the hearts of your enemies, but you don't want something that lets your enemy know what you're actually doing - such as the planned German invasion of England (its name, Sealion, let the British know exactly what it was). You also don't want something inappropriately glib, either because it's not macho enough (the US invasion of Grenada was briefly named "Blue Spoon") or sends the wrong message, such as the unfortunately named Korean War-era plan "Operation Killer."

The naming of military operations is thought to have begun with the German Empire in the final two years of World War I. Before then, operations were usually named after either their commanding officer or the general area they were taking place in (i.e., Somme Offensive, Neville Offensive, etc.) But German generals added code names to increase operational secrecy and give them a shorthand for referring to individual parts of the hugely complex battles on the Western Front.

In the decades that followed, operation names went from random designations to carefully chosen code names that would boost morale and offer clever description. American officers in Vietnam and beyond were faced with naming dozens of operations, everything from large scale troop deployments to clearing out small sections of cities. Here are the most awesomely American names for military operations from World War II through Iraq. Bask in their American kick ass majesty and upvote those that are screaming "U S A! U S A!" the loudest.
list ordered by

1
423 60
Operation Overlord is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
zxray added Operation Overlord

H-hour, D-Day....'nuff said.

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2
632 128
Operation Rolling Thunder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Rolling Thunder The US bombing campaign against North Vietnam wasn't particularly succsseful, but it had an awesome name that proclaimed exactly what it planned to do.

3
540 132
Operation Desert Storm is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Desert Storm The code name for the US-led assault to kick Iraq out of Kuwait, the name predicted the conflict perfectly - a storm of hell coming out of the desert.

4
408 134
Operation Neptune Spear is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Neptune Spear The plan to take out Osama Bin Laden was carried out by Navy SEALS, whose symbol is the trident carried by the god Neptune - three prongs representing their capabilities on land, sea, and air.

5
378 132
Operation Red Dawn is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Red Dawn Name the capture of Saddam Hussein after a movie where Americans kick ass and take names? You make the list.

6
155 35
Operation Phantom Fury is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
zxray added Operation Phantom Fury

The Second Battle of Fallujah—code-named Operation Al-Fajr and Operation Phantom Fury—was a joint American, Iraqi, and British offensive in November and December 2004, considered the highest point of conflict in Fallujah during the Iraq War.

7
290 118
Operation Iron Justice is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Iron Justice An operation to crack down on black market fuel sales in Baghdad, named for what America dispenses: iron justice.

8
303 128
Operation Eagle Claw is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Eagle Claw America is an eagle. What do eagles do to their enemies? Claw them. Because that's what eagles do. Sadly, the attempt to rescue the American hostages in Iran failed miserably - but at least it had a killer code name.

9
267 134
Operation Urgent Fury is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Urgent Fury The US invasion of Grenada in 1983 boasts an awesomely American code name. You need tough action, and you need it now? Bam, urgent fury!

10
117 34
Operation Steel Curtain is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
zxray added Operation Steel Curtain

"Operation Steel Curtain", was a hardened sweep and clear mission hence "steel curtain" because one of the SNCOs was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

11
303 167
Operation Paul Bunyan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Paul Bunyan This was a plan to chop down a tree in the DMZ that was obscuring spying on the North Korean side. Earlier, North Korean troops had hacked two American soldiers to death who had been trying to chop it down. So out came the giant guy with the huge axe - and hundreds of armed troops and helicopters.

12
237 123
Operation Spartan Scorpion is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Spartan Scorpion Spartans: masterful warriors. Scorpions: killer clawed insects. America: both of these. This operation to finish off Ba'ath party hardliners in Iraq: successful.

13
199 115
Operation Beastmaster is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Beastmaster Naming a plan to clear parts of Baghdad of insurgents after a crappy '80s action movie? Totally American in every way.

14
108 45
Operation Linebacker is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
zxray added Operation Linebacker

My personal all time favorite OP name, clear example of peace through superior fire power!

15
190 119
Operation Warrior's Rage is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Warrior's Rage 2005 operation to capture insurgents, carried out with the rage of... you know... a warrior.

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16
168 108
Operation Valiant Guardian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Valiant Guardian Among qualities to look for in a guardian, being valiant is high on the list. This operation to disrupt Al-Qaeda activities involved 4,000 Marines and took out 250 weapons caches.

17
99 51
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zxray added Operation Just Cause

The United States Invasion of Panama, code named Operation Just Cause, was an invasion of Panama by the United States between mid-December 1989 and late January 1990.

18
155 105
Operation Bayonet Lightning is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Bayonet Lightning What's worse than getting hit with a bayonet? Getting hit with one made of lightning! Much about this quick operation in Iraq remains classified - but not its awesomely American name.

19
76 51
Operation Gothic Serpent is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
zxray added Operation Gothic Serpent

Operation Gothic Serpent was a military operation conducted by United States special operations forces with the primary mission of capturing faction leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

20
125 106
Operation Beaver Cage is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Beaver Cage This 1967 plan to take out a Viet Cong base near Da Nang has a name that comes straight from the strip club, guns-a-blazing.

21
148 134
Operation Chattanooga Choo-Cho... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Chattanooga Choo-Choo You wouldn't think an innocuous '40s song about a train could be used as a military operation - but you'd be wrong. Operation Chattanooga Choo-Choo was the combined bombing offensive by the US and Britain against German railway lines and marshalling yards in preparation for D-Day

22
111 116
Operation Montana Mauler is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Montana Mauler An anti-infiltration mission against North Vietnamese forces - or a second-tier professional wrestler? You decide.

23
115 132
Operation Breakfast is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Breakfast The opening phase of the US bombing of Cambodia was named after breakfast, the most American meal of the day.

24
45 61
Operation Babylift is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
zxray added Operation Babylift

Operation Babylift was the name given to the mass evacuation of children from South Vietnam to the United States and other countries at the end of the Vietnam War, on April 3–26, 1975.

25
86 117
Operation All-American Tiger is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation All-American Tiger Captured several Iraqi leaders in the "Most Wanted" deck of cards - and did it with a kick ass American name.

26
84 120
Operation Centaur Rodeo is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Centaur Rodeo The centaur is the half-man/half-horse creature of Greek mythology. A rodeo full of centaurs - can you get more American than that? The operation itself - to disrupt weapons smuggling - is not nearly as awesome as its name.

27
81 127
Operation Gimlet Silent Sniper is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
Operation Gimlet Silent Sniper Anti-insurgency operation in Kirkuk with a name that celebrates stealthy killers who move silently and drink heavily.

28
28 64
Operation Vittles is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Awesomely American Names for Military Operations
zxray added Operation Vittles

It exemplified the ability of the western Allies to work together against a common enemy, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was born during the airlift. For the Air Force, Operation Vittles provided abundant lessons about airlift.