This exclamation is believed to date from August 1940, and is attributed to Private Aubrey Eberhardt, member of the US Army’s parachute test platoon at Fort Benning, Georgia. The parachute had only recently been adopted for troop drops and this platoon was the first to test it. On the eve of an unprecedented “mass jump” of American paratroopers, the platoon decided to calm their nerves by spending the day before taking in a film at the Main Post Theatre and a night at the local beer garden. The film they saw was a Western featuring the Native American chief Geronimo. Its title is uncertain, but it was probably the 1939 film Geronimo with Andy Devine and Lone Ranger star Chief Thundercloud in the title role.
On the way back to barracks, Eberhardt said he expected the jump would be no different from usual. The others taunted him saying that he would be too scared to remember his name. Eberhardt retorted, “All right, dammit! I tell you jokers what I’m gonna do! To prove to you that I’m not scared out of my wits when I jump, I’m gonna yell Geronimo loud as hell when I go out that door tomorrow!” Eberhardt kept his promise and the cry was gradually adopted by the other members of his platoon.
All stock photos by: