White House botches Marine Corps ‘Oorah’ in transcript of Obama speech


President Obama addresses Marines and sailors at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Wednesday. ( (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

UPDATE, Aug. 8, 8 p.m.: The White House has fixed the transcript online. See it here.


President Obama addressed a crowd of about 3,000 Marines, sailors and military family members at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and the speech went off without any major hitches. There was no major gaffe, for example, like mistakenly saying Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti was alive to receive his Medal of Honor.

In fact, the president’s speech was short on details, but hit on a lot of meat-and-potato issues. He correctly named Marjah, Sangin and Now Zad as districts in which Marines have faced fierce combat in recent years. He promised efforts to make sure veterans get jobs. And he honored Capt. Matthew Lampert, an officer in Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command who lost both legs in combat, then recovered to deploy to Afghanistan again.

There’s a problem, however. The White House transcript of the speech is out, and there’s an issue with it that will rub many Marines the wrong way. Here’s the beginning:

12:45 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Marines! (Hoorah!) Hello, Camp Pendleton! (Hoorah!) It is great to be here, at the home of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force — (hoorah!) — and one of our nation’s oldest and most decorated military units, the legendary 1st Marine Division. (Hoorah!) And I think I see some proud Navy folks here, too. (Applause.)

Marines, of course, would never say “Hoorah!” They also wouldn’t say “Hooah!”, which is an Army term. Marines say “Oorah!” and are quick to point it out to anyone who gets it wrong. You can’t blame the president for this one, but a little professional military education never hurt anyone.

Here’s a video on Lampert, an exceptional Marine who was the 2010 recipient of the Zembiec Award for outstanding leadership by a MARSOC officer:



About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


  1. Now your transcript is wrong you idiots the army says “hooah”. Wow. Way to bash someone for improper terminology then go and do it yourselves. Smh

  2. You’re right, JT. “Hoorah” is a Navy term. I fixed the post here. The important point: It sure isn’t “Hoorah” they said today, and that is what was in the transcript.

  3. Kristin Molina on

    Actually the transcript is correct. Hoorah is spelled both ways. Talk about military intelligence, the army say Hooah.

  4. U.S. Army Veteran on

    “He promised efforts to make sure veterans get jobs.” Barry’s doing an awfully piss-poor job on that one. Been out of the service approx. 133 days now (19 weeks) and despite using multiple Veteran’s initiatives, nothing has worked out yet, and Wal-Mart isn’t even trying to pay Veterans with families enough to even come close to paying the bills, especially with their 100,000 Veterans initiative. When is the lip service and fuck ups by the CoC towards our Armed Forces going to end?

  5. Craig Kinard on

    Jobs for military vets??? Easy–get this fool president and his meddling administration out of the economic micro-management business. As John Carter once growled in Atlas Shrugged, “Get out of my way!”

  6. Sgt. Helleson on

    Oorah! That video made my day. Another reason why we should not mope in our woes, but move forward and seek with determination the end product that we set out to accomplish. Thank you, Sir.

  7. JT ledford…reread the article…the wording is right. You need to understand punctuation, apparently. It says…

    They also wouldn’t say “Hooah!”, which is an Army term.

  8. Thank you MSG Mac!!! Preach it. Who gives a damn about the particulars of incoherent speech. Ooorah, ooah! WHO CARES!!! We need to be concerned that POTUS is a loose cannon wrecking our country. Sit down read the news, and not just one, that way when those damn liberals say you only read Fox you can tell them that they are wrong.

  9. “He correctly named Marjah, Sangin and Now Zad as districts in which Marines have faced fierce combat in recent years”, Dan describes a clear point here. Sadly enough, those that do not care about correctly naming and associating “Ooorah” with the Marines, may not be picking up on the WHOLE picture intended.

    As it seems, those who live and love to criticize just happen to be the majority of commentary here. The video was outstanding! I applaud you Dan for writing on a topic well deserving and that to which an intellectually grounded audience can appreciate.

    —Break… Let the uneducated continue to hate.

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