Why Do Navy SEALs Scream “Hooyah”?

Navy SEAL Trainees Welcome BUD/S Instructors' Commands With A "Hooyah"

"Hooyah" is a spirited cry used commonly in the United States Navy and among Naval Special Warfare teams, including the Navy SEALs. It expresses high morale, fierce determination, and unswerving commitment to teamwork and mission success. BUD/S trainees might use it to express enthusiasm or agreement or respond to a command indicating they are ready and willing.

In essence, "Hooyah" goes beyond just being a word; it embodies the camaraderie and resilience that defines naval culture.

Do Navy SEAL BUD/S Instructors Demand "Hooyah" From Trainees?

Indeed, BUD/S instructors often demand a "hooyah" from trainees. It's not just about acknowledging an order; it's also used to build esprit de corps and maintain energy levels during the grueling training. When an instructor calls for a "hooyah," they look for loud, unified responses indicating the trainees are mentally present and motivated.

The use of this term reinforces discipline and team unity—it’s a verbal nod that signals readiness, agreement, or understanding among SEAL candidates.

What is the origin of the word "Hooyah"?

The origin of "hooyah" is a bit murky, with several theories floating around. One idea suggests it might have evolved from the British maritime command "Huzzah," which was historically used as a cheer or salute. Another theory points to its use in underwater demolition teams (UDTs) during and after World War II.

Some speculate it could be an acronym for phrases like "Heard, Understood, Acknowledged." However, there's no definitive proof for this claim.

Despite the unclear origins, what matters most is what "hooyah" represents today—a powerful symbol of teamwork and morale within the Navy SEALs and other naval units.

Read more about Navy SEAL BUD/S Training here.  Also, read here how BUD/S can change a person's life forever!


2 Responses

  1. Written By: Yon

    In the early 1970’s, I was a trainee in the bizarre UPWARD program hosted in a building adjacent to the SEAL COs office. When groups of SEAL candidates double timed past us, their leader would call out “Cap’n Roberts!” The group would respond as loudly as possible, “Hooyah, Cap’n Roberts!!”

    I had never heard “Hooyah” before, so I asked a SEAL in the chow hall what it meant. He checked for eavesdroppers before telling me, “When it’s addressed to Captain Roberts, it means ‘eff you’”. He went on to say that he had been told it was a corruption of a Vietnamese word unknown to him.

    BTW, I got to meet dozens of SEALs casually. They were uniformly intelligent, modest and respectful of others. I can’t imagine any of them seeking media glory or writing about classified details of a mission.

    • Written By: larryf

      Thank you for responding, Yon! And oh yes, least I forget, Hooyah!

Leave a Reply