How to name a task force

As I have alluded to previously, the naming of task forces is something of a mystery to me. Task forces, in case you are not clear, are groups of personnel put together under one command for a specific tasking—at least, that’s the theory.

My own task force for this deployment, for example, includes two companies from my home battalion plus a company from the Wisconsin National Guard, a handful of Air Force folks, and a whole mess of Navy petty officers.

(Please note: for OPSEC reasons, I’m not going to use real task force names in this discussion, but I will pick some that are functionally equivalent, to give you an idea.)

Some task forces are merely numbered or otherwise designated, but most are given some sort of clever name. During Operation Mountain Thrust, I was attached to a task force named after a kind of mountain lion that no one had ever heard of—but as with the operation name itself, it sounded vaguely dirty.

The thing is, everyone (by which I mean High Brass) wants a cool name for their task force, but a) there are only so many cool names and b) most task forces aren’t really that cool.

So you end up with Task Force Annihilator which is in charge of grounds maintenance on a base, or Task Force Crusader (which would NEVER be a real name, for obvious reasons) that’s in charge of the motor pool. You can practically guess what sort of thing a task force is in charge of by how implusibly cool their name is.

Task Force Excalibur? Military police, the ones that provide traffic directors during lunch hour. Task Force Predator? Dining hall management or something. Task Force SuperUberCoolBadAss? Yeah. They burn garbage. No question.

I theorize that there is an inverse relationship between the coolness of the name and the coolness of the task. My own task force is merely numbered, which on the face of it would seem like it should thus have pretty cool job—however, a number could also be intriguing/mysterious/whatever, especially for an MI unit: think double-o-seven. So while at first glance it seems unassuming, in actuality we may be a bunch of posers.

(Except for my team, obviously.)

So if ever the opportunity to pick arises, you can be sure that I will avoid joining Task Force Executioner or Task Force Freedom or Task Force Avenger. No sir, I’m joining up with Task Force Platypus—because you just know those guys are going to blow some stuff up.

Sig