‘Diplomacy failed,’ ‘bye Felicia,’ and 27 other incredible tank names

Tanks for the laughs!

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in May 2020.

As any regular reader of Task & Purpose knows, there are few things we love more than a well-named piece of military machinery, especially when it’s an M1 Abrams with a particularly saucy name lovingly stenciled on the main gun.

Indeed, naming tanks is a longstanding tradition in the ranks of the U.S. military with its own rules and regulations. The Sierra Army Depot in California, where M1 Abrams tanks go after they die, even keeps a list of names drawn from its stockpile of retired gun tubes:

Tanks for the laughs
Tanks for the laughs

To wit, we asked our readers to send in photos of their very best tank names from their time in the Army or Marine Corps, and they did not disappoint. Some of the submissions are outright brilliant, and others may toe the line between good and bad taste, but all of them showcase the innate creativity of tankers — and make us laugh, too.

Below, a selection of submissions from Task & Purpose readers. You can continue to submit photos by emailing jared@taskandpurpose.com or sharing them on Twitter.

Thanks for your submissions — and tanks for the laughs!

Jared Keller
Jared Keller

is the executive editor of Task & Purpose. His writing has appeared in Aeon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post, among other publications. Contact the author here.

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