What is Pogey Bait?

Pogey Bait on the cutting board.

How the term Pogey Bait came to be.

Put simply, Pogey Bait is a military term that has more history than meets the eye. To understand what Pogey Bait, is, one must understand the story of how such terms come to be. In the hallowed halls of American military institutions around the world, the close ties of those who defend freedom against those enemies foreign and domestic leads to a special relationship that is seen nowhere else. As with any close-knitted group, a level of exclusivity develops, which brings with it things that not only separate it from other groups, but also add a level of mystery that is not easily understood. Therefore, it’s necessary to take a little journey through the minefield of military jargon to really gain a deep perspective on how one little term can have a mountain of meaning behind it. Don’t let the history lesson bore you, shitty pogue jokes are coming later in this post, we promise.

One of the exclusive pieces of military life is a special language that is unique to this group. A language that is primarily based on a building block that, though not exclusive to military life, got its start in so-called “military speak” and has become a fundamental part of communication between service members. That basic building block of military speech is the acronym, and it is nigh on impossible to go more than two minutes in any conversation with a military member without encountering several acronyms.

For the unenlightened, an acronym is a word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initial components of a phrase or a word, usually individual letters and sometimes syllables. There are no universal standards for the multiple names for such abbreviations or for their orthographic styling. Yes, they are used in many other areas of life. Everyone has heard of TGIF (Thank God it’s Friday!). But the military has a particular love for turning everything they can into an acronym. Even shit that doesn’t need to be shortened.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) records the first printed use of the word initialism as occurring in 1899, but it did not come into general use until 1965, well after acronym had become common. By 1943, the term acronym had been used in English to recognize abbreviations (and contractions of phrases) that were pronounced as words. (It was formed from the Greek words ἄκρος, akros, “topmost, extreme” and ὄνομα, onoma, “name.”) For example, the army offense of being absent without official leave was abbreviated to “A.W.O.L.” in reports, but when pronounced as a word (awol), it became an acronym.

FUBAR: A primer to military slang.

Some of you may have heard the term FUBAR and have a vague idea that it means something has gone wrong, but FUBAR is an acronym that started life in the military and encompasses all that makes military acronyms so special. You can’t always go around throwing out swear words, because you may be among civilians or ranking brass who will get their panties in a wad. So, acronyms like FUBAR began making an appearance. It means “Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition”, and it truly embodies all that is military speak. It has become a common piece of military jargon that means far more in that tiny acronym than the sum of its original parts.

While there is no recorded use of military acronyms in documents dating from the American Civil War (acronyms such as “ANV” for “Army of Northern Virginia” post-date the war itself), they had become somewhat common in World War I and were very much a part even of the vernacular language of the soldiers during World War II, who themselves were referred to as G.I.s.

It’s safe to say that the military, and the U.S. Military in particular, are the reason acronyms have become so prevalent in modern speech. The need to say things quickly is a product of the fast pace of war, and as with most things, the military took it to the extreme.

Thanks for the history lesson. But what exactly is this Pogey Bait you are selling?

Now that we’ve had a fun little trip through the history of acronyms and how they’ve heavily influenced military speak, we can get to a special term that has influenced the naming of Bophades Tasty Nuts’ cinnamon sugar spun nuts. Those brilliant little , perfectly roasted, meaty nut morsels coated in cinnamon, sugar, and a hint of vanilla that simply melts in your mouth. Our original Pogey Bait (cinnamon almonds) and our Texan Pogey Bait (candied cinnamon pecans).

As veterans ourselves, much of our product naming is based on military terminology, with the odd outliers that are just based on a little lowbrow humor, because lowbrow humor and military go together like whiskey and bacon. Or Privates and stripper wives coupled with 30% interest V6 Mustangs. The point is, some things just scream military, and we must play to our strengths, so military/lowbrow humor naming conventions it is.

In order to understand how we came to the conclusion that Bophades’ cinnamon candied nuts would be named thusly, we have to discuss the term itself – “Pogey.” Where does it come from? Why is it used? And what do sweet nuts have to do with the term?

POG, Pogue, what’s the difference?

Pogey is a derivative of the acronym POG, which stands for “Person Other Than Grunt.” It has additionally been broken out as “Permanently On Garrison” and “Person Of Greater Use Elsewhere.” POG itself started life as “pogue,” and had a slightly different meaning. Consensus is that this term started with Navy members of Irish descent during the Civil War and is a derivative use of the Gaelic word “pogue,” which means “kiss.” Legend has it they were pissed at all the Jody’s who got to stay home in the rear echelon and stealing those sweet kisses from the girlfriends and wives of the men who deployed.

The Marines later picked up on the term pogue and used it to refer to a male who was working in what at that time was considered a traditional female role. It was later used by drill instructors to refer to trainees believed to not be meeting the expected standards or failing to display the appropriate esprit de corps. Finally, the Army jumped on board and started throwing around “pogue” as well, because they might be slow on the uptake, but they didn’t want to be left out of the club. The Air Force doesn’t really use it, because let’s be honest, they’re basically an entire branch of pogues playing military dress-up (Don’t hate us, Air Force. We still love you!).

After a bit of a hiatus from the popular vernacular, the acronym “pogue” was picked back up during the Global War on Terrorism and was slightly altered to be written as “POG.” This alteration of the established acronym is known as a backronym and brought with it a slight change to the term. The term POG is basically anyone who does not work in those traditional front line, tip of the spear jobs. Basically, everyone in a support role. The ones who get to sit back and get to live their best life behind the wire on a deployment with wi-fi, three hots and a cot, or for the ultimate in POG-life, not deploying at all and complaining when the gym runs out of fresh towels.

All of this brings us around to the now ubiquitous term “pogey bait.” Anyone heading out to the field or preparing for a deployment will be told that one of the most important items in your kit is pogey bait, and life will be infinitely better if you listen up. We aren’t talking something you buy at the bait and tackle shop to lure in unsuspecting fish, though I’m sure it has been used to bait in a few unsuspecting deployment dates. Pogey bait is all that yummy junk food like chips, cookies, candy, or whatever it takes to bribe POGs on deployment to get you the shit you need to make your life easier. Trading a candy bar for that shiny new gear is far more acceptable than bringing nothing to the salty old Supply Sergeant and ending up with something that has been in use since the Revolutionary War.

“Don’t forget to grab your Pogey Bait, we have an FTX Tomorrow!

Pogey bait also just happens to be a nice little taste of home to get you through the soul-crushing tedium of deployment. If life must be a perpetual Groundhog Day, at least have some pogey bait to bring a small amount of joy to the monotony of your time away. It’s that or a little bathroom tug, so why not bring the pogey bait to at least give you options.

This is where Bophades Tasty Nuts’ Pogey Bait and Texan Pogey Bait come in. These nuts are practically swollen with flavor. Big, juicy nuts with that mouthwatering flavor of cinnamon and sugar, and that slight hint of vanilla to bring it together. They also have a nice little kick of protein so you can pretend they’re perfectly healthy as well. With no preservatives, we would agree that they are at least on the healthier side of sweets.

If you really want a deployment treat, we’re sure you can polish up those deployment goggles and find the best 2-10-2 or desert queen who is totally baghdadable, offer her your nut sack filled with that succulent Pogey Bait or Texan Pogey Bait and hopefully get a few chances at trying to make some bunker babies. When you offer her those sweet nuts, she’ll probably be all over you faster than a stripper looking for crack money, and we all know just how hot that is to a guy in the military. For you ladies out there, do yourself a favor and take your own sacks of Pogey Bait and Texan Pogey Bait to keep you safe, so you aren’t lured in by the siren sounds of those POGs suffering from DSD (Deployment Sexual Deprivation). You know they’ll do anything to get you to empty some of that Pogey Bait from their nut sack.

Quit waiting around wondering if you should hit that buy button. Grab a sack and put em’ in your mouth!

3 thoughts on “What is Pogey Bait?”

  1. I don’t know how old you guys are, or when you served, but when I served, in the early-mid 80s, pogey bait was already a well established term for stuff you stashed away to help you get through FTX or deployment. Foodstuffs you could not otherwise get like, candy, cookies, chips, canned Vienna sausages, etc…

    1. Hey Jim,

      Josh just recently retired from the Airforce after 20 years, and I am still in the Army.

      I can’t speak for Josh, but for me, Pogey Bait was definitely a term for the sweets and snacks you took with you on an FTX or deployment that is usually sweet, and something you have a hard time sourcing in theater or in the field.

      Since our cinnamon almonds are so damn tasty, we couldn’t help but name them Pogey Bait.

      Never forget.

      – Justin

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