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"Our captain has a handicap to cope with, sad to tell.

He's from Georgia, and he doesn't speak the language very well."
Tom Lehrer, It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier

Hailing from the Deep South of the continental United States, he's a stereotypical cigar-chompin' Good Ol' Boy who thinks shootin' and blowin' stuff up is nothing but fun or at least doesn't take it as seriously as others in The Squad.

He speaks with a heavy drawl or accent and often peppers his speech with odd euphemisms or folksy sayings that leave others confused or at a loss for words. Should he earn a promotion to officer, this will manifest as addressing his subordinates as "Son" and "Boy".

His apparent lack of common sense is meant to indicate limited intelligence in general, and he's sometimes shown having a hard time understanding things that more urban-bred (and therefore educated) members of The Squad have no trouble at all with.

He's the foil for any minority or New Meat soldiers in the unit, as he almost exclusively gets to play the role of the insular xenophobe.

Even if this character is written as an officer, it is important to remember that this is a class-specific trope. A military officer with southern accent, a good education and a genteel matter is not usually a Southern-Fried Private, but an attempt by the writer to provide some variety among a group of characters who might otherwise speak and dress pretty much the same. Good examples of this type would be "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley) on Star Trek, Surgeon Wilkins (Chill Wills) in the John Wayne cavalry classic Rio Grande, and Chief Engineer "Trip" Tucker on Star Trek: Enterprise.

Any geographical area of any country that's seen as being a bit backwards or woodsy can breed a non-US version of this character.

Despite the title, this trope is not a cross between Groin Attack and Kill It with Fire.

Examples of Southern-Fried Private include:


Comic Books

  • Private Robert 'Rebel' Ralston' from Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos in the Marvel Universe. After the war, he became a senator for Texas.


Film

  • Barry Pepper as squad sharpshooter Pvt. Jackson speaks in a southern drawl and prays out loud while he blows away Nazis in Saving Private Ryan.

 Jackson: Be thou not far from me, oh Lord... <Blam!> Oh my strength, haste thee to help me... <Blam!>

  • Vernon Pinkley in the The Dirty Dozen. There's also Archer Maggot, but he's a genuine full-blown psychopath, not just an ignorant, insular hick.
  • Averted in the film Jarhead where the character Kruger (Lucas Black) is a Texan with a very thick accent and displays some of the tendencies above, but is by far the most outspoken critic of the military operation (such as the lack of free speech for soldiers and possible health dangers of the anti-chemical weapon pills they're given).
  • Hamburger Hill Sgt. Dennis "Dont mean Nuttin" Worchester.
  • Chef from Apocalypse Now.
  • Lt. Aldo Raine. He's a Lieutenant, not a Private, but he's still a hick from Maynardville, Tennessee--he even brings up making moonshine at one point.
  • Conrad in Three Kings - "I rigged the football with C-4, sir.". Although possibly subverted, as he later gains respect for the Iraqi locals, so much so that he requests to be interred by them.
  • PFC Forrest Gump in the movie of the same name. Also his buddy Bubba Blue.

 Lieut. Dan: What part of Alabama you boys hail from?

Gump and Blue: Greenbow, sir!

Dan (amused): You boys twins?

Gump (confused): We are not relations, sir.


Folklore


Literature

  • Ripper from The Zone novels, who drives everyone mad with his unbelievable stories of his family's misadventures back home in Hicksville.
  • Partly in 1632. Subverted in the sense that the Americans are quite intelligent and adaptable. Played straight in that several are easy-going good natured fellows when they are not blowing things up.
  • Corporal Opie Dalrymple in Rally Round the Flag, Boys! by Max Shulman. He was a country music star before he was drafted, but being in the Army doesn't stop him from writing new songs or weaken his drawl.


Live Action TV

  • Gomer Pyle, arguably a light-hearted take on the trope. Gomer was too nice to picture him as an "insular xenophobe" though he is certainly "insular".
  • Sgt. Luther Rizzo from M* A* S* H fits in here, although he doesn't do a lot of shooting or bombing. He's fond of cigars and folksy sayings, and when kids from the orphanage are reluctant to try his Cajun cooking at a Christmas feast, he blames it on them being from North Korea, and the way he says 'North' suggests he's not thinking of Communists.
  • Denver 'Bull' Randleman from Band of Brothers, to a certain degree.
  • The Pacific: Sid Phillips and Eugene Sledge are from Mobile, Alabama; Merriel "Snafu" Shelton is from Louisiana.


Machinima


Music

  • From Tom Lehrer's "It Makes a Fellow Proud to Be a Soldier":

 "Our captain has a handicap to cope with, sad to tell/"

"He's from Georgia and he doesn't speak the language very well."


Newspaper Comics

  • Beetle Bailey had one of these, named "Bammy", in its early years.


Real Life


Video Games

  • The Engineer from Team Fortress 2 seems to be a subversion; he is referred to as a "good ol' boy" in his profile, but also has 11 PhDs and tends to engage in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. Also unlike most "good ol' boys," the Engie can't shoot his pistol to save his life. The most accurate pistoleer is actually the Frenchman!
  • Haggard from Battlefield: Bad Company averts this trope to an extent. One one side, he has a southern accent, is somewhat dumb, has dated a cousin, and he's only in the army because he loves blowing things up. On the other, he welcomes the new guy as easily as the rest of the squad does, is more trusting of the hostage than Sarge is, and merrily hops across a border chasing the same gold the rest of the squad has to persuade itself to chase.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, there's a TV show Halo parody called Republican Space Rangers, in which three such characters explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and nuke them all to hell for being weird and different.
  • Just about anyone with a speaking role in Starcraft, from the main characters of General Edmund Duke, Jim Raynor, and Raynor's buddy Tychus Finnely all the way down to the Terran Marines.
  • Corporal Dunn of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has a southern accent, and is a bit less serious about the Rangers' situation than Foley, at least when not under fire. He also has something of a sarcastic streak and displays some disdain towards General Shephard and his "prima donna unit".


Western Animation

  • Wild Bill from G.I. Joe. Several other Joes, like Gung Ho and Thunder, are from the South, but Wild Bill is the only one with an accent and the "folksy sayings". He gets along very well with Roadblock, and is actually pretty intelligent, in a bit of a subversion.
  • In the Futurama episode "Roswell That Ends Well," Fry's would-have-been grandfather is a mild parody of this.
    • Also, in "War is the H-Word" one of the bit characters is one.

 "Fry, you emu-bellied coward!"

  • Although retired, Cotton Hill was obviously one during his army days.
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