When the Pentagon or whoever announced that their Libyan operation was to be called Odyssey Dawn, we were all like, “what?”
Turns out we had every reason to think it sounded like nonsense – it is.
Here’s Wired Magazine on how they name these things:
The U.S. military’s nickname for the no-fly zone in Libya sounds like the beginning of a long adventure. But Defense Department officials insist that there’s no hidden meaning behind “Operation Odyssey Dawn.” It’s just the product of the Pentagon’s semi-random name-generating system.
Each command within the vast Defense Department apparatus is given a series of two-letter groupings that they can use for their operations’ two-word sobriquets. Under the system, U.S. Africa Command, nominally in charge of the Libya strikes, was given three different sets of words that it could begin the operation with. “These words begin between the letters JF-JZ, NS-NZ and OA-OF, and those three groups give about 60 some odd words,” explains Africom spokesman Eric Elliott. “So the folks who were responsible for naming this went through and they had done recent activities with NS and they went to O.”
Using the O series of letters, Africom officials picked out “Odyssey” for the first word. The second word is picked “as random as possible because that’s the goal of these operational names,” says Elliot. Africom pulled out “Dawn” for its second word and the resulting combination, “Odyssey Dawn,” is devoid of any intended meaning, Elliott insists.
I have a few ideas for the names of future missions, if they’re interested…