stick, noun

Origin:
EnglishShow more Probably transferred use of general English stick a collective name for a group of parachutists jumping in quick succession (see quotation 1977).
military slang
In the army: a small fighting unit.
[1977 B. Marks Our S. Afr. Army 37Trainee paratroopers have been divided into small groups of approximately twelve known as sticks. The reason for such small groups is to enable the troops to receive personal attention from instructors.]
1978 Daily Dispatch 25 Sept. 1Most of them had left the previous night and a few sticks (small fighting units) stayed behind to mop up.
1978 E. Dibb in Fair Lady 25 Oct. 108Ben Salmin and his stick of men were striking camp...Frans’s next job was to bring in the other members of his stick — Gardiner, Sanders, and Graves — and let them know where to meet Ben Salmin.
1982 Sunday Times 21 Mar. 21Early the next morning we hit Swapo. They were not expecting an attack and we received no fire as we dropped a stick of troops.
1982 E. Prov. Herald 3 May 5With a scream from the twin jet engines of the ‘chopper’ we were away. Riding with us were a ‘stick’ of soldiers from the air base’s reaction force, which is on standby day and night.
1990 D. Gordon in Sunday Times 10 June 3The R4-million movie shows an army patrol disintegrating under combat pressure and guilt over a shooting incident. The ‘stick’ of eight soldiers annihilate a village of black women and children and shoot the witchdoctor.
a small fighting unit.
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