Question for milspeak experts
In his Congressional testimonies, General Petraeus kept using the word "troopers" to describe individual soldiers.
Is this a new back-formation, whereby a "trooper" is the singular of "the troops"?
Did Petraeus coin the word?
Or is it the customary term in the military?
If it's new, and if it's a coinage by Petraeus, what do you think his purpose was?**
NOTE I tend to think it's new, because a cursory Google search doesn't throw any hits, and Wikipedia hasn't collected any definitions.
NOTE ** Tinfoil hat time: Currently, "trooper" has law enforcement connotations, as in "state trooper." Perhaps Petraeus is envisaging the use of the army domestically?
UPDATE I checked Petraeus's letter to the troops for such a usage, and found none. Personally, I read it as if I were back in the cubes, reading (yet another) letter from the CEO about a re-org. But I'd be interested to know what a milspeak expert thinks. Readers?