US military (specifically Air Force military transport) jargon ca. 1970s-1980s, referring to an operation or undertaking involving an unnecessarily large number of people, most of them contributing nothing or actually impeding progress. Typically used to refer to flightline operations where military brass felt it necessary to make their presence felt and impede the normal duties/operations of the aircrew, offering "advice" or "assistance" that was neither requested nor needed.
"We got gear up and flaps up out of Norton (Air Force Base) on time, no sweat, but Travis was a major goat-rope and a half. We had three times as many Base Ops types and ground-pounders in the cargo compartment as crewmembers, and the only reason they finally got the hell out of the way is that they didn't want to buy a crew delay."
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