Practical Dictionary of Military Slang and Terminology.
The military is a culture unto itself. And its
filled with its own vocabulary of terms. This is a very general quick
guide, designed mainly for civilians who ask me questions like if I
have a "gak" and if I've been "totally blown up" before. (In fact I
died in combat). There is no classified information here. It is an
extremely simplefied guide. You can find most of this info readily
available from the internet, but I'm not going to post it.
- ABN: Airborne
- Air Assault: aka “vertical envelopment” the use of
helicopters to place troops on the ground. Air assault is performed by
many units in the military. In the Army you can attend Air Assault
school and be awarded “air assault”
wings to specialize in air assault operations. Said personnel have
aviator wings with a chopper in the center....but they’re still legs...
- Airborne: 1-Flies or is delivered by means of air. 2-The
use of parachutes to place troops and equipment on the ground. Airborne
personnel are from all services, attend a special school and wear
aviator wings with a parachute in the center.
- AK-47: Typical bad guy weapon, but also used by many
friendly forces (and even us). The AK-47 is the most popular military
weapon in the world. It is a simple, rugged and dependable weapon in a
nice compact package. It fires standard “commie” ammo (7.62mm x 39)
- ANG: Army National Guard. One of two components in the
Army’s reserve system. The Guard is at the state level and commanded by
the Governor unless detached to federal duty.
- Army: Usually means the Department of the Army, but can
also be used as a unit ie: US Eigth Army during very large campaigns
like in WWII.
- Armor(ed): Vehicles with armored protection like tanks,
Bradleys, and APCs
- APC: Armored Personnel Carrier. Armored Vehicle designed to
transport and deliver troops on the battlefield. Being phased out by
the more versatile Bradley.
- APFT: Army Physical Fitness Test. How the army tests a
soldier’s physical fitness.
- AT-4: Common antitank weapon.
- Ball: Lead ammo. Measured in grains.
- Battalion: A military unit composed of companies.
- BFV: Bradley Fighting Vehicle M-2. For your purposes,
basically a tank.
- Blue: The color of the infantry. Also used to refer to
infantry related awards, promotions and functions. ie: turning blue,
- Blood ---: Besides the usual medical term, used as an
modifier for military awards (technically prohibited by high level POGs
and cake eaters), meaning they were pinned directly on you. ie: blood
wings, blood rifles. A rite of passage.
- Brigade: A military unit composed of battalions.
- BOOM!: Get the hell down, find your weapon, the show is
- Cake eater: Civilians. The name comes from
what you are probably doing right now as you are reading this.
- CCO: Close Combat Optic. Typically an aimpoint type sight
used by riflemen for fast target acquisition.
- Company: A military unit composed of platoons.
- CONUS: Continental US to exclude Alaska and Hawaii.
- Chalk: The group that you actually exit the aircraft with.
Used for all aircraft operations to include air assault.
- Division: A military unit composed of
- Dogface: An army infantryman. The name comes from the
appearance of a ground soldier after prolonged combat.
- Enemy: The bad guys. Whoever we are engaged
in operations against.
- Execution: Carrying out a particular assignment.
- Flank: The side of. ie: a flanking movement is one where a
unit approaches the enemy laterally.
- Fire team: See Team
- Grain: unit of measurement for the amount
lead in a round.
- Grunt: An infantryman, regardless of service. The name
derives from the sounds a warrior emits while in close combat.
- Helipad: A prepared surface where a helicopter lands.
- Helo: Helicopter
- Jarhead: A Marine
- Joe: A junior soldier ie: “joe private”
- Kilick "klick": Kilometer.
- Leg: A soft and supple appendage that...oh
wait. Non-airborne personnel, regardless of service. ie: Navy Seals,
are not legs because they are all airborne qualified.
- M-16: The M-16 is a spring loaded, gas
operated, air cooled, box magazine fed assault rifle in the
5.56mm caliber. Adopted in 1966 by the USAF, and successively by all he
armed forces. The M-16 family of weapons has been the standard military
issue since. Among famous models are M-16A1, M-16A2, M-16A4 and M-4
variants. The civilian versions of the rifle, AR-15, and CAR-15, have
also enjoyed market popularity.
- M-4: As paratroopers, our day to day weapon. The M-4 is a
compact M-16 type weapon.
- MOS: Military Occupational Specialty. What you do in the
army. Its defined by a code like 11B1P. The 11 designate the group
specialty, in this case “infantry”, the “B” designates the type in this
case a regular infantryman, the number that follows designate the skill
level, in this case 1, and after that there might be special skill
designators like “P” which means airborne.
- M-X: Military system of classification of military
equipment. ie: M-16, M-4, M-2
- Magazine: Device that stores ammunition and feeds it into a
- Marines: They come in two types. Grunts, that we accept as
fellow infantrymen (except that the’re legs) and POGs that think their
bad ass just because they have the “Marine” tittle. Well sorry guys,
there are a lot of “airborne” in the Army but only one “airborne
infantry”. Just the same as there is Marine infantry and Marine POG.
Don’t dress it up. Marine Grunts specialize in amphibious warfare
taking by force beaches and holding for follow on forces (see
Paratrooper). Also like paratroopers, they also suffer from delusions
that they are invulnerable to enemy fire, can breathe underwater, and
that talking tougher automatically makes you tougher.
- NOD: Night Optical Device. Night vision
goggles used at the soldier level throughout the armed forces.
- OCCONUS: Other than Continental US, to
include Hawaii and Alaska
- Platoon: Military unit made up of squads.
- Paratrooper: A group of extremely aggressive and well
trained soldiers with pent up issues and visions of greatness, who drop
from the sky in the middle of the night and speed to make contact with
anybody or anything that is not dressed like them. (See Marines, and a
therapist). Typically paratroopers truly believe that they can walk on
water, fly, breathe fire, and are inmortal. Paratroopers have a very
important role, much like Marines, where they force entry into hostile
territory and hold it for follow on forces. Like other specialized
units, they suffer from visions of greatness.
- POG: Personnel other than Grunt. Non infantry types. In
airborne units, everybody without wings.
- Qualification: Becoming certified to do a
specific job. Military units "qualify" every year in readiness
- Rolling: In movement. The term originated
with wheeled units.
- Roger: I understand
- Round: one unit of projectile ordnance.
- Smoke: 1-A type of ordnance that deploys
smoke as a way to hide assets from enemy observation, or mark an area
for visual identification by friendly forces. 2-Painful pt
systematically applied by your superiors when you happen to piss them
off. Usually accompanied with unkind words. ;) ie: “what the hell
private? Oh HELL NO GET THE *&^# DOWN PRIVATE!” 3-A hell of a way
to wake up.
- Squad: Military units composed of fire teams.
- Spook: Secretive CIA types.
- Team: aka fire team. Fireteams are a few
guys that maneuver together.
- Tracer: An inciendary round that burns brightly as it flies
to the target allowing the gunner to adjust his fire.
- Uniform: 1. What you wear, 2. Standardizing
proceedures for everybody
- Volatile: "...I hit it with this hammer...
and it goes boom"
- Whoosh!: Get down
- Yakker: won't shut up
- Zulu time: Greenwich median time, the time
that all units officially use to prevent misunderstandings.