Glossary: Military Jargon
What did they just say? The following list of common military acronyms and slang will help you learn how to "translate" a military conversation.
About face: The drill movement where a person or group turns and faces the opposite direction.
ACU: Army Combat Uniform. It is the daily work uniform, as opposed to the dress uniform (for Army personnel).
AWOL: Absent Without Official Leave, which means to leave duty without permission.
Bravo Zulu: Praise for a good job or "well done."
Blues: Blue dress uniform (for Marine Corps and Air Force).
Bubblehead: Any person serving on a submarine or in the submarine service.
Doolie: Nickname for a first-year Air Force Academy cadet.
EOD: Explosive Ordnance Disposal, responsible for the safe handling, deactivation and removal of an unexploded ordnance—the military version of a bomb squad.
EPW: Enemy Prisoner of War
File 13: The garbage can.
Galley: The kitchen aboard a ship.
Gitmo: U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Head: The bathroom or latrine aboard a boat or ship.
HMMWV: (Pronounced "humvee") High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle
IED: Improvised Explosive Device, which is a type of homemade bomb used in unconventional warfare.
IRR: Individual Ready Reserve, which is a Reserve component of the Armed Forces made up of former active duty or reserve personnel.
JTF: Joint Task Force
MEDEVAC or Medivac: Removing a wounded person by using designated ambulance equipment, vehicles or aircraft.
MOS: Military Occupational Specialty, a job classification.
MP: Military Police
NCO: Noncommissioned Officer
OCS/OTS: Officer Candidate School/Officer Training School
Oorah/Hooah: Marine Corps'/Army's (respectively) spirited cries. It's usually in response to a verbal greeting or as an expression of enthusiasm.
PCS: Permanent Change of Station; relocate to another base.
PFT: Physical Fitness Test
POC: Point of Contact, the person to connect with on a given matter.
PT: Physical Training, physical exercise to build or maintain strength, agility and flexibility.
ROTC: Reserve Officer Training Corps
Sandbox: Iraq or other desert area.
SEALs: United States Navy SEALs (stands for SEa, Air, Land).
TAD/TDY: Temporary Additional Duty/Temporary Duty
Topside: The upper deck of a ship.
UA: Unauthorized Absence (similar to AWOL)
UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Gain a complete picture of the benefits and challenges of serving.
Preparing for Basic Training
Get the facts on boot camp and tips on how to prepare.