U.S. Army acronyms and
Official acronyms and initialisms
- 5-Ton - Refers to any tactical truck with a cargo
capacity of 5 tons.
- AAM - Army Achievement Medal.
- ACU - Advanced Combat Uniform.
- AIT - Advanced Infantry Training; Advanced Individual
Training (specialty training post-BCT).
- ALICE - All-Purpose Lightweight Carrying
- AO - Area of Operations.
- APC - Armored Personnel Carrier.
- ARCAM - Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal.
- ARCOM - ARmy COMmendation medal.
- ASOC - Air Support Operations Center
- AWOL - Absent With Out Leave (ie. not at one's
place of duty, and not authorized to be absent)
- BAH - Basic Allowance for Housing (formerly BAQ)
- BAQ - Basic Allowance for Quarters
- BCD - Bad Conduct Discharge (slang for Bad Conduct
Discharge = Big Chicken Dinner)
- BDU - Battle Dress Uniform
- BCT - Basic Combat Training (familiarly: Basic
Training or Basic), Brigade Combat Team
- BDTD - Been There Done That
- BX - Base eXchange: Air Force name for a PX (see
- CIB - Combat Infantry Badge
- CO - Commanding Officer (also: conscientious
- COB - Close Of Business - the end of the day or duty
shift. Meaning; by the end of the duty day. Usage: "Get that
to me by COB today!!!"
- CONUS - CONtinental United States
- CQ - Charge of Quarters, an overnight desk duty.
- DA - Department of the Army
- DCU - Desert Camouflage Uniform (not official)
- DD or DoD - Department of Defense
- DFAC - Dining Facility (Mess Hall or Cafeteria)
- ETS - Expiration of Term of Service (scheduled date of
separation from active duty).
- FTX - Field Training Exercise.
- HEMTT - Heavy Extended Mobility Tactical Truck.
- HMMWV Humvee - High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled
- IG - Inspector General
- IRR - Individual Ready Reserve
- KIA - Killed in Action
- LBV - Load Bearing Vest, for carrying ammunition,
water, and other tactical loads while in the field, or during an
- MEDEVAC - MEDical EVACuation to an aid station or
field hospital, usu. by air ambulance
- MIA - Missing in Action; missing in a battle
situation, not known if alive or dead.
- MLRS - Multiple Launch Rocket System
- MOAB - officially, Massive Ordnance Air Blast
(slang: mother of all bombs)
- MOS - Military Occupational
Specialtyâ€”formal job classification, usually
expressed as a number or number/letter combination--e.g., 11B
- MP - Military Police.
- MRE - officially, Meal Ready to Eat; (slang:
Meal Rejected/Refused by Ethiopians or: Meal Rejected by the
- NCO - Non-Commissioned Officer: an enlisted person
with command responsibility over soldiers of lesser rank; a
corporal (grade E4) or any grade of sergeant (grades E5 - E9);
see also Specialist.
- NBC - nuclear, biological, chemical
- OCONUS - Outside CONtinental United States, includes
Alaska and Hawaii
- OCS - Officer Candidate School
- OSUT - One Station Unit Training; combination of BCT
and AIT where the soldier remains in the same unit for both
- PCS - Permanent Change of Station, reassignment,
usually to a different duty station
- PERSCOM - PERSonell COMmand, short for United States
Army Personnel Command. Now known as HRC, or the Human Resources
- PIR - Parachute Infantry Regiment.
- PMCS - Preventive Maintenance, Checks and
- POV - Privately-Owned Vehicle, a soldier's
- POW - Prisoner of War
- PT - Physical Training. Used in the plural (PT's),
it refers to the PT Uniform.
- PX - Post eXchange. A multipurpose store which usually
includes a barber shop and a convenience store.
- RPG - Rocket propelled grenade
- ROTC - Reserve Officer Training Corps, often
- STRAC - STRategic Army Command; STRAC units were those
designated to be on high alert to move anywhere in 72 hours or
less; as slang, tight, together, by the book
- STX - Situational Training Exercise
- TDY - Temporary Duty
- UXO - UneXploded Ordnance
- XO - Executive Officer (officer second-in-command to
- V/R - Very Respectfully. The standard closure line on
- ZI - Zone of Interior, the United States. See also
CONUS, which is more commonly used
- BCG - Birth Control Glasses. Refers to the standard
issue eyeglasses, generally not known for being exceptionally
- BOHICA - Bend over, here it comes again
- FIGMO - Fuck It, Got My Orders (aka
- FNG - Fucking New Guy - soldier coming to a unit
straight from AIT
- FUBAR - Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition/Repair
- KP - periodic one-day duty assignment for lower grade
soldiers to do mess hall work, ranging from helping to prepare
food to cleaning out the grease traps (literally "Kitchen
Patrol" or "Kitchen Police").
- LPCs - Leather Personnel Carriers, or combat boots.
Generally used when describing a mode of travel (ie.
"we'll be taking our LPCs over to the range")
- PLF - Parachute Landing Fall. The act of absorbing
parachute landing shock by successively laying down five bodily
points of contact with the ground
- REMF - Rear-Echelon Mother Fucker (ie. someone in the
supply line who doesn't give a damn about how his actions
mess up life for those at the sharp end)
- ROAD - Retired On Active Duty (ie. "ROAD
- SNAFU - Situation Normal, All Fucked Up
- WOJG - Warrant Officer, Junior Grade. Informal
reference to lowest grade of Warrant Officer (WO1). Also called
"spot" or "crouton" because of the insignia
of grade (a single black square on a silver bar).
Non-acronym slang and expressions
- 11 body bag or 11 bullet catcher - pejorative
term for MOS 11B, Infantry rifleman. Usually used by 11C's
- 4th point of contact - As in "you guys had better
get off of your 4th points of contact ..." Reference to the
buttocks, which impact the ground following the feet, calf, and
thigh when properly executing a Parachute Landing Fall (see PLF,
above). Term comes from Airborne units, but is understood by
- ... and a Wake-up - the day you leave an ongoing duty
assignment; usu. in conjunction with leaving a combat zone or
leaving the service. Used as a means of counting down to the
transtition. For example, if today is Monday and you leave the
service on Friday, if someone were to ask when you get out, the
answer would be "three days and a wake-up." (Tuesday to
Thursday, with Friday being "the wake-up")
- Ate up - something that's messed up or not up to
- Battle Rattle - Full combat gear.
- Bird Colonel - a full colonel, from the eagle insignia
of grade, to distinguish from the one-grade-lower Lieutenant
Colonel, whose insignia is a silver leaf. Also known as a
"Full Bird" Colonel, or simply, a "Full
- Blast - a parachute jump. First parachute jump after
Parachutist (Jump) School, i.e the sixth parachute jump, is a
"Cherry Blast." A person qualified to wear the Master
Parachutist Badge is a "Master Blaster."
"Hollywood Blast" is a parachute jump, usually done
simply for pay purposes, without all the emcumbering equipment
necessary in real or simulated airborne assaults.
- Blue Falcon - someone that screws others over for
their own comfort or convenience. A more acceptable way of
calling someone a "buddy fucker"
- Bo-Koo - a lot (from French beaucoup)
- Butter Bars - the insignia for a Second Lieutenant;
from the appearance of the individual yellow bars on each
shoulder or lapel.
- Chief - unofficial form of address for any Warrant
Officer (WO1 to CW5)
- Chow - food, or "breakfast/lunch/dinner".
Example: "Is it time for chow yet?"
- Class A uniform - the dress uniform (jacket and tie)
sometimes worn in office-type work, always when wearing a uniform
- Dash Ten - an operator's manual for any piece of
military equipment, vehicle or aircraft
- Deuce - common utility truck (2-1/2 ton
truckâ€”from "deuce-and-a-half") Same
- Digitals - the new ACU and MARPAT digitial camouflage
uniforms, which consists of a pattern of pixelated squares
- Enlisted personnel [man] [woman] - Generic term for
anyone who is not a warrant officer or commissioned
- Fatigues - archaic term for the work/combat
- Fatigue Jacket - the shirt of the fatigue uniform. The
outer jacket is called a Field Jacket.
- First Lieutenant, Second Award - a Captain, so named
because the insignia of grade consists of two parallel silver
- Front-Leaning Rest - the push-up position
- GI - Government Issue; originally used for government
supplied equipment, often used by Soldiers to refer to
- Gig line - a straight line on fatigues formed by the
fatigue jacket (actually a shirt), the belt buckle, and the fly
of the fatigue pants
- Gore-Tex - the camouflaged, hooded outer jacket which
has largely replaced the traditional field jacket, so named
because of the material used in construction
- Grade - pay grade of a soldier, currently E1-E9 for
enlisted personnel, W1-W4 for warrant officers,
O1-O10 for commissioned officers. Each grade may translate
to several ranks; i.e., Grade E4 may be a corporal
(command position) or specialist (non-command).
- Grunt - an infantryman. Historically associated with
the sound a Soldier makes when shouldering his field pack.
Collectively, Grunts are often referred to as
"Crunchies" or "Nugs"
- High Speed - a squared-away and highly motivated
soldier. Often used sarcastically when a Soldier is motivated but
doesn't really know what he's doing. As in "Slow
down High Speed." Often used in conjunction with "Low
Drag," essentially meaning the same thing.
- Klicks - kilometers; .6214 mi each
- John Wayne - (1) the act of improperly wearing a
helmet with the chinstrap unfastened, (2) a can opener
- KEVLAR - the ground troops ballistic helmet, so named
because it is made of Kevlar material
- Leg - derogatory term used in Airborne units meaning a
person or a military unit that is not qualified for parachute
operations. The "sanctioned" term is NAP (Non-Airborne
- Lifer - Career military person.
- Light Colonel - A Lieutenant Colonel; see Bird
- Ma Deuce - the Browning .50 caliber machinegun, a
staple of U.S. forces since WWII. Comes from the weapon's
actual designation, the "M2."
- Poge - pronounced with a long "o".
Derogatory term - A Soldier who spends all his time back at camp
and never on maneuvers. Variation: POG - Permanently On the
Ground, used esp. by aviation personnel for those who do not
- Pogey Bait - snack food
- Quarters - (a) military family housing, or (b)
doctor's direction to stay home from work, i.e. "he went
to sick call and got quarters."
- Rank - named title of soldier with a particular
grade and responsibility, such as Private,
Specialist, Staff Sergeant, Captain, etc. See
- Real World - return to civilian life; or: return to
USA from overseas
- Recruit - new soldier in training; esp. basic
training. Once the description of the lowest rank, which is now
- Short - soon to be released from service; usually 90
days or less (ie a 'two-digit midget')
- Shower shoe - a Soldier who has just come to the
forward unit from boot camp. Essentially the modern equivalent of
"FNG/Fucking New Guy"
- Side-Straddle Hop - jumping jacks
- SOS - Shit On a Shingle. Creamed chipped beef on
toast/biscuit; a breakfast staple
- Top - First Sergeant
- Trooper(s) - Used in lieu of "Soldier" when
referring to Airborne Soldiers
Field Slang (esp. Iraq usage)
- Blue Canoe - a portable (chemical) toilet
- Down Range - physically in a combat zone
- FOBbit - a soldier who doesn't leave the Forward
Operating Base (var. of "Hobbit")
- Hooch - soldier's dwelling in-country, from hut to
barracks (originated in Vietnam)
- Hajji - an Iraqi (Literally means a Muslim that has
gone on the Haj but US Soldiers use it for all Iraqis in
- In-Country - physically in a combat zone, see also
- The Sand Box - Iraq, particularly the southern