combat writing badge

M I L T E R M S : fingerspelled letter P semaphor letter P signal flag letter P P : PAPA

The emphasis of this educational reference is on words and phrases that appear in published works about war and military service; and amongst this jargon and slang, there is no pretense of objectivity or completeness, which may be readily found in official documents or government resources. This fragmentary opus is a work in progress ....

Caveat Lector: Vulgar, profane, and obscene dysphemisms, which have been used for every part of speech and rhetorical form, have not been Bowdlerized nor expurgated from this glossary, to the undoubted dismay of purists and the evident enrichment of our mother-tongue; so immature or hypersensitive persons should refrain from perusing this indubitably eclectic and contingently egregious compendium. Swearing is usually either juvenile or crass, but military personnel admire talent and respect skill, so the ability to create imaginative expletives and to craft uncommon scurrility is often appreciated.

go to MilTerms index

P :
abbreviation for Provisional, sometimes cited as "prov"; compare AD HOC. Also, an aircraft prefix under the Joint Service Designation System that represents 'pursuit' / 'patrol'. Also, abbreviation during the VIETNAM WAR for Piaster / Piastre (qv).

PA :

a term attributed to the Vietnamese by American GIs (and other non-linguists) as pidgin for the midday rest or afternoon nap that's traditionally taken during the hottest period of the day; it's properly called 'ngu trua' ("noon sleep") or 'nghi trua' ("noon rest") in Vietnam, and 'yut phak' or 'phak pawn klang wan' or 'phak tiang' ("midday pause) in Laos and Thailand. See KIP, COMBAT NAP, EYELID MAINTENANCE; compare NO REST. [nb: most cultures in torrid or tropical regions take a break during the hottest part of the day, then work later into the evening after being refreshed ... such as Spanish siesta for "sixth hour" (hora sexta), Chinese shu-she for "afternoon nap", and Indian bhaatghoom for "rice sleep" ... only mad dogs and soldiers are out in all conditions!]

Pacific Air Force; see PACOM.

the length of a full stride when MARCHing at regular QUICK TIME, typically calculated as thirty inches per step, measured heel to heel; see HALF STEP, SIDE STEP, BACK STEP.

Pacific Fleet; see WESPAC, EASTPAC, PACOM.

a wooden QUONSET HUT that was created to save metal resources during WWII; designed by Frank Hobbs, a mechanical engineer in Seattle Washington, it corrected the QUONSET's deficiencies: rust and thermal transfer. The PACIFIC HUT uses a distinctive triangular ridgeline vent cover, and its exterior is Celotex (the waterproof form of Masonite hardboard). Compare EMKAY HUT; see BLDG, BILLET. [v: British Nissen hut, Canadian Portaseal hut]

a person opposed to violence as a resort in settling disputes. Also, someone who refuses to perform military service, as a conscientious objector or nonresistant. See CO, CORB, NEUTRAL, SILENT MAJORITY, SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER, WARNING SHOT, FIFTH COLUMN, RUNNING DOG, NEW MOBE, HIPPIE, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME, PROTESTOR, KUM BA YAH, LOVE BEADS, WE SHALL OVERCOME, APPEASE, PEACE. [v: 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact (General Treaty for the Renunciation of War)] [nb: after WWI, many of the Lost Generation took the Oxford oath, which many fascists and communists viewed as implicit appeasement, if not an explicit warrant, for political hegemony leading to WWII; this pacifistic pledge declared: "We solemnly swear that we will never take up arms in defense of our country. We will never take up arms, even in defense of our country."; a more extensive pledge was promulgated by 1935: "If war comes, I will not fight; if war comes, I will not enlist; if war comes, I will not be conscripted; if war comes, I will do nothing to support it; if war comes, I will do everything to oppose it, so help me God."] [v: the pacifistic and pastoral Eloi were farmed for sustenance by the industrialized Morlocks, who lived underground, in The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1895)] [nb: "A state could not last long if its politicians and scholars were giving ear to doctrines of universal love during a time when national survival meant being realistic and suspicious about the intentions of its enemies." by Han Fei-Tzu (sometimes dubbed the Chinese Machiavelli); "Non-combatant: a dead Quaker." by Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce; "The scientific name for an animal that neither runs from nor fights its enemies is 'lunch'." by Michael Friedman]

indirect term for a captive or prisoner, used most often in SNATCH operations; see TONGUE, PW; compare GOO, BRACELET. [nb: the 5 S's of prisoner handling include: Search, Silence, Segregate, Safeguard, Speed; in that a prisoner and his intelligence value must be protected against escape, injury, and collusion, which means evacuating the captive(s) while the primary mission continues] Also, slang for genitals, especially male, such as being nice or neat, large or lumpy, heavy or handsome, when exhibited by revealing clothing; see PRICK, CU, SHORT ARM, POGUE, POGY BAIT, ONIONS, STRANGE, SPLIT, SNATCH, HAPPY VALLEY.

C-82 cargo aircraft; see BIRD.

PAcific COMmand, a unified command based in Hawaii reporting directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and successor to General MacArthur's General Headquarters Far East Command in Tokyo during the KOREAN WAR; consisting of U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), Pacific Air Force (PACAF), which components were responsible for the entire Asia and Pacific theater, including Oceania and Australasia, from the arctic to the antarctic.


PAC-3 :
Patriot Advanced Capability - 3, an improved version of the PATRIOT anti-theater surface-to-air ballistic missile with an anti-ballistic missile capability.

nickname for the Landing Signals Officer (LSO) on-board a FLATTOP, due to the instructional wands or directional paddles used to communicate with PILOTs; also called "Landing Safety Officer". The crew of a flight deck includes: "red shirts"= weaponry / ordnance; "white shirts"= safety; "blue shirts"= un-/secure (tie, CHOCK); "purple shirts"= fuel / POL; "green shirts"= launch / catapult; "brown shirts"= plane captain (control); "yellow shirts"= direct movement. See TAILHOOK, BURBLE, NIGHT TRAP, WAVE OFF, WIGWAG, HAND SIGN, FLATTOP.

an idiomatic expression, used as an injunction or reproof, meaning to manage one's own affairs independently, or to mind one's own business (MYOB); compare PUT IN ONE'S OAR; see LAISSEZ FAIRE / LAISSER FAIRE, LIBERTARIAN / LIBERTARIANISM, WHITE PROPAGANDA, WET DREAM.

designation given to Can Tho / Binh Thuy Control and Reporting Post (CRP).

a recessed EYE, set flush with the surface of a DECK or BULKHEAD, lifted from its mounting support plate for use as a tie-down or BELAY point; also called "bolt eye" or "ringbolt". See CLEAT, CLAMP, HOOKUP, BOLLARD, D-RING, DEADEYE.

a nonexistent object that a novice or tyro is required to obtain in the same manner as any other SNIPE HUNT objective; compare MERMAID, DRAGON.

a popular Thai dish consisting of select meats, minced and stir-fried with garlic, basil, and chili peppers, served over a bed of hot rice and topped with a fried egg; compare CHOP SUEY, LOP SLOP, ORIENTAL CRUD.

a temple or sacred building found throughout the Far East, usually a pyramidal tower that has upward-curving roofs over each of the individual stories; as derived from 'dwelling of idols' [v: stupa; cf: ziggurat]. Also, any of several former gold or silver coins of southern India, usually bearing the figure of a pagoda temple, first issued in the late 16th century, then later by British, French, and Dutch traders in the region; see LEGAL TENDER.

physical suffering or other distressing sensation indicative of severe emotional torment, mental anguish, or bodily injury; as derived from "penalty" or "punishment" [cf: pathos]. Also, that agony sufficient to instill hard or difficult lessons, such that their learning will be permanently imprinted upon the individual, his kinesthesia or psychesthesia; encapsulated as "no pain, no gain" and reconciled as "the sensation of weakness leaving the body", relative to his threshold (or limen stimulus). Although Buddhists perceive suffering as the normal human condition, the Judeo-Christian ethos seeks either redemption or gratification, punishment or fulfillment from such undertaking; all finding it transformative. See TORTURE, TORTURE CHAMBER, FIELD EXPEDIENT FACIAL, ROPE TRICK, PLAYING THE XYLOPHONE, SONG AND DANCE, NECKLACE, HAIRCUT AND MANICURE, WATER TORTURE, SCAVENGER'S DAUGHTER, BOOT, DECAPITATION, BRAINWASHING, REEDUCATION, CONCENTRATION CAMP, GULAG, SQUEEZE, SWEAT, THIRD DEGREE, BASHING, GAUNTLET, FROGMARCH, HOLD ONE'S FEET TO THE FIRE, FALL GUY, CAT AND MOUSE, DEATH OF A THOUSAND CUTS, TWIST IN THE WIND, GARROTE, KEELHAUL, OVER A BARREL, ROUGHSHOD, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, WHITE-KNUCKLE, BITE THE BULLET, WALKING GHOST, ENHANCED INTERROGATION, CHL, STOIC / STOICISM, REFERRED PAIN, PAIN SCALE, SCAR, THEATER OF CRUELTY, HARD-ASS, ONIONS, MOXIE, GUTS, DIEHARD, DROP, PUSH-UP, FRONT LEANING REST, SQUAT, JUMPING JACK, AIRBORNE SHUFFLE, EXERCISE, SHIT LIST, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, BLANKET PARTY, GI SHOWER, FALL GUY, TS CARD, BUS TRANSFER, SYMPATHY, CANDY, RANGER CANDY, CHEERIOS, BISCUIT, DOPE, STONED, COLORS. [nb: "Of course, behaviorism works. So does torture." by W.H. Auden, A Certain World (1970); "If pain could have cured us, we should long ago have been saved." by George Santayana, The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense (1905-6); "Know how sublime a thing it is / To suffer and be strong." by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Light of the Stars in Voices of the Night (1839); "Out of life's school of war: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."; "What does not destroy us, we destroy, and it makes us stronger." by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche; "The person who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him is extremely lucky, since from that point on, he's fully alive." paraphrase of John Berryman; "There are no gains without pains." by Benjamin Franklin Poor Richard's Almanack (1745); "No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown." by William Penn (1669); "Suffering is but another name for the teaching of experience, which is the parent of instruction and the schoolmaster of life." by Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus); "Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge." by Simone Weil (1943); "This horror of pain is a rather low instinct and ... I can't recall any case of pain which didn't, on the whole, enrich life." by Malcolm Muggeridge (11 Aug 1963); "Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men." by John F. Kennedy (1963); "Pain is temporary; pride is forever." military trainee mantra] [v: via dolorosa] [nb: it has been alleged in the modern era that the dedicated and driven Type-A personality, or compulsive workaholic, is both self-destructive and counterproductive, and this thesis contends that the compassion and sensitivity exhibited in the Type-B Metro-Man persona are preferrable traits; despite this theory, research has shown that an invincible Man of Steel attitude, or the Super-Masculine personality (cf: MACHO), produces positive results: better healing from injury, faster recovery from trauma, increased energy and endurance, more numerous and more flexible coping mechanisms ... in short, being strong and tough makes people more confident and contented]

something, such as a drug (analgesic) or treatment (acupuncture or acupressure), that relieves PAIN, mitigates suffering, or allays anxiety; see ASA, APC, RANGER CANDY, TAR, THAI STICK, CHINA WHITE, CHEERIOS, BISCUIT, DOPE, JUNK, SMACK, HOT SHOT, BAD MEDICINE.


a measurement rating, indexed by age and awareness, that indicates the relative severity of a patient's discomfort, being an intensity quale that's judged subjectively by the reporter or objectively by a trained observer, and scored by psychosomatic symptoms; assessing the pain threshold, determining the alleviation interval, and stimulating sensational evocations are useful diagnostic techniques. Contrary to popular opinion, conditioning does not enhance someone's ability to manage pain; pain tolerance is highly individualistic, varying by stimuli and recurrence, fitness and temperament, age and sex, but is significantly influenced by cultural norms. See SQUEEZE, SWEAT, THIRD DEGREE, BASHING, BITE THE BULLET, SUCK IT UP, MAN-UP, WHITE-KNUCKLE, MANLY ARTS, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, REFERRED PAIN, PAINKILLER, SYMPATHY. [v: dolorimeter, palpometer, algesiometer, algesichronometer, algometer, algonometer, algesimeter, algometer; cf: Scoville heat unit, dol index, ASTA (American Spice Trade Association) pungency unit, Schmidt sting pain index, Starr sting pain index]

to scan and select or to identify and acquire a target; to designate and track an object or objective with a RADAR, laser, or infrared (IR) weapons system; also called "skin paint" or "las" (shortening of LASER), and distinguished from ILLUM, which guides the weapon onto its target. See LOCK-ON, LASER AIMING DEVICE, GLD, SALH, PAVEWAY, LANTIRN, LADAR, MILES, SQUAWK, PGM, ECM. Also, a viscous chemical substance, typically limited in hue to subdued or primary pigments, as used to coat or protect, rejuvenate or refresh, renew or revitalize, mask or disguise various old or worn, damaged or blemished, deficient or obsolete components of military inventory so as to improve their appearance, extend their function, or make them more uniform; see WAR PAINT, DAZZLE, KHAKI, OD, OG, HAZE GRAY, GRAYBACK, COUNTERSHADING, CAMO, FEATHERS, SPIT 'n' POLISH, COLORS. [nb: "If it moves, salute it. If it doesn't move, pick it up. If it can't be picked up, paint it!" is a traditional military maxim that was re-interpreted by combatants during the Gulf War as: "If it moves, shoot it. If it stops moving, shoot it again. If it obstructs the field of fire, clear it off the range.", and was politicized as: "The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: 'If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.'" by Ronald Wilson Reagan in the 15 August 1986 address to the White House Conference on Small Business]

any of various games in which the participants, often divided into opposing teams, mark or tag one another with water-soluble dyes, as dispensed in pellets shot from air guns or as dispersed from compressed-air grenades; a competition, such as various sports or simulated combat, that's scored by the use of dye-filled gelatinous capsules. Influenced by Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game" and inspired by their own safaris, a threesome of friends (Hayes Noel, Bob Gurnsey, and Charles Gaines) invented PAINTBALL in 1981 so that they could stalk and hunt each other in the wilds of New Hampshire, recreating the adrenaline rush that came with animal hunting. This is a mixed-gender, non-contact, extreme sport of individual or team competition that's delimited by space (indoor or outdoor) and/or time (hours or season), requiring participants to use marking devices that employ non-toxic and biodegradable polymers while wearing bodily protection. PAINTBALL technology is used by military and para-military forces, law enforcement and security organizations to supplement their training, as well as using it in non-lethal responses to agitators or rioters. See EXERCISE, FTX, NTC, JRTC, RED FLAG, KILL HOUSE, PLAY THE GAME, GAMBIT, MOCK-COMBAT, WAR GAMES, FLOWER WAR, BATRACHOMYOMACHIA. [nb: "I don't know how the Marines do it ... but the COC is loaded with strac-looking Marines. The senior NCOs all look like NFL lineman. The junior officers look like marathon runners, and the mid-grade officers look like NFL halfbacks ... the senior officers are lean, tanned, and serious ... deadly serious. The place exudes the warrior spirit. If you are a civilian, I can't explain it, and won't apologize for it. If you are a veteran, you don't need to have it explained ... the warrior spirit. These Marines are in a street fight. They don't have the word 'lose' in their vocabulary. They've been bloodied and their anger is up. The intensity in the COC is contagious. This is a tribe of warriors. They exist to close with and destroy the enemy. They have their tribal mores, rituals, and rites. Their enemy has desecrated members of the tribe and taunted the Marines. They've asked for a fight. The Marines are in full pursuit and absolutely determined to annihilate their foe. I'm sure that sounds harsh to politically correct ears, and those for whom this type of violence is anachronistic. It does not sound foreign here ... it is status quo. We are in a violent land, with an evil element, and they are having violence visited upon them. There is no room here for half measures. This is a test of wills ... one side will prevail. That is clearly understood and never discussed ... it is obvious. We aren't playing paintball ... we are at war." by Jerry Wood, chaplain (2004)]

a cotton or silk outfit of loose-fitting trousers and jacket that's worn by both sexes in the Orient; a style of clothing that was introduced in the 19th century to Western civilization as lounging or sleeping attire; as derived from "legged garment" (Hindi) ... 'black pajamas' (AO BA BA) were a putative UNIFORM for the irregular guerrillas of the Viet Cong (VC) or National Liberation Front (NLF). See NON / NON LA, HEADGEAR; compare CHEONGSAM, AO DAI, KIMONO, HANBOK. [cf: shalwar kameez, sarong, lavalava, pareu/pareo]

that group of absolutely loyal defenders who are more dedicated to the military than to the country, believing that protection of the military is the same as protection of the nation, and that making the military look good is the same as making the nation look good; from that ancient coterie of trusted BODYGUARDs, such as eunuchs, also called "Praetorian Guard". This myopic trait is characteristic of LIFERs, who willingly excuse or cover-up military mistakes, expecting reciprocity for their sacrifices, and who are often disillusioned by the disregard of such an impersonal institution. See RING-KNOCKER, BRASS-COLLAR, MILICRAT, STRAIGHT ARROW, BRASS EAR, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN, RHIP, TOE THE LINE, PARTY LINE, HEADQUARTERISM; compare PROVOST GUARD, CONSTABULARY, POLITROOPER, ROGUE. [nb: "If one sticks too rigidly to one's principles, one would hardly see anybody." by Agatha Christie; "I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country." by Edward Morgan Forster]

M-109A6 self-propelled 155mm HOWITZER.

a stake or picket, as of a fence. Also, an enclosing or confining barrier; an enclosure or enclosed area, as if encircled or encompassed by pales. Also, limits or bounds; the district or region so defined or designated; see BEYOND THE PALE. Also, in heraldry, a central vertical stripe on an escutcheon; see DI / DUI, CREST, BADGE, SIGNATURE. [v: Heraldry]

a fence of pales or stakes that are pointed at the top and set firmly in the ground in a close row with others to form an enclosure or a defense; as derived from 'paling' (stake). See FRAISE, CHEVAL-DE-FRISE, STOCKADE.

a cloth used for covering or spreading over a coffin, casket, bier, catafalque, or tomb; as derived from the piece of cloth used in ancient Greece and Rome as an outer wrapping for the body [pallium, himation, shroud], being a cloak or tunic, mantle or cape, vestment or garment. Also, the American flag or national standard used to drape the coffin or casket of a servicemember (MIL-PERS) or VETERAN during a funeral; see COLORS, STARS 'n' STRIPES, ENSIGN. Also, a COFFIN or casket, case or box used for burying a corpse; see TRANSFER CASE, BOX JOB. [nb: the canton or constellation of the US flag should be placed so as to lay over the left shoulder of the deceased when draped, which originates with the proper wear of the ancient Roman cloak]

the Greek goddess of war, whose bust served as the symbol of the separate Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and Women's Army Corps (WAC); see GI JANE, SKIRT. [nb: an epithet of the Greek goddess Athene, and sometimes also of the Roman Minerva, with two main explanations of its origin: Apollodorus relates that Athene accidentally killed her playmate Pallas, daughter of the river god Triton, and that, in token of her grief, she placed her friend's name before her own; in another tale, Pallas was a giant and the father of Athene, so when he attempted to violate his daughter, she flayed him and took his skin for her aegis, his wings for her shoulders, and his name to add to her own majesty]

one of several persons who attend or carry the COFFIN at a funeral; see BOX JOB, FUNERAL PACE, DEAD MARCH, TAPS, COLORBEARER.

Pouch Attachment Ladder System, being a webbing interlacement for modular pouch attachments on tactical vests, backpacks, and other field gear; although PALS was invented and patented by the Army's Natick research labs, and has been manufactured under proprietary contract [including Specialty Defense, Arc'teryx, Armor Holdings, High Ground Gear (Ehmke Manufacturing), and Eagle Industries], the design concept has gone generic, with non-military styles proliferating throughout civilian markets. To compensate for problems with the interlaced straps, a Commercial Off-The-Shelf alternative known as "MOLLEminus" has laser-cut the PALS grid-work directly from the proprietary vest or pack material, which adaptive practice claims to make the slots stronger, with less bulk and lighter weight, more reliable and less defective, without stress points and in select camouflage colors or patterns. See ALICE, MOLLE, ILBE, WEB GEAR.


an international RADIO/TELEPHONE distress call that does not involve the imminent loss of life or the impending loss of property; an international distress signal used to inform others about something vital to their safety; also represented as "pan-pan", compare MAYDAY, SECURITE, see SOS, CSEL, GUARD, BLIND TRANSMISSION, RTP, PROWORD. Also, the leaf of the BETEL, that's also a BETEL NUT mixture compounded for chewing.

hot gruel made of cornmeal, Army or Navy crackers mashed in boiling water, with the addition of ginger and wine, as given to weak patients in FIELD HOSPITALs from the Mexican War through WWII; also called "ginger panada" and BULLY SOUP, the name means "boiled soak". Its invention is credited to Eliza Harris of the CIVIL WAR Sanitary Commission, but Mary Anne "Mother" Bickerdyke, a volunteer Union nurse, was also noted for dispensing it in the underequipped facilities of that time. See SOUP, WASH, IRON RATIONS, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, CHOW, BEANS, RATIONS; compare STONE SOUP, DUCK SOUP.

designation given to Da Nang Control and Reporting Center (CRC). Also, locus of Operation JUST CAUSE (20 Dec 1989 - 3 Jan 1990). Also, training area for the U.S. Army Jungle Warfare Center and the School of the Americas.

the improved outer sole design for JUNGLE BOOTS that was developed to replace the Vibram "Montagna" outsole pattern during the post-Vietnam era; this complex design of oppositionally slanted lugs increased traction by 20% and decreased impact transference by 20% ... this opposed-angle lug arrangement also had a tendency to shed mud and debris, instead of clogging (which accumulation increased weight and decreased footing). This improvement was constructed by the same direct molded sole (DMS) method developed for the original design. [v: self-cleaning lugs]

the landing of an aircraft by dropping flat onto the RUNWAY; a "pancake landing". Also, the crash landing of an aircraft, especially a battle damaged BIRD that's lacking the fine controls for a normal arrival; compare AUGER-IN, NOSEDIVE, GROUND LOOP, ALUMINUM RAIN, TURN TURTLE; see TOUCHDOWN, ALS, AUTO-ROTATE, BOUNCE, CHOPPER, BIRD. [nb: the distinction between a head-first AUGER-IN (or NOSEDIVE) and a belly-flopping PANCAKE is less about aircraft orientation than the potential survivability of passengers and crew] [nb: during the period of aeronautical experimentation, before powered flight was successful, headfirst or nose-down crashes were so common that the Wright brothers characterized their efforts as "well drilling"] Also, to flatten or be flattened, as by impact during mishap. Also, a thin bread or flat cake that's made from batter (sometimes unleavened) and fried on both sides using a pan or griddle; also called hotcake, griddlecake, flapjack, slapjack, battercake, buckwheat cake, johnnycake, jonakin, flannel cake, journey cake, funnel cake, hoecake, crepe, latke, corn cake [cf: ashcake], oatcake, bannock, waffle, flatbread, fritter, friedcake, and known in the naval services as a "blank flange"; see HARDTACK, SINKER, PITA, SANDWICH.


see CHICKEN BAR. [nb: despite the obvious implication, not a drinking establishment for desperate alcoholics!]

an alarm signal or distress call that's used in an emergency to notify others and to summon help; such an alert device was first used as an emergency bell system on WWII bombers, such as the B-17 FLYING FORTRESS and B-24 LIBERATOR. See MAYDAY, SOS, SECURITE, PAN, CHICKEN LITTLE; compare EGADS BUTTON.


a self-important, pretentious, or pompous official; being a pseudo-Latin word for a local potentate that was coined by the English dramatist Samuel Foote. Compare POOH BAH; see TICKET-PUNCHER, RING-KNOCKER, MILICRAT, ACETATE COMMANDO, CHAIRBORNE, PROFESSOR, RAINMAKER, WONK, WALLAH, SANTA CLAUS, HONCHO, ACTING JACK, GADGET, TOP DOG, MOTHER HEN, GO TO GUY, CHIEF, OLD MAN, BRASS HAT. [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs] [nb: "And there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the Grand Panjandrum himself, with the little red button at top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots." (1755)]

slang for an intelligence gathering patrol or a small unit foray into denied territory for physical proof of the enemy's presence, status, or activity, such as photographic or documentary evidence, or other artifacts; as derived from the pre-Vietnam-era collegiate prank that sought trophies as validation of sexual prowess. Compare SNATCH; see SRI, I&R, LRSP, RECON, HIT AND RUN.

branch insignia of U.S. Army
Public Affairs
Public Affairs
(pee-ay-oh; not "pow") Public Affairs Office/Officer; also called Public Information Office/Officer (PIO), being the military "cheerleading" component responsible for interacting with non-military entities and elements, including manufacturers and schools, service and news organizations; see POLISHING THE TURD, CIVILIAN. [cf: flack] [nb: "The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armory of the modern commander." by T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia)]

the word assigned to represent the letter "P" in the international phonetic alphabet; at various times in different spelling schemes, it has also been acrophonetically represented as Pup and Peter. This is a "governing flag" in US Navy signals that also represents "preparatory". See ALPHABET SOUP, PHONETIC ALPHABET. [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags]

the international signal flags for the letters 'P' and 'H', being a pair of BURGEEs that are flown to recall shipmates from shore, signaling "all hands return to ship". Compare BLUE PETER.

an elderly Asian man; term borrowed from Japanese. Compare ONG; see MAMA-SAN, BABY-SAN.


a derisive reference to the essential REPORTs and necessary FORMs that enable the military to function; also spelled "paper-bullet", and sometimes called a "paper grenade", they've been known as such since the American CIVIL WAR. Although such time-consuming paperwork is disdained by "real soldiers", it is an inescapable evil since documentation is crucial for resupply, allocation, allotment, and every other particular of governmental functioning. In fact, since it requires more than 90% of MIL-PERS to support the less than 10% combat element, it can be reasonably argued that the "real war" is actually fought on paper from behind a desk! See SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS, VOLLEY, PING-PONG, WHITE PAPER, CC, FLIMSY, MANIFOLD SET, ANNEX, MR, RBI, FINDING, BUCK SLIP, LOG, 201 FILE, WAR DIARY, MANIFEST, SNOWFLAKE, RED TAPE, FILE 13, ORIFICE, PENCIL PUSHER, RAPPORTEUR, ACETATE COMMANDO, BEAN-COUNTER, CLERKS 'n' JERKS, MILICRAT. [v: dossier; cf: bout de papier, aide-memoire] [nb: "If it isn't documented then it doesn't exist!"]

slang for the specialist who creates false documents and associated POCKET LITTER so as to backstop the disguised LEGEND of a clandestine operative; see COUNTERFEIT.


a nation that has the appearance of power but is actually weak and ineffectual, as attributed to the USA by PRC during both undeclared wars in Korea and Vietnam. Phrase originated by Stalin in reference to atomic bomb deterrents without the will to employ the weapons; later adopted by Mao in similar context. See WHITE ELEPHANT, RICE CHRISTIAN, BEARD THE LION, YELLOW DOG, WHITE MICE.

documentary evidence, verifiable or ascribable; the traceable accountability of each authentication and every authorization; see CYA, RED TAPE, ACCOUNTABILITY, RESPONSIBILITY, FORM, MANIFOLD SET, REPORT, WHITE PAPER, ANNEX, MR, RBI, FINDING, LOG, MANIFEST, JOURNAL, NEED TO KNOW, COMPARTMENTALIZATION, EYES ONLY. [nb: "If it isn't documented then it doesn't exist!"]

see SNOWFLAKE, PAPER BULLET, BUCK SLIP, RBI, REPORT, FORM, LOG, 201 FILE, MORNING REPORT, WAR DIARY, MANIFEST, ANNEX, MR, FINDING, WHITE PAPER, MANIFOLD SET, RED TAPE, PAPER TRAIL, FILE 13, DUSTBIN, BURN BAG, PENCIL PUSHER, RAPPORTEUR, ACETATE COMMANDO, BEAN-COUNTER, CLERKS 'n' JERKS, MILICRAT. [nb: the ultimate view of the bureaucratic world is that it's "documents all the way down" to the unspecified alpha point, which echoes the ancient cosmology of primeval mankind, who believed that the earth rides on the back of a turtle, and when asked what the turtle stood on, replied: "It's turtles all the way down!"]

a combining form extracted from 'parachute' [(parer + chute) derives from 'sustain' + 'fall'] that's used to form compound words (eg: paramedic, paraglider, PARA-CORD, PARA WINGS, PARA-DROP, PARATROOPER) denoting a connection or association with parachutes; see AIRBORNE. Also, a prefix meaning 'beside', 'along side of' or 'at one side of', occurring in loanwords from Greek (eg: parabola, paragraph, parallel, paralysis); and by extension, designating words that are auxiliary to or derivative of their base (eg: parody, paronomasia, paranoia); also used in the naming of ancillary or subsidiary roles (eg: paraprofessional, paralegal, paramilitary). Also, a combining form meaning 'ward off', 'guard against' or 'prepare against', occurring in loanwords from French or Italian (eg: parasol). Also, a monetary unit of Yugoslavia, being an aluminum-bronze coin representing the hundredth part of a DINAR; see LEGAL TENDER. Also, a former copper coin of Turkey, being the fortieth part of a PIASTER; term derived from 'piece'; see LEGAL TENDER.

T-11 Advanced Tactical
T-11 parachute
a parabolic or ram-air system, using T-10 28' primary and T-7A 24' reserve canopies [from T-4 @28' canopy w/22' s-lines to MC-1 @35' canopy w/30' s-lines], for vertical delivery of men or equipment; with extensive jargon, including: pack tray, belly band, saddle, quick release with safety fork, Capewell, RISERS, SHROUD or suspension lines, STATIC LINE, DROGUE, CUT-AWAY, STREAMER, Mae West, NYLON LETDOWN, PLF, STICK, DINGLEBERRY, FLIGHT BAG, JUMP BOOTS, JUMP SPEED, AIRHEAD, DZ, HOLLYWOOD BLAST, HEAVY DROP, FREE-FALL, GANG-BANG, etc. The JUMP SCHOOL in Vietnam was located at Dong Ba Thin and Long Thanh, including Military Free-Fall (MFF) and High-Altitude Low-Opening (HALO) training (with steerable "T U" and "Double L" canopy modifications) from 1969 for SPECIAL OPERATIONS. Combat jumps during the VIETNAM WAR include: 173rd Abn Bde ("Junction City"), 5th SFGAbn ("Harvest Moon", "Blackjack", "Blue Max"), and SOG (13 STATIC LINE, 5 HALO). US personnel who participated in these combat jumps are authorized to wear an "arrowhead" device on their Vietnam Service Medal (VSM), and a battle star for each combat jump on their WINGS [nb: informal wear finally approved 25 Oct 1983]. Advisors to ARVN units on "jump status" (see JSD) were usually awarded Vietnamese parachutist's badges equivalent to their own service rating. The US Army parachutist's badge was designed by William P. Yarborough so as not to resemble PILOT'S WINGS (some claim it resembles a "flying ice-cream cone"), approved on 10 March 1941; and was initially intended to be worn only while actively on "jump status", but paratrooper pride persuaded the Army to make the award permanent. The novice or basic parachutist badge was standard until 1949, when the senior (star @30+ jumps) and master (star in wreath @65+ jumps) ratings were appended. After WWII, the Navy RIGGER badge was modified into the USN/USMC gold parachutist badge, and a new RIGGER skill rating device was adopted; both finally authorized on 12 July 1963. Also called "blooming sky flower" or "sky blossom" [RAKKASAN], the term 'parachute' (parer + chute) derives from 'sustain' + 'fall'. Legally, a parachutist is a noncombatant descending from an aircraft (damaged or not), while a PARATROOPER is an armed combatant, but this pretty distinction of the Geneva Accords has never been respected in any war. See AB, ABN, AIRBORNE, PARATROOPER, PIR, PIB, PRCT, FREE-FALL, RIP-CORD, D-RING, AMFFPC, VWT, MFF, AIRHEAD, AIRDROP, BLAST, HOLLYWOOD BLAST, HIT THE SILK, GANG-BANG, DZ, JUMPMASTER, AIRBORNE SHUFFLE, SQUAT, JUMP TOWER, ALMOST AIRBORNE, THREE-IN-ONE, JUMP SCHOOL, BLACK HATS, RED HATS, JUMPER, HANG TOUGH, JUMPIN' JUNKIE, GOLDEN KNIGHTS, CHUTING STARS, LEAP FROGS, 1st ALLIED AIRBORNE, XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS, ANGELS, ALL AMERICAN, SCREAMING EAGLES, GERONIMO, CURRAHEE, RAKKASAN, PARADICE, THE GOLDEN TALON, THUNDER FROM HEAVEN, SKY SOLDIERS, TRIPLE NICKEL, LUCKY THIRTEENTH, ROMMEL'S ASPARAGUS, DEVILS IN BAGGY PANTS, IRON MIKE, CATERPILLAR CLUB, FLIGHT BAG, DINGLEBERRY, JUMP POCKETS, JUMP BOOTS, OVAL, JSD, TAB, FLASH, WINGS, CENTURY WINGS, BLACK WINGS, TRASH, PROP BLAST, AIRBORNE SPIRIT; compare PATHFINDER, RIGGER, GLIDER, AIR ASSAULT. [nb: it has been reported in several oral and unit histories on WWII, especially Operation Comet/Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge, that the PARACHUTE canopies used in aerial resupply AIRDROPs were color coded: red canopy = ammo/explosive, yellow canopy = food/clothing, blue (or white) canopy = medical; others have also noted that camo canopy = paratroopers, white canopy = aircrew. This arrangement seems to have been experimental, used only in Europe, since there is no mention of this practice in either North Africa (Torch) or Sicily (Husky), or the Pacific; furthermore, no such scheme was followed in either Korea or Vietnam. Although camouflage canopies were used (especially by special operations parachutists), the normal operational canopy was (and remains) green; white canopies are used in training. Aside from these several books mentioning color coded AIRDROPs, I am unable to authenticate this phenomenon by interview, personal experience, or other diligent inquiry] [v: Parachuting Terms, and Parachuting History]

a hand-launched pyrotechnic illumination projectile that descends more slowly due to being suspended beneath a small parachute; this SLAP-FLARE is also known as an "umbrella flare". Compare PEN FLARE, see FLARE.

an open-ended parabolic float, often rigged in pairs, that can be attached to a sunken object and lifted to the surface by inflation; because it's not completely enclosed (eg: CAISSON, CAMEL, PONTOON), maintaining proper balance or equilibrium is crucial, but this control factor is offset by the convenience in a less-bulky setup and more streamlined dismantling.



contraction of PARAchute CORD, a thin, multi-strand, sheathed suspension (SHROUD) line used to connect the harness risers to the canopy of a PARACHUTE, but widely adopted for many other utilitarian applications, from tie-downs and connectors to lanyards and boot laces; also called "p-cord", "550-cord", "dummy cord", or "Ranger cord". See CORD, SPAGHETTI, GUY, LINE, ROPE. [nb: 550 is the rated breaking strength (in pounds) of a previously unstressed cord of this type]

originating as a form of TRENCH ART among veterans of the SANDBOX, these SOUVENIRs attested to one's status as having "been there and done that" (BTDT) but they have since evolved into a SUPPORT THE TROOPS symbol that can be worn by any PATRIOT or sold by non-profit groups (eg: VETERANS' ASSOCIATIONs) for fund raising projects; made of one or more continuous lengths of parachute cord in a variety of colors that's plaited onto a small quick-release Delrin [acetal resin by DuPont] buckle, sized about nine inches long by three-quarters of an inch wide (containing approximately twelve feet of 550 cord), it's a fashion accessory that can also serve as a survival resource; also called "honor cord bracelet" and "survival cord bracelet". See BRACELET, ID BRACELET, BANGLE, TROPHY, SHORT SNORTER, CHALLENGE COIN, EARRING, TATTOO, MEAT MARKER, SHORT-TIMER PIN, YELLOW RIBBON. [cf: a "key to paradise" that's engraved with the name of a martyr is presented by a mullah to an acolyte when dispatched on a fatwa or jihad]

a public procession or promenade held in honor of an event or person, usually involving the display of military formations; see QUICK TIME, DOUBLE TIME, ROUTE STEP, FUNERAL PACE, MARK TIME, CADENCE, DRILL, SCHOOL OF THE SOLDIER, SCHOOL OF THE SQUAD, MARCH, DEAD MARCH. Also, the assembly of military personnel for review or inspection; see PASS IN REVIEW, TROOP THE LINE, EYES RIGHT, COLOR GUARD, CLOSE ORDER, MISSING MAN FORMATION. Also, the place or location for such ceremony, called PARADE GROUND, as derived from "stopping place"; see GRINDER, compare ASSEMBLY AREA. Also, an ostentatious display or continual passing [v: triumph, ovation]. Also, to tour one's area of responsibility, visiting each post, checking each station, as both verification and assurance; see CQ, OOD, SDO, DETAIL, GUARDHOUSE, EVOLUTION.

in NavSpeak, an assembly area designated for formations and drill, inspection and exercise while aboard ship; a clear area of DECK, such as the FANTAIL or POOP DECK, QUARTERDECK or WELL DECK. See GRINDER, MANNING THE RAILS, COMPANY STREET, ASSEMBLY AREA, PARADE GROUND.

a large open area used to array military units for display or review by senior commanders and visiting dignitaries; also known as "parade field" or PARADE. See GRINDER, PARADE DECK, MANNING THE RAILS; compare COMPANY STREET, ASSEMBLY AREA. [cf: esplanade]

a modified posture of ATTENTION in which the feet are spread shoulder width apart, head and eyes forward, and the unarmed hand(s) is placed behind the back; introduced during the American CIVIL WAR as "stand at ease". See THE BIBLE, BY THE BOOK, DRILL. [nb: despite its similarity to AT EASE, the "Simon says" rules of drill prohibit unauthorized movements or talking, and troops may not SALUTE or be dismissed from this posture]

unofficial pocket patch of
the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
506th PIR
a creative misspelling of 'paradise' and 'pair of dice' (which are practically synonymous in the degenerate mind of combat jumpers!) utilized as an informal byword by the PARATROOPERs of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during WWII; an unofficial pocket patch of the unit showed a pair of dice joined by a zero, representing their numeric designation, with an eagle and parachute to represent their AIRBORNE status. In the post-WWII era, this unit has also usurped the BAND OF BROTHERS expression.

transforming or transposing the representative example that serves as a model or pattern; this expression was brought into common usage (ca1962) by Thomas Kuhn, a physicist and historian who advocated transitional and non-traditional interpretations of problem-solving schema or modalities ... regular approaches and standard methodologies tend to reach critical incidence when normal solutions can no longer be adapted to the established patterns, hence every intransigent institution ultimately generates its own collapse. See CAT SKINNER, BLACK SWAN EVENT, UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE, THE ROAR OF BUTTERFLY WINGS, LAW OF AVERAGES, GAMBLER'S FALLACY, BOYDLOOP, LEAST RESISTANCE, PRINCIPLE OF LEAST FORCE, LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS, LORENTZ CONTRACTION, LORENTZ TRANSFORMATION, LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, OUTSIDE THE BOX, MILITARY MIND.


nickname for the model village created and sustained by Project Humidor on an island near DaNang, wherein its utopian prosperity was used for DISINFORMATION PROPAGANDA when SNATCH captives (Loki) were briefly exposed to this putative Shangri-La by SECRET AGENT actors, before being safely repatriated to NVN. The so-called "Sacred Sword of the Patriot League" (qv) was a simulated anti-communist movement ostensibly living an idealized VN lifestyle in the northern homeland while preserving ancient traditions, but was actually a notional deception designed to inspire proletarian rebellion. This PsyWar OP33 project was patterned after the WWII OSS "Morale Operations Division". See URGENCY, PSYOPS, SOG.


a variable that acquires, or is assigned, a value during a computation, calculation, distribution, or other formulaic process. Also, any determining characteristic or factor, especially when determining limits, boundaries, or guidelines (ie: parameters); compare PERIMETER.

designating an organization operating in place of, as a supplement to, or in a manner resembling a regular military force; see STRIKER, IRREGULARs, MILITIA, GUERRILLA, AIWC, UW. [cf: fyrd, landsturm]

the excessive distrust or baseless suspicion of others, their actions or intentions, especially a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions that ascribe hostile intentions to other persons, which false beliefs are often linked with a sense of mission. Paranoid schizophrenics tend to believe that they are hated or that someone is conspiring against them, and that this conviction, as a component of fear, warrants their violent response (transference) as a self-protective defense mechanism that "punishes" their imagined attackers ... such channeling of intrapsychic hostility into social hostility is often represented in the worst cases (eg: persecution, atrocity, holocaust, genocide, etc) by a sense of personal superiority, higher morality, or supreme authority. See FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT, OBJECTIFICATION, CONVERSION SYMPTOMS, FLASHBACK, BLACKOUT, TELESCOPING, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME, PROFILE, CREDIBILITY GAP, SIEGE MENTALITY, SPIDER SENSE. [nb: "If you think they're out to get you then they probably are!"; "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get you!"; "If they're out to get you then it doesn't matter if you're paranoid!"; "You're not paranoid if they're really out to get you!" by Erich Fromm; "Even paranoids have enemies." by Delmore Schwartz; "Even a paranoid can have enemies." by Henry Kissinger; "Our occasional madness is less wonderful than our occasional sanity." by George Santayana; "Sanity is like a clearing in the jungle where the humans agree to meet from time to time and behave in certain fixed ways that even a baboon could master." by Wilfrid Sheed; "A paranoid is someone who knows what's actually going on." by William Burroughs; "Paranoia is the only correct state of mind and proper form of conduct for any knowledgeable person who is aware of all the facts." anonymous]

a defensive wall or elevation, as of earth or stone, raised in a fortification; see BREASTWORK, REVETMENT, EMPLACEMENT. Also, an elevation rising above the main wall or rampart of a permanent fortification. Also, a low protective wall or barrier at the edge of a balcony, roof, bridge, or the like. [v: bastion] [v: Military Earthworks Terms]

those things that are necessary for use in a particular activity, especially equipment, apparatus, or furnishings. Also, personal belongings; compare ACCOUTERMENT, GEAR, DRESS. [ety: the personal property of a married woman, including a bride's goods beyond her dowry, which she may bequeath; those things given to a woman that may not be forfeit by divorce]

a natural rubber that's obtained from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, of the spurge family (and other species of the same genus) in tropical South America; as derived from Pará, a region in northern Brazil. See GUTTA-PERCHA, INDIA RUBBER. [cf: synthetic rubber; v: wild rubber] [nb: contrary to popular belief, this is not a specially manufactured heavy-duty condom that Airborne command issues to paratroopers!]

anyone who receives support, or derives his advantages from others without giving any useful return; a social misfit who contributes nothing to his host ... this remittance man or freeloader, cadger or scrounger, beggar or panhandler, mooch or sponge, leech or deadbeat was given free meals in ancient Greece in return for flattery or amusing stories. See HIPPIE, PACIFIST, SYMPATHIZER, PROTESTOR, SILVER-TAIL, NEW AGE HIPPIE, YIPPIE, FIFTH COLUMN, RUNNING DOG, BULLSHITVIK, NEW MOBE, COUNTERCULTURE, REBELLION, REVOLUTION, SOFT TYRANNY, UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-AMERICAN, AMERIKA.

CIA funding program for CIDG PARAMILITARY troops; see SWITCHBACK.

Republic of Vietnam basic
parachutist badge
RVN para
A soldier with skills so essential to the objective that he is delivered, with all of his necessary equipment, to the battlefield by air transport; where he must sustain the mission until joined by conventional ground forces. Legally, a parachutist is a noncombatant descending from an aircraft (damaged or not), while a PARATROOPER is an armed combatant, but this pretty distinction of the Geneva Accords has never been respected in any war. See ABN, AIRBORNE, PARACHUTE, MFF, FREE-FALL, BLAST, HOLLYWOOD BLAST, BLACK WINGS, JUMPER, JUMPIN' JUNKIE, JUMPMASTER, JUMP SCHOOL, AIRBORNE SHUFFLE, SQUAT, ROMMEL'S ASPARAGUS, GROUNDED. [nb: Vietnamese term: Linh Nhay Du, Binh Si Nhay Du] [v: Parachuting Terms, and Parachuting History]


(forthcoming); MC-1 / M724; see POCKETKNIFE, KNIFE.

a torpedo-shaped device positioned at the BOW of a ship for cutting the moorings of underwater MINEs, allowing them to rise to the surface for collection or destruction; compare ELEPHANT'S TRUNK.

informal reference to the parachutist's qualification badge, gradated into novice/basic, senior, and master ratings. The US Army parachutist's badge was designed by William P. Yarborough so as not to resemble PILOT'S WINGS (some claim it resembles a "flying ice-cream cone"), approved on 10 March 1941; and was initially intended to be worn only while actively on 'jump status', but paratrooper pride persuaded the Army to make the award permanent. The novice or basic parachutist badge (conferred after 5 STATIC LINE jumps) was standard until 1949, when the senior (star @30+ jumps and 24+ months on jump status) and master (star in wreath @65+ jumps and 36+ months on jump status) ratings were appended. After WWII, the Navy RIGGER badge was modified into the USN/USMC gold parachutist's badge, and a new RIGGER skill rating device was adopted; both finally authorized on 12 July 1963. See PARACHUTE, Q-COURSE, JUMP SCHOOL, DOPE ON A ROPE, WINGS, CENTURY WINGS, BLACK WINGS, SOG WINGS, TRASH, PARATROOPER, BLACK HATS, RED HATS, JUMPMASTER, MASTER BLASTER, BLAST, HOLLYWOOD BLAST, MFF, FREE-FALL, JSD, FLASH, OVAL, ABN, AIRBORNE, BUSH PILOT, MUFF DIVER. [nb: the devices that cover the mounting prongs that attach the insignia to the uniform, holding the two parts together, are variously sized, and are called "fasteners", "clip fastener", "clutch fastener", "clutch back fastener", "clutch grip fastener", "pinch fastener", "butterfly fastener", or "dammits"] [v: Flashing Sampler]

a kind of tackle, consisting of a rope looped over a post with its two ends passing around the object to be moved, which arrangement is used for raising or lowering a cask or some similar object along an inclined plane; a kind of double sling made with a rope, as around an object to be raised or lowered. See BLOCK, TACKLE, WHIP, FAIRLEAD, FALL, CRAB.

an outdoor exercise course that's provided with a series of stations along the track where the participant is supposed to stop and perform a specific exercise routine; principally appealing to joggers and other fitness exercisers, this concept derives from 'circuit' or 'route'; see BY THE NUMBERS, PARKOUR, RUCKING, STEEPLECHASE, OBSTACLE COURSE, IOCT, EXERCISE. [cf: leg, lap, round robin / round-robin]

forgiveness of an offense or of the offender, as represented by an informal utterance or by some official documentation, especially a legal release from the penalty of a serious offense; a tolerant excuse or release from liability, as to remit the penalty for an offense or transgression. Compare AMNESTY; see MEA CULPA, NO EXCUSE. [cf: clemency, commutation, remission, dispensation, indulgence, reprieve] [nb: on 16 September 1974, President Gerald R. Ford offered amnesty to Vietnam draft evaders and military deserters in exchange for an oath of allegiance and a period of alternate service; then on 21 January 1977, President James Earl Carter pardoned certain civilians convicted of Selective Service Act omissions and crimes committed during the period of the VIETNAM WAR (4 Aug 1964 - 28 March 1973), but military and government persons were exempt from this proclamation]

the city of Port au Prince on the coast of Haiti on the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies, situated in the Greater Antilles of the Caribbean; so-called due to importation of French language and culture, laws and economics; also called "pearl of the Antilles. This distinction has also been bestowed upon Cap Francais / Cap Français, Cap Haitien / Cap Haïtien, Havana, and Martinique, which is also known as "a little piece of France in the Caribbean". [cf: "little ..." or "Small Paris of the Antilles" at Saint-Pierre, Zananas Martinique]

informal designation of the seaport of Beirut, being the capital of Lebanon, and so-called due to the importation of French language and culture, laws and economics; also known as the "pearl of the Mid-East", and as THE ROOT when referring to the period (1983-4) of intervention by a Multinational Peacekeeping Force.

the city of Saigon in Cochin China was allotted to France as an extraterritorial concession; it, like the international zone allotted as an extraterritorial concession in Shanghai, was so-called due to the importation of French language and culture, laws and economics; any of these Francophiliac cities in Asia may also be called "pearl of the Orient".


an anti-corrosion phosphate treatment applied to carbon steel, usually appearing matte gray or black; like BLUING and other protective coverings, it serves its inhibiting function until worn away by friction or abrasion, and must be entirely stripped before it can be re-applied. Compare BLUING; see PROTECTIVE COATING.

management principles that were facetiously represented as pseudo-scientific laws by C. Northcote Parkinson in Parkinson's Law, or The Pursuit of Progress (1958); although promulgated for government agencies and other public institutions, these principles appertain to private businesses as well. Parkinson's laws include: work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion; expenditure rises to meet income; expansion means complexity, and complexity means decay; the work done is in inverse proportion to the number of civil servants employed; public expenditure rises to accommodate the growth in bureaucracy; and the ablest men get the prettiest girls [v: PECKING ORDER]. Compare PETER PRINCIPLE, OCCAM'S RAZOR, MURPHY'S LAW; see LESSONS LEARNED. [cf: "It is the busiest man who has time to spare."] [nb: "A committee is organic rather than mechanical in its nature: it is not a structure but a plant. It takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts, and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom in their turn." by C. Northcote Parkinson; "The Law of Triviality ... briefly stated, it means that the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved." by C. Northcote Parkinson]



an infectious disease affecting birds (parrots, pigeons, and domestic fowl) that's transmissible to humans, which contagion is caused by globular microorganisms (coccoid rickettsia); formally known as 'psittacosis'. The agent (chlamydia chlamydia psittaci) of this affliction is related to 'chlamydia', the widespread sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by chlamydia trachomatis, which is a major cause of non-gonococcal urethritis in men, and pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy in women. See TYPHUS / TYPHUS FEVER.

distinctive Cambodia/SVN border feature near the Song Vam Co Dong river, on the direct route from Saigon to Phnom Penh; see FISHHOOK, DOG'S FACE, ELEPHANT'S FOOT, ANGEL'S WING, BLACK LADY MOUNTAIN. [cf: dog-ear / dog's-ear (crossette / croisette)]

the tactic of feigning a fighting retreat, usually practiced by a smaller force upon a larger, inviting their impetuous pursuit until entrapped or ambushed; this tactic was made famous by the Parthian cavalry, who even learned to sit backwards on their horses so as to better shoot at their pursuers, but this feint was first practiced by the Mongols. Also, a wounding remark or telling gesture made while departing, giving one's adversary neither time nor opportunity to respond; also known as "Parthian dart" or "Parthian shaft" after the arrows dispatched during such a RETREAT.


a position or attitude resolved upon or taken in advance; a bias or prejudice. [v: pardi / pardie / pardy / perdie, as an interjection meaning verily or indeed (der: by God (Latin: 'per deum'))]

a spoon, carried in a boot top or a jump jacket pocket, as a tradition among military advisors, observers, and special operators or agents since WWII; being the only utensil needed, and better than a combat knife for keeping someone alive, since its loss or lack at the common pot risks starvation! The spoon's sanitation is a personal matter, but it's usually well wiped on sock or liner; and the protruding handle is often mistaken for a concealed knife among the uninitiated. See CHOPSTICK, MESS KIT, CANTEEN CUP, SPOON, KFS, P-38, CHURCH KEY, CHOW, BEANS, RATIONS. [nb: the small knife ("sgian dubh") that's tucked into the top of the stocking, below the skirt of the kilt, that's typically crafted by frugal Scots from broken weapons or scrap metal, is traditionally used when skinning or eating; it is sometimes called a "black knife", not for any sinister or devious usage, but due to its coarse or inferior metal, which contrasts with the brightly polished finer metal used in weapons]

the authoritatively announced policies and practices of a group, or the tenets and dogma of a political organization; such as the military way of doing things (ie: the right way, the wrong way, and the military way), also known as the "school solution". See PSYOPS, PROPAGANDA, WHITE PROPAGANDA, PLANK, TRUE BELIEVER, TRUTH, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, BIG PICTURE, LODGE-PHILBIN ACT, NATIONAL SECURITY, BRASS-COLLAR, HIDEBOUND, BRASSBOUND, BRASS EAR, BOX HEAD, PRIMROSE PATH, MILITARY MIND, GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK, TOE THE LINE, SCRIPTURES. [v: agitprop; strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP / SLAPP suit)]

an unofficial FLIGHT SUIT -styled coverall in a distinctive fabric and bearing unauthorized (often rude or ribald) PATCHes as decoration or indication of prowess. Wear restricted to OFF-DUTY periods at DIRTY SHIRT / SLOP CHUTE or off-base establishments. MIL-PERS assigned to a unit waited to be invited to wear the PARTY SUIT, usually after a combat mission or some other initiation, or risk being stripped of the apparel while forcibly evicted. See WAR PAINT, CIVVIES, MUFTI, DRESS. [v: glad rags]

a proposal hypothesizing the number of attempts necessary to attain a particular result, being the probable number required to generate a specific end (eg: the number of coin flips needed to obtain a total of 10 heads, or 25 tails, or the like). [cf: Pascal's Wager]

People's Armed Security Force, being a home guard MILITIA organized in each NVN district for surveillance and security, and used to augment the PAVN; also cited as "Armed Public Safety Force". Compare RF/PF, PSDF.

authorization for access or departure, with distance and time defined; also known as "Liberty" for enlisted Marine and Naval personnel. Enlisted personnel go on PASS or Liberty, but officers go OFF-DUTY or "go ashore". See CINDERELLA PASS, STEEL BEACH, R&R, I&I, LEAVE, UA, AWOL, OFF LIMITS, OFF THE RESERVATION, DEADHEAD, BUS TRANSFER, PROFILE, USAFI; compare ROMAN HOLIDAY. [cf: break, recess, rest, pause, intermission, lull, hiatus, caesura, lacuna, respite, reprieve, laissez-passer]

the operational name for the evacuation of Vietnamese refugees fleeing south during the partition of INDOCHINA from 14 August 1954 to May 1955. The pre-departure refugee inspection and processing station, staffed by French and American MIL-PERS in NVN, was known as Camp Cockroach. Compare FREQUENT WIND, EAGLE PULL, EXILE.

an aisle, corridor, or alley; a pathway or walkway; see GANGWAY, GASOLINE ALLEY, LADDERWELL, COMPANIONWAY, HATCH, DUCKBOARDS, VESTIBULE, MAN-TRAP, THRESHOLD. [nb: in NavSpeak, a PASSAGEWAY is an interior hallway aboard ship that permits horizontal travel] [nb: in urban warfare (MOUT, FIBUA), a PASSAGEWAY is known as a "fatal funnel" for the potential harm it poses to anyone moving along or across it]


a SALUTE rendered between passing vehicles or craft by a flag or horn or other signal, from junior to senior, as between persons; also called "rendering honors". This protocol is also observed among allies ... and although it's rarely expressed, it's also a gesture of respect toward an honorable enemy. See RUFFLES 'n' FLOURISHES, BEATERS 'n' BLEATERS, TOOTER.

the command-phrase commencing the PARADE of arrayed units past the assembled dignitaries on the "reviewing stand"; as distinguished from TROOP THE LINE, during which the officials review the arrayed units by walking or riding before them along the PARADE GROUND. See EYES RIGHT, COLOR GUARD, MISSING MAN FORMATION. [nb: "The farther from the battlefield, the better the troops march." proverbial adage]

a compelling emotion or strong enthusiasm, especially when manifest as violent anger, wrath or rage. [nb: "Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" Proverbs 6:27 KJV Bible] Also, a powerfully amorous feeling or strong sexual desire, especially when such love or lust is unrestrained.

rhyming slang for a sexual liaison, assignation, or affair; such carnality or promiscuity is also known as "screw flu". See CHURNING BUTTER, BOOM-BOOM, SHORT-TIME, FUCK, HOOKUP, DIDDLY, ACT OF CONGRESS, BUTTERFLY, HAT TRICK, DAISY CHAIN, TRICK, SHACK-JOB, SLEEPING DICTIONARY. [v: one-night stand, extramarital relations, adultery; cf: tête-à-tête, vis-à-vis]

those measures taken to reduce the probability of ATTACK, and to minimize the effects of damage caused by hostile action, without taking the initiative; compare ACTIVE DEFENSE.

an official document that's issued by a government to one of its citizens, which authenticates the bearer's identity and their right to travel outside their own country. Also, any access permit, as an authorization to go somewhere; a laissez-passer or PASS (qv) affixed with a CHOP or CACHET. [v: visa (carta visa); cf: carnet]

sign/counter-sign exchange of CODEWORDs or phrases, which are changed daily to permit secure ingress/egress. Such challenge sequences originated with shibboleths, being words with distinctive pronunciation, to distinguish friend from foe. [nb: the 17 March 1776 password for Washington's Continental Army in Boston was "Saint Patrick"; cf: the magic words "open sesame" that were used by Ali Baba to access the treasure of the 40 thieves in "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments"] Also, a secret sequence of alphanumeric characters and other symbols used for necessary authentication prior to log-in onto a computer system. Multi-factor password authentication allows a system to assign log-in names or sequence codes to users for file or program access. The Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) is a means of restricting access to authorized users by validating their input code during log-in; this is often called a "handshake". Most log-in environments display bullets or asterisks instead of the actual password, and leave the field uncalibrated so crackers cannot predict the code count. A computer account whose password is the user's name, called a "Joe account", is easily invaded by crackers, because the security access code can be readily guessed. Password accountability can also trace user activity, since each increment of access is recorded; this demonstrable trail is often called a "footprint". [v: trap door, firewall, escrow key, Clipper]

distinctive shoulder or pocket patch, made of embroidered fabric or silk-screened material, sewn to the utility or FATIGUE uniform. Official patches were often hung in a plastic protector from the left pocket on KHAKIS, but sewn onto CLASS-A and FATIGUE uniforms at the shoulder. The transition to subdued insignia generated many patch variations. The VIETNAM WAR produced numerous "unauthorized" pocket patches (later classified as MORALE PATCHes) which were tolerated by command authority because they encouraged unit morale and esprit. Patches developed in their present form during WWI, but heraldic insignia had long marked armor and banners. During the CIVIL WAR, the Army of the Potomac adopted distinctive badges for each corps, with colors assigned by division within each corps, as displayed on uniform caps and unit equipment to aid battlefield control and build esprit. The Culpeper Militia, raised for the American Revolution, embroidered Patrick Henry's slogan, "Liberty or Death", onto the left breast of their tunics in white letters. Patches are formally known as "shoulder sleeve insignia" (SSI). The US Army permits individuals to always wear their combat unit PATCHes (SSI-FWTS) on their right sleeve, but all branches recognize the wearing of a unit PATCH on the left sleeve as a current duty assignment. See SANDWICH, SCROLL, FLASH, OVAL, CREST, TRASH, BATTLE CRY, TOAST, SIGNATURE. [nb: an insignia emblematic of the honors and lineage of a military organization, unlike familial "coats of arms", may be individually enhanced but not personally heritable; v: Heraldry] Also, a small piece of fabric or a scrap of absorbent material that's used to clean the BORE of a firearm; also called SWAB. Also, any piece of material used to cover or protect a wound or injury; a dressing or COMPRESS; see TAMPON, BAND-AID. Also, to repair or restore a communications connection, line or circuit, especially in a hasty manner or makeshift method; see HOOKUP, FIELD EXPEDIENT, JURY-RIG, JERRY-BUILT.

a hard, smooth, glossy leather (1818); see LOW-QUARTERS, KICKS.


a subjective trope or other literary device that imbues a natural process or inanimate object with human traits or characteristics, impulses or responses, intentions or designs, such as endowing mild weather with benignity and foul weather with malevolence; also known as actuated or motivated "personification", this concept was coined in 1856 by John Ruskin to identify qualities of nature that are falsely attributed by figures of speech. Compare ANTHROPOMORPHISM; see WEAPON SALVE.

1975 flag of the Lao People's
Democratic Republic
Pathet Lao
Laotian communists of the 1975 Lao People's Democratic Republic; compare RLA.

U.S. Army
Pathfinder badge U.S. Army
Pathfinder badge
Army Pathfinder
the advance element for an AIRBORNE or HELIBORNE insertion of operational units. PATHFINDER teams were dropped or air-landed at an objective to establish a drop zone (DZ); or air-delivered into enemy territory for purposes of determining the best approach and withdrawal lanes, landing zones (LZ) and AIRHEAD sites for HELIBORNE forces. Special PATHFINDER training was initiated by GEN James M. Gavin for 82nd ABN Div assaults after the disastrous results of Operation Huskey during the WWII Sicily INVASION. Originally integral (compare evolution of I&R into LRRP) to each AIRBORNE or glider unit during WWII, the US Army Infantry School later established a separate training course for this specialty, requiring proficiency in scouting, navigation, air traffic control, airborne and air assault operations, including sling load rigging and para-dropping of troops and supplies. Graduates are authorized to wear the distinctive "winged torch" device (canted on sleeve or pocket) in cloth on 22 May 1964, that was replaced by an enameled metal device (set perpendicular beside other badges below ribbon bars) on 11 October 1968. A black baseball-style cap affixed with the "winged torch" device was adopted for quasi-official wear by Vietnam-era PATHFINDERs. See BLACK HATS, WIGWAG, TRASH, Q-COURSE, RIGGER, WAVE OFF, POINT, SPEARHEAD, JUDAS GOAT. [nb: the design of the PATHFINDER's winged torch was inspired by the Olympic torch, a symbol of victory; the torch's yellow flame represents excellence and the red flame symbolizes leadership] [v: pontifex] Also, the nickname of the 8th Infantry Division, showing the Arabic numeral impaled on an upward pointing arrow (the "Golden Arrow"); formed in California, and named after the general and explorer John Charles Frémont. Also, designation of the Lockheed P-38L Lightning (qv) that was equipped with RADAR during WWII so it could serve as the frontrunner and guide other aircraft; see POINT, SPEARHEAD, JUDAS GOAT.


designation for the MIM-104 medium-range multiple-launch mobile Surface-to-Air MISSILE (SAM) system, which uses computerized RADAR guidance and is launched from a TRACKed platform, manufactured by the Raytheon Company, replacing the Nike-Hercules missile for high and medium altitude air defense in the US Army arsenal; succeeded by the PAC-3, an improved version of this anti-theater ballistic missile. Also, a CITIZEN who unashamedly expresses a love of home and country by word or deed, being a national supporter or defender; often proclaimed by detractors and critics to be ignorant or foolish, chauvinistic or jingoistic, Xenophobic or ethnocentric ... a putative KNUCKLE-DRAGGER in the culture wars sweeping AMERIKA. [nb: Congressionally chartered patriotic organizations include: Boy Scouts of America; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Civil Air Patrol; Daughters of the American Revolution; Girl Scouts of the USA; National Fallen Firefighters Foundation; National Society Daughters of the American Colonists; Sons of the American Revolution; United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps]

shortening of the legislative title for some ANTI-TERRORISM laws, formally designated the "USA-PATRIOT Act" of 2001; being an acronym ("Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism") for the authority provided to government agents in investigating and apprehending foreign and domestic suspects. This Act, which includes provisions on border security and eavesdropping, money laundering and surveillance, was enacted (PL107-56) on 26 Oct 2001, and was reauthorized 9 Mar 2006. The "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act" (FISA) of 1978 has been incorporated into the PATRIOT Act. A provision to indefinitely detain suspects, including American citizens, and to suspend the habeas corpus inquiry into their restraint, was added in 2011. See GWOT, WAR ON TERROR, TERRORIST, CONSTABULARY. [nb: the Supreme Court established (Ex parte Milligan 1866) that civilians could not be legally tried by military tribunals in areas where regular courts continued to function during wartime; nonetheless, if a state of war exists (declared or not), the writ of habeas corpus may be suspended (with suspects imprisoned without trial for the duration) under martial law] [nb: "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." by James Madison; "Who will watch the watchers?"/"Who will watch the watchmen?" or "Who will guard the guards?" ("Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?") by Juvenal]

the word 'patriot' was added to the top of the paper version (between the issue date and SSN) of the series EE savings bond after 10 December 2001 (until December 2011), despite having been created in 1990, without altering its terms and conditions; at their 20 year maturity, series EE savings bonds double in value after being purchased at half of their face value, but continue to accrue monthly interest compounded semi-annually for another decade if not cashed. The labeling of this SAVINGS BOND, together with the LIBERTY BOND and WAR BOND, implies that the money raised by its sale is earmarked for national defense, but in actuality, the revenue generated by the sale of these government securities goes into the general fund, which pays for all federal programs. [nb: effective 1 January 2012, savings bonds are no longer sold in paper form]

designated 11 September of each year by a joint resolution of Congress (Public Law 107-89 approved 18 December 2001), as a day of remembrance to be observed by appropriate ceremonies and activities, including a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. EDT, candlelight vigils, and flying the national flag at half-staff; a 2003 proclamation states: "Two years ago, more than 3,000 innocent people lost their lives when a calm September morning was shattered by terrorists driven by hatred and destruction. On that day, and in its aftermath, we saw the greatness of America in the bravery of victims; in the heroism of first responders who laid down their lives to save others; in the compassion of people who stepped forward to help those they had never met; and in the generosity of millions of Americans who enriched our country with acts of service and kindness. Since that day, we have seen the greatness of America further demonstrated in the courage of our brave men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and around the world to advance freedom and prevent terrorist attacks on America.". Compare PATRIOT'S DAY, VETERANS' DAY, MEMORIAL DAY, INDEPENDENCE DAY, FLAG DAY.

the support and defense of one's country out of love and devotion; also known as "national loyalty" ... a commitment often ridiculed by critics as ignorance or foolishness, purblindness or superstition, bigotry or prejudice, xenophobia or ethnocentrism, chauvinism or jingoism. See LAST BEST HOPE, TRUE BLUE; compare UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-AMERICAN. [nb: after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, Dr Pepper produced its soft drink in patriotic cans depicting the Statue of Liberty and the words: One Nation ... Indivisible for a limited period (from November 2001 to February 2002) in an area covering parts of only twelve states; the company was criticized and threatened with boycott for exhibiting its support for national unity; the company was also criticized for quoting the Pledge of Allegiance incompletely] [nb: "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." by Elmer Davis; "You cannot spill a drop of American blood without spilling the blood of the whole world…. We are not a nation, so much as a world." by Herman Melville; "If you attack my integrity, I will defend myself. If you attack my patriotism, I will defend myself. If you come after my family, I will counter-attack viciously, I will destroy you." by Scott Ritter; "Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country." by Calvin Coolidge; "The American patriots of today continue the tradition of the long line of patriots before them, by helping to promote liberty and freedom around the world." by John Linder; "This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in." by Theodore Roosevelt; "We must always remember that America is a great nation today, not because of what government did for people, but because of what people did for themselves and for one another." by Richard M. Nixon; "There is no limit to the greatness of America!" by George W. Bush; "Patriotism is the first refuge of the vicious, and the last refuge of the scoundrel." paraphrase of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Johnson; "France was a land, England was a people, but America, having about it still that quality of the idea, was harder to utter -- it was the graves at Shiloh and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart." by F. Scott Fitzgerald; "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." by Adlai E. Stevenson; "Liberals become indignant when you question their patriotism, but simultaneously work overtime to give terrorists a cushion for the next attack, and laugh at dumb Americans who love their country and hate the enemy." by Ann Coulter; "Whenever someone appeals to your patriotism, you should put one hand over your wallet and your other hand over your genitals, then snarl at them until they stop talking and go away." paraphrase of Max Allan Collins; "Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I'm not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be." by John Wayne (Marion Michael Morrison)]

the anniversary of the first two battles of the AMERICAN REVOLUTION, fought on 19 April 1775 at Lexington and Concord, which is celebrated on the third Monday in April as a legal holiday in parts of New England. Compare PATRIOT DAY, VETERANS' DAY, MEMORIAL DAY, INDEPENDENCE DAY, FLAG DAY.

a military element (eg: detachment, squadron, fleet, etc) detailed for reconnaissance, combat, or other special assignment in an operational area. Also, to surveil or secure an objective by application of professional military skills. Also, to guard someone or something by frequently checking its condition and/or position. See RECON, CLOVERLEAF, BUTTERFLY, CHECKERBOARD, LEAP FROG, ZIGZAG. [nb: Vietnamese term: Tuan Tham, Tuan Tieu Chien Dau] [nb: "dismounted reconnaissance" is MIL-SPEAK for patrolling on foot]

see the flat-topped FIELD CAP, which resembles the French "kepi".


superior who functions as a professional military career guide, counselor, mentor, intercessor, sponsor, patron, or protector for select and favored subordinates of great potential, also called "godfather", "presbyter", or "elder"; see RABBI, SEA DADDY, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN; compare RING-KNOCKER, TICKET-PUNCHER, KHAKI MAFIA. [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs] [nb: 'compadre' derived from "godfather"] Also, venerated for their comfort and protection of soldiers, the following patron saints are formally recognized: Michael the Archangel, Saint George, Saint Joan of Arc, Saint Martin of Tours.

the M-46, M-47, M-48, and M-60 series of heavily armored Main Battle Tanks (MBT), variously with 90mm, 105mm MAIN-GUNs; see TANK, TRACK.

(forthcoming); codename

MH-60 helicopter; also designated BLACKHAWK, SEA HAWK, and JAYHAWK. See CHOPPER.


politically-incorrect hyperbole that shockingly asserts the traditional capabilities of Americans who are determined to accomplish something significant while at war, which is contrasted with the negative attitude of modern Americans who are so irresolute and inefficient that it takes them ten years to deliberately lose LBJ's "little pissant war" in an underdeveloped part of the world! ... the achievements of WWII can be juxtaposed with the ineffectiveness of the VIETNAM WAR, but only to demonstrate America's lack of will and fear of failure. Calling 'impotence' a "limited warfare strategy" denies the fact that America has lost its global ambition and is no longer master of its fate ... preferring comfortable immorality to gritty challenges. [nb: "It's silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas." by Ronald Wilson Reagan (10 Oct 1965)]

(forthcoming); a class of guided munitions, including those DUMB BOMBs that were retrofitted with aiming and control elements; re: Pave Knife, Pave Penny, Pave Spike, Pave Tack; see LANTIRN, GBU, JDAM, LGB, VB, EGBU, EOGB, GLD, LASER AIMING DEVICE, PAINT, LASER.

a mobile, portable, self-defense barrier, as used for protection during an incremental advance or resistance to counterattack; a large oblong shield of the late 14th through the early 16th centuries, often covering the person's entire body, as especially used by archers and infantrymen; see BLAST WALL, HESCO BARRIER, T-WALL, REVETMENT. [v: gabion] [nb: an encroaching TANK or armored personnel carrier (APC) serves as a modern 'pavis' for foot soldiers maneuvering on the ground behind said shield]

(pavin, not "p-a-v-n") People's Army of Viet Nam, Vietnamese term: Quan-Doi Nhan-Dan; unified command under NVA, which included NLF political activists and VC irregulars. The PAVN's three principle staff components were the General Political Directorate (GPD), General Staff Directorate (GSD), and General Directorate for Rear Services (GDRS). Enemy weapons of the Vietnam-era included: SKS, PPSh-41, PPS-43, MP-40, MAT-49, K-50M, AK-47, AKM, Type 50 (unlicensed PRC copy w/30rd mag). See BO DOI, NVA, NVAF, VIET MINH, CHARLIE, VPA, PRG, PLA, GOMER, LUKE THE GOOK, BAD GUYS.

during the GULF WAR-era, an allusion to Military Working Dogs (MWD), such as sentry, scout, or explosives detection; also known as "four-legged soldiers" and "fuzzy-faced fighters". Compare BOOTS ON THE GROUND; see K-9, SCOUT DOG, WAR DOGS. [nb: the military working dogs employed in GWOT operations wear Kevlar protective vests]

abbreviation for 'passenger', as when designating someone who's without crew responsibility on a vessel or aircraft; see SPACE A, BLOB, SANDBAG, STRAP-HANGER. Also, any state of peace imposed by a strong nation on weaker or defeated nations; a period in history marked by the absence of major wars, usually imposed by a predominant nation, such as Pax Romana or Pax Britannica; being the Latin word for 'peace' and the name of the Roman goddess of peace. Also, in Eucharistic service, a ceremonial kiss and/or embrace given in token of Christian love and unity; also called "kiss of peace". [nb: "Peace be with you." (pax vobiscum); cf: "peace be upon you" (salaam aleikim)]

the uneasy or hostile peace imposed by diplomatic entreaty, economic sanction, and military threat; often misunderstood to mean the period of "American empire". Also, the Defense Department's "Pax Americana" study, being a report on how to takeover Latin America. See PAX.

the peace imposed by Great Britain upon hostile nations, especially during the 19th century; see PAX, compare PAX AMERICANA.

the terms of peace imposed by ancient Rome on its dominions; see PAX, compare PAX AMERICANA. [nb: Rome / Valentia = strength (c753BC)] [cf: Mongol Empire; v: "Rome was not built in a day." and "All roads lead to Rome."]

a containment for passengers, together with service facilities and other structures, located at a major junction or terminus of a transportation system; see STANDBY, SPACE A, STRAP-HANGER, GARDEN SPOT, MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, DRUNKEX, JUNKET.


a qualified person, a member in good standing; eligibility is restricted to those who are willing to PAY their DUES. In its best sense ("He's paid his dues."), it is a sign of respect or mark of recognition bestowed in testimonial tribute by another member; but in its all too common worst sense ("I've paid my dues!"), it's an egocentric declaration of self promotion and self praise. Some veteran's associations do not levy fees under the supposition that everyone already "paid their dues" with service. It's simply an affirmation of entitlement. See GOOD PEOPLE, BTDT, JOCKSTRAP MEDAL, WANNABE, COUNT COUP, GREAT GREEN PARADISE, CAMP FOLLOWER. [nb: a 'cheat' / 'cheater', being a fraud, deceiver, impostor, swindler, or blackleg, derives from the office of "escheator", the corrupt officer who collected the share of dues (taxes) that members owed to the treasury (exchequer)] [v: corody]

a common redundancy for GRADE or RATING, as "That's way above my pay-grade!"; compare SALARY, RANK, RELATIVE RANK, PULL RANK. [nb: 1968 base pay: CPL @$150/mo, 1LT @$350/mo]

the WARHEAD or bomb load on an aircraft or missile; as derived from the revenue-weight of passengers or cargo, namely that which produces "the biggest bang for the buck". Also, the explosive energy of a warhead or bomb load. Also, the necessary supplies and equipment essential for the performance of a given mission; see LIFT, AIRDROP, HEAVY DROP, LOADOUT, DOGHOUSE, HARDPOINT. [cf: picul]

[ie: Pied Piper of Hamelin] see DAY OF RECKONING, FACE THE MUSIC.


designated US Navy Patrol Boat Light, being a converted Boston Whaler; see SWIFT BOAT, NASTY BOAT, SKIMMER, PT BOAT, MRF, JUNK FORCE, BOAT.

designated US Navy Patrol Bomber [nb: the "M" identified the manufacturer: Martin]; this twin-prop gull-winged seaplane was adapted to landing or take-off from ice or snow, sea or land during and after the WWII-era; this bomber was also used for surveillance, transport, and rescue flights; the PBM used jet assisted take-off (JATO) for lift when fully loaded; also known as "flying gas can" and "big ugly fucker" (BUF). See FLYING BOAT, BIRD.

designated US Navy Patrol Boat River, being lightly armored, shallow-draft steel vessels; see SWIFT BOAT, NASTY BOAT, PT BOAT, MRF, JUNK FORCE.

Private Branch eXchange; an electromechanical internal telephone communications (intercom) facility that connects to an external telecommunications system; also called "switchboard", and also existing as Private Automatic Branch eXchange (PABX). See TELEPHONE. Also, the abbreviation for Polymer-Bonded eXplosive, or Plastic-Bonded eXplosive, wherein the matrix of the explosive material is bound together by small quantities (5%-10% by weight) of a synthetic polymer, because some elements are not easily melded into a unified casting, or are otherwise difficult to form. First developed (1952) in the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a compound of Research Department eXplosive (RDX) embedded in polystyrene with a dioctyl phthalate plasticizer; then in the 1960s-1970s, compositions with teflon-based binders (eg: HMX) were developed for gun shells and other applications. See COMPOSITION H6, EXPLOSIVE.

designated US Navy Patrol Bomber [nb: the "Y" identified the manufacturer: Consolidated Aircraft Corporation]; this seaplane was also known as DUMBO or CATALINA; see FLYING BOAT, BIRD.

PC :
abbreviation for "Personnel Carrier", being a truncation of 'Armored Personnel Carrier' (APC); also called "box" or "can", and functioning as a "battlefield taxi" troop transport. Also, abbreviation for Pilot in Command, such as the left-seater in a utility or observation helicopter; compare AMC, FUF, GIB, PETER PILOT, WING MAN; see PILOT, BIRDMAN, FAG, JET JOCKEY, AIRDALE, ROTOR HEAD, PROP JOCKEY, GOOD STICK. Also, abbreviation for politically-correct or political-correctness, being a form of CENSORSHIP that flouts FREEDOM OF SPEECH while flaunting the SOFT TYRANNY of the NANNY STATE; as contrasted by politically-incorrect and political-incorrectness. [nb: PC tends to elaborate without enlightenment and to complicate without improvement, taking simple words or concepts and making them more imprecise or more extensible, such as "defensive fighting position" for 'foxhole', "active defense" for 'attack', "hydration pouch" or "personal hydration system" for 'canteen', "specified strike zone" and "kill box" for 'free fire zone' or 'combat zone', "war fighter" for 'combatant' or 'warrior', "integrated bridge system workstation" for 'helm', "personal flotation device" for 'life jacket', "field sanitary facility" for 'latrine', "violent extremist" for 'holy warrior', "potential terrorist" for 'religious conservative', "man-made disasters" for 'terrorism', "overseas contingency operations" and "ongoing military operations throughout the world" for 'global war on terror', "public safety center" for 'police station', "correctional facility" for 'jail' or 'prison', "wellness center" for 'gym' or 'gymnasium', "asylum seeker" for 'refugee', "citizen in waiting" for 'illegal immigrant', "human resources" for 'personnel', "patient administrator" for 'registrar', "learning center" for 'school', "assistive care facility" for 'nursing home', "child care provider" for 'baby-sitter', "letter carrier" for 'postman' or 'mailman', "flight attendant" for 'steward' or 'stewardess', "car attendant" for 'porter', "maintenance engineer" for 'janitor', "collector of flowers" for 'womanizer', "sex trade worker" for 'prostitute', "anti-social personality disorder" for 'sociopath', and "African-American" for 'Black' or 'Negro'] [nb: "'Political-correctness' is an illogical doctrine, fostered by a delusional minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mass media, which holds forth the irrational proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."]

U.S. Navy Patrol Craft Fast; see SWIFT BOAT.

contraction of parachute cord; see PARA-CORD.

(phencyclidine) see ANGEL DUST.

Physical Competency and Proficiency Test, being the annual physical fitness test of all MIL-PERS aged under 35 and not of senior RANK; later renamed Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and conducted monthly. See PT, DAILY DOZEN, IOCT, APFT, EXERCISE, AIRBORNE SHUFFLE, FRONT LEANING REST, JUMPING JACK, SQUAT.

Permanent Change of Station; generally a military transfer to a new assignment at a different location for a period lasting longer than 180 days. Compare DUTY, BILLET, BERTH, POST, ON STATION, WATCH, MOS, OJT, TDY / TAD, SHEEP-DIPPED, PDS, HARDSHIP TOUR, MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, BUMFUCK.

abbreviation for Public Display of Affection, which is a violation for uniformed MIL-PERS, for the disrespect exhibited to the uniform or the dishonor imputed to the Armed Forces; officers are further constrained by "conduct unbecoming ..." (Article 33). Enforced at command discretion, this restriction prohibits, for example, a parent in uniform from carrying their infant, from pushing a baby-stroller, from demonstratively embracing their spouse, and so forth. Compare FRATERNIZATION; see CUSTOMS AND COURTESIES OF THE SERVICE. Also, abbreviation for the small, portable, electronic device commonly known as a Personal Data Assistant or Personal Digital Assistant; see PORTABLE BRAINS, PLASTIC BRAINS, TIN BRAINS, PAPER BRAINS.

Panamanian Defense Force; see JUST CAUSE.

(pee-dee-oh) Property Disposal Office; see DX, DRMO, LOGISTICS.

abbreviation for Pretty Damn / Damned Quick, to rapidly implement, to hightail or double-quick an action; see ASAP, STAT, FORTHWITH, CHOGI, CHOP CHOP, RIKI TIK, GOYA, BARREL-ASS, SCRAMBLE, HAUL-ASS, JUICE. [v: tout de suite (French: at once, immediately)] [v: amain]

Permanent Disability Retired List, being a determination made by the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) regarding the status and condition of a servicemember's disabling injuries; see WHOLE MAN, HORS DE COMBAT, MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, PROFILE, LINE OF DUTY. [nb: Service-Connected (SC) disability compensation and Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) are benefit categories for military persons retired for medical reasons]

(pee-dee-ess) Permanent Duty Station; see DUTY, BILLET, BERTH, POST, ON STATION, TO&E, OSUT, CADRE, STAFF, PERMANENT PARTY, SHIP'S COMPLEMENT, HARDSHIP TOUR, BUMFUCK. Also, Personal Defense Specialist for "executive protection"; see BODYGUARD.

Command Parachute Team
Cmd Para Tm
Parachute Demonstration Team, as used for public ceremonies, such as the GOLDEN KNIGHTS, CHUTING STARS, LEAP FROGS, "Silver Wings", and the like.

an agreement that ends hostilities, or a treaty that ends a war, as derived from "pact"; see CEASE-FIRE, TRUCE, PAX. Also, a cessation or absence of hostilities between nations; see ENTENTE, DETENTE, APPEASE, RAPPROCHEMENT, MARSHALL PLAN, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, WISE MEN, KUM BA YAH, WE SHALL OVERCOME, PROTESTOR, NEW MOBE, FIFTH COLUMN, RUNNING DOG, YIPPIE, APOCALYPSE, BOMB 'EM BACK TO THE STONE AGE, WAR. [v: Diplomatic Terms] [v: 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact (General Treaty for the Renunciation of War)] [nb: the Yasukuni [meaning "peaceful country"] shrine, dedicated in 1869 to the remembrance of Japan's honorable military dead in battle and in recognition of their dutiful loyalty, has become a national "peace" monument since the atomic bombings that concluded WWII] Also, public order and security that's free from civil commotion; see CONSTABULARY, PROVOST GUARD, POSSE COMITATUS. Also, a state of harmony between people or groups, as being free from dissension; see NEUTRAL, DRONE. Also, a state of tranquillity or serenity, as "peace of mind" is freedom from disturbance or perturbation; see HAPPY VALLEY. Also, silence, quiescence, stillness; see AT EASE. [v: belle époque ("beautiful epoch")] [nb: "I won't undertake war until I have tried all the arts and means of peace." by François Rabelais; "Peace is the necessary interval of recovery and preparation between wars, for nothing is ever resolved, except that its confrontation is postponed." anonymous; "When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace. They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease. But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: 'Stick to the Devil you know'." by J. Rudyard Kipling (1919); "Peace is the twenty minutes of sleep between artillery barrages." by Mark Helprin (2013)]

a slogan of pacifism and conscientious objection to violence, originating as a contemptuous sneer against the political obtrusions of Quakers (eg: Lord Palmerston's scornful assessment of John Bright as a "peace-at-any-price man"); also represented as "peace at any cost"; see PACIFIST, HIPPIE, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME, KUM BA YAH, PROTESTOR, WE SHALL OVERCOME, APPEASE, PEACE, CEASE-FIRE, TRUCE, DETENTE, PAX. [nb: "Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" by Patrick Henry; "Everyone speaks for peace at any price, and since war has been brought to their own homes, they look desponding to the last degree, and begin to believe that they have been vastly deceived by engaging in it ...." by Lafayette McLaws; "That doctrine (of 'peace at any price') has done more mischief than any I can well recall that have been afloat in this country. It has occasioned more wars than any of the most ruthless conquerors. It has disturbed and nearly destroyed that political equilibrium so necessary to the liberties and the welfare of the world." by Benjamin Disraeli; "As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening." by Ronald W. Reagan; "... to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for the country in return." by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr; "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." by John F. Kennedy]

formed in 1961, by legislation that Hubert H. Humphrey based upon the International Volunteer Service (IVS), as an agency of the Department of State (DoS), which sent American advisers and teachers, some young adults and some retirees, with requisite language and technical skills to assist INDIGenous peoples in remote areas around the world. In 1981, the PEACE CORPS was made a separate agency of THE G, and the standard two year overseas tour was modified to also include domestic American fellowships. In 1995, the PEACE CORPS established a cooperative relationship with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in aiding refugees and displaced persons (DP) with education and skill acquisition. This humanitarian service organization, along with IVS and VISTA, qualifies as "alternative service" for conscientious objectors and anti-war PROTESTORs. See ADV, CA, CAP, COUNTERPART, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, INDIG, SPARTAN, VOLUNTOLD, DRAFT LOTTERY. [nb: there is a persistent but unrealized (to date) advocacy for creating a Cabinet-level "Department of Peace" by some effete poltroons; v: DOS; cf: DOD] [nb: civilians go 'abroad' while soldiers go 'overseas']

the beneficial transfer of military technology to the civilian sector; such re-directed applications enhance public safety and security, but also usually reorganizes employment patterns, making many MIL-SPEC jobs redundant. See DARPA, SOTA, RIF; compare WAR DIVIDEND. [nb: adaptations or extensions of technological invention have traditionally passed through three phases: gadget creation, improved accommodation, and streamlined production; or, in other words, from the simple to the complex and on to the simplified]



Convair B-36 intercontinental bomber with six piston and four jet engines, see BIRD.

(forthcoming) a derogatory reference that ridicules their preoccupation with a cause or agenda; [cf: nudnik]

a red, white, and blue peace
peace sign
an international symbol used to represent amity and non-violence, which has been mocked as the "footprint of the great American chicken"! See PEACE, CEASE-FIRE, TRUCE, ENTENTE, DETENTE, APPEASE, RAPPROCHEMENT, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME, KUM BA YAH, WE SHALL OVERCOME, HIPPIE, PACIFIST, CO, NEUTRAL, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, PROTESTOR, NEW MOBE, FIFTH COLUMN, RUNNING DOG, YIPPIE. Also, an informal two-finger gesture that was used during the VIETNAM WAR to represent 'peace' and friendship, being a HAND SIGN that expressed a patriotic tolerance of "do your own thing" diversity; also known as a V-SIGN. [nb: in the pervading nihilism of the post-Vietnam era, gangbanger hoodlums and ruffians are exhibiting a tattoo of an upside down 'heart' to represent "hate" and a tattoo of an upside down 'peace sign' to represent "war", as manifestations of their antipathy for the dominant society]

a time period, interval or span, that's free from WAR.

informal reference for a member of the Armed Forces whose entire term of active duty service occurred when the nation was not engaged in WAR; duty assignments during these interwar periods are relatively safe and generally agreeable ... because discipline is lax and training is pro forma during these intervals, the most onerous part of this DUTY is finding enough work to do to keep the troops out of trouble! Compare VET, VETERAN.

a catch-phrase characterizing the political APPEASEMENT of an enemy when the leadership of a nation lacks the will or fortitude to prosecute a war to its ultimate conclusion, either VICTORY or DEFEAT; under the guise of a PROXY WAR or LIMITED WAR strategy, this characterization contrives a DECENT INTERVAL and disclaims the effects of the aftermath (eg: DOMINO THEORY) ... the most prominent recent episode being the VIETNAM WAR. See ARMISTICE, TRUCE, TREATY, EXIT STRATEGY. [v: "... we today have concluded an agreement to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia." by Richard M. Nixon (23 Jan 1973); cf: "My good friends this is the second time in our history that there has come ... peace with honor. I believe it is peace in our time." by Neville Chamberlain (30 Sept 1938); "Lord Salisbury and myself have brought you back peace -- but a peace I hope with honor, which may satisfy our Sovereign and tend to the welfare of the country." by Benjamin Disraeli (17 July 1878); "The superior power may offer peace with honor and with safety .... But the concessions of the weak are concessions of fear." by Edmund Burke ("On Conciliation with the Colonies" 1775); "That it shall hold companionship in peace / With honour, as in war." by William Shakespeare (act 3 sc 2 Coriolanus 1608); "An honorable Peace is and always was my first wish! I can take no delight in the effusion of human Blood; but, if this War should continue, I wish to have the most active part in it." by John Paul Jones (1782)] [v: "Wilson and peace with honor or Hughes with Roosevelt and War?" 1916 campaign slogan of Woodrow Wilson; "I pledge to you that we shall have an honorable end to the war in Vietnam." 1968 campaign slogan of Richard Nixon]


designation for Pleiku Control and Reporting Post (CRP).

slang for any fashionable shopping district where elegant or exclusive designs and classy or stylish products are proffered to a wealthy or posh clientele, often in a swank or ritzy setting; the row of smart shops where modish or voguish items may be acquired, such as a natty bespoke uniform; compare BLOOD ALLEY, CONCESSION. Also, as a result of the enticing shopping lure, a district where chic, chichi, or snazzy people may be observed on parade; a promenade of the most attractive and privileged people in local society. [nb: originating as a three hundred foot long corridor in the 33rd Street lobby of the Waldorf Hotel (later the 34th Street lobby of the Waldorf-astoria Hotel), connecting the Palm Room and Empire Room restaurants, where prestigious guests and noteworthy visitors paraded "like strutting peacocks" for the delectation and envy of others; the name then lending itself to becoming an art deco restaurant that has specialized in seafood since 1924] [aka: "rubber neck lane", "gawker's stroll"; cf: Fifth Avenue, Broadway, Main Street]

a double-breasted short coat of navy-blue wool that's worn by seamen; as derived from a coat made of coarse woolen cloth [ety: pee / pey / pie (coarse wool blend); pijekkat]. See BLUE JACKET, REEFER, DRESS.

CODENAME for "free" portable transistor radios, usually abandoned at innocuous sites or "lost" in plausible ruses, which could not be tuned to the real "Radio Hanoi" broadcast setting, but would automatically select the "black broadcast" of OP33. Some PEANUT radios included transponders, so their location could be tracked after being "found". See PSYOPS, SOG, HOMER.


see BROWN BAR; compare BUTTER BAR.

slang for those gawkers and talkers who are not directly involved in combat operations, but always have an opinion about what should be (or should have been) or should not be (or should not have been) done; an Americanism that refers to the cheapest and most remote seats in a theater or circus. See ARMCHAIR GENERAL, CLERKS 'n' JERKS, REMF, CANDY-ASS, ACETATE COMMANDO, TOCROACH, FOBBIT, CHAIRBORNE, CHECK IT OUT, HAIRY EYEBALL, DOUBLE-O, EYE-BALL, STACKING SWIVEL, VULTURE'S ROW, OBSERVATION DECK, JUDGMENT CALL, TWO CENTS, PUT IN ONE'S OAR, POPULARITY CONTEST, TERGIVERSATE. [v: "nose-bleed seats"; "among the gods", "up in the clouds", "in paradise" or "nigger heaven", which was so-called for being situated in the uppermost gallery of a theatre, just below the ceiling, which was frequently embellished with a depiction of a mythological afterworld] [nb: "An army can lose its best leaders, but the lowest soldiers will never lose their opinions." ancient Chinese proverb]

Warsaw, the capital of Poland and a center of sophisticated culture, being situated in the eastern central part of the country on the Vistula River; destroyed by Nazi depredations during WWII.

the city of Havana or the islands of Cuba, situated in the Greater Antilles of the Caribbean, scene of the Bay of Pigs INVASION (April 1961) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (22 Oct - 20 Nov 1962); so-called due to the exquisite lifestyle available to its privileged denizens. Also, the city of Port au Prince or the country of Haiti on the island of Santo Domingo, situated in the Greater Antilles of the Caribbean, scene of the world's first successful slave revolt (1803); so-called due to the exquisite lifestyle available to its privileged denizens. See SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, MONGOOSE, "Fortified Zones" at STRATEGIC HAMLET; compare PARIS OF THE ANTILLES, URGENT FURY. [nb: a pearl is a smoothly rounded bead, lustrous and finely colored, composed of aragonite or calcite, or of something similar in form and luster; something pearlescent or nacreous; something precious (virginity) or choice (wisdom); known as "angel's tears" by the ancient Romans]

one of the extraterritorial concession cities in Asia, including Saigon, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Manila, which was so-called due to the exquisite lifestyle available to its privileged denizens. The multinational commercial concession granted [1842 Treaty of Nanjing] in several Asian ports was subdivided into national districts (eg: French, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, British, and American) where foreign laws and language, customs and economics predominated, extending European hegemony and abrogating Asian sovereignty; such commercial exploitation, supported by a technologically superior military, prompted a revolutionary backlash when the lessons of free enterprise and self-determination were inculcated and flourished. [nb: although the city of Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975, the seaport retains its traditional name] [nb: a pearl is a smoothly rounded bead, lustrous and finely colored, composed of aragonite or calcite, or of something similar in form and luster; something pearlescent or nacreous; something precious (virginity) or choice (wisdom); known as "angel's tears" by the ancient Romans]

informal slang for teeth, also called FANGs, "chompers", "champers", "choppers", and "snaggles"; see FANG MECHANIC / TOOTH FAIRY, DENTIFRICE, DENTCAP, COMFORT STATION.

a Briticism indicating that the scheme is going or has gone awry ... not failed or broken, but not as intended, not as it should be; this declaration warns that adjustments or accommodations should be made to the now improper plan or program, not to fix the mistake, but to limit the damaging effects of such an aberration. The proposed origins of this phrase (ie: WWII pilots making eccentric loops, WWI observation balloons only partially inflated, or distorted hot rivets that have grown too cold to be used by WWII shipbuilders) are too outlandish to have achieved such widespread usage; whereas almost everyone, from child to adult, knows the frustration of an imperfectly drawn circle, despite our best intentions for an idealized (Platonic) design. The use of PEAR SHAPED as a critical descriptor of the "less than perfect" human form is obvious and long-standing; however, the use of 'pear' [French: poire] as slang for 'fool' or 'idiot' is relatively recent. A popular French Revolution caricature of "Citizen King" Louis-Philippe, drawn by Honore Daumier and Charles Philipon in 1832 depicted him as a 'jowly pear', and shortly thereafter, in a foreshadowing of our own censorial political-correctness, all caricatures of the king were banned, pear-shaped or not.

Physical Evaluation Board [not "physical examination board"]; also known as a "medical review board" for the determination of mental or physical fitness to remain in the military; if adjudicated as 'unfit', the determination may be classified as temporary (TDRL) or permanent (PDRL) impairments that disqualify a servicemember for DUTY. See WHOLE MAN, HORS DE COMBAT, MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, PROFILE, LINE OF DUTY. [nb: Service-Connected (SC) disability compensation and Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) are benefit categories for military persons retired for medical reasons]


slang for a medical exam to detect venereal disease, commonly called a "dangle parade" or SHORT ARM INSPECTION, which was undertaken by entire units before the VIETNAM WAR; formerly each individual was required to expose his penis to a medical corpsman, and briefly "milk" it for any discharge or emission; contracting VD was punishable by an Article 15, and chronic infection was grounds for a "less than honorable" dismissal from the military. Also, slang for an inquiry into or a determination of the mood, mental attitude or emotional well-being of the members of a military unit, being a survey similar to an EYE-CHECK; this is a crude (but usually reliable) indication of the morale of the troops ... an organization is in trouble when the men stop complaining! See BRAVO ZULU, ATTABOY, BRAGGING RIGHTS, A-OK, A-1, UP CHECK, BLUE-SKY, SMILEY, STROKE THE TROOPS, V-CAMPAIGN, BATTLE CRY, JODY CALL, GUSTO, HOOAH, YUT, OORAH, GUNG-HO, SUCK IT UP, FIDO, WETSU, A FINE AND PLEASANT MISERY, ESPRIT DE CORPS, KEEP THE FAITH.

slang reference to the Morale Officer, a secondary duty assigned to a unit officer (eg: XO) for improving the spiritual and emotional satisfaction of unit members by rewarding performance and encouraging recreation. Recreation can include sports, games, travel, sightseeing, and informal parties. Rewards can include light duty, extra time off, priority of issue, preference in formation, eligibility for informal awards (eg: STREAMER), as well as recognition by official decorations (eg: GONG). The morale Officer is broadly responsible for unit hygiene and welfare, so he conducts meetings on substance abuse, sexual misconduct, conflict resolution, and personal finances. The Morale Officer also schedules gripe or grumble sessions after DUTY hours to resolve minor problems before they magnify or fester ... this can also be accomplished by an "open door policy" offering private counseling. One of the best uses of the anonymous suggestion box is to invite possible solutions from lower ranking unit members, which gives them insight on military methodology and guidance on leadership (LDR) solutions. The Morale Officer takes the "pulse" (PECKER CHECK) of the unit, works with the chaplain (ie: SKY PILOT), and advises the unit commander (CO) of any issues that will impair performance or mission accomplishment. Also, slang for a medical aidman or hospital CORPSMAN, a "shank mechanic" or "pill pusher", a MEDIC, BAND-AID, DOC, BABY DOC, BONE CUTTER, or SAWBONES, especially the urologist (as for VD/STD treatment) who's also called a "dick doc" or "penis machinist". [cf: canoe inspector as slang for gynecologist]

slang for trace evidence, especially the residue, residuum, vestage, remnants, leftovers, dregs, leavings of enemy or criminal activity; as derived from semen and/or urine deposits on secondary surfaces, which indicators are also called "spoor", "pug / pug marks", "tracks", "footprints", or "fingerprints". Since some remnants are always left by any intrusion or passage, the use of untraceable (STERILE) or unattributable (CLEAN) weapons or equipment in covert or clandestine (BLACK) operations is mandatory for "plausible deniability". See CASTOFF, TRACE, BLOOD TRAIL, TRAIL, TRACK, DRAG, WALK BACK THE CAT, INDIAN ROPE TRICK, BREADCRUMBING, RECON. [nb: more so than foreign armies, Americans can usually be traced by their excessive noise and exotic odors as well as by the trail of trash (LITTER) that they leave behind themselves in the field]

a dominance hierarchy exhibited by animal behavior, which was initially observed in poultry wherein rank was established and maintained by one bird pecking another, with access to food, shelter, and mating seemingly dependent upon a bird's status. Also, the hierarchy of authority in an organization or social group; any sequence of rating or grading that rewards and reinforces group optimization, that sustains and perpetuates the social structure of an institution. See CALL ON THE CARPET, CHEW-OUT, PULL RANK, YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND, BASHING, BITCH SLAP, CHAIN-OF-COMMAND, TOP DOG, TOP-KICK, MOTHER HEN, STROKE ECONOMY, RING-KNOCKER, TICKET-PUNCHER, CAKE-EATER, MILICRAT, WHIZ KID, WISE MEN, BRAIN TRUST, POWER ELITE, LDR, BRASS HAT, MANDARIN, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, BOOJIE, BOY'S CLUB, KHAKI MAFIA, THE ESTABLISHMENT; compare GOOD PEOPLE, GOOD STICK, LITTLE PEOPLE, GREEN BLOOD, LONG GREEN LINE, GOOD OLD BOY, THIRD ESTATE, BUBBA EFFECT, BRASS BLOAT, RHIP, ROUGHSHOD, PAY-GRADE. [cf: food chain; v: meritocracy]


a three-wheeled vehicle featuring a bench seat for passengers, normally provided with a folding cover, steered from before or behind while being pedaled by its operator; also known as a "tri-sha". This once common Asian taxicab has become a relic, not unlike the horse-drawn chariot or hansom [v: hackney, jitney, drag, jingle, gharry, fiacre, tonga, gig, trap, dogcart, calash, growler, runabout, palanquin/palankeen, palki/palkee, jiao, gama, sedan chair, hand truck, pushcart, tug-truck, pull-truck]. Compare RICKSHA, CYCLO, TUK-TUK, PUTT-PUTT / PUT-PUT, LITTER, HACK, RICE-BURNER. [v: Japanese takushii (taxi)]

any visual aid, vision enhancement system, or sighting device, sometimes called "cheaters", often containing a scale or reticle, including stand-magnifiers, cameras, binoculars / FIELD GLASSES, view-ports, PERISCOPEs, Night Observation Devices (NOD), Night Vision Goggles (NVG), or Night Vision Device (NVD) ... and not omitting the unassuming eyeglasses or spectacles (specs) that are widely known as a BIRTH CONTROL DEVICE. See BINOS, GLASS, STARLIGHT, GREEN-EYE, I2, ENVIS, LRAS3, VIPER, TOW, BORESIGHT, CROSS HAIRS, SCREEN, ZERO; compare DOUBLE-O, HAIRY EYEBALL, EYE-BALL, STACKING SWIVEL.

an opening in an entrance door or the door of a prison cell that's used for inspection or examination; also called a "view port" or "spy hole", "eyehole" or "inspection hole", this aperture may be combined with an interview system or may be large enough to admit the presentation of credentials. See POSTERN, HATCH, MAN-TRAP, VESTIBULE, GRILLE. [cf: judas hole, wicket, interviewer]

target alignment through peep
target alignment
through peep sight
a small pierced plate, on a bracket adjustable for windage and elevation, through which a shooter peers when sighting on a TARGET, as opposed to an OPEN SIGHT, both of which align with the blade-like front sight; Compare LEAF SIGHT; see SIGHT PICTURE, SIGHT RADIUS, SPOT WELD, ZERO, BASS, DEFLECTION, BORESIGHT. [v: Firearms Glossary]

(forthcoming); see BAND OF BROTHERS, COMRADE, SHIPMATE, MESSMATE, ASSHOLE BUDDY, CAMARADERIE, BUDDY SYSTEM, TEAM, RABBI, PATRON SAINT, SEA DADDY. [nb: Social systems are arranged so that some people are above and some people are below others in various fields of endeavor, so as to enhance each undertaking, whether arranged by caste or class, merit or happenstance, ingenuity or aggression; a few of our superiors may mentor us as we too may favor a few inferiors, but our friends are almost exclusively drawn from the pool of peers who are perceived to be our relative coequals ... but they are not! We are only insignificantly commensurate. They are actually rivals ... rivals for everything we desire, rivals for all of our ambitions, and it is only the structure of civilization that prevents us from slaughtering our nearest opponents and taking whatever we want! Friendship is the salve that we use to console ourselves for our mediocre stand on the worldwide stage, side by side with all of our other pathetic peers.]

the Article 32 investigation (the military equivalent of a civil grand jury hearing) of allegations concerning the 16 March 1968 My Lai incident as conducted by GEN W. Ray Peers, former OSS officer, former 4th Inf Div CG, and former IIFFV CG, then forces commander in Korea. The PEERS INQUIRY resulted in a court martial (LT W.L. Calley, CPT E.L. Medina, CPT E.M. Kotouc, COL W.K. Henderson, et al) and other punishments (BG G. Young and MG S.H. Koster). See PINKVILLE, BUTCHER BRIGADE, ATROCITY, MASSACRE. [nb: of the thirteen officers and enlisted men charged with war crimes, only Calley was convicted of the mass murder of unarmed civilians (22 out of more than 150 killed, raped, and sodomized); the Court of Military Appeals upheld Calley's dishonorable discharge and life imprisonment sentence, but his term of punishment was reduced to ten years by the Secretary of the Army, and Calley was paroled on 19 March 1974]

the 1968 operation that replaced Marine assets at Khe Sahn with the Army's AIRMOBILE 1st Cav Div, coincident with the transfer of all I CTZ units and their functions to the command of the XXIV Corps headquarters (HQ); see LONELY HEARTS.

a device used when measuring the relative bearings (in degrees) of objects that are under observation; the use of a fixed GYROCOMPASS for shooting navigational bearings to an object.

dried meat that has been pounded into a powder, then mixed with fat and dried fruit as a highly nutritious survival foodstuff, as adopted from Amerindian traditions. Compare JERKY; see SUN-CURED.

any MIL-PERS whose primary function is to write, record, document, catalogue, tabulate, account, or substantiate the issue, training, assignment, movement, or service of other MIL-PERS and their requisite equipment or materiel; also known as a "pen pusher", and formerly known as a "quill driver". The PENCIL PUSHER may be a WONK or WALLAH, HONCHO or BRASS HAT in one or another BOMB-PROOF job, but regardless of how necessary this PUKE or SKIRT may be to operations, GRUNTs always classify them with their relatives: desk jockey, office flier, typing machinegunner ("Remington Raider"), staff warrior, combat briefer, barroom shooter, fire base gunfighter, and Saigon commando. In the post-Vietnam era, this electronic typist functioning in the "paperless office" is sometimes called a "photon pusher" as a direct derivation. Compare YEOMAN; see REMF, CLERKS 'n' JERKS, CANDY-ASS, ACETATE COMMANDO, CHAIRBORNE, CHAIR FORCE, BEAN-COUNTER, TAP-DANCER, DOG ROBBER, PUKE, RAPPORTEUR, MILICRAT, ORIFICE, RED TAPE, GO TO GUY, PAY DUES. [nb: a "pencil sharpener" is a do-gooder or BROWN NOSER, but anyone "sharpening his pencil" is either setting a trap, hunting for a victim, or is laying an ambush, aiming to assassinate someone; geeks and dweebs think pencils are weapons, and they have spiked many good careers, and back-stabbed many good soldiers] [nb: the pencil may have been developed as early as 1564, but an eraser was not attached to it until 1858 ... which does not mean that nobody made any mistakes for almost 200 years!] [nb: "Algerism", an eponym for the politico who was probably the worst Secretary of War in American history, became the national byword for bureaucratic sloath, cronyism, and incompetence, becoming a synonym for venality and ineptitude; after Russell A. Alger, attorney and capitalist, Michigan governor and U.S. Senator, CIVIL WAR Major General and Spanish American War Secretary of War]

anything hanging suspended, jutting or overhanging, from ornaments to cornices. Also, in nautical parlance, a hanging length of rope with a block or thimble attached to its free end.

a military issue 35mm "point and shoot" camera using half-frame exposures that had a fixed-lens (28mm f/3.5 Zuiko lens), a view-finder, auto-exposure and fixed-focus features that was invented by Yoshihisa Maitani and manufactured by Olympus (ca1959-1983), being so-called for its compact portability, similar to carrying a fountain pen; related models (eg: Pen EE, Pen EE.S, Pen EE.EL, Pen EE.2, Pen EE.3, Pen EE.D, Pen EE.D2, Pen EE.D3, Pen EE.S, Pen EE.S2) include larger lens, different aperture and shutter settings, photovoltaic selenium light meter, CdS photoresistor, easier film loading, and a flash attachment hot-shoe. [cf: subminiature cameras (Minox, Rollei, Minolta, etc)]

a little pyrotechnic signalling FLARE, also spelled "pen-flare", that was used by small units and RECON teams to identify their position to aerial observers when smoke grenades could not be used. The PEN FLARE consisted of a spring-loaded launcher (about the size of a fountain pen) that accepted screw-in flares of various colors, but the signal could not penetrate dense foliage. Compare SLAP-FLARE, VERY PISTOL.

a nickname for non-flying aviation support staff and ground crew, as used since before WWII, by analogy with the flightless bird; also known as WING WIPER or LEG. Compare GROUND HOG, POG, GROUNDED; see BIRDMAN, PILOT, JET JOCKEY, AIRDALE, BROWN SHOE / BOOT, ZOOMIE, ROTOR HEAD, WOBBLY, WOP, PROP JOCKEY, CREW DOG. [nb: affectionate name selected due to the negative or derogatory associations with other choices, such as Ostrich, Dodo, Moa, Emu, Cassowary, Great Auk, Kakapo, Kiwi]


any of several ANTIBIOTICs of low toxicity that are produced semisynthetically and naturally by aspergillus and penicillium molds, having a bactericidal effect on many cocci and bacilli, and on certain spirochetes; its antagonistic effect was first observed (1928) by Alexander Fleming, but it wasn't refined until WWII inspired its refinement (1941) by both Great Britain and Germany. Compare SULFA DRUGS, STREPTOMYCIN, TETRACYCLINE. [v: benzylpenicillin, phenoxymethyl penicillin, ampicillin, methicillin, oxacillin; cf: erythromycin]

a fungus used in cheesemaking, and as the source of penicillin, an ANTIBIOTIC; as derived from 'brush'. See NUOC MAM.

a feminist catch-phrase ridiculing masculine superiority and disparaging male dominance; this rhyming slang is often uttered as the closure (not unlike a secular 'amen') to another feminist sister's testimonial of her perceived abuse and betrayal, degradation and belittlement, insult and dismissal, as a consequence of unwarranted prejudice and discrimination. See EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, EQUAL PROTECTION, ESTROGEN ALLEY, GOLDEN VAGINA SYNDROME, SQUEAK, COCK BAIT, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, UNTOUCHABLE, THE GLASS CLIFF, BALL BUSTER, BATTLE-AX, WHITE SERGEANT, FLYING BRAVO, BITCH, SPLIT, SKIRT, DISTAFF.

deliberate mispronunciation of 'penicillin'; see ANTIBIOTIC.

deliberate mispronunciation of 'pina colada' (piña colada), an icy mixed drink of rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice, that's served in a tall glass with a pineapple garnish; see BREW, HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, MOONSHINE, THE DRINK, HOIST, GUSTO. [v: banana colada, strawberry colada; cf: sangria, frappe / frappé]

a compact FLASHLIGHT similar in size and shape to a fountain pen; introduced after the KOREAN WAR and used extensively during the VIETNAM WAR, it was also marketed under the brand name "PenLite"; see FLASHLIGHT, compare PEN FLARE. [v: otoscope, auriscope, ophthalmoscope, funduscope]

a long, tapering FLAG or BURGEE, as used for identification or signaling. Also, a flag serving as an emblem of victory or championship; see STREAMER, GUIDON, FLAG.

a bronze coin that serves as the hundredth part of the dollars of various nations, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States; also represented as one cent, as originally derived from 'fennig' (Germany); see LEGAL TENDER. Also, a former bronze coin and monetary unit of the United Kingdom and various other nations, being the twelfth part of a shilling: replaced in 1971 by the "new penny", equal to a hundredth part of a pound under decimalization.

a colloquialism inviting a companion to share a confidence; an invitation to speak one's innermost considerations, as addressed to a pensive or bemused person; a request for someone in a "brown study" to reveal their private concerns. This phrase is humorously represented in John Heywood's Proverbs (1546) where one's most engrossing thoughts are ironically worth the least amount of money. See FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

155mm HOWITZER, may also be spelled "penny nickel nickel"; including M-109 SP at ranges to 14,600m. See SP, ARTY.

a surgical device that's placed in an open wound to drain fluid; eponymously after Charles Bingham Penrose, an American gynecologist in the late 19th century. It consists of a soft rubber tube (or a gauze strip) placed in a wound to prevent the build up of fluid, allowing the wound to heal from the inside outward; assessing the amount of exudate from such an open drain system is difficult, as is controlling the transmission of microorganisms. Post-operative wound care includes the application of an absorbent dressing to keep the area clean and dry, the measure of drainage, its odor and appearance, and an assessment of the surrounding tissue. Compare CLOSED DRAINAGE SYSTEM.

an allowance, annuity, or subsidy paid on a recurring basis as other than wages for past services; a small sum that's regularly paid to someone based upon their eligibility; see LINE OF DUTY, COMPENSATION, BLOOD MONEY, SALARY, THE EAGLE SHITS. [nb: 'pension' is a monthly benefit paid by the government to a veteran or his surviving spouse and dependent family that's based upon the veteran's honorable service and their low income status]


organizational structure designed for potential nuclear conflict, using five divisional elements, also called "pentomic"; supersedes triangular TO&E instituted for WWII, which succeeded the square structure used in WWI. See CARS, OB.

a putative disease state that seemingly infects almost every servicemember assigned for a tour of duty at the Pentagon, which is apparently more severe among SUPER GRADEs and FLAG OFFICERs than among LITTLE PEOPLE, and for which contagion there is no known immunization or cure; this infectant manifests as a mania for protracting the minutia inherent with every task, for compounding and multiplying simplicities into abstruse complexities, and for making redundant and dogmatic changes for their own sake ... the only effective treatment for this disorderly affliction is compulsory reassignment to a unit that's perpetually based in the field, far away from politicians and journalists! See PURGATORY TOUR, CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND, ELEPHANT DANCE, PUZZLE PALACE, WHITE WAY, SUICIDE ALLEY, GROUND ZERO, DOG 'n' PONY SHOW, YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND, HEADQUARTERISM.

a top secret study of U.S. military involvement in southeast Asia that was stolen by Daniel Ellsberg, a civilian analyst at the Defense Department, and published piecemeal from 13 June 1971 onward in the "New York Times"; the Supreme Court determined that news articles based upon materials classified by the Pentagon may be published by a free press, and Ellsberg escaped prosecution for espionage due to investigative irregularities. Disclosure of the PENTAGON PAPERS seemed to confirm long held suspicions that the government had misled and misinformed the public about American involvement in the VIETNAM WAR. Since this was a series of self-serving memoranda written at the direction of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara to defend the [incompetent] decisions of U.S. involvement in Vietnam from 1954 to 1968, its exposure of policymaking was not as devastating as the revelation of sources and techniques, which created a diplomatic crisis amongst America's allies, because negotiations were no longer trustworthy ... any confidence might be divulged in the media, which repercussions persist.

an Agreement, executed on 23 December 1950, by representatives of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, France, and the United States, for Mutual Defense Assistance in INDOCHINA; also called "Mutual Defense Assistance Program" treaty. See ASEAN, SEATO.

the Modern Pentathlon is an athletic competition comprising five consecutive events that're based upon military skills and is scored by teams; the Military Pentathlon displaced the Greek Pentathlon in the 1928 Olympics, after running concurrently since the 1912 Olympiad. The Modern or Military Pentathlon consists of a 300m freestyle swim, 4000m cross-country run, 5000m equestrian steeplechase, épée fencing, and pistol shooting at a 25m target. The original Greek Pentathlon consisted of five track and field events that were scored on an individual basis: 200m run, discus throw, javelin throw, high jump, and wrestling. Compare BIATHLON, TRIATHLON, DECATHLON; see EXERCISE, AIRBORNE SHUFFLE, TRUSCOTT TROT, MARATHON, FIELD HOUSE, WAR GAMES. [v: Pheidippides was the Athenian runner sent to request aid from Sparta before the battle at Marathon plain (490BC) against the Persians; which inaugurated the long-distance footrace and other endurance events] [nb: "With all our technology, we should never forget that soldiering is first and foremost an outdoor sport." by David Petraeus (2009)]

the queen of the AMAZONs who, in the post-Homeric legends, fought for Troy in the Trojan War, and was slain by Achilles, who was himself mortally wounded by Paris; she is representative of any strong, commanding woman.

Programs Evaluation Office, being a covert operation established by the US Dept of State in 1959 to develop the Laotian Army; see MILLPOND, WHITE STAR. Also, the U.S. Army Program Executive Office; see PEO-STRI. Also, abbreviation for Presidential Executive Order; see EXECUTIVE ORDER, FINDING, POTUS.

the Olfractronic Personnel Detector; a sensor that probed for the presence of enemy personnel by measuring the incidence of ammonia. This farcically deficient and absurdly expensive device typified everything that was grossly mismanaged during the VIETNAM WAR!

U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, a training system materiel developer for the Army which is responsible for coordinating the commonality and interoperability of war fighting technologies employed by joint forces; it models system priorities and requirements so as to develop solution standards and acquisition architectures.

a rousing speech or stirring discourse of indeterminate length that's intended to exhort its audience with encouragement and inspiration; a vigorous, often emotional, lecture that's intended to inspire enthusiasm or to increase determination, as for success or achievement, as for resistance or opposition ... although derived from ancient battlefield sermons invoking god-like powers to permeate the warriors, it is nowadays most often associated with sports competitions.

intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral or aesthetic qualities, of intellectual or psychological traits, ostensibly by subconscious inference; the exercise of keen insight or astute discernment. Also, the act of apprehending by means of one's senses, or by the faculties of one's mind; understanding garnered from instinct and analysis. A conventional guideline for the command and control of operations proposes that "the first report of a field action is always wrong", and while later reports on its development and conclusion may revise the initial report, the 'first report' is the only contact with reality that the staff ever has ... so to mistrust it is to disregard the troops who are actually in the field. Since the introduction of telecommunications to warfare, the REAR ECHELON has been trying to micromanage the FRONT LINE, not only telling the forward elements what to do and how to do it, re-defining and re-interpreting the remote actuality, but trying to dictate the genuine results (eg: BODY COUNT) so as to enhance the unit's performance statistics. See TRUTH, PROPAGANDA, DISINFORMATION, CHICKEN FEED, ROCKING HORSE APPLES, BIG STORY, HOT WASH, RECENCY EFFECT, RUMOR. [nb: "The important thing is not the camera but the eye." by Alfred Eisenstaedt; "We perceive things not as they are but as we are."; "However, no two people see the external world in exactly the same way. To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is -- in other words, not a thing, but a think." by Penelope Fitzgerald; "People see only what they are prepared to see." by Ralph Waldo Emerson; "If I didn't believe it with my own mind, I never would have seen it." Bard College graffito; "The situations, people and events that we encounter do not make us into the persons we are ... they only reveal our true inner nature to ourselves."; "The mind is the expression of the soul, which belongs to God and must be let alone by government." by Adlai E. Stevenson]

preconceptions that distort or obscure observations and sensations such that details and nuances, including vital information, may be overlooked or neglected through contrast effect, halo effect, primacy effect, stereotyping, projection, recency bias, selective perception, and other personal or cultural projections; succinctly, in an attempt to make sense of a confusing world involving people and places, situations and events, it is a maladaptive shortcut for a too rapid survey of input data that can fail to recognize a threat or hazard due to filtering (ie: restricted collection or partial colation) and/or misinterpretation (ie: "seeing what someone expects to see" or "hearing what someone wants to hear").

a small metal cover, inlaid with detonating powder, and placed on the nipple of a rifle or revolver such that the firearm's hammer, striking on the outer surface of the cap, causes the powder to explode, igniting the propelling charge behind the projectile; a small metal cup containing a chemical mixture that will detonate when struck, which priming ignites gunpowder in the barrel of a muzzle-loading firearm. Although invented in 1805 by Alexander John Forsyth, a Scottish clergyman, PERCUSSION CAPs (ie: cap lock, cap 'n' ball) were not used on military weapons until almost thirty years later. See PRIMER, DETONATOR. [nb: the pan is the depressed part of the lock holding the priming in old guns, so a "deadpan" facial expression derives from a musket's flash-pan being empty, that is, without any primer to set-off the charged barrel when the hammer falls to strike a spark of ignition]

a philosophical movement spawned by 19th century secular progressivism, which asserted that religious, moral, social, or political perfection is attainable by mankind and his "good works"; such an enlightened humanistic doctrine demands a personal standard of irreproachable perfection in oneself and others, exemplified by an attitude of "right and proper conduct", while rejecting anything less amongst the dregs of society.

someone who believes their work or performance is flawless, and is disinterested in any criticism, which censure, by definition, is always inaccurate or incorrect; although arrogant and self-absorbed, this narrow-minded hypocrite, who presumably demands excellence from himself as well as others, is quite sincere, so is puzzled by an absence of praise or success stemming from their convictions; an outspoken adherent of PERFECTIONISM, a secular progressive movement of the 19th century. See NO EXCUSE, ZERO TOLERANCE, CHECKING THE DICTIONARY, SCRIPTURES, ACCOUNTABILITY, RESPONSIBILITY, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, BRAIN TRUST, SECOND ESTATE, MANDARIN, CLUB FED, POWER ELITE, CAKE-EATERS, YOUNG LIONS, PARTY LINE, OVERSIGHT, MICROMANAGEMENT.


the use of an unnecessarily long or roundabout form of expression; a deliberately indirect or obscure manner of speech or writing; a type of circumlocution used to imply greater precision, more authenticity, or increased professionalism, especially by less well-educated and less self-confident functionaries. See MIL-SPEAK, TALK THE TALK, VERNACULAR, VULGAR. [nb: The way sergeants speak is an art form; it's a calculated mix of five cent and fifty cent words that's delivered with such verve that it simultaneously inspires and intimidates the hearer into immediate compliance. It's readily recognized, even after long separation, and often imitated by aspirants, but it cannot be taught ... only demonstrated, like a tour de force!]

optical reticle shows
gradated scale for ranging
gradated reticle
an optical instrument for viewing objects in an obstructed field of vision, by an arrangement of prisms in TANKs and by an arrangement of mirrors and lenses in SUBMARINEs; the "attack" periscope on a submersible is smaller, with a lower profile to help prevent detection, than the regular observation periscope, and includes a reticle for use as an aiming device (v: SIGHT PICTURE), but not when serving as a view-port. This term is a back-formation from periscopic, meaning to view indirectly or obliquely. See PEEPERS, GLASS, FEATHER, CROSS HAIRS, SCREEN. [nb: during WWII, dentists were not only responsible for the repair of teeth, but they also made prosthetic eyes and polished the objective lens on submarine periscopes]

the willful giving of false testimony under oath or affirmation, before an authorized authority or a competent tribunal, upon a point material to a legal inquiry; as derived from 'swearing falsely'. [re: UCMJ Punitive Articles 131 and 134: false swearing, perjury, subornation, and wrongful refusal to testify; v: UCMJ Punitive Articles]

personnel permanently assigned to a school or training unit, to distinguish such CADRE and staffers from the students; see PLOWBACK, STAFF, TO&E, SHIP'S COMPLEMENT, BILLET, PDS, OSUT, TOP GUN, RED FLAG, HOMESTEADER, CHAIRBORNE. [nb: despite designation, such duty was not considered to be "endless fun"!]

U.S. Army Personnel Command, since redesignated as the Human Resources Command (HRC); see NPRC.

the persistent or systematic harassment, defamation, discrimination, oppression, torment, or mistreatment of any individual or group of persons who constitute a select occupation or profession (from bankers and lawyers to politicians and MIL-PERS), or who comprise a different race, ethnicity, color, creed, religion, sex, or national origin, especially minority members, not withstanding the subjugation of national entities, regardless of justification or merit (eg: "the righteous shall persecute the wicked", "the pacifists persecuted the peacekeepers"). See EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, EQUAL PROTECTION. [v: worry, badger, vex, afflict, bother, pester; cf: prosecute / prosecution]

heavily armored Main Battle Tank (MBT), with M-26 90mm and M-45 105mm MAIN-GUNs, which were grossly underpowered and kept throwing their many fan-belts; see TANK, TRACK. Also, Pershing/PE MISSILE. Also, John Joseph "Blackjack" Pershing, commander of AEF in WWI, whose nickname was obtained from his preference for command of BUFFALO SOLDIERs (while George Armstrong Custer refused such assignments, believing them to be harmful to his reputation and career); see BLACKJACK, OPEN WAR, GASPER, DOG TAGS.

an apocryphal social society comprising the U.S. Navy in operations offshore of the Arabian Peninsula (Near East) in various combat, combat support, and peacekeeping operations. Compare TONKIN GULF YACHT CLUB, SPORT HUNTING CLUB, 72 VIRGINS DATING SERVICE; see THE MED, THE GULF, FIVE SEAS, POND, FLOAT.


see RESILIENT / RESILIENCE, DIEHARD, ROOT HOG OR DIE, WETSU, FIDO. [v: perseverant / perseverance, determined / determination, tenacious / tenacity, unbent / unbowed / unbroken / undefeated]

all moveable property that's privately owned by an individual, being any kind of personal property (or interest therein) except real property, federal documents, or government property. See SPOILS OF WAR, SOUVENIR, HARD TIMES TOKEN, SHORT SNORTER, CHALLENGE COIN, POWER WALL, SAFE ROOM, EARRING, BRACELET, NOK, KIA, DOW, GRAVES REGISTRATION, MORTUARY AFFAIRS.


see ANTHROPOMORPHISM, PATHETIC FALLACY, WEAPON SALVE. [v: "ghost in the machine"; cf: ergonomics]

the aggregate of variously skilled persons employed to enable an organization to function effectively. Also, the administrative subsection (S-1/G-1/J-1) dealing with MIL-PERS and their assignments, duties and performance, pay and benefits; this ADMIN department is sometimes called "social engineering" but is now designated "human resources" in common with civilian institutions, and as such, is responsible for documenting the military life of servicemembers; see 201 FILE, FITREP, EER, OER, MORNING REPORT, PROFILE, LINE OF DUTY, BILLET, MOS, LEAVE, BP, PRO PAY, FIELD ALLOWANCE, PAY-GRADE, RATING, RANK, ORDER.

(forthcoming); windshield or view port, derived from "Perspex" tradename



keeping pets in personal spaces or working areas, living QUARTERS or BARRACKs, is not authorized, so discovery of a pet or evidence of a pet during inspection warrants a demerit or "ding" for that individual; however, this is typically a ploy for creative harassment when flyspecks, cockroach litter, mouse scat, or snake skins are discovered in such areas ... if a dead fly is found, the individual will be gigged for "improper care and feeding of pet" as well as "unauthorized pet", earning double punishment ... and a truly artful TAC will require that the dead "pet" be shown proper respect by undergoing a formal (full dress) burial ceremony! See ADY, GIG, TURD, DUTY ROSTER, STRAC, SQUARED AWAY, SHIPSHAPE; compare GHOST TURD, GIG LINE, MAGGOT, COOTIE, FLEA, GRAYBACK, CRAB, CHIGGER / CHIGOE / JIGGER, FLY, BEDBUG, TICK, ASSASSIN BUG, DOODLEBUG. Also, a colloquialism for the expression of affection, as by hugging, cuddling, snuggling, nestling, caressing, fondling, snogging, making-out, and so forth; see HUG, KISS, WARM FUZZY, PAX, PDA.

an explosive device that was formerly used to blow-in a door or gate, to form a breach in a wall, and the like; as derived from "to break wind"; compare CAMOUFLET. Also, a kind of FIRECRACKER; see FIZZLE, FIZGIG. Also, a British spigot mortar of World War II that fired a forty-pound finned bomb, which was designed to destroy pillboxes and other concrete obstacles; it was also called "Flying Dustbin". Also, the keyword in an idiomatic expression meaning ruined or destroyed by the very device or plot one had intended for another, as "Hoist by one's own petard!", "Hoist upon one's own petard!", or "Hoist with one's own petard!"; see POETIC JUSTICE. [v: fissile; cf: feist/feisty]

co-pilot; the lower-ranking and less-experienced PILOT in an airplane. Compare WING MAN; see IP, CHECK RIDE, UP CHECK, PILOT.

a less than serious social theory represented in The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull (1969) that has since been proclaimed to be profoundly explicit when identifying the existence of "educated idiots" and "ignorant executives" ... among other precepts, the Peter Principle asserts that "all members of a hierarchy rise to their own level of incompetence", and that you will establish a reputation as an 'expert' if you make three correct guesses consecutively". Compare PARKINSON'S LAW, OCCAM'S RAZOR, MURPHY'S LAW; see LESSONS LEARNED.

a formal request, often signed by its endorsers, addressed to an official or authoritative body, soliciting some benefit or right; such an entreaty or importunity is forbidden MIL-PERS! Active and reserve uniformed servicemembers may utilize an "Appeal For Redress" as a legitimate means of addressing a grievance to their political representatives [v: DoD Directives 1325.6 and 7050.6].

PentaErythritol TetraNitrate, being a white crystalline solid (C5H8N4O12) that's water-insoluble; formulated after WWI, it's used chiefly as the high-explosive ingredient in DET CORD [aka: "Primacord" trademark]. PETN is also used medicinally as a vasodilator to provide temporary relief from the symptoms of angina pectoris. Compare NITROGLYCERIN, see EXPLOSIVE.

fuel; any petroleum mixture, including AVGAS (refined kerosene), fuel oil, diesel, or gasoline. See POL, JP, MOGAS, NSFO, BUNKER, GOSP, JUICE, HOT-FUELING, TOP-OFF, FUEL LADDER, BLIVET, BLADDER, POD, JERRY CAN, DONKEY DICK, REDNECK CREDIT CARD, THE DEVIL'S WATER. [nb: Chinese began drilling for crude petroleum in the 4th century; but in 1859, the first American oil well was dug near Titusville PA, and the first oil refinery began operation in 1861] [nb: diesel is an eponym from the German automotive engineer, Rudolf Diesel, who invented (1890) the engine that operates on fuel oil] [nb: "My men can eat their belts, but my tanks have gotta have gas." by George S. Patton Jr]


the influencing (or in some cases, actually making) of decisions by the commander's spouse that affect unit personnel and effect military actions, without the necessary training or experience, warrant or authority, as by an unvetted adviser or silent partner in putative "co-command"; from the fashion of women wearing decoratively ruffled (furbelow) underskirts. Although the privilege of spousal access was flagrantly abused by some arrogant wives before the era of women's suffrage, such undue influence was seemingly "justified" by their disenfranchisement, but this misconduct has since persisted in the military realm, as well as the political and professional, making sexuality a trump over merit. "Pillow talk" with a trusted intimate is always a solace to burdened leaders, but these ambitious and ruthless wives are dedicated to advancing their husband's careers (if not their reputations), so cunningly abuse these privileged confidences to advance an agenda, typically their own. This inflationary and self-aggrandizing usurpation, apparently coined to characterize the conduct of Lizinka Brown, who completely controlled access to her husband (Confederate LTG Richard S. "Old Bald Head" Ewell), although could have been equally applied to many other early American wives of prominent men (from Abigail Adams and Dorothea Payne "Dolly" Madison to Varina Howell Davis and Julia Ward Howe Grant), is also known as "officer's wife syndrome". See DRAG, OFFICER'S WIFE, COW, LADY, THE DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT, RING THE BELL, THE MOTHER-IN-LAW OF THE ARMY, WHITE SERGEANT, THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS, DISTAFF, SKIRT. [cf: professional widow] [v: John C. "The Pathfinder" Frémont's "Jessie's Scouts" were named after Jessie Benton Frémont, his wife and the daughter of Thomas Hart "Old Bullion" Benton]



slang for any display of weapons or vehicles that may be closely examined, but not operated (such as experimental mechanisms or foreign devices); so-called after the restricted enclosure of tame animals ... not an historical display of untouchable museum items. Compare THEME PARK, NICKEL RIDE, TREASURE HUNT, WAR GAMES.

PF :
Popular Forces of South Vietnam, recruited and trained security troops employed, as SQUADS and PLATOONS, within their local villages and hamlets, and directed by village or district chiefs; see RF, RF/PF, PRU, HOC BAO, PSDF. [nb: Vietnamese term: Nghia Quan]

abbreviation for Private First Class; being a rank before the Vietnam-era displaying a single sleeve chevron that's also known as a MOSQUITO WING; when enlisted ranks were reorganized, this insignia was changed to Private (PVT E-2), and the Lance Corporal (LCPL E-3) insignia of a single chevron with one rocker was changed to PFC. Slang alternatives for PFC, as used by ambitious LIFER understudies, include: "Praying For Corporal" or "Perpetual Field Cadre"; as used by troops MARKing TIME, include: "Permanent Fatigue Clown" or "Professional Fucking Cleaner"; as used by aspiring DRAFTEEs and short-timers, include: "Praying For Civilian" or "Potentially Free Citizen", "Privately Funded Character" or "Proud Fucking Civilian". See SWINE LOG, MOSQUITO SMILE, MATING MOSQUITOES, EM, RANK, GRADE, RATING. [nb: in his infinite wisdom, President Lyndon B. Johnson mandated that no one below the rank of PFC would be killed in Vietnam, so regardless of ability or time in service, all PVTs were promoted upon arrival IN-COUNTRY ... just in case they got wasted on their first day; it's interesting that the genius of this management policy was not introduced earlier, since those pitiful old EMs, many of whom went through battle after battle in distant wars without promotion (or even pay in some cases!), would have surely welcomed meaningless inflation in their RANKs as much as modern troops]

Presidential Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, an ex-officio tribunal; see WISE MEN.

P-51 :
larger C-RATION can opener; see P-38.

Physical Fitness Training; see PT, DAILY DOZEN, IOCT, EXERCISE, AIRBORNE SHUFFLE, TRUSCOTT TROT, FRONT LEANING REST, JUMPING JACK, SQUAT, BIATHLON, TRIATHLON, PENTATHLON, DECATHLON, MARATHON, BY THE NUMBERS, FIELD HOUSE, PT'S, GO-FASTERS, PT SHOWER, WAR GAMES. Also, Physical Fitness Test, being the monthly exam that replaced the annual Physical Competency and Proficiency Test (PCPT); also known as Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).

Precision Guided Missile, such as Thor (PGM-17A), Jupiter (PGM-19A), and the like; see MISSILE. Also, Precision Guided Munition, a generic reference to SMART BOMB, JDAM, LGB, PAVEWAY, and any other weapon that can be steered onto its TARGET.

PH :

McDonnell-Douglas F-4 (called "Fox-Four") aircraft is a supersonic, twin-engine, all-weather, two-place, tactical jet fighter-bomber; and was one of the principal aircraft deployed to Southeast Asia. It was originally designed as a jet bomber without guns, but close air support (CAS) tactical necessity dictated later modification. Capable of operating at speeds of more than 1,600 miles per hour and at altitudes approaching 60,000 feet, the first F-4s were deployed to participate in the air war over Vietnam in August 1964 by the U.S. Navy. On 6 August 1964, in response to the GULF OF TONKIN INCIDENT, five F-4Bs from the USS Constellation attacked North Vietnamese patrol boat bases. The F-4 aircraft expanded their operations beginning on 3 April 1965, when fifty F-4Bs attacked a road bridge 65 miles south of Hanoi. The first U.S. Air Force F-4s were deployed to Southeast Asia in early 1965 and became involved in significant air operations during that summer. On 10 July 1965, two F-4Cs shot down two MiG-17 fighters over North Vietnam with air-to-air SIDEWINDER missiles. In October 1965 the first RF-4s (aircraft equipped with reconnaissance equipment) were deployed to the theater. By March 1966, seven USAF F-4 squadrons were in South Vietnam and three were in Thailand. Buildup of F-4 aircraft and operations continued thereafter including F-4s from the Marine Corps. The F-4D carries optical and guided bombs, other air-to-air missiles, and cannon; it features improved avionics equipment for air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. A total of 511 F-4s from all services were lost in Southeast Asia from 6 June 1965 through 29 June 1973; of these, 430 were combat losses, while 81 resulted from aerial or ground accidents. See WILD WEASEL. [nb: early designation of the McDonnell F-110A / F-4C Phantom II fighter as 'Spectre']

the subjective experience of sensations [pseudesthesia] arising from a peripheral part that's been removed from the body, which is due to the fact that the amputation has not destroyed the neural representation of the missing extremity, particularly in the cortex; hence, many amputees have feelings (including itch and tickle, temperature and pressure) that are attributed to this absent part; this illusion of a subjective sensation not arising from an external stimulus is also called "ghost limb", "stump hallucination", or "shadow sensation". See CONTINUATION TATTOO. [v: phantom limb pain (paresthesia)] [nb: WD-40 is an effective lubricant for hinged prosthetic limbs]

[paresthesia] see REFERRED PAIN.

phantom 135th Airborne
135th Abn Div
fictitious commitments and maneuvers designed to deceive enemy intelligence, conducted by skeleton staff simulating orders, signals, and reports (STAREP, SITREP, etc). Operation "Wedlock" employed actual bombing by 11th Air Force assets in preparation for a phantom attack by the nonexistent 9th Fleet on the Kurile Islands as a successful diversion for the actual WWII assault on the Marianas. During the GULF WAR, these deception operations were conducted by "Ambiguity Forces" under Task Force Troy, and used a "wheeled camel" (TROJAN HORSE) symbol. See GHOST UNIT, DECEPTION.


a line utilized for control and coordination of military operations, usually an easily identified terrain feature in the operational area (AO); abbreviated 'PL'. See FEBA, FLOT, FCSL, IP, POD, LINE OF DEPARTURE, AIMPOINT, WAY POINT, STRONGPOINT; compare STAR WARS, MAGINOT LINE, SIEGFRIED LINE, MARETH LINE, SMEZ, IRON CURTAIN, BAMBOO CURTAIN, BAR LEV LINE, CACTUS CURTAIN, McNAMARA'S WALL, McNAMARA LINE, CHINESE WALL, DEW LINE. [cf: Hadrian's Wall, Antonine Wall, Great Wall of China] [nb: the Dutch built Wall Street (1652-98) as a defense against the British in New York] [nb: "The strength of a wall is neither greater nor less than the men who defend it." by Genghis Khan; "Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction." Proverbs 17:19 NIV Bible]

in Laotian ontology / pneumatology, unseen spirits which inhabit all things; compare OAN HON, HUNGRY GHOST. [nb: since the November 1965 battles (SILVER BAYONET) in the Ia Drang valley, the area has been referred to as the "Forest of Screaming Souls"]

1946 flag of the Republic of
the Philippines
Republic of the Philippines
PHILippine Civic Action Group; beginning in 1953, medical and rural development teams were sent to assist South Vietnam, then in 1966, PHIL CAG was instituted, establishing a base camp in Tay Ninh (III CTZ) consisting of 1500 personnel who conducted pacification operations in Tay Ninh, Binh Dong, Hau Ngia, and Dinh Tuong provinces. Due to political pressures, PHIL CAG was withdrawn in January 1970, leaving behind a small contingent of medical and rural development teams, similar to those originally sent before the establishment of PHIL CAG. See FLIP, CA, CAP, FWF.

an ancillary COUNTER-GUERRILLA campaign (1899-1902) of the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR; see BANANA WARS.

an official unit of the U.S. Army (1901-46) composed of native Filipinos under the command of American officers, and were designated with a "PS" suffix (eg: 43rd, 45th, and 57th Infantry Regiments (PS), 24th and 25th Field Artillery Regiments (PS), 91st and 92nd Coast Artillery Regiments (PS), 26th Cavalry Regiment (PS), 14th Engineer Regiment (PS), 12th Quartermaster Regiment (PS), including medical, and military police formations), separate from Philippine Commonwealth units. PS companies were initially organized to combat bandits and INSURGENTs (including Moro tribesmen on Mindanao) as a result of the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR; and after WWI, the PS infantry and artillery units were operationally grouped with the U.S. Army's 31st Infantry Regiment (commonly known as the "Thirsty First" for its bibulous reputation) to form the U.S. Army's Philippine Division. The first three Medals of Honor (MOH) awarded to soldiers in WWII were presented to PHILIPPINE SCOUTS [ie: Sergeant Jose Calugas for action at Culis, Bataan on 6 January 1942; Lieutenant Alexander R. Nininger for action near Abucay, Bataan on 12 January 1942; and Lieutenant Willibald C. Bianchi for action near Bagac, Bataan on 3 February 1942]. When the Philippines were recaptured, surviving PHILIPPINE SCOUTS and Filipino GUERRILLAs rejoined the unit, were reconstituted as the U.S. Army's 12th Infantry Division, including the 43rd, 44th, 45th, and 57th Infantry Regiments (PS), 23rd, 24th, and 88th Field Artillery Battalions (PS), and the 56th Engineer Battalion (PS). Some of the PHILIPPINE SCOUTS were assigned CONSTABULARY duties, while others were scheduled for occupation service in Japan after the war. When the Republic of the Philippines became independent on 4 July 1946, many of the PHILIPPINE SCOUTS accepted American citizenship, and continued their service with various units of the U.S. Army in the KOREAN WAR, VIETNAM WAR, and other COLD WAR stations. President Truman disbanded the PHILIPPINE SCOUTS as an official element of the United States Army in 1946, and all of their unit COLORS were retired. see ARMY SOUP, FLIP. [nb: the 1946 flag representing the archipelago of the Philippine Islands is flown inverted (with the red segment uppermost) whenever the republic is at war]

arguably the national dish of Vietnam and available in many variations, including street fare, this rice noodle soup of minced meat (chicken or beef) broth is topped with bean sprouts, sweet basil, chopped onions, chili paste, and a squeeze of lime juice; compare KHAO PIAK SEN. [cf: Chinese won-ton soup, Japanese larmen / ramen soup]

Phoenix program crest
covert program to identify and neutralize VC political leaders, as terrorist reciprocity for the communist death toll of eleven (11) SVN/GVN officials murdered daily throughout the war; see PHUNG HOANG, VCI, compare ICEX, PRU. Also, designation (AIM-54) for the long-range (over 120 nautical miles), active RADAR-homing Air-to-Air MISSILE (AAM), sized about 989#s and a thirteen foot length.

properly an "acrophonetic spelling alphabet", being an agreed set of representative words used to replace letters and numbers so as to avoid confusion or errors during voice communications, especially for the protection of lives and property in an emergency. The international phonetic alphabet, or more formally the international radiotelephony spelling alphabet, is known as the "Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet" by the U.S. military, and is also used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and many other agencies. The military has been using spelling alphabets for precision in TELEPHONE and RADIO communications since before WWI, but none was adopted Internationally until 1927; all versions of which were experimentally refined until 1955. Despite the widespread acceptance of the international phonetic alphabet, civilians tend to improvise city and first name sets. Although ex-military members tend to populate police, fire, and rescue crews, the Association of Public Safety Officials only formalized a phonetic alphabet at the behest of the department of Homeland Security (DHS) after the 9/11 2001 TERRORIST incident. See ALPHABET SOUP, NICKNAME, CODENAME, KAK, KEK, KEY, SHACKLE, CIPHER, ENCRYPT, DECRYPT, CODE, CODEWORD, PROWORD, INTERCO, CODE TALKER, TAP CODE, BREVITY CODE, ACRONYM. [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags]

in the post-Vietnam era, an electronic typist functioning in the "paperless office" as a direct derivation of the vaunted quill driver, pen pusher, and PENCIL PUSHER (qv).

drums of jellied gasoline, setup canted at an angle and fired defensively as a fixed-position anti-personnel weapon; also spelled "phu-gas", "foo-gas", and "fougasse", as used in both the KOREAN WAR and VIETNAM WAR. See NAPALM, ZIPPO, COCKTAIL. [v: pyromachy]


also spelled "foo-gas" and "fougasse"; see PHOUGAS.

the Vietnamese name for the PHOENIX program, formally known as "Chien Dich Phuong Hoang" (mistakenly cited in numerous sources as "Chien Vich Phuong Hoang"), as derived from a legendary bird endowed with magical powers; which interservice organization was part of the Accelerated Pacification Program (Le Loi), announced by South Vietnam's President Nguyen Van Thieu on 1 July 1968, and was directed against the Vietnamese Communist Infrastructure (VCI). See PHOENIX, PRU, ICEX.

PI :
abbreviation for Periodic Inspection. Also, notation for 'Political Influence' added to the personnel file of a MIL-PERS who is related to an elected or appointed official, to a FLAG officer or prominent defense contractor. Also, abbreviation for Philippine Islands; see FLIP, PHILIPPINE SCOUTS, PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION, PHIL CAG. Also, abbreviation for PIASTER (qv). Also, the mathematical symbol for the ratio (3.141592+) of the circumference (periphery) of a circle to its diameter. Also, the consonant sound represented by the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet.

the basic monetary unit of currency in French INDOCHINA, with the term derived from "silver plate". During the VIETNAM WAR, the South Vietnamese DONG was commonly called PIASTER or "P" to distinguish it from the North Vietnamese DONG; having an approximate conversion rate of: VNP100 = US$0.85 ca1966; VNP100 = US$1.15 ca1970, VND15,800 = US$1.00 ca2005. See DONG, HAO, XU, MPC. Also, a monetary unit of currency in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, and Syria; see LEGAL TENDER. Also, the former peso or dollar of Spain and Spanish America; as derived from a thin plate of silver ("piastra d'argento"), which served as LEGAL TENDER in colonial America.

Parachute Infantry Brigade, such as 509th PIB, 542nd PIB, 555th PIB, etc; compare PIR, RCT; see BDE, RGT, AIRBORNE, PARACHUTE.

abbreviation for Personal Identification Code, being a secondary security feature for access to restricted data or classified procedures; the military equivalent of the civilian 'personal identification number' (PIN), it's a unique sequence of alphanumeric characters and symbols. See CODENAME, CODEWORD, PASSWORD, CIPHER, CODE, PUK, CAC, SMART CARD, SWIPE CARD, UNDER LOCK 'n' KEY. [nb: the Universal Uniform Personal Identification Code (UUPIC) is a "user name" for database access by a government employee, who must also include a control password that's equivalent to a PIC / PIN] [cf: dongle]

a standardized bracket mounting platform for accessories and attachments [eg: telescopic sights, laser aiming module, reflex (red-dot) sight, infrared aiming light, tactical light, night vision device, vertical foregrip, hand stop, bipod, etc] to be securely connected to SMALL ARMS (ie: rifle, light machinegun, shotgun, pistol, etc); also known as "rails" or "tactical rails", they're so-called after Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, which tested and standardized [Mil-Std-1913 (3 Feb 1995)] the attachment system as a modification of both the M-16A2E4 rifle and M-4E1 carbine. Adapted from the pre-WWII Leupold/Redfield and Weaver rail mounts by the A.R.M.S. company in the early 1980s, the PICATINNY RAIL uses a sturdier unitized set of parallel rails, forming a series of raised T-shaped ridges in cross-section, interspersed with perpendicular flattened spacing slots set more uniformly along their length, made discontinuous to neutralize distortion from barrel heat; the mounting systems being partly compatible, some accessories are interchangeable. The NATO accessory rail was developed (8 May 2009) from the PICATINNY RAIL to accommodate the accessorizing of allied SMALL ARMS (eg: Beretta, Heckler & Koch, FN Herstal, Aimpoint, etc) to extend interoperability. [v: Leupold/Redfield mount, Weaver rail, NATO accessory rail, KeyMod, rail integration system, rail interface system, rail accessory system]


PILOT slang for the armament controls mounted on the steering STICK; see CAS, GUN RUN. Also, PILOT term for releasing the bombload on the target; see SPLASH, SMOOGE, INTERVALOMETER, BOMBSIGHT, HOTAS.

slang name for the headquarters complex of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) near Langly Virginia; this phrase has traditionally represented a predicament (ie: "in a pickle"). Compare THE FARM, COUNTRY CLUB, THE GARAGE, SHANGRI-LA; see HOUSE OF SPOOKS, SPOOK, SECRET AGENT, TRADECRAFT.

slang for the sage green FLIGHT SUIT, which transitioned from a fabric coverall to one of similar design in fire-retardant material (ie: Nomex) during the Vietnam-era.

slang for an easy task or simple assignment, by allusion to the relaxed and convivial meal shared in an idyllic setting; see PIECE OF CAKE, WALK IN THE PARK, CAKEWALK, LAUGH A MINUTE, DUCK SOUP, NO SWEAT, MILK RUN. Also, morbid slang for the bloodied and wrecked corpse that has become a feast to insects and other vermin; the dead body as host for the living scavengers of organic matter; see RICE KRISPIES, SOUP, CRISPY CRITTER, CREATURE FEATURE, GRAVES REGISTRATION, MORTUARY AFFAIRS.

a weight equal to 100 catties in China and southeast Asia, or from about 133 to 143 pounds avoirdupois; as derived from "the maximum load a man can carry" in Malay [pikull]. See HUMPING THE RUCK, LIFT, PAYLOAD.

consisting of a sponge in a watertight plastic bag, this accessory item enables PILOTs and aircrew operating small aircraft to micturate during a flight; a PISS TUBE or HONEY BUCKET is provided on larger (cargo) aircraft. Compare WCS, WAG BAG. [nb: females can use the PIDDLE PACK by employing a funnel to guide their urine into this bag]

an auxiliary non-native language, that has developed from the need of speakers of different languages to communicate, and is essentially a simplified and short-lived form of a prominent language, with a reduced vocabulary and grammatical structure; origin may be a variant of "business talk" in Chinese pidgin English. A pidgin evolves into a creole when it acquires syntax (eg: Krio). Both "baby talk" (preconstructive) and "telegraph speech" (deconstructive) may be classified as pidgin due to their discordance. See HOOCH, JUNK, JOSS STICK, COOLIE, BUDDHAHEAD, CHOP, CHOP CHOP, CHIN CHIN, SAME-SAME, SIN LOY (XIN LOI), BAMBOO ENGLISH, GOOKANESE, DOUBLE DUTCH, POLYGLOT, CREOLE, LINGUA FRANCA, MONKEY VOICES, JARGON, VERNACULAR, PIG LATIN, DOG LATIN, MIL-SPEAK.

a quick method for subdividing an area or segmenting a range for complete observation and coverage during SEARCH AND CLEAR or SEARCH AND DESTROY operations; as based upon a survey pattern of wedges radiating from the attacker or fire team, as if positioned at the center of a sliced pie. May be expressed as "pie the field", "pieing the hill", or "pied the room". See RANGE CARD, WATCHER, RACETRACK, UMBRELLA.

slang for going into hostile ground operations with confidence of success; some special operations in INDOCHINA were ostensibly called a "piece of tofu", but this is probably apocryphal. See NO SWEAT, LAUGH A MINUTE, WALK IN THE PARK, CAKEWALK, DUCK SOUP, MILK RUN, TURKEY SHOOT.

anyone who induces others to follow his lead or to imitate his actions, especially by means of false or extravagant promises; a misguided pacesetter, as derived from the hero of a German folk legend that was popularized in The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning (1842).

designation given to air operations against North Vietnam in August 1964.

slang for the belt-fed M-60 light machinegun, also called NUMBER SIXTY, was classified as CREW-SERVED, having a gunner and loader assigned, but was normally operated on a post (PINTLE) or bipod by one person; in consequence of which, and in consideration of the terrain, the barrel was shortened to increase its effective manipulation, which reduced its range of effective accuracy. See LMG, MG, LINK AMMO. Also, disparaging slang for a cop or police officer, based upon the well-padded appearance of policemen outfitted in tactical gear; the so-called piggish snout derives from the appearance of the GAS MASK worn during riot control; compare BAT MAN; see BABY 007, BUTTON, CID, OSI, NIS, SECRET SQUIRREL, FBI, DEA, REVENUER, BODYGUARD, CONSTABULARY, MP, SNOWDROP, AP, SP, SHERIFF, CHIMPS, BATS 'n' HATS, KATN, BUBBLEGUM MACHINE, POLICE.

informal designation for an early gasoline or diesel powered SUBMARINE, so-called because of the way it wallowed when on the surface of the ocean; the dolphin is nicknamed the "sea pig". See GUPPY, BOOMER.

the use of a sacrificial ship, prepared but minimally manned (with no crew below decks) for repeatedly running over an area that's suspected of being mined so as to trigger the detonation of influence-type mines; the expendable ship is known as a GUINEA PIG, and once the area is cleared of mines, it's said to be 'pigged', said to have been 'pigged'.

anything, as a device or apparatus, that's attached to or mounted on something else, especially a vehicle carried on another larger vehicle; also called "pickaback". See MOTHER SHIP, MINISUB. Also, a method of carrying a person on another person's back by the rider wrapping his arms over the shoulders and around the neck of the carrier, while the rider's legs are hooked over the carrier's hips with the support of the carrier's arms and hands; this posture is sometimes used as a method of conveyance for an injured person, and sometimes as a partnership configuration for games or contests; see FIREMAN'S CARRY, LIFESAVER'S CARRY, DRAG, SPUR RIDE, UGLY AMERICAN OLYMPICS.

frankfurters or small sausages wrapped in dough and baked or broiled. Also, a dish consisting of oysters, chicken livers, or the like, wrapped in bacon, skewered, and broiled or sautéed. Compare TOAD-IN-A-HOLE.

an informal or juvenile language derived from ordinary English by the metathetic movement of the first consonant or consonant cluster of each word to the end of the same word, and adding the sound (long-a) [eg: Eakspay Igpay Atinlay = Speak Pig Latin]. See DOG LATIN, PIDGIN, BAMBOO ENGLISH, DOUBLE DUTCH, CREOLE, VERNACULAR.

this phrase denotes someone exhibiting a dumbfounded facial expression, but in a more profound sense, such bewilderment implies ignorance or incompetence, as when a supervisor (LDR) doesn't know what to do; also expressed as "doesn't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his ass". See BRASS EAR, EMPTY SUIT, HOLLOW BUNNY, DRONE, DELEGATOR, DOESN'T KNOW SHIT FROM SHINOLA, CYA, MILICRAT. [v: Peter Principle; TEACH A PIG TO SING / whistle]

disparaging reference to a squad BAY, especially one occupied by basic trainees, who notoriously exhibit unmilitary disorder and indiscipline; also called sty, pigsty, or piggery, after the enclosure for swine. Also, any filthy place or abode; oubliette or hock. Also, a place of bestial debauchery; see HELL ON WHEELS, BOOM BOOM ROOM, NHA THO.

any very large or menacing knife, frequently a bowie, Arkansas toothpick, or some other combat model; also called "toad-sticker". Also, slang for a large shiv or some other appropriate knife flouted by delinquents and criminals as being allegedly suitable for attacking policemen ... the putative "pigs". Also, a large hunting knife, usually with a back-edge, and not well-suited for camp chores or skinning; as derived from the spear or lance used for hunting wild boar from horseback. [nb: W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company made a low-profile 6" double-edged dagger with an integral crossguard and wooden haft that was commercially marketed to servicemen under the tradename "Pigsticker" during WWII] [v: Knife Terms; The Language of Swordplay] Also, in the GULF WAR-era, slang for a long, thin, upright radio antenna, usually mounted singly atop a building, which stiletto-like projection serves as a hazard to low flying aircraft; compare ROMMEL'S ASPARAGUS, STACK, WHIP.

a short length of cable used to connect electrical terminals or to splice a transmission wire; see SPAGHETTI, LANDLINE, COAX. Also, slang for a thin twisted roll of tobacco, a hand-made instead of a ready-made or factory-made SMOKE; also called a "quirlie" or "roll-up", and known as a "rollie" by AUSSIE and KIWI troops; see GASPER, BUTT, FAG, DRAG, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, SMOKING LAMP, FIELD STRIP, POLICE CALL, BUTT CAN, STICK, GRASS, CAN SA, HAY; compare CHEW, SNUFF. [nb: according to George Orwell, a "hard-up" is a cigarette improvised from the tobacco garnered from castoff stubs and BUTTs hand-rolled in tissue, Bible paper, or newsprint] [nb: during the Nazi siege of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War (WWII), ersatz cigarettes that substituted leaves and other foliage for tobacco were called "autumn lights"] [nb: the MEXICAN WAR changed American smoking habits, from a preference for pipes (typically clay) to cigars and cigarettes] Also, a short braid of hair hanging down the back of the head; sometimes separated into two tufts; see LONGHAIR, SILVER-TAIL; compare ROACH, MOHAWK, HACKLE / HACKLES, FAUXHAWK / FAUX-HAWK. [cf: ponytail, braid, plat, plait, queue] [nb: "A ponytail always adorns a horse's ass!"]

a 1969 INTEL project utilizing BODEs to surveil enemy activity in Cambodia; see DANIEL BOONE. [nb: SOG issued these agents homing pigeons instead of radios for secure reporting, without fear of being compromised by possession of unexplainable equipment]

an assemblage of things laid or lying one upon the other; as an accumulation, collection, heap, mass, stack, mound, or batch. Also, a large building, or an imposing group of buildings; see PUZZLE PALACE, MADHOUSE, IVORY TOWER. Also, informal reference to a large number, quantity, sum or amount of anything, especially money; see LEGAL TENDER. Also, informal reference to a group of people that's moving in a confused cluster or in a disorderly manner; to mill around; see FLAP, GOAT ROPE, CLUSTER FUCK. Also, a container for substances undergoing reactions; reactor; see CONTAINMENT, DRAGON'S BREATH, DRAGON SHIT, GENIE, SCRAM, MANHATTAN PROJECT. Also, a vertical member, flat or cylindrical (often tapered or pointed at the lower end), of wood, steel, or concrete that's driven into the ground to form part of a foundation or retaining wall; see BOLLARD, BLAST WALL, PARAPET, REVETMENT, BULWARK, EMPLACEMENT. Also, a heap of wood upon which a dead body, a living person, or a sacrifice is burned; pyre. Also, the lower of two dies [cf: cross] that're used for making coins by hand; see HARD TIMES TOKEN, CHALLENGE COIN, COINING, LEGAL TENDER. Also, a bundle of iron pieces that're ready to be welded and drawn out into bars; fagot. Also, soft hair or fur; fine down or wool; pelage, as derived from 'plumage'. Also, a textile fabric with a surface of upright yarns (cut or looped), as corduroy or velvet, terry cloth or Turkish toweling. Also, in heraldry, an ordinary in the form of a narrow wedge or triangle coming from one edge of the escutcheon, or from the chief unless otherwise specified; a number of charges are "in pile" when arranged in this same manner.

slang for a hemorrhoid (ie: a varicose vein occurring inside or outside the anal sphincter), or the condition of having hemorrhoids; as derived from "balls" ('pyles'; cf: pill). See SUCK 'n' PUFF, PUCKER FACTOR, TROTS, SQUIRTS, DUMP, SHIT, BLACK WATER, HEAD CALL, SLOP CHUTE, CAT HOLE, BLUE CANOE, SLIT TRENCH, HEAD, LATRINE, HONEY BUCKET, COMFORT STATION.


the birth-control pill, which is credited with the "sexual revolution" as an adjunct to the "women's liberation movement" and the counterculture; see BIRTH CONTROL DEVICE, LOVE BEADS, HIPPIE, YIPPIE, PREEVERT, SHORT ARM, PRO KIT, BLUE PETER. Also, the anti-MALARIA pill (M-11), commonly called a HORSE PILL.

to ruthlessly take goods or valuables by open violence, as in war; to take as loot, booty, or spoils; PLUNDER. See SPOILS OF WAR, HAVOC, RANSACK, SOUVENIR, ROMAN HOLIDAY.

a small or compact fortification, similar to a BUNKER, housing machineguns (MG), antiaircraft (AA), or anti-TANK (AT) weapons. Compare BRIDGEHEAD, SENTRY BOX, COP IN A BOX, VCP, CASEMATE, STRONGPOINT, BLOCKHOUSE. [v: Military Earthworks Terms]

a collection of explicit illustrations depicting sexual intercourse, which was given to a Japanese bride before her wedding night as preparation for the impending encounter; this practical guide to intimacy was considered to be a marital aid, not unlike the Indian kama sutra, both of which are typically classified as "pornographic" by Occidentals. See STROKE BOOK, TRAINING FILM, UP-CLOSE 'n' PERSONAL, DOG 'n' PONY SHOW. [nb: not to be confused with the literary classic "Makura no Sôshi" by Sei Shonagon (ca999)] [v: opéra bouffe; scopophilia / scoptophilia]

the private exchange of conversation, or the expression of a confidence in an intimate setting (especially in bed) between lovers; it should be noted that men do not tend to brag to their paramours after they're in bed together, but as a ploy to impress them into a state of adoration that will result in shared affections ... post-coital bliss doesn't result in loquacity, but in mute withdrawal! See DANGLE, DECOY, HONEY TRAP, LIFTED SKIRT, TRADECRAFT.

U.S. Army aviator's
qualification badge
U.S. Army pilot's wings
a person qualified to operate an airplane, helicopter, balloon, glider, or other aircraft, originally designated a "chauffeur"; which skill is recognized by military badges, gradated basic, senior (@1500hrs), and master (@3000hrs). The WWI "winged propeller" aviation badge was redesigned for WWII as the "winged shield" (Army) and "winged anchor" (Navy); and subsequently extended to medical flight crew and other aircraft crewmembers. Sometimes called "aviator", FLY-BOY, "left-seater", "aeronaut", or "pilot PUKE"; a Warrant Officer (WO) PILOT is designated a "flight officer". See AC, ACE, AIRDALE, BARNSTORMER, BLUE ANGELS, THUNDERBIRDS, SKYBLAZERS, SILVER EAGLES, HAWC, TOP GUN, RED FLAG, DREAMLAND, IP, CHECK RIDE, UP CHECK, Q-COURSE, FUF, PC, AMC, FAG, GIB, BIRDMAN, WING MAN, PETER PILOT, BIRD DOG, "Flying Sergeant" at OFFICER, PROP JOCKEY, WOBBLY, WOP, ROTOR HEAD, JET JOCKEY, CHOCOLATE BOMBARDIER, GOOD STICK, SUICIDE JOCKEY, MAP, DIRTY THIRTY, CHAPAKAO, SEAT TIME, HELMET FIRE, WINGS, BLACK WINGS, TRASH, BUSH PILOT, GROUNDED. [nb: Vietnamese term: Phi Cong, Phi Hanh Gia] [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon] [nb: a BULLETPROOF pilot's braggadocio is often expressed as "big sky, little bullet"; v: GOLDEN BB, MAGIC BULLET] Also, a person qualified to steer ships through certain difficult waters; helmsman or steersman; compare CHIEF, BOATSWAIN. Also, a guide or leader; see SKY PILOT.


an enclosed structure on the deck of a ship from which it can be navigated; also known as "wheelhouse" or "bridge house"; compare COCKPIT, BRIDGE, BRIDGE DECK, FLYING BRIDGE, HELM, WHEELMAN / WHEELSMAN.

an electric light that's used to associate the operation of a control, which by means of its position or color indicates the functioning of that control; an indicator light or a control light.

survival knife for Army and
Air Force pilots
survival knife
a smaller and more refined version of the M-2 fighting utility knife (KABAR) made by various contractors, having a 5" clip-point carbon-steel blade with sawteeth on back and fuller (BLOOD GROOVE) on the side, a crossguard with holes bored in the quillions for lashing, a stacked leather haft, a heavy hex-hammer pommel, and finished with a zinc phosphate coating. The sheath features a whetstone pocket, and a metal plate to help prevent injury from penetration of the blade point, which may also be used as a reflector. It can be worn in several places, from vest to belt, or simply stowed in a leg pouch of the FLIGHT SUIT. Issued to Army and Air Force PILOTs and CREW DOGs, it is variously identified as the "Air Force Survival Knife", "survival knife", or "emergency knife". See SURVIVAL KNIFE, ASTRONAUT SURVIVAL KNIFE, KNIFE. [v: Knife Terms; The Language of Swordplay]


an alcoholic frappé made of light and dark rums, coconut milk or cream, a dash of grenadine, a mix of lime, orange, and pineapple juices that's served over crushed ice in a tall glass and garnished with citrus fruits; see HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, MOONSHINE, THE DRINK, HOIST, GUSTO. [ety: 'frappé is either a fruit juice mixture frozen to a mush, or an alcoholic drink consisting of a liqueur poured over cracked or shaved ice]

a simultaneous attack on both sides of an opposing force, with the aim of turning or dividing the enemy for a defeat in detail, a DOUBLE ENVELOPMENT or double FLANK engagement; also known as "pincers", "pincer movement", or "pincers movement". Compare BLOCKING FORCE, SWEEP. [nb: not 'pincher' or 'Pinscher'] [cf: when Artemis acted as the deer sent by Apollo to pass as a lure between the two mischevious giants, Otus and Ephialtes were slain by each others spears during their attack]




a self-contained cartridge ignition system invented by Casimir Lefaucheux (1835), wherein a pin projects from the side of a cartridge case at an angle, and when struck by the hammer of a gun, it detonates a primer inside the case, setting-off the propellent gunpowder. Compare PERCUSSION CAP; see PRIMER. [cf: centerfire]

informal term for ask, query, question, investigate, interrogate; also expressed as "pulse", as by mechanical analogy.

Naval slang for a SONAR operator; also known as EARS; the United States Navy awards the "Integrated Undersea Surveillance System Badge" to those sailors who are qualified in SONAR operation and warfare. See ASDIC, SOSUS, UQC, UWT, GERTRUDE, SUBMARINE.

to move, shift, toss, or transfer something (eg: a problem, dilemma, accusation, decision) without alteration or resolution, as a "hot potato" or "musical chair" that will damage the person "left holding the bag" more than the true culprit; this seemingly pointless action (comparable to "passing the buck"), that's substituting for responsible leadership, serves to winnow the MILICRAT competition in a perverse form of bloodless Russian roulette. In continuation of the tennis metaphor, a sustained rally of the subject or object without resolution is known as a VOLLEY. This exercise is also known as "tossing the hot potato", "handing-off the turd ball", or "passing the paper grenade". See DON'T DO NOTHING, CLUTCH-UP, PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, CUT THE GORDIAN KNOT, RISKY-SHIFT EFFECT, BEAT AROUND THE BUSH. Also, an homophonic nickname for Pyongyang (the capital of North Korea) during and after the KOREAN WAR, which adoption was probably influenced by the shifting back-and-forth maneuvers of the so-called ACCORDION WAR.

although VIETNAMIZATION (ACTOV) was underway, allied troops were still engaged on the battlefield, and POWs were still captive, the notorious anti-communist and current U.S. president, Richard M. Nixon, sought a change in America's outmoded "two China policy" by repairing foreign relations with an enemy (PRC) currently supporting the PAVN, by abandoning another wartime ally (ROC) and trading partner, and redirecting the focus of the electorate to a different arena with the exchange of traveling "athletes", ping-pong players, who would act as "ambassadors of good will" without portfolio on a carefully supervised 2-week tour of Red China during April 1971. The tour invitation, which admitted 15 players and 10 journalists, was extended at the World Table Tennis Tournament in Japan, and has been characterized as "the ping heard 'round the world" in an allusion to the "shot heard around the world" that inaugurated the American Revolution, implying something momentous from something insignificant. This visitation, the first since 1949, broke the news blockade of mainland China, and the U.S. lifted its 20 year old trade embargo against the PRC. Almost a year later Nixon and Kissenger continued the VOLLEYing as they established triangular relations with Russia and China. Compare BIG STICK DIPLOMACY, GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY, DOMINO THEORY, DECENT INTERVAL, VIETNAM SYNDROME.

prime condition, as being in the highest form or degree; see SUMMUM BONUM, ABOVE BOARD, CORE VALUES, STRAIGHT ARROW, CLEANSKIN, BEST AND BRIGHTEST. Also, a slight or minor wound that only draws a little blood, being a mark of distinction (and a swordsman's INITIATION) in swordplay; as derived by 'pierce' from a pin prick. Also, to ornament fabric or leather with pierced holes or slits. Also, a Leftist in politics, but not a radical or extremist; also called PINKO (qv).

slang for the psychosomatic symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal, formally known as delirium tremens [D.T.'s]. Compare LITTLE GREEN MEN; see FRENCH FIT, JITTERBUG, JUMPING BEAN, NERVOUS IN THE SERVICE.

inflammation of the mucous membrane covering the exposed surface of the eye; also called RED EYE.

a cocktail made of gin and dark red angostura bitters, garnished with lemon peel, which may be served straight up, or over ice with tonic or soda water; see HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, MOONSHINE, THE DRINK, HOIST, GUSTO.

a WWII-era cocktail made with gin, grenadine, and egg white, that's shaken and strained before serving; compare WHITE LADY; see HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, MOONSHINE, THE DRINK, HOIST, GUSTO.

slang for the atomized spray of blood resulting from the impact of a devastating wound, such as a sniper's high-velocity gunshot into the target's head, which momentary blur is a temporary effect of bursting penetration; compare RED MIST.

a Liberal or Leftist in politics, but not a radical or extremist; designated by Vladimir Ilyich (Ulyanov) Lenin as "useful idiots". Compare RED, REVOLUTION; see HIPPIE, PACIFIST, SYMPATHIZER, PROTESTOR, RED DIAPER BABIES, FRUIT FLY, WHIZ KID, MANDARIN, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, TURNCOAT, TRAITOR. [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs] [nb: "First we kill all the subversives; then, their collaborators; later, those who sympathize with them; afterward, those who remain indifferent; and finally, the undecided." by General Iberico Saint Jean (May 1985)]

slang for the headquarters of the joint task force at Guantanamo, as derived from the color of the stucco applied to this building; this JTF command HQ interacts with service and specialty compounds, such as Camp America, Camp Justice, Camp Delta, Camp Echo, Camp X-ray, Camp Iguana, and the like, which are colocated on this military installation. GITMO is also known as THE ROCK, and is commonly called the "Pearl Harbor of the Atlantic". See CACTUS CURTAIN; compare PUZZLE PALACE, MADHOUSE, BLUE HOUSE, WHITE HOUSE. [v: Argentina's presidential Casa Rosada ("The Pink House"), together with a museum and assembly hall, is situated on the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires; likewise, the presidential palace of Turkey, located in Istanbul (Constantinople) and faced with a pinkish stucco, is also called "The Pink House"]

the period of diffused light, during sunrise or sunset, when the sun is below the horizon, which periods of daybreak ("false dawn" / dawn) or nightfall (evening / dusk), formally known as "nautical twilight", are optimal for navigation and military operations; normally classified as: Beginning Morning Nautical Twilight (BMNT), Ending Morning Nautical Twilight (EMNT), Beginning Evening Nautical Twilight (BENT), and Ending Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT). For the observer, darkness seems to rise from the ground at nightfall, and light seems to descend to the ground at daybreak. Compare RED FLASH, GREEN FLASH, LOOM, MOONLIGHT. [nb: the word "nautical" means 'navigation' in this phrase, and is utilized by aviators, soldiers, and sailors alike] [cf: half-light, Purkinje shift, crepuscule, eventide, evenfall, gloam, gloaming, sunset, sundown, magic hour, cockshut, vespers, prime, matin, cockcrow, daybreak, nightfall, dawn, false dawn, dusk, first light, first dark, last light, civil twilight, astronomical twilight, night-sky light, airglow; v: Tyndall effect, Rayleigh scattering, Mie scattering (Lorenz-Mie approximation or Lorenz-Mie-Debye solution), spicule, chromosphere, plage]

the cluster of hamlets and villages in Quang Ngai province (ICTZ) that were colored 'pink' on the district map to indicate their sympathy and support of the communist guerrillas, to whom they lent aid and comfort; this was the locale of the My Lai MASSACRE on 16 March 1968, where more than 150 unarmed civilians were killed, raped, and sodomized by the officers and men of C/1/20 of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade. See PEERS INQUIRY, ATROCITY, BUTCHER BRIGADE, AMERICAL.

a game of cards played by 2-4 persons with a 48-card deck (two each of ace through nine in all four suits) that's so-called from a flush meld of the queen of spades and the jack of diamonds in this game; also known as penuchle, penuckle, or pinocle, after the binocular spectacles known as pince-nez. PINOCHLE was probably derived from bezique (played in Europe with a 128-card deck), but developed as a variant in America during and after the CIVIL WAR. See PLAYING CARDS, WAR GAMES, PLAY THE GAME.

slang for the promotion or award ceremony during which a BADGE or other INSIGNIA is attached to the recipient's uniform by a pin fastener; sometimes known as "tagging", this term is probably derived from feather or quill. See FEATHERS, WITH BELLS ON, FOOFARAW, GONG, TRASH, BOLO BADGE, Q-TAB, RANK, WINGS, TROPHY, PRECONIZE, INITIATION, BLOODING.


a mismanagement malady of distorted reality that confuses quantity with quality, as manifested by either the insertion of more (and more) assets into an area, or the willful acceptance of reputed (false) assets in a contested area; a confusion wherein a seeming increase in assets implies a concomitant increase in power or authority. This multiplication of "pins in the map" convinces the abstracted leader (LDR) or commander (CO) that measurable "progress" is occurring; in the former case by greater numbers that will be more successful than fewer numbers, and in the latter case by syntheticly positive statistics that "prove" that success is imminent. Such self-deceptive, self-deluding lies ostensibly "work" until the system utterly collapses (eg: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Soviet Russia, Republican Vietnam, Year Zero Cambodia, Socialist Greece, etc). See MICROMANAGEMENT, CASTRATION ANXIETY, REASSURANCE, PLOT, COMICS, TOPO, CHART, MOSAIC MAP, MAP.

(pin-tull, not "pint-ley") technically, a pin or bolt that supports something that turns, as in a socket (gudgeon), however, this strong but simple coupling, which may be locked or rotated, is most often used to directly mount an automatic weapon onto a monopod/monopode stanchion, or to connect a large gun or cannon to a vehicle for towing, so by metonymic extension, the entire pedestal mount has acquired the name of its principal element. When the same coupling is used in a SPONSON or RING MOUNT, the coupling does not define the mount, as it does with pedestal or monopod stands. When the word PINTLE, derived from penis, refers to the connecting pin or hook that constitutes a trailer hitch, this coupling is pronounced differently (pint-ley), and so is considered a non-military or civilian usage. Compare BIPOD, TRIPOD, KING PIN, TRUNNION. [nb: civilians pronounce 'covert' as "kuv-uhrt", while the MIL-SPEAK pronunciation is "ko-vuhrt", by analogy with 'overt'; cf: adviser versus ADVISOR]

Vargas pin-up girl on playing
Vargas pin-up
a large photograph, as a fold-out or layout spread of a sexually attractive person, that's suitable for pinning on a wall, tacking onto the underside of a FOOTLOCKER lid, or taping inside the door of a WALL LOCKER. Erotic art became manifest in this format, especially calendars and periodicals, during WWII, but became so explicit during the Vietnam-era that its display, once regulated, is now forbidden. Sometimes called "centerfold" or "eye-candy", such illustrations have also adorned playing cards. See SHORT-TIMER CALENDAR, NOSE ART.

(pee-eye-oh) Public Information Office/Officer; also called Public Affairs Office/Officer (PAO), being the military "cheerleading" component responsible for interacting with non-military entities and elements, including manufacturers and schools, service and news organizations; see POLISHING THE TURD, CIVILIAN. [cf: flack] [nb: "The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armory of the modern commander." by T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia)]

insignia of the U.S. Army
Engineer school
Engr Sch
a surveillance DRONE or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), able to vector assault craft and/or fire missions onto enemy movements and positions. Also, slang for an engineer (ENG), but not a Combat Engineer (CE); originally those excavators sent ahead of the assault force to undermine defensive fortifications, but later relegated to construction work; compare SAPPER, SEABEES, PRIME BEEF, SNIPE, CHIPS, RED HORSE.

a nominal gradation or emulated RANK given to CADETs or subalterns in military training; some ADVISORs mistakenly referred to their ENSIGNs of equivalent insignia by this term. Also, slang for the metal insigne of rank on the shoulders of commissioned officers. Also, any small mark, blip, or bleep, as on a RADAR screen, or on the back of patrol HEADGEAR. Also, the denotative marks or signs used to differentiate similar items, especially gaming tokens; also called "spots" or "dings"; see DOMINO / DOMINOES, DICE GAMES, PLAYING CARDS, WAR GAMES, PLAY THE GAME. Also, to defeat an opponent by shooting, especially to wound or kill by a gunshot; this Briticism may be used to metaphorically refer to a small ball. Also, slang for someone extraordinary or something outstanding, that which is amazing or wonderful; also called "pipperoo", as derived from either 'pippin' (small) or 'pepin' (short). [v: Pepin the Short, king of the Franks and father of Charlemagne] Also, facetious reference to any minor or unspecified ailment exhibited by a person; as derived from 'phlegm'.

slang for "direct access" or "direct control", as a shortening of STOVEPIPE; also called "pipeline" or "mainline". Also, slang for BORE of a GUN TUBE or the barrel of a SMALL ARMS weapon, as "There's already a pellet in the pipe."

an idiomatic expression meaning to be quiet, as used informally in the same sense as AT EASE, whenever directing a group of subordinates to cease talking or desist other activities and to pay heed to what's being announced; this phrase originated as a call on a BOATSWAIN'S PIPE sending the crew below decks.

an imaginary hope or fanciful plan that's been conjured during reflection or indulged in at one's leisure; this phrase originated with the impossible illusions induced by smoking opium. Compare HUBBLE-BUBBLE; see DOPE, JUNK, COLORS, STONED, WASTED.


any of several non-venomous, burrowing snakes of southeastern Asia and the Malay Archipelago, having an evenly cylindrical body.

expression commonly refers to cooked food on the CHOW LINE that has not yet grown cold; as derived from the rapid response of sailors called to their GALLEY by the BOATSWAIN'S PIPE ... this phrase did not originally refer to the food but to the movement as being 'hot'! This is the military equivalent of "Call me anything but late for dinner!".

informal designation for the aiming dot on a PILOT's gunsight.

a small intermittent transmitter that, when situated in a pre-WWII airplane, would broadcast a short signal at regular intervals, which would cue RADAR detection, and enable its location to be plotted; see IFF, SQUAWK, ELT, HOMER, LOCATOR BEACON.

piquet :
(pee-kay) a card game for two persons played with a thirty-two card pack, the cards from deuces to sixes being excluded; compare SKAT; see PLAYING CARDS, WAR GAMES, PLAY THE GAME. [nb: a score of zero in piquet is known as capot / kaput, meaning 'broken', just as an inability to score in tennis is known as 'love']

Parachute Infantry Regiment, such as 506th PIR, 501st PIR, 513rd PIR, 551st PIR, etc; see RCT, RGT, AIRBORNE, PARACHUTE. Also, Priority Intelligence Requirements, being those for which a commander has an anticipated and stated priority in his task of planning and decision making; see CCIR, IR, MI, INTEL. Also, Patrol Indigenous Rations, also known as "PIR rations" or "Jap pack rats"; being compact and lightweight meals, often dehydrated and requiring preparation, issued to Asian troops working with American ADVISORs. These low-cost meals, prepared under contract with CISO in Japan, were often supplemented by local village produce or by C-RATIONS. The sesame-honey candy included in PIRs was disparaged by Americans as RAT BAIT, but became part of the "health food" craze among HIPPIEs at the same time.

sailor's slang for a woman with insignificant breasts, as a "sunken chest" or "buried treasure"; then in the later co-ed politically-correct military, it referred to any "hollow chested" person, especially CLERKS 'n' JERKS. Compare BAM, BOSNIA; see HANG LOOSE, TOPSIDE, HIGH POCKETS, MAE WEST, THE BRA. [aka: assets, endowments, advantages, bosom, bust, breasts, dynamic duo, terrible twosome, double trouble, boobs/boobies, knockers, dingers, bangers, shock absorbers, hooters, tooters, honkers, whoopies, howlers, whammies, woofers, breasticles, chesticles, dumbbells, bumpers, zoomers, jigglers, wobblers, bouncers, knobs/knobbers, nodules, bumps, mounds, hills, peaks, baubles, cupcakes, dumplings, gumdrops, lollies, yum-yums, jugs, dugs, droopers, floppers, flopdoodles, saggies, baggies, glad bags, huffies, balloons, air-bags, wind bags, cuddlies, pillows, softies, huggies, cushions, mooglies, bazooms, babaloos, baloobas, bubbies, hubba-bubbas, zingers, whoppers, headlights, hubcaps, twins, friends, cubs, puppies, hush puppies, snuggle pups, tats/tatties, tits/titties, lungs, mammary, udder, teats, nipples, tippers, mammilla, falsie, cheaters] [nb: the first US patent for the brassiere occurred 1910, despite the 1913 claim by Mary Phelps Jacob for its invention from two artfully tied handkerchieves that replaced the stay or corset; Ida Rosenthal introduced the "Maidenform" bra in 1923; the "sports bra" was introduced in 1977; gelatin-filled bras have been available as an alternative to implants since 1978; the "ideal" bra size is 34-B, a standard established by clothing designers, and from which the other sizes are volumetrically extrapolated; the commercial size range is from 28-AAA to 55-DD; bra size is measured with a tape across the top of the chest, then across the bust, such that if the difference in girth is 1" then the cup size is A, if 2" then B, if 3" then C, if 4" then D]

Positive Identification and Radar Advisory Zone; see VECTOR, VOR, BEAM, RED CROWN.

PIlot REPortS, being flight condition reports (including current weather conditions) that're shared with other pilots, as those heading in the same direction, or heading where the previous aircraft just flew; considered to be more reliable than remote mechanized reports (MET MESSAGE / MET MSG).

to fulfill the letter but not the spirit of the law; that is, to be verbally right but morally wrong. According to Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a man was condemned to death for murder on circumstantial evidence by Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, a Roman consul and censor, but at the moment of execution, the alleged victim appeared, so the centurion stayed the act, bringing the prisoner and his purported victim before Piso for disposition. Pronouncing "Let justice be done." (Fiat justitia.), Piso condemned all three to death ... the convict because he'd already been sentenced, the centurion because he'd disobeyed orders, and the man believed to have been murdered because he'd caused the death of two innocent men. [nb: also cited as: Fiat justitia ruat caelum.] [nb: "the law, which cannot reason nor make exceptions, must be changed to conform with common sense" by Charles Dickens, "Oliver Twist" (1837-9); "Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny." by Edmund Burke, speech at Bristol previous to the election (6 September 1780); "People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous." by Edmund Burke, letter to Charles James Fox (1777); "If imposing a fine on the innocent is not good, surely to flog honest officials is not right." Proverbs 17:26 NIV Bible]

anyone or anything that's disproportionately annoying or irritating relative to its small size or unimportance; vulgar slang for a person or thing of no value or consequence, being worthless, insignificant, or despicable. [v: pismire, jackstraw] [nb: following the Wild West motif prevalent in LBJ's "little pissant war", numerous allusions to a mythic frontier adventurism were utilized; including COWBOY, LONG KNIFE, DODGE CITY, INDIAN COUNTRY, HIRED GUN, and GUNSLINGER]

a seam, fold, or crease so crisp and sharp that it could divide a stream of urine into two separate flows; also called a "knife's edge crease" or "knife edge crease" ... as a uniform made spiffy-looking by crisp MILITARY PRESS creases. Also, among U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel, a GARRISON or OVERSEAS CAP, FORE 'n' AFT or SIDE CAP, ENVELOPE or CUNT CAP; this 'garrison cover' is also called a "pisscover" by some Marines. Also, any narrow passage or confined harbor, such that navigation by ship is difficult, if not perilous.

an argument, dispute, rivalry, or wager, usually without worthwhile purpose or ultimate value; as the name indicates, any childish or insignificant competition, analogically based upon the perverted or homosexual act of urinating or ejaculating farther than others; often involving DUTCH COURAGE, BRAGGING RIGHTS, COUNTING COUP, PAY DUES, ATFU, BTDT, and the settlement of wagers. Also known as "spitting contest" or "... match"; and as with most games, the people who like to play them are usually successful, by fair means or foul; so the best strategy is: never play the other guy's game! Compare ELEPHANT DANCE, FIRING LINE; see CIRCLE JERK, TURN IN THE BARREL, SPUNK, POGUE, PO, NOOGIE, DOUBLE DUTCH, CHALLENGE COIN, COINING, SHORT SNORTER, CHIT, HARD TIMES TOKEN. [v: fanfaronade] [v: "chest bump", being a short-lived fad between the Vietnam-era and the Gulf-era where MACHO males expressed their solidarity and camaraderie by jumping at each other so as to slam their chests together ... requiring a modicum of coordination and strength, this theatrical gesture probably dissipated with the occurrence of 'nose bumps' and the onset of potbellies; nb: not to be confused with the MACHO contest commonly known as "Texas Chest Slapping", wherein two men (typically drunk) stand facing within arm's length of one another, alternately exchanging open-handed slaps to each other's chest in a DUEL to determine who will forfeit (alpha male) primacy by being made to stagger or fall from his position]

WWII-era slang for an extremely mediocre rating or a very disappointing evaluation; designates anyone or anything of inferior or substandard quality; low-grade or second-rate.

see P6 / P6.

MarSpeak slang for the confinement of SHIPMATEs in the BRIG on bread and water ("restricted rations") for being drunk and disorderly; also called "piss 'n' punk". See FLAP, ROUT, HOOPLA, STORM, GOAT ROPE, DUTCH CONCERT, IRISH FLU, FRENCH FIT, HANGOVER, SHERIFF, MAA, SP, CAPTAIN'S MAST, ROCKS 'n' SHOALS.

(forthcoming); aka: pissoir / vespasien urinal; see PIDDLE PACK, HONEY BUCKET, WAG BAG, LATRINE, HEAD, BLUE CANOE, CAT HOLE, COMFORT STATION, COUGH DROP, BLACK WATER, WATERWORKS. Also, due to resemblance, the setup for a MORTAR, which is informally known as "vest-pocket artillery", "mortie", and STOVEPIPE.

a short-barreled compact firearm, generally inaccurate at ranges beyond 50m, that's intended to be held and fired with only one hand, as derived from a "fife" or "pipe" as a colloquial term for a type of light harquebus employed during the Hussite wars; also known as "handgun" or "bean-shooter", "pea-shooter" or "horse pistol", "hog leg" or "hand-cannon", "rod" or "barker", "shootin' iron" or "barking iron", "sixgun" or "six-shooter", "heater" or "toaster", "gat" or "Roscoe", "bulldog" or "blaster", "police positive" or "detective special", including M-1911A1 .45ACP semiautomatic (JOHN WAYNE RIFLE), M-9 9mm autoloader, .38spl REVOLVER, ZIP GUN, DERRINGER, DEER GUN, LIBERATOR, GYROJET, ; . See MAGAZINE, MUZZLE, MUZZLE-BRAKE, KICK, HANG FIRE, FIREPOWER, SILENCER, TROMBONE, PISTOL GRIP, TUPPERWARE, PISTOL BELT, ZERO, OFFHAND; compare RIFLE, SMG, MG, BLOOPER, SAW, STONER, UP-GUN. [nb: Vietnamese term: sung luc] [nb: although 'pistol' is the generic term for all one-handed SMALL ARMS, whether single-shot or repeater, it also differentiates the class of semiautomatics (autoloading by removable magazines) from revolvers (rotating cylindrical magazine)] [nb: Chinese invented first handgun ca1250] [v: Firearms Glossary]

a wide canvas belt with hook-closure and numerous grommets for attaching pouches, accessories, or hip holster for SIDEARM. During Vietnam, a quick-release T-buckle closure for one-hand operation was first introduced to paratroopers; later becoming a Delrin plastic one-hand closure. Compare CLUTCH BELT; see WEB GEAR, LBE.

M-24 sniper rifle with thumb
hole inlet into stock
M-24 sniper rifle
the grip or handle of a handgun, which houses the MAGAZINE on most semiautomatics. Also, a protrusion from the body of a submachinegun (SMG), or from the buttstock, or from the fore-end of a shoulder-operated weapon that resembles the grip or handle of a handgun, and is used to help secure and stabilize it when firing. [nb: in an effort to reduce weight, increase strength, and eliminate snags during maneuver, some rifle designs are incorporating the pistol grip into the buttstock by simply inletting a thumb hole]

informal abbreviation for Pain In The Anatomy, or Pain In The Ass. Also, a round, layered, flat bread originating in the Middle East that may be filled to form a pocket-like SANDWICH [v: turnover, taco, empanada, calzone, piroshki, knish; cf: tortilla, naan, lavash, barbari, focaccia, knäckebröd, chapati / chapatti]; see HARDTACK, BISCUIT, FLATBREAD, SINKER. Also, a fiber, obtained from Agave, Aechmea, and other desert plants, used for cordage, mats, and similar products; see ELEPHANT GRASS, SAW GRASS, KUNAI, NIPA PALM, TULE.

the up or down nosing of a ship or airplane about its transverse axis; see ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. Also, longetudinal oscillation or linear plunge, as a ship's alternating BOW and STERN rocking; see PITCH-POLE, compare ROLL, YAW, HEAVE, ATHWART. Also, the distance that a given propeller would advance in one revolution; see FEATHER, SPOOL-UP. Also, a sloping or angled place. Also, to pave or revet with small stones; see BANK, RIPRAP; compare SPALL, BALLAST.

a battle that has been planned beforehand to occur in a particular place at a particular time; compare MEETING ENGAGEMENT; see CONTACT, AMBUSH, FRONTAL ASSAULT, MEETING ENGAGEMENT, BATTLE, BATTLEFIELD, GAMBLER'S FALLACY, LAW OF AVERAGES. Also, any intense battle conducted at close quarters.

a vessel capsizing lengthwise, due to waves cresting higher than the keel length; see FOUNDER.

a lightly covered and camouflaged hole, usually positioned singly with one or more sharpened stakes in the bottom, that's prepared as a trap for people or animals; see TROU-DE-LOUP, TIGER PIT, TIGER TRAP, BOOBY-TRAP. Also, any concealed danger or obscured harm that lays in waiting for the unwary; see MOUSETRAP, BOOBY-TRAP.

military pith helmet
rigid, fiber, sun helmet
a lightweight green- or khaki-colored pressed fiber sun helmet, made rigid by molding, that was furnished with air-vents and was waterproofed by a lacquer varnish, with its brim extending at the back more than the front and sides, which head covering was adopted for wear in tropical environs by the Army and Marines throughout the 20th century, but its later wear was restricted to military police (MP), drill sergeants, marksmanship instructors, and firing range coaches; some of the VC/NVA enemy troops wore sun or pith ("topi") helmets. Compare CAMPAIGN HAT, BOONIE / BOONIE HAT, HAVELOCK; see HEADGEAR. [v: pith, pithy]



PJ :
USAF pararescue
Para-Jumper, nickname for the USAF "pararescuemen", all of whom are PARACHUTE, SCUBA, SERE, medical, and close combat trained flight crewmembers. Officially established as a USAF specialty (AFSC 1T2X1) in July 1947, the lineage of this occupation began with search and rescue (SAR) operations conducted during WWII, evolved through the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service (ARRS), and became members of Special Tactics Teams in the USAF Special Operations Command. Although the original mission of pararescue was saving the lives of military aircrews downed on battlefields, often in enemy controlled territory, their retrieval and recovery capabilities led to pararescue forces being utilized in other emergency or disaster situations. Qualification training to become a PJ begins with a selection process, which continues through a 12-month training schedule that includes aircrew, parachute, swimming, survival, and medical certifications. Successful completion of all this training, an ordeal known as the "pipeline", entitles the individual to wear the distinctive maroon BERET with pararescue crest and bloused JUMP BOOTS. Although bloused trousers and PARA badge have been part of the PJ uniform since its inception, the maroon BERET (symbolizing blood sacrifice) with pararescue crest was only approved for wear on 26 May 1966. Other specializations have been added to PJ eligibility, including SCUBA / Combat Swimmer qualification in 1964, and HALO/MFF (freefall) qualification in 1985. Always a small cohort (less than 300 BILLETs), PJs earned ten of the 21 Air Force Crosses awarded for gallantry in Southeast Asia during the VIETNAM WAR; with the 11 April 1966 AFC for A1C William H. Pitsenbarger being upgraded to the MOH in 2000. The Air Force Cross has also been awarded to TSgt Timothy A. Wilkinson for 1993 heroism in Somalia, and to SrA Jason D. Cunningham for 2002 heroism in Afghanistan. The PJ motto is: "that others may live". See CSAR, SAR, JSARC, RCC, JPRC, BRIGHT LIGHT, BLOOD CHIT, GUARD, HOT HOIST, JUNGLE PENETRATOR, KINGBEE, HUSKY, JOLLY GREEN GIANT, SAFE, TRAP, RIT, AST.

U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute; see PEACEKEEPER / PEACEKEEPING.

PL :
abbreviation for Platoon Leader; see PLT LDR, PLT. Also, abbreviation for PHASE LINE.

People's Liberation Army; also known as "People's Liberation Armed Forces" (PLAF), and "People's Liberation Committee" (PLC); being the operational arm of the Viet Cong (NLF/VC/PRG), as well as the designation for the regular communist Chinese army (cf: PLAN) during the KOREAN WAR.

People's Liberation Armed Forces; see PLA.

an epidemic disease that causes high mortality; an infectious pestilence, such as the Black Death or bubonic plague; see GERM WARFARE, CBR, VECTOR, GENOCIDE, FOUR HORSEMEN, APOCALYPSE. Also, any widespread affliction or calamity; an overwhelming cause of trouble or evil. [nb: "Plague has destroyed more armies than artillery ever could!"]

that which is generic or unbranded, being something made to exacting specifications at the lowest possible price; see MIL-SPEC, MILITARY GRADE. Also, a cover that obscures, conceals, or camouflages the contents of a package, container, or otherwise identifiable item; a veil, disguise, or mask used to cover-up or dissimulate ... this catch-phrase is associated in the modern era with sexually explicit materials, especially those sent through the postal service so as to evade censorship laws; see CLASSIFIED, COVER.

[Plaine des Jarres] the ancient site of traditional burial in the Laotian panhandle, near Long Tieng; also called "PDJ" and THE J. Laos requested US support when the PATHET LAO seized the Plaine des Jarres region on 17 May 1964.

a flat grassy basin located in the northeastern part of the Mekong Delta, in the provinces of Kien Phong and Kien Tuong, that served as a Viet Cong base area.

[Plaine des tombeaux] the traditional site of imperial interment for royal Vietnamese in burial mounds and mausoleums on an esplanade near Hue, the imperial capital of Vietnam, in the French protectorate of Annam before partition in 1954; this cemetery, together with the palace and citadel, was severely damaged by fighting in the 1968 Tet Offensive. Compare PLAIN OF JARS.

the People's Liberation Army and Navy of the People's Republic of China (PRC or RED CHINA), formerly known as the "People's Liberation Army" (PLA); see THE LITTLE RED BOOK, CHICOM, CHINK, GOOEY, CPVF, CCF, BAD GUYS. [nb: due to the relatively unprepossessing appearance of their plain green uniforms with red and gold insignia, the Chinese communists (CHICOM) who "volunteered" for service in the KOREAN WAR were sometimes called "laundryman" / "laundrymen" by GIs, which appellation may be related to the stereotypic "Chinese laundry" operated by Asian immigrants to America; during the egalitarian era of the 1967-77 Cultural Revolution, the PLAN abandoned the wear of rank and insignia altogether; then in 2007, emulating the military dress of other nations, the PLAN has adopted "07" dress, duty, and battle fatigue styles, with ground forces in pine green, air forces in deep blue/gray, and naval forces in dark blue, all with chest insignia]

the operations plan (OPLAN) or COURSE OF ACTION that's prepared by the planning staff (v: J-CODES) under the guidance and direction of the commander (CO); leaders are taught to: "plan the fight, then fight the plan", but no operations plan ever survives intact after the initial enemy contact! See CAPABILITY, OPN, COA, CAMPAIGN PLAN, FIELD EXPEDIENT, AD HOC, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, EYE-CHECK, HOUSE OF CARDS, RAIN ON PARADE, EXIT STRATEGY, CONFUSION, SLIDEWARE, MIND CANDY, MILITARY MIND, WHITE ELEPHANT, DANCE CARD, ELEPHANT DANCE, ABSTRACTION; compare PLAN B, CONPLAN, EXPLAN. [nb: it's a Murphy Law of Combat that: "Plans made in calm assessment do not work in crisis."; "Flawless plans for critical assignments will develop unexpected problems in transition, and become unworkable in execution."; "Planning and preparing for the worst situation doesn't mean that it won't still happen anyway!"; "A 'plan' is just a bunch of ideas that have been arranged, one after another, so that they follow in a sequence."; "Because everything always changes everything else, a 'plan' is a set of instructions that are either wrong or impossible."; "Being smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough to survive isn't a warrant, testament, or recommendation of achievement."] [nb: "Life is what happens to you while you're making plans to live it."; "Man proposes, God disposes."; "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9; "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." I Corinthians 1:27]

the alternate or contingent scheme that is spontaneously improvised when the primary schedule (Plan A) fails. Compare THE PLAN; see CONPLAN, EXPLAN, FIELD EXPEDIENT, AD HOC, WORK-AROUND, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, WIGGLE ROOM, SEAT OF THE PANTS, HOUSE OF CARDS, WHITE ELEPHANT, WANGLE, RAIN ON PARADE, UNODIR, CONFUSION, MIND CANDY. [nb: "Before a war begins, the plans read like astronomy, but afterwards, like astrology." by Rebecca West (Cicily Isabel Fairfield Andrews); "The 'unthinkable' is only 'unthinkable' if you're not thinking!"; "Learn to plan backwards as well as forwards, so that if the steps you intend to take won't get you where you want to go, you can trace back to find how you got where you are, and where you could change course to meet your objectives -- logic and intuition led you astray, so be creative about getting on the right track." paraphrase of Donald H. Rumsfeld]

a long flat piece of timber, that's thicker than a board, as when laying, covering, or furnishing with same; see STRAKE, GUNWALE, HULL, DECK, CAMBER, BROW, GANGWAY. Also, a support upon which to stand or to which to cling; see FLOTSAM. Also, any of the principles or objectives that compose the platform of a party or organization; see PARTY LINE, SCRIPTURES. Also, the prone position for engaging this isometric exercise wherein the person's body is held on its toes and forearms (similar to a PUSH-UP) for a certain period of time while back, chest, and leg muscles are contracted; compare FRONT LEANING REST; see EXERCISE. [v: "walk the plank"]

a member of the original commissioning crew of a vessel; sailor who's been on-board since ship was commissioned into service; also called "plank holder". It's a naval tradition to present original crewmembers (especially petty and commissioned officers) with a commemorative CRIBBAGE board, formerly made from scraps of teak decking from a ship's initial construction, when they depart their assigned MAIDEN VOYAGE; however, since the advent of all-metal WARSHIPs, a common memento is a plaque bearing a brass or bronze escutcheon, constructed from the machining scraps of the propellers. Compare HOMESTEADER.

to formulate a program or scheme, to devise a method or technique, as an intention to be implemented; as derived from 'level ground', groundwork; see THE PLAN, COURSE OF ACTION (COA), OPLAN, CONPLAN, EXPLAN, PLAN B, AD HOC, EXIT STRATEGY. [nb: poor planning at the lower echelons usually doesn't constitute an emergency at the higher levels, but poor planning at the higher echelons almost always causes an emergency (if not a panic) at the lower levels!]

also called "dispatched agent"; see DECOY.

a model or "showplace" Prisoner of War camp, that was later succeeded by the ZOO; see CITADEL, ALCATRAZ, MOUNTAIN, POW.

a chilled cocktail made of rum, lime juice, powdered sugar, and two dashes angostura bitters, then topped with soda water and served over crushed ice in a tall glass. Compare MAI TAI, MINT JULEP; see HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, MOONSHINE, THE DRINK, HOIST, GUSTO.


see PLASTIC EXPLOSIVE, PLASTIQUE, BLASTING GELATIN, SHAPED CHARGE, CHARGE, DEMO, EXPLOSIVE. [cf: Silly Putty (1949) and Play-Doh (1956) are trademarked brands of a clay-like modeling substance, made in bright non-toxic colors, that can be variously stretched and shaped as toys for children ... and are the most frequent comparisons to plastic explosives]

AvnSpeak for the categorized schedule or "to do" list, especially the power-on pre-flight startup and post-flight shutdown procedures, that a PILOT is required to accomplish in proper sequence during both the normal and emergency operation of an aircraft; formerly contained in a leg-mounted clipboard (KNEEBOARD) or other ready reference notebook, but now displayed as a computerized subroutine. See HUD, VD, HOTAS, BITCHIN' BETTY, UP CHECK, VFR, IMC, IP, WALK AROUND; compare PORTABLE BRAINS, TIN BRAINS, PAPER BRAINS, WHEEL BOOK, CHEAT SHEET.

slang nickname for the McDonnell-Douglas / Boeing F/A-18 USN fighter attack aircraft, designated the HORNET, being a single PILOT jet with a very low maintenance schedule, making it more reliable than other combat airplanes; compare SUPER HORNET, GROWLER, see BIRD.

a putty-like substance that contains an explosive charge, and is detonated by fuse or remote control; this is a stable explosive compound, such as C-4 or HEP, COMPOSITION C or RDX, GELIGNITE or SEMTEX, that is malleable at normal temperatures; also known as "plastique". See BLASTING GELATIN, SHAPED CHARGE, CHARGE, DEMO, EXPLOSIVE.

a surgical specialty involving the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body; also known as "reconstructive surgery", it existed in ancient times (from India and Egypt to Greece and Rome) as an exceptional technique, but was later developed as a practical treatment after the introduction of anesthetics and disinfectants, whereupon severe burns and disfiguring war wounds could be successfully repaired ... plastic surgery often involves the transplantation of bone or tissue (graphs), but a comparison between injured soldiers and sailors during WWI accidentally introduced saline baths as a method to promote healing. See REFERRED PAIN, PHANTOM LIMB, PROSTHESIS / PROSTHETICS. [v: prosthetic face mask; cf: cosmetic surgery / aesthetic surgery] [ety: 'plastic': shaping, reshaping, fashioning, refashioning, molding, sculpting, manipulating (malleable) flesh]

(plass-teak) see PLASTIC EXPLOSIVE, C-4, RDX, HEP, COMPOSITION C, SEMTEX, GELIGNITE, HEP, BLASTING GELATIN, SHAPED CHARGE, CHARGE, DEMO, EXPLOSIVE. [cf: Silly Putty (1949) and Play-Doh (1956) are trademarked brands of a clay-like modeling substance, made in bright non-toxic colors, that can be variously stretched and shaped as toys for children ... and are the most frequent comparisons to plastic explosives]


see PLT.


slang term from WWII for US Naval ships to open fire upon the enemy, to commence firing or to fire at will; see BATTER UP, PLAY THE GAME; compare SCRAM, TALLY-HO.

an idiomatic expression meaning "no second chance" or "no replay", based upon the fact that Charlemagne always retained the fruits of his victories; compare RED FLAG, BLACK FLAG. [cf: the Basque defeat of Bretons and Franks at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass (778)] [nb: the so-called "Jolly Roger", featuring a skull with crossed bones on a black field, that was purportedly flown by pirates, as a declaration of "no quarter" and "non-alliance", originated as the "Jolie Rouge", a plain red flag] [nb: baucans (or bauccedillian) was a plain red streamer, flown from a ship's masthead, signifying that "no quarter" would be given; which antedates the "flag of defiance" or "colors of defiance", also known as the "bloody flag", a practice abandoned after 1800]

to feign death, or to playact the corpse, being imitative behavior enabling survival for escape (E&E) or SABOTAGE; probably originated as conduct patterned on animal hypnosis (ie: defensive immobility) but later adopted by dedicated combatants as a deliberate ploy for DECEPTION. See JAPE, TERRORIST, DOUBLE TAP, DEAD CHECK, CAT AND MOUSE, FALL GUY, COUP DE GRACE. [v: misericord / misericorde; cf: catatonia, catalonia, catalepsy, narcolepsy]

(forthcoming); see LENS LOUSE.

well armed joker in the
Non-Violent Politically-Correct War playing card deck by
University Games
war joker
pasteboard parts of a set or deck, used in playing various games of chance or skill; see DEATH CARD, WILD CARD, KNOCK THEIR SPOTS OFF, KISS THE MISTRESS, TURN THE JACK, SHOWDOWN, PIP, POKER, PINOCHLE, SKAT, PIQUET, CRIBBAGE, ACEY-DEUCY, BRIDGE, FAN-TAN, ACE IN THE HOLE, WAR GAMES, PLAY THE GAME, FRENCH BIBLE, PIN-UP, TRENCH ART, SOUVENIR; compare CHECKERS, CHESS, DOMINO, BATRACHOMYOMACHIA. [nb: during the VIETNAM WAR, the PSYOPS and INTEL sections developed the concept of DEATH CARDs, in conjunction with the CHIEU HOI program, by printing "skull and crossed bones" Ace of Spades cards, which is purportedly an evil omen in Asia, with a Vietnamese message stating that PAVN troops should surrender or be killed] [nb: the deuce of clubs, from underworld lingo, was popularized as a DEATH CARD by the publication of hard-boiled stories in pulp media] [nb: by playing card analogy since the mid-19th century, the King is headquarters, the Queen is the principal point on the FRONT LINE, and the Jack is a secondary position; such that a "kiss" is a solid hit or strike, and a "turn" is an oblique or glancing blow of mis- or indirection] [nb: according to classic military lore, carrying playing cards (also called a "California prayer book" or the "Devil's calling cards") in combat is bad luck, so the deck must be left behind in camp or buried upon departure] [nb: "Square Deal", ""Fair Deal", "plain deal", and "New Deal" are political slogans that refer to a shuffle or hand of playing cards; "Statesmen are gamesters, and the people are the cards they play with ... the way they cut and shuffle is a surprise to all beginners." by Colonel David ("Davy") Crockett ("Life of Martin Van Buren" 1835)] [nb: "But cards are war, in disguise of a sport." by Charles Lamb (1820-23); "The poker player learns that sometimes both science and common sense are wrong; that the bumblebee can fly; that, perhaps, one should never trust an expert; that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by those with an academic bent." by David Mamet (1986); "Because people have no thoughts to deal in, they deal cards, and try and win one another's money. Idiots!" by Arthur Schopenhauer (1851)] [nb: "I've seen a game iv cards start among frinds, but I never see frinds in a game iv cards." by Finley Peter Dunne (On the Game of Cards 1919); "A man's idea in a card game is war -- cruel, devastating and pitiless. A lady's idea of it is a combination of larceny, embezzlement and burglary." by Finley Peter Dunne (1919); "A man's idee in a card game is war -- crool, devastatin', an' pitiless. A lady's idee iv it is a combynation iv larceny, embezzlement, an' burglary." by Finley Peter Dunne (On the Game of Cards 1919)] [nb: some etymologists attribute the phrase "buck the tiger" to faro gambling, but can not explain its usage, however the same phrase is widely associated with lusty gratification, and needs no explanation; v: "They won't drink, they won't buck the tiger, they won't even fight." Roads of Destiny; "Nothing stronger than bouillon, not a chance to buck the tiger even for one moment...." Hagar's Daughter] [nb: the Japanese "yakuza" is a secret society of racketeers, equivalent to the Italian mafia/maffia and Chinese tong/triad, meaning 'good-for-nothing', as derived from the losing hand (ie: 8,9,3) in a card game; cf: "dead man's hand" of aces and eights, held by James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok (2 Aug 1876)] [nb: "Squeezers" (corner-indexed playing cards) may have been inspired after the CIVIL WAR by technomigration when Americans noticed immigrant Chinese playing "cards" with long narrow sticks, appropriately marked, which were easily held in one hand; a pattern that had been standard in China since the AD 9th century. America went on to produce training and survival cards during WWII, including BLACKOUT or red-light decks for BUNKERS and SUBS, which were still used during the VIETNAM WAR.] [nb: as the deck of cards migrated from Asia, and its entertainment value was adapted to fortune-telling, the number of the cards changed from 6 to 13 (or more, totaling 32 [skat] to 78 [tarok, tarot]) elements per suit, which design varied from 2 to 6, and have been variously designated civilian / military / technician / scholar, governor / minister / treasurer / scribe, heart / bell / acorn / leaf, shield / bell / rose / acorn, sword / coin / baton / cup, heart / diamond / club / spade; the mass production of playing cards was among the earliest products of the printing press in both Asia and Europe] [nb: the prohibition against gambling on the sabbath was compounded by a 1397 edict preventing the people from playing certain games (including cards) on work days; hence the rise of illicit casinos and the instigation of excise taxes] [nb: popular card games among American military personnel include: cribbage (since ca1620); pinochle (bezique) and slapjack (since CIVIL WAR); a form of backgammon called acey-deucy (from WWI); and many versions of poker (deriv: braggart, bluffer)] [nb: because Lee knew Hooker's cardplaying style (impetuous but irresolute), he was confident of victory at Chancellorsville in 1863, despite being vastly outnumbered] [nb: during WWII, the OSS issued a playing card deck to some teams that, when laid out in a particular order, formed an operational map detailing the assignments for a specific mission; furthermore, escape maps hidden on playing cards in a deck were also provided to assist downed crewmembers evade capture in select areas] [nb: a pack of playing cards represents a year: 4 suits = seasons; 12 face cards = zodiacal / calendar months; 13 values (ace - king) = lunar months; 52 cards = weeks; value of cards in deck added together with 1 joker = 365 days, then add second joker for leap year]


to participate, well if not enthusiastically, in the proceedings without violating the defined parameters, as to exemplify or manifest the basis, mainspring, linchpin, crux, cardinal point, keystone, cornerstone, root, foundation, bottom line, or gravamen of something, hopefully significant. See ACCORDING TO HOYLE, WAR GAMES, PLAYING CARDS, DICE GAMES, CRAPSHOOT, GAME THEORY, GAME PLAN, GAMBIT, WILD CARD, FAIR GAME, BATRACHOMYOMACHIA, FLOWER WAR, BALL GAME, SKIN IN THE GAME, VIETNAM SYNDROME, MICROAGGRESSION, PISSING CONTEST, HAT TRICK, WHIPSAW, TALLY-HO, PLAY BALL, BATTER UP, BODY COUNT, TRAIN HARD FIGHT EASY, KNOCK IT OFF, TS CARD, POWER WALL, PAY DUES, TOY SOLDIER, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME. [cf: level playing field, fair play]


Personal Locator Beacon, being an emergency radio locator beacon with a two-way speech facility that's carried by aircraft crewmembers, either on their person or in their survival equipment, and capable of providing homing signals to assist search and rescue (SAR) operations. See EPIRB, HOMER, LOCATOR BEACON, RADIO.

greatly delighted, as derived from the gloating self-satisfaction of Mister Punch (re: "Punch and Judy") at the success of his evil actions; smug schadenfreude. Compare GLEE; see SENSE OF HUMOR. [nb: not to be confused with 'punch', a spicy fruit drink mixed with spirits, or a sharp blow with the fist (smite)] [nb: the "Punch and Judy" puppet play, typically performed for children (in common with fairy tales), is an allegorical comedy introduced to England during the Restoration from the Italian character Pulcinella ("young chicken"); Punch, a cruel hunchback, who's coarse and grotesque, first kills his nagging wife and annoying child, escaping imprisonment by use of a golden key, and then in a later series of episodes, triumphs over ennui (in the shape of a dog), disease (in the disguise of a doctor), death (who is beaten to death), the hangman (who is hanged in his stead), and the Devil himself (who is outwitted)]

a prominent facility or distinctive place used for recreation, especially narcissistic indulgences; this catch-phrase was coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his opium-inspired poem "Kubla Khan" (1816). See HELL ON WHEELS, BOOM BOOM ROOM, PIGPEN, NHA THO, SIN CITY, FLESHPOTS, VANITY FAIR, PUTAINESQUE.

a freshman student at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) in West Point, NY; also known as "beanhead" or "smackhead"; see CADET, MISTER, MULE, TRADE SCHOOL.

a solemn oath of allegiance or fidelity that's sworn by a citizen to his nation, and forming part of many flag-saluting ceremonies observed in the United States of America; its recitation is a public promise of allegiance to the nation as represented by its flag; originating in 1892, with the wording changed (from "my flag" to "The flag of the United States of America") in 1923, and with a phrase added ("under God") in 1954, as codified in the federal Flag Code. See PROMISE, CREED, OATH, LOYALTY CODE, CODE OF CONDUCT, DUTY, PATRIOT, TEST ACT, LOYALTY OATH, KEEP THE FAITH, SEMPER FI, CUSTOMS AND COURTESIES OF THE SERVICE, STARS 'n' STRIPES, COLORS, ENSIGN, BLOCK THE COLORS, HALF-MAST, SHIFT COLORS, FLAG DAY. [nb: after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, Dr Pepper produced its soft drink in patriotic cans depicting the Statue of Liberty and the words: One Nation ... Indivisible for a limited period (from November 2001 to February 2002) in an area covering parts of only twelve states; the company was criticized and threatened with boycott for exhibiting its support for national unity; the company was also criticized for quoting the Pledge of Allegiance incompletely]

Parachute Landing Fall, being a tumbling method of controlled impact upon six points of the body to enable the PARATROOPER to avoid injury when landing on the ground after a PARACHUTE jump. See LET-DOWN ROPE, FOURTH POINT OF CONTACT. [cf: water landing, tree landing] [v: Parachuting Terms, and Parachuting History]

Precision Global Positioning System Receiver; see VIPER.

a contrasting line or band painted on the exterior HULL of a merchant ship indicating its load level or depth level from cargo; being an eponym from Samuel Plimsoll, and also known as "Plimsoll line", LOAD-LINE MARK, "load-line", "boottop", or WATERLINE. Compare GRAYBACK, COUNTERSHADING; see DRAFT, FREEBOARD, WATER PLANE.


Palestine Liberation Organization; an umbrella organization for several Arab groups dedicated to the recovery of Palestine from the state of Israel and the return of refugees from the area to their homeland by means of diplomatic, military, and terrorist methods.

inferior or cheap wine; perhaps by alteration of 'white' (blanc) wine. Compare LOW WINE, RICE WINE; see HOOCH, GROG, MOONSHINE, BREW, JUICE, THE DRINK.

to determine by means of measurements or coordinates, and to mark on a MAP or CHART, a graphic plan or transparent overlay, the resultant course of a vessel or aircraft. Also, the place, located on or near the BRIDGE, that's used for performing such calculations; also called "nav plot"; compare CHART TABLE, see NAVIGATION. Also, to figure or reckon, calculate or compute the answer to a problem; to render a mathematical solution to a difficulty, such as charge or fuze, trajectory or point of impact; see BY THE NUMBERS, STANDARD DEVIATION, POLISHING THE CANNONBALL. [nb: "Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house." by Robert A. Heinlein]

any recent graduate from a training program, usually an outstanding student but not the honor graduate, who is retained by the facility as an instructor, to teach what he has just learned, or as CADRE, to sustain the integrity and continuity of the training program. See PERMANENT PARTY, TOP GUN, RED FLAG; compare RETREAD, RECYCLE, GOAT.

Palletized Load System, requiring special load-handling or container-handling equipment for movement, as prescribed in FM 55-80 Army Container Operations; see CONTAINERIZATION, CONEX, HEMTT, LOW-LEVEL EVACUATION DROP, DAISY CHAIN; compare CARGO NET.

Primary Life Support System, being the backpack worn by an astronaut that includes a supply of breathing air, suit power, and environmental controls; compare SCUBA, REBREATHER.

abbreviation for platoon; also called "'toon". A platoon is an organizational unit composed of three or more SQUADS, containing approximately 45 men, commanded by a Platoon Sergeant and a Platoon Leader (or in the case of the Marine Corps, a Gunnery Sergeant and a Platoon Commander); three or more platoons normally comprise a company-sized unit, such as INF CO, ARTY BTY, or CAV TRP. A platoon, derived from ball, which normally functions as a single unit, is the fundamental organization that implements all the basic military operations, and has the highest ratio of direct command relations. [nb: Vietnamese term: Trung Doi (platoon)]

the officer commanding a platoon, typically allocated to a lieutenant (2LT/O-1, 1LT/O-2) who is generally stereotyped as either pathetically ignorant or monumentally arrogant, or both by turns, but always disdained (or ignored) by the LIFERs above and below him. An officer at this level has more opportunity to practice and exercise MIL-CRAFTs, and more direct contact with troops (friendly and enemy) than any other officer in the military ... and many senior officers are jealous of these perquisites, reminiscing over former prowess. It is arguably the most important, demanding and fulfilling leadership position in the military! Vietnamese term: Trung Doi Truong. See SHAVETAIL, BUTTER BAR, BROWN BAR, LOOEY, MUSTANG, OLD MAN, LINE OFFICER, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN, COMMAND RATIO, GREEN TAB, LDR.

the non-commissioned officer (NCO) in charge of a platoon, typically allocated to a Sergeant First Class (SFC/E-7) who is generally stereotyped as "Old Sarge", mentoring his troops and guiding his less experienced officer ... it is arguably the most important, demanding and fulfilling job in the military! See SARGE, RIGHT ARM, PATRON SAINT, RABBI, SEA DADDY, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN, COMMAND RATIO, GREEN TAB, LDR.

brave; exhibiting courage, demonstrating resolve.

to shoot or kill someone; see WASTED, ZAPPED, BUY THE FARM, CHECK OUT, BITE THE DUST, PUSHING UP DAISIES, WAXED, BELIEVER. Also, slang for fistfighting or fisticuffs, slugfest or punch-up, duke it out or knock-down drag-out, boxing or pugilism; see KNUCKLE SANDWICH, MARTIAL ART, JAP SLAPPER, BOK-BOK, TWO-FISTED, ONE-TWO, BEAT HIM TO THE PUNCH, COUNTERPUNCH, GROUP HUG, BATTLE ROYAL, AT CLOSE QUARTERS, CLOSE QUARTERS BATTLE. Also, a cake of compressed tobacco; see CHEW, BETEL / BETEL NUT, SNUFF; compare GASPER, PIGTAIL, BUTT, FAG, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST.

a feather, a tuft of feathers, or some feather-like substitute that's worn on a hat or helmet as a token of honor or distinction; plumage worn as a conspicuous ornament. See DONKEY DICK, FEATHERS.

to ruthlessly take goods or valuables by open violence, as in war; see SPOILS OF WAR, HAVOC, RANSACK, SOUVENIR, ROMAN HOLIDAY. Also, that which is despoiled by PILLAGE or PLUNDER, as in war; stolen goods, such as loot or booty, swag or boodle, takings or filchings.

indirect fire, as from a mortar or cannon (ARTY), that strikes the ground at a steep angle, being the result of firing at very high ELEVATIONs; also called HIGH ANGLE HELL. Also, direct fire from an elevated position or platform upon lower level targets by depressing the MAIN-GUN or GUN TUBE below the level of its position, as from a hilltop fortification against valley targets, or ships shooting at boats or low flying aircraft. [nb: both armored vehicles (especially TANKs) as well as MISSILEs have used RAMPs to increase ELEVATION so as to achieve PLUNGING FIRE]

PM :
Preventive/Preventative Maintenance, being a euphemism for "make-work", invented by military managers to bureaucratize the Armed Forces. There is so much regular maintenance on CHOPPERS and TRACKS (about three hours for every hour of operation), that additional maintenance in the form of PM during combat operations is ridiculous! ... but when something fails, it gives the BRASS HATS something to blame. See ZD, CANNIBALIZE. Also, abbreviation for PROVOST MARSHAL; see POLICE.

Provisional Military Advisory Group, constituted on 15 August 1948 to provide training and logistical support to the Korean constabulary, which was upgraded to the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA); PMAG became the Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) as part of the U.S. Mission of the State Department on 1 July 1949.


Preventive/Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services, being those maintenance tasks performed by the vehicle's operator, and documented in the driver's LOGBOOK for subsequent review by MOTOR POOL maintenance.

Preventive Maintenance Inspection.

Primary Military Occupational Specialty; see MOS, CROSS-TRAINING, Q-COURSE.

facetious reference to an entrance (or exit) that opens the interior of a building or dwelling directly to the exterior in an arctic climate; a door or doorway that exposes the inside of a structure to the severe weather and extreme temperatures prevailing outside without the benefit of an antechamber (eg: "arctic entry") separating and buffering the spaces. Compare VESTIBULE, BAFFLE.

Persona Non Grata, an alien resident who's diplomatically expelled from a foreign country by the host government; such irrevocable expulsion is in lieu of prosecution under local laws [v: SOFA] for the precipitating incident, which could interfere with larger national issues. [cf: renvoi] [v: Diplomatic Terms] Also, by extension, any unwanted or unwelcome person; see DUD, PUKE, FUCK-UP, LOOSE CANNON, SHIT MAGNET, DOUCHE BAG, FIELD REJECT, THE SILENCE. Also, an unofficial acronym for "People [who are] Not Grunts", which is used to disparage noncombatant service and/or support personnel; see POG, CLERKS 'n' JERKS, REMF, TOCROACH, FOBBIT.

President's National Security Adviser, being the senior consultant on foreign and domestic affairs; see NSC.

PO :
(pee-oh) Petty Officer, rated E-4/PO3 to E-6/PO1 in the Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine; similar to NCO promotion in other service branches. See CROW, BUZZARD, GUNNY, BLOOD STRIPE, TOP GUN, TOP, SARGE, MISTER; compare CPO, CHIEF. Also, the universal abbreviation for Pissed-Off, sometimes represented as "PO'ed" (pee-owed); see PISSING CONTEST, WTFO, SOL, BOHICA, CHICKEN SHIT, MICKEY MOUSE. [nb: classic wisdom suggests that "It is better to be pissed-off than pissed-on!"]

misspelling of POGUE.

misspelling of POGY BAIT.

Place Of Birth; see DOB. Also, Personnel On-Board a vessel or aircraft; see SANDBAG, BLOB, STRAP-HANGER, SPACE A, DEADHEAD.

Point Of Contact [v: accommodation address]. Also, PAC / PAC TIME (qv).

sardonic reference to the ubiquitous government-issued pocket-sized notebook that subordinates use to contain, between its standard green covers, instructions on current activities and reminders of pending events; being a temporary record of the latest verbal guidelines and informal directives that are supposed to substitute for 'thinking' at the lower echelons. This aide-mémoire, sometimes called "paper brains" and also known as a WHEEL BOOK in NavSpeak, is a necessary accessory for the plethora of management details that every leader is required to consider when planning activities or scheduling events. Compare KNEEBOARD, PLASTIC BRAINS, PORTABLE BRAINS, TIN BRAINS, CHEAT SHEET, BUCK SLIP, TICKLER; see SOP, ORDER. [nb: this small side-opening notebook contained elongated ruled pages that were stitched into the cover (sewn signature), making the pages difficult to detach when sending message notes and impossible to configure when plotting codes or coordinates; during the Vietnam-era, the Australian Army issued a pocket-sized top-opening square notebook with gridlines (ideal for plotting or coding) imprinted on perforated pages that could be readily detached, and it included a pen or pencil retaining loop]

stainless scout-pattern
4-blade utility folder
a knife with one or more blades that fold into the handle, which is suitable for carrying in the pocket or on the belt; of the several styles of military POCKETKNIFE made for electricians or mountaineers or other specialists, the most popular is the all stainless steel scout patterned utility folder (MIL-K-818D) that was first introduced in 1944. Contrary to the stereotype of the well-armed warrior charging into battle with a KABAR clenched in his teeth, the POCKETKNIFE is the most common knife carried by MIL-PERS ... during the VIETNAM WAR, it was the heavy-duty "Buck 110 Hunter" lockback featuring a single blade. The POCKETKNIFE is more functional and less expensive than a combat knife, and in the modern era of super technology and high mobility, a POCKETKNIFE is less likely to be abandoned as an encumbrance. Although the combat knife will always be a highly cherished symbol of warfare, the humble POCKETKNIFE is the unassuming device that really gets the job done for most people most of the time. See PARATROOPER'S SWITCHBLADE, SWISS ARMY KNIFE. [nb: both New York and New Hampshire required that a pocketknife be issued to each member of the militia during the American Revolutionary War; the U.S. Navy issued a pocketknife to sailors during the American Civil War; pocketknives were first issued to all branches during World War II]

personal oddments or accouterments that are time specific and region appropriate for LEGEND consistency on a covert mission, such as pen, pocketknife, handkerchief, wallet, currency, receipts, tickets, tokens, and keys. See CLEAN, COVER, TRADECRAFT.

informal reference to a skill qualification badge (eg: JUNGLE EXPERT, RECONDO, PATHFINDER, etc), a special assignment badge (eg: General Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff, etc), or an unauthorized novelty insignia (eg: BEERCAN, MORALE PATCH, etc) that's displayed on the breast pocket of a uniform; see PATCH, CREST; compare CORD, BRASSARD.

an enclosed housing or container, usually streamlined and detachable, for use on an aircraft, on watercraft or other vehicle, as a RACK or HARDPOINT mounted DROP-TANK; see ENDURANCE, BUNDLE, PETROL, POL. Also, a rubberized 500-gallon container, also called "seal bin"; compare BLADDER, BLIVET, JERRY CAN. Also, abbreviation for Point Of Departure; see IP, STAGE, RV, FEBA, PHASE LINE, LINE OF DEPARTURE, WAY POINT.

a small platform, as derived from "little foot"; see ROSTRUM.

allusion to an actual event or literary occasion serving as an exceptional happenstance that renders fair treatment in an unfair world; the distribution of suitable rewards and punishments that are provided according to some ethical scheme as a counterbalance to the quixotic irrationality of ordinary nature; a fictitious projection or realistic interpretation that attempts to imbue acts or events with portentous meaning or significance so as to inspire or impart a moral lesson ... this phrase essentially means 'just deserts' or 'comeuppance', and entails making the good happy and content while the bad are made unhappy and unsuccessful, as when someone who sets a trap for his enemy is ensnared by his own crafty scheme. This trope was first used by Thomas Rhymer [Tragedies of the Last Age (1678)] to introduce morality as an essential function of literature, wherein a benefaction is conferred upon the innocent or a misfortune is laid upon a wrong-doer, just as if it had been so intended by divine providence; despite the fact that the universe doesn't have such a convenient arrangement, it's held that writers and other persons of public influence are obligated to endorse such a doctrine of eventual redress ... as when John Dennis, the 18th century critic, defended the notion: compositions that do not function as "a very solemn lecture" are either "an empty amusement, or a scandalous and pernicious libel upon the government of the world." Although the medieval era equated comedy with the happiness of good behavior and tragedy with the suffering of evil doings, the rise of a bourgeois public countered this concept with godless realism, but the idea of cosmic balance persists in the resolutions of popular romances, detective stories, westerns, and movie melodramas of the modern era. See PETARD, GUERRILLA THEATER, MORALITY PLAY, CAFE REBEL, RELIGIOUS RIGHT, FACE THE MUSIC, DAY OF RECKONING, RETRIBUTION, JUSTICE, LAW. [v: melodrama; cf: poetic license, poetic diction, poetic prose] [nb: "Poetic justice, with her lifted scale, Where, in nice balance, truth with gold she weighs, And solid pudding against empty praise." by Alexander Pope (1742)]

an unofficial acronym for Permanently On the Ground, as used by aircrew for any MIL-PERS who serve in a job (MOS) that has nothing to do with aviation, airlift, airmobility, or aircraft; this expression is used in the same discriminating way as LEG for anyone not AIRBORNE qualified. Compare GROUND HOG, PENGUIN, WING WIPER, GROUND POUNDER, GROUNDED. Also, an unofficial acronym used disparagingly to denote "People Other than Grunts", being the GULF WAR equivalent of Rear Echelon/Area MotherFucker (REMF/RAMF), those necessary noncombatant service personnel who support field operations; see CLERKS 'n' JERKS, FOBBIT, TOCROACH; compare PNG, GRUNT. [nb: although spelled differently and with a different meaning, POG is generally pronounced like POGUE, which lends some confusion about interpreting its intent when simply overheard]

misspelling of POGUE.

misspelling of POGY BAIT.

dick, cock; dickhead, PRICK, putz; PUKE, DUD, CREEP, GOLDBRICK, SOS, DOPE, MAGGOT, SMACK, DEADHEAD, SHIT MAGNET, TURD, FUCK-UP, YARDBIRD, FIELD REJECT, REMF, CLERKS 'n' JERKS, CANDY-ASS, ACETATE COMMANDO, BOMB-PROOF. Similar AUSSIE usage is "wanker" or "whanker" for a contemptible or objectionable person, a jerk-off, from "wank" or "whank" for masturbate; compare "wankered" at STONED. May also be spelled "poag" or "poge"; see SHORT ARM, CU, POGY BAIT, PINTLE, PUNK, CANDY-ASS, FAG. [nb: 'hooey', allegedly an Americanism used as an interjection for nonsense or tripe, is actually a corruption of the Russian vulgarity ("khuy") for penis, and is commonly used alone (eg: dick, dickhead, dick-wad) or in phrases (eg: dumber than dick; he doesn't know dick; don't dick around; don't stir your tea with your dick)] [cf: migration of "putz" from shine through ornament to penis and dolt; as sexual lure] [v: lucky stiff]

CONTRABAND or prohibited foodstuff, especially candy or snacks or other "junk food"; as derived from any homosexual enticement, also spelled "poagy bait" or "pogie bait". See GEDUNK, SUGAR PILL, HERSHEY BAR, TRACK PAD, CANDY BAR, RAT BAIT, CLARK BAR, NECCO, CHARMS, JAWBREAKER, HOOAH! BAR, SINKER, SNIVEL GEAR, CREATURE COMFORTS, GUNS OR BUTTER, POGUE, SNAKE SKIN, CANDY-ASS, PUNK, FAG. [nb: 'hooey', allegedly an Americanism used as an interjection for nonsense or tripe, is actually a corruption of the Russian vulgarity ("khuy") for penis, and is commonly used alone (eg: dick, dickhead, dick-wad) or in phrases (eg: dumber than dick; he doesn't know dick; don't dick around; don't stir your tea with your dick)] [cf: migration of "putz" from shine through ornament to penis and dolt; as sexual lure] [v: lucky stiff]

Program Of Instruction, being the standardized training doctrine utilized to adequately teach all military subjects. Training centers and schools followed lesson plans, augmented by official manuals (FM or TM), employing hortatory pedagogy: "Tell 'em whutcha gunna tell 'em; tell 'em; then tell 'em whutcha told 'em!". See MOS, PMOS, Q-COURSE, CROSS-TRAINING, TRNG, MIL-CRAFT, PRESTRESS, MONKEY SEE - MONKEY DO, OJT, KISS, JAWBREAKER, COUNTERINTUITIVE, IA, CHARM SCHOOL, COC, RATING, TICKET, ROTC, TRADE SCHOOL, TRADOC. [nb: the most revered truths gleaned from "lessons learned" on the battlefield are: quality is always better than quantity; expertise cannot be mass produced; competence results from practice, not desire or funding; no emergency response can repair a mistake or restore an opportunity; humans are more important than hardware; experience takes time, and judgment takes maturity] Also, abbreviation for 'Point Of Impact' (qv), being the place where discharged ammunition strikes, which is supposed to coincide with the sighted AIMPOINT; see BULL'S-EYE, LOCK-ON, TARGET. Also, abbreviation for a Person Of Interest, being a surveillance subject or a potential TARGET; see KA, PUC.

the lead soldier or forward element in an advancing unit, being responsible for selecting the route of travel relative to the mission direction, and vulnerable to the dangers of BOOBY-TRAPS or first contact with the enemy; also called "point man". See SPEARHEAD, PATHFINDER, SHOTGUN, JUDAS GOAT; compare SLACK, DRAG, SENTRY, SUICIDE SQUAD. [v: van, vanguard, vedette]

informal reference to the United States Military Academy (USMA), commonly referred to as WEST POINT; see HUDSON HIGH, CADET, TRADE SCHOOL, RING-KNOCKER, MULE. [nb: According to Alden Partridge, the West Point academy, that "nursery of aristocracy" and "public charity school", possessed a system of education designed to produce "military pedants and military dandies", and would form the basis of a "military aristocracy" that would threaten national values and republican institutions; and as its first superintendent, he repeatedly recommended curricular reforms, and after resigning his commission, he proposed its closure and replacement by an American System of practical education, that later became ROTC.] [v: Siwash ("At Good Old Siwash" by George Helgeson Fitch (1911)] [v: West Point slang]

straight close-range fire, not indirect or curved, as when the axis of a firearm or cannon barrel is parallel to the aimed line of sight, and discharges directly into the center of the TARGET; phrase derives from the white center or BULL'S-EYE of an archery target ("point blanc"); see POINT OF IMPACT, AIMPOINT, SIGHT PICTURE, ZERO, BORESIGHT, SHARPSHOOTER, DEADEYE, KISS THE MISTRESS, KNOCK THEIR SPOTS OFF, DEFLECTION, BOLO, MAGGIE'S DRAWERS. [v: Aunt Sally, Jack-a-Lent, cockshy, clay pigeon, sitting duck, mark, gull, dupe, pigeon, prey, quintain, wand, hit list] Also, straightforward, plain, explicit, blunt or frank.

originating as a bilingual word booklet developed for the aircrew of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), and issued with a BLOOD CHIT, to enable escape and evasion (E&E); becoming the prototype of all future phrase books issued to MIL-PERS on combat assignment or occupation duty in foreign countries. The POINTIE TALKIE arranged words, grouped by subject (eg: food, medicine, shelter, security, signals, weapons, enemy, contacts, places, numbers, directions, etc), in columns so that a rudimentary form of basic communication could occur between persons without fluency in the other's language. In addition to English/Chinese, the POINTIE TALKIE booklet also contained sections for Burmese, French, Annamese (Vietnamese), Siamese (Thai), Lolo (Tibeto-Burmese), Shan, and Lao. Different versions were used in other WWII theaters, and some mission-specific versions (eg: in Russian for B-29 bomber crews enroute to Japan). The greatest problem with this technique was illiteracy. Another problem was the confusion of meanings among the several Asian languages using similar pictographic scripts, sometimes at the risk of wrongful affiliation (as mistaken for being pro-Japanese instead of being pro-Chinese). Another problem was the limited stock of available terms. Later versions of the POINTIE TALKIE incorporated some illustrations to assist with the illiteracy problem, but these images proved more entertaining than informative. Most of the downed aircrew found simple "dumb show" pantomime to be as good or better than the booklet. Some of the POINTIE TALKIE booklets included a "carrot and stick" version of the BLOOD CHIT, promising reward for cooperation and threatening punishment for noncompliance, as signed by Chiang Kai-Shek ("Shanker Jack"). In phrase books later issued to occupation forces in Germany and Japan, a summary of polite regional customs was added as an introduction, and the civilian subject headings were expanded. The booklet issued during the VIETNAM WAR used complete phrases for expressions, making it less effective for the non-linguist, and did not include French or ethnic languages as an alternative, and therefore was widely ignored. A wallet-sized card of "helpful hints" or "dos and don'ts" on Vietnamese customs was distributed, along with the CODE OF CONDUCT, but was also widely ignored by parochial Americans. A more efficient alternative to the booklet format was later developed as a set of illustrative cards (or a playing card deck) called VISUAL LANGUAGE TRANSLATOR that featured a single word or phrase per each card in the several languages of a region, so that they might be more easily arranged into a question or statement by a non-linguist. See BLOOD CHIT, DLI, SEATIC, E&E, SERE, SAR, CSAR, SAFE, HOME RUN. [v: blood chit]

see POINT; compare SLACK, DRAG.

the actual coordinates of projectiles fired or munitions released at the same AIMPOINT under a given set of conditions, adjusted by deviation and/or dispersion pattern; also called "mean point of impact" or "point of burst". See BULL'S-EYE, POINT-BLANK, MONEY SHOT, DANGER CLOSE, DELIVERY ERROR, CEP, HORIZONTAL ERROR, DISPERSION ERROR, DEVIATION, DEFLECTION, SPOTTER, FFE, TOT, IMPACT AREA, ZONE OF FIRE, KILL ZONE.

the critical point of irrevocable commitment in an undertaking or process, course of action or policy, when reverse or retraction is impossible; by analogy to the point in a flight when there isn't enough fuel for the airplane to return to its point of departure, and must proceed to its destination. See FAIL-SAFE, BINGO, JOKER.

4th Infantry Division patch
4th Inf Div
nickname of the 4th Infantry Division, from pronunciation of the Roman numerals "IV". The Ivy Division patch shows four ivy leaves; also called "Funky Fourth" and "Fighting Fourth".

a tablet or capsule, ampule or SYRETTE containing a lethal dose of poison sufficient to quickly and reliably kill an adult person; also known as "suicide pill" (S-pill), "lethal pill" (L-pill), "kill pill" (Q-pill), "death pill" (D-pill), and the like. Such a fatal bolus has been selectively issued to clandestine operatives and special mission crews on a limited basis since WWII, most notably to OSS agents and behind-the-lines crewmembers. Traditionally, the POISON PILL is an oval capsule, approximately the size of a pea, consisting of a thin-walled glass ampule covered in flesh-toned rubber that's filled with a potassium cyanide concentrate or another solution of cyanide salts. After being removed from concealment (as in a ring or belt buckle), the POISON PILL may be ingested to forestall any disclosure of secrets under torture and to avoid a far more unpleasant death. Possession of a POISON PILL by anyone carrying out missions with a high risk of capture and hostile interrogation has a positive psychological value, since the means of frustrating the enemy is always available. See TRADECRAFT. [nb: government-issued suicide pills of the rubber-coated type must be crushed (as between the teeth) to release the fast-acting poison contained within the ampule; a suicide pill swallowed whole, without first being crushed, would pass harmlessly through the individual's digestive tract]

the theoretically expected distribution of indices when the number of cases sampled is quite large, but has been drawn from a relatively small population that's characterized by one of the two categories being relatively rare; a special, limited example of the BINOMIAL DISTRIBUTION.

during the KOREAN WAR, a street vendor selling snack foods or a peddler offering other wares; see CHEAP CHARLIE, SLICKY BOY, COWBOY, BANDIT, HAJJI SHOP, JINGLE TRUCK, CYCLO, SLOP CHEST. [nb: because markets, fairs, and shops are political extensions, most dispossessed or disenfranchised traders operate portable businesses; unlike the agora, the marketplace originated as a secure location for the sale of particular goods or produce at specified times and prices under governmental regulation]

a card game played by two or more persons, wherein the players bet on the value of their hands, with the winner taking the pool; believed to have originated in Asia, it was seemingly influenced by the games of braggart or bluffer when adopted by Americans during the 19th century; the game of brag has been used to recount battle action as a test of knowledge or gullibility since before the American CIVIL WAR. POKER is a gambling game of tactics and deception with many variations (eg: draw, stud, spit-in-the-ocean, high-low, straight, red dog, etc); it's not a game of strategy (like chess) or computation (like blackjack); see TIGER, BLUFF, PLAYING CARDS, WAR GAMES, PLAY THE GAME. [nb: because Lee knew Hooker's cardplaying style (impetuous but irresolute), he was confident of victory at Chancellorsville in 1863, despite being vastly outnumbered] [nb: "But cards are war, in disguise of a sport." by Charles Lamb (1820-23); "The poker player learns that sometimes both science and common sense are wrong; that the bumblebee can fly; that, perhaps, one should never trust an expert; that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by those with an academic bent." by David Mamet (1986); "Life's little poker game isn't about drawing the best cards, but about how to best play the bad hand that you've been dealt." by Joseph A. West (2006); "Not all poker is played across a gaming table." by Louis L'Amour (1966); "Because people have no thoughts to deal in, they deal cards, and try and win one another's money. Idiots!" by Arthur Schopenhauer (1851)]

five poker dice showing
representative playing card faces
poker dice
dice marked on their faces with representations of the six highest PLAYING CARDS (ie: ace, king, queen, jack, ten, nine), instead of conventional PIPs (1-6), as used for playing various gambling games. Compare LIAR'S DICE, DOMINO; see DICE GAMES, PLAY THE GAME, WAR GAMES. [nb: not to be confused with its homophone, 'poltergeist', despite all the mysterious indications to the contrary whenever players "rattle the bones"!]

an expressionless countenance or inexpressive visage; see FLINT FACE, QUARTERDECK FACE, HALF-MAST, WAR FACE, FACE. [nb: the pan is the depressed part of the lock holding the priming in old guns, so a "deadpan" facial expression derives from a musket's flash-pan being empty, that is, without any primer to set-off the charged barrel when the hammer falls to strike a spark of ignition]

Petroleum - Oil - Lubricants, the essential components of a military "gas station"; see PETROL, JP, AVGAS, MOGAS, JUICE, CHERRY JUICE, GOSP, TOP-OFF, HOT-FUELING, BLIVET, BLADDER, POD, JERRY CAN, FUEL LADDER, DONKEY DICK, REDNECK CREDIT CARD, LSU / LSA, CLP, WD-40, COSMOLENE, THE DEVIL'S WATER. [nb: Chinese began drilling for crude petroleum in the 4th century, but in 1859, the first American oil well was dug near Titusville PA, and the first oil refinery began operation in 1861; kerosene patented 1854; paraffin patented 1859; WD-40 (Water Displacement) invented 1953] [nb: "The oil can is mightier than the sword." by Everett Dirksen] Also, together with 'politico', being the short form of POLITICIAN.

a two-stage ballistic missile that's usually fired from a platform (SHERWOOD FOREST) aboard a submerged submarine; as derived from the astronomical name for the polestar or North Star, situated in the constellation Little Dipper (Ursa Minor).

Army Military Police badge
Army MP
Marine Military Police badge
cleaning the living and working areas of a military post, camp, or BASE; see KP, SWEAT, SCRUB, ELBOW GREASE, FATIGUE, POLICE CALL, HOUSECLEANING. Also, an organized body for public safety and law enforcement; see CONSTABULARY, MP, SNOWDROP, PM, PROVOST GUARD, AP, SP, CMAA, MAA, MASTER-AT-ARMS, SHERIFF, CHIMPS, KATN, BUTTON, CID, BABY 007, OSI, NIS, NCIS, DNI, CGIS, DIS, DCIS, FBI, DEA, REVENUER, FLETC, CONTRABAND, SHELL GAME, BODYGUARD, PDS, PSD, SECRET SQUIRREL, USSS, DHS, CIA, QC, NPFF, NPSS, FLAPS 'n' SEALS, BATS 'n' HATS, BUBBLEGUM MACHINE, WIGWAG, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGES, 10-CODES, FPS, SENTRY, GUARDHOUSE, STOCKADE, CROSSBAR HOTEL, HOT HOUSE, BRIG, THE CASTLE, LBJ, CHL, DEADLOCK, TANK, CLUB FED, DEAD-TIME, TWIST IN THE WIND, DRUMHEAD, PISO'S JUSTICE, OFFICE HOURS, CAPTAIN'S MAST, ROCKS 'n' SHOALS, BLUE BOOK, MCM, UCMJ, POSSE COMITATUS, BAT MAN. [v: UCMJ Punitive Articles] [aka: police, policeman, police officer, peace officer, sheriff, shrieve, bailie, bailiff, beadle, reeve, tipstaff, catchpole, marshal, lawman, LEO / law enforcement officer, patrolman, cop, bluecoat, copper, pig, porker, hog, bacon, narc, fuzz, bear / Smoky Bear, bull, flatfoot, heat, The Man, The Law, John Law, state trooper, Texas Ranger, plainclothesman, inspector, gumshoe, dick, detective, constable, rookie, badge packer, star packer, super star, meter maid, security guard, rent-a-cop, square badge, toy badge, nab, old bill, peeler, bobby, mountie, flic, gendarme, carabiniere, Cheka, Gestapo] [v: bailiwick] [nb: the International Criminal Police Commission, serving more than 100 cooperating countries, became the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in 1923] [nb: a multi-generational lineage of police service is expressed by "tin in the blood", "tin blood", and "silver blood"; cf: GREEN BLOOD] [nb: the sworn duty of every police officer is to protect and serve each member of society, no matter how guilty or complicit, underhanded or petty, stupid or selfish, loathsome or despicable]

the official designation for the KOREAN WAR; see LIMITED WAR, CONFLICT, PROXY WAR, SHOOTING WAR. [nb: "The action this government is taking is a police action against a violator of the law of nations and the Charter of the United Nations." by William F. Knowland; "This was a police action, a limited war, whatever you want to call it, to stop aggression and to prevent a big war." by Harry S. Truman]

the DETAIL or FATIGUE duty of cleaning and restoring a military area, especially the collection of CLUTTER and LITTER, especially cigarette BUTTs (which, when filter-tipped, are called "mini-tampons"); also called simply "police", as to "police the area" or "police up". See FAG, FIELD STRIP, BUTT CAN, GI PARTY, SQUARED AWAY, SHIPSHAPE, FOD, KP, SWEAT, SCRUB, ELBOW GREASE.

see SCOUT DOG, K-9, MWD, WAR DOGS, IASK9, A DOG IN A DOUBLET, STILL TRAILER, OPEN TRAILER, LEND-LEASH, SAPPER. [nb: "Who loves me will love my dog also." (Latin: Qui me amat, amet et canem meum.); "Love me, love my dog."] [v: basic dog commands]

a nation in which the CONSTABULARY, especially a secret police, summarily suppresses any social, economic, or political act that conflicts with governmental policy. See THOUGHT POLICE, JUNTA, JUNTO, UNIVERSAL MILITARY SERVICE; compare GARRISON STATE, PUPPET, MIGHT MAKES RIGHT. [v: stratocracy, autocracy, autarchy, absolutism, totalitarianism, despotism, dictatorship, tyranny, machtpolitik; cf: meritocracy]


see SPIT 'n' POLISH.

expending an excessive amount of time and effort trying to make the shot perfect; paying too much attention to setting up the firing solution and loading the gun, instead of expediting the fire mission.

a mandate for public relations to gloss over a damaging event or embarrassing occurrence by "putting a good face" on it, or a directive for unit subordinates to enact a deficient decision or perform a defective command by emphasizing its positive aspects; to attempt to make the blemished, inferior, or substandard worthwhile and effective ... that is to turn "a sow's ear into a silk purse". See PIO / PAO, TURD; compare POLISHING THE CANNONBALL, ORIENTAL CRUD. [v: "put a good face on a disaster", "put a pretty face on a bloody corpse"; cf: brummagem, poor relation, below the salt, not worth a straw / not worth a rush, ropy]

a politically-incorrect reference to a wake-up call made at the wrong time, being a signal to arise that disturbs sleep without purpose; not an alert for early duty or an alarm to defend against surprise. See REVEILLE, POLISH SALUTE, REDNECK CREDIT CARD, WHITE TRASH, THIRD ESTATE.

a politically-incorrect reference to a demonstrative shrug, being expressive of ignorance or indifference, disregard or disdain, discountenance or disapprobation; also called "reservist's salute". Compare ITALIAN SALUTE, JEWISH WAVE; see HIGH BALL, SALUTE. [nb: the actual Royal Polish Army salute consisted of two fingers (index and middle fingers) together on the right hand brought to the forehead, symbolic of honor and country, which somewhat resembles the American Cub Scout salute]



an expression, popularized in the immediate post-Vietnam era by Chuck Spinney, a Pentagon analyst, for the practice of devising governmental budgets that provided cost overruns and local employment on a grand scale that were distributed throughout as many congressional districts as possible; it is the art of spreading a military project so as to maximize its involvement in taxpayer funding so as to ensure the re-election of as many politicians as possible. Everyone in the procurement process understands the logic of this interdependent system, from military representatives who parcel-out the deals to politicians who vote bills into law ... one $10million parts contract in one district will help one pol, two $5million contracts in two districts will aid two pols, but five $2million contracts will benefit five pols! A coalition of so-called "cheap hawks" were unable to cut funding for the B-2 bomber in the late '80s when it was revealed that work for this Northrop project was being carried out in 46 states and no fewer than 383 (of 435) congressional districts. This corrupt system of POLITICAL ENGINEERING persists because those that are affected are mutually sustaining, and those that are unaffected are indifferent ... as long as the funding provides military necessities, jobs, profits, and re-elections, the practice will continue unabated. See PORK BARREL, LOGROLLING, GOLDEN SHOWER, PRIME THE PUMP, HANG HIS STOCKING, STAND SAM, JUICE, CANDY, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, THE EAGLE SHITS. [v: culture of corruption; cf: social engineering]



an alleged public agent, having no qualification other than egotistic hubris, and no restraint other than fickle unpopularity, who is privileged to be more equal than ordinary voters, who wields power based upon beneficial reciprocity, who conducts community affairs for private advantage, who compromises truth and principle at every opportunity, and who disclaims any responsibility for the results of his maladministration ... in short, a lying cheating parasite that symbiotically flourishes on the back of the citizenry who believes he knows what's best for everyone else (excluding himself!), but doesn't have the courage to actually do anything more than talk about it! When soldiers die in wars they were sent to fight, these yellow-bellied dastards take credit for their battle honors. And when these mollycoddled cravens have botched every negotiable opportunity and bungled every diplomatic relation, soldiers are sent to redeem their ineptitude. This multi-cellular carbon-based life form is also known as poseur, dissimulator, dissembler, pretender, imposter, charlatan, deceiver, fake, split- / double-tongue, double-talker. Although some lexicographers may disagree, "pol", as the short-form and root of POLITICIAN, is the true basis for "poltroon"! See CIVILIAN, POTUS, VP, MANDARIN, YANKEE, UNCLE SAM, BELTWAY CLERK, BELTWAY BANDIT, PORK BARREL, ACT OF CONGRESS, THE NATIONAL JOKE FACTORY, THE HILL, GREEN ACRES, OLYMPUS, FOGGY BOTTOM, THE G, WASHINGTON WALTZ, RED TAPE, HATCH ACT, THE EAGLE SHITS, CZAR, WISE MEN, DOMINO THEORY, WAR POWERS ACT, PETITION, DECENT INTERVAL. [v: know-it-all, besserwisser; realpolitik, machtpolitik] [nb: "Politician: an eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive." by Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce; "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens); "Congressmen should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers so everybody can identify their corporate sponsors."; "A politician is like a banana: when he first comes in, he is green, then he turns yellow, and then he goes rotten!"; "Life in politics is one continuous choice between second bests." (mis-)attributed to Lord Morley by John F. Kennedy; "An honest politician is one who when he's bought stays bought." attributed to Simon Cameron; "Politics is the art of turning influence into affluence." by Philander C. Johnson; "Politicians are doing the best they can according to the dictates of no conscience." by Will Rogers; "Congressmen who willingly take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged." by Abraham Lincoln; "A dead politician is the noblest work of God." by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens); "A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth." by Michael Kinsley; "One politician's truth is another pol's lie."; "Exuding boundless self-confidence, politicians are convinced that they can persuade anyone if they could only talk long enough, so they will say anything that will achieve their desired effect, regardless of its merit or result." paraphrase of D.W. Buffa; "Politicians are the same the world over: they promise to build a bridge even when there is no river." by Nikita Khrushchev; "They (politicians) will all promise every man, woman and child in the country whatever he, she or it wants. They'll all be roving the land looking for chances to make the rich poor, to remedy the irremediable, to succor the unsuccorable, to unscramble the unscrambleable, to dephlogisticate the undephlogisticable. They will all be curing warts by saying words over them, and paying off the national debt with money no one will have to earn. When one of them demonstrates that twice two is five, another will prove that it is six, six and a half, ten, twenty, n. In brief, they will divest themselves from their character as sensible, candid and truthful men, and simply become candidates for office, bent only on collaring votes. They will all know by then, even supposing that some of them don't know it now, that votes are collared under democracy, not by talking sense but by talking nonsense, and they will apply themselves to the job with a hearty yo-heave-ho. Most of them, before the uproar is over, will actually convince themselves. The winner will be whoever promises the most with the least probability of delivering anything." by H.L. Mencken; "Politicians and economists always offer a 'change of history' as their motivation, but history always emphasizes terminal events ... and it is the military, on both sides of the alteration, that generates the final conclusion." paraphrase of Albert Speer; "Just as military attacks on minor disputes exhibit an ability to transform seemingly insignificant events into grandiose strategies, so political assaults on controversial issues exhibit an ability to transform seemingly irrelevant differences into cataclysmic controversies."; "The gangrene that infects history was put there by politicians. They seek havoc for personal gain. They serve only a handful of masters and abandon all the others to die of the gangrenes they fostered ... the wars, the inflations, the unemployment, the suffering, the corruption, the shame, but most of all war. It is humanity's most degraded work." by Richard Condon; "People will tolerate an incompetent politician, but not a failed hero ... heroes are too rare to be so readily cast aside."; "The people have always some champion whom they set over themselves and nurse into greatness. When he first appears he is a protector; this is the root from which a tyrant springs." paraphrase of Plato; "Of the best rulers, The people only know that they exist; The next best they love and praise, The next they fear; And the next they revile. When they do not command the people's faith, Some will lose faith in them, And then they resort to oaths! But of the best when their task is accomplished, their work done, The people all remark, 'We have done it our selves.'" by Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching]

the principles and practices of conducting public affairs; the methods and manipulations of societal administration; the art of government; that constitutionally mandated segment which is responsible for utilizing the military in the national interest. [nb: "Man is by nature a political animal." by Aristotle; "The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society." by Karl Marx; "Politics is not the art of the possible, It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable." by John Kenneth Galbraith; "In politics, it seems, retreat is honorable if dictated by military considerations and shameful if even suggested for ethical reasons." by Mary McCarthy; "War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of politics by other means." by Karl von Clausewitz; "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." by H.L. Mencken; "To rely upon conviction, devotion, and other excellent spiritual qualities -- that is not to be taken seriously in politics." by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin; "Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed." by Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong); "In politics, yesterday's lie is attacked only to flatter today's." by Jean Rostand; "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible." by George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)] [v: Maurice Duverger's law of electoral systems]

a neologism coined for the elite PALACE GUARD or "Praetorian guard" that's highly trained but never relieved from executive protection long enough to actually employ those talents on military operations; probably derived by association with PARATROOPER. Compare PROVOST GUARD; see THE IMMORTALS.

any novice sailor, especially someone who has not "crossed the line" (equator) aboard ship, also spelled "polliwog", "pollywag"; see SHELLBACK, CHUM, NUGGET, DRYBACK; compare TADPOLE, FROGMAN, UDT, PUP, LEG. [nb: according to legend, a sailor acquired a pierced EARRING when "crossing the line" (equator), which was alleged to improve his eyesight]

a mixture or confusion of several languages; see DOUBLE DUTCH, BAMBOO ENGLISH, MONKEY VOICES, HOBSON-JOBSON, PIDGIN. Also, facility or fluency in several languages, being multilingual; see CREOLE. Also, a book containing the same text composed in several languages, as a bilingual edition or scholarly translation, as derived from 'many' + 'tongued'; [v: edition, vulgate; cf: polymath, polyhistor].

Pre-positioned Organizational Materiel Configured to Unit Sets, being armaments and equipment that have been forward-deployed in anticipation of need by MIL-PERS dispatched to counter a crisis; supply sets that have been pre-positioned at specific sites where U.S.-based units are expected to deploy. This particularized equipment is kept combat ready through long-term storage in controlled-humidity warehouses and through periodic maintenance that's designed to keep deterioration to a minimum. Instituted in January 1977, this PRE-POS distribution system has been tested by field training exercises (eg: REFORGER) to improve accountability and functionality; this force projection strategy, contingent upon not being overtaken by events (eg: BLITZKRIEG, HYPERWAR, TOTAL WAR, etc), has also been factored into STAY BEHIND and GUERRILLA tactics. In the downsizing after the COLD WAR, the disassembled inventory from deactivated USAREUR units was transferred to Combat Equipment Group - Europe (CEG-E) for storage, and POMCUS became known as Army Pre-positioned Stocks (APS) where excess equipment was upgraded to like-new condition for redistribution to APS holding sites worldwide.


a stately or splendid display of dignity or importance, typically ostentatious; formerly a procession, pageant, or parade. [v: pomp and circumstance]

an automatic, 40-millimeter/1.5784inch antiaircraft (AA) gun, usually quad-mounted on ships; a "Bofors Gun", first made in Sweden. This analogic rebus and onomatopoeic term is related to both the sound of firing, and to the flower-like ("pompon") appearance of the exploded FLAK. Also known as "archy" / "archie", being WWI British slang that probably derives from the pattern of its trajectory. See AA, ACK-ACK, FLAK. [nb: another proposed derivation for "archy" / "archie" is the hindrance caused by German antiaircraft fire which supposedly reminded some WWI airmen of the refrain in a popular 1915 music hall song: "Archibald, Certainly Not!"]

a pull-on waterproof garment, with hood and closures, made of rubberized cloth or treated nylon, that's worn instead of a raincoat, fitting over field gear and individual weapon; made warmer by the addition of a PONCHO LINER secured to the inside by ties, and used as a groundsheet beneath a sleeping bag (FART SACK). See OILSKINS, RAINCOAT, WINDBREAKER, WAPENSHAW. [nb: during the VIETNAM WAR, it was popular to take a poncho and poncho liner to a local tailor shop to commission a custom-made rain parka, with a snap-closure front and large collar (showing the camouflage-pattern lining), sometimes with pockets ... possession of such an unofficial rain jacket marked the wearer as an "old hand"] [cf: cape, pelisse, gown, pall, robe, mantle, cloak, cote/coat, caracalla, tunic, doublet, roquelaure, capote, anorak, cagoul / kagoul, ruana, manta, burnoose, kaross, chlamys, mantilla] [nb: there were rarely enough BODY BAGs when needed, so corpses were often wrapped and tied into ground-sheets, PONCHOs, PONCHO LINERs, sleeping bags (FART SACK), or even TARPs and SHELTER-HALves as improvised winding sheets (ie: SHROUD) for removal from the field]

camouflage poncho liner
poncho liner
camouflage-patterned nylon insert for the military rain PONCHO, that was used as a blanket in Southeast Asia, which kept the user warm even when it was soaking wet; affectionately known as a "woobie" or "wubbie" as an item of CREATURE COMFORTS during the era of the GULF WARs. [nb: there were rarely enough BODY BAGs when needed, so corpses were often wrapped and tied into ground-sheets, PONCHOs, PONCHO LINERs, sleeping bags (FART SACK), or even TARPs and SHELTER-HALves as improvised winding sheets (ie: SHROUD) for removal from the field]

ironic or sardonic reference to any large body of water, such as a sea or ocean; as "across the pond" or "crossed the pond". See THE MED, THE GULF, FLOAT, YANKEE STATION, DIXIE STATION, THE DRINK, BLUE WATER.

an inflated or floating support for any structure, such as a landing stage or temporary bridge, a dock or seaplane; also spelled "ponton", as derived from "punt" (bateau/batteau), a flat-bottomed BOAT; see SCOW. Also, in NavSpeak, a float for raising a deeply laden or sunken vessel in the water; also known as a "camel" or CAISSON.

a temporary watercourse bridge supported by floats or boats; derived from punt (bateau/batteau), a flat-bottomed BOAT, and such "floating bridges" were used in China before AD714. See AVLB, BAILEY BRIDGE, BRIDGE RATING, ROUTE STEP, TREADWAY BRIDGE.

USAF 21st Special Operations Squadron; based at Nakhon / Nhakon Phanom (NKP) Air Base Thailand from Jan 1967, flying HH-53 JOLLY GREEN GIANT transport and gunship helicopters for special operations. See GREEN HORNET.

USAF 20th Special Operations Squadron; based at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in support of LIMA SITE 85 and other special operations.

a 19th century colloquialism for a mounted rifleman (designated green) or a dragoon (designated orange), as a mechanized infantryman (designated blue), an air or armored cavalryman (designated yellow) or their forces; see AIR CAV, AIRMOBILE, AIR ASSAULT, HELIBORNE, YELLOWLEG, DRAGOON, DOG SOLDIER, LONG KNIFE, ACR, MECH, BOOTS AND SADDLES, CAMPAIGN HAT, CAVALRY WHISKERS, SPUR RIDE, ORDER OF THE SPUR, STIRRUP CUP, YELLOW RIBBON.

facetious rhyming reference to an unusually thick and creamy stew that's been composed of field expedient ingredients as by analogy with excreta ... "That ain't stew; that's poo!" See SOUP, WASH, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS.

a leader, authority, or other important person, especially one that's pompous or self-important. Also, someone who holds several positions, especially those that furnish him with bureaucratic importance; as derived from a character [in The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan (1885)] who holds all the high offices of state simultaneously, and uses them for personal gain. Compare PANJANDRUM; see TICKET-PUNCHER, RING-KNOCKER, MILICRAT, ACETATE COMMANDO, CHAIRBORNE, PROFESSOR, RAINMAKER, WONK, WALLAH, SANTA CLAUS, HONCHO, ACTING JACK, GADGET, TOP DOG, MOTHER HEN, GO TO GUY, CHIEF, OLD MAN, BRASS HAT. [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs]


catch-phrase for the class of military carbines (CAR) and RIFLEs (from XM-177E2 and M-4 to AR-15 and M-16A4) that fire the NATO-standard 5.56mm/.223cal ammunition (AMMO), which many professionals deem suitable only for varmint and other small animal shooting ... with the miniature or toy poodle being considered a representative (and deserving) specimen of such targetable game. These small bore rifles are also belittled as "mouse guns" so as to differentiate them from the large bore "elephant guns", which are almost too powerful to control! See WIDOW MAKER, BLACK MAGIC, TUPPERWARE, OVER 'n' UNDER, BURST, ACTIV, UP-GUN. [nb: "Ahh, lotsa plastic. Feels like a BB gun to me. Believe I'm gonna stick with my pistol." by SGM Basil Plumley (1965)] [nb: the "improved battle zero" is the new GULF WAR-era infantry doctrine stipulating that shots striking in "center of mass" between 40yds and 120yds are most effective, arguing that this range is where most combat encounters occur, and that the speed of recovery (due to less recoil) to a valid SIGHT PICTURE (together with shooting accuracy) is more important than the caliber of the rifle ammunition; this new philosophy also argues that the smaller 5.56mm NATO round enables the soldier to carry more AMMO and to therefore engage more enemy targets ... while the proponents of this proposition concede that both the 5.56mm and 7.62mm are both lethal rounds, they still haven't accounted for the instability ("keyholing") of the smaller round in mixed terrain or adverse weather, such that experience shows that more than one smaller round discharge is required to achieve the single shot result of the larger round whenever less than ideal conditions exist, which is (again) a conclusion proving its thesis despite contrary evidence where wartime adversity and irregularity are normative, meaning that the "extra" 5.56mm ammo is not a surplus, but a necessity, and consequently an insufficiency]

accurate information or candid facts, current news or a true account, as the "latest scoop", "straight skinny", "real low-down", or "poop sheet"; see HEADS-UP, FYI, DOPE, GOUGE, THE WORD, GREEN GREASE, HOT-SHIT, ROCKING HORSE APPLES, BULLETIN, WRITING ON THE WALL, BOATSWAIN'S PIPE, BUGLE CALL, TANNOY, VECTOR. [nb: at West Point and Annapolis after WWI, the courses on physics and navigation or astronomy were called "skinny" due to the intramural tutoring needed for satisfactory completion; which may be the origin of that slang term for reliably current information] Also, slang for feces, excrement, scat, doo-doo, crap, puckey, turd, SHIT, or DUMP, as to defecate, or that which is defecated. Also, tired or exhausted, as to "crap out", be "tuckered" or "POOPed"; see RING THE BELL, KNOCK IT OFF, TS CARD, EQUALIZER. Also, a wave breaking or taking seas over the STERN of a vessel. Also, a superstructure or POOP DECK at the STERN of a vessel. Also, a fool, dolt, DUD, or DOPE, as a nincompoop.

a weather DECK on the superstructure at the STERN of a vessel, may have bulwarks; compare QUARTERDECK, FANTAIL, TRANSOM, FORECASTLE, WELL DECK.

slang for the protective cold-water immersion FLIGHT SUIT required for wear by PILOTs whenever a mission takes them over open water, in case of ejecting or ditching into the sea/ocean; also spelled "poopy suit". See FEET WET; compare G-SUIT, SUCK 'n' PUFF, DRESS. [nb: the 'gasp reflex' is an involuntary physiological response to suddenly plunging into very cold water (50°F or less), which automatic reaction contributes to hypothermia and drowning; the human body cannot be habituated to such shocking immersion ... only somewhat accommodated by protective preparation]

informal reference to an outdoorsman's dining collation composed of few ingredients, such as a stew comprising potatoes, green beans, and a few pieces of meat in water that's flavored only with salt and pepper; compare SLUMGULLION, OH LAM, POT LIQUOR, SLOP, WASH; see SOUP, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. [nb: with more ingredients and a more robust broth, such a 'stew' ceases to be "poor man's" fare] [v: pottage (a thick vegetable soup made with or without meat); cf: jardiniere / jardiniére]

generically, to 'recite', 'respond', 'initiate', 'execute', or TRIGGER, as in "pop SMOKE", "pop a FLARE", or "pop-off!" (ie: SOUND-OFF).

expression used by a pilot to indicate that he is flying in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) or Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IIMC); compare IFR, VFR, VOR, VECTOR. Also, codename for a classified weather-control program designed to drown crops and flood lowlands in southeast Asia, especially by extending the MONSOON season, as clandestinely authorized by Henry A. Kissinger, Nixon's Secretary of State. Also, (forthcoming) an animated cartoon featuring a sailor, being more popular than MICKEY MOUSE (qv); see FICTIONAL CHARACTER.

Vietnam-era novelty Mary
Poppins High-Altitude High-Opening parachute badge
novelty Mary Poppins
by reference to the children's nanny who was possessed of magical powers, which were best exemplified for High-Altitude High-Opening (HAHO) parachuting by her use of an umbrella to descend back to earth after whirling around in the atmosphere. Introduced in 1934 by P.L. Travers, this FICTIONAL CHARACTER could not only slide up banisters, but could walk into a picture, understand what dogs are saying, and travel around the world in seconds. Julie Andrews played the part of this nanny in the 1964 namesake film, which was shown to troops in Vietnam. An informal (and very unofficial) skill badge depicting this nanny with her deployed umbrella was adopted during the Vietnam-era as a sardonic symbol of High-Altitude High-Opening (HAHO) parachuting.

see PPA.

M-18 smoke grenade
smoke grenade
activating a smoke grenade, to conceal movement, to mark a target or sighting, to indicate the location of ground elements for aerial observation, or to identify a secure Landing Zone (LZ). The SOP for AIR-ASSAULT, EXTRACTION, DUSTOFF, or airlift resupply consisted of the CHOPPER crew identifying the color of smoke used, which would be confirmed by the ground element before landing; because the enemy attempted to lure CHOPPERS into an AMBUSH by POPPING SMOKE whenever possible. Masking and marking smoke was usually yellow, purple, or green; since most units reserved red smoke for GUNSHIP or TAC-AIR targets. See SOUP CAN, MIGHTY MITE, SMOKY BEAR, GRENADE, WATCH MY SMOKE, BRING SMOKE.

generally approved by people; representing the fickle fashion of inconstant social interest; see CHARISMA. Also, pertaining to the common people; affecting the populace; representing ordinary persons as a whole. Also, appealing to, prevailing among, or intended for the public at large; see THIRD ESTATE. [nb: "The popularity of an idea doesn't make it right, nor the unpopularity of a man make him wrong."; "For the most part, unanimity signifies either cowardice or thoughtlessness -- mankind is too contentious to be otherwise agreeable."; "A leader must learn to separate personalities from what's substantive -- not just because it's a good policy to properly employ every member of your command, but because someone who 'rubs you the wrong way' may have a good idea or valid point, which you won't discover if you shut them down out of irritation or frustration." paraphrase of Donald H. Rumsfeld]

a temporary anti-fascist political alliance against reactionary (ie: right-wing) dictatorial governments that was organized by a coalition of left-wing parties at the behest of the 1935 Communist International; being a precipitating factor in the Spanish Civil War (1936-9) and the collaborative collapse (1936-8) of France [Léon Blum]. In modern usage, an alleged warrant of populism, which claims egalitarian support for the common people (populace).

informal reference to the survey process designed to develop or attain a group consensus, with the implication of harmonious concord; a democratic procedure indulged by civilians that's charged with auspicious portent, as if it were something other than mob rule (ochlocracy). It's been said that "more flies can be drawn with honey than with vinegar", with the implication that willing workers are more productive than unwilling ones (v: FEDERAL FRIDAY, SMILEY, WORK SONG), but in a military hierarchy, where everyone in the CHAIN-OF-COMMAND is obedient to lawful orders, attracting or repelling 'flies' is not a matter of enticing them with a lure, whether the bait is shit or sugar! ... it's a matter of leadership (LDR) or COMMAND PRESENCE. See PEANUT GALLERY, TWO CENTS, ACCORD, JUDGMENT CALL, BRASS EAR, FALL ON DEAF EARS, RUMOR, OPINION, TERGIVERSATE, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, NOSE COUNT, EYE-CHECK, BULLFROG CHORUS, BEAT AROUND THE BUSH, REASSURANCE, WIGGLE ROOM, GRESHAM'S LAW, FINE PRINT, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, EQUAL PROTECTION.

a government appropriation derived from earmarked bills or riders that supply funds or jobs, especially defense contracts, designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents by "bringing home the bacon"; see ACT OF CONGRESS, THE G, SOG, THE NATIONAL JOKE FACTORY, DEEP STATE, FOGGY BOTTOM, UNCLE SAM, POLITICIAN, STAND SAM, JUICE, CANDY, PRIME THE PUMP, LOGROLLING, POLITICAL ENGINEERING, GOLDEN SHOWER, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, YANKEE, GSA, GAO, THE EAGLE SHITS, NGO, GOCO, COCO, QUANGO, OGA, SAND CRAB, BELTWAY BANDIT, BELTWAY CLERK.

generic reference to any wireless microphone (MIC) that includes some radio controls (eg: volume, freq switching, etc) directly on the handset, in addition to the push-to-talk (PTT) transmit key; see RADIO.


a hot cereal dish that's usually made of oatmeal boiled in water or milk; derived as a corrupt alteration of 'poddidge' [akin to pottage (a thick vegetable soup made with or without meat)]. See BULLY SOUP, PANADA, POT LIQUOR, GRUEL, CHAO, SLOP, WASH, POOR MAN'S STEW, SOUP. [v: beef tea, sowens (porridge made from oat bran or husks that have been soaked in water, slightly fermented, and then boiled)]

the left side of the craft or vessel when facing forward, formerly known as larboard (larborde) or loadboard for the "loading side" set against the WHARF, and opposite the "steering side"; designated by the color red, and displaying a red navigation light, single or combined, showing in an unbroken arc of the horizon of 112.5 degrees, ranging from dead ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on the side. Compare STARBOARD, see BOW, PROW, STEM, FORECASTLE, STERN, AFT, IR MARKERS, CHRISTMAS TREE. [nb: the whaler, being the ship's GIG, is traditionally rowed with two oars on the PORT side and three oars on the STARBOARD side, which is the origin of the naval association of "even" with PORT and "odd" with STARBOARD; see SKIMMER] [cf: like naval "port" and "starboard", "stage left" and "stage right", "proper left" and "proper right", "dexter" and "sinister" are clarifications of direction for orientation or perspective so as to avoid confusion] Also, a place with docking facilities for ships to load or unload passengers or cargo, as "port of entry" or PORT OF CALL; see WHARF. Also, an exterior opening or aperture on a craft or vessel for various uses, including portal and PORTHOLE; see HATCH, EMBRASURE, POSTERN.

slang reference to the pocket-sized notebook that's used to temporarily record instructions and reminders, verbal guidelines and informal directives; an aide-mémoire that's sometimes called "paper brains" or POCKET BRAINS, and is also known as a WHEEL BOOK in NavSpeak; compare KNEEBOARD, PLASTIC BRAINS, CHEAT SHEET, BUCK SLIP. Also, slang expression during and after GULF WAR-era for any small portable microcomputer (eg: palmtop), with or without cellular telecom connectivity, that can be used to record notes and instructions, as well as store regulations and standard operating procedures (SOP) for ready reference; also called TIN BRAINS.

a lightweight and compact hanging tent system that's designed to be deployed (erected and suspended) from a rock face, providing its occupant with a secure and weather resistant BIVOUAC, as used on multi-day "big wall" climbing ascents and descents; compare BIVVY.

designation given to Hon Tre Island Control and Reporting Post (CRP); compare PORT OF CALL.

a small, round, window-like opening, usually covered with a hinged watertight glass closure, set into the side of a vessel for admitting air and light; see PORT, HATCH, compare DEADLIGHT, BULL'S-EYE. Also, an opening or aperture in a wall, a BULKHEAD or HULL, used for aiming or shooting, as a gun port or loophole.

a port visited briefly by a ship for the purpose of taking on or discharging passengers and cargo, or to undergo repairs; also known as a "portcall".

naval slang for a left-handed person; southpaw.

informal truncation of 'POSition' whenever pinpointing one's exact location; the numeral '20' (twenty; not "two-zero") denotes this fixed position in the TEN-CODES system; see DEAD-RECKONING, LEEWAY, DOUBLE DRIFT, PLOT, AIMPOINT, LAT-LONG, MGRS, SRTM, UTM, GPS, LORAN, INS, RP, WAY POINT, ADCOCK RANGE, VOR, EMERGENCY LOCATOR BEACON, PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON / PLB, EPIRB, AIS, IFF, SQUAWK, INS, HOMER, SCRAM, ELT, CRASH LOCATOR BEACON, PIPSQUEAK, BLINKER, BUD LIGHT, IDENTIFICATION PANEL, SIGNAL MIRROR. Also, common euphemistic abbreviation for 'Piece Of Shit', being anyone who's objectionable or anything that's disagreeable; see FIELD REJECT, SHIT MAGNET, DOUCHE BAG, PUKE, YARDBIRD, LOOSE CANNON, FUCK-UP, SOS, TURD, SHIT, SNAFU, FUBAR, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, WTFO, SOL, BOHICA.

a submarine-launched U.S. Navy ballistic MISSILE with up to ten WARHEADs and a range of 2800 miles; named after the ancient Greek god of the sea with the power to cause earthquakes.

literally, to have or use the power of the county; as in a body of persons summoned by legal authority to assist a peace officer or sheriff during an emergency; its intent is to limit the power of the federal government to use federal personnel to impose federal law upon the residents of sovereign states. Under the provisions of Art 1, Sec 8.15 of the US Constitution, and of title 18 USC, pt I, ch 67, sec 1385 of federal criminal procedure, the military acted domestically as a POSSE COMITATUS during civil rights and anti-war riots; with tragic results on the Kent State Ohio campus in protests about the Cambodian INCURSION. First enacted on 18 June 1878 as a political scheme to end 'reconstruction' in the former Confederate (CSA) states, wherein 'the South' would consent to the election of Rutherford B. Hayes as president [instead of blocking resolution in the electoral college after Samuel J. Tilden won the popular vote (known as the Compromise of 1877)] in exchange for the end of MARTIAL LAW and the removal of federal occupation troops from those southern states. The POSSE COMITATUS act initially pertained only to the U.S. Army, but it was later extended to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps in the early 1950s, and the U.S. Air Force was included in 1956 by Department of Defense (DoD) regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard is normally excluded from the POSSE COMITATUS act (except when subsumed under the U.S. Navy in time of war) because of its police powers when enforcing maritime laws. The National Guard is not restricted by the POSSE COMITATUS when acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state if activated by state authority, nor from serving in an adjacent state if invited by that state's governor. See CONSTABULARY, PROVOST GUARD, POLICE, RIOT ACT, WAR POWERS ACT, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), UCMJ, LAWS OF WAR, BURN BABY BURN, DAYS OF RAGE, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, APOCALYPSE, AMERIKA, TREASON, SILENT MAJORITY, NEW WORLD ORDER, ANTI-TERRORISM, PATRIOT ACT, IRREGULARS, UW, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGES. [nb: the law on "insurrection" (title 10 USC, subtitle A, part I, chapter 15) has included provisions for using the military for enforcing Federal authority and for aiding State governments with civil disturbances since 1807] [nb: the Enforcement Act, among other powers, allows the president to activate and assign military forces whenever state authorities are either unable or unwilling to suppress violence that's in opposition to the constitutional rights of the people; which allowed President Eisenhower to send federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, during the 1958 school desegregation crisis] [nb: a right-wing militia identified as Posse Comitatus was formed in 1969 (or 1972) by William Gale, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former guerrilla fighter in the Philippines during WWII, as a Christian Identity counter to left-wing activities by HIPPIEs and YIPPIEs]

a position of DUTY or an assignment of trust to which someone is appointed; see BILLET, BERTH, ON STATION, WATCH, SHEEP-DIPPED, HARDSHIP TOUR, BUMFUCK, MOS, OJT, TDY / TAD, PCS. Also, the station of a SENTRY or the rounds of a person on duty; see ARGUS, GUARD, LP, OP, TRAIL WATCHER. Also, a military station with permanent buildings and facilities for troops, support activities, and lines of communication; see BASE, COMPOUND, OUTPOST, GARRISON, CANTONMENT, RESERVATION, NATURAL AREA. Also, the command directing subordinates to take (or to resume) their proper positions in formation; see THE BIBLE, CLOSE ORDER, DRILL. Also, to notify or inform; to be notified or informed; see HEADS-UP, FYI, POOP, DOPE, GOUGE, THE WORD, GREEN GREASE, BULLETIN, HOT-SHIT, BOATSWAIN'S PIPE, BUGLE CALL, TANNOY, VECTOR. [nb: this command is also used to call a subordinate to report to a superior, as "Post yourself forthwith!"]

any access or entrance other than the main one, as a private gateway or back door; refers to the small gateway or "people sized" door (also called "pocket door" or "wicket") in a large portal or HATCH cover. Compare EMBRASURE; see GRILLE, PEEPHOLE.

also called "post-flight inspection" or "after flight inspection"; see WALK AROUND, PRE-FLIGHT, PLASTIC BRAINS, KNEEBOARD.

the escort mounted on the left horse of the leading pair, or on the left horse of the only pair of horses drawing a carriage; an outrider attending a caravan, procession, cavalcade, cortege, CONVOY, or TRAIN.

a philosophical movement in art that seeks to counter the austere linearity of utilitarian modernism with complex forms and fantastic rhythms that allude to historic styles; a conscious contrast developed in the post-WWII era as a reaction to the German Bauhaus style ... post-modernity has been applied to decorative arts and architecture, to literature and philosophy, to human ecology and political economy. It has been proposed as the dominant "cultural logic of late capitalism", contending its value lies in heterogeneous contingency and ironic reflexivity, but it overtly disdains homogeneous truth, which it calls "totalization". Whereas reason was previously held as the highest value, it has been ridiculed by post-modernism, where truth is not just considered to be subjective but is believed to be extinct. Purpose and design were previously emphasized, but post-modernism emphasizes chance and randomness. The post-modern spirit considers values to be relative, and it celebrates unreason and the loss of meaning. Substantive debate is thus not only impossible in post-modernity, it is pointless. See CULTURE WAR, DECONSTRUCTION, NIHILISM. [v: relativism] [nb: the doctrine of "cultural diversity" was introduced into American institutions during the post-Vietnam era by Islamists (and their sympathizers) who sought to corrupt the Western ideal of pluralistic tolerance with diffuse multiculturalism as a strategy ("a house divided...") for defeat] Also, extremely modern, very advanced or up-to-date, progressive or cutting-edge; not conservative or traditional; compare DINOSAUR, OLD BREED, SHELLBACK, MOSSBACK, OLD SALT, MAVERICK.



compare BUDDHA BELLY, LOVE HANDLES. [cf: beer belly, muffin top, squeezy bits]

the first distillation of a fermented MASH in the making of whiskey; see LOW WINE. Also, referent for illicitly distilled whiskey; see MOONSHINE, GROG, HOOCH. [ety: diminutive of pot, meaning 'small pot']

the broth in which meat or vegetables, as salt pork or greens, have been cooked; see JUICE, SOUP, BULLY SOUP, POOR MAN'S STEW, SLUMGULLION, STONE SOUP, SLOP, WASH. [nb: not "pot licker"; cf: pot sticker / pot-sticker, jalapeno popper / pepper popper]

food that's readily available without special preparation or acquisition; a meal made from whatever is immediately available, especially from remaining leftovers ... being a bill of no fare. Also, a meal for a group wherein the participants bring various foods that are to be shared; commonly known as a "pot-luck supper" or "pot-luck dinner", "carry-in lunch" or "carry-in meal". Compare POOR MAN'S STEW, SLUMGULLION, OH LAM, STONE SOUP, SLOP, WASH, POT ROAST; see FORAGE, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. [v: catch-as-catch-can / catch as catch can]

a Chinese-style dumpling in American cuisine consisting of a wheat dough wrapper filled with diced meat and vegetables that's first cooked in boiling water, then sautéd with oil in a wok or pan until browned and sticky ... hence the name of this dumpling. Japanese soldiers brought their interpretation of this fried dumpling back from China after WWII, making it bite-sized with the ingredients more finely minced and sealed in a rice flour wrapper, calling it 'gyoza'. Compare WON-TON; see DIM SUM.

(forthcoming); a political contagion of immoral corruption exhibited by the lowlife swamp creatures that inhabit the bureaucratic miasma constituting the national capital district; see BELTWAY BANDIT, SAND CRAB, BELTWAY CLERK, HIRED GUN, AUGMENTEE, GREEN BADGER, HANG HIS STOCKING, LOGROLLING, RED TAPE, PORK BARREL, PRIME THE PUMP, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX.

a dish of cooked meat (usually brisket of beef or chuck roast) that's stewed as a single piece in a covered pot, and served in its own gravy; American cuisine imitating the German style of cooking. See SOUP, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. [v: sauerbraten; cf: fricassee]

see GOOP, GLOP, SPAM, JERKY. [v: pâté: a paste of pulped or puréed, ground or chopped liver, meat, game, fish, or the like, prepared as a spread; cf: pâte: a paste mixture of clay and water for making pottery]

seal of the President of the
United States
acronym for President Of The United States, being the Chief Executive Officer and Head of State; the Commander-in-Chief (CINC) of the Armed Forces. Rutherford B. Hayes was the first (1880) to use the presidential seal to emblazon formal invitations and stationery; Harry S. Truman later (1945) redesigned the emblem by facing the eagle toward the olive branches of peace, and replacing the stars symbolizing rank with stars representing the states of the union. Compare VP, see OLYMPUS, GREEN ACRES, SACRED COW, MANDARIN, POLITICIAN. [nb: during the Clinton administration, the First Lady acquired the matching designation "FLOTUS" from the Secret Service (USSS), which is perhaps a mocking acknowledgement of the first overtly titular "co-presidency"; subsequent to the Kennedy assassination, Congress passed (1965) the 25th Amendment (Presidential Vacancy or Inability) to the Constitution that provided for rightful succession, which factor became a prevailing concern during Reagan's term of office, due to fears that the spousal surrogateship of the presidency, as prompted by Wilson's disability, might recur without some overriding intervention] [nb: "Great men are not chosen president, firstly, because great men are rare in politics; secondly, because the method of choice does not bring them to the top; thirdly, because they are not, in quiet times, absolutely needed." by James Bryce; "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." by H.L. Mencken; "Presidency: the greased pig in the field game of American politics." by Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce]


a container, variously sized, used for carrying small items or objects; a bag serving as a pocket; term derives from 'poke', a small bag or sack. See JUMP POCKETS, AMMO POUCH, PALS, WEB GEAR, CLIP, U-WIRE HOOKS, DOPP KIT, DITTY BAG, AWOL BAG, FARADAY CAGE, MUSETTE, KIT BAG, B4 / B-4 BAG, FLIGHT BAG, MED BAG, GO-BAG, WAR BAG, BIVY, DUFFEL BAG. [nb: a "sustainment pouch" holds three MREs, and can be mounted on belt or harness]

a colloquialism for strike or beat, batter or thump, as in a forceful manner. Also, a unit of weight and of mass that has varied over time in different countries (eg: avoirdupois, troy, etc); see WT, KIP, PICUL, CALIBER. Also, the basic monetary unit of currency in the United Kingdom, which was formerly equal to 20 shillings or 240 pence, and became equal to 100 new pence after decimalization in 1971; also known as "pound sterling", "quid", or gold "guinea" (from 1663 to 1813), and derived from weight (pondus), as by shortening of the troy unit of weight for precious metals. [cf: florin; rose noble / ryal] Also, the basic monetary unit of currency in Cyprus, Egypt, Ireland, Lebanon, Sudan, and Syria. Also, a former monetary unit of currency in various countries, such as Israel, Libya, and Nigeria. See LEGAL TENDER.

a rich cake, moist and dense, that was originally made with flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, in proportions of a pound per each ingredient; this relatively plain dessert can be accented by a powdered sugar, tangy frosting, or fruit sauce topping; the modern recipe includes flour, butter, granulated sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract, all of which is blended together, then baked in a deep container (eg: fluted bundt pan, ring-shaped tube pan, or springform pan), then cool on a ventilated wire rack.

by analogy to some domesticated varieties of the rock dove, any puffed-up or strutting man, especially a too proud or arrogant soldier; by extension of 'protruding' or 'inflated'; also called TOY SOLDIER; see SPIT 'n' POLISH, compare RUPTURED DUCK. Also, any voluptuous or zaftig woman; by comparison with the rock dove, and by extension of 'pigeon' as a young attractive girl. [nb: the fancy pouter pigeons, which are domesticated varieties of the rock pigeon, are characterized by a large inflatable crop, and these ornamentals are kept for their unusual appearance; cf: barb, carrier, homing pigeon]

abbreviation for Privately Owned Vehicle, or Personally Owned Vehicle; for which special permission to own/operate or travel in same was required. Many Vietnam servicemen ordered discounted automobiles for stateside delivery near the end of their tour by using their accumulated back-pay.

Prisoner of War, sometimes erroneously abbreviated "PW" (qv), being an allied military servicemember who has been captured and held by an enemy during war. Prisoners of war were either executed or enslaved before the medieval era, whence ransom was selectively introduced; however the humane holding, exchange and parole of captives began with the AMERICAN REVOLUTION. When neither Union nor Confederate governments could agree on the status and disposition of noncombatants, a CSA surgeon named Hunter Holmes McGuire established a policy of unilateral repatriation of medical staff, which was codified two years later by federal regulations, protecting physicians, nurses, sutlers, and civilians in the combat zone. Following the tenets of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and deVattel, the first systematic regulations on the treatment of prisoners of war were drawn up by Francis Lieber during the American CIVIL WAR. The first international convention on the treatment of prisoners of war was signed at the Hague Peace Conference of 1899; widened by the Hague Convention of 1907, and, after proposals by the International Red Cross, the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War was signed in 1929 by 47 governments. The maltreatment of prisoners of war that constituted an important part of the WAR CRIMEs indictments after WWII showed that the 1929 Convention required revision on many points, so a supplement was signed at Geneva in 1949, and was subsequently ratified by almost all nations. The governments of North and South Vietnam, parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention, were charged with violating its terms in the VIETNAM WAR -- the North by not permitting full reporting, correspondence, and neutral inspection, and the South by torturing captives and placing them in inhumane prisons. Despite the Geneva Accords, North Vietnam (DRV) refused to treat captured allied military personnel as legitimate "prisoners of war", and also incarcerated volunteer workers from religious or humanitarian aid organizations (eg: Betty Olsen and Eleanor Vetti). NVN declined all offers of prisoner exchange for the so-called "criminals" that they held captive. As was true during the KOREAN WAR, selected American POWs with technical skills were transferred to China (PRC) or Russia (USSR) for further exploitation. Subsequent to the Son Tay INCURSION, prisoners were generally consolidated, and living conditions improved. See EPW, TIGER CAGE, GULAG, REEDUCATION, CONCENTRATION CAMP, E&E, SERE, SAR, CIA, SAFE, BLOOD CHIT, POINTIE TALKIE, HOME RUN, CODE OF CONDUCT, BRAINWASHING, BASHING, ROPE TRICK, PLAYING THE XYLOPHONE, TORTURE, PRISON PSYCHOSIS, GENEVA CONVENTION, HAGUE TRIBUNAL, LAWS OF WAR, PRISON FEVER, WALKING GHOST, TAP CODE, CARTEL, HOMECOMING, MIA, CIL, JPAC, POW MEDAL, POW-MIA DAY, POW-MIA BRACELET, YELLOW RIBBON. [nb: Vietnamese term: Tu Binh] [nb: the 5 S's of prisoner handling include: Search, Silence, Segregate, Safeguard, Speed; in that a prisoner and his intelligence value must be protected against escape, injury, and collusion, which means evacuating the captive(s) while the primary mission continues] [nb: according to the international LAWS OF WAR, a civilian compelled to act as a military porter by transporting weapons or munitions and materiel becomes a bona-fide combatant, subject to treatment as a de-facto soldier, and forfeits the protection of civilian noncombatant status; international law includes rules on the treatment of prisoners of war, but only extends protection to combatants, excluding any civilians who engage in hostilities, and those unconventional forces that do not observe restrictions for combatants] [nb: the forgotten and emaciated POWs in the Philippines during WWII referred to themselves as "ghost soldiers" (eg: ghost soldiers of Bataan)] [v: Knights of Windsor (later Military Knights of Windsor) founded 1348]

a government installation established for the internment and administration of military prisoners of war; the treatment of POW captives is regulated by Hague Conventions and Geneva Accords. POW CAMPs are usually too short lived to develop the subculture indicative of long term military or civilian prisons, but are a social subset (except in the rare case of total isolation in solitary confinement) of their parent society: the military culture, including moral judgment, unofficial leadership, and underground economy [nb: cigarettes have been widely used as money in POW CAMPs due to their limited availability, easy portability, and ready divisibility]. Prisoners of war were either executed or enslaved before the medieval era, whence ransom was selectively introduced; however the humane holding, exchange and parole of captives began with the AMERICAN REVOLUTION. When neither Union nor Confederate governments could agree on the status and disposition of noncombatants, a CSA surgeon named Hunter Holmes McGuire established a policy of unilateral repatriation of medical staff, which was codified two years later by federal regulations, protecting physicians, nurses, sutlers, and civilians in the combat zone. Following the tenets of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and deVattel, the first systematic regulations on the treatment of prisoners of war were drawn up by Francis Lieber during the American CIVIL WAR. The first international convention on the treatment of prisoners of war was signed at the Hague Peace Conference of 1899; widened by the Hague Convention of 1907, and after proposals by the International Red Cross, the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War was signed in 1929 by 47 governments. The maltreatment of prisoners of war that constituted an important part of the WAR CRIMEs indictments after WWII showed that the 1929 Convention required revision on many points, so a supplement was signed at Geneva in 1949, and was subsequently ratified by almost all nations. The governments of North and South Vietnam, parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention, were charged with violating its terms in the VIETNAM WAR -- the North by not permitting full reporting, correspondence, and neutral inspection, and the South by torturing captives and placing them in inhumane prisons. POW CAMPs for allies during the KOREAN WAR (1950-53) included: Bean Camp, Camp DeSoto, Pak's Palace Camp, Peace Camp, Pukchin Mining Camp, Death Valley Camp, Suan Mining Camp, Caves Camp / Sunchon Tunnel, Valley Camps, and other numbered sites. Notorious NVN prisons for allies during the VIETNAM WAR (1964-73) include: ALCATRAZ, BRIARPATCH, CITADEL, DIRTY BIRD, DOGPATCH, FARNSWORTH, FAITH, HANOI HILTON, HOPE, MOUNTAIN, PLANTATION, ROCKPILE, SKIDROW, ZOO. Many temporary way-station collection points and jungle camps, such as "Camp Bao Cao" (literally Camp Report) near the beginning of the HO CHI MINH TRAIL, were also used as POW CAMPs at various times. See EPW, TIGER CAGE, GULAG, REEDUCATION, CONCENTRATION CAMP, E&E, SERE, SAR, CIA, SAFE, BLOOD CHIT, POINTIE TALKIE, HOME RUN, CODE OF CONDUCT, BRAINWASHING, BASHING, ROPE TRICK, PLAYING THE XYLOPHONE, TORTURE, PRISON PSYCHOSIS, GENEVA CONVENTION, HAGUE TRIBUNAL, LAWS OF WAR, PRISON FEVER, WALKING GHOST, TAP CODE, CARTEL, HOMECOMING, MIA, CIL, JPAC, POW MEDAL, POW-MIA DAY, YELLOW RIBBON. [nb: Vietnamese term: Trai Tu Binh] [nb: an internment camp for political prisoners is not a POW CAMP; neither is a religious or ethnic slave labor camp] [cf: after the surrender of the Apaches, the surviving tribesmen, including women and children, all officially classified as POWs, endured a 30-year imprisonment on various remote Army posts (eg: "The Long Walk")] [nb: the CSA's Libby Prison, in Richmond Virginia, was reserved for Federal officers (with enlisted men sent to Andersonville) who named the eight rooms on three floors according to its ranking officer (eg: Streight's room, Milroy's room, etc), the dominant unit or battle of its occupants (eg: Chickamauga room, Gettysburg room, etc); from which 109 officers escaped by tunneling through "Rat Hell" on 9 February 1864 under the leadership of COL Thomas E. Rose, with 48 being recaptured]

a small wooden box, containing a charge of explosive powder and scrap iron, that was formerly secured over the side of a ship, then detonated when an enemy attempted to board; see REACTIVE ARMOR.


a homophone of POUTER PIGEON (qv).

the tenets of international relations proposed by Colin Powell stipulating that the United States should not get involved in a war without overwhelming force, a near certainty of victory, and a clear exit strategy, which principles will inhibit expansive MISSION CREEP and buttress the WAR POWERS ACT.

the trademarked brand name of a bar-shaped food supplement that's intended to be consumed by athletes as fortification before their exercise and by MIL-PERS as a restorative after their labors; the PowerBar has a high carbohydrate and low fat content with protein and vitamin supplements; it's also known as "high-energy bar" and "nutritional performance bar". See SOLDIER FUEL, HOOAH! BAR.

a source of authority or influence since the Vietnam-era, especially in politics and government, education and religion, which is founded on support by a consumer group or voting bloc, a cultural coalition or ethnic minority, a social or professional class, and other subsets of society.

a steep dive by an aircraft wherein its engine is delivering thrust at or near full power; this "downhill scream" technique is a pursuit or escape maneuver in aerial combat. See AEROBATICS. [nb: acceleration is the only way to exceed terminal velocity] [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]

informal reference in the post-WWII era to a loosely knit alliance of military, government, and corporate officials who are perceived to be the leaders of economic and political power in the United States; also known as "powerbrokers"; see THE G, SOG, THE ESTABLISHMENT, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, THE HILL, GREEN ACRES, NEW WORLD ORDER, SECOND ESTATE, MANDARIN, CZAR, WISE MEN, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, BRAIN TRUST, KITCHEN CABINET, WHIZ KID, BOOJIE, CAKE-EATER, BRASS HAT, MILICRAT, RING-KNOCKER, KHAKI MAFIA.

a type of spear gun that uses a sealed pistol cartridge to propel a barbed dart under water, as for specimen collecting, hunting, or self-protection, with or without an attached trailing line; developed early in WWII by Jack Prodanovich for use by SCUBA divers and skin-divers, this impact spear point contained a cartridge propellant, a length of retrieval line (surplus parachute cord), and a float (surplus Mae West) ... the .22LR (later .38spl by Herb Sampson) cartridge was lacquered (using fingernail polish, spar varnish, radiator sealant, shellac, dragon's blood, etc) to make it waterproof, and discarded after each submersion to ensure viability. Compare BANG STICK; see ZIP GUN. [nb: the federal government declared the 'power head' to be a firearm in 1958 unless its length exceeded 18inches overall, which greatly limited its sale and use]

any person or group who is endowed with great energy or enthusiasm, is supplied with great strength or dedication, and is possessed with tremendous potential for success; being the personification of an electrical generating station. [cf: power plant, power station]

an intervention in the DDominican Republic on Hispaniola in the West Indies that was conducted by elements of the Marine Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division (505 and 508 PIRs); operating from 23 April 1965 to secure infrastructure (eg: Duarte Bridge over the Ozama) against rebel insurgents, establishing a CONSTABULARY by late summer, and withdrawing all American forces by 21 September 1966.

a military concept introduced to government and business during the Vietnam-era as the civilian equivalent of an attack or assault, being a stratagem or maneuver wherein 'power' is concentrated or manipulated in order to subdue the opposition or to control a situation ... to influence an ally or divert a rival, to entrap a speculator or subdue a defender. Also, in contact sports like football and ice hockey, a concerted action that aggressively screens and offensively shields the player who's advancing the team's token toward the goal.

a proprietary computer program of the post-Vietnam era that enables a staffer to outline a series of singular slides (not video) that are used to augment a lecture or briefing with itemized highlights, noteworthy checklists, and supplemental graphics; see TICK, BULLET POINTS, DIGITAL BULLET POINTS. [nb: MicroSoft PowerPoint is a multimedia presentation component of the Office suite of productivity tools] [nb: in an effort to control costs and reduce waste, the DoD has instituted a policy of "non-duplication" in military procurement (Military Adaptable Commercial Item {MACI}), such that a mil-spec contract will NOT be let whenever a commercial "off the shelf" (COTS) product is "close enough for government work" and does not require special features; so some name brand items are now in logistical inventory]

since the pre-WWII era, political action characterized by the pursuit of coercive influence, or by the exercise of intimidation, as when threatening the use of military or economic power during international diplomacy; see POLITICS, FOREIGN RELATIONS; compare REALPOLITIK, GEOPOLITICS.

the system of authority or influence in government, politics, business, education, religion, and the like, together with the people who participate in such a system, which influences and develops a society in particular ways, toward particular goals; a post-WWII conception of the methodologies engaged to improve and redeem the world.

a sentiment first expressed in the opening of the 1780 Massachusetts state constitution ("We...the people of Massachusetts...agree upon, ordain, and establish."), which representative ideology inspired the preamble to the federal Constitution, and was later echoed by activists in the counterculture movement as a remedy for the corrupt influences of the MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX; this revolutionary sentiment contends that politicians and officeholders cannot be trusted to define or preserve fundamental rights, and that the health of a small republic depends entirely on the virtue of its people ... if they or their elected officials succumb to material temptation, if they fail to comprehend the moral dimensions of political power, or if personal liberty threatens the rights of private property, then any of the state constitutions would be no more than worthless pieces of paper. Many variations of this sentiment (eg: "All power to the people!", "Power to the people, people power!", "Power to the people, 'cause the people want peace.", etc) were bandied as slogans or lyrics during the VIETNAM WAR as a civil rights anthem, a pro-democracy proclamation, an anti-war fulmination, an anti-establishment harangue, and other self-indulgent tirades, often accompanied by a clenched fist salute held aloft. See FREEDOM, LIBERTY, EQUAL PROTECTION, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, AMERICANIZE, UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-AMERICAN, GUERRILLA THEATER, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, BURN BABY BURN, DAYS OF RAGE, SUMMER OF LOVE, WE SHALL OVERCOME, COUNTERCULTURE, HIPPIE, PACIFIST, FLOWER POWER, PROTESTOR, SILVER-TAIL, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, YIPPIE, BLACK BLOC, FIFTH COLUMN, RUNNING DOG.

a wall or display area, curio cabinet or bookshelf, devoted to military awards, service mementos, combat souvenirs, and related esoterica, which is designed to impress visitors by displaying evidentiary trophies; also called "wall of respect", "legacy wall", "wall of honor", "bragging wall", "wall of glory", "ego wall", "trophy wall", and "I love me shrine". Such displays, especially when containing photographs of influential personages, were officially discouraged as "political statements" under the Hatch Act after the VIETNAM WAR; so these displays have since been confined to SAFE ROOM dens or libraries in private homes. See ATTABOY, GONG, TRASH, Q-COURSE, BRAGGING RIGHTS, TRENCH ART, FEATHERS. [v: fanfaronade]

Prisoner of War medal
POW medal
the Prisoner of War Medal was authorized 8 November 1985 to be awarded to any MIL-PERS held captive by enemy forces, retroactive to 5 April 1917; civilians who have been credited with military service encompassing the period of captivity are also eligible. Hostages of terrorists and persons detained by governments with which the United States is not actively engaged in armed conflict are not eligible. Anyone classified as Missing-in-Action (MIA) is not eligible for award of the POW MEDAL. The Purple Heart (PH) medal is also presumptively awarded to anyone eligible for this decoration. See GONG.

see Central Identification Laboratory (CIL), Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC).

a copper or aluminum (later enameled) cuff engraved with the identifying particulars of individual POWs or MIAs, which were sold to the general public for fund- and consciousness raising by non-profit organizations; the original cuffs were bare metal, but with enameling, an informal system of color-coding enabled specific audiences to be discriminated and targeted: red for the VIETNAM WAR, blue for the KOREAN WAR, khaki for the GULF WARs, and black for those killed-in-action (KIA). See BRACELET, ID BRACELET, PARA-CORD BRACELET, COINING, SOUVENIR, YELLOW RIBBON, POW-MIA DAY.

properly identified as the "National POW-MIA Recognition Day". On 10 August 1990, Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, designating the third Friday of September as National POW-MIA Recognition Day, and ordered prominent display of the POW-MIA flag. The POW-MIA flag, developed in 1971 by Mrs. Michael Hoff (the wife of a U.S. military officer listed as Missing-in-Action during the VIETNAM WAR) and designed by Newt Heisley (a former WWII pilot, and father of a young soldier who died during training for Vietnam), depicts the gaunt silhouette of a prisoner, a strand of barbed wire, and an ominous watchtower in stark black-and-white images. Congress and the president proclaimed the first National POW-MIA Recognition Day in 1979 to acknowledge the concerns of POW-MIA families, and to resolve that the American people shall never forget them. The POW-MIA flag first flew over the White House in 1982, as the symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing, and unaccounted for in every theater of operations. The POW-MIA flag shall also be flown (below or adjacent to the United States flag as second in order of precedence) over the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Korean and Vietnam Veterans' War Memorials, the offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, offices of the Director of the Selective Service System, every major military installation, every post office, and all Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and national cemeteries on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans' Day. See BRACELET, MIA, POW MEDAL, POW, TAPS, TROPHY, BUGLE CALL, TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS, MEMORIAL DAY, VETERANS' DAY, FLAG DAY.

a conference, council, or meeting; also spelled "pow-wow", and derived as an English back-formation of the AmerIndian pronunciation of French usage of Portuguese 'palaver' (to talk). This AmerIndian adoption also includes ceremonial gatherings, and can designate the leader (shaman) thereof. See BRIEFING, CONFAB, CROSS-TALK, CHATTER, CHIN CHIN, HALF-MAST, EAR-BANG, SUMMIT. [cf: consistory, gabfest] [cf: back-formation of "calumet" for AmerIndian "peace pipe"]

Popski's Private Army, being a small (about 120 men) British raiding and reconnaissance force that was formed in October 1942 under Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Peniakoff (familiarly known as 'Popski'), who had previously worked with the Libyan Arab Force; this Belgium-born Russian was educated at Cambridge, and resident in Egypt since 1924. An element of the PPA, together with the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG), reconnoitered the route by which Montgomery conducted his surprise attack around the MARETH LINE; the PPA subsequently operated in Italy and Austria.

Phan Rang Air [Force] Base

see ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS, WALKS THE WALK, WATCH MY SMOKE, BRING SMOKE, ROOT HOG OR DIE, RISKY-SHIFT EFFECT. [v: "Well done is better than well said." attributed to Benjamin Franklin (June 1921); "Fear not, my lord, we will not stand to prate; Talkers are no good doers: be assured We come to use our hands and not our tongues." by William Shakespeare in Richard III (1594)] [cf: "talk a good game", "all talk and no action", "all blow and no go", "all mouth and no trousers"; v: BLOW SMOKE, LIP SERVICE, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS]

in ancient Rome, the court guards for the civil magistrate (praetor) ranked next below a consul; see CONSTABULARY, PROVOST GUARD, PALACE GUARD, POLITROOPER, THE IMMORTALS. [v: gaius Caesar Caligula (deposed by Praetorian Guard in AD41)]

the OP35 surveillance and interdiction project in Laos that succeeded SHINING BRASS (extended to 20km, full border portal, helicopters permitted, etc); see SOG. [nb: after February 1971, US-led missions were no longer authorized in Laos] [nb: Lam Son 719 (8 Feb - 9 Mar 1971) was restricted to interdiction of infiltration routes through the southern panhandle of Laos]

WWII slang used by RAF and introduced to American fliers, which means to successfully bomb a target, or to bring down an enemy aircraft, as derived from the sound of an explosion. Also, expressive of the crashing metal noise made by any ground collision, such as an airplane striking a vehicle, or an aircraft plowing into a barrier. May be amplified as a "wizard prang" for a particularly accurate strike. This expression may also be related to the Malay word for 'war' ("perang"); or it may be a blend of the words 'paste' and 'bang'. [cf: parang]

a religious observance consisting mainly of devout worship or sincere invocation, as in hope or aspiration, to God or some other agent of divine intervention, including TAC-AIR, BIG STUFF, HEAVY STUFF, ARTY, or any other massive fire support whenever critically needed; also called orison; see FOXHOLE CONVERSION, ARMY CHRISTIAN, GOD SQUAD, SKY PILOT, WARNING SHOT; compare SYMPATHY, REASSURANCE, FALL ON DEAF EARS, "morning prayers" at OFFICER'S CALL, "Evening Prayers" at FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES. Also, a spiritual communion with God, the Supreme Being, the Deity, or some other agent of divine intervention, as in supplication, thanksgiving, glorification or adoration. Also, a specific formula or ritualized sequence of words (litany) used in a request or appeal, plea or petition, entreaty or beseechment; compare OATH, HONOR CODE, CREED, CODE OF CONDUCT, DUTY, PROMISE, RED TAPE. [v: vox clamantis in deserto (Latin: a voice crying in the wilderness)] Also, a negligible hope, as "They haven't got a prayer!"; see DOG'S CHANCE, CHINAMAN'S CHANCE, SNOWBALL, TAR BABY, BITTER END, SHIT HIT THE FAN, DEEP SHIT, LAST STAND. [nb: "God is With Us" (Gott Mit Uns) was the motto of the Prussian Emperor, and was used by German soldiers during WWII; "O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me." by Jacob Astley at the Battle of Edgehill (1642); "When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers." by Oscar Wilde (Fingal O'Flahertie Wills)] [v: the Edict of Milan issued by Emperor Constantine the Great (Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus) caAD313; cf: "whited sepulcher" (Matthew 23:27)]

originally 'bead' meant 'prayer' (Old English: bedu), which recitations were counted as having been said on a 'rosary' (a garland from a rose garden), then the counting was transferred from the prayer to the small globular object itself, initially a series of knots tied on a cord (komboloi / kombolói), then seeds and shells threaded on a string, which were used to tell off one's recited prayers by beads ("bid one's beads"). The beads of a rosary are subdivided by shape, size, or color, and are used as a mnemonic aid; including: Christian rosary (60 beads), Muslim rosary [misbaha / misbahah (99 beads)], Hindu/Sanskrit rosary [japamala / mala (50 beads)], Buddhist rosary [aksha-mala / mala (108 beads)]. Compare WORRY BEADS, LOVE BEADS, RANGER BEADS. [v: rosary / rosarium, begleri, chaplet / corona; cf: charm bracelet, poppit / pop-it necklace, puka necklace, torque / torc, choker / dog collar, riviere / rivière, moniliform]

a series of knots tied on a cord to keep track of recited prayers; an early form of rosary that's properly known as komboloi / kombolói, which is used for meditation, concentration, or recitation. See PRAYER BEADS.

a US Naval INCURSION of Iran 18-20 April 1988; subsequent to Iranian harassment of neutral shipping in the Arabian Gulf, commencing 19 Oct 1987 during the Iran-Iraq War, USN warships began escorting merchant ships through the Persian Gulf, then on 14 Apr 1988, the USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine, which launched Operation PRAYING MANTIS, wherein three American warships attacked armed Iranian oil platforms, ships, and boats, resulting in a restoration of free passage under international laws, and an armistice between Iran and Iraq in July 1988.

1949 flag of the People's
Republic of China
People's Republic of China, also called "Mainland...", "Red...", or "Communist China" (CHICOM), established in 1948 by Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) after protracted CIVIL WAR; their military is formally known as the People's Liberation Army and Navy (PLAN). Compare ROC, CHINAT, PAVN; see THE LITTLE RED BOOK, CPVF, CCF, GOOEY, LAUNDRYMAN, CHINK, BAD GUYS.

Parachute Regimental Combat Team, such as the 517th PRCT; see BDE, RCT, RGT, PIB, PIR, AIRBORNE, PARACHUTE.

see UNIVOCAL. [nb: "A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin of error is small." by Donald H. Rumsfeld]

to proclaim or commend publicly, to herald or laud conspicuously, to declare or praise overtly, to promulgate or endorse openly, as when announcing an appointment or publishing a promotion, when conferring a certificate or presenting a decoration; see IMPACT AWARD, GONG, BAY, CROWN, CROWN OF WILD OLIVES, PARADE, SALUTE.

a long-endurance reconnaissance DRONE (MQ-1, RQ-1) developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for the USAF, and later adapted for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) targetting by on-board HELLFIRE air-to-ground missiles (AGM) using color daytime and infrared (IR) nighttime sights. Also, the designation for the short-range AT-4 (M-136) shoulder-fired anti-tank MISSILE, which supersedes the M-72 (66mm) and M-80 (94mm) Light Anti-tank Weapons (LAW).

measures taken against that which is anticipated or feared, especially a preventive or interruptive assault upon a staging or deploying enemy, so as to inhibit or forestall execution of enemy plans, gaining the advantage by rapid and superior force; also called "preventive war", being a SPOILING ATTACK that catches the enemy "wrong-footed", no longer defensive but not yet offensive, so as to exploit their transitional vulnerability. See KNOCK INTO A COCKED HAT, SUCKER PUNCH, DETERRENCE; compare COUNTERPUNCH, RETALIATION, REPRISAL, MEETING ENGAGEMENT, FORCE MULTIPLIER.

military (mis-)pronunciation of "pervert", which broadly refers to any immoral or craven deviant, especially homosexuals ("deviated preevert"), but also extending to political extremists; known as "perve" by AUSSIE and KIWI troops. See FAG, INVERT, DON'T ASK - DON'T TELL, CAMP, GLORY HOLE, HIPPIE, TRIPPIE, YIPPIE, LOVE BEADS, THE PILL; compare STRAIGHT ARROW. [v: gender dysphoria]

also called "pre-flight inspection" or "before flight inspection"; see WALK AROUND, POST-FLIGHT, PLASTIC BRAINS, KNEEBOARD, UP CHECK, CHECK RIDE, NICKEL RIDE.


any preconceived opinion or attitude, either favorable or unfavorable, formed beforehand, or without knowledge or experience, thought or reason. Also, any irrational feeling or biased nature regarding race, religion, creed, color, age, sex, nationality, or the like, especially when detrimental to a member of such a group. See EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, EQUAL PROTECTION.

short form of PREParation, being any preliminary set of necessary actions to be completed or activities to be initiated prior to an operation, especially ARTY or TAC-AIR PREP (pre-strike) on a target or objective before a combat assault. Also, a preparatory school or training course setup to ensure qualification and reduce attrition in the formal or advanced program, such as the Army's Leadership Preparation Course (LPC) preliminary to NCOA and OCS, West Point Prep School, Pre-Recondo course, Pre-Q course for both SF and SEAL training.

the first part of a two part ORDER in DRILL wherein the movement to be enacted is designated, so that it will later be executed in a precise and coordinated manner; compare COMMAND OF EXECUTION; see BY THE NUMBERS, CLOSE ORDER, BY THE BOOK, MANUAL OF ARMS.

(forthcoming); pre-position; see POMCUS, APS, OPERATIONAL PROJECT STOCKS, BIG LIFT, DUMP, NSD, DEPOT, GODOWN, MPS, MOTHER SHIP, MAGINOT LINE, SIEGFRIED LINE, BAR LEV LINE, LOGISTICS. [cf: a large resupply submarine, called "Milch Cow", provided fuel, ammunition, and provisions to patrolling Nazi U-boats during WWII, enabling them to remain on station in their sector for extended periods]


an Americanism adopted into the military subculture from the informal referent to one of the privileged attendees of a civilian preparatory school; slang for the MIL-PERS attending one of the PREP schools (eg: USMAPS, NAPS, etc) as preparation for admittance to a military service academy; also called "prepster" or "poopster". Compare OC, CADET; see RING-KNOCKER, TRADE SCHOOL.

the fact of being present in the immediate vicinity; proximity or propinquity. Also, personal appearance or bearing, especially of a dignified or imposing kind; the ability to project a sense of poise or self-assurance. Also, a personage, especially of noteworthy appearance or compelling personality; being in the immediate vicinity of a great person giving audience or reception. Also, the military or economic power of a country, as reflected abroad by the stationing of its troops, influence of its cultural norms, sale of its goods, and so forth.


the second highest civilian award, established on 13 November 1969, may be granted to any United States citizen who has performed exemplary deeds or services for his or her country or fellow citizens; and may be awarded posthumously. The medal is a disc of gilt and blue enamel, based on the presidential seal, with the eagle surrounded by a wreath of leaves, and suspended on a neck ribbon, dark blue with a light blue central stripe and white edge stripes. See MEDAL OF FREEDOM, DSM, LOM, MSM, GREEN WEENIE, AAM, GONG.

a foreign policy mandate representing national interest that was sustained by the executive for decades until changed circumstances compelled its alteration; in the post-WWII era of the "shrinking globe", such FOREIGN POLICY has been more partisan and more of an indication of a president's legacy ... the use of FOREIGN AFFAIRS (enforced by military action) to gain or sustain a political reputation is indicative of America's decline. See CLIENT STATE, GARRISON STATE, NATION BUILDING, WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS, REALPOLITIK, INTERVENTIONISM, CONTAINMENT, ISOLATIONISM, MIGHT MAKES RIGHT, THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS, DIME, MONROE DOCTRINE, ROOSEVELT COROLLARY, GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY, TRUMAN DOCTRINE, MARSHALL PLAN, EISENHOWER DOCTRINE, NIXON DOCTRINE, CARTER DOCTRINE, REAGAN DOCTRINE, CLINTON DOCTRINE, BUSH DOCTRINE.


see ATTACK, ASSAULT, ASSAIL, CHARGE, BRING SMOKE, WATCH MY SMOKE, ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH, STORM, ROOT HOG OR DIE. Also, a catchall for writers and journalists, agents and factotums of publishing and broadcasting, regardless of the medium (eg: print, electronic, wire, radio, television, etc); see PIO, PAO, FRUIT FLY, WAR CORRESPONDENT, FOURTH ESTATE, SHUTTERBUG, GAG ORDER, OPSEC, BLACKOUT, DISINFORMATION, PROPAGANDA, BIG STORY, BIG LIE, ECHO CHAMBER, DIRTY LAUNDRY, SPIN, FAKE NEWS, FACTOID, HOOPLA, RED INK, WAR STORY, SEA STORY, TELL IT TO THE MARINES, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, RUMOR. [nb: "In many countries the politicians have seized absolute power and silenced the press; but in no country has the press seized absolute power and silenced the politicians." anonymous]

a pressure check of the fullness of a loaded magazine (MAG) performed by pressing down on the top cartridge of the stack in order to determine if space remains for the loading of additional rounds of ammunition. Also, a pressure check of the resilience of the spring in a magazine (MAG) performed by pressing down on the top cartridge of the stack in order to determine if the spring is weak or fatigued; if elasticity is diminished, the total number of rounds of ammunition should be reduced, or the magazine should be unloaded and retired from use for a period of time (perhaps permanently), and replaced by unused magazines with tighter springs ... a strong magazine spring helps to properly feed ammunition into the firing chamber whenever the bolt cycles after discharge and ejection. [nb: the standard 20-round magazine issued for the AR-15 / M-16 rifle during the Vietnam-era was inherently weak, so was only loaded with eighteen rounds of ammunition]

see PIO, PAO, FRUIT FLY, WAR CORRESPONDENT, FOURTH ESTATE, SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER, SPIN, DISINFORMATION, BIG STORY, ECHO CHAMBER, DIRTY LAUNDRY, SPIN, FAKE NEWS, BIG LIE, RED INK. [nb: censorship may not be imposed upon the press or mass media without a DECLARATION OF WAR, although journalists may be constrained (by threatening a revocation of their credentials) within privacy and security guidelines so as to protect operational autonomy and personal identity]

a body of persons, under the command of an officer, who gather or collect (impress) suitable individuals for involuntary naval or military service; compare COMMANDEER, DRAFT, DRAFT LOTTERY, MILITIA, DETAIL, DET, AD HOC, DRAGOON, SHANGHAI.


the inner, pressure-resistant HULL of a SUBMARINE or other submersible; the crush depth of a submersible is affected as much by the buoyancy of a submersible as by the physical resistance of its pressure hull. See GIGGLES 'n' BANGS, GUPPY, BOOMER, SRV, SUBMARINE.

by analogy to the mechanics of elasticized materials (ie: to apply stress to reinforcement before adding a load), this is a military training method dating from WWII that's intended to engender toughness, emphasizing resilliance and endurance rather than hardness, in troops destined for exposure to combat situations, since it is always better to discover weaknesses before exposure to or immersion in critical incidents; too often mistaken as a license for sadistic abuse or HARASSMENT with the goal of "remaking" the trainee into a desensitized "killing machine", instead of reorienting skills and values to a martial purpose for national objectives ... in the modern realm of political-correctness, 'prestress' is now defined as "the anticipation of trauma". See BOTHERATION, KILLER KANE, TRAINED KILLER, POI, TRNG, COUNTERINTUITIVE, MIL-CRAFT.

an attack against a possible enemy so as to prevent an attack by that enemy at a later time; also called PREEMPTIVE STRIKE. See KNOCK INTO A COCKED HAT, DETERRENCE.

the Provisional Revolutionary Government (NLF or VC/VIET CONG), also known as "Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam" (PRGVN) or "Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam" (PRGRSVN); being the political organization from 1969-75 for the surrogate insurgency conducted in South Vietnam. See VCI, PLA.

slang for any of the lightweight, compact, portable, field RADIO transceivers designated "AN/PRC-"; name will also include numeric denotation, such as PRICK-25 or PRICK-77 (which incorporated encryption features for secure communication). See RADIO, RTO. Also, slang for penis, phallus, peter, Saint Peter, Lord Upright, Mister Happy, Mister Frisky, schlong, schwanz, pud, putz, pizzle, dauber, stinger, fun gun, tallywhacker, wang, wanker, Johnny jump-up, Johnny on the spot, dick, dickey bird, cock, BIRD, DIPPER, pecker, bipper, zipper snake, pants python, lizard, worm, Mister Wiggly, Simple Simon, boy toy, short-tail, little brother, one-eyed monster, nebuchadnezzar, clown, trickster, giggle stick, JOYSTICK, stiffy, pocket rocket, skin flute, lollipop, creamcicle, banana, snap bean, string bean, pole bean, pickle, HOT DOG, wiener, salami, sausage, baloney, bone, boner, ramrod, BAYONET, ding-dong, dong, dork, dingus, dipstick, crank, shaft, drill, jackhammer, knob, tool, equipment, baby-maker, organ, middle leg, root, HOSE, pipe, pole, ridgepole, rod, STICK, SPAR, YARDARM, Captain Winkie, winking wizard, magic wand, scepter, pencil, and the like; see CU, SHORT ARM, POGUE, POGY BAIT, GOLDEN PENIS SYNDROME; compare ONIONS, SPLIT, STRANGE, LITTLE PRICK, DEAD STICK, DEAD-SOLDIER. [nb: 'hooey', allegedly an Americanism used as an interjection for nonsense or tripe, is actually a corruption of the Russian vulgarity ("khuy") for penis, and is commonly used alone (eg: dick, dickhead, dick-wad) or in phrases (eg: dumber than dick; he doesn't know dick; don't dick around; don't stir your tea with your dick)] [cf: migration of "putz" from shine through ornament to penis and dolt; as sexual lure] [v: lucky stiff]

[miliaria rubra] an eruption of papules and vesicles at the orifices of sweat glands that's accompanied by redness and an inflammatory reaction of the skin; a cutaneous eruption accompanied by a prickling and itching sensation that's due to an inflammation of the sweat glands; also called heat rash, summer rash, wildfire rash, tropical lichen, lichen strophulosus. Compare TROPICAL ACNE, TROPICAL MASK, JAUNDICE.

acronym for Professionalism Results In Daily Effort, being the military version of the "We try harder!" catch-phrase; which was countered during the Vietnam-era by the acronym SHAME for "Sustained Half-Assed Minimum Effort."

trade or brand name for one of the types of detonating fuse currently in use; being a flexible fabric tube containing a high-explosive filler that is used to transmit a detonation to a booster or bursting charge. See DET CORD, EXPLOSIVE.


the detonation of explosive material by an actuator; also called a "primary blast"; an explosion. Compare SECONDARY EXPLOSION, see EXPLOSIVE. [nb: qualifiers, such as primary or tertiary, are only relative to the existence of a secondary explosion; an explosion without a secondary is not primary (albeit singular), and a tertiary is only another secondary]

a sensitive explosive that detonates by simple ignition from such means as a spark, impact, friction, or other elementary sources of appropriate magnitude. Also, one of the first elements in an explosive sequence. Compare SECONDARY EXPLOSIVE.

fragments produced directly from the contents or casing of an explosive device; compare SECONDARY FRAGMENTATION, see COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

PRIM[E]ary Base Engineer Emergency Forces, being the civil engineer (CE) unit that's trained and equipped to respond to natural disasters and emergency situations around the world; this combat support element is composed of carpenters , electricians, plumbers, masons, truck drivers and heavy equipment operators to assist in recovery. compare PRIME RIBS, SNIPE, SMART, ENGR.

a means of towing a cannon, such as an animal, truck, or tractor; see PINTLE, TRUNNION, LIMBER, FLASK, TRANSOM, TRAIL, TOWED, ARTY.

a unit or package (eg: cap, cylinder, cartridge, etc) of explosives containing a DETONATOR that's used to initiate other explosives or blasting agents; any device used to initiate the functioning of an explosive or igniter train, as actuated by pressure, friction, flow, heat, or electricity, which may include a delay element. Also, a small metallic (usually brass or copper) capsule containing a chemical mixture that's sensitive to percussion, which is situated at the base of a cartridge and is detonated by the strike of a firing pin, igniting the charge of propellent gunpowder contained therein; a 'boxer primer' uses a small triangular piece of metal as an anvil atop its priming compound. Also, a chemical mixture sensitive to impact or percussion that's used in a firearm to ignite a propellent powder charge; see PERCUSSION CAP. [nb: the pan is the depressed part of the lock holding the priming in old guns, so a "deadpan" facial expression derives from a musket's flash-pan being empty, that is, without any primer to set-off the charged barrel when the hammer falls to strike a spark of ignition]

PRIM[E]ary Readiness In Base Services, being the combat support element designated to provide temporary cooking, shelter, and sanitation facilities during natural disasters and emergency situations around the world. Compare BILLET, QTRS, COMFORT STATION, PRIME BEEF, SNIPE, SMART, ENGR.

to promote the improvement of, or to support the operation of something, such as an organization or an enterprise, especially the increase of government expenditures in an effort to stimulate the economy; an allusion to making a water pump functional by wetting its diaphragm, thus enabling suction. See JUICE, CANDY, BLACK BAG, HONEY POT, GOLDEN SHOWER, PORK BARREL, LOGROLLING, DEEP STATE, POLITICAL ENGINEERING, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, BELTWAY BANDIT.

AvnSpeak for the computer-generated attack profile and intercept vector that's automatically plotted for the PILOT when targeting an adversary, including armaments for the engagement; this "school solution" is typically too conservative and conventional, lacking creativity and aggressivity in its recommendations. Although this phrase traditionally implies hedonism, in this context the expression contrasts the (overly) cultivated garden with the untamed wilderness as an allusion to self-indulgent dilettantism ... an affectation that will lose the contest [cf: joust, tournament]. See VISUAL, HUD, BOGIE, BANDIT, JUDY, TALLY-HO, JOY, BOX HEAD, MILITARY MIND.

this concept is a principle of proportionality in the conservation of energy; it proposes that "enough is enough, and more is too much". This sufficiency tends to prevent waste, but can lead to deficiencies (even if only temporary) when the developing situation is more extensive than realized or anticipated. The exercise of this principle requires preparation, assessment, and versatility. See LAW OF AVERAGES, GAMBLER'S FALLACY, BOYDLOOP, UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE, KNOW YOUR ENEMY, COURSE OF ACTION, LEAST RESISTANCE, LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS, LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, LORENTZ CONTRACTION, LORENTZ TRANSFORMATION, PARADIGM SHIFT, OUTSIDE THE BOX, MILITARY MIND; compare FIGHTING MAD, OVERKILL, BOMB 'EM BACK TO THE STONE AGE, BOUNCE THE RUBBLE, KNOCK INTO A COCKED HAT, TURKEY SHOOT, KILL 'EM ALL, ATROCITY, GENOCIDE, HOLOCAUST, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, JUST WAR. [nb: "Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions." by Sun-Tzu (ca490BC)]

see P6 / P6.

special treatment or precedence in receiving service or obtaining supplies, based upon rank or qualification; see FLASH, ASAP, PDQ, FORTHWITH, CHOGI, CHOP CHOP, RIKI TIK, STAT, GOYA, BARREL-ASS, HAUL-ASS, SCRAMBLE, SPEEDY, CAREEN, FIREBALLING, HIGH SPEED, FLANK SPEED, FAST MOVER, BALLS TO THE WALL, HOT LINE. [v: tout de suite (French: at once, immediately)] [v: amain]


a children's game in which the members of two opposing teams strive to capture each other, and from which imprisonment they can be freed only in specified ways; also called "prison base", "jailbreak", and "freedom". [cf: 'Base Capture'] See CAPTURE THE FLAG, KING OF THE HILL, DUCK ON DRAKE, DUCKS AND DRAKES, TUG OF WAR, HIDE-AND-SEEK, RED ROVER, WAR GAMES. [nb: the concept of a goal or home base, a starting or finishing point, from "cause to surrender", originated with this game]


a mental state of confusion or disorientation, transitory or permanent, brought on by the anticipation of imprisonment or by the confinement of incarceration; this condition may progress to catatonia or paranoia.

a SLICK SLEEVE rank, rated E-1 and E-2 before the Vietnam-era, but later reorganized as PVT/E-1 SLICK SLEEVE, PFC/E-2 one chevron, LCPL/E-3 as one-up-one-down Lance Corporal (LCPL), keeping CPL/E-4 at two chevrons. See SWINE LOG, MOSQUITO WING, MOSQUITO SMILE, MATING MOSQUITOES, EM, RANK, GRADE, RATING.

a rank before the Vietnam-era displaying a single sleeve chevron that's also known as a MOSQUITO WING; when enlisted ranks were reorganized, this insignia was changed to Private (PVT), and the Lance Corporal (LCPL) insignia was changed to PFC. Slang alternatives for PFC, as used by aspiring DRAFTEEs and short-timers, include: "Potentially Free Citizen", "Privately Funded Citizen", or "Proud Fucking Civilian". See SWINE LOG, MOSQUITO SMILE, MATING MOSQUITOES, EM, RANK, GRADE, RATING.

since the colonial era, a court whose function it is to adjudicate on prizes taken in war.

a quantity formerly used as a statistical measure of variability: equal to 0.6745 times the STANDARD DEVIATION from the mean.

honesty, integrity, and uprightness; see VERACITY, TRUTH, UNIVOCAL. [nb: "Never say or do anything that would embarrass you if it were published on the front page of the nation's leading newspaper." paraphrase of Donald H. Rumsfeld]

a basis for evaluating and learning investigative strategies involving more than one alternative from which a selection is made in order to attain a specific goal; a methodological sequence, either algorithmic or heuristic, behavioristic or gestalt, by the assessment of factors and the discrimination of stimuli, by the application of inductive (a priori) and deductive (a posteriori) logic, that elicits a workable solution to a difficult issue or complex situation. In the modern era, the available options have been politicized, whereas they were formerly moralized, with economics always determining viable solutions. A catch-phrase popularized during the Vietnam-era summarized this process as: "If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem."; which has also been expressed as: "If you're not sitting at the table, then you're on the menu." See SOP, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), LAWS OF WAR, CONFIDENCE COURSE, OUTSIDE THE BOX, CUT THE GORDIAN KNOT, ALEXANDRIAN SOLUTION, THOUGHT GRENADE, THINK TANK, SKULL SESSION, BRAIN FART, TASK SATURATION, OBJECTIFICATION, DISSOCIATION, SOFT TYRANNY. [nb: "Be part of the answer, not part of the problem, as the American revolution proceeds." by Buell Gallagher (1964); "You're either part of the solution or part of the problem." by Eldridge Cleaver (1968)] [v: "functional fixedness" by K. Duncker; "two-string problem" by N.R.F. Maier]

to obtain something by effort or special means, as when soliciting bids for specialized items of manufacture; see GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK, MIL-SPEC, MILITARY GRADE, SNUFF, HALF-ASSED, BOONDOGGLE, REQUISITION, DRAFT, FORAGE, COMMANDEER, SPOILS OF WAR, SURPLUS. [nb: the combat zone is, by definition, a destructive area, so whatever exists there is either disposable, replaceable, or made as cheaply as possible to do the required job; 'superiority' is a shifting objective, as 'excellence' is a changeable goal that must be factored by time and resources, which is always competing with 'sufficiency'] [cf: faute de mieux (French: for want of something better)] [nb: in an effort to control costs and reduce waste, the DoD has instituted a policy of "non-duplication" in military procurement (Military Adaptable Commercial Item {MACI}), such that a mil-spec contract will NOT be let whenever a commercial "off the shelf" (COTS) product is "close enough for government work" and does not require special features; so some name brand items are now in logistical inventory] Also, the acquisition by the federal government of people to be employed in public service, as by a crimp or talent scout; see RECRUITER, CALL TO THE COLORS, TOTAL FORCE, GOTCHA, DRAFT, PRESS-GANG, SHANGHAI, DRAGOON, RECYCLE, RE-UP, NIGHTCRAWLER, RUNNING DOG. [v: procurer (pimp)]



a person exhibiting arrested development, who's fixated in a youthful time and place (whether successful or not), and who's perpetually oriented to a past (pleasant or not), which episode has become the most significant part of that person's life. Although this person may have a regular civilian job, a PRO VET will substitute veteran activities for normal extracurricular involvements, will wear uniform parts or badges to remind others of his military service, and will deliberately interlard MIL-SPEAK argot into regular conversations. While there's a difference between personal pride and obsessive preoccupation, the distinction between "war relic" and "superpatriot" lies within 'appropriate social integration' ... that is, a PRO VET always aspires toward a public demonstration of his status, regardless of the setting or reception. While some PROFESSIONAL VETERANs serve a useful function as the GO TO GUY for military affairs and veterans' benefits, too many of them are "ignorant and proud of it!" ... that is, too many PRO VETs are inflationary WANNABEs who seek authentication and validation of their fiction by aggressive proclamation. Some disabled veterans PLAY THE GAME because they want to draw a distinction between their own service-connected condition and some civilian equivalent. See ESPRIT DE CORPS, VETERANS' ASSOCIATION, LAST MAN CLUB, PATRIOT, DINOSAUR, BOY'S CLUB, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME, PAY DUES. [cf: professional widow, professional student, etc]

slang reference to a comrade possessed of "greater than normal" education or erudition, which is anomalous in the empirical environment of combat arms; term may be complimentary or derogatory, depending upon context and personalities. This same individual is often derisively known to his supervisors as "college boy", "bookworm", or "egghead", because he generally does not aspire to advancement in the military system. See BEAN-COUNTER, CHIEF, WONK, WIZARD, GUNNER, WALLAH, PUKE, POGUE. [aka: intellectual, thinker, scholar, pundit, guru, savant, sage, quick-witted, genius, brain, highbrow, big headed, brainiac, longhair, pointy-headed, master, mastermind, expert, virtuoso, rocket scientist, magus, mage, bailiwick] [v: enfant terrible (French: prodigy); wunderkind (German: prodigy)] [nb: "Eggheads, unite! You have nothing to lose but your yolks!" by Adlai E. Stevenson (1952); "Pointy-headed intellectuals of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your brains." by George Wallace (1972); cf: "Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains." by Karl Marx, "The Communist Manifesto" (1848)]

a medical profile delimiting an out-patient's impairments, and restricting their assignments (eg: LIGHT DUTY); also called "duty limiting condition" (DLC) or "limited duty" (LIMDU). Some DUDS sought "permanent profiles", and some GHOSTS tried to counterfeit PROFILES, PASSes, and other documents. Anyone with a temporary PROFILE, legitimate or not, was relegated to being "sick, lame, or lazy". The military has periodically purged its ranks of personnel under persistent PROFILE, despite the fact that over 90% of military service occupations (MOS) are noncombatant or supportive, requiring less than the WHOLE MAN concept. See LINE OF DUTY, PEB, TDRL, PDRL, MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, PINK, MONKEY BUTT, EXERCISE, MAIM, MUTILATE, GI BILL. Also, the set of traits or characteristics that tend to identify a type or category of person or thing; a descriptive or statistical, verbal or graphical summary of the qualities and conditions comprising the outline of a known type of person or thing; see OUTSIDE THE BOX, RIPPLE EFFECT, McCARTHYISM, SIEGE MENTALITY, PARANOIA, IF THERE'S ONE.

advocating reform or innovation, as when changing social or political matters by the application of new ideas and methods. Also, passing successively from one stage to the nex, as in severity or extent; going onward by increments or phases, as with some diseases, forms of taxation, or educational systems. Also, a sociopolitical movement, or the members thereof, advocating reform, such as a "progressive party" (eg: Theodore Roosevelt (1912), Robert M. La Follette (1924), Henry A. Wallace (1948, etc)]. See LIBERAL, SYMPATHIZER, PROTESTOR, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, NEW AGE HIPPIE, SILVER-TAIL, ROSE-COLORED GLASSES, PINKO, RED, USEFUL IDIOTS, LIBERAL SENILITY, UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-AMERICAN. [nb: "Cheer up, the worst is yet to come." by Philander Chase Johnson; "Look on the bright side: for all of its faults and failings, the world today is much better than tomorrow will be, if the current trend continues." paraphrase of Lawrence Block; "The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true." by James Branch Cabell; "The man who's an optimist knows too little, and the man who's a pessimist knows too much." paraphrase of Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens); "An optimist is a guy who's never had very much experience, and a pessimist has had much more than his fair share." paraphrase of Don Marquis; "Small men in high places are content to promote optimism because they're isolated from the consequences of their foolishness." paraphrase of F. Scott Fitzgerald; "A pessimist is a man who has been compelled to live with an optimist." by Elbert Hubbard; "A pessimist is a person who has had to listen to too many optimists." by Don Marquis; "Every day, in every way, things are getting worse and worse." by William F. Buckley]





Howitzer projectile - term used by pilots transporting same.

in its simplest form, a prophylactic condom used as protection against venereal disease (VD/STD), and as an incidental contraceptive, but also existed as a packet containing antiseptic solution and/or disinfectant wipes with the condom; being a required possession before departure on PASS or liberty during WWII, the KOREAN WAR and VIETNAM WAR eras. Condoms, formerly made of intestinal membrane or coated fabric and now made of latex or polyurethane and polyethylene, are believed to be among the first mass produced products when rubber vulcanization was perfected in the mid-19th century. Prophylactic condoms are also called "safe", "safety", "rubber", "sheath", "skin", "Merry Widow", "French letter", "French tickler", "British overcoat", "little shirt", "snakeskin", "fishskin", "Long Island white fish", and "scum bag". Condoms are used to waterproof matches and tinder or kindling, to protect radio handsets and film or data containers, to serve as a delay device for triggering an explosive solution, as well as being used to hold potable water or other substances. See SHORT ARM, PECKER-CHECKER, CLAP, ARC, ANTIBIOTIC, THE PILL, BIRTH CONTROL DEVICE, BLUE PETER; compare MOPP. [nb: when units requisitioned condoms during WWII, the reason given was for muzzle capping of SMALL ARMS rather than prophylaxis]

to withdraw or extract a cannon during recoil; see ARTY.

a pledge, usually civil or diplomatic, as distinguished from a "threat" as a posture or intention; compare OATH, PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE, CREED, HONOR CODE, LOYALTY CODE, DUTY. Also, 'Operation PROVIDE PROMISE', being the name of the aid/relief mission (1995) in Bosnia; see JOINT ENDEAVOR.


laying facedown with the front or ventral part downward; lying flat, as to shoot a weapon from this braced posture; see FRONT LEANING REST, PUSH-UP, LOW-CRAWL. Also, prostrate, utterly dejected, disconsolate, or submissive; as derived from "leaning forward" or "inclined downward". [cf: supine] Also, a natural tendency or disposition toward something; susceptible or liable; hankering or longing; see YEN.

a cartridge containing a gunpowder mix that's designed to generate greater than normal operating pressure so as to test the strength of a firearm, which proof triggering is typically performed remotely in order to avoid injury from any failure; a more powerful load that's discharged in order to test the capacity of the firing chamber.

the methodical broadcast or distribution of ideas and information intended to injure a cause, movement, nation, or bloc; to propagate DISINFORMATION, which use of language as a "weapons system" is sometimes called "information warfare". Not as simplistic as "anything the enemy claims to be true must be false"; since almost nothing about human affairs is either uncomplicated or unanimous, and conflict merely silences some objections for a while. In ancient Greece it was known that "the first casualty of war is truth", so information as a manipulative medium (strategy) or an adjunctive device (tactic) is a principal part of every battlefield. What is absolutely essential is that each side be able to recognize its own PROPAGANDA, so as not to be persuaded or misdirected by the rebound of its own lies. For one side to prevail in combat, it must not only accept its mission, but also trust the accuracy of its weapons and tools, its data and interpretations. For example, the notorious Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado Territory on 30 November 1864, being a reprisal for over 600 settler deaths that were blamed on the Indians, reported 500 dead hostiles (none of whom were known to be responsible), but only 123 Indian villagers (including women and children) actually died in the attack; which inaccuracy exaggerated the conflict, enhanced the militia's reputation, placated civilian settlers, redistributed federal funding commitments, degraded and demoralized the opposition ... the story was integral to the fight. By contrast, the 1823 punitive expedition that was led by Henry Leavenworth against the Arikaras resulted in much posturing, no fighting, and a meaningless treaty that was immediately violated ... persuading the Sioux that the American soldier was a coward! ... a conclusion that would become a factor later in the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn. [cf: Wyoming Valley massacre, Pennsylvania (1778); Mountain Meadows massacre, Colorado Territory (1857); Camp Grant massacre, Arizona Territory (1871); Wounded Knee massacre, South Dakota (1890)] During WWII, the U.S. military proclaimed that the Imperial Japanese were short, bandy-legged, nearsighted cowards and poor jungle fighters; while the Imperial Japanese asserted that American Marines had to kill their parents and eat their children before becoming qualified, and were so crazed that they would rape and murder all civilians ... both were quite wrong but many never lived long enough to discover the truth. See INTEL, PSYOPS, ICAP, SECRET AGENT, CHATTER, VECTOR, PARTY LINE, TRUE BELIEVER, SCAPEGOAT, FALSE FLAG, DECEPTION, RUMOR, BIG LIE, FACTOID, HOOPLA, CONTROLLED INFORMATION, LEAFLET, FAKE NEWS, SPIN, ECHO CHAMBER, DIRTY LAUNDRY, VIP, THE LITTLE RED BOOK, WHITE PROPAGANDA, BULLSHIT BOMB. [nb: as a COI/OSS volunteer, John Steinbeck composed "The Moon is Down" (1942), which Shakespearean phrase symbolizes the descent of evil upon innocence, as a means of instilling morale among civilian refugees and occupied populations; for which he was immediately criticized, and later honored] [v: agitprop; strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP / SLAPP suit)] [v: subreption, obreption] [nb: the neologism "pollaganda" / "polloganda" (poll + propaganda) has been coined to identify the representation of biased samples, slanted surveys, special pleading arguments, and ex-parte news depicted as authentic or authoritative; cf: "polingo" as a neologism for political lingo]

PROficiency PAYment that is supplemental to base pay in technical and specialty MOSs in order to increase retention of skilled personnel while attempting to compete for retention with civilian employment; also known as "specialty pay" or "bonus pay". The receipt of awards and earning of qualifications rated additional pay for the individual during and after the WWII-era. The extension of PRO PAY to non-tech ratings became essential to sustain morale after it was initially introduced during the pre-Vietnam era; not to be confused with a re-enlistment bonus. [nb: in 2009, the UAV operators were granted "flight status" for their remote guidance (ie: "piloting") of these drones while positioned a continent away from the target area, making them eligible for both Air Medals (AM) and supplemental flight proficiency pay; and in 2012, the US Air Force presented the first Medal of Honor awarded since the Vietnam War to the remote pilot of an unmanned aerial vehicle supporting ground combat operations in Afghanistan]

a paratrooper induction ceremony, named after the propeller backwash that jumpers encounter upon exiting an aircraft, and following the traditions of the first induction ceremony performed by the 501st Para Inf Bn, Dec 1940, to solemnize the fraternal bond of paratroopers. Just as the pinning of WINGS is only done with new graduates, so the PROP BLAST ceremony is only performed at the first AIRBORNE unit of assignment following qualification. Newly reporting novices (PROP BLASTER) are assembled by manifest, assigned sponsors, informed of the PROP BLAST rules, uniform inspected, equipment checked, STICK aligned, mock-door exited, PLF graded, TOASTed with the unit "cup", act in skit or lampoon, perform AIRBORNE PT or run an obstacle course, and admitted to the fraternity. Mock-door and PLF errors are rated as canopy "malfunctions", and the general harassment is indiscriminate. Each unit normally has a unique drinking "cup", such as a helmet, boot, or shell casing, from which a mixed drink is swallowed as unit observers chant the "4000 count" to full chute-opening. The original "Airborne Spirit" was champagne and vodka with lemon juice; but any concoction is acceptable. Non-alcoholic punch (containing grape, prune, and lime juices with carbonated soda) has been known to make "Hardshell Baptists" and "Teetotal Mormons" evacuate at both ends! Originally an authorized procedure for duty personnel, it became "unofficial" during the Vietnam-era due to a few deaths from acute alcohol poisoning, and subsequent to the Surgeon General's report, has been declared an "illegal" practice. Compare INITIATION.

the CHARGE of EXPLOSIVE used to propel the projectile from a gun. Also, a substance, usually a mixture of fuel and oxidizer, that's used to propel something (ie: rocket, missile, etc). Also, a propelling agent serving to drive something forward or outward, such as a compressed inert gas that dispenses the contents of an aerosol container when the pressure release is actuated. [cf: propellent]

see SCREW.

nickname for the PILOT of a propeller-driven aircraft, either SLOW MOVER or CHOPPER, being the counterpart expression to JET JOCK; see ROTOR HEAD, WOBBLY, WOP, Q-COURSE, GOOD STICK. [nb: a BULLETPROOF pilot's braggadocio is often expressed as "big sky, little bullet"; v: GOLDEN BB, MAGIC BULLET]

Air America pilot's wings
Air America
private aircraft and crew contracted to fly missions in support of governmental operations, including Air America, Continental Air Service, Civil Air Transport Service, etc; the contract aircrews and support personnel were called "sky people" by the HMONG tribesmen. See SHEEP-DIPPED, CUSTOMER, FIRST FLIGHT. [nb: refugee Chinese were transported from Thailand to Taiwan to quell cross-border hostilities, and to stabilize the affected governments] [nb: 1045th Operations, Evaluation, and Training Group (1045th OE&T Gp), being a USAF asset that specializes in managing special and covert flights for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in remote or compromised locations (eg: Tibet, Laos, NVN, etc)]

a conceptual awareness of the relative position of one's own body, as provided by innumerable sensory nerve endings (proprioceptors), located in a muscle, tendon, or the inner ear; this sense enables a person to know where their various parts are, relative to each other, without visual or physical verification, and to sustain one's balance; compare KINESTHESIA.

a misnomer for WASH or BACKWASH, DOWNWASH or UPWASH, being a nonexistent substance that a novice or tyro is required to obtain or attend in the same manner as any other SNIPE HUNT objective; compare MERMAID, DRAGON.

a figure of speech wherein an imaginary or absent person is represented as speaking or acting. Also, the personification of inanimate things, including deceased persons. See VOODOO, HOODOO, MOJO, ANTHROPOMORPHISM, PATHETIC FALLACY, MASCOT.

see WHOLE MAN, PHANTOM LIMB, REFERRED PAIN, PLASTIC SURGERY, CRUTCH, WHEELCHAIR, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME. [nb: WD-40 is an effective lubricant for hinged prosthetic limbs]

see BUTTERFLY, GRASSHOPPER, LBFM, LULU THE ZULU, CHOCOLATE BUNNY, HORIZONTAL COLLABORATOR, CAMP FOLLOWER, CAMPAIGN WIFE, SLEEPING DICTIONARY, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, SHACK-JOB, GEISHA, SING-SONG GIRL, BITCH, STRANGE, SPLIT, SNATCH, HAPPY VALLEY, PUTAINESQUE. [aka: prostitute, hooker, strumpet, fornicatrix, trollop, bawd, doxy, tart, jade, soiled dove, chippy, baggage, fancy woman, joy lady, joy-girl, streetwalker, call girl, woman of ill fame, woman of ill repute, lady of the night, woman of easy virtue, scarlet woman, painted woman, loose woman, kept woman, fallen woman, courtesan, demimondaine, jezebel, harlot, whore, hussy, floozy, bimbo, wench, slut, wanton, hustler, slattern, tramp] [nb: many young women during WWII, enthralled by the wartime drama and excitement, became "uniform groupies" who were sufficiently "khaki wacky" to express their ardor by casual favor or intimacy bestowed upon almost any serviceman for simple companionship; such patriotic chippies or amateur trollops were known as "V-girls" (probably by analogy to B-girl), with the dual implication of "victory" and "venereal"] [nb: the American GI's standard reference for a "woman of easy virtue" during WWI was Miss Laycock and WWII was Mary Quicklay, during Vietnam was Susie Rottencrotch or Mary Meatgrinder, while any Asian was either Madam Butterfly or Suzie Wong] [cf: vivandière] [nb: the "comfort girls" who were employed as contract prostitutes to serve the sexual needs (TRICKs) of Imperial Japanese troops in the field, usually at a COMFORT STATION or SIN CITY, were called "shock absorbers" by the Allied POWs who happened to observe their (mis-)treatment]


the protective relation of a strong state toward a weaker state that it partly controls; see CLIENT STATE, NATION BUILDING, FATHER KNOWS BEST, NANNY STATE, GARRISON STATE, PUPPET, BUFFER STATE, WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS, GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY, SATELLITE, FLAG OF PROTECTION, BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, REALPOLITIK. Also, a state or territory so protected. Also, the office or government of a protector.


novelty patch reading Dissent
is Patriotic
Dissent is Patriotic
a person who declares their disagreement, disapproval, objection, or dissent of government policies, especially international relations, as expressed by rallies, marches, picketing, sit-ins, teach-ins, love-ins, and candlelight vigils; also called "demonstrator" or "peacenik". Such anti-establishment petit revolutionaries were lionize as "the best informed, the most intelligent, and the most idealistic this country has ever known." [by Archibald Cox (Harvard Law School professor)]. It should be noted that military personnel are prohibited from exercising the civil rights they guarantee for other citizens; hence the contrast between the professional pacifists, insidious demagogues, and agent PROVOCATEURs of the Anti-War Movement who were juxtaposed to the conservative and reactionary Establishment on the other side of the issue. According to surveys, the VIETNAM WAR did not become unpopular until the piecemeal withdrawal and VIETNAMIZATION programs proved ineffective during the Cambodian INCURSION, coincident with the Kent State Incident, long after the climactic 1968 Tet Offensive; which says more about political mismanagement and media misinterpretation than military incompetence. See TONKIN GULF RESOLUTION, WAR POWERS ACT, PETITION, POSSE COMITATUS, MOSSBACK, McCARTHYISM, HUAC, SILENT MAJORITY, UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-AMERICAN, BABY KILLER, YIPPIE, BLACK BLOC, FIFTH COLUMN, RUNNING DOG, NIGHTCRAWLER, NCC, NEW MOBE, BULLSHITVIK, GUERRILLA THEATER, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, BURN BABY BURN, DAYS OF RAGE, POWER TO THE PEOPLE, SUMMER OF LOVE, COUNTERCULTURE, HIPPIE, RED DIAPER BABIES, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME, KUM BA YAH, WE SHALL OVERCOME, PACIFIST, FLOWER POWER, ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT, SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER, SILVER-TAIL, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, APOCALYPSE. [v: protestant; agitprop; strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP / SLAPP suit); cf: counter-demonstration]

operation from 1 June 1992 through 30 November 1995.

aid/relief mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former central region of Yugoslavia which was formerly the kingdoms of Serbia (Kosovo, Vojvodina), Croatia (Dalmatia, Istria, Slavonia), Slovenia, Montenegro, and Macedonia, which internecine conflicts seemingly date from the Turk conquest of the Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. Since 1995, NATO and UN peacekeeping forces, severely restricted by RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), have attempted to intercede in the numerous instances of "ethnic cleansing" ATROCITYs by imposing a cease-fire. See JOINT ENDEAVOR, JOINT FORGE, JOINT GUARD, ALLIED FORCE. [nb: Bosnia (1995): 12 battle deaths] [nb: "balkanization" is a toponym for relentlessly quarrelsome subdivisions] [nb: it has been said that Yugoslavia has one people, two alphabets, three religions, four languages, five nationalities, and six republics!]

Fairchild C-123 USAF short take-off and landing (STOL) light transport aircraft, with twin-engine turboprop, was used in airlift, forward air control (FAC), and FLARESHIP missions. Nicknamed the "bookie bird", it was developed in 1949 from the aluminum-skinned XCG-20 twenty-passenger glider. The C-123K model additionally features two pod-mounted turbojets. The medium capacity C-123 had much more space than the C-7A CARIBOU, but less than the C-130 HERCULES. As the KC-46A, it served as a USAF fourth-generation refueling TANKER. See FIRST FLIGHT, FLYING COW. [nb: Fairchild AC-123 gunship has been designated as 'Spectre']

an individual or unit serving for the time being; not a regular member or organization. Also, tempory, tentative, experimental, or conditional, as being accepted or adopted only for an interim period. Also, an improvised alternative or substitution; see AD HOC, FIELD EXPEDIENT, PLAN B, LEAST RESISTANCE, CROSS-DECKING, COMMANDEER. [nb: "Creativity is doing more with less, while invention is doing something with nothing!"; "We've done so much with so little for so long that soon we'll be able to do everything with nothing instantaneously!"]

(pro-van) acronym for the 1966 strategic plan, "Program for the Pacification and Long-Term Development of South Vietnam", that was implemented by GEN Creighton Abrams, and later became the doctrine for the VIETNAMIZATION mission; see CSMO, ACTOV, CRIMP, KEYSTONE.

a person who provokes trouble or incites dissension, as an instigator, fomenter, agitator, or rabble-rouser; also called "agent provocateur". See TRADECRAFT, MOLE, CRYPTO, NIGHTCRAWLER, SYMPATHIZER, SPOOK, SECRET AGENT, BOY SCOUT, CLEANSKIN, FIX, DANGLE, STOOGE, DECOY, FLAME-BAIT, SABOTAGE, TERRORIST; compare INVISIBLE, SLEEPER, SWEEPER. [cf: agent of influence]

a military court, usually composed of one officer, convened in occupied territory under MARTIAL LAW, and empowered to try both civilian and military personnel for minor offenses; see WHEN IN ROME, CIVIL AFFAIRS AGREEMENT, SOFA; compare DRUMHEAD, REGULATOR, VIGILANCE COMMITTEE, SHOW TRIAL. [cf: kangaroo court, honor court, grievance committee, miner's court, vigilance committee, frontier justice, tribunal, sanhedrim, Star Chamber] [nb: lynch law is the summary execution of an accused or convicted person by extralegal process, originally from the DRUMHEAD trial of royalists by patriots during the Revolutionary War, eponymously after either Charles Lynch or William Lynch of Pittsylvania, Virginia]

a detachment of soldiers assigned to police duties under the Provost Marshal, as a Military Police auxiliary; compare CONSTABULARY, POLITROOPER, PALACE GUARD; see PM, MP, SP, AP, UCMJ, POSSE COMITATUS.

an officer charged with maintaining good order and other police functions within a command; being the "chief" of military police at a BASE or facility. Also, the USAF Air Provost Marshal (APM). See UCMJ, JAG, SJA, MP, AP, SP, QC, CID, OSI, NIS, FBI, CONSTABULARY, PROVOST GUARD.

the forepart of a craft or vessel; designated by the color white, and displays a white navigation light showing over an unbroken arc of the horizon of 135 degrees, centered dead ahead. Compare STERN, AFT; see BOW, STEM, CUTWATER, ROSTRUM, SHARP END, FORECASTLE, HAWSEPIPE, BLUE NOSE, STARBOARD, PORT, IR MARKERS, CHRISTMAS TREE.

contraction of PROcedure WORD, also spelled "pro-word" or "pro word"; being specific terms and standardized short form expressions used in voice radio to expedite communications. See RTP, A-OK, CHARLIE, AFFIRM, FOX, ROGER, WILCO, SOS, MAYDAY, PAN, SECURITE, CODEWORD, INTERCO, CODENAME, CALL-SIGN, RTO, RADIO, TELEPHONE. [nb: "roger"/"wilco" and "over"/"out" are mutually exclusive; "break"/"clear", "repeat"/"say again", and "shoot"/"fire" are very specific; "niner", not "fiver"; "zero", not "oh"] [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags]

developed during WWII, this artillery fuze contains a radio transceiver to automatically calculate the proper detonation based upon feedback; a mechanical method for detonating a charge, as in a projectile, within a pre-designated radius of the target; also called "variable time fuze" (VT or VT fuze).

a war fought by third party surrogates at the behest of or on behalf of major powers in their attempt to expand global hegemony; the principals participate indirectly by lending advice and support to their agents or deputies in what is characterized as a LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT that must not be permitted to escalate into a larger war; such a war fought by substitutes or confederates is also referred to as: "Let's you and him fight." See ALLY, CLIENT STATE, FLAG OF PROTECTION, INTERVENTIONISM, CONTAINMENT, DIVIDE AND CONQUER, UNDECLARED WAR, WARS OF NATIONAL LIBERATION, BRUSH FIRE WAR, LIMITED WAR, COLD WAR, THE LESSER OF EVILS, MAD, WAR; compare TOTAL WAR.

People's Revolutionary Party, being the Communist Party in South Vietnam. Also, Personnel Retrieval and Processing, or Personnel Recovery and Processing by NavPers; commonly called a BODY-SNATCHER as part of MORTUARY AFFAIRS; see LAID BY THE WALL, LUGGAGE TAG, RECOVERY, GRAVES REGISTRATION, GHOUL.

Provincial Reconstruction Team, being an assistance program of the Department of State (DOS) that's intended to promote security and economic development as a people rebuild and administer their country; PRTs are composed of civilian and military specialists, especially Civil Affairs officers, who use their linguistic and technical skills (eg: business, industry, public management, engineering, law enforcement, medicine, veterinary, agriculture) in a particular area for 6-12 month tours.

patch for the Provincial
Reconnaissance Unit of Phoenix
Provincial Reconnaissance Unit, an interservice CORDS project of counter-terror units, from squad to battalion, which operated from 1966 to 1972 in a manner similar to Viet Cong GUERRILLAs. PRUs were the enforcement arm or direct action (DA) element of the PHOENIX program, which was tasked with the identification and neutralization of the VCI cadre. PRU was based in Vung Tau but operated in all areas of SVN, both rural and urban, wearing enemy uniforms, using enemy weapons and equipment, and employing enemy tactics; assigned personnel never numbered more than 4000 throughout the war. The "winged scimitar" badge was awarded to graduates of the PRU training program. Compare RF/PF, HOC BAO, ICEX, PHUNG HOANG, SOG.

PS :
Prior Service, designating a recruit or an enlistee with previous training, often for advanced placement or compressed processing; its alternative is No Prior Service (NPS). See GOTCHA, INDIVIDUAL READY RESERVE, RETREAD.

Personal Security Detachment (or ... Detail) for "executive protection" by private BODYGUARD contractors.

Provincial Security Defense Force; see RF/PF, PRU, HOC BAO, SEA SWALLOWS. Also, Popular (People's) Self-Defense Force.

Provisional Security Forces, being a lightly armed and minimally trained regional MILITIA that mans security check-points and performs limited patrolling; an augmentation element to the CONSTABULARY during 2007 in Iraq.

P6 / P6 :
abbreviation representing the initial six P's of the common military maxim: Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance; also represented as: Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance ... later rephrased as "Don't be reactive; be proactive!". See THE PLAN, COURSE OF ACTION (COA), OPLAN, CONPLAN, EXPLAN, PLAN B, AD HOC, EXIT STRATEGY. [nb: poor planning at the lower echelons usually doesn't constitute an emergency at the higher levels, but poor planning at the higher echelons almost always causes an emergency (if not a panic) at the lower levels!; "Failing to plan is planning to fail!" Special Forces axiom]

Pierced Steel Plate, also known as "Perforated Steel Plank"; construction panels made of steel matting, about 3' X 8', punched with 1-3" holes and slots, and having features on the sides for interlocking. PSP could be linked to surface a road or airstrip; and several sheets could be linked into a roof plate for a BUNKER or fighting hole, then covered with sandbags. Compare MARSDEN MATTING, MOBI-MAT, MACADAM, GANGWAY, DUCKBOARDS. [v: blacktop, tarmac or tarmacadam; cf: laterite road]

Public Switched Telephone Network, being the collection of interconnected systems operated by the various telephone companies and administrations (PTT) around the world. The PSTN originated as human-operated analogue circuit switching systems (plugboards), progressed through electromechanical switches, and has been almost completely converted to digital, except for the "last mile": the final connection to the subscriber remains analogue, transmitting over a twisted pair cable. The telco digitizes this analogue signal [using 8000 samples per second and 8 bits per sample, yielding a 64 kb/s data stream (DS0)], and combined into several data streams [ie: 24 DS0 channels @ T1, 31 DS0 channels @ E1]. During reception, the process is reversed. The PSTN is also known as the "Plain Old Telephone System" (POTS) in contrast to xDSL and ISDN (PANS). See TELEPHONE.

9th Infantry Division patch
9th Inf Div
nickname of the 9th Infantry Division, from the colors and octafoil shape of its shoulder patch; also called FLOWER POWER. Formally known as "Varsity" or "Old Reliables".


a mental disorder wherein an individual manifests amoral and egocentric behavior, showing excessive pride and a sense of superiority, exhibiting an antisocial absence of meaningful interpersonal relationships, an inability to sympathetically empathize with others, a failure to learn from experience and a stubborn denial of error or imperfection, a personal lack of love or compassion, and so forth; this generalized category is no longer accepted as a psychiatric diagnosis, having been replaced in the modern era by more specific conditions (eg: narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, etc), but continues to be used as a referent by non-professionals and laypersons.

any severe form of mental disorder that indicates impaired contact with reality, which may be characterized by delusions, hallucinations, or other symptoms, and may be indicative of schizophrenia, paranoia, or some other mental disease. [nb: an underlying objective of military indoctrination is to discern those trainees who are intuitively aggressive combatants without also being psychotic; while excluding immoral misfits is an essential part of the winnowing process, and since anyone can be taught to shoot or swim or fly, it's crucial to identify those altruistic persons with inherent "fighting spirit", because nobody can teach "guts"!]

a mood-altering drug that affects a person's mental behavior or sensory perception; see MENTICIDE, LSD, COLORS. [v: toxic honey]

PSYchological OPerationS (Psy-Ops), sometimes called WAR OF NERVES or "psychological warfare" (PSYWAR); the planned use of PROPAGANDA broadcasts and information publications in support of amnesty, COUNTERINSURGENCY, and DECEPTION programs to influence enemy morale or thinking. The EDCOR psychological warfare project of the DoD in the Philippines influenced PSYOPS in Vietnam. The PSYOPS motto is "because physical wounds heal". See CHIEU HOI, DEATH CARDS, SOAP CHIPS, LEAFLET, BENSON SILK, PEANUT, PARADISE ISLAND, URGENCY, BORDEN, ELDEST SON, OODLES, NO-DOZE, FALSE FLAG, DISINFORMATION, BULLSHIT BOMB, BIG LIE, RUMOR, CONTROLLED INFORMATION, CHATTER, DECEPTION, RUSE DE GUERRE, SWS, SWC&S, MSOS, MOOTW, UW, DA, FID, CA, SF, SOF, SPECIAL OPERATIONS. [v: subreption, obreption] [nb: the neologism "pollaganda" / "polloganda" (poll + propaganda) has been coined to identify the representation of biased samples, slanted surveys, special pleading arguments, and ex-parte news depicted as authentic or authoritative; cf: "polingo" as a neologism for political lingo]

U.S. Army Psychological
Operations branch insignia
Psychological Operations
U.S. Army Psychological
Operations branch insignia
Psychological Operations
PSYchological WARfare; see PSYOPS, RUSE DE GUERRE, WAR OF NERVES. [nb: Vietnamese term: Chien Tranh Tam Ly (PsyWar Department)] [nb: "The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armory of the modern commander." by T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia); "Despite their own numerous and grave faults, the South Vietnamese were, first and last, decisively defeated in Washington, New York, London, and Paris. Those media defeats made inevitable their subsequent defeat on the battlefield. Indochina was not perhaps the first major conflict to be won by psychological warfare. But it was probably the first to be lost by psychological warfare conducted at such great physical distance from the actual fields of battle – and so far from the peoples whose fate was determined by the outcome of the conflict." by Robert Elegant, "How to Lose A War: The Press And Viet Nam" pp 73-90 in Encounter (vol LVII no 2, August 1981)]

PT :
Physical Training; performed each day in a PT formation by everyone not on PROFILE or SICK CALL, and reviewed annually by a Physical Competency and Proficiency Test (PCPT); later termed Physical Fitness Training (PFT). "Airborne PT" differed by changing the situps to stomach crunches, extending the run in place, and adding PULL-UPs. "Rifle PT" consisted of a set of exercises modified to include postures holding individual weapons; sometimes called "dancing with your baby", because you better not drop your RIFLE! Physical fitness training is sometimes demotically expressed as "kalleyhoops" or "kalleyhooptics" for calisthenics; civilians call this endeavor a "work-out". Exercise has evolved with the modern military, changing the emphasis from strength to endurance, by replacing exertion with kinetics, and isotonics with aerobics (cf: jazzercise, dancercise). PT is not required for senior NCOs and officers, and MIL-PERS aged 35 or older are excused. Due to non-FRATERNIZATION rules (ie: OFFICER sweat, blood, and shit is different, and should not be mixed with lowly enlisted output), exercise and testing of commissioned RANKs was separate ... often conducted among other RING-KNOCKERS at the proverbial "mahogany bar of brotherhood" in the venerable O CLUB. Theodore Roosevelt noted that the military was "out of shape", and he required that America's first line of defense be at least as fit as an average middle-aged man. It took almost two years for the military to achieve the modest standard of walking one-hundred miles in three days. During WWII, Lucian Truscott increased the march tempo from 2.5mph to 4mph, calling it the TRUSCOTT TROT, which brought GIs into parity with their Axis opposition. John F. Kennedy later challenged Americans to walk fifty miles in one day, becoming a national embarrassment that faded with the passing of Camelot, but was later performed by fully equipped PAVN in the seizure of SVN. See DAILY DOZEN, FRONT LEANING REST, JUMPING JACK, SQUAT, SQUAT THRUST, EXERCISE, AIRBORNE SHUFFLE, APFT, IOCT, OBSTACLE COURSE, BIATHLON, TRIATHLON, PENTATHLON, DECATHLON, MARATHON, BY THE NUMBERS, FIELD HOUSE, PT'S, RAINBOW PT, GO-FASTERS, PT SHOWER, WAR GAMES.

1944 Patrol Torpedo boat
PT boat
(pee-tee boat) Patrol Torpedo boat, being a small fast GUNBOAT with a wooden HULL used during the WWII-era; see PBL, PBR, SWIFT BOAT, NASTY BOAT, MICKEY MOUSE BATTLESHIP, SKIMMER, MOSQUITO FLEET, BOAT. [nb: land lubbers mistakenly believe that this is a special kind of floating gym where seamen perform Physical Training exercises]

P-38 :
P-51 C-ration can opener
P-51 can opener
C-RATIONS can opener; also called a "John Wayne". The P-38 was preceded by a "bird's beak" blade on the scout pattern military folding knife, and discontinued after the Vietnam-era by Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) packaging. Developed in thirty days during the summer of 1942 by the Subsistence Research Laboratory in Chicago; it was named "P(uncture) 38" for the average cut count when opening a can, and in imitation of the speed of the "P-38" LIGHTNING fighter airplane. The P-38 was such a simple and compact device that it was used for a multitude of applications, from scrape and gouge to lever and screwdriver. On this principle, a new MURPHY'S LAW of Combat should be to the effect: "The simpler something is, then the easier it is to use; the easier to use, the more uses will be found for it.". A larger (2"L) version of the same design was introduced during the VIETNAM WAR to make the process of opening many C-RATION cans in a field kitchen easier; this larger version continued the analogy with fast attack airplanes, and was called a "P-51" can opener. Despite the fact that America does not normally use the metric system, the systems are admixed by the US military, such that another naming attribution denotes that the P-38 is 38mm long and the p-51 is 51mm long. Compare CHURCH KEY; see KFS, FRED, SPOON. [nb: the first can opener, patented in 1855 by an Englishman named Robert Yeates and displaced in 1858 by Ezra J. Warner, an American inventor, a two-blade mechanism that was more dangerous than improvised tools, was rescued from well deserved oblivion by becoming an issue item to Union troops during the American CIVIL WAR]

U.S. Navy Patrol Type Fast; see NASTY BOAT.

an indefinite term applied to foul-smelling nitrogenous substances formed in the decomposition (PUTREFACTION) of plant and animal protein by the decarboxylation of univalent amino acids (eg: toxic amines) by bacterial action. Although this term derives from 'corpse', it was erroneously thought to be a cause of FOOD POISONING ("ptomaine poisoning"). See CADAVERINE.

PT'S :
(pee-tee's) the Physical Training uniform; formerly consisting of FATIGUE trousers, T-SHIRT, and COMBAT BOOTS, under the (apparently) misguided supposition that a soldier should work in the uniform that he will wear when he's expected to fight, but in the post-Vietnam era consists of a set of silk-screened sweat clothes (ie: sweat suit, track suit) and high-tech running shoes (ie: trainers, cross-trainers), which ensemble has been designated the Improved Physical Fitness Uniform (IPFU) that's exchanged for the duty uniform after exercising. See RAINBOW PT, GO-FASTERS, EXERCISE.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; formerly known as "battle fatigue", "combat fatigue", "combat exhaustion", "shell shock", or "war neurosis", and now redesignated "Post-Traumatic Stress Injury" (PTSI). This reaction formation is commonly known as jitters, shakes, megrims, dazed, benumbed, jumpy, punchy, wall-gazing, khaki wacky, flak happy or bomb happy (on the model of "slap happy"). PTSD is formally known as Acute Environmental Reaction, which is related to "survivor guilt" syndrome. It was known as "soldier's heart" during and after the American CIVIL WAR. The DRV/SRV calls it "War Syndrome" for both affected civilians and PAVN veterans. War neurosis casualties during WWII were 23% of all evacuated personnel, were 12% during the KOREAN WAR, and were 1.4% during the VIETNAM WAR. See FLASHBACK, THOUSAND-YARD STARE, TELESCOPING, SURVIVOR SYNDROME, OCULAR PINBALL, FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT, BLACKOUT, WHITE STATIC, BLAST SYNDROME, COSR, ZOMBIE, WATERWORKS, FUO, JUNGLE ROT, DISSOCIATION, OBJECTIFICATION, CONVERSION SYMPTOMS, STRESS OF SOUL, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME. [nb: "basket-case" is a term for multiple amputee; now meaning an incapacitated or dysfunctional person, anyone or anything totally impaired] [nb: it has been alleged in the modern era that the dedicated and driven Type-A personality, or compulsive workaholic, is both self-destructive and counterproductive, and this thesis contends that the compassion and sensitivity exhibited in the Type-B Metro-Man persona are preferrable traits; despite this theory, research has shown that an invincible Man of Steel attitude, or the Super-Masculine personality (cf: MACHO), produces positive results: better healing from injury, faster recovery from trauma, increased energy and endurance, more numerous and more flexible coping mechanisms ... in short, being strong and tough makes people more confident and contented]

a quick superficial shower bath; a fast wash that removes (or at least dilutes) the dirt and sweat but doesn't cleanse anyone; the wetting down of undressed unit members by running them through the shower room after exercising but without giving them enough time to use soap. See EXERCISE, MONKEY BUTT, LATRINE, COMFORT STATION; compare DOUCHE BAG, WHORE'S BATH, MARINE SHOWER, NAVY SHOWER, GI SHOWER.

Post-Traumatic Stress Injury, a reaction formation formerly designated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (qv).

Push-To-Talk, or the transmit switch on a microphone or handset of a RADIO; compare HOT MIC, see BREAK SQUELCH.

a protective Kevlar pad that drapes down over the crotch of the wearer from their FLAK VEST; also known as "pube armor" or "pubic pad", "nad pad" or "nut guard".



U.S. Army Presidential Unit
Presidential Unit Citation, effective 7 Dec 1941; issued in either Army / Air Force (blue) version or in Navy / Coast Guard / Marine Corps (blue/gold/red bands) version. Guidelines for presentation of the Presidential Unit Citation stipulate its equivalence being to every member of the unit earning a Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) / Navy Cross (NC) / Air Force Cross (AFC) on the battlefield, but its award has obviously been diluted and politicized since its inception. Also, any equivalent foreign citation awarded by an allied nation to American forces, such as RVN PUC for humanitarian service during August-September 1954 in the evacuation of civilians from North and Central Vietnam. See UNIT CITATION, GONG.

an assessment of risk or difficulty; a tension or fear index. The situation could be "loose" or "tight" (eg: "I'm so uptight that my nuts have been pulled into my earlobes!"; or "If I fart I'll blow my brains out!"; or "Couldn't drive a pin up my ass with a sledge!"). See HANG LOOSE; compare HANG TOUGH. [nb: medical science has ascertained that the testes of male humans are nourished by different blood supplies, with the right being fed from the heart and the left from the kidneys; and as a further evolutionary adaptation, the left testicle always hangs lower than the right so as to prevent constriction or injury] [nb: contrary to popular fiction, fear during enemy contact will temporarily cure (not cause) diarrhea; v: DUMP, TROTS, SQUIRTS]

slang for a USAF AC-47 ground-support aircraft fitted with side-firing MINIGUNs and FLAREs since October 1964; name derived from the folk song, "Puff the Magic Dragon", and also called DRAGON or DRAGON SHIP. See DAKOTA, SPOOKY; compare SPECTRE.




a scarf of silk or cotton, usually colored or printed, that's worn wound around a hat or helmet with the tails falling down behind as protection against the sun; a style adapted by the British Army from the light turban worn in India. See HAVELOCK, HEADGEAR.

designation given to Saigon Control and Reporting Center (CRC).

abbreviation for Personal Unblocking Code, being a secondary security feature for access to restricted data or classified procedures protected by FIREWALL hardware. See CODENAME, CODEWORD, PASSWORD, CIPHER, CODE, PIC, CAC, SMART CARD, SWIPE CARD, UNDER LOCK 'n' KEY. [nb: the Universal Uniform Personal Identification Code (UUPIC) is a "user name" for database access by a government employee, who must also include a control password that's equivalent to a PIC / PIN] [cf: dongle]

dismissive, disregarding, or derogatory reference to a person, usually of a different unit or branch, used in the same sense of grind or DRONE for a worker or laborer (eg: pilot puke, staff puke, RADIO PUKE, etc), as a weenie, wootz, or PUNK; from the classic definition of "anything that is repulsive, contemptible, or worthless" ... in other words, anyone who doesn't possess our own sterling qualities! See CHIEF, PROFESSOR, WIZARD, GUNNER, WONK, DEADHEAD, WANNABE, POGUE, CREEP, DUD, DOPE, YARDBIRD, MAGGOT, SMACK, FIELD REJECT, SHIT MAGNET, TURD, FUCK-UP, MILICRAT. Also, anything comparable to the act of, or the results of vomit, regurgitate, throw-up, upchuck, barf, hurl, toss cookies, ralph, disgorge, keck, retch, HEAVE, nausea, or mal de mer.

derisive nickname for the 101st Airborne Division, based upon the image of the open-mouthed eagle with tongue protruding; also called "barfing buzzards", "Hundred and Worst", and ONE-OH-WORST. Formally known as Screaming Eagles, from its infantry division mascot during the CIVIL WAR; this division was selected for PARACHUTE (ABN) training during WWII, was redesignated AIRMOBILE (1968) during the VIETNAM WAR, and reorganized (1974) after withdrawal from Vietnam as an AIR ASSAULT (heliborne) unit. See SCREAMING CHICKENS, GERONIMO, CURRAHEE, PARADICE, RAKKASAN.

slang used by the British military in the 19th century to mean a 'real gentleman' (with 'pukka' being a Hindi word meaning 'firm', and 'sahib' being an Urdu word from Arabic literally meaning 'friend'); see GENTLEMAN / GENTLEMEN.


an idiomatic expression meaning to hold back one's force or to restrain one's efforts, as derived from boxing, which allusion has been figuratively extended to any situation or circumstance where less than full or complete, earnest or wholehearted, unreserved or unstinting commitment is desired or required; as "We suspected an enemy feint because they were pulling their punches." or "The colonel pulled his punches when critiquing our report." See LIP SERVICE, EYE SERVICE, BLOW SMOKE, TAP-DANCER, HOT AIR, WASHINGTON WALTZ, WOOF, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS, CREDIBILITY GAP, SUMMER SOLDIER, SUNSHINE PATRIOT; compare OUTSIDE THE WIRE, DOG-EAT-DOG, TOOTH 'n' NAIL, NO HOLDS BARRED, BEAT HIM TO THE PUNCH, COUNTERPUNCH, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, CUTTHROAT, UPHILL BATTLE, ROMAN HOLIDAY, WHEN IN ROME.

to adjust the inclination or slope of a helicopter's main rotor, with the implication of "immediate departure" or "rapid exit", of BEAT FEET or HAUL-ASS.


an isometric EXERCISE (not part of the DAILY DOZEN) that entails grasping an overhead horizontal bar, pulling oneself upward until one's chin is above or is level with the bar; also called a CHIN-UP. [nb: purists supposedly distinguish between these terms by the position of the hands: the palms of the hands are facing inward during 'chin-ups' while the palms of the hands are facing outward during 'pull-ups']

on smaller ships and other watercraft, a safety rail rising from the DECK near the BOW, and extending around it; see FORECASTLE, compare ROSTRUM. Also, a similar safety rail at the stern; see TAFFRAIL, BULWARK, LIFELINE.

a fermented milky drink with a yeasty flavor that's made from the juice of certain species of agave (eg: century plant) in Mexico; also known as "agave wine", but having a short shelf-life. See BREW, HOOCH. [cf: beer, kefir, kombucha]

a jet-propulsion engine that's equipped with valves in the front which open and shut, so as to create thrust in rapid periodic bursts when it takes in air, rather than continuously; it contains neither compressor nor turbine. Compare RAMJET, SCRAMJET; see JET PROPULSION.

a small, hand-launched, battery-operated, unmanned airborne threat-warning aircraft (RQ-20) with the primary mission of stealthy surveillance and intelligence gathering by use of an electro-optical and infrared camera, as produced by Aerovironment (2007); each all-weather military system comprises three air vehicles and two ground stations; other DRONE versions include a solar battery, long-range tracking, and global positioning (GPS).

one of the basic mechanical devices used for transferring substances (eg: fluids, gases, debris, etc), as originally attributed to archimedes; an apparatus of pistons or plungers operated by up-and-down or back-and-forth movements, or by a set of rotating vanes, which exertions accomplish work. Also, a biological organ (ie: heart) that propels fluid (ie: blood) through the animal's body [cf: sodium / potassium pump]. Also, to forcefully and repeatedly drive one thing into something else, in imitation of the spurting action of a pump ... "He rapidly pumped more than a dozen shots into the bull's-eye." Also, to supply or inject as if by using a pump. Also, to elicit information by artful or persistent questioning, as when pumping confidences from a covert source. Also, a lightweight, low-cut, slip-on shoe without fastenings, as for wear with formal dress by men and women since the early 18th century; see FOOTWEAR, DRESS.

a manual sliding lever operation that extracts the empty cartridge case, loads the next round from the magazine, and cocks the firearm for the subsequent discharge of certain shotguns and rifles, as introduced to military inventory for special usage; also called "slide-action".

to infuse with enthusiasm, competitive spirit, energy, and the like; to heighten, increase, or strengthen, as by expanded engagement or intensified effort. Also, a "flexed" condition of overworked muscles caused by an accumulation of lactic acid (a product of anaerobic glucose metabolism), which condition makes the affected muscles relatively unresponsive and weak; such severe fatigue can feel like a "burn" due to the body's inability to flush the built-up toxins and refresh the muscles with oxygenated blood; a period of rest and massage will restore strength and agility to the affected muscles; compare CHARLEY HORSE. [v: pump iron] [nb: "Tighten a muscle long enough and eventually, it will relax of its own accord, and remain utterly flaccid ... emotional 'muscles' adhere to the same law." by Lawrence Block]

informal reference to a severe wound involving arterial or pulmonary veinous bleeding; also called "gusher". See WIA, GSW, DOW.

formerly a lead sphere fitting muzzle-loaders of the largest bore, but since superseded by the shotgun slug; so-called by an implied resemblance; see HARDBALL. [nb: a slang term for the fully metal jacketed .45cal PISTOL and submachinegun (SMG) ammunition is 'pumpkin ball' ("punkin ball"), so-called due to its color and size]



a crater at the summit of an extinct volcano on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, where the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located for the interment of those servicemembers who were killed in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam; see NATIONAL CEMETERY.

a large container from which a beverage is served, usually with a ladle, as during a social or festive occasion; see SANGRIA, PLANTER'S PUNCH. [v: monteith; cf: wassail cup]

colloquialism for artillery fire, especially when random or adventitious; see H&I, I&I, HARASSMENT FIRE; compare BORING HOLES IN THE SKY.

the climactic phrase or sentence in a speech or humorous story that produces the desired effect; an Americanism of the post-WWI era that probably derives from the last word being delivered as powerfully as a physical blow (SMITE).

slang expression for the emergency abandonment of a disabled aircraft by the PILOT and crew, whether by using an ejection seat (also called "hot seat" or "panic rack") or by exiting (BAILOUT or DITCH) through HATCHes or other openings; also called "punch Elvis" or "ride the rocket". See NYLON LETDOWN, GUARD, BLINKER, LOCATOR BEACON, SAR, SURVIVAL. Also, a catch-phrase for flee, run away, or make a hasty departure; see RETREAT, RETROGRADE, CHANGING TUNE, BEAT FEET, CUT AND RUN, BAILOUT, DECAMP, PULL PITCH, SCRAM, SPLIT. Also, slang for a knock-down-drag-out fight, slugfest, brawl, affray, brannigan, wrangle, or the like, as to beat, thrash, or pummel an opponent with the fists; also called "punch-up" or "duke it out"; see TWO-FISTED, ONE-TWO, BEAT HIM TO THE PUNCH, COUNTERPUNCH, SMACK DOWN, GROUP HUG, BATTLE ROYAL, KING OF THE HILL, FIGHTING MAD, MASSACRE, PULL ONE'S PUNCHES. [cf: barratry]


an itemized schedule, indexed and enumerated in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), of acts (eg: drunk and disorderly, absent without leave, desertion, insubordination, breach of orders, mutiny, etc) forbidden to servicemembers, together with the punishments for violation of these prohibitions. [v: UCMJ Punitive Articles]

a sharpened bamboo stake concealed along access routes or AMBUSH sites, as in foliage or water, sometimes coated with poison or excrement, so as to pierce the feet or gash the legs of enemy soldiers; derived from Chingpaw ("punjee", "panja"), in the Tibet (Xizang) - Burma (Myanmar) region. See ABATIS, FRAISE, CALTROP, BOOBY-TRAP, TU DAI.

any natural (eg: tinder or touchwood) or prepared substance that will smolder so it may be used for lighting FUSEs or other combustibles; see SPUNK, SLOW MATCH. Also, a brash or defiant youth, as a young hoodlum or hooligan, especially in imitation of tougher airs; see BAD BOY, WANNABE, PAY DUES, BTDT, IOTA. Also, the young male partner of a homosexual, as a catamite; term derives from "prostitute"; see CANDY-ASS, POGUE, POGY BAIT, FAG. Also, an unimportant or inexperienced youth, as a tradesman apprentice or juvenile prisoner; see PUKE, compare AIDE. [v: child, kid, stripling, youth, youngster, juvenile, adolescent, springald, fledgling, sprout, shaver, minor] Also, anything poor in quality or condition, as a worthless thing or person; see SLOP, WASH, WAD, SMACK, MAGGOT. Also, an unconventional subculture that aggressively exhibits extremes of socially defiant behavior, including abusive or violent protests and bizarre styles of dress or adornment; a juvenile movement that has affected a studied defiance of traditional norms and conventional behavior since the era of deconstructionism, without advocating any solutions to societal problems; see COUNTERCULTURE, SOFT TYRANNY, CULTURE WAR, DECONSTRUCTION, POST-MODERN, NIHILISM, STATE SUICIDE, UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-AMERICAN. [v: ennui, nihilism, anomie, kulturkampf]

nickname for a SEAL trainee; compare TADPOLE, FROGMAN, LEG, POLLYWOG, CHUM, NUGGET; see HELL WEEK.

a person or government, group or organization (eg: puppet army) whose actions are prompted and controlled by others, as a pawn, figurehead, tool, or instrument; see PROTECTORATE, SATELLITE, NANNY STATE, CLIENT STATE, GARRISON STATE, BUFFER STATE, BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW.

slang for the link sausages served at breakfast, but may be equally applied to any small frankfurter (eg: Vienna sausage); also called "doggie dicks", "poodle peckers", and "monkey dicks". Compare HORSE COCK, DONKEY DICK; see BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS.

in NavSpeak, a shivering clutch of cold and wet humanity who are sharing body warmth under dire circumstances so as to forestall loss of life due to hypothermia; this alliterative allusion is also known as "dog pile" and "pile-up". See SURF TORTURE, WHISTLE DRILL, HELL WEEK, TADPOLE, FROGMAN, UDT, PUP, BUDS, SEAL, NSWG, BUDWEISER. [nb: heat is transferred from the human body at a rate of twenty-five to seventy times more in water than in air]

nickname for a small two-person tent, also called "dog tent" or "shelter tent"; as assembled from each individual's identical SHELTER-HALF into temporary housing that's supported by sectional poles and is pegged to the ground with pickets. PUP TENTs were not used IN-COUNTRY during the VIETNAM WAR, but comprised an essential part of stateside BIVOUAC training. The SHELTER-HALF can also serve satisfactorily as a lean-to for single occupancy; and it also serves as a groundsheet when a TARP or PONCHO is not available. See SHEBANG, BOHIO, PORTALEDGE, G.P., BOLTROPE, COMPANY STREET, TENT. [nb: due to chronic delay of unit support to unite with mobile troops before the end of each day's operations, the U.S. Army replaced large tents with white muslin shelter-halves in December 1862; which had peg loops on one edge and buttons with button holes on the other edge, so any two cloths could be joined to make a small two-person "shelter tent". Because of the necessity to crawl in and out of them, these low shelters reminded troops of kennels, so they were immediately named "dog tents", which was shortly modified to PUP TENTs. It was a simple and effective design that remained essentially unchanged for over a century]

the compulsory assignment to the Pentagon for field-grade officers who must be exposed to the planning procedures of higher echelon strategists in order to become well rounded and better informed; so-called after 'purgatory' (any condition or place of temporary punishment or expiation); see TICKET-PUNCHER, SCRAP METAL COLLECTOR, FAST TRACK, GOLDEN BOY, UP OR OUT, MIL-PERS, PUZZLE PALACE, MADHOUSE, ELEPHANT DANCE, PENTAGONITIS, CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND, WHITE WAY, HEADSHED, HQ, DOG 'n' PONY SHOW, YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND, NOSE COUNT, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, PARTY LINE, HEADQUARTERISM.

(re: unity; royalty) see THINK PURPLE.

referrent for the imperial capital of Vietnam in HUE, its citadel and associated structures; also called the Forbidden City.

designation for a tertiary opposition force or enemy component, often air or naval, especially when war gaming or during training exercises. See CPX, FTX, JTFEX, JRTC, NTC, GQ, WAR GAMES, OPFOR, ORANGE FORCE, RED FORCE, RED TEAM, BANDIT, BAD GUYS, BELIEVER; compare GRAY FORCE, GREEN FORCE, BLUE FORCE, ALLY, FRIENDLIES.

nickname of the Hawaiian 100th Infantry Battalion, so-called from the high number of casualties it suffered during the WWII Italian campaign; this unit was later integrated as the first battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed of Neisei, Kibei, and Sansei citizens, which is the most decorated unit of its size in American history ... members were known as "little iron men" for their intrepidity. The slogan of the 442nd RCT was "Go for Broke!", an Americanism they embodied. See LOST BATTALION, MIS.

Purple Heart medal
awarded for a battle wound or death resulting from combat action, this was the first decoration in the world made available to the common soldier. The pendant medal was designed by Elizabeth Will for its 22 Feb 1932 replacement of the WWI "wound stripe", which was a chevron worn on the right sleeve near the cuff in a manner similar to the Overseas Stripe, which chevron was later changed to a HERSHEY BAR. The PURPLE HEART, considered to be America's oldest military decoration, bears the likeness of George Washington, who conceived the "Badge of Military Merit" in 1782 for "any singularly meritorious action", and this cloth decoration was awarded to only three soldiers in the Revolutionary War for conspicuous gallantry. Multiple awards of the PURPLE HEART medal, for wounds received during different combat actions, are denoted by the addition of oak leaf clusters (OLC). Anyone eligible for the POW Medal is presumptively awarded the Purple Heart Medal as well. The PURPLE HEART medal is sarcastically ridiculed as "the enemy marksmanship medal"! See GONG, FRUIT SALAD, IMPACT AWARD, MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, LINE OF DUTY. [nb: after a time of limited issue to civilians (from 1962 to 1998, including terrorist attacks after 1973) who were wounded or killed while serving under military authority, the award of the PURPLE HEART medal has since been restricted to military personnel only; the civilian equivalent of the PURPLE HEART is the Defense of Freedom Medal] [nb: "You'll never get the Purple Heart hidin' in your foxhole!" unknown Marine]


informal reference during and after WWII to any especially bloody battlefield, which have been variously located at the Rapido River and Monte Cassino in Italy, the Blue Beach in Lingayen Gulf on Luzon island of the Philippines, the A SHAU VALLEY in Vietnam, and the like; compare HAPPY VALLEY.

formerly the designation for an armed airplane designed for speed and maneuverability in fighting enemy aircraft; see BIRD.

a more or less viscid substance produced by suppuration, which yellowish-white exudation is found in abrasions, abscesses, sores, and the like, consisting of a liquid plasma in which white blood cells are suspended, sometimes purulent; see BLOOD PLASMA.

referring to a radio frequency (eg: 'PUSH 71.675' means set or switch-to the radio frequency 71.675 megahertz); see FREQ, GUARD, UNICOM, SURF, HITCHHIKE, HOPSCOTCH, AIRWAY, RADIO. Also, to proceed, advance, press, urge, or thrust, as a determined military action. Also, to medicate optimally; compare STAT.

(forthcoming); re: towing tractor (tug, MULE), see UNCOUPLE. Also, informal reference to the response to a counterattack or to a counteroffensive.

a catch-phrase, expressive of intensity, that identifies when matters have become serious or when circumstances have reached the crucial point where a decision or some action is required; the stage at which things can no longer be postponed. Compare FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT, DON'T DO NOTHING, CLUTCH-UP, PING-PONG, MOVE OUT 'n' DRAW FIRE, HAPPY FEET, CUT THE GORDIAN KNOT, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, KEEP A STIFF UPPER LIP, RISKY-SHIFT EFFECT, BEAT AROUND THE BUSH.

an idiomatic expression meaning that someone (or something) is dead and buried, that a person (or project) has been terminated and disposed of; also expressed as "food for worms" (or worm food), "food for fishes" (or fish food), and "feed the fishes"; see BITE THE DUST, BUY THE FARM, CHECK OUT, ZAP / ZAPPED, WASTED, WAXED, KIA, DOW, SOL, BITTER END.

to proceed, to continue, to CARRY-ON.

an exercise performed from the FRONT LEANING REST or prone position, often directed by the informal command to DROP, to "Hit it!" or "Kiss concrete!", "Push earth!" or "Beat your face!". Compare PLANK, SQUAT, JUMPING JACK; see EXERCISE, PAIN.

slang for a person's mouth; also called "kisser" and "pie-hole". Also, slang for a person's FACE, their countenance or visage, mien or physiognomy. Also, informal allusion to a cat or feline, tabby or mouser. Also, informal allusion to a woman, by comparison of her shared characteristics with a house cat (eg: graceful, aloof, sprightly, mercurial, furtive, selfish, etc). Also, the most common vulgar slang for female genitalia or for a woman as a sexual object; also called poontang, poon, SNATCH, nooky / nookie, gully, box, squeezebox, cooter, tootie / tutti, hoo-ha, snapper, coochie, hair pie, spunk bucket, twat, twatchel, muff, quim, quiff, gash, slit, beaver, mouse, cunt, cunnikin, honey pot, toy shop, Venus trap, bird's nest, snake pit, pudendum / pudenda, moneymaker, purse, yoni, HAPPY VALLEY; see SPLIT, COCK BAIT, STRANGE, CAMP FOLLOWER, CAMPAIGN WIFE, SHACK-JOB, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, SLEEPING DICTIONARY, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, BALL BUSTER, BITCH, GOLDEN VAGINA SYNDROME, SKIRT; compare PRICK, CU, ONIONS. [v: Hottentot apron, Nez Percé plucked pubes (glabrous), Yakima thong, and Arabic nymphotomy, labial excision, or clitoral circumcision] [nb: not to be confused with 'pus' (qv)]


(aka: "a word to the wise...") see VERBUM SAP, CALL ON THE CARPET. [v: comeuppance]

shortening of "put a good face on a disaster" or "put a pretty face on a bloody corpse"; see POLISHING THE TURD.

a euphemism for anything done or said in the style, manner, type, fashion, resemblance, or character of a prostitute, or in whorehouse style, as derived from 'poontang', a vulgar Americanism; being any stopgap or makeshift solution, make-do or ad-lib resolution. See FIELD EXPEDIENT, WORK-AROUND, JURY-RIG, SEAT OF THE PANTS, YOU PISS WITH THE DICK YOU GOT, IMPROVISE / IMPROVISATION, ADAPT / ADAPTABILITY, AD HOC.

slang for a disparaging or snubbing remark, especially by a superior to a subordinate, by a jealous senior to an upstart junior; see SQUELCH, ROUGHSHOD, HEADQUARTERISM, MICROMANAGEMENT, KAFCA, CASTRATION ANXIETY, STRESSOR, NO EXCUSE, ZERO TOLERANCE, RING-KNOCKER, KHAKI MAFIA, MILICRAT; compare SMACK DOWN. Also, slang for euthanasia, mercy killing, or COUP DE GRACE. Also, the act of landing an airplane; see TOUCHDOWN, TOUCH AND GO, BOUNCE, FIELD CARRIER LANDING, SPLASHDOWN.

an idiomatic expression, used as an observation or criticism, meaning to meddle or interfere, to obtrude or intervene, to trespass or encroach, to butt-in or horn-in, to overstep or poke one's nose in; compare PADDLE YOUR OWN CANOE; see OPINION, PEANUT GALLERY, TWO CENTS / TWO-CENTS. [v: kibitz]

to give the appearance of confidence or assurance; also represented as "put a bold face on"; compare PUT A GOOD FACE ON IT. [cf: bald faced]

a peevish plaint, variously expressed as "I put my pants on one leg at a time just like him!" or "He puts his pants on one leg at a time just like we do!", which is used to express egalitarian dissatisfaction with the meritocracy that runs the Armed Forces. This catch-phrase denigrates the preferment and promotion system extant in every social hierarchy, but especially in governmental bureaucracies. This appeal to normative equanimity, refuted by the evidence of every competitive and comparative assessment, mental or physical, discriminate or not, merely reinforces the distinction ... for all our genetic similarities, it's our differences that distinguish us. In its most generous sense, this expression connotes the "regular guy" status of someone who's successful or privileged; it is equivalent to "Even the queen (or king, pope or pooh-bah, general or admiral) has to use the toilet just like regular folks!" [v: "even a cat may look at a king"]

that which rots or decays with an offensive odor, as when spoiled, decomposed, or gangrenous; the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter by bacteria and fungi that results in obnoxiously odoriferous or noisomely malodorous products. See CADAVERINE, PTOMAINE.

a long strip of cloth worn wrapped around the lower leg of a soldier in uniform; also spelled "putty" or "puttie", as derived from the Hindi word (patti) for bandage. Also, a gaiter or LEGGING of cloth or leather, as worn by soldiers, riders, and other outdoorsmen. See BOONDOCKERS, BROWN SHOE / BOOT, FOOTWEAR.

a catch-phrase meaning alarm, anxiety, or concern; anything that causes uncertainty or confusion, nervousness or flustered upset; originating in the revised lyrics for the marching song The British Grenadiers ("Father was a soldier, at the Battle of Waterloo, the wind blew up his trousers, and he didn't know what to do"), which was popular among Allied troops during the Great War (WWI), and appears in a 1918 Wilfred Owen poem ("Shells so close that they thoroughly put the wind up a Life Guardsman in the trench with me"), referring to bullets passing near enough or bombs hitting close enough to PUT THE WIND UP someone's kilt, or up someone's nose! [nb: despite the salty desires of the Committee to Ascribe a Naval Origin to Everything (CANOE), this expression has nothing to do with a wind rising to fill the sails of a becalmed ship preliminary to impelling its movement]

an idiomatic expression meaning to execute or slay, being a cause of punitive death.

the sound made by a small internal-combustion engine, or imitative of its operation, especially descriptive of an under-powered motor vehicle equipped with such; compare TUK-TUK, CYCLO, PEDICAB, RICKSHA, HACK, KIMCHI CAB, RICE-BURNER, RICE ROCKET. [nb: a motorized bicycle, invented by Gottlieb Daimler in 1885, was commonly referred to as a "tuck-tuck" or "tusk-tusk" throughout the United Kingdom due to its onomatopoeic puttering sound, which may have influenced the slang in Great Britain's Asian colonies; v: The War in the Air by H.G. Wells (1908)]



(aka: "Oriental puzzle box", "trick box", "magic box", and "secret box") see CHINESE BOX, BLACK BOX; compare OUTSIDE THE BOX.

any major command headquarters (HQ), especially the combined location for all Armed Forces headquarters at the Pentagon (ie: "the building") near the capitol; also known as Fort Fumble or Fudge Factory. Compare MADHOUSE, IMPERIAL PALACE, PINK PALACE, IVORY TOWER, WHITE WAY, SUICIDE ALLEY, GROUND ZERO; see JCS, ELEPHANT DANCE, PENTAGONITIS, PURGATORY TOUR, HEADQUARTERISM.

abbreviation for PriVaTe, which is a SLICK SLEEVE rank, rated E-1 and E-2 before the Vietnam-era, but later reorganized as PVT/E-1 SLICK SLEEVE, PFC/E-2 one chevron, LCPL/E-3 as one-up-one-down Lance Corporal (LCPL), keeping CPL/E-4 at two chevrons. See SWINE LOG, MOSQUITO WING, MOSQUITO SMILE, MATING MOSQUITOES, EM, RANK, GRADE, RATING.

(forthcoming); a series of animated short films produced by the U.S. Army during WWII; see SNAFU, FUCK-UP, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, WTFO, SOL, BOHICA. [nb: The Three Brothers, a 1944 U.S. Army animated short film that was directed by Friz Freleng, portrays a character named Fubar as being the brother of Privates Snafu and Tarfu; v: Situation Normal by Arthur Miller (1944)]

PW :

PX :
Post eXchange, same as BX or NEX concession; the sutler's store of general merchandise for military personnel and their dependents. See GEDUNK STORE, SLOP CHEST, CANTEEN, AAFES, COMMISSARY. [cf: vivandière]

an aluminum coin of Burma (Myanmar), which is the one-hundredth part of a KYAT; see LEGAL TENDER.

(puu-yah) acronym for "Pull Your Head Out Of Your Ass" (ie: "rectal defilade"), perhaps in imitation of HOOAH or OORAH; see HIC, BURY ONE'S HEAD IN THE SAND, CYA, BOHICA, SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT, DUD, TURD, SOS, SMACK, MAGGOT, SHIT MAGNET, FIELD REJECT, FUCK-UP, SHIT LIST, BROWN NOSE.

a fin-like device used to attach auxiliary equipment (eg: POD) to an aircraft; compare FAIRING, HARDPOINT, RACK. Also, a marking post or tower for guiding aviators, frequently used in races; see WINDSOCK. Also, a steel tower used as a support, or any upright structure beside a bridge or gate; as derived from the monumental gateway to an ancient temple.

designation given to Ban Me Thout Control and Reporting Post (CRP).

the art of making and using various EXPLOSIVEs, together with other materials, so as to create a sensational display of FIREWORKS; see HME, SHOCK 'n' AWE, SHOOTING STAR, WATERWORKS, THUNDERSTRUCK, LOOM.

an objective attained at too great a price, a ruinous goal; from a remark made by Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, after a costly victory over the Romans at Asculum in 279BC, that "One more such victory and we are lost.", as recorded by Plutarch; this sentiment was later represented as an "empty victory" by James Longstreet. See FIGHT LIKE KILKENNY CATS, AUTOTOMY, BITTER END, SNOWBALL, BELL THE CAT, TAR BABY.

PZ :
Pick-up Zone for helicopter cargo loading and assembled troop extraction; see LZ, CLZ, AIRMOBILE, LIFT, FLARE, BUTTONHOOK.