combat writing badge

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

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

S :
an aircraft prefix under the Joint Service Designation System that represents 'anti-submarine'.

s/ :
the prefix attached to the stipulated SUSPENSE DATE in an ORDER or similar directive.

/s/ :
the symbol used on printed FORMs and other documents, including e-mail correspondence, representing someone's SIGNATURE (qv), as in a SIGNATURE BLOCK.

SA :
abbreviation for Salvation Army; see SALLY, USO.

a slightly curved sword with only one edge sharpened, as used by cavalrymen; see COLD STEEL, SWORD, LONG KNIFE, OLD WRIST BREAKER, MAMELUKE SWORD, CARRY SWORDS, CROSS SWORDS, AT SWORDS' POINTS, PUT TO THE SWORD, MEASURE SWORDS. [v: Knife Terms; The Language of Swordplay] Also, an outdated metonym that was formerly used to tally the strength of a given cavalry unit (ie: "a squadron of a thousand sabers"); compare BAYONET.

a show or threat of military power; see CROSS SWORDS, GUNPOINT, ARMS RACE, GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY, BIG STICK DIPLOMACY, COVER, DIME, CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS, HEAD TO HEAD, HAIR-TRIGGER, HALF-COCKED, FIGHTING WORDS, TRAILING HIS COAT, BLOODY SHIRT, NEUTRALIZE, ANTEBELLUM; compare WATCH MY SMOKE. [cf: bellicose, antagonistic, hostile, pugnacious, Firebrand, fire-eater] [nb: "If possessing a weapon reassures you, then the weapon is your strength, and you are not truly brave; fear will rule your assessments, and false courage will make you rash." anonymous]

(say-bot, not "sah-bow") a specially designed projectile carrier (derived from "shoe") that's used to accommodate a CALIBER or to enhance AMMO effectiveness. An anti-tank SABOT (SLAP) round, by maximizing its kinetic energy, will delay detonation to permit inertial penetration, which greatly increases target damage. A small arms SABOT cartridge enables a narrower BULLET to be fired from a larger bore with equal accuracy and greater (or lesser) velocity, with the encasement discarded enroute to the target. The SABOT was formerly a wooden or metal disc (ie: FERRULE) attached to the projectile in a muzzleloading cannon; but now is a soft metal ring (ie: FERRULE) at the base of a projectile that makes the encased projectile conform to the rifling grooves of a gun, allowing the full force of a larger CHARGE to increase the impact of the penetrator. Compare SUBMUNITION; see STABALLOY. [nb: not to be confused with an "auxiliary chamber" or an "auxiliary cartridge" which is an indwelling adaptive device, like a sleeve or housing, that rests in the gun's chamber, filling the space so smaller caliber ammunition can be fired from a barrel with a larger bore; such an auxiliary device remains in the firearm, and does not travel down range with the bullet, shell, or round] [nb: RIFLEd guns are denoted "inch" (eg: 3" Field Gun called "three incher"), which is the diameter of the projectile, while SMOOTHBORE cannons are denoted "pound" (eg: 12# Mountain HOWITZER called "twelve pounder"), which is the weight of the projectile]

the disguised or surreptitious but deliberate damage of materials, products, equipment, machinery, facilities, or conveyances, so as to disrupt or incapacitate normal function in aid of social, religious, political, economic, or military ends; also known as undermining, wrecking, ruination, and subversion, and a saboteur is also called an underminer, wrecker, spoiler, monkey-wrencher. See BOOBY-TRAP, IED, MONKEY WRENCH, DEADMAN, GUERRILLA WARFARE, UW, TERRORIST, BAD GUYS, CI, PROVOCATEUR, SOF. [v: during the CIVIL WAR, sabotaged steel rails, called Sherman's "Hairpins" or Sherman's "Bowties", which were twisted with Poe's railroad hooks, made railroad service inconsistent and inefficient; ] [nb: on 13 June 1942, four Nazi saboteurs were landed by submarine near Amagansett on Long Island, New York, and four more were INFILtrated on 17 June 1942 onto Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, Florida with enough explosives, incendiaries, and operating funds to conduct a two-year campaign of sabotage and terrorism on defence-related production sites, but due to FBI collaboration, codenamed "Pastorius", all eight were arrested by 27 June 1942, were tried by military commission from 8 July 1942, and six were executed on 8 August 1942, with the two collaborators imprisoned until April 1948 when they were granted Executive Clemency and repatriated; only two more spies were landed by the Axis, but were captured in 1944 near their Maine beachhead before they could accomplish any part of their mission] [nb: during WWII, the German Brandenburg Division was composed of linguists who were specially trained to infiltrate foreign armies (eg: French, Italian, Russian, Dutch, Greek, etc) as impostors to perform SABOTAGE; "Brandenburger" trainees were tested on the effectiveness of their aculturated disguises in exercises called "Masquerade Balls"] [v: syndicalism]

the North American F-86 jet aircraft; subdivided into the daytime "Sabre Jet" fighter, and the RADAR-equipped F-86D "Sabre Dog" fighter. Compare SUPER SABRE, FURY; see BIRD.

USAF strategic Air Command
SAC (1946)
USAF Strategic Air Command
SAC (1951)
(sack) Strategic Air Command; formed in March 1946, with the motto of "Global Reach, Global Power"; being one of three USAF commands, including Tactical Air Command (TAC) and Air Defense Command (ADC). The "shield" insignia of the Strategic Air Command was designed by SSG R.T. Barnes of the 92nd Bombardment Wing in 1951; the armored arm symbolizes strength, the lightning symbolizes speed, the olive branch symbolizes peace, while the clouds and sky are symbolic of the realm of air power. SAC assets were reorganized into the Air Combat Command (ACC) and Air Mobility Command (AMC) in 1991, and replaced in June 1992 by the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). A sardonic motto popularized by SAC was: "Peace Through Strength – Victory Through Devastation"; SAC was also notorious for expanding the Air Force motto: "Peace Is Our Profession – War Is Just Our Hobby", or "Peace Is Our Profession – Mass Murder Is Just Our Hobby." Also, abbreviation for Supreme Allied Commander, being an interservice and international leadership position, such as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR); see SCAP, SUPREMO, SHAEF.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe; see NATO, SHAEF, SCAP. [nb: the military has discontinued its use of "cinc-" prefixed abbreviations to avoid any confusion with POTUS]


Sino-American Cooperative Organization; WWII clandestine force operating behind enemy lines. See OSS, SECRET AGENT, CRYPTO, SPOOK, TRADECRAFT.

Security Alert CONdition, also represented as "security alert configuration"; see DEFCON, FPCON, ESP, GQ, ALERT, FOOTBALL, TOCSIN, STAND-DOWN, STAND-TO.

nickname of the first presidential airplane, later identified as "Air Force One", being a DC-3 DAKOTA, as so-called by Harry S. Truman; when updated to a luxuriously appointed DC-54 CONSTELLATION, President Truman ridiculed the aircraft as "a flying bordello". See BIRD.

informal expression by leaders to MISSION READY and COMBAT LOADED troops that the operation is about to commence or continue, that everyone should don their GEAR and check their weapons enroute to the ASSEMBLY or departure area; also phrased as "slap a hat". This expression is preliminary to the informal command MOVE OUT. See GOOD TO GO, UNLIMBER, LOCK 'n' LOAD, FAT, OP TEMPO, JUMP-START, SPIN-UP, HOOPLA, BATTAILOUS.

someone who inflicts cruelty, anguish or degradation, in order to obtain emotional satisfaction or physical gratification; this trait is considered to be a psychosexual aberration that's an essential component (to one degree or another) of every drillmaster, who are often proud of this capacity. See TOUGH LOVE, PAIN, THEATER OF CRUELTY; compare MASOCHIST.

an award-winning cartoon strip created and drawn by George Baker for YANK magazine, with the name derived from a common reference made to many new reCRUITs and DRAFTEEs by their drillmasters during WWII: a "sad sack of shit". See DOESN'T KNOW SHIT FROM SHINOLA, COMICS, FICTIONAL CHARACTER; compare DUD, MAGGOT, TURD, SOS.

abbreviation for Small Arms Fire. Also, Security Assistance Force, being SOF elements with regional specialization for selective investment or intervention under USSOCOM; replaced in 2007 by "global expeditionary forces", being amalgamated interservice elements without the limitation of regional orientation for worldwide application.




acronym representing Selective Areas For Evasion, being proposed routes of escape from North Vietnam, including food, shelter, medicine, and escort; as derived from SAC plans for USSR, and OSS plans for INDOCHINA. See E&E, SERE, BRIGHT LIGHT, BLOOD CHIT, HOME RUN, POINTIE TALKIE, IRC, DP, BOAT PEOPLE, YELLOW BIRD. [nb: the "human railway" was an escape network established by the Resistance (French, Belgian, Czech, and others) to rescue or conceal downed Allied aircrewmen so as to escort them to neutral nations (Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, or Sweden) for repatriation during WWII; also known as the "underground railroad"]


anything that ensures safety; something that serves as a protection or defense. Also, a permit for safe passage; laissez-passer. Also, a guard, escort, or convoy; a shield. Also, a mechanical device or mechanistic system that's designed to ensure security or to warrant protection; see QUILT, FIREWALL.

a secure location reserved for undetected and uninterrupted meetings, such as pre-mission briefing or post-mission isolation; which is always called a "house", regardless of configuration or physical location, whether apartment or townhouse or separate dwelling; also known as "safe site". Compare BUBBLE, SAFE ROOM, BOLT HOLE, RABBIT HOLE, HIDE.

see TOC TAN; compare MILITARY TAN.

a concealed area or a secure enclosure within a building that is setup for protective or defensive shelter during intrusion or attack; also known as "panic room" or "hidey-hole" (or "hidy-hole"), with such space formerly known as a "priest's hole" during times of religious repression. Such a room or hideout, like a BOMB SHELTER, is usually supplied with survival necessities, communications equipment, tools and weapons; its installation serves as a precaution against home invasion or other terroristic threat. See BOLT HOLE, SAFE HOUSE, HIDE, BUBBLE, FALLOUT SHELTER; compare CACHE, GLORY HOLE, SMUGGLER'S TRAP. [nb: the priest's hole, added to dwellings from the Elizabethian through the Jacobite period to shelter recusants, was also called a concealed apartment, secret chamber, or mysterious room, and sometimes included a defensive trap called a deadly pit] Also, a living or recreation room, den or library, decorated or accented with personal militaria, especially mementos and souvenirs of service, also called "trophy room" or "shrine"; see POWER WALL.

a secure location reserved for undetected and uninterrupted meetings; see SAFE HOUSE, SUB-ROSA; compare SAFE ROOM, BOLT HOLE.

originating as a blade guard (of several designs) for the straight "cut-throat" razor before 1880, the first 'safety razor' was inspired by the design of the joiner's plane, and was manufactured by the Kampfe Brothers ("Star Safety Razor") from 1875 in New York. The first modern type of SAFETY RAZOR with throwaway blades was invented (1895) by King Camp Gillette. Beards became less fashionable during the period of the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR and the BOXER UPRISING, so the military began to issue the Gillette SAFETY RAZOR in 1904; beards would later be prohibited as interfering with the proper fit of the GAS MASK during the TRENCH WARFARE of WWI. COL Jacob Schick, a veteran of WWI, patented the first electric dry shaver in 1928, and marketed it in 1931. See RAZOR BURN, LADY'S BEST FRIEND, FACE FUZZ. [nb: the Army Transportation Corps has a tradition of beards for landing craft crews, as does the Navy ... both approved for wear during the VIETNAM WAR] [nb: Alexander the Great was reputedly clean-shaven so as to prevent an enemy from grabbing his beard, and holding him long enough to deliver a killing stroke]

a scale indicating the speed or pressure of cyclonic storms, enumerated 1-5, and commonly expressed as "Category #" [ie: Category 1: 65-82 kts/74-95 smph @ 980 mb/28.94" hg; Category 2: 83-95 kts/96-110 smph @ 965-979 mb/28.50-28.91" hg; Category 3: 96-113 kts/111-130 smph @ 945-964 mb/27.91-28.47" hg; Category 4: 114-135 kts/131-155 smph @ 920-944 mb/27.17-27.88" hg; Category 5: +135 kts/+155 smph @ 919 mb/27.16" hg]; also cited as "Safford-Simpson Scale". See BEAUFORT SCALE, FUJITA SCALE, STORM WARNING, WINDSOCK, TELLTALE. [nb: a 'typhoon' is a tropical cyclone or hurricane occurring in the western Pacific ocean area,including the seas of China and India; derived from "great wind" in Chinese dialect that was altered by association with "violent wind" in Greek (Typhoeus / Typhon); cf: "divine wind" (kamikaze) that prevented Kublai Khan's Mongol armada from invading Japan in 1274 and 1281]

literally "Self Adjusting Fuck Up", or more euphemistically as "... foul up"; see FUCK-UP, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, WTFO, SOL, BOHICA.

see REMF.

any pretense drink simulating an alcoholic beverage, such as colored water, tea, or wish-wash ("eyewash") sold as whiskey, served to bar girls or hostesses earning a commission on customer sales, so as to make entertainment of the "lonely American" as profitable as possible. Compare MOCKTAIL, IRISH SODA POP; see WASH, HOOCH, GROG, BREW, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, GROUP TIGHTENER, HOIST, TOAST, HATCH, DUTCH COURAGE, WHISKEY WARRIOR, CLASS SIX, BYOB, DEAD-SOLDIER, THE DRINK.

slang for the CONNING TOWER of a SUBMARINE; also known as FAIRWATER.

crossing the longitudinal meridian of the International DATE LINE in an easterly direction; see GOLDEN DRAGON, TIME.

see SWABBY, SQUID, NUGGET, CHUM, FRESH CATCH, POLLYWOG, BOOT, CRUIT, SNOTTY, DRYBACK, SHELLBACK, MOSSBACK, PLANK OWNER, MASTER-AT-ARMS, SP, BREAK SHIP, ROCKS 'n' SHOALS, CAPTAIN'S MAST, SEA LAWYER, SHIPMATE, SEA DADDY, MISTER, MUSTANG, OLD SALT, HANDY, CHIEF, DOG ROBBER, ALL HANDS, BLUE JACKET, WHITE CAP, DIXIE CUP, HOISE, AHOY, CHANTEY, SEAL, BROWN SHOE, AIRDALE, BLACK SHOE, BROWN WATER sailor, MUD DUCK, WATER WINGS, SKIMMER, DIPPER, BUBBLEHEAD, DOLPHIN, BOOMER, WARM BODY, THE DRINK, HOIST, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, SUNDOWNER, ON THE BEACH. [nb: Vietnamese term: Thuy Thu] [v: mariner, seafarer, seaman, sea dog, anchor clanker, deck ape, gob / gobshite, jack-tar, tar] [nb: a sailor who entered the 19th century Navy to escape poverty or problems ashore was said to be: "purser rigged and parish damned"; while a foppish or unseamanlike officer of that time was called: "rosewater sailor"] [nb: the Cantonese expression "gwai-lo" for 'white ghost' initially referred to Occidental seamen on sailing ships, which disappeared ghost-like on the nighttime tide] [cf: "wight" is a human being, who is defined as such by his ability to fight, hence is someone who's strong and brave in war] [nb: "If God had meant for human beings to go to sea, mankind would've been born with gills and the ability to extract sustenance from polluted salty water; and if God had intended human beings to live at sea, mankind would've been born with ugly gray skin that has to be regularly scraped and painted!"] [nb: "What are little boys made of, made of? What are little boys made of? Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails; That's what little boys are made of. ... What are young men made of, made of? What are young men made of? Sighs and leers and crocodile tears; That's what young men are made of. ... What are our sailors made of, made of? What are our sailors made of? Pitch and tar, pig-tail and scar; That's what our sailors are made of. ... What are our soldiers made of, made of? What are our soldiers made of? Pipeclay and drill, the foeman to kill; That's what our soldiers are made of. ... What are old men made of, made of? What are old men made of? Slippers that flop and a bald-headed top; That's what old men are made of. ... What are all folks made of, made of? What are all folks made of? Fighting a spot and loving a lot; That's what all folks are made of." doggerel excerpted from What Folks Are Made Of attributed to Robert Southey (ca1820)]

a head-first plunge into water with the diver's body fully extended while their hands and arms remain at their sides.

symptoms of prostate gland disorder (prostatism) or inflammation (prostatitis); also called "priest's disease".

in Islamic countries, a gesture of polite greeting or respectful deference represented by a deep bow (obeisance) with the palm of the right hand placed over the forehead; this salutation means 'peace' or 'peace be with you'. Compare KOWTOW, REI, SAMPEAH, WAI, CHAO, PAX; see SALUTE. [cf: sujud, ruku'] [nb: the formal Arabic greeting of "Peace be upon you." (Salaam aleikim / Salaam aleicham) is reciprocated by "And upon you, peace." (Aleikum salaam / Aleicham salaam)]


a fixed compensation that's periodically paid to a person for regular work or service; as derived from money paid to a soldier for salt. See THE EAGLE SHITS, BP, DEAD HORSE, NIGGER RICH, COLA, MISERY INDEX, SEPARATE RATS, SDP, TSP, SAVINGS BOND, PENSION, BLOOD MONEY COMPENSATION, DOUBLE-DIP, INCOME TAX. [nb: "worth his salt" meaning deserving or entitled] [cf: 'wages' are compensation or recompense, from carry on, struggle, pledge; 'stipend', as a tax-exempt allowance or honorary salary, usually a pittance, derives from "soldier's pay"]

Semi-Active Laser Homing, a LASER AIMING DEVICE and guidance system.

ground beef that's been shaped into a patty, broiled or fried, then garnished or served with a sauce; sometimes extended by mixing with other foods (eg: cooked rice or oatmeal, bound with an egg), as promoted since the late 19th century by J.H. Salisbury, an American dietitian. [cf: meat loaf]

a sudden or rushing excursion, especially a SORTIE of troops from a besieged place against the enemy; as derived from "leap forward to the attack"; compare DEBOUCH. Also, an outburst of passion, as of anger. Also, nickname for the volunteer Salvation Army women who dispensed coffee and doughnuts to the men in the FRONT LINE trenches and elsewhere during WWI; this ministering program was initiated in 1917 by SA National Commander Evangeline Booth. The Salvation Army began assisting American troops during the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, and persists, despite the fact that "Sallies" are not as well recognized in their efforts as the "Donut Dollies" of the American Red Cross. In 1939, with WWII seemingly inevitable, the Salvation Army helped form the interfaith movement that established the United Service Organization (USO), which is most notable for entertaining soldiers and sailors serving overseas in time of war. See DOUGHNUT DOLLY, ROUND EYE; compare CAMP FOLLOWER, SKIRT. [v: the protagonist of Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw (1905) is the pacifistic daughter of an armaments factory owner, which hypocrisy leads to an epiphany; cf: "whited sepulcher" (Matthew 23:27)]

a gateway in a fort that permits a large number of troops to pass through at the same time; compare DEBOUCHE, HATCH. Also, a POSTERN.

food poisoning in the form of violent diarrhea and abdominal cramps that's caused by the consumption of contaminated foods or liquids; food or liquid contaminated with any of several pathogenic bacteria (salmonella) that create distress (salmonellosis) by entering the digestive tract; these rod-shaped facultatively anaerobic or aerobic bacteria are named after Daniel E. Salmon, the American pathologist. See FOOD POISONING, DIARRHEA, DYSENTERY, TYPHOID FEVER.

Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (or Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty). Also, acronym for the U.S. Army School of Advanced leadership and Tactics. Also, an obsolete word for lustful or lecherous; as derived from 'assault'.

the hazing or induction ceremony conducted by BOOMERs (experts) for new "plugs" (novices) in telegraphy, who are harassed by false signals, bogus messages, increased traffic, and increased speed of transmission. See CW, TWX, HAND, BAMBOO TELEGRAPH; compare INITIATION.

Naval slang for a summer-weight uniform, consisting of a white shirt with black trousers, which was worn in lieu of "sun-tans" (KHAKI); later relegated for wear by the cooks and stewards of the WARDROOM. See DRESS.

a food additive that has long been alleged to stifle or suppress the libido, to quell or inhibit sexual desire; a notorious myth that's been propounded for decades (if not centuries!) so as to harass new recruits; compare MISFIRE. Also, the crystalline form of potassium nitrate (KNO3) that occurs naturally, as used in the manufacture of fireworks, fluxes, gunpowder, fertilizer, preservative, and the like; also called "niter"; see GUNPOWDER, BLASTING POWDER, SQUIB, PUNK, SPUNK, SLOW MATCH, BURNING WORM. [v: sodium nitrate, soda niter, Chile saltpeter, nitratine] [nb: because early gunpowder was impure, the potassium nitrate (niter) often contained calcium nitrate, which absorbed moisture; so exposure to wet usually rendered gunpowder unusable, since it would not ignite when damp]

to be sharp, witty, or piquant. Also, to be vulgar or coarse. Also, to be SHIP SHAPE or SQUARED AWAY. Also, to be experienced or knowledgeable, to be "dab-handed" rather than "ham-handed", to be "HANDY as an OLD SALT". [nb: possible derivation from Bible (Matthew 5:13) as: "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."]

any item declared as a battle loss, or destroyed as a result of enemy action; see ADRIFT, DX, CHARGE SHEET. Also, a synonym among naval personnel for an experienced or knowledgeable person, as a MOSSBACK or SHELLBACK, OLD SALT or "sea dog". Also, a cocktail of gin or vodka mixed with grapefruit juice that's served (like a MARGARITA) in a salt-rimmed glass; see SINGAPORE SLING.

a formal gesture of respect exchanged between RANKs, with protocol being explicit, including SALUTEs under ARMs and from passing vehicles or craft; see HIGH BALL, THE BIBLE, MANUAL OF ARMS, PASSING HONORS, EYES RIGHT, BEATERS 'n' BLEATERS, TOOTER, BLUE-SKY, KOWTOW, REI, WAI, SAMPEAH, CHAO, SALAAM; compare POLISH SALUTE, ITALIAN SALUTE, ONE-FINGER SALUTE. Also, a ceremonial gesture of respect shown to STANDARDs, the honored dead, and visiting dignitaries; see SALVO, FIRING SQUAD, FACE THE MUSIC. Originated as an open-handed sign of disarmament, and evolved into a sign of loyalty or respect; derived from 'salutation'. See HOIST, TOAST, HORS DE COMBAT. [nb: the traditional three-shot volley at burial derives from the pagan ritual of shouting the name of the deceased three times to tell the gods who is coming to join them] [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] Also, an acronym for Size, Activity, Location, Unit/Uniform, Time observed, Equipment; being a specific type of SPOT REPORT; see SITREP. Also, slang for flinch or cringe, startle or jerk, wince or twitch, blench or shy, as when reacting to the sound of gunfire or ricochet; a reference common since the American CIVIL WAR.

a simultaneous or successive discharge of gunfire or ROCKETs, as a VOLLEY; see FUSILLADE, BROADSIDE, STORM, ENFILADE, FPL, DRUMFIRE, IN THE AIR, AT CLOSE QUARTERS, CROSSING THE T. Also, a SALUTE or hail by gunfire; see FIRING SQUAD, FACE THE MUSIC. Also, a round of cheers or applause; as derived from "salute".

Surface-to-Air MISSILE; see STINGER, RED EYE, AVENGER, CHAPARRAL, HAWK, PATRIOT, CORKSCREW. Phrase later altered to "Man-Portable Air Defense System" (MANPADS); INDIGenous peoples have nicknamed this shoulder-fired weapon an "arrow", and designate the missileer who fires it as "archer" or "bowman".

C-131 aircraft; see BIRD.

a weapon or equipment belt with an integral cross-body strap passing over the wearer's shoulder opposite its hip attachment on the side where a holster or sheath is mounted. Most often seen as part of the uniform of border guards or military police (MP); it was originally intended to enable Sam Browne, a one-armed British general, to draw his weapon single-handedly. The design, reminiscent of the old baldric, was so attractive to MIL-PERS that its WWI imitation was widely and popularly spread. Soldiers would dress like peacocks if they didn't have to get "down and dirty" every once in a while when actually fighting wars! [nb: "Fine feathers don't make fine birds." by Aesop]

pidgin for identical; the same as, alike, likewise; compare SHAME-SHAME.

an early American slang expressing a mild oath of exasperation, such as "What in the Sam Hill is he doing?" or "Who in the Sam Hill does he think he is?!"; a euphemism for 'hell' ... not a person's name. See OATH, EXPLETIVE, GODDAM, BAD-MOUTH, TALK TRASH.

System Acquisition Management Inspection.

a Far Eastern style of small BOAT, made of wood or grass, usually propelled by a single scull sweeping over the stern, and roofed by bamboo matting; derived from Chinese (saambaan) for a "three plank" boat. Sometimes called "hen boat" due to its profile. Compare JUNK, SMACK, GIG.

in Cambodia and among Cambodian peoples, a hand gesture that conveys both a polite greeting and a sign of respect, a courtesy expressing thanks and a signal of apology; seemingly derived from ancient India, it's performed by someone placing the palms of his hands together before his heart in a prayer-like fashion while bowing slightly; when used in a religious setting, the hands are joined before the face and then the palms are thrust down toward the ground. Compare KOWTOW, REI, WAI, CHAO, SALAAM; see SALUTE.

School of Advanced Military Studies; the graduate from which is commonly known as a JEDI KNIGHT; see WAR COLLEGE, C&GS, HUDSON HIGH, BOAT SCHOOL, OCS, ROTC. [v: Siwash ("At Good Old Siwash" by George Helgeson Fitch (1911)]

(aka: sanctum sanctorum or holy of holies) see TANK, BUBBLE, FISHBOWL, DUNGEON, ISOFAC, SCIF, SAFE ROOM.

a sand-filled sack used as fortification, or a container of ballast; see GUNNY, BERM, REVETMENT, BLAST WALL. [v: gunny, gunnysack, gunny-bag, burlap bag, crocus sack, croker bag, croker sack, grass sack, towsack, barley sack, hopsack] [v: Military Earthworks Terms] Also, an improvised blackjack or cudgel; see BATS 'n' HATS, BATON, FIST-LOAD, WARDER, SWAGGER STICK, COUP STICK. [cf: truncheon, billy, night stick, espantoon, cudgel, bludgeon, shillelagh/shillealah, knobkerrie, cosh, bastinado, singlestick, waddy, club, blackjack, sap, slapjack] Also, to dupe or deceive for attack or entrapment; see CAT'S-PAW, GOAT, COUSIN, FALL GUY. Also, slang for any mandatory object or person, being obstructive or superfluous, such as a derogatory reference to "trainee" copilots who are required to be present with "advisory" instructor pilots (IP) during combat flights; see BLOB, DIRTY THIRTY, STRAP-HANGER, DEADHEAD, POB.

sardonic slang for the Mid-East / Near East operational area, as derived from the sand-filled receptacle where children arrange a scene or setting for play, being a desert theme park that's also known as "Sand Land", "Camel Land", and the DEVIL'S GARDEN; see "Task Force Troy" at GHOST UNIT, GULF WAR, FRONT LINE, MLR, FEBA, FLOT, BOONDOCKS / BOONIES, INDIAN COUNTRY, IN-COUNTRY, DOWN RANGE, BACKWASH, BANJO COUNTRY, THULE, FIVE SEAS, FIELD ALLOWANCE.

a sideways-walking beach scavenger; when bipedal, term designates a civilian contractor for naval stores or Civil Service employee on-board ship. Compare BELTWAY BANDIT, WAR TOURIST; see PORK BARREL.



an elevated platform, enclosed by raised edges, containing hardened sand that depicts a tract of land or certain topographic features, modeled to scale, as used for plotting gunnery practice or studying military tactics, especially when preparing to execute a combat operation. Compare BATHTUB; see TTX, EXERCISE. [v: maquette]


when current (left sleeve) and combat (right sleeve) shoulder patches are identical, indicating multiple tours with the same unit; see TOUR BABY, COMBAT BUM, TWO-FISTED, LIFER. Also, to layer things, or to insert something between other things, as "to sandwich-in a meeting between class and lunch", or to "sandwich carbon paper between blank pages"; see MANIFOLD SET, PAPER BULLET, RED TAPE. Also, two or more slices of bread (or the like) interleaved with layers of meat, fish, cheese, or vegetables, served hot or cold; eponymously after the Fourth Earl of Sandwich; see HARDTACK, PITA, RICE BALL, PANCAKE, SLIDER, CAMEL BURGER, HORSE COCK, BANH MI, DUTCH LUNCH, BOXED NASTY, SPAM, JERKY, FIRST-STRIKE RATION. [v: Dagwood sandwich, open / open-faced sandwich, sub / submarine (New London), hero (New York), hoagie / hoagy (Philadelphia), poor boy / po' boy (New Orleans), grinder, gyro, bomber, torpedo, wedge, zep / zeppelin, blimpie / blimp, spuky / spukie, Italian-American sandwich, Cuban-American sandwich; cf: taco, empanada, calzone, piroshki, knish] Also, a sexual act involving two men with a woman positioned between them [cf: spit roast, airtight]; a threesome or three-way, séance à trois ("session of three") or ménage à trois ("household of three"); see TRICK, BUTTERFLY, DAISY CHAIN, HAT TRICK, AROUND THE WORLD, BOOM-BOOM, SHORT-TIME, HOOKUP, FUCK, ACT OF CONGRESS.

the navigational name of the northeastern-most corner of the Saigon Flight Information Region (FIR), of which overflight or passing assured the crewmembers of receiving combat pay and the combat zone income tax exemption. Also, the CALL-SIGN of the SKYRAIDERs flying fire suppression support on SAR and CSAR missions in Vietnam; such A1-E SLOW MOVERs were coupled with extraction or rescue helicopters, like the JOLLY GREEN GIANT and HUSKY. Also, an informal referent generalized for any desert dweller, civilian or otherwise, in the Near- or Mid-East region, which term is more descriptive than derogatory, with its usage dependent upon tone and context, but usually less pejorative than RAGHEAD; see HAJJI, MUJ, ISAAC THE IRAQ, SCARAB THE ARAB, ALI BABA, SKINNY, STREET ARAB, BAD GUYS, INSURGENT, TERRORIST, ALLAH'S WAITING ROOM. [aka: camel jockey, camel cowboy, goat roper, snake charmer, carpet pilot, rug rider, sand flea, sand monkey, sand nigger, desert darky, dune coon, tarsh, ali baba, ahab, aladdin, habib, zalama, zol]

an undemanding instructor or an easy evaluator, by extension of the mythical gift-giving philanthropist; see GOUGE, ZD, JAWBREAKER, WONK, TOOTH FAIRY, MILICRAT, MIL-PERS. [nb: "If you want redemption, then praise the Lord; but if you want lots of toys and good times, then worship Santa Claus! ... Santa never died for anybody!"]

literally "Surpassing All Previous Fuck-Ups", also known as Situation Surpassing All Previous Fuck-Ups (SSAPFU), or more euphemistically as "... foul ups"; see FUCK-UP, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, WTFO, SOL, BOHICA.

Small Arms Protective Inserts, being pyroceramic plates added to FLAK VESTs; see ESAPI, OTV, IOTV, HAPPY SUIT, CHICKEN PLATE, IBA, FLAK JACKET. [cf: flexible 'mail'; v: doublet]

full-color Sapper
qualification tab for service uniform
woodland subdued Sapper
qualification tab for BDU
desert subdued Sapper
qualification tab for digital uniform
Sapper q-tabs
a military engineer and explosives specialist who is trained to construct fortifications, trenches, or tunnels that bear upon or undermine enemy positions; also called "demolition commando" and "assault pioneer". Chinese SAPPERs have used hand language for all communications since the T'ang dynasty. A new SAPPER Q-TAB was authorized 28 June 2004 (retroactive to 14 June 1985) for Engineer soldiers in GRADEs E-4 through O-3 who successfully complete the two-phase 28-day Sapper Leader Course (SLC) at the Army's Engineer School (Fort Leonard Wood, MO); course prerequisites include AIR ASSAULT and RECONDO training to ensure that the Infantry skills necessary for performance already exist. Like RECONDO, the SLC began as a proficiency training program for integral NCOs of the 307th Eng Bn in 1981, was replicated in the 20th Eng Bde, and finally adopted by the Engineer School, with Q-TAB authorization coincident with its sponsor's (GEN Robert Flowers) retirement. Without diminishing standards for admission or completion, women serving as combat engineers (CE) were first admitted to the SLC in 1999, and have a 40% completion rate. See EOD, CE, BREACHER, STAY BEHIND, SATCHEL CHARGE, SEABEES, PIONEER. [nb: the elite NVA 305 PIR, trained for AIR-ASSAULT at SON TAY, was re-trained under USSR ADVISORs to perform SAPPER, rear security, and counter-RECON operations, including the use of tracking dogs]



Search And Rescue Combat Air Patrol; also spelled "SAR-CAP" or "SAR CAP", and also known as RESCAP (Rescue CAP). See CAP, UMBRELLA, HIGH 'n' DRY, RACETRACK, SWEEP, MOWING THE LAWN; compare ABNCP.

informal term for all sergeants (E-5 - E-9), a non-commissioned officer (NCO) rating; see GUNNY, DI, CHIEF, MATING MOSQUITOES, BUCK, ROCKER, RIGHT ARM, FIRST SHIRT, TOP, SUPER GRADE, RANK, RATING, CHAIN-OF-COMMAND.

(ess-aa-ess) [Royal] Special Air Service, being the British precursor of U.S. Army SPECIAL FORCES; it developed special operations techniques during WWII with the motto "Who Dares, Wins" (sardonically rephrased as "Who Cares Who Wins?!"). See ASAS, NZSAS; compare LRDG, SOE. [v: Popski's Private Army (Vladimir Peniakoff)]

a long band of distinctively patterned cloth that's worn over one shoulder and across the body to the opposite hip as a civil or military decoration to be displayed during formal occasions. Also, a long scarf worn around the waist or across the body as an adornment or embellishment to one's ensemble; as derived from Arabic 'shash' for turban. See CUMMERBUND, LOINCLOTH, SAM BROWNE BELT, DECORATION.

(say-so) Stabilization And Support Operations.

(forthcoming); Semi-Automatic Sniper System (XM-110), 7.62mm 8-shot autoloading SNIPER rifle with scope and barrel-compensator, which reduction in signature blast is designed to avoid counter-sniper detection see LONG RIFLE, STONER, RIFLE.



a former coin of Thailand that comprised the hundredth part of a BAHT; as derived from 'portion' or 'division'; see LEGAL TENDER.

an explosive packed bag, which is able to be slightly shaped and buried without detection, carried or thrown by shoulder strap, for various triggering methods, as used by SAPPER elements. Originating as a carrier then utilized as the container, a SATCHEL CHARGE is inherently less effective than emplaced munitions due to dissipation; the containment of explosive material multiplies its effective force by more than five times, or conversely, it requires five times more of an equivalent explosive to effect the same result when not contained. See CHARGE, DEMO, FAE, EXPLOSIVE.

SATellite COMmunications, also spelled "SatComm"; see SAT, NRO, COMPASS LINK, SYNCOM, DSCS, IDCSS, SQUIRT THE BIRD, BURST, SSIX, ANTENNA FARM, NET; compare COMSAT. Also, any device, such as a TELEPHONE or RADIO, that utilizes satellite relay in its transceiving; a radio data link network that sends coded information to a time-sharing relay satellite for rebroadcast to earth stations providing high speed global communications capability.

Vietnamese phrase for "kill communists"; which was often TATTOOed on their arm or chest by elite RVNAF soldiers and sailors ... these TATTOOs were excised in REEDUCATION camps and preserved as souvenirs by the victorious "peace-loving" communists! [cf: during the KOREAN WAR, many North Korean and Chinese communist POWs TATTOOed themselves with anti-American or pro-communist slogans, on their hands, arms, foreheads, or chests, as an act of defiant solidarity with their homelands, and with their war against Western ideals; even when they rioted, no NK or CHICOM POWs were punished for demonstrably expressing their political views with signs or TATTOOs]

a type of kebab / kabob consisting of minced fish or meat (ie: beef, chicken, pork, lamb) that's seasoned and marinated with grated coconut, coconut milk, lemon juice, shallots, galangal (ginger), lime leaves and other spices for grilling on bamboo, sugar cane, or lemon grass sticks, and is typically served without a dipping sauce; this is the national dish of Indonesia, and is very popular on Bali and elsewhere in Oceania Compare NASI PADANG.

a country under the domination or influence of another nation; see CLIENT STATE, PROTECTORATE, GARRISON STATE, PUPPET, NANNY STATE, BUFFER STATE, FLAG OF PROTECTION, BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, REALPOLITIK. Also, a man-made device designed to be launched into orbit around the earth or some other celestial body; named after the natural body (moon) that revolves around a planet, the first artificial satellite (Sputnik I) was launched on 4 October 1957 by the Soviet Union, followed on 31 January 1958 by America's first satellite (Explorer I); there are five principal types of satellites: research (eg: Hubble Space Telescope, Skylab), communications (eg: Echo, Telstar, Relay, Earlybird, Intelsat VII), meteorological (eg: Tiros, Nimbus, Itos), navigational (eg: Transit, GPS), and applications (ie: telemetry, infrared detectors, electronic sensors, optical surveillance, etc); see SAT, COMMO, ANTENNA FARM, NET, SATCOM, LIGHTSAT, IDCSS, DSCS, NRO, SYNCOM, COMPASS LINK, SDIO, ASAT, STAR WARS, DAZZLE, SBIRS, DSP, KH, LACROSSE, SQUIRT THE BIRD, BURST, SSIX, GPS, TOPO, COMSAT, STADAN. [nb: the motion of an artificial satellite is controlled by the same laws of celestial mechanics that govern the motions of natural satellites, so a device that has not attained escape velocity (5mi/sec) or is orbiting at a height less than 200mi is subject to the frictional effects of the earth's atmosphere, and as its orbit degrades, it will descend and burn up like a meteor; at heights above 200mi, it will circle the planet (eg: 1 revolution every 90min at 200mi; 1 revolution every 100min at 500mi), remaining indefinitely in an elliptical orbit; a geosynchronous orbit is attained at a height of 22,300mi and the satellite period of revolution is 24hrs, coincident with earth's axial rotation, making the satellite geostatic] Also, a dependent or subordinate element, as a branch office or external facility, that accommodates or serves a larger department or senior unit; see ANNEX, ORIFICE. Also, an attendant or follower of another person, being subordinate to superior authority or outside power, often subservient or obsequious in manner; as derived from "member of bodyguard" or retinue [nb: sputnik translates as "traveling companion"]; see BROWNIE, BROWN NOSE, HACK, LITTLE PEOPLE, KHAKI MAFIA, RING-KNOCKER, BOY'S CLUB.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff
service cap
USAF svc cap
slang for the service cap, also called "brim cap", "visor hat", "wheel hat", BILLED CAP, "pizza hat" (USMC), and "Donald Duck cap" (USN), as worn by all branches and grades with variations of color, style, and insignia; the so-called "fifty mission crush" (CRUSHER) has had the stiffening removed so that headphones could be worn over the hat. See SCRAMBLED-EGGS, SPAGHETTI, FARTS 'n' DARTS, COMBINATION COVER, BARRACKS COVER, GARRISON CAP, CAMPAIGN HAT, BERET, HEADGEAR.

a pot roast of beef, marinated before cooking in a mixture of vinegar and other seasonings, often stewed in its own juices together with red cabbage and white potatoes; an Americanism (sour roast) imitating the German style of cooking. See SOUP, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS.

reference by Coalition aircrew to the GULF WAR target area where "non-friendlies" are turned into small bits (ground meat, hamburger) suitable only for sausage-making.

see FACE. [nb: "One hand washes the other, and both hands wash the face." Corsican proverb]

a bond offered to individuals [indexed by Social Security (SSN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)] by the U.S. government in principal amounts up to $10,000; a U.S. savings bond is a non-marketable Treasury security issued to a subscriber at a proportion of its par value, which cannot be transferred through market sales to a secondary owner, hence this registered bond may only be redeemed by the subscriber (or the executor when settling an estate) during its period of maturation, after the initial penalty phase has lapsed. Because savings bonds are loans to the government by its citizenry, they are designed for the average American investor, being offered in affordable denominations; and being backed by the full faith and force of the government, can be replaced if lost, stolen, or destroyed. Although savings bonds were created to finance wartime expenditures, the monies raised by their sale are not earmarked or reserved, but are deposited into the general fund. In 1776, the Continental Congress helped finance the Revolutionary War by the sale of bonds, which were fully redeemed, regardless of contrary objections. Liberty loan bonds were the first modern savings bond issue, but they were marketable and were finally sold at auction in a manner not unlike later 'treasuries'. Funding of FDR's "New Deal" programs instigated the issue of series A savings bonds on 1 February 1935, wherein a $25 bond costing $18.75 would mature in 10 years, which generated the subsequent series B (1936), series C (1938), and series D (1941) bonds ... which were nicknamed "baby bonds" due to their ease of use. A new series E Defense savings bond was issued in 1941 to support the war effort, which was extended into smaller denomination War Stamps (from 10¢ to $5), available for the first time by automatic deduction through the Payroll Savings Plan, together being commonly called "war bonds". Series F savings bonds, offered from 1941 to 1952, were available to any individual or institutional (except banks) investor at 74% of par value ($25-$10,000), reaching maturity in 12 years, and able to be proportionately redeemed after the first six months of ownership. Likewise, series G savings bonds, offered from 1941 to 1952, were available to all investors (except banks) at face value ($100-$10,000), reaching maturity in 12 years, and able to be proportionately redeemed after the first six months of ownership, but yielding higher interest, which was dispensed every six months. Series H and HH savings bonds, which were discontinued in 2004, pay semi-annual interest, and mature to their face value after 20 years. Series I savings bonds have two interest yield components: a 20 year fixed rate and a variable rate adjusted to inflation every six months; interest accrues monthly (set by the Consumer Price Index) but the bond cannot be devalued by deflation. 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; despite having been created in 1990, the word 'patriot' was added to the paper version (between the issue date and SSN) of the series EE savings bond after 10 December 2001 (until December 2011), without altering its terms and conditions. Refunds from federal taxes may be taken in savings bonds, and the interest earned from savings bonds is tax exempt if used to pay for educational costs at accredited institutions. See LIBERTY BOND, WAR BOND, PATRIOT BOND; compare T-BILL, INCOME TAX, LEGAL TENDER, WAR CHEST. [nb: just as the revenue raised from the sale of so-called "defense" and "war" bonds is not earmarked for military expenditures, the Gulf Coast Recovery Bond, a special type of series I savings bond issued (29 March 2006 - 30 September 2007) to help people hurt by Hurricane Katrina, did not reserve its proceeds for disaster relief, but the proceeds were instead deposited into the general fund] [nb: effective 1 January 2012, savings bonds are no longer sold in paper form] [cf: 'savings certificate' (or 'certificate of deposit') confirms by written acknowledgment from a bank the deposit of a specific sum of money in a reserved account for a fixed term at a stipulated interest rate]

M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon that fires belt or magazine AMMO in the same caliber (5.56mm) as the primary infantry rifle, M-16A1/4; being a light machinegun (LMG) substitute for the older M-60 machinegun (aka: PIG, NUMBER SIXTY). In addition to caliber compatibility, the SAW also accepts a wide variety of techno gadgets designed for the NATO assault rifle to enhance accuracy. Compare STONER; see MG.

slang for a physician or surgeon, a medico or medical doctor; also called BONE CUTTER, "medicine man", or "croaker". See DOC, BABY DOC, CANOEMAKER, ANGEL, RAMP TRAMP, ORDERLY, PECKER-CHECKER, MEDIC, CORPSMEN, SSTP, BAC SI, Y SI, BAND-AID, CHOP SHOP. [nb: Vietnamese term: Nguoi Giai Phau]

saw-wort or sedge, a rough bushy grass; also spelled "sawgrass". See BOONIES, TULE, ELEPHANT GRASS, KUNAI, NIPA PALM, PITA.

Stryker Brigade Combat Team; compare BCT, RCT, FIRE BRIGADE.

Space-Based InfraRed Systems; a geosynchronous satellite network that detects, tracks, and counters the launch of enemy rockets anywhere on earth.

(ess-bee-yew) Special Boat Unit

SC :
USN abbreviation for SUBCHASER; also known as SPITKIT and SHIT CAN. Also, Service-Connected disability compensation, a benefit category for military persons retired for medical reasons; see LINE OF DUTY, PROFILE, PEB, PENSION, BLOOD MONEY, COMPENSATION.

a protective case or covering for a weapon, especially a sword or knife; a resistant or resilient sheath made of various strong or hard materials; term derives from 'protect' and is related to 'splint'. Also, the proper referent for the container that protects the weapon it contains, and secures it to the WEB GEAR of a MIL-PERS (eg: "Container, Aerial delivery, A-5 Scabbard, Carbine, M1A1, Parachutist's" or "Container, Individual, Aerial delivery, Scabbard, Rifle, M1, Parachutist's"); see POUCH, JUMP POCKETS, DINGLEBERRY.


slang for heroin [diacetylmorphine], an opioid named (1895) after the "heroic" sense of euphoria it produces; see SMACK, DOPE, JUNK, HOT SHOT, STICK, STONED, CHINA WHITE, GOLDEN TRIANGLE, SILVER TRIANGLE, GOLDEN CRESCENT.

practiced in Europe and Asia before being introduced to North American tribes, enemy scalps served as both a TROPHY and a talisman of empowerment until they became a token of exchange for bounties paid during the genocidal INDIAN WARS of extirpation; although scalping was not always fatal, and not all tribes engaged in the practice, the term 'redskin' was formerly a euphemism for an AmerIndian scalp, male or female, adult or child. Compare EARS, SOUVENIR, KILL CREDIT; see BRAGGING RIGHTS, COUNT COUP. [nb: anthropologists equate scalping with the collection of other body parts (eg: headhunting, endocannibalism), including teeth, fingers, and genitals as taken during other wars]

Supreme Commander Allied Powers Pacific, during post-WWII occupation and KOREAN WAR-era; see CINCPAC, SAC, SUPREMO.

a person or group made to bear the blame for others, or made to suffer in their place; as derived from the Hebrew practice of symbolically laying the sins of the people onto the head of the [e-]scape goat on the Day of Atonement [ie: Yom Kippur; Lev 16:8, :10, :26] before driving it away into the wilderness with its moral burden. Scapegoating is the act of blaming another, some convenient (albeit innocent) person or group for one's own guilt and grievances; a psychosocial defense mechanism employed by both individuals as well as a deliberate form of DISINFORMATION among governments. See FALL GUY, CAT'S-PAW, CAT AND MOUSE, PROPAGANDA, FACTOID, HOOPLA, DECEPTION, SANDBAG, BUBBA EFFECT, HACK, GOAT; compare JUDAS GOAT, GOAT ROPE. [v: Azazel, Palamedes]

(forthcoming); see CANDLESTICK, BLIND BAT. Also, the mark left by a healed wound, or the lasting aftereffect from a troubling experience; being nature's own "mark of distinction" for acquiring life's experience; a healed wound that's stronger than its surroundings but relatively inelastic and insensitive, which serves as a metaphor for a life lesson learned; see PAIN, THIRD DEGREE, BASHING, GAUNTLET, BRAINWASHING, SQUEEZE, SWEAT, HOLD ONE'S FEET TO THE FIRE, BITE THE BULLET, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, HARD-ASS, ONIONS, MOXIE, GUTS, DIEHARD. [nb: "To live is to hurt others, and through others, to hurt oneself" by Albert Camus; "Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh." by Leonard Cohen; "Neither gold nor votes, smiles nor pleas, medals nor diplomas will get you into heaven ... God wants to see your scars!"]

(scare-rhab the air-rhab, or skay-rhab the ahy-rhab) dismissive reference by rhyming to any enemy soldier in the Mid-East Theater of Operations ("Gulf War Part Two"), as word play that denigrates the Islamic TERRORISTs as "frightened beetles"; see ISAAC THE IRAQ, HAJJI, ALI BABA, SANDY, MUJ, RAGHEAD, SKINNY, STREET ARAB, ALLAH'S WAITING ROOM, INSURGENT, BAD GUYS. [v: Abdullah; cf: palmer (Christian)]

nickname for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), as derived from the "rearing horse" design of its shoulder PATCH; also called "Frightened Pony" and DANCING PONY. See DARK HORSE.

Special Category Army with Air
Force shoulder patch
Special Category Army with Air Force.

generalized and indiscriminate; see FLOCK SHOOT, BLIND FIRE, SPRAY, WILD SHOT.

an instrument of TORTURE (invented in 16th century England) that doubled the victim over and squeezed his body so violently such that he bled copiously from his ears and nose; derived as an alteration of the name of its inventor, Leonard Skevington, a lieutenant of the Tower of London under Henry VIII.

a palatable (if not savory) concoction created by combining some or all of the available CONDIMENTS so as to adequately season the meal; originated at West Point (USMA) to flavor military-style TURKEY (ie: hash) during the post-WWII era, it has since been eponymously christened to honor his resourcefulness.

Hugo Schmeisser was the principal designer of a series of German maschinenpistole (MP) during both WWI and WWII, including the MP18/I, MP28/II, MP34/I, MP35/I, MP38, and MP40, which were often (improperly) identified with his name [equivalent to calling the M-16A2 or XM-177E2 a "Stoner"]; these submachineguns (SMG) were developed as individual SIDEARMs, sometimes equipping whole battalions with them, instead of developing it as a light machinegun (LMG).

in NavSpeak, those parts of close-order DRILL applying to the individual; see CLOSE ORDER, CLOSE RANKS, THE BIBLE, BY THE BOOK, MANUAL OF ARMS, PARADE.

in NavSpeak, those parts of close-order DRILL applying to the squad; see CLOSE ORDER, CLOSE RANKS, THE BIBLE, BY THE BOOK, MANUAL OF ARMS, PARADE.

the approved mode, sanctioned method, or doctrinaire technique; also known as the "military way"; see MOCK-COMBAT, PRIMROSE PATH, PARTY LINE, HIDEBOUND, BRASSBOUND, BRASS EAR, BOX HEAD, MILITARY MIND, TOE THE LINE, ROUTINE, SCRIPTURES.

a philosophical warrant to justify MICROMANAGEMENT in as much as any act or event that's not qualifiable or quantifiable cannot be validated or substantiated, hence the recon team on surveillance or the platoon engaged in a firefight is actually moot unless and until the command and staff have integrated their involvement ... therefore the director must not only act and edit but produce and promote; unlike Pascal's cat, the fate of Schrodinger's cat remains in abeyance until the container is opened, which proposition was advanced by Erwin Schrödinger, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who advocated the wave equation of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics as a counter to Heisenberg's UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE.

Specially Compartmentalized Information or Special Compartmented Intelligence; see NEED TO KNOW, COMPARTMENTALIZATION, CHINESE WALL, TRADECRAFT.

(skiff) Navy acronym for Special Compartmented Intelligence Facility, or Specially Compartmentalized Information Facility; see BUBBLE, ISOFAC, SUB-ROSA.

an air combat maneuver that's designed to prevent an unintentional overrun of a pursued aircraft, as when the lead slows abruptly, or when performance characteristics are unmatched; the trailing aircraft avoids overshooting the lead aircraft by maneuvering back and forth, making sharp or cutting side-to-side turns, across the direction of flight, which will maintain contact without compromising flightworthiness. Compare SIDESLIP; see WARNING SHOT, DIRTY, AEROBATICS. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon] [nb: although Leonardo da Vinci is credited with inventing the scissors, they were previously cited in the writings of Mencius (Meng-tzu), the Chinese philosopher]

to broadcast or publicize a story before others; to beat the competition by being the first to reveal information; see WAR CORRESPONDENT, FRUIT FLY, BIG STORY, WHITE PROPAGANDA, PROPAGANDA, FACTOID, SKINNY, HOOPLA, FALSE FLAG, SPIN, BIG LIE, DISINFORMATION, RUMOR, WAR STORY, SEA STORY, TELL IT TO THE MARINES. Also, to acquire the best part or better portion before anyone else; derived as news exposed as if by a single large floodlight (shaped like a flour scoop).

an Air Traffic Control (ATC / ATRC) or RADAR operator (eg: AIC). Also, the useful data or valuable information produced by such scanning, which is displayed on a SCREEN.

the practice of denying safe haven and succor to one's enemy, their supporters and sympathizers, by the thorough destruction of food, shelter, and other sustenance or resources; although this phrase seemingly originates in China, it was a strategy practiced by American forces in the 19th century under the rubric of "total war".

a self-propelled tracked vehicle with a 90mm recoilless rifle in an open TURRET, designated M-56, and replaced by the SHERIDAN; it was used for fire base and convoy security, as well as direct ground support; see RR, SPONSON, CHAFFEE, WALKER-BULLDOG, TRACK; compare DUSTER, ONTOS, SPAT. Also, designation (AIM-120) for the medium range, RADAR-homing Air-to-Air MISSILE (AAM).

a dish consisting of toast spread with anchovy paste and topped with loosely scrambled eggs; compare EGGS BENEDICT, TOAD-IN-A-HOLE.

a BUGLE CALL thought to be the source of the tune known as TAPS; this call (originally identified as "The Tattoo") was first published (1835) in the form of musical notation in Infantry Tactics, an American military manual that was written by Major General Winfield Scott. Adapting the last five and a quarter bars of the so-called "Scott Tattoo", Major General Daniel Butterfield is credited, together with his divisional bugler, with composing (1862) the tune now known as "Taps". [v: "Butterfield and Taps" by Russell H. Booth (1977)]

seal of the Supreme Court of
the United States
Supreme Court Of The United States; coined in imitation of the abbreviation for 'President Of The United States' (POTUS) as a contrived acronym that sarcastically ridicules the dictatorial powers assumed by the Supreme Court in establishing social policy under the guise of legal reform. Compare FLOTUS, VPOTUS. [cf: John Duns Scotus] [nb: "the courts have a need for judges who don't confuse the criminals with the victims; judges who don't invent new or fanciful constitutional rights for those criminals; judges who believe the courts should interpret the law, not make it; judges, in short, who understand the principle of judicial restraint." paraphrase of Ronald W. Reagan; "Unelected judges, serving for life and violating Constitutional checks and balances, are legislating from the bench -- they represent a threat to our democracy." paraphrase of George W. Bush; "There are all sorts of other considerations -- one does not often mistake modern political campaigns for exercises in Solomonic wisdom -- but the goal here is to find the best path toward representative self-government, not the perfect one. The question is whether a particular policy outcome can be held more important than the principles of government. I don't see how anyone can honestly confuse courts overturning duly enacted laws with 'representative self-government' as a good strategy for organizing a just and orderly society." paraphrase of Mike Lee; "The American public and their elected officials should decide on these incredibly important moral issues, rather than nine unelected, tenured, and unaccountable judges." paraphrase of Rick Santorum; "This [Obergefell decision] is judicial activism at its worst. The Constitution entrusts state legislatures, elected by the People, to define marriage consistent with the values and mores of their citizens. Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures." by Ted Cruz; "Today’s [Obergefell] decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The [arrogated] opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact -- and the furthest extension one can even imagine -- of the Court's claimed power to create 'liberties' that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves." by Anthony Scalia]

a whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment or torture; see CAT-O'-NINE-TAILS, compare ROOM TO SWING A CAT. Also, the person who administers, or the thing that applies such chastisement, including castigation. Also, any cause of affliction; bane or plague. [v: flagellation]

crossed-arrows branch
insignia of Army Special Forces
SF branch
in the late 19th century, a specialist skilled in reconnaissance and surveillance, typically bi- or multilingual, and often charged with the management of the members of an indigenous MILITIA that was attached to regular units; see KIT CARSON SCOUT, INDIG. In modern times, a specialist skilled in reconnaissance and surveillance who augments an intelligence section; see INTEL, I&R, SHADOW WALKER, SNIPER. [nb: Vietnamese term: Huong Dao Vien] [nb: the "crossed arrows" branch insignia of the SCOUTs was redesignated in 1987 for Army Special Forces (SF/USSF) branch] [nb: U.S. Army officers and enlisted men (NCO/EM) served as the initial custodians for the nascent National Parks from 1872 until 1920, when they were superseded by the National Park Service (NPS); the assigned soldiers wore campaign hats, silver identity badges on green uniforms, and were at first called "scouts", but were later called "rangers" ... hence the adoption of the uniform and RANGER identity by Forest and Park Rangers] Also, the folding double-barreled combination gun (.22LR rifle /.410 shotgun) that's stowed with other emergency gear aboard an aircraft in case of crash landing; as made by Springfield Armory, and also known as Aircrew Survival Weapon (ASW).

a specially trained military working dog, with companion handler, called a "Combat Tracker Team" during the VIETNAM WAR, that was assigned to the RECON or POINT element of a unit to detect ambushes, BOOBY-TRAPs, and explosives; a separate category from "guard" or "attack" dogs used for security. Dog handling is traditionally conducted using German-language commands that're accompanied by unambiguous gestures. These working dogs, commonly called "police dogs" and "guarddogs", were known during WWII as "war dogs" and "infantry scout dogs", then during the VIETNAM WAR as "boonie pups" in camaraderie with the BOONIE RATs operating in the field. See K-9, LEND-LEASH, A DOG IN A DOUBLET, SAPPER, HAPPINESS IS A WARM PUPPY; compare IRON DOG, WEASEL. [nb: while dogs have only about ten vocal sounds to express themselves, cats have more than a hundred]

light or unarmed helicopters used for surveillance and reconnaissance, such as OH-13 (SIOUX), OH-23, or OH-58 (KIOWA); see LOH, SLICK, CHOPPER.

in armored cavalry (ACR), two armored personnel carriers (M-114 APC) teamed with an M-60 TANK as used in platoon-level reconnaissance during search or sweep operations in the VIETNAM WAR. Also, a surveillance or reconnaissance team; see I&R, LRP / LRRP, LRSD. Also, a specially trained K-9 dog and its handler; see COMBAT TRACKER TEAM, SCOUT DOG, WAR DOGS, LEND-LEASH.

any flat-bottomed vessel with a rectangular HULL and sloping ends, such as a barge [cf: bark, barque], sailboat, rowboat, johnboat, dory, punt, gondola, dinghy [v: TENDER], and skiff; as derived from "ferryboat". See LIGHTER, PONTOON, SKIMMER, BOAT.

U.S. Army School for Command Preparation.

to wring the neck of a human being; to strangle or hang someone; see GARROTE.

1st Class Nuclear Reactor
Operator skill qualification badge
Nuclear Reactor Operator
a verbal warning to friendly assets by PILOTs of attack or intercept aircraft that firing is about to commence (ie: "I am ready to open fire on the designated target so friendly elements stay clear."), which may include contact designation, direction or area of withdrawal, or armament identification (eg: "SCRAM proximity"). See BOGIE, VISUAL, BANDIT, JUDY, TALLY-HO, SMOOGE, SPLASH, IFF, SQUAWK, IR MARKERS; compare PLAY BALL. Also, the rapid shutdown of a nuclear reactor in an emergency; it's probably an extension of the 'get out of here' meaning, which may be related to scramble or derived from "schrammen" (to depart), but some etymologists allege it to be an acronym for the "Safety Control Reactor Ax Man" from the safety official at the University of Chicago stadium who was supposed to chop (with an actual ax) the suspension rope holding the radioactive rod so it would fall into the reactor pile and suspend the energy released by fission; see CONTAINMENT, DRAGON'S BREATH, FALLOUT, FIZZLE, DRAGON SHIT, GENIE, MANHATTAN PROJECT, NEST, BROKEN ARROW, FOOTBALL.

to make a communicated message incomprehensible to interception by systematically changing transmittal frequencies; see ENCRYPT, KAK, KEK, KEY, SHACKLE, RTO, RADIO. Also, to act hastily, hurriedly, urgently, expeditiously, precipitately; see ASAP, PDQ, FORTHWITH, CHOGI, CHOP CHOP, RIKI TIK, STAT, GOYA, HAUL-ASS, BARREL-ASS, DECAMP, BAILOUT, STRIP ALERT, JUICE, STAND-TO, SACON, DEFCON, FPCON, ALERT, AHOY, TOCSIN, TANNOY. [v: amain]

the decoration (eg: laurel leaves, clouds and lightning) on the visor of service caps worn by flag and field grade officers denoting status, and emblematic of an honorary garland or CROWN; also known as SPAGHETTI or FARTS 'n' DARTS. See BRASS HAT, BILLED CAP, PIP, HEADGEAR, FRUIT SALAD, TRASH, GONG, BAY. [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]

a JET PROPULSION engine that's designed to operate at HYPERSONIC speed using hydrogen fuel; being theoretically three times more efficient than liquid- or solid-fuel rockets, it's capable of achieving escape velocity or orbital speed. Additionally, without the need to carry oxygen, an air-breathing scramjet-powered vehicle can carry a greater PAYLOAD than a rocket-powered one. A SCRAMJET is also known as a "supersonic-combustion ramjet". Compare PULSEJET, RAMJET.

a small fight or minor quarrel; see FIREFIGHT, SKIRMISH, CONTACT, MEETING ENGAGEMENT, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. Also, any small piece or fragment of something, especially when detached (as leftovers that can be re-used) or discarded (as leftovers that are useless); derived from 'scrape'; see DX, DEEP SIX, SALTY DOG, CASTOFF, FLOAT TEST.

a fight or quarrel; scrap. Also, a difficult or distressing situation. Also, to clean or smooth a surface by rubbing with something that's rough or sharp; as derived from 'scratch'. Also, to injure or mar by brushing with something rough or sharp; to scar or disfigure. Also, a harsh or shrill sound made by scratching or scraping; see NOISE. Also, to manage or produce with difficulty; to gather or collect laboriously.

sardonic reference to an overly ambitious MILICRAT who aspires to decorate his uniform with as many awards and devices as possible, more as an expression of self-aggrandizement than as a method of advancement; a "trash collector" of military 'treasures', or a "trophy collector" who aspires to achieve some private 'grand slam' of military attainments; see GONG, FRUIT SALAD, UNIT CITATION, BADGE, WINGS, Q-TAB, CORD, TRASH, MIL-CRAFT, TICKET-PUNCHER.

slang for an audible alarm that may be triggered during an intrusion alert or a security breach.

101st Airborne Division patch
101st Abn Div
disparaging nickname of the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), formally known as 'Screaming Eagles', from its infantry division mascot during the CIVIL WAR; also called PUKING BUZZARDS, "barfing buzzards", ONE-OH-WORST, and "Hundred and Worst".

nickname of the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) from its infantry division mascot during the CIVIL WAR; also called PUKING BUZZARDS, SCREAMING CHICKENS, "barfing buzzards", ONE-OH-WORST, and "Hundred and Worst". See SERTS, GERONIMO, CURRAHEE, PARADICE, RAKKASAN, AIRBORNE, PARACHUTE.

see WHIZ BANG, WHISTLER, BOXCAR CHARLIE, DOODLEBUG. [nb: hysteria is also known as the "screaming-meemies"]

a body of troops arrayed in a protective formation, or an arrangement of vehicles, vessels, or aircraft serving to interdict or interpose, as obstructing enemy access or maneuver; also called "screen line", compare BLOCKING FORCE, CORDON. Also, a protective body or vehicular arrangement that moves and maneuvers with a convoy or transient unit; also known as a "screening force", "screening element", or "screening group". Also, a security element whose primary task is to observe, identify, and report information, and which only fights in self-protection; a guard tasked for surveillance, to provide early warning to the main body, or to impede, destroy, and harass enemy reconnaissance within its capability without becoming decisively engaged. Also, any natural or artificial CAMOuflage material, that's opaque to surveillance sensors, and is interposed for CONCEALMENT; see MASK, SHROUD; compare COVER, FARADAY POUCH. Also, an array or mask used in graduated overlay mapping and photography when gauging proportion and/or placement, as a reticle; see CROSS HAIRS, FIELD GLASSES, PERISCOPE, PEEPERS. Also, the viewing surface where information or images are displayed; see ANGEL, GRASS, SCOPE DOPE, CRT, ELECTRONIC CAMPFIRE, BOOB TUBE, IMAGE-CONVERTER TUBE. Also, any mesh, from a debris filter or a capture seine to a grenade fence or a mosquito bar [nb: the word "canopy" originally meant net, as a gauze mosquito barrier; cf: sparver]; see RPG SCREEN, SEA FENCE. Also, a systematic examination, a selective review process, or an investigation; see DOUBTFULS, INTERROGATE, MOWING THE LAWN, SWEEP.

slang for a propeller, being a device that rotates in a fluid, such as air or water, so as to advance a craft by the thrust of its blades; independently invented in 1837 by Swedish-American engineer John Ericsson and English inventor Sir Francis P. Smith to supersede the less efficient paddle wheel, since evolving from fixed to variable pitch to obtain constant speed, and counter rotation to balance torque on multiple propeller mounts. Also, a cylindrical rod, tapered or not, marked by twisted spiral threading that acts as a mechanical device, such as a fastener (eg: bolt) or as a conveyance (eg: pump); invention credited to Archimedes. Also, a euphemism for sex, sexual relations, sexual intercourse, coitus, coition, venery, copulation, fornication, commerce, congress, seduction, intimate knowledge; see CHURNING BUTTER, BOOM-BOOM, SHORT-TIME, FUCK, HOOKUP, DIDDLY, ACT OF CONGRESS, BUTTERFLY, SANDWICH, HAT TRICK, DAISY CHAIN, AROUND THE WORLD, TRICK, PASSION RATION, LOVE HANDLES; compare STEAM 'n' CREAM, SHACK-JOB, HELL ON WHEELS, CHOWING DOWN, HUMMERR, BUSH PILOT, MUFF DIVER, TRAINING FILM, STROKE BOOK.

an incredibly stupid mistake, a thoroughly thoughtless error, a blunder, faux pas or solecism, with consequences ranging from embarrassment to total disaster; also known as "poke the pup", and derived from a bawdy old joke concluding with the lover inadvertently screwing the lady's dog. See FUCK-UP, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, WTFO, SOL, BOHICA.

paper currency (often color-coded) issued by competent authority for temporary use; also called "funny money", "play money", or "shinplaster". Technically known as "fiat money", it has no intrinsic value and is not convertible to any specie or commodity, being based only on the "trust" of the government in an effort to help control inflation in the local economy. See MPC, SUPER NOTE, BAD PAPER, HARD TIMES TOKEN, STANDARD MONEY, LEGAL TENDER. [nb: not "script"; v: flying money, credit money, spirit money]

any authoritative source or reference stipulating practices and procedures; see PARTY LINE, PLANK, CIRCULAR, LAWS OF WAR, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), READ-BACK, CHAPTER AND VERSE, UNODIR, OVERSIGHT, HIDEBOUND, BRASSBOUND, NO EXCUSE, ZERO TOLERANCE, CHECKING THE DICTIONARY, WIGGLE ROOM, OFF THE RESERVATION, OUTSIDE THE WIRE, VFR DIRECT, NATIONAL SECURITY, TOE THE LINE, LINE OF DUTY, COMBAT EFFECTIVE, SOP, FSR, FM, TM, TC, THE BIBLE, MANUAL OF ARMS, BLUE BOOK, ORDER, CUSTOMS AND COURTESIES OF THE SERVICE, TRADITION. [cf: vade mecum (Latin: handbook, guide (literally: "go with me")] [nb: like the distinction between freedom from (prohibition) and freedom to (permission), MILICRATs interpret reg's as "all that's permitted" (inclusive), but CAN DO interprets reg's as "all is permitted that's not forbidden" (exclusive) ... creativity builds higher morale, wins more battles, and saves more lives!] [nb: real life always transcends the rule book] [nb: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" I Corinthians 6:11]

2nd Battalion, 75th Airborne
Ranger Regiment scroll
2/75 Abn Rngr scroll
a shoulder PATCH (SSI) in the form of a banner or ribbon, being a traditional design pattern among RANGER and other SOF units; it has been said that "The TAB is a school but the SCROLL is a lifestyle!" Compare Q-TAB, TRIPLE CANOPY [nb: the Ranger qualification tab is not worn on the left sleeve when a Ranger regimental scroll is the unit insignia of assignment]. Also, a roll or list, as a "MUSTER roll", DUTY ROSTER, or SHIT LIST. Also, a rolled document on parchment or paper containing writing or printing, such as a certificate or diploma. Also, a spiraled or coiled ornament, resembling a partly unrolled sheet of paper, as an heraldic device. Heraldry]

to forage or trade for needed supplies and equipment; as distinguished from "borrow without repayment" (theft) by employing barter economy of exchanged goods and services. See CUMSHAW, BEGGING BOWL, SOUVENIR; compare MIDNIGHT REQUISITION.

to cancel or postpone the execution or implementation of an act or sequence, such as a SORTIE or FIRE MISSION; see BELAY, CEASE-FIRE, WAVE OFF, BREAKAWAY, EQUALIZER, KNOCK IT OFF, RING THE BELL. Also, low shrubs and thick brush collectively, or the area covered by such undersized vegetation; see BUSH, BOONDOCKS / BOONIES, THE J, BACKWASH, INDIAN COUNTRY, BANJO COUNTRY, THULE, TULE. Also, to thoroughly scour or cleanse something, especially the grease trap in a GALLEY or MESS / MESSHALL; see ELBOW GREASE, SWEAT, HOUSECLEANING, KP, POLICE. Also, anyone or anything that's inferior or insignificant, hindered or incapable; being marginal or substandard, as a stunted mongrel or a second-string athlete; see PUKE, POGUE, DUD, DOPE, YARDBIRD, MAGGOT, SMACK, FIELD REJECT, SHIT MAGNET, GOLDBRICK, FEATHER MERCHANT, GHOST, TAP-DANCER, SLACKER, TURD, PUNK, CANDY-ASS, MOAN 'n' GROAN. [v: jackstraw]

any venereal disease; see CLAP, ARC, VD, STD.

Special Commando Unit; see THUNDER TIGER.

SCUBA qualification
SCUBA badge
Special Operations
diver badge
Spl Opns diver badge
acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus; a portable breathing device for free-swimming divers. An experimental underwater breathing system was first employed by Dr. Freminet in 1772. In 1825, a helmeted "diving dress" with a self-contained air tank was introduced by William James. The "aqua-lung" was invented (1942) during WWII by Emile Gagnan and Jacques Y. Cousteau. SCUBA proficiency, earned after a thirty-two day course of instruction, was recognized by a skill badge on 1 May 1969, and a Special Operations SCUBA qualification badge was added in 2004. See WET SUIT, DIVE KNIFE, Q-COURSE, DIVER, SEAL; compare HARD HAT, SNORT, SNORKEL, OBA, EEBD, GAS MASK. [v: Diving Terms]

a competitive underwater sport wherein SCUBA divers swim a designated circuit that's marked by buoys while using compass navigation and mechanical distance measurement devices; points are awarded for speed and accuracy in completing the defined course without surfacing. See DIVER, ORIENTEERING.

a drain situated at the edge of a DECK that's exposed to the weather, allowing accumulated water to debouch into the sea or into the BILGEs. [nb: the deck of a ship is slightly convex or cambered so as to shed water] Also, any similar drain at the edge of an exposed floor or bulwark, valved or vented, used for the exterior disposal of excess water, such as in a parapet.

a small HATCH or PORT, or its hatchway cover, located in the top, sides, or bottom of a vessel; as derived from a cutting of cloth. Also, to deliberately sink something, such as a vessel by opening seacocks, or to intentionally ruin or destroy something, such as abandoned plans or foiled rumors; see HARD-AND-FAST, FOUNDER. Also, a short scurry or DASH, a quick run or hurried movement [v: scud], as when moving under enemy fire; see ZIGZAG, FIRE 'n' MANEUVER. Also, a broad shallow bucket or basket, especially one designed for pouring; as derived from a shallow pan or platter ("scutra").

gossip, RUMOR; derived from an open cask of drinking water on-board ship (the progenitor of the office water-cooler); see BAMBOO TELEGRAPH, POOP, GOUGE, THE WORD, GREEN GREASE, BACK CHANNEL, CHINESE WHISPER, GRIPEVINE.

tedious, repetitious, or menial work, as that done by an underling; also known as drudgery, dog work, donkey work, or GRUNT WORK. See FATIGUE, GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK, BOONDOGGLE. [cf: make-work, busywork, hackwork, taskwork, piecework, timework, slopwork, dirty work, hatchetwork]

Selective Reserve call-up Day; the unnamed day that the President authorizes the call-up of not more than 200,000 Selective Reserve servicemembers. See TIME.

Self-Defense Forces; see SSDF, PSDF, DFS.

State Department Intelligence, a section that functions like the INTEL department in S-2/G-2/J-2, and is equivalent to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

abbreviation for the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, commonly called STAR WARS, now known as the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO).

Staff Duty Officer, a mid-grade officer (O-4 to O-6) tasked for responsibility of higher command during OFF-DUTY hours, and supervisor of detailed junior officers; compare CQ, OOD, OOG, SOPA, OOW, CDO, DUTY DOG, DOG ROBBER, DOGSBODY; see BRASSARD, PARADE, DETAIL.

Savings Deposit Program, being a savings account for active duty MIL-PERS serving in a COMBAT ZONE; administered by DoD, up to $10,000 can be deposited (earning 10% interest) during each deployment, from which quarterly withdrawals are permitted, then the savings account will be automatically closed when departing the COMBAT ZONE, and the balance paid within 120 days. Depositors are eligible if they have been serving in a qualifying COMBAT ZONE for at least 30 days, or at least one day in each of three consecutive months, and are also receiving hostile fire pay (FIELD ALLOWANCE). See THE EAGLE SHITS, BP, SALARY.

Swimmer Delivery Vehicle, as used by USN to insert or recover COVERT teams for special operations; see GATOR, TRAWL, MINISUB.

Southeast Asia; including Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Vietnamese term: "Dong Nam A"; also known as "Little China" (Kun Lun or Nan Yang). See INDOCHINA. [nb: during the period of Japanese expansion under the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere, Imperial Japan referred to southeast Asia as the "southern resource area", while the region encompassed by Manchuria and Siberia was referred to as the "northern resource area"]


U.S. Navy and Marine usage for DUFFEL BAG; see FLIGHT BAG, WAR BAG.

a nonexistent object that a novice or tyro is required to obtain in the same manner as any other SNIPE HUNT objective; this search often results in swatting the NUGGET or FRESH CATCH with a broom; compare MERMAID, DRAGON.

SeaBees patch
mobile Naval construction engineers; acronym derived from the initials 'C.B.' as an abbreviation for Construction Battalion. Seabee mottoes are "Can Do" and "We Build, We Fight", but they are also known as "dirt sailors" and the "Bees of the Seven Seas". SeaBees in VN were subordinate to Naval Construction Battalion Pacific Fleet (CBPAC). See CE, ENGR, SNIPE, SAPPER, NCB, NCFPAC, NMCB, NCDU, RED HORSE.


an unofficial commemorative account of a ship and its crew during a specified period or mission (FLOAT), often including some historical perspective and anecdotal material; resembles a school classbook or yearbook, and is also called "cruise book". Compare AIRBORNE ALBUM, WAR DIARY, JOURNAL.

SouthEast Asia Command, established 1943; in which theater OSS detachments (ie: 101, 303, 404, 505) operated during WWII. The abbreviation was also interpreted as: "Save England's Asiatic Colonies" and "Supreme Example of Allied Confusion". See CBI.

a major transformation or alteration, especially a striking one brought about by the weather at sea; an expression coined by William Shakespeare in The Tempest (1611). See FULL FATHOM FIVE.

a lidded box for stowing duty items and personal possessions, being U.S. Navy and Marine usage for FOOTLOCKER.

the US Navy AH-1J, a single-rotor, dual-crew, light attack helicopter armed with a variety of machineguns, rockets, grenade launchers, and anti-tank (AT) missiles; used for close air support (CAS). See COBRA, CHOPPER.

a valve in the HULL of a ship for admitting seawater into some internal chamber, as for ballast.

acronym for SouthEast Asia COORDinating committee; properly known as Coordinating Committee for U.S. Mission Southeast Asia, being the authoritative body responsible, effective 7 October 1964, for approving aerial engagement and overflight policies for the SEA region.

(seed) acronym for Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, being a tactical role fulfilled by various electronic devices and hunter-killer weapons so as to dominate or destroy enemy air defense command, control, and communications.

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", "elder"; see PATRON SAINT, RABBI, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN; compare RING-KNOCKER, TICKET-PUNCHER, KHAKI MAFIA. [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs] [nb: 'compadre' derived from "godfather"]

a fixed stern platform positioned at sea level that's separated from the main deck by a TRANSOM; also called a "dive step" or "dive platform", this diving deployment platform is often rigged with a "granny line" or "gerry line" to assist in the recovery of swimmers back onto the boat. Compare WELL DECK, STAGE, TRAWL.

the CODENAME designation given to a joint U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy operation conducted in the Tonkin Gulf portion of the South China Sea, in conjunction with the Rolling Thunder air campaign, to interdict the North Vietnamese supply lines; beginning in October 1966 and ending with the bombing halt of October 1968. Consisting of paired vessels ranging the coast as far north as the 20th parallel, American and Australian cruisers and destroyers, supported by spotter aircraft from nearby carriers, bombarded infiltration routes, RADAR sites, and coastal batteries, sinking supply craft, receiving counterbattery fire but without any losses.

a durable mesh suspended from a CABLE that's strung between BUOYs so as to isolate or confine a select area, usually for protective purposes; extending to the seafloor, the mesh is typically sized to permit the passage of fishes, but not people. When used militarily, such a barrier must be guarded and patrolled, inspected and maintained; and is typically lowered to permit the passage of watercraft and other vessels. See SCREEN.

USMC sea duty insignia
sea duty
informal reference to a Marine, specially trained at Sea School, who is assigned to the Marine Detachment aboard ship as part of the SHIP'S COMPLEMENT or PERMANENT PARTY, and distinguished by an insignia showing a golden seahorse superimposed upon a golden anchor within a crimson lozenge; the USMC discontinued the assignment of Marine Detachments on-board Naval vessels in 1998, disbanding a tradition dating from the inception of the Marine Corps in 1775. See SNUFFY, GYRENE, CHINA MARINE, HORSE MARINE, JARHEAD, THE CROTCH, MAMELUKE SWORD, USMC.

USN/USMC SH-/HH-/MH-60 series version of the single-rotor BLACKHAWK utility helicopter; also designated JAYHAWK by USCG, and commonly called "Hawk". A ship-based patrol and anti-submarine helicopter that's designation is often misspelled: "SeaHawk". See CHOPPER.

SouthEast Asia Huts. Standardized design buildings made of horizontally louvered-board walls four feet high, with screen inside from the bottom to the roof, with doors at each end, under a corrigated tin roof, emplaced on either a block foundation or concrete pad, and most were protected by a STAND-OFF sandbag wall. Many added sandbags to the roof for wind-protection (not to reduce blast effect). There were thousands of these SEA HUTs all over Vietnam and Thailand, being used for everything from offices to living quarters, from clubs to storage. See BLDG, BILLET; compare BUTLER BUILDING, QUONSET HUT, B-HUT, HUTMENT.

Southeast Asia Integrated Tactical Air Control System.

US Navy H-3/CH-3/UH-3/HH-3 single-rotor, medium-lift helicopter used for air/sea rescue (SAR) and personnel/cargo transport in support of aircraft carrier operations; also identified as JOLLY GREEN GIANT. Some versions are equipped for anti-submarine operations (ASW). See CHOPPER.

Boeing CH-46 /-D twin-engine, large-capacity, transport or cargo helicopter; being the amphibious USN/USMC version of the CHINOOK, nicknamed "Frog". See TIGER AIRLINE, CHOPPER.

SEAL Team 1 patch
SEAL Team 1
SEAL Team 2 patch
SEAL Team 2
US Navy special warfare force and its members; purported acronym for "Sea Air Land" or "Special Elite Air Land sailors". The acronym has also been interpreted as "Suffer Everyday And Laugh", "Sleep Eat And Lie" / "...Lay", and "Savage Evil Animal League". During the VIETNAM WAR, the enemy called SEALs "devils with green faces"; and together with FROGMEN, have been known as "naked warriors" since their inception. The SEALs' unofficial motto is "The only easy day was yesterday!". Authorized by President John F. Kennedy on 8 January 1962 to supplement UDT elements by developing Unconventional Warfare (UW) and COUNTER-GUERRILLA warfare operational tactics for maritime and riverine environments. Originally formed as two teams (ie: SEAL Team One on west coast, SEAL Team Two on east coast), and now increased to nine teams, these elite sailors use SCUBA and AIRBORNE skills in small groups for counterinsurgency, counter-terrorism, special operations, amphibious support, and special delivery (SDV / SBU) missions. A trainee or inexperienced SEAL is commonly called a PUP, as the term for young seals; and the training course is divided into pre-"Hell Week" (4wks), "Hell Week" (fifth week), and post-"Hell Week" (11wks) phases. The official qualification badge for SEALs, called the Special Warfare Badge, but informally known as the "Trident", and widely known as the BUDWEISER, was adopted in 1971, incorporating the UDT badge as its central motif; initially silver for EM/CPO and gold for officers, but later changed to all gold, like the formal USN/USMC parachute badge. Instead of the regular "ship assignment" arc, SEALs wear a "SEAL Team #" shoulder tab on the left sleeve of their uniform. Most SEAL teams have an unofficial mascot patch, showing a "combat seal" with USN "toys", which may be worn OFF-DUTY. SEAL Teams One and Two operated on six-month rotations in Vietnam from 1963 to 1973; incurring 46 deaths, which resulted more from accidents and INTEL failures than from direct enemy fire. SEALs are proud of the fact that no teammate (alive or dead) has ever been left behind, and that no SEAL has ever been captured. The Vietnamese term: Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai, Lien Doan Nguoi Nhai (LDNN). Unlike the LLDB (VNSF), which disbanded when its USSF sponsor departed RVN, the VNN SEALs not only continued their operations, but withdrew as an intact unit when the Republic of Vietnam (RVN/SVN) was defeated. [nb: US Navy UDT/SEAL "swim buddy" adage: "two is one, one is none"]

any disgruntled or maladjusted sailor who is inclined to question orders, who constantly complains and persistently quibbles; a fellow servicemember who has acquired a level of legalistic familiarity with military law and regulations by being repeatedly upbraided, and offers controversial advice as an imperfect warrant to anyone who will listen; also called BARRACKS LAWYER and GUARDHOUSE LAWYER. See YARDBIRD; compare JAG.

the ability to adjust one's sense of balance to the constant motion of a ship at sea, especially while remaining free of seasickness. Also, slang for surimi, being the "minced flesh" paste of inexpensive fish that's been shaped, colored, and flavored in imitation of lobster meat, crabmeat, or the like; see MYSTERY MEAT, CRITTER FRITTER, SLOP, GUT BOMB, WASH, WAD, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. [v: mock chicken, mock turtle soup, Bombay duck, Welsh rabbit, golden buck]


an acronym for SouthEast Asia Lake, Ocean, River, and Delta Strategy, being a joint US and RVN Navy operation, formally designated Task Force 194, and commanded by COMNAVFORV (Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Vietnam). Its aim was to cut enemy supply lines and disrupt enemy base areas accessed by waterways. The SEALORDS operation, beginning in October 1968, consisted of vessels of the Coastal Surveillance Force (Task Force 115), the River Patrol Force (Task Force 116), the Mobile Riverine Assault Force (Task Force 117), some South Vietnamese Navy vessels, the 9th Inf Div Riverine Forces, and some RVN Army and Marine Corps elements. SEALORDS emplaced patrol barriers, including electronic sensors, along inland and coastal waterways, paralleling the Cambodian border, the Cua Dai and Hoi An Rivers, the Saigon River, the Ca Mau Peninsula, and the Gulf of Siam. This force also participated in the May-June 1970 Cambodian INCURSION, reaching the capital of Phnom Penh. The U.S. Navy's role in SEALORDS ceased in April 1971, and the operation became the responsibility of the South Vietnamese Navy. See MRF, BROWN WATER.

SouthEast Asia Operational Requirement

a FIXED-WING or ROTARY-WING aircraft fitted with hydrofoil FLOATs for take-offs and landings on the surface of the water; compare FLYING BOAT, AMPHIBIAN; see CHOPPER, BIRD.

the doctrine of supremacy of the sea pertinent to BATTLEFIELDs that's endorsed and manifested by the U.S. Navy (USN); see BLUE LINE, BROWN WATER, BLUE WATER, POND, THE DRINK, FLOAT, CHOP LINE, FLEET, FLAGSHIP, BOAT, WARSHIP; compare LAND POWER, AIR POWER.

offensive military operations to sweep through areas to locate, drive-out or attack the enemy; compare CLEAR AND HOLD, CORDON AND SEARCH.

offensive operations designed to find and destroy enemy forces, headquarters and supply installations, rather than establish permanent government control; also called SNOOP 'n' POOP and ZIPPO missions. Compare CLEAR AND HOLD, CORDON AND SEARCH, SEARCH AND CLEAR.


see SAR, CSAR, CSARTF, JSARC, BRIGHT LIGHT, JPRC, RCC, RIT, HOT HOIST, JUNGLE PENETRATOR, EPIRB, PJ, TRAP, RESCAP, SARCAP, GUARD, SAFE, MOWING THE LAWN, SWEEP, BLOOD CHIT, HOME RUN, POINTIE TALKIE, RECOVERY. [nb: Locate, Assess, Stabilize, Transport (LAST)] [nb: during the VIETNAM WAR, more than 4000 MIL-PERS were saved in aggressive CSAR operations, which cost 71 rescuemen their lives]

see RECOVERY; compare RESCUE.

see SHORE, BREAKWATER [v: beach, tideland, tidal flats, shoal]

something added, as herbs or spices, that's used to enhance the flavor of food; see GUSTO, CONDIMENTS. [v: fines herbes] [v: chacun à son gout (French: each to his own taste); de gustibus non est disputandum (Latin: there is no arguing about taste); pièce de résistance (French: the principal dish of a meal)]

the US Navy H-2/UH-2/HH-2; a single-rotor light lift helicopter used for air/sea rescue (SAR), personnel/cargo transport, and anti-submarine operations (ASW) from naval vessels. See CHOPPER.

amphibious USN/USMC version of the Sikorsky CH-53, HH-53, or MH-53 heavy helicopter series, as used for cargo or transport, rescue (SAR) or anti-submarine warfare (ASW); succeeded by the Super Sea Stallion, and commonly called "echo" or "shitter" (for its profusion of exhaust smoke). See SMOKY BEAR, JOLLY GREEN GIANT, CHOPPER.

the Lockheed TV-2, being the Navy version of the T-33 SHOOTING STAR; see BIRD.

in NavSpeak, to brag or lie, usually when the "sun is over the YARDARM"; a convivial recounting of gossip and falsehoods, fables and yarns. Purportedly, a fairy tale is indistinguishable from a SEA STORY, except in the ways they begin and end; a fairy tale begins "Once upon a time", then ends "And they all lived happily ever after", while a SEA STORY begins "There we were ...", then ends "And the survivors washed-up as castaways!". Compare SHOOT THE SHIT, TALK TRASH, BRAVO SIERRA, TELL IT TO THE MARINES, CHICKEN SHIT, WAR STORY, RED INK, COUNT COUP, RUMOR, WANNABE, ATFU, MIL-SPEAK.

(forthcoming); Father Hoa, Vietnamese counterinsurgency; see COUNTER-GUERRILLA, RF, RF/PF, PSDF.

SouthEast Asia Translation and Interpreter Command, a combined British and American organization in WWII; see DLI.

SouthEast Asia Treaty Organization, founded at the behest of Dwight D. Eisenhower on 8 September 1954 by the United States, France, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand, and the Philippines to oppose further communist expansion in the region of southeastern Asia and southwestern Pacific; modeled after the coalition that arrested communist expansion in northeastern Asia, specifically Korea; first headquartered in Manila, then Bangkok, and disbanded in 1977. See PENTALATERAL AGREEMENT, ASEAN, ANZUS, FWF, KANZUS, UN.

improvisations after "the plan" or 'normal systems' have failed; as in "operating by the ..." or "flying by the ...". See PLAN B, WORK-AROUND, DISGRONIFICATOR, BUG, GREMLIN, MURPHY'S LAW, FUCK-UP, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, GOAT ROPE, WTFO, SOL, BOHICA; compare CATCH-22, SNIPE HUNT, CIRCLE JERK, CHICKEN SHIT, MICKEY MOUSE.

informal designation among PILOTs since WWII for actual involvement or active participation, such as when flying in the "hot seat", instead of just occupying space (BLOB) like a passenger; being a metonym for experience.

SEAWater-Activated Release System, being a control device that automatically releases an air crewmember from his parachute upon immersion into water; a similar lifesaving mechanism automatically inflates their flotation device.

USN helicopter designation

SECretary of DEFense, being a cabinet-level civilian adviser to the president (POTUS), includes Assistants (ASD); see OSD, DEFENSE POLICY BOARD. [nb: neither the Secretary of Defense nor any of the Secretaries of the Army, Air Force, or Navy are in the CHAIN-OF-COMMAND; compare NSC] [nb: "The Secretary of Defense is not a super general or admiral; his task is to exercise civilian control over the military on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief and the rest of the country not in uniform." paraphrase of Donald H. Rumsfeld]

SECretary of the NAVy, being the senior civilian administrator of the U.S. Navy.



any explosion subsequent to an initial explosion, as a sympathetic explosion that's caused by or results from another explosion; a SECONDARY includes a two-stage MUNITION, detonation of volatile material, and the like; see BLOWN, TRIGGER, DETONATOR, 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]

either a relatively stable and insensitive high-explosive which is initiated by a primary explosive in a sequence, or a volatile substance that is spontaneously or sympathetically initiated as a consequence of provocative conditions (ie: heat, shock, etc).

fragments, usually admixed with the elements of the explosive device, that are made up from TARGET and accessory materials, other than those produced by the device itself. Compare PRIMARY FRAGMENTATION; see COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

(forthcoming); see DCO, XO, COMMAND ELEMENT, CHAIN-OF-COMMAND. [v: locum tenens, vicar, heir apparent, tanist, substitute, surrogate, successor; cf: lieutenant (LT)]

the second of the three principal estates, consisting of those persons of highest social rank (formerly European royalty); the class of persons of prestige ... as if the REDNECKs and KNUCKLE-DRAGGERs were not conspecific with the self-proclaimed BEST AND BRIGHTEST. Compare FIRST ESTATE, THIRD ESTATE, FOURTH ESTATE, FIFTH ESTATE.

a war of Vietnamese liberation fought against Chinese, British, French, and American forces from the end of WWII to the end of the VIETNAM WAR; called the "American War" by the Vietnamese communists; see INDOCHINA.

see WWII.

a delimiter qualifying duplication and restricting distribution of CLASSIFIED documents; see NEED TO KNOW, COMPARTMENTALIZATION.

a covert or clandestine operative of some agency or organization who gathers intelligence or disseminates false data (DISINFORMATION) or PROPAGANDA; rarely involved in "direct action" (often called "wet work" if blood is spilled). Most of the special programs in the VIETNAM WAR were penetrated by agents or sympathizers, and some were able to be "doubled" or "tripled" by various controllers. Special Forces Project Gamma became notorious when its officers executed a double agent who had repeatedly cost numerous lives and compromised missions. Also called SPOOK, CRYPTO, or CREEP; and known as "Jane Bond" when female. See TRADECRAFT, FLUTTER, SWEAT, BUG, SLEEPER, MOLE, FIX, PROVOCATEUR, THROW-AWAY, NIGHTCRAWLER, DANGLE, RABBIT, INVISIBLE, HANDLER, SWEEPER, CUTOUT, DECOY, STOOGE, ESPIONAGE, CE, LEGEND, BACKSTOP, TALK THE TALK, RUMOR. [v: intelligencer; citizen of eternity]


Vietnam-era slang for a sly or secretive, deceptive or furtive person, especially those MIL-PERS assigned to top secret or codenamed projects; as derived from a cartoon sequence created by Hanna-Barbera (1965) that parodied the espionage thrillers of the time, this expression (also known as "Agent 000") became a put-down for the horde of "intelligence specialists" who populated the plethora of COUNTER-GUERRILLA programs of that radical period. See SECRET AGENT, BABY 007. Also, by extension of the initials (SS), Secret Squirrel is police slang for an agent of the U.S. Secret Service.

SECretary of STATE, being the head and chief administrator of the U.S. Department of State, which is a cabinet-level office; see DAO, COUNTRY TEAM, USAID; compare FOREIGN MINISTER.

unsuitability discharge for character or behavior (C&B) disorders; see DISCHARGE, COG, DUD, YARDBIRD, POGUE, BARRACKS/SEA LAWYER.

in a tactical sense, to seize something (or someone) and protectively guard it (them); in NavSpeak (including the Marines), to stop work, put everything away and lock up.


operation in the Mid-East during 29 Feb - 15 Jun 2004.

an international RADIO/TELEPHONE distress call that does not involve the imminent loss of life or property; an international distress signal used to inform others about something vital to their safety. This alert or warning is announced on the GUARD channel, with directions to switch to a non-emergency frequency (FREQ) for the full text of the message. This call often provides immediate notice of navigation hazards. Compare MAYDAY, PAN; see SOS, CSEL, BLIND TRANSMISSION, RTP, PROWORD.


any speech or action that promotes discontent or incites rebellion against the duly constituted authority, being a violation of Article 94 of the Punitive Articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice; see RIOT ACT, TREASON, PUNITIVE ARTICLES, UCMJ. [nb: the 1934 Incitement to Disaffection Act was intended to prevent communist propaganda in the Armed Forces] [nb: "For as the interposition of a rivulet, however small, will occasion the line of the phalanx to fluctuate, so any trifling disagreement will be the cause of seditions; but they will not so soon flow from anything else as from the disagreement between virtue and vice, and next to that between poverty and riches." by Aristotle (ca343BC)]


angry or irate, infuriated or splenetic, as when giving way to excessive passion or violence; an allusion seemingly derived from baiting a bull with a red cloth; see BERSERK, AMOK, FIGHTING MAD, GO KINETIC, WILD-EYED, BLOOD IN THE EYE. [cf: bate: a state of violent anger or fear; v: synesthesia / synaesthesia: a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality]

the separation or denial of access in public accommodations to anyone based upon race or color, creed or religion, ethnicity or national origin, sex or handicap, as prohibited in numerous statutes; compare DESEGREGATION. [v: de facto segregation] Also, the legitimate separation of officers and enlisted men (EM / NCO), of males and females, and the like for professional, hygienic, privacy, or other justifiable purposes; see FRATERNIZATION, SEQUESTRATION, QUARANTINE, CORDON SANITAIRE, NO FLY ZONE, YELLOW JACK, ZERO-ZERO WARD.

those units and individuals within the Ready Reserve designated by their respective Services, and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), as so essential to initial wartime missions that they have priority over all other Reserves; all Selected Reservists are in an active status, and includes those persons performing initial ACTIVE DUTY FOR TRAINING. See RESERVE.

those acts necessary to protect oneself, or the lives, property, and interests for which one is responsible; an instance of justifiably protecting life and interests from harm by force or the threat of force; see ACTIVE DEFENSE, PASSIVE DEFENSE.

an informal syndicate setup to benefit its members; a form of the "mutual admiration society" or the "old-boy network"; see BOY'S CLUB, GOOD OLD BOY, RING-KNOCKER, KHAKI MAFIA, THE ESTABLISHMENT, BROWNIE / BROWN NOSE, VET / VETERAN, PROFESSIONAL VETERAN, MILICRAT, RHIP, FAST TRACK, TICKET-PUNCHER, VULCANIZE. [nb: every MILICRAT knows that the most dangerous people in the military are not HEROes, but are disgruntled MIL-PERS who are frustrated by MICKEY MOUSE and CHICKEN SHIT, by SNOW and RED TAPE, and having been passed over twice for promotion, are serving their terminal assignment, and because they are honorable men who have not STACKed ARMS, they know that there is nothing that the TICKET-PUNCHERs and RING-KNOCKERs of the KHAKI MAFIA can do to them!]

a visual signaling system, such as using flags or lights; based on clock-hands, as developed by Albert J. Myer during the early 19th century. See WIGWAG, TACK, BURGEE.

the SEMINOLE WAR, beginning in 1835, proved to be the most costly of the Indian wars in which the United States engaged ... lasting almost eight years, this war cost the lives of 1,500 American soldiers and an expenditure of more than thirty million dollars. The Seminoles are a composite tribe, splintered from the Creek confederation, and receptive to dispossessed tribal remnants (eg: Tuscarora, Yamasee, etc) and fugitive slaves, that was resident in the territory formerly occupied by the Apalachee in Spanish Florida ("Land of Flowers") during the early 18th century, and became involved in several confrontations between Spain and the United States, most notably during 1812 and 1817. In the retaliatory expedition of 1817-18, Andrew Jackson invaded Florida to punish the Seminoles, which led to the 1832 Treaty of Paynes Landing, requiring the Seminoles to move west of the Mississippi River within three years. Most Seminoles, led by Osceola, refused to relocate, and resisted by organizing small raiding parties that attacked American troops who were rendered helpless by this tactic. Although Osceola was captured in 1837 (while attending an armistice conference) and died in prison a few months later, resistance continued. When William J. Worth became the commander of U.S. forces in 1841, a new SCORCHED-EARTH strategy was adopted: systematically burning the Seminole's crops and destroying their villages. Subdued by the onset of winter and the prospect of starvation, the Seminoles surrendered in 1842, and were removed westward under a new treaty, although some remained isolated in the Everglades. [nb: First Seminole War (1817-18): 30 battle deaths; Second Seminole War (1835-42): 1,500 battle deaths; Third Seminole War (1855-58): 26 battle deaths]

short for "Semper Fidelis", Latin for "Always Faithful"; being the motto of the US Marine Corps, replacing "Fortitudine", Latin for "Fortitude". See UCGC, KEEP THE FAITH, ESPRIT DE CORPS, OATH; compare SEMPER I, SEMPER KNIFE. [nb: the motto of 1st Mar Div, "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy", has also been alleged to be the motto of the USMC; alternative Marine mottoes include: "U.S.M.C. -- when you care enough to send the very best!", "U.S.M.C. -- when the job must be done by morning!"]

pejorative reference in the Marine Corps to anyone who favors himself over others or advances himself more than the mission; someone who promotes his own personal interests; originating as a GULF WAR variant of SEMPER FI. Compare SEMPER KNIFE, BLUE FALCON.

in the politically-correct Marine Corps, a satiric twist on the SEMPER FI motto that indicates backstabbing instead of brotherhood; equivalent to Army BLUE FALCON. See BAYONET SHEET.

a PLASTIC EXPLOSIVE that is easily tractable and largely odorless, manufactured in Czechoslovakia for use in the post-Vietnam era by INSURGENTs and TERRORISTs; see SHAPED CHARGE, CHARGE, DEMO, EXPLOSIVE.

a non-standard non-stock item that's selectively issued to deficient MIL-PERS by the quartermaster (QM) at the direction of the commander (LDR); this auxiliary asset is a useful component of military training and combat operations. Although frequently contrived and often counterfeited, a SENSE OF HUMOR is the only reliable counteractant for the ubiquitous CHICKEN SHIT and MICKEY MOUSE that pervades military culture. A theory of humoral balances was conceived by the ancient Greeks to account for physical and emotional health, which proposed that the fluid levels of the humors affected perception as well as capacity, but modern science hypothesizes that temperament, intelligence, and other personality factors influence the individual's awareness of and receptivity to culturally approved amusements. The free exercise of a SENSE OF HUMOR tends to provoke laughter as an overt demonstration of cognitive or experiential enjoyment, its intensity qualified by context and other subtle variables, including social status and national character. See AS PLEASED AS PUNCH, GALLOW'S HUMOR, BLACK, ROMAN HOLIDAY, PAIN. [v: amusement, jollity, frivolity, hilarity, gaiety, mirth, merriment, funny, jest, witticism, folly, drollery, satire, sarcasm, schadenfreude] [nb: "A despot doesn't fear eloquent writers preaching freedom. He fears a drunken poet who cracks a joke that will take hold. His gravest concern is that gaiety (or truth in sheep's clothing) somewhere gain a foothold, less joy, by some inadvertent course in an unguarded moment, be unconfined." by Elwyn Brooks White]

the Piper l-5 light, propeller-driven, single-engine, high fixed-wing, two-seat monoplane used by USA/USAF/USMC for liaison, observation, and forward air control (FAC) missions; see BIRD DOG, GRASSHOPPER. Also, a person or thing that stands watch; see SENTRY, WATCH, WATCHER, ARGUS. [v: "watch and ward"]

ASA patch
nickname of the Army Security Agency (ASA) or U.S. Army Security Agency (USASA); being the commo-crypto experts. Army Security was created 15 December 1952, and was merged to form Army Intelligence and Security on 1 July 1962, which was redesignated Military Intelligence (MI) on 1 July 1967. See INTEL, CIC.

a guard, especially a soldier stationed to prevent unauthorized passage; as derived from "sentinel" (vigilance); see ARGUS, WATCH, WATCHER, EARTH ANGEL, ROADRUNNER, TRAIL WATCHER, COIGN OF VANTAGE, DETAIL, FPS, POLICE, OP, LP, POINT, SPEARHEAD, SUICIDE SQUAD. [v: picket, warder, vedette, "watch and ward"] [v: General Orders of a Sentry] Also, a modified Boeing 707 (E3B/-C) airliner with a rotating 30' saucer RADOME mounted atop the FUSELAGE that's heavily equipped with computer and communications equipment; serves as a command and control platform that can track hundreds of ships and planes while remaining on station for many hours; see HAWKEYE, AWACS.

a small spare shelter for the use of a guard or sentinel; also called "sentry post" or "guard shack". Compare BARBICAN, GUARDHOUSE, PILLBOX; see BLDG, BILLET. [cf: shooter's box]


separate rations; a subsidy allocation that includes basic quarters allowance (BAQ / BAH). This subsidy consists of supplemental money issued to NCOs and officers for living off-post/-BASE. Although SEPARATE RATS was only a meager sum added to the individual's base-pay, married EMs were not eligible, even though they were the ones who needed it most ... later filing for food stamps in order to provide for the welfare of their families. See QTRS, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, DRAG, CAMP FOLLOWER, GREEN BLOOD, BRAT, ARMY SOUP. [nb: until the Vietnam-era, the military did not recognize the spouse or other dependents of enlisted personnel below the non-commissioned officer ranks]


Special Exploitation Service; also abbreviated "SES" (qv).


following with smooth or logical regularity. Also, an archaism for following or serving another person, especially by unreasoning imitation. See FOLLOW ME, PIED PIPER, JACKAL, CAKEWALK, WALK IN THE PARK, MONKEY SEE - MONKEY DO.

to separate or isolate, remove or withdraw, such as the incommunicado lock-down of a pre-launch SOF team in an ISOFAC. Also, to seize, hold, and control property pending resolution and disposition, especially enemy possessions; as derived from "to deposit into the care of a trustee"; compare COMMANDEER, SPOILS OF WAR. [cf: appropriation, expropriation, requisition, purveyance, impoundment, confiscation, preemption, eminent domain, forfeiture] Also, an across-the-board cut in government (THE G, GSA) spending; see THE EAGLE SHITS, SALARY, PRO PAY, FIELD ALLOWANCE, UA, BAQ, BAH, SEPARATE RATS, DOUBLE-DIP, GI BILL, SLUSH FUND, CANDY, JUICE, GOLDEN SHOWER, PORK BARREL, GAO. [nb: 'stipend', as a tax-exempt allowance or honorary salary, usually a pittance, derives from "soldier's pay"] [cf: blood money; 'wages' are compensation or recompense, from carry on, struggle, pledge]

acronym for Selective Early Retirement Board, being the review authority for cutbacks and downsizing to reduce manpower for the anticipated Armed Forces drawdown role; a DISCHARGE within 90-days, including severance pay, of redundant individuals not slated for promotion. See DUMP, KICKSTANDED, RIF, PEACE DIVIDEND. [nb: the military has an involuntary "stop-loss" authority, which allows each branch to compel soldiers who reach the end of their enlistment to remain in uniform for "the good of the service"]

see JOINT ENDEAVOR, JOINT FORGE, JOINT GUARD, ALLIED FORCE, PROVIDE PROMISE. [nb: it has been said that Yugoslavia has one people, two alphabets, three religions, four languages, five nationalities, and six republics!] [nb: Serbian is written in Cyrillic while Croatian is written in the Roman alphabet]

Survival, Evasion, Resistance,
Escape patch
(sear) Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape training program of practical techniques, based upon realistic assessments developed as a result of POW experiences in Korea and Vietnam; the Resistance Training Lab (RTL) is the application phase of the course that simulates imprisonment after capture. This 3-week program was later expanded to "Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, Recovery" (SERER) so as to include rescue modalities. Unlike earlier E&E training, where successful evasion exempted the student from imprisonment, this course mandates that everyone experience captivity, so as to practice the coping mechanisms associated with interrogation and deprivation. Also, the survival, evasion, resistance, and escape plan that any military servicemember situated behind enemy lines or within hostile territory must improvise so as to return to allied elements or a friendly area. See SAFE, BUG-OUT KIT, ENVIS, BRIGHT LIGHT, HOME RUN, BLOOD CHIT, POINTIE TALKIE, SAR, CSAR, RIT, TRAP, CODE OF CONDUCT. [nb: USAF Combat Survival Training, a twenty-day course of instruction, teaches survival and evasion techniques for any terrain or climate with the objective of returning to friendly lines without the intervention of rescue and recovery (SAR/CSAR, PJ/RIT/TRAP) assets]

Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, Recovery; see SERE, E&E.

the lowest sergeant rating, represented by three chevrons as sleeve rank insignia, which is also known as BUCK Sergeant; see SARGE, DI, ROCKER, RIGHT ARM, NCO, RATING, GRADE, RANK.

being the non-commissioned officer (NCO) grade (E-7) between Staff Sergeant (E-6) and Master Sergeant or Master Gunnery Sergeant (E-8), and represented by three chevrons above two ROCKERs as sleeve rank insignia. See SARGE, BUCK, DI, RIGHT ARM, FIRST SHIRT, TOP, NCO, SUPER GRADE, RATING, GRADE, RANK.

US Army Sergeant Major
being a SUPER GRADE non-commissioned officer (NCO) rated (E-9) between Master Sergeant (MSG) or First Sergeant (1SG) and Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA), and represented by three chevrons above three ROCKERs with a centered star as sleeve rank insignia; also called STAFF SERGEANT MAJOR, this rank is rated equal to Command Sergeant Major (CSM). See SARGE, RIGHT ARM, FIRST SHIRT, TOP, TOP DOG, NCO, RATING, GRADE, RANK.

being the highest non-commissioned officer (NCO) rating in the U.S. Army, represented by a unique sleeve rank insignia consisting of three chevrons above three ROCKERs with two stars centered (1979), later revised (1994) by the addition of the national eagle positioned between the two stars. See SARGE, RIGHT ARM, FIRST SHIRT, TOP, TOP DOG, SUPER GRADE, NCO, RATING, GRADE, RANK.

an arbitrary number of elements within a FORMATION and operating together under one commander, which is designated by a numeric or alphabetic identifier that's used when planning, scheduling,or controlling its sequential dispatch, such as aircraft or landing craft that are discretely grouped and separated by pre-designated time intervals. Also, anything tabulated and sequenced for staging. See STAGE, LINE OF DEPARTURE, EVOLUTION.

all supply items have stock numbers but accountable supply items, from optics and commo to weapons and motors, also have serial numbers. The loss of accountable items could involve military punishment or pay deductions for reimbursement. During the VIETNAM WAR, people were no longer issued "serial numbers" (properly called SERVICE NUMBER, but serial in the sense of sequential), so the military converted accountability to Social Security Numbers (eg: AFSN, ASSN, SSAN).

the Screaming Eagle Replacement Training School of the 101st Abn Div in RVN, being a refresher course for "lessons learned" in the field; also known as "cherry school" or CHARM SCHOOL. See FTA, COC, OJT, Q-COURSE.

[not "albumen"] the principal protein of blood plasma, which is important in osmotic regulation of the blood and in the transport of metabolites. Also, the commercial form of this substance, which has been used since the late 19th century in medicine for the treatment of shock, as well as in dyes and foodstuffs.


also known as "brim cap", "visor hat", "wheel hat", BILLED CAP, SAUCER CAP, CRUSHER, "pizza hat" (USMC), and "Donald Duck cap" (USN), as worn by all branches and grades with variations of color, style, and insignia. See SCRAMBLED-EGGS, SPAGHETTI, FARTS 'n' DARTS, COMBINATION COVER, BARRACKS COVER, GARRISON CAP, CAMPAIGN HAT, BERET, HEADGEAR.

a recreational center, typically situated off-post or off-base and sponsored by a service organization (eg: YMCA, USO, Red Cross, VFW, American Legion, etc), where off-duty military personnel can socialize with local civilians, often at dances or carnivals; such centers offer music, films, reading matter, games, and snack food ... sometimes located near a civic center or tourist attraction. Also, synonym for an Enlisted Man's Club (SLOP CHUTE) or ALL RANKS CLUB; see CANTEEN, ANNEX, ACEY-DEUCY, NCO CLUB, O CLUB.




the accountability number, abbreviated SN, often with a letter prefix designating status, that was sequentially issued to Armed Forces personnel from WWI by each branch [ie: US Army 12 Feb 1918, US Navy and USMC 1920, USCG 1921, USAF 1948] through the VIETNAM WAR [ie: US Army and USAF 1 July 1969, US Navy and USMC 1 Jan 1972, USCG 1 Oct 1974], when it was replaced by the Social Security Number (eg: AFSN, ASSN, SSAN). In order to protect servicemember privacy and prevent identity fraud, only the last four digits of the SSN have been used on any but the most essential documents since 2003. Before SERVICE NUMBERs, enlisted members were tracked by muster rolls and pay records, while officers were registered in a War Department directory. Because each branch assigned its own SERVICE NUMBERs, duplications occurred between branches and between officer and enlisted ranks; furthermore, if there's a break in service or a change of status, a servicemember may have two or more SERVICE NUMBERs issued to him. Some of the SERVICE NUMBER prefix or suffix designations varied by branch, but included: A / WA = WAC EM/NCO; V / WM = WAC warrant officer; WL = WAC officer; KF = regular WAC officer; R = hospital dietitian; MR = enlisted dietitian; MM = physical therapist; MJ = occupational therapist; N = Army Nurse Corps; MN = male nurse; CS = contract surgeon; AA = WAF; O = commissioned officer; AO = commissioned flight officer; W = warrant officer; T = warrant flight officer; AF = USAF enlisted; AW = USAF warrant officer; R = regular Army enlisted; FR = reserve Army; ER = enlisted Army reserve; 1-10million/RA = Regular Army; 20-29million/NG = National Guard; 3-30million/US = draftee; RP = recalled personnel ("retread"); S = Army Specialist Corps; W = USMC & USAF WAF prefix and WAVE suffix; A/FR suffix = regular USAF officer. The first recorded SERVICE NUMBERs include: O-1 John J. Pershing and R-1 Arthur Crean (Army); 4A Hoyt Vandenberg (USAF); 532 Samuel R. Colhoun and 100 00 01 Clayton Aab (Navy); 01 James Ackerman and 20001 Alexander Schott (USMC); 1000 Joseph F. Farley and 100000 Mason B. Herring (USCG); OA-1 Oveta C. Hobby (WAAC). Some notable SERVICE NUMBERs include: O-2 Leonard Wood; O-57 Douglas A. MacArthur; O-668 Charles F. Humphrey; O-742 John L. DeWitt; O-1616 George C. Marshall; O-2605 George S. Patton Jr; O-2686 Courtney H. Hodges; O-3706 Carl A. Spaatz; O-3807 Omar N. Bradley; O-3822 Dwight D. Eisenhower; O-5264 Matthew B. Ridgway; O-5284 Norman Cota; O-8431 Maurice Rose; O-12043 Leslie Groves; O-17676 James M. Gavin; O-20362 William P. Yarborough; O-143128 Archibald Roosevelt; US 53 310 761 Elvis Presley. Compare SERIAL NUMBER; see AGO, ID CARD, DOG TAGS. [nb: Vietnamese term: So Quan] [nb: in common with Social Security numbers, the SERVICE NUMBER system revised for WWII, then used for Korea and Vietnam, consisted of a geographic code followed by a personal identifier for all (regular, reserve, or conscript) components]


Special Exploitation Service, being the parallel Vietnamese organization directed by presidential authority to conduct covert and clandestine operations with the US-led Studies and Observations Group (SOG) on interservice projects; also abbreviated "SEPES", it was succeeded by the Liaison Office (LO) and Special Commando Unit (SCU) when SOG was restructured in 1967, and it evolved into the Strategic Technical Directorate (STD) when the Vietnamese Special Forces (VNSF / LLDB) was disbanded in 1971. See CAS, CSD, THUNDER TIGER. [nb: US-led missions were no longer authorized in Cambodia after June 1970; US-led missions were no longer authorized in Laos after February 1971]

782 GEAR :
Marine Corps designation for the field gear issued to each individual infantryman; also called DEUCE GEAR, named for the gear's Requisition Form 782, or "Seven-Eighty-Deuce". See LBE, WEB GEAR. [nb: called "belt order" by AUSSIE and KIWI troops]



7.62 MINIS :
the caliber and shape (7.62X39mm) of the CARTRIDGE used by the KALASHNIKOV (or AK-series) rifle and RPD light machinegun; see ELDEST SON.

the temporary dividing line between North and South Vietnam, as established by the Geneva Accords of 1954; demarcation was actually the Ben Hai River (Song Ben Hai), from the coast to the hamlet of Bo Ho Su, then due west to the Laotian border. This line was supposed to be the center of a five-mile wide BUFFER ZONE, but the North Vietnamese occupied their margin, compelling the South Vietnamese (and their American allies) to establish a defensive line of encampments along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from 1966. See McNAMARA LINE, McNAMARA'S WALL.

an apocryphal agency licensing hunters to enable fanatic Islamites to enter paradise and be rewarded by compliant virgins, being the GULF WAR equivalent of the "Viet Cong Hunting Club" and "Southeast Asia Sport Hunting Club" from an earlier era. See SPORT HUNTING CLUB, ALLAH'S WAITING ROOM, DEATH CARD; compare TONKIN GULF YACHT CLUB, PERSIAN GULF YACHT CLUB.

sardonic reference to the disagreeable (and often toxic) community welfare and natural disaster projects that are assigned to MIL-PERS in the guise of being "social workers in uniform" by the civil affairs (CA / CAP / S-5 / G-5) section; because the military acts at the behest of its civilian leadership, and obeys its orders, the prevailing attitude is: "It's a dirty and disgusting job, but somebody's got to do it!"

SF :
U.S. Army Special Forces
shoulder patch with Q-tab
Army SF
abbreviation for U.S. Army Special Forces (USSF), preferred designation is "SFer"; Vietnamese term Luc Luong Dac Biet (LLDB). See SPECIAL FORCES, SNEAKY PETE, SNAKE-EATER, BLANKET HEAD, GREEN BERET, ELECTRIC BUTTERKNIFE, BRONZE BRUCE, GABRIEL, ROBIN SAGE, SFQC, THE GREEKS, SFOD, A TEAM, ODA, B TEAM, ODB, C TEAM, ODC, SFOB, DOOR KICKING, SOF, SPECIAL OPERATIONS. [nb: The Rangers of World War II and Korea had been designed as light-infantry shock troops; their mission was to hit hard, hit fast, then get out so larger and more heavily armed units could follow through. Special Forces, on the other hand, were designed to spend months, even years, deep within hostile territory. They would have to be self-sustaining, without extensive resupply from the outside. They would have to speak the language and know the customs of their target area.] [nb: six A TEAMs or ODAs comprise a company (CO), three SF Companies comprise a battalion (BN), and four SF Battalions comprise a group (effective 2007); each active duty SF Group specializes in the languages and cultures of a particular region (ie: 1st SFGA in East Asia; 3rd SFGA in Africa, Mid-East, and Central Asia; 5th SFGA in Mid-East and Central Asia; 7th SFGA in South America; and 10th SFGA in Europe)]

abbreviation for Sergeant First Class, being the non-commissioned officer (NCO) grade (E-7) between Staff Sergeant (E-6) and Master Sergeant or Master Gunnery Sergeant (E-8), and represented by three chevrons above two ROCKERs as sleeve rank insignia. See SARGE, BUCK, DI, RIGHT ARM, FIRST SHIRT, TOP, NCO, SUPER GRADE, RATING, GRADE, RANK.

U.S. Army Special Forces Group (eg: 5SFGAbn); sometimes abbreviated "SFGp" or "SFGAbn"; see GROUP, SPECIAL FORCES. [nb: six A TEAMs or ODAs comprise a company (CO), three SF Companies comprise a battalion (BN), and four SF Battalions comprise a group (effective 2007); each active duty SF Group specializes in the languages and cultures of a particular region (ie: 1st SFGA in East Asia; 3rd SFGA in Africa, Mid-East, and Central Asia; 5th SFGA in Mid-East and Central Asia; 7th SFGA in South America; and 10th SFGA in Europe)]

Special Forces Operations Base; the location for the headquarters (HQ) of an Army Special Forces Group (SFG); see SPECIAL FORCES.

Special Forces Operational Detachment, typically qualified by a number or letter specifically designating a particular unit (eg: 1SFOD-D = 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, or DELTA FORCE).

Special Forces Qualification Course; designation for SF training, also called "SF pipeline". The US Army SPECIAL FORCES qualification sequence is SFPC I: Special Forces Preparation and Conditioning Course I; Phase I - SFAS: Special Forces Assessment and Selection; CLT: Common Leader Training; SFPC II: Special Forces Preparation and Conditioning Course II; Phase II: Small Unit Tactics and UW Skills / SERE / PG / HD / Language Block I; Phase III: Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Specific Training / Language Block II; Phase IV: Language Block III; Phase V: Unconventional Warfare Culmination Exercise (ROBIN SAGE); Phase VI: Graduation (Award of the GREEN BERET and SF TAB). See Q-COURSE, SWS, SWC&S, SFTG, SOTC, SQI, Q-TAB, TRIPLE CANOPY.

beret flash of 1st Special
Warfare School Training Group beret flash of Special Forces
Training Group beret flash of Special Warfare
Center and School
Special Warfare cadre & staff flashes
Special Forces Training Group, being the teaching CADRE and staff at the Special Warfare Center and Institute for Military Assistance, Fort Bragg, NC; see SFQC, SOTC, ROBIN SAGE, SWS, SWC&S.

Servicemen's Group Life Insurance, being low-premium term life insurance available as a perquisite to all active duty and reserve military personnel (including ROTC and service academy cadets) which was instituted to prevent non-payment of benefits due to a "war clause" exclusion; also called "GI insurance", and renamed 'Servicemember's ...', and including Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) as short-term financial assistance for the recovery of severely injured servicemembers; originally administered by a pool of insurance companies (so as to distribute the risk), it has been supervised by the Office of ...(OSGLI) in the Veterans Administration (VA/USDVA) since the end of WWII. See BUY THE FARM, NOK, GI BILL. [nb: SGLI will be paid in any service-connected death, albeit line of duty or off-duty, particularly as a consequence of enemy action; however, SGLI is forfeit and no insurance shall be payable for death inflicted as a lawful punishment for conviction of a military crime, such as being found guilty of mutiny, treason, spying, desertion, or some other capital offense] [nb: SGLI term life insurance may be converted to Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) within 120 days of separation from the military without loss of coverage; SGLI premiums are calculated at a flat rate (eg: $0.065 per month per $1000 of insurance to a maximum of $400,000, as of 1 July 2008), but the premium rate for VGLI (like all other term life insurance) is determined by the age of the insured]

abbreviation for SerGeant Major, being a SUPER GRADE non-commissioned officer (NCO) rated (E-9) between Master Sergeant (MSG) or First Sergeant (1SG) and Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA), and represented by three chevrons above three ROCKERs with a centered star as sleeve rank insignia; this rank is rated equal to Command Sergeant Major (CSM). See SARGE, RIGHT ARM, FIRST SHIRT, TOP, TOP DOG, NCO, RATING, GRADE, RANK. [nb: Vietnamese term: Thuong Si Nhat]

abbreviation for SaiGoN, being an extraterritorial concession to France, and capital of SOUTH VIETNAM (SVN, RVN); renamed 'Ho Chi Minh City' after the Second Indochina War, and also called the PARIS OF THE ORIENT and the PEARL OF THE ORIENT.

Surgeon General's Office; the Surgeon General is the only FLAG OFFICER authorized to wear specialty branch insignia (ie: caduceus). The medical department of each military branch is headed by a Surgeon General (eg: Surgeon General of the Army), who is a physician promoted into medical administration, and like other military officers, is confirmed by Congress; which positions should not be confused with the physician appointed by the President to the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) as the head of the Public Health Service, who need never have previously served in any military or government post. See BONE CUTTER, SAWBONES, BAND-AID, CHOP SHOP, HOSPITAL, FEST, AFIP, USAMRIID.

abbreviation for SerGeanT (E-5) represented by three chevrons as sleeve rank insignia, the lowest sergeant rating, which is also known as BUCK Sergeant; meaning 'servant' (or 'tenant' below the rank of a knight), this is the basis of all non-commissioned officer (NCO) ratings. See SARGE, ROCKER, RIGHT ARM, NCO, RATING, GRADE, RANK; compare CORPORAL / CPL, PO, CPO.

(forthcoming); Sergeant Nick Fury was a fictional character featured in the war series produced by Marvel Comics, inaugurated May 1963

(forthcoming); Sergeant Frank Rock was a fictional character featured in the war series produced by DC Comics, inaugurated January 1959

a regular girlfriend set-up in off-base housekeeping, as a common law wife, marriage of convenience, or marriage of declaration; such arrangements were often semi-communal and serial upon DEROS rotation. Compare CLASS-B DEPENDENT, HOOKUP, RING THE BELL; see MIHN OI, LBFM, LULU THE ZULU, SLEEPING DICTIONARY, CAMPAIGN WIFE, HORIZONTAL COLLABORATOR, DRAG, SHORT-TIME, CHURNING BUTTER, BUTTERFLY.

encrypt, a method of encoding sensitive information, such as unit locations, in order to be able to send the information over a clear (unsecured) channel by radio (eg: "Snoopy One-Six, Six Actual, go to RP red two and shackle lima lima kilo, over."). See KAK, KEK, KEY, SCRAMBLE, ENCRYPT, ALPHABET SOUP, RTO, RADIO. [nb: Kerckhoffs' Principle of Secure Cryptography states that a cryptosystem should be secure even if everything about the system, except the key, is public knowledge; Schneier's Law states that "Any person can invent a security system so clever that s/he can't think of how to break it."] Also, the U-shaped bar of a padlock, one end of which is pivoted or sliding, the other end of which can be released, as for passing through a staple, and then fastened, as when securing a hasp. Also, any of various fastening or coupling devices for restraining or securing the wrists or ankles of a confined detainee or prisoner; a fetter or hobble; see BRACELET. Also, anything that serves to inhibit or restrict, to prevent or restrain, to trammel or curtail someone's freedom of thought or action.

CALL-SIGN of AC-119G GUNSHIP with four 7.62mm MINIGUNs used for aerial fire support; see FLYING BOXCAR. Also, term used in the sense of operating in the real shadow cast by regular forces and behind physical terrain, so as to be unseen or undetected; see BUSHMASTER, UNDER THE RADAR, HIDE, SHROUD, compare OPEN WAR. Also, a specialist assigned to protect an executive or visiting dignitary by "sticking as close as his own shadow"; see PDS, PSD, BODYGUARD, SHELL GAME, USSS, POLICE. Also, the protected blind area shaded by some object, obstacle, or intervening phenomenon, such as a BLAST SHADOW or ACOUSTIC SHADOW. Also, "Shadowless" is a symbolic reference for death, as ghosts cast no shadow, so this term is both sinister and portentous, thus powerfully evocative. [v: sciamachy/skiamachia]


a Vietnamese dwelling or building that's known to be used by or occupied by VIET CONG soldiers, also called "House of Dark Shadows"; compare SHADOW WARRIOR, ALLAH'S WAITING ROOM.

to be within the purview of command authority or subject to military regulations, especially when near senior headquarters (HQ); this phrase is almost always expressed as "in the shadow of the flagpole". In contradistinction to the inculcated conscience, most people accept the postulate of "out of sight, out of mind" as a license for bending or breaking the rules, hence the ANNEX or SLOP CHUTE is always located far from HQ, and MIL-PERS are admonished "Don't SHIT in your own MESS KIT!". See HEADSHED, LITTLE AMERICA, GARRISON, OVERSIGHT, OFF THE RESERVATION, OUTSIDE THE WIRE, CLASS-B DEPENDENT.

a member of a reconnaissance or surveillance team, also known as a SCOUT, who are supposed to "sneak, creep, and peek" through SHADOWs; see LRSP, LRP, RECON, SCOUT DOG, SNEAKY PETES, HAWKS, PEEPERS. Also, the ghost that migrates through or inhabits an area, especially a KILLING GROUND; a paranormal presence that can be discerned spiritually or psychically, giving some sensitives an apprehensive or premonitory feeling; see HUNGRY GHOST, OAN HON, PHI, SPIDER SENSE, PARANOIA. [v: doppelganger / doppelgänger / doubleganger]

literary reference for military personnel working in the "gray" area between light (good) and dark (evil); as attributed to SNIPER, STROLLER, SF, SOF, PHOENIX, SEAL, CIA, and other covert operatives. Also used in the sense of operating in the real shadow cast by regular forces and behind physical terrain, so as to be unseen or undetected; see BUSHMASTER, UNDER THE RADAR. Also, a specialist assigned to protect an executive or visiting dignitary by "sticking as close as his own shadow"; see PDS, PSD, BODYGUARD, SHELL GAME, USSS, POLICE. Also, informal reference to contract security force personnel, such as those employed by the U.S. Department of State to act in a paramilitary capacity while posted overseas; see STRIKER, MILITIA, MERCENARY. Also, "Shadowless" is a symbolic reference for death, as ghosts cast no shadow, so this term is both sinister and portentous, thus powerfully evocative. [v: sciamachy/skiamachia]

Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force; see HQ, AEF, SAC, SCAP, SUPREMO.


an unconventional unit of time used in nuclear physics to represent ten nanoseconds, which is the approximate time for a generation within a nuclear chain reaction; this referent derives from the expression: "two shakes of a lamb's tail", meaning very quickly. Compare JIFF / JIFFY; see ASAP, PDQ, CHOGI, CHOP CHOP, RIKI TIK, FORTHWITH, STAT, ZORCH, TIME. [cf: instant, sec(ond), moment, half a mo(ment), jiffy, two ticks, in the blink of an eye] [nb: in the VAX/VMS operating system, the parameter 'timepromptwait' was specified in microfortnights (1.2096 seconds); the 'nanocentury' (3.155 seconds) is a computing interval devised by IBM in 1969 as the limit of time a user should be expected to wait for a processing response]

any rapidly promoted leader who's been through the prep schools (eg: LPC, INCOC, NCOCC, NCOA, OCS) but lacks actual field experience or a combat tour; also called "Ready Whip", "Insta-Stripe", and "Flash Promo". The lack of "time in grade" is the greatest problem when rapidly promoting immature MIL-PERS who show aptitude for development, since it normally takes three to five years for anyone to garner enough savvy to make reasonably good decisions. See LITTLE PRICK, BOY WONDER, SHAVETAIL, UP OR OUT, LDR. [v: FM 7-22 "Non-Commissioned Officer Guide" (1904)]

an excursion or outing, trip or run, so as to test or adjust the several mechanisms of a vehicle or vessel, ensuring its readiness for extended operations. Also, the initial tour or cruise or flight of an individual or crew so as to put training into practice, and gain operating experience. Also, a thorough inquiry or complete search, especially one intended to expose fraudulence or reveal CONTRABAND. Also, a makeshift bed, especially one improvised on the floor; also called "made-down bed"; see BILLET, BERTH, RACK, HAMMOCK, FLEABAG, FART SACK, BIVY, SLOP, RUBBER LADY, DUTCH WIFE [v: bolster, futon, pallet, paillasse/palliasse, bedroll, swag, sougan / soogan, tick, mat, pad, cushion]. Also, exaction or extortion, as of money or goods; see CUMSHAW, BEGGING BOWL, SOUVENIR, SCROUNGE, JUICE, SPOILS OF WAR, MIDNIGHT REQUISITION, CARPETBAGGERS, KHAKI MAFIA, SLICKY BOY [v: primage].


see PRIDE.

childish slang for 'very embarrassing' or 'disgraceful', being a pidgin descriptor or rebuke used by Asians with Westerners; compare SAME-SAME.


original designation for the presidential rural retreat, a rustic 125-acre portion of Catoctin Mountain Park in Frederick County Maryland, also known as "Naval Support Facility Thurmont"; so-called by Franklin D. Roosevelt from his first visit on 22 April 1942. Catoctin Mountain Park was acquired in 1936 as a Recreational Demonstration Area for the New Deal's Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps, which campgrounds were to be used by crippled children and the families of federal employees. Like the Congressional COUNTRY CLUB, this remote facility, designated "Area B" and situated 70 miles from the capital district, accommodated Phase Two of OSS training. Officially made a retreat in 1945, a compromise approved by Harry S. Truman in 1952 resolved Maryland's claim to the land by subdivision, allocating a segment to be maintained by the National Park Service and a segment renamed Cunningham Falls State Park; then in 1953, this secluded retreat was renamed "Camp David" by Dwight D. Eisenhower to honor his grandson. The presidential retreat offers an informal setting for rest and contemplation, relaxation and recreation, as well as casual entertainment and private meetings. Comparable facilities include the country residences of the prime ministers of Denmark ("Marienborg"), Sweden ("Harpsund"), Canada ("Harrington Lake"), and the United Kingdom ("Chequers"). Also, a metaphor for the prelapsarian paradise or "heaven on earth"; see HAPPY VALLEY. Also, a synonym for any idyllic location, such as the jungle valley in the remote mountains of Dutch New Guinea, occupied by native headhunters, it was traversed by both Imperial Japanese and Allied troops during WWII.

pejorative sobriquet of Chiang Kai-Shek (Chiang Chung-Cheng), leader of the Kuomintang army; also known as "Peanut" (due to his appearance), he succeeded Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China (RoC), establishing this nation on the island of Formosa/Taiwan (LITTLE TIGER); see CHINAT, CHINK, MOUSY DUNG, VINEGAR JOE, DRAGON LADY, FLYING TIGERS, POINTIE TALKIE, BLOOD CHIT. [v: chancre, chancroid] [v: blood chit]

a charge shaped so as to concentrate the effect of its explosive force in a particular direction; also represented as a "shape charge". See C-4, RDX, CHARGE, DEMO, EXPLOSIVE.

a scientific research and experimentation camp in the Soviet Union (USSR); compare GULAG.

slang for COBRA or SEA COBRA.

slang for the synthesized female voice with a 5000-word vocabulary that is the interactive speech input/output device (also touch and cursor accessible) for the COCKPIT crewmembers to operate the flight, armaments, and surveillance computers on an aircraft; so-called for its resemblance to the voice of actress Sharon Vonne Stone, it's the successor to BITCHIN' BETTY.

a phrase meaning to be directly involved in the action, where the danger is greatest, as "at the sharp end"; also expressed as "sharp edge" (v: THE EDGE, BLEEDING EDGE). This expression does not allude to swordplay or edged weaponry, but to the leading edge (ie: bow, stem, prow) of a WARSHIP charging into an engagement. See FIREFIGHT, CONTACT, SPOILING ATTACK, MEETING ENGAGEMENT, PITCHED BATTLE, AT CLOSE QUARTERS, CLOSE QUARTERS BATTLE, BATTLE, AMBUSH, STALKING HORSE, PYRRHIC VICTORY, FIGHT LIKE KILKENNY CATS, BITTER END, BOW, STEM, PROW, CUTWATER, ROSTRUM.

U.S. Army sharpshooter skill
qualification badge for various weapons
originally an expert rifleman, as those eligible to wear the distinctive green uniform of the 1st and 2nd Sharp Shooter Regiments, commanded by Colonel Hiram Berdan [perhaps imitative of the green-suited Hessian jaeger scouts from the American revolution], who used the precision 16# Sharps rifle [ety: Sharps + shooter]; but in modern military usage, this term designates the intermediate class of riflemen (ranked above Marksman but below Expert); in conventional usage, 'marksman' and 'sharpshooter' are simply employed interchangeably to refer to someone who shoots well. See SNIPER, DEADEYE, BULL'S-EYE, POINT-BLANK, KISS THE MISTRESS, KNOCK THEIR SPOTS OFF, AIMPOINT, MAGGIE'S DRAWERS, BOLO BADGE, TRASH, MIL-CRAFT. [nb: Vietnamese term: Thien Xa] Also, the 20mm VULCAN cannon installed in the internal weapons bay of the DELTA DART (F-106A), which is also spelled "Sharp Shooter".


disparaging reference to an inferior or substandard person, as expressed during the GULF WAR era; a base or primal humanoid; an undesirable member of the family of man; an unevolved bipedal animal driven by its basic appetites, animalistic desires, and innate responses. See DUD, LOOSE CANNON, YARDBIRD, TURD, SOS, SHIT MAGNET, DOUCHE BAG, FIELD REJECT, KNUCKLE-DRAGGER, HUMAN ZOO, BRUTE, MEAT EATER, WHITE TRASH, BANJO COUNTRY, REACTIONARY, CONSERVATIVE, ANTI-FEDERALIST, THIRD ESTATE. [cf: naked ape]

any newly commissioned officer, especially a Second Lieutenant; derived from the practice of shaving the tail of unbroken mules for identification. [cf: roach, hog]

see DOPP KIT, DITTY BAG. [v: etui]

Boeing CH-21 helicopter, nicknamed the "Flying Banana" or "Flying Wiener" by Americans, and called "angle worm" by the PAVN; compare CHINOOK, see CHOPPER.

a close-fitting covering, envelope or encasement, of various materials, as for a knife or sword; compare SCABBARD. Also, a condom that's worn over the penis; see PRO KIT.

any primitive dwelling, such as a shack or shanty, but especially a lean-to shelter made of natural materials by outdoorsmen for sleeping and storage, as used during the American CIVIL WAR for rude or rustic accommodations; see BOHIO [v: bower], WANIGAN; compare BILLET, HOOCH, HUT, HIDE, PUP TENT, LONG HOUSE, BLDG. [v: bield, bower, arbor, rock-shelter, den, lair, bothy, cot, cabin, cottage, casita, cabana, lodge, earth lodge, hogan, squat, shed, byre; cf: garret, cockloft, dovecote] Also, the structure of something, as of an organization, contrivance, or affair. [cf: "kit 'n' caboodle" at KIT]

to be redesignated or reassigned so as to perform a sensitive or undercover duty; such as military ADVISORs assigned to a Country Team (CT) on individual passports and wearing civilian clothes. See LETTER OF MARQUE, compare MIL-PERS, CHOP, VULCANIZE, DUTY, BILLET, BERTH, POST, ON STATION, WATCH, HARDSHIP TOUR, BUMFUCK, MOS, OJT, TDY / TAD, PCS.

informal reference to a diploma, being a document conferring an acquired status or merited privilege, from them once having been made of parchment; by extension, any certificate atesting to someone's qualification or achievement; see Q-TAB, BOLO BADGE, TRASH, WINGS, Q-COURSE, MIL-CRAFT, TRADE SCHOOL, REVOCATION. [ety: the word 'diploma' derives from a folded-over letter, and is the basis of the designation of 'diplomat', the person who carried such a folded document]

in NavSpeak, to swerve or deviate from a course, as a divergence. Also, in shipbuilding, the fore-and-aft upward curve of the HULL of a vessel at the main DECK or bulwarks. Also, in NavSpeak, the position in which a ship at anchor is placed to keep it clear of the anchor. Also, any very steep perpendicular or vertical extension; precipitous. Also, unmixed, unmitigated, unadulterated, unalloyed.

informal designation for an artillery projectile; a hollow projectile filled with an explosive charge, as for a cannon. Also, a metallic cartridge used in small arms; common reference for the expended cartridge case, which is also called BRASS or DROPPY; compare CARTRIDGE. Also, a metal or paper cartridge for use in a shotgun. Also, a cartridge-like pyrotechnic device that explodes in the air. [nb: RIFLEd guns are denoted "inch" (eg: 3" Field Gun called "three incher"), which is the diameter of the projectile, while SMOOTHBORE cannons are denoted "pound" (eg: 12# Mountain HOWITZER called "twelve pounder"), which is the weight of the projectile] Also, the plating or planking forming the exterior HULL (qv) of a ship.

any veteran sailor; a "sea dog", MOSSBACK, OLD SALT, or SALTY DOG. Also, a POLLYWOG who has "crossed the line" (equator) aboard ship, has undergone the arcane rites decreed by Neptune's representative, and has been duly inducted into the "Ancient Order of the Deep"; compare INITIATION. [nb: a "golden shellback" is someone who crossed the equator at the international date line; cf: "Order of the Golden Dragon"] [nb: according to legend, a sailor acquired a pierced EARRING when "crossing the line" (equator), which acquisition was alleged to improve his eyesight]

the firing of explosive shells or projectiles; the explosions from such shells or projectiles. See SALVO, FUSILLADE, BROADSIDE, VOLLEY, DRUMFIRE, BARRAGE.

the dispatch of multiple vehicles, especially helicopters, in different directions, when transporting classified material, covert operatives, or VIPs (as in "executive protection") so as to confuse precise identification. Vehicles may reassemble after a short distance to serve as escorts, and FALSE INSERTION may be practiced at the terminus. See BODYGUARD, PDS, PSD, USSS, POLICE; compare CLZ, FLIP-FLOP.


also called combat fatigue, combat exhaustion, or war neurosis; see BATTLE FATIGUE, PTSD.

the individual section that's paired when assembling a PUP TENT for the temporary housing of two persons and their equipment; being a low small shelter supported by sectional poles that's 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 BOLTROPE, TENT, WAPENSHAW. [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.] [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]

(she-row) the feminist version of HERO (qv), propounded in the same manner as "herstory" (ie: HISTORY); being a perverse distortion that focuses on the wrong part of the situation, and misses the most important point of the event.

M-551A1 light reconnaissance tank, with 152mm MAIN-GUN and SHILLELAGH guided missile launcher; the first TANK since WWII to provide for telephone communication with the crew by supporting infantry outside the vehicle; it replaced SCORPION. Sometimes nicknamed WIDOW MAKER due to flammability when hit. Compare SHERMAN, GENERAL LEE, STUART; see TANK, TRACK. [nb: during the 82nd Airborne Division's combat assault onto Panama's Torrijos Airport in Operation JUST CAUSE (20 December 1989), armored vehicles (ie: M-551 Sheridan light reconnaissance tank) were parachuted into combat for the first time]

informal designation for the Chief Master-At-Arms, being responsible for discipline and accountability on-board ship as the senior petty officer (PO) supervising a parttime staff of deputy Masters-At-Arms (MAA) within each department; in keeping with the informal theme of "sheriff of the boat", his assistants are known as "deputy dog". See MASTER-AT-ARMS, SP, POLICE, CAPTAIN'S MAST, ROCKS 'n' SHOALS, BRIG.

M-4 series of heavily armored Main Battle Tanks (MBT), variously with 75mm, 76mm, and 90mm MAIN-GUNs; nicknamed "Ronson" (a brand name of cigarette lighter advertised as "Always lights the first time.") for its tendency to ignite when hit due to using gasoline fuel. It should be noted that some SHERMANs included thirty pounds of chemical flame retardant for whatever limited or palliative effect it might have. See WIDOW MAKER, TANK, TRACK.

slang for the arrangement (usually a double row) of vertical launch tubes for housing MISSILEs aboard a SUBMARINE, which were typically painted green for contrast with the general battleship gray (HAZE GRAY) interior; so-called by a fancied resemblence to tree trunks. See IDAS, POLARIS.

to direct that the ENSIGN be moved to its proper place, since a ship flys the COLORS from the masthead when underway, and hoists the STARS 'n' STRIPES from the STERN when at anchor or in PORT [nb: a small ENSIGN positioned at the bow of a boat or ship is called a "jack", hence "Union Jack" or "National Jack"]. Also, a phrase expressive of impending change, especially a change of status.

the MGM-51 missile system mounted on the main battle tank (MBT) and assault reconnaissance vehicle for employment against enemy armor, field fortifications, and amassed troops.

operational name of the NATO campaign in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Kosovo (4 Apr - 10 Jul 1999).




serving together on the same vessel, as a companion in mutual CAMARADERIE; see COMRADE, MESSMATE, ASSHOLE BUDDY, BAND OF BROTHERS, BUDDY SYSTEM, TRADE ENVELOPES. [nb: matey (friendly, sociable) derives from 'matelot' (French: sailor)]

NavSpeak for re-enlistment; compare RE-UP.

Navy and Marine personnel permanently assigned to a ship, as distinguished from those temporarily assigned for transport or a CRUISE; often misspelled "ship's compliment". See CADRE, PERMANENT PARTY, STAFF, TO&E, HOMESTEADER, CHAIRBORNE.

everything in proper order, trim and tidy; also called SALTY. See CLEAR THE DECKS, SQUARED AWAY, SPIT 'n' POLISH, STRAC.

a catchall multi-purpose term applied to anything, as "in the shit" was taking fire or being ambushed, as DEEP SHIT was a bad situation, as SHIT HIT THE FAN was a sudden crisis, as a "shit storm" was a total disaster, as "got your shit together" or "got your shit wired tight" was being well prepared, as "shit-hot" was eager, as HOT-SHIT was terrific, as SHOOT THE SHIT was talk, as "horseshit" or "bullshit" were lies, as CHICKEN SHIT was petty harassment, as "shitty" was wretched, as "take a shit" was a DUMP, as SHITLOAD was humongous, as "shit repellent" was VULCANIZE. See CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, BRAVO SIERRA, DUMP, TROTS, SQUIRTS, HONEY BUCKET, SLOP CHUTE, GUMP STUMP, CAT HOLE, SLIT TRENCH, LATRINE, TRA CA, AN CUT. [aka: doo-doo, poo / baby-poo, poo-poo, poop, crap, puckey, turd, feces, scat, coprolite, night soil, dirt, waste, sewage, dung, dreck, guano, manure, muck, chip, dag, dropping, dingleberry, ordure, defecation, excrement, dejecta, egesta, stercoraceous; cf: honey bucket, chamber pot, thunder mug, commode] [nb: "The sun shineth upon the dunghill, and is not corrupted." by John Lyly, Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit p43 (1578)] [nb: "'Political-correctness' is an illogical doctrine, fostered by a delusional minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mass media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."]

to discard something or to dispose of something, as when throwing away outdated paperwork or scrapping damaged equipment; see DX, SALTY DOG, DEEP SIX, CASTOFF, FILE 13, BURN BAG, SNOWFLAKE, PAPER BULLET, RED TAPE. Also, a container for trash or refuse, garbage or rubbish; see DUSTBIN, GI CAN. Also, a sawn-off 55-gallon drum that's used as a replaceable receptacle for excrement in a field LATRINE or COMFORT STATION, the contents of which is burned daily. Also, a Naval dysphemism that was popularized during WWII as a re-designation of the Imperial Japanese SUBCHASER (abbreviated 'SC'), which was more politely referred to as "SpitKit"; see ASW.

vulgar slang for being non-compos-mentis or spiflacated, bibulated or dipsomated, intoxicated or inebriated; see DRUNK, STONED, WASTED, ZAP, LOADED FOR BEAR, DUTCH COURAGE, IRISH FLU, FRENCH FIT, HANGOVER.

another slang phrase popularized during the VIETNAM WAR that was used both dismissively, in the same manner as "Sorry 'bout that!" (XIN LOI), and declaratively, in the same manner as "Life is unfair!", and has since been interpreted as a profound philosophical comment on existential angst by a bumper-sticker society with the attention span of a TV commercial! This insight was formerly expressed by the observation: such is life ("c'est la vie") or such is war ("c'est la guerre"); also represented as "stuff happens", and less prosaically as "dumm gelaufen" (literally 'unfortunate turn of events'). This phrase, and its euphemistic variants, has been widely featured, as in the films "Forrest Gump", "Predator 2", and "Scary Movie". In deciding a case in 1991 concerning a SHIT HAPPENS bumper-sticker, the Georgia Supreme Court determined that a state law prohibiting the display of lewd or profane expression was unconstitutional. Compare A-OK, CHECK IT OUT, GUSTO, FIDO, ROTS O' RUCK, AMF, SUCK IT UP, EMBRACE THE SUCK, ZIP, ZAP. [nb: various phrases have been used by 20th century combatants for protective disassociation from epiphenomena, including: "There it is.", "It don't mean nuthin'.", "Too damn bad.", "It's all just rock 'n' roll.", "Tough shit.", "It ain't nuthin'.", and "It's just a thing."; the latter appears in "The Rescue" by Joseph Conrad (1920)]

a situation or an operation that is rapidly deteriorating or has suddenly become urgent, with the potential of becoming a "shit storm"; any circumstance or event that's inadvertently or intentionally complicated or compounded by stupidity, arrogance, incompetence, or inefficiency, with potentially disasterous results. This is more politely known as the "defecation hit the oscillation". It is a truism of such rotational dispersion that whatever good or bad hits the fan will NOT be evenly distributed! See FLAP, TAR BABY, SEAT OF THE PANTS, GOAT ROPE, SHIT MAGNET, SOL, BOHICA, SCREW THE POOCH, CLUSTER FUCK, FUCKED-UP, DEEP SHIT, BITTER END, BELL THE CAT, LAST STAND, AUTOTOMY.

see BUMFUCK, GARDEN SPOT, MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, BOONDOCKS. Also, a dysphemism for anus or asshole, arsehole or a-hole, butt hole or bunghole, cornhole or mud hole, shit hole or turd cutter, chocolate doughnut or cinnamon ring, puckered Cheerio or stinky starfish, fart valve or toot ring, brown eye or whale's eye; this uncouth expression should not be confused with rectum, yinyang, wazoo / wahzoo, chocolate channel, fudge factory, poo pipe, poop chute, SLOP CHUTE, or GUMP STUMP; see STINK EYE, A-OK, ORIFICE, ASSHOLE BUDDY, ASSHOLES 'n' ELBOWS, OPINION, MEATBALL.

slang referent for the Boeing CH-47 CHINOOK cargo helicopter (qv); also called "Hook" or "Flying Oscar" (after the Oscar Meyer wiener).

eager, effective; compare HOT-SHIT, see A-1, BRAVO ZULU, KICK ASS, SHIT.

properly known as a DUTY ROSTER or WATCH BILL, and politely called a "Fecal Roster", this is the assignment sheet for extra duty; see ADY, GIG, TURD, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, FASHION SHOW, DROP, FRONT LEANING REST, BOX THE COMPASS, AIRMAN ALIGNMENT TOOL, BLANKET PARTY, SQUEEZE, SHIT MAGNET, DUD, FUCK-UP, BOHICA, PYHOOYA. [v: blacklist, blackball; cf: white list]

any extreme value or great sum (eg: effort, work), or an unspeakably large amount (eg: poker winnings, defense budget, etc); synonymous with alot, much, too much, many, too many, excessive, large, too large, huge, massive, immense, gigantic, tremendous, stupendous, monstrous, colossal, enormous, humongous, gargantuan, extreme, prodigious, extravagant, expensive, costly. See PAYLOAD, SHIT.

any attractant, such as a deed or circumstance, that results in painful or disastrous consequences; a lure that causes the enemy to concentrate its response on a specific trigger, including conspicuous appearance, inappropriate noise, alien odor, abnormal sequence, incomplete preparation, ineffective execution, and the like, especially an inept or incompetent person creating or causing such attractants. See JINX, DUD, SOS, MAGGOT, YARDBIRD, FIELD REJECT, TURD, DOPE, PUKE, POGUE, FUCK-UP, PYHOOYA.

see SOS.


the dysphemism for SOUP SANDWICH (qv), being a barely tolerable event or activity, usually a mission that has gone bad.


a dysphemism for a total disaster, great calamity, complete catastrophe, utter ruination, or incalculable misadventure; see SHIT.

crude reference to a LATRINE, HEAD, HONEY BUCKET, BLUE CANOE, CAT HOLE, SLIT TRENCH, or the like. Also, a coarse nickname for the heavy-lift single-rotor Sikorsky CH-/HH-53 SEA STALLION cargo helicopter, due to the profusion of smoke expelled from its exhaust during operation; also called "echo".

a dysphemism for wretched, detestable, inferior; see SHIT.

slang expression for the amazing display of indirect and automatic firepower that the modern military can effectively bring to bear upon a target, especially awesome when viewed at night; this American version of BLITZKRIEG is also called "Fourth of July show" or "sound and light show"; see FULL-COURT PRESS, HYPERWAR, FIREWORKS, SHOOTING STAR, WATERWORKS, THUNDERSTRUCK.

an elasticized cord consisting of one or more rubber strands forming a core that's usually covered in a woven synthetic fabric sheath, the ends terminating in metal hooks or plastic clips, which is typically used to secure or restrain loose objects without the necessity of tying knots; developed (1919) in Germany for launching gliders and sail planes, it was renamed "bungee" (also spelled "bungie" and "bungy") when introduced to America during the interwar period ... a multi-strand version is commonly called "octopus strap" or "occy strap". See PARA-CORD, SHROUD, SPAGHETTI, GUY, LINE, ROPE, BOLTROPE, RATLINE, LET-DOWN ROPE, ROGUE'S YARN. [nb: as with kernmantle and para-cord, the condition of the inner core strands (concealed by the covering sheath) cannot be determined until they actually fail, so the use of bungee / shock cord where personal injury or death is potential is not recommended]

the leading element of high-mobility light-infantry assailants; see SPEARHEAD, RANGER, SUICIDE SQUAD, DOOR KICKING, ADVANCE FORCE, ADVANCE GUARD, DOUBLE TAP, SNIPER'S TRIANGLE, MARCHING FIRE, RUNNING FIRE, OVERKILL, SNOWBALL, CANNON FODDER, BELL THE CAT, BITTER END. [v: enfants perdus, forlorn hope; cf: picket, vedette] [nb: "Whenever there is fighting to be done, the keenest spirits should be appointed to serve in the front ranks, both in order to strengthen the resolution of our own men and to demoralize the enemy." by Chang Yu]

a region of abrupt change in air pressure and atmospheric density that moves like a front at or above the velocity of sound, which may be caused by an intense explosion or by a SUPERSONIC flow over a fixed body; compare BLAST WAVE, see SONIC BOOM. [nb: the velocity and distance that sound travels in either air or water depends upon atmospheric pressure, medium temperature, molecular density, and turbulence; such that under equivalent conditions, sound moves faster in salt water than in fresh, faster in fresh water than in air. The audible range of sound wave frequencies for humans is 20 - 20,000 Hz; above which ultrasonic waves may be felt, instead of heard.] Also, any figurative series of aftereffects; any repercussion from a startling event or abrupt upheaval.

during the American CIVIL WAR, contemptuous slang for the military uniform issued to federal troops, as derived from the worthless fabric used; see SLOP, DRESS [v: "slop work"; cf: "mungo"]. Also, any low-grade fabric, composed of reclaimed wool and other reprocessed fibers, that was used for cheap ready-made clothing; and consequently, by extension, any inferior product or merchandise. [cf: clout]

a heavy, laced, waterproof boot that was imitative of the double insole moccasins originating with the Delaware Indians; later versions used felt liners; also called "pacs" or "pac boots". Compare MICKEY MOUSE BOOTS, BUNNY BOOTS; see FOOTWEAR.

the cleaning and polishing of a pair of shoes or boots. Also, the shiny surface of the FOOTWEAR receiving such regular care; see SPIT-SHINE.


the prescribed body configuration that's habitually used with specific weapons in certain terrain, whether cityscape or snowfield, tunnel entrance or tree perch; tactical shooting postures with small arms include: prone, sitting / seated, squatting, kneeling, standing (supported, off-hand, free-hand), and supine (only with submachinegun, grenade launcher, or pistol). Some shooting postures may be stabilized for improved accuracy by a brace, rest, bracket, or mount (monopod, bipod, tripod, etc). See FIRE 'n' MANEUVER, SHOOT 'n' SCOOT. [nb: fighting position versus shooting position] [nb: "if your shooting stance is flawless, then you're not moving fast enough!"]

the Lockheed P-80/F-80 fighter aircraft; compare SEASTAR, see BIRD. Also, any AIRBORNE object or aerial TARGET that is destroyed in midair, dramatically falling to the ground in a fiery display; see FIREWORKS, SHOCK 'n' AWE [cf: meteor, bolide].



rhyming slang for a RAID or INCURSION; also known as "smash 'n' dash". Also, the tactic of relocating after firing one's weapon so as to advance on the enemy and to avoid casualties from return fire; also known as LEAP FROG or FIRE 'n' MANEUVER. [nb: "if your shooting stance is flawless, then you're not moving fast enough!"] Also, the rapid fire technique practiced by close air support (CAS) aircraft and maneuvering armor (TRACKs or TANKs), where the launch position is vacated before impact [nb: "faster than a speeding bullet"].

chat, chitchat, talk, prattle, palaver, converse, gossip, banter, persiflage, falderal, poppycock, tommyrot, tomfoolery, claptrap, bafflegab, gobbledygook, balderdash, gibber jabber, gibble-gabble, bunk, bunkum (buncombe), malarkey (malarky), bushwa / bushwah, bosh, twaddle, double-talk, drivel, obfuscation, flummery; alternatively "chew the fat", "chew the rag", or "rap" (probably from beat or drub, but may be from rapport). See TALK TRASH, BAD-MOUTH, GAS BAG, HOT AIR, BLOW SMOKE, VERBAL DIARRHEA, MOTOR MOUTH, WOOF, CONFETTI, SCUTTLEBUTT, TELL IT TO THE MARINES, BRAVO SIERRA, GODDAM, SEA STORY, WAR STORY, COUNT COUP, ATFU; compare CHICKEN SHIT, RUMOR, MIL-SPEAK. [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]

to deliberately handicap yourself, so as to either opt-out or to cop-out of an intolerable situation; this figurative phrase was probably derived from the literal act, which entailed the same results. This act is often considered the "lesser of evils" since the objections are not confronted and the person in jeopardy retains his integrity; but it is a FACE-saving compromise for a moral or physical coward. This act has been characterized as: "You shot yourself in the foot because they were going to shoot you anyway!". It is a form of damage control for people who want to survive, and hope to retain some form of viability or credibility or capability. See SIW, DODGE THE BULLET, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, CHICKEN LITTLE, SHOW THE FLAG, VIETNAM SYNDROME, CYA, MFR, PYHOOYA, KICKSTANDED, DRAFT DODGER, WHITE FEATHER, FRENCH FLU, LILY-LIVERED, KHAKI MAFIA, TICKET-PUNCHER, MILICRAT.

the land along the edge of a sea, lake, or river, including a beach, tideland, or shoal; especially a 'seashore', being that ground between the ordinary high-water and low-water marks; see BEACHHEAD, WATERFRONT, BREAKWATER, MOLE, WHARF. Also, land, as opposed to water; especially some particular country or homeland. Also, a supporting post or beam, a prop or strut, especially one braced against the side of a building or a ship in drydock; see CHOCK, BLOCK.

a work DETAIL or FATIGUE duty, especially one performed on a BEACHHEAD under the direction of the BEACHMASTER, as off-loading combat support supplies or on-loading casualties for evacuation; compare GI PARTY.

a rotating duty assignment for sailors in PORT, wearing white webbing and LEGGINGs, "SP" emblazoned helmet and BRASSARD while armed with a night stick, since Marines normally provide all other police functions for the Navy; see MASTER-AT-ARMS, POLICE.

little time remaining on current assignment or tour; soon to be transferred or discharged; see DEROS, ETS, FIGMO, PFC, SHORT-TIMER, SHORT-TIMER CALENDAR, SHORT-TIMER PIN, SHORT-TIMER STICK, SHORT-TIMER CHAIN, SHORT-TIMER ATTITUDE. Also, descriptive characterization of supporting fire that fails to reach the intended target; see SHORT-SHOT, UNDERSHOOT, SHORT-ROUND, FRIENDLY FIRE, FRATRICIDE. Also, "quickie" sex with a prostitute; see SHORT-TIME, BOOM-BOOM, CHURNING BUTTER, HOOKUP.

a euphemism for penis or PRICK / CU, which referent is most often used in the context of the "short arm inspection" ("dangle parade" or PECKER CHECK), as when routinely inspected for venereal disease (VD). See JOYSTICK, STICK, SPAR, YARDARM, HOT DOG, HOSE, BAYONET, BIRD, DIPPER, POGY BAIT, POGUE; compare LITTLE PRICK, DEAD-SOLDIER, ONIONS. [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]

formerly, a mandatory inspection for venereal disease (VD); also called a "dangle parade" or PECKER CHECK, an entire unit underwent this routine examination, during which each individual was required to expose his penis to a medical corpsman, and briefly "milk" it for any discharge or emission. This practice was discontinued during the VIETNAM WAR, but VD exams retained the name. Contracting VD was punishable by an Article 15, and chronic infection was grounds for a "less than honorable" dismissal from the military. See CLAP, STD, ARC, PRO KIT, THE PILL, ANTIBIOTIC, PECKER-CHECKER.

number sequence of 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 steadily broadcast to confirm frequency or tune reception; see ZERO BEAT, LONG COUNT.

aircraft circling to land; small, close orbit by aircraft overhead. See ORBIT; compare STACK.


a bed made with only one sheet folded back on itself so it appears to be complete; a prank to torment, harass, or beset an uncooperative SQUAD member or unpopular CADET; also called "French made" or "French bed". See BLANKET PARTY. [nb: if debris (eg: dirt, crumbs) or substances (eg: jelly, soap, wax, shaving cream) are insinuated between the sheets of a re-made RACK, it is called an "apple pie bed"]

one or more rounds of ammunition, bombs, or other ordnance landing away from the intended target, by misunderstanding or miscalculation, frequently falling with inadvertent impact upon Allied forces or noncombatant civilians, resulting in unintentional death or injury. Also known as "short-round". See FRIENDLY FIRE, FRATRICIDE, UNDERSHOOT, DUD. Also, analogical slang for a sharp comment or barbed criticism that's suddenly dropped into conversation like an explosive eruption; also known as "verbal shrapnel", FANG, BLISTER, HAWK, BAD-MOUTH.

originating in WWII among ferry and transport aircrew, wherein a dollar bill [nb: it's illegal to deface, disfigure, or deform U.S. currency] was signed and dated by the entire crew attesting to any completed passage, whence this summary affidavit would be produced (ie: COINING) at the bar to determine who pays for the round of drinks. Determination was made on the basis of date of flight, number of flights (additional bills), type of aircraft, the denomination of the bill, or the absence of same. If the trip included passengers, especially notable ones, then they too would sign the dollar bill, and comparisons would be made over the relative status of the signatories. If the flight had intermediate landings in foreign countries, then a bill of currency from that nation would be attached to the base dollar bill ... in some cases, making a chain of notes also signed by ground personnel. As the war expanded, the more unusual routes would best the plethora of ordinary transports. Eventually everyone on the flight wanted such a SOUVENIR, and the accounting became onerous. And, as with any valuable commodity, they were naturally counterfeited. See CHALLENGE COIN, PISSING CONTEST, HARD TIMES TOKEN.

a one-night stand or "quickie" sex with a prostitute, same as BOOM-BOOM; as contrasted with "long-time" for an all-night / overnight session or a semi-regular SHACK-JOB. See CHURNING BUTTER, FUCK, DIDDLY, TRICK, DU,STEAM 'n' CREAM, HOOKUP, HELL ON WHEELS, ACT OF CONGRESS, BUTTERFLY, CHOCOLATE BUNNY, LULU THE ZULU, LBFM, GRASSHOPPER. [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]

any individual with little time remaining IN COUNTRY (or in the assigned area or unit on HARDSHIP TOURs); also called "double-digit / single-digit midget" or "next", and typically abridged to "short". This was an expression which indicated you were close to your FINI FLIGHT and the FREEDOM BIRD; in your last couple of weeks, you were so "short" that you were practically invisible! See WAKE-UP, FIGMO, TURTLE, DEROS, ETS, PFC, SHORT-TIMER CALENDAR, SHORT-TIMER PIN, SHORT-TIMER STICK, SHORT-TIMER CHAIN, SHORT-TIMER ATTITUDE.

a preoccupation with selfish interests and personal safety that developed as a result of the limited one-year tour of duty and the individual replacement system; unlike previous wars, where individuals were assigned to a unit which would be committed to (or withdrawn from) combat action as a whole, the system of single assignment and separation practiced in the VIETNAM WAR was supposed to improve morale, but ironically had the opposite effect ... eroding unit cohesion, corrupting solidarity, and instilling mistrust among comrades. When combined with a vague or indefinite mission, this type of segmental application makes "progress" or "success" difficult to measure, and promotes negativity among the servicemembers involved ... actions become routine and survival becomes paramount ... nobody wants to be "the last man killed in the war"! With everyone's departure date preset by their assignment, almost everybody becomes preoccupied with counting down the interval before their departure. Individual fixed tours tend to disintegrate units into factions and prevent the interdependent fellowship that ensures operational effectiveness. See FNG, DEROS, ETS, KICKSTANDED, RIF, SERB, DISCHARGE, WAKE-UP, ROTATIONAL HUMP, compare CADRE, OSUT, PLOWBACK, SHIP'S COMPLEMENT, TO&E, COMBAT BUM, TOUR BABY, RISKY-SHIFT EFFECT. [nb: the military has an involuntary "stop-loss" authority, which allows each branch to compel soldiers who reach the end of their enlistment to remain in uniform for "the good of the service"]

an advent-style calendar that incrementally exposed the parts of an image depicting whatever the soldier most desired to return to back in THE WORLD upon the conclusion of his tour of duty, such as a naked woman or a souped-up car, a sporting dog or a pastoral scene; as the war continued, a small cottage industry of graphic artists purveyed these folkart calendars to troops in BASE CAMPs as their departure date approached. See TIME, PIN-UP, DEROS, ETS, FIGMO, WAKE-UP, A DUFFEL BAG DRAG AND A BOWL OF CORN FLAKES, FINI FLIGHT, FREEDOM BIRD.

among NavPers, an unauthorized adornment exhibited on some of the uniforms of seamen who were scheduled to depart their current assignment or to be discharged from the Armed Forces; worn like a fancy chain for a pocketwatch (or a security chain on a wallet), the links in this chain were removed singly as each day toward departure passed. In some departments, presentation of this SHORT-TIMER'S CHAIN was performed in a mock ceremony of specious solemnity that celebrated the honoree's transient status. See DEROS, ETS, FIGMO, WAKE-UP, A DUFFEL BAG DRAG AND A BOWL OF CORN FLAKES, FINI FLIGHT, FREEDOM BIRD.

an oversized (ranging from about 3" - 6") brass safety-pin, attached to the uniform or to gear, or hung from one's belt, to signify the wearer's status as "short" ... someone reduced to counting down the remaining days with only two digits. These pins were initially used on baby diapers, but became fashionable with women's wrap skirts, hence the dual association with a TROPHY for past or future sexual conquest. This safety-pin should not be confused with the large (about 2") black safety-pins that were included with triangular bandages (often used as sweatbands or head scarfs), which were worn on BOONIE HATS so they could be quickly and easily pinned onto a shirt tail or pants leg during HELIBORNE operations. [nb: safety-pin invented 1849] [nb: the kilt pin dates from the 19th century desire of Queen Victoria's military advisors to imbue Her Majesty's soldiery with modesty, since men traditionally wore no underwear beneath their kilts; the kilt pin was intended to control the fly of the skirt during all conditions, preventing inadvertent exposure of the wearer's nethers]

a type of SWAGGER STICK that was incrementally marked to denote the number of days remaining in someone's tour of duty; beginning with a manageable length (typically sixty but sometimes ninety days divided by fractions of an inch), this stick would be cut-down as the count-down progressed toward departure until only a stub remained. As the war continued, a small cottage industry of craft purveyors developed to supply these folkart sticks, some being quite attractively made, for sale to troops rotated out of the BOONDOCKS into BASE CAMPs as their departure date approached; presentation of this stick became a mock ceremony in some units, coincident with the mailing of humorous "warning notices" of the imminent return of this once clear-eyed and self-confident American citizen. See DEROS, ETS, FIGMO, WAKE-UP, A DUFFEL BAG DRAG AND A BOWL OF CORN FLAKES, FINI FLIGHT, FREEDOM BIRD.

slang for the M-4 Scout; see CAR, ACTIV, BLACK MAGIC, WIDOW MAKER, TUPPERWARE; compare SMG, RIFLE.

a projectile for discharge from a firearm or cannon; see CARTRIDGE, BULLET, AMMO. Also, a small ball or pellet of metal or other material, a number of which are loaded in a CARTRIDGE and used for one charge of a recoilless rifle (RR), HOWITZER, SHOTGUN, or other firearm; see BUCK, BUCKSHOT, DUST SHOT, CANISTER, CASE SHOT. Also, the range or distance that a missile or projectile will travel. Also, commo confirmation of an executed FIRE MISSION, often includes TOT impact time, also called SHOT OUT; see FDC, SPLASH. Also, a unit of measure for anchor chain equal to 15 FATHOMs (90 feet, 27m); see CABLE, DEMONS, NAUTICAL MILE, KNOT, KLICK. Also, an obsolete unit of measure equal to a league (3 NAUTICAL MILEs or 4.8km); as derived from 1.5 Roman miles, which seems to be the origin of the conventional claim for a three-mile limit of territorial waters extending offshore. Also, a volume measure of liquid capacity equivalent to a quantity of one fluid ounce (fl oz). Also, any attempt, try, effort, or turn, as an aimed stroke in the expression: "Take your best shot!". [nb: 12 inches = 1 foot, 3 feet = 1 yard, 6 feet / 2 yards = 1 fathom, 16.5 feet = 1 rod (aka: pole or perch), 66 feet / 4 rods = 1 chain (90 feet / 15 fathoms = 1 anchor chain), 10 chains / 660 feet (1/8 statute mile) = 1 furlong, 120 fathoms / 720 feet = 1 land cable, 101 fathoms / 606 feet (1/10 nautical mile) = 1 cable, 3 statute miles = 1 land league, 3 nautical miles = 1 sea league / shot] [nb: a "geographic mile" is the length of a minute of longitude on the equator]


Automatic Assault 12 gauge
AA12 shotgun
the armed guard on or in a vehicle who watches for enemy activity and returns fire if attacked, also called "shotgunner"; compare SLACK, DRAG. Also a machinegun (MG) firing door gunner on a helicopter. Also, any commercial pump or automatic shotgun,often 10ga-12ga, also called "trench gun", "pepper gun", and "street sweeper", as used since WWI by the POINT, despite its prohibition by the Geneva Convention; see BUCK, BUCKSHOT, DUST SHOT, BLOOPER, THUMPER, OVER 'n' UNDER; compare BIG SHOTGUN, RR, LAW, CLAYMORE. [nb: the "fire lance" flamethrower of AD 905 China utilized propulsion to launch small objects and pellets, like a shotgun, becoming a prototype firearm; with a three-barreled version for repeat firing developed later] [nb: The new Automatic Assault Tactical Shotgun (AA12 c2006) is a gas operated and air-cooled weapon ruggedly constructed of corrosion resistant stainless steel and high-impact plastics; it fires fully automatic, burst, or single-shot (without selector switch) from the open bolt at a rate of 6 rounds a second or 360 rounds per minute using box (8) or drum (20/32) magazines, even when wet. This 12 gauge cylinder bore shotgun has a barrel length of 19" that incorporates a positive feed and a counter recoil mechanism, and weighs approximately 11lbs loaded with 8-round magazine or 13lbs loaded with 20-round drum. This weapon normally operates without lubricants, requires no tools for field maintenance, and may be cleaned with soap and water. Location of safety and magazine release is conventional; and no cocking levers or bolt handles protrude from the body.]

a hole drilled in rock or any other substantial material for holding the EXPLOSIVEs used in BLASTing; see FIRE IN THE HOLE, TRIGGER. [v: mudcap]

the bracketing of indirect fire support, such as mortar, artillery, or naval gunfire, on a target, that's often adjusted from farther (long) to nearer (short) in order to avoid FRIENDLY FIRE casualties; see FO, ANGLICO, SALVO, ARTY; compare SHOT OUT, MARCHING FIRE, LIFT, SPLASH, KILL BOX, SCRAM, PLAY BALL. Also, the target so bracketed.

mortar and artillery commo confirmation of executed FIRE MISSION; often includes TOT impact time. See FDC, KILL BOX, SPLASH.

a dysphemism for exhausted or depleted, prostrate or debilitated, fatigued or spent, played-out or used-up, tuckered-out or on one's last leg; also expressed as "shot his wad" or "shot my wad", as an obvious allusion to post-ejaculatory enervation. [nb: unlike DEADPAN and FIZZLE, this expression does not represent a mechanistic failure (of the plug of wadding or batting) when loading a CARTRIDGE, SHELL, or barrel, resulting in a MISFIRE]

rectangular strips of stiffened cloth that display insignia on the shoulders of a uniform; they're worn instead of EPAULETs. See DRESS.

officer's shoulder knot for
dress uniform
shoulder knot
an ornamental knot of ribin or lace worn on the shoulder of a uniform; a decorative EPAULET that's also spelled "shoulder-knot". See DRESS.

a flap or strap on the shoulder of a uniform where insignia is displayed, properly called an EPAULET. See DRESS.

a strip, displayed as a pair, worn on the shoulder of an officer's uniform to display insignia of rank on a field of the branch color, and bordered in gold; it's never worn with EPAULETs. See DRESS.

slang for the public acknowledgement of a person or group, especially a respectful citation or attribution in some artistic manner (ie: composition, lyrics, illustration or graffiti), as derived from BLACK argot (eg: "Gotta send a shout-out to my bro back in the world.") in the GULF WAR-era; also spelled "shout out", and not to be confused with an "outcry" or being "out shouted".

NavSpeak for "launch" (as in "launch the boat") or "execute" (as in CARRY-ON), sometimes expressed as CASTOFF. Also, slang for leave or depart, go away or get away, push off or get out.

anyone or anything that stands-out; anything done more for attention than for practicality or function, as a show-off or razzle-dazzle, grandstander or swaggerer. Formerly a flamboyantly theatrical steamboat. [cf: cock of the walk]

the settlement of a disputed issue, difference or disagreement, in a conclusive manner, such that all necessary power and resources are brought to bear; the decisive resolution of a crisis, encounter, or confrontation; also called "facedown". Also, by extension to gamesmanship, the laying down of one's PLAYING CARDS, face upward, as a demonstration of success in a card game (such as poker); proof that the winning hand was not a bluff.

slang for inexpensive rubber FLIP-FLOPs, or any backless thong sandal, based upon the Japanese zori, huarache, or geta design; FOOTWEAR typically worn in shower rooms to prevent the spread of disease; compare HO CHI MINH SANDALS [aka: jandal]. Also, slang for a novice, tyro, or neophyte newly assigned from training to a forward or deployed unit, being the modern equivalent of Fuckin' New Guy (FNG); see CHERRY, NEWBEE, CHUM, FRESH CATCH, NUGGET, DRYBACK.

a demonstration of force or presence, as by a military unit exhibiting political intent; see FLOWER WAR, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, BREAK A FLAG, ALL AMERICAN DECOY, VIETNAM SYNDROME, FALSE FLAG, BLACK FLAG, RED FLAG, WHITE FLAG, YELLOW RIBBON, COLORS, STARS 'n' STRIPES. [v: Flag Terms] Also, slang for "making an appearance", as when a duty officer tours through his assigned post or a general officer inspects the troops and their equipment, which noblesse oblige visitations are so infrequent that they generate much more fanfare than such routine duties warrant, and are consequently mocked; see PARADE, TROOP THE LINE, SHOWBOAT, FACE TIME. [nb: "Walk around so you can be seen -- leadership is by consent in our system, so if you're invisible, your mystique may perpetuate inaccuracies, generate rumors, and after all, you may not be as bad as they're saying you are." paraphrase of Donald H. Rumsfeld]

a trial staged to make an example of the accused dissident or transgressor so as to influence public opinion, rather than to satisfy abstract principles of justice; a trial that a regime arranges for political reasons for which the verdict is decided before the proceedings begin, often by the use of limited or contrived evidence, extorted testimony and false confessions, typically to make a particular impression upon the general public and foreign nations. See PROVOST COURT, DRUMHEAD, COURT MARTIAL, MARTIAL LAW, FISC, WAR CRIMES TRIAL, LYNCH LAW, REGULATOR, VIGILANCE COMMITTEE, PISO'S JUSTICE, WHEN IN ROME, PROPAGANDA. [v: kangaroo court, honor court, grievance committee, vigilance committee, tribunal, sanhedrim, Star Chamber]

fragments scattered by a bursting SHELL, MINE, or BOMB; eponymously derived from Henry Shrapnel, an English Army officer and the 19th century inventor of a hollow projectile that contained bullets and a bursting charge, which was designed to explode in the air and shower the target with missiles. See FRAG, GRENADE, GAMMON GRENADE, FLAK, CASE SHOT, CANISTER, FLECHETTE, BEEHIVE, NAILS, DIRTY RAIN, ALUMINUM RAIN.

designation for the AGM-45 Air-to-Ground MISSILE.


in sailing parlance, any of a number of fixed ropes or wires that converge from the head of a ship's mast and keep it from swaying; compare RATLINE; see LINE, ROPE, CORD, GUY, CABLE, HAWSER. Also, any of a number of suspension lines or connective cords of a parachute that attach the load to the canopy; also known as "shroud lines"; see PARA-CORD, PARACHUTE. [v: Parachuting Terms] Also, something covered, concealed, or protected, as in secret, covert, or clandestine operations that are veiled in obscurity or mystery; see UNDER THE RADAR, SHADOW, CONCEALMENT, DECEPTION; compare OPEN WAR. Also, to enshroud, as to conceal or shelter; see GILLIE SUIT, GILLIE BLANKET, ANTI-THERMAL CLOAK, HIDE, DUGOUT, BOLT HOLE. Also, a winding sheet, covering cloth, or other wrapping in which a corpse is swathed or encased for transport or burial; see COFFIN, PALL, BODY BAG, BODY COUNT, BUTCHER'S BILL, ZULU, KILL CREDIT. [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]

an idiomatic expression that refers not to cyclical or inevitable death, but to the confused intrigues of life's affairs, wherein one departs this tumultuous world of mortals; as derived from the "to be or not to be" soliloquy in Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1602). See BUY THE FARM, WASTED, ZAPPED, CHECK OUT, PUSHING UP DAISIES, BITE THE DUST, LAST MAN STANDING, SNOWBALL, BITTER END, DEATH CARD. [nb: "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep; To sleep; perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause...."] [cf: And we are here as on a darkling plain / Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, / Where ignorant armies clash by night" by Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach]

slang for a photog or photojournalist, especially an aspiring stringer or a compulsive amateur; compare LENS LOUSE; see WAR CORRESPONDENT, FRUIT FLY, FOURTH ESTATE.


slang for an agreement that binds both parties to an extralegal arrangement that warrants the loss of their surety if the terms of the guarantee are not satisfactorily fulfilled; a form of mutual RETALIATION that ensures the deal will be completed, since the penalty for failure is more "expensive" to both parties than satisfactory fulfillment, as if both participants were bound together like Siamese twins; compare MEXICAN STANDOFF, DEADLOCK; see FALL ON DEAF EARS, BRINKMANSHIP.

the military formation for medical treatment, or the time to hold this medical treatment formation; such MIL-PERS report to their unit medical clinic or DISPENSARY for evaluation, disposition, or care. See AID STATION, MASH, EVAC, FST, CSH, FLD HOSP, MEDEVAC, CHOP SHOP, BAND-AID, ASA, APC, AGONY WAGON, COMFORT STATION.

any weapon carried at the person's side (eg: in a scabbard or "hip holster"), on a waist belt or slung from a shoulder (as in a cross-body sling); also spelled "side-arm". See SMALL ARMS, SMG, TUPPERWARE, PISTOL BELT, CLUTCH BELT, "Sam Browne Belt" at GREEN TAB. [v: Firearms Glossary]

short whiskers extending from the hairline and forming a border on the face in front of each ear, but worn with an unbearded chin and neck; derived by alteration of 'burnsides' [after Ambrose E. Burnside], and also known as "side whiskers" or "sideboards". Styles include muttonchops, lambchops, dundrearies, and side curls, among others. During the era from post-WWII through post-Vietnam, LIFERs and SUPER-TROOPERs preferred no sideburns, cutting them even with the ocular canthus, or upper-ear junction. Compare CAVALRY WHISKERS; see FACE FUZZ, RELAXED GROOMING STANDARDS.

literally, a secondary portal, often leading to an informal area or unofficial region, and by figurative extension, any indirect or alternative access to a space or zone, to information or training; also called "back door", which contrasts with the normal, formal, or standard access through the 'front door' or 'main gate'. Like the legal loophole that's deliberately provided as an 'escape clause', the military knowingly avails itself of SIDE DOOR exceptions so as to expedite proceedings or insinuate options ... examples include supernumerary appointment, direct commission, impact award, and the like. See JUDGMENT CALL, GIVE AN INCH, EXTRAORDINARY POWERS.

a SONAR system that efficiently creates an image of a large area of the sea floor, as in nautical charting and marine surveys or in the detection of underwater objects and identification of bathymetric features; also known as "side-looking sonar" (probably on the model of side-looking radar/SLAR). In addition to its military applications (eg: mine detection), SIDE-SCAN SONAR is also used for fisheries research, seabed cable and pipeline inspections, dredging operations, and environmental studies. SIDE-SCAN SONAR uses a sonar device that emits fan-shaped pulses down toward the seafloor across a wide angle perpendicular to the path of the sensor through the water, which may be towed from a surface vessel or submarine, or mounted on the ship's hull. The intensity of the acoustic reflections from the seafloor of this fan-shaped beam is recorded in a series of cross-track slices, which when stitched together along the direction of motion, become an image of the sea bottom within the coverage width of the beam. Simple side scan methods are increasingly being replaced by more effective multibeam sonar units which can simultaneously measure the depth as well as the intensity at a number of locations on each cross-track swath or slice, generating a three-dimensional bathymetric image detailed onto a plotter. Classified development of SIDE-SCAN SONAR began after WWII at the US Navy Mine Defense Laboratory, Panama City Florida; and were manufactured in the 1950s by Westinghouse. Experimental SIDE-SCAN SONAR systems were made during the 1950s in laboratories, including the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Hudson Laboratories, and MIT, but the first commercial side scan system was the Kelvin-Hughes "Transit Sonar", a converted echo-sounder with a single-channel, pole-mounted transducer introduced around 1960. From 1963 to 1966, a team at Edgerton, Germeshausen & Grier developed the first successful towed dual-channel SIDE-SCAN SONAR system for commercial use.

a dismissive reference to the implications and extensions of the VIETNAM WAR throughout INDOCHINA, as from the principal meaning of "any subordinate event or minor exhibit"; see DECENT INTERVAL, DOMINO THEORY, INCURSION, COSVN, TRI-BORDER, ANGKOR WAT, BODE, KHMER SEREI, KKK, FARK, YEAR ZERO, BABY BRIGADE, MAYAQUEZ OPERATION, PEO, MILLPOND, WHITE STAR, HMONG, RLA.

to slide an aircraft or airfoil sideways on a turn with a concomitant loss of altitude toward the inside of the curve, being the result of excess speed and improper angle of approach, which may be the result of an inadvertent loss of control or may be a deliberate combat maneuver; also called a "slip", and similar to a sliding or skid turn (eg: four wheel drift) by a ground vehicle. Compare SCISSORS, see AEROBATICS. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]

a MARCH command, designated as either 'right' or 'left', executed at regular QUICK TIME, and typically calculated as twelve inches per step, as measured from inside heel to inside heel; see HALF STEP, BACK STEP, PACE.


designation (AIM-9M/-9P) for the short range, infrared (IR), heat-seeking Air-to-Air MISSILE built by Ford Aerospace that travels at MACH two for over ten miles; an air-to-air, supersonic weapon that intercepts and destroys enemy aircraft using an infrared homing-guidance system; so-called after the southwestern rattlesnake. See ASRAAM. [cf: "Atoll" infrared heat-seeking Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) from the Soviet Union / USSR] Also, a highly venomous viper that's characterized by having a process resembling a horn just above each eye; also known as "horned viper" and "sand viper", it's common to extreme southwestern Asia and northern Africa.

to assail or attack a fortification by surrounding it until the defenders are compelled to surrender; any prolonged effort (besiege) to overcome resistance. See LAST STAND.

the techniques (eg: surrounding, surveilling, sabotaging, storming, etc) and implements (eg: catapults, battering rams, scaling ladders, movable towers, etc) employed in "laying siege" against a fortified place.

any mechanical device that is designed to launch projectiles; typically large, so as increase impact, and usually stationary, so as to improve accuracy, examples include the catapult, trebuchet, ballista, and the like; this term has been extended to heavy artillery (ARTY) that's essentially immobile.

a state of mind in which one feels unappreciated, misunderstood, maligned, oppressed, attacked, or isolated; an "us" against "them" attitude, or an "insider" / "outsider" dichotomy, stemming from perceived maltreatment or discrimination. See CONFLICT, STRUGGLE, SOFT TYRANNY, CULTURE WAR, BEYOND THE PALE, ILLEGITIMIS NIL CARBORUNDUM, GROUNDHOG DAY, PARANOIA.

a zone of heavy defensive fortifications erected along Germany's western border in response to a similar barrier (ie: MAGINOT LINE) that was erected along France's eastern border after WWI; these fortifications were bypassed by a German BLITZKRIEG invasion through Belgium in 1940; named after the legendary prince who won the hand of Kriemhild by secretly aiding Gunther in the wooing of Brunhild in the Nibelungenlied epic (ca1200). Compare STAR WARS, SMEZ, BERLIN WALL, IRON CURTAIN, BAMBOO CURTAIN, BAR LEV LINE, CACTUS CURTAIN, McNAMARA'S WALL, McNAMARA LINE, MARETH LINE, CHINESE WALL, DEW LINE, PHASE LINE. [v: Atlantic Wall] [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]

the word assigned to represent the letter "S" in the international phonetic alphabet; at various times in different spelling schemes, it has also been acrophonetically represented as Sail and Sugar. See ALPHABET SOUP, PHONETIC ALPHABET. [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags]

the phonetic representation of "shit-hot" or "super-hot", being enthusiastic or proficient, aggressive or awesome; not to be confused with HOT-SHIT, which means wonderful, terrific, outstanding, or sensational, as well as the latest information. See HARD CHARGER, FAST MOVER, BOOMER, BALLS TO THE WALL, HOT SHOT, SHIT.

Selective Identification Feature; see RFID, LOCATOR BEACON, RADIO.

acronym for Social Incest in the Golden Ghetto, as used by senior diplomats and defense officials to characterize the round of parties, celebrations, and other ritualistic functions at which attendance is mandatory; see USAID, USDAO, CT, DIP CO, COOKIE PUSHER, SHOW THE FLAG, PLAY THE GAME, DINING-IN, COMPANY PARTY, BLAST, FEATHERS, WITH BELLS ON, COCKTAIL WARS. [aka: occasion, gathering, get-together, celebration, festivity, fiesta, gala, shindig, reception, banquet, soirée, festal, mixer, fete, fête champêtre, garden party, open house, house party, housewarming, splore, potlatch, frolic, gaiety, frisk, gambol, revel, funfest, wingding, charivari, shivaree, corroboree, bash, blast, blowout, orgy]

proper sight picture for
target alignment
sight picture
adjusted for elevation and windage, the proper firing alignment of the shooter's eye from a SPOT WELD through the rear sight aperture, over the front sight blade, and centered on the TARGET; see PEEP SIGHT, BORESIGHT, CROSS HAIRS, DEFLECTION, BULL'S-EYE, ZERO, POINT-BLANK, BASS, KD RANGE, DRY FIRE, COLD ZERO, TRAIN. [v: Firearms Glossary] Also, the TARGET image properly centered in the guidance system's or aiming system's optical or electronic display as when directing SMART BOMBs or MISSILEs from a HIDE, an aerial or ground platform, or a remote control station; see HUD, VD, MFD, SMFD, WSO, TOW, LOSAT, PREDATOR, DRONE, AWACS.

SIGnal INTelligence, information developed from eavesdropping or other transmission intercepts; also known as "COMMunications INTelligence" (COMMINT). See RDF, COMSEC, KNOB-TURNER, COMMO, SOTA.

a special project that operated during the VIETNAM WAR as Detachment B-56, organized under the auspices of Special Operations Augmentation, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne); the Greek letter designation 'sigma' [Σ] represents the eighteenth in a series, and signifies the presence of all necessary components. SIGMA was established in August 1966 at Camp Ho Ngoc Tao (near Tu Duc, along Highway 1 between Saigon and Long Binh) to abduct Viet Cong captives for interrogation, setup anti-personnel ordnance ambushes, and emplace electronic surveillance along infiltration routes. Operational control of SIGMA was transferred to II Field Force (IIFFV) in November 1967, and the project was relocated to Ban Me Thuot in 1969, where it was colocated with Project Omega (B-50) and Command and Control South (CCS) at FOB#6. SIGMA was disbanded in 1971 when 5th SFG departed Vietnam. See THE GREEKS, STD, SOG, SPECIAL FORCES, SPECIAL OPERATIONS. [nb: a batch of fifty Gerber Mark II daggers were purchased (1968) by Project Sigma (B-56, 5th SFGAbn), which were etched and issued as presentation gifts to team members]

a challenge using a secret CODEWORD that's acknowledged by the appropriate PASSWORD reply, usually called "sign/counter-sign" exchange; see COUNTERSIGN. [v: shibboleth (Judges 12:4-6)]


see RTO, WIGWAG / WIGWAGGER, HAND SIGN. [nb: the field occupations most often targeted in combat, because their loss so immediately influences unit effectiveness and morale, are the leader, pointman, signalman, machinegunner, and medic]

a double-sided rectangular fabric, showing either reflective or flourescent side, used to signal aircraft or to spell message codes; also called "recognition panel" or "rescue panel". A white "ground panel" was used to signal aircraft in WWI, but it proved to be too visible, marking AIMPOINTs that Forward Observers targeted. Compare IDENTIFICATION PANEL.

any distinctive signifier or identifier, such as a sound or image, act or effect, having a unique or distinguishing aspect, feature, or mark; see IR, MOSS, SMG, KALASHNIKOV, HAND, CALL-SIGN, GROUND OBSERVER CORPS, BATTLE CRY, TOAST, CREST, BADGE, PATCH, INSIGNIA, CACHET. [v: seal, sign, signet, sigil] [nb: some affectations of style are deliberately adopted as indications of individuality, affiliation, or achievement; such stylistic marks include: swagger stick, tanker boots, medico tarnished (contaminated!) brass, aviator 50-mission crushed hat, cavalry aircrew spurs and Stetson, custom-made items or privately purchased accessories, and even extends to a cultivated informality or intentionally relaxed military bearing, as well as its opposite meticulous strictness] Also, a TRACE or TRACK by which someone or something may be detected or TRAILed; a distinguishing fingerprint or distinctive footprint; a key descriptor. Also, the sign or mark (typically an affected scrawl or indecipherable scribble) representing a person's name, usually an inscription by someone in command or his deputy, as used to attest or authorize; represented by the symbol "/s/" on printed FORMs and documents to distinguish it from a signature block; see CHOP, RUBBER-STAMP, V/R.

the set of descriptive information at the end of official correspondence identifying the person responsible for the contents of the letter or document; to wit, the person's formal name, the person's rank and branch, and the person's official assignment. If conveyed by computer or other telecommunications device, the actual signature may be represented by the /s/ symbol positioned immediately before the person's name; furthermore, a deputy or adjutant may sign for the responsible person, giving all the pertinent particulars of his official assignment as supplement to the director. This is the equivalent of an authoritative seal, signet, CACHET, or CHOP.

informal reference to the soldiers and partisans of the Polish resistance movement during WWII, which underground was organized on a PARAMILITARY basis under the command of Wladyslaw Sikorski [Vläd&ibreve;´swäf Shēkôr´skē], who became (1939) premier of the Polish government in exile after the German conquest. Trained and supported by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Sikorsky's Tourists reported behind-the-lines INTEL (including the genocidal Katyn incident) and conducted spoiling raids. Commander of the Polish forces that fought alongside the Allies, GEN Sikorski died in an airplane crash near Gibraltar in 1943. See MILITIA, IRREGULARS, GUERRILLA, UW, SABOTAGE. [v: Popski's Private Army (Vladimir Peniakoff)] [cf: 'maquis' as force and 'maquisard' as fighter, which derive from "bushes that grow along country roads", the scrub or thicket in Corsican dialect]

the deliberate shunning or ostracism of someone believed to have transgressed or violated the standards of the group or corps in order to demonstrate disapproval or rejection; to boycott or eschew voluntary association with someone deemed dishonorable, unprofessional, or otherwise militarily marginal. This circumstance is only imposed when formal or official proceedings are unavailable (as when there's a lack of evidence or a refusal to testify), and is typically reserved for officers and officer candidates (since NCOs normally resort to more practical extralegal remedies). Given the ubiquitous military rules and the dominant hierarchy of rank, this circumstance of aloof withdrawal is not only rare but extremely difficult to exercise ... while superiors and peers can always "work around" THE SILENCEd individual, all subordinates must comply with orders. This condition is also known as "the silent treatment" or being "sent to Coventry". See HONOR CODE, CREED, ABOVE BOARD, BEARING, TACT, RESPECT, SILENT INSOLENCE, BLACKLIST. [cf: excommunicate, omertà; v: misfeasance, lese / lèse-majesté, misprision]

a noise reduction device, containing baffles and wadding (eg: foam rubber, polystyrene, steel wool, fiberglass, glass wool, mineral wool, rock wool, etc), attached to a gun MUZZLE to deaden the report of the firearm's discharge; it is properly called a "sound suppressor", but the word SILENCER avoids any confusion with FLASH SUPPRESSOR when only the single word SUPPRESSOR is used. Also referred to as a "can", it's sometimes called "sound arrester", "noise reducer", or "report suppressor", but not "muffler". A SILENCER reduces the recoil of a firearm by about 30% by acting as a MUZZLE-BRAKE that traps and diverts propellent gases. Because a SILENCER adversely affects velocity and accuracy, subsonic and infrasonic (including caseless) AMMO has been developed for specialized applications. Developed in 1909, the use of SILENCERs by military personnel on the battlefield is prohibited by the Geneva Accords. [nb: a revolver, which is more mechanically reliable than an autoloader, must suppress the cylinder as well as the MUZZLE, inhibiting reloading, so automatics are preferred mounts for SILENCERs]



the expression of disrespect or contempt for authority by posture, expression, or deportment; formerly a court martial offense, but now only indicative and contributive. See UCMJ, BEARING, RESPECT, EYE-FIGHTING, SMACK, BUTT, MOTOR MOUTH, TALK TRASH, CONFETTI, SNOW, BLOW SMOKE, SHOOT THE SHIT, FIGHTING WORDS; compare THE SILENCE. [v: misprision, lese / lèse-majesté; cf: impertinent, impudent, "custody of the eyes"] [nb: before international homogenization by cultural admixture in global communications, when racial and ethnic characteristics were still discrete, the French expressed contempt by shitting on something or someone, the British by pissing on it, and the Americans by spitting, which was a factor considered when determining the extent of legitimate response or reprisal to alleged provocation]

a phrase made notorious in a 3 Nov 1969 TV address about the VIETNAM WAR by Richard M. Nixon: "And so tonight, to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans -- I ask for your support." Nixon had previously used the phrase, along with such variants as "silent center" and "quiet majority"; but the phrase seems to have been coined by John F. Kennedy, in "Profiles in Courage" (1956), when referring to Congressmen who "may have been representing the actual sentiments of the silent majority of their constituents in opposition to the screams of a vocal minority." Using a similar metaphor, Franklin D. Roosevelt said, in a 7 April 1932 radio speech, that "the nation must regain faith in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid." The symbol of the "forgotten man" was coined in 1885 by William Graham Sumner in a speech at Yale University: "The forgotten man works and votes -- generally he prays -- but his chief business in life is to pay .... Who and where is the forgotten man in this case, who will have to pay for it all?" Before the modern era, the great or silent majority referred to that body of persons who had already passed-on, and outnumbered the living: "Death joins us to the great majority" ["The Revenge" by Edward Young (1721)]. See DINOSAUR, MOSSBACK, OLD BREED, OLD SALT; compare THIRD ESTATE, THE RIGHT TO BE WRONG, FOOL 'EM, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, WISE MEN, BOOJIE, HIPPIE, PROTESTOR, UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-AMERICAN, APOCALYPSE.

a slogan representing a combat knife, especially one designed for fighting (as opposed to utility); also known as a "silent companion"; this commercial referent was made famous during WWII when the accompanying pamphlet on the care and maintenance of the Ek Commando Knife was entitled: "Your Silent Partner". [nb: the M-3 trench knife was preferred to the 1219C2 / M-2 (KABAR) fighting utility knife because the war materials selection board specified a knife for hand-to-hand fighting] [cf: secret partner, secret sharer, polyphony]

the unofficial designation of the Navy's submarine service (SUB) as an acknowledgement of its concealment mode in fulfilling its missions; its unofficial motto is "Run silent, run deep." or "We hide with pride!", and sometimes referred to as CHICKEN OF THE SEA as a sardonic commentary on submarine tactics. See SS, SUBMARINE. [nb: 'silent' means quiet, not "secret"; all combat operations are classified, not just undersea missions]


an underground installation, typically a cylindrical structure, designed to house a MISSILE; term derives from "subterranean storage", but also refers to the launch platforms (eg: SLBM) concealed below DECK on-board ships.

operational CODENAME for the mid-November 1965 set-piece battle in the Ia Drang valley, which the NVA Regulars instituted to ascertain US airmobility tactics, and to evaluate heliborne vulnerabilities; which proved to be an expensive lesson, but informative enough to alter PAVN strategy. This firefight, involving NVA regulars with ChiCom ADVISORs against elements of the 1st Cav Div (Airmobile), was subsequent to an attack on the A-Camp at Plei Me, which was originally intended to bisect SVN.

any quick solution to a difficult problem; also called "magic bullet", being a cure-all or instantaneous remedy for any difficulty; a dramatic trope used in "The Emperor Jones" by Eugene O'Neill (1920), "The Lone Ranger" by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker (1933), "The Natural" by Bernard Malamud (1954), and elsewhere, having originated as an occult defense against supernatural beings, such as werewolves. Compare MAGIC BULLET, GOLDEN BB, ACHILLES HEEL, HAMSTRING, CHINK, FAIRY DUST, BULLETPROOF, VULCANIZE.

designation for the US Army Aviation Precision Demonstration Team, organized in May 1972 for public display of typical helicopter skillcraft, performed nationwide at air shows, patriotic events, and other fairs. A precision flight demonstration, averaging thirty-five minutes, of the capability and versatility of rotary winged aircraft normally involved seven OH-6A Cayuse (aka: LOH) helicopters (ie: Lead, Left Wing, Right Wing, Slot, Lead Solo, Opposing Solo, and Bozo the Clown) that kept at least one WHIRLY BIRD performing between set piece formations and maneuvers. The team consisted of 25 crew and 12 aviators; and was disbanded in November 1976. See BARNSTORMER, AEROBATICS.

Silver Star medal
the nation's third highest award for valor; it was originally a small "silver star" added to the WWI campaign medal, in the same manner as BATTLE STARs, but was converted into a pendant medal in 1932. The design of the Valorous Unit Award (VUA) symbolizes this medal because it is equivalent to everyone in the unit earning a Silver Star. This award ranks between the Bronze Star (BSM) and the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) [or Navy Cross (NC) or Air Force Cross (AFC)]. See DEVICE, V-DEVICE, IMPACT AWARD, GONG.

a metonym for superannuated HIPPIEs and PROTESTORs who continue to represent their juvenile ideological devotion to the revolutionary spirit of the COUNTERCULTURE by their flagrant display of gray or white LONGHAIR that's worn like a signal flag in the outmoded style of their discredited youth, typically while occupying some "prestigious" position in THE ESTABLISHMENT (eg: college professor, muckraking journalist, government executive, or other social activist); this epicene allusion implies a comparison with the powerful seniority of a "silverback" and the sagacious eminence of a "greybeard". See SUMMER OF LOVE, WE SHALL OVERCOME, KUM BA YAH, FLOWER POWER, SOFT TYRANNY, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, SYMPATHIZER, FIFTH COLUMN, NEW AGE HIPPIE, YIPPIE, UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-AMERICAN, BULLSHITVIK. [cf: silver lining, silver standard; v: pigtail, ponytail, braid, plat, plait, queue] [nb: "A ponytail always adorns a horse's ass!"]

an epithet bestowed upon anyone possessed of eloquence; the ability to use language with fluency and aptness, being articulate and persuasive. [nb: "He (Winston L.S. Churchill) mobilized the English language and sent it into battle to steady his fellow countrymen and hearten those Europeans upon whom the long dark night of tyranny had descended." by Edward R. Murrow] [cf: "Speech is silver; silence is golden." Oriental proverb; "If a word be worth one shekel, silence is worth two." Hebrew maxim]

the major illegal drug production area in South America, a region consisting of Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. See STICK, CAN SA, DOPE, STONED, SMACK, HOT SHOT, CHINA WHITE, DEA; compare GOLDEN TRIANGLE, TRI-BORDER, GOLDEN CRESCENT.

practice and training ammunition that's specially manufactured for SMALL ARMS that can be used safely by military and paramilitary personnel in KILL HOUSE and CLOSE QUARTERS BATTLE scenarios. Unlike BLANKs and MILES targeting, SIM-AMMO provides the trainee with a realistic sense of shooting live-ammo, including ricochets. Made in standard military and police service CALIBERs in lower-velocity (eg: Simunition, Greenshield, Short Stop, Close Quarters Target ammunition), some SIM-AMMO is designed to mark the target while others are designed to disintegrate upon impact. Some SIM-AMMO is available as TRACERs for tracking in dark rooms or at night, and there is even a 40mm polymer projectile (ie: DragonFly) for use with grenade launchers. SIM-AMMO is imitative of the recreational paint-ball marking rounds used in civilian WAR GAMEs, and serves the same purpose of assessment and scoring. SIM-AMMO should not be confused with "rubber bullets", which is non-frangible ammunition designed for non-lethal crowd control; not for training. It is sometimes called "training ammo" or "faux ammo". See AMMO.

a children's game that's played around the world, as portrayed in books and songs, skits and films; this simple game has only two rules: failure to obey the leader's directive when properly prefixed, and execution of the leader's directive when not properly prefixed, with attrition resulting in the final participant winning or the leader defeating the entire group. This exercise teaches children discrimination (instead of rote obedience) and prepares them for logical analysis or critical thinking. The name of the game is alliterative, but has also been represented as "the king says" or "the teacher says" in different cultures, and the game exists with numerous examples of name substitution for a commercial or thematic effect ... it could just as easily be represented as: "Sarge Says!" [nb: "Simple Simon" is one of the many euphemisms for 'penis'; see PRICK, CU]

see KISS. [nb: "Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. The difficulties accumulate and end by producing a kind of friction that is inconceivable unless one has experienced war." by Karl von Clausewitz; "The important things are always simple; and the simple things are always hard!" a Murphy Law of Combat; "The simpler something is, then the easier it is to use; the easier to use, the more uses will be found for it." a Murphy Law of Combat; "The army with the simplest uniform always wins the war." a Murphy Law of Combat]

a device or mechanism that replicates an environment or imitates functions and conditions for the purpose of safely training individuals as a preliminary to actual involvement or a prerequisite to real engagement; a low cost method of safely training MIL-PERS on select weapons and equipment, including explosives and gunnery, aircraft and submarine operation, Vertical Wind Tower and the like. See TRAINER, LINK TRAINER, VWT, AMFFPC, BDU, DUMMY, SIM-AMMO, FIRECRACKER, MOSS. [v: simulant]

the Hebrew and Greek words that are translated in the Bible as 'sin' actually mean "failing to hit the target" or "missing the mark"; see POINT-BLANK, AIMPOINT, DEADEYE, BULL'S-EYE, CAMEL'S NOSE, GIVE AN INCH, RIPPLE EFFECT, MORAL WATERSHED, MORAL VICTORY, MORALITY. [nb: in Judeo-Christian theology, 'sin' is the failure to attain (and sustain) the standard of behavior attributed to God's moral requirements, differentiated as those that do not forfeit the state of grace (venial) and those that can be removed only by repentance and absolution (mortal); the seven deadly sins (also known as cardinal, capital, or mortal sins) are distinguished by their potential for causing other vices, and put the soul of anyone manifesting them in peril of eternal perdition, which consist of: pride, covetousness / avarice, lust, anger / wrath, gluttony, envy, sloth / acedia; cf: 'virtue' derives from Latin "manliness", which is not an innate condition, but must be developed along with all other good traits and beneficial human qualities; the seven cardinal virtues are subdivided into supernatural or theological virtues (faith, hope, charity / love) and natural or Platonic virtues (justice, prudence / wisdom, temperance, fortitude / courage)]

SINgle Channel Ground [to] Air Radio System; with built-in Global Positioning System (GPS), automatic frequency-hopping (HOPSCOTCH) and spread-spectrum transceiver; as AN/PRC-119 (backpack model 2-5mile range) or AN/PRC-6745 "Leprechaun" (pocket sized model 1-5mile range). See WALKIE-TALKIE, RADIO.

a secure COMPOUND, situated outside Pleiku near Camp Enari and Camp Holloway, that was policed and regulated by competent allied authorities, where OFF-DUTY regional troops could shop and revel in an "entrepreneurial district" that was managed for their benefit, offering laundry, gambling, drinking, and prostitution services without fear of victimization. This relaxation area had price controls and public health inspections. This was a more formal version of Hooker's CAMP FOLLOWERs, similar to the New Orleans district setup as Storyville, but unofficially condoned. Ironically, George Washington asked for six "camp ladies" per Revolutionary War company, but the Continental Congress would only authorize separate rations for four women per unit ... the revolutionary militia was more candid than the modern military! Also, any similar relaxation and recreation center that's operated as a regulated concession by local businessmen ("on the economy") near a military installation; also called "soldier city", "sporting district", "stews", "red-light district", HELL'S HALF ACRE, HELL ON WHEELS, and BLOOD ALLEY; compare LITTLE AMERICA, DODGE CITY, FOUR CORNERS. [v: "What happens in Sin City stays in Sin City!"]

see GARROTE. Also, an iced drink of gin, lemon or lime juice, sugar, and soda water; this 17th century American cocktail was misappropriated by the British and misattributed to the Chinese colony; see BREW, HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, MOONSHINE, THE DRINK, HOIST, GUSTO. [cf: gin and tonic, rickey / gin rickey, collins / Tom Collins, gimlet, salty dog, gin sour, martini, Gibson, negroni, pink gin, pink lady, gin fizz, silver fizz, golden fizz, Alexander, etc]

see DUEL, ORDEAL, GANTLET, ACT OF TRUTH. [nb: a "gage" is something, such as a glove, that was thrown down by a medieval knight in token of his challenge to personal combat] [nb: a 'stickler' was the second in single combat, and so was very punctilious about the minutest points of etiquette, then later becoming an umpire or referee in competitive tournaments, and finally being any person who persistently demands absolute adherence or unyielding conformity]


a sleeveless undershirt or athletic jersey, which has a loose neckline and shoulder-straps, as usually worn by men; a tank-top or wife beater; see T-SHIRT, SKIVVIES, DRESS. [cf: muscle shirt; nb: the practice of not wearing underpants during field operations was common during the VIETNAM WAR as an aid to disease prevention, and has since acquired the designation: "going commando"]

a sole agent or lone operative; derived from card playing usage, where it is the only one of its suit (type); also called "singlet". See CIA, NOC.

in heraldry, being of or on the left side, or pertaining to the left side of a shield from the bearer's position or point of view; representative of malevolence, evil, malice, harm, trouble, misfortune, disfavor, foreboding, ill-omen, or base motive ... ostensibly from the augury of the sun departing or setting in the west (or left) of the sky. Compare DEXTER. [nb: the right-hand side of an illustration] [cf: like heraldic "dexter" and "sinister", "port" and "starboard", "stage left" and "stage right", "proper left" and "proper right" are clarifications of direction for orientation or perspective so as to avoid confusion]

a sweet heavy doughnut (or sometimes a biscuit or muffin), usually greasy or underdone ... and like a hot cup of GI JOE, is a MESSHALL treat that's never refused! See DOUGHNUT, PITA, HARDTACK, PANCAKE, POGY BAIT, SLIDER, SOS, SLOP, WASH, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. [v: biscuit, challah, croissant, bun, roll, cracker, cracknel, pretzel, shortbread, cookie, wafer, roly-poly, shortcake, teacake, tea bun, sally lunn, cupcake, pandowdy, cobbler / grunt, funnel cake, friedcake, doughnut (eg: beignet, bismarck, olykoek, fasnacht, cruller, brioche, bath bun, honey bun, soul cake, marlboro, dunker, clogger, kolacky / kolache, jelly doughnut, bear sign, bear paw, etc)]

see XIN LOI, and also misspelled "sin loy", as pidgin SIN LOY MINOY for "too bad honey"; also see MIHN OI.

Single Integrated Operations Plan; the multi-service attack plan employing all American military forces for the conduct of strategic nuclear war. See OPLAN, CAPABILITY, COURSE OF ACTION.

Bell OH-13 observation helicopter, a SCOUTSHIP that's nicknamed "bubble" or "bubble-top" due to its stark configuration.

any futile or hopeless task, any unavailing or meaningless endeavor; as derived from the punishment imposed upon Sisyphus for either divulging the secrets of the gods, or for defying the will of the gods. According to ancient legend, Sisyphus was condemned to endlessly toil at the heartbreaking job of rolling a huge stone up a hill, until at the top, it always rolls back down from the summit to the base, whereupon he must push it back up again. Compare FLYING DUTCHMAN.

SITE 85 :
see LIMA SITE 85.

the SITuation MANual is the handbook that's distributed to all participants and observers in discussion-based EXERCISEs at a seminar or workshop before the commencement of activities; used to train and rehearse commanders and their staff, this handbook provides the preliminary background and a synopsis of the EXERCISE, defining the scope and objectives, assigning roles and responsibilities, delimiting rules and boundaries, outlining timely execution, while permitting comments and criticisms to be interjected. Compare EXPLAN, see SMART.

SITuation REPort, also spelled "SIT-REP"; a summary notification of unit activity or status that's transmitted or dispatched on schedule or on demand. See SPOT REPORT, SALUTE, MISREP, FRAG REPORT.

slow-moving and half-hearted warfare that's marked by repeated stalemates; warfare distinguished by a lack of development or progress, an absence of aggression or engagement; a neologism (sitting + war) Coined on the model of 'blitzkrieg' (qv). [cf: phony war, twilight war, strange war, bore war; v: sitz bath]

Self-Inflicted Wound, being an act of cowardice that's ipso facto grounds for a court martial; compare WIA, GSW-TTH, SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT, PH, DUSTOFF, MEDEVAC, MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, PROFILE, LINE OF DUTY, DOW, KIA.

6 / SIX :
a clock-face position, most often used by pilots, as a reference to action or cover behind the unit; or, a code word for unit leader or commander, when derived from CALL-SIGN designations.

the theory in social-psychology and communications that argues for limited diffusion in interpersonal networking, which is also expressed as the "small world" phenomenon; essentially positing that any two persons can be probabilistically linked by no more than six contacts or intersections. Such nexus mapping is exemplified in the "Who do you know?" interrogation that every professional colleague or transferred associate is subjected to during the "getting to know" phase of an introduction ... which is sometimes extended to "Where did you serve?" and "When were you there?" type of questions whenever formulating links. Once these interconnections are established, the newcomer will be backtracked to verify his reputation and substantiate his predicted performance. This connectivity is the basis of the "movers and shakers" or the "old boys club". See NET, HOOKUP, TALK THE TALK, BOY'S CLUB, GOOD OLD BOY, RING-KNOCKER, KHAKI MAFIA. [nb: "The probability of six degrees of separation beats the odds of a million to one chance." anonymous]

in a state of confusion, as jumbled or disordered; or, said of persons who are unable to come to an agreement, as being at loggerheads. This phrase derives from dicing, wherein one casts all dice to assay a wild chance of fortune, be it good, be it bad, as proverbially expressed in Erasmus' Apothegmes (1542). To "set all dice on six and seven" is also represented as "higgledy-piggledy". See DICE GAMES, WAR GAMES, PLAY THE GAME. [nb: "Set all at sixe and seven." by John Heywood (1556)]

see SPIDER SENSE, PARANOIA. [aka: intuition, anschauung, third ear, third eye, clairvoyance, sagacity]

Staff Judge Advocate, the military counsel serving on staff; see JAG.

to get by, pass by, or goof off; to evade or sidestep, shirk or malinger; see GHOST, GOLDBRICK, REST ON OARS, CAPE HORN FEVER, TAP-DANCER, BOONDOGGLE, HALF-ASSED. [nb: obfuscation and obscurantism are widely represented by the military maxim: "Bullshit baffles brains!", sometimes called a "Well sir,..." excuse]

brand name (1999) of a portable (19#) plastic sled that rolls into a tight cylinder and expands into a hand-grip LITTER longer than an average man for use during emergency (horizontal or vertical) evacuation; containerized unit includes adjustable retaining straps with quick-connect /-release buckles to secure and immobilize the patient; this basic STRETCHER may be augmented with braces and splints, or oriented toward water or winter rescue. [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]

slang for the incessantly pestiferous mosquito; also called "swamp angel", "marsh bomber", "bayou bird", or "state bird" (as in the "state bird of Florida", the "state bird of louisiana", the "state bird of Alaska", the "state bird of the Philippines", the "state bird of Panama", the "state bird of Vietnam", and so forth); and related to the gallinipper, gall gnat, gall midge, midge, and crane fly. See BAR, FUO, MALARIA, BONE BREAK FEVER, YELLOW JACK, CHIKUNGUNYA, HORSE PILL; compare DAPSONE, CORK.


nickname for Xom Cau Bieu, Xa Thanh Liet (geo: 20 57 44N 105 49 04E; UTM: 48QWJ85001800), site of major NVN prison camp for captive allied population; also known as [nb: some names only refer to sections within this prison] Thanh Liet, Bang Liet, B.15. Dates US POWs present: 07 Jul 68 to 19 Aug 71, 09 Sep 71 to 04 Nov 71, and 06 Dec 71 to 01 Jan 72. The Vietnamese commonly refer to this prison by its location in Cau Bieu Hamlet, Thanh Liet Village, Thanh Tri District, Hanoi Municipality. As of mid-1995, this prison was still administered by the Ministry of Public Security (now Ministry of Interior). See POW.

a talent or forte, knack or bent, and also known as "repertoire" or "skill-set"; see MIL-CRAFT.

slang for a USN Boston whaler, shaped like an elongated rowboat but mounting an outboard motor; see GIG, PBL, LONG-TAIL, TENDER, SCOW, BOAT. Also, slang for any sailor aboard a surface ship or boat, for behavioral similarity to gull-like birds that feed from the water's surface; compare DIPPER, BOOMER, DOLPHIN, BUBBLEHEAD, see WATER WINGS, AIRDALE, SHELLBACK. [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]

informal usage for the outer covering of a vehicle or craft; the particular (or peculiar) qualities of its external layer, as "thin-skinned" for light- / unarmored or "skin paint" for sensor detected. See CAMO, WAR FACE, COUNTERSHADING, LASER AIMING DEVICE, PAINT, LADAR, IR, REACTIVE ARMOR, SPALL, SPACED ARMOR, UP-ARMOR, HILLBILLY ARMOR, IRONCLAD, HARDEN, HARD TARGET, SOFT TARGET. [nb: a self-propelled (SP) HOWITZER resembles a TANK, but unlike a TANK, is thin-skinned]

see CAT SKINNER. [cf: "There's more than one way to kill a cat than to choke it with cream." adage]

slang reference for the gaunt appearance of the hostiles or BAD GUYS encountered during Operation RESTORE HOPE in Somalia; term related to the emaciation caused by malnutrition. Also, slang for information, facts, news, a true account, sometimes expressed as the "straight skinny"; also known as POOP, scoop, DOPE, GOUGE, THE WORD, GREEN GREASE, HOT-SHIT, BULLETIN. [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]

ricochet technique of aerial bomb delivery by aircraft against ships and other floating targets, used in lieu of torpedoes (FISH); as validated by the 1943 Battle of the Bismark Sea, in the WWII New Guinea campaign; see WILD SHOT, compare DIVETOSS. [nb: a similar technique of "ricochet shooting" of TANK / ARTY gunfire along the ground at enemy troops attacking in the open was simultaneously developed in the 1943 north Africa campaign]

the head, leader (LDR), commander (CO), CAPTAIN, or master of a vessel, aircraft, or unit, which duty is not equivalent to a specific RANK; sometimes truncated as "Skip", as derived from Dutch ("schipper") for "he who ships". See ADMIRAL, COMMODORE, FLAG OFFICER, 10, MC, OVERSIGHT, COMMAND ELEMENT, GOLD STAR.

a brisk conflict or sharp fight between small bodies of troops; also called FIREFIGHT or MEETING ENGAGEMENT, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG or CONTACT.

Women's Army Corps service
slang for a military woman, also known as "G.I. Jane", regardless of branch of service. As an expression of patriotism and humanity, more than women's liberation/suffrage, women began volunteering for nursing and service jobs during the Crimean War (1853-6) and the American CIVIL WAR (1861-5). More than 1100 women worked as contract nurses during the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR due to epidemic diseases, which caused ten times more casualties than combat. Women served as contract workers in service jobs (eg: dietetics, communication) during WWI, but didn't qualify for protected military status under the conventions of war, and were ineligible for veteran's benefits after the war. On 15 May 1942, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was instituted to fill needed combat support roles, from clerk and mechanic to translator and cryptanalyst, but was still a contractual position without full military status or benefits. On 3 July 1943, the Army Nurse Corps (ANC), existing since the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, and the Women's Army Corps (WAC) were admitted to full military status by Congress. Similarly, Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Service (WAFS) and Women Air Service Pilots (WASP) were transitioned into the Women's Air Force (WAF). The Navy employed Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES); and the Coast Guard utilized Semper Paratus Auxiliary Reserve (SPAR). All separate women's military service corps were dissolved in 1978 when female servicemembers were integrated into the RANKS; and in 1994, the role of qualified women was expanded from service support occupations to "combat support", including police, pilots, and other assignments, including service aboard warships; then in 2016, qualified women were made eligible to compete for equal admission to all combat arms occupations. During the Vietnam-era, approximately 261,000 women served in all military branches, with about 7,500 serving IN-COUNTRY, resulting in eight (8) fatalities, including one KIA (ANC LT Sharon A. Lanz at Chu Lai on 8 June 1969). A Women's Auxiliary was formed under the leadership of the SVN President's wife, functioning similar to American models, including only limited weapons training. During the Persian Gulf War, eleven (11) servicewomen were killed in combat (KIA) and four (4) others died in noncombat situations. See WAAC, WAC, WAF, WAFS, WASP, WAVES, SPAR, BAM, WM, BOSNIA, "GI Jane" at GI / GI JOE, "Jane Bond" at SECRET AGENT / BABY 007, "Acting Jane" at ACTING JACK, "Hollow Bunny" at EMPTY SUIT, THE GLASS CLIFF, "Swinging Dickless" at SWINGING DICK, "Dear Jane" at JODY, ANGEL, COMMO, CRYPTO, CRYPER, BAMBOO TELEGRAPH, SQUEAK, RIGGER, QM, OLD GIRL'S CLUB, WARRIOR PRINCESS, WONDER WOMAN, WINNIE THE WAC, QUEEN FOR A YEAR, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, MOTHER HEN, "bra-less" at HANG LOOSE, PIRATE'S DREAM, LONGHAIR, ROUND EYE, CAMP FOLLOWER, BITCH, BATTLE-AX, BALL BUSTER, FLYING BRAVO, STRANGE, SPLIT, SNATCH, SHACK-JOB, SLEEPING DICTIONARY, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, CAMPAIGN WIFE, DRAG, COW, LADY, OFFICER'S WIFE, PETTICOAT COMMAND, DISTAFF, DOUGHNUT DOLLY, SALLY, FANY. [v: amazon, virago; cf: vivandière] [nb: Aussie "Shiela"] [nb: in 1996, the ratio of women serving in the U.S. Air Force was 16.3%, in the U.S. Army was 13.8%, in the U.S. Navy was 12.6%, and in the U.S. Marine Corps was 4.9%] [nb: women have also served the military by working with the Hello Girls, Office of Civilian Defense, Relief Wings Inc., Salvation Army, United Service Organizations, United States Food Administration, United States Public Health Service Reserve Corps, United War Work Campaign, Volunteer Army Canteen Service, Women Veteran's Organizations, Women War Correspondents, Women War Workers, Women's Ambulance and Defense Corps, Young Women's Christian Association] [nb: Jennie Hodgers, an Irish emigrant, enlisted as a private in Company G/95th Illinois Volunteer Infantry on 6 Aug 1862 as "Albert D.J. Cashier", serving as an infantryman in all campaigns with her unit, then discharged into civilian life where she continued to live as a man, staying in touch with her comrades, collecting a pension, until infirmity revealed her disguise in 1913, then when she died on 11 Oct 1915, she was buried in uniform with full military honors; since women who disguised themselves for military service were discharged when discovered, usually with their motives or sanity in doubt and reputations ruined, instances of women who evaded censure in military service are very fragmentary, such that Hodgers'/Cashier's is the only documented case of a woman fulfilling an Army enlistment during the CIVIL WAR] [cf: Molly Pitcher (Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley); v: Nonhelema (Shawnee peace chief)] [nb: a female unit commander is not called the OLD MAN nor "old lady", not "chieftain" nor "chieftess", not the HONCHO nor "honchette", not TOP DOG nor "top bitch", but is rather antonomastically identified by the generic "boss" or "boss lady", or by her designated NICKNAME or CODENAME] [nb: "The She-Goats having obtained a beard by request to Jupiter, the He-Goats were sorely displeased and made complaint that the females equaled them in dignity. 'Allow them,' said Jupiter, 'to enjoy an empty honor and to assume the badge of your nobler sex, so long as they are not your equals in strength or courage.' It matters little if those who are inferior to us in merit should be like us in outside appearances." by Aesop (The She-Goats and Their Beards in Aesop's Fables] [nb: "Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings." Proverbs 31:3 KJV Bible]

underwear consisting of a shirt and shorts, as derived from a knit "skivvy" shirt; sometimes expressed as "skivvy suit", probably by association with "birthday suit"; also called "smalls" or "u-trou" / "u-trau". See T-SHIRT, SINGLET, LOINCLOTH, CIVVIES, DRESS. [v: Japanese shitagi] [nb: the practice of not wearing underpants during field operations was common during the VIETNAM WAR as an aid to disease prevention, and has since acquired the designation: GOING COMMANDO; aka: "furring", "free balling", or "snaking" by AUSSIE and KIWI troops]

slang referent for a RIGGER.

(skoh-sh) a literal Japanese contraction of 'sukoshi', meaning 'small' or 'little', and widely adopted by GIs since WWII; also represented as "skoshi" (skoh-she) or "skoshi-san"; compare NITNOY, TEE-TEE. Also, an American corruption meaning 'fast' or 'quickly', as if from "little time" or "small period"; typically expressed as "Get it done most skosh!" or "Deliver this most skosh!"; compare CHOP CHOP, RIKI TIK, CHOGI, FORTHWITH, SCRAMBLE. [v: Japanese haiyaku (quickly)]

Simonov Soviet-made or Chinese-made semiautomatic rifle had a built-in 10-round (7.62X39mm) magazine with an attached bayonet; being highly accurate, and used primarily by Local Force (LF) Viet Cong (VC). See 7.62 MINIS, KALASHNIKOV (AK-47), RPD.

dishonorable proceedings or deceitful behavior; mean or dishonest trickery; being an Americanism that derives (ca1705) from a variant of the Scottish obscenity for 'fornication' ("sculduddery").

informal designation of a meeting organized for discussion, for solving problems, for updating and planning, for the exchange of ideas, and similar objectives; also called BRAINSTORMING. See OFFICER'S CALL, BRIEFING, DEBRIEF, CHIN CHIN, POWWOW, SUMMIT, THINK TANK, THOUGHT GRENADE, BRAIN FART, TASK SATURATION, OBJECTIFICATION, DISSOCIATION.

the trademarked name of the technical engineering facility (1943) at Lockheed Martin Corporation that advised and consulted on the design, construction, and testing of aircraft and related equipment; also known as Lockheed Advanced Development Works. Also, by extension of the original station, any experimental laboratory or testing facility, typically of restricted access, that's used to design and develop innovative products for mass production; also spelled "skunkworks". This term derives from the "Skonk Works", where the character Big Barnsmell made the illicit liquor known as Kickapoo Joy Juice in Al Capp's comic strip Li'l Abner. [cf: saltworks, slopwork]


(forthcoming); designation for the Precision Demonstration Team, organized in for public display of typical aviation skillcraft, performed nationwide at air shows, patriotic events, and other fairs. A precision flight demonstration of the capability and versatility of aircraft kept at least one BIRD performing between set piece formations and maneuvers. The team consisted of aviators; See BARNSTORMER, AEROBATICS.

an informal allusion to a fully deployed PARACHUTE canopy, also called "blooming sky flower" or "falling down umbrella"; see RAKKASAN, HIT THE SILK, AB, ABN, AIRBORNE, PARATROOPER, FREE-FALL, MFF, BLAST, HOLLYWOOD BLAST, GANG-BANG, AIRDROP.

designation for the anti-ballistic LASER weapons system that's orbitally based in outer space; compare STAR WARS.


CH-54 heavy cargo helicopter, also called FLYING CRANE, and nicknamed "superhook"; see CHOPPER.

the Douglas A4D and McDonnell A-4 single-engine subsonic jet attack fighter-bomber aircraft, used for interdiction and close air support (CAS); nicknamed "Sky Hog". See BIRD.

nickname for the Fulton Recovery System, designed by Robert E. Fulton; the aerial retrieval (at about 120MPH) of ground packages or extraction (EXFIL) of passengers by low-altitude (at 500-800' alt) capture of balloon suspended tether in forked yoke, as used by special operations. See GABRIEL, STABO; compare TRAWL. Also, a grab line, suspended either vertically or horizontally, that enables a passing airplane to snag (SNATCH) so as to engage the TOWLINE that's connected to a PACKAGE, either human or inert, for expedient EXTRACTION; compare TRAWL, see AIR AMBULANCE. Also, 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.

US Navy F-3D two-engine "night fighter" aircraft used for electronic surveillance and Electronic CounterMeasures (ECM); compare SKYNIGHT.

the Douglas F5D experimental successor to the F4D SKYRAY.

to highlight or silhouette personnel, equipment, or vehicles, as when standing atop or traversing a crest, instead of a defile; see MILITARY CREST. Also, the division or separation of earth and sky at the horizon.

Cessna O-2 fixed-wing aircraft, with two engines, one fore and one aft of cabin section in split TAILBOOM, also called "Mixmaster" and "push-me-pull-you"; being a STOL used on FAC and VR or radio monitor missions. Also, the Douglas R5D/C-54 support and transport aircraft; see BIRD.

Douglas EF-10 /-10B fighter aircraft used for photo and electronic surveillance, and Electronic CounterMeasures (ECM); also known as WILLIE THE WHALE.

(forthcoming); see webcam, Video TeleConference (VTC), FONECON, MWR LINE, TWX, TTY, CONTEL, TELECON.

nickname for a chaplain, padre, clergyman, or cleric in military or naval service; also known as a "Holy Joe", "sin buster", "soul catcher", "pulpit pounder","gospel shouter", "God botherer", "God walloper", "devil dodger", "sermonizer", "Bible bilker", or "God's pickpocket". The motto of the Chaplain's Corps is "For God And Country" ('Pro Deo Et Patria'). During WWI, the American Expeditionary Force was augmented by volunteer chaplains who were sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the Young Men's Christian Association, and other altruistic organizations; these chaplains served the moral and spiritual needs of front line troops, including combat leadership and sexual prophylaxis. See GOD SQUAD, HOLY HELO, RP, PECKER-CHECKER, TS CARD, SYMPATHY, FOXHOLE CONVERSION, ARMY CHRISTIAN, PRAYER; compare HUG SQUAD, GHOUL, LAY PREACHER. [v: abbé, churchman, curé, ecclesiastic, evangelist, father, guru, hieromonk, man of the cloth, master, minister, officiant, parson, pastor, preacher, prelate, priest, prophet, rabbi, rector, reverend, revivalist, swami, vicar, votary, yogi] [nb: "A chaplain is the minister of the Prince of Peace serving the host of the God of War – Mars. As such, he is as incongruous as a musket would be on the altar at Christmas. Why, then, is he there? Because he indirectly subserves the purpose attested by the cannon; because too he lends the sanction of the religion of the meek to that which practically is the abrogation of everything but brute Force." by Herman Melville, ch 24 Billy Budd, Sailor]

Douglas A1-E / A1-H propeller-driven attack aircraft, powered by a single reciprocating engine, used for Close Air Support (CAS); this WWII-era prop-jet was affectionately nicknamed and sometimes CALL-SIGNed "Spad". The "Spad" was succeeded by the A-10 WARTHOG. See SANDY, SLOW MOVER.

Skyray :
the Douglas F4D/F-6 fighter aircraft.

nickname of 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate), being the first major US Army combat unit sent to Vietnam; see THE HERD.

ground directed bombing conducted by the 1st Combat Evaluation Group of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Ordnance directed and released from B-52, B-57, F-4, and other aircraft of the American, Austrailian, and Vietnamese Air Forces. Ground sites were located in Vietnam and Thailand.

an air-launched hypersonic scramjet tactical missile (XAGM-279A) that's guided by inertial and GPS navigation over a 600mi range and can select infrared (IR) or RADAR target acquisition; also called the "streaker" due to its Mach 10 speed.

an airplane (called "tow plane" or "tug ship") towing one or more GLIDERs; also called "air train"; see TOWLINE, UNCOUPLE, AIRHEAD.

the Douglas R4D/C-47 transport aircraft.

the McDonnell-Douglas C-9B transport aircraft.

the Douglas C-49, being a variant of the C-47 DAKOTA transport aircraft.

the Douglas A3D/A-3 carrier bomber aircraft.

SL :
see STATIC LINE. Also, Squad Leader, being a non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the CHAIN-OF-COMMAND; see SQUAD.

second man in a patrol, or secondary element in an advancing unit, situated between the POINT and main contingent, and usually responsible for the unit's pace and navigation; also called "slack man" or "swing"; see RANGER BEADS, compare COVER MAN, DRAG. Also, a part of something, as a rope or tarp, that hangs loose, relaxed or unbound, without strain upon it; the "trailing end" of a rope. Also, not tight, taut, firm, or tense; lax or loose, as to lessen or play-out a rope. Also, to provide something or to compensate for anything that is missing or incomplete, as to "take up the slack"; from the act of pulling in or making taut a loose section of a rope or line. Also, a depression between hills, in a hillside, or in the land surface; a saddle or draw, hollow or dell, morass or bog, sink or swale. Also, slow or dilatory, sluggish or indolent; not active or intense, not lively or vigorous, not immoderate or brisk. Also, inactive, weak, lax or dull; a decrease, diminution, or cessation. Also, to treat with forbearance or clemency; to regard with tolerance or indulgence, as "Cut him some slack!"; see MERCY. Also, negligent, careless, or remiss; to shirk or malinger, to leave undone. [v: laches]

shirker or malingerer, laggard or underworker, time-server or coffee-cooler; a goof-off or no-goodnik, as derived from the dilatory and remiss meanings of 'slack'. See DUD, GHOST, GOLDBRICK, FEATHER MERCHANT, REST ON OARS, DODGE THE BULLET, TAP-DANCER, BOONDOGGLE, HALF-ASSED, PUKE, LOOSE CANNON, FIELD REJECT, SMACK, DOUCHE BAG, FUCK-UP, MAGGOT, YARDBIRD.

an acronym for the AGM-84 Standoff Land Attack Missile using satellite navigation for guidance; also known as Harpoon. Also, Search (or Seek), Locate, Annihilate, and Monitor; being the COVER name designation for a company-sized clandestine mission by ground elements (OP35) of the Special Operations Group (SOG) that operated in enemy territory, including CROSS-BORDER sanctuaries. Typically sized from platoon to battalion, a SLAM functioned as either a reaction force that responded to INTEL developed by reconnaissance teams (RT / ST), or as an EXPLOITATION FORCE or Hatchet Force (HF) that conducted raids. See DA, SPIN DOWN, HOT PURSUIT, OVER THE FENCE.

nickname of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AIM-120); see AMRAAM. [nb: although this missile, which is in service inventory, has not yet been assigned an official name, some early Hughes Missile Systems' documents refer to it as 'Bounty Hunter']

the best projection or the most accurate calculation of the true distance to be traveled in rough terrain, converted from linear map distance; being the hypotenuse of a right-angle determined by direct distance and total elevation. A combat-loaded GRUNT will lose speed to the increased severity of rough terrain, so will slow from the normal advance of 3-5mph down to the rate of only 1mph or less. See AIMPOINT, HEADING, AZIMUTH, COMPASS, DEAD-RECKONING, GRID COORDINATES, GRID LINES, CONTOUR LINES, TRUSCOTT TROT, LEEWAY, CONTOUR FLYING, NOE, MAP, COMICS.

a derogation based upon the epicanthic fold, which is characteristic of Mongoloid peoples; the epicanthus or epicanthic fold is also called "eyefold" or "Mongolian fold". See DINK, SLOPE, GOOK, RICE BALL, ZIP, CHINK, NIP, YELLOW PERIL, YELLOW DOG, BUDDHAHEAD, BASKET HEAD, RICE CHRISTIAN, INDIG.

Saboted Light Armor Penetrator, a high-velocity hardened projectile of several CALIBERs that utilizes kinetic energy as an anti-tank weapon; see SABOT.


a hand-launched pyrotechnic illumination projectile that's suspended beneath a small PARACHUTE during its descent; also called "parachute flare", or "umbrella flare", and sometimes spelled "slapflare". Used for aerial illumination, it is contained in a metal tube (about the size of a paper towel cylinder), and launched by placing the protective cap (with firing pin) over the propellant primer, and striking sharply. Compare PEN FLARE, see FLARE.

Side Looking Airborne RADAR.


Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile, as from a SILO aboard a nuclear-powered submersible (BOOMER); see TRIDENT.

abbreviation for the Sapper Leader Course at the U.S. Army Engineer School (Fort Leonard Wood, MO), with AIR ASSAULT and RECONDO prerequisites, for grades E-4 through O-3; see SAPPER. [nb: the two-phase 28-day SLC teaches specialized engineer tasks, including demolition and urban breaching, mountaineering and water operations, and it tests participants on land navigation, road marching and patrolling, concluding with a final FTX]

see IRON DOG, CAT-TRAIN, DRAG. [v: slipe, ahkio, pulka / pulkka; cf: Flexible Flyer sled (1889)]

see EYELID MAINTENANCE, KIP, PAC / PAC TIME, COMBAT NAP; compare NO REST. [v: shut-eye, snooze, doze, nap, catnap, power nap, forty winks, drowse, slumber, rest, siesta, hibernate]



a female consort who helps a military or civilian ADVISOR in learning the foreign language and native customs of the assigned country; compare MIHN OI, LBFM, LULU THE ZULU, SHACK-JOB, CAMPAIGN WIFE, HORIZONTAL COLLABORATOR, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, DRAG, STRANGE, DISTAFF, SKIRT.

slang for the WINDSOCK-like fabric TARGET that's towed by an airplane for air or ground gunnery practice; see BULL'S-EYE, POINT-BLANK, IMPACT AREA, AIMPOINT, POINT OF IMPACT, KILL ZONE, BUTT, TURKEY SHOOT. [v: Aunt Sally, Jack-a-Lent, cockshy, clay pigeon, sitting duck, mark, gull, dupe, pigeon, prey, quintain, wand, hit list]

see IRON DOG, CAT-TRAIN. [v: slipe, ahkio, pulka / pulkka; cf: Flexible Flyer sled (1889)]

any helicopter used to transport troops or cargo, such as HUEY, SHAWNEE, KINGBEE, CHINOOK, with only protective armaments systems; not a GUNSHIP ... and not "unarmed". SLICK was the term used to refer to an assault helicopter used to support troops in combat during AIRMOBILE operations. Troops would ride in the wide door openings (most assault choppers had their sliding doors removed) of the aircraft, normally in two rows on each side, and could exit quickly "on the bounce" in ground effect (FLARE) when landing in a HOT LZ. SLICKS usually didn't touch down during landing, but troops off-loaded during the "bounce" in ground effect in a matter of seconds. CHOPPER Pilots learned to reduce risk by spending as little time as possible in hover. This term derives from the lack of armaments, not from the absence of seats. See CHASE, SCOUTSHIP, HOLY HELO.

the lowest ranking enlisted personnel, including "trainee" and "private / airman / seaman recruit" (novice, tyro, abecedarian); who are devoid of sleeve insignia until improved skill level earns promotion to a higher RATING, denoted by stripes, chevrons, and ROCKERs. Promotion parties usually involve beer and some informal "tagging" or "pinning" ritual, leaving the happy upgrade with a headache and bruised arms. See BOOT, TRAIN, CRUIT, YARDBIRD, BUCK, MOSQUITO WING, MOSQUITO SMILE, MATING MOSQUITOES, BIRD UMBRELLA, SWINE LOG, BLOOD STRIPE, EM.

any civilian employed by the military, especially in Asia, who steals government property for sale on the BLACK MARKET, sometimes with great ingenuity or audacity; although principally a thief or swindler, like any rapscallion or rogue, he might also serve as a pimp procurer. See KHAKI MAFIA, CARPETBAGGERS; compare CHEAP CHARLIE, HAJJI SHOP, SCROUNGE, MIDNIGHT REQUISITION, SHAKEDOWN, LITTLE AMERICA. [cf: comprador/compradore]

slang for a greasy hamburger; a "SLIDER with lid" is a cheeseburger. See CAVALRY STEAK, CRITTER FRITTER, CAMEL BURGER, SANDWICH, PITA, RICE BALL, SLOP, GUT BOMB, WASH, WAD, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. [nb: 'cheeseburger' was a tradename registered in 1935 by the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado] [nb: 'roti john' in the India / Malay region is a Western-style hamburger consisting of fried egg and minced beef or mutton served on halves of a French loaf] [cf: tube steak, cheese steak, minute steak, Swiss steak, Salisbury steak; v: porterhouse steak (ie: sirloin steak and New York strip steak), club steak, skirt steak, round steak, shell steak, T-bone steak, cube steak]

a narrow LATRINE dug into the ground for extended field use by a SQUAD; also called "straddle trench" or "spraddle trench". The most common mistake made by inexperienced MIL-PERS is to dig the trench too wide, making its use both unstable and uncomfortable, since it only needs to be as wide as the shovel head of the E-TOOL itself. The surplus propellant from mortar and artillery fire can be ignited to sterilize such a cesspool, and thus maintain local sanitation. In the post-Vietnam era, portable chemical toilets (variously brand named, including "Porta-John", "Porta-Potty", "Jiffy-John", and "Royal Flush") are positioned and serviced by subcontractors whenever troops are deployed into field training areas or BASE CAMPs, including overseas combat zones. See LATRINE, HEAD, CAT HOLE, BLUE CANOE, TROTS, SQUIRTS, DUMP, SHIT, HONEY BUCKET, CORK, BLACK WATER, COMFORT STATION. [nb: Chinese archives document the use of perfumed rice-paper for use as toilet paper from the sixth century; toilet paper invented 1857; perforated roll of toilet paper (1877); 2-ply toilet paper (1942); pastel colors of toilet paper (1956)] Also, the former name of a hastily prepared prone firing or fighting position, being obsolete since WWII; see RANGER GRAVE, HASTY TRENCH; see FOXHOLE, SPIDER HOLE. [v: Military Earthworks Terms]

an adjustable fabric band or leather strap connected by swivel mounts to SMALL ARMS, usually a RIFLE, to assist in their handling and performance, as when carrying or shooting; see STACK ARMS, STACKING SWIVEL, GP STRAP, SNAP-LINK, UNLIMBER, FOREARM, BUTTSTOCK, OFF HAND; compare LANYARD. Also, a strap, band, rope, or chain from which something is suspended, hoisted, supported, or moved, often forming a loop; see GANTLINE, McGUIRE RIG, HIGHLINE. Also, a net or other hold used for hoisting or hauling, as for moving something; also called a "sling load"; see EYE, GP, GP NET, HAMMOCK. Also, an ancient device used for hurling a small missile by hand with deadly effect, typically consisting of a pouched strap that's whirled around in a circle to gain momentum before the missile is released at its target; also known as a SLINGSHOT, which is operated by a 'slingman' or 'slinger'.

designation for the high-powered LASER defensive system for aircraft. Also, Naval slang for the CATAPULT, which launches aircraft from the DECK of a ship at sea.

see BATTLE CRY, CHANTEY, AHOY, HOISE, HEAVE-HO, JODY CALL, CADENCE, HEP, HOOAH, OORAH, YUT, GUNG-HO, WETSU, GUSTO, TOAST, SIGNATURE, CREST, PATCH. [nb: the term 'slogan' is derived from the Scottish words ('sluagh' + 'gairm') meaning "army cry" or "war cry"; cf: misnomer "slughorn"]

cheap bedding and ready-made clothing, especially short baggy trousers ("high-water"), supplied to sailors from the ship's stores; see RACK, BERTH, BILLET, HAMMOCK, HOSPITAL CORNER, UTILITIES, FATIGUES, BLOUSE, DRESS. Also, a loose-fitting overgarment of cheap cloth, as a tunic or smock. Also, any cheap ready-made clothing [v: "slop work"; cf: shoddy, mungo, bodgy]. Also, tasteless or unappetizing food or drink, often badly prepared, as related to swill for feeding livestock; [cf: sop] see SOS, SLIDER, SINKER, WAD, WASH, GUT BOMB, TURKEY, BEANS, CHOW, FORAGE, RATIONS. Also, any spilled or dirty fluid, watery refuse, or liquid mud; see GRAY WATER, BLACK WATER, SLOP CHUTE [cf: slut].

originally a trunk or chest, later a room/cabin for stowing a quantity of spare clothing, extra boots, and other personal items to be supplied to a ship's crew during a voyage, especially after an emergency; also called "slops chest" and "slop/-s locker" [cf: "slop shop"]. Also, a ship's store of personal goods for sale to passengers and crew, as an on-board PX/BX; compare CANTEEN.

an angled channel, as a declining trough or downward shaft, used to convey liquids or loose solids outboard of a ship or vessel, especially bilge water, wet refuse and kitchen garbage, or sewage; which discharged effluence feeds trailing sea life [cf: slut]. Also, by analogy to effluent disposal, the rectum and its intestinal egestion; see DUMP, TROTS, SQUIRTS, SHIT, HEAD CALL, TRA CA, GRAY WATER, BLACK WATER, HONEY BUCKET, GUMP STUMP. Also, by extension of SLOP and by analogy to animal feedings, the mouth and digestive track, for the ingestion of swill or mash. Also, by extension of ingested swill, to quaff, imbibe, guzzle, gulp, or chug-a-lug. Also, the Navy/Marine enlisted man's (EM's) bar or ANNEX where excessive consumption (and subsequent evacuation) is condoned (if not encouraged); see SWINE LOG, BREW, HOOCH, GROG, GROUP TIGHTENER, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, HOIST, TOAST, HATCH, DUTCH COURAGE, WHISKEY WARRIOR, CLASS SIX, BYOB, DEAD-SOLDIER, BA MUOI BA, SAIGON TEA, WASH, THE DRINK, STONED; compare ACEY-DEUCY, CANTEEN, ANNEX, DIRTY SHIRT, RIGHT ARM, NCO CLUB, O CLUB, SHADOW OF THE FLAGPOLE. [cf: barrelhouse, cocktail lounge, saloon, roadhouse, speakeasy, blind pig / blind tiger, pub, ginmill, public house, tavern, cantina, bar, barroom, bar-and-grill, grogshop, watering hole, tippling house, 11th Frame, 19th Hole, honky-tonk, dive, brasserie, bistro, taproom, beer joint, beer parlor, brewpub, alehouse, rathskeller, cabaret, nightclub, drinkery]

a derogatory term used to refer to any Asian, as based upon their characteristic epicanthic fold (SLANT-EYE); see DINK, GOOK, RICE BALL, ZIP, NIP, JAPE, CHINK, YELLOW PERIL, YELLOW DOG, WOG; compare BUDDHAHEAD, BASKET HEAD, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, INDIG. Also, a slanted plane or inclined direction, as of hills and valleys; see MILITARY CREST, REVERSE SLOPE.

see BUSH HAT, BOONIE / BOONIE HAT, FLOP HAT / FLOPPY HAT. [v: petasus / petasos : a broad-brimmed hat worn by ancient Greek travelers and hunters, often represented in art as a winged hat worn by Hermes or Mercury]

symbol of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, which is a slow-burning igniter that's lit at both ends to signify readiness; also called "Flaming Noodle" or BURNING WORM. The SLOW MATCH, being a cord impregnated with saltpeter (potassium nitrate), was invented as a flamethrower FUSE in AD 919 by the Chinese; also called "fire cord" and "fusee/fuzee", compare PUNK, SPUNK, and "touchwood". The word "spunk", meaning spark or sparkling, has also referred to PUNK and to "mettle", with the implication that readiness becomes courage. See PATCH, ZIPPO, LIGHTER, WAD. [nb: originating as an evenly burning wick or cord for cannon, by comparison with the wick in the nostril or muzzle of a lamp, the chemical stick-match or "lucifer (light bearing) match" began replacing friction or spark ignition in the 19th century; when an English apothecary, John Walker, invented the chemical friction match in 1827; when a French student, Charles Sauria, invented the phosphorus match in 1831; when America patented the sesquisulfide of phosphorus match in 1836; and when Sweden invented the safety match in 1855] [cf: quick match]

any propeller driven fighter-bomber aircraft, such as the SKYRAIDER and WARTHOG, which prop-jets were usually very accurate, with a longer period on station for flying COVER or CAP; as contrasted with high-speed FAST MOVER jet aircraft, or with any large cargo or bomber airplane known as a HEAVY. Such propeller driven aircraft are sometimes called "rotorcraft" or "rotor-planes", and are affectionately labeled "bug smasher". See CAS, SPAD, SANDY, WOBBLY, WOP, ROTOR HEAD, PROP JOCKEY.

slang for military coffee, also known as joe, mud, washy, java, mocha, belly-wash, jamoke, espresso, brew, black water, brown blood, boiler acid, battery acid, and nectar of the gods; see GI JOE.

a hard blow or hit; see ASSAULT, ATTACK, BATTLE, COMBAT. Also, the capability of hitting hard; the ability to undertake and sustain a fight; see WATCH MY SMOKE, ROOT HOG OR DIE, DIEHARD. Also, a piece of lead or other similar metal that's used for firing from a gun, especially solid shot from a shotgun; see AMMO. Also, a shot of liquor taken neat; see BREW, HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, MOONSHINE, THE DRINK, HOIST, GUSTO. Also, a coin-like metal disk used as a token of limited exchange; see SOUVENIR, CHALLENGE COIN, HARD TIMES TOKEN. Also, a counterfeit coin; see FUNNY MONEY, BAD PAPER, LEGAL TENDER. [nb: it's illegal to deface, disfigure, or deform U.S. currency; furthermore, the size and weight of commemorative medallions or commercial tokens must be other than that of U.S. coinage] [v: Coin Terms]

a stew of meat and vegetables; compare POOR MAN'S STEW; see SOUP, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. [v: pot roast, sauerbraten] Also, a beverage that's been made weak or thin, such as watery coffee (GI JOE) or the like; see SLOP, WASH. Also, the liquid refuse from various processes; being an Americanism derived from the Scottish word for cesspool.

slang from the GULF WAR for the intelligence specialist who is responsible for collecting all potentially actionable enemy INTEL during an operational raid or tactical sweep, during an incursion or invasion into enemy territory, including maps and photographs, letters and documents, electronic media and computer devices; the Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE) team member who picks up everything that might provide a clue or that might be important.

slang reference to the "Non-Appropriated Funds Account" (subvention) maintained by each COMPANY-sized unit for discretionary purchases of incidental items of benefit to the unit, as determined by a disbursement committee comprised of select unit officers and NCOs. These funds are used to buy training aids, recreational equipment, trophies, certificates, departure gifts, and party supplies. This phrase originates with the petty cash that the unit cook collected from the sale of 'slush' (refuse fat, grease, and drippings) accumulated from cooking, which SOLDIERs and SAILORs spread (like lard or butter) onto their issued HARDTACK and ship/sea biscuits. [cf: origin of DOGSBODY] See CANDY, JUICE, HONEY POT, GOLDEN SHOWER, BEGGING BOWL, SOUVENIR, CUMSHAW, CARPETBAGGERS, KHAKI MAFIA, CHALLENGE COIN.

Sergeant Major Academy, being the training course required for promotion to SUPER GRADEs E-8, E-9, and E-10; see NCOA, NCOCC, INCOC, LPC, SHAKE 'n' BAKE, UP OR OUT. Also, the abbreviation for Sergeant Major of the Army, being the highest non-commissioned officer (NCO) rating in the U.S. Army, represented by a unique sleeve rank insignia consisting of three chevrons above three ROCKERs with two stars centered (1979), later revised (1994) by the addition of the national eagle positioned between the two stars. See SARGE, RIGHT ARM, FIRST SHIRT, TOP, TOP DOG, SUPER GRADE, NCO, RATING, GRADE, RANK.

in compliance with Congressional mandates (c1964) prohibiting abusive language, this epithet was adopted to represent all derogatory, obscene, or profane terms deemed inappropriate for reviling military servicemembers, being a Humpty Dumpty redefinition of inadequate or incompetent "malleable meat"; in the post-WWII and Pre-Vietnam era, the expression "dumb squat" represented any gross or unacceptable specimen; see fool, jerk, jackass, clod, skell, dolt, klutz, dummkopf, mug, dupe, nincompoop, doofus, moke, ninny, dunce, nitwit, half-wit, imbecile, idiot, moron, simpleton, mutt, harebrain, lamebrain, blockhead, bonehead, meathead, chowderhead, dunderhead, lunkhead, chucklehead, knucklehead, numskull, numb nuts, featherbrain, scatterbrain, rattlebrain, scrot (shortening of 'scrotum'), scumbag, dick-wad, DOUCHE BAG, DUD, DOPE, SOS, TURD, SHIT MAGNET, MAGGOT, CRUIT, BOOT, YARDBIRD, FIELD REJECT, HOT DOG, COWBOY, LOOSE CANNON, TRIGGER-HAPPY, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, CALL ON THE CARPET, TALK TRASH, GODDAM, EXPLETIVE, OATH, BAD-MOUTH. Also, of ancient origin, any fishing vessel (eg: JUNK, SAMPAN) possessed of a well for keeping the catch alive; see COMPARTMENT. Also, slang for heroin ("smak" [diacetylmorphine]); see CHINA WHITE, DOPE, JUNK, HOT SHOT, CAN SA, STICK, TAR, COLORS, STONED. [nb: a non-concentrate called "Fruit Smack" was marketed by Kool-Ade, the precursor of Kool-Aid, in 1927; '-ade' is a suffix meaning fruit drink (eg: lemonade)]

an unbalanced contest where one opponent is superior to the other, where one is more capable or talented or experienced than the other, as when putting down an upstart, or quashing ambition back into its rightfully subordinate place; a knock-down-drag-out brawl or a rough-and-tumble slugfest that reinforces the power and authority of the status quo ante. See KING OF THE HILL, DOGFIGHT, PUNCH-OUT, KNOCK INTO A COCKED HAT, FIREFIGHT, GROUP HUG, CQB, EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, CUTTHROAT, BATTLE ROYAL.

abbreviation for Surface MAIL, often (mis-)represented as "snail mail"; as contrasted with e-mail and airmail; see MAIL.

Thompson M1 submachinegun
M1 Tommy gun
Sten Mark 3 submachinegun
Sten Mk3
Dae Woo K1 submachinegun
Dae Woo K1
individual weapons, as for holding in one or both hands, including PISTOL, RIFLE, carbine, grenade launcher, submachine gun (SMG), etc; sometimes abbreviated SA or S/A. See CREW-SERVED WEAPONS, SIDEARM, RUBBER DUCK, SLING, RAMROD, firing line. [v: Firearms Glossary]

slang reference to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, MD; also called "Canoe U" or BOAT SCHOOL; see CADET, GOAT, RING-KNOCKER, TRADE SCHOOL. [v: Military Schools]

an inexact expression used to imperfectly describe hostilities, often of short duration but sometimes of low intensity and greater extent, that range along the conflict resolution continuum of "politics by other means", encompassing the spectrum of stability and peacekeeping interventions, that often subsumes disaster relief and humanitarian assistance; see CONFLICT, STRUGGLE, INSURGENCY, COUNTERINSURGENCY, COIN, UW, GUERRILLA WARFARE, COUNTER-GUERRILLA, ANTI-TERRORISM, PROXY WAR, FLAG OF PROTECTION, GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY, INTERVENTIONISM, CONTAINMENT, DIVIDE AND CONQUER, GRADUATED RESPONSE, FLEXIBLE RESPONSE, UNDECLARED WAR, WARS OF NATIONAL LIBERATION, BRUSH FIRE WAR, LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT, LIMITED WAR, COLD WAR, SHOOTING WAR, ENCLAVE STRATEGY. [nb: "Small wars are operations undertaken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation." Small Wars Manual (1940)]

Structural Maintenance And Repair Team, a civil engineer (CE) project for the regular maintenance of base buildings and facilities, by carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers, and painters, who schedule repairs or replacements; project initially designated Fast Action Repair Team (FART) for separate repairs made "on demand" ... an obviously impolitic acronym. Compare PRIME RIBS, PRIME BEEF. Also, an acronym meaning: Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Task-oriented; being a set of guidelines that's suitable for designing and developing a viable training or testing EXERCISE, whether for field or command.

any BOMB that can be precisely guided or accurately directed (programmed) onto its TARGET, including retrofitted IRON BOMBs or DUMB BOMBs using LASER steering or GPS tracking; see JDAM, GBU, EOGB, EGBU, LGB, PAVEWAY, LANTIRN, LASER AIMING DEVICE, GLD, BOMBSIGHT, PAINT, LASER, PGM. [nb: "smart bomb, dumb target"; cf: logic bomb]

informal reference to an identification and access card containing an integrated circuit chip, which may have metal (gold-plated) contacts that physically connect the card to the reader, while non-contact cards use a radio frequency (RFID) or a magnetic field for proximity reading. Designed to provide two factor authentication by its physical presence and the input of a personal identification code (PIC), the SMART CARD can be used for computer access, data en-/decryption, and legitimized signature, among other features. See CAC, ID CARD, SWIPE CARD. [nb: combination SMART CARDs with all three features (ie: magnetic stripe, integrated circuit chip, and radio frequency chip) offer compatibility with all types of reader terminals]

rhyming slang for a RAID or INCURSION; also known as "shoot 'n' scoot".

American version of Fairbairn
Smatchet by Case
a large, heavy, WWII-era fighting knife designed by William Ewart Fairbairn for issue to special operations troops (eg: SAS, SOE, OSS, RANGERs, and PARATROOPERs) not armed with a rifle and BAYONET; apparently based upon the Royal Welch Fusiliers trench sword of World War I, this broad fighting knife has a leaf-shaped edge-and-a-half blade with a protective crossguard and striking pommel. The "smashing hatchet" was darkened to avoid inadvertent reflections (although elsewhere a bright blade is recommended as a psychological threat), some models had a pivoting disc guard, the fittings were heavy metal (eg: iron, brass, or alloy), and the handle was variously made of leather, wood, rubber, or Bakelite (phenolic resin), with the knife housed in a canvas and leather or nylon and rubber sheath. The so-called "Combat Smatchet" was a revised version using updated materials that was offered commercially in the late 1980s by Rex Applegate, who'd also revised the F-S stiletto as the APPLEGATE-FAIRBAIRN DAGGER. Compare DIRK, COMMANDO DAGGER, BOWIE, BANANA BOLO, BOLO, MACHETE; see KNIFE. [cf: kukri, kopis]

Shoulder-launched Multi-purpose Assault Weapon; being a portable 83mm anti-armor rocket launcher that's sized about 30"L and 17#, and effective to 500m against bunkers and tanks. This man-portable weapon system consists of an extendable fiberglass launch tube, a 9mm spotting rifle, an electro-mechanical firing mechanism, open battle sights, and a mount for optical and night sights. The SMAW fires 83mm High Explosive, Dual Purpose (HEDP) and High Explosive Anti-Armor (HEAA) rockets; the encased rockets are loaded at the rear of the launcher. The SMAW is based upon the Israeli B-300; it entered USMC inventory in 1984, and U.S. Army inventory during DESERT STORM. See LAW, PREDATOR, RR, TOW.

(smee-ack) acronym for Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration and logistics, Command and signals; being the standard five paragraph operations order (OPORD) that every level of leadership (LDR), from FIRE TEAM and SQUAD to brigade (BDE) and division (DIV), uses to develop and deliver basic information about THE PLAN to MIL-PERS in the field; superseded by 'SMESC' in the U.S. Army, but still applicable in other branches. See ORDER.

(smesk) acronym for Situation, Mission, Execution, Service support, Command and signals; being the version of 'SMEAC' that the U.S. Army has updated; mnemonically expressed as a catch-phrase: Sergeants Major Eat Sugar Cookies.

Super Missile Engagement Zone; designation by Coalition forces for the multi-layer antimissile defense region situated south of Baghdad during the GULF WAR. Compare STAR WARS, MAGINOT LINE, SIEGFRIED LINE, MARETH LINE, BERLIN WALL, IRON CURTAIN, BAMBOO CURTAIN, BAR LEV LINE, CACTUS CURTAIN, McNAMARA'S WALL, McNAMARA LINE, CHINESE WALL, DEW LINE, PHASE 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]

Super Multi-Function Display, being an interactive computer monitor in the COCKPIT of an aircraft that depicts, in graphical icons, one or more flight, weapons, or surveillance functions, with options and checklists; this display has superseded the instrument panel with its analog readouts. See MFD, HUD, VD, PLASTIC BRAINS, SHARON, SIGHT PICTURE, PRIMROSE PATH, HOTAS.

M3A1 grease gun
grease gun
French MAT-49
SubMachineGun; a compact, rapid-fire, magazine-fed "machine pistol" developed for close combat as a result of URBAN WARFARE (MOUT, FIBUA) and TRENCH WARFARE; also spelled "submachine gun" or "sub-machine gun". Originating during WWI, most designs employ an open bolt (blowback action) firing position to prevent COOK-OFFs from an overheated barrel, despite the danger of an accidental discharge if the "cocked 'n' locked" weapon is inadvertently jarred or dropped. The use of weapons similar to those used by the enemy (such as French MAT-49, British Sten and Sterling, or M-45B Karl Gustav Swedish K) helped avoid "sound SIGNATURE" signals, and confused enemy responses, giving special operations forces (SOF) an advantageous reaction time. See GREASE GUN, TOMMY-GUN, STEN, BURP GUN, TYPE 50, K-50, SCHMEISSER, CAR, PISTOL, RUBBER DUCK, MAGAZINE, DRUM, MUZZLE, MUZZLE-BRAKE, BARREL SLEEVE, PISTOL GRIP, RAMROD, KICK, SIDEARM, FIREPOWER, FLASH SUPPRESSOR, SILENCER; compare RIFLE, BAR, MG, BLOOPER, SAW, MINIGUN, STONER, UP-GUN. [nb: an SMG fires PISTOL ammunition, but an MG fires RIFLE ammunition] [nb: the compact Uzi 9mm SMG is named for its inventor Uziel Gal, an Israeli (IDF) army officer] [nb: the Sputter Gun, an American design developed from the British Sten, was a novel adaptation that fired continuously when the bolt was released after loading, shooting until its magazine was exhausted; having no trigger, it was intended to circumvent the legal definition of a machinegun: a weapon that fired multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger ... the law was quickly changed so as to also encompass this classification]

smiley face
a simplified 'happiness' head, typically consisting of a bright "sunshine" yellow face featuring two dots for eyes and a curved "smile" mouth; this primitive symbol was created in 1963 by Harvey R. Ball to increase MORALE among workers, but has since been succeeded by the proliferation of emoticons; also known as a "smile face" or "smiley face", it has been countered by the "frownie", "shocky", "chagrin", and other variations. Compare KILROY; see BLUE-SKY, ATTABOY, BITCH, BAD-MOUTH, MOAN 'n' GROAN, FANG, NASTY-GRAM, BAYONET SHEET, SUCK IT UP, TS CARD, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS, DOG 'n' PONY SHOW, FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES, BLIVET, UGLY AMERICAN.

a hard strike or sharp blow, as with the hand or foot, an implement or weapon; to attack mercilessly so as to strike down or slay, as to "smite hip and thigh". Also, to affect mentally or morally with a sudden pang.

small pieces or bits; derived as an Irish diminutive of 'fragments' [smiddereens, smidirin, smiodar (1810)]; see BIT, FRAG, DECONSTRUCT. [v: particle, mote, speck, grain, shred, scrap, crumb, smidgen, scintilla, morsel, granule, fleck, bit, shard, trifle, trace, snippet, snip, whit, iota, jot, tittle, modicum, mite]

a marking cloud or masking fog of smoke that's tactically generated during ground or sea operations, used to conceal combat elements, their maneuver, assault, withdrawal, or recovery, as well as their assembly areas or movement routes; see POP SMOKE, SMOKY BEAR, MOONSHINE, MIGHTY MITE, SOUP CAN, SCREEN, BRING SMOKE, WATCH MY SMOKE, SMOOGE, BLOW SMOKE, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS. Also, an informal reference to the use of tobacco products; see GASPER, PIGTAIL, BUTT, FAG, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, SMOKING LAMP, DRAG, GRASS, HAY, STICK, CAN SA, HUBBLE-BUBBLE, FIELD STRIP, BUTT CAN, POLICE CALL, SMOKER; compare CHEW, SNUFF. [nb: in January 2013, the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) decreed the American military to be a "smoke-free zone", both indoors and outside, and prohibited the subsidized sale of tobacco products in exchanges, commissaries, and other CONCESSIONs] Also, a racial slur or ethnic derogation that disparages BLACK people; a bigoted stereotype considered crude and offensive, even in jest.

a remote and dilapidated area of Fort Bragg to which early SF and PSYOPS was shunted by the AIRBORNE maffia after losing its argument for a more isolated COMPOUND, like the BLACK DEVILs in Montana during WWII, the inferior accommodations at SMOKE BOMB HILL have become a point of pride for SFers because they aren't ever "home" long enough to bother about luxurious (or even comfortable) facilities. Although later expanded into Camp MacKall for the SFQC and into the old post STOCKADE for DELTA FORCE, with the regiment based on at least two POSTs, this derelict area will always be the "home of the GREEN BERET". See SWS, ROBIN SAGE, JOHN WAYNE HIGH SCHOOL, ELECTRIC BUTTERKNIFE, BLANKET HEAD, SNAKE-EATER, SNEAKY PETE, GABRIEL, BRONZE BRUCE, THE GREEKS, USSF, SOCOM, ARSOC / USASOC, USSOC, SPECIAL OPERATIONS.

a parachutist qualified for rough terrain landings, usually with full equipment, in a special course located in Idaho that's taught jointly by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Forest Service.

first made of nitrocellulose in 1864 by Edward Schultze, a Prussian artillery captain, as an igniter for the dense powdered propellant used in artillery; "Schultze powder" was also used in hand grenades and shotguns, but burned too rapidly for use in rifles. About 1885, a smokeless powder suitable for rifled guns was invented by Paul Vieille, a French chemist; it was called poudre B and was made from nitrocotton and ether-alcohol. Alfred Nobel, a Swedish engineer, then added a substance called Ballistite, made from nitrocotton (with a low nitrogen content) gelatinized by nitroglycerin, uniting two of the most powerful explosives known at the time. Cordite was invented in 1889 by Sir Frederick Augustus Abel and Sir James Dewar; it contained a highly nitrated guncotton and nitroglycerin that had been blended by means of acetone, with mineral jelly added to act as a lubricant. Indurite, invented by Charles E. Monroe in 1891, is made from guncotton and is colloided with nitrobenzine. See GUNCOTTON, EXPLOSIVE.


any technique that distorts facts, obscures figures, or transmutes reality, as misdirection, subterfuge, obfuscation, deception, illusion; also known as "blue smoke an' fairy dust"; as derived from the legerdemain of a magic or conjuring trick. The old adage "Where there's smoke, there's fire." has been exposed as "Much smoke, little fire!", and has since been recast in the modern era as "Where there's smoke, there're mirrors!" See BLOW SMOKE, CYA, DOG 'n' PONY SHOW, FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES, WASHINGTON WALTZ, CREDIBILITY GAP, FAIRY DUST, BLIVET, HIC, BURY ONE'S HEAD IN THE SAND, HIDE, WANGLE, TAP-DANCER, SNOW, CONFETTI, TALK TRASH, MOTOR MOUTH, HALF-ASSED, CHICKEN SHIT, MICKEY MOUSE, VOODOO, HOODOO, ABRACADABRA, MOJO, JOSS STICK. [nb: obfuscation and obscurantism are widely represented by the military maxim: "Bullshit baffles brains!", sometimes called a "Well sir,..." excuse]

an informal gathering, especially of men, for entertainment, discussion, or convivial association; so-called due to the open enjoyment of tobacco products and adult beverages. A similar informal evening entertainment shared by men is known among AUSSIE and KIWI denizens as a "smoko" (or "smoke-oh"). See SMOKE, GASPER, FAG, BUTT, GUSTO, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, SUNDOWNER, TOAST. [nb: just as sports cards and redemption coupons were included in select brands of cigarettes during the post-WWII era, a morale card featuring the motto "I shall return" and a picture of General Douglas MacArthur was enclosed in packs of "Lucky Strike" cigarettes during WWII as a reminder of his promise on behalf of America's commitment] Also, informal reference to a unit boxing match, which (unlike recreational baseball or serious athletics) usually involves great pride in the "fighting prowess" of the unit, its branch affiliation and historical lineage ... never has a quartermaster or signalman beaten an infantryman or artilleryman! Although this term probably originated as above, the special application of the word to prizefighting may have something to do with punches so fast and blows so hard that they "smoke" ... fists like lightning, fists landing bombs. See WATCH MY SMOKE, BRAGGING RIGHTS, PISSING CONTEST.

misspelling of SMOKY (qv).

the act or spell of ingesting or consuming the gaseous medium generated by the combustion of tobacco and other organic matter contained in a cigarette or pipe; tobacco products were sold at subsidized prices in military CONCESSIONs, and were provided at no charge with field RATIONS until 1972; in January 2013, the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) decreed the American military to be a "smoke-free zone", both indoors and outside, and prohibited the sale of otherwise legal tobacco products in CONCESSIONs. See GASPER, PIGTAIL, SMOKE, BUTT, FAG, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, SMOKING LAMP, CHEW, SNUFF, SMOKER. [nb: the Surgeon General's warning first appeared on cigarette packages in 1964 during the VIETNAM WAR, but most soldiers believed that serving in combat was more hazardous to their health than smoking! Cigarettes were also freely distributed, as a patriotic gesture, to combatants during the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR as a "necessity". General J.J. "Blackjack" Pershing informed the War Department that "tobacco was as indispensable as rations" in 1917; and quartermasters advised troops during WWII to take them, because if they didn't smoke now, they would after being in combat!] [nb: cigarettes have been widely used as money in POW CAMPs due to their limited availability, easy portability, and ready divisibility]

originating as a lamp aboard ship that could be used by crewmembers to light their pipes of tobacco, but used in the modern era to figuratively indicate when smoking is permissible or is not allowed (eg: "The smoking lamp is lit."); see LIGHT UP.

the tactical application of illumination or fogging to augment an operation or advance a mission; see SMOKE, POP SMOKE, SMOKY BEAR, MOONSHINE, MIGHTY MITE, SOUP CAN, SCREEN, BRING SMOKE, SMOOGE, BLOW SMOKE, ILLUM, FLASHLIGHT, LIGHT STICK, FLARE, MOONBEAM, FIREFLY, MOONLIGHT, LOOM, PINK TIME.

aerial mission to illuminate by dropping parachute FLARES, or to fog from an aircraft-mounted smoke generator, usually performed by C-47 DAKOTA or HH-53 JOLLY GREEN GIANT; sometimes misspelled "Smokey Bear". See MIGHTY MITE, POP SMOKE, MOONSHINE.


slang used by PILOTs for an observable indication of a target strike, such as smoke or flames from a still-standing structure (eg: "Hit it, no collapse, but got SMOOGE"); probably derived from AUSSIE slang for aggressive wooing, a "hot pass" that makes her 'smoke' and 'melt' inside, but may be a corruption of smog and smudge. See TALLY-HO, JUDY, SCRAM, PICKLE, SPLASH.

a double-entendre dating from the American CIVIL WAR, which means both a gun (eg: musket, SHOTGUN, cannon, etc) with a smooth bore (the inside of a barrel not rifled with "lands and grooves"), and also a mostly amiable and competent MIL-PERS who is nonetheless tiresome or dull. See BIG STUFF, HEAVY STUFF, CASE SHOT, SABOT; compare RIFLE, MORTAR, HOWITZER, GUNSHIP. [nb: RIFLEd guns are denoted "inch" (eg: 3" Field Gun called "three incher"), which is the diameter of the projectile, while SMOOTHBORE cannons are denoted "pound" (eg: 12# Mountain HOWITZER called "twelve pounder"), which is the weight of the projectile] [cf: bombard as the earliest type of indirect cannon launching stones, from "noise" (bomb) and "stone-throwing engine" (bombarda)] [nb: the 1795 Springfield Arsenal musket (smoothbore, flintlock, .69 caliber muzzleloader) was the first official shoulder-firearm to use standardized interchangeable parts]


a compartment or well aboard ship, usually concealed, that's used to hide transported CONTRABAND, from munitions to medicines, including persons, so as to avoid confiscation or taxation; being a temporary stash, hidey-hole, or hideaway, wherein 'trap' derives from "suitcase" and not "contrivance". See GLORY HOLE, CACHE, HIDE, BOLT HOLE, DUMP, DEPOT.

SN / S/N :


literally "Situation Normal All Fucked Up", or more euphemistically as "... all fouled up"; see PVT 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)]
    [eg: SNAFU: What is the meaning of SNAFU?
    The Army has a new catchword,
    The Navy uses it, too;
    It seems the Marines
    Also understand what it means.
    I don't, so I'm asking you.]

an ironic designation given by its own unit members to the disorganized assemblage that was initially scattered during the German counteroffensive into southeastern Belgium, which became known as the "Battle of the Bulge" (1944); it comprised elements of the 28th Infantry Division, 10th Armor Division, and the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion, later augmented by the 7th Armor Division and 101st Airborne Division.

misrepresentation of 'surface mail' (S-MAIL); see MAIL.

short for Snake-Eye bombs used for close air support (CAS), as in SNAKES 'n' NAPES; see IRON BOMB, FAE, CBU, GBU. Also, slang for the BANGALORE TORPEDO. Also, slang for the AH-1 COBRA helicopter GUNSHIP; see SEA COBRA. Also, any one of the limbless, elongated, scaly reptiles inhabiting tropical and temperate areas, especially those venomous and non-venomous species INDIGenous to southeast Asia; as a guideline, snakes are presumed venomous until proven otherwise, such as the banded KRAIT, hooded COBRA, BAMBOO VIPER, Russell's viper, and others, including pit vipers (possessed of a heat-sensitive pit on each side of its head between the eye and nostril). Also, to advance something by twisting or turning; anyone who moves or maneuvers in a circuitous manner, as by twisting, turning, or winding; see CORKSCREW, ZIGZAG, MEANDER. Also, to draw or drag something, as by a chain or cable. Also, any treacherous or deceptive person, such as an insidious enemy; a "snake in the grass".

nickname for SOF members, especially US Navy SEAL and US Army SPECIAL FORCES, based upon their extensive survival training. [nb: contrary to popular belief, snake meat does not taste "almost like chicken" ... it tastes like snake! ... and neither does frog or lizard, alligator or monkey]

any unseen danger or unsuspected hazard, as by reference to the surprising appearance of a nearby snake in the wild. Also, a treacherous person, especially someone who feigns otherwise and disguises or conceals their true nature; a hidden or hypocritical enemy; see PROVOCATEUR, DECOY, JUDAS GOAT, STOOGE, MOLE, SLEEPER, SYMPATHIZER, INVISIBLE, USEFUL IDIOTS, RUNNING DOG, QUISLING, TURNCOAT, WHITE VC, TRAITOR, DRAFT DODGER, DESERTER, MUTINEER, KISS OF DEATH, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES WITH A FRIEND LIKE THIS?. [der: "a snake is lurking in the grass" ('latet anguis in herba') from iii Eclogues by Virgil (1st century BC)] [v: perfidious Albion ("la perfide Albion")]

metaphoric representation of torment and suffering, as an ordeal or tribulation, also known as "viper's nest"; from the historic method, in both Dark Ages Europe and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period of China, of imposing capital punishment upon the condemned by innumerable snakebites. Also, an intensely chaotic or disagreeable site or situation, especially an inhumane institution or organization; sometimes called "worm's nest"; from the squalid mental hospital in a 1946 novel of the same title by Mary Jane Ward. Also, a so named subterranean pit in the Oracle Room at Delphi was probably used as a place to seek altered states of consciousness or to induce dreams and visions, brought on by snake bite venom or other toxins. Also, a reserve club or restricted mess that's only open to admittance by invitation among qualified applicants; an inviolably private retreat or secular sanctum. [nb: "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member." by Groucho Marx]

a tube, formerly made of livestock intestines, concealed or secreted on (or within) the body (often wrapped around a limb or torso) for smuggling CONTRABAND, as booze or drugs onto a military vehicle, craft, vessel, or installation; sometimes shortened to just "snake" or "skin". See HOOCH, POGY BAIT.

the typical mix of fighter aircraft ordnance that's generally suited for any close air support (CAS) battlefield mission against maneuvering or dug-in enemy personnel; selection comprises high-drag NAPALM and IRON BOMBs.

netting stretched between the BULWARK and LIFELINE, or between the GUNWALE and footrope on a vessel to prevent objects (including people during storms) from falling overboard; see BOARD, TOE RAIL, NET.

Marine expression for either the DRY FIRE familiarization of SMALL ARMS or the ZERO calibration of sights on a firearm or gun by the adjustment of elevation and windage; see BASS, BORESIGHT, DEFLECTION, BULL'S-EYE, SIGHT PICTURE.

traditional oval carabiner
an oval or D-shaped metallic ring with a spring-catch gate opening on one side, as used for fastening and RAPPELLING; formally known as a "carabiner" or informally as a "biner". Derived from the "snap-hook" used to attach a rifle sling to its swivel mount [cf: karabinerhaken / carbineer / carabineer / carabiniere]. Compare D-RING; see BELAY, McGUIRE RIG, STABO, SLING, STACKING SWIVEL. [v: Climbing Terms]

a controlled aerial maneuver in which an airplane rapidly and completely revolves around its longitudinal axis while continuing in level forward flight; also known as an "aileron roll". Compare SPIN, BARREL ROLL; see VICTORY ROLL, AEROBATICS. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]

an intercontinental surface-to-surface cruise missile (SM-62) by Northrop that could launch from a mobile platform and carry a thermonuclear warhead (3.8 megaton yield); it had a range of 5,500 nautical miles and could travel at 565 nmph on a Pratt & Whitney turbojet engine with two solid-propellant rocket boosters. Named after Lewis Carroll's chimera, the SNARK missile (originating as MX775A Snark and MX775B Boojum) was deployed by the Strategic Air Command (USAF SAC) from 1958 through 1961 as a COLD WAR deterrent, being rendered obsolete by the development of the ICBM. Due to some peculiarities of design, the missile (with its 42ft wingspan) could be returned to base for later re-use on other flights after a skid landing, if a launch failure was not incurred ... the Caribbean was sarcastically described as: "Snark infested waters!" due to all the misfires. Also, an elusive object or vagrant condition, especially a technical problem; as derived from the chimera invented by Lewis Carroll; see GLITCH, SNIVITZ, BUG. Also, a nonsense word for an imaginary creature; a mysterious animal created by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) in the 1876 poem "The Hunting of the Snark". [v: The Cruise of the Snark by Jack London] [cf: 'boojum' (nonsense word for an imaginary creature invented by Lewis Carroll in the 1876 poem "The Hunting of the Snark")] Also, a rude complaint or sarcastic criticism; to be caustic or testy; to nag, carp, or find fault with; derived from 'snore' or 'snort'.

special prisoner capture mission for developing specific INTEL, also called "Snatch 'n' Grab", "Catch 'n' Snatch", "Snag 'n' Bag", "Bag 'n' Shag", "Grab 'n' Go", or "Bag Job"; not to be confused with (BRIGHT LIGHT) allied prisoner rescue mission. See PACKAGE, TONGUE, EPW, SRI, I&R, RECON; compare PANTY RAID, GOO, NET, 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] [nb: The plight of captives has been problematic throughout military history, and the rules of warfare have regulated interrogations, but the concept of deliberately capturing enemy soldiers for information is fairly modern. Prisoner SNATCHES (called "seine hauling") were first practiced by squads from the 18th North Carolina Infantry, under the direction of CSA Major Thomas J. Wooten, during the American CIVIL WAR; and was perfected by special units (Rangers, Raiders, Commandos, SOE and OSS agents) during WWII. CCRAK and JACK teams and elements from Airborne-Ranger Companies performed SNATCH missions during the KOREAN WAR, as LRRP and SOG teams did in and around Vietnam during the Second Indochina War] Also, the expedient extraction of people or objects that warrant the expenditure of resources for safe and secure recovery in a timely manner; see EXFIL, PACKAGE, TOWLINE, SKYHOOK, TRAWL. Also, informal designation for the retrieval of re-purposed assault gliders used to evacuate prisoners and wounded from battlefields by a tug ship snagging the elevated TOWLINE, as practiced tactically from 1942 through 1945 in both Asia and Europe; see AIR AMBULANCE, MEDEVAC. Also, vulgar reference to female genitalia as metanym for sex or for a woman as a sexual object; see STRANGE, HAPPY VALLEY, SPLIT, CAMP FOLLOWER, CAMPAIGN WIFE, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, BALL BUSTER, BITCH, SKIRT. [v: Hottentot apron, Nez Percé plucked pubes (glabrous), Yakima thong, and Arabic nymphotomy, labial excision, or clitoral circumcision]

in MarSpeak, a Staff Non-Commissioned Officer.

in MarSpeak, the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge.

informal reference to rubber-soled canvas shoe worn during athletic activities; also called "court shoes", "trainers", "cross-trainers", "joggers", "tenny-runners" or "tenny-pumps". See GO-FASTERS, EXERCISE. [v: talaria : the winged sandals or the wings attached to the ankles of the mythological messenger (Hermes or Mercury); winged feet were also a component of Iris, Eos, Eros, the Furies, and the Harpies; the winged foot is a rebus for speed or swiftness, and a pictograph for track sports]

nickname for US Army Special Forces or Rangers; see PEEPERS.

to involuntarily emit breath in a sudden, forceful, and audible manner through the nose and mouth by spasmodic action; in a tactical situation, a potential death knell; see ACHOO. Also, such a burst of air used idiomatically to express scorn or contempt, as "The Q-course is nothing to sneeze at!".

in NavSpeak, a contraction of 'SNIpe twiDGET' for an electronics specialist; also called "wire biter"; see TWIDGET, SNIPE.

Special National Intelligence Estimate; also identified as National Intelligence Estimate (NIE); see NIC, MI, INTEL.

(forthcoming); odor detecting sensors emplaced at suspected enemy traffic or encampment areas; compare METAL TEST, DUFFEL BAG.

Navy slang for an enlisted man (EM) in the engineering crew or section; originally designated a fireman who later became a mechanical engineer. See MECH, GREASE MONKEY, RAMROD, BLACK GANG, TWIDGET, SNIDGET; compare CE, ENGR, SEABEES, CHIPS, PRIME BEEF, SMART, SAPPER. [nb: members of the ship's engine room crew (SNIPE or BLACK GANG) were issued black DIXIE CUPs during WWII, so were sometimes called 'black hats']

Navy nickname for the Chief Engineer aboard ship.

a form of teasing or mild harassment indulged by DINOSAURs and OLD SALTs upon a novice or tyro consisting of a request that a nonexistent substance be obtained or attended; such "scavenger hunts" are educational, and are never performed during a genuine crisis. Specimen SNIPE HUNT substances or objectives include: "left-handed monkey wrench", ELBOW GREASE, "relative bearing grease", "sea bat", "boatswain's punch", "hull technician's punch", "golden rivet", "mast crank", "skyhook", "PAD EYE cleaner", "PAD EYE remover", "blinker fluid", "canopy lights", "chem light batteries", "[shot] GROUP TIGHTENER", "grid squares", "flight line", "striped paint", "mail buoy", "keys to (JEEP, TRUCK, TANK, BOAT, BIRD, etc)", "bucket of STACK GAS", "bucket of PROP WASH". Compare MERMAID, DRAGON, GREMLIN, FIFINELLA, BUG, DISGRONIFICATOR, PLAN B, SEAT OF THE PANTS, PHANTOM OPERATIONS, MURPHY'S LAW. [nb: monkey wrench is eponymously derived from Charles Moncky]

Vietnam-era M-21 sniper
M-21 sniper rifle
using a HIDE or blind, and an observer (serving as rear guard, range estimator, target spotter, shooting coach, and assistant gunner), a specially trained marksman, using match AMMO fired by a scope-mounted LONG RIFLE [typically the M-14 (XM-21), but custom models (eg: M-24 Remington 700 7.62mm/.308 caliber) were also used, including a once experimental .50 caliber (Barrett's M-82A1 rifle at 57"L) for distances exceeding 2000 yds], directed to target influential or ranking enemy personnel. While the objective in some cases is the DECAPITATION of leaders during the confusion of battle to cause disorder, the SNIPER's primary objective is to demoralize the enemy by demonstrating their vulnerability and targeting their skilled specialists (such as medics, EOD engineers, RTOs, chaplains, CA advisors, and the like). Also known as SHARPSHOOTER and "free-shooter". Sniper motto: one shot, one kill; unofficial slogan: "You can run but you'll just die tired!", also expressed as "If you run, then you hit the bullet; if you don't run, then the bullet hits you!" [v: YOU CAN RUN BUT ...]. Sniper kill ratio: 1.3 rounds per kill; contrasted with conventional ratio of about 20,000 rounds per kill. Sniper math: with the ability to shoot only once at a rapidly moving vehicle containing an enemy general, colonel, major, and sergeant; a sniper will kill the vehicle driver, so the resulting accident will kill all the others! See SPOTTER, LONG RIFLE, HIDE, GILLIE SUIT, SIGHT PICTURE, SNIPER'S TRIANGLE, BEAUTY MARK, COLD ZERO, SASS, COUP MANQUE, BUSHMASTER, STROLLER, SHADOW WARRIOR, RANGER, SOF, UW. [nb: a sniper may actively track his target until the optimum shooting solution presents itself, or he may passively await the appearance of his target in the window of the optimum shooting solution; most shooters prefer the more active "sniper's track" method since they believe that this technique increases their opportunity for success, but it also makes them more liable to detection, whereas the more passive "sniper's trap" method enables the best setup to be fully prepared, simply awaiting quintessential conjuncture]

see TRACK.

see TRACK.

informal designation for the lethal target area or KILL ZONE on an individual subject that is the preferred AIMPOINT of a SNIPER or other long-range shooter; given the numerous variables in such marksmanship, this target area is a circumstantial ideal that's rarely encountered in real situations. Depending upon the doctrine proliferated at various times by various schools, the target area is either a thorax or a head/neck shot. Those who propound the upper torso (ie: from the cricoid cartilage to pectorals, or Adam's apple to both nipples) argue that it's a larger target than a head shot and contains more vital organs (eg: lungs, trachea, esophagus, heart, subclavian and pulmonary arteries, or spine); which is countered by the fact that this area is often protected by body armor. The head and neck triangle, drawn from the eyes to the base of the throat, is difficult to protect but also difficult to hit. An inclusive triangle has been drawn from the brow ridge above the eyes down to the rib juncture at the sternum's xiphoid, which is the logical target for any tactical situation. An alternative to this shooting philosophy, as used by some special operations and shock troops, substitutes massive firepower for precision, whether grazing or patterned fire; either practice will succeed if initiated aggressively and without warning. See BULL'S-EYE, BEAUTY MARK, DEFLECTION; compare MARCHING FIRE, RUNNING FIRE, DOUBLE TAP.

all non-essential (CLASS SIX) ancillary items that make military service more comfortable and tolerable, often purchased for unit members with non-appropriated (SLUSH FUND) monies; these "nice to have" items include privately purchased products as well as "goodies" sent by loved ones at home, and run the gamut from "comfort food" and games to reading matter and sports equipment. In the post-Vietnam era, such CREATURE COMFORTS have expanded to include computer games and internet access. See GEDUNK, POGY BAIT, DOG, SINKER, SANDWICH, SLIDER, JUICE, BREW, HOOCH, GROG, SNAKE SKIN, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, SUNDOWNER, GUSTO, PONCHO LINER, WOOBIE / WUBBIE, SWAMP COOLER, DAYROOM, SAFE ROOM, POWER WALL, COMPANY STREET, CANTEEN, FOUR CORNERS, SIN CITY, LITTLE AMERICA, R&R, STEEL BEACH, USO, SHANGRI-LA, FIELD HOUSE, SMOKER, TREASURE HUNT, ORIENTEERING, WAR GAMES, PLAYING CARDS, CHALLENGE COIN, BATRACHOMYOMACHIA, PLAY THE GAME, GUNS OR BUTTER, TRAIN HARD - FIGHT EASY.

a transient techno-mechanical problem of unknown origin; a small interruption or brief hiatus in hardware or software. See GLITCH, SNARK; compare BUG, GREMLIN.

anyone who imitates or cultivates his social superiors, who seeks admiration for his discernment, and yet is condescending or overbearing toward others, especially those deem inferior; a commoner of low class who lacks good breeding or good manners, hence someone who imitates persons of higher rank; originating as a nickname for a cobbbler or cobbler's apprentice. Also, someone who believes himself to be an expert or connoisseur in a given field, and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes.



slang for offensive SEARCH AND DESTROY missions by Marines.

a device developed at the end of WWII that displays reflected infrared radiation on a fluorescent screen, enabling the user to see objects obscured by darkness; see IMAGE-CONVERTER TUBE.

an aerial "bait and hammer" operation flown by two helicopters; one flying low and slow ("Snoopy") at tree-top level to draw fire from concealed positions, and the other observing the source of fire for rapid and decisive counterattack. Compare FIREFLY. Also, an aerial mission to detect the presence of humans with sophisticated electro-chemical devices (PEOPLE SNIFFER), which survey INTEL is then reported to ground forces for action.

an artificial device enabling an oxygen exchange system to function while submersed, as the engine of a SUBMARINE or TRACK, or for a free-dive swimmer without a reserve air supply; although hollow reeds have historically been used since ancient times for this technique, and Leonardo daVinci designed the first manufactured device, this term derives from WWII German usage, "schnorchel"; also called "hot pipe" or "hot piping". See SNORT, GUPPY, TANGO BOAT; compare HARD HAT, SCUBA. [v: Diving Terms]

to SNORKEL, especially when used to charge the batteries on a diesel BOAT; an inlet/exhaust oxygen exchange process; also called "hot pipe" or "hot piping". See GUPPY, SUBMARINE, TANGO BOAT, TANK, TRACK; compare HARD HAT, SCUBA.

a two-syllable dysphemism for the three-syllable 'handkerchief', that conventionally utilitarian accessory, which is traditionally carried by a gentleman so that it can be offered to a lady ... being a referent that routinely dismisses CREATURE COMFORTS because intrepid warriors are tough enough to disdain a little snot or a few boogers! See BUSH HANKY, BUSH OYSTER, SNIVEL GEAR. [v: kerchief, pocket-square, bandana, wiper, sudarium, napkin, tissue, Kleenex, mouchoir, smallclothes, hanky; cf: veronica]

an officer CADET or midshipman aboard a training vessel; also spelled "snottie"; see DOGSBODY, CRAB, SQUID, MIDDIE.

slang for the white spots or bands that're displayed on a video monitor as an indication of a weak signal or an interrupted transmission. Also, excuses or STATIC, as deception instead of performance, as flattery instead of truth; also known as a "snow job", "lip service", "word music", or other rigmarole; to obscure or overwhelm with nonsense or malarkey (malarky), bafflegab or bushwa / bushwah, gobbledygook or claptrap; see BLOW SMOKE, CONFETTI, WASHINGTON WALTZ, WOOF, HOT AIR, MOTOR MOUTH, TALK TRASH, VERBAL DIARRHEA, GODDAM, BRAVO SIERRA; compare SNOWFLAKE. [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] Also, slang for cocaine or heroin; also called "happy dust"; see SMACK, CHINA WHITE, DOPE, JUNK, HOT SHOT, THAI STICK, STONED.

the proverbial object without a chance in Hell of success or survival; improbability or impossibility; see DOG'S CHANCE, PRAYER, CANNON FODDER, WASTED, CHECK OUT, RAT RACE, SUICIDE SQUAD, SPEARHEAD, DIDDLY, DEEP SHIT, BITTER END, FIGHT LIKE KILKENNY CATS, PYRRHIC VICTORY, AUTOTOMY, LAST STAND, BELL THE CAT. [v: enfants perdus, forlorn hope; cf: "when hell freezes over", "when pigs fly", "when frogs grow hair", "when pigs whistle", "when fish climb trees", "when chickens have teeth", "when the sun rises in the west", "in a month of Sundays", "in a blue moon", "when there're three Saturdays in every week", "not in this lifetime", "not a chance"]

any CASUAL or TRANSIENT who is eligible for temporary assignment to a DETAIL, such as those MIL-PERS reporting early to their next duty assignment; probable derivation from the habit of SNOWBIRDs (Juncos) to forage energetically before a storm.

appellation from the distinctive white HEADGEAR (ie: cap cover or helmet) worn by Army Military Police (MP). See CHROME-DOME, WHITE MICE, BATS 'n' HATS, KATN, CHIMPS, POLICE.

slang for a memorandum or rigmarole memo issued by MILICRATs in a CYA or RED-TAPE setting, such as a HEADSHED or TOC; so named due to similarity of resemblance, as many small separate pieces of white paper (each one distinctive and unique) silently drift down from some remote elevation to disrupt and inundate, as in a blizzard of notes. See MR, TICKLER, RBI, REPORT, ANNEX, MANIFOLD SET, PAPER BULLET, SNOW, FILE 13, PENCIL PUSHER, RAPPORTEUR. [v: dossier; cf: bout de papier, aide-memoire]


snowshoe motif of 30th Infantry
shoulder patch
30th Infantry
basketlike footgear that's worn when walking on deep snow to prevent sinking (ie: postholing); constructed of a lightweight (eg: wood, metal, plastic) frame ranging from one- to six-feet in length in various shapes (eg: round, oval, triangular, oblong) that's strung with a tough openwork mesh and attached at a central crossbar. Although the AmerIndians elaborated the basic "racket" shaped SNOWSHOE, it's been used extensively by GUERRILLA forces in the last three centuries, and is still used by MIL-PERS in remote areas, especially where noise or fuel are tactical considerations. Compare X-C, IRON DOG, WEASEL, K-9, SCOUT DOG; see MOUNTAINEER, NWTC, WINTER WARRIOR. [nb: the snowshoe and ski, known from cave drawings to exist before 6000BC, antedates the invention of the wheel (ca3500BC)] [nb: Eskimo allegedly derived from "eater of raw meat", but was actually transferred from Micmac (Esqimawe) with the meaning 'snowshoe netter']

to suddenly stop a moving rope by cinching it up against a solid object; to abruptly check the paying-out of a running line by making it fast to a fixed point. Also, to halt the movement of an object or vehicle by securing it with a fixed tether. Also, to treat with disdain or contempt, to rebuff or reject, to slight or insult, as by a blunt impertinence or discourteous affront; as derived from 'reprimand' or 'scold'; see EYE-FIGHTING, SILENT INSOLENCE, BEARING.

a smokeless tobacco product that's administered by either inhaling a powdered pinch into a nostril, or by placing a ground pinch between the cheek and gum; also called "dip", this tobacco preparation has been a popular refreshment among field soldiers for generations, since it's not easily detected by nearby enemy personnel; compare CHEW, PLUG, BETEL / BETEL NUT; see GASPER, PIGTAIL, BUTT, FAG, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, FIELD STRIP, BUTT CAN, POLICE CALL, SMOKER. [v: naswar, parica / cohoba, snoose, rappee, maccaboy / maccoboy, musty; cf: errhine] [nb: "Here, moreover, are snuff-eating women, who take a small stick and pound or chew the end till it gets broomed, then wetting it in their mouth, put it into a box of snuff, and fall to eating and sucking it again and again, passing the snuff-box around like the old ladies of the North, only twice as often. While engaged in this delightful occupation the stick is seen protruding from their mouths three to five inches, causing the ladies to assume a very grotesque and highly interesting appearance, strikingly reminding me of the first lessons given to calves in the art of drinking by inserting a finger in their mouths." by SGT John Whipple, 92nd New York State Volunteers, New Bern, NC (11 February 1863)] Also, slang for kill or execute; see ZAPPED, WASTED, BUY THE FARM, CHECK OUT, BITE THE DUST, PUSHING UP DAISIES, WAXED, BELIEVER. Also, something satisfactory, as that which is up to a certain standard ("up to snuff"); see GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK, MILITARY GRADE, MIL-SPEC, SQUARED AWAY, SHIPSHAPE, BOONDOGGLE. [cf: cut the mustard]

the term Marines use in the same way Army infantrymen are called GRUNTs. The symbolic meaning for Marines is "to snuff it up" because Marines don't grunt under their loads, "to snuff out" the enemy is the mission, and "to be snuffed" is the risk of a small ground force with few supporting assets. The word Marine has been converted into an acronym meaning: Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Not Essential. See GUNNY, 03, GYRENE, CHINA MARINE, SEAGOING MARINE, JARHEAD, HORSE MARINE, THE CROTCH, BULLDOG, MILITARY ORDER OF THE DEVIL DOGS, MAMELUKE SWORD, MARINE, USMC, GI / GYRENE, ATLAS. [nb: "pongo" is Australian slang for a soldier or Marine, probably after its primary meaning of 'monkey'] Also, having an unpleasant or soiled appearance; probably as a result of the effects of dipping snuff. Also, easily displeased. Also, having hurt feelings.

SO :
Special Order; see ORDER. Also, abbreviation for SPECIAL OPERATIONS, as first used by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

informal reference to BULLY SOUP or WASH, as served to invalids. Also, someone who drinks alcoholic beverages to the point of being permeated or saturated, as an imbiber, inebriant, intoxicant; see IRISH FLU, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, HOIST, HATCH, HOOCH, DEAD-SOLDIER, WHISKEY WARRIOR, BYOB, TOAST, COLORS, JUNK, CAN SA, SMACK, STICK, STONED, TAR.

a substance used for washing; a cleansing agent ... humanity's first broad-spectrum medicament. Soap cleanses by lowering the surface tension of water, by emulsifying grease, and by absorbing dirt into the foam. Ancient peoples are believed to have employed wood ashes and water as a cleanser and to have relieved the resulting irritation with grease or oil, which later became admixed. Many housewives made soap from waste fats and lye, which was obtained by leaching wood ashes. The manufacture of soap was stimulated by Chevreul's discovery of oleic and stearic acids in the early 19th century, and by Leblanc's method (1791) of preparing soda from salt. Chemically, soaps are metallic salts of fatty acids. The manufacture of soap is based on a chemical reaction (saponification) in which an alkali acts upon a fat to form a metal salt (soap) and an alcohol (glycerol) by-product. Soaps differ according to the lathering properties of the fat or oils and according to the alkali employed. Soap substitutes include saponin-containing plants (such as soapwort and shagbark, soapbark and soapberry, red buckeye and senega snakeroot, California soaproot and California pigweed, yucca and agave) and the modern soapless detergents (usually sulfonated alcohols), which may be used in hard water and even in salt water without forming curds. See BRICK, SOFT SOAP, MR. CLEAN, WD-40. [v: medicantmedéi kânt] [v: settled soap, hard-milled soap, soap chips, soap flakes, soap beads, and powdered soap; shaving cream, shampoo, shower gel, toiletry, suds / soapsuds / lather, scouring powder] [nb: Listerism / Listerize: an antiseptic method introduced by Joseph Lister in 1875, involving the spraying of the body parts under operation or treatment with a carbolic acid solution] [nb: although soap is clearly more beneficial, most MIL-PERS believe that 100 MPH TAPE is the greatest of all human inventions!]

CODENAME for the clandestine introduction of sentimental letters or greeting cards from home, often emphasizing the loneliness and privations endured in patriotic support of the war, with occasional mention of inequities or exceptions, used to depress the morale of troops when planted on equipment or corpses in enemy territory, or when "lost" at campsites or along trails. See PSYOPS, SOG; compare SUGAR REPORT.

the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, nicknamed the NIGHT STALKERS, and sometimes called "the fly-by-night airline"; which was formed as Task Force 158 to execute "Operation Honey Badger" after Operation EAGLE CLAW, then transformed into Task Force 160 as a result of the official inquiry into the failure of Operation EAGLE CLAW, later reformed as 160th Special Operations Aviation Group Airborne (160SOAGAbn), and then expanded into a regiment. [nb: "A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus." by Herbert Hoover (1935)]

an elaborate alibi or bathetic excuse, especially one intended to evoke sentiment or designed to arouse sympathy; see WATERWORKS, BLOW SMOKE, SNOW, BLIVET, HALF-ASSED, GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK, NO EXCUSE, BRASS EAR, ZERO TOLERANCE, CHECKING THE DICTIONARY, WIGGLE ROOM, MOTOR MOUTH, TAP-DANCER, FUBIJAR, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME. [nb: obfuscation and obscurantism are widely represented by the military maxim: "Bullshit baffles brains!", sometimes called a "Well sir,..." excuse]

Servicemember's Opportunity College, the higher-education extension program for active duty military members, accessed by correspondence and/or after-hours classes on posts and bases around the world; successor to the earlier USAFI (qv). See RE-UP, BOOTSTRAP, CONAP, ACASP, DEP, NESEP, ROTC.

Special Operations Command, Central Command; see CENTCOM.

the agreement among individuals to voluntarily associate themselves as a cooperative group ("body politic") so as to secure mutual protection and welfare; as hypothesized by certain philosophers (eg: Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Carlyle, et al), the investment of such organization with rights and privileges, warrants and guarantees, differentiates human from animal societies, with the more sophisticated (typically guided by a "great man") being considered superior to the more simplified ... in actuality, the alleged social contract exists only by coercive amalgamation that implies conquest. No simple society has ever successfully survived contact with a complex society, and no complex society has ever successfully reverted to a simpler state without the acquiescence or forbearance of a more complex state. In every transitional phase, from band to nation, the military has been the reason that the people's culture has either proliferated or vanished after some decisive political resolution. [nb: "As an indication of civilized development, social organization is required to get toilet paper into the public restrooms; general education tells the average person what toilet paper is and how to use it; and sanctioned public order prevents the first person who notices the freely available toilet paper from stealing it, thus denying its availability to the next restroom user ... New York and London, Amsterdam and Paris, Pretoria and Canberra have all three of these elements; Moscow and Madrid, Singapore and Buenos Aires, Peking and Mexico City have only one or two; while Cairo and Bangkok, Saigon and Baghdad, Havana and Istanbul (along with so many other metropolises as to be uncountable) are lacking all three elements. Given the extent of this incompatibility, there can be little wonder over humanity's persistent conflict." paraphrase of Stephen Coonts]

exhibiting the ability to do the right thing in any circumstance, or knowing what to do in any situation; showing the proper mien or demeanor, the correct deportment or comportment as a member of the group ... discretion, aplomb, poise, self-possession, composure, presence, graciousness, finesse, adroitness, suavity, savoir-faire, sophistication, urbanity, cosmopolitanism, worldliness. See ETIQUETTE, MANNERS, BEARING, CHARISMA, COMMAND PRESENCE, RESPECT, JUDGMENT CALL, TACT, NO EVIL. [nb: until recently, an OFFICER was simultaneously designated a "gentleman" when appointed by an ACT OF CONGRESS, which not only inspired further intellectual development but also encouraged cultural sophistication, which refinements were mocked as being 'suave and debonair' (deliberately mispronounced as "soo-wave" and "dee-boner")]

a system of social organization wherein the means of production and the subsequent distribution of goods is collectively controlled by the government; in Marxist theory, socialism is the imperfect stage following the collapse of capitalism in the inevitable transition (by perpetual revolution) of every society to communism ... socialism, albeit progressive, is deficient in its inadequate implementation of collectivist principles. See PINKO, USEFUL IDIOTS, SYMPATHIZER, RED, COMMIE, BAD GUYS, HAMMER AND SICKLE, BULLSHITVIK, SOFT TYRANNY, REVOLUTION, CULTURE WARS, AMERIKA, ANTI-AMERICAN. [nb: communism is not different or separate from socialism, but is one of the several forms of socialism, although they compete when not united against capitalism] [nb: following the theme of "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet", Walter P. Reuther noted how communists could often be identified: "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it just may be a duck."]


(sew-kom or so-calm) Special Operations COMmand; compare USSOC, ARSOC; see SPECIAL OPERATIONS, SOF.

any aberrant or perverted sexual act, especially oral or anal copulation, and sexual relations by a person with an animal (bestiality); forcible SODOMY is prohibited by Article 125 of the Punitive Articles ... it has been determined that consensual oral and anal copulation is no longer (2011) a criminal violation of the UCMJ. See FAG, INVERT, PREEVERT, DON'T ASK - DON'T TELL, GLORY HOLE, FIRING LINE, CANDY-ASS, POGUE, POGY BAIT, SPUNK, PECKER TRACKS, BUTTERFLY, DAISY CHAIN, HAT TRICK, AROUND THE WORLD, CHOWING DOWN, HUMMERR, BUSH PILOT, MUFF DIVER, LOVE HANDLES, BOOM-BOOM, SHORT-TIME, FUCK, HOOKUP. [nb: just as 60 and 69 are numeric representations of oral sex, so 66 represents sodomy]

the British Special Operations Executive, formed 19 July 1940, was also known as the "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare"; SOE was the precursor of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). See SAS, ASAS, NZSAS, LRDG. [v: Popski's Private Army (Vladimir Peniakoff); Sikorsky's Tourists (Wladyslaw Sikorski)]

U.S. Air Force Special
Operations Command patch

Status Of Forces Agreement, being the grant by a host nation to permit the legal authority of the USA to regulate and administer American MIL-PERS serving overseas; making crimes committed by US servicemembers subject to military law (UCMJ) instead of foreign civil or criminal law. While criminal procedures and practices are standardized, and convicts serve their punishment in US facilities, the court is often more severe and strict in its cases due to the need to maintain good foreign relations ... for the privilege of transference must not be seen as exploitative, given the history of double-standards during Colonialism. A summary, distilled and condensed, is printed onto a wallet-sized "SOFA card" that's issued to all MIL-PERS in the affected area. Compare CIVIL AFFAIRS AGREEMENT, EXTRATERRITORIALITY, DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY; see OCONUS, WHEN IN ROME.

quilted fabric used as protection against bodily injury from barbed wire or edged weapons, dog bites or martial arts, including pugil stick training; during the KOREAN WAR, the North Korean and Chinese soldiers wore SOFT ARMOR as protection against shrapnel; compare FLAK VEST, FLAK JACKET.

to be inconspicuous or unobtrusive; to act or perform in a manner that does not attract attention. Also, to be stealthy or surreptitious, secret or clandestine. Also, being cautious or timid. Also, being indirect and inoffensive; tactful or diplomatic; also known as pussyfoot /-ing; see BEAT AROUND THE BUSH. [cf: soft-pedal, soft-line /-liner, soft-boiled, soft-hearted, soft-headed]

currency made LEGAL TENDER by a fiat of the government, but not based upon a commodity nor convertible into specie; also called "fiat money", which is based on credit. Compare HARD CASH, STANDARD MONEY.

the semi-fluid soap produced when potassium hydroxide is used in the saponification of a fat or an oil; see SOAP, BRICK, MR. CLEAN, WD-40. Also, a colloquialism for influence or leverage, persuasive talk or inveigled clout; see GREASE, GREEN GREASE, JUICE, JAWBONE, MOJO, WHISPERING CAMPAIGN, BIG FOOT, BIG STICK, GAMESMANSHIP, POWER PLAY, BRINKMANSHIP.

any unarmored or unprotected object, mobile or stationary, including troops and vehicles, which does not require special ammunition or specific tactics when under attack by SMALL ARMS or SHRAPNEL; see OBJ, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, MUSHROOM, CIVCAS, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), RFZ, NFZ, FREE FIRE ZONE, BDA, SKIN; compare HARDEN, HARD TARGET.

a concept coined (1835) by Alexis C.H.M.C. de Tocqueville that describes the hindrances that a society willingly accepts as a necessary restraint upon their own problem solving or self improvement. The progressive extension of SOFT TYRANNY into "hard tyranny" (such as price controls imposed to limit inflation, or increased taxation to pay for expanded government, or censorship enacted to elicit politically-correct citizenship) is often cited as the impetus for insurrection, since fascism typifies failed communities. In "top down" social organizations, what begins as reasonable incremental suppression develops into regulatory expansion, where objections and resistance are later re-defined as criminal sedition and civil rights are abrogated. The psychic trap for SOFT TYRANNY is the voluntary surrender of liberty in exchange for the promise of increased security, and increased security always redefines itself as requiring more power to sustain protection in an inherently volatile world. [cf: soft bigotry, reverse discrimination]

unofficial emblem of Studies
and Observations Group from the Vietnam-era
SOG emblem
the so-called "Studies and Observations Group" as COVER name for the Special Operations Group. Nominally a special MACV interservice project, but actually under the direct control of the Pentagon's JCS. Erroneously identified as "MAC-SOG" or "MACV-SOG". Assigned personnel from all service branches were informally called "SOGgies", despite the fact that many acted like "Sons Of God". Directed by Presidential authority, parallel Vietnamese organizations were Special Exploitation Service (SEPES or SES), Liaison Office (LO), and Strategic Technical Directorate (STD). FOB at Phu Bai (FOB#1), Kontum (FOB#2, CCC, TF2AE), Khe Sanh (FOB#3), Da Nang (FOB#4, CCN, TF1AE), Ho Nhoc Tao (FOB#5), Ban Me Thout (FOB#6, CCS). C&C: Command and Control, became differentiated into CCN (Command and Control North), CCC (...Central), CCS (...South); being the redesignation for the SOG Forward Operation Bases following consolidation and reorganization in 1967. The "Hatchet Force" and "Recon Team" designations bestowed upon the FOBs were altered to "Exploitation Force" and "Spike Team", which added confusion, such that many references are mixed (eg: new launch site [KhamDuc, DakTo, DucCo] by old FOB#). The RT/ST names at CCN were snakes (eg: RT Asp), at CCC were states (eg: RT Illinois), and at CCS were tools (eg: RT Fork). After June 1970, US-led missions were no longer authorized in Cambodia; after February 1971, US-led missions were no longer authorized in Laos; and effective March 1971, with the rotation of 5th SFGAbn to CONUS, cover assignments for SOG ADVISORs were processed by USARV. See OPLAN 34A, CAS, CSD, CISO, THUNDER TIGER, OSO, NICKEL STEEL, MUSSEL SHOALS, SHINING BRASS, PRAIRIE FIRE, DANIEL BOONE, SALEM HOUSE, EARTH ANGEL, ELDEST SON, SPIN DOWN, CEDAR WALK, PIKE HILL, STRATA, BENSON SILK, PEANUT, SOAP CHIPS, PARADISE ISLAND, SLAM, URGENCY, BORDEN, OODLES, MC, 10, SNATCH, PACKAGE, TONGUE, LEGHORN, LIMA SITE 85, ICEX, PRU, PHOENIX, JACK, UNPFK, AWG, CJSOTF-A. [nb: personnel assigned to SOG / MACV-SOG wore the insignia of their parent unit (eg: Army personnel were assigned by Special Forces, MACV, or USARV) whenever not in a sterile uniform, but the unofficial patch for this covert organization was sometimes worn on a pocket, inside a blouse, inside a hat, or displayed as a "beer can" emblem on a plaque; although this unofficial design had many variants, it essentially consisted of pilot's wings and a fouled anchor surmounted by a shellburst with a grinning ("death's-head") skull and banner, the whole emblazoned on a shield; designed by MAJ Malcolm Vere "Mack" Fites, a Marine Corps officer assigned to OP-31 during 1965-66, its symbology represents an interservice project that was born on the battlefield] Also, abbreviation for the Seat Of Government, being the national capital; also known as "The District" or "Babylon on the Potomac"; see FOGGY BOTTOM, THE G, THE ESTABLISHMENT, THE HILL, ALPHABET CITY, THE NATIONAL JOKE FACTORY, OLYMPUS, GREEN ACRES, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, WASHINGTON WALTZ, UNCLE SAM, MANDARIN, YANKEE.

SOG bowie knife
SOG bowie
a STERILE knife issued to the special operations projects (SOA/5SFGA) of a unique design (single-edge, swept-tip, clip-point, clip-back, crossguard, buttcap, stacked leather haft with finger-grooves). Seemingly crafted from untempered pot metal, it was so poorly made that most team members refused to carry it, alleging that saw grass was sharper, bamboo was stronger, and the leather would rot off of it in the first rainy season! Because of these deficiencies, it was converted into an end-of-tour gift with appropriate engraving. It was also presented as a token with certificate to the Honor Graduate of each MACV RECONDO training course. See KNIFE. [v: Knife Terms; The Language of Swordplay]

made for the Naval Advisory Detachment (NAD) for clandestine seaborne operations under the auspices of OPLAN 34A, this subdued fixed-blade knife was slightly larger (7.2"BL, 11.8"OAL) than the SOG BOWIE, and was supplied as a STERILE tool by the same source on Okinawa. Like the U.S. Navy Mark 2 Utility Knife issued to SEAL teams at the time, these knives were not non-magnetic, so their use with demolitions was problematic; furthermore, given their poor temper and leather accents, "plausible deniability" was not as important as trustworthiness ... the subdued oval SNAP-LINKs issued to SOG teams were clearly stamped 'U.S.'! See KNIFE. [nb: of the initial (1964) issue of thirty-eight scuba-demo knives, all were lost or disappeared, so when they were not replaced by the Counter Insurgency Support Office (CISO), the original prototype became the only surviving specimen] [v: Knife Terms; The Language of Swordplay]

(s-o-i, not "soy") Signal Operating Instructions; the field handbook of classified CALL-SIGNs and protocols, which was often combined with the Signal Sending Instructions (SSI) handbook. The loss or capture of an SOI necessitated that all unit designations change, and a new SOI be distributed. See RADIO, ENCRYPT, KAK, KEK, KEY, SHACKLE, SCRAMBLE; compare SSI. [v: vade mecum (Latin: handbook, guide (literally: "go with me")]


a military servicemember (MIL-PERS), especially a skilled Enlisted Man (EM) or Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO); see DOGFACE, GRUNT, GI, BOOT, CRUIT, COMRADE, DOG ROBBER, YARDBIRD, BARRACKS LAWYER, DRONE, GUIDON, BUSHMASTER, OLD BREED, OLD SWEAT, SHAKE 'n' BAKE, BOY WONDER, SHAVETAIL, LIFER, HOMESTEADER, TOUR BABY, COMBAT BUM, HOOAH, GUNG-HO, WETSU, BROWN BOOT, BLACK BOOT, MISTER, SUPER-TROOPER, FUGLEMAN, STRIKER, SENTRY, TOAD, TOY SOLDIER, WARM BODY. [nb: Vietnamese term: Quan Nhan, Quan Si, Quan Linh, Si Tot] [nb: the latest degradation of the word SOLDIER, with the particular meaning of combatant or warrior, is: war fighter; cf: "wight" is a human being, who is defined as such by his ability to fight, hence is someone who's strong and brave in war] [nb: "What are little boys made of, made of? What are little boys made of? Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails; That's what little boys are made of. ... What are young men made of, made of? What are young men made of? Sighs and leers and crocodile tears; That's what young men are made of. ... What are our sailors made of, made of? What are our sailors made of? Pitch and tar, pig-tail and scar; That's what our sailors are made of. ... What are our soldiers made of, made of? What are our soldiers made of? Pipeclay and drill, the foeman to kill; That's what our soldiers are made of. ... What are old men made of, made of? What are old men made of? Slippers that flop and a bald-headed top; That's what old men are made of. ... What are all folks made of, made of? What are all folks made of? Fighting a spot and loving a lot; That's what all folks are made of." doggerel excerpted from What Folks Are Made Of attributed to Robert Southey (ca1820)] Also, a contranym meaning either to loaf while pretending to work (eg: GOLDBRICK, FEATHER MERCHANT, GHOST, REST ON OARS), or to persist steadfastly, as to "soldier on"; with the pejorative sense originating with sailors' complaints about transporting virtual passengers who performed no shipboard chores.


the new product name for all versions of the high-energy HOOAH! BAR (qv) nutritional supplement; developed by the Nutrition Task Force (NTF), in collaboration with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, so as to enhance the performance of healthy individuals performing military functions in extreme environments. See ERGO, RATIONS. [nb: the mocha bars are fortified with 200mg of caffeine] [nb: "Field tests with Army Rangers have shown that the Soldier Fuel Bar produced a 17 percent increase in physical endurance (as compared to other energy bars). It enables warfighters to think faster, move quicker, and run farther." by Gerry Darsch, Director, Combat Feeding Directorate, Soldier Systems Center]

see MERCENARY, BINH XUYEN, WHITE VC, LETTER OF MARQUE. [v: free lance / freelancer, condottiere, landsknecht, privateer, corsair, picaroon, pirate, buccaneer / boucanier, vendible, hack, hirling / hireling, hired gun / hired muscle, red-shanks, Atholl Highlanders (duke of Atholl ca1269), Hessian, Haiduk / Heiduk, rapparee, filibuster, freebooter, cateran, marauder, despoiler, depredator, rover, mosstrooper, Wild Geese, William Walker's army (Nicaragua 1856), Popski's Private Army (Vladimir Peniakoff), Binh Xuyen (Cao Dai), ninja, ronin, yakuza]



(aka: Veterans' Bonus Act; v: World War Adjusted Compensation Act) see BONUS ACT, GI BILL.

a cigarette (GASPER) and a cup of coffee (GI JOE), as recorded by Erich Maria Remarque; compare CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST; see PIGTAIL, FAG, BUTT, STICK, CHOW, BEANS, C-RATIONS, MRE, PIR, LRRP-RATIONS, RANGER COFFEE, SOUP, SLOP, WASH, SOS, WAD, IRON RATIONS, STONE SOUP, RATIONS. [cf: "dingo's breakfast" in Australia]

the symbolic structure serving as the central motif at the military memorial service for a comrade killed-in-action (KIA), which consists of an assault rifle inverted onto its BAYONET, draped with DOG TAGS, topped by a helmet, and flanked by COMBAT BOOTS; also called "fallen soldier's cross" or "soldier's battle cross", this icon is a universal substitute for any of the several possible religious symbols.

Soldier's medal
the highest non-combat award for heroism, which may be awarded for courageous acts (such as lifesaving) in a combat zone not involving enemy action. Equivalent to Airman's Medal, Coast Guard Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Medal. See V-DEVICE, IMPACT AWARD, GONG.

the Somali Democratic Republic was formed (1960) by the merger of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland; see Operation RESTORE HOPE. [v: Djibouti (pre-1977: French Somaliland)]

a literary phrase, often used facetiously, indicating that something is wrong or amiss, faulty or improper, off-track or off-course; it implies a vague disquiet, a suspicion of danger or disaster. Properly cited as: "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." [Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1602)], this allusion is deliberately imprecise and may derive from the odor of cheese in the air. See HINKY, CREDIBILITY GAP, HANKY-PANKY, TRICK, DECEPTION. [nb: "enzymic proteolysis" is a bacterial action that preserves and eventually dissolves the principal; the attractive "full-bodied" flavor of fermented foods (eg: beer, vinegar, cheese, yogurt, etc) is due to a high content of "glutamate", an amino acid; v: NUOC MAM]

in Laotian cuisine, a tossed fruit salad of shredded green papaya that's dressed with lemon juice or fermented fish sauce and mixed with balls of sticky rice; compare TAM MAK HOONG; see RICE BALL. [nb: because this 'green papaya' is not yet ripe, it retains its firm crisp texture, and the flavor is savory (not sweet)]

acronym for SOund NAvigation Ranging, a method of active or passive echolocation for detecting submerged objects; used extensively in WWII, SONAR was invented in 1906 by Lewis Nixon to detect icebergs. Variations include: acoustic-emission technique, aperture synthesis, SIDE-SCAN SONAR, phased array sonar, synthetic aperture sonar, towed array sonar, and upward-looking sonar. The United States Navy awards the "Integrated Undersea Surveillance System Badge" to those sailors who are qualified in SONAR operation and warfare. See SOSUS, UQC, ASDIC, SONOBUOY, PING JOCKEY, MOSS, SUBMARINE, compare UWT. [nb: the velocity and distance that sound travels in either air or water depends upon atmospheric pressure, medium temperature, molecular density, and turbulence; such that under equivalent conditions, sound moves faster in salt water than in fresh, faster in fresh water than in air]

(shung) Vietnamese for river, such as in Song Be, Song Ben Hai, Song Ha, Song Mao, Song Rai, and the like; see SUOI, IA.

from the ancient practice of performing an active vocal expression of spirituality or sociability, an elaborate explanation or justification. Also, by extension, an involved deception or misdirection, an evasion or pretense; a scam or treachery; see TAP-DANCER. Also, a disturbance or dispute, a runaround or rigmarole. Also, a euphemism for torturing information or a confession from a prisoner, as when the application of certain techniques makes the victim scream and gesticulate, like a "song and dance man"; see SQUEEZE, SWEAT, THIRD DEGREE, TORTURE.

a loud noise caused by the SHOCK WAVE that's generated when an aircraft moves at SUPERSONIC speed through the sound barrier. See MACH, HYPERSONIC, JET PROPULSION, JUICE, BUSTER, BLOWER, AFTERBURNER, FAST MOVER, JET JOCK. [nb: the velocity and distance that sound travels in either air or water depends upon atmospheric pressure, medium temperature, molecular density, and turbulence; such that under equivalent conditions, sound moves faster in salt water than in fresh, faster in fresh water than in air. The audible range of sound wave frequencies for humans is 20 - 20,000 Hz; above which ultrasonic waves may be felt, instead of heard.]

an acoustic sensor (eg: SONAR) that's mainly used to detect submerged SUBMARINEs and to transmit that information by radio when activated; the SONOBUOY may be set as active or passive, directional or non-directional. The PROWORD "spitting" is broadcast when laying these floating SONOBUOY sensors in a surveillance pattern at sea.

nickname of the 100th Infantry Division, also known as the 'Century Division', which designation was acquired during combat in WWI ... where members of this infantry division were the first to fight their way through the Vosges Mountains, seizing the Citadel at Bitche (for the first time in its 250-year history), and being the only unit to hold its ground during the final Imperial German offensive on the Western Front. During WWII, the 100th again fought through the Vosges Mountains (from St. Remy through the Saverne Gap and Bitche, across the Rhine into Stuttgart), assuming occupation duty at the end of the war. Briefly reorganized as an airborne division at Ft Knox, it was designated a replacement training division during the KOREAN WAR and the Berlin Crisis, then later trained armor crews and cavalry reconnaissance scouts for deployment to Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 100th has adopted the "Train 'em Tough" motto to represent its institutional spirit of striving for the highest standards of soldiering. [nb: Operation Future Challenge, a six-week basic training summer camp program of instruction for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) participants, has been sponsored by the 100th Infantry Division at Fort Knox since 1997]

site (geo: 21 08 36N 105 30 01E; UTM: 48QWJ51933790) of major NVN prison camp for captive allied population; prison nicknamed Camp Hope. Dates US POWs present: 23 May 68 to 14 Jul 70. Originally administered by the Ministry of Public Security (now Ministry of Interior), it was transferred temporarily to PAVN's Enemy Proselyting Department in 1968 to use as a POW camp for Americans. The PAVN returned the installation to the Ministry of Interior in the mid-1990s. Nearby is a famous historic landmark, the 3,000 year old Den Va pagoda, also known as the Cung Dong (eastern palace). Son Tay was the target, after surveillance detected "K" on the camp grounds, of the US POW rescue mission of 21 November 1970, attempted by 15 officers and 82 NCOs, in Joint Contingency Task Group Ivory Coast, with TF-77 and Kingpin. PAVN troops were conducting maneuvers in the Son Tay area shortly before the American raid occurred; so when the raiding party's helicopters landed, some local residents, thinking they were Soviet helicopters, cheered the "practicing PAVN troops" until they realized their mistake, and withdrew to safety in their homes. Subsequent to this rescue attempt, the POWs were consolidated into fewer prisons, and their conditions improved. See POW.

see HOPE, RAID, TRAIN HARD - FIGHT EASY. [cf: Feb-Mar 1864 Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid of Union cavalry dispatched to rescue prisoners confined in Richmond; resultantly moved to Andersonville]

Standard Operating Procedure, sometimes called Standing Operating Procedure or Standing Operational Procedure, being a set of informal guidelines and practices identifying unit command interpretations of formal regulations. Introduced during the KOREAN WAR, it's a set of fixed instructions or procedural steps for carrying out routine operations. The SOP, which was usually contained in a loose-leaf binder, included a notification list (GAL), points of contact (POC), and procedures for most anticipated contingencies. See CHECKING THE DICTIONARY, SCRIPTURES, TELEPHONE TREE, FROST CALL, CQ, OOD, SDO, JOOD, CDO, SOPA. [v: sop as food at CHOW; sop as bribe at SOUVENIR]

Senior Officer Present Afloat, being the Navy officer responsible for duty assignments of ship's company while in PORT; compare cq, JOOD, OOD, OOG, SDO, OOW, CDO.

see XIN LOI, MEA CULPA, CHECK IT OUT, FIDO, SHIT HAPPENS, ROTS O' RUCK, AMF. [nb: various phrases have been used by 20th century combatants for protective disassociation from epiphenomena, including: "There it is.", "It don't mean nuthin'.", "Too damn bad.", "It's all just rock 'n' roll.", "Tough shit.", "It ain't nuthin'.", and "It's just a thing."; the latter appears in "The Rescue" by Joseph Conrad (1920)] [nb: in Japanese, 'sumimasen' is a polite expression of apology (similar to "pardon me" or "excuse me") that's used impersonally with strangers (instead of 'ayamaru', 'shitsurei shimasu', or 'gomen nasai'), as when moving through a crowd, but when uttered in a sharp or brusk tone, it means "attend to me at once" or "come over here right away"]

any sudden attack or raid; especially a breakout, as a rapid assault from an enclave against its besiegers. Also, one complete combat operation, from departure to return, as scheduled for ground elements, vessels, or aircraft; compare LIFT, HIT AND RUN, AIR STRIKE, ALPHA STRIKE.

the international abbreviation for "Save Our Ship" or "Save Our Souls", usually broadcast over RADIO or telegraph in morse code, as an international distress call for rescue that replaced the former "Come Quick Danger" or "Come Quick Disaster" (CQD) signal; see MAYDAY, GUARD, PAN, SECURITE, BLIND TRANSMISSION, HAND, CW, PROWORD. [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags] Also, nickname for creamed chipped-beef on toast, or ground hamburger in gravy on toast, commonly called Shit-On-a-Shingle or "same old stuff", which is widely recognized as "creamed foreskins on toast" and "mouse droppings in wallpaper paste served over burned bread"; see SLOP, GUT BOMB, WASH, WAD, TURKEY, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. Also, abbreviation for "Same Old Shit", or more euphemistically as "Same Old Stuff", being a catch-phrase for routine or ordinary, customary or commonplace, conventional or traditional, as anything recurrent or familiar ("same shit, different day"); see OLD HAT, FATIGUE. Also, derogatory abbreviation for "sack of shit"; see DUD, DEADHEAD, GOLDBRICK, POGUE, LOOSE CANNON, DOUCHE BAG, TURD, FIELD REJECT, SHIT MAGNET, SAD SACK, DOESN'T KNOW SHIT FROM SHINOLA, MAGGOT, SMACK, YARDBIRD. Also, USAF abbreviation for Special Operations Squadron, includes Special Tactical Teams (eg: AIR COMMANDO, PJ); see SOW.

SOund SUrveillance System, an underwater listening net used to passively detect ships and submarines; this global network registers the range, course, and speed of traffic, with analysis of identified vessels plotted for trajectory of potential targets. See SONAR, ASDIC. [cf: Soviet Oceanic Surveillance System (SOSS)]

Signals / SIGINT Operational Tasking Authority. Also, Stand-Off Target Acquisition. Also, state-of-the-art, the most up-to-date mode or current technology; see DARPA, PEACE 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]


Special Operations Training Group, being the USMC staff and cadre responsible for training and testing SPECIAL OPERATIONS qualified Marines on a recurrent or mission specific basis.


a too brief and intense episode that transpires before its meaning can be discerned; an inconclusive bombast or irrelevant tempest; excerpted from the Macbeth soliloquy. Compare SHOCK 'n' AWE, FIREWORKS, LOOM, THUNDERSTRUCK, ACOUSTIC SHADOW. [nb: "Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." by William Shakespeare (act 5, sc 5 Macbeth); "If man is reduced to being nothing but a character in history, he has no other choice but to subside into the sound and fury of a completely irrational history or to endow history with the form of human reason." by Albert Camus ("State Terrorism and Rational Terror" pt 3 The Rebel 1951; tr 1953)]

also called "light show"; see FIREWORKS, LOOM, WATERWORKS.

the MIL-SPEAK injunction to speak, to speak louder, to recite, to utter, to identify, or to COUNT-OFF; to elucidate or enumerate, informally expressed as "pop-off". [v: ordinal number; cf: cardinal number]

slang for an EXPLOSIVE mix or compound, especially a fluid concoction like nitroglycerine, as a form of anything powerful; see COCKTAIL, C-4, HEP, IED, HOT GREASE, HEAVY WATER, YELLOWCAKE; compare HUSH-A-BOOM. Also, used as a metaphor for being in trouble, more of being "in the soup" rather than mere "hot water"; see STONE SOUP, DUCK SOUP. Also, any mixture or admixture, collection or confusion, as being random or complicated; see ALPHABET SOUP. Also, to generate or develop, as photographic processing in successive baths. Also, slang for adding power or energy, speed or intensity, as to hurry or quicken, to accelerate or animate, to rush or enliven ... "a souped-up truck". Also, a liquid food made from a combination of vegetables, seasonings, and often meat or fish, including bouillon, consommé, stock, broth, pot liquor, dal, risotto, julienne, cock-a-leekie, mulligatawny, pepper pot, minestrone, hotchpotch, gumbo, bisque/bisk, callaloo, bouillabaisse, billi-bi, chowder, borscht, gazpacho, vichyssoise, purée, pottage, and variously turtle, oxtail, watercress, pea, tomato, noodle, dumpling, knaidel, kreplach, miso, bird's-nest; as derived from dunk, sop, or soak; see PHO, KHAO PIAK SEN, RAMEN, LARMEN, RAMYEON, LAMIAN, WON-TON, KHAO PUN, TOM KHA KAI, MOHINGA, BOAT NOODLES, BULLY SOUP, INSTANT NOODLES, OH LAM, POOR MAN'S STEW, WASH, CHOW, BEANS, CONDIMENTS, JUICE, GI JOE, THE DRINK, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, IRON RATIONS.

slang for a smoke grenade canister of any color, which have a shorter FUZE than fragmentation (FRAG) or white phosphorous (WP) GRENADEs; See POP SMOKE, MIGHTY MITE, SMOKY BEAR, WATCH MY SMOKE, BRING SMOKE; compare BEER CAN.

referring to someone or something that's beyond redemption, being an object or situation that's incredibly wrong; this expression seemingly originated as an impossible mess (ie: a sandwich filled with soup), but it actually derived as a euphemism for a "shit sandwich" (ie: something so disgusting and repulsive that nobody wants to own it or acknowledge it ... but since it actually exists, it must be dealt with!). The fact of the matter is that the military has often been sent to one crisis or another to "clean up" the SOUP SANDWICHes that people serve to each other, expecting these people to not only eat it, but to like it!


a southern constellation near Centaurus (the Centaur, containing Alpha Centauri), having the form of a cross, which is only visible from the equator and southern hemisphere; this motif was initially integrated into the 1st Marine Division shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI) in December 1942 as a symbol of warfare in the Pacific. See AMERICAL, BATTLE CRY, PATCH, CREST, USMC. [nb: the 1st Mar Div patch, with the word 'Guadalcanal' spelled out on the numeral one, was introduced after the unit had rotated from the Solomons to Australia for replacements and refitment, and this striking insignia on the handsome Marine uniform caught the attention of Aussies returning from the North Africa campaign, so these battle-worn Diggers decided to mock those spiffy Marines (who were sarcastically characterized as "Defenders of Australia", meaning 'home guard', not combatants) by sticking wet toilet paper onto their shoulders bearing the words: 'Suez Canal' ... naturally, many fistfights resulted!]

operation to enforce the "no fly zone" over Iraq, from 27 August 1992 through 29 April 2003; compare NORTHERN WATCH.

Southwest Asia service medal
a CAMPAIGN MEDAL recognizing the honorable service of military personnel on land, sea, or air during the Persian Gulf War in support of Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, from 2 August 1990 to 30 November 1995; authorized campaigns are denoted by the addition of one or more bronze service stars (BATTLE STAR), including Defense of Saudi Arabia (2 Aug 1990 - 16 Jan 1991), Liberation and Defense of Kuwait (17 Jan - 11 Apr 1991), and Southwest Asia Cease-Fire (12 Apr 1991 - 30 Nov 1995). This campaign medal was designed by Nadine Russell at The Institute of Heraldry (TIOH). See NDSM. [v: Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait); Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)]

a token or memento that's acquired or bestowed as a relic or TROPHY to signify an activity, occasion, or transition; an artifact, reminder, remembrancer, keepsake, favor, commemorative, memento mori, memorabilia, sign, insignia, mark, vestige, or TRENCH ART. [nb: it's customary in Japanese culture to give gifts to others as souvenirs (omiyage) of activity or travel, which are distinguished from the souvenirs (meibutsu) acquired for personal or private remembrance] Also, to give, donate, bestow, as "you souvenir me ...". Has been used in the sense of loot or booty since the American CIVIL WAR, but has acquired the sense of an exaction or extorted present (spoils) only after WWII. See CUMSHAW, BEGGING BOWL, WAD, CANDY, SPOILS OF WAR, SHAKEDOWN, JUICE, SLUSH FUND, HARD TIMES TOKEN, SHORT SNORTER, CHALLENGE COIN, BRAGGING RIGHTS, PERSONAL EFFECTS, PLANK OWNER, POWER WALL, SAFE ROOM, EARRING, BRACELET, TATTOO, KHAKI MAFIA, CARPETBAGGERS. [v: primage, handsel] [nb: Japs fight for tradition, Germans for their homeland, Brits for glory, and Americans for souvenirs!]

see USSR, CIS, IRON CURTAIN, START, IVAN, BULLSHITVIK, BAD GUYS. [nb: the Soviet Union (USSR) characterized itself as "the world's first champion of peace"] [nb: when President Ronald W. Reagan characterized the Soviet Union as the "Evil Empire" in 1983, journalists immediately associated it with the fictitious galactic power in the 1977 film "Star Wars", but it was actually a reference to biblical prophecies in Ezekiel; v: Gog and Magog]

SOG Project 32
SOG 32
Special Operations Wing; includes Special Operations Squadron (SOS) and Special Tactical Teams (eg: AIR COMMANDO, PJ).

SP :
USAF Security Police, also known as Combat Security Police (CSP), or Air Police (AP). Also, abbreviation for Shore Patrol, a rotating duty assignment for sailors in PORT, wearing white webbing and LEGGINGs, "SP" emblazoned helmet and BRASSARD while armed with a night stick, since Marines normally provide all other police functions for the Navy; see MASTER-AT-ARMS, BATS 'n' HATS, KATN, POLICE. Also, Self-Propelled, such as a motorized track driven HOWITZER, including M-52 105mm SP, M-108 105mm SP, M-44 155mm SP, M-109 155mm SP, M-107 175mm SP, DUSTER, SCORPION, SPAT, ONTOS, ; see TOWED, FA, TRACK, HOWITZER, ARTY. [nb: Vietnamese term: Phao Binh Luu Dong, Phao Binh Co Van]

shortening of Space Available, being the unallocated seats in transport aircraft that may be occupied by STRAP-HANGERs or OFF-DUTY MIL-PERS, retirees or dependents, all of whom are subject to displacement by active duty servicemembers under orders, regardless of RANK; informally known as traveling STANDBY. See AMC, ATC, ATS, MAC, MATS, MASQ, SHORT SNORTER, PAX, DEADHEAD.

Space Command, responsible for all flights into "outer space" from North America, including rocket launches and satellite surveillance; under the direction of Commander-in-Chief Space Command (CINCSPACECOM).

WWII Russians attempted to prevent the penetration or to reduce the impact of German tank-destroyer fire by draping scavenged inner-spring or wire-spring mattresses on the flanks and turrets of their T-34 tanks, which caused predetonation or deflection of the AT ROCKETs; later, during the few times that NVA PT-76 tanks were used in the VIETNAM WAR, a drape of rubber matting enabled them to advance farther with better effect. American armor experimented with wire-mesh stand-off predetonation methods that also aided concealment by offering numerous points of attachment for camouflage. The stand-off or SPACED ARMOR methods offered more protection than none, but also posed new problems, such as increased noise, delivery complications (especially by AIRDROP), and improved access by enemy infantry. Although some of these same delinquencies would later exist with REACTIVE ARMOR, its improved protection made it preferable. See TRACK, APC, TANK, BUSTLE, SPALL, SKIN, UP-ARMOR, HARDEN.

a re-usable orbital spacecraft, with two solid rocket boosters and an external fuel tank that are jettisoned after takeoff; the space shuttle program is officially designated the Shuttle Transportation System (STS).

affectionate nickname and sometimes CALL-SIGN of the SKYRAIDER that was so successfully used for Close Air Support (CAS) from WWII to Vietnam; see SANDY, SLOW MOVER.

a thin hollow tube for insulating bare wire, hence any COMMO line or connection "patch" cord, as antenna cable, LANDLINE, handset or CVC patch cord; see PIGTAIL, COAX. Also, any thin CORD, LINE, or ROPE, such as PARA-CORD; derived from twine ("spago"), originally a long threaded lichen. Also, any disorderly or untidy condition, such as tangled ROPE, imitative of cooked noodles; see LITTER, compare SHIPSHAPE, SQUARED AWAY, STRAC. Also, the tracking network of complicated flight paths for aircraft involved in aerial combat maneuvering; see ACM, DOGFIGHT, FUR BALL, JINK, YANK 'n' BANK, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. Also, the decoration (eg: laurel leaves, clouds and lightning) on the visor of service caps worn by flag and field grade officers denoting status, and emblematic of an honorary garland or CROWN; also known as SCRAMBLED-EGGS or FARTS 'n' DARTS; see BRASS HAT, BILLED CAP, PIP, HEADGEAR, FRUIT SALAD, TRASH, GONG, BAY.

an informal or slang designation of an administrative or operational structure, such as a flowchart or hierarchical diagram; see TO&E, MTOE, TO.

a chip or splinter, as from broken, split, or chipped stone or metal; especially the fragments broken loose, often in a lethal manner, from the inside of an armored vehicle when the outside is struck by munitions; see REACTIVE ARMOR, SPACED ARMOR. Also, the chipped or broken material used collectively for PITCH or REVETMENT, BALLAST or RIPRAP, as a cinder walkway.

trademark for a canned loaf of chopped and compressed pork shoulder with ham that's pre-cooked for either hot or cold consumption; originating in 1936 as "spiced ham", then renamed in 1937 as SPAM. Hormel was the first manufacturer to produce canned hams ["Flavor-Sealed Ham" (1926)] but since it required refrigeration, SPAM was developed to extend shelf-life and to use more of the discarded meat. Named as the result of a contest (won by Ken Daigneau), SPAM is a portmanteau word derived from "SPiced hAM"; its name has also been interpreted as an abbreviation of "Specially Processed American Meat" or "Shoulders of Pork And haM" ... some WWII soldiers referred to SPAM as "SPecial Army Meat", "ham that didn't pass its physical", and "meat loaf without basic training". Distributed to British and Russian allies under the Lend-Lease Act, with surpluses issued to Asians, GIs were sometimes obliged to eat it at all three meals each day, nonetheless SPAM remains popular worldwide as an inexpensive but nourishing food. Since its inception, this so-called "miracle meat" or "poor people food" is now offered in several different versions, including: Classic, Spread, Garlic, Black Pepper, Jalapeno, Hot & Spicy (Tabasco flavor), Hickory Smoke, with Bacon, with Cheese, with Honey, Less Sodium, Lite (pork shoulder, ham, and mechanically separated chicken), and Oven Roasted Turkey.
    [nb: Now Jackson had his acorns
    And Grant his precious rye;
    Teddy had his poisoned beef –
    Worse you couldn't buy.
    The doughboy had his hardtack
    Without the Navy's jam,
    But armies on their stomachs move –
    And this one moves on Spam.]

Also, the mass distribution of unsolicited e-mail messages to large numbers of newsgroups or mailing lists without regard for subscribers; also known as Excessive Cross-Posting (ECP) and Excessive Multi-Posting (EMP), this violation of netiquette is ostensibly named after the Hormel luncheon meat; see GRAYMAIL, HATE MAIL, NETRUSION. [cf: flame, flame-bait; v: mung, CAPTCHA]

short for the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR; also designated "Sp-Am War". [nb: contrary to popular opinion, this is not the name of the world's first food fight!]

Spanish-American War service
War with Spain
service medal
ostensibly sent to protect American lives and interests [v: URGENT FURY] during Cuban riots, the USS Maine exploded in Havana harbor on 15 February 1898, killing 2 officers and 258 crewmembers, which incident, together with the Cuban revolt against Spanish "concentration camps", where more than 100,000 natives died, and "yellow press" publication of diplomatic exchanges over American interference, finally provoked a declaration of war on 20 April, regardless of the 10 April concessions. The slogan: "Remember the Maine and to hell with Spain" became the rallying cry of this "splendid little war". On 7 July, over Japanese objections, a joint resolution of Congress annexed Hawaii, which was serving as a Naval station for Pacific operations. Spain began negotiations for an armistice on 26 July while fighting continued until 13 August, and the Treaty of Paris was signed on 10 December 1898, granting Cuba independence. Despite the fact that the Teller Amendment (cf: TONKIN GULF RESOLUTION) prohibited annexation of the "Pearl of the Antilles", Spain cedes Puerto Rico, Guam, Wake, and the Philippines to the United States in settlement. From more than 274,000 members of the Cuban Expeditionary Force, the American death toll was 5462, with the majority being due to yellow fever (YELLOW JACK) and MALARIA; but there were only 379 deaths and 1604 wounded as battle casualties. At the end of this four-month war, the Mmanifest Destiny of American imperialism had suddenly acquired a colonial empire that would become a crushing "white man's burden". [v: "manifest Destiny" was coined by John L. O'Sullivan (1839); "White Man's Burden" was coined by J. Rudyard Kipling (1899)] [nb: "It has been a splendid little war, begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificent intelligence and spirit, favored by that fortune which loves the brave." by John Milton Hay (27 July 1898 letter to Theodore Roosevelt)] [nb: Spanish-American War (1898): 306,760 served; 385-2,446 battle deaths; Philippine War (1898-1902): 4,196 battle deaths] [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] [cf: South African War (Boer War 1899-1902)]

Navy service dress uniform, either blues or whites, including cape ("boat cloak"), sword ("spanker"), and pendant medals ("clankers"); see ICE-CREAM SUIT, DRESS WHITES, MESS DRESS, WITH BELLS ON, DRESS.

a stout pole, such as a mast, yard, boom, gaff, etc; see YARDARM, STICK, FISH. Also, a principal lateral member of the framework of the wing of an airplane. Also, acronym for a woman serving in the US Coast Guard's Semper Paratus Auxiliary Reserve (SPAR) during WWII, established 23 Nov 1942 until its 1946 disbandment; in 1978, all separate women's military service corps were dissolved and female servicemembers were fully integrated into the RANKS; and in 1994, the role of qualified women was expanded from service support occupations to "combat support", including police, pilots, and other assignments, including service aboard warships; then in 2016, qualified women were made eligible to compete for equal admission to all combat arms occupations. Compare ANC, WAAC, WAC, WASP, WAFS, WAF, WAVES; see SKIRT. Also, slang for penis, phallus, PRICK / CU, SHORT ARM, JOYSTICK, STICK, YARDARM, HOT DOG, HOSE, BAYONET, BIRD, DIPPER, POGY BAIT, POGUE, and the like; compare LITTLE PRICK, DEAD-SOLDIER, ONIONS.

designation (AIM-7) for the semi-active, medium range, RADAR-homing Air-to-Air MISSILE (AAM); succeeded by AMRAAM.

acronym for Special Proficiency At Rugged Training And Nation-building; being the civic action (CA) project assigned to 5th, 1st, and 7th SPECIAL FORCES Groups during the military downsizing after the VIETNAM WAR. This project extended the urban mainstream efforts of the Eisenhower era in combination with Kennedy era domestic PEACE CORPS (ie: Volunteers In Service To America / VISTA) by improving public health and public works on AmerIndian reservations in Florida, Arizona, and Montana. The education and construction operations, including clinics, that reinforced Native American folkways fulfilled the cross-cultural role of SF, and facilitated a stable transition for units recently withdrawn from combat. At a time when units were disbanded, funds were restricted, and facilities were closing, such CCC-type "make-work" projects kept military skills active while staying "out of sight and out of mind" of governmental economizers. Also, designation for a nuclear surface-to-air guided missile (SAM), formerly deployed as part of the safeguard ballistic missile defense weapon system; designed to intercept strategic ballistic reentry vehicles in the exoatmosphere.

USMC 90mm Self-Propelled Anti-Tank gun, see SP.

SPC / SP4 / SPEC :
Specialist E-4 rating
abbreviation for Specialist, formerly a technical RATING from SP-4 to SP-9 but now only equivalent to Corporal (E-4), and commonly known as BIRD UMBRELLA or "eagle fan"; like Warrant Officers (WO), Specialists have no leadership position in the CHAIN-OF-COMMAND succession (that is, in a FIREFIGHT, when their NCOs are out-of-action, an E-4 medic is subordinate to an E-3 rifleman). [nb: before and during WWII, technical proficiency RATINGs were indicated by the addition of ROCKERs below one or two chevrons (eg: 4 ROCKERs under 1 MOSQUITO WING) which increased responsibility without increasing authority, and increased pay without increasing RANK; not to be confused with the "technician class" (T-1 through T-6) RATINGs]

a phrase regarding the obligation to "speak one's mind" regardless of the consequences, which credo is manifest in the Judeo-Christian ethic. Discovered in the expressions of the artist Bayard Rustin ["the consequences of telling truth to power" (1842)], this phrase has been widely adopted by conscientious objectors (CO) as justification for self-righteous complaints and moralistic protests against the many "inhumane" acts of authoritarian governments. This phrase, attributed to Milton Mayer, was the summary title of a 1955 pamphlet on the religious obligation to represent the faith, and also appeared in a 1982 pamphlet about Quaker interaction with secular power, both published by the AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (AFSC). See WE SHALL OVERCOME, PROTESTOR, PACIFIST, APPEASE, PEACE, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, TRUTH, THE NAKED TRUTH, ACT OF TRUTH, ORDEAL. [nb: silence gives consent; whoever is silent is held to consent ("Qui tacet consentire videtur.")]

Self Protection Electronically Agile Reaction network intrusion defense system.

ostensible Marine slang for the BEAN-COUNTERs and MILICRATs, the REMFs and CLERKS 'n' JERKS, or any other CANDY-ASSed PUKEs who remotely direct hazardous operations from a safe desk in a BASE area; term is supposedly derived from the practice of giving the shaft to the SNUFFYs forming the SPEARHEAD; also called DOGSBODY, functionary, ORDERLY, factotum, AIDE, assistant, comprador, MAN FRIDAY, horse-holder, shield-bearer, spear-carrier, water-hauler, stamp-licker, DUMMY, jack-of-all-trades, drudge, foil, pawn, dupe/doupe, GOFER. Also, a racial slur or ethnic derogation that disparages BLACK people; a bigoted stereotype considered crude and offensive, even in jest. [nb: the ancestors of all peoples used spears; cf: javelin, pike, polearm, poleax/poleaxe, partisan, assegai/assagai, lance, harpoon, trident, leister, gig, pigsticker, truncheon; v: atlatl, woomera]

3rd Armored Division patch
3rd Arm Div
any contingent or force that leads an attack, assault, or other undertaking, being the advance element of an operation; the van or vanguard, storming force or shock troops; also known as "hammerhead" or "hammer's head". Historic reference is made to the "God belonging squadron" of the "pre-doomed" in the Mongolian army of Genghis Khan, the primi ordines ("De Bello Gallico") of Caesar, and later as stormtroopers ("sturmabteilung") of Imperial and Nazi Germany. See POINT, RANGER, SUICIDE SQUAD, PATHFINDER, SENTRY, JUDAS GOAT, RAT RACE, SNOWBALL, DIDDLY, CANNON FODDER, WASTED, AUTOTOMY, BITTER END, BELL THE CAT. [v: enfants perdus, forlorn hope; cf: picket, vedette] [nb: "Whenever there is fighting to be done, the keenest spirits should be appointed to serve in the front ranks, both in order to strengthen the resolution of our own men and to demoralize the enemy." by Chang Yu] [v: morituri te salutamus (Latin: we who are about to die salute you)] Also, the apical point of any shafted weapon. Also, the BATTLE CRY of the Army's 3rd Armored Division.

a military court consisting of at least three officers who may impose a prison sentence of up to six months; see COURT MARTIAL, MCM, UCMJ, MILITARY LAW.

regimental emblem of U.S. Army
Special Forces
SF Rgt
U.S. Army Special Forces (USSF / SF); soldiers are known as "Special Forcemen" or "SFers", but nicknamed GREEN BERETs, SNEAKY PETEs, or SNAKE-EATERs, and their missions are known as "Science Fiction". Special Forces originated on 11 June 1952, its distinctive insignia was authorized on 8 July 1960, its Q-TAB authorized in 1984, and its separate branch in 1987. Composed of personnel with CROSS-TRAINING in basic and specialized military skills, they were organized into small multiple-purpose detachments with the mission to train, organize, supply, and direct INDIGenous forces in guerrilla warfare, unconventional warfare , and to conduct counterinsurgency operations. USSF personnel infiltrate into or out of a partisan area by land, sea, or air; or operate indefinitely as a STAY BEHIND force. The 10th Special Forces Group Airborne (10th SFGA) was organized at Fort Bragg on 19 June 1952 by Aaron Bank; then, after the abortive uprising in East Germany, half of the 10th Group was deployed to Bad Tolz on 11 November 1953, with the remainder redesignated as the 77th Special Forces Group. Sixteen members of the 77th Group were separated on 1 April 1956 to form the 14th Special Forces Operational Detachment (14th SFOD), and were deployed that summer to Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan. The 12th, 13th, and 16th SFODs quickly followed in deployments to the Far East, and were shortly combined into the 8231st Army Special Operations Detachment (8231st ASOD). On 17 June 1957, the 14th and 8231st detachments were united into the 1st Special Forces Group, stationed at Okinawa and responsible for operations in the Asian/Pacific theater. On 6 June 1960, the 77th SFGA was redesignated as the 7th Special Forces Group; then on (15 Apr 1960?) 21 Sept 1961, the 5th Special Forces Group was activated; followed by the 8th SFGA on 1 April 1963, the 6th SFGA on 1 May 1963, and the 3rd SFGA on 5 December 1963. The 77th/7th SFGA and 1st SFGA sent Mobile Training Teams (MTT) to INDOCHINA for TDY tours until Operation SWITCHBACK, commencing November 1963, transferred many CIA projects to military control, then activating Special Forces Vietnam Provisional (SFV/P) in September 1964. When 5th Group was deployed in February 1965, all temporary and provisional elements were subsumed; although cooperation with 46th SF Co and 1st SFGA continued throughout the VIETNAM WAR. 5th Group Headquarters (SFOB) were setup in Nha Trang, then organized into A-/B-/C-Teams, and the GREEKS under Special Operations Augmentation (SOA). In a return to CONUS, the USSF departed RVN on 5 March 1971, and were assigned the low-profile SPARTAN project. When the USSF departed, their COUNTERPART Vietnamese organization, known as Luc Luong Dac Biet (LLDB, VNSF), or derogatorily as "Look Long Duck Back", were disbanded, with their assets and personnel assigned to the Vietnamese AIRBORNE or RANGERs (BDQ). During the post-VN downsizing (RIF, PEACE DIVIDEND), there was an effort to disband Special Forces, but the regiment was only reduced to four active(1SFGA, 5SFGA, 7SFGA, 10SFGA) and three reserve (11SFGA, 19SFGA, 20SFGA) Groups. After the equipment failures and the aircraft collision at Desert One FOB during EAGLE CLAW, the SF regiment was reformed under the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) was activated. See SNEAKY PETE, SNAKE-EATER, BLANKET HEAD, GREEN BERET, ELECTRIC BUTTERKNIFE, BRONZE BRUCE, GABRIEL, ROBIN SAGE, SFQC, THE GREEKS, ODA, A TEAM, ODB, B TEAM, ODC, C TEAM, SFOD, SFOB, SFG, DOOR KICKING, DELTA FORCE, JSOC, ARSOC, SOCOM, USSOC, SOF, SPECIAL OPERATIONS. [nb: The Rangers of World War II and Korea had been designed as light-infantry shock troops; their mission was to hit hard, hit fast, then get out so larger and more heavily armed units could follow through. Special Forces, on the other hand, were designed to spend months, even years, deep within hostile territory. They would have to be self-sustaining, without extensive resupply from the outside. They would have to speak the language and know the customs of their target area.] [nb: six A TEAMs or ODAs comprise a company (CO), three SF Companies comprise a battalion (BN), and four SF Battalions comprise a group (effective 2007); each active duty SF Group specializes in the languages and cultures of a particular region (ie: 1st SFGA in East Asia; 3rd SFGA in Africa, Mid-East, and Central Asia; 5th SFGA in Mid-East and Central Asia; 7th SFGA in South America; and 10th SFGA in Europe)]


U.S. Special Operations Command
Special Operations Command
general classification for unconventional warfare programs or elite forces projects, such as LRRP, I&R, RANGER, FORCE RECON, PHOENIX, UNPFK / UNPIK (CCRAK), JACK, SOG, or THE GREEKS; sometimes subcategorized as "white" for instruction or humanitarian service and "black" for clandestine surveillance or direct action. Specimen organizations include Air Force Special Operations (USAFSOC; 24th Special Tactics Squadron), Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG), Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team 6), ASYMMETRIC WARFARE GROUP (AWG), Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsula (CJSOTF-AP), Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command (CFSOCC), 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta (DELTA FORCE), Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Army Special Operations Command (ARSOC), Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), United States Special Operations Command (USSOC). Troops trained and designated for such programs or projects are generally called "operators", and serve in a Special Operations Force (SOF) or a Special Mission Unit (SMU). USSOCOM, in order to standardize and selectively engage worldwide targets, is supplanting the Security Assistance Force (SAF), specialized by regions, with "global expeditionary forces", which would be amalgamated uniform elements of the SOF concept directly under branch control, obviating interveneing levels of command and control, imitative of the STOVEPIPE allocation with SOG and JSOC assets. See DOOR KICKING, DOUBLE TAP, AT CLOSE QUARTERS, DA, UW, PSYOPS, CA, FID. [nb: without degrading the Marine Corps' primary expeditionary role, it has begun exploring ways and means of involvement without redundancy in special operations missions, given the tenor of counter-guerrilla operations in the prevailing atmosphere of low-intensity conflicts] [nb: purportedly, the military uses the term "joint" (to join) to indicate two or more elements from the same service or nation, and the term "combined" (by twos) to indicate two or more interservice or international elements, hence a "joint action" might involve the Army and Navy, while a "combined action" might involve the US and UK; additionally, the term "composite" (put together) indicates a compound of disparate elements forming a whole, while the term "component" (put together) indicates constituent elements of a greater whole]

(spek-ops) SPECial OPerationS, ranging from Army RANGERs and Navy SEALs to USAF AIR COMMANDOs and USMC FORCE RECON, which is typically disclaimed with the gruesome caveat: "If I told you then I'd have to kill you!"; see SOF, SPECIAL OPERATIONS.

misspelling of SPECTRE (qv).

Lockheed-Martin-Marietta AC-130 turboprop GUNSHIP with four 7.62mm MINIGUNs and four 20mm cannons (or two 40mm cannons), or 105mm HOWITZER on-board for aerial support of ground action; successor to AC-47 PUFF / DRAGON / SPOOKY gunship. The DAKOTA had only a port-side door, but the multiple-egress HERKY BIRD still flies the same left-hand pattern, using enhanced night detection and navigation devices. SPECTRE motto is "Death waits in the Dark". Also, designation of several fixed-wing gunships, including the Fairchild AC-119, the Fairchild AC-123, and the Lockheed AC-130; the name of these gunships is sometimes misspelled "Specter". Also, early designation of the McDonnell F-110A / F-4C Phantom II fighter.

the consideration of a topic or an idea; a conjecture on probability and possibility. Also, the contemplation of some subject or theme, especially when a conclusion or resolution is reached; a supposition or surmise leading to an assumption or hypothesis. See HOUSE OF CARDS, WET DREAM, MAGGOT, MIND CANDY, FAIRY DUST; compare ABSTRACTION, REALPOLITIK, REALITY. [v: flight of fancy ('jeu d'esprit': "play of the mind"); cf: flight of ideas] [aka: imagination, reverie, fancy, vision, dream, pipe-dream, fantasy / phantasy] [nb: "We ought not add wings to our suppositions and speculations, but lard them with ballast as a solid counterbalance." attributed to Roger Bacon]

a flap deployed from the wings or fuselage of an aircraft, as a dive bomber or sailplane, that increases drag so as to permit a relatively steep angle of descent without a dangerous buildup in speed; also called "air brake" or "dive brake". Compare FLAP, AILERON, ELEVATOR, ELEVON, DRAG, DIRTY.

dismissive euphemism for an Iraqi fortification during the GULF WAR (Operation Desert Storm); by extension from the rounded pavement ridges used to selectively restrict vehicular acceleration. Later extended [during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)] to any inconvenient obstruction, such as an annoying infantryman (CRUNCHY) or a casual civilian (MUSHROOM).

in NavSpeak, a citation issued by the MASTER-AT-ARMS (MA) for any petty infraction of procedures or regulations; a delinquency report (DR) that may require counseling or extra duty, and will affect promotion or retention. See CHICKEN SHIT, ELEPHANT SHIT, MICKEY MOUSE.


a squared-away and highly motivated soldier; often used sarcastically when a Soldier is motivated but doesn't really know what he's doing; also known as "high speed, low drag". See BOY WONDER, HOT DOG, TAP-DANCER; compare HARD CHARGER, FAST MOVER, BOOMER, BARREL-ASS, BALLS TO THE WALL, HARD-ASS, SWEAT HOG, HOT SHOT, GOLDEN BOY, SUPER-TROOPER, FUGLEMAN.

Marine light observation helicopter (Hughes OH-6A Cayuse); see LOH, CHOPPER. Also, the most common misnomer for seminal emission, semen or ejaculate, cream or gravy, jism or cum, especially its residue or remnants, leftovers or leavings; see SPUNK, PECKER TRACKS, CASTOFF, TRACE, FIRING LINE, CIRCLE JERK, ONIONS, MACHO.

any of a class of pungent or aromatic substances of vegetable origin (eg: pepper, cinnamon, clove, etc) that're used as seasoning, preservatives, or the like; see GUSTO, CONDIMENTS. [v: fines herbes] [v: chacun à son gout (French: each to his own taste); de gustibus non est disputandum (Latin: there is no arguing about taste); pièce de résistance (French: the principal dish of a meal)] Also, a form of Synthetic Marijuana that claims to be an herbal mixture, composed of natural plant materials and chemical additives, which may be consumed by smoking, burning as incense, or drunk as a brewed infusion (like tea); because this designer drug is psychoactive, it's regulated and sanctioned; compare CAN SA, GRASS, HAY, STICK, TAR, HUBBLE-BUBBLE, PIGTAIL; see STONED, WASTED, COLORS, LSD, ANGEL DUST, BATH SALTS, DOPE, JUNK.

a one-man fighting position, dug-in and camouflaged, usually temporary; see FOXHOLE, HASTY TRENCH, BUNKER, E-TOOL. Also, a one-man position, used for surveillance or fighting by insurgents or guerrillas, often connected to another hole or a tunnel network. Called a MOUSE HOLE when situated in urban terrain. [v: Military Earthworks Terms]

a survival sensitivity developed by combatants that alerts them to being observed, especially as a target, without any substantial evidence; an expression popularized by GULF WAR veterans from the "Spiderman" superhero comics, wherein this ability was negated by the Green Goblin; being an intuition of noumenon, or a creepy crawly PARANOIA. [aka: anschauung, sixth sense, third ear, third eye, clairvoyance, sagacity, perspicacity]

NavSpeak for "Special Purpose Insertion - Extraction System", see FRIES, SPY RIGGING, TRAWL.

a spoon with a knife on the end (eg: green plastic kiwi spoon); see KFS.

to impale or pierce, as with a BAYONET. Also, to fix or secure, as a "spike camp"; see RON, LAAGER, COLD CAMP, NDP [cf: line camp, shelter camp]. Also, to disable or disarm, as when destroying a breechloading gun; see SPIKE THEIR GUNS. Also, to thwart or suppress, as a "spike team", being a small direct-action special operations unit; see SOG.

a small direct-action special operations unit used to thwart or suppress, sabotage or surveil the enemy; compare RECON TEAM (RT); see SOG. [nb: following the consolidation and reorganization of SOG in 1967, the "Hatchet Force" and "Recon Team" designations bestowed upon elements of the FOBs were altered to "Exploitation Force" and "Spike Team" under the new Command and Control (CCN, CCC, CCS) differentiations, which added confusion, such that many references of the era are mixed] [nb: Vietnamese term: Loi Ho, Trinh Sat] [v: a Sampling of Reconnaissance and Surveillance Insignia]

used literally to disable or disarm, as when destroying a breechloading gun; used figuratively to frustrate or forestall, thwart or hinder, prevent or impede, as when blocking execution or curtailing fulfillment.


slang for a severe or gaping abdominal wound, especially when the intestines protrude, or are otherwise exposed; see COMPRESS, SYRETTE, BLOOD EXPANDER, DOG BITE, MED BAG. [nb: not to be confused with "spill his guts", meaning to reveal everything; cf: gutt, disembowel, eviscerate]

the sudden nose-down descent of an aircraft in a spiral (helical) path; also called "tailspin"; being when an airplane revolves about its horizontal axis or rotates around an imaginary vertical line in an uncontrolled descent, usually as a result of inexperience, especially during or after a STALL; compare FLAT SPIN, SNAP ROLL, BARREL ROLL; see AEROBATICS. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon] Also, to cause something to revolve or rotate rapidly, as something that whirls or twirls. Also, the stabilized axial rotation of a projectile discharged through the rifled ("lands and grooves") BORE of a gun barrel; see RIFLING, TRAJECTORY. Also, to derive something by expanding or extending part of what already exists; a 'spin off'. Also, (mis-)representation of a particular viewpoint, especially to explicate some political bias or prejudice, or to implicate some slanted or distorted reportage; see DISINFORMATION, PROPAGANDA, BIG STORY, BIG LIE, FACTOID, HOOPLA, RED INK, WAR STORY, SEA STORY, TELL IT TO THE MARINES, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, RUMOR.


operational COVER name for the CHOKE POINT road block implemented by a SOG "Hatchet" / "Exploitation Force" to prevent cross-border support for the 3 March 1969 attack on BenHet. [nb: this road block for BenHet prevented a re-play of the DakTo and LangVei battles, since enemy PT-76 armor INTEL was heeded, and enemy resupply was inhibited; this operation was the only tactically successful road block of the HO CHI MINH TRAIL during the VIETNAM WAR] Also, a colloquialism for ending the rotation of a propeller before engine shut-down in preparation for parking the aircraft or vessel that's driven by such propulsion. Also, by metaphoric extension of the shut-down sequence, ending something that will soon be withdrawn from active service, such as alerting a unit for rotation out of the operational area; see STAND-DOWN, STACK ARMS; compare SPIN-UP.


a streamlined FAIRING over a propeller hub; see NOSE, COWLING, WHEEL PANTS.


a colloquialism for beginning the rotation of a propeller after engine start-up in preparation for operating the aircraft or vessel that's driven by such propulsion. Also, by metaphoric extension of the start-up sequence, beginning something that will soon be put into full service, such as alerting a unit for deployment; see STAND-UP, LOADOUT, MISSION READY, JUMP-START, CHAMP AT THE BIT, SADDLE-UP; compare SPIN DOWN.

Northrop-Grumman B-2 strategic bomber aircraft, also known as the "beak" or "stealth bomber"; see BIRD.

spirit money to be burned in
ancestor ritual
spirit money
paper "money", often of elaborate design, that is used throughout Asia to "enrich" the deceased by burning at funerals or by donating at altars or "spirit houses" during other rituals; this afterlife currency, also called "ghost money", is sometimes inscribed with prayers, and is produced in very high denominations as an expression of filial devotion. Because paper money adversely affected inflation through distrust and forgery, the Chinese government recycled it with more and more elaborate designs, allowing the outdated currency to be used as SPIRIT MONEY for the deceased to spend in the afterlife; special issues of SPIRIT MONEY were later produced for burning at the funeral, which practice is still followed today. See FUNNY MONEY, MPC, CANDY, SUPER NOTE, BAD PAPER, LEGAL TENDER. [nb: 'ang pau' is a red packet with money that's given with well wishes to others on special occasions, such as wedding anniversary, birthday, or Chinese new year]



polite form of the WWII slang designation for an Imperial Japanese SUBCHASER, a small ASW patrol craft, which was popularly dubbed SHIT CAN after its official 'SC' designation.

slang for shine, spitshine, polish, clean thoroughly; to make spick-and-span or STRAC. It's an established tenet of combat arms that real soldiers are more spit than polish; a MURPHY LAW of Combat states that "No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection, and no inspection ready unit has ever passed combat!". See BRASSO, BLITZ CLOTH, TOY SOLDIER, PALACE GUARD.

a shoeshine in which a liquid (eg: water, saliva, lighter fluid, or the like) is used to impart a high gloss.

the PROWORD that's broadcast when laying a surveillance pattern of floating SONOBUOY detection sensors at sea; see SONAR, MAD.

a knife, fork, and spoon combined into one device, consisting of a tined spoon with a sharpened edge; invented in 1943 by Bill McArthur of Potts Point, New South Wales, Australia; see KFS.

in naval gunfire and artillery support, a verbal warning sent to an observer (FO / ANGLICO) or SPOTTER of the impending (approximately five seconds) impact of a round or SALVO; compare TOT, SHOT OUT, see SCRAM. Also, the visually verified or RADAR confirmed destruction of an aerial target (ie: BANDIT, MISSILE), especially to knock-down, shoot-down , or force out of the air, as onto the surface or into the water (eg: FEET WET over THE DRINK); see TALLY-HO, JUDY, PICKLE, SCRAM, SMOOGE, HIGH 'n' DRY.

the landing of a seaplane, amphibious aircraft, or other airborne object (eg: space capsule) on a body of water, especially for discharge or recovery; see TOUCHDOWN, BOUNCE, LETDOWN, WINDSOCK.

an acronym in NavSpeak representing SPecial LIBerty, being a period of compensatory time (comp-time); see PASS, CINDERELLA PASS, STEEL BEACH, LEAVE, OFF-DUTY. Also, a derogatory acronym (Semi-Permanent Low-Income Black) that's been used since WWII for shiftless or fly-by-night BLACK people; see SPOOK, SMOKE, LEROY, SPEAR-CHUCKER.


a piece of armor-plate surrounding the protruding barrel(s) of CREW-SERVED WEAPONS, serving as a protective barrier for the gun crew; compare SPONSON, BARBETTE; see RING MOUNT, PINTLE, CUPOLA. Also, any armor-plate or hardened steel barrier added onto a vehicle or craft to protect the driver and passengers while traveling in a combat zone, such as the shoulder-high panels on a JEEP; see UP-ARMOR, HARDEN.

slang for depart or escape, cut and run or getaway, flee or skip, book or scatter, abscond or GHOST; see E&E, SAFE, SERE, EXFIL, RABBIT, SQUIRTER, BOLT HOLE, SCRAM, CHANGING TUNE, BEAT FEET, CUT AND RUN, BAILOUT, DECAMP, HAUL-ASS, CHOGI, PULL PITCH, SCRAMBLE, DODGE THE BULLET, PASS, SHOVE-OFF, BLUE PETER, FRENCH LEAVE, ETD, ATD. Also, vulgar and derogatory designation of a female servicemember, by synecdochic reference to her genitals; see STRANGE, SNATCH, HAPPY VALLEY, CAMP FOLLOWER, CAMPAIGN WIFE, SHACK-JOB, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, SLEEPING DICTIONARY, BALL BUSTER, BITCH, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, SQUEAK, SKIRT, DISTAFF; compare PRICK, CU, ONIONS. [v: Hottentot apron, Nez Percé plucked pubes (glabrous), Yakima thong, and Arabic nymphotomy, labial excision, or clitoral circumcision]

an aircraft reversing maneuver so as to quickly depart by rolling inverted and diving back; also known as a "reverse Immelmann turn", consisting of a climb at a 45° angle, rotating the nose 180° to the inverted, and following the back side of a loop ... which aerobatic maneuver is essentially the opposite of a "Half Cuban Eight". See AEROBATICS. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]


a preemptive 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. A SPOILING ATTACK intends to catch the enemy "wrong-footed", no longer defensive but not yet offensive, so as to exploit their transitional vulnerability. Compare PREEMPTIVE STRIKE, DETERRENCE, COUNTERPUNCH, RETALIATION, REPRISAL, MEETING ENGAGEMENT, AMBUSH, FORCE MULTIPLIER, FIREFIGHT, CONTACT, FRONTAL ASSAULT, BATTLE.

that which is despoiled by PILLAGE or PLUNDER, as in war; see SPOILS OF WAR, HAVOC, RANSACK, ROMAN HOLIDAY. [v: spoils system, patronage, nepotism; ety: evict/eviction originated as the recovery of property by conquest] [nb: "to the victor belong the spoils" by William Learned Marcy]

the loot, booty, pillage, or plunder captured in war; being the first method of paying the soldiers and sailors engaged in battle, of compensating the families of those maimed and killed in combat, and of financing military expeditions and expenditures; as such, prize money has not been awarded to Americans since 1899, and not to Brits since WWII. Prize money has been processed by prize commissions under prize law since the end of privateering, but the seizure or destruction of private property has since been subject to compensation (v: appropriation, expropriation, purveyance, preemption), and the personnel involved subject to military justice. See RANSACK, PILLAGE, PLUNDER, ROMAN HOLIDAY, HAVOC, SOUVENIR, FORAGE, REQUISITION, COMMANDEER, MIDNIGHT REQUISITION, WARDROOM, CARPETBAGGERS, KHAKI MAFIA, WAR CRIMES TRIAL. [v: "a nigger in the woodpile"] [cf: comprador/compradore; v: spoils system, patronage, nepotism]

a structure projecting from the front or side of a vehicle, or the main DECK of a vessel, as a gun support; compare CUPOLA, BLISTER, TURRET, DUSTBIN, BARBETTE, RING MOUNT, PINTLE, SPLINTER SHIELD. [nb: on aircraft, blister is transparent, sponson is not transparent, turret is transparent and rotates]

an unconstrained act or unplanned expression that results from a natural impulse, which represents a CIVILIAN atavism that should have been expunged from every MIL-PERS during basic training, and demonstrates unDISCIPLINEd (mis-)conduct that may be subject to NON-JUDICIAL PUNISHMENT, at the discretion of the commander (LDR); such an unpremeditated gesture, albeit autonomic, may be accommodated by military strictures, such as the allocation of "free time" or the directive to march in ROUTE STEP, despite the fact that this class of involuntary behavior is alien within the military milieu. [v: sense of humor; cf: Zen mind]

any hoax or trick, such as a computer program or internet protocol that enables unauthorized access, typically for illegal or harmful purposes; see DECEPTION, TRICK, NETRUSION, MEACONING, MIJI, TROJAN HORSE, SABOTAGE.

slang for any covert or clandestine operative, especially CIA or CIC agents; an operative from related agencies or similar organizations was called a "cousin". See SECRET AGENT, SLEEPER, CREEP, CRYPTO, MOLE, INVISIBLE, FIX, RABBIT, CUTOUT, PROVOCATEUR, SWEEPER, CLEAN, NIGHTCRAWLER, STOOGE, DANGLE, DECOY, THROW-AWAY, HANDLER, LEGEND, BACKSTOP, TALK THE TALK, ESPIONAGE, TRADECRAFT; compare BABY 007, MUSHROOM. [v: intelligencer] Also, a racial slur or ethnic derogation that disparages BLACK people; a bigoted stereotype considered crude and offensive, even in jest.

AC-47 aircraft fitted with three 7.62mm MINIGUNs and illumination FLAREs, also called PUFF (the Magic Dragon) or DRAGON. Compare SPECTRE.

the initial start of a helicopter's main rotor, beginning slow and winding faster to full pitch; also called "wind-up" or "crank-up".

slang for the lever release mechanism on US-made grenades; it vaguely resembles the flat-bottomed angled-handle porcelain spoon that's used in Asia by people who cannot otherwise manage liquid foods; see FRAG, GAMMON GRENADE, GRENADE. Also, the primary eating utensil of field troops, who often dispense with the superfluous fork and knife to save space and weight; since Paleolithic times, wood chips (spon) and mollusk shells (cochlea) have been used as 'spoons' by different peoples, then later crafted from horn, bone, ivory, pottery, porcelain, glass, pewter, iron, tin, bronze, silver, gold, jade, agate, soapstone, and the like; see PARTISAN'S SECRET WEAPON, KFS, CHOPSTICK, MESS KIT, COVER. [v: ladle, slotted spoon, runcible spoon] [nb: during the Renaissance, when the Catholic church advocated non-violence, dinner knives were made blunt, with a rounded tip, so that any cut food that could not be speared on the tines of the fork could be scooped-up by the knife for consumption; because multi-tined forks were introduced about the same time that sharply pointed dinner knives were banned, this European style of eating, with a fork in one hand and the knife in the other, became a marked contrast with the American "zigzag" style, where the sharply pointed knife was never prohibited, and utensils were picked up and laid down, switching hands as needed ... before the modern era, dinner cutlery in Europe consisted of the knife and fork, while in America, it consisted of the knife and spoon] [nb: since the invention of the chopstick in Asia, displacing the spoon, liquids are either drunk directly from the container, or the chopsticks are rapidly whirled before the mouth so the contents may be supped; the large, flat-bottomed, angled-handled, porcelain spoon is reserved for children and the elderly or infirm]

the trace evidence, especially the residue or remnants, vestage or leavings that remain after a man or animal passes through an environment, which makes the tracking or trailing of their activity possible; see CASTOFF, PECKER TRACKS, BLOOD TRAIL, TRAIL, TRACE, TRACK, WALK BACK THE CAT, INDIAN ROPE TRICK, BREADCRUMBING. [v: pug / pug marks] [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]

an all-purpose term for any hybrid of spoon, fork, and knife; see KFS.

a spoon with tines added, first introduced to the lexicon in 1909; see KFS. [v: terrapin fork, runcible spoon]

apocryphal group of "white hunters" on "safari" to "bag" local "game" or "wildlife"; also called "Vietnam Hunt Club", "Southeast Asia Sport Hunting Club", "Viet Cong Hunting Club", and "Native Sport Club". See 72 VIRGINS DATING SERVICE; compare TONKIN GULF YACHT CLUB, PERSIAN GULF YACHT CLUB.

a fair opportunity for a favorable outcome in an enterprise, such as winning in a game or contest. See BY THE BOOK, CHAPTER AND VERSE, HIDEBOUND, BRASSBOUND, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), LAWS OF WAR, EQUAL PROTECTION, GAME THEORY, GAMBIT, WAR GAMES, EQUALIZER, OFF THE RESERVATION, OUTSIDE THE WIRE, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, DOG-EAT-DOG, TOOTH 'n' NAIL, BATTLE ROYAL. [v: fair play, level playing field, sportsmanship]

a colored silicone-gel rubber wristband displayed for public awareness; this consciousness-raising token is also called a "baller band"; see YELLOW RIBBON.

slang for the lowest grade of warrant officer (WO1 / WOJG) by allusion to the appearance of its RANK insignia, which shows a single black square centered on a silver bar; also known as "crouton"; see MISTER, WOBBLY, WO.

a mottled or dappled disruptive camouflage pattern, including LEOPARD and "duck hunter", flecktarn and "raindrop"; see CAMMIES, CAMO, DRESS.

disparaging reference to a classmate in a training organization who contributes little or cooperates minimally, conserving his resources and reserving his talents, until he's placed "on the spot" where his superior performance will be recognized and he will personally benefit from this attention; otherwise capable individuals who only perform at a high level when they are in leadership positions are notorious for not exerting helpful influence and not overtaxing their abilities. Such selfishness erodes morale and weakens the group's ability to achieve success ... this unwillingness to subordinate one's ambition and to promote cooperative teamwork can jeopardize the shared goal. Despite this person's inherent abilities, he's generally deflective or obstructive, inspiring enmity, which he disdains as jealousy. Also known as scene-stealer, show-off, cock of the walk, upstart, exhibitionist, status-seeker, social-climber, ladder monkey, parvenu. See LDR, SHAKE 'n' BAKE, LITTLE PRICK, MARTINET, WARLORD, THE MAN ON HORSEBACK, FAST TRACK, KHAKI MAFIA, BRASS EAR, PIG LOOKING AT A WRISTWATCH, DRONE, HOLLOW BUNNY, BROWN NOSER, NOSE COUNT, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, POPULARITY CONTEST, EMPTY SUIT, MILICRAT.

Submittal for Planning, Operations, and Training; a concise narrative report of essential information covering events or conditions that may have an immediate and significant effect on current planning and operations that is afforded the most expeditious means of transmission consistent with requisite security. See SITREP, SALUTE, MISREP, FRAG REPORT.

the observer, target selector, range estimater, shooting coach, rear guard, and assistant gunner on a SNIPER team; the person responsible for coordination and surveillance, and commander of the SNIPER team. Also, concise reference to an aerial observer (eg: FO, FAC) or their aircraft (eg: BIRD DOG, SKYMASTER, CAYUSE, HELIX). Also, any observer or surveiller, such as an "Air Raid Warden" or "coast watcher"; see TRAIL WATCHER, SNOOPER, LRSP, LRRP, RECON, WATCHER, GROUND OBSERVER CORPS, WEFT, PEEPERS, ARGUS, WEATHER EYE, TELLTALE, COIGN OF VANTAGE. Also, the REGISTRATION or MARKER ROUND fired by artillery (ARTY) to be adjusted onto the target; also called "spotter round". Also, an observer stationed for designating targets and to report the results of naval gunfire to the firing agency; and who may be a member of a Naval Gunfire Spotting Team. [nb: US naval gunfire includes a dye-marker to help identify shots during multiple ship engagements, and to help adjust the POINT OF IMPACT by fire observation, which normally takes 8-10 rounds due to calculations of barrel/air temperatures and the moving platform of a ship at sea]

that class of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that are used for observation or surveillance, reconnaissance or target acquisition; typically unarmed and of short duration, these compact lookout platforms are remotely controlled BOTs with infrared (IR) and night vision capability as well as standard OVERSIGHT.

an immovable join of the shooter's cheek to the rifle's stock, as if welded into place, by analogy to a small heat and pressure union that has larger control and greater effect, so as to recover more quickly from the firing RECOIL and effectively re-acquire the target. See BASS, KICK, FIREPOWER, SIGHT PICTURE, PEEP SIGHT, ZERO, TRAIN. [v: Firearms Glossary]

military designation of a husband or wife, being the legal DEPENDENT of a servicemember; as derived from "pledge [marriage]" ('espouse').

to shoot on full automatic fire, as "spray 'n' pray"; the kill ratio to expended AMMO during the VIETNAM WAR was about 20,000 rounds per enemy kill. See ROCK 'n' ROLL, HOSE, FLOCK SHOOT, BLIND FIRE, BUSTING CAPS, HAPPY FIRE, MAD MINUTE, MOAN 'n' GROAN, ENFILADE; compare DOUBLE TAP.

a chronic tropical disease of intestinal malabsorption that's characterized by DIARRHEA, ulceration, wasting, and a smooth tongue; primary intestinal malabsorption (cachexia aphthosa) with steatorrhea.

in NavSpeak, the stern gallery on an aircraft carrier (CV), where a low ramp strike occurs; see TAILHOOK, NIGHT TRAP, PADDLES, WAVE OFF, FLATTOP. Also, the pantry for fresh vegetables situated near the GALLEY aboard ship; used among Marines to disdainfully dismiss someone's SEA STORY as improbable: "The only action you've ever seen was in the SPUD LOCKER!".

pluck, gumption, spirit, mettle; as derived from semen or ejaculate, "water of the heart" ... being an allegedly great, but extremely inappropriate, compliment to a woman ("That girl's spunky!"), which is the equivalent of "She's got balls!" or "She's got hair on her chest!" as uttered by both sexes; see GUTS, MOXIE; compare ONIONS, MACHO, PECKER TRACKS, FIRING LINE, STRANGE, SPLIT. Also, tinder, touchwood, PUNK; as derived from spark (funk); see SLOW MATCH. The word "spunk", meaning spark or sparkling, has also referred to PUNK and to "mettle", with the implication that readiness becomes courage.

spur motif of 61st Cavalry
shoulder patch
61st Cavalry
the informal induction ceremony whereby new members of both air (AIR CAV) and armored (ACR) cavalry squadrons "earn their spurs" by answering questions on CAV history and lineage, negotiating a land navigation (ORIENTEERING) course, singing of traditional ballads, acting as "mounts" for piggyback rides through an OBSTACLE COURSE, performing selective PT, and drinking (called "wetting down") from their Stetson cavalry hats. Spurs and Stetsons are usually worn at informal gatherings of cavalry unit members, but some commanders have authorized their wear with CLASS-A uniforms for select formations during and after the VIETNAM WAR. See ORDER OF THE SPUR, CAMPAIGN HAT, INITIATION, LONG KNIFE, YELLOWLEG, TOAD, TANKER, BOOTS AND SADDLES, CAVALRY WHISKERS, STIRRUP CUP, YELLOW RIBBON.

a person employed by a government to secretively or furtively obtain sensitive information or intelligence about another country, with special reference to any hostile military or naval affairs. Also, the act of obtaining confidential information about the plans, activities, methods, or parties of an opposition element or competing organization; see ESPIONAGE, CE, CI, CIC, MI, SECRET AGENT, SPOOK, CRYPTO, HOUSE OF SPOOKS, HOUSE OF SPIES. Also, to be on the lookout; to keep watch; to catch sight of; derived as a variant of espy. Also, to search for something, or to examine something closely or inspect something carefully; descry. [nb: "There are some who become spies for money, or out of vanity and megalomania, or out of ambition, or out of a desire for thrills. But the malady of our time is of those who become spies out of idealism." by Max Lerner (1952, 1959); "I cannot think that espionage can be recommended as a technique for building an impressive civilisation. It's a lout's game." by Rebecca West (1949); "What do you think spies are: priests, saints and martyrs? They're a squalid procession of vain fools, traitors too, yes; pansies, sadists and drunkards, people who play cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten lives." by John LeCarre (1963)]

a transfer medium (eg: scent marker, UV stain, etc) that can be applied to files and furniture, windows and floors so as to detect security violations by TRACKing the spoor out of the control zone or off the protected premises; a post-WWII technology invented by the Soviet Union's secret police and immediately adopted by all other surveillance agencies for document and data monitoring. See TRADECRAFT. [nb: even talcum powder can be used as an intrusion detector]

the use of a PERISCOPE or SPOTTER DRONE to vertically rise or pop-up above surrounding obstacles in order to quickly surveil the operational area (AO), by imitation of animal behavior (eg: whales, wolves, etc); see ESPY, TURKEY PEEK.

an airplane or aircraft of various configurations (such as SR-71 Blackbird or U-2 Dragon Lady, B-57 Martin or OV-1 Mohawk, P-2 Neptune or P-3 Orion, P-38 Lightning or P-51 Mustang, EP-3 Aries or F-35 Joint Strike Fighter) that's used to secretively or furtively observe the military or naval affairs of an enemy or some other opposition element with hostile intent in the gathering of sensitive information or intelligence. Typically unarmed and camouflaged, these surveillance platforms do not require high performance or stealth characteristics; also being used for border survey and mapping. Also, any platform or vehicle outfitted for such surveillance, such as a satellite (SAT) or SPYSHIP.

the ROPEs or ropework that's suspended from a helicopter to which Marines are attached at their ends for INSERTION into or EXTRACTION out of dense foliage or difficult terrain that prevents helicopters from landing ... properly known as 'Special Purpose Insertion - Extraction System' (SPIES) but sometimes called "dope on a rope". See STABO, McGUIRE RIG, RAPPEL, SNAKING, SKYHOOK, RATLINE, NET, DEBARKATION NET, JACOB'S LADDER.

a craft or vessel that's used to secretively or furtively observe the military or naval affairs of an enemy or some other opposition element with hostile intent in the gathering of sensitive information or intelligence. Typically unarmed and camouflaged, these surveillance platforms do not require high performance or stealth characteristics; also being used for border survey and mapping. Also, any platform or vehicle outfitted for such surveillance, such as a satellite (SAT) or SPYPLANE.

SQuaDroN; a military unit equivalent to an Army battalion (BN), subordinate to a regiment (RGT); Air Force squadrons are subordinate to a GROUP, and Naval squadrons are subordinate to a FLOTILLA. See HHT, TRP.

Skill Qualification Identifier, being a prefix or suffix appended to an individual's military occupational specialty (MOS) indicating their skill level; also known as Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) ... examples include: 7 prefix for AIRBORNE officers, 3 prefix for SPECIAL FORCES officers, V suffix for AIRBORNE RANGER, S suffix for SPECIAL FORCES, F suffix for PATHFINDER, W suffix for JUMPMASTER, and so forth. See MOS, PMOS, AIT, AFEES, RECEPTION STATION, MEPS, ASVAB, AFQT, AFGCT, Q-COURSE, SFQC, CROSS-TRAINING, OJT, MIL-CRAFT, PRO PAY, DOG TAG, BILLET, BERTH.

a basic organizational element, usually consisting of two infantry FIRE TEAMs, and commanded by a non-commissioned officer (NCO), who's called a squad leader (SL); three or four squads normally comprise a platoon (PLT), and members thereof are informally called a "squadie". ARMOR and CAV units often pair or team their TRACKS to form a squad; while the HOWITZER or gun and its crew are considered a squad in artillery units. Technical organizations, such as RADAR or COMMO, usually identify their squads as "sections". See STACK, CHALK, FIRE 'n' MANEUVER, COMMAND ELEMENT. [nb: Vietnamese term: Tieu Doi]

a military unit equivalent to an Army battalion (BN), subordinate to a regiment (RGT); Air Force squadrons are subordinate to a GROUP, and Naval squadrons are subordinate to a FLOTILLA; abbreviated SQDN.

the requirement, especially while undergoing military training, to turn precise 90° or right-angled corners, whether alone or in formation; while such exact cornering is always performed when marching, it's also normal practice when a subordinate reports to a superior ... such right-angled turns differentiate MIL-PERS from civilians, who are notorious for their wandering and wavering perambulations!

everything in proper order, fit and ready, trim and tidy; related rhyming slang enjoins timely preparedness with "Be there; be square!" Although universal in the modern era, this expression purportedly derives from the naval practice of properly aligning the sails aboard ship. See SHIPSHAPE, SPIT 'n' POLISH, STRAC.

contrary to the conventional "properly nutritious meal" meaning of this phrase, the military uses it to designate a specific manner of food consumption for particular persons during an early phase of their training so as to impose additional stress and hardship. Leadership trainees, both enlisted and officer, undertake such additional discipline to qualify for advancement in the program, where restrictions will later be lessened. Although details vary from one institution to another, a SQUARE MEAL typically consists of the student being seated on the front half of his chair in a posture of rigid ATTENTION, with one hand in his lap (or on his leg) and the other moving food from his plate (or MESS TRAY) in exact right-angled movements ... without lowering his head or bending his back. Needless to say, little food is consumed, and any food spills that stain his uniform will require a change before the next formation! This systematic "semi-starvation" compels most to cooperate in clandestine POGY BAIT parties, which are, of course, illegal ... and part of the "survival game" that's played between CADRE and CADETs. Some schools head each dining table with an upperclassman, who will not only direct the proceedings, but will also harass each individual with apposite questions. Other training courses make SQUARE MEALs an extension of "squared corners" and "bracing" (BRACE) that's the uniform policy for all candidates enrolled during a particular phase. Compare THREE SQUARES; see CADET, TRADE SCHOOL, CHOW, BEANS, RATIONS.


an exercise, such as knee-bends or squat-thrusts, designed to strengthen the thighs and groin; commonly used as mild harassment or punishment, in the same way as PUSH-UPs, for fully loaded infantrymen or fully packed PARATROOPERs; see DROP, FRONT LEANING REST, JUMPING JACK, EXERCISE, PAIN. Also, to crouch or hunker with the legs drawn-up closely to or beneath the body, as to sit on one's haunches or heels; being the most appropriate seated posture whenever furniture is not available to prevent from sitting directly on the ground, which is often dirty or wet, and sometimes contaminated; see TAKE A KNEE, DUCK-WALK, FROGMARCH, LOW-CRAWL. Also, slang for a dwelling or shelter, especially a rude or crude one; see BILLET, BERTH, QTRS, HUTMENT, QUONSET HUT, TEAMHOUSE, SEA HUT, B-HUT, CHU, HOOCH, SHEBANG, WANIGAN, BOLT HOLE, HIDE. Also, a thing of little or no value, as naught or nothing, nil or aught, rush or zilch, CIPHER or NULLITY, ZIP or ZERO; being a euphemism for DIDDLY, diddly-squat, doodly-squat, diddlyshit, doodly-shit. Also, the minimum amount or degree, as the least bit; diddle, diddlyshit, doodle, doodly-shit. Also, a euphemism for SHIT (qv). Also, the tendency of a motorcraft or vessel to draw more water astern when in motion forward than when stationary or halted.

to transmit, or to activate a transponder broadcast with "modes and codes"; see IFF, WEFT, ELT, INS, HOMER, PIPSQUEAK, PAINT, IR MARKERS, SCRAM, BITCHIN' BETTY, PEANUT, LOCATOR BEACON. [nb: IFF code 7700 is reserved for emergency SQUAWK]


any sharp cry or shrill sound, often short, and indicative of stress or distress. Also, any informal meeting or casual gathering of female MIL-PERS, characterized by the vocalization of high-pitched inarticulate noise, often capable of shattering glass and cracking enamel, accompanied by an energetic exhibition of graceless paroxysms and other exuberant spasms, seemingly spontaneous and ostensibly expressive of uncontrollable pleasure in an unmilitary affirmation of sisterly solidarity, which shortly yields an eye-watering and lung-gasping pother of competing aromas and scents, bewitching and befuddling by turns, enabling their restive mastery ... being a term used since WWII for an entirely frivolous episode designed to embarrass onlookers, discredit authority, and validate their status in the perennial "war between the sexes"; see BITCH, SPLIT, SKIRT, DISTAFF. Also, a hairsbreadth escape from danger, defeat, or death; as a narrow SQUEAK, a CLOSE CALL, or CLOSE SHAVE; compare WITHOUT TURNING A HAIR. Also, to succeed or survive by a very narrow margin, as to "SQUEAK by" or "SQUEAK through".

to obtain INTEL or other information by harassment or duress, intimidation or threat; being an investigative or interrogation technique, so-called by analogy to the primary definition of "to force out, extract, or procure by pressure", which is also the basis of the "squeeze play" sports analogy. Compare ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, BITCH SLAP, BASHING, OVER A BARREL, BLISTER, THIRD DEGREE, SWEAT, SONG AND DANCE, CAT-O'-NINE-TAILS, GAUNTLET, FROGMARCH, PAIN, SCAR, FLUTTER, TRADECRAFT, BRAINWASHING, TRUTH SERUM, REEDUCATION, TORTURE.

the transciever control which reduces or silences STATIC or NOISE; an automatic circuit that reduces or eliminates NOISE when the receiver is tuned to a frequency with virtually no carrier wave; also called "squelch circuit" or "noise suppressor", as derived from quell; see RADIO, BREAK SQUELCH. Also, to stifle, suppress, quash; see BREAK, EOT, SUPPRESSOR. Also, to suppress or silence, as to PUT-DOWN with a crushing retort or argument. Also, to squash, as to strike or press with crushing force; or the resultant crushed mass of anything. Also, to make sucking or splashing sounds, as by treading heavily.

a small pyrotechnic device, that may be used to fire the igniter in a rocket or for some similar purpose; not to be confused with a detonator that explodes. Also, any explosive that is converted into incandescent or incendiary use. [nb: by definition, an explosion is the sudden burn (combustion) of suitable materials, intensified by containment; v: DEFLAGRATION]

derogatory reference to any sailor; also called SWABBY or ANCHOR CLANKER, "deck ape" or "gob". See GI, DOGFACE, HORSE MARINE, JARHEAD, COASTIES, ZOOMIE. [nb: Marines perform police functions for the Navy, and the Navy performs medical functions for the Marines ... Navy corpsmen assigned to Marine units are sometimes nicknamed SQUID, not for their medical skills but for being a SAILOR] Also, slang for a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, MD; also known as CRAB or SNOTTY; see CADET, DOGSBODY, GOAT, TRADE SCHOOL.

nickname for the 37mm cannon mounted on early HALF-TRACKs and TANKs, so-called because it was so under-powered and ineffective; also known as "squirrel rifle".

slang for anyone who eludes or escapes a CORDON or sweep (eg: SEARCH AND CLEAR, RIF, CHECKERBOARD), whether armed or unarmed, uniformed or civilian; term probably originated as an analogue of SQUIRTS; see DOUBTFULS, VCS.

(forthcoming); diarrhea, dysentery, or any other intestinal disorder involving frequent bowel evacuations; also called TROTS, "skidders", "greasy spoon two-step" (two-stepping), or "green apple quick step". Contrary to popular fiction, enemy contact would temporarily cure (not cause) this condition. See PUCKER FACTOR, CORK, SALMONELLA / SALMONELLOSIS, COCHIN CHINA DIARRHEA, DUMP, SHIT, HONEY BUCKET, TRA CA, SLOP CHUTE, CAT HOLE, HEAD CALL, BLUE CANOE, LATRINE, COMFORT STATION. [nb: diarrhea, with its associated dehydration, is the condition most responsible for human death worldwide]

send a BURST transmission to a satellite, as "squirt it to the bird"; see SATCOM, SAT.

Second Regional Assistance Command, including Second Regional Assistance Group (SRAG).

Short Range Attack Missile, an inertially guided attack MISSILE with a nuclear WARHEAD that's launched from strategic bombers (eg: B-52, B-1, FB-111, B-2, etc).

designates a Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Intelligence team; or a Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Intelligence mission tasked to an operational element. See I&R, LRSP, SNATCH, PANTY RAID, TRACE, RECON. [v: a Sampling of Reconnaissance and Surveillance Insignia]

Sensor Reporting Post.

Short-Range Training Ammunition, marked with a distinctive blue tip and requiring the use of a replacement training bolt in the rifle, this low-velocity ammunition is suitable for shorter (25m) indoor and restricted outdoor firing ranges, especially during familiarization and quick-fire training. Although SRTA replicates the trajectory of service AMMO, it should not be used to establish ZERO for combat operations.

(ess-ar-tee-em) Shuttle Radar Topography Maping [sic]; the first SRTM mission successfully collected Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR) data over 80% of the landmass of the earth between 60 degrees north latitude and 56 degrees south latitude in February 2000; which mapping mission was co-sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The preliminary SRTM data was processed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), whereupon the conformed data was ingested by the Department of Interior's National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), checked for errors, and distributed as digital data products to select entities, such as Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) sent to the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS). Finish protocols are designed to detect artifacts and voids, to fill minor omissions by interpolation, to verify cell consanguinity for image continuity, and to standardize uniform variables (such as bodies of water). See UTM, GPS, INS, AIS, LORAN, TOPO, MAP, COMICS, CHART, MGRS, GRID LINES, GRID COORDINATES.

Submergence Recovery Vehicle, an air-transportable deep-sea SUBMARINE [cf: bathyscape/bathyscaphe]; see MINISUB, PIGGYBACK, MOTHER SHIP. Also, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with the country reunified in November 1975 under a newly ratified constitution on 2 July 1976; see NVN, DRV. [nb: the official history of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) notes that Vietnamese communist forces acted as MERCENARY rebels across the border in southern China so as to monopolize elements of the Kuomintang army, enabling Maoist revolutionaries to elude the remainder, thus preventing a Nationalist Chinese (CHINAT) victory before and after WWII]

SS :
designates U.S. Navy Submersible Ship, also called PIGBOAT, GUPPY, or SUBMARINE. Also, identifies Steam Ship, in contrast with Motor Ship (MS); see USS. Also, short form abbreviation of the United States Secret Service (USSS). Also, abbreviation for Social Security, being a federal program that was instituted in 1935 to provide for the basic economic welfare of needy persons and their dependents; this program was expanded for the well being of elderly and indigent individuals by the addition of MediCare in 1965; see SSN. [nb: the Social Security Act, part of FDR's New Deal program, included a federal-state program of unemployment compensation, a federal program of old-age retirement insurance, federal grants to assist states with programs for the disabled, vocational rehabilitation, programs for the aged, public health services, child welfare services, and survivorship; with coverage for benefits later expanded to the Armed Forces, civil servants, domestic help, agricultural workers, non-profit employees, and the self-employed; the Social Security Administration (old-age, survivors, disability insurance, and supplemental security income) and the Health Care Financing Administration (MediCare and MedicAid) are subordinate to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, while the U.S. Department of Labor supervises workman's compensation, the Internal Revenue Service collects contributions to social security, and benefits are disbursed by the U.S. Treasury Department; an amendment for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) was added to the Social Security Act in 1972 so as to automatically adjust payments by an annual comparison of the consumer price index]

Social Security Account Number; see AFSN, ASSN, SERVICE NUMBER, SSN. [v: Social Security Number]

literally "Situation Surpassing All Previous Fuck-Ups", also known as Surpassing All Previous Fuck-Ups (SAPFU), or more euphemistically as "... foul ups"; see FUCK-UP, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, WTFO, SOL, BOHICA.

Single SideBand; see RADIO WAVE, RADIO.

Secret Self-Defense Forces; see SDF, PSDF, DFS.

Sensitive Site Exploitation team, which members are responsible for collecting and documenting all enemy intelligence resources during an operation; MIL-PERS are commonly called SLURPER.

US Army Staff Sergeant
Army SSG
abbreviation for Staff SerGeant, which is also represented as "SSGT" or "S/Sgt", being grade E-6 between Sergeant (E-5) and Sergeant First Class or Gunnery Sergeant (E-7), and represented by three chevrons above a ROCKER as sleeve rank insignia. See SARGE, BUCK, RIGHT ARM, FIRST SHIRT, TOP, NCO, SUPER GRADE, RATING, GRADE, RANK.

(s-s-i, not "sigh") Signal Sending Instructions; the field handbook of classified FREQuencies and stations, which was often combined with the Signal Operating Instructions (SOI) handbook. The loss or capture of an SSI necessitated that all unit designations change, and a new SSI be distributed. See RADIO, SCRAMBLE, FREQ; compare SOI. [v: vade mecum (Latin: handbook, guide (literally: "go with me")] Also, the abbreviation for Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, which is commonly known as a "shoulder patch" or simply PATCH. The US Army permits individuals to always wear their combat unit PATCHes on their right sleeve, formally known as a "shoulder sleeve insignia-former wartime service" (SSI-FWTS); but all branches recognize the wearing of a unit PATCH on the left sleeve as a current duty assignment. See SANDWICH, SCROLL. [nb: the U.S. Army mandates (AR670-1: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia) the wear of an American flag patch on each sleeve of the field uniform (ie: BDU, ACU) 0.5" below the shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI), with the patches oriented to the viewer "as if the flag were flying", that is with the starred union forward, which causes the flag on the right sleeve (identified as the 'reverse side flag') to be displayed "backwards" according to the federal flag code; to compound this long-standing (since Bosnia and Kosovo) controversy, the Army is the only service branch doing so, and such wear was not so improperly directed in previous wars (eg: WWII) ... quibbles over a 'patch' not being a 'flying flag' are irrelevant, since the federal flag code cites "depictions" and "representations" in various passages about respectful display; and the Army can be responsive, as when changing the full-color patch to subdued on desert camouflage, but it declines to emend this heraldic error: a sinister imputation of our national symbol]

Submarine Satellite Information eXchange; a high-speed communications subsystem that consists of BURST transmissions relayed by satellite (SAT) from or to a submarine (SUB), exposing only its transceiver antenna; also known as Submarine Satellite Information Exchange Subsystem (SSIXS). See SQUIRT THE BIRD, SATCOM.

Submarine Satellite Information Exchange Subsystem.

designates U.S. Navy Submersible Ship Nuclear, also called "sewerpipe", BOOMER, or SUBMARINE. Also, the Social Security Number that has been used as the SERVICE NUMBER (eg: AFSN, ASSN, SSAN) for MIL-PERS since the VIETNAM WAR; compare SERIAL NUMBER.

Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon, being a specialized emergency medical team in the GULF WAR.

ST :

SEAL Tactical Assault Boat, being a small fast insertion and extraction watercraft.

the class of metallic alloys used in kinetic energy penetrators (KEW) for armor piercing MUNITIONS. Formerly made from tungsten alloys, they're now made from high-density depleted uranium (DU) mixed with other metals, such as titanium or molybdenum. These alloys, containing a byproduct of fission, have very low radioactivity (equivalent to cigarette smoke) that is not considered by DOD to be a significant health hazard.

a full-body RAPPEL or EXTRACTION harness integral with WEB GEAR for infantry operations, consisting of D-/V-rings at each shoulder strap for EYE linkage, quick attach/release leg loops, and descender attachment on the waist belt. The STABO system was also compatible with HOT HOIST and SKYHOOK extractions. Invented at the MACV Recondo School by MAJ Robert L. Stevens, CPT John D.H. Knabb, and SFC Clifford L. Roberts in 1968 to remedy the defects of the McGUIRE RIG (qv). The STABO name includes parts of the surnames of its inventors (STevens, knABb, rOberts), but is officially known as "STAbilized Body Operations" harness. It has been erroneously identified as "Stabilized Tactical AirBorne Operations" harness. STABO was superseded by Fast Rope Insertion/Extraction System (FRIES) after the VIETNAM WAR, and was officially removed from MIL-CRAFT doctrine in 2004.

informal designation for the alignment of a small unit (eg: SQUAD, team, or section) when operating in an area (ie: building or vessel) that presents both vertical and horizontal space to be covered. Whether progression is upward or downward, the operational unit moves in a FILE formation, with elements moving outward from the COLUMN, like branches of a tree from the trunk, to search or clear each level before proceeding to the next level. Because the COLUMN is vulnerable from two planes, speed and firepower are critical factors, given the requirement for accuracy and rear security, but each level of the vertical progression becomes a fallback or staging area for further advancement. See MOUT, WAY POINT, COMBAT SPREAD, FIRE 'n' MANEUVER. Also, a free-standing conical group of three rifles placed on their butts and hooked together at the STACKING SWIVEL; also called STACK ARMS or "stacked arms"; see THE BIBLE, MANUAL OF ARMS. Also, to position readiness or support aircraft into holding stations before dispatching them onto their target assignments; to fly several airplanes at different altitudes in stable platforms for assembly or assignment. See STAGE, ASSEMBLY AREA, ORBIT, RACETRACK, CAP, UMBRELLA, HIGH 'n' DRY, CROW'S NEST, AWACS, ABNCP, VATLS; compare SHORT ORBIT. Also, a group of airplanes circling over an airport awaiting clearance for their turn to land. Also, the vertical alignment of parachutists, formed in trail, in preparation for sequential landings onto a confined or delimited drop zone (DZ), being a mode of tactical insertion for special operations (SOF) teams. Also, a radio antenna consisting of a number of components connected in a substantially vertical series; compare WHIP; see ANTENNA FARM, COMM SHACK, RADIO, COMMO. Also, a number of chimneys or flues grouped together, as a smokestack in an exhaust funnel; see STACK GAS.

to lay-down, arrange, or position SMALL ARMS in a free-standing formation apart from troops; used metaphorically for tame, defuse, disarm, desist, disengage, retire, or resign. See HORS DE COMBAT, RIP, ROAD, STAND-DOWN, SCRIPTURES, THE BIBLE, MANUAL OF ARMS. [v: dog days]

the effluent exhaust from combustion that's discharged from the STACK, smokestack, or funnel of a ship; see SNIPE HUNT.

originally, a hook-shaped metal swivel attached to the stock of a military rifle used for linking three rifles together to form a stack; later, the upper or forward most SLING or GP STRAP mount attached to the forearm or front end of a RIFLE or other infantry weapon, which is used as the point of attachment for STACK ARMS; see SNAP-LINK, UNLIMBER, THE BIBLE, SCRIPTURES, MANUAL OF ARMS. Also, in the Marine Corps, a person's neck, hence to "rubberneck", as to crane the neck and pivot the head; see EYE-BALL, HAIRY EYEBALL, CHECK IT OUT, DOUBLE-O, VR, EYE-CHECK. [v: "custody of the eyes"]

Satellite Tracking and Data Acquisition Network, a worldwide network of ground stations maintained by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for optical, RADIO, or RADAR tracking of SATELLITEs.

General Staff badge
General Staff
see ADMIN (S-1/G-1/J-1), INTEL (S-2/G-2/J-2), OPNS (S-3/G-3/J-3), QM (S-4/G-4/J-4), CA (S-5/G-5/J-5), COMMO (S-6/G-6/J-6), CS, OSD, JCS, JCSM, JSAD, ADJ, ADC, AIDE, GRADUATED RESPONSE, FLEXIBLE RESPONSE, JGS, RED TAPE, RAPPORTEUR, BEAN-COUNTER, CADRE, PENCIL PUSHER, ACETATE COMMANDO, CHAIRBORNE, PEANUT GALLERY, MILICRAT, PUKE, HOMESTEADER, PERMANENT PARTY, SHIP'S COMPLEMENT, HEADQUARTERISM. [nb: the specialty staff section prefixes are hierarchical representations for S= Staff, G= General staff, J= Joint staff; senior Navy department prefixes are designated "N-"; v: J-CODES, cf: CALL-SIGN] [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs] [v: 'claque' for group or coterie of BROWN NOSERs]

being the non-commissioned officer (NCO) grade (E-6) between Sergeant (E-5) and Sergeant First Class or Gunnery Sergeant (E-7), and represented by three chevrons above a ROCKER as sleeve rank insignia; also represented as "SSGT" or "S/Sgt". See SARGE, BUCK, RIGHT ARM, FIRST SHIRT, TOP, NCO, SUPER GRADE, RATING, GRADE, RANK.

a non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the U.S. Army that's equivalent in RANK to a command sergeant major (CSM) but having no command responsibility.

to process troops in transition, from one area to another, for deployment in execution of a mission; to maintain troops, with their transport and support vehicles, in a secure locale in readiness for deployment in execution of a mission. Also, to hold specified combat vehicles or craft, with their crews, at a secure point preparatory to deployment; see ASSEMBLY AREA, STACK, LAUNCH SITE, SERIAL, EVOLUTION, POD, LINE OF DEPARTURE, CAP, ORBIT, HIGH 'n' DRY, RACETRACK. Also, the platform of the elevator used to transport HARD HAT or HARD SUIT divers to the deep-sea floor, to recover them and any small objects; also called "diving stage", and derived from "standing place"; compare SEA DECK.

(FORTHCOMING); deadlock or countercheck, standoff or standstill, as derived from "unenforceable"; "no second place in war", "die for a tie"; see ARMISTICE, TRUCE, CEASE-FIRE, NEUTRALIZE, EXIT STRATEGY.

pretext or subterfuge, as a mask or camouflage for true activity, or a diversion for real intent; also spelled "stalking-horse". Compare DARK HORSE, TROJAN HORSE, RED HERRING, DECOY, CAT'S-PAW, BORDEN, FALSE FLAG, HIDE, DECEPTION.

causing an engine, or an engine-driven vehicle or vessel, to stop functioning due to overload or to improper fuel mixture. Also, causing a loss of control in an aircraft by exceeding the angle of maximum lift (ie: "critical angle"), which results in a downward SPIN. See CANARD, ALPHA / ANGLE OF ATTACK, AEROBATICS. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]

upright beam or bar, as stabilizing devices; derived from "prop" or "support". [v: pelorus]

a holding or defensive posture, as "to take a stand", "stand-up to", "stand-up for", "stand firm", and the like; see STAND-DOWN, STAND FAST, STAND-OFF, STAND-TO, STAND ONE'S GROUND, STAND-ALONE, STAND PROUD, STAND-UP, STANDBY.

coined during the technological revolution that was coincident with the VIETNAM WAR, this descriptive term identifies a self-contained electronic device that functions independently, without a sustaining online network, without a peripheral controller, and is separate from other hardware or software; see COMPUTER, INFORMATION WARFARE, TECHNOLOGY. Also, a common referent for autonomy and independence, for self-reliance and self-sufficiency, for integrity and responsibility; see MORAL COURAGE, SIEGE MENTALITY, LAST BEST HOPE, STAND ONE'S GROUND, LAST STAND, WHIZ KID, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, BRAIN TRUST, WISE MEN, MANDARIN, CZAR, COWBOY, HIRED GUN; compare EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, COMBAT TEAM, COMBINED ARMS, WAR POWERS ACT, CHECKS AND BALANCES, STAND PROUD.

the national flag, particularly when displayed from a moving horse or vehicle; see COLORS, ENSIGN, STARS 'n' STRIPES, GUIDON, STREAMER, SHIFT COLORS, BLOCK THE COLORS, HOIST, HALF-MAST, HALYARD, COLOR GUARD, COLORBEARER, SHOW THE FLAG, FACE THE MUSIC, FALSE FLAG, BLOOD CHIT. Also, a flag or emblematic figure used as a rallying point for an army, fleet, or the like. Also, any of various military or naval flags, especially one indicative of the presence of a high official. [v: Flag Terms] [nb: the word 'standard' was introduced into the English language by the display of banners at the Battle of the Standard, fought between the English and Scots at Cowton Moor, near Northallerton on 22 August 1138, where David I, who was fighting on behalf of Matilda, was defeated by King Stephen's army under Thurstan, who was the archbishop of York, and Raoul, who was the bishop of Durham; the army erected a mast in a wagon that carried the banners of Saint Peter of York, Saint John of Beverley, and Saint Wilfrid of Ripon, surmounted by a pyx containing the Eucharistic Host] Also, officially approved or authorized; usual or customary, as "standard military issue". Also, serving as a basis of weight, measure, value, comparison, or judgment.

the soldier in a military unit who bears its STANDARD, usually beside its leading officer; see GUIDE, GUIDON; compare COLOR GUARD, COLORBEARER. Also, a conspicuous leader of a political party or movement; see COMMAND PRESENCE, BEARING, CHARISMA, LEAD ON MACDUFF, THE MAN ON HORSEBACK, YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND, LDR. [v: standard-bearership]

a coin having value in bullion at least equal to its face value; see LEGAL TENDER.

a measure of dispersion in a frequency distribution, equal to the square root of the mean of the squares of the deviations from the arithmetic mean of the distribution; compare STANDARD ERROR, see PROBABLE ERROR.

the basic monetary unit of the United States of America, having value in bullion at least equal to its face value; containing 25.8 grains of gold (0.900 fine) until 31 January 1934, thereafter containing 21 grains of gold (0.900 fine); see LEGAL TENDER. [v: silver certificate, gold certificate, gold note, gold bond]

the standard deviation of a distribution of a sample statistic, especially when the mean is used as the statistic; compare STANDARD DEVIATION, see PROBABLE ERROR.

money made of a metal that has utility and value apart from its use as a unit of monetary exchange, such as "standard coin" or "hard currency"; see LEGAL TENDER. [nb: by definition, money has four basic characteristics: a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a store of value, and a standard of deferred payments] [v: silver standard, gold standard, gold bullion standard, gold-exchange standard, gold point, gold reserve, hard-asset; cf: fiat money, flash money]

see SOP.

the civil time officially adopted for a country or region, lying within a one hour zone along specific meridians; the standard time zones within the United States of America are: Atlantic time, Eastern time, Central time, Mountain time, Pacific time, Yukon time, Alaska-Hawaii time, and Bering time. See TIME.

an individual, team, element, or unit prepared for immediate or timely (ie: within a specified period) response to action orders; ready to act when called; compare SPACE A. Also, an individual, team, element, or unit kept ready for use as a substitute; reserve reinforcement; compare MOTHBALL. Also, informal reference to a person awaiting an availability, as for non-emergency medical care without an appointment, or allocation for space available (SPACE A) transportation.

those members and units of the RESERVE COMPONENTs (other than those in the Ready Reserve or Retired Reserve) who are eligible (10 USC 10151, 12301, 12306) for call to service on active duty. See RESERVE.

period of rest, replacement, and refitting in which all operational activity, except for security, is discontinued; sometimes called "back time"; see STACK ARMS, RE-HAUL, OFF-DUTY [v: dog days]. Also, the conclusion of an operation, the completion of a project, or the deactivation of a unit, as preparation for redistribution of assets or return to CONUS, also expressed as 'stood-down' ("We stood-down the mission before rotation."); see VIETNAMIZATION, ACTOV, SPIN-DOWN, DEACTIVATE, RECONSTITUTED; compare STAND-UP.

a coordinating command given by subordinate leaders when march orders rearrange a unit (eg: the order "column of twos from the right" is qualified by right columns calling "forward" and left columns calling "STAND FAST" before "march" later commences movement). See THE BIBLE. Also, the command to immediately halt or quell all actions on an artillery position; see BELAY, CEASE-FIRE, COUNTERMAND, SCRUB, AS YOU WERE, RECOVER, ARTY.

see SOP.

any ORDER that's been promulgated, especially a general order (GO), that remains in force and effect until amended or rescinded.

minimum effective firing distance, especially a safety precaution for self-arming munitions. Also, the interval of barricades or baffles to maximize effectiveness [cf: portcullis]; see BLAST WALL, REVETMENT. Also, an impasse, stalemate, or standstill. Also, to remain apart, abstracted, or evasive.

to be steadfast or resolute, unwavering or unyielding; as being determined to maintain one's uncompromising position; see WATCH MY SMOKE, DIEHARD, ROOT HOG OR DIE, TAKE IT ON THE CHIN, ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH, LAST STAND, STAND-ALONE, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, RISKY-SHIFT EFFECT, BITE THE BULLET, ONIONS, MOXIE, GUTS, BEARING, MORAL COURAGE. [cf: "stand on one's own two feet]

that which stands-out, is noticed for being conspicuous; being an expression adopted from practical skills for something that protrudes above a particular plane, or extends farther than it should ... this engineering defect is considered to be an asset among MIL-PERS, wherein "standing-out in a crowd" is an indication of excellence or leadership. [v: "The nail that sticks out gets pounded down." Japanese proverb]

to pay the reckoning, especially when the government is liable for the resupply debts of its military personnel operating in the field; this expression supposedly derives from the "US" on the knapsacks of American soldiers who left vouchers for later redemption on the merchandise they confiscated. This phrase, "Uncle Sam has to pay", or "stand Sam for all", is also represented as "nunky pays for all". See CHIT, MPC, FUNNY MONEY, JUICE, CANDY, PORK BARREL, POLITICAL ENGINEERING, GOLDEN SHOWER, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, GSA, GAO, THE EAGLE SHITS, UNCLE SAM, YANKEE, SAND CRAB, BELTWAY BANDIT, BELTWAY CLERK.

the act of manning and activating all weapons and equipment on the unit/base perimeter before dawn to prepare for any possible enemy action; performed instead of reveille in field or combat conditions. See DEFCON, SACON, FPCON, GQ, ALERT, HEADS-UP, WARNING ORDER, FRAG ORDER, DANCE CARD, MAD MINUTE.

the commencement of an operation, the initiation of a project, or the activation of a unit, being coincident with the assemblage of assets and departure from BASE or CONUS, also expressed as 'stood-up' ("We stood-up the unit at the beginning of hostilities."); see ACTIVATE, ORGANIZE, SPIN-UP; compare STAND-DOWN. Also, the act of rising to one's feet to assume a relaxed or rigid form of ATTENTION as a gesture of respect upon the appearance or entrance (with certain exceptions) of a superior officer; the military employs the informal command "on your feet" to accomplish this act in a classroom or auditorium, then releasing the trainees with either "take your seats" or "dismissed"; see BRACE, THE BIBLE, CARRY-ON, AS YOU WERE.

slang reference to the Middle Eastern, West and Central Asian regions, provinces, or countries whose names end in '-stan', meaning "the land of ...", such as Adzharistan, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Dagestan, Hindustan, Kazakhstan, Kurdistan, Kyrgyzstan (Kirghizia), luristan, Nuristan (Kafiristan), Pakistan, Tadzhikistan, Turkestan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Waziristan; also called ALPHABET SOUP or JAWBREAKER countries for their complex arrangement of consonants. See THE MED, THE GULF, THE MOG, ABSURDISTAN; compare THE ROOT, THE NAM.

a short piece of thin wire that's bent so as to bind papers together (eg: documents, book sections, etc) by driving the ends through the sheets and clinching them on the other side; together with paper and ink and the paper clip, the staple constitutes an essential element in the arsenal of the MILICRAT ... in fact, according to CLERKS 'n' JERKS, staples are a kind of linkage that permits the volume of PAPER BULLETs fired down range to be increased exponentially, such that PENCIL PUSHERs have proposed the desk stapler (sometimes called a "staple gun") to be added as a qualification bar for the BOLO BADGE! See CONFETTI, SNOWFLAKE, RED TAPE, ORIFICE. [nb: bookbinding stapler invented by Charles Henry Gould (1868); the word 'stapler' coined (1909); desk stapler used in offices (1914); classic top-loading "Swingline" stapler introduced (1930); electric stapler introduced (1950)] Also, a U-shaped piece of metal, often with pointed ends, that's used for driving into a suitable surface to hold a hasp, hook, pin, bolt, wire, or the like; as derived from "support". [cf: shackle] Also, a basic material or a principal commodity, such as a necessary item of food; goods of a recognized quality that steadily remain in demand; this reference probably derived from the place appointed by royal authority where a group of merchants had an exclusive right of trade in certain classes of goods. Also, any basic or principal item, thing, feature, element, or part.

on the right side of a craft or vessel when facing forward, formerly known as steerboard for the "steering side", which is opposite the "loading side"; designated by the color green, and displaying a blue navigation light on military craft and a green navigation light on civil or commercial craft, 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 PORT; 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]

F-104 aircraft.

the Lockheed F-94 all weather interceptor that was an improved version of the F-80 SHOOTING STAR, serving in the later phases of the KOREAN WAR.

blue Star of Life asterisk
serving as an international medical aid logo
star of life
a blue and white symbol of an asterisk containing the rod of Aesculapius / Asclepius that's generally representative of medicine, medical care, medical facilities, and medically trained personnel, from hospitals and ambulances to rescue workers and emergency technicians, from treatment supplies and safety equipment to nurses and physicians; designed as an adaptation of the 1967 medical identification symbol of the American Medical Association by Leo R. Schwartz (Chief, EMS Branch, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and introduced in 1973 as a secular non-verbal symbol that was not associated with the RED CROSS (a trademark of the International Committee of the Red Cross) and has since been adopted worldwide. [cf: caduceus]

the Lockheed-Martin C-141A four-engine transport aircraft, introduced to USAF inventory in 1964, serving in the VIETNAM WAR and Persian GULF WAR, and succeeded by C-17A GLOBEMASTER.

an Image Intensification Device; a large, heavy, night vision telescope using enhanced ambient and reflected light to enable targeting and surveillance during the hours of darkness. The STARLIGHT scope was issued in a version for individual weapons (AN/PVS-2) and for CREW-SERVED WEAPONS (AN/TVS-2). It was originally issued in Vietnam on a restricted basis due to high cost and secret technology, but the telescope was difficult to keep aligned as a shooting scope. See GREEN-EYE, NOD, NVG, NVD, I2, PEEPERS.

1943 Pacific Stars and Stripes
correspondent patch
Pacific Stars and
Stripes correspondent
a newspaper staffed by and published for MIL-PERS, subsidized since WWI and privatized after the VIETNAM WAR; existing after WWII in theater editions (eg: Europe, Pacific, etc) for news and entertainment. Originally published by the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in 1918, then transferred to Washington DC from 1919 to 1926, and reborn as a weekly on 17 April 1942, then as a daily on 2 November 1942. The phrase GI JOE (qv) was coined by STARS AND STRIPES. Compare YANK, OVERSEXED WEEKLY, JOURNAL. [nb: Bill Mauldin's GI Joe caricature was rejected by YANK magazine, was published in the "Star Spangled Banter" feature of the 45th Infantry Division newsletter, and was later shared with STARS AND STRIPES in the "Up Front" feature, but the now-classic Willie and Joe personas didn't materialize until 1943] [nb: "Army Times", "Navy Times", "Air Force Times", "Marine Gazette", "Early Bird Brief", "Daily News Roundup", and other service-oriented newspapers are proprietary publications, just as "Army", "Leatherneck", "Sea Power", "Air Power", "National Guard", "Legion", "VFW", and other quasi-military magazines are proprietary publications of their respective professional or veteran associations, which are neither endorsed nor sponsored by the military]

first American flag by
Francis Hopkinson
Hopkinson flag
Cowpens flag
Cowpens flag
Trumbull flag
Trumbull flag
Second National Flag
Second Nat'l Flag
nickname for the national flag, standard, COLORS, ENSIGN, banner, or pennon; also called "Union Jack" or "Old Glory", "Grand Old Flag" or "bloody zebra". See HOIST, HALYARD, FLAGSTAFF, BLOCK THE COLORS, HALF-MAST, SHIFT COLORS, COLORBEARER, COLOR GUARD, FLAG DAY, CALL TO THE COLORS, STAR SPANGLED BANNER, STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER, SHOW THE FLAG; compare GUIDON, ENSIGN, STREAMER, BLOOD CHIT. [v: Flag Terms] [nb: Fringe has been commonly used for decoration on European standards since the 18th century, and American flags used for parade or display are routinely fringed. The Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps use a silver (chrome or nickel) spearhead finial, and the Navy uses a brass battle-ax finial on the national ensign during ceremonies ashore. [AR 840-10, MCO P10520.3A, AFR 900-3, NTP-13] In the Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps, the national colors, together with any other official flag of position or rank, are displayed with a small spread-winged eagle (head turned, wings low) as the appropriate ornamental finial on indoor flagpoles for the President, Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, and other presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed officials. In the Navy, the national ENSIGN, together with any other official flag of position or rank, are displayed with a small spread-winged eagle (head forward, wings high) as the appropriate ornamental finial on outdoor flagpoles for any officer or official who rates at least a 19-gun salute, including the President, Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, Under Secretaries, Governors, Supreme Court justices, Congressmembers, ambassadors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and five-star flag officers; which practice stems from the use of FLAGSTAFF ornaments in boats to indicate the rank of passengers. [US Navy Regulations Paragraph 1275 and NTP-13] Other flag officers and presidentially appointed officials, who rate a 11 to 17 gun salute, use a brass halberd atop the ENSIGN and their flags of office. Navy captains (and colonels in the other services) rate a brass ball, commanders and lieutenant colonels a star, other officers a flat headed cap.] [nb: the attribution of "Old Glory" was made by William Driver to the ENSIGN flown from his brigantine in 1831; and that same flag, having been hidden in his bedspread against Confederate depredations, flew from the capitol dome in Nashville after Union forces recaptured the city] [nb: an outpouring of patriotism, occurring between the nation's centennial (1876) and the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR (1898), caused most states and territories to enact "flag protection" statutes to restrict commercial and political abuse of the American flag, and by the Great War (WWI), these laws were linked to anti-sedition acts, which then became federal anti-desecration laws with greater punishments during the VIETNAM WAR; due to inconsistencies of interpretation and enforcement, most were deemed unconstitutional (1989), and some were rewritten, but the conflict between legislation and the courts will only be resolved by a constitutional amendment, if one can be ratified while the "culture wars" remain pending] [nb: when the American flag is folded into a triangle, representative of the Colonial tricorne, the red and white stripes representing the blood and bones of sacrifice are buried within the blue constellation of heaven; which is the traditional configuration for funeral and retreat ceremonies] [nb: the U.S. Army mandates (AR670-1: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia) the wear of an American flag patch on each sleeve of the field uniform (ie: BDU, ACU) 0.5" below the shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI), with the patches oriented to the viewer "as if the flag were flying", that is with the starred union forward, which causes the flag on the right sleeve (identified as the 'reverse side flag') to be displayed "backwards" according to the federal flag code; to compound this long-standing (since Bosnia and Kosovo) controversy, the Army is the only service branch doing so, and such wear was not so improperly directed in previous wars (eg: WWII) ... quibbles over a 'patch' not being a 'flying flag' are irrelevant, since the federal flag code cites "depictions" and "representations" in various passages about respectful display; and the Army can be responsive, as when changing the full-color patch to subdued on desert camouflage, but it declines to emend this heraldic error: a sinister imputation of our national symbol]

a patriotic song composed by John Philip Sousa on 25 December 1896 (c1897); believed by many to be his finest work, it was proclaimed the national march of the United States of America on 10 December 1987 by an Act of Congress. Widely popular, it has attracted alternate lyrics (eg: "Three cheers for the red white and blue") and parodies (eg: "Be kind to our web-footed friends" or "Be kind to the camel in the zoo") ... a Norwegian rendition played at great speed has gained mention in the Guinness Book of Records. Compare AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, STAR SPANGLED BANNER.

a poem composed by Francis Scott Key during the defense of Fort McHenry, Baltimore Maryland, on 13-14 September 1814; widely reprinted as a broadside, and then set to music by John Stafford Smith, it became even more popular during the American CIVIL WAR; also denoted as the "Star-Spangled Banner", it was made the national anthem of the United States of America by a 1916 Executive Order and a 3 March 1931 Act of Congress. Compare AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER. [nb: the musical score for "The Star-Spangled Banner" originated as "To Anacreon in Heaven", a British drinking song of the 18th century; Anacreon was an ancient Greek poet, notable for writing love ballads and drinking songs]

Strategic Arms Reduction Talks, being a proposal for a TREATY to limit the number of long-range strategic weapons maintained by both the USA and USSR; inconclusive and unratified before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

slang for the satellite surveillance and defense system engendered by DARPA and transferred to the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO); named after the popular sci-fi book and film series. Compare MAGINOT LINE, SIEGFRIED LINE, MARETH LINE, SMEZ, BERLIN WALL, IRON CURTAIN, BAMBOO CURTAIN, BAR LEV LINE, CACTUS CURTAIN, McNAMARA'S WALL, McNAMARA LINE, CHINESE WALL, DEW LINE, PHASE 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]

immediately; being predominantly medical usage, from Latin "statim"; Vietnamese term: Thuong Khan (extremely urgent). See ASAP, PDQ, FORTHWITH, CHOGI, CHOP CHOP, RIKI TIK, GOYA, HAUL-ASS, SCRAMBLE, SPEEDY, JUICE; compare PUSH, TOCSIN. [v: tout de suite (French: at once, immediately)] [v: amain]


the motel-like room aboard ship where officers are BERTHed in relative privacy and comfort; depending upon rank, the sharing of bunk bed quarters (including a sink and desk) with one to eleven other officers, having toilet and shower facilities located elsewhere. Such privileged accommodations derived from the better cabins arrayed along the upper decks of the 19th century riverboats, which were selectively named (instead of numbered) after various states; this lodging contrasts with the barracks style BERTHing of enlisted men (EM) housed in open BAYs. See CAPTAIN'S BED, COMPARTMENT.

someone who is experienced in the art of government, or versed in the administration of public affairs; a capable person who's expected to exhibit wisdom in dealing with noteworthy public issues; being a term modeled on 'steersman'. [v: ship of state] [nb: "A statesman is a successful politician who is dead." attributed to Thomas Brackett "Czar" Reed; "A statesman is a politician who's been dead ten or fifteen years." by Harry S. Truman; "A statesman is a politico who's so rich and powerful that his 'place in history' is assured, and no longer distracted by mundane affairs, he devotes himself wholly to his indulgences, regardless of their effect, for which interference the public is supposed to be eternally grateful."]

the ability exhibited by a highly respected political leader to influence important persons and international events by their great devotion to public service; compare BRINKMANSHIP, GAMESMANSHIP. [cf: statesman-like]

the maladministration and other mismanagement practices perpetrated by a country's leadership that cause the government (typically dictatorial or autocratic) to collapse, its commerce and industry to falter, its banking and economy to destabilize, and its political system to be displaced, sometimes wholly absorbed from without. National policies, such as social stratification and inflationary taxation, together with ethnic or linguistic repression, racial or religious discrimination, tend to exacerbate this decline, falling prey to a militaristic takeover. State suicide (also called "national suicide") differs from cultural suicide in that the former is precipitated by the leadership and the latter by the populace, hence the Chinese people have endured different forms of government without abandoning their identity, but many African and AmerIndian tribes have disintegrated when displaced by more technologically advanced cultures, causing them to lose their language as well as their folkways. Marauding by political advocates (eg: capitalist, communist, etc) and religious proselytizers (eg: Islamist, Christian, etc) has contributed to the decline in global heterogeneity, and the advance of worldwide anti-statist militarism. Compare CULTURAL SUICIDE; see CULTURE WAR, NIHILISM, PUNK, DECONSTRUCTION, POST-MODERN, WWIV. [nb: "It is idle to talk about preventing the wreck of Western civilization. It is already a wreck from within. That is why we can hope to do little more than snatch a fingernail of a saint from the rack or a handful of ashes from the faggots, and bury them secretly in a flowerpot against the day, ages hence, when a few men again dare to believe that there was once something else, that something else is thinkable, and need some evidence of what it was, and the fortifying knowledge that there were those who, at the great nightfall, took loving thought to preserve the tokens of hope and truth." by Whittaker Chambers]

opposition or resistance, such as back-talk; see FLAK. Also, deception or obfuscation, such as lying; see CONFETTI, compare CHATTER. Also, broadcast or telecommunication interference caused by atmospheric electricity; see NOISE, MUSIC, CROSS-TALK, CHATTER, RADIO, COMMO. Also, a fixed, stationary, immobile, or unchanging condition or situation; equilibrium or stagnation.

the 15ft nylon strap, that's retention hooked (HOOKUP) to the aircraft, which releases the parachute container closures and pulls the "pilot chute" (DROGUE) out so the main canopy will be deployed in approximately four seconds. Free-fallers use either a rip-cord (a shorter self-activated static line) or a throw-out (a pilot chute cast by hand). Both free-fallers and LEGs (non jumpers) call regular static line PARATROOPERs "dope on a rope", as a play on words from the fashionable "soap on a rope" product. If the main canopy develops a malfunction or fails to properly deploy, the parachutist must CUT-AWAY the obstacle before releasing the reserve chute. Compare D-RING, RIP-CORD, SEAWARS.


see LIBERTY ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD; compare "Spirit of the American Doughboy" and "Spirit of the American Navy" at DOUGHBOY. [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]


AMBUSH tactic, in which a small group from a larger element remains concealed after the departure of the main body of troops, as when breaking camp after RON, to attack any enemy sweeping through the deserted area, or to provide rear security for the departing force; also called "leave behind"; see BUTTONHOOK, FLIP-FLOP, TRAIL WATCHER. Also, a GUERRILLA or UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE strategy, in which conventional enemy forces are not resisted as they sweep through a region, so they can be effectively interdicted from the rear. [nb: the NVA counter-RECON and rear security units imitated similar WWII Soviet teams, and were developed under USSR advice when the sole PAVN ABN unit was converted into SAPPERs.]

to obtain an advantage over an opponent by making a sudden surprise move; see MARCH. Also, an idiomatic expression meaning to obtain an unexpected advantage over someone by stealth or subterfuge.

that which is secret or surreptitious, not openly acknowledged; as derived from 'steal'. Also, the U.S. Air Force project directed toward developing aircraft that are difficult to detect by sight or sound, RADAR or infrared (IR) energy, by involving a range of technologies.

the Northrop-Grumman B-2 strategic bomber aircraft known as the SPIRIT; also called the "beak". Also, the Lockheed F-117 fighter bomber that's commonly known as "The Black Jet", but officially designated NIGHTHAWK.

long-range, stealthy CRUISE attack guided missile.

rhyming slang for a massage parlor offering sex, typically masturbation or fellatio, by a fully clothed woman who often rebuffed the pawing or fondling of the customers (there are degrees of prostitution, and although this pays less, the woman is less involved). A massage parlor that offered sex was not a whorehouse (NHA THO), but it usually wasn't a good place to get a genuine massage or to enjoy a real steam bath either ... such establishments existed, some luxurious, but they were rare, expensive, and found only in the major cities. If a soldier on STAND-DOWN from the field wanted to soak away his aches, eat a good meal cooked in the local tradition, and drink some adult beverages with convivial company that had no desire to harm him, then he either got very lucky in his quest or a comrade introduced him to the right place, with an admonition against "ruining a good thing" by letting the "secret" out. See SIN CITY, HELL ON WHEELS, HEAD, HUMMER, DAISY CHAIN, BIB, TRICK, HONG KONG HAIRCUT, HAT TRICK, BUTTERFLY, DIDDLY, HOOKUP, CHURNING BUTTER, BOOM-BOOM, SHORT-TIME, DU, FUCK, ACT OF CONGRESS. [nb: spa, a bathing resort, derives from such an archetypic retreat in Belgium] [v: massage parlor; massager, massagist, masseur, masseuse; rubdown, body rub, backrub, Swedish massage, acupressure, shiatsu, reflexology, physical medicine, physiatrics, physiatry, Rolfing, physical therapy, massotherapy, naturopathy, effleurage, knead, tapotement]

Navy slang for OFF-DUTY relaxation and recreation while on-board ship, as distinguished from visiting the real beach while on Liberty/PASS. See R&R, I&I; compare OFF THE RESERVATION, ROMAN HOLIDAY.

slang for a Cowin hut, developed by Cowin and Company for storage by the Army Air Corps during WWII, being a large curved structure, sized 36' X 60', that used a truss system of horizontal steel tie rods and vertical steel hangers to resist thrust upon the arch (less than half a circle) ... the STEELDROME was inadequate for Alaskan snow loads since a number of them collapsed in their first winter (1943) of use. See GODOWN, DEPOT, UTILITY BUILDING, MULTIPLE UTILITY BUILDING, DUMP, HANGAR, BLDG.

steel helmet with camo cover and
elastic brush band
steel helmet
with camo cover and
elastic brush band
slang for HELMET and helmet liner, usually encased in a net cover or camouflaged helmet-cover ("lambrequin") with a retaining band; the paratrooper version used a chin-strap instead of neck-strap. Sometimes called "tin hat", "tin topper", "tin-topee /-topi", "iron lid", "soup bowl", "brain bucket", or "battle bowler"; see HAMMOCK, JOHN WAYNE, HEADGEAR, TURN TURTLE. [nb: contrary to popular myth, "steel pot" was not a bulletproof grade of really boss marijuana!]

the CODENAME designation given to the northern sector of the Laotian panhandle, effective 3 April 1965, as a complement to the ROLLING THUNDER air campaign of interdiction along the HO CHI MINH TRAIL to Route 9 opposite the DMZ. This operation involved ARC LIGHT and GUNSHIP missions by USAF, USN, and USMC aircraft which attempted to halt infiltration and deny sanctuary in neutral areas. See TIGER HOUND, COMMANDO HUNT.

the forward part of a craft or vessel, specifically an upright at the BOW into which the side timbers or plates of the vessel are jointed; 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, PROW, CUTWATER, ROSTRUM, SHARP END, FORECASTLE, HAWSEPIPE, BLUE NOSE, STARBOARD, PORT, IR MARKERS, CHRISTMAS TREE.

Sten Mark 3
Sten Mark 3
Sterling L2A3
Sterling L2A3
a durable, reliable, low-maintenance submachinegun (SMG) firing 9mm parabellum AMMO from a side-mounted horizontal magazine; a WWII British design adapted for mass production by using stamped- (instead of machined) parts made by relatively unskilled workers in primitive workshops. A class (spanning five revisions) of inexpensive "machine carbines", nicknamed "plumber's delight" and "plumber's nightmare", "hobby-shop horror" and "stench gun", that was later superseded by the British Sterling SMG. On the first version, the barrel sleeve extended all the way to the end of the muzzle, where it terminated in a conical flash hider. The name derives from the first initial of each of its designers' surnames (Reginald Vernon Shepherd and Harold John Turpin) together with the first two letters of Enfield, the Royal small arms factory. This weapon was distributed to Allied troops during WWII, and used by SF/SOF personnel during the VIETNAM WAR. See GREASE GUN, TOMMY-GUN. [nb: the Sputter Gun, an American design developed from the British Sten, was a novel adaptation that fired continuously when the bolt was released after loading, shooting until its magazine was exhausted; having no trigger, it was intended to circumvent the legal definition of a machinegun: a weapon that fired multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger ... the law was quickly changed to encompass this classification]

an unattributable and unmarked item, including weapons, transport, uniforms, and other GEAR, often imitative of enemy or guerrilla materiel, as used by counter-guerrilla and special operations forces for "plausible deniability" in any diplomatic disclaimers. Compare CLEAN. [nb: the laws of land warfare sanction the summary execution of any "disguised" combatants] Also, that which is free from contaminants or disease, that which has been sanitize or disinfected, as an aseptic or antiseptic environment; see EVAPORATOR, WATER PURIFICATION TABLET, WHITE-GLOVE.

to remove all traces of occupancy or passage; restore a site to its original condition before departure. For patrol units, clean-up of remnants and erasure of residues were necessary due to being outnumbered and operating in hostile areas. Also called "sanitize".

the back or rear of a craft or vessel; designated by the color black, and displays one or more white navigation lights showing over an unbroken arc of the horizon of 135 degrees, centered dead astern. Compare BOW, PROW, STEM, FORECASTLE; see AFT, TRANSOM, STARBOARD, PORT, IR MARKERS, CHRISTMAS TREE. [v: Puppis]

a cannon mounted at or near the stern of a sailing ship, facing aft.

the trademarked brand name of a fuel made from denatured and jellied alcohol, being a flammable hydrocarbon jelly that's packaged in a small can for use as a portable heat source for cooking; this privately purchased convenience was a refinement (ca1900) of its predecessor, an alcohol burner called the "Sterno Inferno" (ca1893), as recommended for DOUGHBOYs going overseas during WWI, and is also known generically as "canned heat". Compare HEAT TABS, C-4; see CREATURE COMFORTS, SNIVEL GEAR. [nb: Sterno is made from ethanol, methanol, water, an amphoteric oxide gelling agent, and a dye that imparts its characteristic pink color; designed to be odorless, the methanol is added to denature the product, which essentially renders it too toxic for consumption... nonetheless, this cooking fuel has been strained and flavored since Prohibition to create an intoxicant called "squeeze" or "jungle juice"] [cf: trioxin or hexamine fuel tablet] [nb: when tinder is not readily available to ignite a cooking fire, soldiers will routinely sacrifice a rifle cartridge so as to use its combustible gunpowder as a fire starter]

(forthcoming); fictional character created by Milton Caniff; see MALE CALL.


in the Navy, an enlisted member of the crew aboard ship or a contract worker specifically employed to be responsible for the mess (provisions, preparation, service) and quarters (housekeeping, laundry, supply/resupply) of the assigned and attached officers; see SALT AND PEPPER, MONKEY JACKET, ORDERLY, DRO, KP, COOKIE, BUCK, WARDROOM, GALLEY, GLORY HOLE.

abbreviation for Strategic Technical Directorate, a covert and clandestine organization that evolved (1971) from the Special Exploitation Service (SES/SEPES) and the Liaison Office (LO) under Vietnamese presidential authority; the motto of the STD was "Honor Nation" (Danh Du To Quoc); see THUNDER TIGER, SOG. Also, the abbreviation for 'sexually transmitted disease', a genital infection exhibiting corruption and discharge ("the drip" or "jelly") that's also known as venereal disease (VD) or social disease; see CLAP, ARC, SHORT ARM, PECKER-CHECKER, PRO KIT, ANTIBIOTIC. [aka: "scrud" (any venereal disease); "dirty barrel" (an infected penis or vagina)] [v: chancre, chancroid] [re: syphilis, gonorrhea, genital herpes, chlamydia, lymphogranuloma venereum, trichomoniasis, non-gonococcal urethritis]

the FILE of paratroopers which conforms to the size of the jump aircraft, regardless of regular TO&E assignment; may include "inboard" and "outboard" STICK; the arbitrary number of paratroopers who jump from one aperture or door of an aircraft during one run over a drop zone (DZ); see MOTHER HEN, compare CHALK. [nb: the team size of British commando units was changed to conform to the carrying capacity of the landing craft during WWII] Also, a row or group of BOMBs released from an aircraft in one pass over the target; compare RACK, HARDPOINT, see POD. Also, truncation of CONTROL STICK or JOYSTICK, being the steering lever for affecting longitudinal and lateral movements of an aircraft; as used to maneuver or manipulate a computer or conveyance; see DEAD STICK, VOLPLANE, HOTAS. Also, slang for a spar or BOOM on a vessel; compare YARDARM. Also, any remote or rural area, as "the sticks", bush or hinterlands; see BOONDOCKS / BOONIES, THULE. Also, a marijuana cigarette; compare THAI STICK, see FAG, GASPER, PIGTAIL, TAR, DOPE, JUNK, CAN SA, GRASS, HAY, HUBBLE-BUBBLE, SMACK, STONED. Also, slang for penis, phallus, PRICK / CU, SHORT ARM, JOYSTICK, SPAR, YARDARM, HOT DOG, HOSE, BAYONET, BIRD, DIPPER, POGY BAIT, POGUE, and the like; compare LITTLE PRICK, DEAD-SOLDIER, ONIONS.

the qualified person who is designated to be responsible and in control of a STICK of paratroopers from assembly through enplaning to exit; sometimes called MOTHER HEN; see CHALK.

someone who is unyieldingly insistent upon a particular result; see MEASURE SWORDS, DUEL, REFEREE, UMPIRE, OC, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE). [nb: a 'stickler' was the second in single combat, and so was very punctilious about the minutest points of etiquette, then later becoming an umpire or referee in competitive tournaments, and finally being any person who persistently demands absolute adherence or unyielding conformity] Also, any persistently puzzling problem; a relentlessly adamantine difficulty.

to maintain one's position despite opposition; to persevere against criticism or resistance; to defy contrariety or antagonism; also expressed as "stand by one's guns". [cf: the sticking-place]


the name given to the roadway by Chiang Kai-Shek (Chiang Chung-Cheng) that extended the Burma Road from Ledo India to Chungking (Chongqing) China, in honor of Joseph Warren "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, the commander of the CBI theater under Louis Mountbatten, who was the commander of SEAC during WWII; also called "Pick's Pike" or "Pick's Turnpike" after Lewis A. Pick, the U.S. Army engineer who directed its 1079mi construction, at a cost of $137million ... also called the "Aluminum Trail" or "Aluminum Highway". See HUMP, 24 TURNS, LEDO ROAD.

CALL-SIGN for AC-119K GUNSHIP with four 7.62mm MINIGUNs and two 20-mm cannons used for aerial fire support; see FLYING BOXCAR. Also, the FIM-92A lightweight, man-portable, shoulder-fired, air defense MISSILE by General Dynamics for low-altitude aerial protection of forward area combat troops; see RED EYE, AVENGER, SAM, ROCKET, CHAPARRAL.

operational name for Marine FORCE RECON units in Vietnam, performing surveillance and intelligence gathering operations, including ambushes and prisoner snatches, in seven-man teams beyond artillery fans, relying on non-detection, concentration of fire, evasion techniques, and air support; see LRP / LRRP, LRSP, HAWKS, I&R, RECON. Also, USCG/USMC maritime helicopter (MH-68A).

while this slang expression is widely (mis-)used as a synonym for the "evil eye" or "dead eye", "fish eye" or HAIRY EYEBALL (qv), it is actually a dysphemism for anus or asshole, arsehole or a-hole, butt hole or bunghole, cornhole or mud hole, shit hole or turd cutter, chocolate doughnut or cinnamon ring, puckered Cheerio or stinky starfish, fart valve or toot ring, brown eye or whale's eye; this uncouth expression should not be confused with rectum, yinyang, wazoo / wahzoo, chocolate channel, fudge factory, poo pipe, poop chute, SLOP CHUTE, or GUMP STUMP. See EYE-BALL, EYE-FIGHTING, DOUBLE-O, A-OK, ORIFICE, ASSHOLE BUDDY, ASSHOLES 'n' ELBOWS, OPINION, PEANUT GALLERY, TRUTH, MEATBALL.

durian, a round to oblong species of tree fruit, is distinctive for its strong odour, formidable thorn-covered husk (colored green to brown), and large size (about 6" across by 12" long, and weighing 2# to 7#), with its yellow to red pulp considered to be the "king of fruits" by many southeast Asians. The aroma of durian is distinctive, persistent, and penetrating (even through its intact husk), and can be overpowering, if not disgusting; this cultivar may be consumed at various stages of ripeness, used to flavor other preparations, and its seeds may be roasted for snacking. [cf: jackfruit, mangosteen, breadfruit, papaya, limburger / limburger cheese; cf: civet / civet cat]

a tax-exempt allowance or honorary SALARY, usually a pittance, derives from "soldier's pay"; see THE EAGLE SHITS, BP, SDP, TSP, DEAD HORSE, NIGGER RICH, SEPARATE RATS.

a loop, ring, or other contrivance suspended from the saddle on a horse to support the rider's foot; meaning "a rope for mounting", and originating in Assyria (ca850BC), then used in Han dynasty China (ca202BC), and introduced to Europe during the fifth century by the marauding Huns, which simple device revolutionized cavalry operations. [nb: estafette, a mounted courier, derives as a diminutive of stirrup] Also, a short ROPE with a loop or EYE at the end that's hung from a yard or spar to support a FOOTROPE. Also, any of various similar supports used for special purposes, as when ascending a ROPE; also called "stirrup-line"; compare JACOB'S LADDER, NET. [v: Climbing Terms]

a farewell drink offered to a rider already mounted for departure; see DOCH-AN-DORIS, TOAST, VALEDICTION. [nb: it is considered bad luck or evil omen to TOAST with non-alcoholic (ie: catlap) beverages; military toasts are most often tributes to fortitude and loyalty, while civilian toasts (grace cup) are tributes to benefaction or longevity, such as: l'chaim, prosit / prost, skoal, slàin te mhath, wassail, cheers] [v: gemütlichkeit/gemuetlichkeit] [cf: loving cup] [cf: apéritif]


a defensive barrier; an enclosure or corral defined by such a barrier; compare LAAGER, PERIMETER, ENCEINTE, PALISADE, COMPOUND. [v: Military Earthworks Terms] Also, a military jail or prison, sometimes called "dog house"; see BRIG, HOT HOUSE, THE CASTLE, CROSSBAR HOTEL, GUARDHOUSE, LBJ, CLUB FED, CHL, DEADLOCK, DEADLINE. [v: dog house, poky, clink, nick, slam, slammer, cooler, jug, can, joint, cage, glasshouse, big house, house of many doors, house of blue light, graystone college, stony lonesome, up the river, hoosegow, gaol, bagnio, lockup, pen, reformatory, jailhouse, penal institution, penitentiary, panopticon, keep, calaboose, dungeon, oubliette, hock (sty or prison as a miserable place to live)]

(aka: "alpine litter" or "rescue sled", "Stokes stretcher" or "Stokes rescue basket") see BASKET, LITTER, STRETCHER. [nb: the 'Stokes' eponym is properly spelled without the possessive apostrophe]

Short Take-Off and Landing aircraft (eg: YC-122, U-1, U-6, UV-18, OV-10, C-17, C-123, C-124, C-130, F-111) requiring 1000ft or less of RUNWAY for take-offs. See AVITRUC; compare VSTOL, VTOL, JATO.

according to civilians, the thoughts or emotions, countenance or disposition of a MIL-PERS, as stony-hearted, stony-faced, stone-cold, or stonewalling; a metaphor for the closed-mindedness and/or hard-heartedness of a military member restricted by rules and regulations. Also, to make insensitive or obdurate, relentless or intractable; by comparison with rock, that hard substance formed of mineral matter, relatively sized from pebble to boulder. Also, a burden or obligation. Also, short for gravestone or tombstone.

dazed, befuddled, intoxicated, or inebriated by drugs or booze, as derived from stunned; other expressions include: drunk / drunken, priest of Bacchus, son of Bacchus, goliard, sot, besot, tope, toper, bibulous / bibulated, spiflacated, dipsomated, intoxicated, inebriated, high, lit / lit-up, mellow, numb / benumbed, feeling no pain, tipsy, bumpsy, tiddly, wigged, buzzed, ginned, wet, tippler, bibber, in one's cups, oiled, boiled, sauced, juiced, pickled, squiffed, ripped, wrecked, smashed, potted, sodden, loaded, wired, plastered, stewed, boozed-up, soused, pissed, snockered, plotzed, awash, half-seas over, three sheets to the wind, cockeyed, pie-eyed, glassy-eyed, snarked, shickered, looped, sozzled, zonked, trashed, shit-faced, fried, blasted, zapped, bombed, stoked, wiped-out, huff (glue). Similar AUSSIE usage of "wankered" or "whankered" for insensible or non-compos-mentis; compare "wanker" at POGUE. See WASTED, ZAP, DEAD-SOLDIER, DUTCH COURAGE, WHISKEY WARRIOR, HOOCH, GROG, BREW, JUICE, THE DRINK, GROUP TIGHTENER, BA MUOI BA, COLORS, LSD, ANGEL DUST, BATH SALTS, DOPE, JUNK, CAN SA, GRASS, HAY, SMACK, STICK, TAR, HUBBLE-BUBBLE, WASTED, BUMMER, SLOP CHUTE. [v: musth] [v: gateway drug, hard drug, soft drug, designer drug, prodrug; cf: miracle drug, wonder drug] [nb: it has been widely alleged (without documentation to date) that test subjects, including servicemembers and other government employees, were involuntarily administered LSD and other experimental psychotropic drugs without their informed consent, resulting in many notorious incidents, including at least one (now infamous) suicide (Frank Olson in 1953)] [cf: "The Army admitted today that it conducted secret experiments of mind-altering drugs on many unsuspecting soldiers without their consent during the 1960s, but the spokesman reported that none of the test subjects was promoted above the rank of lieutenant colonel." by George Carlin] [nb: a widely circulated but spurious WAR STORY alleges that post-war criminal violence and other antisocial nonconformity by crazed veterans is the direct result of unauthorized drug experimentation that was secretly conducted by medical personnel, many of whom were ignorant of this classified test, which was designed to increase combat aggressivity in soldiers, hence the fictitious "Rambo" account that allegedly attempted to disclose the purported "truth" behind the CODENAME of the program; actually, LRRP teams were only issued amphetamines, and Special Forces teams were also issued kits containing: 12 Darvon, 24 codeine, 6 dextroamphetamines, and 4 SYRETTEs of morphine sulfate.]


a formidable situation, an arduous circumstance, or a very hard time, to endure travail or deprivation; use of this phrase by Patton made it famous. Derived from "We had nothing but water, so we added a stone for flavor."; sometimes called "soul soup". See etymology of "scruple" for rough pebble measure, stone. Another source may be from testis/testicle, meaning virility or machismo, as food suitable for genuine men. Compare DUCK SOUP, TURKEY SHOOT; see SOUP. Also, plain water deliberately misrepresented as a nourishing or refreshing collation (eg: snow-broth); compare "mock turtle", "Bombay duck", "Welsh rabbit", "golden buck"; see BULLY SOUP, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, IRON RATIONS, SOUP. [cf: "dingo's breakfast" in Australia]

an underling, assistant, or accomplice, especially an impostor or "ringer", who's introduced into a training situation under false identity or disguised ability to add realistic stress or unscheduled confusion; see CRYPTO, PROVOCATEUR, FLAME-BAIT, SPOOK. Also, a pawn or dupe/doupe (eg: "fellow traveler") who is exploited for PROPAGANDA purposes in a deliberate DISINFORMATION falsification or RUSE DE GUERRE fabrication; see SYMPATHIZER, INVISIBLE, FIFTH COLUMN, RUNNING DOG, QUISLING, PROVOCATEUR, CRYPTO, PINKO, TRICK, DECEPTION. [v: the ostensibly independent report published by a group of renown scientists that were invited to authenticate the 1953 charge of biochemical warfare waged against North Korea by the United Nations Allies, which was later determined to be a hoax perpetrated by the Soviet Union with the cooperation of Red China, a scheme unknown to the North Koreans, who sincerely believed the elaborate pretense]

a violent military assault, especially on a fortified place or strong position; see CHARGE, MOVE OUT, HOOPLA, SADDLE-UP, FOLLOW ME, BRING SMOKE, WATCH MY SMOKE, ROOT HOG OR DIE. Also, a heavy or sudden volley or discharge: as "a storm of bullets"; see SALVO, VOLLEY, BROADSIDE, FUSILLADE, ENFILADE. Also, a tumultuous condition; a commotion, turmoil, upheaval, or "sturm und drang"; see WEATHER EYE, STORM WARNING.


a showing of storm signals subsequent to an alert notification of severe winds and threatening weather, especially cyclonic conditions [nb: Tropical Depression: 20-34 kts/23-39 smph; Tropical Storm: 35-64 kts/40-73 smph; Hurricane: 65+ kts/74+ smph]; see BEAUFORT SCALE, SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE, FUJITA SCALE, WINDSOCK, TELLTALE, WIND. [nb: weather forecasters began using female names during WWII in imitation of a popular book (Storm by George Rippey Stewart, 1940), which had identified a typhoon with the name Maria; by 1953 this convention was made official, and in 1979 male names began alternating with female names on recurring rosters in six year rotations; the storm names may be in English, Spanish, or French (except for letters Q, U, and Z), and are only retired from use by the National Weather Service when they are particularly notorious] [nb: due to axial tilt during earth's rotation, the hemispheric seasons are not the same length, with the southern summer / northern winter being the shortest season, and northern summer / southern winter being the longest] Also, a sign of approaching or impending trouble, as tumult, turmoil, upheaval, or "sturm und drang"; see WEATHER EYE.

a metaphor for the mode of direct control exercised upon small or specialized units (eg: CID, CIC, IG, SF/SOF) by high command that bypasses intermediate or theater organizations without their influence or intervention; also called "pipeline" or "mainline". Compare CHINESE WALL; see COMPARTMENTALIZATION, RIG. Also, an informal referent to MORTAR, which is also known as "vest-pocket artillery", "mortie", or PISS TUBE.

outstanding, excellent; ready in the best possible condition, with a superb military appearance; originally derived from STRategic Army Command, or STRategic Army Corps, where CONUS units were kept at peak readiness for 72-hour rapid deployment (OP TEMPO) schedules, which term was later converted into an acronym meaning: Straight, Tough, Ready Around the Clock, but also acquired the meaning of SPIT 'n' POLISH from too many alerts without enough action (idle troops must polish something!). See SHIPSHAPE, SQUARED AWAY; compare GUNG-HO, WETSU, HOISE, OORAH, HOOAH. [nb: "Being STRAC came to mean looking sharp more than being combat ready." by Colin Powell]

an attack on ground troops or installations with machinegun (MG) or ROCKET fire from low-flying airplanes, also known as GUN RUN; meaning 'punish' ("strafen" / "bestrafen"), being derived as an extract from a WWI Imperial German propaganda slogan "May God punish England". See TAC-AIR, AIR STRIKE, DANGER CLOSE, LETDOWN, SORTIE, BIRD.

any personnel, vehicles, ships, or aircraft which, without apparent purpose or assigned mission, become separated from their unit, column, or formation; compare ROMPER, LAND TAIL, see COMBAT SPREAD. Also, a person, group, vehicle, or vessel separated from its CONVOY through an inability to maintain pace and unable to rejoin its element before nightfall; see UA, HEADWAY.

anyone living a proper or conventional lifestyle by the generally accepted rules (eg: SOP, SCRIPTURES), especially someone trustworthy and devoted, as a righteous person; also known as "straight shooter". Phrase probably derived from a contraction of 'STRAIGHT and nARROW', being the way of virtuous conduct; but may simply be as straight and true as an arrow. Known as "wowser" by AUSSIE and KIWI troops. See A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, TOE THE LINE, TRUE BLUE, GOOD LIFE, PINK, GOOD PEOPLE, MR CLEAN, BRASS-COLLAR; compare HIPPIE, TRIPPIE, PREEVERT.


a continuous course of hull planks or plates on a ship; see DECK, HULL, GUNWALE, PLANK, FREEBOARD, CAREEN, HELL TO PAY.

female genitalia as metanym for sex or for a woman as a sexual object, by reference to foreign or illicit relations, in contravention of the old saw that "all cats are gray in the dark", anything STRANGE must be better than something familiar; also called poontang, poon, SNATCH, nooky / nookie, gully, box, squeezebox, cooter, tootie / tutti, 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, pussy, moneymaker, purse, yoni, HAPPY VALLEY; see SPLIT, CAMP FOLLOWER, CAMPAIGN WIFE, SHACK-JOB, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, SLEEPING DICTIONARY, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, BALL BUSTER, BITCH, SKIRT; compare PRICK, CU, ONIONS. [v: Hottentot apron, Nez Percé plucked pubes (glabrous), Yakima thong, and Arabic nymphotomy, labial excision, or clitoral circumcision]

a literary allusion to the bodies or body parts of opponents exhibited as "decoration" on nearby trees or fences, flagpoles or steeples as a precaution or object lesson to the other residents as an illegal practice during COUNTERINSURGENCY, COUNTER-GUERRILLA, and COUNTER-TERRORISM operations; also called CHRISTMAS TREE; see LYNCH LAW, GALLOWS, ONE SIZE FITS ALL, TWIST IN THE WIND, TERRORIST.

(forthcoming); see FICTIONAL CHARACTER.

this biblical phrase, revived by poets and soldiers of the 19th century, and popularized by Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 Hugo Award winning book of the same title, was adopted to express the alienation, disorientation, anomie, and culture shock experienced by many conventional troops serving in the "bizarre" environment of Vietnam. Some white soldiers, sympathetic to the tenets of the counterculture, also used "grok" for intuitive understanding or prehensile comprehension, from the same book; and used in the same sense as BLACK soldiers used HEP. Ironically, this author, who was formerly a Naval officer, has been reclassified from the darling of the liberal intelligentsia into the arch reactionary of the conservative extreme. Heinlein's Starship Troopers is still listed as recommended reading for both Army and Marine Corps personnel.

(aka: GP strap) see BEDROLL STRAP.

slang for an extra person not attached or officially assigned, as a SUPERCARGO or supernumerary, including anyone who wants to do the job just for the experience, as well as those ubiquitous TICKET-PUNCHERs; also called "hitchhiker". Compare BLOB, DEADHEAD, SANDBAG, HOLLYWOOD BLAST, SPACE A; see MC.

an old form of punishment or torture wherein the victim, with arms bound behind, was raised from the ground by a rope fastened to the wrists, abruptly released, then arrested with a painful jerk just before reaching the ground. Also, the instrument used for this practice of stretching or snatching.

acronym for Short Term Road-watch And Target Acquisition; being 14 INDIGenous SCU/SOG teams, trained at LongThanh, housed at Monkey Mountain FOB, and launched from NAKED FANNY (NKP) into NVN near Lao border for two-week missions. Performed 26 operations during 1967-8. See NICKEL STEEL, THUNDER TIGER; compare TRAIL WATCHER.

U.S. STRATegic COMmand, a joint Air Force and Navy organization that replaced Strategic Air Command (SAC) in June 1992, and merged with Space Command in 2002; compare USASTRATCOM. Also, the Vietnam-era designation for U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command (USASTRATCOM), which is responsible for surveillance, information warfare, command and control.

the doctrine of concentrated and intense bombardment with the objective of rapid capitulation due to devastation and demoralization. STRATEGIC BOMBING was conceived as the primary mission of the Air Force, as distinguished from close air support (CAS), which preoccupation enabled the expansion of Army aviation into helicopters and light fixed-wing aircraft. It has been succeeded by "precision bombing", but CAS is still the most effective use of Air Force assets on the battlefield. See ARC LIGHT, CARPET BOMBING, BOMB 'EM BACK TO THE STONE AGE, BOUNCE THE RUBBLE, BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUCK, NEW LOOK, CONTAINMENT, FAST MOVER, SLOW MOVER, FCSL, TAC-AIR, PREP. [nb: "Massive bombing from high altitude is extremely reliable and accurate: the bombs hit the ground every time!"]

program of defensible villages, initiated on 3 Feb 1962, patterned on the earlier "Agroville" project (1959), later revitalized as "New Life Hamlet" (Ap Doi Moi), and finally revised into secure hamlet (Ap Tan Sin). Based upon the British experience in Malaysia (which dealt with ethnically distinct elements), this program was mismanaged until it faded away after the 1963 assassination of its sponsor, President Ngo Dinh Diem. See AP, XA, XOM. [v: Papago, Pima, Apache, and other "tame" AmerIndians of the southwest were persuaded by Spanish administrators to accept food and clothing in exchange for their promise of no theft while residing in satellite villages, called "Peace Establishments", that were situated just outside Mexican presidios from the late 17th century until the United States acquired that territory [Gadsden Purchase]; due to a complex social structure among these tribes, wherein chiefs could not compel the obedience of outlaw members, these "Peace Establishments" exhibited varied success rates, and were later totally ignored by American settlers, their politicians and military enforcers] [cf: 18th century Potemkin villages in Russia, and Cuban "Fortified Zones" before the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR]

ARVN STD patch
name of covert INDIGenous unit (STD) that assumed the mission and assets of the Special Commando Unit (SCU) during VIETNAMIZATION when the VNSF/LLDB was disbanded and the MIKE FORCE, RF/PF, and PSDF camps were converted to BORDER DEFENSE RANGER sites. The COUNTERPART organization remained SOG after USSF units rotated back to CONUS, but cover assignments for the Advisory Elements were made through USARV. See THUNDER TIGER, CAS, CSD, RECON.

a plan or method (stratagem) devised for achieving a specific goal, such as the art or science of conducting large-scale military operations in support of sociopolitical objectives; as derived from military commander or army leader ("general's war"). An old army adage states that armies are best built from the bottom up and led from the front; the army that wins is the one most committed and willing to sacrifice. Compare TACTICS; see CAPABILITY, LDR, COURSE OF ACTION, DIVIDE AND CONQUER, KNOW YOUR ENEMY, ABSTRACTION, OPLAN, BATTLE, WAR. [nb: a theorem on the relativity of tactics and strategy is: if the tactics are wrong and the strategy is wrong then the war will be quickly lost; if the tactics are right but the strategy is wrong then battles will be won while the war is lost; if the tactics are wrong but the strategy is right then battles will be lost while the war is won; and if the tactics are right and the strategy is right then the war will be quickly won] [nb: Frederick the Great's mule attended many battles but learned nothing about war from them!; the difference between the OLD MAN and the TOP KICK is the same in war as it is in sex: officers need to talk about it in great detail for a long time before it happens, but sergeants need to talk about it in great detail for a long time after it happens!]

USAF B-29 bomber aircraft; compare SUPER FORTRESS; see BIRD.

C-97 cargo aircraft; see BIRD.

Boeing B-52 eight-engine, high altitude, long-range, heavy strategic bomber aircraft. The B-52 is regarded by experts as the most successful military aircraft ever produced. It began entering service in the mid-1950s and by 1959 had replaced the awesome but obsolete B-36 as the backbone of Strategic Air Command's (SAC) heavy bomber force. Its primary mission was nuclear deterrence through retaliation. The B-52 has been amazingly adaptable. It was initially designed to achieve very high-altitude penetration of enemy airspace; but when that concept was rendered obsolete by the development of accurate surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), the B-52 was redesigned and reconstructed for low-altitude penetration. It has undergone eight major design changes since first flown in 1952; from B-52A to B-52H. When the Vietnam situation began to deteriorate in 1964, key SAC commanders began pressing for SAC to get involved in any theater action; but the first problem was one of mission. How could a heavy strategic bomber, designed to carry nuclear bombs, be used in Vietnam? The answer was to modify the B-52 again. Two B-52 units, the 320th Bomb Wing and the 2nd Bomb Wing, had their aircraft modified to carry "iron bombs", conventional high explosive bombs. After a second modification, each B-52 used in Vietnam could carry eighty-four 500-pound bombs internally and twenty-four 750-pound bombs on underwing racks, for a 3,000-mile nonstop range. The two Bomb WINGS were deployed to operate from Guam as the 133rd Provisional Wing. Later, additional units were deployed to Thailand and Okinawa to reduce in-flight time, and thus response time. The first B-52 raids against a target in South Vietnam (and the first war action for the B-52) took place on 18 June 1965. The target was a Viet Cong jungle sanctuary. The results were not encouraging. Two B-52s collided in flight to the target and were lost in the Pacific Ocean. The results of the bombing could not be evaluated because the area was controlled by the Viet Cong. Although the press criticized the use of B-52s, ground commanders were much impressed with the potential of the B-52. Previous attempts to use tactical bombers and fighter-bombers to disrupt enemy troop concentrations and supply depots had not been successful. But the B-52 was a veritable flying boxcar, and the effect of a squadron-size attack was to create a virtual Armageddon on the ground. Ironically, the most effective use of the B-52 in Vietnam was for tactical support of ground troops. B-52s were called in to disrupt enemy troop concentrations and supply areas with devastating effect. From June 1965 until August 1973, when operations ceased, B-52s flew 124,532 sorties which successfully dropped their bomb loads on target. Thirty-one B-52s were lost: eighteen shot down by the enemy, and thirteen lost to operational problems. Also called BUF / BUFF, ALUMINUM OVERCAST, Aluminum Eclipse, Monkey-Killer. See ARC LIGHT, CARPET BOMBING.

Boeing B-47 / RB-47H aircraft; see BIRD.

Boeing C-135 cargo aircraft; compare LOOKING GLASS, STRATOTANKER, see BIRD.

pocket patch of a KC-135 tanker
servicing an SR-71
Boeing KC-97 / KC-135 USAF four-engine jet TANKER aircraft used for in-flight refueling; a second-generation militarized version of the Boeing 707 airliner; compare LOOKING GLASS, STRATOLIFTER, see BIRD.


a BURGEE, pennant, pennon, GUIDON, or emblem. [v: pencel / pennoncel / pensil] Also, a unit award, campaign, or battle honor in the form of a narrow swallowtailed ribbon that's suspended from the flagstaff near the finial of a standard or banner; a distinction that was formerly lettered directly onto the face of the flag; see COLORS, ATTABOY, TOP DOG, A-1, BRAVO ZULU, GONG, BRAGGING RIGHTS, TROPHY, KILL RING, UNIT CITATION. [v: fanfaronade] Also, a PARACHUTE malfunction, in which the suspension lines are wrapped around the canopy so it cannot deploy, also called "cigarette-roll" or "screamer"; see CUT-AWAY.

an urchin or gamin/gamine, especially in the Near East region; see BABY-SAN, RAGHEAD, MUJ, ISAAC THE IRAQ, SCARAB THE ARAB, SANDY, HAJJI, ALI BABA, SKINNY, CHILDREN'S BRIGADE.

slang for high-speed tactical driving; also called "road surfing"; see FIREBALLING, ZIGZAG, BRODIE, HYDROPLANE, SHELL GAME, JOHN WAYNE DRIVING SCHOOL.

refers to both the primary coastal route running the length of NVN and SVN, designated Highway One (QL 1), and to Highway 19, which runs from Qui Nhon through An Khe and Pleiku into the CENTRAL HIGHLANDS. This phrase was made famous in the book of the same title by Bernard Fall, which described the VIET MINH conquest of the French. See THUNDER ROAD, HAI VAN PASS, MANG YANG PASS, AN KHE PASS. [nb: confusingly, two different highways are identified as "street without joy", but two highways are also formally designated as "Highway 1": the coastal route running the length of the country, and the road running west from Saigon through Long Binh and Cu Chi into Cambodia ... it has been said that they are, in fact, the same highway (first south then west, or east and north), but this practice is not duplicated elsewhere in the country, nor in any other country; and so it goes throughout the Orient, almost everything requires context for complete clarity of meaning]

an ANTIBIOTIC produced by soil bacteria, which was first isolated by Selman A. Waksman and Albert Schatz (1947); this water-soluble sulfate salt acts by inhibiting protein synthesis and by damaging cell membranes in susceptible microorganisms. Compare SULFA DRUGS, PENICILLIN, TETRACYCLINE. [cf: dihydrostreptomycin]


a catch-phrase for the moral compunction or qualms, the pangs of conscience, together with any associated malaise, induced by the responsibilities of leadership at all levels of command in a combat situation; this spiritual burden for the lives of one's subordinates, as well as mission accomplishment, is onerous, taxing, and can be debilitating. See DISSOCIATION, CONVERSION SYMPTOMS, OBJECTIFICATION, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME, FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT, PTSD, FLASHBACK, THOUSAND-YARD STARE, TELESCOPING, BLACKOUT, WATERWORKS, ZOMBIE, BUBBLE. [nb: Zen or Ch'an meditation (zazen) is sometimes called "wall staring", using mental riddles (koan) and analytical discourse (mondo), together with controlled physical violence for reinforcement, to "awaken" (satori/prajna) the inner or spiritual being; hence the affinity between martial arts and Zen, where military and religious disciplines are unified.]

the causal agent or antecedent force that modifies psychological, physical, and social activity by the application of deforming or distorting pressures, such as concentrated study, fitness training, or interactive exertions ... a motivating drill instructor can be as dynamic a STRESSOR as a skirmish on the battlefield!

(forthcoming); compare LITTER, SKEDCO, DOOLIE, BASKET; see DUMMY STICK, YO-HO POLE, LITTER-BEARER, STRETCHER-BEARER; see HIGHLINE. [v: palanquin/palankeen, palki/palkee, jiao, gama, sedan chair, hand truck, pushcart, tug-truck, pull-truck] Also, any of various instruments for extending, widening, or distending; compare TENT, DOG BITE, COMPRESS, TAMPON.


McDonnell-Douglas F-15E; compare EAGLE, see FAST PACK, BIRD.

see TOP GUN.

an armed force, sized and equipped to deliver a strong offensive or retaliatory blow in a specific area; also called FIRE BRIGADE, Rapid Reaction Force (RRF), LIGHT, SMU, SOF.

traditional term for PARAMILITARY troops, which are typically less qualified elements assigned to minor duties or low-priority stations, such as "home guard"; see WEEKEND WARRIOR, MILITIA. Also, common term for foreign or INDIGenous troops trained by American ADVISORs for supplemental augmentation of the primary active duty military, such as Regional Force or Popular Force units; see IRREGULARs, CIDG, CSF, MIKE FORCE, MGF, MSF, PF, RF, RF/PF, PRU, PSDF, BLACKJACK, NECK SCARF, CAP, COUNTERPART, CONSTABULARY, OMLT, KATUSA, UNPFK, SOG, SF, UW. Also, an enlisted man (EM) who voluntarily acts as a paid servant or personal attendant for a commissioned officer; see ORDERLY, HOUSE MOUSE, AIDE. Also, NavSpeak for an enlisted SAILOR in training for a specific technical rating. Also, designation of a rocket-boosted 2000# glide bomb (AGM-130) having a range of 10-15miles.

to completely and permanently lower a flag, as in surrender, deactivation, or retirement; also expressed as "strike the colors". See HALF-MAST, BREAK A FLAG, BLACK FLAG, WHITE FLAG, QUARTER, WHITE FEATHER, DEFEAT, LILY-LIVERED, FRENCH FLU.

an Americanism from the WWII-era that designates the target area, being adopted from baseball, but inclusive of the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE); a TARGET, AIMPOINT, GROUND ZERO, POINT OF IMPACT, FIRE FOR EFFECT, SOFT TARGET, HARD TARGET, OBJ.

an open-work net bag of various sizes that's both collapsible and expandable; like the Swiss Army Knife, string bags became extremely popular when discovered by military personnel and their families stationed in Europe during the post-WWII occupation. The manufacture of STRING BAGs originated as a replacement cottage industry (principally in former Czechoslovakia) for makers of hair nets, the need for which ended when shorter hair styles became more popular after the Great War (WWI). Handmade from artificial silk yarn by women home workers, these inexpensive bags were lightweight and compact, ideal for instant deployment from a pocket or purse whenever a need presented. Specialty bags included hand, elbow, or shoulder carry for shopping, laundry, or sports equipment. Traditionally knotted (macramé lace), some producers have experimented with sprang and twining interlacements; in the post-Vietnam era, expandable mesh bags are machine-made of plastic.

fully armed aircraft parked on the APRON of a forward airstrip or air base, or on a launch catapult, and ready to deploy within five minutes; also called "ramp alert"; see SCRAMBLE. [nb: contrary to popular misconception, this was not a readiness condition for alluring nudity!]



stroboscopic lamp; see BLINKER, BUBBLEGUM MACHINE, WIGWAG.

any lustful publication, including erotic or lurid books and magazines, especially pornography, such that sexual arousal is excited, often culminating in masturbatory release (or relief); known as "stick book" by AUSSIE and KIWI troops. See BOOM-BOOM, SHORT-TIME, BUTTERFLY, HAT TRICK, DAISY CHAIN, TRICK, FUCK, DU, STEAM 'n' CREAM, DIDDLY, HOOKUP, HELL ON WHEELS, ACT OF CONGRESS, CIRCLE JERK, FIRING LINE, CHOWING DOWN, HUMMERR, BUSH PILOT, MUFF DIVER, LOVE HANDLES, UP-CLOSE 'n' PERSONAL, DOG 'n' PONY SHOW; compare PILLOW BOOK, TRAINING FILM. [nb: this phrase has nothing to do with keeping track of bets placed on the probable occurrence of a cardiovascular attack] [v: jack-off, jerk-off, beat-off, beat your meat, pull your pud, choke your chicken, flog your log, flick your Bic, pet your puppy, diddle your piddle, whack your weasel, polish your knob, doodle your noodle, fist your mister, spank your monkey, peel your banana, tickle your trout, stretch your salami, shine your stick, wallop your wand, wax your willie, walk your dog, milk your lizard, burp your worm, squeeze your snake, beat your beast, tame your tiger, pump your python, play your piccolo, flute solo, play the skin flute, strum the one string banjo, play the one note symphony, bone dance, one man show, wrestle the one-eyed monster, shoot your pistol, launch your rocket, fire your friendly weapon, date your hand, marry your palm, woo your fingers, finger fucking, devil's handshake, hand job, lube job, rub-a-dub-dub, pocket pool, solitary pleasure, self-indulgence, play with yourself, self-abuse, wank/whank]

informal reference to that system of rewards (petting strokes) and punishments (lashing strokes) employed as a rough utilitarian mechanism to sustain the military's dominance hierarchy; a social-exchange theory of approximate or commensurate reciprocity. See TOUGH LOVE, WARM FUZZY, ATTABOY, BRAVO ZULU, BRAGGING RIGHTS, GONG, GREEN WEENIE, STREAMER, EYE-CHECK, NOSE COUNT, CIRCLE JERK, BROWNIE / BROWN NOSE, RING-KNOCKER, HACK, CAT'S-PAW, KHAKI MAFIA, BOY'S CLUB, GOOD OLD BOY, THE ESTABLISHMENT; compare CHECKS AND BALANCES, EQUAL PROTECTION, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, DUE DILIGENCE, DUE PROCESS, FINE PRINT, FALLACY OF TU QUOQUE.

a catch-phrase for the qualified and conditioned reinforcement of subordinates who are performing their duties properly and in a satisfactory manner; it means both "pet the animals" and "jerk 'em off", so as to satisfy their needs so as to satisfy command objectives. This process often involves rewards or treats for achievement, such as IN-COUNTRY R&R, beer or ice-cream delivered to the field, or early rotation to BASE CAMP. In the hierarchical 'stroke economy' that's based upon the principle of "What have you done for me lately?", one incidental AW-SHIT wipes out ten-thousand ATTABOYs! See WARM FUZZY, BRAVO ZULU, A-1, GONG, GREEN WEENIE, STREAMER, BRAGGING RIGHTS, TOUGH LOVE.

a covert operative responsible for the unobtrusive and undetectable termination, execution, or assassination of a specified target in as casual or commonplace a manner as possible; term probably derives from 'pedestrian', meaning ordinary, prosaic, mundane. See TWEP, KILLER KANE, SWEEPER, SNIPER, SHADOW WARRIOR, DECAPITATION, BODYGUARD.

involving or threatening the use of force or violence. Also, any reliable and unwavering support, as "my strong right arm".

the most powerful or influential person in an organization or institution, especially a political leader who exercises control by force, such as a dictator or tyrant, WARLORD or THE MAN ON HORSEBACK.

a reinforced foothold or supported WAY POINT that has been improvised by the combat situation for temporary assembly and dispatch; may be designated an RV or RALLY POINT, also spelled "strong point"; compare GO TO HELL POINT, PHASE LINE, AIMPOINT. Also, a military stronghold, being a place fortified against attack, a natural fastness, a place of refuge or security; see CITADEL, COMPOUND, RESERVATION, BASE, BASE CAMP, FOB, OB, FSB, PILLBOX, BUNKER, HEDGEHOG, KEY TERRAIN, CHOKE POINT, BRIDGEHEAD. [v: Military Earthworks Terms]

in its most general sense, the sociological doctrine that actual or apparent social structure has priority over social action; asserting that interactivity subordinates function to form, and reinforces stratification. Structuralism transforms our commonsense notion of individuals: since they too are seen as the product of relationships, rather than as the authors of social reality. Structuralism replaces the ontologically privileged human subject with a de-centred conception of the self ... a process of so-called de-centring. Thus, with Copernicus came the realization that the earth was not the center of the universe; with Darwin the realization that human beings were not the center of creation, but a product of evolution; with Marx the realization that human beings were not the producers, but the product of social relations; and with Freud the realization that individuals were not the conscious agents of choice, but the product of unconscious desires ... leading to the demise of the idea of voluntary individual action. This view, also known as "synchrony", that people are products of their heritage and mapping has been moderated by post-structuralism; but the theoretical dispute persists, as in: an obedience to traditional rules versus the unorthodox accomplishment of the objective. It is most often manifest in the case of natural leaders being legitimized only when recognized by established authority. See ASYMMETRIC WARFARE, compare COINCIDENCE.

a contest, conflict, fight, or war of any kind; see CONFLICT RESOLUTION, MICROAGGRESSION, CONFLICT, LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT, INSURGENCY, GUERRILLA WARFARE, UW, BATTLE, WAR. Also, to vigorously or resolutely contend with an adversary,a difficult task, or any other problem; derived from "strong". Also, to proceed or advance by great effort; to strive toward attainment or fulfillment. Also, in communist methodology, to criticize oneself or others severely for mistakes, imperfections, or deviations from the ideological norm, as guidance in a "struggle session"; see BOMBING, REEDUCATION, INTERNAL EXILE. [v: menticide] [v: gage; casus belli; lese / lèse majesté; cf: slugfest, battalia, stour] [nb: while fight and battle are subsumed by war, which is of indeterminate but finite duration, conflict and struggle have the potential of being persistent and relentless, with such an inexorable contumacy best represented by the concepts of "long struggle", "ceaseless struggle", "prolonged struggle", and manifest in endless war, perpetual revolution, continuous fighting, the long fight, everlasting resistance, perennial strife, and the long defeat; although struggle has marked human existence from the sustenance of life to the adoption of contending rationales, as a philosophical tenet, the struggle between realism and determinism has been best represented by Immanuel Kant, Ludwig Feuerbach, Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Karl Marx]


(forthcoming); a multi-role armored personnel carrier that maneuvers on eight wheels (instead of TRACKs); see SBCT, ARMORED CAR; compare APC, TRACK.

Shuttle Transportation System, being the official name of the space shuttle program.

the M-5 General Stuart, also known as "Honey", a small light TANK having a manual TURRET mounted with a 37mm (SQUIRREL GUN) MAIN-GUN and COAX machinegun (MG), powered by a manually-cranked gasoline engine prone to ignite when hit, that was used early in WWII. See WIDOW MAKER.

an obstacle or a hindrance, as a restraint or constraint, hobble or leash, impediment or encumbrance, pinion or trammel ... a yoke or straitjacket, fetters or ball-and-chain, so as to make flight or escape more difficult. [v: hamstring; cf: foot-dragging] Also, an obstacle to progress or achievement; a hindrance to comprehension or understanding; a cause of difficulty or deception; see BUGBEAR, BOGY, THWART. Also, any attitude or behavior that trips someone up, that leads an innocent person to sin, that causes any interference with belief or obstructs salvation; originating as a hunter's trap (eg: deadfall). [v: barrier, encumbrance, trammel, remora] [v: this is a "stone of stumbling" and a "rock of offense" in 1 Peter 2:8; cf: chopping block] [nb: "Make your stumbling blocks stepping-stones." American proverb; "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." Romans 14:13; "Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." Romans 9:32-33]

slang for a DUD shell in the First World War (WWI); so-called from its reference to a swindle by forgery or misrepresentation, as when passing COUNTERFEIT banknotes or altering the betting odds on contests and races. Also, may refer to a 'swindler' or deceiver, as a LOOSE CANNON or FIELD REJECT.


nickname for the Marine Corps Air-Ground Coordination Center, at the extensive Twenty Nine Palms base in California; colocated with the Marine Corps High-Desert Training Area. It is said that a Marine cannot go UA at this large and remote base because he can walk for three days and still be seen from MAINSIDE!

tumult, turmoil, and upheaval; as literally derived from "storm and stress"; see BLOOD 'n' GUTS, BLOOD AND IRON. Also, an heroic style of nationalistic German literature from the late 18th century that's characterized by impetuosity, intuition, and exaltation, which opposed the established forms of traditional thought and society; see GUERRILLA THEATER, COUNTERCULTURE. [v: anti-heroism; cf: kultur, kulturkampf]

the half-step skip used by individuals in formation to get back into the proper rhythmic step with their unit; see CADENCE. Also, slang for the sloppy appearance of troops walking or marching out of step with each other, also called "stagger-step"; see GAGGLE, DITTY-BOP, CLUSTER FUCK, ROUTE STEP.

(ess-tee-ecks) Situational Training eXercise; see EXERCISE.

Special Tactical Zone.

U.S. Army Superior Unit Award
(forthcoming); U.S. Army Superior Unit Award; see UNIT CITATION, GONG.

see ETIQUETTE, MANNERS, SOCIAL GRACES, CHARISMA, BEARING, TACT. [nb: until recently, an OFFICER was simultaneously designated a "gentleman" when appointed by an ACT OF CONGRESS, which not only inspired further intellectual development but also encouraged cultural sophistication, which refinements were mocked as being 'suave and debonair' (deliberately mispronounced as "soo-wave" and "dee-boner")]

short for SUBMARINE or submersible (ie: any vehicle capable of functioning while under water, usually at great depth), including PIGBOAT, GUPPY, BOOMER, SS, SSN, MOTHER SHIP, MINISUB, GATOR, SDV, SRV, ROV, AUV, MOSS. [cf: bathyscape/bathyscaphe]

someone of lower RANK serving in a subordinate position, especially an officer candidate (OC / WOC); also known as coronet, sublieutenant, third lieutenant or third officer; see CADET, SNOTTY, GREMLIN, PIP, LOOEY, BUTTER BAR, BROWN BAR, ENSIGN, LT. [nb: the word "caddie", with the same origin as CADET, and sometimes shortened to "cad" (irresponsible, dishonorable), was the 17th century term for a gentleman who learned the military profession by serving in the army without a commission; henceforth, it was applied to any person seeking employment (cf: coronet)]

that class of conventional, or non-thermonuclear, weapons that are readily available in an arsenal for combat operations; see DEPOT, DUMP, MUNITIONS, EXPLOSIVE, WARHEAD, BOMB, GRENADE, MINE, ROCKET, MISSILE, AMMO; compare NUKE, CBR, WMD, TOMB, OVERKILL.

contraction of 'submarine chaser', designated SC, being a small patrol vessel that's designed as a fast attack platform for use against submarines; see SPITKIT, SHIT CAN, ASW.

SUBJect, being the topic or reference, as annotated on agendas or memos.

see SMG.

called an "infernal contraption" and a "peripatetic coffin" since the CIVIL WAR's "Pioneer" versions; first joined USN fleet on 11 April 1900 as USS Holland, commissioned after inventor John P. Holland. These small, maneuverable, submersible ships of the "Silent Service" perform as "hunter-killer" sub/counter-sub vessels, flotilla guardians, surveillance platforms, and as unconventional warfare assets. The SUBMARINE is also known as a "sewerpipe", PIGBOAT, BOOMER, GUPPY, "steel turd", and "clockwork mouse" for its deceptive role in tracking patterns. The unofficial motto of the "Silent Service" is: "We hide with pride!" See MINISUB, MOTHER SHIP, GOAT LOCKER, SHERWOOD FOREST, IDAS, POLARIS, SNORKEL, SNORT, PERISCOPE, CONNING TOWER, PRESSURE HULL, GIGGLES 'n' BANGS, CRASH-DIVE, COLLAPSE DEPTH, ANGLES 'n' DANGLES, SONAR, ASDIC, SOSUS, UWT, ELF, SSIX, ASW, SLBM, MAD, DASH, ORION, SRV, MOSS, COMSUBFLEET, DOLPHIN, BUBBLEHEAD, DIPPER, DOLPHIN DIVE. [nb: regardless of its size or nomenclature, it is traditional to refer to all SUBMARINEs as BOATs; cf: unterseeboot or U-boat / U-boot] [v: SSN Thresher sunk with its crew 10 April 1963 due to failure of a bronze valve] Also, a sub(marine) or hero SANDWICH, a hoagie or grinder, gyro or po' boy, being a small loaf of bread (ie: baguet) filled with any of various ingredients, such as cold cuts and sliced cheese, sausage and meatballs, peppers and other vegetables; see PITA, RICE BALL, PANCAKE, SLIDER, CAMEL BURGER, HORSE COCK, BANH MI, DUTCH LUNCH, BOXED NASTY, SPAM, FIRST-STRIKE RATION.

any munition contained in or carried by another munition, as for activation or deployment; see CBU, BUTTERFLY BOMB, AP, APAM; compare FAE, SABOT.

a person or thing situated at a lesser rank or belonging to a lower order; that which is of less importance, as when being subject to or under the authority of a superior. Also, subservient or inferior; dependent or secondary; obliged to be submissive.

private, privileged, secret, covert, clandestine; derived from "under the rose" as an ancient symbol of sworn confidentiality. [cf: omertà]

less than the speed of sound waves through air at the same height above sea level; something capable of achieving such speed. See MACH; compare SUPERSONIC, HYPERSONIC. [nb: the velocity and distance that sound travels in either air or water depends upon atmospheric pressure, medium temperature, molecular density, and turbulence; such that under equivalent conditions, sound moves faster in salt water than in fresh, faster in fresh water than in air. The audible range of sound wave frequencies for humans is 20 - 20,000 Hz; above which ultrasonic waves may be felt, instead of heard.] [cf: ultrasound]

the overthrowing of something established or existing; to corrupt or ruin so as to undermine principles or to cause a downfall. The objectives of military subversion are: to damage the enemy's materiel to maximum extent; to damage the enemy's means of communication and production; to strain the enemy's manpower resources; to undermine the enemy's morale; and to conversely raise the morale of the occupied population so as to inspire them to assist in the resistance and overthrow of oppression. See UW, COUNTERINSURGENCY, CI, GUERRILLA, GUERRILLA WARFARE, SABOTAGE, MONKEY WRENCH, RUNNING DOG, FIFTH COLUMN.

the mouth, as used to draw or form a suction. Also, to behave in a fawning manner; to be obsequious. Also, to be repellent or disgusting.

any bad situation or difficult condition, whether in training or in combat; also represented as "sucky" or "this sucks"; see SUCK IT UP, EMBRACE THE SUCK.

an admonition to get tough (or tougher) so as to cope with or deal with a bad situation (usually CHICKEN SHIT or MICKEY MOUSE, but sometimes BATTLE or WAR); an injunction to stop complaining and get the job done. The clear implication is to cease being part of the problem and commence being part of the solution; also expressed in the GULF WAR and GWOT period as EMBRACE THE SUCK. See FIDO, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, SHIT HAPPENS, BAD-MOUTH, BITCH, MOAN 'n' GROAN, SCUTTLEBUTT, BACK CHANNEL, FANG, NASTY-GRAM, BAYONET SHEET, TS CARD, BARRACKS LAWYER, GUARDHOUSE LAWYER, SEA LAWYER, YARDBIRD, MAN-UP, MANLY ARTS, WHITE-KNUCKLE, BITE THE BULLET, HARD-ASS, DIEHARD, HARD CHARGER, BALLS TO THE WALL.

the technique taught to JET JOCKs during PILOT training where they assist their G-SUIT during maneuvers by constricting their abdominal muscles and close their windpipe (ie: glottal occlusion of trachea to prevent pulmonary aspiration). This "grunt" to take in and let out air has resulted in numerous instances of this compensatory technique resulting in "accidental" defecation; and hemorrhoids are a common physiological condition resulting from recurrent exposure to G-FORCEs. See G-LOCK, SQUELCH.

slang for the housing section provided on post or BASE for married Non-Commissioned Officers' (NCO) family quarters, which phrase derives from the practice of sergeants' wives being paid for doing laundry, as an economic necessity as well as a military service; also called "soapsuds row". Because the salary of junior officers is less than senior NCOs, many officers' wives were as desperate for supplemental income, but the military class system prohibited them from working in occupations outside their caste. See BARRACK, BILLET, HOOCH, NOB HILL, DISTAFF, SEPARATE RATS, GREEN BLOOD; compare COMFORT STATION. [nb: until the Vietnam-era, the military did not recognize the spouse or other dependents of enlisted personnel below the non-commissioned officer ranks] [v: ghetto, barrio, shantytown, Hell's Kitchen, cabbagetown, barriada, bidonville, favela, slum, deslum, bustee/busti; cf: suburb/suburbia, Shaker Heights, Levittown, Stamford, Costa Mesa, subdivision]

(forthcoming); [nb: "You can only have so much fun before you've had too much of a good thing; but you can have all the misery that you can stand, and the world willingly bestows even more troubles upon you. Suffering may only be a pointless illusion or simply a meritorious prerequisite, but it's abundantly universal and indiscriminately plentiful."; "Life is a torment of pain and suffering which can be endured, and sometimes cheated, but never conquered. Our existence moves from innocence to confusion, then to frustration, and finally into defeat. Our aged decline is filled with the creaks of broken promises and the rattle of shattered dreams. It is sad, if not pathetic, to realize that the pointless force which we passionately exert upon every suspected cause actually changes nothing essential."; "Buddhists claim that life is suffering, and that most people devote themselves to anesthetizing, palliating, or ameliorating their pathetically redundant existences simply to elude such unnecessary suffering. It never seems to occur to most people that the only difference between suffering and sensation is the value-judgment imposed. Aren't the only worthwhile feelings addictive? It rarely occurs to anyone in the Modern Era that suffering can actually be endured, that endurance is a character distinction, and that the purposeful endurance of suffering may be the whole point of life."; "Suffering is a far more universal language than Esperanto willever be!" by Harry Turtledove; "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); "The experienced life is far more fulfilling than the blissful and innocent life." paraphrase of William Blake; "Difficulties show men what they are. In case of any difficulty remember that God has pitted you against a rough antagonist that you may be a conqueror, and this cannot be without toil." by Epictetus; "Pain hardens, and great pain hardens greatly, what ever the comforters say, and suffering does not ennoble, though it may occasionally lend a certain rigid dignity of manner to the suffering frame." by A.S. Byatt; "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10 NKJV Bible; "A hard beginning maketh a good ending." by John Heywood; "The true purpose of suffering and distress is to grow in compassion and tenderness." paraphrase of William Wordsworth; "No one is fortunate all of the time. What the gods do not provide, and goodness does not sustain, friends must share. Suffering is the test of character; and trouble is the test of friendship."]

slang for someone who is covered with sand, as during various routines or exercises, DRILLs or EVOLUTIONs that are conducted on the beach, so as to make the trainee more uncomfortable; in SEAL training at BUDS, the practice of covering students with sand is used to harass and demoralize the students. See ROCK PORTAGE, SURF TORTURE, WHISTLE DRILL, HELL WEEK, TADPOLE, FROGMAN, UDT, PUP, BUDS, SEAL, NSWG, BUDWEISER.

Air Force slang for candy or snack food; equivalent to Army POGY BAIT or Navy GEDUNK; see HERSHEY BAR, TRACK PAD, CANDY BAR, CLARK BAR, NECCO, JAWBREAKER, CHARMS, HOOAH! BAR, RAT BAIT.

slang for personal mail sent to one's home or from a loved one, especially letters from a girlfriend found on enemy corpses; see MAIL CALL, V-MAIL, FREE, JOURNAL, SOAP CHIPS, JODY, CIRCULAR LETTER.

slang for the innermost A-ring of the Pentagon, being the corridor immediately surrounding the central GROUND ZERO courtyard; compare WHITE WAY, see PUZZLE PALACE. Also, slang for the highway (Route Irish) running to and from the Baghdad International Airport (BIAp) in the Green Zone of Iraq; also called "RPG alley", due to the numerous mines and ambushes along the route, including suicide bombing of Iraqi civilians.

the PILOT of a GLIDER employed during WWII to ferry men and equipment to battlefields. With limited maneuver and crash landings, GLIDER PILOTs believe that they were conceived in error, suffered a long and painful gestation, and were delivered to the wrong place at the wrong time! See FLAK BAIT, WACO. [nb: other glider mottoes include: "There is no going back!" (German), "Nothing is impossible!" (British)]

informal reference to the advance element or SPEARHEAD contingent that leads an operation or assault, being the van or vanguard, storming force or shock troops; historically known as the "God belonging squadron" of the "pre-doomed" in the Mongolian army of Genghis Khan, the primi ordines ("De Bello Gallico") of Caesar, and later as stormtroopers ("sturmabteilung") of Imperial and Nazi Germany. See POINT, SPEARHEAD, RANGER, SENTRY, RAT RACE, SNOWBALL, DIDDLY, CANNON FODDER, WASTED, AUTOTOMY, BITTER END, BELL THE CAT, CAM TU, LAST MAN STANDING; compare IOTA. [v: enfants perdus, forlorn hope; cf: picket, vedette] [nb: "Whenever there is fighting to be done, the keenest spirits should be appointed to serve in the front ranks, both in order to strengthen the resolution of our own men and to demoralize the enemy." by Chang Yu] [v: Japanese kamikaze (single) or floating chrysanthemum (group) mission, Nazi self-sacrifice mission or total mission] [nb: during the Russian counteroffensive into Berlin at the end of the Great Patriotic War, Stalin used Soviet Asiatics to push the advance because they were expendable]

metonymic slang for a bureaucrat, especially a federal civil servant; see EMPTY SUIT, DRONE, HOLLOW BUNNY, PIG LOOKING AT A WRISTWATCH, WONK, BEAN-COUNTER, MANDARIN, POOH BAH, MILICRAT, ALPHABET SOUP, FORM, PAPER TRAIL, RED TAPE, WASHINGTON WALTZ, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS, THE G, SOG, THE ESTABLISHMENT. [aka: "buroid", "militute", "stuffed-shirt"; [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs] [nb: "If you believe that an officeholder is a public servant, then you'd probably believe that a prostitute has a heart of gold."; "Being a bureaucrat means never having to say you're sorry." by C.J. Box]

informal usage for anything that's relatively "man-portable", from communications and surveillance equipment to materiel and weapons, especially tactical NUKEs; also called "backpack"; see DUNNAGE, WEB GEAR.

a compact "man-portable" tactical nuclear weapon of relatively low-yield (ie: less than 15 kilotons); also called "backpack nuke". See NUKE, CBR, WMD, FALLOUT, GROUND ZERO; compare SUBATOMIC WEAPONS.

any of a group of drugs closely related in chemical structure to sulfanilamide, having a bacteriostatic rather than a bacteriocidal effect, as used in the treatment of various wounds, burns, and infections; also called 'sulfa'. Compare PENICILLIN, STREPTOMYCIN, TETRACYCLINE; see ANTIBIOTIC. [v: sulfanilamide, para-aminobenzenesulfonamide, sulfadiazine, sulfapyridine, sulfamethoxazole, and more than 150 other derivatives]

a military court consisting of a single officer who may impose a maximum penalty of imprisonment for one month; see COURT MARTIAL, MCM, UCMJ, MILITARY LAW.

a catch-phrase embodying the convergence of thousands of young people, from dropouts and artists to seekers and activists, during the summer of 1967 in many areas across the continent (including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, etc), but especially in the Haight-Ashbury and North Beach districts of San Francisco ... its focus on creative expression, sexual freedom, and psychotropic drugs as exemplars of the countercultural movement made this "flower child" pilgrimage a defining moment of the '60s phenomenon. Although the hippie movement advocated rebellion against tradition and spawned experimental lifestyles, its widespread popularity signaled its utter corruption by exploitative commercialism and dilute misrepresentation ... an alarm sounded (6 Oct 67) by the mock funeral for the archetypal hippie was "street theater" that lost its existential message in its mainstream entertainment value. Some apologists have heralded the "cross-cultural war" engaged during this period as a revolutionary melting pot (ie: "Make love, not war.", "What goes around comes around.", etc) essential for the necessary sociopolitical changes, but the SUMMER OF LOVE was also known as the "Long Hot Summer" for the violence of several race riots (including Detroit and Newark) that were attributed to continuing discrimination. The allure of an idealized utopia brought shortages and disease, crime and other forms of exploitation, until civic leaders told the hippies to re-invent their "paradise" elsewhere ... take your FLOWER POWER back home! San Francisco celebrated the 40th anniversary of the SUMMER OF LOVE on 2 September 2007 with superannuated hippies (aka: SILVER-TAILs) blissfully imagining their "glory days" ... still in a fog of addlepated confusion! See HIPPIE, PACIFIST, KUM BA YAH, WE SHALL OVERCOME, PROTESTOR, YIPPIE, RUNNING DOG, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, THE PILL, PREEVERT, TRIPPIE. [v: "Human Be-In" at Golden Gate Park (14 Jan 1967); New Year's Be-IN, Easter Be-In, and several anti-war be-ins at Sheep Meadow, Central Park (1967-69)] [cf: neo-tribalism, holistic health, post-materialism, microeconomics, New Age fashion, etc (eg: love beads, bells / bell-bottoms, tie-dye / resist-dyeing, dashiki / daishiki, Nehru jacket, kaftan / qaftan, headband / sweatband, Afro / WASPfro)]

being a "fair weather soldier" (on the model of "fair weather friend"); a military servicemember who is impressed by the public display of attractive uniforms and drill formations, who is desirous of the most comfortable and secure posting available, giving more lip-service than actual sweat or blood to their duty assignment; the Armed Forces equivalent of a civilian "sunshine patriot". See PAY DUES, TOY SOLDIER, WHISKEY WARRIOR; compare GOOD PEOPLE, QUIET PROFESSIONAL, WINTER SOLDIER. [nb: "The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." by Thomas Paine in Pennsylvania Journal (19 Dec 1776); read to the Continental Army on the eve of the Battle of Trenton (26 Dec 1776)] [nb: during WWII, Adolf Hitler labeled German 'sunshine patriots' as "March violets", being showy Spring flowers that disappear in the next snow]

the highest level of military, diplomatic, or other government officials: see OFFICER, FLAG OFFICER, COMMAND ELEMENT, LDR, WHITE WAY, OLD MAN, BRASS HAT, SCRAMBLED-EGGS, DIP CO. Also, a conclave or parley between heads of state or other top-level government officials; also known as "summit meeting" or "summit conference"; see CONFAB, BRIEFING, CHIN CHIN, HALF-MAST, EAR-BANG, POWWOW, COUNCIL OF WAR, ACCORD, RAPPROCHEMENT, TREATY, ENTENTE, DETENTE, RAISON D'ETAT, DIKTAT, CHATTER, CROSS-TALK, DISINFORMATION, CONTROLLED INFORMATION. [cf: consistory, gabfest] [nb: the personal representatives of the G8 heads of state, who arrange the annual summit meeting in a series of preliminary and subsequent sessions, are commonly called "sherpas", and their assistants are known as "sous-sherpas", named after the Nepalese porters who assist Himalayan climbers]

a classic Latin phrase that literally means the highest or chief good; to wit: DUTY, HONOR, LOYALTY, COURAGE, MORALITY. See ABOVE BOARD, CORE VALUES, KEEP THE FAITH, SEMPER FI, ESPRIT DE CORPS, STRAIGHT ARROW, PINK, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, WINTER SOLDIER. [nb: According to many ethical theories, 'duty' is the basis of the virtuous life. The Stoics held that man has a duty to live virtuously and according to reason; and Kant held that his categorical imperative (an absolute and binding moral dictum) is the highest law of 'duty', regardless of the consequences.]

pit or reservoir designed to receive objects or drainage for disposal or deflection, such as a grenade SUMP, POL SUMP, or latrine SUMP; compare BAFFLE. [nb: as late as the American CIVIL WAR, sutler's would "mine" the concentrated chemicals from kitchen and latrine sumps for treatment or manufacture of new products; such as extracting potassium nitrate from urine for making gunpowder]

regulations that restrict personal expenditures, as in the intent to restrain extravagance; guidelines that are intended to regulate personal habits on moral or religious grounds. See SUMMUM BONUM, BEARING, RESPECT, MORAL COURAGE. [v: excise tax, luxury tax]

an alcoholic beverage consumed after work, when "the sun is over the yardarm"; not a specific drink, but any evening tipple. Also, by association and extension, the informal and convivial atmosphere of friendly imbibing at the end of a day's labors. See BREW, HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, GROUP TIGHTENER, THE DRINK, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, SMOKER, HOIST, HATCH, TOAST, GUSTO; compare MOJO.

the civilian equivalent of the "summer soldier" or "fair weather soldier"; also known as "cocktail party patriot"; see PAY DUES, TOY SOLDIER, WHISKEY WARRIOR; compare GOOD PEOPLE, QUIET PROFESSIONAL, WINTER SOLDIER. [nb: "The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." by Thomas Paine in Pennsylvania Journal (19 Dec 1776); read to the Continental Army on the eve of the Battle of Trenton (26 Dec 1776)] [nb: during WWII, Adolf Hitler labeled German 'sunshine patriots' as "March violets", being showy Spring flowers that disappear in the next snow]


Vietnamese for creek, such as in Suoi Da, Suoi Doi, Suoi Dau, Suoi Tam Bo, and the like; see SONG, IA.

abbreviation for supernumerary; see STRAP-HANGER, BLOB, SUPERCARGO.

any highly destructive bomb, especially an H-BOMB or NUKE; compare CBR, CBRNE, CBW, GNR, WMD.

personnel who accompany cargo for the purpose of enroute maintenance, security, or supervision. Also, personnel who are excess or surplus to the cargo, supernumerary; see STRAP-HANGER, BLOB, DEADHEAD.

to encode a message that is already a cryptogram.

B-29 four-engined high altitude bomber used extensively in the Pacific late in WWII; it was nicknamed "annihilator" from defects that killed many CREWMEMBERs; name often shortened to "Super Fort", and sometimes spelled "Superfortress" ... this is the airplane that dropped the two A-BOMBs that induced Imperial Japan to end the war. Also, designation given to KB-29 / B-50 / F-13 aircraft. Compare STRATOCRUISER, FLYING FORTRESS, STRATOFORTRESS; see BIRD.

Sergeant Major of the Army
SMA 1979
revised SMA rank insignia
SMA 1994
the most senior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) GRADE RATINGs which were formerly RANKs or BILLETs of assignment, including First Sergeant (FSG/1SG), Command Sergeant Major (CSM), and Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA). GRADEs E-8 and E-9 were added in 1958; CSM (E-9) and SMA (E-10) added in 1968. The separate Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) insignia was added in 1979, then revised by the addition of the American eagle in 1994. See SARGE, CHIEF, GUNNY, CHAIN-OF-COMMAND, TOP, TOP DOG, DI, STAFF SERGEANT MAJOR, EM, MOSQUITO WING, SLICK SLEEVE, CRUIT, SWINE LOG, YARDBIRD. Also, those political appointees and civilian contractors who are hired at the executive level above GS ratings to fulfill the purported needs of congressmen or the president (POTUS); such consultants and advisers were employed as brain-trusters at $1 per year under FDR; see HIRED GUN, WHIZ KID, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, MANDARIN, CZAR, WISE MEN, BRAIN TRUST, KITCHEN CABINET, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX; compare RELATIVE RANK.

coined during the Vietnam-era, a FICTIONAL CHARACTER possessed of extraordinary or magical powers, as represented in comic books and animated cartoons; compare HERO, THE NINE WORTHIES, SUPERPATRIOT, MACHO, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE; see MOCK-HEROIC, MIND CANDY, WHITE PROPAGANDA. [nb: "The one person who has more illusions than the dreamer is the man of action." by Oscar Wilde (Fingal O'Flahertie Wills)]

nickname for the CH-54 SKYCRANE or FLYING CRANE heavy cargo helicopter; compare HOOK.

Boeing F/A-18E/F is an upgrade of the 1970s HORNET design with the same basic aerodynamic features, while improving the AVIONICS contained in an all-glass cockpit, new engines, the structural use of composite materials to reduce weight, and a slightly modified shape to minimize its radar signature; succeeded by the F/A-18G Boeing GROWLER. Compare HORNET, see BIRD.

informal reference to counterfeit currency that's been forged so well that it's actually superior to the scrip quality normally produced by a (Third World) nation; specimens typically incorporate all anti-counterfeiting precautions, such as security threads and microprinting, infrared marking and tonal shifting inks. See BENSON SILK, MPC, FUNNY MONEY, BAD PAPER, LEGAL TENDER. [v: fiat money; cf: flash money]

that which is excess of the proper number or prescribed amount; that which is extra or surplus, more than is required. Also, someone who is additional; a substitute, adjunct, or auxiliary, which is abbreviated SUPE. See STRAP-HANGER, BLOB, SUPERCARGO. [nb: it is customary to excuse the best soldier after a guard mount inspection as a reward for excellence and an incentive for betterment[



the North American F-100 interceptor fighter jet aircraft; nicknamed HUN.

coarse nickname for the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Sea Stallion cargo helicopter, due to the profusion of smoke expelled from its exhaust during operation; this heavy-lift CHOPPER succeeded the earlier SEA STALLION.

greater than the speed of sound waves through air at the same height above sea level; something capable of achieving such speed. See MACH, SONIC BOOM, JET PROPULSION; compare HYPERSONIC. [nb: the velocity and distance that sound travels in either air or water depends upon atmospheric pressure, medium temperature, molecular density, and turbulence; such that under equivalent conditions, sound moves faster in salt water than in fresh, faster in fresh water than in air. The audible range of sound wave frequencies for humans is 20 - 20,000 Hz; above which ultrasonic waves may be felt, instead of heard.] [cf: ultrasound]

rhyming slang for FUGLEMAN, a paradigm or archetype, the epitome or exemplar of the ideal MIL-PERS ... a Greek god or white knight; see SWEAT HOG, HARD CHARGER, FAST MOVER, BOOMER, HOT SHOT, BALLS TO THE WALL, FIGJAM, GOLDEN BOY, HOT-SHIT, SHAKE 'n' BAKE, TOP DOG, DEEP DIP. [v: ne plus ultra, expert, master, virtuoso, bailiwick; cf: "wight" is a human being, who is defined as such by his ability to fight, hence is someone who's strong and brave in war] [nb: compensatory SUPER-TROOPER syndrome: big complicated wristwatch = simple little weenie!]

designation for the Cessna AT-37, an attack variant of the jet trainer; also known as "dog whistle" or CONVERTER. Compare TWEET, see BIRD.

refurbished XF-111 AARDVARK supersonic tactical fighter STOL aircraft; see BIRD.

LOGISTICS, armory, and MOTOR POOL; the proverbial "4 shop", as S-4/G-4/J-4 (v: J-CODES, STAFF). See LOG, QM, HOBSON'S CHOICE. [v: a "viaticum" is a provision or allowance of the necessary funds and supplies issued to a Roman soldier traveling to his last or final battle; which became the ecclesiastical Eucharist or Communion given to a dying person]

those necessary servicemembers and essential organizations that do not directly participate in offensive or defensive military operations, including administrative and readiness, analysis and planning, logistical and transportational, technical or medical activities; see COMBAT SUPPORT (CS), COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT (CSS), TOOTH-TO-TAIL RATIO.

America Supports You
a catch-phrase to express post-Vietnam PATRIOTism without endorsing the current policies or foreign affairs of the government; in the political catechism of anti-war activists, this phrase is always the justification for protesting national defense ("I'm against this war but I support the troops.") as a quibble that attempts to separate cause and effect, the doer from that which is done, in the same way that Christians rationalize a hatred for the sin but a love of the sinner! This GULF WAR slogan is a continuation of the dispute between the "love it or leave it" and the "love it enough to change it" factions that have been polarized throughout the post-WWII war of contending cultures in America. See GONE NATIVE, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, AMERIKA, VIETNAM IS FOREVER. [cf: Kultur]


anything that stops or inhibits, such as a FLASH SUPPRESSOR or sound suppressor (SILENCER, not "muffler"); derived from forced down. Compare SQUELCH.

(forthcoming); see SAC, SCAP.

catch-phrase conveying certainty or asseveration, as an assurance or conviction borne of skill; similarly expressed as "sure as faith", "sure as God made little green apples", and "sure as eggs is eggs" (which is actually a corruption of the logician's "X is X").

to transmit a strong signal beside an existing broadcast band, so as to admix, interfere, or overwhelm, with the intent of receivers retuning onto the new parallel band; the objective is replacement or substitution, by overriding with a PROPAGANDA broadcast, rather than jamming the signal. Compare HITCHHIKE; see HASHING, PUSH, FREQ, RADIO. Also, the swell of the sea that breaks upon a shore or upon shoals, or the mass of foamy water that's created by the breaking of the sea upon shoals or a shore; compare BREAKWATER, WHITECAP, WHITE WATER.

a training exercise (or EVOLUTION) used to condition individuals to the extreme physical torment of combat swimming while enduring exhaustion and hypothermia; learning how to function beyond the pain is the principal lesson taught by "Instructor Ocean". SEAL doctrine mandates that students discover the personal motivation necessary to sustain them in this adversity. In SEAL training at BUDS, this simulation is used to harass and demoralize the students. See SUGAR COOKIE, ROCK PORTAGE, WHISTLE DRILL, HELL WEEK, TADPOLE, FROGMAN, UDT, PUP, BUDS, SEAL, NSWG, BUDWEISER.

(forthcoming); military jargon that makes 'precision bombing' sound like a beneficial medical procedure ... where the hapless "patient" unfortunately dies. See PGM, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, MUSHROOM, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE); compare STRATEGIC BOMBING, CARPET BOMBING, ARC LIGHT, BOMB 'EM BACK TO THE STONE AGE, BOUNCE THE RUBBLE, BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUCK, OVERKILL.

a paste of inexpensive fish that's been shaped, colored, and flavored in imitation of lobster meat, crabmeat, or the like; from the Japanese word meaning "minced flesh", which is also called "sea legs". See MYSTERY MEAT, CRITTER FRITTER, SLOP, GUT BOMB, WASH, WAD, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. [v: mock chicken, mock turtle soup, Bombay duck, Welsh rabbit, golden buck]


an amount, quantity, or the like that exceeds what is necessary, especially a supply greater than needed at present or a stockpile greater than needed in the foreseeable future. Also, the remains that were not used; the remainder that will not be used.

(forthcoming); resulting in disorientation, a loss of self-control or presence of mind, a loss of equanimity, imperturbability, or sang-froid (composure); compare DECEPTION. [nb: "The surprise is, therefore, not only the means to the attainment of numerical superiority; but it is also to be regarded as a substantive principle in itself, on account of its moral effect. When it is successful in a high degree, confusion and broken courage in the enemy's ranks are the consequences; and of the degree to which these multiply a success, there are examples enough, great and small." by Karl von Clausewitz; "If an army is surprised, and therefore cannot make a regular and intelligent use of its powers and resources, then the effect of the surprise is not doubtful." by Karl von Clausewitz; "In tactics the surprise is much more at home, for the very natural reason that all times and spaces are on a smaller scale. It will, therefore, in Strategy be the more feasible in proportion as the measures lie nearer to the province of tactics, and more difficult the higher up they lie towards the province of policy." by Karl von Clausewitz; "Therefore, even in this field, a surprise does not necessarily meet with great success through the mere activity, energy, and resolution of the commander; it must be favoured by other circumstances. But we by no means deny that there can be success; we only connect with it a necessity of favourable circumstances, which, certainly do not occur very frequently, and which the commander can seldom bring about himself." by Karl von Clausewitz; "Now the effect of a surprise is always heightened if it takes place in the flank or rear, and an enemy completely engaged in the crisis of victory in his extended and scattered order, is less in a state to counteract it." by Karl von Clausewitz; "Fundamentally every night attack is only a more vehement form of surprise. ... Whether the enemy can attack us on several sides with success depends generally on conditions quite different from that of its being done unexpectedly; without entering here into the nature of these conditions, we confine ourselves to observing, that with turning an enemy, great results, as well as great dangers are connected; that therefore, if we set aside special circumstances, nothing justifies it but a great superiority, just such as we should use against a fractional part of the enemy's army." by Karl von Clausewitz]

to yield power or to relinquish authority under duress; to resign or abandon something to the possession of another upon demand; to deliver whatever is sought or desired by an opponent. Also, the act or form of surrendering; the document representing DEFEAT. See THROW IN THE TOWEL, WATERLOO, EXIT STRATEGY, WHITE FLAG, STRIKE THE FLAG, CAPITULATION.

to observe people, objects, and pathways so that the accumulation of enemy information will expose their strength (and weakness) and reveal their operational intentions; to monitor activities by direct (eg: viewing, listening, etc), indirect (eg: intercept, induction, etc), or electronic (eg: microphone, satellite, etc) means so as to protect resources and influence situations, as derived from "to watch over". See LRSD, LRSP, LRSU, PEEPERS, WATCHER, LRSLC, RSLC, STRATA, LRP, LRRP, HAWKS, I&R, RECON, RECONDO, INTEL, SPY, ESPIONAGE, TRADECRAFT; compare COUNTERSURVEILLANCE. [cf: sousveillance] [nb: when LRSP operations were distinguished from LRRP and other SOF missions, as CAV from INF, or INTEL from CSAR, the surveillance teams trained in RVN were awarded a qualification badge similar in design to the US Army para badge, except that the wings grasped a pair of binoculars, instead of being attached to a deployed parabolic parachute, denoting that HAWKS, scouts, and shadow walkers were supposed to "sneak, creep, and peek"] [v: a Sampling of Reconnaissance and Surveillance Insignia]

to endure under adverse conditions by a combination of positive mental, physical, and spiritual attributes that coalesce under stress to ensure goal attainment; typically a concomitant of escape and evasion (E&E) during military operations, and encapsulated by the acronym 'stop': stop, think, observe, and plan. Stress management is like fire; it can be controlled and directed to cook your food and heat your house, or it can run wild, burning down your house and roasting your family. [v: Rules for Survival] [nb: those adjustments, especially the mechanical and technical ones, that are intended to make risky situations safer, only result in making them more complicated and, paradoxically, more hazardous; because order and consistency are abnormal, accidents and mistakes are inherently normal, so risk management is an essential constituent of living]

nickname for HonTre Island, off the coast of NhaTrang, where training was conducted for the Combat Orientation Course (COC) and for phase two of the MACV RECONDO School.

Timberline hollow-handled
survival knife with sawtoothed blade back
Timberline survival knife
1967 version of the model #18
Attack-Survival by Randall Made Knives
Randall Attack-Survival
a variant of the combination tool/weapon knife category that's intended to aid pilots and campers, outdoorsmen and explorers in wilderness survival; it exhibits a modified single-edge hunting-style blade, augmented by assorted utility features, including storage sections (slotted-tang and hollow-handled), wood and metal saws, cord- and gut-hooks, measuring or navigational devices, and related tools. Although this utility configuration has existed for over a century, it (in common with the bowie) has experienced a modern resurgence, and consequent innovation; modern specimens include: Randall Made Knives #17 "Astro" and RMK #18 "Attack-Survival", Jimmy Lile "First Blood" and Robert Parrish "Attack Survival", Chris Reeve Knives "Mark IV One-Piece" and Robert Young Pelton "Hostile Environment Survival Tool", Hillknives Holland "Special Operations Knife" and Wilkinson Sword "Dartmoor Survival Knife", Aitor "Jungle King" and Cold Steel "Bushman", Gerber "Aircrew Survival Egress Knife" and Gerber "Bear Grylls Ultimate Compact" survival knife. A large and elaborate but potentially lifesaving knife is "expensive" because of the energy expended in its constant carry and maintenance; furthermore these specialty knives aren't cheap, since their real cost isn't their purchase price, but their replacement cost when lost or destroyed. The term "survival" is generally misleading, being either imprecise or redundant, since any edged-weapon or camp tool used for emergency, defense, or self-rescue in dire or extreme situations can be so labeled, from multi-blade pocketknives stowed in first-aid packs to folding machetes stored in bailout kits. Because knives are a first resort for utility and a last resort for survival, this category is too inclusive to be a useful guide when outfitting in the expectation of distress. See PILOT'S SURVIVAL KNIFE, KABAR, TRENCH KNIFE, BOWIE, SOG BOWIE, V-44 MARINE RAIDER KNIFE, ASTRONAUT SURVIVAL KNIFE, BOLO, MACHETE, KNIFE. [nb: astronaut Gordon Cooper collaborated with "Bo" Randall on modifying the #15 Airman into the stainless steel #17 Astro with tan Micarta grip plates over the full-length slotted tang; Randall donated these knives to the Mercury and Gemini astronauts as a patriotic gesture, however NASA ordered additional knives for new projects, and the RMK #17 Astro is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution] [v: Knife Terms; The Language of Swordplay]


literally "Situation Unchanged, Still Fucked Up", or more euphemistically as "... fouled up"; see FUCK-UP, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, WTFO, SOL, BOHICA.


the date by which some specified action must be taken or a response returned, denoted by an S/ prefix; the SUSPENSE DATE is conventionally paired with the current date. See NLT, RBI, TICKLER, DEADLINE, UNDER THE GUN.

operational name of the NATO campaign in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Kosovo (4 Apr - 10 Jul 1999).

the person who formerly followed an army or maintained a store on an army post to sell commodities and provisions to the soldiers; as derived from "doing dirty work" (soeteler). See CONCESSION.

Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device; a "car bomb"; see VBIED.

contraction of SerViCe.

abbreviation for South Viet Nam; formally known as the Republic of Viet Nam (RVN). See GVN, VN, THE NAM.

a large mop, as one used for cleaning floors and decks, latrines and quarters; as derived from "to splash in water or filth" (zwabber). Also, a wad of absorbent material (eg: PATCH) that's used for cleaning the BORE of a firearm; see DONKEY DICK. Also, a bit of sponge or other absorbent material, usually affixed to a stick or probe, that's used to apply medicaments or cleansers, or for collecting sample or specimen materials. Also, slang for a clumsy oaf, especially a sailor (ie: SWABBY).

derogatory reference to any sailor, but particularly identifies a new or inexperienced SHIPMATE; derived from "mop" (swab) or "to mop", and also spelled "swabbie". Also represented as "swab" or "swabber", and also known as SQUID or ANCHOR CLANKER, "deck ape" or "gob". See GI, DOGFACE, JARHEAD, HORSE MARINE, ZOOMIE.

a Semi-scientific Wild-Assed Guess; which, when informed by experience, becomes inductive intuition or deductive logic, but is otherwise a pure "guesstimate" ... and known in NavSpeak as "brown-fingered data" for having been pulled out of one's ass. See WAG, WEG, DEAD-RECKONING, DOUBLE DRIFT.

slang for a BATON or WARDER, formerly used to signal commands; a symbolic emblem of office, invested authority, or dispositive power, as a staff, rod, wand, scepter/sceptre. [v: spontoon (half-pike), bauble (jester's mace), fasces, tipstaff, caduceus, crosier/crozier, COUP STICK] [cf: truncheon, billy, night stick, espantoon, cudgel, bludgeon, shillelagh/shillealah, knobkerrie, cosh, bastinado, singlestick, waddy, club, blackjack, slapjack, sap, SANDBAG] [v: pygmachy]

Naval slang for retirement; also known as ON THE BEACH. See CIVLANT, CIVPAC, RETIREE.


(forthcoming); [nb: Isaac Newton's law of cooling states that the rate of cooling (or heating) of a body due to convection is proportional to the difference between the body temperature and the ambient temperature]

slang for any "Cajan/Cajun" or "gumbo"; see COON-ASS, CREOLE, REDBONE, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER.

the abbreviation for Special Weapons And Tactics that's been adopted by CONSTABULARY, MILITIA, and paramilitary POLICE units; widely interpreted as "sit, wait, and talk"; see COMBATANT, SNIPER, GUERRILLA, TERRORIST.

(swick) the Ship's Weapons Coordinator in the Combat Information Center (CIC) on shipboard.

abbreviation for the Special Warfare Center and School, also cited as "SWCS", being the common reference for the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWC&S); see SWS, SFTG, SFQC, SOTC, PSYOPS, GABRIEL, SF; compare Joint Special Operations University at USSOC, MSOS.

see PROMISE, OATH, KEEP THE FAITH, SEMPER FI, ESPRIT DE CORPS, HOLD ONE'S FEET TO THE FIRE, EXPLETIVE, OATH, GODDAM, VULGAR, FUCK, BAD-MOUTH, TALK TRASH, SMACK. [nb: 'gee' and 'gee-whiz', used as an interjection or exclamation, derive as euphemisms for the name "Jesus"; archaic 'zounds' derived as contraction of "God's wounds"; "blimey" or "gorblimey", used as an interjection or exclamation, derive as a reduction of "God blind me"; '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; don't dip your dick in the soup)] [cf: migration of "putz" from shine through ornament to penis and dolt; as sexual lure] [v: lucky stiff] [Swearing is either juvenile or crass, but MIL-PERS admire talent and respect skill, so creative vulgarity and uncommon scurrility is often appreciated. "The talk of him that sweareth much maketh the hair stand upright." Ecclesiasticus 27:14 Apocrypha; "In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer." by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens); "Take not God's name in vain; select a time when it will have effect." by Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce; "Grant me some wild expressions, Heavens, or I shall burst." by George Farquhar; "When angry, count four; when very angry, swear." by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens); "A whoreson jackanapes must take me up for swearing; as if I borrowed mine oaths of him and might not spend them at my pleasure. ... When a gentleman is disposed to swear, it is not for any standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?" by William Shakespeare; "A footman may swear; but he cannot swear like a lord. He can swear as often: but can he swear with equal delicacy, propriety, and judgment?" by Jonathan Swift; "'Twas but my tongue, 'twas not my soul that swore." by Euripides; "It comes to pass oft that a terrible oath, with a swaggering accent sharply twanged off, gives manhood more approbation than ever proof itself would have earned him." by William Shakespeare; "When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty. It may not sound nice to some bunch of little old ladies at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember. You can't run an army without profanity; and it has to be eloquent profanity. An army without profanity couldn't fight its way out of a piss-soaked paper bag. … As for the types of comments I make, sometimes I just, By God, get carried away with my own eloquence." by George S. Patton Jr; "And when the riflemen heard their commander swear so prodigiously, their minds were filled with amazement to learn how little they knew of profanity!" said of Daniel Morgan during the AMERICAN REVOLUTION] [v: protomartyr Saint Stephen was canonized for blasphemy]


slang for interrogate, as when extracting information or confessions by intimidation or coercion, duress or browbeating; also called "grill", "pump", or SQUEEZE; compare THIRD DEGREE, SONG AND DANCE, FLUTTER; see INTEL, SCAR, PAIN, TORTURE, TRADECRAFT. Also, perspiration, being a dilute saline bodily secretion that's indicative of both labor and distress, and when sufficiently copious, this natural fluid acts as the universal military lubricant for task or mission accomplishment ... the civilian equivalent is 'elbow grease'. See FATIGUE, ASSHOLES 'n' ELBOWS, GI PARTY, SCRUB, HOUSECLEANING, ADY, DUTY ROSTER, TRAIN HARD - FIGHT EASY. [v: apocrine, eccrine; cf: endocrine, exocrine]


enthusiastic and productive serviceman, hard and steady worker, reliable achiever; also called hustler, eager beaver, Dudley DoRight, workaholic ... because "Nobody ever drown in his own sweat!" See HARD CHARGER, FAST MOVER, BOOMER, SUPER-TROOPER, HOT SHOT, HARD-ASS, BALLS TO THE WALL, FIGJAM, TOP DOG, GOLDEN BOY, DEEP DIP, OLD SWEAT; compare GOLDBRICK, GHOST, FEATHER MERCHANT, DUD, MAGGOT.

the maneuver element that drives the enemy against a BLOCKING FORCE, as in the classic "hammer and anvil" PINCER movement. Also, to search or cover an area, as MOWING THE LAWN or ZONE AND SWEEP. Also, an underwater search method that expands the area from a central or fixed point by extending the radius after each circuit until either successful or abandoned; compare MOWING THE LAWN; see SCREEN, SAR. Also, to examine an area or space, especially before a meeting, to ensure that it is free from illicit eavesdropping or surveillance devices; also called "technical survey".

a covert operative, usually established in advance of an operation (like a SLEEPER), who is responsible for cleaning-up or clearing-away any remnants or evidence of a failed or foiled operation; when activated for "detail work" with SPOOK assets, Direct Action (DA) may involve concealment, escape, or "wet work". See SECRET AGENT, STROLLER, TWEP, FIX, RABBIT, THROW-AWAY, HANDLER.

designated U.S. Navy Patrol Craft Fast (PCF), being an updated version of the WWII PT boat; part of operation MARKET TIME, used to patrol coastal waters and rivers of Vietnam. See PBR, NASTY BOAT, MOSQUITO FLEET.

a partnership assigned to pairs of unit members for support and accountability, such that mission success without your 'buddy' is failure [cf: mission - men - self dictum]; see COMRADE, SHIPMATE, MESSMATE, ASSHOLE BUDDY, CAMARADERIE, BUDDY SYSTEM, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN. [nb: as with "swim buddy" and "Ranger buddy", the military BUDDY SYSTEM is not a codependency relationship, but a dyadic mutuality of cooperation, such that a pair does not redouble but reinforces; cf: Damon and Pythias (Phintias), Pylades and Orestes, David and Jonathan] [v: geminate] [nb: US Navy SEAL adage: "two is one, one is none"] [ety: the term 'cahoot', meaning a nefarious conspiracy ("in cahoots with"), derives from cabin or hut, as in shared partnership, in the same way that 'comrade' ("kamara") is related to being billeted together; its connotation of illegality is secondary to its denotation of partner or associate, union or league]

U.S. Navy Search and Rescue
Swimmer patch
(forthcoming); a skill rating that's variously designated "combat swimmer", "rescue swimmer", search and rescue swimmer", and the like by the different branches of the service, and is a component or prerequisite of other specialized training, such as explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and pararescue (PJ); see UDT, SEAL, DIVER, PJ, AST, TRAWL, HEAVING LINE, LIFELINE, SNORKEL, HARD HAT, SCUBA, CSAR, SAR. [v: Diving Terms]

a sequential register or hierarchical record of enlisted (EM) and non-commissioned (NCO) personnel assigned to a unit; a sardonic reference to "lower-class" military servicemembers (being the "biggest boar" is not as important as being the "swineherd"!). See MIL-PERS, MILICRAT, LITTLE PEOPLE, HUMAN ZOO, SLICK SLEEVE, MOSQUITO WING, MOSQUITO SMILE, MATING MOSQUITOES, SARGE, CHIEF, GUNNY, FIRST SHIRT, TOP; compare BRASS HAT, GO TO GUY, SLOP CHUTE.

see SLACK.


any person, regardless of rank or duty; a MIL-PERS designation without exception, as "every SWINGING DICK will ...". Female MIL-PERS were included in this category, in the same way a mixed group is asexually addressed as "guys"; but SKIRTs were also called "swinging dickless". See GI JOE, ACTING JACK, GADGET.

a horizontal wing on an airplane that can be adjusted during flight so that its centerline angle to the fuselage can be geometrically varied to alter the speed and maneuverability of the aircraft; compare TILT-WING; see FIXED-WING, ROTARY-WING, BIRD.

a compact, folding multi-tool that was first developed for the Swiss Army by a medical equipment supplier when he learned that Switzerland's pocketknives were manufactured in Germany [ie: Swiss Soldier Knife (Soldatenmesser) by Wester Company, Solingen; v: multi-blade German Military Knife by Friedrich Hartkopf]; each knife bears the "cross in a shield" coat of arms on its side scales, which have been traditionally colored red since 1901. First produced by Karl Elsener from 1891 in Ibach, Switzerland, all government contracts were evenly divided after 1908 with Paul Boéchat, until Victorinox acquired ownership of Wenger in 2005. The basic soldier's knife was a multi-purpose design that included a can opener for rations and a screwdriver for the disassembly or adjustment of the standard service rifle (Schmidt-Rubin M1889). To improve sales, "The Officer's and Sports Knife", with additional features, was added to the product line in 1897, and other commercial models have been offered ever since. [nb: officers, NCOs, and EMs are issued the same model knife by the Swiss Army; knives that offer different features under these labels are commercial variants] Because American troops stationed in Europe after WWII had difficulty pronouncing the name of this pocketknife (Schweizer Offiziersmesser), they renamed it, and the newly dubbed Swiss Army Knife (later trademarked by Victorinox) became the most popular multi-blade knife in the world. The multi-function concept embodied by the Swiss Army Knife has inspired many other products, serves as a metaphor for utility and adaptability, and more than twenty nations now issue their own version of this multi-tool to their soldiers. See POCKETKNIFE, KNIFE. [nb: Wenger advertised its product as the "Genuine Swiss Army Knife" while Victorinox proclaimed its product as the "Original Swiss Army Knife"] [nb: "The Giant" by Wenger (2006), containing 87 tools and 141 different functions, is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most multi-functional folding knife]

slang for an identification or limited access card with a magnetic stripe ("magstripe") affixed that enables coded data to be machine-read; also called a "biscuit". Invented in 1960 by Forrest Parry and Jerome Svigals at IBM under a contract with the U.S. government, then standardized under ANSI/ISO protocols, including data formats and magnetic characteristics, these programmable tracks embed authentication signatures that permit the passage of persons and transactions, recording as well as performing each event. Compare SMART CARD, CAC, PIC, ID CARD. [nb: high coercivity stripes are resistant to damage from most magnets likely to be owned by individuals, but it's possible for magstripes to be completely erased if brought close to high strength neodymium magnets]

operational directive, resulting from an analysis reported by Maxwell D. Taylor subsequent to the Bay of Pigs (April 1961) debacle, to transfer all PARAMILITARY CIA programs to military jurisdiction by 1 November 1963; which transfers were delayed by the assassinations of both American and South Vietnamese presidents.

a gun mounted on a pedestal so that it can be turned from side to side or up and down; see PINTLE.

a long, straight, pointed, bladed weapon that's hand-held and is the symbolic possession of a guardian or warrior since its initial introduction by the Assyrians; it may be distinguished from a SABER, which is curved and used for mounted slashing, by its primary function of thrusting. The double-edged sword developed after the knife/dagger, as its length (30"-39") and strength are dependent upon metal technology, and before the single-edged curved saber, hence 'sword' is often a generic term for any long-bladed implement regardless of its shape or function. As a metaphor, the sword represents the metaphysical struggle of spiritual conquest (HOLY WAR), wherein personal enlightenment may be attained. See COLD STEEL, SABER, LONG KNIFE, OLD WRIST BREAKER, MAMELUKE SWORD, CARRY SWORDS, CROSS SWORDS, SABER-RATTLING, AT SWORDS' POINTS, PUT TO THE SWORD, MEASURE SWORDS, WASTER, WOODEN SWORD. [nb: "I am come not to send peace, but a sword" Matthew 10:34] [v: Knife Terms; The Language of Swordplay]

see HANGING BY A THREAD. [v: Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse]

an idiomatic expression meaning mutually opposed, in open enmity, being ready to attack, to argue or fight, with swords (or knives) as a symbol representing military power, force or authority; also expressed as "at daggers' points" or "at daggers drawn". Compare CROSS SWORDS, SABER-RATTLING.

Army Special Warfare Center and
School shoulder patch
US Army Special Warfare School, developed on 10 December 1956 from the Psychological Warfare Center, which was activated 10 April 1952 coincident with the formation of SPECIAL FORCES in June 1952. The Special Warfare School was redesignated the Institute for Military Assistance (IMA) on 10 January 1969; and the US Army Civil Affairs School was added on 15 September 1971. The complex of Special Warfare, Psychological Warfare, and Civil Affairs schools at Fort Bragg were unified on 21 July 1983 when the Institute for Military Assistance was redesignated the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWC&S), more commonly referred to as just the Special Warfare Center and School (SWC&S / SWCS), and sardonically called JOHN WAYNE HIGH SCHOOL. See SFTG, SFQC, SOTC, PSYOPS, GABRIEL, SF; compare Joint Special Operations University at USSOC, MSOS.

fine silver ingots, term derives from "wire as fine as silk thread"; formerly used as money in China. Compare TAEL; see YUAN, RENMINBI, LEGAL TENDER.


someone who is sympathetic to the condition or expectation of another, without any experience thereof, nor any necessity to exercise more than a verbal commitment to that state; a "professional busybody". Someone who, by virtue of "wearing one's heart on one's sleeve", imagines that he can "feel the pain" of somebody else; a synthetic poseur or "bleeding heart" who's desirous of garnering merit or status by reflection or emulation. See INVISIBLE, FIFTH COLUMN, RUNNING DOG, QUISLING, PROVOCATEUR, CRYPTO, USEFUL IDIOTS, PINKO, SILVER-TAIL. Also, anyone (eg: sympathetic discrimination) or anything (eg: sympathetic ophthalmia) that acquires a defect or deficiency by association or proximity. [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); "Is there anything more dangerous than sympathetic understanding?" by Pablo Picasso (1966); "Sympathy with joy intensifies the sum of sympathy in the world, sympathy with pain does not really diminish the amount of pain." by Oscar Wilde [Fingal O'Flahertie Wills] (1891)]

the harmonious feeling or congenial opinion shared by persons who are well disposed toward each other; a connective consonance, compassion, or commiseration ... being an activity that's proverbially situated between 'shit' and 'syphilis' in every military dictionary, and for which the TS CARD is punched by the chaplain as he avers: "I feel for you, but I can't reach you!". Compare PRAYER, REASSURANCE; see FALL ON DEAF EARS, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. [v: vox clamantis in deserto (Latin: a voice crying in the wilderness)] [nb: "Whatever tears one may shed, in the end one always blows one's nose." by Heinrich Heine]

a vehicle-mounted IED-defeat system that employs highly-classified radio-frequency technology, programmable and anti-tamper, with a renewable operating code, that's manufactured by Lockheed Martin. See DEACTIVATE, EOD, UXO, BOOBY-TRAP, EFP, MINE, EXPLOSIVE.

SYNchronous COMmunications satellite; see SATCOM, NRO, SAT.

a compact and sterile device, similar in function to a syringe, but consisting of a small flexible tube attached to a needle, instead of a rigid barrel and piston, containing a pre-measured dose of injectable medication, such as morphine or atropine, as a prepackaged unit dose specifically designed for field use; it was developed by Squibb (now the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) for military and public health environments. The SYRETTE needle was capped by a transparent cover, protecting a safety plunger for piercing the tube's seal that also guarded the needle tip, which was removed before subcutaneously injecting the needle (even directly through clothing in an emergency), and administering the treatment by squeezing the tube. The empty SYRETTE was supposed to be disposed of by being attached to the patient's collar so that medicos would be aware of the field treatment when receiving the (often undocumented) casualty from the combat zone. Instructions for using the SYRETTE are contained in "First Aid for Soldiers" (FM 21-11 dtd 7 April 1943). [v: ampule / ampoule]

a narrow tube with a small outlet that's been fitted with a bulb or piston for drawing in or ejecting various fluids; typically used to flush, inject, or extract liquids with a plunger. [cf: lancet / lancette] [nb: syringe devices have been in use since the 9th century, when a glass suction tube was used to remove cataracts from a patient in Egypt, but the first hypodermic syringes with needles fine enough to pierce skin were not developed until 1844, when an Irish physician injected a sedative therapeutically]