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Army Life: Acronyms

Posted by on 19 October 2008


Army life is always interesting. It even has a language all it’s own.  There is an acronym or abbreviation for just about everything Army.  I use many of these in my blog posts and then realize that “hey, not everyone speaks military!”, so I try to explain what it means.  This entry of “Army Life” is going to be all about those acronyms.  As you read down the list and explanations, you may feel overwhelmed.  It doesn’t take long before these just become part of your everyday life.  As a new Army wife, you can think you’re losing your mind though!!  So let the Army lingo begin!!

LES – Leave and Earning Statement – our pay stub      BAH – Basic Allowance for Housing – money they give us to help pay rent/mortgage      COB – Close of Business – end of the working day      POV – Privately Owned Vehicle – our personal vehicle

NCO– Non-Commissioned Officer – basically the working class of the military      CO – Commanding Officer – officer in charge of the unit      XO – Executive Officer – second in command officer     

BCT – Basic Combat Training – this is what hubby is a Drill Sergeant for; it teaches boys to become men….and soldiers      AIT – Advanced Individual Training – this school teaches you the MOS that you’ll do in the military      MOS – Military Occupational Specialty – your job; mechanic, computers, truck driver, etc.      DA – Department of the Army      DoD – Department of Defense

PCS – Permanent Change of Station – this is when you move from one post to another      ETS– Expiration of Terms of Service – in simple terms, this is when you get out or your contract is up      TDY – Temporary Duty – soldier goes to school or another post, but isn’t permanently stationed there      FTX – Field Training Exercise – they literally “go to the field” and play soldier; training done as a unit, sleep in tents, dig a trench, etc.      CONUS – Continental United States – you’re stationed in the U.S.      OCONUS – Outside Continental United States – any duty outside the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii; often Germany, Korea of any such      AO – Area of Operations – in simple terms it’s where you work/are stationed

ACU– Advanced Combat Uniform – the uniform the Army wears with the new digital camouflage pattern      BDU– Battle Dress Uniform – the woodland camo pattern uniform      AWOL – Absent Without Leave – leaving your duty without approval      BX/PX– Base or Post Exchange – shopping center on a post or base run by AAFES (Army Air Force Exchange Service)      NBC – Nuclear, Biological, Chemical – agents used during combat against our troops      MRE– Meal Ready to Eat – packaged food with a shelf life of many years; ate during FTX, combat, etc.

PT– Physical Training – daily o’dark-thirty exercise      CQ – Charge of Quarters – usually 24 hour duty watching barracks soldiers and monitoring phones and unit     

Confused enough with those acronyms??  If not, here’s some lingo and slang used by the Army and some of it’s used by other military as well.

TOP – another name for First Sergeant       POGEY BAIT– snack food taken on FTX or combat      SHORT – getting released or out of military soon (90 days or less)      LIFER – career military person      KLICKS – kilometers      GRUNT – infantryman      DEUCE – utility 2 1/2 ton truck      CHOW – any meal      FUBAR – F*ck*d Up Beyond Recognition – as messed up as it can be      ATE UP – something that’s messed up      BATTLE RATTLE or HAPPY GEAR – full combat gear      GI – Government Issue      HIGH SPEED – highly motivated, squared-away soldier      REAL WORLD – civilian life      BCG – birth control glasses – the initial glasses given to new recruits      HOOCH – living quarters      SAND BOX or DOWN RANGE – Iraq      HOUSEHOLD 6 – family/household commander (ME!!)

Last but not least there’s HOOAH!!  This is probably my favorite word and it has many meanings.  It can mean “yes” or “way to go”.  It can mean “good” or “understood” and it can mean “welcome”.  It can even mean “Amen”!!  It can mean “thank you”, “you’re kidding”, “really neat” or “next”.  It can mean “stop”, “not listening”, “no idea/don’t know” or “you’re kidding”.  The one thing that it doesn’t mean is “NO”!!

Now that you’re all confused, can you figure out how many relate to my hubby, me or our family??  Tell me what you think in your comment!!  If you know one that I haven’t listed, let me know that too!!  I skipped many, so it’ll be fun to find out if anyone knows some of them!! 

The next installment will be Army Life:  Moving

4 Responses to Army Life: Acronyms

  1. annettepiper

    LOL, DH was in the airforce here in Australia and so alot of these were very familiar. You forgot one though which sums alot of these up ….

    TLA’s “three letter abbreviations”!

  2. Debbie

    Ohhhhh, I’ll be back later to really read this. I never seem to have any time to just sit and read. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel of moving…errr cleaning up after a rummage sale. LOL

  3. Debbie

    I’m back! Decided to take the day off after I commented earlier.

    Mmmm, I bet those MRE’s are delish! LOL And LOL again! What the heck do Birth Control Glasses do for you? Distort your view of women so you won’t stray. LOL I’m sure it’s something entirely different, but why the name?

    Hmmm, I’m going to guess that pretty many of them apply to your family. I’d say more than half. Am I close?

  4. Elaine

    I had no idea your hubby was prior military, Annette. That’s so cool!! A flyboy no less!! I never even though of that one. LOL

    Debbie, when you’re hungry, you’ll eat them!! They’ve really come a long ways though. Birth control glasses are called that because they’re a very heavy brown turtlish frame. They just don’t look good on anyone!! You’d be correct that most of them are our family. Hubby’s not an officer though….he works for a living!! LOL

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