Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Learning to Speak "Army"

I joke (probably too often) that I don't speak "Army." With all of the acronyms and buzz-words and specialized terminology, it really does seem like a second language. But now I'm a +2 years Army spouse and I've worked on the base for about 10 months, so I'm starting to pick up a thing or two! I thought I would pass that knowledge along in the form of a dictionary-style entry, but I must warn you that all of the opinions and definitions contained herein are my own, or else they are entirely made up. They do not belong to my spouse, the Army, the Coast Guard, my employer, etc etc. It might also be slightly more offensive or profane than my normal posts, so read at your own risk!

Airborne: Can refer to a paratrooper (person who jumps out of aircraft and parachute into locations as part of a military operation), a qualification, or a type of unit. Thought of as a prestigious qual that turns you into an arrogant know-it-all, if you weren't already.

82nd Airborne Division: The B-Team. Cuz they never go anywhere anymore, apparently, even though a Division is bigger than a Brigade and hypothetically grander and more important.

173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team: Infantry Sky Soldiers or some sh!t. AKA the A-Team.

BDU: Battle Dress Uniform. That's the camouflage, which can be traditional or pixelated and is designed to help soldiers blend into their grandmothers' couches.
BDUs in Action
Brigade vs Battalion: A group of battalions or regiments. Mind your own battalion business, d@mmit! Battalions are made of groups of companies. Companies are made of groups of platoons. Got it? I hope so, because I'm still not 100% sure I do.

Camaraderie: Being so close to a group of people you work with that you can identify them, sight unseen, by the smell of their farts or their feet.

Civvies: Civilian clothing, or those which mark you as an American soldier when you're out and about in public.

ERB: Enlisted Record Brief. That piece of paper with your professional/life story on it, only it's all wrong. Can only be updated the day before a promotion board.

ERD: Early Return of Dependents. The government pays to send back family members for any of a limited number of reasons. Don't ask me more about it. Also don't ask your spouse or your neighbor or that girl who works with your best friend or your sergeant's roommate's cousin's brother-in-law's barber. Go to JAG or look it up yourself in the JTR (Chapter 5, Part B3c).

Formation: Stand in rows and count heads. Usually at a very unpreferable time of day, like 0500 or 1645.

FRG: Family Readiness Group. A support network designed for Army families. Full of well-intentioned but often highly misinformed and bored individuals, usually women, some of whom actually volunteer for it and some of whom get coerced into it because of their spouse's rank, title, or position.* 

G.I. Joe: A Hasbro action figure in the National Toy Hall of Fame. Also a General Issue or Government Issue Soldier. Refers to the guys with stinky feet and 100lbs of Army gear in a backpack.

Hand-receipt: The piece of paper you need when you have to sign out some sort of important, expensive, secret, or special equipment to someone else. Everyone needs them, no one does them.

Hollywood: When paratroopers get to jump without all their heavy-@ss equipment.

Joe: Soldier. Like "G.I. Joe." 

Mandatory Fun: AKA Mandofun or Mandatory Morale. When your boss or unit tells you to be somewhere "fun" like a BBQ or going-away party and you'd rather be at home with your family or out drinking. Closely related to "Voluntold" which is when you are told to volunteer for something or it's strongly hinted that it would be highly beneficial for you to do something or be somewhere.

Mentor: That @sshole who writes your evaluations.

MOS: Military Operational Specialty. An alphanumeric code describing what you do all day. Ex. MOS 11B means Infantryman and refers to your basic G.I. Joe.

NCO: Non-commissioned officer. Usually in charge of a lot of things. Probably yells a lot.

P-Hour: When sky soldiers start falling out of aircraft. 

Platoon: A group of 30ish who have to answer to that idiot warrant officer or lieutenant.

Promotion Board: Completely subjective process in which you spiff up in a uniform, get inspected by three random people who probably already know you, and answer a bunch of questions about the Army, soldiering, current events, and useful knowledge like what the soldier ate for breakfast.

PT: Army Physical Training. (APFT is the Army Physical Fitness Test.) That time between 0630 and 0800 that you have to exercise, or pretend to, before work "officially" starts at 0900. There's a special PT uniform, and usually involves wearing shorts and a tshirt even when it's 30 degrees (Farenheit) outside. 

Rainbow PT gear: The opposite of PT uniform. You can wear whatever you want for workouts.

Roger: "I have received all of the last transmission." In other words, "I heard you." Not to be confused with, "I understand" or even "I agree." 

Rucksack: The most manliest of manly man-purses in the world. A soldier's backpack.

Sh!t-hot: Awesome. 

Sky-Soldiering: Having to figure things out and fix sh!t without guidance.

Tactical: The highest compliment you can give a person or piece of equipment.

Tracking: Shorthand for "I'm on it," "I got it," or "I follow what you are saying."

Warrant Officer: I'm actually not exactly sure what they do, or what they're for. But if you see their hat, it means they're somewhere nearby. Definitely haven't gone home for the day if their hat is still on the desk.

Truth about Warrant Officers
Zero Dark Thirty: 12:30 am, 0030, or really early in the morning.

Asshole: That friend you would kill or die for. And can identify by the smell of their farts or their feet.

*Kidding aside, I highly recommend you get in touch with your FRG if you are affiliated with the Army. They have some great resources and often have fun get-togethers! And if you ever have any sort of emergency, they will drop everything to help out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful here.