Saturday, April 13, 2013

MIL SLANG - FUBAR, SNAFU and all those other MIL Terms we use

Like any Veteran, I use quite a bit of Military terms in my daily discussions with others.  I have been the butt of jokes because I usually answer questions in the affirmative with a " Roger That ".

It really got me in trouble once when I was talking with Mrs. Middleboro Jones at bedtime one evening as we were falling off to sleep.... she leaned over and told me she loved me and I absentmindly answered "Roger that..." which caused her to say " WHAT did you say???"

I was jolted out of my half-sleep with a "what's wrong??" and she stated " I just said " I love you" and you answered " Roger that???"  Her tone let me know I was in a whole lot of trouble unless i chose my next words carefully.  Luckily, I had just come off a three week field exercise and when I made my lame excuse of being over tired, etc., she let me off the hook.

I wanted to share some of my favorite MIL Slang as it is a major part of our language and you'll be surprised how many of these you actually hear in non-military discussions as it has creeped into our everyday lexicon.

A word of warning - This list is definitely NSFW ( Not Safe For Work) as we veterans, especially Sailors & Marines have a penchant for swearing.....after all " Swearing like a Sailor" is part of our traditions.


Ali Baba
(UK, US and Iraq) During the Iraq war, name for insurgents, local thieves and looters.

Alpha Mike Foxtrot
(Infantry) "Adios Mother Fucker" abbreviated using the phonetic alphabet. When used in garrison it is a friendly farewell. When used in combat situations it generally means that the person on the other end of the barrel is being wished a not-so-kind farewell.

Anchor Clanker
(USMC) Reference to US Navy sailors (pejorative).
(USN) Any Chief Petty Officer, whose insignia is an anchor.

bag nasty
(US) The name given to the fast food options in chow halls, ie; hot dogs and hamburgers. Also common reference for MRE's. In the Air Force, commonly a reference to pre-packed Flight Lunches intended for aircrew or personnel whose duties do not allow them to go to the chow hall to eat their meals.

BFE or Bum Fuck Egypt
(US) An isolated deployment, or any other extremely isolated or distant location; pejorative. Used mostly about the disgust at the distance or remoteness, but also implies that there could be little worthwhile in such an isolated place. The variants "Big Fucking Empty", "BFN" or "Bum Fuck Nowhere" are used in the same sense.

Big Chicken Dinner
(US) Bad Conduct Discharge, the less severe of the two types of punitive discharge that may be awarded by court martial (the more severe being a dishonorable discharge).

"Big Dick Contest"
(US) An argument that amounts to who's done or experienced more in terms of training or combat.

"Bend over, here it comes again." Used when wearily contemplating idiotic or malicious decisions by higher-ups.

Bravo Zulu
(Worldwide Navies) Means 'Well Done'. Comes from the Allied Naval Signal Book, conveyed by flag hoist or voice radio.

A disastrous situation that results from the cumulative errors of several people or groups. In semi-polite company this is referred to as a Charlie Foxtrot (from the NATO phonetic alphabet) . Also used as a slang term to describe the area effect nature of artillery or cluster bombs.

(US, Canada) Does It Look Like I Give A Fuck?! Usually a reply in Boot Camp when given a lame excuse for not being able to perform a duty or follow an order.
(Aus) Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck? Similar as above

fashion show
(USN) A punishment where the service member, over a period of several hours, dresses in each of his uniforms (work, dress, summer dress and summer work) to be inspected. Designed to prevent the punished from going on liberty for most of a day.

"Fuck It, Drive On". i.e. What to do following a Charlie Foxtrot.

(US) "Fuck it, got my orders". "Finally I got my orders" Exclamation by one who is scheduled to leave a duty post.

(US) Fairly new term used to describe soldiers who do not go outside their Forward Operations Base (FOB) in Iraq, or a soldier stationed in Iraq who has not seen combat. Derived from J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit, a creature that didn't like to leave the safety of their homes or "The Shire."

(US Navy) "Fuck the Navy" - common graffiti, also spelled out as a spoken epithet. Usually used in a simple game of "hide & seek" - FTN can usually be found in obscure places (like inside machinery) and the discovery of which usually pisses-off higher-ranking people and 'dig-it's.

(US) Abbreviation for "Fucked up beyond all recognition (or repair)." Sometimes "FUBER" for "economical repair". See "SNAFU", below.

(USMCR & USNR) "Fuck you Buddy, I'm just a reservist".

goat rope/ing
A useless, futile, or foolish activity. A waste of time directed by higher authority.

goat locker
(US Navy, US Coast Guard) Room or lounge reserved for Chief Petty Officers (E-7 and above). Those who are E-6 and below would do well to steer clear unless expressly permitted inside. Also used to refer to the Chief Petty Officers assigned to one command.

(USN) The outside tarmac, asphalted area or courtyard normally adjacent to a barracks which is used to perform musters, drilling, and sometimes "cycling" of recruits in boot camp.

(US) Originally, a derogatory term for Army or Marine infantrymen (referencing the sounds made by men carrying heavy gear). This term has become more acceptable over time, and today, most, if not all, infantrymen are proud to be "grunts," as opposed to other MOSes in the military. Also known as "Ground Pounders." Although "grunt" is not an acronym, common acronyms include: "Ground Replacement Unit, Not Trained" or "Ground Replacement, Usually Not Trained."
(Canada) Government Reject Unfit for Naval Training, usually refers to infanteer/combat arms.

(US) Pronounced "GIT-foe". Acronym of "get the fuck out", nonspecific utilization in training/combat.

Guardian Angel
(US) A soldier or Marine placed in a high position in urban warfare to provide overwatch and cover to friendly units moving below.

(US, UK & Canada) Hi tech/Non-issued kit or equipment bought by the soldier. " His gear is all Gucci'd up"

(US) A general term used to describe Middle Easterners during the first Gulf War and subsequently during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (usually describing a friendly Iraqi/Afghan). Same as Habib--refers to people native to the Middle Eastern countries, India, and Egypt. Somewhat pejorative or dismissive. Considered by some as a racist remark, and has thus fallen under scrutiny. Also used to refer to local markets where servicemen can acquire cheap goods, possibly of dubious authenticity. Originates from an Arabic term of honor for a Muslim who has completed the Hajj to Mecca. Possibly from the Indian character Hadji in the 60s adventure cartoon "The Adventures of Jonny Quest"

(US Army/Canadian Army Infantry) A spirited cry, which can mean nearly anything positive. Exact origins are unknown. Paratroopers claim it as originating from the involuntary grunting sound one makes on contact with the ground during a parachute landing. Others claim that it is an acronym for "Heard, Understood and Acknowledged." Used normally in group instruction as acknowledgement of understanding rather than in one on one situations with an officer where "Yes Sir, understood sir" is still preferred. Pronounced "Who-Ah" in one short syllable by Rangers. In the Regiment ( 75th RGR ) , depending on its placement in the sentence or its inflection and tone, Hooah can an affirmative, a negative, a Verb, and or curse word. Its usage in the Canadian Army is somewhat debated, however, "seen" is used as the prefered affirmative. See also, HUA.

jacked up
(US) Screwed up, ruined, in trouble. "Jackness" is the quality of being in a jacked-up state; can also refer to a hapless individual: "Get over here, Jackness."
(Canada) - Used as a verb - to "jack someone up" refers to the process of remotivating an individual with often humourous content.

Man jammies
(US, Canada) Nickname for the traditional knee length button shirt worn by Afghanistani males.

Marine Proof
(US) - An overly simple task or way of doing things. Stems from the stereotype that Marines are slow-witted or unable to handle complex operations. Slightly perjorative.

"Operation Golden Flow"
The joy of visiting the health and wellness center to provide a urine sample for drug screen. Also known as " The Whiz Quiz"

(US) On the Move, from the phonetic alphabet.

O silly hundred hours
(UK) Very early in the morning.

O Dark Thirty
(US Military) Very early in the morning

O Dark Stupid
(Can) Very early in the morning.

(US Navy, Marines) The deck above you while aboard a ship; used ashore to refer to the ceiling of a room, as well.

Powerpoint Commando
A briefer notorious for producing overly complex briefs in Powerpoint that are too long and use too many effects, such as animations and sounds.

Rat Fuck
(US) Term used for the action of going through a MRE box before chow time selecting the best meal for oneself. Also used to describe taking prefered items out of MRE's. Could also be used to describe a random mess.

Screw the pooch
(US Military and civilian) To badly err or mess up.

screwed, blued and tattooed
(US Navy) Used to describe common liberty activities in some ports. Getting "Screwed, blued and tattooed" can imply a fun liberty, one where someone got in trouble for various reasons, or one where the sailors simply saw everything there was to see in a given port.

(US Navy) A sailor who does not keep his body clean. (US Army) A very important member of a unit, a soldier who can obtain any materials and/or equipment, usually by other than normal channels.

(US Navy) Rumor or gossip, deriving from the nautical term for the cask used to serve water (or, later, a water fountain). See scuttlebutt.

(USN/USMC) Issue green canvas or cordura bag used to transport personal effects.

seabag drag
(USN/USMC) Routine of travel referring to the waiting period often encountered when transferring flights or waiting assignment to flight manifest.

Sea lawyer
(US Navy, Coast Guard, RN) A sailor, probably too smart for his own good, who thinks he knows all of the regulations and quotes them to get out of either work or trouble. Other US and UK military equivalent is "Barrack Room Lawyer" (UK), and "Barracks Lawyer" or, more crudely, "Shithouse Lawyer" (US).

Sierra Hotel
1. Shit's Hot- Refers to actions that are particularly awesome or high-speed. Used as a compliment when someone is doing well.
2. The NATO phonetic alphabet abbreviation for Shit Hot. It is considered high praise and is the pilot's favorite and all-purpose expression of approval. For example, "That Sierra Hotel pilot just shot down six MiGs and an ICBM!" This is the "polite" military way to say that something is very impressive, and has come into use outside the military.

Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform
Shut The Fuck Up (military phonetic alphabet).

(US) Acronym for "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up"; dating probably before World War II, Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "an expression conveying the common soldier's laconic acceptance of the disorder of war and the ineptitude of his superiors" [5]. It began to enter the everyday American lexicon shortly after the war. It also spawned other acronyms denoting increasing states of "fucked up":
FUMTU: Fucked Up More Than Usual
TARFU: Things Are Really Fucked Up
FUBB: Fucked Up Beyond Belief
FUBAR: Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition (or Repair)
JANFU: Joint Army-Navy Fuck-Up

snake eater
(US Army) Special Forces

soup sandwich
(US) Insult often used in Basic Combat Training, referring to an action, uniform or task done inefficiently or improperly. Example: "Your uniform is all messed up, looking more screwed up than a soup sandwich."

(US) A US Navy sailor. Often used with derogatory intent. Inspired naming of the cartoon character Squiddly Diddly, a squid in a sailor suit. Squidward has also been used in recent years, lifted from the name of a character from the Sponge Bob Square Pants cartoon.

suck, the
(US) The field, bad conditions, rotten duty, used to describe the military as a whole. One might say "embrace the suck" to tell someone to stop complaining and accept the situation.

Trigger puller
(US) A soldier or Marine who is regularly involved in actual combat. I wouldn't want to be out in the shit without the trigger pullers with us.

Turtle fuck(ing) (US Marines) Striking a Marine on his helmet with another helmet. The clunking of the two kevlar helmets sounds like two empty shells hitting. Sometimes done deliberately among friends, but often as a joke to an unsuspecting trooper.

Twentynine Stumps
(US Marines) Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. Often simply referred to as "the Stumps."


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