AA-Anti aircraft.
AC-Aircraft copilot.
Acid pad-Helicopter landing pad.
Aerial recon-Reconning a specific area by helicopter prior to the insertion of a recon patrol.
AFB-Air force base.
Airburst-Explosive device that detonates above ground.
Air Strike-Surface attack by fixed-wing fighter-bomber air-craft.
AIT-In the U.S. Army, Advanced Individual Training that follows Basic Training.
AK-A Soviet bloc assault rifle, 7.62 caliber, also known as the Kalashnikov AKA7.
AO-Area of operations, specified location established for planned military operations.
Ao dai-Traditional Vietnamese female dress, split up the sides and worn over pants.
ARA-Aerial rocket artillery.
Arc Light-A B-52 air strike.
Artillery or Arty Fan-An area of operations that can be covered by existing artillery support.
ARTO-Assistant radiotelephone operator.
ARVN-Army of the Republic of (South) Vietnam.
A Team-Special Forces operational detachment that normally consists of a single twelve-man team
composed of ten enlisted men and two officers.
ATL-Assistant team leader
A Troop or Alpha Troop-Letter designation for one of the aero-rifle companies of an air cavalry
Baseball-shaped hand grenade with a five-meter kill range.
BDA-Bomb Damage Assessment.
Beat feet-To run from danger.
Beaucoup or boo koo-French for "many."
Beehive-Artillery round filled with hundreds of small metal darts, designed to be used against massed
Berm Built-up earthen wall used for defensive purposes.
Big Pond-Pacific Ocean.
Bird Dog-A small fixed-wing observation plane.
Black box-Sensor device that detects body heat or movement. They were buried along routes used by
the enemy to record their activity in the area.
Black PJs-A type of local garb of Vietnamese farmers also worn extensively by Viet Cong guerrillas.
Blasting cap-A small device inserted into an explosive substance that can be triggered to cause the
detonation of the main charge.
Blood trail-Spoor sign left by the passage or removal of enemy wounded or dead.
Blues-Another name for the aero rifle platoons or troops of an air cavalry squadron.
Body bag-A thick black plastic bag used to transport American and allied dead to graves registration
Break contact-Disengaging from battle with an enemy unit.
Bring smoke-Placing intensive fire upon the enemy. Killing the enemy with a vengeance.
B Troop or Bravo troop -Letter designation for one of the aero rifle companies of an air cavalry
Bush-The jungle.
Buy the farm-To die.
C4-A very stable, pliable plastique explosive.
CA-Combat assault.
Cammies-Jungle-patterned clothing worn by U.S. troops in the field.
Cammo stick-Two colored camouflage applicator.
C & C-Command and Control.
CAR-15-Carbine version of the M-16 rifle.
CCN-Command and Control (North), MAC-SOG.
Charlie, Charles, Chuck-GI slang for VC/NVA.
Cherry-New arrival in country ChiCom Chinese Communist
Chieu hoi-Government program that encouraged enemy soldiers to come over to the South Vietnam
Chinook-CH-47 helicopter used for transporting equipment and troops.
Chopper-Slang for helicopter.
Chopper pad-Helicopter landing pad.
CIDG-Civilian Irregular Defense Group. South Vietnamese or Montagnard civilians trained and armed to
defend themselves against enemy attack.
Clacker-Firing device used to manually detonate a claymore mine.
CO-Commanding officer.
Cobra AH-lG-Attack helicopter.
Cockadau-Slang for the Vietnamese word meaning kill
Cold-An area of operations or a recon zone is cold if it is unoccupied by the enemy.
Commo-Communication by radio or field telephone.
Commo check-A radiotelephone operator requesting confirmation of his transmission.
Compromised-Discovered by the enemy.
Contact-Engaged by the enemy.
CP-Command post.
CS-Riot gas.
Daisy chain-Wiring a number of claymore mines together with det cord to achieve a simultaneous
Debrief-The gleaning of information and intelligence after a military operation.
DEROS-The date of return from an overseas tour of duty.
Det cord-Timed burn fuse used to detonate an explosive charge.
Diddy boppin'-Moving foolishly, without caution.
Di di-Vietnamese for to run or move quickly.
DMZ-Demilitarized zone.
Doc-A medic or doctor.
Double canopy-Jungle or forest with two layers of overhead vegetation.
Doughnut Dollies-Red Cross hostesses.
Drag-The last man on a long-range reconnaissance patrol
Dung lai-Vietnamese for "Don't move".
Dust-off-Medical evacuation by helicopter.
DZ-Drop zone for Airborne parachute operation.
E-1 or E-2-Military pay grades of private.
E-3-Military pay grade of private first class.
E-4-Military pay grade of specialist fourth class or corporal.
E-5-Military pay grade of specialist fifth class or sergeant.
E-6-Military pay grade of specialist sixth class or staff sergeant.
E-7-Military pay grade of sergeant first class or platoon sergeant.
E-8-Military pay grade of master sergeant or first sergeant.
E-9-Military pay grade of sergeant major.
E & E-Escape and evasion, on the run to evade pursuit and capture.
ER-Enlisted Reserve.
ETS-Estimated termination of service.
Exfil-Extraction from a mission or operation.
Extension leave-A thirty-day furlough given at the end of a full tour of duty after which the recipient
must return for an extended tour of duty.
FAC-Forward air controller. Air force spotter plane that coordinated air strikes and artillery for ground
Fast mover-Jet fighter-bomber.
Finger-A secondary ridge running out from a primary ridge-line, hill, or mountain.
Firebase or fire support base-Forward artillery position usually located on a prominent terrain feature,
used to support ground units during operations.
Firefight-A battle with an enemy force.
Firefly-An LOH observation helicopter fitted with a high-intensity searchlight.
Fire mission-A request for artillery support
Fix-The specific coordinates pertaining to a unit's position or to a target.
Flare ship-Aircraft used to drop illumination flares in support of ground troops in contact at night
Flash panel-A fluorescent orange or yellow cloth used to mark a unit's position for supporting or
inbound aircraft.
FNG-Fucking New Guy. Slang term for a recent arrival in Vietnam.
FO-Forward observer. A specially trained soldier, usually an officer, attached to an infantry unit for the
purpose of coordinating close artillery support.
"Foo gas" or fougasse-A jellied gasoline explosive that is buried in a fifty-five-gallon drum along
defensive perimeters and when command-detonated sends out a wall of highly flammable fuel similar
to napalm.
Freak or freq-Slang term meaning a radio frequency.
G-2-Division or larger intelligence section.
G-3-Division or larger operations section.
Gook-Derogatory slang for VC/NVA.
Grazing fire-Keeping the trajectory of bullets between normal knee-to-waist height Grease-Slang term
meaning to kill.
Green Beret-A member of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
Ground pounder-infantryman
Gunship-An armed attack helicopter.
H & I-Harassment and interdiction. Artillery fire upon certain areas of suspected enemy travel or rally
points, designed to prevent uncontested use.
HE-High explosive.
Heavy team-In a long-range patrol unit, two five or six man teams operating together
Helipad-A hardened helicopter landing pad.
Ho Chi Minh trail-An extensive road and trail network running from North Vietnam, down through Laos
and Cambodia into South Vietnam, which enabled the North Vietnamese to supply equipment and
personnel to their units in South Vietnam.
Hooch-Slang for barracks or living quarters.
Horn-Radio or telephone handset.
Hot-A landing zone or drop zone under enemy fire. HQ Headquarters.
Huey-The Bell UH helicopter series.
Hug-To close with the enemy in order to prevent his use of supporting fire.
Hump-Patrolling or moving during a combat operation.
I Corps-The northernmost of the four separate military zones in South Vietnam. The other divisions
were II, III, and IV Corps.
Immersion foot-A skin condition of the feet caused by prolonged exposure to moisture that results in
cracking, bleeding, and sloughing of skin.
Incoming-Receiving enemy indirect fire.
Indian country-Territory under enemy control.
Indigenous-Native peoples.
Infil-Insertion of a recon team or military unit into a recon zone or area of operation.
Intel-Information on the enemy gathered by human, electronic, or other means.
Jungle penetrator-A metal cylinder lowered by cable from a helicopter used to extract personnel from
inaccessible terrain
KCS Kit Carson Scout-Repatriated enemy soldiers working with U S combat units
Khmer Rouge-Cambodian Communist.
Khmer Serei-Free Cambodian.
KIA-Killed in action.
Killer team-A small Lurp/Ranger team with the mission of seeking out and destroying the enemy.
LAW-Light antitank weapon.
LBJ-Long Benh jail. The in country military stockade for U.S. Army personnel convicted of violations of
the U.S. Code of Military Justice.
Lie dog-Slang meaning to go to cover and remain motionless while listening for the enemy. This is SOP
for a recon team immediately after being inserted.
Lifer-Slang for career soldier.
LMG-Light machine gun.
LOH or Loach OH-6A-Light observation helicopter.
LP-Listening post. An outpost established beyond the perimeter wire, manned by one or more
personnel with the mission of detecting approaching enemy forces before they can launch an assault.
LRP-Long-range patrol.
LRRP-Long-range reconnaissance patrol.
LSA-Government-issue lubricating oil for individual weapons.
LZ-Landing zone. A cleared area large enough to accommodate the landing of one or more helicopters.
M-14-The standard-issue 7.62mm semiautomatic/automatic rifle used by U.S. military personnel prior
to the M-16.
M-16-The standard-issue 5.56mm semiautomatic/automatic rifle that became the mainstay of U.S.
ground forces in l967.
M-60-A light 7.62mm machine gun that has been the primary infantry automatic weapon of U.S. forces
since the Korean War.
M-79-An individually operated, single-shot, 40mm grenade launcher.
MAAG-Military Assistance Advisory Group. The senior U.S. military headquarters during the early
American involvement in Vietnam.
MACV-Military Assistance Command Vietnam. The senior U.S. military headquarters after full American
involvement in the war.
MACV-Recondo School A three-week school conducted at Nha Trang, South Vietnam, by cadre from the
5th Special Forces Group to train U.S. and allied reconnaissance personnel in the art of conducting long-
range patrols.
MACV-SOG-Studies and Observations Group under command of MACV that ran long range
reconnaissance and other classified missions over the borders of South Vietnam into NVA sanctuaries
in Laos and Cambodia
Maguire rig-A single rope with loops at the end that could be dropped from a helicopter to extract
friendly personnel from inaccessible terrain.
Main force-Full-time Viet Cong military units, as opposed to local, part-time guerrilla units.
Marine Force Recon-U.S. Marine Corps divisional long-range reconnaissance units, similar in formation
and function to U.S. Army LRP/Ranger companies.
MARS-Military/civilian radiotelephone system that enabled U.S. personnel in Vietnam to place calls to
friends and family back in the United states.
Medevac or dust off-Medical evacuation by helicopter.
MIA-Missing in action.
Mike Force-Special Forces mobile strike force used to reinforce or support other Special Forces units or
camps under attack.
Montagnard-The tribal hill people of Vietnam.
MOS-Military occupation skill.
MP-Military police.
MPC-Military payment certificates. Paper money issued to U.S. military personnel serving overseas in
lieu of local or U.S. currency.
NCO-Noncommissioned officer.
NDP-Night defensive position.
Net-Radio network.
NG-National Guard.
Number One-The best or highest possible.
Number Ten-The worst or lowest possible.
Nungs-Vietnamese troops of Chinese extraction hired by U S Special Forces to serve as personal
bodyguards and to man special strike units and recon teams. Arguably the finest indigenous forces in
Nuoc mam-Strong, evil-smelling fish sauce used to add flavor to the standard Vietnamese food staple-
NVA-North Vietnamese Army.
ONH-Overnight halt.
OP-Observation post. An outpost established on a prominent terrain feature for the purpose of visually
observing enemy activity.
Op order-Operations order. A plan for a mission or operation to be conducted against enemy forces,
covering all facets of such mission or operation.
Over flight-An aerial reconnaissance of an intended recon zone or area of operation prior to the
mission or operation for the purpose of selecting access and egress points, routes of travel, likely
enemy concentrations, water, and prominent terrain features.
P-38-Standard manual can opener that comes with government-issued C rations.
Pen flare-A small spring-loaded, cartridge-fed signal flare device that fired a variety of small colored
flares used to signal one's position.
Pink Team-An aviation combat patrol package composed of an LOH scout helicopter and a Charlie
model Huey gunship or an Ah-1G Cobra. The LOH would fly low to draw enemy fire and mark its
location for an immediate strike from the gunship circling high overhead.
Pith helmet-A light tropical helmet worn by some NVA units.
Point-The point man or lead soldier in a patrol.
POW-Prisoner of war.
PRC-1O or Prick Ten-Standard-issue platoon/company radio used early in the Vietnam War.
PRC-25 or Prick Twenty-five-Standard-issue platoon/company radio replaced the PRC-10.
PRC-74-Heavier, longer-range radio capable of voice or code communication.
Project Delta-Special Forces special-unit tasked to conduct long-range patrols in Southeast Asia.
Project Gama-Special Forces special unit tasked to con-duct long-range patrols in Southeast Asia.
Project Sigma-Special Forces special unit tasked to conduct long-range patrols in Southeast Asia.
PRU-Provincial Reconnaissance Units. Mercenary soldiers who performed special military tasks
throughout South Vietnam. Known for their effective participation in the Phoenix Program, where they
used prisoner snatches and assassinations to destroy the VC infrastructure.
Ps or piasters-South Vietnamese monetary system.
PSP-Perforated steel panels used to build airstrips, landing pads, bridge surfaces, and a number of
other functions.
P-training Preparatory training-A one-week course required for each new U.S. Army soldier arriving in
South Vietnam, designed to acclimatize new arrivals to weather conditions and give them a basic
introduction to the enemy and his tactics.
Puff the Magic Dragon-AC-47 or AC-119 aircraft armed with computer-controlled mini guns that
rendered massive support to fixed friendly camps and infantry units under enemy attack.
Punji stakes-Sharpened bamboo stakes, embedded in the ground at an angle designed to penetrate
into the foot or leg of anyone walking into one. Often poisoned with human excrement to cause
Purple Heart-A U.S. medal awarded for receiving a wound in combat.
PX-Post exchange.
Radio relay-A communications team located in a position to relay radio traffic between two points.
R & R-Rest and Recreation. A short furlough given U.S. forces while serving in a combat zone.
Rangers-Designation for U.S. long-range reconnaissance patrollers after January 31, l969.
Rappel-Descent from a stationary platform or a hovering helicopter by sliding down a harness-secured
Reaction force-Special-units designated to relieve a small unit in heavy contact.
Rear security-The last man on a long-range reconnaissance patrol
Redleg-Military slang for artillery.
REMF-Rear-echelon motherfucker. Military slang for rear-echelon personnel.
Rock 'n' roll-Slang for firing one's weapon on full automatic.
Round eye-Slang for a non-Asian female.
RPD/RPK-Soviet bloc light machine gun.
RPG Soviet- Bloc front-loaded antitank rocket launcher used effectively against U.S. bunkers, armor,
and infantry during the Vietnam War.
RT-Recon team.
RTO-Radio telephone operator.
Ruck-Rucksack or backpack.
Ruff-Puff or RF-South Vietnamese regional and popular forces recruited to provide security in hamlets,
villages, and within districts throughout South Vietnam. A militia-type force that was usually
Saddle up-To prepare to move out on patrol.
Same same-The same as.
Sapper-VC/NVA soldiers trained to penetrate enemy defense perimeters and to destroy fighting
positions, fuel and ammo dumps, and command and communication centers with demolition charges,
usually prior to a ground assault by infantry.
Satchel-charge Explosive charge usually carried in a canvas bag across the chest and activated by a pull
cord. The weapon of the sapper.
SEALs-Small U.S. Navy special operations units trained in reconnaissance, ambush, prisoner snatch and
counter-Guerrilla techniques.
Search and destroy-Offensive military operation designed to seek out and eradicate the enemy.
SERTS-Screaming Eagle Replacement Training SchooL Rear-area indoctrination course that introduced
newly arrived 101st Airbome Division replacements to the rigors of combat in Vietnam.
SF-U.S. Special Forces or Green Berets.
SFC-Sergeant First Class E-7.
Shake 'a' bake-A graduate of a stateside noncommissioned or commissioned officer's course.
Short rounds-Artillery rounds that impact short of their target.
Short-timer-Anyone with less than thirty days left in his combat tour.
Single canopy-Jungle or forest with a single layer of trees.
Sit rep-Situation report. A radio or telephone transmission usually to a unit's tactical operations center
to provide information on that unit's current status.
SIX-Designated call sign for a commander, such as Alpha six.
SKS-Communist bloc semiautomatic rifle.
Slack-Slang for the second man in a patrol formation. The point man's backup.
Slick-Slang for a lightly armed Huey helicopter primarily used to transport troops.
Smoke-A canister-shaped grenade that dispenses smoke, used to conceal a unit from the enemy or to
mark a unit's location for aircraft. The smoke comes in a variety of colors.
Snake-Cobra helicopter gunship.
Snatch-To capture a prisoner.
Sneaky Pete-A member of an elite military unit who operates behind enemy lines.
Snoop and poop-A slang term meaning to gather intelligence in enemy territory and get out again
without being detected.
Socked in-Unable to be resupplied or extracted due to in-clement weather.
SOI-Signal operations instructions. The classified codebook that contains radio frequencies and call
Sp4 or Spec Four-Specialist fourth class E-4.
Spectre-An AC-130 aircraft gunship armed with miniguns, Vulcans, and sometimes a 105mm howitzer,
with the mission of providing close ground support for friendly ground troops
Spider hole-A camouflaged, one man fighting position frequently used by the VC/NVA.
Spooky-AC-47 or AC-119 aircraft armed with Gatling guns and capable of flying support over friendly
positions for extended periods. Besides serving as an aerial weapons plat-form, Spooky was capable of
dropping illumination flares.
Spotter round-An artillery smoke or white phosphorus round that was fired to mark a position.
S. SGT-Staff sergeant E-6.
Staging area-An area in the rear where final last-minute preparations for an impending operation or
mission are conducted.
Stand down-A period of rest after completion of a mission or operation in the field.
Star cluster-An aerial signal device that produces three individual flares. Comes in red, green, or white.
Starlight scope-A night-vision device that utilizes any out-side light source for illumination.
Stars and Stripes-U.S. military newspaper.
Stay behind-A technique involving a small unit dropping out or remaining behind when its larger
parent unit moves out on an operation. A method of inserting a recon team.
Strobe light-A small device employing a highly visible, bright flashing light used to identify one's
position at night. Normally used only in emergency situations.
TA-Target area. Another designation for AO or area of operations.
TAC-air Tactical air support.
Tail gunner-Rear security or the last man in a patrol.
TAOR-Tactical area of responsibility. Another designation for a unit's area of operations.
TDY-Temporary duty.
Ten forty-nine or 1049-Military Form 1049, used to request a transfer to another unit.
Thumper or thump gun-Slang terms for the M-79 grenade launcher.
Tiger Force-The battalion reconnaissance platoon of the 1/327, 101st Airborne Division.
Tigers or tiger fatigues-Camouflage pattern of black and green stripes usually worn by reconnaissance
teams or elite units.
Time pencil-A delayed-fuse detonating device attached to an explosive charge or a claymore
antipersonnel mine.
TL-Team leader.
TOC-Tactical operations center or command center.
Toe popper-Small pressure-detonated antipersonnel intended to maim, not kill.
Top-Slang term for a first sergeant, meaning top NCO.
Tracker-Soldiers specializing in trailing or tracking the enemy.
Tri-border-The area in Indochina where Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam come together.
Triple canopy-Jungle or forest that has three distinct layers of trees.
Troop-Slang term for a soldier, or a unit in a cavalry squadron equal to an infantry company in size.
Tunnel rat-A small-statured U.S. soldier who is sent into underground enemy tunnel complexes armed
only with a flashlight, knife, and pistol.
URC-1O-A pocket-size, short-range emergency radio capable of transmitting only.
VC-Viet Cong. South Vietnamese Communist guerrillas.
Viet Minh-Short for Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh or league for the Independence of Vietnam.
Organized by Communist sympathizers who fought against the Japanese and later the French.
VNSF-South Vietnamese Special Forces.
Warning order-The notification, prior to an op order, given to a recon team to begin preparation for a
Waste-To kill the enemy by any means available.
White Mice-Derogatory slang for South Vietnamese Army MPs, originally referred only to Saigon
WIA-Wounded in action.
World-Slang term for the United States of America or home.
WP or Willy pete-White phosphorus grenade.
XF or Exfil-Extraction from the field, usually by helicopter
XO-Executive officer.
X-Ray - Call sign for the RTO in a infantry unit. For example, 36 X-Ray would be the 3rd platoon leaderís
X-ray team-A communication team established at a site between a remote recon patrol and its TOC. Its
function is to assist in relaying messages between the two stations.