31 Military Terms for the New Recruit
Commonly Used Military Terminology
For a civilian new to military life, there are a bewildering array of acronyms, slang, and terms. Some of them seem to be common knowledge, yet others remain shrouded in military mystery. While this list is by no means comprehensive, here is a small sample of the terms that you may run across. Please note that some of them may be service branch specific.
- # days and a wake up – A way of counting down the days until the service member returns home, (ex. Three days and wake up until Joe gets home!)
- A&FRC – Acronym for Airman and Family Readiness Center. It’s the service organization and focal point for Air Force family matters.
- AAFES/MCX/NEX/PX – Air Force/ Marine Corps/ Navy/ Army Department stores
- As you were – Return to what you were doing.
- Belay my last – Disregard the last thing I said
- Blues – Marine Corps Blue Dress uniform. Air Force Service Dress Uniform. Navy Dress and Winter Blue uniforms, which are actually black.
- Bravo Zulu – Job well done
- Cammies/BDUs – Camouflage utility uniform.
- CMC – Acronym for Command Master Chief
- Commissary – Military grocery store
- CO – Acronym for Commanding Officer
- CREDO – Acronym for Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation. It’s a Chief of Navy Chaplains sponsored relationship enrichment program established in 1971 to help improve job performance and enhance quality of life.
- Field day – Thorough cleanup of a barracks or duty area with the expectation of an inspection.
- FFSC – Acronym for Fleet and Family Support Center. They provide services such as relocation assistance, new parent support, deployment services, clinical counseling services, financial management counseling, family employment services, family advocacy and the transition assistance programs.
- FRG – Acronym for Family Readiness Group. The FRG is a command-sponsored organization of family members, volunteers, and service members belonging to that command.
- Got your 6 – Your 6 is your back. It means, “I have your back.” Conversely, “Check your 6” means “Watch your back.”
- High and tight – A military haircut characterized by skin up to approximately the temples, with less than an inch on top.
- Hit the head – The head is the restroom. Hitting the head means going to the restroom.
- Hit the rack – A rack is a bed. Hitting the rack means going to bed.
- Mandatory fun or Mandofun – A required function that is supposed to be “fun.” It’s best not to use this term at said event.
- MRE – Acronym for Meal, Ready to Eat. Vacuum-sealed meals, usually eaten in the field when regular kitchens aren’t available.
- OPSEC – Acronym for Operational Security
- POV – Acronym for Privately Owned Vehicle
- Rank – The position the service member holds. E-1 through E-9 for Enlisted, W-1 through W-5 for Warrant Officer, and O-1 through O-10 for Commissioned Officer.
- Rate/MOS/AFSC – The type of job the service member does. MOS is Military Occupation Specialties (Army), AFSC is Air Force Specialty Code (Air Force).
- Roger – I understand
- Scuttlebutt – Rumor or gossip
- SITREP – Acronym for Situation Report
- Squared away – Cleaned up, ready for inspection
- Unsat – Short for unsatisfactory
- XO – Acronym for Executive Officer
- Zero dark thirty – Incredibly early in the morning
Each specific branch of the military will have many more of it’s own terms as well. The best advice is to use the bonus term, number 32, “15 minutes prior to 15 minutes prior”, meaning, show up early, listen to your superiors, study, learn, and be the best at what you do. The rest of the lingo will come natrually.
More stories and tips on military life for active duty and their families can be found at MyBaseGuide.com.