Vietnam War Glossary
Agrovilles South Vietnamese resettlements.
AAA Antiaircraft Artillery
AC Also A/C, Aircraft Commander.
AgitProp Communist term meaning revolutionary agitation and Propaganda.
AHB Assault Helicopter Battalion.
Airborne Parachutists. Troops who jump from aircraft with parachutes.
Airmobile Helicopter-borne troops, troops that jump from helicopters without parachutes.
AID Also USAID, Agency for International Development.
AIT Advanced Individual Training.
AK-47 A Russian or Chinese built assault rifle, designed by the famous Russian weapons designer Andrei Kalashnikov, which fired a 7.62mm round.
ALPHA The military phoentic symbol for the letter A.
Annam The central section of Vietnam.
AO A military term for Area of Operations. It is also used in the context of a soldier's personal living space, i.e., "stay out of my AO troop."
Apparatchiks Communist party functionaries.
ARA Aerial Rocket Artillery.
ARVN Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the former South Vietnam.
AWOL Absent Without Leave. This is either for a short period or it could mean the act of desertion.
Asimuth A bearing from north.
B-40 A Communist bloc rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Also B-40 rounds fired --- B-40 Rockets.
B-52 A can opener, church key type. Also a heavy American bomber.
BA The PAVN's base area where supplies and facilities were stored and maintained.
Bac Bo The term used by the North Vietnamese for North Vietnam.
Ballgame An operation or contact.
Battery An artillery unit the equivalent of a company. Six 105mm or 155mm howitzers or two 8-inch or 175 Self-Propelled howitzers.
BDA Battle Damaged Assessment.
Beaucoup French for many or much. The word was often pronounced by American troops as boo-coo.
Beehive An American antipersonnel artillery round containing either metal fragments or darts.
Berm The perimeter line of a fortification, which is usually raised above surrounding terrain.
Binh Van North Vietnamese political agitation among enemy troops. See also Dau Tranh.
Bird A Helicopter.
Bird Dog A Forward Air Controller or FAC, usually a small single engine prop aircraft.
Boonie Hat A soft cover, now prized, hat worn by infantry in Vietnam.
Boonies The field in Vietnam.
Boonierat Another term for infantry or grunts in Vietnam.
BRAVO The military phonetic symbol for the letter B.
Bro Brother. A term for an African American GI in Vietnam.
Butterfly A flirt.
C-4 Powerful plastique explosive.
C-123 A small cargo aircraft. The Caribou.
C-130 A medium cargo aircraft. The Hercules.
C-141 A large cargo aircraft. The Starlifter.
CA Combat Assault.
CAR-15 A carbine rifle.
CC Company Commander.
C & C Command and Control. Also C2.
Cao Dai A religious sect found in South Vietnam near the city of Tay Ninh.
CG Commanding General.
C&GSC U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth. Often simply called "Leavenworth" by those who have lived to tell about it.
CHARLIE The military phonetic symbol for C. Also a term for Viet Cong.
Cheap Charlie A GI who is frugal with his funds and is not a good customer for the Vietnamese business community.
Cherry A new soldier in Vietnam. See also FNG or Newbie.
Chieu Hoi South Vietnamese and American program to encourage either the Viet Cong or PAVN to defect to the Allied side.
CIA Central Intelligence Agency.
CINCPAC Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Command.
Claymore Anti-personnel mine which contains a one-pound of C-4 that propels over 600 small steel balls.
Cobra An assault helicopter, AG-1H.
COMUSMACV Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.
CORDS Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support. It is associated with the pacification program or as LBJ called it, "the other war."
COSVN Central Office South Vietnam (Headquarters controlling all political and military operations in Central and South Vietnam. It was subordinate to the North Vietnamese Politburo.
CTZ Corps Tactical Zone.
Daily-Daily An anti-malaria pill taken daily.
Dan Cong Communist supporters, no combat capability.
Dan Cong du Kich Communist guerrillas.
Dan Van Communist agitprop among civilian population under their control.
Dap A greeting with a stylistic handshake between troops that are "tight," often between African American GIs.
DELTA Military phonetic symbol for D.
DEROS Date Estimated Return From Overseas.
DIA Defense Intelligence Agency.
Dich Van Communist agitprop among people under enemy control.
Didi Also Didi Mau, pronounced by GIs as Dee-Dee. To leave quickly.
DMZ Demilitarized Zone. The region at the 17th parallel separating North Vietnam from South Vietnam.
DOD Department of Defense, which includes the complete defense establishment of the United States.
DRV Democratic Republic of Vietnam or North Vietnam.
Drops A reduction of your tour in Vietnam.
Dust-Off A medivac or medical evacuation by helicopter.
DZ Drop Zone.
E-1 Private. The lowest pay grade in the U.S. Army.
E-2 Private Two. The next lowest pay grade. You have at least one stripe.
Early-Out A reduction of your time in the Army.
ECHO Military phonetic symbol for the letter E.
Eleven Bravo Also 11-B. Military MOS, military occupational specialty for those in the infantry.
EM Enlisted Man, now an EP or an enlisted person.
ET Entrenching tool, which is a small shovel.
ETS Estimated Termination of Service, when your enlistment or responsibility with the army comes to an end.
Fast Mover A jet attack aircraft, i.e., A-4 Skyhawk or F-4 Phantom Jet.
Field Force United States corps-type headquarters in Vietnam.
FOXTROT Military phonetic symbol for the letter F.
Frag A fragmentation grenade.
Fragging The murder of an officer or NCO by a man of lower rank, generally by a hand grenade.
FSB Fire Support Base, which is a protected artillery position.
FWF Free World Forces. The name given to those forces sent by American allies to Vietnam.
G-1 Section Military personnel staff division.
G-2 Section Military intelligence staff division.
G-3 Section Military operations staff division.
G-4 Section Military logistics staff division.
GOLF Military phonetic symbol for the letter G.
Grunt Nickname given to combat infantry or marines in Vietnam.
GVN Government of Vietnam (South Vietnam.
HES Hamlet Evaluation System.
HHC Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
Hoa Hao A militant Vietnamese sect found in the Mekong Delta.
Hoi Chanh A Viet Cong defector.
Hootch A billet or living space for a soldier.
Hootch Maid A Vietnamese national, often a female that maintains a hootch.
Horn Radio handset.
"Hot" Dangerous, i.e., "hot LZ," and LZ in which the opposition is defending.
HOTEL The Military phonetic symbol for the letter H.
Hueys UH-1 helicopters. The main insertion and extraction helicopter for U.S. forces in Vietnam.
Hump A patrol of major move by U.S. troops in Vietnam.
I Corps Fist corps, pronounced as "eye" corps, which is located in Northern South Vietnam.
In-Country In Vietnam or Nam. The complete opposite of the World.
INDIA Military phonetic symbol for the letter I.
Insert To deploy U.S. troops into a tactical area by helicopter.
JCS Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Jody The fellow that puts the moves on your girlfriend
or wife while a GI is in Nam.
JULIET The military phonetic symbol for the letter J.
KIA Killed in Action.
KILO Military phonetic symbol for the letter K.
Lao Dong (Also Vietnamese Worker's Party) Communist Party in North Vietnam.
LAW An American anti-tank weapon.
LEMA Military phonetic symbol for the letter L.
Lifers Those that are considered professional soldiers. Little People The enemy.
Lit-Up Fired upon.
LMG Light Machine Gun.
LOC Line of Communication.
LOH Light Observation Helicopter.
LP Listening Post.
LRRP Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol.
LSA Lubricant, Small Arms.
LZ Landing Zone.
M-16 Standard U.S. assualt weapon of the U.S. forces in Vietnam.
M-60 Standard U.S. Machine Gun used in Vietam, also called the PIG.
M-79 A 40mm grenade launcher used by U.S. forces. It was called the THUMPER by grunts.
MA Mechanical Ambush. An ambush using booby traps set by U.S. forces.
MAAG Military Assistance and Advisory Group.
MACV Military Assistance Command Vietnam.
Mad-Minute A weapons free-fire for a test session.
Main Force Regular army units of the PAVN, Viet Minh, and Viet Cong.
MIA Missing in Action.
MIG Communist aircraft.
MIKE Military phonetic symbol for the letter M.
Mini-Gun An electric Gatling gun which fires 7.62mm rounds at a rate of 6,000 rounds per minute.
Monday Pills Anti-malaria pills taken once a week on Mondays.
MOS Military Occupational Specialty.
MPC Military Pay Certificates.
MR Military Region.
Nam Bo A communist term for South Vietnam.
Napalm A jellied incendiary used by the French and Americans during the First and Second Indochinese Wars.
NDP Night Defensive Positions.
Net Radio frequency setting, from network.
Nickel number five.
NLF National Liberation Front.
No Sweat Easy, can do.
NOVEMBER The military phonetic symbol for the letter N.
Number One The best. Often pronounced by the Vietnamese as "numba one."
Number Ten The worst, i.e., "This AO is number ten." The Vietnamese would pronounce this as "numba ten."
Number Ten Thousand The very worst.
NVA North Vietnamese Army. The correct term is PAVN.
NVN North Vietnam or North Vietnamese.
NSAM National Security Action Memorandum.
NSC National Security Council.
NSSM National Secuity Study Memorandum.
OB Order of Battle.
OCO Office of Civil Operations.
OD Olive Drab.
OP Observation Post.
OPLAN Operations Plan.
OSCAR The Military phonetic symbol for the letter O.
OSD Office, Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of Defense and his immediate staff.
OSS Office of Strategic Services.
P-38 A tiny collapsible can opener.
PACAF United States Pacific Air Force.
PACFLT United States Pacific Fleet.
Pacification Program of the Government of South Vietnam and the United States to win the allegiance of South Vietnamese people and eradicate Viet Cong influence.
PACOM United States Pacific Command.
PAPA Military Phonetic symbol for the letter P.
PAVN People's Army of Vietnam, North Vietnam.
PF Popular Forces.
PHOENIX An American and South Vietnamese program to combat the Viet Cong infrastructure, often by assassination.
Point Also Point Man. The lead man on a patrol.
POL Petroleum, oil, lubricants.
PRG Provisional Revolutionary Government.
PSDF People's Self Defense Forces.
PsyOps Psychological operations.
Punji Stake A sharpened bamboo stake covered with feces and placed in a pit or another concealed location.
POW Prisoner of War.
PZ Pick-up Zone.
Quad 50s A four-barreled 50 caliber machine guns.
QUEBEC Military phonetic symbol for the letter Q.
RBF Recon by fire.
Redball A high-speed road or trail used by the enemy.
REMF Rear Echelon Mother Fucker.
RF Regional Forces.
Rock'n'roll Firing a weapon on full automatic.
ROMEO Military phonetic symbol for the letter R.
ROTC Reserve Officer Training Corps.
RVN Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).
RVNAF Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
SA Systems Analysis.
SA-2 Medium-range Soviet surface to air missile.
SAC Strategic Air Command.
SAM Surface to Air Missile.
Sapper North Vietnamese or Viet Cong commando, an expert in penetrating prepared defenses.
SEATO Southeast Asia Treaty Organization.
Shake `n' Bake Sergeant who attended NCO school to earn his rank.
SIERRA Military phonetic symbol for the letter S.
Sit Rep Situation Report.
SKS Simonov 7.62mm semi-automatic carbine.
Sky To leave.
Slack Or Slackman, the man located directly behind the point.
Slicks Huey helicopters.
Snakes Cobra gunships.
Soul Brothers African-American GIs.
SOG Studies and Observation Group, an American clandestine operation unit.
sortie an operational flight by one aircraft.
Stand-down An infantry units refitting or retraining from the field.
SVN South Vietnam.
TAC Air Tactical air (Air Force) support, usually fighter-bombers.
TANGO The military phonetical symbol for the letter T.
TAOR Tactical Area of Responsibility.
TCK-TKN (Tong Cong Kich-Tong Khoi Nghai) A North Vietnamese term used as a code for the TET Offensive which means General Offensive, General Uprising.
Tee-Tee Very tiny.
TF Task Force.
TOC Tactical Operational Center.
TO&E Table of organization and Equipment.
TOT Time on Target.
Trung Bo A Communist term for Central Vietnam.
TSN Tan Son Nhut air base.
UH-1H A Huey Slick.
UNIFORM Military phonetic symbol for the letter U.
USAID United States Agency for International Development.
USAF United States Air Force.
USARPAC United State Army, Pacific.
USARV United States Army, Vietnam.
USIA United States Information Agency.
USMC United States Marine Corps.
UCMJ Unform Code of Miitary Justice.
VC Derived from the term Viet Cong Son (meaning Vietnamese Communist).
VICTOR Military phonetic symbol for the letter V.
VCI Viet Cong Infrastructure --- shadow government for the National Liberation Front.
VNAF South Vietnamese Air Force.
VVAW Vietnam Veterans Against The War.
Wake-Up The last day of a GIs tour in Vietnam.
WHISKEY The military phonetic symbol for the letter W.
WIA Wounded In Action.
Widow Maker See MA
WIEU Weekly Intelligence Estimate Update, a strategy session, MACV.
Willy Peter White Phosphorus, an incendiary artillery round or hand grenade.
World The United States.
X-RAY Military phonetic symbol for the letter X
YANKEE Military phonetic symbol for the letter Y.ZULU Military Phonetic symbol for the letter Z