Vietnam War Glossary

Agrovilles      South Vietnamese resettlements.

AA              Antiaircraft

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.

Arty            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.

Klick          Kilometer.

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           Vietnam.

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.

Ville         Village.

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