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Vietnam Dictionary


(Click on a Letter)
The “Unofficial” Vietnam Dictionary

Written by Paul Kasper

Edited by Bob Nelson

 

Dedicated to all Vietnam Veterans –

“Especially those who didn’t come home.”

 

Alphabetical Index
(Click on a Letter)
1 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

                                           More defined Naval terms after the alphabetical list

1

1049 -               Military Personnel Transfer Request Form.


11-B -               MOS of an Army infantryman, also eleven-bravo, or eleven-bush.


1505s -             Lightweight, class-A, tan colored, USAF issue uniform (worn no tie).


22 -                   The average age of the U.S. male (GI) in Vietnam.  

1965 -               Military slogan "They told us if we voted for Goldwater, we'd be at war in a year. I did, and here I am!"


122mm Rocket - A VC/NVA rocket (with booster) capable of flying 22 kilometers.    

                     Larger than a US 81mm mortar by 50 percent. Nicknamed the “Super Chief.”


201 File -         US Army personnel file.


2200 hrs -        The typical curfew for safe cities in Vietnam.


50 cal. machine gun - Must be cocked twice to have it ready to fire.


51mm -            A communist heavy machine gun.


7 and a wake-up - Eight days left in-country, the end of a tour. Could be any number counting down. (See DEROS).


81mm -             US mortar (the metric size of the shell) Nicknamed 81. 

Six By (6X) –              2.5 ton truck (see Deuce and a half)

_______________________________________________

 

A

A1-E / A1-G Sky Raider -   A US fighter-bomber developed at the end of WWII.  There were both one and two seat versions used in Vietnam.  Many, if not all, of the planes used in Vietnam were left over from the US Navy.  Used primarily for close support missions, they were well liked by US servicemen as they had over 20 stations/points for various types of ordnance and could stay on site for many hours.          

A Shau -          A valley in the Southwest corner of Thua Thien province - a stronghold of the VC/NVA.   

AA                “Air America”, a CIA controlled airline used through out SEA.  

AA –                Automatic Ambush          


AAA -              Anti-aircraft artillery – usually called “triple A” – primarily 12.7mm, 14.5mm, 23mm, 37mm, 57mm, 85mm.

AAR -             After Action Report.

Abrams, Creighton - A US General who commanded US military forces in South Vietnam (1968+). General Abrams was a former tank commander under General Patton in WWII.

ACAV -           Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle.

Acid -              Another term for LSD.

AFN -              Armed Forces Network

AFVN -           Armed Forces Vietnam Network

AFRTS -         Armed Forces Radio and Television Service

AFSC -            Air Force Specialty Code.

AG -                Adjutant General.

Agent Orange -{at the time of its first use, it was called 50/50 2,4D and 2,4,5T. It did save many lives at the time by removing heavy vegetation} and other herbicides): 

Description

Dioxin (TCDD) Amount

 

Foliage Use

Agent Orange

1.77 to 40 ppm

 

Broad Leaf

Agent Blue

32.8 to 45 ppm

 

Narrow Leaf

Agent Pink (Red)

65.6 ppm

 

Anything

Agent White (Green)

65.6 ppm

 

Broad Leaf

Silvex

1 to 70 ppm

 

Fungicide

2,4,5-T (Current)

0.1 ppm or less

 

 

AID –               Agency for International Development.                                                                        

Air America - CIA sponsored airlines and clandestine operations                                                         

Air Burst –             Explosion of a monitions (ordnance - bombs/rockets/grenades) in the air.               

  Air Cav –             Air Cavalry, referring to helicopter-borne infantry soldiers.

Aircraft -          Approximately 9,000 US military aircraft were lost by the end of the Vietnam War.

Airmobile -     Helicopter borne combat personnel.

Airborne -        Personnel trained to parachute into combat.

AIT -                Advanced Individual Training: the period following Basic Training, specialized training given each soldier based on their job code.

AK-47 -            Russian Kalashnikov rifle,11.3 lbs loaded with a 30 round magazine, used by the VC: an excellent and reliable weapon for the Vietnam War.  Originally made in Russia, most of the later weapons were manufactured in China and in Czechoslovakia.  A notable aspect were the green tracers.                                                                                                                                            

ALCE –              Airlift Control Element – a regional Tactical Airlift Command.                      

Alpha-Alpha - An automatic ambush – a combination of claymore mines designed to detonate simultaneously when triggered by a trip-wire/battery mechanism.

Alvarez, Lt. Everett - The first U.S. military pilot taken prisoner (August 5, 1964).

An Hoa -          US Marines nicknamed this valley, The Badlands.

Annamite -       The mountain range traversing South Vietnam.

Anti-Malaria Pills - Ingested on a daily basis, and/or once a week while stationed in South East Asia.

AO -                 Area of Operation.

Ao Dia -           A long shirt like garment. Traditional Vietnamese female dress (split) worn over pants.

Apache Snow - See: Operations.  An operation in the A Shau Valley also known as Hamburger Hill.

APC -               Armored Personnel Carrier, amphibious, M-113.

Arc-Light -       See: Operations.  Code name for the B-52 Stratofortress raids against enemy positions in South Vietnam.  The first Arc Light attack took place in III Corps just north of Saigon on June 18, 1965, on a suspected Viet Cong base camp.  In November 1965, B-52’s directly supported American ground forces for the first time, and were used regularly in that role.                                                                                                                                           

ARCOM –        Army Commendation Medal

Article 15 -      A summary disciplinary judgment of a soldier by his commander; action less than court martial. May result in monetary fines or confinement in the barracks or stockade.  Named for its place in the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (see UCMJ). 

ARVN -           Army of the Republic of Vietnam, Army of South Vietnam.                                          

ARTY -            Artillery

ASPB or Alpha boats - Assault Support Patrol Boat

ATC -               Armored Troop Carrier.                                                                             

ATFV/ATFG – Australian Task Force.

AWOL -           Absent Without Leave.

Axiom of the sixties culture - You can't trust anyone over thirty.

Azimuth -         A bearing from the North.

_______________________________________________

 

B

B-40 -              A shoulder fired Chinese rocket propelled grenade (RPG).  .

B-52 -              Largest US Air Force bomber used in Vietnam. Nicknamed “BUFF” – big ugly friendly fellow/big ugly fat f***er.  Capable of carrying one-hundred-eight 500 lb bombs; 84 internally and 24 externally.  It originally joined the Air Force inventory in the 1950’s replacing the B-36.

B-57 -              A bomber user in the early years of US involvement in Vietnam.  Originally named the Canberra, it was primarily designed for night attacks. 

Bac Si -           Vietnamese term for a medical corpsman; doctor.

Badlands, The - US Marine nickname for the An Hoa Valley.

Baez, Joan -   Folk singer strongly opposed to war. She later recanted her position after she saw what happened when we left Vietnam and has become a supporter of veterans. She (December 72) and Jane Fonda (August 72) went to North Vietnam. Although Ms. Baez did not believe in the Vietnam War, she refused to cooperate with the North Vietnamese. "Hanoi Jane" made a radio broadcast, as well as the infamous photo of posing with North Vietnamese forces on an anti-aircraft weapon.

Bamboo Viper – A small, deadly snake - nicknamed by GI’s as the two-step snake.                    

Banana Clip – A banana-shaped ammunition magazine – originally manufactured as an optional magazine for the M-1/M1A1 carbine and later as an option for the M-16 rifle.  It was standard issue on the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle. 

BAR -                          Browning Automatic Rifle - .30 cal automatic weapon.

Bars, John Wayne - Nickname for the chocolate bars in the C-rations pack.                                    

Base Camp –              Semi permanent field headquarters and center for a given unit – usually within that unit’s tactical areas of responsibility.  A unit may operate in or away from its base camp.  Base Camps usually contain all or part of a given unit’s support elements and materials.                                                                                                                                     

Battalion –         Organizational institution in the Army and Marine Corps.  Commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel (O-5), an infantry battalion usually has around 900 people, and an artillery battalion about 500 people.  During the Vietnam War, American battalions were using much smaller and there was a very high turnover of personnel.

BDA -                         Bomb Damage Assessment.

Beaucoup -     French, meaning, a lot, or very many.

Beaver -         US Army U-6A, utility transport.

Beehive Round - An artillery shell used as a last resort for the artillery when they were about to be overrun. The round was composed of "fleshettes," small arrow projectiles. Sort of a super shotgun shell.  It’s main function was as a ground base defense munition against ground attack.

Bennies -        Warm beer and mail from the world.                                                                          

BIC –A Vietnamese word meaning “understand.”  Used by US personnel as slang – “Do you understand?”

Berm -            An earthen embankment (normally around a perimeter).                                               

Bien Hoa –     A major US air base in III Corps, formerly a French airfield.                                     

Bipod – A two-legged support stand placed on the front of many weapons; BAR, M-14, etc.

Bird -              Any aircraft, a plane or helicopter.

Bird Dog -      O-1 reconnaissance plane, used by Forward Air Controllers (FAC).

Black Boxes - Sensors dropped from helicopters during the Vietnam War to detect enemy movement.

Black Hawk - Nickname of the SR-71 reconnaissance plane. Also known as the "SLED".                

Black Spot  A C-123 cargo plane that was converted as a strike aircraft.  It had infared red and laser capability, advanced navigation equipment, and assorted weapons dispensers.

Black Panthers - A radical African-American group of the sixties.  The Black Panthers were also the 9th Div., 2/47th Mechanized Bn. The patch had a black panther coming out of a jungle, fangs bared. It was the logo above the Bear Cat EM club.  The Black Panthers of the 9th Division in no way were related to the above radical group.                                                                                                                   

Black Power - An African-American theme to gain equality in the sixties.

Blackhorse -  The name of the code used for sending numbers on the radio (ten digits (zero through nine)).

Blasting Cap - A device used to detonate explosive materials.

Bloused -        Pants tucked into boots.

Blown-Away - To be killed, or get really high on drugs.

Blue-Eyed Soul Brother - A white man who related well with blacks (African Americans)                

Blue leg        Infantryman, “grunt.”

Blue-Max -     Slang term for the Medal of Honor.

Blues -            A slang term for quick response reinforcements, normally called for by another field unit (Reaction Force).

Bn -                 Battalion.

Body Bag -     A black plastic bag used to transport dead personnel.                                          

BOHICA –           Slang expression used by GI’s – “Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.”

Bombs -          A day's worth of bombs and shells cost US taxpayers $1,000,000. Eight million tons of bombs were dropped during the Vietnam War. Three times as many bombs were dropped during the Vietnam War as were dropped during WWII.                                                                                  

Boom Boom – A slang expression signifying sexual relations.

Boonie rat -     An infantryman.

Boonies or Bush - Informal term for the field or jungle.

Booby Trap - An explosive device used to wound or kill personnel. It is estimated that booby traps accounted for 25%-30% of injuries to U.S. military personnel in Vietnam.

Boot -              Someone fresh out of Boot Camp.

BOQ -             Bachelor Officers' Quarters.

Boston Five - Dr. Benjamin Spock was known as one of these people who were anti-war.

Bouncing Betty - (DH-10) A conical three pronged mine. The bouncing betty mine would jump about three feet in the air when triggered, and explode at waist level.

Bowl -             A pipe for smoking marijuana, or other drugs.                                                            

Bring Smoke – To direct intense fire on an enemy position.                                                             

Break Squelch – Used by radio operators when silence was required.  The response when the push-to-talk button was depressed was a “click-hiss” signal.

Bro -               Short for Brother.                                                                                                   

Bronco –         An OV-10 aircraft.                                                                                             

Bronze -          A metal used extensively in South East Asia (commonly for flatware, dishes, and statuary); harder than brass (from which its made). Also, a slang term for a Buddhist monk.

Brown Power - A Mexican-American theme to gain equality in the sixties.

Buddhist -       The religion of the majority of the Vietnamese people.

BUFF -            Nickname of a B-52 bomber - Big Ugly Friendly Fellow/Big Ugly Fat F***er.

Buffalo, Water - The big, horned creature often used on a farm in South Vietnam.

Bush or Boonies - Informal term for the field or jungle.                                                                     

Bush Masters – A group highly skilled in jungle operations.

Butter bar -    A Second Lieutenant – insignia of rank a single gold bar.

Buy (bought) the farm - Die, or death.

BX -                Base Exchange.

_______________________________________________________________________

C

C-Day -           Conversion Day, The date MPC was exchanged for a new version (making the old version useless) C-Ration - Combat Ration. Three meals comprised one C-ration. One ration is the food required for one man for one day. There were twelve C-rations in a case in Vietnam. C-1 (C-Ration) had fruit in it in Vietnam. Ham & limas was the least favored C-ration meal in Vietnam. Paste with bad taste.

C-4 -                A plastic explosive preferred by soldiers, it is highly stable, lightweight, and only exploded by detonators. Used to heat C-rations when heat-tabs weren't available.

CA -                Combat Assault.                                                           

CaCa Dau –             A slang Vietnamese expression meaning to “to kill you.”

Calley, Lt. William - Ordered the killing of 200-500 civilians at My Lai.

Cam Ranh Bay - A supply depot, and the place where largest U.S. Air Force base (12th Tactical Fighter Wing & 483rd Tactical Airlift Wing) and hospital was located. Several other units were based there such as Special Ops squadrons.

Cambodia - Was (reportedly) invaded by the US and South Vietnamese troops, May 1970.  81 US military personnel were reported killed in Cambodia or Laos during the Vietnam War.

Cammies -      Camouflaged jungle fatigues.

Cane-pressure mine - Named for the exertion of air on its detonator. The VC/NVA mine was placed in the trees to destroy incoming helicopters dropping off personnel and supplies.                                                                                                                                            

CAR –             The predecessor of the M-16 rifle – a Carbine, the CAR-15.

Cargomaster - C-133 aircraft; a large cargo plane

Caribou -          C-V-2A or B.(Army) C-7A  or B(Air Force) pilots were known as Bou (Boo) drivers.                                                                                                                                              

CAS –             Close air support        .                                                            

Casualties –     It has been estimated by the Vietnamese government in recent years that over two-million civilian casualties were killed during the 10 years of the war.  North Vietnamese military losses were given as one-million killed.

Casualty Staging Areas – Primarily US military hospitals in Vietnam.  Wounded soldiers were usually air lifted to the nearest hospital where their condition was  “triaged” and the determination was made on the spot for their next level and location for continuing care.                                                                      

CBU            Cluster Bomb Unit – a bomb that breaks apart while being deployed and fragments into many bomblets.

C.C. -              Company Commander.                                                                                             

C&C         Command and control.                                                                                    

CCB -                      Command and Communications Boat. Converted LCM-6 landing craft similar to the Monitor but with radio equipment in the well deck. They were used to relay radio traffic from the MRF base to units in the field.

CDS -              Container Delivery System. The manner in which supplies were dropped from aircraft.

Cedar Falls -  See: Operations.

Central Highlands, The - The highlands of South Vietnam are a prominent geographic region with elevations ranging from 100 meters to over 1000 meters.                                                         

CG –                    Command General.

CH-47 -           Chinook helicopter: nickname" flying banana" or "Hook" or “Shit Hook.” 

CH-54 -           Skycrane helicopter.

Charlie -         The enemy, the Viet Cong.

Charlie Four - C4 plastic explosive. 

Cherry -          A new person in a unit without combat experience.                                               

Chicken Plate – Early body armor worn over the upper half of the body.  Initially used by soldiers on tracked vehicles and by door gunners on helicopters.  Many choose to sit on the armor plate.

Chi Lai -         Known as Surf City in South Vietnam (also an in-county R & R center).

Chicago Eight - The eight people arrested, and tried for disrupting the Democrat's 1968 Convention.

Chicom -         Chinese Communist.

Chieu Hoi -     Open arms” in Vietnamese. A program to encourage defectors from Viet Cong and NVA in 1969-70 in South Vietnam. About 80,000 took advantage of this program. These were called Chieu Hois.

China Beach - Located near Da Nang. An in-country R&R center in the Northern part of South Vietnam.

Chinook -        CH-47 troop/cargo helicopter.  Nicknamed – “Shit Hook” by US forces.                   

Choi Oi –   A Vietnamese expression literally meaning “holy mackerel! - what the heck?                                                                                                                                           

Church Key – A bottle opener. 

CIB –                   Combat Infantry Badge.  A US Army award given to infantrymen following a sustained period of combat.                                                                                                                               

CIA -               Central Intelligence Agency - sponsored “Air-America” in S.E.A.

CID -              Criminal Investigation Division.

CIDG -           Civilian Irregular Defense Group.  Militia forces trained by US Special Forces..

CINPAC -       Commander in Chief, Pacific

Citadel, The - A rectangular-shaped structure in Hue surrounded by walls - home to early Vietnamese royalty.

Clacker -        See: Klacker.  A firing device (exploder) for triggering claymore mines and other electrically initiated demolitions.

Claymore Mine – A fan-shaped anti-personnel mine that uses C-4 explosive to project shrapnel in a fan-shaped pattern of fragments.                                                                                        

Cluster Bombs – A single bomb that consists of several smaller bombs/bomblets contained in a single casing                                             .                                                                                                 

CMB –            Combat Medic Badge

C.O. -              Commanding Officer; Conscientious Objector.

Coal, Anthracite (hard) - Vietnam's most abundant mineral.

Cobra -           AH-1G attack helicopter first introduced in Vietnam in October 1967. Nicknamed by some as the “Snake” or “Shark.”  It carried 2.75-inch rockets (HI/WP/Smoke), and it mounted a 40mm traversing gun under the aircraft nose.  They were painted with eyes and a shark mouth reminiscent of Flying Tiger airplanes of WWII.  The paint job was purely for psychological impact.

Combat Master Piece - .38-caliber (six inch barrel) pistol used by military, especially USAF Security Police personnel. {Four-inch barrel was issued to pilots for a sidearm.} The 45 cal (M1911A1) was also issued to security personnel).

Combat Hornet - C-119 (Also Flying Boxcar), manufactured by Fairchild.

Combat Pay - Added $50 to $65 (per month) to the U.S. military serving in Vietnam.                    

Combat Photographer – Each of the US military services had dedicated photographers who accompanied soldiers and units in all phases of the war.  Their pictures appeared around the world.

Comics -         Topographic maps.

Commo Check - Communications check on the radio.

Communes -   People with similar ideas living in groups.

Company -      A military unit of 250 men usually commanded by a captain and consisting of two or more platoons depending upon it’s assigned mission.  In the artillery a company is called a battery – in the cavalry, a troop.                                                                                                                                

Cong Khi    A monkey.                                                 

Cong Moui –  A mosquito.

Con Thien -    Near the DMZ. Termed the Hill of Angels during the Vietnam War by the Marines.

Concertina Wire - Razor wire used as part of the perimeter defense around most secured areas in Vietnam.

Contact -         Engagement with the enemy.                                                                                

CONUS –          The continental United States – the “world” in GI slang.

Cook Off –            A term used to describe a weapon that fired too many rounds and built up sufficient heat that it fired other rounds/shells without the trigger being pulled.

Cooper-Church Amendment - (passed on December 12, 1969) prohibited US military from entering Laos.                                                                                                                                           

CORDS –       Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support.

Corps -            South Vietnam was divided into four military sections (Corps): designated  I, II, III, and IV.  Also, two or more military divisions.  Also a term used to describe specialized military services: Medical Corps, Signal Corps, Transportation Corps, Finance Corps, etc. 

Cost                        The Vietnam war cost US taxpayers approximately 150 billion dollars.

CP -                 Command Post.

Cronauer, Adrian - US Air Force Disc Jockey who became famous with his "Good Morning Vietnam" morning radio program opener.(on AFVN)

Crusader -      US Navy F-8. Used as a reconnaissance plane due to its speed and maneuverability.

CQ -                Charge of Quarters.

CS -                 Riot control (tear) gas.

Cut and Slash - A day hiking through elephant grass and bamboo would do this to a person and their clothing.                                                                                                                                           

Cyclo –            (Sic-low) Three-wheeled peddle driven vehicles powered by a person. 

______________________________________________________________________

 

D

82nd Airborne Division – The 3rd Brigade of the Division served in Vietnam from February 18, 1968 to December 11, 1969.  Attached to the 101st Airborne Div, the brigade fought primarily in I Corps.  The division was notable during the battle for Hue during Tet in 1968.  Later that same year the 3rd was moved to Saigon to defend Tan Son Nhut Air Base.                                                                  

Dac Cong -     (Dak-Kong) VC Special Forces Unit.

Dai-uy -          (Die-wee) Vietnamese for Captain.

Dai-ta -           (Day-tah) Vietnamese for Colonel.

Daily-Daily - Daily anti-malaria pill.

Daisy Chain - Detonation cord linking several claymores together.

Daisy Cutter - A 15,000 (also 10,000) pound bomb that would cut down vegetation and personnel for 300 meters. It was used to make an instant firebase.

Dak To -         A major battle in November 1967 that was a lesson to US military forces.                     

Da Nang –      The farthest north port of South Vietnam, I Corps, many US Navy and Marine units were stationed in the area.  Home of Monkey Mountain.                                                                             

DAP – A stylized, ritualized manner of shaking hands, started by African American soldiers as a means of recognition.                                                                                                                 

DAPZONE – A small pill taken periodically by US soldiers, ostensibly to prevent malaria, but actually meant to prevent Leprosy.

DD Form 4 -   Enlistment contract with US armed services.

DD 214 -         Formal record of military service – provided at discharge.

Decompression – Time away from a battle, relaxation.  A vast number of nurses observed that decompression time was needed (but not gotten). GIs were quickly returned (individually) to the States after a tour in S.E.A. and therefore had minimal time to decompress prior to returning to their families.

Deer -             In the jungles of Vietnam they are the size of a large dog.

Defoliant -      A chemical that is sprayed or dusted on vegetation that cause the leaves to fall off, and vegetation to die. See: Agent Orange.

Delaware -      See: Operations.

Delta Dagger - F-102 jet fighter. Nicknamed the "Lead Sled" - usually based in Thailand  or the Philippines.                                                                                                                          

Demilitarized Zone – (DMZ) The designated area between North and South Vietnam.  In accordance with the original agreement the area was supposed to be free of all military forces from both sides.  This did not happen; there was intense action continuously.

Democrat, 1968 Convention - Held in Chicago, Illinois - the site of a major anti-war protest.

DEROS -        Date of Estimated Return from Overseas.

Desertion -     There were only 24 proven cases of battlefield desertion during the Vietnam War.

Desoto -          See: Operations.

Det cord -       Explosive or detonation line for plastic explosives, or (daisy) claymores.

Deuce-and-a-half - A two and a half ton military truck.

Dew or Doo - Marijuana (short for doobie).

Dex tabs -       A mild form of speed. Military personnel took them to stay awake.

D-I -                Drill Instructor.

Di di mau -      Vietnamese, to send away. Go, or get out.  (Short form – di di – Go!).

Diddy boppin' - Slang term when someone moved carelessly without caution.

Diem -             President of South Vietnam. Diem refuse to allow general democratic elections (as required by the Geneva Conference) because 80% of the people would have voted for Uncle Ho.

Dien Bien Phu - The site of a major battle that turned the war against the French in Vietnam in 1954.  The Communist Commanding General was Vo Nguyen Giap.

Dien Tin -       “The Telegraph.” Vietnamese newspaper known for its anti-war stance.

Dime -             Number 10, or one ounce.

Dioxin -           Toxic chemical substance was never specified to be a component of any defoliant used in Vietnam..

Dinky Dau -   Vietnamese for crazy.

Disabled -       Approximately 519,000 Vietnam Vets were disabled because of injuries.                         

Di Wee –     Vietnamese for Captain.

DMZ -            Demilitarized Zone. Established between North and South Vietnam - July 22, 1954.  US ground troops could not cross the DMZ due to the Geneva Convention.

Don ganh -      Shoulder pole on which Vietnamese women carried goods to market. 

Dong -             Currency of (North) Vietnam.

Dong Nai -      The river just North of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).                                                   

Dong Xoai –     Located in III Corps north of Saigon, a major battle was fought there in June 1965. Two Medals of Honor were awarded for that battle. 

Dong Tam -    The 9th Infantry division/Navy base on the north bank of the Song My Tho River about 50 miles south of Saigon.                                                                                                                      

Donut Dolly – American Red Cross Volunteer.

Doobie -          Marijuana cigarette.

Doper -           A person who used illicit drugs.

Double Intender - Something whose intent can be taken a way other than what is simply stated.

Doughnut Dolly - The name given a woman Red Cross volunteer in Vietnam.

Dove -                         A person who is opposed to war.

Draft -             Draft dodging (failure to register or respond to a notice) was a Violation of US Laws.

Draft Classification (ca. 1964-1972):

Drag bombs - (High Drag Bombs) Bombs dropped at low level that were perfect for the topography in Vietnam.

Dragonfly -     A-37 jet fighter.

DROS -          Date Return from Over Seas

DRV -                         Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam)

Drugs -           By 1969, it is estimated by some that over 50 percent of US military personnel took illicit drugs on a regular basis.

Dung burning detail - A rather odoriferous task (for which most enlisted personnel took turns) burning human waste (excrement).                                                                                                                 

Dung Lai –            Vietnamese for stop or halt.

Dust off -        Nickname for a medical evacuation of wounded personnel by a helicopter.

DX -                Direct Exchange, or to kill someone.    

__________________________________________

E

Early out -      Discharge prior to commitment release date.                                                              

EB-66       An airplane specifically designed with electronic gear for intelligence gathering. 

ECM -            Electronic countermeasures, such as radar and other frequency jamming, deception, and detection.

Ecology -        Defoliant and bomb craters have long-term effects of the war on the Vietnamese and their country.                                                                                                                                             

E&E – Escape and evasion.

Eisenhower, President Dwight D. - Authorized 385 million dollars in aide in 1952, and enlarged the advisory group in South Vietnam.

Elephant grass - The tall grassy foliage found in abundance in South Vietnam, primarily in the highlands. It has very sharp edges.

Elephant turd - 500 gallon rubber bladder filled with fuel. Air Force term "Blivet"                           

ELINT -     Electronic intelligence.

EM -               Enlisted Man.

Enhance -       See: Operations.                                                                                                     

Ensign -         Junior officer rank in both the Navy and the Coast Guard.

Entrenching Tool - A small collapsible shovel sometimes with an attached pick.

ER                Efficiency Report.

ETA -              Estimated Time of Arrival.

ETD -              Removal of military personnel from the field.                                                                

ETS -               Estimated Termination of Service – the date you were released from the military.                                                                                                                   

EVAC -           See Medevac – Slang term for evacuation                                                         

Extraction -        The withdrawal of personnel, primarily by air, from an operational area.

 

F

 

1st Cavalry Division -  Activated in 1921, the 1st Cav Div fought in the Pacific during WWII and in Korea in the early 1950’s.  In 1965 the Colors of the division were transferred from Korea to the experimental 11th Air Assault Division at Ft. Benning, Georgia.  In the unit reorganization the former horse cavalry became the first division to move it’s soldiers to the battlefield by helicopter.  The Division was deployed to Vietnam in September 1965 and it’s first major battle was in the Ia Drang Valley where it won the Presidential Unit Citation.        

 F-4 -  Twin jet engine, all-weather fighter.  Nicknamed the Phantom.  The F-4 was the plane used in the initial response to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964.  Five Phamtoms were deployed from the aircraft carrier, USS Constellation, to attack North Vietnamese patrol boats.  Fifty F-4’s were the planes used in the first strike into North Vietnam on April 3, 1965.  Their target was a road bridge south of the capital of Hanoi.

FAC -              Forward Air Controller – usually flew at low levels at low speeds in Cessna O-1 “Bird Dog” spotter planes to better see and call in air strikes on enemy positions.  

FANK -           The Cambodia Army (Forces Armies Nationals Khmeres).

Farewell gesture – Toss a smoke grenade from exiting chopper when leaving a firebase to catch a freedom bird.

Fart Sack -     Sleeping bag.                                                                                                                  

Fast Burners – or Fast Movers - jet aircraft called in by Forward Air Controllers (FACs)  to bomb, strafe or napalm enemy positions.

Fat Albert –    Air Force C-5 cargo plane.

Fat City -        MACV Head Quarters in Vietnam.

Fatigues -       Standard issue field or work uniform (usually olive drab).                                      

FIGMO –       Slang – “F**k it, I got my orders.”

Fire Base -      (FB)  A bunkered, fortified area.  Firebases were temporary sites where artillery guns were stationed in support of area ground operations.  The 105mm guns were usually brought in by helicopters– the firebases were secured by infantry troops.  The firing crews normally consisted of four guns/howitzers.

Fire Mission – Artillery fire.

Firefight -       Confrontation with the enemy in which a minor, or major battle takes place.                                                                                                                                                  

Fire For Effect – When this is called all guns are aimed directly at the enemy and fire continually until told to cease firing.                                                                                                              

Fishhook -       See: Operations.

Fishing Trawlers – The Russian’s monitored B-52 bombing runs from Guam to North Vietnam from these craft.

Flak Vest / Jacket – A protective vest worn by U.S. military personnel. Many personnel when flying sat on them (folded) for more protection.

Flexgun -         7.62mm, M60 CA1 machine gun.

Flight Time – From Vietnam to a US military hospital in Japan 5-7 hours (to the Continental United States (CONUS) was 23+ hours).

Flower Children – The non-violent hippie movement of the sixties and seventies.

Flowers -         A Vietnamese girl would put flowers in her hair if she wanted to be dressed up.

Flying Boxcar – C-119 (Also Combat Hornet).

Flying Telephone Pole – The slang name of the Russian-built SA-2 rocket used in Vietnam.                                                                                                                                              

FNG –             “Fucking new guy” – a negative name for all new replacements.

FO -                 Forward Observer.  Calls in adjustments for artillery and mortar fire.

Foo Gas -        A combination of jet fuel and explosives in a 50-gallon drum usually buried in a berm used to defend a perimeter from VC assault.

Fonda, Jane – Went to North Vietnam because of her political beliefs in July 1972. However, American POWs were severely beaten when they refused to talk to her. Jane Fonda is still held in low-esteem by the majority of Vietnam-era and other veterans.                                                                          

Formaldehyde – A chemical in Vietnamese beer(Bier 33 – Ba Moi Bah))  used as a preservative in Vietnam (gave a kick if you weren’t expecting it).                                                                            

Forward Observer – (FO)  The person who calls in fire missions to the nearest artillery base or to a Navy ship                                                                                                                                                    

Frag -              Short for fragmentation grenade.

Fragging (or Frag) – Intentional killing of someone, usually by his own troops, usually by means of a grenade.

Fraternization – Prohibited socialization between officers and enlisted personnel.

Freak -            The slang term for a drug-addict, pothead, or society dropout in Vietnam and the US.

Freak Flag -    Long hair.

Free Fire Zone – The name of the area where anything moving could be fired upon during the Vietnam War. Usually a no-man’s land.

Freedom Bird – A US bound plane that returned troops to the “world.”

Freedom Fighter – F-5. This jet was tested in Vietnam - built up to squadron level.

Frequent Wind – See: Operations.                                                                                               

Friendly Fire – Euphemism used during the war to describe air, artillery, or small-arms fire from friendly forces mistakenly directed at friendly positions.

Friendlies -     US soldiers, allies – all forces on our side.                                                                                                      

FSB –              Fire Support Base                                                                                                      

FTA –          Slang expression meaning “F**k the Army.”

FTX -              Field Training Exercise.                    

FUBAR –          An expression from WWII meaning “F**ked Up Beyond All Repair/Recognition.”  The term is used to describe situations or events that are out of control.

Fulbright, Senator William F. – US Senator from Arkansas. Became critical of US involvement in Vietnam when he realized the US wasn’t going to win with its employed military tactics.

Funny Money – (MPC) Military Pay Certificate.  This was also known as “script” and used by US/Allied forces to pay the soldiers – the idea being to help slow down or help eliminate the thriving black market.

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G

G1 -                 Personnel officer on a general staff.

G2 -                 Military intelligence officer on general staff.

G3 -                 Operations officer on a general staff.

G4 -                 Supply officer on a general staff.

Gecko -           A small, green lizard often kept as a pet to catch flies and other insects.

Ghost or Ghosting -   Goldbricking, sandbagging, or hiding out in the rear as if not seen.

Giap, Vo Nguyen General -   North Vietnamese Commander. Believed control of the Central Highlands to be militarily critical in South Vietnam.

Gibraltar -      See: Operations.

Globemaster II- C-124 cargo plane - known as "Old Shakey"

GMT -            General Military Training, i.e., required knowledge of military life such as chain-of-command, rank, etc.                                                                            

Gomers –        Slang expression for North Vietnamese soldiers.

Gook -             Derogatory term for Vietnamese and other Orientals.  Originated during the Korean War – slang for Hon Gook (Korean People).                                                                                                    

GP –              “General Purpose”  When referring to a tent, a GP is a large tent that can house a squad plus their equipment.                                                                                                                                    

GQ –                  “General Quarters” An alarm that signals for all personnel to man their battle stations.

Grease Gun -              M-3 sub-machine gun.

Green Backs - US currency was forbidden in Vietnam, but if you did have it, you got a better deal.                                                                                                                       

Green Beret – Member of the US Army Special Forces – called for their distinctive green beret headgear authorized by President Kennedy.                                            

Green Eye – Starlight Scope.  A device that amplifies available light – allows personnel to see at night.

Grunt -            A term used during the Vietnam War as slang for ground (infantry) troops. Supposedly derived from the sound an infantryman made lifting up his rucksack.                                                                                                                                     

Guerrilla –      Soldiers of a resistance movement organized along paramilitary lines.

Guerrilla Warfare - The mode of fighting of the VC/NVA in Vietnam - irregular forces.

Gung Ho -       A very pro-military person or pro-mission

Gunship -        A helicopter equipped with machine gun(s) and rockets.                                              

GVN –            Government of South Vietnam.

_______________________________________________________________________

H

 

H & I -            Harassment and Interdictory (artillery) fire.

Half-Track -   An M16 light armored vehicle with .50 cal machine guns.                                              

Hai Van Pass – A mountain pass north of Da Nang – south of Phu Bai - the scene of many ambushes.

Haight Ashbury - The area in San Francisco that was originally a center of flower power children, but turned into a run down drug area by the end of the sixties.

Haiphong -      The major supply port of North Vietnam.

Halozone Tablet - Used by US military personnel to purify drinking water obtained from streams and rivers in Vietnam.

Ham & Limas - The least favored C-ration meal in Vietnam. Paste with bad taste (and other colorful names).

Hamburger Hill - 430 were killed in the battle fought in A Shau Valley in May 1969.

Hamlet -          A village in Vietnam.

Hanoi -            The capital of North Vietnam during the war.                                                            

Hanoi Hilton – The American nickname for the Hoa Loa Prison in Hanoi.

Hanoi Hannah - The female Disc Jockey broadcasting from North Vietnam. She babbled on about US atrocities and on the Wall Street connection while playing music.

Hanoi Hilton -The North Vietnamese prison where us POWs were kept in Hanoi.

Hard Hats -    The name given the group supporting the War in Vietnam in 1970. They were, typically, the working class in the U.S.

Harriman, Averel - The U.S. delegate to the Paris Peace Talks in 1968.

Hasting -         See: Operations.

Hawk -            A person who is pro-war.

Hawkeye -      E2-A, US Navy plane used to direct aerial assaults.

HE -                High Explosives.

Head -             A person who smoked marijuana, or used other illicit drugs.                                     

HEAT –             “High explosive, anti tank” artillery/tank round.

Heat Tab -      A smokeless chemical tablet used to heat rations or water.

Heavies -        Slang for high-ranking staff personnel and unit commanders.                                  

Helicopter -             There were many different helicopters used in Vietnam… the most famous is the UH-1 Huey – there were several models.  A total of 4,865 helicopters were shot down.

Herbicide -      A chemical substance used to destroy, or inhibit the growth of plants, especially weeds. Many herbicides kill by over stimulating the growth of the plant (hormones). Herbicides can be selective (killing specific plants), or non-selective (killing everything in the area in which they are used).

Hercules -       C-130 plane (slang - Herkee-bird).                                                                         

Highway 1 –   The main road south to Saigon. 

Hill 861 -         The hill number made famous in the Battle of Khe Sanh.

Hill Numbers - Represented the hill height in meters.

Hippie -           The name of those who dropped out of society during the sixties.

Hispanic -       Is the largest minority group on the Wall in Washington D.C.

Ho Chi Minh - Vietnamese statesman who declared Vietnam independence (quoting the US Declaration of Independence), September 2, 1942. (yet condoned mass murder).

Ho Chi Minh Sandals – Originally sandals cut from enemy tires (originally French – later US) and worn by VC soldiers. An entrepreneur in the US later copied the tire tread foot ware from Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh Trail, The - A network of trails that began in North Vietnam into Laos, ending in South Vietnam.

Homecoming - See: Operations.

Hon Tre -        An island off the coast of Vietnam used for intense Recondo School.

Hooch (hootch) - A small hut where Vietnamese lived.  US personnel sometimes referred to their living quarters as hootches.

Hook -             The radio, or radio hand set.

Horn, The -     The radio.

Horse -            Heroin.

Hospital -        The only combat renal (kidney) unit was in 3rd Field Hospital, Saigon. Survival rate was 97.4%.  82% of injured were transported alive to a hospital.

Hostile(s) -      Encounter with the enemy – an expression of the enemy.

Hot -                Referred to an LZ or area when enemy troops were in the area.

Howitzer -       A relatively short range, high angle of fire canon usually with a 105mm, 115mm, 155mm, etc., shell. The cannon is named for the man who invented it.

HQ -                Headquarters.                                                                                                             

Hue -                      “Lotus Flower” is the nickname for this Vietnamese city. It was built by the Emperor Gia Long in the 19th Century; the Imperial Capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945.  The longest battle of the war was fought in Hue during Tet 68. Between 500 and 5,000 civilians were murdered while the VC held this city.

Huey -             UH-1 Bell helicopter, or any of the UH series of helicopters. Officially called the “Iroquois”, most people knew it as the “Huey.”  The “U” refers to its mission designation – Utility.  It was in the US Army inventory starting in 1959.  It had a range of over 300 miles and cruised over 100 knots.                                                                                                 

Human Be-In - A rock concert held in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco) in January 1967.

Hump          To walk around the jungle carrying your combat gear.                                       

Humphrey, Hubert - The Democratic vice-president challenged Republican Richard Nixon in the 1968 election.

Humpin' or hump - Going on patrol in the jungle (bush), or perform any laborious task.

Hunter/Killer team - The Hunter was a LOH armed with mini-guns and the Killer was a Cobra.  If the Hunter spotted anyone or drew fire, he would do whatever the situation required. The Cobra came in when the Hunter drew fire.

Huskie -          HH-43B twin-rotor helicopter used by air rescue teams.

________________________________________________

I

 

I Corps –         The northern most military region in South Vietnam – just below the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).                                                                                                                                                  

  II Corps –       The Central Highlands military region in South Vietnam.                                                  

III Corps –    The military region north of Saigon to the Highlands in the north.                                       

IV Corps –   The southern most military region in South Vietnam – the Mekong Delta.                                                                                                                                                       

I & R -       Intelligence and Reconnaissance patrol.

IG -                 Inspector General.

Incoming -       Enemy artillery and mortar fire that falls within a secured area, or friendly positions.

In Country -    Being in Vietnam.                                                                                              

Indochina -        The countries of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia colonized and ruled by the French… renamed Indochine/Indochina.                            

Intel –             Intelligence.

Intruder -        US Navy A-6A carried 15,000 lbs of ordinance (bombs).

Iron Triangle, The - The nickname of the area where Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam came together (therefore the triangle). The area was known for the Warlords that had massive drug trade operations both during and after the war.                                                                                                             

Irregulars   Armed individuals and groups not members of the regular armed forces, or other internal security forces.

______________________________________________________________________

J

 

Jack Benny - The number, 39( he always said that was his age).

Jade -              A gemstone that was commonly traded (and purchased) among Vietnamese.  It was contraband for military personnel to bring it to the USA from S.E.A.

Japan -            Invaded Vietnam in 1940 - were defeated in 1945 and left Vietnam.

JCS -               Joint Chiefs of Staff – the heads of the US military stationed at the Pentagon, Washington, DC.

Jody or Jake - Slang for the guys who were stealing your girl while you were in Vietnam, or in the military.*
Marching cadence –Ain't no use in goin' home, Jody's got your girl an' gone, sound off...1- 2… sound off 1,2,3,4…1-2 -- 3-4.”*

Johnson, Lyndon Baines – He ordered the US bombing of North Vietnam in 1965.  He temporarily stopped bombing the North as a goodwill gesture on March 31, 1968.  The north used the time to rearm and reinforce their forces in the south.

Joint - A marijuana cigarette.

Jolly Green Giant - HH-53B (originally, HH-3E) (Navy SH-3 "Sea King")

Jolly Rogers Phantom - VF-84 US Navy jet.

Joy Poppers -A sixties movement of young and older people proclaiming Jesus as the answer to life's problems.

Juicer -             Someone in the military who consumed a lot of alcoholic beverages.

Jungle Boots - Military issue footwear; a combination of leather and nylon.  It was developed and issued with web sides that allowed it to dry quicker – it also had a medal plate in the instep designed to help repel pungi stakes and other sharp ground obstacles.

Jungle Penetrator -    A device lowered from a hovering chopper to extract someone.

Jungle Utilities -         Lightweight tropical military issue fatigues.                                               

  JUSPAO –            Joint United States Public Affairs Office – the office tasked with presenting the “5 O’clock follies,” the daily briefing for news personnel in Saigon.

_______________________________________________________________________

K

 

K-Bar -           A military issue knife primarily issued to Marine Corps personnel.

KC-135 -         Aircraft used to refuel fighters after a bombing mission in North Vietnam.

Keith, Bobbie - The weather girl on Armed Forces Television in Vietnam.

Kent State -    Four anti-war protesters were killed on this Ohio campus in May 1970.

KHA -             Killed in Hostile Action. See: KIA

Khe Sanh -      The siege began, January 20, 1968, and lasted 77 days.

Khmer Rouge - Cambodian Communists.

KIA -               Killed In Action. The first American military person killed in Vietnam was Lt. Col. Peter Dewey, 1945. At the end of 1965, total KIA in Vietnam was 636; by January 1, 1968, the KIA total was 16,021. The last two US military personnel killed in Vietnam, Charles McMahon, Jr. and Darwin Jude, died on April 29,1975.  58,000+ were killed during the Vietnam War, including eight (8) female military personnel.  48,000+ were killed by hostile action.

King, Martin Luther Jr. - Assassinated on March 31, 1968. He was a minister and leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Delivered a speech titled, “Declaration of Independence from the Vietnam War”, April 4, 1967.                                                                    

Klick (K)     Klic - Slang for one kilometer (.62 miles), one thousand meters.

Kit Carson Scout - A former VC who performed scout duties for US military.

Kissinger, Henry - Nixon's National Security Advisor in 1964. He eventually became Secretary of State.                                                                                                                                                 

Kiwi – A nickname for military forces from New Zealand.

Klacker -        The slang name of the device to detonate a claymore mine.

Kook Smoke - Marijuana.

KP -                 Kitchen police (patrol).

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L

 

L-T (eL Tee) - A lieutenant.

Land Line -     Ground wire communication.

Lao Dung -     The party founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1951. It had been Viet Minh previously.

LAW -             M-72 (66mm), Light Antitank Weapon – 66mm rocket, shoulder fired from a fiberglass disposable launcher.                                                                                                                               

La Vay –         Vietnamese for beer.                                                                                               

Lay Chilly          Lie motionless.

LBJ -               Long Binh Jail.  Initially called the Long Binh Stockade – the name was changed to reflex the initials of President Johnson.

Leary, Dr. Timothy - Counter culture guru who said, "...turn-on, tune-in, and drop-out" He advocated the use of LSD to expand the mind.                                                                                             

Leatherneck – A term for a US Marine that originated from the leather neckband worn with their dress uniform from 1798 – 1880 for protection of their neck during sword combat.

Leech -            Found on land and in the water. They often dropped from trees, and only need to eat once a year.

Leg -               Non-airborne military personnel. Short for straight leg. Parachute trained personnel land with their legs lightly bent, not “straight.”

Lifer -              A derogatory term used to refer to career soldiers.                                                        

Light Up –        To open fire on the enemy.

Lima Charlie - Loud and Clear; term used during radio communications.

Linebacker I -  See: Operations.

Linebacker II - See: Operations.

Lister Bag -    Waterproof (plastic or canvas) drinking water container.

Literacy rate - Among the Vietnamese is 65%.

Little People - The enemy.

Lit-up -            Fired upon. (“Light up” – to shoot at).

LLDB -           Luc Luong Dac Biet - Vietnamese Special Forces.

Loach -            Light Observation Helicopter (OH-6A Cayuse).

Lock 'n' Load - Place a weapon on safety, and prepare (ready) it for firing by placing a round in the chamber.  The correct sequence is to “lock” a magazine into the weapon – “load” a round into the chamber.

LOH -             Light Observation Helicopter (OH-13).

Lon Nol -        The one who ousted Prince Sihanouk (a Communist supporter).                                  

Long Binh -      A large US support center outside Saigon on the route to Bien Hoa Air Base on Highway One.  Also home to the LBJ – the Long Binh Jail, the stockade for US forces.

Long Bow -     A typical weapon on a PBR in the Mekong Delta.  Flaming arrows were shot with this.

Long Nose -    The Vietnamese slang name for the Americans.

Low Riders -   A sub-culture gang of the late sixties.                                                                             

LP –             Listening post – a three-man position outside the base.  Placed far enough away from the perimeter to give soldiers in the base sufficient time to react to an attack.

LRRP -           (lurp) Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol.

LSD -              A synthetic compound ingested to supposedly expand consciousness.

LST -               Landing Ship, Tank                                                                                                

LURPS –           Experimental dehydrated lightweight meal food packets.  Named for the soldiers – LRRP’s – they were issued to.                                                              

LZ –                Landing Zone.

_______________________________________________________________________

M

 

M-1 -               A .30 cal, semiautomatic, 8-shot rifle.                                                                        

M11 –    Large, pink, anti-malaria pill (Chloroquine) issued to all soldiers once each week.  Many soldiers refused the pills as they caused persistent diarrhea.

M-14 -             A rifle issued to US troops in 1965. Considered by some to be a better weapon than the M-16, it was heavier in weight, fired a heavier 30 caliber round, and had a “select-fire” adapter that allowed it to be fired in single or multiple bursts..

M-16 -             Military rifle first issued for US fighting forces in Vietnam - (5.56mm).

M-203 -           Designation for the over-under, M-16 and 40mm grenade launcher.

M-60 -             (The Pig) A light, 7.62mm,belt-fed machine gun.

M-79 -             A grenade launcher. Fired 40mm high explosive (HE) and buckshot rounds. A very effective weapon in Vietnam; nicknamed “The Blooper” or “Thumper.”                                                 

Mad Minute – Concentrated fire of all weapons in a unit for a brief period of time at the maximum rate of fire. 

McNamaras Folly - The electronic sensing equipment that ran across the entire DMZ supposedly to alert troops of the enemy troops crossing over.                                              

MAC-SOG – Military Assistance Command Studies and Observation Group.                          

MACV -          (Mac-V) Military Assistance Command Vietnam.  Headquarters for US advisors to Vietnamese forces.

Mag -              Magazine (ammunition).

Majestic Hotel - The hotel in Paris, France where the Peace Talks were held.  There was also a Majestic Hotel in Saigon that was used to house American military personnel.

Mama san -    Older Vietnamese woman.               

Mandarin – From the Chinese, an official of high standing.

Mansfield Amendment - Legislation passed re withdrawal the US military from Vietnam (but, its purpose was hampered by US Government officials).

Mansfield, Senator Mike - The US Senator who objected strongly to American involvement in Vietnam when John Kennedy was President. He was the Senate Majority Leader at the time.

Marijuana -    The weed harvested and sold by Vietnamese to US military personnel in Vietnam.

MARS -          Military Affiliate Radio Station. Used by some US personnel in South East Asia to call home.  MARS operators around the world “passed” the message to the operator nearest the soldier’s home – the only cost for the call was from the home of the operator to the home of the soldier.                                                                                                                                          

Marxism – The form of communism originated by Karl Marx.

MASH -          Military Assistance Command Hospital.

Mass Cal -      Large influx of casualties.

McCarthy, Senator Eugene - A Peace Candidate, challenged President Johnson in the Democratic primary in 1968.

Medal of Honor (MH) - 238 were awarded during the Vietnam War among the 2.6+ million who served in Vietnam.

MEDCAP -     Medical Civilian Action Projects.

Medevac -      Medical evacuation by helicopter.  See: Dust-off.  The medevac helicopter, developed during the Korean War, proved it’s worth – almost 98 percent of wounded personnel were evacuated alive.  Evac hospitals were set up so they were never more than one hour flying time from a battlefield.  The term “Dust Off” originated 1964 after the death of Lieutenant Paul B. Kelly who was killed while on a medevac mission – his call sign was “Dust Off.”

Mekong -        The largest river in Vietnam. The Mekong River is the border of Laos and Thailand to Vietnam. The Mekong Delta has more than 4,000 miles of waterways.

Menu -            See: Operations.

MIA -              Missing In Action. Over 2000 men are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

Mig -               Soviet built jet aircraft (Mikoyan-Gurevich) used by the North Vietnamese Air Force. Russian made, all Soviet fighters had this first name regardless of the model number.

Mig-21 -          Gave the F-4s problems during the last years of the Vietnam War.                  

MIGCAPS-  Combat air patrols performed by F-105F fighters and EB-66 ECM planes against MiG aircraft in the North.                                                                                                                          

Mike Force -  “Special Forces Mobile Strike Force” - the force was composed of indigenous personnel led by SF advisors in a quick reaction or reinforcing mode.  

Military, US -

Millipede -      The multi-legged creepy-crawler with a nasty bite (a six inch one was not rare).  Its cousin in the U.S. is the centipede.

Minigun -        7.62mm, Gatling styled machine gun that could shoot 6,000 rounds a minute.

Minorities -    There were 37 in Vietnam.

Mohammed Ali - A boxer who objected to being drafted, and was later barred from boxing (formally known as Cassius Clay).  He said he objected to fighting, but fought many ring fights for millions of dollars.                                                                                                                                        

Mohawk -       OV-1 turbo prop airplane primarily used for aerial reconnaissance.

Monday Pill - Weekly anti-malaria pill.

Moon -            July 19, 1969, a man walked on the moon.                                                                 

Moon Beam - A command control aircraft flown at night to illuminate the ground – each plane carried several powerful searchlights.

Monkey -        A jungle animal captured by Vietnamese mountain tribes to be kept as pets and/or eaten.  Monkeys would often chase deer, but rarely (if ever) kill them.

Monkey Pod Wood - Easy to carve lightweight wood from which useful objects were made throughout South East Asia.

Monsoon (Rainy) Season - July to September in Vietnam – 90 percent of the rain occurred in Vietnam during this time of the year. The rainy season was a natural occurrence that hampered US troops, but was welcomed by the VC/NVA.

Montagnard Bracelet - Made of brass and presented to selected personnel who worked with Montagnard (indigenous) tribes people.

Montagnards -           Indigenous people of the highlands in Vietnam. They are much like the American Indians who once roamed the US.  These nomads were trained as combat troops to seek out VC in the Central Highlands.

Monitor or Mike Boat - Converted LCM-6 landing craft. Armed with a 40mm Bofars gun, two 50cal machineguns, a 20mm gun, and a 81mm mortar in the well deck midships.

Mo Ped -         Two-wheeled imported motor bike used in South Vietnam as an economical means of transportation.

MOS -             Military Occupational Specialty – a soldier’s job code.

Mosquitoes - These flying insects were so bad you'd swear that if they all flew at once, you might fly away.                                                                                                                                                  

MP -                Military Police

MPC -             Military Pay Currency – used in place of US “green” dollars.  Called funny or Monopoly money by soldiers.

Mr. H -           Heroin.

My Lai -         (Me lie) The hamlet where several hundred Vietnamese civilians were murdered by a US Army unit in South Vietnam.  Lt. William Calley was convicted for the crime.

MRB -            Mobile Riverine Base. The ships that were the command center, housing and supply for the mobile riverine force.

MRF -             Mobile Riverine Force. The combined forces of the Navy and Army units in the Mekong Delta.                                         

Mule –            A small four wheeled cargo vehicle – soldiers reported it’s reliability as being very poor.

Mutt  -      Version of the M151 Jeep


N

Nam -              or, The Nam. Slang for Vietnam among vets of that time.

Napalm -A jelly composed of various fatty acids and gasoline. Dropped for best effectiveness at 100 feet.                                                                                                                                       

Nationalism – The belief by a people that they have the right to control and shape their own destiny free from outside interference.

NCO -             Non-Commissioned Officer; pay grades E-5 through E9.

NCOIC -         Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge.                                                                       

NDP -             Night defensive position.                                                     

Newbie – A replacement, any person with less time in Vietnam than the person speaking.

Ngo Dinh Diem - The South Vietnamese President murdered by one of his military officers in a November 2, 1963 coup.

Ngo Dinh Nhu - Controversial sister-in-law of the early President of Vietnam, Diem.

Ngoc Link -    The highest peak in South Vietnam.

Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh's original name.

Nguyen Cao Key - The vice-president of South Vietnam. He was Air Marshall before assuming the position.                                                                                                                                              

NJP –              Non Judicial Punishment

Nickel -           Number 5, or half ounce.                                                                                           

Nine Rules of Conduct - Issued by MACV.  Each person entering Vietnam (or SEA country) was given a card with these rules on it. These rules could be used against you at a military trial.  

Nixon, Richard M. - US President when the Vietnam War ended.            

NKP – Nhakon Phanom Air Base, Thailand – a major communications and electronics air base.                        

NLF -              National Liberation Front.

No hear; No see; No know - The three No-No's of the North Vietnamese Army.

Noncom -        Slang for an NCO.                                                                                                   

Nook –         Vietnamese for water. (Also – NUC or NUOC.)  

Nook Dau –         Vietnamese for ice.                                                                                                  

No Sweat –     Slang for “Can do easy, G.I.”

Nouc Mam -   Fermented fish, and sauce (it has a strong, distasteful odor to most westerners). Nouc Mam (sauce) and rice was a food staple for the VC/NVA soldiers.                                                              

NSA –          Naval Support Activity.

Number One - Good or Best.

Number Ten - Worst.                                                                                                                  

Number 10-Thou – (You numba…) The very worse.

NVA -                         North Vietnamese Army. Soldiers were paid $12 (US equivalent) per month no matter what rank.

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O

O2 -                 Forward Air Control twin-boom airplane, Cessna Skymaster, also known as the ‘push and pull’ for it’s twin engines – one facing forward the other facing aft. Used primarily for forward air control and psychological operations.                                                                                                                                                                                    

O-3-11 -           US Marine code for an infantryman (slang term - Oh-3-dum dum)                              

OCS -                Officer Candidate School.

OD -                Olive Drab.

OIC -               Officer in Charge

OJ -                 Opium soaked / laced marijuana cigarette.

OJT -              On-The-Job-Training.

Olfractronic Personnel Detector - The farcical weapon used in Vietnam for detecting above normal ammonia readings. (also termed People Sniffer).

Olsen, Betty and Eleanor Vetti - Female POWs.

One-Oh-Five - 105mm howitzer.

OP -                 Observation Post.

Op Order -      Operation(s) order, sometimes, OPORD.

OPCON -        Operational Control.

Operations, Vietnam - There were 45 primary US operations that occurred from March 1965 through December 1967 in South Vietnam.

Oscar -            Slang name for an RTO (Radio Telephone Operator).

OSI -               Office of Special Investigations (USAF) 

OTS -              "Officer Training School".  Air Force version of Army OCS.

Otter -             U-1, US Army plane used for light transport in South Vietnam.

OV-10 -           Bronco; a reconnaissance, close air support twin-engine plane.

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P

P-38 -              A folding metal can opener that was approximately 1.5 inches long.  It was often referred to as “the John Wayne.”

PAB -               Plastic Assault Boat. A 16 foot Boston Whaler with an outboard motor

Pacification -  A MACV proposal to win over the local Vietnamese populace.

Papa San -      Older Vietnamese male.

Paris Peace Accord – The document ended US involvement in Vietnam; signed by Richard Nixon, January 1973.

Paris, France - The European city where the (Vietnam) peace talks were held. The main contention at the beginning of the Paris peace talks was the shape of the table.

Pathet Lao -    Laotian Communist Guerrillas (Brothers to the North Vietnamese).

PAVN -           People's Army of Vietnam (NVA).

PBR -              Patrol Boat, River (was specifically designed for waters of Vietnam). Only 10 percent of the PBRs were removed from service because of combat damage.  Four-man crew with two diesel engines that powered water jet pump drives that allowed the boats to turn and reverse directions with almost instant response.  Two different boats were used, the MK-1 and the MK-2 – armed with twin 50 caliber machine guns forward, an M-30, 30 caliber machine and an M-18 40 mm grenade launcher amidships, and a 50 caliber MG in the rear.                                                                                                                                                  

PBR –             Pabst Blue Ribbon beer

PCS -               Permanent Change of Station.

Peace Candidates - The name of candidates for government offices who did not believe the US should be involved in the Vietnam War during the sixties and seventies.

Pedicab -         A common mode of transportation in Vietnam with room for two  passengers riding in the front.

Pentagon Papers - A secret study requested by President Johnson. The US government disclosure fed fuel to the anti-war sediment in the US (as well as the world). The writers of this document discouraged US involvement in Vietnam.

Pepper, Hot - A tasty vegetable often available from farmers and markets that amazed the unwary and made them cry (tear), but livened up C-rations. The Thai-finger pepper is much, much, much hotter than any domestic US pepper.

Peter Pilot -    Helicopter co-pilot.             

 PF –                      Popular Forces

PFC -               Private First Class.

Phased Departure - The governmental term for the US military troop withdrawal from Vietnam.

Pho -                The Vietnamese breakfast beverage/soup made from water (broth), rice, pork, various vegetables (leeks, etc.), and Nouc Mam sauce (or any combination of the above).

Phoenix -         See: Operations.

Phonetic Alphabet - Used in communications (radio and land line).

Letterr       

 

Old

Nato

A

Able

Alpha

B

Baker

Bravo

C

Charlie

Charlie

D

Dog

Delta

E

Easy

Echo

F

Fox

Fox-Trot

G

George

Golf

H

How

Hotel

I

Item

India

J

Jig

Juliet

K

King

Kilo

L

Love

Lima

M

Mike

Mike

N

Nancy

November

O

Obeo

October

P

Peter

Papa

Q

Queen

QueBec

R

Roger

Romeo

S

Sugar

Sierra

T

Tare

Tango

U

Uncle

Uniform

V

Victor

Victor

W

William

Whiskey

X

X-Ray

X-Ray

Y

Yoke

Yankee

Z

Zebra

Zulu

 

Piasters or Ps - South Vietnamese currency (slang was Ps).

Pierce Arrow - See: Operations.

Pig -                 Slang for the M-60 machine gun. Or, the domestic farm animal consumed by Vietnamese with rice and sauce.

Platoon -         Plt - A military unit compressed of approximately 45 personnel belonging to a company.  Commanded by a Lieutenant, a platoon is an organizational unit composed of two or more squads.

PLF -               Parachute Landing Fall – the body position assumed by paratroopers just prior to landing on an 

LZ – Landing Zone which is located in a DZ – Drop Zone.

Pleiku -           A city in the midst of the Central Highlands geographic region. Also a major US Air Base.

Pogue -            A derogatory name for rear echelon personnel.

Point (man)-    The name for the first man on patrol in a squad (or unit).

Poncho -          A military issue garment used to keep military personnel (relatively) dry during rains in South East Asia. Green and (supposedly) waterproof.                                                                       

Poncho Liner – A nylon insert blanket either used with the military rain poncho or used independently as a blanket.

Poor man's subway system - VC/NVA tunnel system in Vietnam.                                                     

POP –                        Common term used as in to “launch” (pop) a flare or ambush.

Pop Art -         The type of art that was popular during the early sixties. It could be seen in GIs quarters in the US and Vietnam during the war (not liked by lifers). Andy Whorlhall was one of the most famous Pop artists.

Poppy -            A South East Asian plant from which heroin is made.                                                      

Pop Smoke –             An expression or command to throw a smoke grenade to mark a target or used for identification.  When used for identification the inbound crew would call out the color of the smoke – the team on the ground would verify the color.

POW -             Prisoner Of War. The POWs who refused to talk to Jane Fonda were tortured when she visited Hanoi in 1972.

POW/MIA -    Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action. February 23, 1973 - The first of several POW/MIAs were released (but not all). Betty Olsen and Eleanor Vetti were female POWs (Red Cross workers) who were later killed. The vast majority of POW/MIAs were pilots. The Air Force had the most POW/MIAs in Vietnam.

Powder room - The latrine for US women in Vietnam.

PRC-25 -         (Prick 25) The portable FM radio used in Vietnam.

PRC-77 -         (The Monster) A radio used in Vietnam with a secure frequency.

Profile -           A medical excuse from duty.

Provinces -      South Vietnam is divided in to these defined geographic areas.                                  

PSDF –   A South Vietnamese militia group called the “Peoples Self Defense Force.”

PSP -               Pierced Steel Planking. Used for construction projects from airstrips to bridges to helicopter landing pads; also used by soldiers for covering the top of entrenched fortifications – sand bags were laid on top of the PSP. (also called landing mat)

Psychedelic Drugs - The class of drugs that (supposedly) expanded the mind.

PT -                 Physical Training.

PT76 -             Soviet amphibious tank.

PTSD -            Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Dysfunction). A psychological condition that occurs after a stressful situation (e.g., war, accident, rape, robbery, etc.). PTSD is characterized by anxiety, depression, guilt, sorrow (or grief), a sense of shame, death anxiety, panic, low self-esteem, rage, and/or any combination of these. Treatment varies with the severity, and willingness of the person to seek help.                                    

Pucker Factor – Assessment of the ‘fear factor’, as in the difficulty or risk involved in an upcoming mission.                                                                                                     

Puff (The Magic Dragon) – Prototype AC-47 gun ship.  The plane was equipped with rapid-fire machine guns.  It received the name Puff from the trail of flame that went from the plane to the ground when on a firing mission.

Pugil Stick Training – A training exercise using padded sticks used to prepare military personnel for bayonet fighting.

Punji Stick -    A sharpened bamboo stick covered with human excrement designed and deployed by the VC as a booby trap - designed to be stepped on.

PX -                 Postal Exchange.

PZ -                 Pickup Zone (helicopter).

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Q

QC –               Quan Canh – South Vietnamese Police – nicknamed “White Mice” by GI’s due to their all white uniforms which included white gloves.                                                                                       

 Quad 50         A WW Two era anti-aircraft weapon.  Mounted on an M-48 tank chassis, the armament consisted of four electric, solenoid-fired, 50 caliber machine guns. It was also mounted in a moveable, separate turret mount placed in the back of a truck.  In Vietnam it was primarily used for ground base defense and to protect convoys.                                                                                                       

Quang Tri -       South Vietnamese Province just below the DMZ.

Quantitative Indices - Body counts. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara used body count as a way to judge the success or failure of individual engagements and also the Vietnam War.                                                                                                                                            

Queen's Cobra's - Elite Thailand forces that served in Vietnam

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R

R&R -             Rest and recreation.  Each person serving in Vietnam was authorized one week off per one-year tour of duty.  They could stay in Vietnam, or travel to out-of-country locations in Bangkok, Thailand, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Singapore, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, or Penang.  If they elected travel to the United States they had to purchase round-trip tickets to ensure they would return on time.

Ranch Hand - See: Operations.                

Ranger –        Elite US Army soldiers especially trained in fire and concealment.  The force dates back to “Rogers Rangers” of the French and Indian Wars.                                                                               

RAP –     Rocket Assisted Projectile.  In Vietnam it was used with artillery shells to extend their range.

Rappel -          Descend a rope.

Rat -                A meat staple that was dried and sold in markets throughout South East Asia.  They were often uninvited guests (rodent) in many bunkers.

Reaction Force - See: Blues.

Recon -           Reconnaissance.

Red Bird -       Nickname for the Cobra, AG-1H assault helicopter.

Red Cross -    This organization had more women stationed in Vietnam than the three branches of the US military (excluding the Army). The Red Cross was the contact point for US military personnel to send and receive messages to their family members.

Red Sand -      The distinct soil coloration of the Central Highlands region.

Redball -         Enemy high-speed trail or road.

Redlegs -        Slang term for artillerymen.                                                                                            

Red LZ      A landing zone (LZ) under hostile fire.

 RF/PF –          Regional Force and Popular Force soldiers – nicknamed “Ruff Puffs” by GI’s.  Similar in make up to the US National Guard – they were primarily operational in their local home areas.           

REMF –         “Rear Echelon Mother Fucker” - a highly derogatory term for personnel who served in rear areas in SEA.

Reporters -     Many in the US government and military believed them to be the other enemy during the Vietnam War.

Rest & Repose - The names of the US Navy hospital ships in Vietnam.

Revetment -   Sandbagged or earthen barrier.                                                              

Rice -              Main product and staple food of the Vietnamese. The basis of the economy of Vietnam. Rice and rubber were the major export crops of Vietnam.  The Fourth Corps (IV) Delta region was known as the “Rice Belt” of Asia.

Rice Beetle - A dark colored bug that many considered delectable eating in South East Asia. Most often found around rice paddies.

Rice Paddy -   The common gardening spot for rice, the major crop grown in Vietnam. Earthen dikes surrounded these water filled areas.

RIF -               Reduction In Force.

Recon In Force - A reinforced unit used for patrolling in Vietnam.

Ring Knocker - A West Point graduate – so called as it was said they identified each other by “knocking” their rings.

River Rat -     Navy patrol boats and Sea Wolf helicopters were in this group.

Rock 'n' roll - Fire a weapon (usually an M-16) on full automatic.

Roger -           Radio communications term for understand or agree.

ROK -             Republic of Korea.                                                                                                     

ROKs -          Military personnel from Republic of Korea (ROK).

Rolling Thunder - See: “Operations”.

Roman Catholic - The religion of the people that held 95% of the wealth, but only comprised about 5% of the population in South Vietnam.                                                                                                      

Rome Plow –  A specially outfitted bulldozer with a large blade on the front and an armored cabin to protect the driver/operator.  Used to clear jungle and brush as a fire zone around base camps.                                                                                                                                             

Round Eye –   Slang term used to describe American or European women as opposed to “slant eye” to describe oriental women.

ROTC -           Reserve Officer Training Course. The principle source of commissioned officers in all services.                                  

Route 1 -         The name of the highway that went through Hue.

Route 9 -         The road from Hue to Khe Sanh (impassable as the VC/NVA continuously mined and booby trapped the road). It continued on to Quang Tri.                                                                      

RPD –            A Russian light machine gun. Communist standard issue machine gun that had parts that were interchangeable with the 7.62mm AK-47 assault rifle.                                                                 

RPG -              Rocket Propelled Grenade, Russian manufactured antitank grenade launcher.  Very effective in Vietnam; primarily used against armored vehicles and stationary targets such as buildings, bunkers, pillboxes, fighting positions, etc.                                                                                             

RPG Screen – A chain-linked fence erected around fighting positions, buildings, etc used to cause an incoming RPG round to explode against the fence, not against the primary target.

RTO -             Radio Telephone Operator.

Ruck or Rucksack - A backpack.

Rules of Engagement - A set of rules designed for fighting forces – changed frequently based on new commanders or world opinion.

Rumor Control - An amazingly accurate source of information prior to an event occurring.

Rusk, Dean -  US Secretary of State in 1966.

Russia -          Supplied 90% of war materials used by North Vietnam during the war. Russian fishing trawlers monitored B-52 bombing runs from Guam to North Vietnam.                                                 

RVN -                    Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).

RVNAF -        Republic of Vietnam Air Force

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S

S & D - Search and Destroy. This was the military tactic of General William Westmoreland.      

SAC -              Strategic Air Command

Saigon -    The name of the present day Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, previously, the capital of South Vietnam. 

SAM -             Surface to Air Missile.                                                                                              

Same Same –             Slang for “same as.”

Sandpan -        A common means of river transportation for the Vietnamese.                                

Sappers – North Vietnamese Army or Viet Cong demolition commandos that specialized in stealth attacks (crawling through the wire) on base camps.                                                                                          

SAR –             Search and Rescue.                                                                                               

Satchel Charge - An explosive device used primarily in VC/NVA tunnels.

Screaming Eagles - 101st Airborne Division (US Army).

Script -            See: MPC

SDS -              Students for a Democratic Society. A dissident group formed by two University of Michigan students. (These two young students were responsible for creating the Port Huron (Michigan) manifesto.)                                                                                                                                            

SEA –              Southeast Asia.                                                                                                     

SeaBees -       US Navy construction engineers.  Formed during WWII, their true name is derived from Navy “Construction Battalion (C-B’s).

Sea King -       SH-3A was used extensively by the US Navy for sea rescue.

Seafood -        A common food staple (eels, fish, etc.) consumed by Vietnamese.

Sea Sprite -     UH-2C sea rescue helicopter used by the US Navy.

Search and Destroy – (S&D)  Offensive operations designed to find and destroy enemy forces rather than establishing permanent government control.  Slang – Zippo missions.                                                                 

 SEAL -            Sea, Air, Land (Navy elite forces)                                                                          

Search and Destroy – Early US offensive operations designed to sweep through areas to locate the enemy and destroy them and their structures.

SEATO -         South East Asian Treaty Organization.

Segregation now... segregation forever!- The slogan of Governor George Wallace when he campaigned for the US Presidency. He later said that he didn't believe his slogan, it was just politics.                                                                                                                                             

Serette (Morphine) – Disposable needles containing morphine carried by soldiers.  If wounded the soldier was injected with the morphine and the serrete was pinned to his fatigue jacket.                                                                                                                                  

Seventeenth Parallel – The temporary dividing line established by the 1954 Geneva Accords between North and South Vietnam.                                                                                                             

Shadow –             A Fairchild C-119 cargo plane converted into a gun ship that had 7.62 and/or 20 mm mini guns mounted in side windows.  Early pilots used grease pencils to mark sights on their side windows.  Later models used a spider web device on the pilot side window for sighting.

Shape Charge - An explosive device that detonates in a predetermined direction.

Shake-'n-bake - A soldier who went to Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, then to NCO school and promoted to E-5 – Sergeant.  They arrived in country as an NCO with relatively no time in service or combat experience.  The term is also used to describe officers who attend and graduate from Officer Candidate School (OCS).

Shawnee -       CH-21 helicopter.                                                                                                       

Shell –          A “round” or projectile from a military weapon                                   

Shithook –             Slang term for CH-47 “Chinook” helicopter.

Short / Short-timer -  Short number of days remaining in service, or in Vietnam.

Signal 300 -     Code for enemy attack.

Sihanouk, Prince - The leader of Cambodia who was sometimes a friend to the US, but basically a communist.

Sihanoukville (Kampot) - The Cambodian Port were arms shipments were delivered to the VC/NVR.

Sijan, Captain Lance P. - The only Air Force Academy graduate to win the Medal of Honor (he died in a North Vietnamese POW camp). A hall is dedicated to Captain Sijan at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Sin Loi -          Vietnamese (slang) for sorry, that's too bad, or tough luck.

SITREP -        Situation Report.

Six –                Radio code name for a commander in Vietnam, or the position directly behind the person talking as in “my 6 o’clock”.

Skate(d) -        (As in, “I skated”) Have it easy; normally in the rear. To goof off.

SKS -              Communist Simonov semiautomatic rifle used by VC/NVA, 7.62mm.

Sky Pilot -       The slang name for a chaplain/minister in Vietnam.                                                         

Sky Soldiers - Members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

Skycrane -      CH-54 helicopter.

Skyhawk -       A-4 jet.

Skyraider -     A1-E plane. Commonly called "Sandy" also A-1G/A-1H.

Slack man -     Second man in a patrol; walked directly behind the pointman.

SLAM -          Search, Locate, Annihilate, Monitor.                                                                        

Sleeper           An undercover agent or mole.

Slick -              UH-1D helicopter; troop carrying helicopter, usually mounted two M-60 machine guns – one on either side of the troop/cargo compartment.                                                                            

Slope –    A derogatory term that refers to any oriental person.

Smack -           Heroin.

Smoke -          Smoke grenades or smoke generators used to conceal troop movements or identify positions.                                                                                                                                        

Smoke -          Marijuana.

Snake -           Slang for a Cobra gunship.

SNCC -           Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Stokley Carmichael was its leader in 1966. The organization was originally non-violent.                                                                                    

Snoopy Blanket - Soldier nickname for a camouflage poncho liner.                                                

Snuffy –          A term for a Marine.

SOG -              Studies & Observation Group. Originally called "Special Operations Group", the name was changed to reflect "political correctness".

SOI -               “Signal Operating Instructions” contained call signs and frequencies of most military units in Vietnam.

SOP -              Standard Operating Procedure.                                                                                

Sortie –        One aircraft making one takeoff and one landing in the conduct of a mission.  The number of sorties referred to the number of planes (take off and landing) used in the operation.  Three sorties was three landings and take offs.                                                                                                                 

SOS –              The international three letters signaling distress – a slang term for “shit on a shingle.” the term used to describe creamed beef on toast.

Soul Alley -     The section of Saigon that catered almost exclusively to African-American soldiers.

Soul Brother - A black (African American).

South China Sea - The body of water directly East of Vietnam

Special Capital Zone - The name of the area around Saigon.                                    

Special Forces – An elite small unit (A/B/C teams) of US Army soldiers designed to train local residents in fighting and guerrilla war techniques.  President John Kennedy awarded the group the distinctive headgear, the “Green Beret” as they became known.  The most widely held image is that of a 12-man “A” team.  Teams became progressively bigger and more complex in the other team terms – B or C teams.

Spider Hole - An enemy (VC) firing from the opening of a tunnel complex.

Spooky -         AC-47 gunship, also known as Puff The Magic Dragon, equipped with several 7.62 mm miniguns.

Squad -            A basic military unit of 8 personnel, organized in two, 4-man groups, usually commanded by a Sergeant.                                                                                                                                

Square -          A cigarette.

SR-71 -           A US top-secret spy plane used during the Vietnam era (if you saw it, you never acknowledged it). They operated in the clear (daylight takeoffs) from Kadena AB, Okinawa and out of select US bases in Vietnam.

SS Columbia Eagle - A munitions ship that was hijacked to Cambodia, and then returned because the Cambodian government found they couldn't use the equipment on board.

Stand Down – Period of rest and refitting in a base camp in which all operational activity, except for security, is stopped – stood down. 

Starfighter -    F-104 jet.

Starlifter -       C-141 cargo jet.

Starlight scope - Night vision scope.

Starlite -          See: Operations.

Steel Pot -       A helmet.

Strac -             Adherence to strict military code, and dress.

Stratofortress - B-52 jet.

Super Constellation - C-121. A plane rigged with radar and electronics. The EC-121 (Early-Warning-Radar equipped plane) broadcast a code yellow when it detected movement of enemy aircraft in North Vietnam.

Supersabre -   F-100 jet. More commonly known as the "Hun".

Surrender -     The South Vietnamese surrendered on April 30, 1975, to the VC/NVA. 

Swift Boat -              A US Navy patrol boat used in conjunction with Operation Market Time – an operation to deny the use of coastal waters as a means to infiltrate men and weapons into South Vietnam.   The boats were designated PCF – Patrol Craft Fast.

________________________________________________________________________

T

T-Day -           The day for termination of hostilities in Vietnam during July 1968.

TAC AIR -      Tactical Air Command                                                                                         

Tadpole -          Nickname for the OH-6 helicopter.                                                                    

Tailboom –            The back portion of the Huey (UH) helicopter.  It connected the rear rotor with the main body of the aircraft.

Tango Boat - (ATC) LCM-6 landing craft with extra armor and firepower – used primarily in the Delta area of South Vietnam with its many rivers and tributaries.

Tarmac -         The hard surface of landing strips, helipads, etc.

Tay Nguyen - The Vietnamese name for the Central Highlands.

Tay Ninh -      The first jump site of (NRVN) combat troops in Vietnam, 1963.

TC -                 Tactical Commander.

TCDD -           Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (also 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin). A family of dioxins that contain four (4) chlorine atoms each.

TDY -              Temporary Duty.

Tea -               The favorite beverage of the Vietnamese people.

Tee-tee -         Very small, a slang term meaning little.

Tet -                The traditional beginning of the Vietnamese New Year. January 31, 1968 – marked the invasion of Saigon. Considered by many as a turning point with US involvement in Vietnam. Approximately 60% of the North Vietnamese Army and most of the Viet Cong infrastructure were destroyed during Tet 68. This offensive left approximately 14,000 Vietnamese civilians dead – most of them scholars, city officials, teachers, etc, considered to be enemies by the VC and NVA.                                                                   

The Rock –     The island of Guam, the point of origin for many B-52 and escort fighter flights.

Thich Quang Duc - A Buddhist monk who burnt himself to death in June 1968 over policies imposed by the South Vietnamese government.

Thumper -       M-79 Grenade Launcher.

Thunderchief - F-105 jet. More commonly known as the "Thud".

T.I. -                Training Instructor.

Tieu-uy -         Vietnamese for 2nd Lieutenant.

Tieu-ta -          Vietnamese for Major.                                                                                               

Tiger Balm –          An oil/cream used by many Vietnamese as a local remedy for headaches, body pain, etc.  The smell was very distinct.

Tiger Suit -     The camouflage field uniform worn by elite South Vietnamese military units and their US military advisors.  Also worm by US Special Forces soldiers.

T.L. -               Team Leader.

Tobasco (Hot) Sauce - US product used by Vietnamese rather than Nouc Mam, or in addition to Nouc Mam. Also used by U.S. military personnel to enhance the flavor of C-Rations.

TOC - Tactical Operations Center.

Toe popper -   US antipersonnel (plastic explosive) mine designed to wound rather than kill.

Tonkin Gulf Incident - Two US Navy destroyers, the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy, were fired upon by North Vietnamese PT boats on August 2, 1964. This began the buildup of US involvement in Vietnam. The USS Maddox was later boarded by several anti-war women during the summer of 1966 while the ship was in dry dock in California.

Top or Top Sergeant.-  Normally, a First Sergeant or Sergeant Major.                                              

TOT –           Time on target – the time it takes for a projectile to reach its target after being fired.

Tracer -           A bullet or shell with a special chemical (phosphorus) on its tip that “burns” when fired and leaves a trail of smoke or fire; Communist forces use blue-green  – allied units use red.

Triage -           The medical term meaning sorting for priority of treatment of wounded often performed by nurses in Vietnam.

Troops -          Soldiers.  US troop strength at the peak of the Vietnam War was 542,000 in-country military personnel.

Tropical Monsoon - The climate of Vietnam. 

Trung-ta -       Vietnamese for Lieutenant Colonel.                                                                            

Trung uy -         Vietnamese for 1st Lieutenant.                                                                                     

Tu Dai –          The VC would warn local residents of areas where they placed booby traps by putting small signs with the words “tu dai” near the area.  Pronounced “to die” – its meaning was not lost on allied soldiers and advisors.                                                  

Tu Do -          (Two Doe) The most famous (infamous) street in Saigon. The street was filled with bars and bar girls.  In Vietnamese the term means, freedom.

Tunnel rat -     A soldier/Marine who crawled into VC tunnels.

Turtles -          Slang term used for replacements because the replacements took so long to arrive.

Two Step -      Slang US soldier name for the small and deadly bamboo viper (snake).  After being bitten you would take “two steps” and die.

Typhoon -       Asian name for a hurricane.

_______________________________________________________________________

U

U2 -                 A spy plane located in Saigon area used to photograph SAM (surface to air missiles) sites, etc., in North Vietnam during the early part of the Vietnam War. Francis Gary Powers was shot down in this type of plane over Russia in the 60s. Later variants were flown out of Yokota AB, Japan as late as 1971.                                                                                                                                                   

UA –             Unauthorized Absence; similar to “AWOL” used by the US Army. 

UCMJ -          Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Uncle Ho -      Ho Chi Minh, the leader of North Vietnam.

UN -                United Nations                                                                                                      

USAID –        US Agency for International Development (see Vann, John Paul).                     

USARPAC –          US Army Pacific – the Headquarters is in Hawaii.                                               

USO –             United Service Organization – The USO has a long tradition of providing stateside entertainment to soldiers serving around the world.  This tradition was continued in Vietnam.  Bob Hope is probably their best known entertainer.

_______________________________________________________________________

V

Vann,  John Paul - Characterized the war in Vietnam with this statement, “A bright and shining lie.”  His first tour of duty in Vietnam was with the US Army – he elected to leave the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel and was later hired as a civilian to become the Director of US AID.

VC -                Viet Cong; Vietnamese Communist. Slang – Mr. Charles, Victor Charlie.

VC/NVA soldier - Profile: 23 years old, 5'3" tall, 115-120 lbs., Buddhist, and single.                          

VCI –               Viet Cong Infrastructure – the leaders, cadre, all providers to VC units and individual personnel.  In an effort to eradicate the VCI – the “Phoenix Program” was started. 

Veterans -       The average age of Vietnam in-country veterans was 23.                                           

Vetti, Eleanor and Betty Oslo - Female POWs.                                                                               

Viet Cong – a Vietnamese guerilla Army that wanted independence for Vietnam without any outside interference to include communism.

Viet Minh - Ho Chi Minh created this party in 1941.  They originally fought against the French, then the Japanese, then against the French following the end of WWII, then against the Americans.  The term stands for: Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi (Vietnamese Independence League).

Vietnam:

Vietnam Monument - (The Wall) in Washington D.C. was dedicated Veteran's Day, 1982.  It was created by Vietnam Veteran Jan C. Scruggs.  The design for the Wall was drawn by a Yale architectural student – Maya Lin.  The Wall started with much controversy; called by some as the “Black Gash of Shame,” the controversy was heightened when it was revealed that the designed was oriental by birth.  Through the years the Wall has met with universal acceptance by Vietnam veterans and family members. 

Vietnamese - 25% of the rural (Vietnamese) population became refugees during the war. 518,000 were (estimated to be) killed during the war.

Vietnamization - The plan by Nixon to turn the war over to the South Vietnamese.    military while the US withdrew from the conflict with honor.                                        

Ville –                 A term used by US personnel to describe the nearest town, village, hamlet… as in “the Ville”.

Vinh Tau -       A city at the mouth of the Mekong River. It was the location of a 60-foot (US military) communications dish that sent messages all over Vietnam.

VNAF -           South Vietnamese Air Force                                                                                      

VNN -                       South Vietnamese Navy

Vo Nguyen Giap - The North Vietnamese General commanding the siege of Khe Sanh. He was also the commander at Dien Bien Phu - the 1954 defeat of French Forces in Indochina (Indochine).

VooDoo -        F-101, a high flying jet used to photograph North Vietnam.

VR -                Visual Reconnaissance.

Vung Tau -      A city at the mouth of the Saigon River. Support and troop ships for the  173rd Airborne landed there in May 1965.  On that same date C-130 Hercules aircraft ferried in the base elements to Bien Hoa Air Base.  The 173rd set up their first headquarters in the Michelin Plantation immediately adjoining the airfield.

VVAW -          Vietnam Veterans Against the War. On April 23, 1971, this group marched in Washington D.C. and let the world know that they "...identified the enemy. He is us." They tossed their combat medals on the Capital lawn.

________________________________________________________________________

W

WAC -             Woman's Army Corp. Female US Army personnel not in the medical branches.

War of Deception - The name used by many in the media (and young people) for the war in Vietnam.                                                                                                                                           

Wart Hog –     The A-10 “tank killer” US plane that mounted a cannon in its nose.  It was so named by US personnel due its appearance and was primarily designed to serve in the European/NATO theater of operations.

Waste -           Kill.                                                                                                                     

Watcher –        Enemy soldiers, as in, the enemy was “watching.”

Watts -            A section of Los Angeles that erupted in race riots in August 1965.

Weathermen - The name of the radical (and often violent) group in the sixties.                                    

Web Gear –        The canvas belt, shoulder straps, back pack, etc. used primarily by infantry soldiers during field operations.  All of their ammunition, water, first aid kits, and personal gear is carried using this equipment.  Also called “LBE” – load bearing equipment.

Weed -            Marijuana.                                                                                                          

WESPAC –      The US Navy and Coast Guard “Western Pacific” areas of operation which included the Asian Pacific areas. 

Westmoreland, William H. - The US Commander of military forces in Vietnam until August 1968.

White Bird - A LOH (OH-6 helicopter).

White Mice - South Vietnamese Police, who served primarily in Saigon and wore white uniforms – uniform, helmets/hats, and gloves.

White Whale - The nickname of the C-123 airplane used by General Westmoreland.

Whitewalls - A military haircut – sides cut to the scalp leaving only a small amount of hair on the top.

WIA -              Wounded In Action.

Wild Weasel - F-105F jet. Specifically one equipped for ECM.

Willie Peter, Willie Pete, Willie Papa, WP - A white phosphorus grenade, bomb, or artillery round.  The phosphorus would burst into flames when exposed to oxygen – it would keep burning until either the chemical burned away or the oxygen supply was stopped.

Wise Men -    US Government officials Dean Acheson, McGeorge Bundy, and Generals Ridgeway and Taylor.

Withdrawal - All US troops were to be withdrawn from Vietnam by August 1972.                             

WOC –     Warrant Officer Candidates. Most of the WOC’s during the Vietnam era were being trained as helicopter pilots at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Women -

Woodstock - A music festival held during the summer of 1969 at a farm near this city in New York State.

World, The - The United States, home, or anywhere other than Vietnam.  The term was later frowned upon by top US leaders as being derogatory to Vietnam.

________________________________________________________________________

 

X

X-Ray Team - Communications relay unit.

Xe Pong -        The river flowing from Laos through Khe Sanh and Quang Tri.

XO -                Executive Officer.

Xuan Thuy -    The North Vietnamese delegate to the Paris Peace Talks.

________________________________________________________________________

Y

Yippie -           Youth International Party. A radical anti-war group lead by Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman.

Young bohemians - Denoted wanderers, or advocates of an unconventional life style. Another name for the hippie (self-indulgent) generation coined by media, and leaders of many anti-war groups when they saw the demise of the hippie (drop out) life style.

________________________________________________________________________

Z

Zap -                Kill.

Zippo -             A popular cigarette lighter – names, dates, unit insignia and mottos were often inscribed on the stainless steel case.                                                                                                                      

Zippo -           A flame thrower.  Could be mounted on an armored personnel carrier – APC, or a tank.  Disposable, man carried, versions were created during the war.  During WWII they consisted of two tanks – one for fuel and the other for gas used as a propellant. 

Zippo Boat -    Navy version with two flame turrets mounted on the bow.                                         

Zippo Mission – A search and destroy mission where it was assumed enemy huts, etc. were to be destroyed (by fire).

Zippo Raid -    Igniting of straw huts in suspected enemy villages by military units.

Zoomie -          During the Vietnam era, Air Force personnel.                                                              

Zulu –            A universal time designation – Zulu Time; a casualty report; the phonetic pronunciation of the letter “Z.”

 

                          NAVAL TERMS FROM MRFA

Courtesy of MRFA President Albert B. Moore

ACTOC - Accelerated Turnover Plan

MSO – Minesweeper Ocean

AHCO - Aviation Helicopter Company

MSR – Minesweeper Patrol

APB - Self Propelled Barracks Ship

NSA – Naval Support Activity

AR - Repair Ship

NVA - North Vietnamese Army

ARVN - Army of the Republic of Vietnam

PACV - Patrol Air Cushion Vehicle

ASPB - Assault Patrol Boat

PC - Submarine Chaser (Patrol Craft)

ATC - Armored Troop Carrier

PBR - River Patrol Boat

ATSB - Advanced Support Patrol Base

PCE - Patrol Escort

ATC(H) - Armored Troop Carrier (Helicopter)

PCF - Patrol craft (Swiftboat)

CCB - Command Communication Boat

PF - Popular Forces

CSC - Coastal Surveillance Center

PG - Patrol Gunboat

DD - Destroyer

PT - Patrol Torpedo

DE - Destroyer Escort

PRU - Provincial Recon Units

DMZ - Demilitarized Zone

RAD - River Assault Division

EOD - Explosive Ordnance Disposal

RAG - River Assault Group

FOM(short) - French River Patrol Boat

RAID - River Assault-Interdiction(Div)

FOM(long) - French River Patrol Boat

RAS - River Assault Squadron

HAL-3 - Helicopter Attack Light (UH-1 Hueys)

ROK - Republic of Korea

HC-1 - Helicopter Combat Support Squadron One

RONONE - Squadron One (USCG)

HECP - Harbor Entrance Central Post

RPC - River Patrol Craft

HPE - Harbor Patrol Element

RPG - Rocket Propelled Grenade

IUWG - Inshore Undersea Warfare Group

RSS - River Support Squadron

LCA - Landing Craft Assault

SAS - Special Air Service

LCM - Landing Craft Medium

SEAL - Sea Air Land Team

LCPL - Landing Craft Personnel (Large)

SEALORDS - (see below)

LCS - Landing Craft Support

SEASHARP - (see below)

LCVP  -Landing Craft, Vehicles and Personnel

SOG - Special Operating Group

LSM - Landing Ship Medium

STAB - Strike Assault Boat

LSIL - Infantry Landing Ship Large

SWIFT BOAT- Inshore (PCF)

LSSC - Light Seal Support Craft

TDY - Temporary Duty

LSSL - Support Landing Ship Large

TF-115 - Market Time

LST - Landing Ship Tank

TF-116 - Gamewardens

MAAG - Military Assistance Advisory Group

TF-117 - Mobile Riverine Force

MACV - Military Assistance Command Vietnam

USN - United States Navy

MB1 - Mobile Support Base One

USCG - United States Coast Guard

MB2 - Mobile Support Base Two

VC - Viet Cong

MDMAF - Mekong Delta Mobile Afloat Base

VAL-4 - Light Attack Squadron

MIUWS - Mobile Inshore Undersea War Surveillance

VARS - Visual Airborne (Recon)

MRB - Mobile Riverine Base

VNAF  -South Vietnamese Air Force

MRF - Mobile Riverine Force

VNN - South Vietnamese Navy

MSB - Minesweeper Boat (Non) Magnetic)

WHEC - High Endurance Cutter Craft (USCG)

MSC - Minesweeper Coastal (Non Magnetic)

WPB - Patrol Craft (USCG)

MSM - Minesweeper Medium

YRBM - Yard Repair Berthing and Mess

SEALORDS - Southeast Asia Lake, Ocean, River and Delta Strategy

SEASHARP- Southeast Asia Semi-Permanent Harbor Protection

 

  DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Glossary of Abbreviations and Terms

ACTOV                 Accelerated Turnover to the Vietnamese
ACTOVLOG        Accelerated Turnover to the Vietnamese, Logistics
AD                         Destroyer Tender
AE                          Ammunition Ship
AF                         Store Ship
AFDL                    Small Auxiliary Floating Dry dock (non-self-propelled)
AFS                       Combat Store Ship 
AGC                      Amphibious Force Flagship 
AGS                      Surveying Ship 
AGSS                    Auxiliary Submarine 
AH                         Hospital Ship 
AK                         Cargo Ship 
AKA                      Attack Cargo Ship 
AKD                      Cargo Ship, Dock 
AKL                       Light Cargo Ship
AKR                      Vehicle Cargo Ship
AKS                      Stores Issue Ship 
AKV                      Aircraft Ferry
AN                         Antonov Transport 
AN                         Net Laying Ship 
AO                         Oiler
AOE                      Fast Combat Support Ship 
AOG                      Gasoline Tanker
APA                      Attack Transport 
APB                      Self-propelled Barracks Ship 
APD                      High-speed Transport 
APL                       Barracks Craft (non-self-propelled)
APSS                    Transport Submarine 
AR                         Repair Ship
ARG                      Amphibious Ready Group
ARG                      Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship
ARL                      Repair Ship - Light 
ARS                      Salvage Ship 
ARVH                   Aircraft Repair Ship (Helicopter)
ARVN                   Army of the Republic of Vietnam
ASPB                   Assault Support Patrol Boat PC 
ASW                     Antisubmarine Warfare
ATC(H)                 Armored Troop Carrier
ATF                       Fleet Ocean Tug 
ATSB                    Advanced Tactical Support Base
AV                         Seaplane Tender 
BB                         Battleship 
CA                         Heavy Cruiser 
CAG                      Guided Missile Heavy Cruiser
CAPT                    Captain
CCB                      Command Communication (Control) Boat
CD                         Coastal Division
CDR                      Commander 
CEC                      Civil Engineer Corps 
CGN                      Guided Missile Cruiser (nuclear-powered)
CHC                      Chaplain Corps 
CIA                        Central Intelligence Agency 
CIDG                     Civilian Irregular Defense Group 
CINCPAC            Commander in Chief, Pacific
CINCPACAF       Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Force
CINCPACFLT     Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet
CLG                      Guided Missile Light Cruiser
CM                        Construction Mechanic 
CNO                      Chief of Naval Operations
COMNAVFORV  Commander US Naval Forces, Vietnam
COMUSMACV    Commander US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
CSC                      Coastal Surveillance Center
CTF                       Commander Task Force 
CTG                      Commander Task Group 
CTU                      Commander Task Unit 
CV                         Aircraft Carrier 
CVA                      Attack Aircraft Carrier 
CVAN                   Attack Aircraft Carrier (nuclear-powered)
CVS                      Antisubmarine Warfare Support Aircraft Carrier 
CVSQ                   Carrier Antisubmarine Warfare Air Group 
D                            Australian Destroyer
DAO                      Defense Attaché Office
DC                         Dental Corps 
DD                         Destroyer
DDG                      Guided Missile Destroyer 
DDR                      Radar Picket Destroyer 
DE                         Destroyer Escort 
DER                      Radar Picket Escort Ship 
DLG                      Guided Missile Frigate 
DMZ                      Demilitarized Zone 
ENS                      Ensign
EOD                      Explosive Ordnance Disposal 
FOB                      Forward Operating Base 
FOM                      French River Patrol Boat
HAL-3                   Helicopter Attack Light (UH-1 Hueys) Squadron
HC-1                     Helicopter Combat Support Squadron One
HECP                   Harbor Entrance Central Post
HM                        Helicopter Squadron
HMH                     Marine Heavy Lift Helicopter Squadron
HMM                     Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron
HMR                     Marine Transport Helicopter Squadron
HPE                      Harbor Patrol Element
HQ                         Vietnamese Navy (from the Vietnamese Hai Quan)
HSAS                   Headquarters Support Activity, Saigon 
IFS                        Inshore Fire Support Ship 
IUWG                    Inshore Undersea Warfare Group 
JCS                       Joint Chiefs of Staff
JGS                       Joint General Staff 
LARC                   Lighter, Amphibious Resupply Cargo 
LCA                      Landing Craft Assault
LCC                      Amphibious Command Ship
LCDR                   Lieutenant Commander
LCM                      Landing Craft Medium 
LCM(M)                Landing Craft, Mechanized (Minesweeper)
LCPL                    Landing Craft, Personnel (Large)
LCS                      Landing Craft Support
LCU                      Landing Craft, Utility
LCVP                    Landing Craft, Vehicles and Personnel 
LDNN                   South Vietnamese Naval Commandos (from the Vietnamese - Lien Doi Nguoi Nhia)
LKA                      Amphibious Cargo Ship 
LPD                      Amphibious Transport Dock 
LPH                      Amphibious Assault Ship 
LPSS                    Amphibious Transport Submarine 
LSD                      Landing Ship, Dock 
LSIL                      Landing Ship, Infantry, Large 
LSM                      Landing Ship, Medium
LSMR                   Landing Ship, Medium, Rocket 
LSSC                    Light Seal Support Craft
LSSL                    Landing Support Ship, Large
LST                       Landing Ship, Tank 
LT                          Lieutenant
LTJG                    Lieutenant (junior grade)
LVT                       Landing Vehicle, Tracked 
MAAG                   Military Assistance Advisory Group 
MACV                   Military Assistance Command, Vietnam 
MAJ                      Major 
MiG                       Russian-made Fighter Aircraft
MLMS                   Minesweeping Launch 
MRB                     Mobile Riverine Base
MRF                      Mobile Riverine Force 
MSB                      Minesweeping Boat (Non Magnetic)
MSC                      Military Sealift Command 
MSF                      Minesweeper, Fleet
MSM                     Minesweeper Medium
MSO                      Minesweeper, Ocean 
MSR                      Minesweeper, River
MSS                      Minesweeper, Special 
MSTS                   Military Sea Transportation Service 
NAG                      Naval Advisory Group 
NAVFORV           Naval Forces, Vietnam 
NC                         Nurse Corps 
NHC                      Naval Historical Center
NILO                     Naval Intelligence Liaison Officer 
NMCB                  Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 
NSA                      Naval Support Activity
NVA                      North Vietnamese Army
PACV                   Patrol Air Cushion Vehicle 
PBR                      Patrol Boat River
PC                         (Patrol Craft) Submarine Chaser 
PCE                      Patrol Escort 
PCER                   Rescue Escort 
PCF                      Fast Patrol Craft (Swiftboat)
PF                         Popular Forces (Vietnamese) 
PG                         Patrol Gunboat 
PGH                      Patrol Gunboat Hydrofoil
PGM                      Motor Gunboat
PIRAZ                   Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone
POL                      Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants
POW                     Prisoner of War 
PRU                      Provincial Recon Units
PT                         Motor Patrol Boat Torpedo 
PTF                       Fast Patrol Boat 
RAD                      River Assault Division
RAG                      River Assault Group 
RAID                     River Assault Interdiction Division 
RAS                      River Assault Squadron
RCVSQ                Readiness Carrier Antisubmarine Warfare Air Group
RCVW                  Readiness Attack Carrier Air Wing  
RID                        River Interdiction Division 
ROK                      Republic of Korea
RONONE             Squadron One (USCG)
RPC                      River Patrol Craft
RPG                      River Patrol Group
RPG                      Rocket Propelled Grenade
R&R                     Rest and Recuperation  
RSS                      River Support Squadron
RVAH                   Reconnaissance Attack Squadron 
RVN                      Republic of Vietnam 
RVNAF                 Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces 
SAM                      Surface to Air Missile
SAR                      Search and Rescue 
SAS                      Special Air Service
SC                         Submarine Chaser  
SC                         Supply Corps 
SCATTOR           Small Craft Assets, Training, and Turnover of Resources
Seabee                Naval Construction Battalion Personnel 
SEAL                    Naval Commando – Sea Air Land Team
SEALORDS        Southeast Asia, Lake, Ocean, River, Delta Strategy
SEATO                 Southeast Asia Treaty Organization 
SERVPAC           Service Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet 
SLF                       Special Landing Force 
SOG                      Special Operating Group
SS                         Steamship 
SS                         Submarine 
STAB                    SEAL Team Assault Boat 
STAB                    Strike Team Assault Boat
STAT                    Seabee Technical Assistance Team 
STCAN/FOM       French-designed River Patrol Craft 
T             Prefix for USNS
TDY                       Temporary Duty
UDT                      Underwater Demolition Team 
USA                      US Army
USAF                    US Air Force 
USCG                   US Coast Guard
USMC                   US Marine Corps 
USN                      US Navy
USNR                   US Naval Reserve
USNS                   US Naval Ship 
VA                         Attack Squadron 
VAH                      Heavy Attack Squadron 
VAL                       Light Attack Squadron 
VAP                      Heavy Photographic Squadron 
VAQ                      Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron
VAW                     Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 
VC                         Viet Cong 
VF                         Fighter Squadron
VFP                       Light Photographic Squadron
VFR                      Refrigerated Covered Lighter (self-propelled)
VMA                      Marine Attack Squadron
VMF                      Marine Fighter Squadron 
VNAF                    Vietnamese Air Force 
VNN                      Vietnamese Navy
VP                         Patrol Squadron 
VQ                         Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron
VR                         Air Transport Squadron
VRC                      Air Transport Squadron
VSF                       Antisubmarine Fighter Squadron
WPB                     82-Foot Coast Guard Cutter 
WHEC                  Coast Guard High Endurance Cutter 
YC                         Open Lighter
YFRN                    Refrigerated Covered Lighter (non self-propelled)
YFU                       Harbor Utility Craft (self-propelled)
YMS                      Auxiliary Motor Minesweeper 
YOG                      Gasoline Barge (self-propelled)
YRBM                   Repair, Berthing, and Messing Barge (non-self-propelled)
YTB                       Large Harbor Tug 
YTL                       Small Harbor Tug

Send additions to this list to parker2@entercomp.com   thanks