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Vietnam War - Dictionary

AAA - Anti-Aircraft Artillery
Acid - LSD, hallucinogenic drug
Agent Orange - A chemical defoliant
Air Cav (Airmoble) - Air Cavalry, helicopterborne infantry assault teams
Angel - A helicopter that hovers near a carrier to pick up a pilot who crashed
Arc-Lite - Code name for B-52 bombing missions along the Cambodian border
Arty - Artillery
ARVN - Army of the Republic of Vietnam
Bad - Good
Beaten Zone - Where most bullets hit when a machine gun is fired in the bush
The Bell Telephone Hour - The “interrogation” or torture of VC suspects using electro
shocks generated by a field telephone.
Bends and Motherfuckers - Squat thrusts
Big Boys - Artillery
Bird - Any aircraft
Blood - A black, from brother blood
Blooper - An M79 grenade launcher, also known as a thumper
Bode - A Cambodian
Bogart - To hang onto a joint to long
Bolter - A plane that misses the arrest wire when landing on an aircraft carrier
Boonies - The boondocks
Boot - A raw soldier-that is, straight from boot camp
Bouncing Betty - A trip-wire mine, designed to explode at groin height
Brown-Water Navy - US Navy units operating in the muddy water of the Mekong Delta
Bush - Anywhere out of base where contact might be made with the enemy
Busting Caps - Firing a weapon
Cambodian Red - local marijuana
Cammies - Camouflage fatigues
Capping - Shooting
Charlie - The Viet Cong, from military voice designation for VC
Cherry - A virgin, someone young and inexperienced
Chinook - A large transport helicopter, also known as a “Shithook”
Chu Hoi - Vietnamese for “I Surrender”
Chopper - A helicopter
CIA - Central Intelligence Agency
CINCPAC - Commander in Chief, Pacific
Claymore - An anti-personnel mine shaped in a curved rectangle filled with heavy
explosive and ball bearings (grape shot). Each ball is approximately 1/4-inch in diameter.
It can be set off by trip wire or by remote control on command. The curved shape enables
the user to direct the blast (and thousands of shots) in a specific direction or killing zone.
It is ideal for ambush or perimeter defense.
CO - Commanding officer
Cobra - The AH-1G helicopter gunship
Concertina - A tangle of barbed wire
Condolance Award - Compensation paid to the family of a dead ARVN soldier
Contact - Firing on, or being fired upon by the enemy
Country Team - US embassy personnel
Corpsman - Medic
CP - Command Post
C-Ration, C-Rat - Canned food carried on operations
Dawk - Neither a hawk nor a dove; someone who disapproved of the war but would not
demonstrate against it
Delta-Delta, DD - Doughnut dollies or nurses
Duece-and-a-half - 2+-ton truck, also a 6x6
Deros - Date eligible for return from overseas
Diddy Bopping - Walking carelessly
Dink - Derogatory term for Vietnamese
District Mobile Company - The basic VC fighting unit
DMZ - Demilitarized Zone
Doc - Marine nickname for corpsman
Doughnut Dollies - Nurses
Doo-Mommies - Anglicization of Vietnamese “Duma” meaning “Fuck Your Mother”
Doper - A pot smoker
Double Veteran - Someone who had sex with a woman then killed her
Dove - Someone who was against the war
Downers - Depressant drugs, especially barbiturates, taken for pleasure
Driver - An aircraft pilot
DRV - Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam)
Dust-Off - Medical evacuation by helicopter
ECM - Electronic countermeasure
Em - Vietnamese for brother or friend
FAC - Forward Air Command
Fatigues - Green combat uniform
FB - Firebase
Finger Charge - A booby-trapping device; named for its size
Firebase - A temporary artillery base to support ground operations
Fire Brigade - An extremely mobile unit rushed to the scene of an enemy attack
Firefight - An exchange of small arms fire
FNG - Fucking New Guy
Fragging - The murder of an incompetent officer with a fragmentation grenade
Free Fire Zone - An area supposedly cleared of civilians where artillery could fire
without prior clearance
FSB - Fire Support Base
Fugazi - Mad, screwed up
Get Some - Kill the enemy
Gook - Derogatory term for Vietnamese
Greased - Killed
Greenbacking - Employing mercenaries
Ground Pounder - A desk jockey, administrator
Grunt - Infntryman; also to shit
Gunny - Marine gunnery sergeant
Gung-Ho - Uncritically patriotic, zealous, devoted or belligerent, from the hinese “ken
ho” meaning awe-inspiring or literally “more fiery”
Gunship - A combat helicopter armed with various weapons
Ham and Motherfuckers - C-Ration delicacy of ham and lima beans
Hard Hat - Full-time VC soldier as opposed to a reservist or guerrilla; stateside - a
construction worker
Hash - Hashish
Haul Ass - To leave quickly
Hawk - Someone who supported the war
Head - Heavily into something, e.g. pothead
Hit - A puff on a merijuana cigarette
Hog - A model B Huey with 48 2.75-inch rockets and 4 M60 machine guns
Home Plate - The airfield or carrier where an airfield is based
Honcho - the boss
Hootch - Military accommodation or peasant shack or hut
Hootchgirl - A yound Vietnamese maid
Hot - An area underfire
Huey - The UH-1 helicopter
Hump - To carry pack, equipment, armaments, etc.
Incoming - Incoming fire
In-Country - To be in Vietnam
I&I - Intercourse and Intoxication, whimsical transliteration of R&R
Jack/Jank/Jink - To make evasive maneuvers in an aircraft
JCS - Joint Chiefs of Staff
Jesus Nut - The mythical nut that holds the rotors on a helicopter
Jock, Jockey - A man, as in deck jock, chopper jock
Joint - A marijuana cigarette
Jolly Green Giant - A USAF rescue helicopter
K-Bar - Military combat knife
KIA - Killed In Action
Kill Zone - Area around an explosive device in which 95 percent fatalities are predicted
Kit Carson Scout - A VC defector working for the Allies
Khmer Rouge - Cambodian Communists
Klick - Kilometer
Lao Green - Local Marijuana
Leatherneck - A Marine
Lifer - A career soldier
LLDB - Lousy Little Dink Bastard
Loach - A light observation and reconnaissance patrol
Lurps - Members of a long-range reconnaissance patrol
LZ - Landing Zone. A cleared area where a helicopter can land. Smaller then a landing
Sight, which is large enough for several helicopters to land.
M-60 Machine Gun - The M-60 Machine Gun is an air-cooled, belt fed, gas-operated
automatic weapon. It fires the 7.62mm (.30-caliber) ball, tracer, armor piercing, and
armor piercing incendiary cartridges (standard service ammunition for field use consists
of ball and tracer cartridges in a 4 to 1 ratio). It is able to provide a heavy, controled
volume of accurate, long-range fire that is beyond the capabilities of standard individual
small arms. The weapon fires from the open-bolt position and is fed by a disintergrating
belt of metal links. The gas from firing one round provides the energy for firing the next;
thus, the gun functions automatically, as long as it is supplied with ammunition and the
trigger is held at the rear. The weapon is 43.5 inches long and weighs 23.2 pounds. It has
a maximum range of 3,725 meters and a maximum effective range of 1,110 meters. It
effectively extends grazing fire (knee high) up to 700 meters. The machine gun has a
100-round-per-minute rapid rate of fire (10-12 round bursts) and a ctclic rate of fire from
550 to 600 rounds per minute.
MACV - MilitaryAssistance Command, Vietnam
Mamma-san - An older Vietnamese woman
MIA - Missing in Action
MiG - Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich fighter-bomber
Mike-Mike - A millimeter
Mike Forces - Montagnards trained by US Special Forces
Montagnards - Hill people
Mother, Motherfucker - General purpose expletive
MP - Military Police
Mustang - An officer who has come up through the ranks
Nam - Vietnam
Nape - Napalm
Nardo - Someone with poor communication skills
NCO - NonCommissioned Officer
Number One - The Best
Number Ten - The Worst
Nung - A mercenary, usually Chinese anti-Communist or parole prisoner working for a
Mike Force
NVA - North Vietnamese Army
Oil Spot - A pacified area
One Thou, One Thousand - Even worse then number ten
Payback - Revenge
Peacenik - An anti-war demonstrator
Pig - The M60 machine gun
Papa-san - An older Vietnamese man
Pathet Lao - Laotian communists
Pouge - Derogatory term for those in rear echelon support
Pogey - Slang for a Marine, such as an administrative clerk or typist, who works in an
office. Marines would convince pogeys to do special administrative chores by offering
them candy and soda pop, which is appropriately called “pogey bait”.
Popular Forces - Local militia forces organized within the village
Pot - Marijuana or hashish
POW - Prisoner Of War
Puff the Magic Dragon - An AC-47 gunship - a spooky
Purple Haze - A type of LSD celebrated in Jimi Hendrix’s song of the same name
Rallier - A VC defector who has rallied or returned to the flag of the South Vietnamese
Rack - Bed
Ranch Hands - The special air force unit that flew defoliation missions
R&R - Rest and Recreation
Re-up - Re-enlist
Re-Education Camps - Political prisons
Regional Forces - Semiprofessional local troops
REMF - Rear Echelon Motherfuckers, non-combat troops dealing with supply and
Rock and Roll - Automatic fire
RVN - Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)
RVNAF - Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces
SAC - Strategic Air Command
Saddle - Final air attack position
SAM - Surface-to-Air-Missile
Sao - A repulsive, disreputable, dishonest or stupid person
Sapper - A VC soldier who infiltrated a camp for sabotage
SEAL - Sea-Air-Land
Short-Timers Stick - A notch stick a grunt would use to count down his last few days in
Shotgunning - Blowing marijuana smoke down a gun barrel to enhance the effect
Six-By - a large flat-bed or dropstick truck, from its wheel layout
Short - Running out of time, not long in the Army
Short-Timer - Someone with less then 30 days left in Vietnam
Slide - Derogatory term for Vietnamese
Slick - A troop-carrying Huey
Slope - Derodatory term for Vietnamese
SNAFU - Situation Normal (All Fucked Up)
SOG - Studies and Observations Group (Special Operations Group)
Spad - AnA-1 Skyraider
Spider Trap - A VC foxhole
Spooky - An AC-47 gunship
Stack Trooper - An exemplary soldier
Strae - Strictly adhere to regulations
Stand Downs - A line units return to base for a short rest period
Stash - One’s supply of drugs
Steel Pot - Helmet
TACAIR - Tactical Air Command
Tanglefoot - Single-strand barbed wire strung at ankle height
Tango-boat - US landing boat modified for use in the Mekong Delta
Tet - Vietnamese New Year
Thud - A plane crash, especially being shot down; an F-105 Thunderchief fighter, so
called because of theirappalling record of losses
Tiger Suit - Camouflage fatigues
The Triangle - The Iron Triangle, a VC stronghold near Saigon
TOC - Tactical Operations Center
Toke - A puff on a joint
Tunnel Rats - US troops who flushed the Viet Cong out of their underground hideouts
Two Shops - Intelligence section
UN - United Nations
Uncle Ho - Ho Chi Minh
VC - Viet Cong; by anology, anything stupid, inept or irresponsible
Vet - A former member of the armed forces
Victor Charlie - Military designation for VC, the Viet Cong
Viet Minh - A resistance movement formed by Ho Chi Minh to fight the French,
forerunners of the Viet Cong
Vietnik - A peace protester
VNAF - (South) Vietnamese Air Force
VNN - (South) Vietnamese Navy
Waste - To kill
Wax - To beat up, injure severly, kill or beat decisively in a sport contest
The White Lie Ward - The Da Nang hospital ward for hopeless cases
White Mice - South Vietnamese police, for their white helmets and gloves
Willie Fudd - WF-2 flying radar center
Willie Pete - White Phosphorous or grenades
Winchester - Radio communication meaning “I am out of ammunition”
The World - Anywhere but Vietnam
Yard - Montagnard
Zapped -Killed
Zoo - The Jungle
Zonked - Drugged up