Army Terms

A list of army words I frequently use and their definitions, because seriously, we have our own freaking language. It’s crazy. Definition sources are linked, where applicable.

  • ACS – Army Community Services.
  • ACU – Army Combat Uniform. The day-to-day uniform that soldiers in the army wear.
  • Battalion – A military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel. Several battalions are grouped to form a regiment or a brigade.
  • Block leave – Scheduled time in which everyone is able to take leave all at once. Fort Drum’s block leave takes place at the end of the year.
  • Cavalry – Originally, they were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Now, they fly helicopters.
  • Chaplain – a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, imam, lay representative of a world view attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel.
  • Class Six – Shop that sells personal demand items such as health and hygiene products, soaps and toothpaste, writing material, snack food, beverages, cigarettes, batteries, alcohol, and cameras; nonmilitary sales items.
  • Combat patch – Those soldiers who are combat veterans are authorized permanent wear of the combat patch of the unit they fought with on their right shoulder. This shoulder sleeve insignia recognizes “former wartime service”.
  • Command Sponsorship – Permission that must be granted for a soldier to bring his/her family with them to an overseas base.
  • Commissary – On post grocery store.
  • Company – Typically consists of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant.
  • CYS – Child Youth Services. The run sports programs as well as childcare services for military families. May also be referred to as CYSS. (Child Youth and School Services)
  • Deployment – Deployments consist of women and men who leave their families and their homes with other soldiers (airmen, etc) and go to another country and earn combat pay. These deployments can last anywhere from 90 days to 15 months.
  • Down range – Another term for deployed
  • Dress Blues – Name given to the formal version of a soldiers uniform, taken from the color of their pants. (Royal blue.)
  • Duty station – Another term for military base
  • ECHO – A supplemental program to the TRICARE Basic Program that  provides an additional financial resource for an integrated set of services and supplies designed to assist in the reduction of the disabling effects of the ECHO-eligible dependent’s qualifying condition. Services include those necessary to maintain, minimize or prevent deterioration of function of an ECHO-eligible dependent.
  • EFMP – Program to help families with a special needs member. It provides community support, housing, medical, educational, and personnel services.
  • FRG – Family Readiness Group. FRG’s are established to provide activities and support to enhance the flow of information, increase the resiliency of unit soldiers and their families, provide practical tools for adjusting to military deployments and separations, and enhance the well-being and esprit de corps within the unit.
  • Hail and Farewell – traditional military event whereby those coming to and departing from an organization are celebrated. It is a time to honor those who have departed the unit and thank them for their service. At the same time it is a welcome to those who are joining and introduces them to the special history and traditions of their new organization.
  • Hangar – A hangar is a closed structure to hold aircraft or spacecraft in protective storage.
  • Hourly care – Like daycare, but you pay by the hour. Like daycare and a babysitter had a child.
  • Household Goods – Personal items belonging to a military member and their family.
  • Key caller – Team of volunteers in the FRG who call the families on their list to check in on them or give them news & updates.
  • Leave – Vacation days
  • Military ball – Fancy dinner. Imagine grown up prom.
  • MPs – Military police.
  • NCOIC -The designation Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge signifies an individual in the enlisted ranks of a military unit who has limited command authority over others in the unit.
  • North country – Not really an army phrase, but it’s what the locals call the Watertown/Northern NY area
  • NTCNational Training Center, a major training area for the United States Military and is a census-designated place located in the Mojave Desert in northern San Bernardino County, California.
  • OCONUS – Stands for “Outside the Continental United States”. Assignments in other countries, Alaska, and Hawaii.
  • On/Off post – On or off the army base.
  • Order of the Spur – A Cavalry tradition within the United States Army. Soldiers serving with Cavalry units (referred to as “Troopers”) are inducted into the Order of the Spur after successfully completing a “Spur Ride” or for having served during combat as a member of or with a Cavalry unit.
  • PCM – An individual (military or civilian) primary care manager, a group of providers, or an institution (clinic, hospital, or other site) who or which is responsible for assessing the health needs of a patient, and scheduling the patient for appropriate appointments.
  • PCS(ing) – Permanent Change of Station is the official relocation of an active duty military service member — along with any family members living with her or him — to a different duty location, such as a military base.
  • Pro Gear – Short name for professional gear. Usually refers to the metric ton of STUFF that the army issues soldiers, but can also refer to equipment and/or supplies that a spouse uses to run a home-based business.
  • PX – Post Exchange is a type of retail store operating on United States military installations worldwide. Originally akin to trading posts, they now resemble department stores or strip malls.
  • R&R – Military slang for rest and recuperation (or rest and relaxation), is a term used for the free time of a soldier in the US military.
  • Ranger School – (John isn’t a Ranger, but it was mentioned in The Munchkin’s birthday party post) The United States Army Ranger School is an intense 61-day combat leadership course oriented towards small-unit tactics.
  • Rear Detachment Command – (“Rear D” for short) Soldiers that stay home from a deployment to provide aid and assistant to those down range. (Deployed.)
  • RFO – Request for orders. Basically, the orders you get so the army can figure out where the funds are coming from, and what rules might apply to your move. For example, because The Munchkin is in the EMFP program (see above for that definition) we can only move to a base that has services for his autism.
  • Ruck (ing) – A “ruck” is short for “rucksack”, which is a backpack. “Rucking” is marching WITH this backpack.
  • S1 – John’s title. Each staff position in a headquarters or unit is assigned a letter-prefix corresponding to the formation’s element and one or more numbers specifying a role. The staff numbers are assigned according to custom not hierarchy, i.e., 1 is not “higher ranking” than 2. The S1 is in charge of personnel and administration.
  • “Sit down” – Seriously, the same thing as a ball from what I can tell…with more forks.
  • Spur Ride – Physical challenges a soldier must go through in order to earn their spurs and become a member of the “Order of the Spurs”. Spouse and children spur rides feature obstacle courses and presentations on equipment, and are meant for fun.
  • Squadron – An armored cavalry, air cavalry, and/or other reconnaissance unit whose organizational role parallels that of a battalion and is commanded by a lieutenant colonel.
  • Stetson – Stetsons are the brand of hat manufactured by the John B. Stetson Company. They are now worn by cowboys and soldiers in Calvary units.
  • Task force – (TF) A unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity.
  • TF Shooter – John’s task force at Fort Drum
  • Tricare – The name of the miliary’s insurance company
  • Unaccompanied Baggage – Personal items that are sent ahead of their owners during an OCONUS move. Similar to household goods, but is a smaller shipment and generally contains items the family will find useful upon arrival to their new home. (Example: We sent snow pants/coats/etc. with the other things in our unaccompanied baggage.)

 

 

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