Military Terms, Slang and Abbreviations For TOC 1-20 Infantry Battalion
AK AK 47 or AKM–Soviet or Chinese 7.62mm automatic assault rifle for VC & NVA
Animals U.S. Infantry
Aero Scout soldiers inserted from unit lift helicopters from B Co.,
123d Aviation Bn
AN/TPS-25 Ground surveillance radar used to detect movement of VC and supplies
AO Area of Operations every unit has a Area of Operation the Area that they are responsible for and everyone has to inform them about everything going on.
AO BOX Area of Operations, denoted by four map grid coordinates making a box on a map
APC Armored Personnel Carrier M113–a lightly armored personnel carrier, track vehicle used to transport Army troops or supplies, usually armed with a .50-caliber machine gun also used as scout vehicle convoy and Fire Support Base support because of their fire power.
Arc Light Code name for B-52 bombers strikes along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border and sometimes closer to friendly when a large enough enemy force is the target. These operations shook earth for ten miles away from the target area.
ARVN Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (friendly to US)
A-team Is a basic ten man team of the U.S. Special Forces. The A-teams often led irregular military units which were not responsible to the Vietnamese military command in SF Camps.
Azimuth A bearing from North
B40 or B50 NVA shoulder or ground launched
anti-tank grenades able to penetrate 10"
Armor; 100 m range; same as RPG-2
BAR Browning automatic rifle, a .30-caliber magazine-fed automatic rifle used by U.S. troops during World War II and Korea.
Base Camp A resupply base for field units and a location for headquarters of brigade or division size units, artillery batteries and air fields for US units. Base Camp can also refer to any size or group units in the field.
Battalion A military unit composed of a headquarters and two or more companies, batteries, or similar units.
Battery Is an artillery unit equivalent to a company. It can be six 105mm or 155mm howitzers or two 8-inch or 175mm self-propelled howitzers.
Blue Ghost A
night-flying helicopter from Troop F, 8th Cavalry, with infrared search
and a bright light to isolate and identify targets; generally assigned an AO that contained no friendly personnel; those seen could be engaged fire for fire
Blue Line Reference to a stream or river, shown on a map as a blue line
Blues A quick reaction
force of US Infantry soldiers, the Aero Rifle Platoon, F Troop, 8th
Cav, air lifted into battle
Bouncing Betty Land
mine used by VC/NVA–when a trip wire or pressure fuse is hit, a
projectile bounds 3 ft upward and explodes w/a 15 meter casualty radius
Boxcar Radio call sign
for the 178th Assault Support Helicopter Company flying CH-47
BT Booby trap–a hidden explosive device designed to kill or maim
Combat Assault (CA) the term is used to describe dropping troopers into a LZ located in hostile territory
Call Sign Name used for identification in radio communications
CAP Civil Assistance Program – Civil Action Program, U.S. military personnel working with Vietnamese civilians, Med Cap medical personnel operating a clinic.
CAS Close Air Support provided by the US Air Force
Cache Is a hidden supply of weapons, food, or other military items
C&C Command and
Control–usually an aircraft with a commander on board for
coordination of ground forces tactical operations
Chi Com (Chinese Communist) Usually referred to VC/NVA Chi Com weapons, equipment and ammo
Chinook CH-47 helicopter
Chieu Hoi Is an
Enemy soldier who surrenders (a Hoi Chan); also the name of the program to
encourage VC to change sides the "open arms" program, promising clemency and financial aid to Viet Cong and NVA soldiers and cadres who stopped fighting and returned to South Vietnamese government authority.
CIA Enemy soldiers or
equipment Captured In Action (does not refer to Intelligence
Agency with the same initials)
C4 A military plastic high explosive packaged in 1" x 1" x 6" blocks
Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) American financed irregular South Vietnamese military units which were led by members of Special Forces A-teams. Members of these units were Vietnamese nationals, but were usually members of ethnic minorities in the country.
Claymore An antipersonnel mine carried by the infantry which, when detonated, propelled small steel cubes in a 60-degree fan-shaped pattern to a maximum distance of 100 meters
Cobra Is an AH-1G attack helicopter. Also known as a gunship, armed with rockets and machine guns.
Combat Center Americal
Combat Center - the in country orientation and replacement training
center for individuals assigned to the division.
Commo Shorthand for "communications"
Connex container Corrugated metal packing crate, approximately 8' x 8' x 8' high.
CP Command Post, a unit
commander’s location, frequently without adequate forces
to engage a sizeable enemy force; Also used for Check Point–a predetermined location that
could be called in over the radio without fear of disclosing a unit location while on they were
on the move; for example, CP1, CP2 etc; these could be close together or far apart
C-rats C-rations; US issue
canned food in several flavors: beans and frank; beef w/noodles; beef
stew; spaghetti w/meatballs; boned chicken; scrambled eggs; and, ham & lima
beans. Package included
gum, utensils, etc.
CS Tear gas, non-lethal; available in persistent form; use of gas mask required
10,000lb bomb usually dropped from a C-130 aircraft; bomb explodes above the
ground, creating an LZ for one or two helicopters
Dink Is a derogatory term for an Asian
DO, Dust Off
Dust Off or Urgent Dust Off; an emergency medical evacuation by
helicopter; also used for the call sign of medivac aircraft
Dolphins Is the Radio call sign for slick helicopters from 174th Aviation Co (Assault Helicopter), 14th Combat Aviation Bn; used form Command and Control Helicopters, moving troop, supplies anything.
DT Defense Targets using used as preplan location that are target in case of attack or defensive target so f enemy activity targets.
DTG Date/Time/Group; example: 6am 12 June 1968 = DTG 120600 June -68.
Eagle Flight A
tactical operation involving the sudden insertion of a small unit of infantry
suspected enemy location; a quick search of the area w/ or w/o combat; followed by prompt
extraction, usually to attack another suspect location; sometimes identified as PZ1-LZ1; PZ2-LZ2, etc.
EOD Explosive Ordinance Disposal–a bomb removal expert
ETA Estimated Time of Arrival
FAC Is a forward air controller; a person who coordinates air strikes
FDC Is fire direction control center for a Artillery unit or Fire Base.
Ratter Radio Call Sign for the slicks for Command and Control Helicopter, move troops, supplies or just about anything. For the 71st Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter)
Firebird Radio call sign for armed helicopter unit 71 Aviation Co (Assault Helicopter), usually in support of 196th Infantry Brigade the Gun Ships for the 71st Aviation
Firecracker An Improved Conventional Munitions’ (ICM) artillery round composed of hundreds of small explosive charges that scattered over a wide area; an antipersonnel round
Flack Jacket Heavy fiberglass-filled vest worn for protection from shrapnel
FO Forward Observer–soldier or pilot/observer who adjusts artillery fire
Foo Gas A mixture of explosives and napalm usually set in a fifty-gallon drum for Base Defense.
Frag Is a piece of metal from an explosion or used as a definition of a weapon. (Example) Frag Grenade, of Multiple Frag Wounds many pieces of metal or may wounds caused by small pieces of metal.
FSB Fire Support Base
Gook Is a derogatory term for an Asian; derived from Korean slang for "person" and passed down by Korean war veterans
Grids Is a map broken into numbered, thousand-meter squares. A unit is given a Grid Square to work
Grunt Is an infantryman, originally slang for a Marine fighting in Vietnam but later applied to any solder fighting there.
GS Gunship-an armed helicopter, either UH-1C or UH-1G
GVN Government of Viet Nam–friendly personnel
Hamlet Is a small rural village
Hardstand Is a pierced steel plate (PSP) platform over sand.
H&I Harassment and
Interdiction–US Artillery and mortars fired into suspect enemy
locations, usually at night
Helix Radio call sign for an Air Force Forward Air Controller (FAC) to adjust air strikes
Ho Chi Minh NVA leader; also sandals made out of old tires and worn by VC
Hot Is area under fire
Hootch A small thatched or wooden hut; also a shelter built of ponchos for use by soldiers
Hornets Call sign for 116th Assault Helicopter Company. On 5 July 70 the unit moved from Chu Chi and was under the operational control of the 16th Combat Aviation Group (Americal) at Chu Lai. Gun- ships call sign was "Stinger."
I Corps Is the northernmost military region in South Vietnam
Insert Is to be deployed into a tactical area by helicopter
IOS Integrated Observation
System GVQ-10–a tripod mounted large night vision
scope with laser range finder effective to 2,000 meters and 50 power binoculars
effective to 10,000 meters used to detect enemy personnel and movement
Kit Carson Scout (KCS) a former Viet Cong who act as guides for U.S. military units
Klick Is a kilometer which is a square on a map. 1000 meters refer to distance of travel or location from a known point.
KHA Killed in Hostile Action but in most cases KIA is used or WIA.
KIA Killed In Action. KIA
KBA Killed by Artillery fire (usually refers to VC and NVA casualties)
KCS Kit Carson
Scout–former VC soldier who changed sides to work for US forces.
The use of Chu Hoi returnees as KCS was originated by the III Marine Ampibious Force.
Prospective KCS were spotted at Chu Hoi centers, recruited, and hired.
LAW See M72 rocket launcher
LN or Line Number
-Method of referring to a specific soldier by using a number unit roster.
For example, LN 26 could be KIA or WIA or merely need new boots of a particular size.
LOH Light Observation
Helicopter–pronounced "Loach"–the OH6A "Cayuse" carries
pilot and three others
Logger Is a Night or Day Defensive Perimeter set up by a Unit.
LP Is a listening post. A two- or three-man position set up at night outside the perimeter away from the main body of troopers, which acted as an early warning system against attack.
long range reconnaissance patrol of five to seven soldiers; in the Americal
Division, this function was performed by Co. G, 75th Inf (Rangers); teams took state names
Ark, Texas, etc. It was also employed at Brigade Level.
LZ Landing zone (PZ= pickup zone) for aircraft usually a small clearing secured temporarily for the landing of troops or resupply helicopters. Some become more permanent and eventually become base camps.
M or m Usually refers to distance in meters; 75m = 80+ yards
MA Mechanical Ambush–a US
directional mine, usually a claymore mine, under US
control and plotted on a map to ensure recovery
MACV Military Assistance Command /Vietnam, The main American military command unit that had responsibility for and authority over all U.S. military activities in Vietnam. We had one in Duc Pho and Quang Ngai.
MI team Is Military Intelligence Team
MIA is Missing In Action
Main Force Battalion Is the primary Viet Cong fighting force within each province of South Vietnam. These units were often large enough and well enough equipped to participate in direct attacks on large Vietnamese and American installations and units.
Medivac A dust-off medical evacuation
Minuteman Radio call sign for UH1 helicopter from 176th Avn Co (Assault Helicopter), 14th Combat Aviation Bn, 16th Combat Aviation Group used to transport soldiers, usually from the 198th Infantry Brigade
Montagnard Is a Vietnamese term for several tribes of mountain people inhabiting the hills and mountains of central and northern Vietnam.
Musket Radio call sign for an armed helicopter from 176th Aviation Co (Assault Helicopter) which was the Gun Ship.
M14 US made 7.61mm rifle w/effective range 460m; 700m with tripod
US made 5.56mm automatic rifle w/effective range 460m; 250 rd basic load per
man; soldiers carried bandoleers of magazines wrapped around waist and chest
US lemon shaped grenade w/casualty radius of 10m; basic load 4 to 6 per man;
four and 1/2 second fuse.
US baseball shaped grenade w/casualty radius of 15 m; 4 to 6 per man basic load;
four and 1/2 second fuse.
US White Phosphorus coke-can shaped grenade w/incendiary filling w/25 m
US made 7.62mm machine gun; 23 lbs, 200 rd per minute w/effective range of
1,100m; 1,000 rd basic load for ground troops; also used by helicopter door guns
US light anti-tank weapon (LAW) ; 66mm; w/effective range 230m; basic load–2 per
squad; one shot disposable launcher; used against fortified ground positions; 40m back blast
US single shot grenade launcher for 40mm grenades w/effective range 300m area
targets and 150m point targets; basic load 40 rounds HE (Ft. Benning Infantry School taught 18 rounds as basic load--not nearly enough for a real fight!), 8 illumination (w/60 second under small
parachute 600 ft up), 4 buck shot (some carried more), Replaced by the M203.
M113 US lightly armored personnel carrier
US over/under 5.56mm rifle over single shot 40mm grenade launcher; these were
distributed starting in September 1970 to replace the M79 grenade launcher
M1911A1 US pistol; 45 cal.; effective range 50m or less; 40 rd basic load
NDFF ARVN force, well trained and armed
NDP Night defensive position
The name for the area and the armed helicopter patrolling it with night
vision capability, a large searchlight, a 7.62mm mini-gun, and M-60 machine guns; flown
by F Troop, 8th Cav (Blue Ghosts)
NLF National Liberation Front
NVA North Vietnamese Army
Post, a location where a unit hid in daylight, watching for
enemy activity. Also refer to any Out Post for protecting build up area’s of civilians.
OPCON Operational Control
PAX Packs, is person or personnel (passengers) to be carried
Radio call sign for helicopter unit; A Co 123rd Aviation Bn in general
support of the
Americal Division; usually C&C personnel; previously referred to 161st AHC
Perimeter Outer limits of a military position the area beyond the perimeter belongs to the enemy.
Petna A plastic high explosive, frequently packed into booby traps by the VC
PJ Usually black pajamas
worn by VC; other VC wore light blue night uniform
that was practically invisible in moonlight; also light green uniform
PF Popular Forces–a local,
lightly armed, poorly trained village self-defense force
(friendly); sometimes bore the brunt of Viet Cong attacks
Poncho Liner Nylon insert to the military rain poncho, used as a blanket or a body bag.
Point(man) The first
soldier in a single file of soldiers; looks for booby traps; followed by
"slack"–the second soldier in file who may open fire before the point man on suspected enemy;
"drag"–the last soldier in the file for rear security.
POW prisoner of war
A small tactical radio carried by infantry platoons and higher; 920 preset FM
of 30-75 mhz; five mile range; 25 lb weight w/battery
Province Reconnaissance Unit-well trained and armed Vietnamese light infantry
unit; reportedly armed and trained by the CIA as part of the Phung Hoang (Phoenix) program
Push A specified radio frequency
PZ Pickup zone for aircraft (see LZ)
QL1 The main paved highway
approximately 10 miles inland or less running parallel to
Quad 50 Four 50mm
heavy machine guns fired simultaneously from a heavy duty mount;
located at FSB or convoy duty.
Rattler Radio call sign for lift helicopter unit–71st Aviation Co (Assault Helicopter), usually in support of 196th Infantry Brigade
RECON Reconnaissance going out into the jungle to observe for the purpose of identifying enemy activity, to get information. Each Infantry Battalion has a Recon Platoon , a Platoon size unit used to Recon area and used as a Reaction Force that can respond with quick action to most situation.
Recon by Fire When a unit uses Reconnaissance by Fire, when you find something that looks suspicious or possible ambush you fire into the area to see if you can start something spring it before it sprung on the unit.
RF (Regional Forces) Militia units organized within each district in South Vietnam to engage in offensive operations against local Viet Cong forces. RF units were better paid and equipped than PF units and could be assigned duties anywhere within the home district.
Red Legs Slang for Artillery. In the Civil War, Union Artillery men had red stockings
Red Baron Radio call sign of an artillery forward observation aircraft
Rome Plow Mammoth bulldozer used to flatten dense jungle
RPG-2 NVA/VC 40mm rocket launcher, same as B40, 100m range
NVA/VC 40mm rocket launcher w/80mm rocket; shoulder launched, spin-
stabilized, anti-tank round; can penetrate 14" steel and 96" of sandbags; anti-air
capability to 2,300ft; best defense–kill the gunner.
RTO Radio telephone operator, the man who carried his unit's radio on his back in the field.
Rules of Engagement The specific regulations for the conduct of air and surface battles by U.S. and allied forces during the Vietnam war
Saber Radio call sign for an armed helicopter team
(LOH and gunship) from Troop D, 1st
Sqdrn, 1st Cav, 123rd Aviation Bn (Cbt) (Inf Div); also known as D/1/1 Cav
SAF Small arms fire
Sapper VC/NVA soldier
w/mission to crawl undetected into position and blow them up
Satchel charge a powerful pre-packaged bag of explosives weighing about twenty pounds
carried by sappers
SF Special Forces
Shaped Charge an explosive charge, the energy of which is focused in one direction
Sharks Radio call sign for armed helicopters from 174th Aviation Co (Assault Helicopter), 14th Combat Aviation Bn; nose art on the gunships included teeth on the chin-bubble
Sky Spot Name
for Combat Sky Spot, a bombing mission for USAF aircraft based on signal
beacon locations; sometimes done in overcast weather with bombing through the clouds.
Slicks Name for all UH1
lift helicopters to move troops; only had door guns (M60); 90
Snake UH1G Cobra helicopter gunship; 120 knots speed; Also refers to small units ambush either day or night location.
Spooky A large propeller-driven aircraft with a Minigun mounted in the door, Capable of firing 6,000 rounds per minute, also used to refer to gunship helicopters with Miniguns.
SKS A Soviet or Chinese 7.62mm semiautomatic rifle
Slow Motion Radio call sign for a LOH OH6A from the 198th Infantry Brigade Aviation section
Usually in reference to –pop smoke–i.e. igniting a coke-can size instant-fuse
grenade w/yellow, violet, red and green color smoke burning for 50-90 seconds color to mark
a location to be recognizable from the air.
Signal Operating Instructions – a classified booklet carried by leaders
radio frequencies and call signs; prepared by the Signal Office
Stand-Down Is when an infantry unit's return from the boonies to the base camp for refitting and training, later, a unit being withdrawn from Vietnam and redeployed to the U.S.
Starlight Scope an image intensifier using reflected light to identify targets at night giving us some night vision.
Strategic Hamlet Program A controversial pacification and village self-defense program implemented by the Diem government that attempted to turn all sixteen thousand South Vietnamese hamlets into fortified compounds.
Tet Offensive A major uprising of the National Liberation Front, their sympathizers, and NVA characterized by a series of coordinated attacks against military installations and provincial capitals throughout Vietnam. It occurred during the lunar New Year at the end of January, 1968.
TOC Tactical Operations Center-the location of radios and command & control personnel
UNSEF Unknown sized suspected enemy force
VC The Communist-led forces fighting the South Vietnamese government. The political wing was known as the National Liberation Front, and the military was called the People's Liberation Armed Forces. Both the NLF and the PLAF were directed by the People's Revolutionary Party (PRP), the southern branch of the Vietnamese Communist Party, which received direction from Hanoi through COSVN, which was located in III Corps on the Cambodian border. After 1968, as negotiations began in Paris, the NLF established the Provisional Revolutionary Government.
Ville Vietnamese hamlet or village
VR Visual reconnaissance,
as compared to reconnaissance by fire; also the name for
combat missions flown by US helicopter units
VT Variable Time fuse on a Artillery round which will explosive about the ground giving a air blast giving a bigger killing zone.
Warlord Radio call sign for armed helicopter unit from B Co, 123rd Aviation Bn (Cbt)(Inf Div)
Web Gear Is canvas belt and shoulder straps for packing equipment and ammunition on infantry operations.
WIA Wounded In Action
Wood Line A row of trees at the edge of a field or rice paddy
WP White Phosphorus a incendiary filler in grenades, artillery shells, and rockets
4.2 US 4.2 in. mortar with HE, Illumination, and WP rounds; range of 5,660m
8 in US artillery 8 inches in diameter; 16,800 m range; 470 m radius HE shell damage
.45 US .45 cal pistol with effective range of 50m; 21 round basic load (3 magazines)
81mm US mortar with HE, Illumination, and WP rounds; range 4,737 m
82mm VC/NVA mortar round; range 3,040 m; 123 lb tube, base plate, and tripod
90mmRR US 90mm recoilless rifle, weight 35 lbs, effective 450m vs. armor
102mm NVA electrically fired 34lb HE rocket with range of 5,029m
howitzer artillery 11,000 m range; 175m radius HE shell; unexploded shells
were rigged by the VC as booby traps
122mm NVA electrically fired 48lb HE rocket 6 ft long; 10,973m range
140mm NVA electrically fired 87lb HE rocket 4 ft long; 10,607m range
howitzer artillery 14,600 m range; 360 m radius HE shell; dud rounds were
used by VC as booby traps
175mm US gun
32,800 m range; 518 m radius HE shell; delay fuze dud rounds used as
booby traps were devastating to land clearing dozers and personnel
Back To Main Page
Back To Contents