Ask the Moron, version 2.0

We were having an interesting discussion over at The Castle about jargon, and how the language of the services can serve to separate people. Many folks like to follow milblogs, but have a hard time keeping up with the conversation because they don’t understand all the acronyms or the vocabulary.

One of the goals of this blog has always been to translate Milspeak into plain English. Is there a term or expression you don’t understand? Now’s your chance to ask. And I’ll remind readers of an old Army saying. The only dumb question is the one that didn’t get asked.

9 thoughts on “Ask the Moron, version 2.0”

  1. Xbrad,
    I read Lex, daily. I have sent him money, that is how much I like him. I am often over my head in the comments there. The Castle is really good I do not have probs there. I saw the post, but I am frankly uncomfortable in commenting on pure military sites. I only comment at Lex when it is a non military post. I read the Castle and Blackfive, and never comment there. I am not military. most sites the acronyms are not a prob. The Navy is the hardest to understand. And I read Galrahn Cdr Salamander, Stealscribe, Molten Eagle, and others. Still miss a ton of acronyms.
    To me you are ex mil, and a great resource, the others, are professional milblogs. I read and learn, and feel free to ask you questions. The others, Never.

  2. Not to diss you, I respect what you do. But you are still (affectionately) a Moron! and as such, one of us. Not them. (I hope you know what I am saying)

  3. Okay, I’ll bite. I know there might be books, websites, manuals, etc. out there that lay out what I’d like to know. If so, giving me directions to accutare sources will be sufficient!

    Basic building blocks of organization: smallest unit to largest, so that when I see C Company, Delta Battery, 1/2 HHC, or 4ID I know what they’re referring to and where it fits into the hierarchy.

    This is another question that might be answered by a point to a good reference:

    Function and distinction of different units. Motorized as opposed to armoured (light vs heavy) or to something like Stryker Brigade.

    The third is a more general question about the hightest levels, comes in when terms like NORTHCOM, CENTCOM, or NATO come in. Reference?

    I realize these terms are mostly army and that other services have other terms and mthod of organization. I’d rather stick to one at a time!

  4. Maggie,

    The smallest unit you will see described in an address is normally the Company, a Troop (which is a Company sized element in the Cavalry) or a Battery (which is a company sized element in the Artillery or Air Defense Artillery). The abbreviations for them are CO, TRP and BTY.

    The next unit in size is the Battalion (BN), followed by a Brigade (BDE), then Division which can be an Infantry Division (ID), Armored Division (AD), Airborne Division (ABN), Air Assault Division (101st Airborne (AA)), or a Cavalry Division (1CD). That would be followed by Corps (III Corps).

    A sample unit address would be: A CO 1-227 AVN, 1CD

    That breaks down as A Company, 1st Battalion 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. The BN abbreviation for Battalion is rarely used in the unit address so that is the cause of a lot of confusion. Additionally the use of Regimental affiliations causes a lot of trouble. For instance in the 1st Cavalry Division, there is both the 1st and 2nd BN of the 7th Cavalry Regiment they are expressed as 1-7CAV and 2-7CAV respectively.

    Confused more?

    NORTHCOM and CENTCOM are theater level commands. For instance CENTCOM controls operations in OIF, OEF and the surrounding areas. SOUTHCOM has responsibility for plannig and executing operations required in Central and South America.

  5. I’m afraid I’m aware that a book could be written!

    I have encountered both the BN AND Regimental affiliations, it does get confusing.
    And don’t forget a Brigade Combat Team–where does that fit?

    I think I’m conflating two levels of “What does this mean?”, in that I’m looking at the literal meaning and place in organizational hierarchy, and what does it mean in as in function and the significance of that function in an assignment. The first is a matter of translation but I suspect the second is a bit beyond me as non-military for more than generalities. That’s why I was asking about the function, to at least give me an idea.

    I’d like to have an idea of the function beyond the labels…

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