Seven words and phrases used by soldiers that we could all learn from | Public Radio International

“That’s a term for when you’re calling for air extract, like with helicopters,” says Adam Dillon, a staff sergeant in the US Army. “You throw out a smoke grenade and they vector in on it for extraction from a hot area.”

Say “let’s pop smoke” around veterans and we know exactly what you mean: It’s time to get the hell out of here. But if I say that in the newsroom here, I get blank, bewildered stares.

via Seven words and phrases used by soldiers that we could all learn from | Public Radio International.

I can think of a few more than seven.

Actually, when I left the Army, one of the real challenges in working in the civilian world was learning to speak English, not gruntish.

12 thoughts on “Seven words and phrases used by soldiers that we could all learn from | Public Radio International”

  1. What I found interesting is that the Army, and the services in general, all pick up words and phrases usually from war time – and a lot of them stay through generations. SNAFU (WW2 – situation normal all f****** up”, “The World”(the US, from Vietnam), “Beaucoup”- Vietnam.

    I was surprised a few days ago to learn that Navy petty officers use the same phrase as Army NCOs when assigning a crappy job to some unfortunate private or corporal “”Good Training”(to clean the latrine?)

    Some stuff spans the services and generations

  2. BTW some are strictly within that service. Had a neighbor a Marine veteran from WW2, talk about “Pogey Bait”

    The Marines in China before WW II were issued candy (Baby Ruths, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) as part of their their ration supplements. At the time, sugar and other assorted sweets were rare commodities in China and much in demand by the Chinese, so the troops found the candy useful for barter in town.

    The Chinese word for prostitute, roughly translated, is “pogey”. Thus, Marines being Marines, candy became “Pogey Bait”.

    AFAIK that is still in the Marine Lexicon

  3. “Head” not latrine right? I remember my US Navy veteran brother explaining l”Gedunk” to me. In my time automatic fire was interchangeably “Chinese Overdrive” & “Auto Magic” and IED’s were Booby Traps (that seemed to quickly transition out). I’ve noticed that when old Soldiers, Sailors, Airman, Marine and Coast Guardsman talk with each other the old jargon comes out quite quickly…no translation necessary.

    1. A “latrine” on a ship is called the Head.

      We called full auto “rock-n-roll.” Army types in the 70s did too.

      When we were bringing Courtney back from the Med to decommission her, we shot off much of the ship’s ammo stores. Trying to shoot flying fish with a Garand was a challenge. Shooting down parachute flares was fun as well. The Captain bet one of the Boatswain’s Mates he could shoot more flying fish than Boats could. They both put up a case of Chevas Regal.

      The Skipper lost. I had a hard time not laughing at that as I really didn’t like the guy.

  4. Well, the writer of that article got a blank and bewildered stare from me. I always thought smoke was used to mark your position for a number of reasons, not just an extraction under fire. Also to hide your position from enemy forces.

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