Doughnut Dolly: a female American Red Cross volunteer
DOPE: Marine term for the adjustments made to weapon sights; also, a term for marijuana and other illicit drugs
Doubtfuls: Vietnamese individuals who could not be categorized as either Vietcong or civil offenders; suspect personnel spotted from ground or aircraft
DP: displaced person
D-ring: a D-shaped metal snap link used to hold gear together
DRO: dining room orderly
Drops: reduction in length of tour caused by overall reduction and withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam.
DTs: defensive targets
Dung lai!: stop!
Dust-off: medical evacuation by helicopter
DX: direct exchange. Also, to discard or dispose of, or to kill someone.
E & E: escape and evasion
ECM: electronic countermeasures, such as jamming, deception, and detection
Eagle flights: large air assault of helicopters
EAOS: date of departure for overseas duty station; the Army term was ETS (estimated time of separation from military service) while the US Navy used EAOS (end of active obligated service).
Early-Outs: a drop or reduction in time in service. A soldier with 150 days or less remaining on his active duty commitment when he DEROSed from Vietnam also ETSed from the army under the Early Out program.
ECHO: military phonetic for the letter 'E'
Elephant grass: tall, razor-edged tropical plant indigenous to certain parts of Vietnam
Eleven Bravo: the MOS (11-B) of an infantryman
EM: enlisted man
EOD: explosive ordinance disposal. A team that disarms explosive devices.
E-tool: entrenching tool. Folding shovel carried by infantrymen.
ETS: date of departure for overseas duty station; the Army term was ETS (estimated time of separation from military service) while the US Navy used EAOS (end of active obligated service).
Expectants: casualties who are expected to die
F-4: Phantom jet fighter-bombers. Range: 1,000 miles. Speed: 1400 mph. Payload: 16,000 lbs. The workhorse of the tactical air support fleet.
FAC: forward air controller; a person who coordinates air strikes
Fast mover: an F-4
Fatigues: standard combat uniform, green in color
FDC: fire direction control center
Fighting Hole: foxhole with sandbag protection and sometimes an elevated roof of sheet metal, reinforced with sand bags. Sized for one or two troops, fighting holes might be dispersed around a company or battery area for defensive use during a ground attack.
Finger charge: explosive booby-trapping device which takes its name from the size and shape's being approximately that of a man's finger
Fire base: temporary artillery encampment used for fire support of forward ground operations
Firecracker: artillery round incorporating many small bomblets which are ejected over a target area and explode in "bouncing-betty" fashion -- almost simultaneously; name comes from the fast popping sound (best heard at a distance)
Firefight: a battle, or exchange of small arms fire with the enemy
Fire Track: flame-thrower tank
Five: radio call sign for the executive officer of a unit
Flack jacket: heavy fiberglass-filled vest worn for protection from shrapnel
Flaky: to be in a state of mental disarray, characterized by spaciness and various forms of unreasoning fear
Flare: illumination projectile; hand-fired or shot from artillery, mortars, or air
Flechette: a small dart-shaped projectile clustered in an explosive warhead. A mine without great explosive power containing small pieces of shrapnel intended to wound and kill.
FNG: fucking new guy
FO: forward observer. A person attached to a field unit to coordinate the placement of direct or indirect fire from ground, air, and naval forces.
Foo gas: a mixture of explosives and napalm, usually set in a fifty-gallon drum
Foxtrot: military phonetic for the letter 'F'
Frag: fragmentation grenade
Fragging: the assassination of an officer by his own troops, usually be a grenade
Freak: radio frequency. Also, a junkie or a doper.
Freedom Bird: the plane that took soldiers from Vietnam back to the World
Free fire zone: free strike zone
Free strike zone: area where everyone was deemed hostile and a legitimate target by U.S. forces
French fort: a distinctive triangular structure built by the hundreds by the French
Freq: radio frequency
Friendlies: U.S. troops, allies, or anyone not on the other side
Friendly fire: accidental attacks on U.S. or allied soldiers by other U.S. or allied soldiers
Fuck: along with fucked and fuckin, the most commonly used word in the GI vocabulary other than the article 'a'
Fucked up: wounded or killed. Also, to get stoned, drunk, or to be foolish or do something stupid.
Fugazi: fucked up or screwed up
FULRO: United Front for the Struggle of Oppressed Races. Resistance organization in the highlands of Vietnam made up of Montagnards, Cham, and ethnic Khmer. FULRO is still conducting resistance against Communist operations to subjugate the indigenous tribal peoples.
FUNCINPEC: National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia. Prince Sihanouk's non-Communist political and military organization which attempted to drive the Vietnamese occupation forces out of Cambodia and reestablish independence. In 1982 FUNCINPEC joined the Cambodian Coalition Government and shared the seat at the United Nations.
Funny papers: topographic maps
FWMAF: Free World Military Assistance Forces. The Allies.
G-3: division level tactical advisor; a staff officer.
Garand: the M-1 rifle
Ghosting: goldbricking or sandbagging; fucking off
GI: government issue. Usually refers to an American soldier.
Glad bag: slang term for body bag
Golf: military phonetic for the letter 'G'
Gook: derogatory term for an Asian; derived from Korean slang for "person" and passed down by Korean war veterans
Green Berets: U.S. Special Forces
Greenline (or perimeter): outer limits of a military position. The area beyond the perimeter belongs to the enemy.
Green: any new soldier to country
Green-eye: starlight scope; light amplifying telescope, used to see at night
Greens: Army Class A uniform
GR point: graves registration point. That place on a military base where the identification, embalming and processing of dead soldiers takes place as part of the operations of the quartermaster.
Ground Pounder: infantry soldier
Grids: map broken into numbered thousand-meter squares
Grunt: infantryman. Originally slang for a Marine fighting in Vietnam but later applied to any solder fighting there; a boonierat.
GSW: gunshot wound
Gun: the M-60
Gung ho: enthusiastic (usually about military matters and killing people)
Gunship: armed helicopter
GVN: Government of South Vietnam
HALO: high-altitude, low-opening jumping for insertion of troops behind enemy lines. The jump is begun from 15,000 feet, with an average free-fall time of approximately seventeen minutes.
Hamlet: a small rural village
Hammer and anvil: an infantry tactic of surrounding an enemy base area, then sending in other units to drive the enemy out of hiding.
Hand frag: a fragmentation grenade thrown by a soldier
Hanoi Hilton: nickname American prisoners of war used to describe the Hoa Loa Prison in Hanoi
H&E: high explosive
H&I: harassment and interdiction. Artillery bombardments used to deny the enemy terrain which they might find beneficial to their campaign; general rather than specific, confirmed military targets; random artillery fire.
Hardstand: a pierced steel plate (PSP) platform over sand
Hard-stripe sergeant: sergeant in the grade of E5 or up, as opposed to Acting Jack (temporary holder of the position but not the rank).
Heart: a Purple Heart award for a wound; the wound itself
Heat tabs: flammable tablet used to heat C-rations. Often in short supply.
Hercules: a C-130 aircraft.
HES: Hamlet Evaluation System. An evaluation system devised and run by Americans in Saigon which required monthly computerized reports from all the DSAs in the country.
HHC: headquarters and headquarters company higher-higher: the honchos; the command or commanders
HM: Navy hospital corpsman; a medic
Hmong: A dominant Laotian hill tribe, around sixty percent of whom opposed the North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao, in alliance with the Americans and Royal Lao government. After 1975 the Communists stepped up repression against the Hmong, who refused to be collectivized. Massive numbers of Hmong have been killed or driven into Thailand.
Hoa Hao: a Buddhist sect of two million in the western Mekong Delta, founded in the 1930s. Since the assassination of the founder and prophet, Huynh Phu So, by Ho Chi Minh's forces, the Hoa Hao have been fiercely anti-Communist.
Ho Chi Minh slippers: sandals made from tires. The soles are made from the tread and the straps from inner tubes.
Hoi-Chanh: Vietnamese Communist soldiers and cadre who rallied to the South Vietnamese government under the Chieu Hoi amnesty program.
Honey-dippers: people responsible for burning human excrement
Hooch / hootch: a hut or simple dwelling, either military or civilian
Hoochgirl: Vietnamese woman employed by American military as maid or laundress
Hook: a radio; a radio handset
Horn: radio microphone
Hot: area under fire
Hotel: military phonetic for the letter 'H'
Hot LZ: a landing zone under enemy fire
Howitzer: a short cannon used to fire shells at medium velocity and with relatively high trajectories
Huey: nickname for the UH-1 series helicopters
Hump: march or hike carrying a rucksack; to perform any arduous task
I Corps: the northernmost military region in South Vietnam
II Corps: the Central Highlands military region in South Vietnam
III Corps: the densely populated, fertile military region between Saigon and the Highlands
IV Corps: the marshy Mekong Delta southernmost military region
IG: Inspector General
Illum: an illumination flare, usually fired by a mortar or artillery weapon
Immersion foot: condition resulting from feet being submerged in water for a prolonged period of time, causing cracking and bleeding.
Increments: removable charges attached to mortar fins. If they become wet, the mortar round misfires and falls short.
India: military phonetic for the letter 'I'
Insert: to be deployed into a tactical area by helicopter
Iron Triangle: Viet Cong dominated area between the Thi-Tinh and Saigon rivers, next to Cu Chi district
Irregulars: armed individuals and groups not members of the regular armed forces, police, or other internal security forces
JAG: judge advocate general, the legal department of the Armed Services
Jet jockey: Air Force fighter pilot
Jody: the person who wins your lover away while you are in the Nam. From the marching song or cadence
count, "Ain't no use in goin' home / Jody's got your girl and gone / sound off...."
John Wayne: can opener; also, cookie which comes in C-rats. Also used as a verb to describe the actions of someone who exposes himself to danger.
Juliet: military phonetic for the letter 'J'
Jungle boots: footwear that looks like a combination of combat boot and canvas sneaker used by the U.S. military in a tropical climate, where leather rots because of the dampness. The canvas structure also speeds drying after crossing streams, rice paddies, etc.
Jungle fatigues (or jungle utilities): lightweight tropical fatigues
Jungle Rot: a rash caused from bacteria in areas that tend to sweat from tropical conditions.
KBA: killed by artillery
K-bar: combat knife
KCS: Kit Carson scout
KIA: killed in action
Killing zone: the area within an ambush where everyone is either killed or wounded
Kill zone: the radius of a circle around an explosive device within which it is predicted that 95 percent of all occupants will be killed should the device explode
KILO: military phonetic for the letter 'K'
Kit Carson scout: former Viet Cong or NVA soldiers who act as guides for U.S. military units
Khong xau: don't worry about it; literally, not bad
Kool-Aid: killed in action
KP: kitchen police; mess hall duty
KPNFL: Khmer People's National Liberation Front. The major non-Communist Cambodian political and resistance organization fighting against the Vietnamese occupation force. Formed in 1979 by former prime minister Son Sann, the KPNFL is responsible for caring for and protecting nearly two-thirds of the 250,000 Cambodian refugees on the Thailand border from attacks by both the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese. Also called the Sereika by Cambodians, the KPNLF joined the resistance coalition government (CGOK) in 1982 and shared Cambodia's seat at the United Nations.
L: a type of ambush set-up, shaped like the letter 'L'
Lager: a night defensive perimeter
Lao Dong: the Vietnamese Workers Party
LAW: light antitank weapon; a shoulder-fired, 66-millimeter rocket, similar in effect to a 3.5-inch rocket, except that the launcher is made of Fiberglass, and is disposable after one shot
Lay chilly: to freeze; to stop all motion
Leatherneck: term for a Marine (Marines wore leather neckbands from 1798-1880 for protection of the neck during sword combat)
LBJ: Long Binh Jail, a military stockade on Long Binh post
LCM: a mechanized landing craft used in harbors and inland waterways
Leg: slightly contemptuous term used by airborne-qualified troops when they are talking about regular infantry
Lego: infantry unit
Lien doi: company group. A Vietnamese military unit consisting of three militia infantry companies lifer: career military man. The term is often used in a derogatory manner.
Lifer: career soldier
Lima: military phonetic for the letter 'L'
Lima-lima: land line. Refers to telephone communications between two points on the ground.
Litters: stretchers to carry dead and wounded
Little bird: Oh-6a observation helicopter used for scouting
Little people: the enemy
Light up: to fire on the enemy
Lit-up: fired upon; shot and killed or wounded
LLDB: Luc Luong Dac Biet. The South Vietnamese Special Forces.
LMG: light machine gun. The Soviet made RPD, a bi-pod mounted, belt fed weapon similar to the American M-60 machine gun. The RPD fires the same cartridge as the AK-47 and the SKS carbine.
Loach: a LOH, or light observation helicopter
Log Bird: logistical (re-supply) helicopter
LP: 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. Also, an amphibious landing platform used by infantry for storming beaches from the sea.
LRRP: Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (also called LRP). An elite team usually composed of five to seven men who go deep into the jungle to observe enemy activity without initiating contact.
LSA: small arms lubricant
LST: troop landing ship
Lurps: members of Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols
LZ: landing zone. Usually a small clearing secured temporarily for the landing of resupply helicopters. Some become more permanent and eventually become base camps.
M-1: World War II vintage American rifle used by many Vietnamese forces
M-14: Wood stock rifle used in early portion of Vietnam conflict; often used as a sniper rifle.
M-16: the standard U.S. military rifle used in Vietnam from 1966 on. Successor to the M-14.
M-60: the standard lightweight machine gun used by U.S. forces in Vietnam
M-79: a U.S. military hand-held grenade launcher
MA: mechanical ambush. Euphemism for an American set booby trap.
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. Based at Tan Son Nhut.
Mad minute: a weapons free-fire practice and test session
Main Force Battalion: 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.
Mama san: pidgin used by American servicemen for any older Vietnamese woman
MARS: Military Affiliate Radio Station. Used by soldiers to call home via Signal Corps and ham radio equipment.
Mas-Cal: mass casualty
MASH: mobile Army surgical unit
MAT: mobile advisory team. Five-man teams of American advisors who were assigned to live and work in the Vietnamese villages.
Mat Tran: the Vietnamese Liberation Front.
Marker round: the first round fired by mortars or artillery. Used to adjust the following rounds onto the target.
Mech: abbreviation for mechanized infantry
Mechanized: a unit operating with tanks and/or armored personnel carriers
Med Cap (or MEDCAP): Medical Civil Action Program in which U.S. medical personnel would go into the villages to minister to the local populace.
Medivac: medical evacuation from the field by helicopter
Mermite: large insulated foot containers
MFW: multiple frag wounds
MG: machine gun
MIA: missing in action
Mighty mite: commercial air-blower used for injecting gas into tunnels
Mike: military phonetic for the letter 'M'
Mike-mike: shorthand for millimeter
Million-dollar wound: a non-crippling wound serious enough to warrant return to the U.S.
Minigun: electronically controlled, extremely rapidly firing machine gun. Most often mounted on aircraft to be used against targets on the ground.
Mr. Charles: the Viet Cong; the enemy
MI team: military intelligence team
Monday pills: anti-malarial pills taken once a week
Monster: a PRC-77
Montagnard: a Vietnamese term for several tribes of mountain people inhabiting the hills and mountains of central and northern Vietnam.
Moose: a Vietnamese mistress
Mortar: a muzzle-loading cannon with a short tube in relation to its caliber that throws projectiles with low muzzle velocity at high angles.
MOS: military occupational specialty
Most ricky-tick: immediately, if not sooner
MP: military police
MPC: military payment currency. The scrip U.S. soldiers were paid in.
MR IV: Viet Cong military region surrounding and including Saigon
Mule: small, motorized platform originally designed to carry a 106-millimeter recoilless rifle, but most often used for transporting supplies and personnel.
Napalm: a jellied petroleum substance which burns fiercely, and is used as a weapon against personnel.
NCO: noncommissioned officer.
NDP: night defensive position
Net: radio frequency setting, from "network."
Newbie: any person with less time in Vietnam than the speaker
New Socialist Man: Orwellian concept adopted by the Communists. The ideal collectivized citizen.
Next: the man who said he was the next to rotated home.
Nickel: the number five
NLF: National Liberation Front
No sweat: easy, simple
NPD: night perimeter defense
Number one: the best
Number ten: the worst
Number ten thousand: a description of how bad things can be
Nung: tribespeople of Chinese origin, from the highlands of North Vietnam. Some who moved South worked with the U.S. Special Forces.