Military Lingo

If you attend our rucks or follow us on Social Media you will quickly find out the military has a language all its own. Well consider this your cheat sheet to some of the terms you may hear at our events.

Battle Cry – Often as a response in the affirmative Military members make a weird sound, this is a Battle Cry and each Service Branch has its own Battle cry.

  • Army – Hooah
  • Navy – Hooyah
  • Marines – Oorah
  • Coast Guard – Hooyah (Same as Navy)
  • Air Force – Hooah (Same as Army)

Boot – This is the military version of Green Horn, New Guy, or any other slang term for someone who just got there and doesn’t know the ropes. (The opposite of Boot is Salty, someone who is Salty has been around a while and knows how things work.)

Bravo ZuluGood Job… Look I tried and I simply can’t come up with a fun way to explain this one so if you skip this I don’t mind, so here it is. The term originates from the Allied Signals Book (ATP 1). Signals are sent as letters and/or numbers, which have meanings by themselves sometimes or in certain combinations. A single table in ATP 1 is called “governing groups,” that is, the entire signal that follows the governing group is to be performed according to the “governor.” The letter “B” indicates this table, and the second letter (A through Z) gives more specific information. For example, “BA” might mean “You have permission to . . . (do whatever the rest of the flashing light, flag hoist or radio transmission says) “BZ” happens to be the last item in the governing groups table. It means “well done”.

Cut Sling Load – To drop a topic, problem, or person in a hurry. Originally comes from the military hand and arm signal given to a helicopter pilot when their rope-suspended cargo is liable to cause the aircraft to go out of control.

Military Time – Ever get confused if something is 7am or 7pm? Well that can be more then a little inconvenient when your talking about something like say Bombers hitting an area your currently in so the military uses a 24 hour clock so there is no question. Conversion is simple, before noon just drop the AM and write it always as 4 digits, now 7am becomes 0700 (Zero Seven Hundred). After noon just drop the PM and add 1200 so 7pm is now 1900 (Nineteen Hundred). Easier then you thought huh?

MOS – Short for Military Occupational Specialty, this is essentially your job title. Those in Combat Arms often use the coded version put on paperwork as they are well known. While the name is the same between branches the code is not, for Example Infantry is 11B (Eleven Bravo) in the Army but 0311 (O’ Three Eleven) in the Marine Corps.

Oscar Mike – This one is a lot like the text abbreviations you see online, except we use the Phonetic Alphabet as it is often said over a radio so it is just short for OM Which means “On the Move”.

PT – Can you tell the military loves our acronyms yet? This one is easy and it stands for Physical Training, or what civilians call exercise. This could be a short 5 mile run, or our favorite a leisurely Ruck March with all your gear on your back.

POGPerson Other than Grunt is a name for someone not in Combat Arms, some people say the term is derogatory… but then they were reminded which side has guns.

Pop Smoke – means it is time to leave in a hurry. The term comes from the fact that smoke grenades are often used to cover movement from the enemy in a fire fight or to signal the helicopters where to land.

Tango MikeThanks Much Did you think the military doesn’t have manners?