Waging war is a risky, all-encompassing endeavor physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It displays humankind at its best and at its worst, and the war fighter’s slang reflects the bitter, terrible, and inspiring all of it. A quick scan of these phrases illustrates the spectrum: disciplined bravado provides the glitz and glamour; earned camaraderie, the sincerity and warmth; irony, the realist’s edge; scorn, the punishing barb; and insistent vulgarity, a rowdy,leveling earthiness. A little verbal bravado and swagger has genuine utility. Hollywood bravado is little more than chest thumping bluster, but seasoned vets know that disciplined bravado indicates confidence and courage. Physical and moral courage and the confidence they create are essential warrior virtues. But God—or the first sergeant—help the fake macho and especially the “REMF,” “fobbit,” or “suit” who talks the talk but hasn’t walked the walk.
**NOTE: There are terms in these lists that could be considered NSFW.
- PLF (U.S. Army) Parachute Landing Fall.
- PLUG (Canada) Private Learning Under a Gun, this Soldier is so stupid he needs a gun to his head to understand (this usage is possibly a backronym for plug, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as an “incompetent or undistinguished person” usage dating to 1848)
- PMCS (U.S.) Park the Mother and Call the Shop, a play on the official meaning: Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services.
- Po Bosun (RN) The senior petty officer medical assistant on board a ship; po is British slang for a chamber pot, the implication being that he was in charge of emptying the chamber pots in the sick bay.
- Pocket Rocket (U.S. Air Force) A ballistic missile warfare insignia.
- POL (U.S. Army) Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants. Shorthand for gasoline, diesel, or other fuel. Pronounced by letter, “Pee-Oh-Ell”.
- Poles in the Holes (U.S. Navy Nuclear Program) To SCRAM the nuclear reactor.
- Poo-tang A term used to describe “pussy” during Vietnam.
- Pop Smoke (U.S.) Call for extraction. Alternately to leave work or complete an period of service.
- Pop Tart (U.S. Air Force) An airman whose technical training school is 6 weeks or less.
- Popcorn Colonel An O5 (Lieutenant Colonel). Called this because the insignia is an oak leaf and looks like a kernel of popcorn.
- Pork chop (U.S.) Term for the 200-round drum used with an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).
- Potato Masher (Allied, World War II) Slang for Nazi German hand grenades due to their distinctive shape.
- POV (U.S.) Privately Owned Vehicle. Pronounced, “Pee-Oh-Vee.”
- PowerPoint Commando A briefer notorious for producing overly complex briefs in PowerPoint that are too long and use too many effects, such as animations and sounds.
- PRC-E6 (or E7, E8, etc.) (U.S.) A non-existent item that a new join to a unit may be sent to acquire and bring back, typically from an NCO of a particular grade (PRC is a common prefix in designations for radio or other communications equipment and is pronounced “prick”. The combination of this pronunciation plus the “E-” rating makes up the joke.)
- Prick-6 (U.S. Army) Vietnam-era shorthand for the PRC-6 radio carried by platoons. Also applied to the “Prick-25”, a backpack carried radio used by company-sized units.
- Promotion Pads (Canada) Initial issued knee pads that are never worn under any circumstance. Unless you spend your career on your knees sucking the chain-of-command’s dick.
- Provisional Wing of Tesco’s (U.K.) Royal Logistics Corps nickname combining Provisional IRA with a famous. supermarket in the U.K..
- PT Rat (U.S.) A service member who spends a large amount of time in individual PT.
- Puddle Pirate (U.S.) A member of the United States Coast Guard, so-called because of the mistaken belief that they never sail into deep water. (Canada) A sea cadet or naval reservist.
- Puff the Magic Dragon or Puff (U.S., Vietnam War) An AC-47 air-to-ground attack aircraft.
- Pooka (U.S. Submarine Service) Area for storage, smaller than a closet, larger than a cabinet.
- Pull chocks (U.S. Air Force) to leave a bar, for example to abandon a crappy party. (U.S. Navy) to leave. Refers to removing the wheel chocks when an aircraft is ready to taxi away.
- Punch out (U.S. Air Force) to eject from an aircraft. Has acquired the meaning to separate from the service, or resign from the Academy.
- Purple Suiter (U.S.) A person who is serving in an all-service (Army, Navy and Air Force) position. An example would be a Naval officer who manages fuel for all military units in an area or major command.
- Purple Trade ( Canada) A support trade, such as an admin clerk, driver, medical officer, etc. Support trades are shared by all three services in the Canadian Forces.
- Puzzle Palace (U.S.) The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland. This comes originally from the book titled The Puzzle Palace written by James Bamford about the National Security Agency.
- Pump and Dump (All services) . To have sex.
- PX Ranger (U.S. Army) . A Soldier who purchases and wears badges, tabs, and insignia without having graduated from the appropriate corresponding schools, usually without the approval of the chain of command.
Definition of Zulu Time or GMT
The Department of the Navy serves as the country’s official timekeeper, with the Master Clock facility at the U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C.
“Zulu” time is that which you might know as “GMT” (Greenwich Mean Time). Our natural concept of time is linked to the rotation of the earth and we define the length of the day as the 24 hours it takes the earth to spin once on its axis.
As time pieces became more accurate and communication became global, there needed to be a point from which all other world times were based. Since Great Britain was the world’s foremost maritime power when the concept of latitude and longitude came to be, the starting point for designating longitude was the “prime meridian” which is zero degrees and runs through the Royal Greenwich Observatory, in Greenwich, England, southeast of central London. As a result, when the concept of time zones was introduced, the “starting” point for calculating the different time zones was/is at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. When it is noon at the observatory, it is five hours earlier (under Standard Time) in Washington, D.C.; six hours earlier in Chicago; seven hours earlier in Denver; and, eight hours earlier in Los Angeles.
- The Confusion of Time and its Rescue by GMT (mangosalute.com)
- The center of the world (kblakecash.wordpress.com)
- U.S. Army seeks bigger Pacific role to confront Chinese efforts to control shipping lanes and seize disputed territory (phantomreport.com)