This week’s lingo is brought to you by Wiktionary.
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.
(Singapore) Short for “sabotage”. Usually causes the group to suffer collective punishment. Same as Blue Falcon.
(Singapore) Short for “sabotage king”. Usually causes the group to suffer collective punishment. Same as Blue Falcon.
(U.S.) WWII-era term used to describe an individual, typically an officer, who makes military life unnecessarily difficult. This is typically done via over-and-above adherence to military regulations.
(Singapore) Refers to one who is volunteered by superiors to do (usually) menial work.
(Ireland) Term referring to reserve Soldier.
(U.S. Army, Canada) Term referring to a Soldier who is performing his duties inefficiently or with laziness. Ex: “That Soldier is sandbagging it.” [see “goldbricking,” “shitbagging”]
(U.S.) Informal term for a forward deployed location. Also a miniature model of an area for troops to study for familiarization before an operation.
(U.S., U.K.) Informal for Sergeant. Sometimes objected to by sergeants, and largely outdated.
(U.S. Army, Canada, and U.K.) Slang mispronunciation of Sergeant.
(U.S.) Satisfactory, as opposed to Unsat.
(U.K.) Soldier Awaiting Training – Soldier who is not currently posted awaiting training.
(U.K. RN) Medical branch rating.
scaly, or scaly back
(U.K.) A signaler. It is suggested that this term comes from the figure of Mercury on their cap badges, who appears to have fish-like scales on his back. An alternative version is that it is related to the fact that old radios used to leak battery acid on the back of the man carrying it – hence they had a scaly back.
(U.K.) The gold oak leaves on senior officers’ cap peaks.
(U.K. RN/ RM) Food.
(RAF) Thin band in the centre of a squadron leader’s rank badge.
screw the pooch
(U.S. Military and civilian) To badly err or mess up. (Canada) To shirk one’s duties. Used as an euphemism for dog fucking (see Dog Fuck.)
screwed, blued and tattooed
(U.S. Navy) Used to describe common liberty activities in some ports. Getting “Screwed, blued and tattooed” can imply a fun liberty, one where someone got in trouble for various. reasons, or one where the sailors simply saw everything there was to see in a given port.
(U.S. Navy) A sailor who does not keep his body clean. (U.S. Army) A very important member of a unit, a Soldier who can obtain any materials and/or equipment, usually by other than normal channels.
(U.S. Navy/U.S. Marines) Issue green canvas or cordura bag used to transport personal effects.
(U.S. Navy/U.S. Marines) Routine of travel referring to the waiting period often encountered when transferring flights or waiting assignment to flight manifest.
(U.S./U.K. Navy) A senior enlisted man who acts as a guide to a junior (usually a “newbie”), showing him the ropes and guiding his early career. The civilian police equivalent is called a “rabbi”.
Pejorative. A Derogatory term for a female sailor.
A colonel who swoops in, makes a mess on (craps on) everything, and swoops out again.
(U.S. Navy) The junior enlisted who is guided by the Sea Daddy.
(U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, RN) A sailor, probably too smart for his own good, who thinks he knows all of the regulations and quotes them to get out of either work or trouble. Other U.S. and U.K. military equivalent is “Barrack Room Lawyer” (U.K.), and “Barracks Lawyer” or, more crudely, “Shithouse Lawyer” (U.S.).
(U.S.) Section sergeant.