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Gulf War Supplement

National Defense Service

Armed Forces Expeditionary

Humanitarian Service Medal

Southwest Asia Service Medal

Armed Forces Service Medal

Kosovo Campaign Medal

Afghanistan Campaign Medal

Iraq Campaign Medal

Global War on Terrorism
Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service

Gulf War Supplement
a Glossary of Modern Military Terms

Reference Notes

[nb: there is no standard reference for the transliteration of Mid-East languages (eg: Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Urdu, Pahlavi, Pashto, Avestan, Kurdish, etc) into the Romanized alphabet; therefore, the spelling of all foreign words is conventional]

Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle.

abbreviation for Anti-Afghanistan Forces, including Taliban and Mujahideen guerrillas.

After Action Review, being a meeting to discuss and analyze the events that transpired during an operation.

Australian Army Training Team Iraq; the contingent of rotating advisory teams sent since May 2004 as part of the Gulf War coalition to teach military tactics and skillcrafts, renamed in honor of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) from the earlier element named the Australian Army Training Team Middle East (AATTME).

Australian Army Training Team Middle East.

Amphibious Assault Vehicle, being a ship-to-shore transport for 18-20 troops that's armed with .50cal heavy machineguns and 40mm automatic grenade launchers; also called Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT).

aba / abba :
a coarse fabric, woven or felted of camel's or goat's hair. Also, a loose, sleeveless outer garment made of this fabric that's worn by Arabs.

A'bad :
nickname for Asadabad, or Asad Abad, and the nearby forward operating base (FOB), being the capital city of Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan, which is situated within a valley at the confluence of the Pech and Kunar rivers between two mountain ridgelines; this region of the Hindu Kush mountains is adjacent to Pakistan, serving as a terminus for trade goods imported through the Nawa Pass, which is the next major crossing point north of the Khyber Pass, and is under constant surveillance as a potential smuggling or infiltration route.

abaya :
a simple, long, loose overgarment that covers a Muslim woman's whole body except her face, feet, and hands as an expression of modesty; this robe-like dress is traditionally black, and a face veil (niqab) may be worn with it to cover all but her eyes. Meaning 'cloak', an equivalent garment (burka) is worn in south Asia, and the chador is worn in Persia but it doesn't conceal the face; the abaya also inspired the traditional dress (kebaya) of Indonesian and Malaysian women. It may be decorated with embroidery or ornamented with sequins.

Abba :
a title of reverence for bishops and patriarchs in the Coptic, Ethiopian Christian, and Syriac churches. Also, an Aramaic word for 'father', as used by Jesus and Paul in the New Testament when addressing God in the intimacy of a direct and personal relationship.

Abbasid / Abbassid / Abbasside :
a member of a dynasty of caliphs ruling (from 750 to 1258) at Baghdad, governing most of the Islamic world and claiming descent from Abbas, uncle of the prophet Muhammad.

Abd :
a naming convention among Muslims for males that signifies the worshiper to be a servant of God or a slave of their faith [eg: Abdullah (Servant of God)].

Anti-Ballistic Missile.

abn :
abbreviation for 'airborne'.

abracadabra :
a magical invocation that seemingly conjures something from nothing; a mystical word that will evoke one's desire when used as an incantation.

Abrams :
M1A1 main battle tank.

Abscam :
the code name for an FBI investigation of bribery, wherein six members of Congress and a Senator were caught in a "sting" operation (1978-80) involving payoffs from undercover "sheiks" for introducing legislation favorable to the Middle East; this code word derives from the business front (Abdul Enterprises Ltd) setup as a disguise by the FBI to entrap these politicians.

Absurdistan :
sardonic slang reference to Afghanistan, its tribalism and religious zealotry, as adopted by mil-pers from the title of a bestselling novel [Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart (2006)].

Abu Dhabi :
NavSpeak for anything derived from or related to the Middle East, which is used by sailors in the same way that 'hajji' is used by soldiers; so-called after a sheikdom in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the southern coast of the Persian Gulf.

Abu Ghraib :
a military detention facility located 32km west of Baghdad in Iraq, used for Islamic terrorists; made notorious by the high jinks and misconduct of some Military Police (MP) prison guards.

Abyssinia :
the former name of Ethiopia.

abbreviation for the Ammunition, Casualty, and Equipment status report send up the chain-of-command, especially after an operation.

abbreviation for Anti-Coalition Militia, being the ever-changing admixture of insurgents that are vying among themselves whenever they're not fighting the allies.

Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, being a sturdy telescope that conveniently mounts onto the carrying handle of the M-16A4 rifle. [nb: M-4 Scout mounts the small non-telescopic M-68 gunsight incorporating a "red aiming dot"]

abbreviation for Assault Command Post during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Also, an artificial choke point, being a key terrain feature where the transit of people or vehicles is monitored for security and interrupted for inspection. Also, abbreviation for Air Control Point, being the formal referent for assembly, patrol, surveillance, or interception flying on a high-cover station. Also, the designation for Automatic Colt Pistol, a proprietary characterization that identifies certain cartridges (eg: .45ACP) that are used in semiautomatic pistols and submachineguns.

Armored Cavalry Regiment.

a digital-camouflage utility work uniform for the U.S. Army distinguished from the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) by the removal of lower shirt pockets, the addition of sleeve pockets, a change to an upright collar, an integrated dispersion pattern, and the addition of Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) indicators; the ACU includes a drawstring waist and cuffs, Velcro placket closures, a reinforced crotch and yoke, and pockets at knees and elbows to accept protective pads.

adab :
the proper way, appropriate method, or suitable manner; as in the proper ways of fighting in war (adab al qital), which derives from polite manners or etiquette. Also, literature.

adhan / azan / athan :
the Muslim call summoning the faithful to prayer (salat) on the "Day of Assembly" (jumu'ah) each Friday.

advon :
advanced operations.

Aegean Sea :
an arm of the Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Turkey, including inlets (eg: Gulf of Saros, Gulf of Izmir, Gulf of Argolis, Gulf of Salonika, etc) and islands (eg: Sporades, Dodecanese, Cyclades, Bozcaada, Samothrace, Chios, etc).

Air Force Communications Agency.

Air Force Group.

Afghan / Afghani :
a native or inhabitant of Afghanistan; pertaining to Afghanistan, its peoples or languages. Also, an Indo-European language of Afghanistan; a vernacular of the Pashtuns.

AfghaniPakIraqistan :
sardonic slang reference to the region of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as adopted by deployed mil-pers; also known as AfPakIraqistan.

Afghanistan :
a republic in central Asia, northwest of India and east of Iran, with its capital at Kabul.

Afghanistan Campaign Medal / ACM :
awarded to military personnel for service in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) for which participants are authorized to wear a bronze service star ("battle star") on the pendant medal and ribbon for each of three phases: Liberation of Afghanistan (11 Sep - 30 Nov 2001); Consolidation I (1 Dec 2001 - 30 Sep 2006); Consolidation II (from 1 Oct 2006); and may be further distinguished by a bronze arrowhead for a combat parachute assault.

AfPak :
informal reference to the region of AFghanistan-PAKistan.

Air Force Special Activities Center.

Arab Free Trade Area.

agal / aghal / egal :
a cord or rope headband, usually colored black, that holds an Arab man's head scarf (kaffiyeh, ghutra, shemagh) in proper position.

Air-to-Ground Missile.

A.H. / AH :
abbreviation for Anno Hejirae, being the Muslim Era from which the Islamic community dates its beginning in the year AD622, when the prophet Muhammad fled from Mecca to Medina.

Ahab the Arab :
(ai-hab the ai-rab) dismissive reference by rhyming to any enemy soldier in the Mid-East Theater of Operations ("Gulf War Part Two"), as word play that denigrates or dismisses the Islamic terrorists.

ahadith :
proper behavior, as modeled on the life of Muhammad.

Ahmadiya :
followers of Muhammad (Ahmad), being a modern sect that's divided into an older group (Qadianis) and a newer group (Lahore party).

abbreviation for Attack Helicopter Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

Air Force Cross / AFC :
the nation's second highest award for valor; equivalent to the Navy Cross (NC) or Distinguished Service Cross (DSC).

air jockey :
a fixed-wing or fighter aircraft pilot.

AK-47 :
Avtomat (automatic) Kalashnikov (designer) assault rifle, variously the Type 56 and AKM, as adapted from captured WWII German MP-43 and SPG-44 rifles using the 7.62X39mm cartridge.

Akkadian / Accadian :
one of the Akkadian people. Also, the eastern Semitic language of Assyria and Babylonia; now extinct, it was written with a cuneiform script. Also, an obsolete form of Sumerian, an extinct language written in pictographic and cuneiform script.

'Alawite / 'Alawi :
a member of a Shi'ite sect of Islam, often considered heretical, inhabiting the coastal district of Latakia in northwest Syria, where it comprises approximately 12% of the population; also called Nusairi.

aleichem shalom :
a Hebrew phrase that's used as a conventional reply to the idiomatic greeting of 'shalom aleichem' (qv), meaning "peace unto you".

Algeria :
a republic in northwestern Africa that formerly comprised thirteen departments of France; it gained its independence in 1962, with its capital at Algiers.

al-hijab :
see hijab / hejab.

Ali Baba :
USMC slang for Arabic hoodlums and looters in urban rubble during Operation Iraqi Freedom (Gulf War II); from the story of the poor woodcutter who uses the magic words "open sesame" to gain access to the treasure of the forty thieves in The Arabian Nights' Entertainments.

Allah :
(Arabic) God, the Supreme Being, the Creator.

Allah's waiting room :
during the Gulf War, slang reference to any dwelling or building that shelters Islamic rebels or terrorists during a shooting bout in which they hope to provoke an Alamo-like "last stand" of glorious martyrdom that will cost more Allied lives to clear or secure, also called AWR or Alfa Whiskey Romeo ... the assault force typically takes fire from such a structure, falls back, and calls arty or tac-air onto the target, which is shortly obliterated, sending the defenders to meet their personal host of virgins in paradise.

Allied Force :
operational name of the NATO bombing campaign against Serbian forces in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Kosovo (24 Mar - 10 Jun 1999); augmented by forward deployed ground elements crossing from Albania that encountered Serbian guerrillas and partisans of the Kosovo Liberation Army, where the mission was directed at suppressing insurgent raids and stabilizing the legitimate government.

Almohad / Almohade :
a member of a Muslim dynasty ruling in Spain and northern Africa during the 12th and 13th centuries; as literally derived from "the one who professes the unity of God".

Almoravid / Almoravide :
a member of a Muslim dynasty ruling in Spain and northern Africa from 1056 to 1147; as literally derived from "the occupant of a fortified convent".

Air Liaison Officer, being an Air Force pilot assigned to an Army brigade (or higher unit) so as to facilitate close air support.

al-Qaida / al-Qaeda :

al-Qaida cocktail :
a foul slurry of spit, urine, feces, food, and other waste that's thrown at Military Police guards at refugee camps and detainment centers, as derived from the name of the most renown Islamic terrorist organization, whether or not the radical demonstrator is a member.

Al's Garage :
deliberate mispronunciation of Al Kharj, being that patch of empty desert in Saudi Arabia, southeast of Riyadh, where a major airport (PSAB) was built during and after Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Amah :
a naming convention among Muslims for females that signifies the worshiper to be a servant of God or a slave of their faith [eg: Amahus-Salam (Slave of Peace)].

amamah :
an Arabic headdress consisting of an head scarf draped over a round white skullcap, or a turban wrapped around a short white skullcap, as worn by Shia and Sufi Muslims.

Ambiguity Forces :
phantom and deception operations conducted under Task Force Troy during the Gulf War, which used a "wheeled camel" (evocative of the Trojan Horse) as their symbol.

Army Materiel Command, including Operations Support Command and Army Field Support Command. Also, the Air Material Command in the U.S. Air Force. Also, abbreviation for the Air Mission Commander.

Afghan Militia Forces.

AmTrack / AmTrac :
informal designation for an AMphibious TRAC[K]tor, being a propeller-driven LANDING CRAFT that's also equipped with revolving tracks; used by Marines like an amphibious armored personnel carrier (APC), it's been succeeded by the Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV).

Afghan National Army.

Anatolia :
a vast plateau between the Black and the Mediterranean seas; in ancient usage, synonymous with the peninsula of Asia Minor, and in modern usage, applied to Turkey in the Near East.

Afghan National Civil Order Police.

angel :
slang for a vagrant image on a RADAR screen, such as the track of a low-flying aircraft. Also, altitude expressed in thousands of feet above ground level (AGL). Also, common expression for a female nurse; also called Angel of Mercy. Also, informal usage by Coalition troops during Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF) for mortally wounded combatants who later die of their wounds (DOW) in a military hospital, as in "He's become an angel." or "He's gone to join the angels.".

angiya :
a short-sleeved bodice that ends just below the breasts, as worn by Muslim women as an expression of modesty, especially in India.

ankh :
the ancient Egyptian symbol of generation, regeneration, and enduring life, being the Greek letter 'tau' (or Hebrew 'tav') crossed with an ovate loop at the top; also known as the "looped cross".

Afghan National Police.

anti-terrorism :
the use of offensive and defensive stratagems, including terror tactics against terrorists, revolutionaries, religious fanatics, and other sociopolitical radicals; also known as counter-terrorism.

AO / A/O :
Area of Operations, called Theater of Operations (TO) by USN / USMC, and Area Of Responsibility (AOR) by USCG; also designated Military Operational Area (MOA).

Area of Responsibility.

Apache :
AH-64 series of attack helicopters with tandem cockpits that perform close air support (CAS) of ground troops.

Armored Personnel Carrier.

a high explosive compound formed by dissolving nitrocellulose in acetone, then combining with acetone peroxide, and then drying to obtain a more stable and more powerful mixture than tri-cyclic acetone peroxide (TCAP) or triacetone triperoxide (TATP) for use as the primary propellant in improvised explosive devices (IED).

Army Pre-positioned Stocks, being the redesignation of Pre-positioned Organizational Materiel Configured to Unit Sets (POMCUS) after the downsizing from the end of the Cold War; disassembled and excess inventories were upgraded to like-new condition for redistribution to holding sites worldwide.

Auxiliary Power Unit, the external energy source used to check aircraft systems before ignition; also known as "accumulator".

AQ :
abbreviation for Al-Qaida / Al-Qaeda / Al-Qeda.

abbreviation for Al-Qaida in Iraq, an off-shoot organization; also known as "al-Qaida in Mesopotamia" or "al-Qaida in the Land of the Two Rivers".

Arab / Arabian :
an appellation originally applied to the Semitic peoples of the Arabian Peninsula; it now refers to those persons whose primary language is Arabic. The derivation of this term is unclear, and the meaning of the word has changed several times throughout history. [nb: "The more I see of Arabs the less I think of them. By having studied them a good deal I have found out the trouble. They are the mixture of all the bad races on earth, and they get worse from west to east, because the eastern ones have had more crosses." by George S. Patton Jr (5 May 1943); "What if the Arabs had been Christians? To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammed and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab. He is exactly as he was around the year 700, while we have kept on developing." by George S. Patton Jr (1947)]

arabesque :
any ornamental or artistic object, as a rug or mosaic, wherein the motifs (eg: flowers, foliage, fruits, vases, animals, figures, and the like) are represented in a fancifully combined pattern; to decorate in Islamic style, as a sinuous, spiraling, undulating, or serpentine motif.

Arabia :
a peninsula in southwestern Asia, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen Arab Republic, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait; also called Arabian Peninsula, it was divided in ancient times into Arabia Deserta, Arabia Petraea, and Arabia Felix.

Arabian Desert :
a desert in Egypt between the Nile valley and the Red Sea. Also, the desert region in the northern part of the Arabian peninsula.

Arabian Peninsula :
a peninsula in southwestern Asia that includes the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait; also known as Arabia.

Arabian Sea :
the northwestern arm of the Indian Ocean between India and Arabia.

Arabian tumbleweeds :
trash or rubbish driven across the arid landscape of the Mid-East by the relentless wind.

Arabic :
belonging to or derived from the language or literature of the Arabs; the alphabetical script used for writing Arabic (ca400AD) has been adopted with modifications by Persian, Urdu, and many other languages, with a distinguishing feature of this script being that its etymologically short vowels are not normally represented. Also, a Semitic language that developed out of the language of the Arabians of the time of the prophet Muhammad, that's now spoken in countries of the Middle East and north Africa; it is the standard literary and classical language of the region, as established by the Koran.

Arabic numerals :
the numeric characters 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, that have been in general European use since the 12th century; also called Arabic figures or Hindu-Arabic numerals. [cf: Roman numerals]

Arab League :
popular name for the "League of Arab States", an association that was formed in 1945 so as to give political expression to the Arab nations; it was originally chartered by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Trans-Jordan (later Jordan), Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, these members were later joined by Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Qatar, Somalia, Southern Yemen (now merged with Yemen), Sudan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Arab Republic of Egypt :
the official name of Egypt.

Arab street :
slang reference to the cultural accommodation and linguistic facility that's necessary for a non-native to function in the Mid-Eastern milieu; a sensitivity to foreign customs and folkways that permits an alien to pass without undue notice.

arba kanfoth / arba kanfot / arba kanfos :
a rectangular piece of cloth with fringes at the four corners and a hole in the center for the head to pass through, as worn under the clothes by Orthodox Jewish males; also called tallith katan, as literally derived from 'four corners'.

Army Forces Central Command.

Area of Influence :
those places, sectors or districts, where the insurgents have a greater presence or greater freedom of movement than the established government and its allies; a locale designated as "hostile" or "dangerous" ... typically used as a disclaimer (eg: "Well, what did you expect? We told you it was hazardous.").

ark :
a chest or box containing the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, carried by the Israelites in their wanderings in the desert after the Exodus: also called 'ark of the covenant', it's the most sacred object of the tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem, where it was kept in the 'holy of holies'. Also, the 'Holy Ark', being a cabinet for safeguarding the scrolls of the Torah in a synagogue. Also, any chest or box. Also, a place of protection or security; a refuge or asylum.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal / AFEM :
awarded to mil-pers for honorable active federal service in military operations to assist friendly foreign nations where no other CAMPAIGN MEDAL is authorized; also known as "Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal". Separate campaigns are denoted by a bronze or silver service star ("battle star").

Armed Forces Service Medal / AFSM :
awarded to mil-pers for honorable participation in military operations (on or after 1 June 1992) that are not covered by any other specific medal, and for such activities that are deemed to be sufficiently significant to warrant its issue, wherein no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action was encountered; the Armed Forces Service Medal may be awarded for direct support of the United Nations (UN) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), for domestic assistance operations and for assistance operations to friendly nations. Separate campaigns are denoted by a bronze or silver service star ("battle star").

Army Achievement Medal / AAM :
presented for achievement or valor, this award ranks below the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM), the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) and Bronze Star (BSM); equivalent to the Navy Achievement Medal (NAM).

Army Commendation Medal / ARCOM :
commonly known as the 'green weenie'; this award ranks below the Bronze Star (BSM) for valor, and between the Army Achievement Medal (AAM) and Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for achievement.

Ascension Day :
the fortieth day after Easter, which commemorates the Ascension of Christ; also called Holy Thursday.

Afghan Security Guard serving as local militia.

ashram :
a secluded place used for instruction in Hinduism; a secluded retreat used for meditation.

Ashura / Ashurah :
the tenth of the Muslim month of Muharram, being an important fast day for Sunni Muslims. Also, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Hussein, as observed by Shi'ite Muslims.

Asia Minor :
a peninsula in western Asia between the Black and Mediterranean seas, including most of Asiatic Turkey.

Ammunition Supply Point.

abbreviation for Alternate Supply Route during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

Assyria :
an ancient empire in southwestern Asia, with its capital at Nineveh; having its greatest extent ca750-612BC. [nb: the ruins of Nineveh are opposite Mosul, on the Tigris River in northern Iraq]

asymmetric warfare :
the ways and means of fighting irregulars with conventional forces; as countering improvised weapons, guerrilla and terrorism tactics in the same way that the police must fight crime without becoming criminals themselves. Although a revolutionary may resist an unjust overlord and "move among the people like a fish in water", a terrorist exploits and injures the people around him, so the other "fish" must assist the "fishermen" in his efforts to remove the threat to their security.

AT :
Anti-Terrorism; see counter-terrorism (CT). Also, Anti-Tank, being a classification for some weapons or munitions. Also, abbreviation for Annual Training, being a two-week period of refresher training that reservists must undergo every year of their enlistment, typically during summertime and often overseas.

Army TACtical Missile System.

Anti-Tank Guided Missile (eg: TOW, Dragon, Javelin, etc).

augmentee :
a civilian worker who is under contract for a limited period to the Department of Defense for the satisfactory performance of a specific job or professional specialty, without the benefits and protections of a government employee.

Avesta :
a collection of sacred Zoroastrian writings, including the Gathas.

Avestan :
an ancient East Iranian language of the Indo-European family, being the language used for all of the Avesta except the Gathas.

(a-wax) Airborne Warning And Control System, being a USAF aerial RADAR platform used for detection and interception.

Asymmetric Warfare Group; a counterinsurgency unit, activated 8 March 2006 at Fort Meade, has been designed to fight asymmetric weapons (like Improvised Explosive Devices) and insurgent tactics (like suicide bombing and kidnapping); established with soldiers comprising more than twelve Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) for the purpose of assessing battle incidents, developing countermeasures, and training foreign and domestic personnel in their implementation.

awrah :
that which should be concealed in public from anyone unrelated by blood or marriage; a variable stricture pertaining to devout Muslims, especially women. [nb: "... tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women, to cover themselves with a loose garment; they will thus be recognized, and no harm will come to them" (Surah 33:59)]

Axis of Evil :
the designation of Iran (Islamic Republic of Iran), Iraq (Republic of Iraq), and North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) as fomenters of terrorism; so declared by George W. Bush during his 2002 state of the union address.

Baath / Ba'ath / Ba'th :
a socialist party of some Arab countries, especially Iraq and Syria; as literally derived from 'renaissance.

baba ghanouj :
in Middle Eastern cookery, a salad of cooked eggplant, olive oil, garlic, and the like.

Babi / Babism :
a Persian religion (Bābī), originating in the 19th century, since supplanted by Baha'i / Bahā'ī.

babushka :
a woman's head scarf that's shaped or folded into a triangle and worn with two ends tied under the chin; as derived from the diminutive for "old woman", a grandmother. [nb: in Kazakhstan and similar areas, this bandana signifies a married woman, and should not be mistaken for the hijab, which is considered a foreign custom or alien introduction; v: 'snood' is the distinctive headband (fillet, ribbon) formerly worn by young unmarried women in Scotland and northern England]

backgammon :
a game of chance and strategy that's played by two persons upon a specially marked board having alternately colored triangular spaces and a separation forming two tables, where the players move their disk-shaped tokens along the board according to the rolls of two dice, with the object of the game being to remove their own fifteen disks from the board first. Probably derived from the Indian game of Parcheesi, a form of backgammon seems to have been played by Babylonians, Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans before migrating from the Middle East into Europe during the Tenth century.

Bactria :
an ancient country in western Asia, between the Oxus (Amu Darya) River and the Hindu Kush Mountains. [v: two-humped Bactrian camel]

badlands :
an informal referent for enemy territory, as any remote area away from base camps, especially out in the field, in the hinterlands or outback. Also, any barren or rocky terrain that's been severely eroded by wind and water; this term alludes to the difficulty in traversing such rough country.

Bagram Air Base :
an allied air facility for Coalition forces during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Also, a military detention facility located near Charikar in Parvan, Afghanistan, used for Islamic terrorists.

Baha'i / Bahai / Bahā'ī :
a religion founded in Persia in 1863 by Mirza Huseyn Ali Nuri (called Bahaullah / Baha Ullah) and promulgated by his eldest son, Abdul Baha, teaching the essential worth of all religions, the unity of all races, and the equality of the sexes; Bahaists advocate universal education and an international language, an international government and world peace, simplicity of living and service to the suffering. Persecuted in Iran and India, the administrative center of the world faith is based in Haifa, Israel, the site of Bahaullah's tomb; the center of the faith in the United States is the great house of worship at Wilmette, Illinois.

Bahrain / Bahrein :
a sheikdom in the Persian Gulf that consists of a group of islands that were formerly a British protectorate; declared independent in 1971, with its capital at Manama.

baklava :
a Middle Eastern pastry that's made of many thin layers of baked dough with a filling of ground nuts and honey or syrup.

baksheesh / bakshish / bakshis / bakhshish :
in the Near and Middle East, a tip or gift, a gratuity or present. [v: donation, benefaction, alms, charity, eleemosynary]

balaclava :
a knitted cap that covers the head and neck and sometimes the upper shoulders; after the Crimean seaport, Balaklava, on the Black Sea.

Balfour Declaration :
a statement, composed by Arthur James Balfour and issued by the British government on 2 November 1917, favoring the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine, but without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities already extant in Palestine.

Balkanization :
to divide a group or area into smaller and usually ineffectual entities, typically quarrelsome or contending; also known as "Balkanism"; as to factionalize, splinter, fragment, subdivide, or disintegrate a population or territory.

Balkan Peninsula :
a peninsula in southern Europe that's south of the Danube River and is bordered by the Adriatic, Ionian, Aegean, and Black seas; the Balkan States include: Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, and the European part of Turkey.

bandana :
a large handkerchief, usually figured (originally tie-dyed), that's worn about the neck or head by men and women as a scarf representing status (eg: marriage) or distinction (eg: membership); this scarf should not be mistaken for the hijab, which is considered a foreign custom or alien introduction by traditional bandana wearers.

banger :
a short-fuzed stun grenade employing less-than-lethal brilliant light and explosive sound to disorient and disrupt enemy defenders; also called flash bang or flash crash.

bangle :
an ornamental metal circlet that a woman wears at her wrist or ankle; originating as a closed ring of glass that was slid over the hand and worn on the arm ('armlet'). These decorative bracelets or anklets formerly signified a girl's womanhood, marital status, and tribal affiliation ... typically the number and style of such ethnic bangles betokened the social standing of a woman's family.

banjo country :
facetious reference to the hinterlands, populated by people so primitive and uncivilized that their family tree has no branches and they're proud of their obtuse stupidity; also known as "banjo zone" or "banjo area".

barb :
a point or pointed part projecting backward from a main stem, as of a fishhook or arrowhead, which derives from a hooked or sharp bristle. Also, a band or small scarf of lace, worn around the head or neck by women. Also, a linen covering for the throat and breast, formerly worn by women mourners, and now only by some nuns; also spelled 'barbe'. Also, an obviously unpleasant or openly carping remark.

Barbary Coast Wars :
wars fought (1801-15) by Americans along the coast of north Africa over the harassment of U.S. ships despite the payment of tribute money to the piratical Barbary States. [cf: Tripolitan War]

Barbary States / Barbary Coast :
the name for Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli / Tripolitania when they were centers of corsair activity (ca1520-1830).

barchan :
a crescent-shaped sand dune, having the convex side in the direction of the prevailing wind.

Barmecide :
according to a tale in The Arabian Nights' Entertainments, the act of giving a beggar a pretended feast with empty dishes, being so-called after the members of a noble Persian family in Baghdad who practiced this cruelty.

Battalion Aid Station.

basmati :
a variety of cultivated long-grain rice that's notably fragrant, being prevalent in the Near East and Asia.

bath salts :
a pharmacologically diverse drug that's similar in its effect to amphetamine stimulants, which is so-called by its resemblance.

battle buddy :
a partnership assigned to every pair of unit members for the purpose of accountability and the establishment of teamwork, beginning with basic training and later progressing to fire teams and squads in the operational chain-of-command.

battlefield airman :
informal reference to pararescue, combat control and weather mil-pers assigned to the Air Force's Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

battle rattle :
slang for the individual equipment and weapons (including helmet, body armor, gas mask, ammunition, rations, and other basics) that's necessary for the conduct of military operations against the enemy in the field.

bazaar / bazar :
a marketplace or shopping quarter in the Middle East where a wide variety of goods are traded or sold. [v: agora, carrefour]

Brigade Combat Team, or a brigade supplemented with attached air, armor, artillery, and engineer units. Also, Basic Combat Training, also called Basic Military Training or Basic Entry Training, being the instruction of new recruits in essential military education and discipline, drill and weapons familiarization, which 8- or 9-week stint is sometimes subdivided into phases, before proceeding to advanced specialization training.

Bagram Collection Point.

Battle Damage Assessment, being a report detailing the results from expended weapons.

bde :
abbreviation for 'brigade'.

Battle Dress Uniform, being the standard all-purpose camo-patterned (woodland, urban, or desert) cloth duty uniform worn during work or combat; replaced in 2004 by the Army Combat Uniform (ACU).

Bedouin / Beduin :
a nomadic Arab of the desert in Asia or Africa; as derived from desert-dweller. Also, a nomad; wanderer.

belly dance / belly dancing :
an Oriental solo dance that emphasizes movements of the pelvis and abdomen, as performed by a woman with her midriff exposed; also called 'danse du ventre'.

beltway clerk :
derisive reference to a political operative or lobbyist working in the nation's capital.

bema / bimah :
the enclosed space surrounding the altar in a church; a chancel (railed lattice or screen). Also,the raised platform in a synagogue for the table used when reading from the Torah; as derived from 'step' in Greek.

Berber :
a member of a group of north African tribes living in Barbary and the Sahara. Also, a subfamily of Afro-Asiatic languages, including Tuareg and Kabyle, consisting of the languages of the Berbers. [v: barbarous]

Blue Force Tracker, being a vehicle-mounted satellite communications uplink device that enables GPS positioning and operational mapping of units, routes, and objectives.

B-hut :
short for 'Barrack hut', being a primitive structure erected for the temporary lodging of soldiers in garrison, typically a painted plywood shelter with few amenities and without bathroom facilities. B-huts superseded tents in Iraq and Afghanistan but were not expected to last more than four years; housing eight persons in a single two-door space, or subdivided with windows in each room. B-huts afford no protection against direct or indirect fire, and are especially subject to the devastations of weather as well as to infestation by vermin.

Beirut International Airport, Lebanon; protected by positions established by a Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU).

BIAp :
Baghdad International Airport, situated in the Green Zone of Iraq, and accessed by Route Irish (aka: "suicide alley" or "RPG alley").

Bible :
the collection of sacred writings of Judaism, known as the Hebrew Scriptures to the Jewish people; called the Old Testament by Christians. Also, the collection of sacred writings of Christianity, comprising the Old and New Testaments; also called the Holy Bible. [nb: 'bible' derives from a book on a papyrus roll]

big voice :
slang for the outdoor loudspeaker system that broadcasts important or urgent announcements to all personnel on the base, including warnings of scheduled destruction of disposable materiel and the detection of incoming rocket or mortar fire, often combined with siren signals.

bilat :
a bilateral conference between Coalition military units and the local people.

biometrics :
any technology that measures and analyzes human physical characteristics (eg: fingerprints, facial patterns, DNA, etc) and/or behavioral traits (eg: gait, vocal patterns, social networking, etc) for identification, authentication, surveillance or screening purposes.

bird :
slang for an aircraft, especially a helicopter.

bisht :
a dressy cloak that's worn by men as an overgarment, sometimes layered over the thobe, being suitable as formal attire for high-level government or religious leaders; also known as 'mishlah'.

black :
the color code for a status report on the remaining supply of ammo, fuel, water, and the like, indicating "almost out".

Blackhawk :
a medium-lift single-rotor utility (UH-/MH-60) helicopter that can transport eleven fully equipped MIL-PERS at a maximum speed of 193knots; also designated 'Sea Hawk' and 'Jayhawk' when adapted for maritime environments, and commonly called 'Hawk.

black hole :
slang for the subterranean Tactical Operations Center (TOC) used during the Persian Gulf wars.

Black Sea :
a sea between Europe and Asia that's bordered by Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Georgia, and the Russian Federation; also called Euxine Sea, and known in ancient times as Pontus Euxinus.

Black September :

Blackwater :
Blackwater Worldwide, being a private military contractor used mostly for security services in Iraq. [nb: formerly 'Blackwater USA']

bleeder kit :
informal designation for the first aid kit that each person assembles in a pouch for the emergency treatment of a gunshot or shrapnel wound, including tourniquet, adhesive tape, gauze pads, disinfectant, coagulant, and the like; prominently worn on the web gear because the victim's kit is supposed to be used on himself.

blowed-up :
the ungrammatical colloquialism for having been hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) but without lethal effect, as "I done been blowed-up six times on this rotation."

blow-out kit :
slang for the individual first aid kit (IFAK) that's stowed in a pouch and worn on the web gear.

USMC Battalion Landing Team, the primary infantry element in the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), typically part of an Amphibious Ready Group.

Blue Bat :
a peacekeeping operation in Lebanon from 1 July to 1 November 1958.

blue canoe :
slang for a portable chemical toilet (variously brand named, including "Porta-John", "Porta-Potty", and "Jiffy-John"); typically being a blue plastic enclosure that offers personal privacy while housing containerized human waste, these "environmentally friendly" toilets are positioned and serviced by subcontractors whenever troops are deployed into field training areas or base camps, including overseas combat zones.

blue falcon :
someone who exploits others for his own comfort or convenience, being a form of backstabbing (instead of brotherhood) that's used to favor or advance oneself. Phrase is alleged to be a euphemism for "buddy fucker", but it's more likely to derive from 'giving the bird' in a non-lethal blue on blue situation (that is, being careless or inconsiderate of one's comrades); equivalent to Marine 'semper knife'.

Blue Nile :
a river (950mi) in east Africa, flowing north-northwesterly from Lake Tana in Ethiopia into the Nile at Khartoum, Sudan; a tributary of the Nile.

blue on blue :
a euphemism to describe a "friendly fire" misadventure, wherein ordnance from one U.S. element mistakenly impacts another U.S. element.

bn :
abbreviation for 'battalion'.

facetious reference to BOGus INTelligence, being information of no military value.

acronym for 'Bend Over - Here It Comes Again', which summarizes the soldier's attitude of being exploited or betrayed again by circumstances or "the powers that be".

Boko Haram :

an acronym for 'Be On (the) LookOut' for insurgents and provocateurs who've been identified as enemy operatives, as used by civil affairs (CA) and constabulary elements; this referent has been brought into military parlance from police practices.

Bombaconda :
slang referent for Logistics Support Area Anaconda, a major supply base near Balad, Iraq; so-called due to the frequent mortar attacks.

Bone :
common nickname for the Rockwell/Boeing B-1 Lancer long-range heavy bomber aircraft.

boot camp :
informal referent for basic training (BCT).

boots on the ground :
reference to mil-pers who are actually engaged with enemy elements, or are occupying a disputed territory, as distinguished from the implied threat of force in airpower or seapower; a generic term that makes no distinction between males or females, officers or enlisted men, combat or combat support troops; abbreviated as BOG or BOTG.

bora :
wind from the mountains; originally, a cold northerly wind that blew from the Hungarian basin into the Adriatic Sea.

borasco :
a thunderstorm or violent squall, especially in the Mediterranean Sea.

boreas / borras :
north winds; this ancient Greek term may have originally meant "wind from the mountains".

Bosporus :
a strait (18mi) connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

boubou / bubu :
a long, loose-fitting, brightly colored garment worn by both sexes in parts of Africa.

Bradley :
the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (M-2) and the Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (M-3) were introduced in 1981.

Brahui :
any member of the nomadic people in Baluchistan and Pakistan who speak this unique Dravidian language.

slang for any insignia of rank, device, badge or crest, regardless of color or actual metal content. Also, metonymic slang for command, staff, or headquarters, and the component officers. Also, slang for shell and cartridge casings. Also, shooter's mnemonic for the proper firing technique: Breathe, Relax, Aim, Sight picture, Squeeze, as in target acquisition and gun control.

break station :
notification on the common communications net that one or more aircraft are departing the operational area for refueling, rearming, or damage assessment; depending upon the tactical situation, such leave-taking may involve a mission hand-over to replacement air assets.

brith / bris :
the Jewish rite of circumcising a male infant, usually eight days after his birth, as a sign of his becoming a member of the 'chosen people'; derived from 'covenant'.

Basic Rifle Marksmanship, being the rifle practice and qualification that every soldier must complete in basic training, and remain proficient in throughout his/her military service.

Bronze Star Medal / BSM :
created during WWII to recognize intermediate-level heroism or service, rated between the Silver Star and ARCOM for valor, and between the Legion of Merit (LOM) and Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for achievement.

brown zone :
the barren uplands of Afghanistan; as juxtaposed to the 'green zone' (qv).

Battle Skills Training School.

Battle Update Assessment, or Battle Update Briefing, being a daily overview meeting for commanders and staff during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

buckshee :
slang for a gift, gratuity, or small bribe; derived as a variant of 'baksheesh'. Also, an extra ration or portion. Also, free of charge, or without payment; seemingly a Briticism for 'gratis'.

budmash / badmaash :
a notorious person; often used playfully to denote an endearingly egregious person, as expressed in colloquial Persian, Urdu, or Hindi.

Buffalo :
a specialized 23-ton route-clearing vehicle (a heavily modified Peterbuilt Mac-10 truck) that has protective armor to resist shrapnel and small arms fire, using a push-ahead roller to detonate roadside bombs or landmines. It utilizes a capsule design that was imported from South Africa in 1998 to protect passengers and key vehicle components from explosive damage.

bumfuckistan :
slang for any undesirable assignment situated in the Mid-East; a fictitious place that represents the proverbial nightmare posting to a dead-end assignment.

bunker buster :
slang for the class of delayed action, heavy duty, laser-guided conventional bombs that bury themselves deeply within a hardened target before detonating after its programmed interval, especially the laser-guided 5000# GBU-37 penetrating conventional munition.

burka / bourkha / burkha / burqa' / burqa / burga' :
a loose garment covering the entire body and having a veiled mesh opening for the eyes, as worn by Muslim women as an expression of modesty; originating in Pakistan, and commonly worn in Afghanistan.

burner :
slang for an optical disc drive that copies data to a write-once medium (eg: CD-R or DVD-R; not CD-RW and DVD-RW/+RW). Also, slang for a pre-paid cellphone (cellular telephone), acquired so as to obtain relative privacy and/or anonymity by non-registration or non-subscription.

burnoose / burnous :
a hooded mantle or cloak, as that worn by Arabs. Also, a similar garment worn by women at various periods in Europe and the United States.

bury one's head in the sand :
an idiomatic expression that's purportedly descriptive of an ostrich, with the meaning of willfully ignoring reality, as when deliberately denying threat warnings or any other unwelcome evidence.

Butcher of Baghdad :
informal designation of Saddam Hussein, with reference to his Stalinistic practices.

buzz saw :
slang for an improvised signaling device, consisting of an infrared (IR) chemical luminescent light stick that's been tethered to the trailing end of a length of 550 para-cord, which is then whirled overhead in a broad circular motion, so as to mark the nighttime epicenter of a ground element for identification by friendly air assets when resisting an attack by the enemy or designating a landing zone (LZ) or pick-up zone (PZ).

BX :
Base eXchange concession; the sutler's store of general merchandise for military personnel and their dependents.

CA :
in air operations, meaning Combat Assault; and in ground operations, meaning Civil Affairs (or Community Affairs), as related to Civic Action Program (CAP) missions, including DENTCAP, ICAP, and MEDCAP).

Combined Anti-Armor Team, consisting of several HMMWVs (High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle) equipped with anti-tank guided missiles, heavy machineguns and automatic grenade launchers. Also, Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team.

in the Navy and Marine Corps, the Casualty Assistance Calls Officer, being a duty detailed to someone of equivalent RANK who is stationed near the home of the servicemember's next of kin (NOK), often accompanied by a chaplain, so as to initiate burial and survivorship procedures; this procedure is known as Casualty Affairs or Survivor Assistance in the other service branches.

caftan / kaftan / qaftan :
a long garment having long sleeves that's tied at the waist by a girdle, and is worn under a coat in the Middle East. Also, a long, full, usually collarless robe with wide sleeves that is worn casually or informally, as by Westerners when lounging or entertaining.

Caiman :
a smaller and lighter version of the wheeled Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle with an armored V-hull that's designed for use in constricted urban areas.

calico :
a plain-woven cotton cloth printed with a figured pattern on one side; originally exported from Calicut (formerly known as Kozhikode), a seaport on the Arabian Sea in western Kerala in southwest India. Also, an animal having a spotted or particolored coat. Also, anything mottled or variegated in color.

caliph / calif / kalif / kaliph / khalif :
a spiritual leader of Islam, claiming succession from the prophet Muhammad; as derived from 'successor'. Also, any of the former Muslim rulers of Baghdad (until 1258) and of the Ottoman Empire (from 1571 until 1924).

caliphate :
an Islamic state or Muslim empire wherein sharia is the basis for governance; used both historically and prophetically.

camel :
a large, humped, ruminant quadruped (Camelus) of the Old World; either the two-humped Bactrian or Asian camel or the one-humped dromedary or Arabian camel. Also, a color ranging from yellowish tan to yellowish brown. [v: khaki]

CamelBak :
commercial name for the three-liter (3l) "personal hydration system" supplied with the MOdular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment (MOLLE) issued to field troops as an individual canteen equipped with a sipping tube.

camel burger :
a garnished sandwich consisting of a fried or broiled patty made from ground camel meat mixed with lamb and beef, as served at the Abu Dhabi Officer's Club; an authentic regional specialty similar to the caribou burger in Alaska and the kangaroo burger in Australia. Also, slang for the Mid-Eastern sandwich of deep-fried falafel that's served in a pita bread pocket.

Camel II :

camel land :
sardonic slang for the Mid-East / Near East operational area, being a desert theme park, also known as "sandbox", "sand land", or the "Devil's garden".

camp :
all of the people, equipment, and shelters needed for a military establishment. Also, the place where a military unit is POSTed and lodged for training or some other temporary duty. Also, any temporary structure that's used as shelter by transient or casual occupants. Also, the group of transients or casuals who irregularly occupy such impermanent lodging, as to station troops at a post.

Camp Ass :
slang for Camp As Sayliyah in Coha, Qatar.

Camp Bucca :
a military detention facility located near Umm Qasr in Iraq, used for Islamic terrorists.

Camp David Accords :
a peace treaty signed in 1979 between Israel and Egypt that was generated from talks hosted by President Carter at Camp David between Egyptian President Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Begin.

Camp David Summit :
a meeting held at Camp David from 11 to 25 July 2000 between U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, in an effort to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the Summit ended with a Trilateral statement but without an agreement.

Canaan :
the ancient region lying between the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, being the land promised by God to Abraham (Genesis 12:5-10). Also, the Biblical name of Palestine. Also, any land of promise; a "promised land".

Canaanite :
a member of a Semitic people who inhabited parts of ancient Palestine, were conquered by the Israelites, and were then largely absorbed by them. Also, a group of Semitic languages, including Hebrew and Phoenician, spoken chiefly in ancient Palestine and Syria. [re: Canaanitish, Canaanitic]

canonical hours :
any of certain periods of the day set apart for prayer and devotion in Christian practice; to wit: matins (morning prayers) and lauds (psalms), prime, terce/tierce, sext/sexta hora, nones, vespers (evensong), and compline/ completa hora.

cantor :
the religious official of a synagogue who sings or chants the prayers that are designed to be performed as solos. Also, a precentor; the person who leads a church choir or congregation in singing hymns.

Combined Air Operations Center.

USMC Combined Action Platoon, which operate like reinforced advisory teams, by living in the hamlets where they operate, patrolling the same area regularly, and training the local militia for coordinated district defense. Also, abbreviation designates Combat Air Patrol, being a distribution of different types of aircraft at various altitudes, which are typically flying high-cover "on station" [as opposed to Close Air Support (CAS)] to monitor or surveil a specific area in case of air/ground action; includes several distinct applications, such as TARCAP (TARget CAP), BARCAP (BARrier CAP), SARCAP or RESCAP (REScue CAP) on Search And Rescue operations.

the abbreviation for the 'Combat Action Ribbon' that's awarded to Naval, Marine, and Coast Guard personnel, being equivalent to the Army's Combat Infantryman's Badge (CIB).

caravan of coffins :
slang for an escorted convoy, especially a parade of civilian vehicles mixed with military vehicles, since this consistent pattern of traffic on its regular route is such a tempting ambush target; also called "cavalcade of coffins" or "carnival of coffins". [v: shooting gallery]

caravanserai :
any large hotel or hostelry; formerly an inn with a courtyard suitable for the overnight accommodation of caravan animals.

car bomb :

Close Air Support, being tactical air (Tac-Air) strikes (bombing and strafing) flown in support of ground operations.

(kaz-ee-vack) a contraction of CASualty EVACuation, as by air or surface vehicle.

Casper :
slang for someone who always disappears whenever there's work to be done, after the name of the "friendly ghost".

Crisis Action Team.

Cayuse :
Hughes Light Observation helicopter (OH-6A), with the Marine version designated 'Sperm'.

Cluster Bomb Unit, being the general term for different types of combined effect submunitions expelled from a dispenser for use against both hard targets and soft targets.

CC :
Coalition Country; the allies.

Close Combat Attack, being a fast, low-level helicopter gunship assault against an enemy using onboard weaponry in support of friendly ground elements.

Casualty Collection Point, or Casualty Control Point.

U.S. Air Force Combat Control Team.

CE :
Combat Engineer, sometimes called demolition commando, assault pioneer, and sapper.

Army Communications-Electronics Command, being a worldwide electronic resource for logistical inventory, asset management, supply or redistribution, and stock accountability.

Combat Equipment Group - Europe, being the logistical support organization for operations in Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo, under the auspices of the 21st Theater Support Command through 1995, whence control was passed to Army Materiel Command.

Combined Effects Munition (eg: CBU-87, CBU-97).

Central Command Air Forces.

Central Command, also represented as USCENTCOM; being one of nine unified joint US military commands, with CENTCOM responsible for the Middle East region; although headquartered at McDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida, CENTCOM maintained a forward base at Doha, Qatar during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

Communications EarPlug, being a baffle device within an expanding foam earplug that dwells in the outer ear canal so as to provide hearing protection, which is especially useful around loud or sharp noises, while miniature transducers enable clear voice communications without interruption; developed in 1999, this unit may be combined with circumaural headphones ("mouse ears") for increased sound attenuation.

Communications Enhancement and Protection System, being a combination of highly sensitive microphones, micro-circuitry and the communications earplug to create a device, suitable for both aviation and ground operations, which enhances sound detection and localization, improves face-to-face communications, and provides hearing protection for impact and continuous noise, and rapid cut-off and recovery during weapons firing.

Commander's Emergency Response Program; a federal funding program that underwrites humanitarian relief and reconstruction in conflict zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Combat Engineer Vehicle.

CF :
Coalition Forces, being a general term referring to American, British, and Iraqi elements.

Combined Forces Air Component Command.

Combined Forces Land Component Command.

Combined Forces Maritime Component Command.

C4 :
Command, Control, Communications, and Computers.

C-4 :
Composition C-4, being the fourth variant in the Composition C formulation; a very stable, malleable, and lightweight plastic explosive that has been widely used because of its high potency, great versatility, and easy portability.

Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command.

CG :
Commanding General.

chachamim :
a Jewish scholar.

chador / chadar / chaddar / chuddar / chadur / chadri :
the traditional garment of Muslim and Hindu women that's worn as an expression of modesty, consisting of a long, usually black or drab-colored cloth or sheet that envelops the body from head to foot, and covers all or part of the face; originating in Afghanistan, as literally derived from veil or headdress. Unlike the abaya, this enveloping overgarment is sometimes worn unfastened in the front.

Chag HaMatzot :
the Festival of Unleavened Bread, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, following directly after the Passover holiday, when no prohibited fare (chametz) may be consumed or possessed for seven days. This holy week of dietary restraint represents an observant response to the redemption of the Lord. [nb: in modern Judaism, Passover and Chag HaMatzot are collectively considered as a single holiday, simply referred to as "Passover" without distinction] [v: Exodus 12:15-20, Leviticus 23:6; Matthew 16:12, Mark 8:14-15, Luke 12:1, Romans 6:13-22, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8]

chag sameach :
a conventional Hebrew phrase ("happy holiday") said to express 'best wishes' on a Jewish holiday.

Chaharshanbe Suri :
the Festival of Fire, marking the importance of the light over the darkness, the arrival of spring, and the revival of nature, as observed on the last Wednesday in the Persian calendar year.

chain gun :
a class of externally powered, link-fed , chain driven, single-barrel, selective-fire weapons that are mounted on vehicles and aircraft, and capable of effectively firing 200 rounds per minute at lightly armored, thin-skinned, and SOFT TARGETs more than a mile distant; this term refers to the use of a roller chain that drives the bolt back and forth when the TRIGGER is activated.

Chalcidice / Khalkidikí :
an autonomous peninsula in northeastern Greece that extends into the Aegean Sea from southeastern Macedonia, terminating in three projections: Kassandra (known in ancient times as Pallene), Sithonia (seat of Jewish and Christian sects), and Athos (a theocracy comprising twenty monasteries); inhabited since prehistoric times, this region has been ruled by Ionians, Romans, Persians, and others, often serving as a launch site for nearby invasions.

chametz :
leavening, as yeast or baking powder that's mixed with flour or crumbs to make bread; literally derived from 'sour'. In Mid-Eastern culture, anything that's not kosher for the Passover holiday, as food prepared with leavening; the search for inappropriate fare (bedikat chametz) is contrasted with the covenant of salt.

Chaparral :
a mobile Surface-to-Air (SAM) missile platform consisting of Stingers mounted on a HMMWV (Humvee or Hummer).

chapati / chapatti :
a flat, pancake-like bread, usually of whole-wheat flour, that's baked on a griddle.

chapel :
a subordinate or separate part of a church, especially a room or building set aside for worship in a secular institution or edifice. Also, a private or secluded place for prayer or worship; a small independent church-like structure dedicated to special religious services.

chazal :
a Jewish sage. Also, the teaching of a Jewish sage.

chechia :
(sha-shi-ya) a soft, flexible, handmade woolen hat that's traditionally burgundy red, but also appears in black, gray, cream, and other colors when worn by Muslim men in northern Africa, especially Tunisia.

checkpoint in a box :
an Access Control Point (ACP) in Iraq that's been reinforced by protective barriers against suicide bombers.

chickpea / chickpeas :
the pea-like seeds contained in pods on widely cultivated plants (cicer arietinum) in the legume family, which are used as a food; also called garbanzo or garbanzo bean.

chillum :
the part of a hookah that contains the tobacco (or any other substance) being smoked. Also, a hookah or other water pipe adapted for smoking marijuana. Also, the tobacco or the substance itself to be smoked. [nb: contradictory Muslim use of narcotics but prohibition of wine and other spiritous liquors]

Chinook :
large Boeing CH-47 twin-engined cargo and transport helicopter with a rear loading ramp and side access doors, which has been operational since 1962; also called 'Hook or shit-hook.

chintz :
a cotton fabric printed in bright patterns that's used for apparel, draperies, or slipcovers; originating as a stained or painted calico from southwestern India.

chintzy :
anything cheap or inferior, especially when also gaudy or tawdry; as derived from chintz fabric. Also, stingy, miserly, or niggardly.

chocolata :
pidgin for 'chocolate', as used by Arabic children to mean any type of candy.

chocolate chip :
a distinctive variant of the desert camouflage Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) that added brown splotches or blotches to the mottled tan and green pattern; this color variant did not alter the basic uniform, which was replaced in 2004 by the Army Combat Uniform (ACU).

Christianity :
the beliefs and practices of the Christian religion, including the Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox churches; those conditions held by adherents to be a fulfillment of prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the coming of a Messiah in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Also, pertaining to the quality or character advocated by the teachings of Jesus Christ, or the religion based upon those teachings in versions of the New Testament. [v: Christendom]

Christians in Action :
a euphemism for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

(chew; not c-h-u) Containerized Housing Unit, being a mobile and stackable shipping container that's been converted (by the addition of flooring, insulation, electricity, window, and air vent) into living space for 2-8 military personnel; when equipped with an en suite bathroom, it's called a 'wet CHU', and when arranged in clusters, the neighborhood is called 'CHUville'. The unarmored CHU is a larger, cleaner, and more comfortable alternative to living in a tent or hutment.

church :
the place or building dedicated to the public worship or the religious services practiced by Christians. Also, the whole body (or any major division thereof) of Christian believers; Christendom.

CHUville / CHU-ville :
slang for a cluster of Containerized Housing Units (CHU); also called "CHU farm".

Central Intelligence Agency.

Commander-In-Chief, Central Command.

circumcise / circumcision :
to remove the prepuce from the penis of a male (huppah or chupah / chuppah), especially as a religious rite. Also, to remove the external genitalia (ie: labia, prepuce, clitoris) of a female, especially as a religious rite. Also, a church festival observed on the first day of January that honors the brith of Jesus of Nazareth. Also, to purify spiritually.

civcas :
abbreviation for civilian casualty; being noncombatants who are unavoidably victimized when military targets are neutralized; sometimes called 'collateral damage'.

civilization jihad :
catch-phrase used by the U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood in a 1991 document to describe its strategy of gradually destroying America and its corrupt culture from within.

Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan.

Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsula, a multinational interservice project headquartered in Balad Iraq, with a month-long Recondo School setup at the K1 training base in Kirkuk Iraq.

Combined Joint Task Force.

Combat Logistics Battalion.

Concerned Local Citizen, being the official term for regional fighters, many of whom are former insurgents that have changed sides; also known as Iraqi Security Volunteer (ISV) or "Sons of Iraq".

cleared hot :
under restrictive rules of engagement (ROE), clearance from higher command (sometimes more than one or two echelons) for an enemy target to be engaged by specific weapons or weapon systems, including sniper and Tac-Air.

Cleaner, Lubricant, and Preservative; a preparation (ie: gun oil) used to maintain firearms.

Command Launch Unit for portable missiles; can also be used as a stand-alone day/night sighting device.

Contingency Landing Zone, being the fallback alternative or tertiary reserve site to be utilized after discovering that the primary and secondary areas are unavailable or unusable.

abbreviation for the Command Master Chief rating established 19 December 2000 in the naval services.

CO :
commanding officer. Also, abbreviation for 'company', being a military organization sized between a platoon and a battalion that contains about 150 servicemembers, depending on its mission, and is typically commanded by a captain.

Coalition :
a temporary alliance between parties or states for the accomplishment of a shared mission; to wit, the allies that are cooperating in the Gulf War and the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) operations.

Contractor Owned Contract[-or] Operated, being the "privatized" agencies or companies which fulfill military or governmental functions, especially merchandise and maintenance; also known as "Civilian Owned Civilian Operated" or "Commercially Owned Commercially Operated".

Chlorine - Oxygen - Iodine Laser, being laser light that's produced by a chemical reaction.

abbreviation for counterinsurgency / counter-insurgency, which is a coordinated military and civic action (CA) program combating subversion and guerrilla warfare.

coining :
the challenge of matching unit or operational coins as a gesture of fellowship or as a means of raising funds, often at a bar or other social event, using somewhat elaborate or esoteric rules. Also, the presentation of a unit, operational, or special event coin as a token of comradeship or recognition; such coins are usually not serial numbered or otherwise personalized. During the Gulf War, possession of a regional SOUVENIR coin (the higher the denomination the better) from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Iraq served to signify that "I was there", and can also serve as a challenge coin. With the increased popularity of novelty coins, both authentic and imitative, they have lately been presented as 'calling cards' by high-ranking military members and senior government officials since the beginning of the Global War On Terror (GWOT). [nb: Desert Storm POWs SGT Troy Dunlap and MAJ Rhonda Cornum ("She Went To War") have been credited with initiating the practice of using local coins as campaign medallions for the Gulf War]

cold wash :
an informal performance review, especially a critique or evaluation that's conducted immediately after a training exercise has concluded; an inclusive and extensive self-assessment of a unit's performance that's conducted by the participants as short-interval feedback.

cold zero :
the central zone of concentrated focus wherein the sniper's self-confidence will actually lower his blood pressure and diminish his anxiety when sighted-in on a target.

collateral damage :
the necessary and unavoidable harm done to noncombatants and non-military structures in order to effectively neutralize or eliminate a hostile target; as derived from accompanying, accessory, or auxiliary. When terrorists, guerrillas, and Insurgents have sought to limit counterterror, counterguerrilla, and counterinsurgent responses by increasing the moral and political criticism of overkill and so-called "over-reaction", this expression (along with 'mushrooms', for their tendency to pop-up anywhere, and 'lambs', as "to the slaughter") became a catch-phrase for 'civilian casualties' ... with the blame always laid upon the ignoble military, and never upon the so-called "noble rebels". Also, any damage incidental and inferior to a predominant activity.

colonnade :
a series of regularly spaced columns supporting an entablature and usually one side of a roof. [cf: arcade] Also, a series of trees planted in a long row, as along a road or shaded promenade.

combat tourist :
any civilian, such as a politician or journalist, with enough influence to be escorted through some of the pacified regions of the hazardous duty area or combat zone, so as to be able to pontificate with relative authority on the issues pertaining to the on-going conflict.

combat zero :
an expedient adjustment of elevation and windage on a firearm's sights, being an accommodation made to a firearm after it's been bumped off of its true setting by hard usage, so as to strike a man-sized target at normal field range (40-100yds), often accomplished by empirical shooting adjustments made while in enemy contact.

combining glass :
in aviation, the sloping transparent surface that reflects the Head's Up Display (HUD) projection back to the pilot's field of view, with the effect that the instruments' symbology is superimposed over the forward view through the aircraft's windshield.

comm / commo :
communications or signal capacity, its personnel and equipment.

Comoro Islands :
a group of islands in the Indian Ocean between northern Madagascar and east Africa that was formerly an overseas territory of France; now divided between the Comoros and France.

Comoros :
a republic (Federal and Islamic Republic of the Comoros) that was formerly an overseas territory of France; declared independent in 1975, it now comprises three of the Comoro Islands (ie: Grand Comoro, Mohéli, and Anjouan), with its capital at Moroni.

confession box :
during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), an intelligence gathering "suggestion box" was setup at various locations where local people could voluntarily report sightings or suspicions that would be of interest to the police or military; due to a need to make these "suggestion boxes" accessible to all, literate or not, they were arranged as a secluded alcove that would offer anonymity, somewhat resembling a Catholic confessional, hence the informal name.

CONcept of OPeration.

CONtingency PLAN.

Combat OutPost, being a small platoon- or company-sized base situated in a hostile area, serving both guard and patrolling duties.

cop in a box :
slang for a Vehicle Check Point (VCP).

'copter :
truncation of helicopter, which is commonly called a "bird". [nb: 'chopper' is Vietnam-era slang, and among Gulf War vets this solecism only refers to a type of motorcycle]

Coptic :
pertaining to Copts or Coptics, Coptic Christians or the Coptic Church of Egypt. Also, an Afro-Asiatic language descended from ancient Egyptian, largely extinct as a spoken language since the 16th century, but surviving as the liturgical language of the Coptic Church.

Coptic Church :
the native Christian church in Egypt, governed by a patriarch, characterized by an adherence to monophysitism, and to the use of the Coptic language in its liturgy.

cordon and knock :
an urbanized form of 'cordon and search' wherein a neighborhood or village is surrounded and each building is then searched for suspects and/or contraband.

Combat and Operations Stress Reaction, being a diagnostic classification of dysfunction induced by hostile action or hazardous duty; a non-disabling condition that's amenable to alleviation by various treatment modalities.

Cougar :
a landmine- or bomb-resistant vehicle that's larger than the Humvee but less flexible and more expensive, utilizing a capsule design that was imported from South Africa in 1998, which protects passengers and key vehicle components from explosions, shrapnel, and small arms fire; the 4-wheel 7-ton Cougar carries ten passengers, and the 6-wheel 12-ton Cougar carries sixteen fully equipped troops.

counter-terrorism :
the use of offensive and defensive stratagems, including terror tactics against terrorists, revolutionaries, religious fanatics, and other sociopolitical radicals; also known as anti-terrorism.

couscous / kuskus :
a north African dish consisting of steamed semolina (wheat pasta), served with vegetables and meat.

covenant of salt :
[brit melach; Numbers 18:19] a reliable and everlasting compact, based upon the preservative properties of salt as a metaphor for eternity; because salt does not ferment or spoil, it's opposed to 'chametz'.

Coyote :
an expendable aerial surveillance drone using an electro-optical camera that can remain on station up to 90 minutes, and may be variously deployed to operate up to 20,000feet above ground level using X-wings and battery power.

CP :
Command Post. Also, Check Point, which is usually numbered.

corporal, being the lowest non-commissioned officer (NCO) rank in the Army and Marine Corps.

(see-pee-oh) Chief Petty Officer, rated E-7 and above in the Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine; also called 'chief'.

CQ :
abbreviation for Charge of Quarters, being an enlisted duty assignment posted in the orderly room when all company-grade NCOs and officers are off-duty. Also, an abbreviation meaning Call to Quarters. Also, a MarSpeak abbreviation for Command Quarters, being the place where company-level administration is conducted.

cross-level / cross-leveling :
a process wherein the military temporarily transfers personnel, especially among reserve units, so as to fill quotas that're dictated by deployment circumstances.

Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station for vehicular augmentation.

cruise sock :
NavSpeak for a sock sacrificed to surreptitious masturbation during deployment, which clean-up item is hidden in the user's bed and discarded overboard at the end of the tour; also called an "underway sock", and known as a 'happy sock' by soldiers. [v: condom]

Crusade :
any of the military expeditions undertaken by the Christians of Europe, sanctioned by the pope, during the 11th, 12th, or 13th centuries to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims; designated as the "campaign of cross-holders" by the saracens.

Crusader :
a Christian soldier from Europe who, under papal sanction, sought to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims by military expeditions during the medieval era; identified as "cross-holders" by the saracens, this term has been used in recent times to designate any martial opponent of Islam, Islamism or Islamofascism. Also, any vigorous adherent, advocate, or proponent on behalf of a cause.

crusader fort :
modern reference to an allied BASE CAMP that exists during the era of the GWOT as an alternate universe in the midst of the Near East, being a sanctuary for United Nations forces to withdraw into when not required to operate in the culturally alien and socially hostile environment of the Islamic country requiring foreign assistance; an allusion to the medieval BASEs from which military expeditions were conducted by the Christians to recover the Holy Lands from the Muslims.

Combat Search And Rescue, also represented as Command Search And Rescue.

(cash) Combat Support Hospital, or Combat Surgical Hospital, being the intermediate level medical facility which replaces the functions of an evacuation hospital.

Cultural Support Team.

Collective Security Treaty Organization.

CT :
Counter-Terrorism, being the use of offensive and defensive stratagems, including terror tactics against terrorists, revolutionaries, religious fanatics, and other sociopolitical radicals; also known as anti-terrorism (AT).

C3 :
Command, Control, and Communications.

Counter-Terrorism Service, being an Iraqi element trained by SOF advisors in detailed coursework, after stringent screening and assessment of candidates eventuating in almost 50% attrition, resulting in operators with advanced military skills.

C2 :
Command and Control.

curry / currie :
a pungent dish of vegetables, meat or fish, that's flavored with curry powder and various spices, and is often eaten with rice; any dish flavored with curry powder or the like. Also, to cook or flavor food with curry powder or any similar combination of spices; as derived from 'sauce' [Tamil kani].

Cover Your Ass; alternatively represented as 'Cover Your Anatomy' or 'Conceal Your Assets'.

dahaati / dehaati :
a Farsi word used as a disparaging description of people who live in rural villages or small towns in remote areas; synonymous with 'rube' or 'hillbilly'.

Dahna :
an area in the northeastern Rub' al Khali desert that comprises a region of eastern central Saudi Arabia.

dal / dhal :
a sauce made from lentils and spices that's usually served with rice; as derived from 'split'.

dalan / dallan :
in Persian and Indian architecture, a veranda or open hall for the reception of visitors.

Damascus :
the capital of Syria, in the southwestern part; it's reputed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. [nb: Muhammad is reputedly refused to enter this magnificent city because he only wanted to go to paradise once!]

danger close :
ordnance delivered within the "probability of incapacitation" distance with its associated risk of potential injury to friendly forces is the responsibility of the engaged commander; not a fixed or invariable calculation.

Designated Area of Recovery, being a specified geographical location from which surveillance, reconnaissance, or other special operations teams may be extracted by air, boat, or other means as a result of enemy contact or mission failure. Designated during the planning phase of an operation as part of the escape and evasion (E&E) protocol, and coordinated with rescue and personnel recovery teams prior to insertion.

Dardanelles :
the strait (40mi) between European and Asian Turkey that connects the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara; known in ancient times as the Hellespont.

Dari :
the Persian language, as spoken in Afghanistan.

dark side of the moon :
catch-phrase for any extremely remote COP or FOB with no appreciable "creature comforts", especially those situated in Afghanistan.

(dask) Direct Air Support Center.

data mining :
the use of programmatic algorithms and other applicable index techniques that identify (profile) suspicious individuals and analyze (investigate) their relationships from the vast array of statistics accumulated on random subjects and situations so as to discern connections and cross-connections, of which facts and patterns a person may not be consciously aware of about themselves.

dawa :
the proselytizing of Islam.

senior administrator and coordinator of America's foreign intelligence programs.

informal designation for the Desert Camouflage Uniform in its various patterns and configurations, which BDU was discontinued in 2007.

death blossom :
slang for the tendency of Iraqi security forces to indiscriminately indulge in a form of "blind fire" or "spray 'n' pray" whenever they receive some random enemy gunfire; such a lack of fire discipline makes them a dangerous neighbor. This expression was adopted from the sci-fi movie The Last Starfighter (1984), wherein a solitary spacecraft is able to single-handedly wipeout an entire armada!

death card :
novelty calling card, often depicting a unit's motto or insignia, and making some sardonic or wry announcement in English or local language (such as "This believer converted courtesy of ..."); as derived from the earlier practice of leaving a unit PATCH (either official shoulder or unofficial pocket insignia) on the corpse. This practice probably originated during WWII beginning with the Anzio campaign (Feb 1944), when the Black Devils left German-text "The worst is yet to come." death cards on corpses to enhance the mystique of the First Special Service Force (FSSF). After the 9/11 2001 terrorist attack, the U.S. Army Counter-Terrorist Task Force made an arrangement with the New York city Police Department to supply the JSOTF operatives with NYPD shoulder patches to leave on Taliban or al-Qaida corpses and hard target wreckage as retributive death cards. Specially minted unit coins, including novelty coins (eg: hunting club, varmint license, 72 virgins dating service, etc), have also been left as macabre calling cards during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War On Terror (GWOT) campaign, despite the official prohibitions against such "insults".

decapitation strike :
a strategy for quickly ending a war against a "strong man" or other dictatorial leader by isolating or removing the regime's superstructure, disorganizing opposition by eliminating command; the U.S. military employed this technique to rapidly curtail resistance at the outset in Grenada, Haiti, Panama, and Iraq.

Deccan :
the entire peninsula of India south of the Narbada River. Also, a plateau region in southern India between the Narbada and Krishna rivers.

dervish :
a Muslim ascetic (eg: Sufi) who carries on ecstatic observances, such as energetic dancing and whirling, vociferous chanting or shouting; as derived from "poor man" or "beggar" in Persian. [cf: Pentecostal 'holy roller']

desert :
an arid, sandy region that's capable of supporting only a few specialized life forms, due to a lack of resources or to harsh conditions. [nb: Bedouin nomads have long called the Syrian desert "the land of thirst and heat"]

desert camouflage :
a three-/six-tone camouflage patterned Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) worn for concealment in an arid region; originating as a subdued khaki tan uniform in the British Army, the artificial mottling (often called "coffee-stain") of such clothing has extended to chocolate chip and tiger stripe versions, and has since been extended to pixelated digitals with infrared protection.

desert fathers :
monks (eg: Saint Anthony, Saint Pachomius, et al) who lived as hermits in the deserts of Egypt and founded the first Christian monasteries.

Desert Fox :
operation in the Mid-East during 16-22 Dec 1998.

desert polish :
see desert varnish.

Desert Shield :
an operation launched by U.S. and coalition forces on 7 August 1990 to contain the Iraqi Republican Guard, which had invaded Kuwait on 2 August, and to comply with treaty obligations to protect Saudi Arabia, preventing further annexation; a U.S. declaration on 20 September and a UN resolution on 29 November stipulated the unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi forces and restoration of the legitimate government in Kuwait, including a deadline of 15 January 1991. The Persian Gulf War (7 Aug 1990 - 28 Feb 1991) is also known as the Gulf War or "Gulf War I".

Desert Spring :
operation in southwest Asia from 31 Dec 1998 to 18 Mar 2003.

Desert Storm :
an operation launched by a U.S.-led coalition on 17 January 1991 with air attacks, followed by ground attacks on 24 February, with Kuwait City liberated on 27 February 1991; having obtained all military objectives and fulfilled its mission, the coalition declared a cease-fire on 28 February 1991. The Persian Gulf War (7 Aug 1990 - 28 Feb 1991) is also known as the Gulf War or "Gulf War I".

Desert Thunder :
operation in the Mid-East from 11 Nov to 22 Dec 1998.

desert varnish / desert polish :
the lustrous dark coating that forms on rocks, pebbles, and the like, when exposed to weathering in the desert; this crust usually consists of manganese and iron oxides.

det cord :
detonating cord; being an "instantaneous fuse" in the form of a long, thin, flexible, waterproof tube loaded with explosive generating high-speed transmission, which is used to obtain the (nearly) simultaneous explosion from widely spaced demolitions, or to explosively "cut" objects and obstacles.

Devil's garden :
slang for a minefield. Also, slang reference to the inhospitable desert; also called 'sand land', 'camel land', and the 'sandbox'.

(dee-fak) Dining FACility, being the modern military designation for a place to eat meals; a refectory.

dharna / dhurna :
the traditional practice of redressing a grievance or of demanding satisfaction for a transgression by sitting and fasting at the doorstep of the offender or debtor until compliance is exacted or until death voids the protest; being an expression of yogic philosophy in Indian culture.

dhikr / zikr :
a meeting of Islamic dervishes at which a phrase containing a name of God is chanted rhythmically to induce a state of ecstasy. Also, each set of passages from the Koran so chanted, with its accompanying ritual; as derived from 'recitation'.

dhoti / dhooti / dhootie / dhuti :
a long loincloth of cotton fabric, sometimes patterned, that's worn by many men in southern Asia, especially Hindus in India.

dhow / dau / dow :
any of various types of traditional sailing vessels with long narrow hulls that are lateen-rigged on two or three masts, as used for fishing and trading in the coastal waters of the Near East, from east Africa to southern India, including the persian Gulf, Suez Canal, Red Sea, and Bay of Bengal, with crews from ten to thirty sailors. [cf: felucca, dhoni, tranki, ghrab, ghalafah, jahazi, etc]

DI :
(dee-eye) Drill Instructor.

Defense Intelligence Agency.

dietary laws :
any of the traditional practices regulating the preparation of permitted foods or food combinations, and the utensils or dishes used in serving them, especially those customary prohibitions imposed by Jews and Muslims; a food may be classified as blessed, sacrificed, transubstantiated, or forbidden. [nb: American mil-pers serving on active duty are explicitly excused from the constraint of dietary laws regardless of their religion]

digitals / digital camouflage :
informal designation of the high-tech field uniform or work utilities that has an integrated dispersion pattern, incorporated Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) indicators, and even includes tracking or locator sensors for the recovery of wounded or dead servicemembers; although digitals are also known as "pixels", this refers to the stippling technique more than the actual pattern, such that woodland and tiger stripe are both pixelated.

din :
the religious observances of a Muslim; as literally derived from 'religion', and also known as ibada or Pillars of Islam.

dinar :
the basic monetary unit of currency in Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Tunisia, and Yugoslavia. Also, a monetary unit of currency in Iran that's equal to 1/100 of a rial.

dirham :
the basic monetary unit of currency in Morocco and the United Arab Emirates; having the same root as the Greek drachma, meaning "handful". Also, a monetary unit of currency in Libya that's equal to 1/100 of the dinar. Also, a monetary unit of currency in Qatar that's equal to 1/100 of the riyal.

dirt bike :
a rugged, minimalized motorcycle with high ground clearance and heavy duty knobbly tires, often accessorized with maintenance items and outdoor survival tools, that's used to transport a fully equipped infantryman across harsh terrain (ranging 200-500miles) in a timely manner whenever delivery by parachute, helicopter, APC, or truck is contraindicated.

dirt sailor :
slang reference to the Navy's engineers serving in mobile Construction Battalions (CB); also called SeaBees. Also, slang for any NavPers serving in a non-traditional role ashore.

dirty bomb :
a relatively low-yield radiological dispersion device (RDD).

Dis :
in Mid-Eastern mythology, a god of the underworld; also called 'Dis Pater' and equivalent to the ancient Greek god (Pluto) who ruled the underworld.

dishdasha / dishdashah / deshdasheh :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment in Oman and the Levant.

Distinguished Flying Cross / DFC :
awarded for exceptional achievement or valor in aerial flight.

Distinguished Service Cross / DSC :
the nation's second highest award for valor; instituted during WWI, and equivalent to the Air Force Cross or Navy Cross.

Distinguished Service Medal / DSM :
the highest award for non-combat service, including command or staff positions in a combat zone.

div :
abbreviation for 'division'.

divan :
a sofa or couch, usually without arms or back, that can be used as a bed. Also, a long cushioned seat, usually without arms or back; placed against a wall in Oriental countries. Also, a collection of poems, especially a collection by a single poet in Arabic or Persian; as derived from "booklet". Also, in countries of the Middle East, a council of state; as derived by extension of 'booklet' into "account book". Also, any council, committee, or commission. Also, in the Middle East, a council chamber, judgment hall, audience chamber, or bureau of state. Also, a large building used for some official or public purpose, such as a custom house. Also, a smoking room, as in connection with a tobacco shop.

divide the sea :
an informal directive intended to separate military from civilian personnel; avoiding the comingling of a mass of humanity during search and clear operations by imposing a clear corridor will enhance public safety and prevent accidental discharges while suspects are being sequestered.

djellaba :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment by Maghreb and Berber Arabs; also called gandora and aselham.

Djibouti / Jibuti :
a republic in east Africa, on the Gulf of Aden, that was formerly an overseas territory of France (French Somaliland, French Territory of the Afars and Issas); gained independence 1977, with its capital at the seaport of Djibouti in the southeast part of the country.

D-main :
informal reference to the divisional main headquarters during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

DeMilitarized Zone, being a border, boundary, or ambit that shall be free of all military forces and equipment.

doc ex / doc-X :
DOCument EXploitation, being the collection and examination of enemy papers, files, books, manuals, and other recorded material.

doc in a box :
a colloquialism for a walk-in medical treatment clinic where non-emergency patients are cared for on a first-come first-served basis by a minimal staff, usually consisting of a medical corpsman, nurse, and physician's assistant; such a facility is separate from its supervisory hospital, and also cares for the needs of non-military civilians when situated in a foreign country.

DoD :
(dee-oh-dee) Department of Defense, being the federal agency that subsumes all branches of the military for national defense.

dog's year :
reference to a tour of duty spent in a combat zone being perceived as lasting at least seven times as long as the normal passage of calendar time, thus aging and exhausting the combatant much more than his peers serving in safer stateside billets; based upon the proposition that dogs age at a seven to one (7::1) ratio of human years, with this analogy compounded by the comparison of a combatant to a "doggie" or "dogface".

dolma :
a dish of tomatoes, green peppers, vine leaves, or eggplants that are stuffed with a mixture of meat, rice, and spices; as literally derived from 'something filled'.

dome of obedience :
slang for a military helmet; also called a brain bucket or skid lid.

Dome of the Rock :
a shrine in Jerusalem at the site from which the prophet Muhammad reportedly ascended through the seven heavens to the throne of God; it's built on the site of the Jewish Temple. [v: al-isra wa-l-miraj]

dominicale :
a veil formerly worn by Christian women during divine services.

double time :
the command to increase the march tempo of a formation; military jargon for 'run', this command was formerly given as "double quick".

down range :
being assigned or directed, to advance or deploy to a combat zone, especially to move from a secure base area to an insecure or hazardous field area, as derived by extension from the impact area on a firing range; also called 'the field' or 'sandbox'.

Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition, an armor piercing artillery round for a howitzer.

driller / al-haffar :
informal reference to a strong springtime shamal that's renown for drilling huge depressions in desert sand dunes.

D-ring :
referent for a snap-link or carabiner. Also, a metal ring in the shape of a capital letter 'D' that's used as an anchor-point on a belt or harness for attaching items by clipping onto them; the deadeye anchor for a snap-link or carabiner. Also, the handle used to manually release the rip-cord when deploying the main canopy during freefall, or the reserve parachute in an emergency descent.

drive on :
an admonition or injunction to be steadfast, resolute, persistent, and resilient in accomplishing the mission; often expressed as: "Suck it up an' drive on!"

drone :
a remotely controlled or programmed guidance vehicle, vessel, or craft, such as a pilotless airplane; also called "bot" as a contraction of 'robot'.

Druze / Druse :
the independent religious sect, or any member thereof, that was established in the 11th century as a branch of Isma'ili Shi'ism by Muhammad ibn Isma'il al-Darazi and other founders, containing elements of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and believing in the transmigration of souls and the ultimate perfection of humankind; chiefly extant in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.

DShK :
see Dushka.

Diplomatic Security Service, being a protective branch of the State Department that provides physical and electronic security at American embassies, and bodyguard protection for Foreign Service employees.

Digital Terrain Following, which uses a global mapping and optical surveillance data base system for extreme low-level flight, often conducted at high-speed.

Dushka / Doushka :
informal designation of the DShK-38 heavy machinegun, meaning "dear one" or "beloved one", that was designed (1938) by Vasily Degtyaryov and Georgi Shpagin, being manufactured by Tula in the Soviet Union as a gas-operated, belt-fed 12.7mmX108mm (.51caliber) anti-armor, anti-aircraft, and infantry-support gun (@75#) effectively firing to 2500m while setup on a wheeled and shielded tripod.

dust devil :
a small whirlwind that commonly occurs in hot dry regions on calm afternoons, and is made visible (from ten to a hundred feet in diameter, and from hundreds to thousands of feet high) by the dust, sand, and other debris that it picks up from the ground; also called dust whirl.

DustOff :
a medical evacuation helicopter, or the medevac mission of transporting the wounded; as derived from the 1964 radio call-sign of LT Paul B. Kelley in Vietnam.

dust storm / duststorm :
a storm of strong winds and dust-filled air that extends, during a period of drought, over a land area that's normally arable; also called duster.

dynamic truth :
a proposition (especially an operational order) that is subject to change; a contingency plan (CONPLAN) that is already being revised; not an 'absolute truth'.

Eagle Eye :
a remotely piloted reconnaissance aircraft; an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Earnest Will :
a Persian Gulf operation from 24 Jul 1987 to 1 Aug 1990.

eat the blast / ate the blast :
catch-phrase describing the protective posture (mouth open, eyes closed, and ears covered) that equalizes the pressure from explosive detonation so as to inhibit head trauma.

Effects Based Operation.

ebru :
a form of decorative paper art developed in the Mid-East to prevent the counterfeiting of official documents, from treaties and deeds to trusts and bonds, and as a mystical art when decorating Sufi texts; seemingly developed in Turkistan as a many hued form of "water painting" or "water marbling", changing from "cloud-like" (ebri) to "face of water" (abru) as it migrated through Persia, becoming "Turkish paper" when introduced to Europe in the 17th century. Ebru consists of painted designs and motifs on a bath of thickened water, which is then transferred (in reverse) to paper; no two paintings are ever alike, nor can any be precisely duplicated. [v: watercolor, watermark, illuminated manuscript, silkscreening, sand painting, glass painting]

echelons above reality :
a catch-phrase for 'higher headquarters', where no one has any idea about what is really happening.

Electronic CounterMeasures, being one of the elements of electronic warfare (EW).

Entry Control Point, being a tactical entrance regulating access to a camp or base.

EveryDay Carry, being those first line loadout items that are always borne on one's person, and are therefore the only items consistently available in an emergency; depending upon one's occupation, these items may include a handkerchief for bandaging, shoe laces for binding, a belt for compressing, keys and coins for levering, a watch for navigation, eyeglasses for starting fires, a wallet containing cash and other tinder, a pocketknife for cutting, and so forth. The deliberate selection of multi-purpose or unobtrusive items has become a philosophy of "preparedness" for regular life ... the modern equivalent of the "possibles sack" that pioneers wore around their necks. EDC is a limited stock of tools, equipment, and supplies that are carried on a daily basis to assist in tackling situations ranging from the mundane to the disastrous.

Explosive Formed Projectile, or Explosively Formed Penetrator, being a roadside bomb that can launch a molten metal penetrator that will pierce armoured vehicles.

Enhanced Guided Bomb Unit; a highly accurate programmable 'smart bomb' of the "bunker buster" type.

Egypt :
a republic (Arab Republic of Egypt) in northeast Africa with its capital at Cairo; known as Misr in Arabic, and formerly (1958-71) called United Arab Republic. Also, an ancient kingdom in northeast Africa that was divided into the Nile Delta (Lower Egypt) and the area from Cairo south to the Sudan (Upper Egypt).

Enemy Killed In Action.

Electronic Divining Rod :
informal reference to the man-portable sensor that has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan to detect cellphone broadcasts in a manner not unlike Radio Direction Finding (RDF) so as to attack the unit or to silence the equipment. [v: goniometry]

electronic pacifier :
slang for a mobile or cellular telephone, which is so-called due to the comfortable sense of calm well-being imparted by its propinquity ... enabling the possessor to pretend that he is not naked and alone in a dangerous world!

embed :
short for embedded reporter, being an accredited journalist or photojournalist who's attached to a military unit and traveling with those unit members, reporting from the field and sending dispatches from the combat zone; commencing in 2003, this methodology had not been practiced since World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars.

embrace the suck :
an admonition to cope with the frustrations and confusions of combat by confronting the reality of war's difficulties, and proceeding with the assigned mission; an encyclopedic experience of hardship rendered as a gritty epigram.

emir / emeer / amir / ameer :
a chieftain, prince, commander, or head of state in some Islamic countries, such as the title of certain Turkish officials, or a title of honor of the descendants of Muhammad. Also, the former title of the ruler of Afghanistan.

emirate / emeerate / amirate :
the office or rank of an emir. Also, the state or territory under the jurisdiction of an emir.

Empty Quarter :
a desert in southern Arabia, north of Hadhramaut, and extending over 250,000 square miles from Yemen to Oman; also known as Great Sandy Desert, Rub' al Khali, Rimal, and Dahna.

EO :
electro-optical, being sensors that can enhance or distribute images.

(ee-oh-dee) Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

(ee-oh-eff) Escalation Of Force, being the incremental progression of violence permitted in a developing situation by the rules of engagement (ROE); the gradual level of force legally authorized by tactical discretion.

End Of Mission; conclusion of assignment.

ePRT :
embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team; see PRT.

Enemy Prisoner of War.

ER :
(ee-ar) Emergency Room. Also, Efficiency Report in the Army; variously designated for enlisted members (EER), non-commissioned officers (NCOER), and officers (OER).

erg :
any vast area covered with sand, as parts of a desert. Also, the centimeter-gram-second unit of energy, which is equal to the work done by a force of one dyne when its point of application moves through a distance of one centimeter in the direction of the force; 10-7 joule.

Eritrea :
a republic in northeast Africa, on the Red Sea, with its capital at Asmara; formerly an Italian colony (1890-1941), then a province of Ethiopia (1962-93), before gaining its independence in 1993.

ervah :
by Jewish prescription, that area of the body that must be covered in public.

Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts, pyroceramic plates added to flak vests to make them bulletproof.

Engineer Support Battalion.

Estimated Time of Arrival; arrival time.

Estimated Time of Departure; departure time of transport flights and convoys.

Estimated Time Enroute; travel time.

etesian :
a refreshing northerly summertime wind of the Mediterranean region, especially over the Aegean Sea.

Ethiopia :
a republic in east Africa with its capital at Addis Ababa; it was formerly a monarchy that included Eritrea. Also, an ancient region in northeast Africa, bordering on Egypt and the Red Sea, formerly known as Abyssinia.

Embedded Training Team, being American advisors stationed with Afghan National Army units so as to train and support their autonomous military development.

Euphrates :
a river (1700mi) in southwest Asia, flowing from eastern Turkey through Syria and Iraq, joining the Tigris to form the Shatt-al-Arab near the Persian Gulf.

Euro-weenie :
an ungrateful member of a European nation that's under the protection of the US-sponsored North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), who is indifferent to cultural dilution and foreign encroachment, is opposed to cooperative reliance and national defense, and is reluctant to fund anti-terrorism and other self-protective interventions; so named by comparison with "Euro-trash", this privileged and pampered poltroon is an unreliable ally and weak associate, which jeopardizes American lives and interests in that region.

evening prayers :
informal reference to the daily briefing on military operations and civil affairs that's conducted for senior officials and the press corps; often derided as overly optimistic or unrealistic.

EW :
electronic warfare.

Enemy Wounded In Action.

Excalibur :
refurbished XB-1F Lancer bomber aircraft; so-called after King Arthur's magic sword.

exclave :
a portion of a country that's geographically separated from the country's main part by intervening territory surrounding the alien offshoot. [cf: enclave]

eyelid maintenance :
a circumlocution for sleep; also represented as "checking eyelids for leaks".

eyes and ears :
a metonym for goggles and earplugs, for vision and hearing protection, as used both tactically and in training.

(fack) Forward Air Controller.

(fay-deck) Full Authority Digital Electronics for (helicopter) Engine Control.

fakir / fakeer :
a religious ascetic or mendicant monk, either Muslim or Hindu, who's commonly considered to be a wonder-worker.

falafel / falafil / felafel :
an appetizer or snack consisting of a small patty or croquette made with fava-bean flour or ground chickpeas, deep-fried and seasoned with toasted sesame seeds and spices, often served in pita bread; term derived from 'pepper'.

Fighting Age Male identified in the indigenous population.

Forward Air/Area Refueling Point; also Forward Arming and Refueling Point.

Farsi :
the Persian language since ca900AD; written in Arabic script and commonly called 'modern Persian'.

Farvardingân :
among Persians, the festival of the guardian angels (farohars).

fascinator :
a scarf of crochet work, lace, or the like, narrowing toward the ends, that's worn as a head covering by women.

fast mover :
any high-speed jet-propelled fighter aircraft, by contrast with any propeller or prop-jet attack aircraft (known as a 'slow mover') or with any multi-engined cargo or bomber airplane (known as a 'heavy').

Fatiha / Fatihah :
the first chapter of the Koran, recited at the beginning of every rak'ah, a portion of the daily prayers (salat); as literally derived from exordium.

Fatima :
the daughter of the prophet Muhammad and the wife of Ali.

Fatimid / Fatimite :
any caliph of the north African dynasty (909-1171), claiming descent from Fatima and Ali. Also, any descendant of Fatima and Ali.

fatwa :
a religious decree issued by the learned men of the Islamic faith and Muslim law ('ulama); a legal ruling accorded by sharia law.

Fast Attack Vehicle, being a small, lightweight, skeletonized vehicle transporting 2-5 soldiers with weapons and gear for surveillance and raids in desert or tundra regions; this is the military version of the All Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Also, acronym for Fully Armored Vehicle, such as when protecting dignitaries during transport.

Fire Direction Center; also known as "Fire Support Control Center" (FSCC) by USMC.

Feast of Fools :
a burlesque religious festival that has occurred between the Christmas and New Year's revels as a mockery of Judeo-Christian observances since the Middle Ages; consisting of pretenders parodying the sacred rites, sometimes under the direction of a Boy-Bishop or a Lord of Misrule, sometimes including a celebration of the donkey on which Mary and the Christ child rode, known separately as the "Feast of the Ass" ... such free thinking defamation is considered to be artistic.

Fedayeen :
a paramilitary group ("soldier of sacrifice") that was founded by Uday Hussein in 1995 to terrorize the regime's domestic enemies.

feel awful :
intentional mispronunciation of falafel (qv) due to the digestive upset experienced by non-native consumers of this foodstuff in the Mid-East.

fellaheen / fellahin :
a local laborer or peasant in the Arabic countries of the Mid-East.

felucca :
a traditional wooden sailing boat that's lateen-rigged on one or two masts, as used for trading or transport in the protected waters of the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea, along the coasts and waterways of Malta, Egypt, Sudan, and Iraq; being a smaller sized dhow (qv).

female genital mutilation :
the practice of excising some or all of a female's external genitalia (ie: labia, prepuce, clitoris), which is typically performed during childhood (before puberty) as a religious obligation, but is sometimes performed on adult women as a religious rite of conversion to Islam; sometimes abbreviated FGM, and also called female circumcision.

Fenianism / Fenian :
an Irish revolutionary organization, or any member thereof, founded in New York in 1858, which worked for the establishment of an independent Irish republic; based upon late Irish legends wherein a group of homeland warriors is always ready to defend Ireland against its enemies, as derived from a band of ancient inhabitants of Ireland.

Fertile Crescent :
an agricultural area of the ancient Near East that arcs from the Mediterranean Sea, flanked by the Nile and extending between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, to the Persian Gulf; it includes parts of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq. From antiquity, this region was the site of settlements and the scene of invasions, especially from the Arabian peninsula.

Female Engagement Team, being an auxiliary support element embedded with a maneuvering ground force so as to garner human intelligence from the indigenous women and children in the operational area; this holistic approach (USMC 2009, US Army 2013) to the terrorist threat is an asymmetric warfare option that extends available resources.

fez / fes :
a felt cap, usually of a red color, having the shape of a truncated cone and ornamented with a long black tassel, as worn by men in Egypt and north Africa; formerly the national headdress of the Turks.

Fighting In Built-Up Areas; also known as "urban combat", "urban warfare", and "house-to-house fighting".

fifty :
informal designation for the 1919 Browning M-2 .5O-caliber machinegun; also called "ma deuce" (qv).

figure-8 / figure-eight :
an oval crossover pattern taken by vessels or ships at sea and/or aircraft flying in the sky for station-holding, for surveillance, for patrolling, for assembly or interception, for returning to an approach or recycling to an execution point; also called "infinity" pattern. Also, a knot tied on a bight or on a bend in the shape of the numeral '8', which is used to weight the trailing end of a rope, or to act as a stop at any point along the length of the rope.

fils :
a monetary unit of currency in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait that's equal to 1/1000 of a dinar. Also, a monetary unit of currency in the United Arab Emirates that's equal to 1/100 of a dirham.

fire finder :
a counter-mortar and counter-artillery RADAR detection system.

Firefly :
a low-visibility infrared (IR) flasher that's mounted on the helmets (K-pot) of ground personnel so as to enable friendly assets to avoid targeting them by mistake.

fire team :
the smallest ground force, consisting of four to six infantrymen under the command of a fire team leader (typically a lance corporal or corporal in the chain-of-command); two or three fire teams normally comprise a squad, which is variously constituted of several riflemen and a machinegunner with loader.

First Strike Ration :
an all-in-one concentrated ration that's designed for troops on the move, and is intended to replace the multi-component Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) during high mobility operations. Each First Strike Ration, containing about 3000 calories, will feed an active warfighter for one day, despite being half the size and weight of three MREs.

a contraction of FITness REPort, being the Navy and Marine form for the evaluation of personal skills and performance of officers, as required for retention in service.

550-cord :
a thin, multi-strand, sheathed suspension line used to connect the harness risers to the canopy of a parachute, but widely adopted for many other utilitarian applications, from tie-downs and connectors to lanyards and boot laces; also called para-cord or ranger cord.

Five Seas :
commonly known as the "Land of Five Seas" or the "region of Five Seas", being the juncture of Europe and Asia, including Asia Minor or Anatolia, which also borders the Near or Middle East; variously delimited by the Caspian Sea, Black Sea,Sea of Azov, Sea of Marmara, Aegean Sea, and Aral Sea.

fizz :
slang for any carbonated soft drink or soda pop. Also, slang for soda water or any other effervescent water, after the hissing or sputtering sound. Also, slang for champagne, or any other sparkling wine; also called "bubbly", "bubblicious", or "champers"; it's the standard celebratory wine that's accrued associations with luxury and superiority, originating as a back-formation from 'fizzle'.

flak vest :
a high-necked protective vest that, although sleeveless, covers the shoulders as well as the torso, and is constructed of Kevlar and Twaron layered in a camouflage-pattern nylon shell that includes attachment points for load-bearing equipment (LBE) as well as pockets for inserting pyroceramic plates.

flash bang / flash-bang :
a stun grenade employing brilliant light and explosive sound to disorient and disrupt the enemy; also called banger or flash crash.

flex-cuffs :
adjustable self-locking wrist restraints made of nylon or plastic that're used to safely secure a suspect, detainee, or prisoner during transport; these one-time use shackles or temporary fetters must be cut-off to be removed; such disposable handcuffs or manacles are also called wrist-lock, zip-tie, lock-tight, cable-tie, or tie-tight.

abbreviation for Forward-Looking InfraRed (or Forward Looking Infrared Radar), being an aircraft-mounted thermal imaging camera.

flt :
abbreviation for fleet, being an organization of ships and aircraft operating toward a unified purpose under a single commander. Also, abbreviation for flight, being a component of an Air Force wing.

Flt-eX / Flt-X :
in naval parlance, a fleet-wide simulated warfare exercise conducted at sea.

abbreviation for Fleet Marine Force, an integral part of a US fleet, being a balanced force of combined arms comprising land, air, and service elements of the US Marine Corps.

FO :
Forward Observer, a detached artillerist responsible for calling and adjusting mortar and artillery fire support, or naval gunfire to aid ground troops and their movements.

Forward Operations Area.

Forward Operations Base, or Forward Operating Base, being a secure advanced camp or launch site of varying size (larger than a COP, smaller than an LSA) that's established near enemy areas for the command and support of tactical operations.

FOBbit :
a derogatory or disparaging description of the Coalition support personnel, both military and contract civilians, who never venture outside compounds or base camps, and exist entirely within the warrens of Iraq or Afghanistan; this coinage was obtained by combining FOB (Forward Operations Base) with Hobbit (from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien).

FOBbitville :
slang for the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) or headquarters (HQ) situated in a Forward Operations Base (FOB) ... the reclusive habitat of the wily FOBbit.

FOB taxi :
informal allusion to any vehicle, usually unarmored and more luxurious than tactical conveyances, that never goes outside the wire enclosing the insular FOB.

formation :
a particular arrangement or distribution of elements into a formal structure, (rank, file) as for accountability or inspection, display or movement. Also, any required assemblage of unit members, as at a specified place and time in a designated uniform or with appropriate weapons and equipment.

Fortuna's wishing-cap / Fortunatus's wishing-cap :
the demonic spirit that's summoned forth to execute man's bidding, as by genie or jinn in Islamic mythology.

frag :
slang for a fragmentation grenade. Also, short for fragmentary order; FragO.

FragO :
contraction of Fragmentary Order, being a partial operations order that gives warning for preparation and departure to affected unit personnel.

fraise :
a fortification defense consisting of pointed stakes projecting from the ramparts in a horizontal or an inclined position. Also, a ruff or muffler worn around the neck in the 16th century. Also, a woman's embroidered scarf worn with its ends crossed on her chest and pinned with a brooch or the like, which style was first popular in the early 19th century.

freaks 'n' geeks :
crude reference to those staff specialists, from intelligence analysts and communications technicians to operations coordinators and data interpreters, being those mil-pers who remotely engage the world existing outside their isolated and insulated bunker.

Friday :
the day of the week designated by Muslims for public worship in a mosque, as an act of remembrance of Allah and as part of community networking; although prayer may be private on any other day, attendance at these special services (jumu'ah) on this "Day of Assembly" is required for men and voluntary for women.

Friedman :
a non-standard unit of time consisting of a six month period in the future when the prospects for Iraq could be surmised, being a facetious span coined by columnist Thomas Friedman.

front leaning rest :
a euphemism for the push-up position.

Forward Surgical Team, which has superseded the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) as an intermediate medical treatment facility between the aid station and the Combat Support Hospital (CSH).

Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Field Training eXercise, being a full-dress rehearsal for wartime operations.

fuckistan :
a dismissive and derogatory reference to any of the Middle Eastern, West and Central Asian regions, provinces, or countries whose proper names end in '-stan', as expressed by deployed mil-pers.

fugazi :
along with all the similar militarized 'FU' acronyms (eg: SNAFU, TARFU, FUBAR, FUMTU, FUBB, etc), this construct essentially means that something is amazingly messed up, or that everything is amazingly fouled up ... it's so completely wrecked, so entirely out of whack that you just want to stand around and gaze at it, as if you'd been stunned by the sight of it!

full battle rattle :
rhyming slang meaning fully equipped with individual gear and weapons for combat operations, including helmet, body armor, gas mask, ammunition, rations, and other basics; typically being the final preparation before operational departure and mission execution; also called "play clothes" and "mommy's comforts".

full-sleeve :
a tattoo representing various idiosyncratic themes covering both the inner and outer surfaces of an arm from the wrist to the shoulder, being a form of body art adopted by many in-theater veterans, both men and women, as a non-verbal testament of authenticity.

Ground Assault Convoy.

game day :
slang for D-Day; also called "go day".

gandora :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment in Morocco and nearby areas of northwest Africa, often with shorter sleeves and a more open neck than similar robes worn in other regions.

garbanzo / garbanzo bean :
(cicer arietinum) chickpea.

Gatha :
one of several groups of hymns (the Gathas) that form the oldest part of the Avesta in Zoroastrianism; as derived from "song".

Gathic :
pertaining to the Gathas in Zoroastrianism. Also, an ancient Iranian language of the Indo-European family; the language in which the Gathas (hymns) were written.

gauze :
a thin mesh-like fabric woven in a plain or leno pattern from any fibers, often being transparent, which construction originated in the Middle East as screening. Also, a loosely woven cotton mesh fabric used as a surgical dressing.

Guided Bomb Unit; a so-called 'smart bomb' that can be directed onto its target with precision as long as operator control exists, as used since late in the Vietnam War.

geardo :
derogatory or dismissive term for anyone who adorns his uniform with all the latest and greatest gear, even though he doesn't know how to use it; a "gearhead" or gear freak", "gear queer" or "gear junkie", "hardware junkie" or "tackle weenie", as a combination of 'gear' and 'weirdo', being someone who substitutes objects for acts, form for function.

Gehenna / Jahannam :
hell, or any similar place of extreme torment and suffering; as derived from the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, where propitiatory sacrifices were made to Moloch [v: II Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 32:35].

General Order Number 1 :
the CENTCOM stricture prohibiting local fraternization and consumption of alcoholic beverages (which also prohibited illicit drugs, sexual relations, gambling, and pet ownership), as part of the Status of Forces Agreement with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. [nb: contradictory Muslim use of narcotics but prohibition of wine and other spiritous liquors]

Geneva Convention :
any one of a series of international agreements, since 1864, establishing rules for the humane treatment of prisoners of war (POW / EPW), of noncombatants, of the sick, wounded, and dead in battle.

genie :
in Islamic mythology, a spirit or demon that often appears in human form to do the bidding of the person who summoned it; a jinn or Fortuna's/Fortunatus's wishing-cap.

get some :
a sardonic entreaty to damage the enemy or to lay waste the enemy's infrastructure ... said of massive fire support or airstrikes that are intended to not only kill the enemy but to bring him lasting pain and suffering! ... only a hardened combatant can utter this invocation with impunity.

Ghadr nights / Ghadir nights :
the "night of qadr" that's observed towards the end of Ramadan by Muslims lighting candles and remaining awake, which is when the first verses of the Koran were revealed to Muhammad.

ghazel / ghazal :
Persian for ode or lyric poem, especially about the instability of all human affairs, and the loveliness of nature.

ghazi :
a Muslim soldier, especially one fighting against non-Muslims; a Muslim holy warrior, as used since the 18th century. Also, a title (in Turkey) given to a victorious sultan, general, or similar leader.

ghetto grip :
a detachable, pistol-grip style handle that can improve the control of a carbine when firing.

Ghorban ceremony :
a Festival of Sacrifice wherein a sheep is ritually slaughtered and its cooked meat is offered without charge to neighbors and mendicants.

gillie blanket :
a camouflage accommodation to the stark terrain, being a neutral drape or screen (sized about 5' by 7') with corner pockets on the underside for the user's hands and feet (so that the textured blanket will not uncover during low-crawl movements); used as a blind or hide.

ghutra :
a square or rectangular head scarf that's worn by Arab men, which is usually white or checkered (red/white or black/white), is typically folded into a triangular section, and then held in place by a cord or rope headband (agal), often colored black; in some countries, such a headdress is called a shemagh or kaffiyeh.

glass turd :
ironic characterization of the coprolitic feces excreted by mil-pers in the extremely hot, dry, and sandy Mid-Eastern environment.

Global Hawk :
long-range, unmanned reconnaissance aircraft (RQ4) used for high-altitude surveillance.

Global War on Terror / Global War on Terrorism :
see GWOT, GWT.

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal / GWOTEM :
awarded to military personnel for active participation in military anti-terrorism operations on or after 11 September 2001 while assigned, attached, mobilized, or deployed to a unit in support of Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, Nomad Shadow, or follow-on operations. Qualifying service is denoted by a bronze service star on the medal; eligibility for the GWOTEM does not preclude eligibility for the separate AFEM or GWOTSM ... award of the GWOTEM for service in Afghanistan and Iraq was discontinued in June 2005, with such service thereafter being recognized only by the ACM or ICM.

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal / GWOTSM :
awarded to non-deployed military personnel for active participation in military anti-terrorism operations on or after 11 September 2001 while assigned, attached, or mobilized to a unit in CONUS, Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere in the world, including service in support of Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, Nomad Shadow, or follow-on operations. Qualifying service is denoted by a bronze service star on the medal; eligibility for the GWOTSM does not preclude eligibility for the separate GWOTEM, ACM or ICM ... no servicemember is entitled to more than one medal for the same act, achievement, or period of service.

Gun Mounted Vehicle, such as HMMWV, FAV, Stryker, etc.

Government Owned Contract[or] Operated, being the "privatized" agencies or companies which fulfill military or governmental functions, especially merchandise and maintenance; also known as "Government Owned Civilian Operated" or "Government Owned Commercially Operated".

go kinetic :
to aggressively attack or assault a target, being a euphemism for extreme agitation or perturbation, frenzied or berserk behavior.

Golden Crescent :
the major illegal drug production area in Central Asia, a region consisting of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, whose mountainous peripheries define this lucrative crescent. Also, the oil and gas producing area in the Near East, a region consisting of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, named as a spin-off of the former "Fertile Crescent", which will distribute these resources by interior pipeline to other Asian countries, such as India, China, and Mongolia.

Golden Horn :
an inlet of the Bosporus strait, forming the inner part of Istanbul within European Turkey.

gone adrift :
NavSpeak for steal, swipe, rip-off, filch, pinch, purloin, liberate, midnight requisition, appropriate or expropriate [v: misappropriate] anything that's unsecured or unguarded.

gone shaggy / going shaggy :
exhibiting an untidy or hirsute appearance, especially the wearing of long hair on the head or face that's arranged in various ethnic or religious styles, which non-compliance with official grooming standards is relaxed as an operational necessity.

good cookie :
affectionate designation by Marines of the Good Conduct Medal, which is awarded for exemplary behavior, efficiency and fidelity ... or as many quip: for not getting caught!

a good piece of gear :
a capable and dutiful servicemember who's worthy of respect and emulation; also known as "good people".

Gas - Oil Separation Plant; a terrorist target, the income from which finances Islamofascist training and operations.

gospel / The Gospels :
the teachings of Jesus and the apostles; the Christian revelation, as derived from "good news". Also, the story of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as contained in the first four books of the New Testament (ie: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). [cf: agrapha]

Go To Hell Point :
a pre-designated meeting place for unit members to linkup when the planned defenses can no longer be occupied, are in the process of failing or have been compromised; although this is not part of the defensive strategy, it becomes the place where any surviving teammates make a last stand if they're unable to escape and evade (E&E) beyond the perimeter. This locale is shared with friendly elements to make it a "no fire zone" (NFZ) for fire support or a search site for QRF and CSAR respondents; however this locale is never disclosed to foreign allies or counterparts.

Global Positioning System, being a geostationary SATELLITE navigation system instituted in 1978 using 24 geosynchronous satellites capable of great accuracy, and useful for rapid fixes on land and at sea.

gradualism :
the non-confrontational strategy of some Islamists that advocates pragmatic adjustments and accommodations to Muslim practices as a method of non-violent societal change, while promoting compliance with inevitable sharia governance; also called incrementalism.

grail :
any greatly desired and sought-after objective; any reward worthy of an arduous quest. Also, a special cup that has been associated with unusual powers, as stemming from medieval legend; also known as the Holy Grail, this chalice or platter is identified with the vessel used by Jesus of Nazareth at the Last Supper, which was given to Joseph of Arimathea.

Grand Trunk Road :
one of the oldest and longest major roads in southern Asia, running from Kabul and Jalalabad (Afghanistan) through the Khyber Pass into Peshawar and Lahore (Pakistan), then across northern India through Delhi and Amritsar (Punjab) to the port of Chittagong (Bangladesh) at the Bay of Bengal. Later improved by the British rulers of colonial India, who renamed it, it was formerly known as the 'great road' [Shahar Rah-e-Azam, Sadak-e-Azam, or Badshahi Sadak] and is sometimes referred to as the "Long Walk". Over the centuries, this thoroughfare has facilitated travel, trade, communication, and invasion. [v: Golden Quadrilateral project; cf: Wilderness Road]

grand vizier :
see vizier.

Great Festival :
see 'Id al-Adha.

Great Sandy Desert :
a desert in southern Arabia, north of Hadhramaut, and extending over 250,000 square miles from Yemen to Oman; also known as Empty Quarter, Rub' al Khali, Rimal, and Dahna.

Great Satan :
an allusion to the United States of America as made by Islamofascists and other hyper-religious terrorists. [nb: the state of Israel is known as "Little Satan" among JudeoChristian repressers]

Grebe :
a submarine-launched unmanned reconnaissance aircraft; this drone is so-called after the diving seabird of the same name.

Green Bean :
a civilian-run coffee shop that's commonly found on larger bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, often the locus of the off-duty social scene.

green on green :
a euphemism to describe a "friendly fire" misadventure, wherein ordnance from one allied element mistakenly impacts another allied element.

Green Zone :
informal designation of the secure International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad, where numerous headquarters and embassies are located; this heavily fortified area also houses numerous facilities of the Iraqi government. Also, in southern Afghanistan, the lush areas of dense vegetation along the rivers, which are heavily defended redoubts of the local Taliban fighters; as juxtaposed to the 'brown zone', where the uplands are more barren.

grids :
informal reference to the right-angled intersection of two sets of parallel lines, which squared formations of standard scale are superimposed upon maps and charts using the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS).

groundhog day :
any (or every) day in a combat zone where being subject to shelling or other enemy fire tends to drive people underground to avoid injury; an informal reference to the siege mentality exhibited by FOBbits in Iraq and Afghanistan. This term suggests that conditions never change, that each day is long and hot, and that the same events recur; derived from the title of the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day.

grunt :
nickname for an infantryman; supposedly derived from the sound made when lifting up his overloaded rucksack.

grunt-proof :
a euphemism for 'idiot-proof'; to make resistant or impervious; to make something simpler or easier to operate in a crisis, or to make something tougher or stronger for use in field conditions.

guidon :
a small military flag or pennon carried as a guide for marking, signaling, or identification. Also, the soldier carrying such a flag, as a"platoon guide" or "company guide".

guitar :
a musical instrument with a long fretted neck extending from a flat violin-like body, where six to twelve strings are stretched for play by plucking or strumming with a plectrum or the fingertips; being the Spanish name (guitarra) for the Arabic musical instrument (kitarah) that was derived from ancient Greece (kithara).

Gulf Cooperation Council :
an association (abbreviated GCC) of Persian Gulf nations formed for the purpose of collective defense against aggression.

Gulf of Aden :
an arm of the Arabian Sea between the eastern tip of Africa and the southern coast of Arabia, being the seaport for the economic capital of the Republic of Yemen.

Gulf of Oman :
a northwestern arm of the Arabian Sea, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

Gulf States :
see Persian Gulf States.

Gulf War :
the Persian Gulf War from 7 Aug 1990 to 28 Feb 1991. On 7 August 1990 the U.S. launched Operation Desert Shield to contain the Iraqi Republican Guard, which had invaded Kuwait on 2 August, and to comply with treaty obligations to protect Saudi Arabia, preventing further annexation; a U.S. declaration on 20 September and a UN resolution on 29 November stipulated the unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi forces and restoration of the legitimate government in Kuwait, including a deadline of 15 January 1991. A U.S.-led coalition launched Operation Desert Storm on 17 January 1991 with air attacks, followed by ground attacks on 24 February, with Kuwait City liberated on 27 February 1991; having obtained all military objectives and fulfilled its mission, the coalition declared a cease-fire on 28 February 1991.

Gulf War II :
from 19 Mar 2002 to 1 May 2003; also called "Gulf War Part Two", and extended to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND).

gun :
the smooth-bore barrel of a mortar tube or artillery cannon; a firearm that launches projectiles by various methods, but without the stabilization of "lands and grooves" rifling.

gunship :
an armed helicopter or adapted fixed-wing aircraft.

guru :
any person who counsels or advises; an intellectual or spiritual guide; a mentor. Also, a teacher or preceptor giving religious instruction, especially in Hinduism or Buddhism. Also, in historical Sikhism, any of the first ten leaders of the faith, being those who established the tenets of the religion. [nb: Govind Singh appointed no successor, declaring that the Adigranth or Granth (the Sikh scriptures) was the true guru]

(g-w-o-t; sometimes gee-what) initials for the Global War On Terror[ism], also abbreviated "GWT", sometimes mocked as the "Gee WhOT" (combining "gee-whiz" and "so what"), and also known as the "long war" against terrorism, which was authorized on 20 September 2001 following the 9/11 incidents.

Global War on Terror[ism]; also known as GWOT.

HA :
Humanitarian Assistance.

habibi (male) / habibti (female) :
in Arabic countries, a 'close friend' or 'dear companion' of either gender.

haboob :
a thick dust storm or sandstorm that blows in the deserts of north Africa and Arabia, or on the plains of India; as derived from "wind" (Arabic 'habb').

hadith :
in Islamic practice, a traditional account of things said or done by the prophet Muhammad or his companions. Also, the entire body of such reminiscent accounts ('ahadith'), some being more credible or less suspicious than others.

hafiz :
a title of respect for a Muslim who knows the Koran by heart; as derived from 'guard', being one who keeps (something in memory). [v: Mohammed Shams ad-Din Hāfiz, pen name of the 14th century poet and dervish, who was considered to be the Persian Anacreon]

Hagiographa :
the canonical group of prophetic books that forms the third of the three Jewish divisions of the Old Testament, variously arranged, but usually comprising the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles; also called 'the Writings'.

haik / haick :
an oblong cloth used as an outer garment by the Arabs; derived as a kind of weaving.

hajj / hadj :
in Islamic practice, the pilgrimage to Mecca, which every capable adult Muslim is supposed to make at least once in his or her lifetime; as literally derived from pilgrimage, being the fifth of the Pillars of Islam.

hajji / hadji / haji :
informal reference to any Mid-Eastern Muslim male, regardless of whether he has or has not made a pilgrimage to Mecca; being a generalized referent that's a little more polite than raghead. Also, a convenient qualifier for any indigenous item or domestic product (eg: hajji DVD, hajji cigarettes, etc).

hajji armor :
slang for improvised armor; also called hillbilly armor and farmer armor.

hajji detail :
the supervision of indigenous day laborers who've been admitted to work within the compound.

hajji mart / hajji shop :
the enterprising Mid-Eastern merchant, being a vendor of everything from food and fine art to gimcrack and gewgaw; most often a peddler, packman, chapman, duffer, or cheap-jack but also a hawker, hustler, huckster, or cowboy.

halakhah / halacha :
the body of Jewish laws from the Talmud, together with commentaries on the proper conduct of these traditions; meaning 'the way', it's a collection of the moral and religious practices of an observant Jew.

halal :
food prepared or meat slaughtered in the manner prescribed by Islamic law; as literally derived from 'permissible' or 'lawful' (cAD632).

halala / halalah :
a monetary unit of currency in Saudi Arabia, equal to 1/100th part of the riyal.

halidom / halidome :
a holy place, such as a church.

halvah :
a Middle Eastern confection made chiefly of ground sesame seeds and honey.

Hamas :
a Palestinian Islamic movement engaged in grass-roots organizing and terrorism against Israel; as literally derived from zeal.

hand of Fatima :
a good luck charm or amulet used by Mid-Eastern peoples as protection [apotropaic] against the "evil eye" and other superstitious influences; named after the daughter [Fatima Zahra] of the prophet Muhammad, and also known as the "hand of Miriam" or "hand of Mary", "hamsa" or "khamsa", this traditional symbol takes the form of an open right hand (ie: "five fingers will blind the evil eye"), and is widely represented in silver jewelry and red signs, sometimes augmented by a word (eg: Allah) or a symbol (eg: hex sign) in the palm of the hand. [cf: mudra, hand of Venus/Aphrodite, hand of the All Goddess (mano pantea)]

happy dance :
the full-bodied expression of otherwise uncontainable exuberance, as from profuse enthusiasm or boundless joy, which unmilitary display is tolerated as a command indulgence for the sake of good morale.

happy feet :
reference to the high-anxiety "dance of indecision" exhibited by someone who's unable to make a positive commitment to resolving the "fight-or-flight reaction".

happy fire :
the practice of wildly shooting into the sky in celebration or demonstration of militaristic spirit or enthusiastic exhibition, as with political statements or religious proclamations, with inauguration or resolution.

happy sock :
a sock sacrificed to surreptitious masturbation during deployment, which clean-up item is hidden in the user's bedding and discarded at the end of the tour; called a 'cruise sock' or "underway sock" by sailors. [v: condom]

happy suit :
slang for the body armor mandated for wear in the Mid-East during Gulf War II, including ceramic plates, kevlar drapes, shoulder and knee pads worn over fire-resistant uniforms; also called "happy gear".

harem / haram / hareem / harim :
the part of a Muslim house or palace that's reserved for the residence of women; as literally derived from forbidden. Also, the women in a Muslim household, including the mother, sisters, wives, concubines, daughters, entertainers, and servants. [v: eunuch]

harem pants :
long baggy pants gathered at each ankle, which were part of a popular fashion style for sophisticated women that was introduced (1910) to Western culture as the "harem look" in imitation of Mid-Eastern fare; with fabric puffed-out enough to also be called a "harem skirt" [v: bloomers, pantaloons, culottes], the version for men was known as "Turkish trousers" (salvar), after the Bosnian dimije, the Ukrainian sharovary, and the South Asian shalwar or patiala salwar.

designation for the AGM-88 Air-to-Ground MISSILE made by Texas Instruments, an aircraft launched High-speed Anti-Radiation MISSILE that will continue to target an objective without a continuous RADAR signal.

harmattan :
the dry dusty trade wind blowing easterly off the Sahara Desert; sometimes called 'the doctor' because of its supposed healthful properties.

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan :
the official name of Jordan.

Hashimite :
a member of any Arab dynasty in the Middle East founded by Husein ibn-Ali (great-grandfather of the prophet Muhammad) or his descendants.

hashish / hasheesh :
the flowering tops and leaves of Indian hemp, which is smoked, chewed, or drunk as a narcotic and intoxicant; as literally derived from 'dried vegetation' (hay). Also, the dried resinous exudate of the flowering tops of this plant, containing larger amounts of the active ingredient. [v: assassin]

havelock :
a cap cover with a cloth flap hanging over the back of the wearer's neck that serves as protection from the sun; also called "neck curtain", and eponymously derived from Henry Havelock, an English general in India.

hawala :
an informal system of remittance used in much of the Arab world.

HE :
High Explosive.

High-Explosive Anti-Tank munition, being a fin-stabilized armor-defeating projectile. Also, the acronym for HMMWV Egress Assistance Trainer, being a roll-over simulation module.

heavy :
any multi-engined cargo or bomber airplane, by contrast with any high-speed jet-propelled fighter aircraft (known as a 'fast mover') or with any propeller or prop-jet attack aircraft (known as a 'slow mover').

Hebrew calendar :
a timetable based on both the lunar and the solar cycles that's used for computing Jewish holidays. Hebrew days begin at sunset when three stars are visible. Every month starts approximately on the day of a new moon. The calendar year consists of 353 days (defective year), 354 days (regular year), or 355 days (perfect year or abundant year) and includes the following months: Tishri, Heshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, Adar, Nisan, Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av, and Elul, with the 29-day intercalary month of Adar Sheni added after Adar seven times in every nineteen-year cycle in order to adjust the calendar to the solar cycle. The Jewish ecclesiastical year begins with Nisan and the civil year with Tishri. The Jewish New Year starts on the first day of Tishri, called Rosh Hashana, which celebrates the creation of the world, its origin established as 3761BC by Hillel II in the 4th century of the current era (AD/CE).

hechsher / hekhsher :
the rabbinical approval of meats and other foods that comply with the ritual requirements of Jewish dietary laws, usually issued in the form of an endorsement.

hegira / hejira / hijra / hijrah :
the fleeing of the prophet Muhammad, together with his small group of Muslim converts, from Mecca to Medina (Yathrib) so as to escape persecution; as literally derived from 'departure'. This flight in AD622 is regarded as the beginning of the Muslim Era (ie: A.H.). Also, any journey to a more desirable or congenial place.

helevac / hel-evac :
contraction of HELicopter EVACuation, which designates any extraction by any type of helicopter, but especially denotes medical evacuation aboard a flying ambulance from the field to a secure base.

Hellfire :
a laser-guided anti-tank missile.

Heavy Extended-Mobility Tactical Truck, or Heavy Expanded Mobile Tactical Truck, being a range of 8X8 diesel-powered vehicles with off-road capability; a variant 10X10 HEMTT serves as the prime mover in the Palletized Load System (PLS).

Herbst maneuver :
an air combat maneuver that enables an aircraft to quickly reverse direction using a combination of high angles of attack and rolling; also called "J-turn", this practice was developed by Wolfgang Herbst (29 April 1993).

herringbone :
a tactical formation used by mech, cav, armor, and other tracked units for convoy security during temporary halts or defensive posture in file or column, during which the thickest armor and main-guns are directed by alternating vehicles toward the opposite sides of the formation. This staggered oblique placement is a compromise between maneuver and defense, since this temporary arrangement will either return to the route of march, respond to attack, or convert into laager. All "thin skin" vehicles (eg: truck, Jeep, etc) being escorted are sheltered in the center of the formation.

Hesco barrier :
a wire mesh container lined with heavy fabric that's filled with earth and rocks, being a modern form of gabion, that's been adopted from construction applications (ie: Jersey barrier) as a semi-permanent blast wall; also called Hesco bastion.

Heavy Equipment Transporter. Also, a USMC Human Exploitation Team, which helps collect and interpret intelligence.

hezbollah / hizballah / hizbullah :
a radical Shi'ite Muslim organization in Lebanon that's engaged in guerrilla warfare against Israel; literally meaning 'Party of God'.

H-gear :
Harness gear, being those items worn on the H-harness suspenders and pistol belt, including pouches containing survival and rescue gear, signaling and first aid items, ammunition and canteens; this web gear may be temporarily removed and laid nearby with one's individual weapon. Also, Handling gear, being the protective clothing and tools used when collecting or moving hazardous materials.

high-cover :
see CAP.

High-Desert Training Area :
a facility colocated with the Marine Corps Air-Ground Coordination Center at the extensive Twenty Nine Palms base in California.

High Holy Days :
annual Biblical festivals [a "called assembly" (miqra)] that serve as supplements to the sabbath when observed by Jews and some Christians throughout the year; also known as 'high holidays' and 'high sabbaths', including: Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Whitsunday), Rosh Hashanah (Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Sabbath of Sabbaths, Repentance Sabbath, or Atonement), Sukkoth (Tabernacles).

hijab / hejab :
a covering for the head, face, and chest that's to be worn by Muslim females who are beyond the age of puberty when in the presence of males who are not family members, so as to demonstrate their modesty; as literally derived from curtain or screen, which was originally a partition separating the sexes, representing the privacy and morality of each to the other. The guidelines for the covering of everything except a woman's hands, feet, and part of her face are more a matter of traditional custom and culture than strict religious dogma or doctrine ... the Koran entreats both men and women to lower their gaze, to guard their modesty, and not to display their beauty or their ornaments [Surah 24:30-31]. While the veil (which has also been worn by some men) is not intended to be repressive, its compulsory ban in the post-9/11 era by some non-Islamic nations is widely interpreted as suppressing religious freedom among the devout. [nb: 'al-hijab' refers to "the veil which separates man or the world from God" in both a physical (seclusion) sense and in a metaphysical (sacred) sense] [nb: because statuettes of veiled priestesses exist from before 2500BC, some scholars postulate that the custom of veiling and sequestering certain privileged women differentiated them as respectable and high-status in the Byzantine, Greek, and Persian empires, with Assyrian laws stipulating which women must be veiled and which could not, according to her class or rank, the occupation or standing of her household, such values and practices were later assimilated as normative by the conquering Islamic dynasties]

Hijaz / Hedjaz / Hejaz :
a region in Saudi Arabia bordering on the Red Sea that was formerly an independent kingdom: contains the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

hillbilly armor :
slang for the improvised armor used on light vehicles by Coalition forces in post-invasion Iraq; also called hajji armor and farmer armor. [nb: origin of this phrase is attributed to the Tennessee National Guard, but it carries on the tradition of cannibalizing parts to fulfill an immediate need ... which was known as 'appliqué armor' during World War II]

Hindu-Arabic numerals :
see Arabic numerals.

Hinduism / Hindooism :
the common religion of the subcontinent of India, based upon the religion of the original Aryan settlers as expounded and evolved in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, and similar works, having an extremely diversified character with many schools of philosophy and theology, many popular cults, and a large pantheon symbolizing the many attributes of a single god. Although Buddhism and Jainism are outside the Hindu tradition, they are regarded as related religions. [v: henotheism]

Hindustan :
the Persian name for India, especially that part north of the Narbada River, or above the Deccan. Also, the predominantly Hindu areas of India, as contrasted with the predominantly Muslim areas of Pakistan.

Hippo :

abbreviation for HomeMade Explosive, being a form of improvised explosive (IED / VBIED) using pyrotechnics or munitions, which are often oversized due to their low-yield.

Marine light attack helicopter squadron, flying AH-1J Cobra and armed UH-1N Huey 'copters.

Marine medium helicopter squadron, flying CH-46 Sea Knight 'copters.

acronym for the M-998 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, or Highly Mobile Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, pronounced Humvee, and also called Hummer, being a diesel-powered light cargo transport with off-road capability; introduced 1979 as Jeep replacement.

hobson-jobson :
the garbled adoption of foreign words and expressions into English; a Briticism wherein 19th century soldiers serving in India substituted common surnames (ie: Hobson, Jobson) for a corruption of the unfamiliar Shi'ites' cry during the Muharram festival: "Ya Hasan! Ya Hosain!" ... grandsons of Muhammad, Hasan and Hosain were killed fighting for the faith.

Humint (HUMan INTelligence) Operations Center.

Holy Ark :
in Judaism, a cabinet for keeping the scrolls of the Torah in a synagogue, which is set into or against a wall so as to face eastward, or toward Jerusalem.

holy city :
a city regarded as particularly sacred by the adherents of a religious faith, such as Lhasa or Lasa / Lassa by the Mahayana Buddhists of Lamaism, Ulan Bator / Urga by Mongolians, Jerusalem by Jews and Christians, Mecca and Medina by Muslims, Najaf / An-Najaf and Kerbela / Karbala by Shi'ites, Mathura and Varanasi by Hindus, and Amritsar by Sikhs. Also, a synonym for 'heaven'.

holy day :
a consecrated day or religious festival. [v: holiday]

Holy Grail :
see grail.

holy of holies :
a place of special sacredness; sanctum or sanctum sanctorum. Also, the innermost chamber of the Biblical tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem, in which the ark of the covenant was kept. Also, the bema in the Eastern Church, being the enclosed space surrounding the altar; the sanctuary or chancel.

Holy Land / Holy Lands :
Palestine or Canaan.

Holy Mysteries :
the liturgy in the Eastern Church.

holy orders :
the rank of an ordained Christian minister, which degrees are conferred by a rite of ordination.

Holy Rood :
see rood.

Holy Scripture :
see Scripture.

holytide :
a time of religious observances.

Holy Writ :
see Scripture.

honor killing :
the execution of a family member for "shaming" the family by some immoral or illicit behavior; typically being a capital punishment for some unconventional or non-traditional transgression. [eg: a woman may be killed by the males of her family as a punishment if she cannot produce four witnesses to her allegation of rape]

'Hook :
twin-engined heavy-lift Chinook (qv) helicopter.

hookah / hooka :
a tobacco pipe of Near Eastern origin that has a long flexible tube for drawing the smoke through a jar of water to cool it before it reaches the mouth; also called narghile, kalian, or water pipe.

hookah bar :
a Mid-Eastern establishment wherein men share the experience of smoking varieties of tobacco together; a parlor or lounge that provides each table with tobacco and its smoking apparatus. [v: divan] [nb: cigarettes and cigars are generally prohibited in hookah bars, which are also restricted to adult patrons]

hop :
slang for deployment.

hop bag :
the carry-on luggage that contains a mix of personal and issue items, from grooming and entertainment items to extra equipment and additional clothing; this transient's soft footlocker is separate from their operational webbing and rucksack.

horned viper :
a highly venomous viper that's characterized by having a process resembling a horn just above each eye; also known as "sand viper" and "sidewinder", it's common to extreme southwestern Asia and northern Africa.

hot wash :
an informal performance review, especially a critique or evaluation that's conducted while a training exercise is still underway; a concise and specific self-assessment of a unit's progress that's conducted by the participants as immediate feedback.

hot zone :
an intense, frantic, or dangerous area, such as where hostile fire is received or enemy fire is exchanged, as when engaged in an uncompromising situation.

house call :
a tactical raid targeting a specific dwelling.

House of God :
a non-denominational ascription of a building devoted to religious worship, such as a church, synagogue, temple, chapel, or the like; also called house of worship or house of prayer.

housewarming :
ironic reference to the artillery barrage and/or aerial bombardment of an urban target as preparation for ground assault.

howdah / houdah / haudah / hawdaj :
a platform, sometimes covered, placed on the back of an elephant for the transport of people or goods.

HQ :

Humint (HUMan INTelligence) Support Detachment.

Humint (HUMan INTelligence) Support Element.

hubble-bubble :
slang for a hookah, narghile, kalian, or water pipe.

Head's Up Display, a luminous image of the active or critical operational controls projected from the instrument panel against a transparent surface (ie: combining glass) at eye-level for the airplane's pilot or weapon systems officer (WSO).

hudna :
the Islamic term for a temporary truce.

hudud :
the most serious criminal punishments prescribed by sharia law. [eg: thievery may be punished by the severing of a hand; premarital sex may be punished by a hundred lashings; apostasy, adultery, and homosexuality may be punished by execution]

Humanitarian Daily Ration :
a civilianized version of Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE), packaged in a bright yellow bag, that was developed to provide a full day's sustenance to moderately malnourished refugees during an emergency.

Humanitarian Service Medal / HSM :
awarded to military personnel for direct meritorious participation in non-combat aid of refugees and disaster victims, including natural disaster relief, evacuation of non-combatants from a hostile area, or humanitarian support to refugees ... multiple awards of the HSM are denoted by service stars ("battle star").

humeral veil :
a fringed ecclesiastical scarf, usually white and ornamented in the middle, that's worn over the shoulders by a priest or subdeacon during certain parts of a High Mass.

HUMan INTelligence.

Hummer :
slang for the Humvee, or M-998 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).

hummus / hommos :
a food paste made of chickpeas that have been mashed with oil, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini; often eaten as a spread or dip with pita bread.

Humvee :
pronunciation of the acronym for the High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), M-998; also called Hummer.

huri / 'uri / 'uriya / 'uriyat :
according to Muslim belief, the beautiful and pure young men and women who inhabit paradise, as derived from 'beautifully dark eyed'; the putative 72 virgins awaiting the martyr in heaven.

High Value Target.

Hydra :
smaller version of a Chlorine-Oxygen-Iodine Laser (COIL) used for self-defense. Also, American space-based laser.

hy-x :
HYdraulic eXcavator, being a hydraulically controlled excavator that's track-mounted for moving soil, sand, and gravel, for removing debris, and for relocating construction materials.

IA :
Iraqi Army. Also, Individual Augmentee, being someone assigned to a unit to fill a shortage or to contribute special skills.

Integrated Air Defense System.

Infrared Aiming Light, being a device that assists targeting by sending an invisible line-of-sight indication of the point of impact for the coupled weapon.

the InterService Advanced Skills Canine course, being a pre-deployment training evolution for military working dogs and their companion handlers that's situated in Yuma, Arizona.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Individual Body Armor, being the protective helmet and vest with drape and plates that's issued to everyone in-country or 'down range', visiting or assigned, civilian or military; commonly called "happy gear" or "happy suit".

ibada / 'ibadah :
any of the religious duties of a Muslim, including the recital of the creed, the five daily recitals of prayers, the Ramadan fast, almsgiving, and the pilgrimage to Mecca; as literally derived from "act of devotion" or "act of worship", and also known as 'din' or Pillars of Islam.

IC :
Intelligence Community, being a common referent that encompasses the 16 federal intelligence agencies that collect, collate, analyze, and distribute hostile information in a timely manner.

Iraqi Civil Defense Corps; disbanded due to incompetence, corruption, and collusion with insurgents; replaced by the Iraqi National Guard (ING).

in case of emergency.

the abbreviation for Improved Conventional Munition. Also, the Iraq Campaign Medal (qv).

ID :
Infantry Division. Also, identification; identify.

'Id al-Adha / Eid al-Adha / Eid ul-Adha :
a major festival of Islam, beginning on the tenth day of the last month of the Muslim calendar and lasting for four days, just after the end of the Hajj, which is usually characterized by the sacrificing of a sheep, whose flesh is divided among relatives and friends, in memory of the ransom of Ishmael with a ram; this Festival of Sacrifice is also called Great Festival.

'Id al-Fitr / Eid al-Fitr / Eid ul-Fitr / Eid e-Fetr :
the Festival of Fast Breaking is celebrated for a three-day period in the tenth month of the Islamic calendar after fasting during the previous month of Ramadan, wherein meals and gifts are shared with family and friends.

idiot stick :
slang for a rifle.

Improvised Explosive Device, being the category for any low-yield or alternatively detonated devices that incorporate rudimentary pyrotechnics or sophisticated munitions of varying power, which are intended to harass, distract, injure, incapacitate, or destroy civil and military capability or authority; an IED includes the following components: activator, fuse, charge, container, and power source.

(eye-fack) Individual First Aid Kit; also called a "blow-out kit".

Identification Friend or Foe, a confirmation transponder code broadcast by aircraft flying through various security zones, providing altitude and airspeed as well as aircraft designation; also known as "modes and codes" in rhyming slang.

Instrument Flight Rules.

"If the mountain will not come to Muhammad...." :
an English expression excerpted from the biography of Muhammad as retold by Francis Bacon (1625) with the meaning of subordinating one's desire to that which prevails over all, or, in a religious context, submission of oneself to the supreme will of God; this expression ('If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.') originated as: "Mahomet cald the Hill to come to him. And when the Hill stood still, he was neuer a whit abashed, but said; If the Hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet wil go to the Hil." ... then John Owen recapitulated this story (1643) stating: "If the mountaine will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will goe to the mountaine."

IG :
Inspector General.

ihram :
the attire worn by male Muslims on their pilgrimage to Mecca, consisting of two white cotton cloths, one worn around the waist and the other worn over the left shoulder; as literally derived from prohibition.

I.H.S. :
the Latin inscription: 'Iesus Hominum Salvator' (Jesus, Savior of Men).

abbreviation for Improvised Incendiary Device, being a combustible container of napalm, thermite, white phosphorous or the like, that burns with an intense heat.

Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions, being an alternative description of Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), due to unavoidable flight into clouds, dust, or other obscurity; commonly called POPEYE.

imaging infrared, being a heat sensor with enough resolution to form images.

Integrated Intra-Squad Radio, being a compact two-way transceiver used by conventional field elements.

ijma' :
in Islamic law, the consensus of all believers on the rightness of a belief or practice.

ikhwan :
the Arabic word for 'brotherhood'; hence is often used as a referent for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Improved Load-Bearing Equipment, being a system that uses the PALS grid-work to securely position small items on a larger backpack with a smaller profile for carry into combat; this Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) web gear system supersedes the ALICE and MOLLE systems.

Illanout :
the elaborate "tree festival", as celebrated by the Jews in February; similar to the pre-Islamic Shabe Chelle festival celebrated by Persians.

imam / imaum :
the officiating priest of a mosque. Also, the title for a Muslim religious leader or chief; as literally derived from leader or guide. Also, one of a succession of seven or twelve religious leaders of the Shi'ites, who were believed to be divinely inspired.

imambarah / imaumbara / imaumbarra / imambara :
in Islamic culture, the rooms or a building where Shi'ites perform ceremonies, especially during the first ten days of Muharram, the first month of the Muslim calendar; as derived from 'enclosure'. Also, a large tomb.

Imamite / Imami :
a member of the principal sect of Shi'ah in Islam, believing in a succession of twelve divinely inspired imams, beginning with Ali and ending with Muhammad al-Muntazar, who supposedly retired to a cave, later to return as the Mahdi; also known as a Twelver.

Instrument Meteorological Conditions.

imshi :
a corruption of the Arabic word for "move along".

Indian red :
earth of a yellowish-red color that's found especially in the Persian Gulf, which serves as a pigment (prepared by oxidizing the salts of iron), and as a metal polish for gold and silver objects. [v: crocus, rouge]

indig :
the ethnic peoples indigenous to a particular region; the peoples indigenous to the Near or Middle East include: Arabs, Armenians, Aryans, Assyrians, Azerbaijani, Bedouins, Circassians, Jews, Kurds, Lurs, Madans (Marsh Arabs), Mandaeans, Persians (Farsi), Sarliyahs, Shabaks, Turkmens, Turks, and Yazidis.

Indus :
a river (1900mi) in southern Asia that flows from western Tibet through India and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea.

infidel :
a person who does not accept a particular religious belief or faith; a skeptic or unbeliever, a heathen or pagan.

Iraqi National Guard.

I.N.R.I. :
the Latin inscription: 'Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum' (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews).

U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command.

insh'allah :
Arabic for "the will of God" or "God willing"; a fatalistic expression affirming "so be it".

insurgent :
someone who participates in the forceable resistance to an established authority or a duly constituted government; rebellion against an existing government by a group not recognized as a belligerent.

intel :
intelligence, being S-2/G-2/J-2.

Internal Look :
name of a joint training exercise.

intifada :
a revolt ("shaking off"); from the December 1987 uprising by Palestinian Arabs against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Improved Outer Tactical Vest; individual body armor introduced in 2007 to replace the "Interceptor" Outer Tactical Vest from the late 1990s. The Improved Outer Tactical Vest is an over-the-head entry FLAK VEST, with a mesh liner for wicking and an inner cummerbund for weight distribution, available in eleven sizes that incorporate a lower back flap to increase ballistic coverage. The 27 pound IOTV (weighing 3#s less than the "Interceptor" Outer Tactical Vest) offers a reduced profile for increased mobility during operations.

IP :
Iraqi Police.

IR :
InfraRed, the part of the invisible spectrum that comprises electromagnetic radiation wavelengths of from 800 nm to 1 mm, and is contiguous to the red end of the visible spectrum.

IRA / I.R.A. :
Irish Republican Army, being an underground nationalist organization founded from the remnants of the Irish Volunteers after the 1916 Easter Rebellion, and becoming the militant arm of Sinn Féin, a political party dedicated to Irish unification and independence from Great Britain, which violent activities and pro-Nazi agitation were outlawed in 1936; in 1969 the IRA split into the majority 'officials' advocating socialist unification and 'provisionals' advocating terrorism as a catalyst for unification ... the IRA disbanded in 1996. [nb: Admiral Louis F.A.V.N. Mountbatten (1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, viceroy and governor general of India) was assassinated in 1979 by the PIRA]

Iran :
a republic (Islamic Republic of Iran) in southwest Asia with its capital at Teheran; formerly known (until 1935) as Persia.

Iran-Contra affair :
a series of covert operations (1986-88) that were undertaken at the behest of President Reagan's National Security Council, wherein small arms were traded for American hostages in Iran, and in defiance of Congress, the profits were then diverted to Contra forces in Nicaragua, in an attempt to topple the Marxist Sandinista government.

Iraq / Irak :
a republic in southwest Asia, north of Saudi Arabia and west of Iran, centered in the Tigris-Euphrates basin of Mesopotamia, with its capital at Baghdad; its inhabitants are known as Iraqi / Iraki.

Iraq Campaign Medal / ICM :
awarded to military personnel for service in Iraq, its airspace or its territorial waters, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) for which participants are authorized to wear a bronze service star ("battle star") on the pendant medal and ribbon for each of four phases: Liberation of Iraq (19 Mar - 1 May 2003); Transition of Iraq (2 May 2003 - 28 Jun 2004); Iraqi Governance (29 Jun 2004 - 15 Dec 2005); National Resolution (from 16 Dec 2005); and may be further distinguished by a bronze arrowhead for a combat parachute assault.

Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund.

in aviation, InfraRed Search and Track System, being a sensor that detects heat and can feed target data to a computer.

IS :
abbreviation for Islamic State, being the revised name of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in keeping with its goal of a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

Isaac the Iraq :
(eye-zack the eye-rack) dismissive reference by rhyming to any enemy soldier or terrorist in the Iraq War ("Gulf War Part Two").

International Security Assistance Force.

International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, a NATO staff and command coalition in Afghanistan.

abbreviation for the Islamic State in Iraq. Also, Pakistani directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is an interpretation based on the meaning of 'al-Sham', being the name for ISIS that's preferred by advocates of its revolutionary expansion into a regional (and eventually worldwide) Islamic caliphate.

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, being a revolutionary Muslim movement [ie: al dawla al islamiyye f'il iraq w'al sham] derived from al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) in 2004, transitioning to Islamic State in Iraq (ISI), becoming separate after the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2006, and inflating to Islamic State (IS) after the Syrian civil war so as to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

Islam :
the religious faith of Muslims, based on the belief system founded by the prophet Muhammad and taught by the Koran; the basic principle of which is absolute obedience to a unique and personal god, Allah; also known as Muhammadanism or Muslimism, as literally derived from 'submission to God'. Also, the whole body of Muslim believers, their civilization, and the countries in which theirs is the dominant religion.

Islami / al-Islami :
appropriately modest religious attire, or traditional religious dress; the "uniform" by which fellow believers can identify one another; the distinctive costume which differentiates the faithful so that they will not be harassed or victimized. [nb: "... tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women, to cover themselves with a loose garment; they will thus be recognized, and no harm will come to them" (Surah 33:59)]

Islamic calendar :
see Muslim calendar.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan :
designation of Afghanistan under sharia rule by the Taliban regime.

Islamism :
the religion or culture of Islam. Also, the interpretation of Islam as a governmental system enforced by sharia law, being a politicized form of the religion.

Islamist :
an advocate of Islam; a Muslim, Moslem, Mussulman, Muhammadan.

Islamize / Islamization :
to bring into a state of harmony or conformity with the principles and teachings of Islam; to give something an Islamic character or identity. Also, to convert to Islam.

Islamofascism / Islamo-fascism :
a radical form of Islamic fundamentalism that seeks world domination by revolutionary methodologies. [nb: a political-correctness memo distributed in 2008 to U.S. federal agencies, including the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counter Terrorism Center, directed that Islamic extremists were no longer to be described as jihadists, mujahedeen, Islamo-fascists, Islamic terrorists, holy warriors, or Islamists, so that these banned terms would not impugn the Muslim religion; the preferred terms of communication are 'violent extremist' or 'terrorist', which purportedly deny them any level of legitimacy without confrontation]

Islamophobia :
an unwarranted fear of Muslims; this term is frequently used by Islamist groups and their allies to discredit critics of Islamic extremism, and to label them as ignorant bigots, so as to stifle valid analysis and quash substantial criticism. [cf: racism]

Isma'ili / Isma'ilian :
a member of the Isma'iliya sect of Islam; also called Sevener.

Iraqi Security Force, comprising the army and police forces.

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.

Isra' :
in Islamic lore, the prophet Muhammad's Night Journey from the Ka'ba at Mecca to Jerusalem.

Israel :
a republic, in southwestern Asia on the Mediterranean coast, that was formed as a Jewish state in 1948, with its capital at Jerusalem since 1950. Also, the people traditionally descended from Jacob; the Jewish people; God's chosen people. Also, the northern Biblical kingdom of the Hebrews, including ten of the twelve tribes (v: Judah and Benjamin).

istah :
a derogatory corruption of Arabic for "move along".

-istan / -stan :
meaning 'place' or 'home'; see The Stans.

Istanbul :
a seaport in northwestern Turkey that's situated on both sides of the Bosporus strait, being the former capital of both the Byzantine (Byzantium) and Ottoman (Constantinople) empires.

Iraqi Security Volunteer, being one of the terms for regional fighters, many of whom are former insurgents that have changed sides; also known as Concerned Local Citizen (CLC) or "Sons of Iraq".

it doesn't get better / it doesn't get any better than this :
a sarcastic slogan (originating with Old Milwaukee beer) that's often been used in a wry or sardonic manner to express the terrible situations and miserable conditions that are "normal" for GRUNTs in the field!

Iraq Veterans Against the War.

I've got your back :
a slogan intended to convey faithfulness.

IZ :
U.S. military code for Iraq. Also, official abbreviation for the secure International Zone in Baghdad, where numerous headquarters and embassies are located, which is commonly known as the 'green zone'.

izaar / izar :
a thinner, lightweight, kilt-like garment that's folded around the lower body, then tightly secured at the waist, which is often colored in bold stripes forming rectangular patterns, some versions of which feature tassels; it's typically worn by men in the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, East Africa, and the Horn of Africa, so in its various guises it's also known as futah, wizarah, maqtab, lungi, sarong, and macawiis. [v: dhoti, mundu]

Jabhat al-Nusra :
the official al-Qaida (AQ) affiliate in Syria; this Islamic emirate for al-Qaida is also called al-Nusra in Syria.

Jackassistan :
sardonic reference by deployed mil-pers to those Middle Eastern and West Asian provinces or countries that're the site for extreme foolishness, as performed by contemptibly stupid people, especially those rigidly bound by tribal mores and traditional customs; a landscape predominated by jackasses.

Judge Advocate General (judge), or Judge Advocate General Corps (lawyer).

jambiya :
a double-edged Arabian dagger with a curved blade featuring a central fuller, having various hilts and scabbards, with relative ornamentation, depending upon regional origin; an ancient design evinced from Morocco to India as a weapon, ceremonial device, and symbol of independence or maturity.

Jashne Mehregân / Jasne Mehregân :
among Persians, a day of thanksgiving represented as a festival of love (mihr / mehr) that's dedicated to Mithra, the highest angel. [cf: Metatron]

Jashne Sade / Jasne Sade :
among Persians, the mid-winter festival that honors fire so as to defeat the forces of darkness and cold; being a celebration around a bonfire so people can receive good things from the fire and give the fire their incompleteness ... which is literally the hundredth day before Nowruz.

Jashne Tiregân / Jasne Tiregân :
among Persians, the festival of Tir, being a day dedicated to Tishtrya, the angel of rain and of the star Sirius.

Javelin :
a man-portable optical anti-tank missile equipped with a "fire and forget" target-lock guidance system.

Jayhawk :
USCG configuration (HH-60J) of the single-rotor utility heavy-lift helicopter.

J'bad :
nickname for Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Joint Direct Attack Munition, being a programmable and steerable guidance system for launched weapons ("smart bomb" or missile) that can strike its assigned target from any altitude under any weather or light conditions by following its ancillary global positioning system (GPS) directions. This conversion technology, which can be retrofitted onto older gravity bombs, is functionally "fire and forget".

jelabiyad / jelebeeya / jehllubeeya :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment in Ethiopia , Somalia, and Djibouti; also called mudawwar.

(gerve) Joint Explosive ordnance disposal Rapid Response Vehicle; a 12-ton Cougar truck that's hardened to survive bombs and mines, designed to transport engineers (CE) out to areas where obstacles need to be cleared, tasked as a clearing lead vehicle for convoys, and also serves as an ambulance.

Jersey barrier :
informal reference to a small concrete barrier.

Jesus of Nazareth / Jesus Christ :
the source of the Christian religion. [v: Yeshua, Yehoshua, Jesu, Iesus, Yeshua ha-Notsri, Yeshua ha Mashiach, Yeshua ben Yosef ha-Notzri, the Nazarene, the Galilean, Lord, Lord of lords, King of kings, Messiah, Son of God, Good Shepherd, Prince of Peace, Son of Man, JC]

Jew / Jewry :
a person whose religion is Judaism (qv). Also, any member of a people, now living in many countries of the world (diaspora), who trace their descent from the Israelites of the Bible, or from post-exilic adherents of Judaism. [v: Sephardim, Ashkenazim, Hasidism, etc]

Jewish calendar :
see Hebrew calendar.

jibba / djibbah / jibbah :
a long, collarless coat or smock worn by Muslims.

Joint Intelligence Center.

Joint Interrogation Facility, being an interservice compound for detainees.

jiggle joint :
slang for a Mid-Eastern establishment that entertains men with music and belly dancing while they eat and drink. [nb: striptease and other burlesque floor shows are adopting this referent as a marketing ploy, but Western establishments rarely offer belly dancing]

jihad / jehad :
the dutiful exertion of righteous efforts for the cause ordained by God (fighting for the sake of Allah); a holy war undertaken by Muslims as a sacred duty. Also, any crusade for an idea or principle; as literally derived from struggle or strife. Also, any personal struggle undertaken as a religious devotion for self-improvement or group betterment.

jihad TV :
slang reference to al Jazeera, the doctrinaire Islamic satellite television station in Qatar that broadcasts throughout the Middle East; also known as the "CNN of the Arab world".

jilabiyah :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment in Sudan, Upper Egypt, and Libya.

jilbab :
a long cloak worn by Muslim women when in public; this tailored overgarment is more fitted than the abaya, and is available in a wider variety of fabrics and colors.

jingle truck :
slang for a commercial vehicle of broad description and ingenious configuration that's used in itinerant sales or trade; based upon its somewhat garish and noisy appearance in the most remote areas from the Near East to the Far East, irrespective of ethnic, religious, or political divisions. Jingle trucks, also known as a "jingly truck" or "jewelry truck", are sometimes independently contracted to haul cargo for delivery on behalf of foreign operations. American troops serving in the Sandbox have nominated the jingle truck for various distinctions, including "State Animal of Afghanistan" and "Official Flower of Iraq".

jink / jinking :
aeronautics term for turning an aircraft hard and fast in various directions so as to avoid enemy fire, evade apprehension, or escape detection. [v: high jinks / hijinks]

jinn / jinni / jin / djinn / djinni / djin :
in Islamic mythology, any of a class of spirits (lower than angels) that are capable of appearing in human and animal forms, and able to influence people for either good or evil; as derived from demon.

(jay-list) Joint service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology.

JN :
abbreviation for Jabhat al-Nusra (qv).

Joint Operations Center.

Johnny Jihad :
slang referent for a Muslim combatant.

Joint Endeavor :
a combined armor and airborne ground operation in December 1995 to secure occupied sectors and travel routes so a cease-fire could be imposed for the safe administration of the aid/relief mission (Provide Promise) in Bosnia and Herzegovina; this NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) is also known as Task Force Eagle.

Joint Forge :
operation in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, and the Adriatic Sea from 21 June 1998; renamed from operation Joint Guard.

Joint Guard :
operation in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, and the Adriatic Sea from 20 Dec 1996 to 20 Jun 2008; derived from operation Joint Endeavor, then transferred to operation Joint Forge on 20 June 1998.

Jordan :
a kingdom in southwest Asia, consisting of the former Transjordan and that part of Palestine that has been occupied by Israel since 1967; officially known as Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with its capital at Amman. Also, a river (200mi) in southwest Asia, flowing from southern Lebanon through the Sea of Galilee, then south between Israel and Jordan through western Jordan into the Dead Sea.

Joint Precision AirDrop System, being a computer-controlled parachute delivery method used to supply or resupply troops in the field with rations, fuel, ammunition, and other vital necessities. After exiting a cargo plane flying as high as 25,000 feet above the ground, the wing-shaped steerable ram-air parachute self-maneuvers using Global Positioning System coordinates to a drop zone as small as 100 meters, making aerial delivery of a 2000# PAYLOAD securely. The JPADS is not only capable of traveling significant distances from its aerial release point, but can separate different parachutes released at the same time so as to deliver different payloads to different ground locations.

Joint Readiness Training Center.

Joint Special Operations Command.

Joint Special Operations Task Force, including Task Force Dagger and Task Force 11 in Afghanistan, under Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) subsequent to 9/11 2001 terrorist attack.

Joint StandOff Weapon (AGM-154A), being a global positioning system (GPS) inertial navigation guided aerial glide weapon.

Joint Security Station, or Joint Service Station, being an outpost operated by both American and Iraqi personnel.

(jay-stars) Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, being a high resolution RADAR integrated with a command and control (CC) suite that's mounted in a modified Boeing 707 airframe, so as to conduct airborne surveillance and directed attacks.

Joint Terminal Attack Coordinator, being a USAF specialist, embedded with an allied unit, who calls, plots, and arranges the distribution of various aircraft for ground air support missions.

Joint Task Force.

Joint Task Force - Southwest Asia, including Headquarters, Joint Task Force - Southwest Asia (HQ, JTF-SWA).

jubbah / jubba :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment in Pakistan.

Judaism :
a monotheistic religion based upon the precepts of the Old Testament together with the teachings and commentaries found chiefly in the Talmud. Also, belief in and conformity to this religion, its practices and ceremonies, which forms the basis of the cultural and social identity of the Jews.

Judea / Judaea :
the southern region of ancient Palestine, which existed under Persian, Greek, and Roman rule; it was divided between Israel and Jordan in 1948, and has been completely occupied by Israel since 1967.

jumu'ah :
a congregational prayer (salat) of Muslims that's conducted on the "Day of Assembly" (Friday) so as to commemorate the creation of Adam by Elohim on the sixth day of Creation in this gathering of Adam's sons.

jundi :
Arabic for 'soldier'.

Jungftak :
a legendary Persian bird of surpassing grace and impressive mien that's monogamous for life, each mate with only one wing, which abides in perpetual flight amongst the most remote and isolated peaks, such as seen soaring above Mountweazel.

ka :
the spiritual part of an individual that survives the body after death, as believed by the ancient Egyptians.

ka'ba / ka'bah / ka'abah :
a small cubical building in the courtyard of the central mosque in Mecca that contains a sacred black stone; the principal object of Muslim pilgrimages. Also, a pre-Islamic specimen of this building, which were sacred to Arabs as a House of God.

kaffiyeh / keffiyeh / kufiyeh / kuffiyeh / kuffyeh / kuffieh :
a square or rectangular head scarf that's worn by Arab men, which is usually white or checkered (red/white or black/white), is typically folded into a triangular section, and then held in place by a cord or rope headband (agal), often colored black; in some countries, such a headdress is called a shemagh or ghutra.

kafir / kaffir :
an infidel in the Islamic faith, or an unbeliever in Muslim teachings.

Kalash :
informal reference to the AK-47 assault rifle, variously the Type 56 and AKM, as adapted by Russian and Chinese producers using the 7.62X39mm cartridge. [cf: AK-74 (5.45mm caliber)]

kalian :
a Persian tobacco pipe in which the smoke is drawn through water before reaching the mouth; a hookah, narghile, or water pipe.

kandura :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

kanzu :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment on the Swahili Coast by Swahili men.

kasbah / casbah :
the old Arab quarter of a north African city; originating as a fortress or citadel ('qasabah'). [nb: widely misunderstood to mean market or marketplace]

kashruth / kashrut :
the body of dietary laws prescribed for Jews. Also, the suitability of something for use with respect to Jewish law; as literally derived from fitness.

kat / khat / qat :
an evergreen shrub (catha edulis) of Arabia and Africa, the leaves of which are used as a narcotic when chewed or made into a beverage. [nb: contradictory Muslim use of narcotics but prohibition of wine and other spiritous liquors]

Kellogg, Brown, and Root; being an American engineering and construction company that provides logistical support to Coalition forces in Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF); a contractor that operates and manages base facilities for the U.S. military and its allies in the Mid-East region.

kebab / kabob / kabab / kebap :
small pieces of seasoned or marinated meat or seafood that are skewered for broiling, often with peppers, onions, or other vegetables.

kebaya :
this traditionally long loose dress of Indonesian and Malaysian women is derived from the abaya.

kedgeree :
a cooked dish consisting of rice, lentils, and spices. Also, a cooked dish of rice, fish, hard-boiled eggs, butter, cream, and seasonings.

kef / keef :
any substance, but especially a smoking preparation of hemp leaves, used to produce a state of drowsy contentment, as practiced in the Middle East.

kef / kief / kif :
a state of drowsy contentment, especially from the use of a narcotic. [nb: contradictory Muslim use of narcotics but prohibition of wine and other spiritous liquors]

kefir :
a tart-tasting drink made from cow's or goat's milk, cultured by the addition of streptococcus and lactobacillus bacteria; originating in the Caucasus, it derives from "curdled milk kept in an animal skin".

Kerbela / Karbala / karbala' :
a town in central Iraq, being a holy city of the Shi'ite sect of Islam.

kerchief :
a woman's square scarf worn as a covering for the head and/or sometimes the shoulders; derived as a syncopated variation of 'keverchef / cuevrechef' meaning "head covering". Also, a handkerchief, as a cloth used for personal grooming. Also, a neckerchief, as a cloth worn around the neck.

Kevlar :
a synthetic aramid fiber (extruded long-chain polyamide) that was patented in 1971, and has since been used for body and splinter armor. Also, slang for the lightweight K-pot helmet. [nb: it's been well established that the effectiveness of Kevlar is significantly degraded when saturated with water]

King Fahd [Fahd ibn Abdul-Aziz al Saud] International Airport, Saudi Arabia.

khaki :
a yellowish brown or tawny summer-weight CLASS-A uniform made of cotton twill; also called 'sun-tans', and introduced by the British in India as the first camouflage uniform, by resemblance to the color of dust. [v: tropical worsted wool (TW)]

Khaleeji dress :
a very long, oversized woman's garment with a heavily embroidered front panel and billowing back, that's reserved for wear during the performance of social-style dances by Saudi women in which manipulation of the large thawb is a key component of the demonstration.

khamiis :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment in Somalia and Djibouti.

khamsin :
a hot dust-laden wind that blows for days.

Khan / Chan / Xan / Kagan / Xagan :
a title of respect used in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and other central Asian countries; as derived from the title borne by rulers of the empire founded by Genghis Khan and its successive states. Also, an inn or caravansary; caravanserai.

khanate :
a region or territory formerly within the empire founded by Genghis Khan; subsequently partitioned into successive states.

khasi :
a corruption of the Arabic for "the place where bodily evacuation occurs" that's commonly used to express one's need for a toilet. [nb: 'Khasi' is an AustroAsiatic language of Assam, in northeast India]

khimar / kimar :
the general term for a woman's head and/or face veil; sometimes used to describe a particular style of scarf that is draped over the entire upper half of a woman's body to her waist.

khitab / khītab :
a Muslim preacher who holds a wooden sword, representing the true word of God, as a symbol of his calling.

khordadgan / Khoordadgan :
among Persians, a day of thanksgiving for completeness; celebrated near water and represented by the gift of flowers.

Khyber Pass :
the chief mountain pass (33miles long, 6825ft elevation) between Pakistan and Afghanistan, lying west of Peshawar, the capital of the Northwest Frontier province of Pakistan.

Killed In Action.

kiblah / kibla / keblah / qiblah / qibla :
in Islamic practice, the point toward which Muslims turn to pray, especially the Ka'ba or House of God at Mecca.

kill box :
a three-dimensional area that's used to facilitate the integration of joint fires; being a hypothetical abstraction that's positioned to encompass the target, whether fixed or mobile, horizontal or vertical, personnel or vehicles, which is the most effective target area that can be projected for select munitions capable of delivery by available assets within the given time constraints.

kill house :
a building used for training military and paramilitary agents in the tactics and techniques of intervention and rescue, especially urban combat, by presenting typical, atypical, and specific scenarios during which flashbangs, MILES, and sim-ammo is used; some setups include sound effects, visual distractions, and booby-traps. The 'kill house', also called "shooting house", may be a mock-up of an aircraft fuselage, an embassy building, an apartment complex, a business office, or small factory designed in European, Asian, or Near Eastern style. These training sessions are normally videotaped for post-event review.

kill TV :
slang for the surveillance images that are transmitted from targeted drones or satellites to the tactical operations center (TOC), often as one of several "live-action shows" displayed on one or another screen amidst a banked array of similar outputs from ongoing operations, as occurring in real-time, but subject to post-event review on videotape.

Kingfisher :
codename for a constellation of American anti-spacecraft and ground attack space-based weapons.

Kiowa :
Bell OH-1 or OH-58 (JetRanger) observation helicopter; an armed version is designated "Kiowa Warrior" (OH-58D).

kismet / kismat :
fate or destiny; as derived from divide [qismah] one's lot or portion.

kiswah :
a decorative veil draped over the walls of the Ka'ba in Mecca, now made of black brocade that's embroidered in gold with inscriptions from the Koran.

kit :
materials and supplies for a specific purpose. Also, the arrangement of all the materials and supplies that're necessary for a specific purpose; the proper configuration (kitted-out) of these items on a combat-ready mil-pers. Also, the container for such material. Also, all the parts necessary to assemble something.

kitchen in a carton :
informal name for the 'Unitized Group Ration Express', introduced to field inventory in 2007, being a no-fuel/no-power self-heating system that requires no additional equipment. Each self-contained UGRE system is designed to be airdropped, weighs forty pounds, and feeds 18 servicemembers.

kithara / cithara :
a musical instrument of ancient Greece that consisted of an elaborate wooden soundbox with two arms connected by a yoke to which the upper ends of the strings were attached; as derived from 'lyre'.

King Khalid Military City.

Kosovo Liberation Army.

klick :
slang for kilometer (km), being 1,000 meters or 0.621 mile.

Koran / Quran / Qur'an / Qurān :
the sacred text of Islam, subdivided into 114 chapters (suras), or about two-thirds the length of the New Testament; it is revered as the word of God, as dictated to the prophet Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel, and is accepted as the foundation of Islamic law, religion, culture, and politics. After Muhammad's revelations were collected under the third "Rightly Guided Caliph" to form the authoritative written text, no additions or deletions have ever been permitted by Muslim authorities; the name of this holy book most probably means "that which is to be read aloud" (recited).

Korangal Valley / Korengal Valley / Kurangal Valley :
see Valley of Death.

kosher / kasher :
fit for use or allowed to be eaten, according to the dietary or ceremonial laws of Judaism; adhering to the customary laws governing suitability (c1406BC). Also, by informal extension, that which is proper or legitimate; genuine or authentic.

Kosovo Campaign Medal / KCM :
a CAMPAIGN MEDAL recognizing the honorable service of mil-pers in support of military operations in and around the former Yugoslav Republic of Kosovo (including Serbia, Montenegro, Vojvodina, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Slovenia, the Adriatic and Ionian Seas) from 24 March 1999 through 31 December 2013, with the authorized campaigns denoted by the addition of one or more bronze service stars ("battle star"), including the Kosovo Air Campaign (24 Mar - 10 Jun 1999), and the Kosovo Defense Campaign (11 Jun 1999 - 31 Dec 2013). The Kosovo Campaign Medal was transitioned back to the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) effective 1 January 2014.

K-pot :
a lightweight ballistic helmet made of Kevlar (patented 1971) that somewhat resembles the Fritz-style German coal-scuttle or Dutch Boy helmet; sardonically known as the "dome of obedience".

K-2 :
Karshi Khanidad, Uzbekistan.

kuffiyeh :
see ghutra.

kumiss / koumis / koumiss / koumyss / kimiz :
fermented mare's or camel's milk, used as a dietetic and medicinal beverage by Asian nomads.

Kurd :
a member of an Islamic people speaking Kurdish and dwelling chiefly in Kurdistan.

Kurdish :
pertaining to the Kurds or their language. Also, pertaining to Kurdistan, its people, or their language. Also, the Iranian language of the Kurds.

kurta / khurta :
a sleeveless shirt worn over or under the angiya by Muslim women, especially in India. Also, a long-sleeved, hip-length shirt that's worn by men in India.

Kuwait / Koweit :
a sovereign monarchy in northeast Arabia, on the northwestern coast of the Persian Gulf, which was formerly a British protectorate, with its capital at the seaport of Kuwait.

laghman / laghmon :
a Central Asian dish featuring thicker ramen-style noodles in a significantly spicier base than traditional Far Eastern cookery; derived from Chinese lamian ('pulled noodle'). [v: kalli, dau dau]

Lake Nasser :
a reservoir (300mi long by 6mi wide) in southeastern Egypt, formed in the Nile River south of the Aswan High Dam; the southern part, situated in northern Sudan, is named Lake Nubia; this impoundment is named after Gamal Abdel Nasser, an Egyptian military and political leader, and president of the United Arab Republic.

Lancer :
the Rockwell/Boeing B-1 strategic long-range heavy bomber aircraft, commonly nicknamed "Bone"; may be configured as an unmanned, long-range, supersonic attack airplane (EB-1D).

land of milk and honey :
any place of abundance, especially the Promised Land where all the blessings of heaven shall be manifest. [v: "a land flowing with milk and honey" Exodus 3:8; Ezekiel 20:6]

Land of Oz :
informal referent for Australia, from the corrupt pronunciation of 'Aussie' as "Ozzie".

Local Area Orientation Flight, being a prerequisite for autonomous aerial operations.

Light Armored Reconnaissance battalion employing Light Armored Vehicles (LAV) as scout and security elements on the periphery of larger USMC units.

Light Armored Vehicle, primarily utilized by USMC (eg: LAV-25 wheeled personnel carrier for six troops that's armed with 25mm chain gun).

Law of the Medes and the Persians :
unalterable law.

Load Bearing Equipment.

Load-Bearing Vest; part of the MOdular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment (MOLLE) system.

Landing Craft Air Cushion, being a hovercraft-type of landing craft for transport of men, equipment, and vehicles on amphibious operations.

Land Component Commander.

lance corporal; a rank in the Army and Marine Corps between private first class (PFC) and corporal (CPL), designating the first level of responsibility as a fire team leader.

l'chaim :
'to life', used as an Hebraic drinking toast.

LD :
Line of Departure.

League of Arab States :
see Arab League.

Lebanon :
a republic at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, north of Israel, with its capital at Beirut; also called the "Switzerland of the Mediterranean".

Legion of Merit / LOM :
issued in three grades to both civilian and military personnel for distinguished service.

Lent :
in Christian practice, an annual season of fasting and penitence as preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting forty weekdays to Easter; as derived from "lengthening of the (Spring) season".

Levant :
the lands [Bilad al-Sham] bordering the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, from Turkey to Egypt. Also, slang for leave or break camp, as to decamp secretly or hurriedly; to flee, skip, scarper, or skulk, as by a levanter.

levanter :
a strong easterly wind of the Mediterranean Sea, attended by cloudy, foggy, and sometimes rainy weather, especially in winter.

levantera :
a persistent east wind of the Adriatic Sea, usually accompanied by cloudy weather.

Liberia :
a republic in western Africa that was founded (1822) by freed American slaves, with its capital at Monrovia. [v: James Monroe]

Libya :
a republic in north Africa between Tunisia and Egypt that was formerly (1951-69) a monarchy called Italian Libia, with its capital at Tripoli. Also, the part of northern Africa west of Egypt.

lickin' chicken :
slang catch-phrase for 'loud and clear' (5 by 5), being a reception evaluation from a station on the communications net.

Light Infantry Division.

lifer juice :
slang for coffee.

light it up :
informal directive to commence firing upon a designated target.

light stick :
a colored plastic tube filled with liquid chemicals separated by a membrane, which when broken, allows the fluids to reactively mix and emit a cold soft light (called "chemiluminescence") for several hours; used in the field for signaling and marking, working equally well underwater, this chemiluminescent light is also called "glow stick", "glow light", "cold light", together with several tradenames.

lingua franca / lingua-franca :
any language that is widely used as a means of communication among speakers of other languages; sometimes called "trade language". [nb: despite the Mongol reign over most of medieval EurAsia for centuries, its linguistic legacy has been sparse, with only remnant influences in Magyar, Samoyedic, and Uralic; while Hispanic conquests have culturally persisted, making Spanish a global linguistic contender; and due to a combination of the international suppression of Judeo-Christian propagation by communists and fascists, and global proselytizing by Muslims, making Islam the world's fastest growing religion, the Arabic language (which supplanted Aramaic) is now being insinuated and interlarded into native tongues worldwide]

Litham / lifam :
a mouth-veil that Berber and Bedouin men traditionally use to mask the lower part of their face as a tribal custom, so as not to be exposed before their female inlaws, even if the women are permitted to be unveiled.

Little Bird :
the armed version (AH-6 series) of the Hughes Cayuse Light Observation helicopter (LOH), including aircrew and armed "outriders" perched on the skids.

liturgy :
a form of public worship; ritual. Also, a collection of formularies for public worship. Also, a particular arrangement of services. Also, a particular form or type of the Eucharistic service.

U.S. Army's Land Information Warfare Activity.

Light MachineGun, being a designation from WWI to identify a two-man portable (weighing less than 30#) belt-fed machinegun (such as the M-1919 .30cal or M-60 7.62mm), to distinguish them from vehicle or craft mounted "heavy" machineguns (such as the M-2 .50cal MG).

LN :
Local National, being a person indigenous to the region.

Liaison Officer; also represented as 'LO'.

loadout / load-out :
the gear and equipment, tools and weapons, clothing and expendables to be used by a mil-pers on a particular assignment, this assemblage varies depending upon mission objectives,time constraints, weather, terrain, duty or role, and personal preferences ... it essentially consists of everything someone needs to accomplish a specific purpose. Also, a military operation wherein equipment and supplies, weapons and materials are assembled, loaded, and moved from one place to another; being a singular logistical process, not a continuous resupply process.

loadout gear :
priority categorization of a mil-pers portable weapons and equipment offering layered levels of activity or response, as "first line loadout gear", being all clothing and any other items worn close to one's body; "second line loadout gear", being all individual weapons, ammunition, and H-gear; and "third line loadout gear", being all backpacked or vehicle stowed supplies and equipment that's transported into the operational area by rucksack or personnel carrier ... everything that sustains the soldier on his assigned mission. One is never without "first line" items as they are constantly worn on one's person. The "second line" items may be removed or laid down, but are always nearby. The "third line" items are available when needed, but an emergency may necessitate their abandonment.

loadout room :
a makeshift work space, typically situated near the armory or supply room, where team or section members assemble the gear and equipment, weapons and expendables that they've been issued for a forthcoming assignment; a staging area where preparations are made and the operation discussed apart from anyone not privy to the mission particulars ... it may be the bay area in a barracks or the common area of a teamhouse.

Lines of Communication for resupply and reinforcement.

Lines of Engagement.

loggia :
a gallery or arcade open to the air on at least one side. Also, a space within the body of a building but open to the air on one side, serving as an open-air room or as an entrance porch.

log-pac :
LOGistics PACkage, being a convoy dedicated to logistical supply / resupply.

(loach) Hughes OH-6A Light Observation Helicopter, known as Cayuse or Sperm.

(low-sat) Line Of Sight Anti-Tank missile system.

(el-raz) Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System; introduced in 2001, this man-portable ground-mounted or vehicle-mounted advanced electronic target location and targeting grid overlay device can view the front and flanks from its setup base using Forward-Looking InfraRed (FLIR) thermal imaging.

Long Range Surveillance Detachment.

Long Range Surveillance Leaders Course, a five week training program for officers and non-commissioned officers that was established when Long Range Surveillance Units (LRSU) were reactivated in 1986.

Long Range Surveillance Unit, an intelligence patrol element integral to a separate brigade, regiment, or division.

Logistics Support Area.

Light Surveillance Vehicle, being a small, lightweight, skeletonized vehicle used for high-mobility transport in rough terrain; this is the military version of the All Terrain Vehicle (ATV).

ltc :
leadership targeting cell.

lungi / lungee / lungyi / longyi :
a cloth used as a turban, scarf, sarong, or loincloth in Pakistan, India, and Burma / Myanmar.

Landing Vehicle Tracked, being a ship-to-shore transport for 18-20 troops that's armed with .50cal heavy machineguns and 40mm automatic grenade launchers; also called Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV). A 'command' (LVTC) configuration is provided with additional electronic and communications equipment. Also configured as Landing Vehicle Tracked Amphibious (LVTA, with 75mm howitzer) and Landing Vehicle Track Propelled (LVTP).

LZ :
Landing Zone, being an area for heliborne ingress or egress.

Maariv / Maarib :
the daily Jewish religious service conducted in the evening; as literally derived from Hebrew for 'evening prayer'.

Macedonia :
a constituent republic of Yugoslavia, in the southeastern part, with its capital at Skopje / Skoplje. Also, an ancient kingdom in the Balkan Peninsula, situated in southeastern Europe, which is now a region that includes parts of Greece, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria; also known as Macedon, this was the homeland of Alexander the Great, and the birthplace of Aristotle.

macrame / macramé / macramé lace :
an openwork web constructed of yarn or cord; derived from a decorative technique used to finish the fringe on Turkish weavings (eg: towels, napkins, coverlets, etc).

ma deuce / fifty :
informal designation for the 1919 Browning M-2 .5O-caliber machinegun with heavy-barrel, being a belt-fed, recoil-operated, and air-cooled automatic weapon that's tripod or pedestal mounted, firing with a "butterfly" trigger between spade-like handles from the open-bolt position. [nb: the Browning M-3P .50-caliber machinegun is remotely-controlled and electrically-fired, as designed for use in ground vehicles, watercraft, and aircraft]

madrassah / madrassa / madrasah / madrasa :
a school dedicated to integrating Islamic teaching with the rest of its curriculum.

maestro :
a northwesterly summertime wind that blows in fine weather around the Adriatic Sea.

Marine Air Group. Also, short for MAGazine; being the metal receptacle where ammunition is stored after being loaded from cartons, clips, or bandoleers until placed in the "magazine well" or "...housing" of an autoloading firearm.

Magen David Adom :
the Red Star of David has been used since 1935 to represent Israel's national disaster, ambulance, emergency medical, and blood bank services, but this symbol is not recognized as a protective sign by the Geneva Conventions, and it has been rejected by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, arguing that a proliferation of designs would detract from the mission, until 22 June 2006 when a non-religious icon (Red Crystal or Red Diamond) was substituted. Although the Red Star of David is still displayed inside the country (sometimes surrounded by the generic red lozenge), only the Red Crystal is recognized worldwide.

Maghreb / Maghrib :
the Arabic name for the northwestern part of Africa, generally including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and sometimes Libya.

Mahdi :
the Muslim messiah, an expected spiritual and temporal ruler destined to establish a reign of righteousness throughout the world, after vanquishing a false messiah; as literally derived from "he who is guided", and referred to by Shi'ites as the Hidden Imam. Also, any of various claimants to this role (eg: Muhammad Ahmed, who established an independent government in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan that lasted until 1898). Also, a corruption of the designation for the Muslim savior or messiah [anointed], being any Muhammadan enemy, but especially an Islamic martyr.

maku :
a corruption of the Arabic for "none" or "nothing" that's commonly used dismissively to express "I don't have any."

mam :
military-aged male; formerly known as fighting age male (FAM).

Manat :
a pre-Islamic Arabian goddess personifying fortune.

man dress :
an ankle-length outer garment of cotton or wool, usually with long sleeves, which is similar to a robe, kaftan, or tunic, including the wearing of a loincloth or pants underneath it; sometimes embellished with embroidery, or accented by a cloak denoting status, the collar and sleeves may be stiffened to impart a more formal appearance; it's variously known in different Arab regions as dishdasha, thobe / thawb, kandura, gandora, khamiis, jilabiyah, jelabiyad, djellaba, perâhan, jubbah, zannah, and kanzu.

Manicheanism / Manicheism :
an adherent of the dualistic religious system of Manes, a Persian doctrine from the 3rd century anno domini (AD) that combines Gnostic Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and various other elements, with a basic doctrine of a conflict between light and dark (matter being regarded as dark and evil). [Maniche / Manichee, Manichean / Manichaean]

Man-Portable Air Defense System; a shoulder-fired Surface-to-Air Missile. [nb: indigenous peoples have nicknamed this shoulder-fired weapon an "arrow", and designate the missileer who fires it as "archer" or "bowman"]

manticore :
a legendary monster of ancient Persia having a man's head, horns, a lion's body, and the tail of a dragon (or, sometimes, a scorpion); derived as a corruption of devour or man-eating, by allusion to the tiger, which was once common in the region of the Caspian Sea.

Marine Forces Central Command.

Marineland :
slang for Anbar province in Iraq, which is primarily patrolled by U.S. Marines. Also, by extension of the theme park concept (eg: "Camel Land" in the sandbox), anywhere that Marines predominate, from expeditionary or amphibious forces to beaches or waterfront bars.

an acronym used by ground troops in Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) meaning "Many Americans Running Into Never Ending Shit".

Maritime Intercept :
operation in the Mid-East from 1 Dec 1995.

Maronite / Maronite Christian :
a member of a body of Uniates living chiefly in Lebanon, who maintain a Syriac liturgy and a married clergy, and who are governed by the patriarch of Antioch; eponymously after Saint Maron, the 4th-century monk who founded the sect.

MARine PATtern digital camouflage uniform for USMC.

marsalama :
a corruption of the Arabic word for "go in peace" that's commonly used to express 'see you later', good-bye or farewell.

Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, supporting military actions at brigade and higher levels; has been superseded by the Forward Surgical Team (FST).

mashgiah / mashgiach :
an inspector who ensures that kosher food that's prepared for or served to the public has not violated any of the Jewish dietary laws; a guardian appointed by a board of rabbis as a warrant against improper processing.

masjid :
the Arabic word for 'mosque', being an Islamic house of worship.

Mine-resistant ambush-protected All Terrain Vehicle, being a smaller lighter-weight truck used for off-road patrolling, as manufactured from 30 June 2009 by Oshkosh Defense.

Marine Amphibious Unit.

Mauretania :
an ancient kingdom in northwestern Africa that included the territory that is now modern Morocco and part of Algeria. [nb: the land of the Mauri or Moors, which kingdom was annexed to the Roman Empire in AD42 and finally disintegrated when overrun by the Vandals in 429]

Mauritania :
a republic in west Africa that's largely in the Sahara Desert, having formerly been a French colony and a member of the French Community (1958-66); independent since 1960, it's officially named Islamic Republic of Mauritania, with its capital at Nouakchott.

Marine Aircraft Wing, or Marine Air Wing.

Mawlid / Maulid / Maulud :
an Islamic holiday celebrating the birth of the prophet Muhammad, occurring on the twelfth day of the Muslim month of Rabi' al-awwal, and characterized by the recitation of panegyrical poems honoring Muhammad. Also, the poems recited on this occasion.

Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron.

mazel tov / mazzal tobh / mazltov :
good luck or good fortune; often congratulatory in expression.

Meal Cold Weather / Long Range Patrol, a long shelf-life dehydrated ration, packaged in white camouflage, that's lightweight, compact, and will not freeze; designed for cold weather feeding, this meal may be issued at the rate of three per day per person (1540kcal/meal, 4620kcal/day) for a complete winter diet.

Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

Mecca / Makkah / Mekka :
the capital of Hejaz, the city in western Saudi Arabia that's the spiritual center of Islam; it's the birthplace of the prophet Muhammad. Also, any place that attracts many people with interests in common.

mech :
mechanized infantry, as derived from mounted rifles or dragoons, who rode to battle but fought on foot.

medevac :
contraction of medical evacuation, being primarily associated with the helicopter transport of casualties from the field to a hospital; also known as "DustOff" (from the 1964 radio call-sign of LT Paul B. Kelley in Vietnam.

Medina :
the city in western Saudi Arabia, about 290mi northeast of Mecca, where Muhammad was first accepted as the prophet of Islam and where his tomb is located; originally designated Yathrib, it was renamed [madīnat: "City of the Prophet"] in honor of Muhammad. Also, the old Arab quarter of a north African city.

Mediterranean fever :
also called Malta fever, Rock fever, undulant fever, but properly known as brucellosis; being a pathogenic infection with bacteria of the Brucella genus [eponymously after D. Bruce], frequently causing spontaneous abortions in animals and remittent fever (abating for a time) in humans.

Marine Expeditionary Force.

mehr / mihr :
the Persian concept of pure love.

Mehregan / Mihregan :
a day of thanksgiving, wherein family and friends express their appreciation for one another in a festive atmosphere.

Melchite / Melkite :
a Christian in Egypt and Syria who accepted the definition of the faith adopted by the Council of Chalcedon in AD451; as derived from 'royalist'.

the Military Enlistment Processing Station, or Military Entrance Processing Station, that's commonly called a Reception Station or Reception Center for the initial in-processing of new mil-pers.

Meritorious Service Medal / MSM :
created in 1969 to recognize non-combat meritorious service, including staff or support work in a combat zone. This was an attempt to restore the prestige of the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service.

Mesopotamia :
the ancient region of Asia about the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that's included in modern Iraq; literally derived from "between rivers", it extends from the Persian Gulf north to the mountains of Armenia, and from the Zagros and Kurdish mountains on the east to the Syrian Desert. It slopes from the mountains through grassy steppes to a central alluvial plain, which was once rendered exceedingly fertile by a network of canals that were later destroyed by the conquering Mongols under Hulagu Khan. Long thought to be the cradle of civilization, which transitioned into the culture of the city-state, this area was distinguished for its influence in business and politics, education and religion.

Messiah / Messias :
the promised and expected deliverer of the Jewish people. [v: Yeshua ben Yosef ha-Notzri] Also, Jesus Christ, regarded by Christians as fulfilling this promise and expectation (John 4:25, 26). [v: Iesous] Also, any anticipated savior or deliverer [anointed]; any zealous leader of some cause or project.

(met-tea) a mnemonic abbreviation for Mission, Enemy, Troops, Terrain, and Time available.

Marine Expeditionary Unit, being the smallest USMC air-ground task force, consisting of a reinforced infantry battalion, a composite helicopter squadron, and a logistics support element.

Missile Enlargement Zone.

Military Grid Reference System, being a standardized scale that's superimposed upon a topographical map projection of the earth's surface for the accurate and consistent position of locations, or the computation of direction and distance between locations.

MagnetoHydrodynamic Generator, which produces electricity by spinning plasma through a magnetic field.

MI :
Military Intelligence, being S-2/G-2/J-2.

Missing In Action.

(mid-bee) Momentary Intelligence Data Base.

Middle East :
an indefinite geographical region extending from Libya to Afghanistan, usually including Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other nations of the Arabian peninsula; formerly included India and Burma.

Mid-East / Mideast :
the contracted form of Middle East, as 'Mid-Eastern'.

midrash :
an early Jewish interpretive commentary on a Biblical text; a collection of these expositions, especially those composed in the first ten centuries of the Christian era.

mihrab :
a niche or decorative panel in a mosque designating the kiblah, being the point toward which prayers are directed.

mike :
the phonetic letter "M", used to represent 'minute' to ensure clarity when communicating time intervals.

mikvah / mikveh :
a public bath to which Orthodox Jews go on certain occasions for ritual cleansing.

a DoD-owned 20-foot shipping container (20'L X 8'H X 8'W), which is the most commonly used shipping container sized for military deployments.

minaret :
a lofty, often slender, tower or turret attached to a mosque, surrounded by or furnished with one or more balconies, from which the muezzin (crier) calls the faithful to prayer; as derived from 'lighthouse'.

minhag :
in Jewish culture, the latitude extended for local custom; the permissible deviations in Jewish practices. A custom or procedure that is so firmly established in Jewish tradition as to have almost the binding force of law.

Minhah / Minchah :
the daily Jewish religious service conducted in the afternoon.

minigun :
a lightweight but very effective six-barrel machinegun of 7.62mm caliber that's electrically operated and platform mounted on a vessel, aircraft, or assault vehicle; firing 2-4,000rpm by barrel rotation generates a distinctive "moan and groan" sound, so it is also known as a 'moaning mini'.

minyan :
in Jewish law, the quorum of ten adult Jewish males required to be present in order to conduct public prayers; as derived from 'number'.

Mi'raj :
in Islamic lore, the prophet Muhammad's miraculous ascension from Jerusalem, through the seven heavens, to the throne of God; the site from which he ascended up a ladder or stairs while mounted on a white horse is now the shrine of the Dome of the Rock.

Misr :
see Egypt.

mission control :
informal referent for the Tactical Operations Center (TOC).

Mithraism / Mithraicism :
an ancient Persian religion in which Mithras was worshiped, involving secret rituals to which only men were admitted; a major competitor of Christianity in the Roman empire during the 2nd and 3rd centuries anno Domini (AD).

Mithras / Mithra :
the Persian god of light and truth, then later god of the sun.

mitzvah / mitsvah :
any of more than six hundred precepts, collected from the Bible and rabbinic teachings by Maimonides, that chiefly relate to the moral and religious conduct of Jews; hence, any good deed or praiseworthy act.

MK19-3 :
a belt-fed, blowback-operated, and air-cooled automatic 40mm grenade machinegun (@72.5#) that was developed (1983) to deliver decisive firepower against enemy personnel and lightly armored vehicles to an effective range of 2200m, replacing the Browning M-2 heavy machinegun as the primary suppressive weapon in vehicle-mounted combat support operations.

Marine Logistics Group.

Multiple Launch Rocket System.

Mast Mounted Sight, being a multi-sensor sight system mounted above the rotor hub on a helicopter.

MultiNational Corps-Iraq; coalition forces battling widespread insurgency, conducting rebuilding efforts, and helping to establish more democracy in Iraq.

MultiNational Forces; also represented as Multinational Forces Iraq (MNFI).

Military Operational Area.

Massive Ordnance Airburst Bomb, or Massive Ordnance Air Blast; being a satellite-guided missile that generates a mushroom cloud; with the acronym widely re-interpreted as the "Mother Of All Bombs".

mobilization training :
the assembly of a military unit as the initial phase in readiness for overseas deployment, including accountability, orientations, qualifications, immunizations, and verifications.

Mobi-Mat :
a portable (removable and reusable) rollout access pathway for vehicles and pedestrians that's relatively lightweight and maintenance-free; it has a rigid corrugated surface that provides a safe, flexible and visible pathway that's very durable and "environmentally friendly".

Mogul / Moghul / Mughal :
the dynastic empire of Muslims who ruled parts of India during the 16th - 18th centuries. [cf: Mongol]

Moharram / Muharram :
the first month of the Muslim calendar; as literally derived from forbidden.

acronym for MOdular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment, or MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment, which was introduced in 1997, deriving its modularity from the grid-work system of straps that permits various pouch and gear arrangements, including load-bearing vest (LBV) and CamelBak-style CANTEEN (with sipping tube) built into the backpack.

Mookie :
nickname for Muqtada Sadr, the Iraqi Shiite leader.

moon dust :
a fine sand, somewhat resembling talcum powder, that's pervasive throughout the Middle East, characteristically invasive and sticky when wet.

Moor :
any member of the several groups of north African Arabs and Berbers who ruled parts of the Iberian Peninsula from the 8th through the 15th centuries, especially those native peoples of northern Africa living west of Egypt. [nb: Europeans referred to all Muslims during the Middle Ages as 'Moors', just as Eastern countries referred to all Europeans during this same period as 'Franks']

Moorish arch :
an arch that widens before rounding off, being emblematic of Islamic architecture; also called "horseshoe arch" and "keyhole arch".

Mission Oriented Protective Posture, being a suit designed to shield against contamination from chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

Morocco :
a kingdom in northwestern Africa with its capital at Rabat, which was formed from a sultanate that was divided into two protectorates (ie: French Morocco or Maroc and Spanish Morocco or Marruecos) and an international zone (ie: Tangier Zone) on the Strait of Gibraltar. The former capital of Marrakesh / MMarrakech is also a cultural center, while Casablanca is the most populous port of this kingdom.

Mortaritaville :
slang for Balad, Iraq.

Moslem :
older reference to a Muslim, being an adherent of Islam, its law and culture.

mosque :
a Muslim temple or house of worship (masjid), being a public place for prayer; as derived from "place of prostration".

mother of all :
a phrase most often associated with Saddam Hussein's threatened "mother of all battles" during the Persian Gulf War, but the expression exists as a comparison to precedence in numerous other phrases and not just in exaggerated allusions to great achievements, tremendous acts, or monumental things, including ridiculous assertions (eg: "the mother of all hangovers!").

Mother of Satan :
white crystalline organic compounds [eg: acetone peroxide, tri-cyclic acetone peroxide (TCAP), triacetone triperoxide (TATP), tetrameric acetone peroxide, peroxyacetone] that are used explosively due to the ready availability and low cost of their precursors; although not readily soluble in water, they are susceptible to heat, friction, and shock, which instability is greatly altered by impurities, including their own oligomers, and they slowly sublime into larger unstable crystals at room temperature ... these are among the few high explosives not containing nitrogen, so can pass through scanners designed to detect nitrogenous compounds. Acetone peroxides, as bleaching agents, phenol synthesizers, and polymerization initiators, are common industrial by-products that can become hazardous when mishandled.

mouse hole :
slang for a one-man spider hole situated in an urban area.

Military Operations in Urban Terrain; commonly called urban combat or "house-to-house fighting".

MP :
Military Police.

Maritime Pre-positioning Ship, stocked with Roll-On / Roll-Off containerized military weapons and equipment to speed operational deployment.

Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected category of wheeled vehicles that're protected by an armored V-shaped hull to withstand improvised explosive devices (IED) and land mines while carrying personnel and cargo; this 2004 program includes versions of the Cougar, Buffalo, and Caiman, with some models configured for patrol and others as ambulances.

Meal Ready-to-Eat, being a "moist packed" foodstuff that may be heated chemically, microwaved, or consumed cold.

Mine-Resistant Utility Vehicle, a smaller and lighter version of the wheeled Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle with an armored V-hull that's designed for use in constricted urban areas.

Main Supply Route, or Military Supply Route.

move out and draw fire :
an injunction to stop dithering inconclusively (like a civilian) and take decisive action, even if it's dangerous; this admonition is often used to motivate indolent slackers and play-it-safe survivors.

Military Supply Route; also Main Supply Route and Main Service Route, being the primary route through an operational area for the transport of men and materiel supporting those operations.

M-3P :
see ma deuce / fifty.

Maintenance Test Pilot, being a U.S. Army aviation specialist who's qualified to verify the efficacy of a remedy and the viability of the restoration.

M-240 :
a vehicle-mounted medium (24#) machinegun firing 7.62mm cartridges.

M-249 :
see SAW.

M-203 :
see over-and-under.

muezzin :
in Islamic practice, the crier who intones aloud at stated hours (five times daily) the call summoning the faithful to prayer from a minaret or other high part of a mosque.

mufti :
a religious authority who issues general legal opinions; a Muslim legal adviser who's consulted on applying the religious law; as literally derived from "a person who delivers a judgment". Also, a deputy of the chief Muslim legal adviser to the Sultan in the Ottoman Empire. [v: Grand Mufti] Also, civilian clothes, in contrast with military or other uniforms; as derived from the fact that this jurist was a civil official, and therefore not entitled to wear a uniform.

Muhammad / Muhammed / Mahomet / Mohammed :
the founder of Islam, the Muslim religion, meaning "the praised one" in Arabic; Kotham (or Halabi) who adopted this designation during his escape from persecution known as the Hijra / Hijrah (hegira or hejira). He felt the call at age forty to become the true prophet of God among the Arab people, which revelation, together with many other proclamations and prophecies (114 suras), is contained in the Koran (Quran).

Muj :
(mooge) contraction of Mujahideen / Mujahedin / Mujaheddin, being a Muslim guerrilla fighting in and around the region of Afghanistan; also called The Muj, as derived from "one who wages jihad". This term is more descriptive than derogatory, with its usage dependent upon tone and context, and upon which side the Muj is fighting; it should be noted that these fighters take credit for toppling the USSR as a religious triumph, while America is given credit for causing the collapse of Soviet communism by economic means.

Mujahideen / Mujahedin / Mujaheddin :
see Muj.

Mujama' al-Islami :
the predecessor of Hamas.

mullah :
an honorific for a religious scholar or mystic master; a synonym of shaykh used by Persian-speaking peoples.

Muslim / Moslem / Muslem :
pertaining to the religion, law, or civilization of Islam; as literally derived from 'a person who submits'. Also, an adherent of Islam, its law and culture.

Muslim Brotherhood :
see Society of the Muslim Brothers.

Muslim calendar :
the lunar calendar used by Muslims that's also called the 'Islamic calendar', which is reckoned from AD622 (Anno Hejirae / A.H.); this calendar year consists of 354 days, and contains twelve months: Moharram, Safar, Rabi I, Rabi II, Jumada I, Jumada II, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhu 'l-Qa'da, and Dhu 'l-hijjah. In leap years, the month of Dhu 'l-hijjah contains one extra day.

muslin / mousseline / mussolina :
a plain weave cotton fabric made in various degrees of fineness, often printed or embroidered, used for sheeting and a variety of other applications; being a toponym after Mussol / Mosul, Iraq.

Mussulman :
older reference to a Moslem or Muslim, being an adherent of Islam, its law and culture. [nb: 'Mussulmans' is the plural, not 'Musselmen']

mustahabb :
a doctrine wherein it's considered commendable to emulate the prophet Muhammad.

designation for a Military Working Dog, such as sentry, scout, or explosives detection. [nb: the four element serial number tattooed on military working dogs consists of a letter and three numeric digits denoting the year and order of induction; the letters G / I / O / Q / U are not used because they are too easily confused] [nb: the military working dogs employed in GWOT operations wear Kevlar protective vests]

MWR line :
long-distance fonecon or e-mail (including Skype webcam) provided to all unit members on a schedule at low charge (domestic) or no cost (overseas) as a perquisite of the subsidized Morale, Welfare, and Recreation program.

Mountain Warfare Training Center, being the Marine Corps school for individuals and units undertaking cold weather operations in alpine terrain that's situated northwest of Bridgeport, CA; this installation provides pre-deployment preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan.

nahiya :
a sub-district in Iraq, smaller than a qada'a.

Named Areas of Interest, being previous launch sites for enemy rocket or mortar attacks, locations of previous enemy ambushes or assaults, or where probable enemy activity is anticipated to occur; a potential 'hot zone' based upon intelligence suspicions or predictions.

Najaf / An-Najaf :
a city in central Iraq; a shrine in this holy city contains the tomb of Ali, founder of the Shi'ite sect.

Nakhchivan :
an exclave of Azerbaijan.

nantenna :
nanoscopic rectifying antenna that's used to convert light to electric power.

narghile / nargileh / nargiòle :
a tobacco pipe in which the smoke is drawn through water before reaching the mouth; derived from 'coconut' (Turkish), from which it was originally made; also called hookah, kalian, or water pipe.

nashi / n'aschi :
a northeast wind which occurs in winter on the Iranian and Makran coasts of the Persian Gulf, being similar (but less severe) to the 'bora' for its association with the highlands of Iran.

naswar :
an indigenous form of moist dipping tobacco with a moderate narcotic effect, being a dark brown powdered snuff that's used in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and elsewhere throughout the Middle East. [nb: contradictory Muslim use of narcotics but prohibition of wine and other spiritous liquors]

National Defense Service Medal / NDSM :
awarded to mil-pers for honorable active federal service in the Armed Forces during the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War (2 Aug 1990 - 30 Nov 1995), and the Global War on Terrorism (11 Sep 2001...), with a bronze service star ("battle star") or an oak leaf cluster (OLC) added for multiple periods of service; the NDSM has also been authorized for award to military academy cadets serving at West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Navy Achievement Medal / NAM :
presented for achievement or valor, this award ranks below the Navy Commendation Medal (NAVCOM), the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) and Bronze Star (BSM); equivalent to the Army Achievement Medal (AAM).

Navy Commendation Medal / NAVCOM :
this award ranks below the Bronze Star (BSM) for valor, and between the Navy Achievement Medal (NAM) and the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for achievement.

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical.

NBC suit :
a protective coverall designed to shield the wearer against contamination from nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons.

Non-Commissioned Officer, being various grades of corporal and sergeant (E-4 thru E-10) in the Army, Air Force, and Marines; known as Petty Officer (PO) and Chief Petty Officer (CPO) in the naval services.

Near East :
an indefinite geographical region usually considered to encompass the countries of southwest Asia, including Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the other nations of the Arabian peninsula.

neck sock :
informal name for the separate tube or collar encasing the wearer's throat, knitted or crocheted of woolen yarns, that has been permitted for wear for additional warmth during winter operations by OEF troops in Afghanistan and OIF troops in Iraq; also called "neck gaiter" or "neck warmer".

Nejd / Najd :
one of the two major regions of Saudi Arabia, located in the eastern central part; formerly a sultanate of Arabia.

Noncombatant Evacuation Operation, being the designation for the transport of injured civilians to a medical facility.

Nerdistan :
slang for the episodic concentrations of high-tech and science-based industries, which were previously known as a "nerdsville", located nearby to research laboratories or technical schools. [nb: the electronic medium that's populated by online bloggers is known as "blogistan"]

Navy EXchange concession; the sutler's store of general merchandise for military personnel and their dependents.

National File Number.

NG :
National Guard, being a reserve military force funded by the state wherein the units reside; state military forces that are partly equipped, trained, and quartered by the federal government, which become an active component of the Armed Forces when called into federal service by the president during civil emergencies.

Non-Governmental Organization, being a private organization with transnational social or economic interests that consults with the UN on humanitarian relief and peacekeeping.

night and day zero :
to calibrate the daylight sights and nighttime aiming device by the adjustment of elevation and windage on a firearm or gun so as to strike the target at a given range; to ensure that a weapon's discharge is the same in darkness as it is in daylight.

nikah misyar :
an impermanent ambulant marriage that's permitted by Sunni laws. [v: nafaqa]

nikah mut'ah :
a marriage that's been contracted for a limited period of time for a certain sum of money; this arrangement is legal among Shi'ites, but is prohibitted by Sunnis ... however, Sunnis permit other types of impermanent marriage, including misyar (ambulant or traveler's marriage) and 'urfi (customary marriage). Critics condemn these marriages as legal but immoral, and contrary to the spirit of the Muslim community. [v: nafaqa]

nikah 'urfi :
an impermanent customary marriage, often informal or unsanctioned, that's permitted by Sunni laws. [v: nafaqa]

Nile :
a river in east Africa, the longest (3473mi) in the world, flowing north from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea. [nb: 4000mi long from the headwaters of the Kagera River]

National Imaging and Mapping Agency, or National Imagery and Mapping Agency.

Nimeh Sabân :
celebration for the twelfth and final Shi'ite imam.

9K720 :
Russian air-launched anti-spacecraft missile.

9-mil :
the standard military-issued M-9 sidearm, known as a "Personal Defense Weapon", firing the 9mm NATO cartridge; a lightweight, semiautomatic, double-action pistol, with redundant safety features that can be unloaded or decocked without activating the trigger.

niqab / al-niqab :
a full covering for the face that may veil the eyes or leaves only eye slits for sight; a full face veil that's worn by Muslim women as an expression of modesty.

Night Optical Device, being battery operated light-intensifying goggles.

noel :
the Christmas season or yuletide; as derived from 'birthday'. Also, a Christmas song or carol.

no-fly zone :
an area over which no military flights are allowed; a prohibition first instituted during the Persian Gulf War.

no-go :
mil-speak for unacceptable or unsatisfactory ... probably from the assessment determining whether someone or something passes inspection, especially for deployment, as for use in combat.

Next Of Kin; the person designated for notification in the event of injury or death of a servicemember.

Northern Watch :
interdiction operation in the Mid-East from 1 Jan 1997 to 18 Mar 2003.

North Yemen :
also called Yemen Arab Republic; see Yemen.

Nowruz / Norouz / Norooz :
the Persian lunar New Year's Day, being a rebirth festival that celebrates the onset of the Spring season (rejuvenation) as "the first new day of the year", which is observed by placing seven different beans in a beautiful "chini plate" (a decorative plate imported from China) on a table to symbolize their gratitude for fulfillment, since people have been given all that they need to live; it coincides with the first day [vernal equinox (21 March)] of the Persian calendar. Also, the seventh feast of obligation in Zoroastrianism, devoted to fire, the seventh creation.

National Security Agency.

National Security Council.

National Training Center.

Nubia :
a region in southern Egypt and the Sudan, north of Khartoum, extending from the Nile to the Red Sea. Also, the southern part of a reservoir (Lake Nubia) formed by the Aswan High Dam, which spans an area in Egypt and Sudan. Also, an ancient state (the Kingdom of ...) in Nubia, from 2000BC to AD1400. Also, a lightweight knitted woolen head scarf for women.

Numidia :
an ancient country in northern Africa, corresponding roughly to modern Algeria.

Nusairi :
see 'Alawite / 'Alawi.

Night Vision Goggles.

NorthWest Frontier Province, formerly situated in Pakistan.

Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, being an international syndicate formed to regulate oil prices and output.

oasis :
a fertile area in a desert region that usually has a spring or well. Also, a refuge from work; a haven from stress.

OAU / O.A.U. :
Organization of African Unity; an organization of African nations formed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1963), for the purpose of coordinating policy and promoting unity among African peoples.

Officer Candidate School.

O dark 30 / oh-dark-thirty :
a corruption of military time, meaning any late night or early morning time; any hour when sleep is interrupted.

(oh-ee-ef) Operation Enduring Freedom, commencing from 7 October 2001, as conducted in Afghanistan, South Africa, and the Philippines.

Other Government Agency; often a euphemism for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Security Agency (NSA), and the like.

(ohvera) Organization for Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance [in the Mid-East].

(oh-eye-see) Officer In Charge, and sometimes (improperly) cited as Officer In Command.

(oyef) Operation Iraqi Freedom, conducted from 19 March 2002 to 1 May 2003; sometimes called Gulf War II or "Gulf War Part Two", and has been sarcastically called the "Baghdad urban renewal project"; and this designation also refers to the continuing War on Terror in the Mid-East after the 'mission accomplished' announcement that was supposed to be the "end of major hostilities", which is also referred to as "Operation Iraqi Freedom Part Two" or OIF2 / OIF II.

old Adam :
in Christian theology since the Middle Ages, human nature lacking in grace; humans in their unredeemed state of heathen barbarity or pagan savagery; also called "old man".

Oman :
an independent sultanate in southeast Arabia, with its capital at Muscat; formerly known as Muscat and Oman.

Omayyad / Ommiad / Umayyad :
a member of the dynasty that ruled (AD661-750) at Damascus, which claims descent from Omayya, cousin of the grandfather of Muhammad the prophet of Islam. Also, a member of the dynasty of caliphs that ruled (AD756-1031) in southern Spain, who were related to the Damascus dynasty. [v: nepotism]

Operational Mission Liaison Team, being the companion placement of allied foreign units in partnership with American combat units for exchange training and shared experience during peacekeeping evolutions.

(oh-en-dee) Operation New Dawn, commencing from 15 December 2011 in Fallujah; originating as Operation al-Fajr.

100-mph tape :
Army duct tape, colored green or camouflage; also called gorilla tape.

Operation Nomad Shadows conducted from 5 November 2007.

on station :
notification on the common communications net that one or more aircraft have arrived at the operational area in support of the tactical situation. Also, a unit, vehicle or vessel being at its assigned position or in its area of responsibility.

on the down low / on the down-low :
colloquial expression for quietly or subtly; previously represented by "on the QT", mum, or hush-hush.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, being an alliance founded in 1960 of nations that export large amounts of petroleum: a cartel formed to establish oil-exporting policies and set prices.

open sesame :
any marvelously effective means for bringing about a desired result; a magical incantation generating a universal access key; from the use of these words by Ali Baba to open the door of the robbers' den in The Arabian Nights' Entertainments.

OPposition FORce, or OPposing FORce.

Operations PLAN; later designated O-Plan.

OPerational SECurity, being the methodologies used to keep classified details from the enemy.

op tempo :
OPerational TEMPO, being the rate, pace, or pattern of unit activity, hence unit preparedness and/or unit member readiness for any given frequency of effective commitment, including deployment.

Oriental rug :
a piece of thick fabric, especially a handwoven covering for part of the floor, characterized by a symbolic or naturalistic design formed by a dense pile of hand-knotted yarns; also called Oriental carpet, and variously as Persian carpet, Turkish rug, Turkoman rug. [v: Persian or Sehna / Senna knot, Turkish or Ghiordes knot; cf: Gordian knot]

Objective Rally Point, being the pre-designated gathering place where unit members are to assemble when the movement or mission is concluded.

orzo :
pasta made in the form of small rice-like grains; being Italian for barley ('hordeum'), a widely distributed cereal plant.

oscar mike :
shorthand for "on the move", as used by Marines from the phonetic alphabet.

O stupid 30 / oh-stupid-thirty :
derogation of a meeting, assembly, or formation that's scheduled "too early", being a complaint about the inappropriate timing of an obligation that's "unnecessarily" early.

the "Interceptor" Outer Tactical Vest, replaced by the lighter and more protective Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV).

outside the wire :
the hostile or unsafe area beyond the range of weapons guarding a compound or base camp situated in a foreign country; that area outside the perimeter that remains unpacified or unsecured, wherein reconnaissance and tactical operations are conducted.

over-and-under :
slang for an M-16 rifle augmented with a single-shot 40mm grenade launcher barrel under the foregrip, with this combination designated M-203.

overwatch :
a supportive base of fire from heavy weapons during a maneuver.

Ozzie :
informal reference to an Australian, from the corrupt pronunciation of 'Aussie'.

paella / päelyä :
a Spanish dish prepared by simmering chicken, seafood, rice, vegetables, with saffron and other seasonings together in a broad shallow pan (frying pan); as derived from 'patella' (kneecap).

Pahlavi / Pahlevi :
the script of this Indo-European language, derived from the Aramaic alphabet, which was used to write the Zoroastrian literature of the period from the 3rd to the 10th centuries; as derived from Parthian. Also, a former gold coin of Iran, equal to 20 rials.

paisley :
a minutely detailed pattern of colorful figures that are usually curved; a complex design based on flowing lines, as developed during the Renaissance from Greco-Roman inspirations. Also, a fabric woven or printed in this arabesque pattern. Also, any garment, article, or ornament decorated in this arabesque pattern.

pajamas / pyjamas :
a cotton or silk outfit of loose-fitting trousers and jacket that's worn by both sexes in the Orient; a style of clothing that was introduced in the 19th century to Western civilization as lounging or sleeping attire; as derived from "legged garment" (Hindi).

Paki :
a native or inhabitant of Pakistan; pertaining to Pakistan, its peoples or languages ... often disparaging or denigrating.

Pakistan :
a republic in southern Asia, between India and Afghanistan, with its capital at Islamabad; officially called Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it was formerly part of British India, and known as West Pakistan from 1947-71 to distinguish it from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Also, in the period before 1947, the predominantly Muslim areas of the subcontinent of India, as distinguished from Hindustan, the predominantly Hindu areas.

Paladin :
M-109 self-propelled 155mm howitzer.

Palestine :
an ancient country in southwestern Asia, on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, that's also called the Holy Land, and was known in Biblical times as Canaan; formerly a British mandate (1923-48) comprising part of this country that was divided (1948) between Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, with Israel later occupying (1967) the Jordanian and Egyptian parts.

Palestine Liberation Organization :
an umbrella organization for several Arab groups dedicated to the recovery of Palestine from the state of Israel and the return of refugees from the area to their homeland by means of diplomatic, military, and terrorist methods; abbreviated PLO.

Pouch Attachment Ladder System, being a webbing interlacement for modular pouch attachments on tactical vests, backpacks, and other field gear; although PALS was invented and patented by the Army's Natick research labs, and has been manufactured under proprietary contract, the design concept has gone generic, with non-military styles proliferating throughout civilian markets.

(pee-ay-oh; not "pow") Public Affairs Office/Officer, being the military component responsible for interacting with non-military entities and elements, including manufacturers and schools, service and news organizations.

pareve / parve :
a foodstuff that's prepared without meat or milk, or their derivatives, and is therefore permitted to be served and eaten with either, according to Jewish dietary laws (eg: pareve margarine).

parish :
an ecclesiastical district having its own church and cleric, people (parishioners) and local activities; a sociopolitical subdivision.

Paris of the Middle East :
informal designation of the seaport of Beirut, being the capital of Lebanon, and so-called due to the importation of French language and culture, laws and economics; also known as the "pearl of the Mid-East", and as "the root" when referring to the period (1983-4) of intervention by a Multinational Peacekeeping Force.

Parsee / Parsi :
an Indian Zoroastrian who fled Muslim persecution in Persia during the 7th and 8th centuries. Also, the Middle Persian dialect of the Parsee scriptures of Zoroastrianism.

Parseeism / Parsiism :
the religion and customs of the Parsees, being the Zoroastrians displaced to India.

Parska-Hye :
followers of the Armenian Apostolic Church, an Oriental Orthodox branch of Christianity, including Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean), who are distributed throughout central Asia and western Europe as well as the Near East, which has its own special festivals and traditions.

pasha / pacha / bashaw :
a title (placed after the person's name) that was formerly held by high-ranking officials in countries under Turkish rule.

pashalik / pashalic / pachalic / pashadom :
the state or territory under the jurisdiction of a pasha.

Pashto / Pushtu / Pushto :
the Iranian language of the Pashtuns; an official language of Afghanistan, and the chief vernacular of the eastern part of the nation; also called Afghan or Afghani.

Pashtun :
a member of a people of southern Asia, living mainly in eastern and southern Afghanistan, and in adjacent parts of Pakistan, especially the Northwest Frontier Province.

Patriot :
designation for the MIM-104 medium-range multiple-launch mobile Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system, which uses computerized RADAR guidance and is launched from a tracked platform, manufactured by the Raytheon Company, replacing the Nike-Hercules missile for high and medium altitude air defense in the US Army arsenal; succeeded by the PAC-3, an improved version of this anti-theater ballistic missile.

Patriot Act :
shortening of the legislative title for some anti-terrorism laws, formally designated the "USA-PATRIOT Act" of 2001; being an acronym ("Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism") for the authority provided to government agents in investigating and apprehending foreign and domestic suspects. This Act, which includes provisions on border security and eavesdropping, money laundering and surveillance, was enacted (PL107-56) on 26 Oct 2001, and was reauthorized 9 Mar 2006.

PAVE-Low :

Pave Hawk :
MH-60 helicopter; also designated BLACKHAWK, SEA HAWK, and JAYHAWK.

paws on the ground :
an allusion to military working dogs (MWD), such as sentry, scout, or explosives detection; also known as "four-legged soldiers" and "fuzzy-faced fighters". [nb: the military working dogs employed in GWOT operations wear Kevlar protective vests]

pax :
(packs) abbreviation for 'passenger', as when designating someone without crew responsibility on a vessel or aircraft. Also, any state of peace imposed by a strong nation on weaker or defeated nations; a period in history marked by the absence of major wars, usually imposed by a predominant nation, such as Pax Romana or Pax Britannica.

pax terminal :
a containment for passengers, together with service facilities and other structures, located at a major junction or terminus of a transportation system.

PC :
abbreviation for Pilot in Charge, being the left-seater in utility or observation helicopters, and the front-seater in assault helicopters and attack jets.

peculiar people :
designation of the Jews as being God's chosen people (Deuteronomy 14:2). Also, a designation adopted by certain fundamentalist Christian sects that signifies their refusal to conform to any rule of conduct that is contrary to the letter or spirit of the Bible.

Pentateuch :
the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; the canonical group of prophetic books that forms the first of the three Jewish divisions of the Old Testament.

Pentecost :
a Christian festival celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles; this 'fiftieth day' is also called Whitsunday.

People of the Book :
those people who share the belief that the word of God has been revealed in the sacred Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Scriptures, despite their doctrinal differences; these monotheistic communities claim a common distinction: that each deems itself to possess a written record of God's will, revealed at moments of crisis in history, recorded for the instruction of future generations, and constantly reinterpreted in acts of individual and corporate remembrance. Each sacred 'Book', from the Torah and the Psalms to the Gospels and the Koran, was revealed at the appropriate time and place by God, through the agency of human messengers, with the message of all scriptural revelation being essentially the same: it could not be otherwise, since God himself is the author, thus, any differences between the scriptures of the "People of the Book" (ahl al-kitab) are to be attributed to human distortion, and not to divine caprice.

perâhan :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment in Afghanistan.

peri :
one of that large group of beautiful, fairy-like beings of Persian mythology, represented as being descended from fallen angels who are excluded from paradise until their penance is accomplished. Also, any lovely, graceful person; derived as a variant of 'witch'.

Persia :
formerly, the official name of Iran until 1935. Also, an ancient empire (Persian Empire) that, at its height, extended from Egypt and the Aegean (lands and sea) to India; conquered by Alexander the Great (334-331BC).

Persian blinds :
window shutters made of thin, movable horizontal slats that are mounted outside the window on the exterior of the building; also called persiennes. [cf: venetian blinds]

Persian Gulf :
an arm of the Arabian Sea, between southwest Iran and Arabia; also called the Arabian Gulf.

Persian Gulf States :
the oil-producing countries bordering on or located near the Persian Gulf, including: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Persian Gulf War :
also called the Gulf War (qv).

Persian Gulf Yacht Club :
an apocryphal social society comprising the U.S. Navy in operations offshore of the Arabian Peninsula (Near East) in various combat, combat support, and peacekeeping operations.

Peshmerga :
Kurdish resistance fighters ("those who face death") who have battled the Iraqi regime for generations, joining with Coalition forces on the northern front in the 2003 Iraqi war.

private first class, being an enlisted rank between private (PVT) and lance corporal (LCPL) in the Army and Marine Corps.

Precision Guided Munition.

phoenix / phenix :
a mythical bird of great beauty fabled to live half a millennium in the Arabian wilderness, to burn itself on a funeral pyre, and to rise from its ashes in the freshness of youth and live through another cycle of hundreds of years; often emblematic of rebirth or immortality, of restored idealism or revitalized hope. Also, by extension, anyone or anything that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity or apparent annihilation. Also, a person or thing of peerless beauty or excellence; a paragon. Also, a southern constellation between Hydrus and Sculptor.

phonetic alphabet :
an agreed set of representative words used to replace letters and numbers so as to avoid confusion or errors during voice communications, especially during radio or telecom messaging, as used since before World War I, but none was adopted Internationally until 1927; all versions of which were experimentally refined until 1955; the international phonetic alphabet, or more formally the international radiotelephony spelling alphabet, is known as the "Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet" by the U.S. military, but is properly an "acrophonetic spelling alphabet".

phylactery :
an amulet, charm, or some other safeguard against harm or danger; as derived from an 'outpost' serving to protect or guard. Among Orthodox and Conservative Jewish men, it exists as either of two small receptacles containing select verses (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Deuteronomy 11:13-21, and Exodus 13:1-16) inscribed on parchment that may be attached by straps to the forehead or left arm during morning prayers ... this may be the origin of the Maronite wrist rosary. Also, in the early Christian church, a receptacle containing a holy relic, which presence served as a safeguard.

phyllo / filo :
flaky, tissue-thin layers of pastry used in baked desserts and appetizers; as literally derived from 'leaf'.

piaster / piastre :
a monetary unit of currency in Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, and Syria.

Picatinny rail / Picatinny rails :
a standardized bracket mounting platform for accessories and attachments to be securely connected to small arms; also known as "rails" or "tactical rails", they're so-called after Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, which tested and standardized [Mil-Std-1913 (3 Feb 1995)] this attachment system.

Positive IDentification (of enemy target), being a prerequisite under the rules of engagement (ROE) for clearance to engage with specific weapons; almost always confirmed visually by sighting actual enemy assets or the exact location from which enemy weapons fire originates.

pigsticker / pig-sticker :
any very large or menacing knife, frequently a bowie, Arkansas toothpick, or some other combat model; also called "toad-sticker". Also, slang for a long, thin, upright radio antenna, usually mounted singly atop a building, which stiletto-like projection serves as a hazard to low flying aircraft.

pilaf / pilaff / pilau / pilaw :
a Middle Eastern dish that consists of sautéed rice, seasoned and steamed in bouillon, with poultry, meat or shellfish sometimes added. Also, rice that's been cooked in a meat or poultry broth.

Pillars of Islam :
the five bases of the Islamic faith: confession of faith (shahada / shahadah), prayer (salat / salah), almsgiving (zakat / zakah), fasting (sawm), and the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj / hadj); also called Pillars of the Faith. [cf: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence (1926)]

Pioneer :
a surveillance drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), able to vector assault craft and/or fire missions onto enemy movements and positions.

Provisional Irish Republican Army (c1969-96).

pita / pita bread :
a round flat bread having a pocket that can be filled to make a sandwich.

PL :
Phase Line.

see Palestine Liberation Organization.

Palletized Load System, which requires special load-handling or container-handling equipment for movement.

plt :
abbreviation for platoon; also called 'toon. A platoon is an organizational unit composed of three or more squads, containing approximately 45 men, commanded by a SFC/E-7 platoon sergeant and a 1LT/O-2 platoon leader (or in the case of the Marine Corps, a gunnery sergeant and a platoon commander); three or more platoons normally comprise a company-sized unit. A platoon, derived from ball, which normally functions as a single unit, is the fundamental organization that implements all the basic military operations, and has the highest ratio of direct command relations.

Private Military Contractor; a mercenary or "soldier of fortune", or the non-governmental organization (NGO) employing such contractors.

Preventive/Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services, being those maintenance tasks performed by the vehicle's operator, and documented in the driver's logbook for subsequent review by motor pool maintenance.

Persona Non Grata, an alien resident who's diplomatically expelled from a foreign country. Also, by extension, any unwanted or unwelcome person. Also, an unofficial acronym for "People [who are] Not Grunts", which is used to disparage noncombatant service or support personnel.

PO :
(pee-oh) Petty Officer, rated E-4/PO3 to E-6/PO1 in the Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine; similar to NCO promotion in other service branches.

an unofficial acronym for Permanently On the Ground, as used by aircrew for anyone who serves in a job (MOS) that has nothing to do with aviation, airlift, airmobility, or aircraft. Also, an unofficial acronym used disparagingly to designate "People Other than Grunts", being the modern equivalent of Rear Echelon/Area MotherFucker (REMF/RAMF), as a derogation of those noncombatant service and support personnel who are essential to every mission. [nb: although spelled differently and with a different meaning, POG is generally pronounced like 'pogue', which lends some confusion about its intent]

pogue / poag / poge :
a contemptible or objectionable person.

pogy bait / poagy bait / pogie bait :
prohibited foodstuff, especially candy or snacks or other "junk food".

Polisario / Polisario Front :
an independence movement opposing Moroccan control of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish territory that Morocco annexed in stages beginning in 1976; a Spanish acronym for Popular Front for the Liberation of this region.

politicization of Islam :
see Islamism.

Polo Step :
codename for the classified plans to conduct military operations against Iraq in 2001.

Pre-positioned Organizational Materiel Configured to Unit Sets, being armaments and equipment that have been forward-deployed in anticipation of crisis deployment by U.S.-based units; kept combat ready by periodic maintenance and storage in humidity-controlled warehouses.

pope :
a position of authority within a church, such as the bishop of Rome in the Roman Catholic Church, the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria, the Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria, or a parish priest in the Eastern Church; derived from father or bishop. [v: pontifex, pontiff]

popping hot :
slang for the technological process by which a target is identified and its pinpoint location is confirmed.

pork chop :
generic reference to any wireless microphone (mic) that includes some radio controls (eg: volume, freq switching, etc) directly on the handset, in addition to the push-to-talk transmit key.

portico :
a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns or piers, usually attached to a building as a porch.

pos rep :
position report.

Prisoner Of War.

Personal Protective Equipment.

Praying Mantis :
a US Naval INCURSION of Iran 18-20 April 1988; subsequent to Iranian harassment of neutral shipping in the Arabian Gulf, commencing 19 Oct 1987 during the Iran-Iraq War, USN warships began escorting merchant ships through the Persian Gulf, then on 14 Apr 1988, the USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine, which launched Operation Praying Mantis, wherein three American warships attacked armed Iranian oil platforms, ships, and boats, resulting in a restoration of free passage under international laws, and an armistice between Iran and Iraq in July 1988.

Predator :
a long-endurance reconnaissance drone (MQ-1, RQ-1) developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for the USAF, and later adapted for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) targetting by on-board Hellfire air-to-ground missiles (AGM) using color daytime and infrared (IR) nighttime sights. Also, the designation for the short-range AT-4 (M-136) shoulder-fired anti-tank missile which supersedes the M-72 (66mm) and M-80 (94mm) Light Anti-tank Weapons (LAW).

priest :
someone ordained as a minister of a religion, responsible for offering sacrifices and performing rites, typically an office of the clergy ranked below a bishop; a reverend, pastor, rector, or presbyter. [v: pontifex, pontiff]

prime mover :
a means of towing a cannon, such as an animal, truck, or tractor.

Prophets :
the canonical group of prophetic books that forms the second of the three Jewish divisions of the Old Testament.

Provide Comfort :
operation from 1 June 1992 through 30 November 1995.

Provide Promise :
aid/relief mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former central region of Yugoslavia which was formerly the kingdoms of Serbia (Kosovo, Vojvodina), Croatia (Dalmatia, Istria, Slavonia), Slovenia, Montenegro, and Macedonia; since 1995, NATO and UN peacekeeping forces, severely restricted by rules of engagement, have attempted to intercede in the numerous instances of "ethnic cleansing" atrocitys by imposing a cease-fire.

proword / pro-word / pro word :
contraction of procedure word, being specific terms and standardized short form expressions used in voice radio to expedite communications.

Personnel Retrieval and Processing; commonly called a "body-snatcher" as part of mortuary affairs.

Provincial Reconstruction Team; a civil affairs program comprising governmental and contractual experts in community restoration; sometimes embedded with conventional (brigade-sized) units, and typically focused on unstable areas.

Prince Sultan Air Base, being a major airport built during and after Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, situated southeast of Riyadh, in Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia.

Provisional Security Forces, being a lightly armed and minimally trained regional MILITIA that mans security check-points and performs limited patrolling; an augmentation element to the constabulary during 2007 in Iraq.

psyop :
contraction of psychological operation, wherein propaganda and other deceptive tactics are employed against the enemy.

PT :
Physical Training, being the military exercise program, which has been redesignated Physical Fitness Training (PFT).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, being an anxiety disorder that can develop from exposure to one or more traumatic events; this Acute Environmental Reaction formation is now redesignated Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI).

pubic plate :
a protective Kevlar pad that drapes down over the crotch of the wearer; also known as "pube armor" or "pubic pad", "nad pad" or "nut guard".

Person Under Custody, being a suspect detainee or captive. Also, Presidential Unit Citation.

pugree / pugaree / puggaree :
a scarf of silk or cotton, usually colored or printed, that's worn wound around a hat or helmet with the tails falling down behind as protection against the sun; a style adapted from the light turban worn in India.

Puma :
a small, hand-launched, battery-operated, unmanned airborne threat-warning aircraft (RQ-20) with the primary mission of stealthy surveillance and intelligence gathering.

punjabi pants :
see sirwal.

pup :
derogatory Arabic insult for "son of a dog", by shortening of 'ibn kelb'.

purdah / purda / pardah :
the seclusion of women from the sight of men or strangers, as practiced by some Muslims and Hindus in Pakistan, India, and other Islamic countries. Also, a screen or veil used for this purpose; as literally derived from curtain.

Purim :
a Jewish festival celebrated on the fourteenth day of Adar in commemoration of the deliverance [ety: by lot] of the Jews in Persia from destruction by Haman, a powerful prince at the court of Ahasuerus, who was hanged upon exposure of his plan to destroy the Jews. [v: Esther 3-6]

Purple Heart / PH :
awarded for a battle wound or death resulting from combat action, this was the first decoration in the world made available to the common soldier, and is considered to be America's oldest military decoration, hence bearing the likeness of George Washington.

private, being the lowest rank in the Army and Marine Corps; equivalent to 'seaman' in the Navy and 'airman' in the Air Force.

PX :
Post eXchange concession; the sutler's store of general merchandise for military personnel and their dependents.

PZ :
Pick-up Zone for troops or cargo on helicopters.

qada'a :
an administrative grouping in Iraq, larger than a nahiya.

qadi / cadi / kadi :
a judge in a Muslim community, whose decisions are based on Islamic religious law.

qanat / karez / kariz / kahriz / kahrez / kanat / khanat / kunut / kahan / kona / konait / falaj / ghanat / ghundat :
a gently sloping underground channel used to transport gravity-fed subterranean water from an aquifer or water well (often augmented by a series of side tunnels) to the surface for irrigation and drinking with the least contamination and evaporation, without sustained maintenance or pumping, into human settlements located in arid and semi-arid climates absent flowing water on the surface. [cf: aqueduct, spring-flow tunnel, cistern]

Qatar / Katar :
an independent emirate on the Persian Gulf, with its capital at Doha; under British protection until 1971.

qiblah / qibla :
see kiblah.

qital :
the Arabic term for mortal combat; war.

qiyas / kiyas :
in Islamic law, judgment of an act or belief by application of established principles governing some analogous act or belief; derived from 'analogy'.

Quick Reaction Force, also called Quick Response Force, being a military element (typically Air Cavalry) that's on short standby to aid or assist another unit that's suddenly engaged with the enemy.

QUasi Autonomous National Governmental Organization, being a semi-independent agency or bureau.

queen for a year :
catch-phrase for any female mil-pers stationed overseas, where the normal sex ratio of 10 or 15 women to 85 or 90 males is drastically reduced (sometimes by half) for the term of her tour of duty; where the normal attention paid to any woman by every man, while mostly innocent or even protective, becomes onerous or oppressive. The non-fraternization policy and travel restrictions typical of a garrisoned lifestyle in a foreign country usually increase her sense of isolation and victimization because she has no privacy, no outlets for frustration, and few opportunities for relaxation. Most women respond to this situation by becoming imperious or supercilious, a prima donna, hence the attribution that's been used since the Vietnam War; as derived from the radio and TV prize-giveaway program: "Queen for a Day". Such denotation is also represented as "desert diamond" or "desert fox" in the Mid-East during the Gulf War-era.

Quran / Qur'an / Qurān :
see Koran.

rabbi :
the chief religious official of a synagogue who performs ritualistic, educational, and other functions as the spiritual leader of the Jewish congregation. Also, a title of respect for a Jewish scholar or teacher, especially a scholar qualified to rule on questions of Jewish law. Also, any of the Jewish scholars of the 1st to 6th centuries anno Domini (AD) who contributed to the Talmud.

racetrack :
an oval / circular pattern for vessels at sea or planes in the air as a form of combat patrol.

raghead :
disparaging metonymic slang for an Islamic male, civilian or otherwise, especially in the Near- or Mid-East, used as a generalization for convenient description or identification; also called towel-head, hanky-head, diaper-head, or sheet-head (often said as an exaggerated mispronunciation of "shithead"), as based upon the kaffiyeh.

rai / ra'i :
a style of Algerian popular music played on electric guitar, synthesizer, and percussion instruments.

rainbow PT :
slang for a physical training formation that permits any type of attire or work-out uniform.

rak'a / rak'ah :
a portion of the salat, the prescribed prayers said five times a day, combining ritual bows and prostrations with the recitation of prayers.

Ramadan / Ramazan :
in Islamic practice, the daily fast that is rigidly enjoined from dawn until sunset during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar; it's a period of bodily purification and spiritual reflection, of self restraint and charitable beneficence.

ranger candy :
slang for the 800mg Motrin (ibuprofen) tablet, being an anti-inflammatory and antipyretic analgesic that's "eaten like candy" to relieve the pains incurred during elite training and operations.

ranger grave :
slang for a body-length concavity dug as a night defensive position for one person when dismounted from transport for overnight halts when highly mobile units are advancing or maneuvering; typically situated near vehicles, they're used in the Mid-East in lieu of foxholes.

Rocket Assisted Projectile.

Raq / 'Raq :
(rack) slang for an Iraqi native or inhabitant.

Raven :
a small, lightweight, remotely controlled drone that's launched by hand for tactical observation of an operational area (AO).

razavi :
a ring-shaped Mid-Eastern doughnut with sugar on it.

Regimental Combat Team; a highly mobile and autonomous infantry regiment (RGT) that's augmented by artillery, armor or armored cavalry, and engineer elements.

Reaper :
a surveillance drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), able to vector assault craft and/or fire missions onto enemy movements and positions; the MQ-9 is equipped with cameras capable of identifying an object the size of a milk carton from altitudes of 60,000 feet, and has forward-looking infrared (FLIR) devices that can detect the heat from a human body at distances of up to 60 kilometers.

reception / Reception Station / Reception Center :
see MEPS.

reconnaissance and security :
a preemptive or preventive search of an assigned area of operations (AO) by air cav or armored cavalry elements serving as a deterrent.

rectenna :
rectifying antenna, being a device that converts electromagnetic energy into direct current electricity.

Red Army :

Red Brigade :

Red Crescent :
a non-governmental philanthropic organization in the Near and Middle East that renders humanitarian aid to Muslims.

Red Cross :
a non-governmental humanitarian organization that was founded as the International Committee of the Red Cross by Henry Dunant and Gustave Moynier in 1863 to provide medical aid and emergency relief to anyone suffering the ravages of war or any other disaster.

Red Crystal :
see Magen David Adom (MDA). [nb: the Red Crystal is officially identified as the Third Protocol Emblem or Protocol III]

Red Lion and Sun Society :
established by Persia (1922) to render humanitarian aid and relief; however, its altruistic efforts have been subsumed by Red Crescent since 1980, but because the Red Lion and Sun Society is still recognized by international protocols, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to reactivate it.

red on red :
a euphemism to describe a fratricidal incident, wherein ordnance from one enemy element impacts another enemy element, as when an unstable alliance breaks down.

Red Sea :
an arm of the Indian Ocean that extends northwest between Africa and Arabia; it's connected to the Mediterranean Sea by the Suez Canal.

Red Zone :
informal designation of the area outside the Green Zone.

REturn of FORces to GERmany.

regime change :
a polite reference to overthrowing one government for another; a coup d'état, or intifada. [nb: a coup / coup d'tat is qualified as the violent overthrow of the ruling order within the same caste or class, while a revolution is differentiated as the violent overthrow of the ruling order between castes or classes]

rein :
reinforce / reinforced.

Republican Guard :
Iraq's most elite troops, led by Qusay Hussein.

Republic of Armenia :
a country in the south Caucasus region of Eurasia on the Armenian Highlands, which is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and Nakhchivan (an exclave of Azerbaijan) to the south. The Satrapy of Armenia, a Persian province, had replaced Urartu (860BC) by the sixth century BC, becoming the Kingdom of Armenia under Tigranes the Great during the first century BC and became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity (AD301) as its official religion, with the ancient Armenian kingdom later being split between the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires during the fifth century AD; due to the wars against the Byzantines, the Kingdom of Armenia fell in 1045 and was soon thereafter invaded by the Seljuk Turks, then the principality (later kingdom) of Cilician Armenia was established on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the 11th and 14th centuries, with the Ottoman and Iranian or Russian empires repeatedly contending for rule over eastern and western Armenia throughout the 16th and 19th centuries, then during World War One, Armenians living in their ancestral lands in the Ottoman Empire were systematically exterminated in the Armenian Genocide. In 1918, following the Russian Revolution, all non-Russian countries declared their independence after the Russian Empire ceased to exist, leading to the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia; this nation-state was incorporated (1920) into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, and became (1922) a founding member of the Soviet Union, with the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic later (1936) being dissolved; when the USSR collapsed (1991), the modern Republic of Armenia declared its independence. This multi-party democracy celebrates its ancient cultural heritage, such as the unique Armenian alphabet that was invented (AD405) by Mesrop Mashtots, and recognizes the Armenian Apostolic Church, the world's oldest national church, as the country's primary religious institution.

Republic of Artsakh :
a de facto independent nation-state, proclaimed 1991.

Republic of Azerbaijan :
a country in the southern Caucasus region of EurAsia at the crossroads of eastern Europe and western Asia; bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south, with the exclave of Nakhchivan being bound by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, and Turkey to the northwest. A unitary semi-presidential republic whose constitution doesn't mandate an official religion, however the majority (89%) of the population is secular Shi'ite Muslim; it has a high rate of economic development as well as a low rate of unemployment, a high level of literacy and human development that ranks on par with most Eastern European countries. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence in 1918, becoming the first democratic state in the Muslim-oriented world, but it was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, then the modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991; in September 1991, the Armenian majority of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region seceded to form the Republic of Artsakh, which region, and seven adjacent districts outside it, became de facto independent with the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994.

Restore Hope :
a U.S.-led coalition, intervening from 3 Dec 1992 to 4 May 1993 to protect the UN humanitarian aid mission to Somalia, which had begun in August 1992 as Operation Provide Relief, and was also sanctioned to stabilize the political situation; the unified multinational task force was restructured under Operation Continue Hope while a disarmament and decapitation mission (Operation Gothic Serpent) was attempted against tribal warlords, until all UN elements were finally withdrawn by 31 March 1995.

rial / riyal :
the basic monetary unit of currency in Iran, Oman, and the Republic of Yemen; meaning "real".

Rifa'iya :
a band of Islamic dervishes who seek to achieve ecstasy during prayer by performing violent body movements and self-inflicted pain; formed in the 12th century, this sect was outlawed in 1925.

rijsttafel / rijstafel :
a meal consisting of rice served with a large array of small dishes of meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and condiments; as literally derived from 'rice table'.

rings of sorrow :
an expression coined by T.E. Lawrence for the emotional toll that casualties take on small groups of warriors; a psychological effect that extends in discrete ripples from its most intense to its least influence, ranging from absorption to indifference.

Ritschlianism :
the liberal Christian theology developed by Albrecht Ritschl during the mid-19th century, which maintains that religious faith is based on value judgments.

riyal / rial :
the basic monetary unit of currency in Qatar and Saudi Arabia; meaning "real".

abbreviation for the Remote Operations Control Center, being a facility handling many unmanned aircraft or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).

Rules Of Engagement.

rood :
a cross, as used in crucifixion; the cross on which Jesus Christ died, which is also called Holy Rood. Also, a large crucifix at the entrance to the chancel of a church. [v: rood beam, rood screen] Also, variously, a unit of measure.

roof knocking / knocking on the roof :
the practice of warning any potentially innocent inhabitants in a target area of an impending airstrike upon a building or other structure that may be occupied and that is believed to contain military materials or armaments; a practice introduced by Israel (2006), this overflight delivering a non-explosive (eg: sound bomb, smoke bomb, etc) or low-yield device (putting the pilot and his aircraft at extreme jeopardy) is a humane gesture amidst a combat zone without mutually respected rules of engagement (ROE) and without distinct boundaries, and has since been adopted by other allied coalition forces in Gulf War II. [v: human shield]

(row-row) Roll-On / Roll-Off, pre-packed and sealed shipping containers that are designed to be rapidly on-loaded onto and off-loaded from a seagoing vessel so as to expedite the transference of cargo.

Route Irish :
see suicide alley.

RP :
Religious Programs; a Navy enlisted specialist responsible for assisting chaplains of all faiths with their ministrations ... not an exempted non-combatant. Also, Reference Point, being a prearranged map coordinate assigned a codeword that's used as a quick and simple method of sending plotted locations related to any fixed particular by way of voice radio. Also, Rally Point, being a pre-designated position for assembly or a fallback designation, which is also called rendezvous or marshal area.

Ruchnoi Pulyemet Degtyarova, a Soviet-made belt-fed light machinegun (LMG) firing 7.62mm link ammo; having many parts interchangeable with the Kalashnikov AK-47, it was superseded (ca1961) by the RPK, or "Kalashnikov hand-held machine gun".

Rocket Propelled Grenade.

RPG alley :
see suicide alley.

Ruchnoi Pulemyot Kalashnikova / Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova, or "Kalashnikov hand-held machine gun", being a Soviet-made belt-fed light machinegun (LMG) firing 7.62mm link ammo.

Remotely Piloted Vehicle, being a radio-controlled unmanned aircraft used for reconnaissance and surveillance.

R&R / R-and-R :
Rest-and-Recuperation is a short vacation period taken during a deployment to a combat zone that's not charged against an individual's accrued annual leave; destinations and durations have varied during the Gulf War-era.

Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course, the 26 day program of instruction that succeeded the Long Range Surveillance Leaders Course (LRSLC) in July 2002, so as to adapt and extend this doctrine to global anti-terrorism scenarios.

abbreviation for Return To Base. Also, abbreviation for Ranger Training Brigade, being the assignment for the cadre staffing the Ranger department in the Infantry School under TRADOC.

rubaiyat / rubáiyát :
rhymed quatrains of lyric poetry (eg: Khayyam, Hafiz, etc).

Rub' al Khali :
a desert in southern Arabia, north of Hadhramaut, and extending over 250,000 square miles from Yemen to Oman; also known as Great Sandy Desert, Empty Quarter, Rimal, and Dahna.

rucking :
a type of interdisciplinary training that melds power walking with upper-body tension by speed walking while carrying a weighted backpack over varied terrain for an extended distance; an exercise modality (burning three times as many calories as straight walking) that has practical applications for mil-pers, but has lately become a form of long-distance competition.

facetious reference to RUMor INTelligence, being information of no military value.

Rummy's dummies :
derogatory reference to the American military while under the direction of Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense during the Bush Administration.

Saba :
an ancient kingdom in southwestern Arabia, with Sheba being its Biblical name. [nb: the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon (the son of David, king of Israel) to test his wisdom (I Kings 10:1-13)]

sabbath :
a day of rest or prayer; as derived from 'rest' (Hebrew: shabbath). [v: sabbatical (shmita)] Also, the seventh day of the week (Saturday) regarded by Jews and some Christians as the principal day of rest and religious observance. Also, the first day of the week (Sunday) regarded by many Christians as the principal day of rest and religious observance in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, and therefore also called the Lord's Day. [v: Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 20:8-11; cf: shavuoth / shavuot / shabuoth / shabuot / shavath]

sabot :
an armor piercing tank projectile.

Special Activities Division.

sadaqat :
see zakat / zakah.

Saddam's revenge :
a bout of traveler's diarrhea. [v: Montezuma's revenge]

saddle :
among air cav and armored cav (ACR) units, a metonymic allusion to the "seat", slot or billet allocated for each person assigned according to the TO&E; someone's proper place in a team, crew, or unit.

sadiki / sadiqi / sidiki / sidiqi :
in Arabic countries, 'my friend'. [nb: 'sadikati' or 'sadiqati' (female)]

Sahel :
the arid region on the southern flank of the Sahara desert that stretches across six countries from Senegal to Chad.

sahwah :
a modern movement of resurgent Islamic belief and practice that advocates religiosity as a counter to the socioeconomic pluralism of Westernization that was introduced to the Middle East with 20th century modernization; as literally derived from awakening.

salaam :
in Islamic countries, a gesture of polite greeting or respectful deference represented by a deep bow (obeisance) with the palm of the right hand placed over the forehead; this salutation means 'peace' or 'peace be with you'. [nb: the formal Arabic greeting of "Peace be upon you." (Salaam aleikim / Salaam aleicham) is reciprocated by "And upon you, peace." (Aleikum salaam / Aleicham salaam)]

Salafa / Salafi :
a reactionary movement from the early twentieth century that rejects modernity and repudiates technology so as to best approximate the simpler lifestyle of the earliest Muslim era; in common with Wahhabism, devotees seek to emulate early Islamic authorities.

salat / salah :
the prayers said five times a day in Islamic practice; the second of the Pillars of Islam.

an acronym for Size, Activity, Location, Unit/Uniform, Time observed, Equipment; being a specific type of SPOT report.

Surface-to-Air Missile. [nb: indigenous peoples have nicknamed this shoulder-fired weapon an "arrow", and designate the missileer who fires it as "archer" or "bowman"]

sama' :
the Sufi practice of gathering to listen to religious poetry that is sung, often accompanied by ecstatic dancing or other rituals; as literally derived from hearing.

sambal :
a condiment or side dish that's served with rice and curries, and made with any of various ingredients, such as vegetables, fish, or coconut, usually seasoned with chili peppers and spices; as derived from relish or garnish, a preparation of spicy ingredients for seasoning.

sand-blind :
partially blind, being a corruption of "semi-blind"; often mistaken for a condition similar to 'snow-blindness', which is a temporary state of impaired vision caused by harsh environmental factors.

sandbox :
sardonic slang for the Mid-East / Near East operational area, being a desert theme park, also known as "sand land", "camel land", or the "Devil's garden".

sand dance :
those contorted antics, fantastic capers, bizarre gyrations, and animated gesticulations used to rid one's self and/or one's clothing of sand that has insinuated or invaded one's person, so as to be a little more comfortable without actually becoming any cleaner! ... a psychogenic exercise promoting well being while serving in a desert environment.

sand land :
sardonic slang for the Mid-East / Near East operational area, being a desert theme park, also known as "sandbox", "camel land", or the "Devil's garden".

sand slang :
the argot and vernacular adopted by mil-pers serving in (or who have served in) the Mid-East; this categorical referent has been propounded by word mavens.

sandstorm :
a windstorm that blows great clouds of dust or sand across the desert or other land that's not arable. [nb: Iraq typically experiences 20-50 days of strong dust-laden wind per year]

Sandi Arabia :
corrupt reference for Saudi Arabia.

sandy :
an informal referent generalized for any desert dweller, civilian or otherwise, in the Near- or Mid-East region, which term is more descriptive than derogatory, with its usage dependent upon tone and context, but usually less pejorative than raghead.

Sanusi :
a member of an Islamic brotherhood established among the anti-colonial Bedouins of north Africa; eponymously after the Algerian founder of this sect, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanūsï.

Small Arms Protective Inserts, being pyroceramic plates added to flak vests.

sapper :
a combat engineer who's expert with explosives and demolition, especially for sabotage.

saracen :
in recent times, any Muslim; originating as a referent for any Arab nomad, it's been used since the medieval era for any of the Muslim opponents of the Crusaders.

sarong / sarung / saroun :
a loose-fitting skirt-like garment formed by wrapping a strip of fabric around the wearer's lower body, as worn by both sexes in South Asia, the Malay Archipelago, and Oceania.

SA-7 :
Soviet-made surface-to-air missile (SAM) used by insurgents. [cf: Grail]

sash :
a long band of distinctively patterned cloth that's worn over one shoulder and across the body to the opposite hip, or around the waist, as a civil or military decoration to be displayed during formal occasions. Also, a long scarf worn around the waist or across the body as an adornment or embellishment to one's ensemble; derived as a dissimilated variant of Arabic 'shash' for turban.

Stabilization And Support Operations.

Sassanid / Sassanian :
a member of an ancient dynasty that ruled (AD226-651) in Mesopotamia and Persia, as eponymously derived from the grandfather (Sassan) of the founder. [nb: veils and harems already extant]

a contraction of SATellite COMmunications.

satrap :
a subordinate ruler, especially one who is despotic. Also, a governor of a province under the ancient Persian monarchy; as derived from "country protector" (khshathrapāvan).

Saturday :
the seventh day of the week, from sundown on the sixth day to sundown on the seventh day [v: Nehemiah 13:19; cf: Leviticus 23:32], regarded by Jews and some Christians as the principal day of rest and religious observance.

Saudi Arabia :
a kingdom in northern and central Arabia, including Hejaz, Nejd, and dependencies, with its capital at Riyadh. [nb: wearing hijab is compulsory at all sacred sites in Saudi Arabia]

sausage side :
reference by Coalition aircrew to the Gulf War target area where "non-friendlies" are turned into small bits (ground meat, hamburger) suitable only for sausage-making.

Squad Automatic Weapon, being a belt- or magazine-fed light machinegun in 5.56mm caliber (ammo compatible with NATO assault rifles) that's carried by one member of every infantry fire team.

sawm :
fasting in Islamic practice, especially during the Muslim month of Ramadan; the fourth of the Pillars of Islam.

Space-Based InfraRed Systems; a geosynchronous satellite network that detects, tracks, and counters the launch of enemy rockets anywhere on earth.

scarab the Arab :
(scare-rhab the air-rhab, or skay-rhab the ahy-rhab) dismissive reference by rhyming to any enemy soldier in the Mid-East Theater of Operations ("Gulf War Part Two"), as word play that denigrates the Islamic terrorists as "frightened beetles".

scarf :
a long, broad strip of fabric or other material that's worn about the head, neck, or shoulders for custom, ornament, or protection; as derived from 'patch' [skarv]. Also, a necktie or cravat with hanging ends. Also, a long ornamental cloth used to cover a bureau, table, bench, or the like. Also, to cover or wrap as if with a scarf. Also, to eat, especially in a voracious manner; derived (1955) as an American corruption of 'scoff'.

schav / shtshav :
a cold soup of edible sorrel leaves to which chopped egg, sour cream, lemon juice, and chopped scallions are sometimes added.

acronym for Special Compartmented Intelligence Facility, or Specially Compartmentalized Information Facility.

scimitar / scimiter / simitar :
a curved, single-edged sword with a large back, of Oriental origin.

Scripture / Scriptures :
the sacred writings of the Old and/or New Testaments; also called Holy Scripture or Holy Scriptures, and also known as Holy Writ. Also, the sacred writings or books of any religion.

State Department Intelligence, a section that functions like the INTEL department in S-2/G-2/J-2, and is equivalent to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Sea Cobra :
the US Navy AH-1J, a single-rotor, light attack helicopter armed with a variety of machineguns, rockets, grenade launchers, and anti-tank missiles, that's used for close air support (CAS).

acronym for Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses.

Sea Hawk :
US Navy and Marine version (SH-/HH-/MH-60) of the single-rotor Blackhawk utility helicopter, used for ship-based patrol and anti-submarine warfare. [nb: not spelled "Seahawk"]

Sea King :
US Navy version (H-3/CH-3/UH-3/HH-3) of the single-rotor "Jolly Green Giant" helicopter, used for transport, air/sea search and rescue, and anti-submarine warfare.

Sea Knight :
the amphibious US Navy and Marine version (Boeing CH-46) of the twin-engined Chinook helicopter, used for cargo or transport; nicknamed "Frog".

Sea of Marmara :
a sea in northwestern Turkey that's connected with the Black Sea by the Bosporus strait, and with the Aegean Sea by the Dardanelles strait.

Sea Sprite :
US Navy single-rotor helicopter (H-2/UH-2/HH-2), used for transport, rescue, and anti-submarine operations from shipboard.

Sea Stallion :
the amphibious US Navy and Marine version (Sikorsky CH-53/HH-53/MH-53) of the single-rotor "Jolly Green Giant" heavy helicopter, used for cargo or transport, rescue or anti-submarine warfare; commonly called "echo".

Secure Tomorrow :
operation in the Mid-East during 29 Feb - 15 Jun 2004.

seif :
a long narrow sand dune that's parallel to the prevailing wind direction; term derives from 'sword' [sayf].

semolina / semolino :
a granular, milled product of durum wheat, consisting almost entirely of endosperm particles, used chiefly in the making of pasta.

Semper Fu :
informal reference to the eclectic Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), which was adopted in 2001 to provide mental and physical close combat methodologies from a variety of fighting disciplines so as to encourage aggressivity and improve survivability by use of unarmed hand-to-hand and improvised weapon techniques; derived as a play on words merge of 'semper fi' and 'kung fu' (wushu), this mixed martial arts program is also called "fu-rah!", "MC slap", "MC ninja", and the "new bushido".

Semper I / Semper Me :
pejorative reference in the Marine Corps to anyone who favors himself over others or advances himself more than the mission; someone who promotes his own personal interests.

Sepandarmazgan / Esfandgan :
in ancient Persian culture, a day celebrating love, friendship, and the earth.

sequin :
a small shiny disk used for ornamentation, as on clothing; as derived from a small die cast coin (sikkah) of Turkey.

(sear) Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape training program of practical techniques, based upon realistic assessments developed as a result of prisoner of war (POW) experiences in Korea and Vietnam. Also, the survival, evasion, resistance, and escape plan that any military servicemember situated behind enemy lines or within hostile territory must improvise so as to return to allied elements or a friendly area.

Sevener :
see Isma'ili.

seven plagues of Egypt :
in the Apocalypse, the sufferings by which God torments the unfaithful world for its malevolence.

seventh heaven :
the highest heaven, where God and the most exalted angels dwell; a state of intense happiness or bliss.

72 virgins dating service :
an apocryphal agency licensing hunters to enable fanatic Islamites to enter paradise and be rewarded by compliant virgins, being the Gulf War equivalent of the "Viet Cong Hunting Club" and "Southeast Asia Sport Hunting Club" from an earlier era.

SF :
U.S. Army Special Forces.

Servicemember's Group Life Insurance, being low-premium term life insurance available to all military personnel; also called "GI insurance", and originally named 'Servicemen's ...'.

sergeant in the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force; meaning 'servant', this is the basis for all non-commissioned officer ranks.

Shabbat / Shabbas / Shabbes / Shobos :
the Jewish sabbath, observed from sundown on the sixth day to sundown on the seventh day [v: Nehemiah 13:19; cf: Leviticus 23:32], which must be scheduled on a Hebrew lunar calendar of thirteen months, consisting of exactly four weeks each month.

Shabe Chelle / Shab-e Cheleh / Shab-e Yalda :
among Persians, a celebration of the end of the longest night of darkness in the year, and the beginning of the growing length of daylight [winter solstice (22 December)]; meaning "the turning point", it symbolizes the triumph of Good over Evil. Special foods are reserved for and associated with this holiday.

Shabe Sal :
among Persian Jews, the night at the end of Passover, literally meaning "night of the year"; being the time when prohibited fare (chametz) can again be possessed and consumed ... this festival, unlike other Jewish practices, is celebrated with many breads and dairy items.

shabestan / shabistan :
a secluded or underground space that could be ventilated by windcatchers and qanats as a withdrawing room for summertime occupancy in the traditional ancient Persian architecture of private homes, public schools and mosques; a windcatcher is a chimney-like structure projecting above the building with one of its openings positioned opposite the prevailing wind direction so as to draw air outside by convection (v: Bernoulli effect) ... cool incoming air can be pulled into the building from a qanat buried beneath the structure. The combination of a Wind tower and qanat, where hot air is dispersed and cool air from evaporation is circulated, can lower the ambient temperature by at least 27°F.

shah :
king or sovereign, as formerly in Iran.

shahada / shahadah :
the Islamic profession of faith ("There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger"); as literally derived from witness, being the first of the Pillars of Islam.

Shahansha :
the title of the former ruler of Iran; literally meaning "king of kings" in Persian.

Shaharith / Shaharit / Shaharis / Shacharith :
the daily Jewish religious service conducted in the morning; as literally derived from Hebrew for 'morning time'.

shahdom :
the realm of a shah.

shalom aleichem :
a Hebrew phrase that's used idiomatically as a greeting, meaning "peace unto you"; which is conventionally replied to with the phrase 'aleichem shalom', meaning "and unto you, peace".

shalwar kameez :
loose trousers that are worn with a long tunic, as worn by both men and women in some countries of the Indian subcontinent.

shamal :
a dry cool wind of the summertime that blows northwesterly across the Persian Gulf region, often strong during the day but decreasing at night; as derived from 'north'.

shamshir :
a curved Persian saber having its sharp edge on the convex side.

shari'a / shari'ah / sharia :
Islamic law, as derived from the Koran, hadith, ijma', and qiyas (qqv); a regulatory system of prescriptive and proscriptive sanctions.

shari'a finance :
monetary investments into funds that have been approved by Islamic scholars as being beneficial to the Muslim community; also called Islamic banking.

sharqi / sharki :
a dry dust-laden wind that blows southeasterly across the Persian Gulf region; as derived from 'east'.

Shatt-al-Arab :
a river (123mi) in southeastern Iraq that's formed by the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, flowing southeasterly to the Persian Gulf.

shaved monkey :
disparaging reference to an inferior or substandard person; a base or primal humanoid.

Shavuoth / Shavuot :
a Jewish festival commemorating God's gift to Moses of the Ten Commandments, which is celebrated on the sixth day (or the sixth and seventh days) of Sivan; also called the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.

shaykh :
an honorific for a religious scholar or mystic master; also known as 'mullah'; term derives from "old man" or elder.

shaylah / tarhah :
a square or rectangular piece of fabric that's folded, placed over a woman's head, and fastened under her chin, like a head scarf; it is variously styled in different locations.

Sheba :
an ancient kingdom in southwestern Arabia, being the Biblical name of Saba. [nb: the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon (the son of David, king of Israel) to test his wisdom (I Kings 10:1-13)]

sheik / shaikh / sheikh :
the patriarch of a tribe or family; chief or headman; also used as a term of polite address, as derived from "old man" (shaykh). Also, the title of the spiritual guide in Sufism. Also, Western slang for a man believed to be masterful and irresistibly charming to women; a corruption perpetrated by Hollywood when popularizing Arabic actors as dramatic film stars. [v: hunk, hottie, beefcake, dreamboat, hot stuff, flame, spark, heart-throb, stud, stud-muffin, buck, young blood, blade, gay blade, swell, beau, swain, inamorata]

sheika / sheikha :
in Islamic countries, a woman who heads a large family and is revered as a guardian of religious ways. Also, the wife of a sheik; the wife of a patriarch or headman.

sheikdom / sheikhdom :
the land or territory under the control of a sheik, a patriarch or headman.

shemagh :
see kaffiyeh, ghutra.

sherif / sharif / shereef :
an Arab chief, prince, or ruler; as literally derived from exalted person. Also, a governor of Mecca who is descended from the prophet Muhammad.

Sherpa :
short-haul cargo airplane (C-23C).

Shi'ite / Shiite / Shi'a / Shia / Shi'ah / Shi'i :
one of the two great religious divisions of Islam, or any member thereof, comprising 10%-15% of the faith, that regards Ali (cousin and son-in-law) as the legitimate successor of the prophet Muhammad, and disregards the three caliphs who succeeded him.

shine time :
slang for recognition, notoriety, or publicity.

shish kebab / siskebab / shashlik / shashlick / shaslik :
small cubes of marinated meat, especially lamb, that are skewered for broiling, often with vegetables; as derived from spit + roast.

shock 'n' awe :
slang expression for the amazing display of indirect and automatic firepower that the modern military can effectively bring to bear upon a target, especially awesome when viewed at night; this American version of blitzkrieg is also called "Fourth of July show" or "sound and light show".

shower shoe :
slang for inexpensive rubber flip-flops, or any backless thong sandal, being footwear typically worn in shower rooms to prevent the spread of disease. Also, slang for a novice or tyro newly assigned from training to a forward or deployed unit, being the modern equivalent of Fuckin' New Guy (FNG).

shukraan / shukran / shokran :
in Arabic countries, 'thanks' or 'thank you'.

Shulhan Arukh / Shulhan Aruk / Shulhan Aruch :
a medieval codification of Jewish laws and customs (halakhah) that condenses the enormous number of interpretive writings into a quotidian guide for daily practice, this 'organized table' was composed by Joseph Caro (1565).

contraction of SIGnals INTelligence.

Sikh / Sikhism :
a monotheistic heterodox religion, founded (c1500) in the Punjab by the guru Nanak, which combines the teachings of Bhakti Hinduism and Islamic Sufis, but abstains from the Hindu caste system and abjures the Brahmanical priesthood, while forbidding magic, idolatry, and pilgrimages. Sikhs believe in the direct realization of God through religious exercises and meditation, consulting the Sikh scriptures (Adigranth or Granth) for guidance, and exhibiting their adherence by the adoption of certain fundamental practices (such as wearing a turban, carrying a dagger, never cutting the hair or beard, and changing their surname to 'Singh' [lion]). Some militants have adopted the ideal of the pure soldier-saint (ie: Khalsa, a military fraternity), and ardently promote the establishment of an autonomous Sikh state (Khalistan), either within or separate from India.

Silk Road :
the ancient caravan route through central Asia, along which trade goods were carried between China and the eastern Mediterranean, thence to other parts of Europe and northern Africa; in use for about 1500 years by the Mongols and ancient Romans before being adopted into national highway networks.

the nation's third highest award for valor; it was originally a small "silver star" added to the WWI campaign medal, in the same manner as 'battle stars', but was converted into a pendant medal in 1932. This award ranks between the Bronze Star (BSM) and the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) [or Navy Cross (NC) or Air Force Cross (AFC)].

SINgle Channel Ground [to] Air Radio System, or SINgle Channel Ground [and] Airborne Radio System; with built-in Global Positioning System, automatic frequency-hopping and spread-spectrum transceiver; being a reliable, secure, and easily maintained radio.

single-digit midget :
any servicemember who has nine days or less remaining in his tour of duty.

sirocco / scirocco :
any hot oppressive wind, as the dry dust-laden wind blowing from the Sahara or Arabian deserts, or the sultry wind accompanied by rain that blows south in the same region; also called leveche.

sirwal / saroual / seroual / sarouel / serouel / salvar / salvâr / salbar / shalwar / shalwâr / shawal :
a form of baggy trousers disseminated from ancient Persia throughout the Greek, Balkan, Caucasus, and Turkish regions before the Christian-era, and later adopted in Muslim countries, including northern India ("punjabi pants"); typically worn by men underneath a loose tunic or full-length robe with the drawstring waist being adjustable for fit. [v: picturesque drill uniforms of French Algerian Zouaves]

sitrep :
SITuation REPort, being a summary notification of unit activity or status that's transmitted or dispatched on schedule or on demand.

6 / six :
a clock-face position, most often used by pilots, as a reference to action or cover behind the unit; or, a code word for unit leader or commander, when derived from call-sign designations.

Sizdah Bedar :
among Persians, the Festival of Joy and Solidarity, or "Day of Bliss" (tir ruz), which recapitulates the forthcoming twelve months at the end of the new year celebration (Nowruz); typically held outdoors with family and friends, it's an appreciation of life.

Staff Judge Advocate.

SkedCo :
brand name of a portable plastic sled that rolls into a tight cylinder and expands into a hand-grip litter longer than an average man for use during emergency (horizontal or vertical) evacuation; containerized unit includes adjustable retaining straps with quick-connect /-release buckles to secure and immobilize the patient.

skin in the game :
civilian sports analogy introduced to the military that represents some level of involvement in a situation or some degree of commitment to an undertaking. [v: skin deep; cf: bone deep]

skinny :
slang reference for the gaunt appearance of the hostiles or 'bad guys' encountered during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia; term related to the emaciation caused by malnutrition. Also, slang for information, facts, news, or a true account, which is sometimes expressed as the "straight skinny".

Simonov Soviet-made or Chinese-made semiautomatic rifle has a built-in 10-round (7.62X39mm) magazine with an attached bayonet; being highly accurate, and used primarily by guerrilla forces.

Slammie :
nickname of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, which is situated in the northern part near Rawalpindi.

slideware :
an exceptional presentation of an operations plan that's essentially unworkable due to its fantastic assumptions and projections; a plan that only exists in the imagination of its creator and in the electronic ether of its drawing board layout ... not unlike believing the special effects contrivances of filmmaking fiction.

slow mover :
any propeller or prop-jet attack aircraft, by contrast with any high-speed jet-propelled fighter aircraft (known as a 'fast mover') or with any multi-engined cargo or bomber airplane (known as a 'heavy').

slurper :
slang for the intelligence specialist who is responsible for collecting all potentially actionable enemy intel during an operation, including maps and photographs, letters and documents, electronic media and computer devices.

smart bomb :
any bomb that can be precisely guided or accurately directed (programmed) onto its target, including retrofitted iron bombs or dumb bombs using laser steering or GPS tracking.

smart book :
informal reference to the Common Tasks and Training (CTT) manual issued to new recruits embarking upon Army basic training (BCT).

Shoulder Launched Multi-Purpose Assault Weapon. A missile firing weapon which fires an 83 mm dual mode encased rocket which detonates in either a fast mode against a hard target or a slow mode against a soft target.

Super Missile Engagement Zone; designation by Coalition forces for the multi-layer antimissile defense region situated south of Baghdad during the Gulf War.

Short Message Service.

Special Mission Unit; also known as Special Operations Force (SOF).

snap-link :
an oval or D-shaped metallic ring with a spring-catch gate opening on one side, as used for fastening and rappelling; formally known as a carabiner or informally as a 'biner.

snuffy :
nickname for a Marine infantryman, who's so-called because Marines don't "grunt" under their overloaded backpacks (they snuff it up!), because the mission is to snuff out the enemy, and because Marines might get snuffed during these operations.

abbreviation for Special Operations Capable, denoting a unit's facility for particular assignments.

Special Operations Command, Central Command.

Society of the Muslim Brothers :
a transnational organization founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna, who called for a return to rigid orthodoxy, the overthrow of secular governments, and a restoration of the theocratic state; also called Muslim Brotherhood.

(sew-kom or so-calm) Special Operations COMmand.

Special Operations Forces; also known as Special Mission Unit (SMU).

soft revolution :
a non-violent demonstration of public opinion that vehemently opposes the current regime that results in political consequences. [v: Spring of Nations (1848), Prague Spring, Velvet Revolution (Czechoslovakia 1989), Rose Revolution (Georgia 2003), Orange Revolution (Ukraine 2004), Chestnut Revolution (Ukraine 2004), Purple Revolution (Iraq 2005), Cedars Revolution (Lebanon 2005); cf: demonstration, protest, resurgence, renascence, risorgimento, intifada]

Signal Operating Instructions. Also, Sons of Iraq (qv).

soldier's cross :
the symbolic structure serving as the central motif at the military memorial service for a comrade killed-in-action, which consists of an assault rifle inverted on its bayonet, draped with dog tags, topped by a helmet, and flanked by combat boots; this icon is a universal substitute for any of the several possible religious symbols.

Solomon's knot :
[Latin: sigillum Salomonis] the most common name for a decorative motif that's been traditionally used by several different cultures (ie: Jewish, Arabic, Roman, Moorish, African, Irish, etc) since ancient times; this knot-like link, also known as "guilloche knot" or "duplex knot", consists of two closed loops with double interlacement, depicted singly or serially, with looped extensions represented in various forms. This interlacement symbolizes immortality and eternity (as does the more complicated Buddhist 'endless knot'), faith and devotion, wisdom and knowledge, time and motion, love and beauty, significance and prestige in its several ethnic guises. [v: pelta-swastika; cf: Hopf link]

Solomon's seal :
see Star of David.

Somalia :
an independent republic on the eastern coast of Africa that was formed from the former British Somaliland and the former Italian Somaliland; officially named Somali Democratic Republic, with its capital at Mogadishu.

Sons of Iraq :
mocking euphemism (by comparison to the Sons of Liberty) for the regional fighters, many of whom are former insurgents that have changed sides, and are properly known as Concerned Local Citizen (CLC) or Iraqi Security Volunteer (ISV).

Standard Operating Procedure, being a set of informal guidelines and practices identifying unit command interpretations of formal regulations.

soup sandwich :
referring to someone or something that's beyond redemption, being an object or situation that's incredibly wrong; this expression seemingly originated as an impossible mess (ie: a sandwich filled with soup), but it actually derived as a euphemism for a "shit sandwich" (ie: something so disgusting and repulsive that nobody wants to own it or acknowledge it ... but since it actually exists, it must be dealt with!).

Southern Watch :
interdiction operation to enforce the "no fly zone" over Iraq, from 27 August 1992 through 29 April 2003.

Southwest Asia Service Medal / SWASM :
campaign medal recognizing the honorable service of military personnel on land, sea, or air during the Persian Gulf War in support of Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm; authorized campaigns are denoted by the addition of one or more bronze service stars ("battle star"), including Defense of Saudi Arabia (2 Aug 1990 - 16 Jan 1991), Liberation and Defense of Kuwait (17 Jan - 11 Apr 1991), and Southwest Asia Cease-Fire (12 Apr 1991 - 30 Nov 1995).

South Yemen :
also called People's Democratic Republic of Yemen; see Yemen.

Spear :
self-protection electronically-agile protection (ALQ-293), being an integrated aircraft defense suite.

Spectre :
USAF AC-130 turboprop gunship for aerial support of ground action with machineguns, cannon, and rockets; its motto is "Death waits in the Dark"; name is sometimes misspelled "Specter".

speed bump :
dismissive euphemism for an Iraqi fortification during Desert Storm; by extension from the rounded pavement ridges used to selectively restrict vehicular acceleration. Later extended (during OIF) to any inconvenient obstruction, such as an annoying infantryman or a casual civilian.

Sperm :
Marine light observation helicopter (Hughes OH-6A Cayuse).

sphinx :
anything enigmatic or inscrutable, especially a monster; as derived from 'hold tight' (cf: sphincter). Also, a mythical monster, usually represented as having the head and breast of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle, being seated on a rock outside of Thebes, where she proposed a riddle to travelers, killing those who answered incorrectly, as all did before Oedipus, so when he answered her riddle correctly, the sphinx killed herself. Also, the ancient figure of an imaginary creature having the head of a man or animal and the recumbent body of a lion, as represented by such a colossal stone figure near the pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

spider hole :
slang for a one-man position, used for surveillance or fighting by insurgents or guerrillas, dug-in and camouflaged, usually temporary, but may be connected to another hole or a tunnel network; often called a 'mouse hole' when situated in urban terrain.

spider sense :
a survival sensitivity developed by combatants that alerts them to being observed, especially as a target, without any substantial evidence; an expression popularized by Gulf War veterans from the "Spiderman" superhero comics, wherein this ability was negated by the Green Goblin; being an intuition of noumenon, or a creepy crawly paranoia.

spin-down :
ending the rotation of a propeller before engine shut-down in preparation for parking the aircraft or vessel so propelled. Also, slang for ending something that will soon be withdrawn from active service.

spin-up :
beginning the rotation of a propeller after engine start-up in preparation for operating the aircraft or vessel that's driven by such propulsion. Also, slang for beginning something that will soon be put into full service, such as alerting a unit for deployment.

Spooky :
informal reference to AC-130 Spectre (qv) gunship.

SPOT report :
Submittal for Planning, Operations, and Training; a concise narrative report of essential information covering events or conditions that may have an immediate and significant effect on current planning and operations that is afforded the most expeditious means of transmission consistent with requisite security.

squad :
a basic organizational element, usually consisting of two infantry fire teams, and commanded by a non-commissioned officer (NCO), who's called a squad leader; three or four squads normally comprise a platoon (PLT), and members thereof are informally called a "squadie".

squat :
slang for a dwelling or shelter, especially a rude or crude one; also called digs, crib, den, hut, shack.

squirter :
slang for any individual who eludes or escapes a cordon or sweep operation, whether an armed or unarmed suspect, a uniformed or civilian doubtful.

Sensitive Site Exploitation, being the methodical process wherein the rooms of a compound are physically searched so as to discover and collect valuable information; the technique of finding and gathering useful intelligence from a suspect location.

Special Security Services, being the internal intelligence and security service of Iraq.

Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon, being a specialized emergency medical team.

staff :
the specialty section prefixes are hierarchical representations for S= Staff at brigade or regiment, G= General staff at division or corps, and J= Joint staff at army or group, with senior Navy department prefixes being designated N- ... therefore, Admin (S-1/G-1/J-1), Intel (S-2/G-2/J-2), Opns (S-3/G-3/J-3), Qm (S-4/G-4/J-4), CA (S-5/G-5/J-5), Commo (S-6/G-6/J-6).

-stan / -istan :
meaning 'place' or 'home'; see The Stans.

standby to standby :
sarcastic reference to 'wait', usually as an adjunct of "hurry-up 'n' wait" when preparing to fill-in or substitute.

Star of David :
a hexagram used as a symbol of Judaism; also known as the Shield of David, Magen David, Mogen David, and Solomon's seal. [cf: heart chakra]

stole :
an ecclesiastical vestment consisting of a narrow strip of silk or other material that's worn over the shoulders or, by deacons, over the left shoulder only, and arranged to hang down in front to the knee or below. Also, a woman's shoulder scarf of fur, marabou feathers, silk, or other material. Also, a long robe of a type worn by the matrons of ancient Rome.

Strait of Hormuz / Strait of Ormuz :
a strait between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, connecting the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

street Arab :
an urchin or gamin/gamine, especially in the Near East region.

suck / the suck :
any bad situation or difficult condition, whether in training or in combat; also represented as "sucky" or "sucks".

Stryker :

Sudan :
a republic (Republic of the Sudan) in northeastern Africa that's south of Egypt and bordering the Red Sea, with its capital at Khartoum; a former joint dominion (Anglo-Egyptian Sudan) of Egypt and Great Britain. Also, a region in northern Africa, south of the Sahara and Libyan deserts, extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.

Suez Canal :
a canal (107mi) in northeastern Egypt that crosses the Isthmus of Suez so as to connect the Mediterranean and Red seas; first opened in 1869.

Sufi :
an ascetic Muslim in a mystical sect, so-called from their garb.

Sufism :
the Muslim practice of asceticism and mysticism.

suicide alley :
slang for the highway (Route Irish) running to and from the Baghdad International Airport (BIAp) in the Green Zone; also called "RPG alley", due to the numerous mines and ambushes along the route, including suicide bombings by Iraqi civilians.

suk / souk / suq :
a market or marketplace in Arab countries.

sultan :
the sovereign of an Islamic country, especially any of the former sovereigns of Turkey. Also, any absolute ruler or despot of an Islamic country.

sultana / sultaness :
a wife or concubine of a sultan. Also, a sister, daughter, or mother of a sultan. Also, a mistress, especially of a king of an Islamic country or other royal personage.

sultanate :
the office or rule of a sultan. Also, the state or territory under the jurisdiction of a sultan.

Sunday :
the first day of the week, regarded by many Christian denominations as the principal day of rest and religious observance; it's often celebrated with the Eucharist in communal worship, including ordinances of abstention from worldly activities; "the venerable day of the sun" was established in AD321 by Constantine as the proper day [v: Ezekiel 8:16-18] for prayer after its pagan antecedence in sun worship (sun-day). [nb: Sabbatarianism avoids all work that is not essential, and while Puritan Sabbatarianism avoids recreation and leisure pastimes, Continental Sabbatarianism does not]

sunna / sunnah :
the traditional portion of Muslim law, based on words and acts of the prophet Muhammad that are not recorded in the Koran, as derived from "way" or "path"; the habitual mores and folkways that sustain the faithful.

Sunni / Sunnite :
one of the two great religious divisions of Islam, or any member thereof, comprising 80%-85% of the faith, that regards Abu Bakr (father of Aisha, Muhammad's wife) as the legitimate successor of the prophet Muhammad, and regards the three caliphs who succeeded him. It mandates succession by consensus, and stresses the importance of tradition (sunna) as a basis for Islamic law. The four major Sunni schools of thought are: Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki, and Hanbali.

sura / sūra / surah / sūrah :
any of the chapters of the Koran, each prefaced by an indication of the place (Mecca or Medina) where it was revealed; as derived from row, step or rung.

surgical strike :
military jargon that makes 'precision bombing' sound like a beneficial medical procedure ... where the hapless "patient" unfortunately dies.

Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device; a 'car bomb'.

Secure Video TeleConference.

swag bag :
a plastic bag, often marked with the logo of its sponsoring contributor, containing small novelties and convenient sundries that have been gathered for donation to servicemembers serving in the Mid-East; a "thank you" gift of goodies from a grateful charity.

swamp cooler :

Scout Weapons Team, being the designation for a pair of OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters operating together in mutual support.

synagogue :
a Jewish house or temple of worship, often having facilities for religious instruction, or serving as a community center. Also, a congregation of Jews who gather for the purpose of religious worship; as derived from 'assembly'.

Syria :
a republic (SyrÆian ArÆab RepubÆlic) in southwestern Asia at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, with its capital at Damascus. Also, a territory, which formerly included the present states of Lebanon and Syria [with Latakia and Jebel ed Druz being incorporated into Syria in 1942], that was mandated to France in 1922, with the French mandatory powers being nominally terminated by 1 January 1944. Also, an ancient country in western Asia, including the present Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and adjacent areas as a part of the Roman Empire (64BC-AD636).

Tactical Assembly Area.

tabbouleh / tabouli / tabouleh / tabooli :
a salad of finely ground bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, green onions, mint, olive oil, and lemon juice; as derived from 'spice'.

Tac-Air :
Tactical Air support, or Close Air Support (CAS); as distinguished from "strategic bombing".

Tac-Chat :
a trademarked multi-user communications network enabling short text-based messaging (SMS) on mobile phones.

tactical acquisition :
euphemism for steal, swipe, rip-off, filch, pinch, purloin, liberate, midnight requisition, appropriate or expropriate [v: misappropriate] anything that's unsecured or unguarded.

Tadzhikistan / Tajikistan :
a republic in central Asia, north of Afghanistan, with its capital at Dushanbe; formerly known as the Tadzhik Soviet Socialist Republic.

TA-50 :
the unit accountability form for each individual's field gear, clothing and equipment, equivalent to the Marine Corps' Requisition Form 782 ("deuce gear").

tahini :
a food paste made of ground sesame seeds; as derived from 'grind'.

taj :
a high, conical cap worn in Muslim countries.

Tajik / Tadzhik :
a member of a people of Central Asia that live mainly in Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, and northern Afghanistan. Also, the form of Persian spoken by the Tajiks. [nb: wearing hijab is prohibited in educational and governmental settings in Tadzhikistan]

takfir :
declaring a fellow Muslim to be a non-believer (kafir); being a legal classification proclaimed (fatwa) by an Islamic court, the traditional punishment for which apostasy is death.

Taliban :
a Muslim fundamentalist group in Afghanistan. [nb: wearing hijab is mandated by the Taliban]

Taliban taxi :
any vehicle in Afghanistan during Taliban rule; all privately owned conveyances were confiscated for public use and painted yellow and white by the Taliban ... those since recovered and restored to personal property have not been repainted.

tallith / tallit / tallis :
a shawl-like garment of wool, silk, or the like, with fringes or tassels (zizith) at the four corners, that's worn around the shoulders by Jews, as during the morning service; as literally derived from covering cloak.

Talmud :
the collection of Jewish law and tradition consisting of the Mishnah (oral laws) and the Gemara (commentaries).

tank plinking :
slang phrase used by Gulf War gunners and weapons officers (WSO) for destroying enemy armor with laser or infrared (IR) targeting and guided munitions ... an authentic "video game" that's almost as boring as "shooting fish in a barrel"! Phrase was officially discouraged, as being disrespectful and unprofessional, hence its persistence.

Tactical Area of Operations.

Tactical Area Of Responsibility, or Tactical Area of Operational Responsibility, and is designated "Tactical Area of Operations" (TAO) by USMC.

Tactical Assault Panel, being a bib-like chest rig that's covered with PALS grid-work webbing and storage for eight rifle magazines. The TAP, which replaces the fighting load carrier, can be used alone, or mounted on the Improved Outer Tactical Vest or on the Soldier Plate Carrier System.

taqiyah / taqiya / taqiyya / taqqiya :
the practice of denying one's religion, which is permissible in Islam as a means of protecting the religion when one is faced with persecution, particularly when among non-Muslims, or among Shi'ites when assailed by Sunnites; to deceive, dissemble, feign, or dissimulate, as literally derived from caution or prudence.

tarboosh / tarbush / terposh :
a tasseled cap of cloth or felt, usually red, that's worn by Muslim men, either by itself or as the inner part of the turban; as derived from headdress (sarposh).

target of opportunity :
a target that has been exposed, which is within range of available weapons, and against which fire has not already been scheduled; any impromptu objective that spontaneously arises as a consequence of the developing tactical situation, and is neither a trap nor a diversion from the primary mission ... typically a flushed enemy element or an exposed enemy cache.

tarhah / shaylah :
a square or rectangular piece of fabric that's folded, placed over a woman's head, and fastened under her chin, like a head scarf; it is variously styled in different regions.

Tatar :
a member of the Turkic-speaking peoples living in eastern Russia, western and central Asia, who are descendents of the invading Mongolian Tartars ... reputed to be savage and intractable.

a white crystalline powder (triacetone triperoxide) having a distinctive bleach-like odor that's often used as the primary propellant in improvised explosive devices (IED); together with acetone peroxide and peroxyacetone, this organic compound is nicknamed the "Mother of Satan" for its high susceptibility to accidental detonation.

Ta'zieh :
the old dramatic parade of costumed Persians that was popularly performed in the pre-Islamic era.

Traumatic Brain Injury, being a physical injury wherein the brain is damaged, causing changes in cognitive function, mood, and behavior, including concussion and persistent vegetative state.

Tactical Ballistic Missile.

a white crystalline powder (tri-cyclic acetone peroxide) having a distinctive bleach-like odor that's often used as the primary propellant in improvised explosive devices (IED); together with acetone peroxide and peroxyacetone, this organic compound is nicknamed the "Mother of Satan" for its high susceptibility to accidental detonation.

Third-Country National, being a civilian contract employee from a neighboring nation (eg: Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, etc) who's been hired to work in some combat service support activity (eg: food service, logistics, transportation, maintenance, etc) on an American military base; a contract service worker who's unaffiliated with either the allies or the enemy.

Traffic Control Point.

technical :
a mobile fighting platform using machineguns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, which is improvised from an unarmored pick-up truck by Mid-East insurgents.

T-80 :
third generation Soviet (USSR) main battle tank that's widely exported.

tel / tell :
an ancient artificial mound, typically trapezoidal, consisting of the accumulated remains (ie: rubble or debris) of one or more ancient settlements; while 'tel' is the Hebrew spelling and 'tell' is the Arabic transliteration, this word (hillock) is often used to form part of a place name in Egypt and the Middle East. [cf: midden, kitchen midden]

temple :
a place or edifice dedicated to the public worship or the religious services devoted to a deity (eg: synagogue, church, mosque, ziggurat, etc). Also, any building used by a fraternal order (eg: the Templars' "Inns of Court"); as derived from "a space demarcated by an augur for taking auspices".

Ten Commandments :
a catalogue of the ten principal moral precepts fundamental to the Judeo-Christian faith; also called Decalogue / Decalog or Ten Utterances. [v: Exodus 20:2-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21; cf: Shema Yisrael / Sh'ma Yisrael]

terp :
short form of inTERPreter.

terrorist :
a radical or fanatical activist who uses violence, or the threat of violence, to intimidate a society or to coerce a government into a state of fear or submissive subjection for religious, economic, racial, ethnic, or other sociopolitical objectives. Any unknown, indistinguishable, or non-descript terrorist type is given a generic agnomen, often diminutive or effeminate (eg: Terry, Tracy, Timmy, Tanya, Teddy, or Tommy the Tango), so as to differentiate them as targets.

tessera :
one of the small pieces used in mosaic work. Also, a small square (tetragon) of wood, bone, ceramic, or the like, used in the ancient world as a token, tally, ticket, or its equivalent.

TF :
abbreviation for Task Force, being units that are brought together under one command for the execution of a specific operation.

thanks for your service :
a catch-phrase that's been used as a salutation or valediction by decent and faithful people as a deliberate counter to the slurs and epithets previously cast at servicemembers and veterans.

The Arabian Nights' Entertainments :
a collection of Eastern folk tales that are partly derived from Indian and Persian sources dating from about the 10th century; also called The Thousand and One Nights.

The Archipelago :
Aegean Sea [ety: Egeopelago].

The Devil's Water :
an allusion to petroleum in any of its forms (eg: gasoline, naphtha, benzene, kerosene, paraffin, etc), especially as an anti-war catch-phrase (ie: "No blood for oil!").

the Emirates :
see UAE / United Arab Emirates.

the follower / al-dabaran :
the most severe windstorm (shamal) occurs each year around the end of June, curtailing travel, compelling businesses to close, and forcing people to stay at home, shuttered and secluded; this sandstorm lasts several days, driving dust into everything, causing machinery to seize and respiratory distress in people.

The Gulf :
NavSpeak slang for the general area of the Persian Gulf, which may include the Arabian Sea, Aegean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Sea of Marmara, and the Suez Canal.

The Land Between the Rivers :
the region of Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that's now included in modern Iraq.

The Lands of the Prophet :
those areas where Islam is predominant, especially throughout the Near East, but notably extending from Europe to Asia.

The Land That Time Forgot :
classic reference to Yemen, a republic formed by the merger of the Yemen Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, formerly a British protectorate on the Gulf of Aden.

the Mad Dog of the Middle East :
characterization of Muammar Kaddafi / Moammar Gadhafi by Ronald W. Reagan; also known as the "king of culture" and "leader of the revolution", this long-time ruler of Libya was infamously surrounded by heavily armed female bodyguards, and was responsible for the terrorist bombing of PanAm flight 103 that exploded over Lockerbie Scotland in 1988.

The Med :
NavSpeak slang for the general area of the Mediterranean Sea, being the inland sea surrounded by Africa, Europe, and the Near East of Asia.

the new normal :
the random and episodic scrutiny of ordinary people who are going about their normal lives, but during the reign of terrorism, who must prove their innocence by submitting to security checks.

The Root :
catch-phrase signifying the seaport of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, and the 1983-4 Multinational Peacekeeping mission headquartered there.

The Stans :
slang reference to the Middle Eastern, West and Central Asian regions, provinces, or countries whose names end in '-stan', meaning "the land of ...", such as Adzharistan, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Dagestan, Hindustan, Kazakhstan, Kurdistan, Kyrgyzstan (Kirghizia), luristan, Nuristan (Kafiristan), Pakistan, Tadzhikistan / Tajikistan, Turkestan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Waziristan; also called "alphabet soup" or "jawbreaker" countries for their complex arrangement of consonants. [nb: 'Hamastan' was created in 2007 as a designation for the Gaza Strip area of Israel controlled by Hamas]

the Stumps :
nickname for the Marine Corps Air-Ground Coordination Center, at the extensive Twenty Nine Palms base in California; colocated with the Marine Corps High-Desert Training Area.

the suck :
see suck.

The Surge :

the three primitive languages :
according to legend, the three seminal languages of the Cradle of Civilization; therefore the serpent that seduced Eve spoke Arabic, the most persuasive language in the world, thus Adam and Eve spoke Persian, the most poetic of all languages, and consequently the angel Gabriel spoke Turkish, the most menacing language of all!

The Thousand and One Nights :
see The Arabian Nights' Entertainments.

think purple :
a management catch-phrase for blending or merging military assets in a cooperative effort toward mission accomplishment; based upon the color resulting from a meld of each separate uniform worn by the different branches, with a fancied implication of royalty ... instead of the ordinary mud brown of mundane unity.

thobe / thawb / thaub :
an ankle-length outer garment that's worn by Muslim men in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Syria, neighboring Arab countries, and some countries in east and west Africa; tailored like a shirt with long sleeves, but long and loose enough to cover their entire body; it's usually white, but may be available in other colors, especially during winter. Also, general referent for any long loose dress (eg: robe, kaftan, or tunic) worn by men or women.

Thor's Hammer :
American space-launched land attack projectiles.

thunder run :
the high speed advance of armored vehicles clearing the way for lighter-weight thin-skinned vehicles; the rapid movement of an armored column along a road, with guns alternated in their covering fire to either side of the route, so as to rapidly clear or secure an area.

Thursday night fever :
the Mid-East regional equivalent of "Saturday night fever" among Westerners, wherein Muslim males engage in a spree of overindulgence and debauchery; an intemperate binge on the eve of the Islamic sabbath ... such gross immoderation and dissipation amidst such overt declarations of piety is shocking to many American servicemembers.

tiara :
a high headdress, or turban, worn by the ancient Persians and others. Also, the authority and position represented by such a turban or headdress, as worn by an official.

(tick) Troops In Contact.

tiechel :
in Jewish culture, a woman's head scarf. [v: 'snood' is the distinctive headband (fillet, ribbon) formerly worn by young unmarried women in Scotland and northern England]

Tigris :
a river (1150mi) in southwest Asia that flows southeasterly from southeast Turkey through Iraq, joining the Euphrates to form the Shatt-al-Arab.

tippet :
a scarf, usually of fur or wool, for covering the neck, or the neck and shoulders, and usually having its ends hanging down in front. Also, an ecclesiastical band of silk or the like worn around the neck with the ends pendent in front. Also, a long, narrow, pendent part of a hood, sleeve, or the like.

tire city :
a walled courtyard with limited access and other protections that's used as a live-fire training environment for tactical shooting in built-up areas. This unroofed enclosure uses stacked tires and moveable barriers to alter the layout from one scenario to another for variety, and to reduce small arms ricochets. Also known as a "shooting house", the interior action may be surveilled from cameras mounted atop the surrounding walls. Not designed for role playing or war gaming, a 'tire city' functions like a combat shooting range when orienting troops to the potential hazards in a hostile urban (MOUT) situation.

(tee-lam) Tomahawk Land Attack Missile.

TO :
Theater of Operations.

Tactical Operations Center, being the analysis, planning, and development section for intelligence and operations, which is separate from the logistical and administrative headquarters of the unit.

TOCroach :
a derogatory or disparaging reference to subterranean creatures that dwell in the air-conditioned recesses of the bomb-proof Tactical Operations Center (TOC), and scurry for shelter whenever exposed to the glare of daylight (or reality, or even truth).

toilet in a bag :
see Wag Bag.

Top Gun :
the U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Tactical Instruction course of advanced training in flying techniques and weaponry.

topi :
a crocheted skullcap in a variety of patterns and colors that's worn during religious observance by Muslim men in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and other areas of South Asia.

Torah / tora :
the entire body of Jewish religious literature, law, and teaching, as contained chiefly in the Old Testament and the Talmud. Also, the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), especially when written on a parchment scroll that's used in synagogue services.

Time On Target, multi-battery artillery fire computed for simultaneous 'point of impact'; coordinated mass fire from different locations.

Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided anti-tank (AT) missile.

Timed, Phased, Forced Deployment Data

TQ :
al Taqaddum Air Base, situated about 75km from Baghdad in central Iraq.

track :
any track propelled vehicle, from a self-propelled howitzer to a tractor bulldozer, but usually refers to an armored tank or a personnel carrier.

traditor :
an early Christian who betrayed other Christians at the time of the Roman persecutions; as derived from a betrayer of tradition.

U.S. Army TRAining and DOCtrine command. [cf: USAF "Directorate of Personnel Training and Education"]

transfer case :
military nomenclature for a sealed metal coffin, casket, or pall.

Transjordan / Trans-Jordan :
an area east of the Jordan River, in southwestern Asia that was a British mandate (1921-23), an emirate (1923-49), and is now the major part of the kingdom of Jordan.

Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Pilots, being a USMC mission to expediently secure a downed aircraft, its personnel and equipment.

Trashghanistan :
(trash-can-iz-stan) sardonic slang reference to Afghanistan, as adopted by deployed mil-pers.

T-ration :
the heat-and-serve Tray-pack Ration (Tray Ration or T-rats) was developed in 1983 to provide a unit with the option of supplying a hot meal when cooks were unavailable.

tread head / tread-head :
someone assigned to or serving with an armor or armored cavalry unit.

Tripolitan War :
a war (1801-05) that Tripoli declared on the United States because of American refusal to pay tribute for the safe passage of shipping in Barbary Coastal waters; a war by pirate corsairs of the Barbary States (ie: Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli / Tripolitania) for tribute payments guaranteeing the safe passage of American shipping.

T-72 :
second generation Soviet (USSR) main battle tank that's widely exported.

Time-Sensitive Target.

Third country National.

abbreviation for Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, being operational variables.

Tuareg :
a Berber or Hamitic-speaking member of the Muslim nomads of the Sahara. Also, the language of the Tuareg nomads, a Berber language of the Afro-Asiatic family.

Tunisia :
a republic in northern Africa on the Mediterranean Sea with its capital at Tunis; a French protectorate until 1956. [nb: wearing hijab is prohibited in educational and governmental settings in Tunisia]

turban :
a headdress worn chiefly by Muslims in southern Asia and the Near East, consisting of a long cloth (eg: silk, linen, cotton, etc) wound around a man's head or about a cap on his head; earlier as "torbant", being a variant of "tulbant".

Turkey :
a republic in western Asia and southeastern Europe, with its capital at Ankara (formerly Angora); the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire (330-1453) flourished at Constantinople until its defeat, and the Ottoman Empire was a later Turkish state, established (ca1300) by Osman / Au'thman, reaching its greatest extent (16th century) under Suleiman, then collapsing after World War I. [nb: wearing hijab is prohibited in educational and governmental settings in Turkey]

turkey peek :
any quick or furtive glance, as to peep or peer, especially over or around an obstruction.

Turkish coffee :
a strong, usually sweetened coffee, that's made by boiling pulverized coffee beans.

Turkish delight :
a Middle Eastern confection made of fruit juice and gelatin that's cubed and dusted with granular sugar; originating in the 19th century, this candy is also called Turkish paste.

Turkish trousers :
see sirwal. [v: picturesque drill uniforms of French Algerian Zouaves]

Turkmenistan / Turkomen :
a republic in central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, Iran, and Afghanistan; formerly known as the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic, with its capital at Ashkhabad.

turtle-back :

Twelver :
see Imamite.

2A :
an Army file listing all relevant duty and qualification data for a soldier.

201 file :
a servicemember's official record of training and assignments, postings and decorations, listing all qualifications and licenses acquired.

tznius / tzniut / tsniut :
a personal sense of dignified humility that represents one's spiritual commitment; in Jewish practice, someone's external expression of an interior devotion to faith ... most often translated as a man's or woman's 'modesty', as in dress or manner.

UA :
Unauthorized Absence, being the Navy and Marine Corps equivalent of Absent Without Leave (AWOL) in the Army and Air Force. Also, designates Unassigned Area, being those zones not actively covered by military elements, having the lowest priority of operational responsibility. Also, abbreviation for Unit Administrator, being a military or civilian employee responsible for written communications, including memoranda, messages, reports, plans, forms, briefings, alert rosters, and miscellaneous correspondence. Also, abbreviation for Uniform Allowance, being a sum of money provided annually in an effort to defray the individual servicemember's cost of adding or replacing uniforms worn in the line of duty.

United Arab Emirates, with the capital at Abu Dhabi; formerly known as Trucial Oman, Trucial Coast, or Trucial States.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, a drone aircraft that's remotely piloted, may be missile-equipped, being used for surveillance and ground support.

Unitized Group Ration Express, which is informally designated "kitchen in a carton".

UK :
United Kingdom.

'ulama / ulema :
in Islamic practice, the doctors of Muslim religion and law; as literally derived from 'learned men'.

ummah / umma :
the Muslim community; the worldwide unity of the faithful; the global "nation" of Islam.

'umrah / 'umra :
the pilgrimage in Islamic practice, consisting of rituals performed at various shrines, which are made by a Muslim upon entering Mecca, often as part of the hajj; also called the lesser pilgrimage, as literally derived from 'visit'.

UN :
United Nations.

Uniate / Uniat / Uniatism :
a member of an Eastern church that is in union with the Roman Catholic Church, acknowledges the Roman pope as supreme in matters of faith, but maintains its own liturgy, discipline, and rite; from the Union of Brest-Litovsk (1596), an acceptance of papal supremacy by some Orthodox clerics in Poland.

Unified Response :
an interservice stabilization operation in Haiti.

unilateral :
a reporter who is unattached to a military unit; ostensibly gives the independent journalist greater objectivity than an embedded reporter.

United Arab Emirates :
an independent federation in eastern Arabia that was formed in 1971 and now comprises seven emirates on the southern coast (formerly the Pirate Coast or Trucial Coast) of the Persian Gulf, which were formerly under British protection; including: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah (joined 1972), and Fujairah. The UAE capital is situated at Abu Dhabi; and was formerly, Trucial Oman, Trucial Sheikdoms, Trucial States.

United Shield :
operation in Somalia from 5 Dec 1992 to 31 Mar 1995.

United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission, created by resolution 1441 (8 Nov 2002), which provided for immediate and unrestricted weapons inspections in Iraq.

United Nations PROtection FORce, being an air and ground operation to provide humanitarian aid in and around Zagreb, Croatia, from October 1992, then redesignated the United Nations Preventative Deployment force (UNPREDEP) in 1995 with the mission of deterring the spread of armed conflict, until the mandate expired in Feb 1999, whereupon U.S. Army Europe assumed the obligation as Task Force Sabre, until relieved by NATO in Aug 2004.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

United Nations Special COMmission, being the organization appointed (1994) to search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq.

up-armor :
a field expedient defensive adaptation to changing Mid-Eastern battlefield conditions wherein unarmored vehicles and lightly fortified positions are retrofitted or reinforced.

Urdu :
one of the official languages of Pakistan, a language derived from Hindustani, as used by Muslims and written with Persian-Arabic letters; as literally derived from "the language of the camp", as a reference to the royal residence of the Golden Horde.

U.S. Air Force.

U.S. Agency for International Development.

U.S. Army Europe.

U.S. Marine Corps.

U.S. Navy.

UW :
(yew-w) Unconventional Warfare, also called "unorthodox warfare"; the use of military/paramilitary, police, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions (CA) by a government to defeat subversion, insurgency, and terrorism in enemy-controlled or politically sensitive areas. A broad spectrum of low-visibility military and paramilitary operations, normally of long duration, predominantly conducted through, with, or by indigenous or surrogate forces who are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an internal source against foreign influence or sponsorship.

UneXploded Ordnance, including bombs and other munitions.

Uzbekistan :
a republic in south central Asia with its capital at Tashkent; formerly known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.

Valley of Death :
slang for the scene of fierce fighting between ISAF's Eastern Command consisting mostly of US forces and anti-Afghanistan forces (AAF) or anti-Coalition militia (ACM) in a valley (about 10 kilometers long and less than 1 kilometer wide) formed by a right tributary of the Pech River; it's a remote valley in the Dara-I-Pech district of Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan known as the Korangal Valley.

vardar / vardarac :
a cold fall wind blowing from the northwest down the Vardar valley (in Greece) to the Gulf of Salonika (Macedonia), which occurs in winter when atmospheric pressure over eastern Europe is higher than over the Aegean Sea.

Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device, wherein a vehicle containing EXPLOSIVEs may be detonated by a timing device or by remote control, by a suicidal terrorist or by an ignorant dupe; commonly known as a 'car bomb'.

V Corps :
the forward deployed U.S. Army headquarters for two divisions, nine separate brigades, and a corps support command (totaling about 41,000 soldiers); dubbed "victory corps" for its rapid advance in the Meuse-Argonne offensive during WWI, it deployed from the Fulda Gap to Kuwait and Iraq, Croatia and Bosnia, Kosovo and Somalia, Macedonia and Afghanistan, earning the Superior Unit Award in 1998, then the Meritorious Unit Citation in 2004 and again in 2012.

Vehicle Check Point, being a small pillbox setup as a traffic control station situated at intersections and along roads in Iraq; commonly called a 'cop in a box'.

veil :
a piece of material, variously opaque or translucent, diaphanous or transparent, that's worn over part or all of the face for concealment, protection, decoration, or tradition. Also, a piece of material draping the head and shoulders so as to form a headdress and frame the face. Also, something that screens, conceals, or separates. Also, any organic membrane or covering (eg: velum, caul).

veronica :
any handkerchief, veil, or cloth bearing a representation of the face of Jesus Christ, from the legend of the image of Jesus of Nazareth that was miraculously imprinted onto the scarf that Saint Veronica gave him to wipe his sweat on the way to Calvary / Golgotha; also called sudarium or vernicle (true image). Also, a pass in bullfighting wherein the matador keeps his stance while slowly swinging his cape away from the charging bull.

Visual Flight Rules.

vicar :
someone who's authorized to perform the functions of another, such as a deputy or substitute [v: locum tenens]; including the Roman Catholic pope as the vicar of Christ, a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic representing a bishop, a cleric in the Episcopal Church whose charge is a chapel in a parish, and a cleric in the Anglican Church acting as the priest of a parish in place of the rector.

Vigilant Sentinel :
operation in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf from 1 Dec 1995 to 1 Sep 1997.

Vigilant Warrior :
operation from 14 October through 21 December 1994.

vill / ville :
contraction of village, being the most common referent for the small assemblage of indigenous dwellings that are scattered throughout the countryside; a hamlet or shantytown.

vimpa :
a silk veil falling over the shoulders and extending down the arms and over the hands that's worn by Roman Catholic acolytes who carry the miter and crosier at a Pontifical Mass.

Viper :
introduced to field operations from commercial inventory in 2002, this is a man-portable sighting device with observation and far target location capabilities for day and night operations that renders target range, azimuth, and vertical angle measurements to the operator.

(viz-obs) a contraction of VISual OBServation posts.

vizier / wazir / vazir / vezir / vezér / vazeer / vizir / vasir / vesir :
a high governmental official in certain Muslim countries and caliphates, especially a political advisor or arbitrator in the former Ottoman Empire, whose intermediate position (eg: secretary or minister of state) between sovereign and subjects is approximately comparable to governor, viceroy, or prime minister (ie: grand vizier).

vizierate :
the state or territory under the jurisdiction of a vizier.

Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle squadron, which operates Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPV) over operational areas for Regimental Combat Teams (RCT).

voluntold :
someone whose participation has been volunteered for them, such as a "mandatory volunteer" at an event or a job of work; seemingly contracted from "told to volunteer", which derives from 'wish'.

votary :
a devoted worshiper or a devout adherent of a religion. Also, a person who is bound by solemn religious vows. Also, a devotee of some subject or pursuit.

Video TeleConference, being a capability of the Specially Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF).

Vulcan :
a multi-barrel 20mm cannon (M-61A1), being a rotating gun system used for antiaircraft.

Wag Bag :
proprietary name of a go-anywhere plastic toilet kit consisting of a puncture resistant double-layered pouch containing a super absorbent medium (aka: "poo powder"), a sanitation catalyst, and a deodorizer that was developed for military field usage by CleanWaste (formerly Phillips Environmental); after use, this zip-closed human waste container can be deposited with other trash for daily disposal by burning ... each "toilet in a bag" waste kit includes toilet paper and a cleansing wipe.

Wahhabi / Wahhabee / Wahabi :
the most conservative sect of Islam, or any member thereof, comprising 5%-10% of the faith, that stringently opposes all practices not sanctioned by the Koran; founded in the 18th century by 'Abd al-Wahhab, this puritanical form of Islam is chiefly extant in Saudi Arabia.

wali :

war on terror :
a worldwide campaign proclaimed 20 Sept 2001 in response to attacks from proxied and sponsored terrorism, including the destruction of Pan-Am charter flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland (21 Dec 1988), World Trade Center bombing (26 Feb 1993, 11 Sep 2001), Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing (19 Apr 1995), USS Cole incident (12 Oct 2000), and others.

War on Terrorism Service Medal :
see Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

warrior princess :
sardonic reference to female "combatants", with particular reference to those ticket-punching women who have made their way through as many training courses as possible, garnering as much "trash" as possible, in order to dress for the role and swagger around; a captious allusion to those ambitious and aggressive women who are desirous of advancement in rank or rating over their male peers in the new and improved politically-correct military. This Gulf War reference derives from the popularity of the alt-fiction series Xena, Warrior Princess, which featured (in 134 episodes from 1995) a female protagonist of ambiguous sexuality performing astonishing feats of adroitness.

war tourist :
any civilian contractor or government service employee hired to perform an ancillary or auxiliary function in support of the military mission in a hazardous duty area; this disparaging slur cannot counter the imbalance in remuneration between military and civilian payment scales, nor the disparity in their relative risk.

water pipe / water-pipe :
a smoking apparatus in which the smoke is drawn through a container of water and cooled before reaching the mouth; also called hookah, narghile, or kalian.

waxed :
to be hit hard, or to be killed.

weekend warrior :
a denigrating referent for a National Guardsman or Reservist.

wet CHU :
informal reference to a Containerized Housing Unit (CHU) equipped with an en suite bathroom; and are typically reserved for high-ranking individuals.

wet wipes :
a pre-moistened felted-paper cloth, tear-resistant and biodegradable, which is used for personal hygiene in the field or at remote outposts without bathing facilities; originally marketed in the post-Vietnam era for cleansing infants when changing disposable diapers, some moisture formulas include antiseptics, lubricants, and deodorizing perfumes; available as single or bulk pack, sized facial or full-body, they're also known as "handy wipes", "moistened towelettes", and "cleansing cloths".

Whatthefuckistan :
a dismissive and derogatory reference to any of the Middle Eastern, West and Central Asian regions, provinces, or countries whose proper names end in '-stan', as expressed by the ordinary soldier who must operate there ... wherever that may be.

White Nile :
the part (500mi) of the Nile that flows northeastward to Khartoum, Sudan.

white static :
a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) dissonance that manifests as claustrophobia, becoming more acute and dysfunctional with protracted immurement; which condition adversely influences post-event treatment venues, and negatively affects post-military employment options.

Wounded In Action.

wimple :
a woman's headcloth that's drawn in folds about her chin, as worn when out-of-doors since the Middle Ages, especially by a nun in a religious order; as derived from enwrap in folds. Also, anything that ripples, undulates, or curves.

windstorm :
a storm of heavy winds but with little or no precipitation.

wire worm :
slang for the radio receiver earphone worn by security and escort guardians when serving on a protection detail; properly identified as a 'wireless interruptible feedback line'.

witch :
slang for a psychologist or psychotherapist; formerly known as a headshrinker, shrink, mind-bender, head-candler, wizard, or shaman.

Weapons of Mass Destruction, which are designed to kill large numbers of people over an extended area in a short period of time; also known as "weapons of mass casualty" or "mass casualty weapons", including strategic and tech weapons.

woobie / wubbie :
slang for the poncho liner, a camouflage-patterned nylon insert to the military rain poncho, that has been used as a blanket since the Vietnam War, which keeps the user warm even when it's soaking wet.

work wife :
the partner assigned to some military occupational specialty (MOS) positions and to most "buddy system" accountability arrangements, especially the shooter and spotter partnership of a sniper team.

WP :
white phosphorous.

(wizzo) Weapon Systems Officer, or backseater in fighter aircraft.

common abbreviation for the often uttered "What The Fuck?" rhetorical expression representing anything from genuine puzzlement to sardonic contempt; also rendered in quasi-radio format as "What the fuck, over!" (WTFO).

a technique of air warfare that has been associated with new developments in US Air Force doctrine emphasizing the centrality of effects-based targeting since its 2001 recognition in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF); also known as "on-call close air support" (CAS).

XO :
eXecutive Officer.

Xordâd Sâl / Khordad Sal :
observance of the birthday of the prophet Zoroaster.

eXtreme Terrain Vehicle, being a four-wheel drive (4WD) off-road utility transport with independent suspension; a militarized version of the All Terrain Vehicle (ATV).

xyst / xystum / xystus :
a covered portico or colonnade, used as a tree-lined promenade or shaded garden walkway since ancient Greek and Roman times.

yalla :
a corruption of the Arabic word for "hurry up" that's commonly used to mean 'run'.

yarmulke / yarmelke :
a skullcap worn by orthodox or conservative Jewish men during prayers, religious studies, and meals.

yashmak / yashmac :
the veil worn as an expression of modesty by Muslim women to cover the face in public.

yataghan / ataghan / yatagan :
a Turkish saber having a doubly curved blade that's concave toward the hilt, and having a hilt with a prominent pommel but without a guard.

yazata :
any of the lesser ancient Persian gods; as literally derived from "being worthy of veneration".

Yemen :
a country (Republic of Yemen) in southern Arabia that was formed in 1990 by the merger of the Yemen Arab Republic (or North Yemen, with its capital at San'a) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (or South Yemen, with its capital at Aden).

you can run but ... :
a phrase expressing prowess and determination in the settlement of disputes, in the mil-craft conclusion of conflict resolution, as in the sniper slogan: "You can run but you'll just die tired!", or the assault motto: "You can run but you cannot hide!"; a catch-phrase meaning that "We'll get you no matter what you do!". Seemingly derived from Joe ("the Brown Bomber") Louis when defending his championship title against Billy Conn in a rematch (June 1946), saying before the bout: "He can run but he can't hide." ... Conn was faster but Louis was stronger. President George W. Bush used this phrase about Saddam Hussein during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), who was later captured by American troops, tried for war crimes, and duly executed by the new government in Iraq.

yule / yuletide :
Christmas or the Christmas season; also known as 'noel' (birthday).

yule log :
a large log of wood that traditionally formed the backlog of the fire at Christmas; also called 'yule block' or 'yule clog'. In the modern era, a specially decorated log that's ignited on Christmas to affect the atmosphere with colors and smells.

zakat / zakah :
a compulsory religious tax in Islam, comprising percentages of personal income of every kind, levied as almsgiving for the relief of the poor; also known as sadaqat, being the third of the Pillars of Islam.

zannah :
an ankle-length tunic worn as an outer garment in Yemen.

Zarathustra / Zarathushtra :
[ety: camel handler] see Zoroaster.

zarf / zurf :
a holder for a tea glass or coffee cup without a handle, usually made of ornamental metal, as used in the Levant; derived from 'vessel sheath'.

Zartosht No-Diso :
anniversary commemorating the death of the prophet Zoroaster.

Zaydi / Zaidi :
a member of a Shi'ite sect of Islam who are prominent in Yemen.

zero :
to calibrate the sights by the adjustment of elevation and windage on a firearm or gun so as to strike the target at a given range. Also, the neutral center point intermediate between positive and negative, which has no value, power, weight, or influence; a naught or aught, nil or nullity, zip or cipher.

zero footprint :
having no discernable presence or apparent influence while accomplishing the mission; the operational technique of being undetectable or untraceable.

ziggurat / zikkurat / zikurat :
a temple among the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians of Sumerian origin that's in the form of a pyramidal tower, consisting of a number of stories and having about the outside a broad ascent winding round the structure, presenting the appearance of a series of terraces.

zina :
the Arabic word for fornication; sexual relations outside of marriage.

Zion / Sion :
Palestine as the Jewish homeland and symbol of Judaism. Also, a hill in Jerusalem, on which the Temple was built (used to symbolize the city itself, especially as a religious or spiritual center). Also, the Jewish people. Also, heaven, as the final gathering place of true believers.

Zionism :
a worldwide Jewish movement that resulted in the establishment and development of the state of Israel.

zither :
a musical instrument that consists of a flat sounding box with numerous strings stretched over it, which is placed on a horizontal surface and played console-style with a plectrum and the fingertips; as derived from kithara / cithara.

zizith / tzitzith / zizit :
the fringes or tassels that were formerly worn at the corners of the outer garment by Jews and are now worn at the four corners of the tallith and the arba kanfoth.

zombie :
an informal euphemism for those people who are worthless, have no useful intelligence, and live-off the rest of their fellow creatures; by extension of its common reference for the "undead"; the mind-sets of such people will not let a favored factoid or cherished myth be killed, so they must bring it back to life, hence the landscape is populated by animated corpses that are broken and bent but unbowed.

zooloobiya :
a fritter of various shapes and sizes that's coated in a sticky-sweet syrup.

Zoroaster :
a Persian religious leader of the sixth century BC; also known as Zarathustra / Zarathushtra, his quasi-dualistic teachings influenced Judaism, and later Christianity through Gnosticism.

Zoroastrianism / Zoroastrism :
a Persian religion, founded ca600BC by Zoroaster, the principal beliefs of which are in the existence of a supreme deity (Ahura Mazda), and in a cosmic struggle between a spirit of good (Spenta Mainyu) and a spirit of evil (Angra Mainyu); also called Mazdaism. [v: Zostrianos, Marsenes and Allogenes]