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M I L T E R M S : fingerspelled letter W semaphor letter W signal flag letter W W : WHISKEY

The emphasis of this educational reference is on words and phrases that appear in published works about war and military service; and amongst this jargon and slang, there is no pretense of objectivity or completeness, which may be readily found in official documents or government resources. This fragmentary opus is a work in progress ....

Caveat Lector: Vulgar, profane, and obscene dysphemisms, which have been used for every part of speech and rhetorical form, have not been Bowdlerized nor expurgated from this glossary, to the undoubted dismay of purists and the evident enrichment of our mother-tongue; so immature or hypersensitive persons should refrain from perusing this indubitably eclectic and contingently egregious compendium. Swearing is usually either juvenile or crass, but military personnel admire talent and respect skill, so the ability to create imaginative expletives and to craft uncommon scurrility is often appreciated.

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W :
an aircraft prefix under the Joint Service Designation System that represents 'weather'.

WAAC / WAC branch insignia
(whack) Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, formed 15 May 1942 as a contract service, then admitted to full military status on 3 July 1943, becoming the Women's Army Corps (WAC) so as to perform combat support and service support roles. The insignia of the WAAC / WAC branch was a profile bust of Pallas-Athene, the Greek goddess of war. When formed at the behest of George C. Marshall, the WAACs would be "neither Amazons rushing to battle nor butterflies fluttering around"! Compare ANC, WAC, WASP, WAFS, WAF, WAVES, SPAR, MCWR, WM; see SKIRT.

(whack) Women's Army Corps; formed as an auxiliary to release men for combat roles, the women's branch was permanently accorded full military status during the post-WWII reorganization of 1947. Percentage quotas and promotion ceilings were abolished in 1967, with women admitted into ROTC training in 1972, and all separate women's military service corps were dissolved in 1978 when female servicemembers were integrated into the RANKS; and in 1994, the role of qualified women was expanded from service support occupations to "combat support", including police, pilots, and other assignments, including service aboard warships; then in 2016, qualified women were made eligible to compete for equal admission to all combat arms occupations. Compare ANC, WAAC, WASP, WAFS, WAF, WAVES, SPAR, MCWR, WM; see SKIRT.

the last day IN COUNTRY before going back to THE WORLD.

an unpropelled transport glider (CG-4; 48'L x 12'H w/ 83' wingspan @7500#) manufactured by the Waco Aircraft Company and others during WWII (1941-7) for ferrying of men, vehicles, and equipment onto landing zones (LZ) in combat; also known as "Hadrian" from British/UK designation. See GLIDER, FLAK BAIT, BIRD, SUICIDE JOCKEY, PILOT.

a large quantity or amount, a great sum, stock, or mass; as "shot his WAD" as a prodigious expenditure. Also, filler or stuffing, padding or packing, as to form a plug, lump, ball, roll, bundle, or fardel; see DUNNAGE, SILENCER. Also, a large portion of tasteless food, fodder or provender, that fills without satisfying; [cf: sop] see SLOP, WASH, GUT BOMB, GLOP, TURKEY, CHOW, BEANS, FORAGE, RATIONS.

Women's Air Force, until 1978 when all separate women's military service corps were dissolved and female servicemembers were fully integrated into the RANKS; and in 1994, the role of qualified women was expanded from service support occupations to "combat support", including police, pilots, and other assignments, including service aboard warships; then in 2016, qualified women were made eligible to compete for equal admission to all combat arms occupations. Compare ANC, WAAC, WAC, WASP, WAFS, WAVES, SPAR, MCWR, WM; see SKIRT.

an idiom for irresolution or equivocation, to straddle or sidestep, to dissemble or hedge; as derived from "wave about" (flutter); see PING-PONG, BEAT AROUND THE BUSH. [v: shilly-shally (der: "Shall I? Shall I?")] Also, the vibratory effect of a canopy or airfoil during an abrupt brake or sustained FLARE, in which the leading edge trembles or flutters, and the entire surface may ripple or undulate, as the parachute attempts to resume flight; being an effect similar to LUFF, but from a different cause. Also, the unstable hover of a helicopter, especially when subject to crosswinds in ground effect; the inability to control the flight of an aircraft on a steady course; see FLARE, compare LEEWAY.

Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Service, WWII service pilots until 1978 when all separate women's military service corps were dissolved and female servicemembers were fully integrated into the RANKS; and in 1994, the role of qualified women was expanded from service support occupations to "combat support", including police, pilots, and other assignments, including service aboard warships; then in 2016, qualified women were made eligible to compete for equal admission to all combat arms occupations. Compare ANC, WAAC, WAC, WASP, WAF, WAVES, SPAR, MCWR, WM; see FIFINELLA, SKIRT.

Wild-Assed Guess, also known as Wild-Eyed Guess (WEG); which, when informed by experience, becomes inductive intuition or deductive logic, but is otherwise a Semi-scientific Wild-Assed Guess (SWAG) or a pure "guesstimate" ... and known in NavSpeak as "brown-fingered data" for having been pulled out of one's ass. See SECOND-GUESS, DEAD-RECKONING, DOUBLE DRIFT.

in the GULF WAR-era, 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. See CAT HOLE, SLIT TRENCH, PISS TUBE, PIDDLE PACK, HONEY BUCKET, WCS, BLUE CANOE, HEAD, LATRINE.


a colloquialism for a LIMBER-mounted field artillery (ARTY) piece; also called "carriage gun". [nb: the GATLING GUN (or "coffee grinder") was sometimes deployed in field operations from the bed of a horse-drawn wagon]

in Siam/Thailand and among Thai peoples, a hand gesture that conveys both a polite greeting and a sign of respect, a courtesy expressing thanks and a signal of apology; seemingly derived from ancient India, it's performed by someone placing the palms of his hands together before his heart in a prayer-like fashion while bowing slightly. Compare KOWTOW, REI, SAMPEAH, CHAO, SALAAM; see SALUTE.

a "breechcloth" / "breechclout" or LOINCLOTH (qv).

the track of waves left by a boat or other vessel moving through the water. Also, the path or course of anything that has passed or preceded; see CONTRAIL, VAPES. Also, a solemn watch or vigil.

a BATTLE CRY popularized after the defenders on Wake Island successfully repulsed the attempts of the Imperial Japanese to land on the atoll on 11 Dec 1941 following three days of air raids ... it was America's first victory in World War Two. This battle, characterized as the "Alamo of the Pacific" by Americans and "a battle that would have made the gods weep" by the Japanese, ended in a controversial surrender on 23 Dec 1941, with the survivors condemned to 44 months of captivity, torture, starvation, and slave labor ... many of the survivors, civilian and military alike, in common with Robert E. Lee after the American CIVIL WAR, said that if they'd known how dishonorably they'd be treated, they'd have preferred a fight to the death! Learning of the situation, the reinforcements enroute to Wake Island were recalled to Hawaii, with the Marine contingent aboard adopting another BATTLE CRY: "Remember Wake", being reminiscent of "Remember the Alamo". See LAST STAND. [nb: the AAR filed following the repulse of the initial landing force did not include the request "send us more Japs" as was widely alleged at the time; the practice of filling around the coded message with meaningless words and phrases was routine, so junior officers included this passage (with other verbiage) in the belief that it would be ignored, but their joke backfired when the header was leaked to the press to boost the morale of the public]

the last day of assignment, the day of departure or release; as when counting down a tour of duty. See FINI FLIGHT, A DUFFEL BAG DRAG AND A BOWL OF CORN FLAKES, FREEDOM BIRD, PFC, DEROS, ETS, SHORT-TIMER, FIGMO, SHORT-TIMER PIN, THE WORLD, THE REAL WORLD, LAND OF THE BIG PX.

WWII-era insulated gripper arms, later known as the "Waldo F. Jones Synchronous Reduplicating Pantograph"; see BLUE SUIT, MASTER-SLAVE MANIPULATOR.

AvnSpeak for the power-off external inspection of the aircraft, its fuel and hydraulics, connections and structures, as part of the pre-flight sequence; also called "pre-flight inspection" or "before flight inspection". This inspection (always performed in a clockwise direction of encirclement) may require tools and ladders for access as a preliminary to the COCKPIT checks and final clearance for liftoff. A similar post-flight or "after flight inspection" is performed to denote any defects or damage that must be repaired, together with the replenishment and securing of the aircraft. See PLASTIC BRAINS, UP CHECK. [nb: contrary to popular opinion, this is not a ritual for establishing mystical connectivity between birdmen and their anthropomorphized flight mechanism, neither is it an opportunity for chair warmers to indulge in an idle stroll for recreation or routine exercise; cf: walkabout]

to retrace the evidence to its beginning, or to retrace the process to its origin, especially by tentative or indirect methods, as when discerning a causal induction in a sequence of espionage activities; an attempt to trace the initial stages of a situation that was arrived at slowly, erratically, and unpredictably ... it is, in fact, the erratic and unpredictable nature of the evidence to be investigated that makes a 'cat' the most appropriate metaphor. Tracing the origin and development of a crisis by searching backwards for its antecedents may prevent its recurrence, more than a detailed review or analysis. Compare BREADCRUMBING; see BACKTRACK. [nb: not to be confused with "walk the cat back" or "cat walked back", which phrase has been used to imply that an event should be reversed, that an act should be undone, similar to "turning back the clock", "putting the genie back in the bottle", "putting the cat back in the bag", or "replacing the toothpaste in the tube"]

the twin-engine M-24 CHAFFEE light TANK was replaced in 1953 by the more powerful gas-powered M-41 with a high-velocity 76.2mm MAIN-GUN, which the ARVN matched against Soviet T-34/T-85. Served in Vietnam as bridge pillboxes, and chassis formed body of DUSTER. See WIDOW MAKER, TANK, TRACK.

AN/PRC-6, HT-1, URC-10, or SINCGARS radio, being a compact and portable short-range field radio with pre-set frequencies (or dedicated frequency hopping); arranged like a handset with telescoping antenna, as used by FIRE TEAM, RECON team (RT), SQUAD, or platoon-sized (PLT) elements, or by individuals during an emergency or survival.

slang for the "walking dead"; for someone with a mortal injury or fatal wound that's not amenable to treatment but is not immediately incapacitating, allowing the casualty to continue to "function" (albeit in an impaired manner) for hours or days, as in traumatic cases of massive concussion, of severe burns (from steam or fuel), or of radiation FALLOUT poisoning, and in chronic cases of starvation or other forms of TORTURE. These people are often so badly injured that they no longer suffer PAIN. See TRIAGE, MASS CASUALTIES, ZERO WARD, LAST BIVOUAC, ZERO-ZERO WARD, DOW; compare GHOST SOLDIER, SHADOW WALKER, SHADOW WARRIOR.


slang for going into hostile air operations with confidence of success; see PIECE OF CAKE, LAUGH A MINUTE, CAKEWALK, DUCK SOUP, MILK RUN, NO SWEAT, TURKEY SHOOT. [nb: phrase should not be confused with A Walk in the Sun taken from a WWII novel by Harry Brown (1944), which was echoed in the VIETNAM WAR novel entitled One Very Hot Day by David Halberstam (1968), that dramatized violence visited upon ordinary soldiers who are exhausted and frustrated by meaningless operations]

a catch-phrase for retraction or withdrawal; see BACKTRACK, WALK BACK THE CAT.

admonition by the drillmaster or Drill Instructor (DI) to new recruits so that they will swivel their hips when marching, causing them to "glide" along in step, instead of bouncing up and down; this technique is in marked contrast to the MACHO concept of "walk like a man", which style can be characterized as a strut, swagger, swash, saunter, sashay/chassé, or DITTY-BOP/diddy-bop ... marching in formation is not about individual style. See STUTTER-STEP, DAP, HEP, CADENCE, PARADE, MARCH.



a modern American idiom emphasizing demonstration over verbalization, as in "Talks the talk, and walks the walk!" but is sometimes condensed to "Walks the talk!" Also represented as "Walk it like you talk it!" or "Handsome is as handsome does!", "There's no holding him!" or "Throw caution to the winds!", "Don't just say it, do it!" or "Most people just talk shit, but some people do shit!", "Practice what you preach!" or "Actions speak louder than words!". See ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS, WATCH MY SMOKE, TALK THE TALK, BRING SMOKE, ROOT HOG OR DIE, RISKY-SHIFT EFFECT. [v: "Well done is better than well said." attributed to Benjamin Franklin (June 1921); "Fear not, my lord, we will not stand to prate; Talkers are no good doers: be assured We come to use our hands and not our tongues." by William Shakespeare in Richard III (1594)] [cf: "talk a good game", "all talk and no action", "all blow and no go", "much smoke and little fire", "all mouth and no trousers"; v: BLOW SMOKE, LIP SERVICE, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS]

a permanent upright construction that presents a continuous surface, typically longer than thick or high, that generally defines the outermost limits of protection, shelter, or privacy; an enclosure, embankment, or rampart. Also, a wall-like mass or obstruction, as a "wall of troops". Also, an immaterial barrier or intangible obstruction that figuratively suggests a 'wall', as an "implacable wall of prejudice". Walls are interruptions to intercommunication with their two-fold psychological repercussions -- security that stifles and protection that imprisons. Walls separate the outsiders and exiles from the immigrants and brethren, demarcating nations and tribes, families and individuals ... setting the bounds between the Creator and His creations, between the ruler and his subjects, and even between the several aspects of the psyche. A wall symbolizes protection from the evil influences of the world, which seclusion is restrictive at the lower level but is receptive to heavenly influences from above. The exclusion of walls and borders, rules and laws are protective, preserving what is deemed precious or sacred from profanation or desecration.


an Australian CARIBOU light transport short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft.

a person in charge of, or expertly concerned with a particular action or thing, such as a "supply wallah" or "machine wallah"; as derived from Anglo-Indian slang. Compare WONK, WIZARD, PROFESSOR, BEAN-COUNTER, HONCHO, ACTING JACK, GADGET, GUNNER, RAINMAKER, GO TO GUY, MILICRAT. [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs] [v: bailiwick]


a narrow vertical closet, freestanding or built-in, usually furnished with clothing hooks, hanger bar, hat shelf, and secured by a ventilated door that can be padlocked. The WALL LOCKER is unit property assigned to residents, usually nearby the occupant's bed, with its placement and display regulated by a command specific Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Compare FOOTLOCKER. [nb: the WALL LOCKER has been used to simulate solitary confinement in various survival (ie: E&E / SERE) training centers, as well as an ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT device in some "wall-to-wall counseling" sessions, both of which are technically illegal but vital preparation for the reality of combat]






a large tent, introduced during the CIVIL WAR, with either an attached vertical panel on each side, or attachments enabling the sides to fall vertically; some models, such as hospital tents, have screens and roll-up sides for ventillation. See GP, TENT, HUTMENT.


a strong desire to rove or travel about; an innate restlessness, such as manifest by being absent from work for roaming or yondering; also known as "itchy feet". Compare HOMESTEAD / HOMESTEADING / HOMESTEADER, BIG GREEN PARADISE; see RISKY-SHIFT EFFECT, COMBAT BUM, TOUR BABY, WATCH MY SMOKE, ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH, ROOT HOG OR DIE, DIEHARD, MOXIE, GUTS, ONIONS. [v: wanderjahr, walkabout] [nb: too often characterized as rebels and thrill-seekers by those who are content to stay home and live quietly, by those who've built civilizations and compiled histories, such restless curiosity seems to have a genetic basis in that the compulsion to explore mankind's horizons is an innate trait of some individuals, in that the external drive toward discovery is equivalent to an internal inquiry probing our makeup, and the knowledge from these quests tend to benefit all of humanity; research at UC Irvine (1999) discovered that about twenty percent (20%) of people have a unique allele (DRD4-7R) of the DNA gene sequence that rewards them for traveling to remote or unknown places, or for influencing them to attempt other difficult activities, hence expressing this allele of the D4 gene seems to release a pleasurable neurotransmitter (dopamine) associated with reward whenever they try new experiences] [nb: "All who wander are not lost." by J.R.R. Tolkien]

to bring about by underhand methods, as to scheme, contrive, or manipulate for dishonest ends; to falsify or finagle, deceive or intrigue, as to "wangle a promotion" or "wangle a transfer". This is an Americanism derived by contracting "wag" (wag the tongue) and "dangle" (hang around), but it's also alleged to derive from contracting "wield" and "angle" (play the angles). See WIGGLE ROOM, VULCANIZE, TAP-DANCER, CYA, FAIRY DUST, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, HOUSE OF CARDS, MIND CANDY, RAIN ON PARADE, MILICRAT.

a small portable house, entirely self-contained and often fitted with wheels or tractor treads or skids, that's used as an office or shelter in temporary camps; also spelled "wannigan", "wangan", or "wangun"; as derived from pit or to dig a hole in the ground (Ojibwa "wanikkan"); see BLDG, BILLET. Also, a lean-to or other small addition built onto the side of a cabin or house trailer; see BILLET, SHEBANG, HOOCH, HUT, HIDE, BOHIO, PUP TENT, BLDG. Also, the storage trunk or supply chest for the personnel manning a temporary camp; compare TEAM BOX, FOOTLOCKER, SEA CHEST.

someone seeking attainment, or anyone imitating the achievements or successes earned by others; also known as aspirant, poseur, pretender, tinhorn. During the Medieval era, so-called "carpet knights" were unconquered champions of the cozy room or plush court, and were so designated as late as the American CIVIL WAR (eg: Moxely Sorrel identified A.P. Hill as such). After the American CIVIL WAR, such declarers of ex-post-facto achievements would be characterized as "Latter Day Knights". Such pretenders to tribal or ethnic affiliation are commonly called "wish-ums" or "pretendians". Derived from infantile pronunciation of "(I) want to be ...". Every field, from nobility and arts to exploration and science, has had its impudent deceiver or audacious falsifier. See REMF, CLERKS 'n' JERKS, THE NAM, CANDY-ASS, IOTA, TOY SOLDIER, WHISKEY WARRIOR, MACHO, BTDT, PAY DUES, WAR STORY, SEA STORY, CAMP FOLLOWER. [v: Baron K.F.H. von Munchausen (Münchhausen) and Walter Mitty as paradigmatic exemplars] [nb: the Lafayette Escadrille, a WWI aviation squadron, had less than 40 American volunteer pilots, but more than 4000 claim to have flown combat sorties in that unit; likewise, less than one million Americans served in Vietnam, but more than nine million claim to be combat veterans of that war]



a layout display of all equipment and weapons issued to an individual or crew, as in a set order on a groundsheet or tarp, PONCHO or SHELTER-HALF for inspection, accountability, and cleanliness; being the Old English term for "weapon show", which originated as a gathering of troops in Scotland for a review of the condition of their arms, as an indication of their readiness for battle ... this term is still used in the United Kingdom for ceremonial displays of historic weapons.

the state of armed conflict or the condition of hostile contention between nations or factions, comprising strategy (politics) and tactics (operations), which is prosecuted by force so as to compel the will of the victor upon the vanquished; and is principally caused by ideology, economics, religion, ethnicity, and resources. A conflict carried on by force of arms, as by land, sea, or air, between or within nations, and which may be the result of nationalism, imperialism, or militarism; also called SHOOTING WAR, and are lately known by the redundancy: "war fighting". American wars include: AMERICAN REVOLUTION, QUASI-WAR, BARBARY COAST WARS, TRIPOLITAN WAR, WAR OF 1812, SEMINOLE WAR, MEXICAN WAR, CIVIL WAR, INDIAN WARS, SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, BOXER UPRISING, MEXICAN BORDER CAMPAIGN, WWI, WINTER WAR, BANANA WARS, WWII, COLD WAR, KOREAN WAR, BERLIN AIRLIFT, VIETNAM WAR, GULF WAR, GWOT / WAR ON TERROR. See BLOODY SHIRT, CROSS THE RUBICON, JUST WAR, HOLY WAR, PROXY WAR, RUSE DE GUERRE, DECEPTION, PSYWAR, DIVIDE AND CONQUER, FIGHTING MAD, BATTLE, FIGHTING WORDS, WAR PARTY, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), COLLATERAL DAMAGE, WEINBURGER DOCTRINE, WAR POWERS ACT, LAWS OF WAR, WAR CRIMES TRIAL, SPOILS OF WAR, ACCORDION WAR, RETALIATION, DOMINO THEORY, HOT, REVOLUTION, BRUSH FIRE WAR, DIRTY WAR, INSURGENCY, GUERRILLA WARFARE, LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT, STRUGGLE, LIMITED WAR, UNDECLARED WAR, DECLARATION OF WAR, SHOOTING WAR, SHOW THE FLAG, PLAY THE GAME, FULL-COURT PRESS, BLITZKRIEG, HYPERWAR, TOTAL WAR, OPEN WAR, TRENCH WARFARE, SCORCHED-EARTH, DODGE THE BULLET, MACHO, ABSTRACTION, COLD WAR, COCKTAIL WARS, FLOWER WAR, FIREWORKS, KILL 'EM ALL, HOLOCAUST, APOCALYPSE, ATROCITY, MASSACRE, TURKEY SHOOT, BODY COUNT, BUTCHER'S BILL, CEASE-FIRE, TRUCE, ARMISTICE, DETENTE, CARTE BLANCHE, DIKTAT, TREATY, RAPPROCHEMENT, APPEASE, PEACE, PEACE DIVIDEND, VICTORY, PYRRHIC VICTORY, WAR DIVIDEND, DEFEAT. [v: conflict, armed conflict, assault, military engagement, hostile confrontation, stour, fray, skirmish, embattle, pitched battle, fight, FIREFIGHT, scuffle, tussle, melee, slugfest, DOGFIGHT, clash, rencounter, BATTLE ROYAL, scrimmage, CLOSE QUARTERS BATTLE, assail, invade, smite, take up arms, march against, stand against, resist, repulse, defend, defeat, affray, brawl, wrangle, altercation, sciamachy/skiamachia] [cf: barratry] [nb: the Constitution of the United States specifically restricts the power to raise and maintain armed forces, and to declare war, to the Congress] [nb: the concept of "hell on earth" can be traced to Titus Lucretius Carus, and is most succinctly manifest in the modern era as "war is hell" by William Tecumseh Sherman; "I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell." by William Tecumseh Sherman; "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it." by George Peter Alexander Healy; "Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster." by William Tecumseh Sherman; "War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over." by William Tecumseh Sherman; "We can make war so terrible and make them so sick of war that generations pass away before they again appeal to it." by William Tecumseh Sherman; "If the people raise a great howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking." by William Tecumseh Sherman; "You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing!" by William Tecumseh Sherman] [nb: Frederick the Great's mule attended many battles but learned nothing about war from them!; "War, war, / What's it for? / To help the rich / And draft the poor!"; the difference between the OLD MAN and the TOP-KICK is the same in war as it is in sex: officers need to talk about it in great detail for a long time before it happens, but sergeants need to talk about it in great detail for a long time after it happens!]

an infant born during wartime, especially the illegitimate off-spring fathered by soldiers and sailors serving in foreign wars.

a "ready-to-go" bag that's kept packed with all the necessary and essential equipment for rapid deployment to field or combat duty; also called a "ready bag" or "go bag", its contents vary according to individual specialty and assignment. See FLIGHT BAG, DUFFEL BAG, DUNNAGE, AWOL BAG, MUSETTE, MED BAG, BIVY, DINGLEBERRY, KIT, GOOD TO GO, COMBAT LOADED, MISSION READY. [nb: "rucksack" = back-sack; "knapsack" = bite/snap-up/eat, food sack; "kit-bag" = soldier's small bag/knapsack; "haversack" = single-strapped feed bag worn over one shoulder; musette = single-strapped small bag worn over one shoulder] [cf: bundle, bindle/bindlea, swag, bluey, dilly bag, tucker-bag, bag, pouch, tote, sack, traps, pack, grip, gripsack, overnighter, weekender, holdall, carpetbag, B-4 bag, suitcase, one-suiter, single-suiter, two-suiter, three-suiter, portmanteau, Gladstone bag, traveling case, garment bag, Val-Pack, luggage; v: "scrip" wayfarer's bag or wallet; "viaticum" traveler's money and necessities]

an aircraft that was formerly operated by the military, especially WWI- and WWII-era airplanes, but is now privately owned; see BIRD, compare WARSHIP. Also, any aircraft decorated in military livery for display at airshows and similar public events. [nb: aeroplanes were used in warfare for the first time in 1911, during the Italo-Turkish campaign in Tripoli, North Africa]

a convenient referent for the 1941 series E Defense savings bond and the smaller denomination War Stamps (from 10¢ to $5), which were available for the first time by automatic deduction through the Payroll Savings Plan. The labeling of this SAVINGS BOND, together with the LIBERTY BOND and PATRIOT BOND, implies that the money raised by its sale is earmarked for national defense, but in actuality, the revenue generated by the sale of these government securities goes into the general fund, which pays for all federal programs.

a woman who marries a serviceman about to depart for his wartime assignment. Also, a woman who marries a foreign serviceman during or after wartime, and moves to his country when he returns home. [nb: he is a "war husband" if he remains in her country after they are wed] ["Marrying in wartime is like sowing among thorns." by Ignazio Silone]

money and resources reserved for a future need or anticipated expenditure, especially common defense [ca1900 Americanism]; wherewithal, treasury, exchequer, repository, coffers. See SAVINGS BOND, T-BILL, INCOME TAX, LEGAL TENDER. [cf: community chest]

US Army War College patch
Army War College
graduate study of military subjects for senior officers as maintained for professional development by each branch of service (eg: Air War College, Army War College, Naval War College). See C&GS, NPG, USNI, JEDI KNIGHT, MSOS, Joint Special Operations University at USSOCSWS, SWC&S, JOHN WAYNE HIGH SCHOOL, HUDSON HIGH, BOAT SCHOOL, OCS, ROTC, TRADE SCHOOL. [nb: four factors comprise war: politics, strategy, tactics, operations] [v: Siwash ("At Good Old Siwash" by George Helgeson Fitch (1911)] [v: kriegsakademie, kriegsschule]

a reporter or commentator, either as a remote or embedded journalist, who's assigned to send news or opinions directly from battle areas for broadcast or publication; see FRUIT FLY, GAG ORDER, OPSEC, BLACKOUT, DISINFORMATION, PROPAGANDA, SCOOP, BIG STORY, ECHO CHAMBER, DIRTY LAUNDRY, SPIN, FAKE NEWS, BIG LIE, RED INK, RUMOR. [v: noise, pickthank, newsmonger, rumormonger, gossip, gossipmonger, scandalmonger, busybody, yenta, quidnunc, chinwagger, chin musician, schmoozer, blabbermouth, flibbertigibbet, tittle-tattler, tattler, tattletale, talebearer, bottom-feeder] [nb: "I felt, moreover, that I had adequately demonstrated that the press acted – and could well again act – as a multiplier of the prejudices of the Western intelligentsia, whose tender conscience moves it to condemn the actions of its own side while condoning related deeds of enemies who are either 'immature' or 'feel themselves threatened'. It did not, for example, seem necessary to demonstrate at length that World War II could well have been lost by the Allied powers if the press had wished – and been allowed – to denounce almost all the purposes and virtually the entire conduct of that conflict. It did not seem necessary to [be]labor the obvious point that no Western power can conduct a foreign policy that, of necessity, relies in part on the threat of military power and, upon occasion, on the exercise of military power, if the media reflexively denounce almost any use of armed force." by Robert Elegant, "How to Lose A War: The Press And Viet Nam" pp 73-90 in Encounter (vol LVII no 2, August 1981)] [v: subreption, obreption] [nb: the neologism "pollaganda" / "polloganda" (poll + propaganda) has been coined to identify the representation of biased samples, slanted surveys, special pleading arguments, and ex-parte news depicted as authentic or authoritative; cf: "polingo" as a neologism for political lingo] [v: Myths of the Vietnam War]

a violation of the laws of war as interpreted by national or international standard, with the accused adjudicated by competent authority. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a decision presuming supersession, refused an appeal from the IMTFE in Tokyo that was based on the ground that the international court was unlawful. Critics have questioned the legal basis of some of the charges at the post-World War II trials. Individuals were found guilty of acts considered legal, or even required, by their nation at the time; such findings represent a violation of the concept of sovereignty. The plotting or carrying out of aggressive war had not been previously and explicitly called "criminal", and the laws used to ascertain post-war guilt were not universally applicable pre-war. Critics have also termed these trials an act of vengeance by the victors, and questioned their practical use as a precedent, or even deterrence. Personal liability for national action is very difficult to prove conclusively, and any nation will be reluctant to try its own leaders. Therefore, effective prosecution may be possible only if a nation is first defeated, and then, only if the requisite proof is also captured. See IMT, IMTFE, UNWCC, WAR CRIMES TRIAL, HAGUE TRIBUNAL, LAWS OF WAR, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE); compare UCMJ.

the trial of the vanquished by the victorious for "crimes against humanity" administered by an international war crimes commission (UNWCC), and most recently by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Originally, at the end of WWII, this judicial body, established by the Allies, sought to determine the punishment due specific defeated leaders for violations of the LAWS OF WAR. The World Court existed before WWI but was not used after either World War, the UN has instead established a new Human Rights Court to judge war crimes, along with the "permanent Court of Arbitration" and the "international Court of Justice", which are housed (since 1945) in the Peace Palace at The Hague, which was financed by Andrew Carnegie. In emulation of the 1815 punishment scheduled for the Bonapartist after the One-Hundred Days, Congress attempted to try the Confederate leaders after the American CIVIL WAR, but when it was discovered that testimony would not exclude Federal crimes and atrocities, the "witch hunt" was abandoned in favor of character assassinations on both sides in the press. After both the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR and WWI, prosecution of war crimes was considered, as were "crimes against humanity" at the 1919 Constantinople tribunal on the Armenian genocide, but like the post-war discussions of justice after both the KOREAN WAR and VIETNAM WAR, the law could not be separated from politics and morality. The procedure established by the post-WWII WAR CRIMES TRIALs specifically excludes the mitigation of "you did it too" (tu quoque) and related defenses, such as RETALIATION, reprisal, retribution, or revenge. See IMT, IMTFE, UNWCC, SHOW TRIAL, SPOILS OF WAR, HAGUE TRIBUNAL, LAWS OF WAR, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE); compare UCMJ. [cf: inquiry commission on 1692 Glencoe Massacre] [v: mittimus] [nb: the prosecutors in the 1942 "Pastorius" Nazi saboteurs' trial respectively became the chief justices of the WWII war crimes trials of Axis defendants: Attorney General Francis Biddle was senior US judge at Nuremberg, and Army Judge Advocate General Myron C. Cramer was the US judge at Tokyo ... it should be noted that, despite documented atrocities by Italian Fascists and German Nazis, there were no war crimes trials in Italy after WWII, and the Greeks who were convicted of war crimes were transferred to Germany to serve their sentences, which were then commuted and the prisoners released] [nb: "The trial of the vanquished by the victors cannot be impartial, no matter how it's hedged about with the forms of justice." by Robert A. Taft]

a soldier assigned to guard an entrance or entryway; see SENTRY, WATCH, WATCHER, ARGUS. [v: General Orders of a Sentry] Also, a rod or wand, staff or truncheon that serves as a mark of office or authority; see BATON, BATS 'n' HATS, SWAGGER STICK, SANDBAG. [v: scepter; cf: bauble]

a unit register, daybook, or book of days compiled during combat operations as an historic narrative to accompany official records; compare AIRBORNE ALBUM, SEA BOOK, JOURNAL.

contrary to popular opinion, profiteering and empowerment are not the principal benefits of war; instead, after all the death and destruction and displacement ceases, the primary effect of war is safety and security; compare PEACE DIVIDEND, WAR PROFITEER, MERCHANTS OF DEATH, WARMONGER. [nb: "War is good business, so invest your son!" anti-war slogan of the Vietnam-era]

the initial designation for military working dogs from the WWII-era, later identified as "infantry scout dogs" (SCOUT DOG); of the original five types of military working dogs (ie: guard and sentry, sled and pack, messenger and courier, explosive and mine detection, scout and attack), specialization was reduced after wartime exposure by unreliability or inconsistency and by displacement from advanced technology, such that only sentry and scout dogs proved to be practical investments. See LEND-LEASH, IASK9, MWD, K-9.

the area serving as lounge, living and dining quarters on a warship for all commissioned officers, except the commander, captain, or SKIPPER. Also, the officers' lounge area aboard ship that's converted into a temporary operating room or hospital, due to the availability of tables as beds, and the proximity of the GALLEY for supplies; compare COCKPIT. Also, a warship's officers collectively, except the commander or captain; derived from a compartment known as the "wardrobe" where valuables captured as war prizes (SPOILS OF WAR) were stored. See TOPSIDE, OFFICER'S COUNTRY; compare BELOW DECK, GOAT LOCKER, SALT AND PEPPER. [v: napery, serviette]

a painted or contorted countenance, or an artificial face mask representing supernatural or demonic symbolism, that's worn into battle to frighten and demoralize the enemy by its intimidating and terrifying appearance; a deliberately cultivated persona of invincible ferocity, also called "battle mask" and "combat face". The face mask worn into combat can promote anonymity, so as to impersonalize and dehumanize the encounter, or it can emphasize individuality, so as to intimidate or frighten with an individual warrior's reputation or mystique. See CAMO, CORK, WAR PAINT, FLINT FACE. [nb: a combatant's WAR FACE, like his camouflage, must be appropriate to the situation: fierce in battle and serene in civil milieus, so the self-discipline of a true soldier will keep him composed and his awareness will keep him poised for response to anything; cf: MACHO, DECEPTION]

combatant, WARRIOR; an ignorant redundancy invented by military managers to bureaucratize the Armed Forces by the wholesale misapplication of catch-phrases, like PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE and ZERO DEFECTS, which obscure the mission with meaningless measurements that allegedly indicate purported "progress" (cf: BODY COUNT, BOOTS ON THE GROUND). This MILICRAT practice substitutes verbiage and obfuscation for concision and accuracy (v: UNIVOCAL), which were essentials of tactical communication, and hallmarks of military efficiency, despite being considered too tactless for civilian society. [nb: "We used to call them 'soldiers', and that was good enough when they were one of us. But now civilians call them 'warriors' or 'war-fighters', as if the label proudly and honorably worn by their fathers and grandfathers is somehow inadequate." by David Petraeus]

the intentional application of lethal force in a combat situation, at the individual or group level, against a recognizable enemy for a specific purpose; see CONFLICT, CONTACT, FIREFIGHT, BATTLE, WAR.

Participant in
Southeast Asia War Games
war games
hypothetical battlefield scenarios devised to simulate the interactions of combat elements for training purposes at military schools, and the command and staff decision-making processes at military WAR COLLEGES; also known as 'kriegspiel' [kriegsspiel] since 1824 when Lieutenant von Reiswitz introduced it outside Prussia. Mock naval battles, under the heading of "naumachia" / "naumachy", have been staged as examples of nautical strategy since ancient Rome. Scenarios juxtapose simple tactics and complex strategies so as to anticipate probable engagements, but also to consider possible third-party opportunistic exploitations; hence international relations and world history are essential adjuncts to military science, including classics (eg: Sword of Damocles, Scylla and Charybdis, etc). Two WAR GAMES were sponsored in 1964 by the JCS to test the military/political strategies propounded for southeast Asia (SEA); concluding in "Sigma One" that escalation and expansion was inevitable, and in "Sigma Two" that air/ground deterrence would be ineffective, necessitating either a protracted U.S. involvement, or the abandonment of SVN as a weak ally. See OPLAN 37-64, GRADUATED RESPONSE, FLEXIBLE RESPONSE, CAPABILITY, THE PLAN, OPLAN, COMBAT EFFECTIVE, COURSE OF ACTION, OPTEMPO, OP 'TIL YOU DROP, TRAIN HARD - FIGHT EASY, DON'T DO NOTHING, DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF, CLUTCH-UP, PLAN B, MAD, DECAPITATION, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME, RINK, RING, EXERCISE, FTX, NTC, JRTC, RED FLAG, MOCK-COMBAT, PAINTBALL, IVORY TOWER, ARMCHAIR GENERAL, PLAY THE GAME, GAME THEORY, GAMBIT, DOUBLE DUTCH, WILD CARD, CRAPSHOOT, FLOWER WAR, BATRACHOMYOMACHIA, CHECKERS, CHESS, BACKGAMMON, DOMINO, BRAG, HAZARD, CRAPS, AT SIXES AND SEVENS, LIAR'S DICE, POKER DICE, BLUFF, ACE IN THE HOLE, POKER, CRIBBAGE, PINOCHLE, BRIDGE, ACEY-DEUCY, FAN-TAN, WHAC-A-MOLE, DUCK ON DRAKE, DUCKS AND DRAKES, KING OF THE HILL, SIMON SAYS, HIDE-AND-SEEK, RED ROVER, TUG OF WAR, PRISONER'S BASE, CAPTURE THE FLAG, BATTLE ROYAL. [nb: just as olympics are sports based on military skills (sprint, hurdle, MARATHON, high-jump, pole-vault, broad-jump, long-jump, hammer-throw, javelin-throw, shot-put, discus throw, BIATHLON, TRIATHLON, PENTATHLON, DECATHLON, etc), most recreational games with some skill or competitive basis, such as checkers or chess, instead of mere chance, have some military applications. Historically, the Japanese "placing the stone" game (Go/I-Go, Go-Moku/Go-Mokume; Wei-Chi) is a strategic position WAR GAME more relevant than Western board games. The Chinese have played a form of chess (Xiangqi, commonly called "elephant chess"), using a board divided by a river, with forts for the nobility, and using elaborate rules since the 4th century BC. The jigsaw puzzle was invented (ca421-466) when the Chinese devised portable relief maps. "Squeezers" (corner-indexed playing cards) may have been inspired after the CIVIL WAR by technomigration when Americans noticed immigrant Chinese playing "cards" with long narrow sticks, appropriately marked, which were easily held in one hand; a pattern that had been standard in China since the AD 9th century. America went on to produce training and survival cards during WWII, including BLACKOUT or red-light decks for BUNKERS and SUBS, which were still used during the VIETNAM WAR. Popular card games among American military personnel include: cribbage (since ca1620); 48-card pinochle (since CIVIL WAR); a form of backgammon called acey-deucy (from WWI); and many versions of poker (deriv: braggart, bluffer). Deception and misdirection have been enhanced by liar's dice (ca1300; alleged to have originated with the Incas); and the game of brag, used to recount battle action as a test of knowledge or gullibility (since before the CIVIL WAR). European chess, once called the "game of kings", was embellished by fantasy or fairy chess variations that were superseded by a three-dimensional version ("strato-chess") during the Vietnam-era, and has since been displaced by computer games.] [nb: Jean Piaget classifies children's games into three categories: games of make-believe and fantasy, games of skill and mastery, and games with rules and conditions ... this latter group includes war games, such as hide-and-seek] [cf: Trivial Pursuit (1983)] [nb: because Lee knew Hooker's cardplaying style (impetuous but irresolute), he was confident of victory at Chancellorsville in 1863, despite being vastly outnumbered] [nb: "To my way of thinking, there really are only three sports: baseball, basketball, and football ... everything else is either a game or an activity." by George Carlin; "There are only three sports -- mountain climbing, bullfighting, and motor racing -- all others being games." by Ernest Hemingway; "This is a place with only three pastimes: politics, sports, and revenge." paraphrase of Lawrence C. Moulter; "Any pastime that has no chance for serious injury or that leaves all the participants alive at the end of the activity isn't a true sport ... and if spectators bet on the outcome, then it's just a match or game."; "Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words, it is war minus the shooting." by George Orwell; "Sport in the sense of a mass-spectacle, with death to add to the underlying excitement, comes into existence when a population has been drilled and regimented and depressed to such an extent that it needs at least a vicarious participation in difficult feats of strength or skill or heroism in order to sustain its waning life-sense." by Lewis Mumford; "For man, maximum excitement is the confrontation of death and the skillful defiance of it by watching others fed to it as he survives transfixed with rapture." by Ernest Becker; "This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games. ... Intelligence and war are games, perhaps the only meaningful games left. If any player becomes too proficient, the game is threatened with termination." by William Burroughs; "For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes -- not that you won or lost -- but how you played the game." by Grantland Rice; "The point of the game is not how well the individual does but whether the team wins. That is the beautiful heart of the game, the blending of personalities, the mutual sacrifices for group success." by Bill Bradley; "Our tools for the pursuit of wildlife improve faster than we do, and sportsmanship is a voluntary limitation in the use of these armaments. It is aimed to augment the role of skill and shrink the role of gadgets in the pursuit of wild things." by Aldo Leopold; "It was hard to say, about football as about games in general, which was more impressive, the violence or the rationality." by Howard Nemerov; "Football combines the two worst features of modern American life: it's violence punctuated by committee meetings." by George Will; "In America, it is sport that is the opiate of the masses." by Russell Baker; "It ain't over till it's over." by Yogi Berra]

a crude neologism that blends 'war' and 'orgasm' so as to imply that mayhem is as good as or better than sex; before being adopted as an aberrent label for perverse violence, this term originated as the name (ostensibly an acronym for "WAR Ground Air Special Missions") of a 3D inter-active strategy game (1998) designed by Martin Kenwright and Robin Anderson for the MicroSoft Windows platform (developed by Digital Image Design, and published by Infogrames).

the forward section of a missile, bomb, torpedo, shell, or other munition containing the PAYLOAD or explosive; see WAR NOSE, EXPLODER, E-WARHEAD, MIRV. Also, an agnomen for a combat leader or battlefield commander.

a VETERAN of many conflicts, especially a combatant soldier or sailor; from its primary definition of a horse (ie: charger or destrier) used in battle. Also, any composition that has been heard or performed excessively ... a plaint against traditional dramas and patriotic music.

a man who practices the black arts, such as a male witch, a sorcerer or conjurer, demon or devil; as derived from "betrayer" or "oathbreaker"; not a true warrior.

a military commander who has seized control of a region in a country, or has become the strongman of a nation; such a tyrant or autocrat is often regarded (or disregarded) as a "tin-pot dictator" by the superpowers. Also, the absolute leader of a criminal enterprise, especially one with soldier-like armed enforcers, as in the underdeveloped Third World. See GENERALISSIMO, THE MAN ON HORSEBACK, MEGALOMANIA, LDR, COUP D'ETAT, WWIV, SILVER TRIANGLE, GOLDEN TRIANGLE.

an antonomastic appellative for any servicemember, separate or agglomerate, who serves a necessary function, not unlike anonymous parts (WIDGET) that are interchangeable in the big GREEN MACHINE; an everyman. See AD HOC, COMMANDEER, DRAFTEE, VOLUNTOLD, VOLUNTEER, CROSS-DECKING, FIELD EXPEDIENT, LONG GREEN LINE, CANNON FODDER, TRANSIENT, CASUAL, SNOWBIRD, REPLACEMENT, TOY SOLDIER, KNUCKLE-DRAGGER, HUMAN ZOO, MEAT EATER, MIL-PERS.

(forthcoming); figure of speech in the 'stroke economy' [excerpt]; see TOUGH LOVE, STROKE THE TROOPS, SNIVEL GEAR, CREATURE COMFORTS, PONCHO LINER, WOOBIE / WUBBIE, HUG, KISS, PET, PAX, COOKIE, GLORY PIE, ATTABOY, A-1, BRAVO ZULU, KICK ASS. [nb: the "happiness is a warm puppy" proposition, advanced by Lucy van Pelt in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schultz, has been calibrated into a standardized non-SI emotional unit based upon the maximal amount of happiness that's derivable from a one kilogram beagle puppy with a body temperature of 310 kelvins when held in direct skin contact for a minimum of one second] [nb: by reference to Jeremy Bentham's Utilitarianism, the amount of pleasure (equivalent to the amount of pleasure a person receives from gaining one 'util' of utility) may be represented by a positive conceptual unit called a 'hedon', and contrasted by a contrarily negative conceptual unit called a 'dolor' ... these elements are tautologically coextensive]

a contemptible preoccupation with war, conflict, or contention. Also, a person who advocates war, as derived from a tradesman or salesman (in war); also spelled "war-monger". See TRIGGER-HAPPY, HAWKS, ITCHIN' FOR A FIGHT, KILL 'EM ALL, WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS, VIETNAM IS FOREVER, BATTLE CRY, WAR PARTY, RETALIATION, WAR. [nb: "Attack them everywhere and shake the ground beneath them." by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani; "Most of the world's ills would be cured with one three-day open season on people." by Ernest M. Hemingway]

nom de guerre, assumed name or pseudonym; see COVER, CODENAME, NICKNAME, SIGNATURE, CALL-SIGN, WAR FACE, FLINT FACE, WAR PAINT.

preliminary or advance notice of an order or action which is expected to follow; an alert notice to subordinate elements from higher command specifying anticipated preparation time and readiness for a particular mission, and may be followed by a FRAG ORDER or OPLAN. Also, a planning directive that describes the situation, allocates forces and resources, establishes command relationships, provides other initial planning guidance, and initiates subordinate unit mission planning. If impelled by higher headquarters supporting a commander's request for "crisis action planning", it will entail a response estimating implementation. See ORDER, STAND-TO, DANCE CARD.

in conformity with the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE) in aviation and naval affairs, a "shot across the bow" of the suspect or enemy craft, including unarmed civilian transport, in order to coerce obedience or conformity; but with ground forces, it is a civilian fiction, a pacifistic delusion, a political hypothesis, a legalistic nullity, a military interference, a noncombatant's prayer! ... also known as "Jonathan's arrows". See LAWS OF WAR, EOF, EXTRAORDINARY POWERS, JUST WAR; compare INFORMING GUN, BLOODY SHIRT, ROOF KNOCKING / KNOCKING ON THE ROOF.

the leading or pointed end of a SHELL, BOMB, MISSILE, or torpedo, especially the housing for an impact DETONATOR or proximity TRIGGER for the explosive portion of such a projectile; see FUZE, EXPLODER, WARHEAD, E-WARHEAD, MIRV, PAYLOAD.

also called combat fatigue, combat exhaustion, or shell shock; see BATTLE FATIGUE, PTSD.

also known as the "American War of Independence" and the "Revolutionary War"; see AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

planned measures to undermine enemy morale by threats, rumours, sabotage, and the like; also known as PSYOPS or PSYWAR; being a stratagem, not the name of an actual conflict.

WAR OF 1812 :
a war from 18 June 1812 to 8 January 1815 between the United States and Great Britain caused by naval impressments of American sailors (eg: 1807 Chesapeake affair), the failure of Nonimportation and Nonintercourse embargo Acts, and the Battle of Tippecanoe (1811); being essentially a tripartite conflict that was resolved by treaty so England could concentrate on fighting with France (ie: Napoleonic War 1803-14). The Treaty of Ghent (24 Dec 1814) provided for the cessation of hostilities, the restoration of conquered territories, and the setting of boundary commissions. Noteable for "Don't give up the ship!" (by James Lawrence), the Star-Spangled Banner (14 Sept 1814 poem by Francis Scott Key), and the threat of New England secession, the WAR OF 1812 was America's first international test of autonomy. [nb: War of 1812 (1812-15): 286,700 served; 2,260-20,000 battle deaths]



facial decoration or "skin art" used for concealment or disguise, for affiliation or status, or for invocation or empowerment, as in the wearing of a WAR FACE or CAMO; see COLORS, TATTOO, CORK. Also, specific pattern of color or shape indicating purpose, capacity, or allegiance; see COUNTERSHADING, GRAYBACK. Also, completely outfitted, as for operational deployment, or the wearing of full regalia, as formal attendance in MESS DRESS attire; also known as "dressed to the nines" and "donning best bib and tucker"; see FEATHERS, PARTY SUIT, HAPPY SUIT, DRESS. [v: glad rags] [v: tire, bedight; cf: de haut en bas]

any group that advocates, authorizes, or partakes in violence or aggression, especially rash youths and impetuous politicians; see HAWKS, TRIGGER-HAPPY, KILL 'EM ALL, WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS, VIETNAM IS FOREVER, BATTLE CRY, WARMONGER, RETALIATION, WAR.

(forthcoming); see DEUCE-AND-A-HALF, GUN TRUCK

on 7 Nov 1973, Congress prevented Executive Privilege [Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution] from committing US Armed Forces to indefinite conflict resolutions without a formal DECLARATION OF WAR. Characterized as typical of political cowards, for "slamming the barn door" after the stock is gone, it has not inhibited "police-action" adventurism since its enactment, and Congress has refused to withdraw support or withhold funding whenever American troops have subsequently been in the field without a Congressional mandate ... just like Vietnam. The WAR POWERS ACT requires that the President consult with Congress before committing military forces, allowing military involvement for sixty (60) days, with a thirty (30) day extension if the President vouches this necessity in writing for the safety of this force, but no involvement can continue beyond ninety (90) days without congressional consent by enactment. See TONKIN GULF INCIDENT, TONKIN GULF RESOLUTION, CASE-CHURCH AMENDMENT, COOPER-CHURCH AMENDMENT, BLOODY SHIRT, JUST WAR, CROSS THE RUBICON, WEINBURGER DOCTRINE, POSSE COMITATUS, DECENT INTERVAL, PROTESTOR, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), LAWS OF WAR. [nb: the Constitution of the United States specifically restricts to the Congress the power to raise and maintain armed forces, and further reserves to Congress the authority to declare war]

anyone who exploits the market on essential resources or scarce products, especially rationed goods and services during wartime; as personified by Oliver 'Daddy' Warbucks in the "Little Orphan Annie" cartoon strip, having made his money as a munitions dealer in the Great War (WWI). See GSA, GAO, DEEP STATE, POLITICAL ENGINEERING, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, MERCHANTS OF DEATH, HIRED GUN, GREEN BADGER, BELTWAY BANDIT, SAND CRAB, PORK BARREL, YANKEE, SLICKY BOY, CHEAP CHARLIE, KHAKI MAFIA, CARPETBAGGERS, SCROUNGE, MIDNIGHT REQUISITION. [nb: the "Daddy Warbucks" character, as drawn by Harold Gray since 27 September 1924, represented unbridled capitalism, appropriate philanthropy, and social Darwinism in that he had become wealthy despite his humble background, and successful despite his lack of formal education; unlike other caricatures of WAR PROFITEERs, especially those depicted by communists and fascists, "Daddy Warbucks" was neither avaricious and rapacious nor unscrupulous and anti-American] [nb: "Along with ordinary happenings, we fellows in Wall Street now have, in addition, the fortunes of war to speculate about and that always makes great doings on a stock exchange. It's good fishing in troubled waters." by Daniel Drew; "Take the profit out of war." by Bernard M. Baruch (Jan 1926)]



anyone engaged in vigorous fighting, or someone experienced in courageous warfare; such as a man-at-arms, campaigner, COMBATANT, BELLIGERENT, VETERAN, and most recently known as WAR FIGHTER. See GRUNT, SNUFFY, SUPER-TROOPER, FUGLEMAN, SWEAT HOG, HARD CHARGER, FAST MOVER, BOOMER, HOT SHOT, BALLS TO THE WALL, BOY WONDER, TIKI, SHAKE 'n' BAKE, QUIET PROFESSIONAL, GUNSLINGER, COMRADE, SHIPMATE, HERO, PATRON SAINT, RABBI, SEA DADDY, SAILOR, MARINE, AIRMAN, SOLDIER, GI, MILITIA, WEEKEND WARRIOR, MERCENARY, WHITE VC, KHAKI MAFIA, SHADOW WARRIOR. [nb: Vietnamese term: Chien Si] [cf: barrator, wight] [nb: the "profession of arms" has been characterized as "Doing manly things in a manly manner with other men.", which experience of combat forever distinguishes and distances the veteran from the non-veteran] [nb: "An ordinary man regards everything that happens in his life as either a blessing or a curse, but a warrior regards everything as a challenge to his ingenuity and skill." paraphrase of Carlos Castaneda; "A good warrior takes many lives, but a great warrior spares many lives." Russian proverb; "War is the province of danger, and therefore courage above all things is the first quality of a warrior." by Karl von Clausewitz (1832)]

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. See GI JANE, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, QUEEN FOR A YEAR, COCK BAIT, SKIRT.

a commitment to demonstrating soldierly virtues, such as courage and strength, endurance and creativity; the dedicated discipline of honor and integrity, loyalty and obedience, typically embodied by a set of precepts, which fundamentally guides a member of the military in the responsible performance of his duties; see CODE, HONOR CODE, CREED, OATH, PROMISE, BUSHIDO. Also, the metaphysical path taken by MIL-PERS who've been honorably killed in combat, and are therefore destined to join their fellows in paradise; also known as the "spirit trail" or "ghost road", the "star trail" or "hanging road" (ie: a mythic road hanging in the sky); see COUNT COUP, THE BIG PX IN THE SKY, FIDDLER'S GREEN, HAPPY VALLEY, VALHALLA. [cf: ghost dance; v: millennialism/millenarianism, eschatology]

the place where a commander, his subordinates and staff, plan and direct combat operations, usually situated with maps and photos and COMMO within the Tactical Operations Center (TOC). Compare OPIUM DEN, THE CAVE; see OPN. [nb: the first underground command and operations center was instituted by Winston L.S. Churchill during the Battle of Britain (BLITZ) and was immediately imitated by Franklin D. Roosevelt; all buried TOCs have subsequently been patterned on the British model]

a coalition among the Soviet Union and six other eastern European nations for collective defense; properly called the "Warsaw Treaty Organization"; compare NATO, LEAGUE OF NATIONS, COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS, UN.

a naval vessel, ship or boat, built or armed for combat purposes; the largest class of which is known as a "capital ship"; also called "man-of-war" or "man o' war". Compare FLATTOP, BATTLE WAGON, DREADNOUGHT, CRUISER, TIN CAN, GUNBOAT, FRIGATE, CUTTER, SWIFT BOAT, TANGO BOAT, ZIPPO BOAT, PT BOAT, MOSQUITO FLEET, BABY FLATTOP, Q-SHIP, CITADEL, GUNDECK, GHOST SHIP, OILER, TENDER, MICKEY MOUSE BATTLESHIP, IRONCLAD, SCOW, TUB, BUCKET, BOAT, ROSTRUM, SHARP END, SPYSHIP, CONCRETE BATTLESHIP. [nb: the hull on European ships bears a resemblance to fish, while the hull on Asian junks bears a resemblance to waterfowl]

proposed by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in January 1961 as a ploy to use surrogate forces to advance communist expansion without the risk of a direct "super power" confrontation; see PROXY WAR, GUERRILLA, COUNTERINSURGENCY, GRADUATED RESPONSE, FLEXIBLE RESPONSE, DECAPITATION, PAPER TIGER.

an account or anecdote, often personalized, concerning military experiences in wartime combat, especially the hardships and adventures of this unforgettable ordeal. An ostensibly factual account of combatants set in battle that awes the inexperienced, and tends to elicit either laughter or tears from veterans; as a genre, the WAR STORY has been called "a parable for drunks and children". Purportedly, a fairy tale is indistinguishable from a WAR STORY, except in the ways they begin and end; a fairy tale begins "Once upon a time", then ends "And they all lived happily ever after", while a WAR STORY begins "This ain't no shit!", then ends "And they all died!". See BTDT, COUNT COUP, RED INK, SEA STORY, SHOOT THE SHIT, IOTA, BRAVO SIERRA, WHITE VC, WANNABE, ATFU, TALK TRASH, GAS BAG, TELL IT TO THE MARINES, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG; compare CHICKEN SHIT, MIL-SPEAK, RUMOR. [nb: after the American CIVIL WAR, it was commonly remarked that "Another great story was ruined by an eyewitness!"; "The greatest tragedy of any war story is the slaying of a beautiful tale by an ugly fact." paraphrase of Thomas Henry Huxley; "Goddamn an eyewitness anyway. He always spoils a good story." by Colonel Crisp (an apocryphal attribution to a hypothetical former soldier turned politician in the 1880s as made by Harry S. Truman)]

A-10 attack jet aircraft, formally designated THUNDERBOLT, but universally called the "Hog" or "Warty Hog" for its ostensibly 'ugly' appearance. This SLOW MOVER is similar in appearance to the WWII B-24 Mitchell, and is the successor to the A1-E "Spad"; both of which are beloved by GRUNTS for their precision and time overhead. As A1-E pilots carried the mystique of WWI biplanes, so A-10 WARTHOG pilots carry the mystique of motorcycle outlaws, and are widely known as "Hog Drivers". Also performs as low-level MUD MOVER.

by reference to the Great War or World War One (WWI), an idealistic catch-phrase coined by H.G. Wells (1914) to represent the ultimate nature of the first TOTAL WAR to span the globe; sometimes expressed as the "war to end all wars". [nb: "This war, like the next war, is a war to end war." by D. Lloyd George]

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. Also, any dilettantish 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; also called "combat tourist". See B TEAM, JV, EURO-WEENIE, SAND CRAB, BELTWAY BANDIT, BELTWAY CLERK, HIRED GUN, DAC, AUGMENTEE, GREEN BADGER, WAR-HORSE, COMBAT BUM, WARRIOR; compare DARK TOURISM, TOURIST DESTINATION, BLOOD ALLEY, SIKORSKY'S TOURISTS.

a stout, non-venomous snake that has its skin covered with wart-like, three-pointed scales; ranging from southeastern Asia to northern Australia. See ELEPHANT'S-TRUNK SNAKE.

an enemy sanctuary in III CORPS region, near Minh Thanh, including the northern half of Tay Ninh Province, the western half of Binh Long Province, and the northwestern quarter of Binh Duong Province; the eastern boundary of WAR ZONE C is contiguous with the western border of WAR ZONE D, and adjacent to the IRON TRIANGLE. See JUNCTION CITY.

an enemy sanctuary in III CORPS region, near Ben Cat and Phuoc Vinh, including the northwestern portion of Binh Duong Province, a northeastern portion of Bien Hoa Province, the southern portion of Phuoc Long Province and the northern portion of Long Khanh Province; the eastern boundary of WAR ZONE C is contiguous with the western border of WAR ZONE D, and adjacent to the IRON TRIANGLE.

to remove dirt by rubbing or scrubbing with water or some other liquid, as to cleanse one's body with SOAP; see BRICK, SOFT SOAP, WET WIPES, MR. CLEAN, WD-40, ELBOW GREASE, SWEAT, SCRUB, GI PARTY, KP, FATIGUE, HOUSECLEANING. Also, the disturbance in the air left by a moving airplane or any of its parts; compare BACKWASH, UPWASH, DOWNWASH, SLIPSTREAM, PROP WASH. Also, the flow, sweep, or breaking of water, including BACKWASH and "wake". Also, slang for a discussion or review of the performance of a unit during a training evolution or operational mission; an appraisal, evaluation, or assessment; see HOT WASH, COLD WASH, AAR. Also, a colloquialism for rubbish or nonsense, alluding to something that blinds someone to the real state of affairs; also called "eyewash" or "hogwash". Also, a tract of land washed by the action of the sea or a river, such as a marsh or bog. Also, a depression or channel formed by flowing water, such as a shallow pool or stream, or a shallow arm of the sea. Also, waste liquid matter from the kitchen, consisting of food and refuse, as swill for livestock [cf: slut]; see WAD, SLOP, GLOP, GRAY WATER, BLACK WATER, SLOP CHUTE. Also, weak or watered liquor, also called "wish-wash" or "eyewash"; see SAIGON TEA, MOCKTAIL, THE DRINK, BREW, GROG, HOOCH, IRISH SODA POP, GROUP TIGHTENER, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, MOONSHINE, HOIST, HATCH, CLASS SIX.

a traditional Germanic colloquialism for being unharmed after doing something dangerous, or being unscathed by a harmful act; as in "They want us to wash the bear without getting wet!" or "We're supposed to wash the bear without getting wet!". [nb: the 'bear' represents danger; not a symbol of Russia] [cf: teach a pig to sing / whistle]

the often charming, seemingly sincere, but always uninformative double-talk that's widely expressed by BRASS HATs and MANDARINs on policies and other strategic topics at the highest levels of the government; also known as the "federal foxtrot", "flag officer two-step", "bureaucratic ballet", "political polka", "diplomatic dance", and "spook speak". Compare ELEPHANT DANCE; see MIL-SPEAK, JARGON, TALK TRASH, HOT AIR, SHOOT THE SHIT, SNOW, CONFETTI, BLOW SMOKE, DEEP STATE, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS, TAP-DANCER, POLITICIAN.

slang for military coffee, also known as joe, mud, sludge, java, mocha, espresso, brew, black water, brown blood, boiler acid, battery acid, and nectar of the gods; see GI JOE.

1942 Women Air Service Pilots
1943 Women Air Service Pilots
squadron patch featuring the Fifinella gremlin
Women Air Service Pilots, being more than 900 auxiliary aviators serving during WWII as ferry pilots and aircrew until disbanded in December 1944; all separate women's military service corps were dissolved in 1978 and female servicemembers were fully integrated into the RANKS; and in 1994, the role of qualified women was expanded from service support occupations to "combat support", including police, pilots, and other assignments, including service aboard warships; then in 2016, qualified women were made eligible to compete for equal admission to all combat arms occupations. Compare ANC, WAAC, WAC, WAFS, WAF, WAVES, SPAR, MCWR, WM; see FIFINELLA, SKIRT.

a salutation from early times wishing health or success to a person, as when presenting them with a drink (wassail cup) or when celebrating festive occasions, as on Christmas Eve and Twelfth-night; see TOAST, SALUTE. Also, a festivity or revel with singing (wassailing song) and drinking to health and success. Also, liquor (especially spiced ale) for drinking and wishing health or success to others on festive occasions; see THE DRINK, HOIST, HOOCH, BREW, GROG, JUICE.


mortal injury, kill/killed, croak/croaked, slay/slain, die/dead, grease/greased, dusted, skragged, goner, gone West; also called ZAPPED, BUY THE FARM, CHECK OUT, BITE THE DUST, PUSHING UP DAISIES, WAXED; see BELIEVER, SOL, LAST MAN STANDING, BITTER END, AUTOTOMY, DEATH CARD, TWEP, KIA, DOW; compare WIA, GSW, MILLION DOLLAR WOUND. Also, overcome by the effects of alcohol or drugs; see STONED, COLORS, HOOCH, DOPE, JUNK, STICK, BAD MEDICINE. [v: gateway drug, hard drug, soft drug, designer drug, prodrug; cf: miracle drug, wonder drug] Also, physically debilitated; see "wankered" at STONED. Also, squandered or dissipated, as to heedlessly expend resources or assets [v: enfants perdus, forlorn hope]; see CANNON FODDER, RAT RACE, SPEARHEAD, SUICIDE SQUAD, SNOWBALL.


a blunt or unsharpened practice device that has evolved from baton and singlestick to short and long sword in a variety of national styles as an appeal to martial arts practitioners and live-action role players, with wooden clubs being displaced by flexible nylon replica weapons; see RUBBER DUCK, MARTIAL ART, REENACTMENT, TOY SOLDIER, WANNABE. Also, any weapon or engine of war that's not as powerful or devastating, as intimidating or incapacitating, as effective or efficient as it could be or should be; a non-lethal or so-called "toy sword". See WOODEN SWORD, FIST-LOAD, SANDBAG, NON-LETHAL WEAPONS. [v: Harlequin's / Arlecchino's wooden sword]

the name of a Buddhist temple or monastery in Thailand or Cambodia; from the Sanskrit word for 'enclosure'; see ANGKOR WAT, NHA THO, JOSS STICK, FOO DOG.

a lookout, guard, sentinel, or selected MIL-PERS who serve as an attentive watchstander so as to vigilantly safeguard their duty station, usually in addition to their regular assignments. Also, a period of time during which part of the crew of a vessel is on duty attending to the workings of their ship; shifts aboard surface vessels are normally scheduled as 4 hours on and 8 hours off duty, while subsurface vessels are normally scheduled as 6 hours on and 12 hours off duty. Also, one of the periods of TIME into which the day and night is divided aboard ships; such that watchstanders are normally assigned to one (or more) of seven DUTY shifts in a scheduled rotation: 2400-0400 Midnight Watch; 0400-0800 Morning Watch; 0800-1200 Forenoon Watch; 1200-1600 Afternoon Watch; 1600-1800 First Dogwatch; 1800-2000 Second Dogwatch; 2000-2400 Evening Watch. See MIDWATCH, DOGWATCH, WATCH-AND-WATCH, WATCH BILL, TIME, DUTY, BILLET, BERTH, POST, ON STATION, SENTRY, SHEEP-DIPPED, HARDSHIP TOUR, BUMFUCK, MOS, OJT, TDY / TAD, PCS. [v: "watch and ward"] Also, a small portable chronometer or other timepiece, such as a wristwatch or pocket watch; see TIME. [nb: although initially considered effeminate, the fashion of wearing wristwatches became popular during WWI, displacing pocket watches as being too inconvenient]

to stand alternate WATCHes, due to an absence or incapacity of other crewmembers; variously arranged as 4- or 6-hours on- and OFF-DUTY until the tactical situation changes; this routine is also called "port and starboard" or "port and stupid" ... an exhausting schedule that can inadvertently generate mistakes and accidents. [v: "watch and ward"]

posted schedule of duty assignments performed within each section or crew, department or division, on a rotating basis, with the addition of punishment tours. See WATCH, EVOLUTION, SHIT LIST; compare DUTY ROSTER.

a soft stocking-cap, knitted of dark blue wool and worn with a turned-up cuff folded at the bottom, that's suitable for wear during cold weather by enlisted Navy and Marine personnel; the authorized wear of this head covering is somewhat controversial, attracting contradictory and inconsistent policies from each echelon of command above the wearer, probably because of its irregular appearance (perhaps a result of no two fleece caps ever being made in exactly the same way!), with timing relative to Beginning Evening Nautical Twilight (BENT) and Ending Morning Nautical Twilight (EMNT), or to the winter solstice and vernal equinox, but nonetheless remains the most beloved cap amongst lower ranking MIL-PERS. Compare JEEP CAP; see TROOPER CAP, HEADGEAR. [cf: balaclava, biggin, coif, pileus/pîlos, calotte, skullcap]


a declaration of action, and often a defiant challenge to follow the active leader; as distinguished from BLOWING SMOKE or TALKING TRASH. See POP SMOKE, BRING SMOKE, CHARGE, STORM, FOLLOW ME, ROOT HOG OR DIE, DIEHARD, STAND ONE'S GROUND, RISKY-SHIFT EFFECT, V-DEVICE, MOXIE, GUTS, ONIONS, BITE THE BULLET, BEARING, HERO. [v: amain] [nb: There are three kinds of people in the military, regardless of rank: those who make fire (gods of thunder and lightning); those who make smoke (BRING SMOKE); and those who BLOW SMOKE! Firebrands and fire-eaters are usually friendless; but these bastards are essential during wartime] [nb: "Thy name shall live while time endures ... These deeds shall be thy monument, Better than brass or stone; They leave thy fame in glory's light, Unrival'd and alone." by P.D. Gurley, Funeral Hymn (1865); "What we are speaks louder than what we say." by John F. Kennedy; "Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary." by Ralph Waldo Emerson; "Action speaks louder than words -- only not quite as often." attributed to Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)]


the tower on which a sentinel keeps watch, typically along the fortified perimeter of a GARRISON; see COIGN OF VANTAGE, CROW'S NEST, OVERWATCH, VISOBS, GOD'S EYE VIEW, CAP, ORBIT; compare SPOTTER, ARGUS, WEATHER EYE, WATCH, SENTRY, TRAIL WATCHER, OVERSIGHT. [v: garret, attic, loft, cockloft] Also, the operational CODENAME for the campaign to capture and occupy Tulagi and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands from 31 July to 3 September 1942 during WWII.

(aka: aqua) see NUOC, NUOC DA, CANTEEN, EVAP / EVAPORATOR, GRAY WATER, BLACK WATER, WHITE WATER, BLUE WATER, GREEN WATER, BROWN WATER, WATERWORKS. [aka: hobo soda, Adam's ale, snow float, Nature's own elixir] [nb: Have a drink of pure sweet water? It's filtered by dirt. It lays low and grows scum. It erodes solid stone. It rots wood. It rusts metal. Fish have sex in it. Little boys pee in it. Bugs and such drown in it. And I'm expected to drink it?! NO thanks!] [nb: a Vietnam-era bon mot proposed: "Instant Space Age Water has been scientifically formulated to replicate Nature's own elemental distillate, clean and clear and odorless, fortified and purified with a neutral pH, at only a fraction of the weight of the original regular substance; a man-made improvement developed for ready consumption, alone or as an additive, having been designed for better living through chemistry! ... to reconstitute this marvelous product, just add water."] [nb: 1 liter (1000cc/1.0567qt) of pure water weighs 1 kilogram (1000g/2.2046#)] [nb: "When drinking the water, don't forget those who dug the well." Chinese proverb] Also, that natural substance (H2O) that exists in a relatively impure state, such as floods and rivers, lakes and seas, which constitutes the normal operational environment of real SAILORs or BLUE JACKETs, SWABBYs and SQUIDs, SHELLBACKs and MOSSBACKs.



designation given to Dong Ha Control and Reporting Post (CRP).

domesticated Asian Buffalo (Bubalus Bubalis) of the oxen family, having large, flattened, curved horns; called "carabao" in the Philippines. Also, a small (400gal capacity) two-wheel trailer-mounted storage tank (@3000#; M107, M149, M1112), with a large access HATCH on top and multiple access drain faucets used for potable water; also known as "water wagon"; compare CAMEL II, HIPPO; see CANTEEN, LISTER BAG, POD, BLIVET, BLADDER. [v: cask, vat, tun, butt, drum, hogshead, barrel, tank, rundlet, kilderkin, puncheon, keg, carboy, breaker, jug, tub, firkin, salmanazar, pottle, flask, pony, gill, pot, flagon, bottle, demijohn]

a method of torture in which the victim is forced to swallow great quantities of water; see WATER TORTURE. Also, informal reference to hydropathy or hydrotherapy; used sardonically by MIL-PERS; see TORTURE.

land on the edge of a body of water; see SHORE, BEACHHEAD. Also, the part of a city or town on the land beside a body of water; see BREAKWATER, WHARF, ON THE BEACH.

the line in which water at its surface borders upon a floating body; being just the part of the outside of a ship's HULL that's at the level of the water. Also, any of a series of lines on the shipwright's architectural HULL plans of a vessel that represent the level to which the vessel is immersed or the bottom of the keel; also spelled "water-line" or "water line"; compare PLIMSOLL MARK, LOAD-LINE MARK, WATER PLANE. Also, a tube, pipe, or hose for conveying liquids; see WATERWORKS, compare REDNECK CREDIT CARD.

any decisive or crushing DEFEAT; based upon the British (Wellington) and Prussian (Blücher) victory over the French (Napoleon) on 18 June 1815 near this namesake village in central Belgium, south of Brussels; also expressed as "to meet (one's) Waterloo". [cf: swan song (from the folkway that the dying swan sings), not "swan's song"]

the horizontal area of a ship when measured at the WATERLINE; see DRAFT, FREEBOARD, LOAD-LINE MARK, PLIMSOLL MARK.

the "Halizone" tablet, used by the military and disaster relief organizations (eg: UNICEF, ICRC, IFRC, OXFAM), from WWII to the GULF WAR, was an anti-bacterial treatment for suspect or contaminated water in a dosage of 1 or 2 pills per quart, with particulates filtered through a cloth or mesh barrier during the container filling process. The military adopted a "Chlor-Floc" tablet during and after the GULF WAR, that's both anti-bacterial and anti-viral, as well as a sediment flocculator, when used in a dosage of 1 pill per liter to disinfect and clarify polluted water. "Chlor-Floc" will remove turbidity and sanitize polluted water in a single simple process, without the need for any specialized equipment or complicated sequences. "Chlor-Floc" is the only WATER PURIFICATION TABLET which fulfills the 1986 E.P.A. protocol on field-water purification. Although some people are sensitive or allergic, chlorine and iodine (or other halogens) may be used to treat tainted water, with a normal dosage of five drops per quart of pre-filtered water, mixed well, then wait thirty minutes before drinking, but water quality may be degraded, requiring the addition of a flavoring ingredient to mask the color, taste, or smell of unappealingly treated water. The effectiveness of chemical treatment depends upon water temperature, water clarity, exposure time, dosage, and product freshness. Chemical treatments make the contaminated water potable but do not "purify" it, which is only performed by distillation [v: solar still, cohobation, evaporation; cf: osmotic (or reverse osmosis) filtration]. See CANTEEN, BLADDER, BLADDER BAG, LISTER BAG, WATER BUFFALO, POD, BLIVET, EVAPORATOR, SOLAR STILL, THE DEVIL'S WATER, THE DRINK, BUG JUICE, JUICE, GI JOE, NUOC, NUOC DA, BUG-OUT KIT. [nb: WARNING: as with boiling, the use of contaminated water in pressure cooking will not cleanse its impurities, since distillation requires evaporation (and condensing) to achieve potability]

the use of water or other liquids to inflict mental or physical PAIN, typically for extracting information during interrogation; which practice, albeit proscribed, is often preferred due to its simplicity, convenience, ready results, and absence of revealing marks. Methods include forced ingestion (also known as "water cure", as used by American forces against Filipinos during the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, and by Imperial Japanese forces against Chinese and Americans during WWII) directly into the victim's stomach causing discomfort and death; dripping water (also called "Chinese water torture") persistently onto the victim's forehead, as described by Hippolytus de Marsiliis in the 16th century, to drive the person insane; drenching or partial immersion to induce hypothermia or to simulate drowning [nb: the CHICOMs have purportedly used "water dungeons", consisting of septic tanks or cages lowered into wells or oubliettes, which exhausts (from sleep deprivation) and debilitates the victims, so as to elicit confessions or cooperation]; partial or complete submersion (dunking) to simulate drowning; wettings with hot, cold, salty, or filthy water to cause discomfort or disease. "Water boarding" is an effective drenching method, so-called from the use of a declined board to which the victim is immobilized, whence a cloth covering the face is supersaturated, usually ending resistance in less than a minute. Another notorious drenching method involves the use of any carbonated beverage, which is agitated and discharged into the restrained victim's nose and mouth, causing panic and vomiting, thus ending resistance almost immediately. All forms of such coercion or punishment are illegal. See ENHANCED INTERROGATION, TORTURE. [v: Black Hole of Calcutta]

a trailer-mounted mobile water tank; see WATER BUFFALO, CAMEL II, HIPPO.

naval slang for the Surface Warfare qualification badge; pin-on device exists as the bow of a ship superimposed above crossed swords for the Surface Warfare Officer (SWO), and the bow of a ship superimposed above crossed cutlasses for the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS). See SKIMMER, SAILOR, Q-COURSE.

the system by which water is collected, purified, stored, and delivered to users; see CANTEEN, BLADDER, BLADDER BAG, LISTER BAG, WATER BUFFALO, POD, BLIVET, WATERLINE, EVAP / EVAPORATOR, SOLAR STILL, WATER PURIFICATION TABLET, THE DRINK, BUG JUICE, JUICE, GI JOE, NUOC, NUOC DA. Also, slang for micturition or the urinary system; see PISS TUBE, PIDDLE PACK, LATRINE, HEAD, HONEY BUCKET, HEAD CALL, DOUCHE BAG, GI SHOWER, PT SHOWER, RAINROOM, BLACK WATER, GRAY WATER, COMFORT STATION. Also, slang for tears, crying, or lacrimation; see PTSD, FLASHBACK, THOUSAND-YARD STARE, FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT, BLACKOUT, ZOMBIE, TELESCOPING, FUO, DISSOCIATION, OBJECTIFICATION, CONVERSION SYMPTOMS, STRESS OF SOUL, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME. Also, any spectacular display involving water, such as a mechanical production for a pageant, or a natural presentation resulting from explosive or eruptive forces; term used in the same way as "sound and light show" or FIREWORKS by MIL-PERS observing an instance of these phenomena at sea.

Wide Area Telephone and Telegraph System; see TELEPHONE.

directions to the pilot from either the senior on-board passenger, from the ground element commander, or the Landing Signals/Safety Officer (LSO) to discontinue the landing procedure; term derived from PATHFINDER hand/arm signal. Whether to attempt the landing again was dependent upon the evaluation of the ground or landing party. If the pilot aborts the maneuver independently, the canceled (COUNTERMAND) landing is not technically a "wave off"; see BURBLE, SPUD LOCKER, PADDLES, WIGWAG, HAND SIGN; compare BREAKAWAY, SCRUB, KNOCK IT OFF. Also, an arm signal by a FREE-FALL parachutist that serves as a warning to other nearby jumpers of his intention to imminently deploy his canopy; this caution is usually understood as a simultaneous deployment directive for the other team members, because the STICK COMMANDER is usually in the leading position.

acronym for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service in the U.S. Navy, established 30 July 1942 for shore-based assignments; until 1978 when all separate women's military service corps were dissolved and female servicemembers were fully integrated into the RANKS; and in 1994, the role of qualified women was expanded from service support occupations to "combat support", including police, pilots, and other assignments, including service aboard warships; then in 2016, qualified women were made eligible to compete for equal admission to all combat arms occupations. Compare ANC, WAAC, WAC, WASP, WAFS, WAF, SPAR, MCWR, WM; see SKIRT.

goods that appear upon the waves or floating at sea after a shipwreck; compare FLOTSAM, CASTOFF, DODO; see JETSAM, LAGAN.

informal reference during the GULF WAR for being hit hard, or for being killed; see WASTED, ZAPPED, BUY THE FARM, CHECK OUT, BITE THE DUST, PUSHING UP DAISIES, SOL, BITTER END, KIA, DOW.

any of various intermediate places or points on a route, such as a secure foothold for further advancement; an intermediate position that can be used as a reference point (RP); also called "way station". See PHASE LINE, INS, RV, RALLY POINT, STRONGPOINT, POD, IP, LINE OF DEPARTURE, LAUNCH SITE, AIMPOINT, FAIL-SAFE, BRIDGEHEAD, BEACHHEAD, AIRHEAD, STACK.

Warning, Caution, Advisory; an audible and visible ANNUNCIATOR notice of status, from most to least critical: 'Warning': a signal alerting the operator of a dangerous condition requiring immediate action, being an indication of impending failure; 'Caution': a signal alerting the operator of a dangerous condition requiring attention, but not immediate action; 'Advisory': a signal alerting the operator of normal condition or safe configuration requiring routine action. See ALERT.

Weapons Control Status; being one of three levels of fire control that a commander uses to regulate autonomy and responsiveness, especially with air or ground defense weaponry; the categories are: "weapons free", "weapons hold", and "weapons tight". 'Weapons free' is a WCS used to indicate that weapons systems may be fired at any target not positively identified as friendly. 'Weapons hold' is a WCS used to indicate that weapons systems may be fired only in self-defense or in response to a formal order. 'Weapons tight' is a WCS used to indicate that weapons systems may be fired only at targets identified as hostile. Also, abbreviation for Waste Containment System (pronounced "wicks"), being a special toilet used on spacecraft; compare WAG BAG, HONEY BUCKET, PIDDLE PACK, PISS TUBE, CAT HOLE, HEAD, LATRINE, COMFORT STATION.

War-Day; the term used to designate the unnamed day on which unambiguous strategic warning in preparation for war is declared by the National Command Authorities. See TIME.

WD-40 :
created in 1953 by technicians at the Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego, Water Displacement formula #40 (WD-40) originated from a search for a rust preventative compound and degreasing solvent that would protect missile parts; made from a secret formula of fish oil, hydrocarbons, and petroleum distillates, WD-40 has been bought in bulk by defense contractors to protect military products, and marketed commercially for a myriad of household applications (from cleaning stoves and showers to removing road tar and adhesive tape residue, from lubricating hinges and zippers to removing lipstick and tomato stains ... it's also an effective insect repellent). Compare LSU / LSA, CLP, MR. CLEAN; see BUG JUICE, COSMOLENE, POL. [nb: WD-40 is an effective lubricant for hinged prosthetic limbs]

that aspect of a person's character or knowledge that is less than it should be, or that part of a person's nature or physique that is lower than normal; substandard, deficient, inadequate; see ACHILLES HEEL.

any implement, device, instrument, or object that's used for attack or defense in a fight. Also, anything used against an adversary or opponent, from words and images and music to munitions and toxins and barriers ... "anything can be a weapon!" [nb: "There are no bad weapons, nor good ways to kill."]

an expression of the Renaissance, wherein a salve applied sympathetically to the instrument of a wound will cure the affected wound; a salve said to cure wounds by sympathy, applied not to the wound, but to the instrument that gave the wound. It was alleged that the wound would respond to the way a weapon was treated ... being a form of animation that still persists today in various forms. See ANTHROPOMORPHISM, PATHETIC FALLACY. [nb: "Bind the wound and grease the nail."; "As the sword is treated the wound inflicted by it feels. Thus, if the instrument is kept wet, the wound will feel cool, and if it is held to the fire, it will feel hot." by Sir Kenelm Digby; "But she has ta'en the broken lance, / And wash'd it from the clotted gore, / And salved the splinter o'er and o'er." by Sir Walter Scott]

see Weapons Control Status (WCS).

a defense zone established for the protection of key assets or facilities, where weapon systems may be fired at any target not positively recognized as friendly; compare FREE FIRE ZONE, RFZ, NFZ; see RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE).

see Weapons Control Status (WCS).

see Weapons Control Status (WCS).

a TRACK-driven troop transport used for travel across snow and ice, being the military version of the snowmobile; the "Weasel over-snow vehicle" (OSV), also called a "snow-cat" (snow-caterpillar) or IRON DOG, was developed for the Mountain and Winter Warfare Board during 1942 by Studebaker, and was tested at training sites before deployment. The WEASEL was designed to be para-dropped on the Norway operation against the Nazi HEAVY WATER plant. Compare K-9, SCOUT DOG, SNOWSHOE. [nb: the first snowmobile was invented in 1920 from an automobile chassis that was fitted with tractor-treads and skis by Virgil D. White; another early military snowmobile was the "Eliason motor toboggan"] [nb: dogsleds were used militarily to lay telegraph cable, deliver mail and supplies, evacuate the wounded, perform search and rescue, and conduct border patrol, until replaced by snowmobiles, helicopters, and other technological devices during the 1950s] [nb: sled dog team races began with the 1907-18 All-Alaska Sweepstakes, the 1925 Great Race of Mercy delivery of diphtheria serum (re-enacted in 1975), the 1932 Winter Olympics dogsled race, the annual Alaska Fur Rendezvous dogsled race that became the Iditarod in 1967, and the 1973 Iditarod race run from Anchorage to Nome] [nb: mush, the command urging or spurring a dogsled team to travel, is a corruption of 'march' as spoken by French voyageurs] [v: slipe, ahkio, pulka / pulkka; cf: Flexible Flyer sled (1889)]

the uppermost continuous deck on a ship that's without overhead cover, and so is fully exposed to the weather; see DECK.

a steady and astute watchfulness; especially an alertness to signs of change in the weather. See MET MESSAGE, SIG MET, TELLTALE, ESPY, TURKEY PEEK, WATCHER, MONSOON, STORM WARNING, WIND, ZERO-ZERO. [nb: a stroke of the eye ('coup d'oeil') is a brief first look or quick glance] [nb: the military perception of weather is that change is only a variant of the discomfort level!] [nb: due to axial tilt during earth's rotation, the hemispheric seasons are not the same length, with the southern summer / northern winter being the shortest season, and northern summer / southern winter being the longest]


a woven cloth band, with metal buckle and tip, that's worn about the waist to secure trousers or field pants; the polished version is worn in garrison while the subdued version is worn in the field. A so-called "rigger belt", improvised from parachute harness webbing with a quick-release buckle, is an unofficial affectation sported by PARATROOPERs. Both the open-faced black field belt buckle and the slick nylon rigger belt are no longer authorized for wear after 30 April 2008. See GIG LINE; compare PISTOL BELT, CLUTCH BELT.


slang for infantryman; see GRUNT, SNUFFY, CRUNCHY, BOONIE RAT, DOUGHBOY, GI JOE.

canvas belt and shoulder straps used for packing equipment and ammunition on infantry operations; also called "webbing". Such harness or load-bearing equipment (LBE) includes pouches and other containers, but not the separate backpack or RUCKSACK. See STABO, PISTOL BELT, CLUTCH BELT, CANTEEN, DEUCE GEAR, ALICE, LBV, ILBE, IIFS, PALS, MOLLE, AMMO POUCH, TAP, CROSS-CHECK, CROSS-LOADING, FULL BATTLE RATTLE, COMBAT LOADED, BATTLE DRESS, CAP-A-PIE. [nb: called "belt order" by AUSSIE and KIWI troops]

the fourth day of the conventional (ie: Sunday through Saturday) week, named among ancient Romans for the 'day of Mercury', which was translated from "Woden's day", being the chief god of the pagan Anglo-Saxons (identified with the Scandinavian Odin); the Persians regard it as a red-letter day because the moon was made on the fourth day of Creation (Genesis 1:14-19); and according to the old rhyme: "Wednesday's child is full of woe". See DAY, WEEK, TIME. [v: Ash Wednesday, spy Wednesday]

a popular misquote that serves as a sardonic catch-phrase authorizing any minor transgression or misconduct for the attainment of a greater good; being an extra-legal or metaethical warrant to violate the law during its alleged enforcement. Properly stated as: "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"; this restatement exists as numerous variants, such as "Orders? ... we don't need no stinkin' orders!" or "Rules? ... we don't need no stinkin' rules!" See POLICE, CONSTABULARY, COMMAND, ORDER, LAWS OF WAR, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), SCRIPTURES, SOP, UCMJ, BLUE BOOK, ROCKS 'n' SHOALS, CHECKING THE DICTIONARY, WIGGLE ROOM, OFF THE RESERVATION, OUTSIDE THE WIRE, COUP DE PIED DE L'ANE, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR. [nb: notoriously cited as "Badges? We don't need no steenking badges!" in the film "Blazing Saddles", but was misquoted as early as a 1967 TV episode of "The Monkees", and was parodied in both "The Muppet Show" TV program and the "UHF" Weird Al Yankovic film; the actual quotation derives from "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948), which is based upon a 1927 novel by B. Traven] [nb: "Hell, there ain't no rules around here. We're trying to accomplish something." by Thomas Alva Edison (Sept 1932)]

a common metonym for the field or jungle, the hinterlands or outback, being any remote area away from BASE CAMPs or cities, especially represented as the "tall weeds"; see BUSH, BOONDOCKS / BOONIES, THULE, TULE, THE J, INDIAN COUNTRY, APACHE COUNTRY, BANJO COUNTRY. Also, the clutter at the lowest extreme of RADAR detection, generated by interference and false returns; see MOWING THE LAWN, UNDER THE RADAR. Also, to fly as low as possible, at or below treetop or building level, "down in the weeds" so to speak, so as to pass under the surveillance screen of RADAR and avoid detection; see CONTOUR FLYING, NOE.

a period of seven consecutive days, especially the working portion of these successive days; compare OFF-DUTY, see TIME. [v: sennight (seven nights, being the former name for a week), fortnight (fourteen nights, being an obsolete word for two weeks); cf: weekwork] [nb: while the names of the months of the year are Greco-Roman, the names of the days of the week are Anglo-Saxon]

Army National Guard
a denigrating referent for a reservist, whose standards have been upgraded considerably in recent years ... "a part-time job with full-time experience". National Guard and Reserve servicemembers, who are not to be confused with the "inactive reserve", must meet the same branch and specialty requirements, for which they earn both retirement and veteran's benefits. See MILITIA, MINUTEMAN, STRIKER, PARAMILITARY, DRAFT, DRAFTEE, ANG, ARNG, NG, RESERVE, RESERVE COMPONENT, AT, FUBIJAR. [cf: fyrd, landsturm]

acronym used in visual aircraft recognition, meaning that the observer should check Wings, Engine, Fuselage, and Tail; but re-interpreted as "Wrong Every Fucking Time". See IFF, SQUAWK, IR MARKERS.

Wild-Eyed Guess, also known as Wild-Assed Guess (WAG); which, when informed by experience, becomes inductive intuition or deductive logic, but is otherwise a Semi-scientific Wild-Assed Guess (SWAG) or a pure "guesstimate" ... and known in NavSpeak as "brown-fingered data" for having been pulled out of one's ass. See SECOND-GUESS, DEAD-RECKONING, DOUBLE DRIFT.

see ANCHOR. [nb: the phrase "anchor's aweigh" means that the anchor is free of the bottom, that the anchor is no longer holding the vessel in place; the official song of the U.S. Navy is "Anchors Aweigh" composed by Charles A. Zimmerman]

formulated by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinburger on 28 November 1984 (in a speech: "The Uses of Military Power") as a guideline for the President / Commander-in-Chief to consider before dispatching the American military to a particular crisis under the provisions of the WAR POWERS ACT, which mandates Congressional consultation and imposes time limits on executive autonomy; the Weinburger Doctrine comprises the following six prerequisites: 1) America should not commit armed forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are at stake; 2) U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly, with the resources and the clear intention of winning, otherwise, troops should not be committed at all; 3) U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives, and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives; 4) there must be a continual readiness to change the size and composition of the forces of the commitment if the objectives change, are reassessed and adjusted; 5) U.S. troops should only be committed to battle with a "reasonable assurance" of the support of the American people and Congress; 6) the commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort.


(forthcoming); from conestoga freight wagon (1778) to Welcome Wagon International (1928)

formation flying that's so close and responsive that it resembles a single interlocking unit, as in precision flights for public demonstration; see BLUE ANGELS, THUNDERBIRDS, SKYBLAZERS, SILVER EAGLES, BARNSTORMER, FLYOVER, AEROBATICS.

a space on the weather deck of some ships that lies at a lower level, between a raised FORECASTLE or POOP and the superstructure of the BRIDGE, which can be flooded to embark and disembark boats, landing craft, or amphibious tractors; compare QUARTERDECK, see DECK, STAGE.


a mid-19th century ballad that was made into a Baptist hymn ["I'll Overcome Some Day" by C. Albert Tindley (ca1900)], becoming well known when sung by striking labor protestors during and after WWII, and subsequently adopted as a civil rights ANTHEM during the Vietnam-era. Composed anonymously and performed widely, its simple lyrics assert: "We shall overcome / We shall overcome / We shall overcome some day / Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe / We shall overcome some day." See KUM BA YAH, HIPPIE, PROTESTOR, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME, COUNTERCULTURE.

Navy and Coast Guard term for Western Pacific operations, which extended to the Asian Pacific, part of Pacific Fleet (PACFLT). A WESPAC tour was generally synonymous with a tour of duty along the inland waterways or offshore of Vietnam.

to influence with ideas and practices, customs and folkways endemic to the West or the Occident; see GONE NATIVE, AMERICANIZE, LAST BEST HOPE, CULTURE WAR, LEX LOCI, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, EXILE; compare UN-AMERICAN, ANTI-AMERICAN, AMERIKA. [v: Hellenize / Grecize, Latinize, Normanize; cf: foreignism, tribalism, regionalize, localize, habitude]

common designation for the United States Military Academy (USMA) located at West Point, NY; see HUDSON HIGH, CADET, TRADE SCHOOL, RING-KNOCKER, MULE. [nb: According to Alden Partridge, the West Point academy, that "nursery of aristocracy" and "public charity school", possessed a system of education designed to produce "military pedants and military dandies", and would form the basis of a "military aristocracy" that would threaten national values and republican institutions; and as its first superintendent, he repeatedly recommended curricular reforms, and after resigning his commission, he proposed its closure and replacement by an American System of practical education, that later became ROTC.] [v: Siwash ("At Good Old Siwash" by George Helgeson Fitch (1911)] [v: West Point slang]

slang for being inexperienced or unseasoned, immature or undeveloped, naive or susceptible, ingenuous or guileless; someone who is "green" or "raw", as in the colloquialism "wet behind the ears". Also, slang for being in error or completely mistaken, as in the colloquialism "all wet". Also, slang for any facility providing water for washing or any other bodily function; see LATRINE, HEAD, RAINROOM, DOUCHE BAG, COMFORT STATION, WET CHU, GRAY WATER, BLACK WATER, WATERWORKS. Also, dampened, moistened, soaked, or saturated by a liquid; laden with or subjected to same, including urination; see MONSOON, WETTING DOWN; compare WET WORK, WATERWORKS. Also, in a moist form or liquid state. Also, slang for allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages; see HOOCH, BREW, THE DRINK, JUICE, CLASS SIX, GUSTO.

informal reference to a Containerized Housing Unit (CHU) equipped with an en suite bathroom, and are typically reserved for high-ranking individuals; see QTRS, BARRACK, BILLET, LATRINE, HEAD, COMFORT STATION.

slang for a liquid-dampening magnetic COMPASS, wherein the directional pointer is deadened by the use of various liquids (eg: oil, alcohol, etc) so that readings will be less erratic; see COMPASS CARD, COMPASS ROSE, AIMPOINT, HEADING, BINNACLE, GIMBAL.

slang for involuntary ejaculation, or 'nocturnal emission'; see DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE. Also, a dysphemism for any fantastic scheme or impractical proposition that embodies the best features of the desired result and the worst features of the contrary defense; being an amazingly juvenile thesis that projects heroic success for the "Forces of Good", and dismal failure for the "Forces of Evil", with all things made right in the end ... a fanciful or fictitious hypothesis that has been repeatedly promulgated as WHITE PROPAGANDA by various factions (eg: sycophantic wet dream, bureaucratic wet dream, pinko wet dream, jingo wet dream). See BLUE-SKY, MIND CANDY, RUBE GOLDBERG, CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND, FAIRY DUST, PLAN B, HOUSE OF CARDS, BELL THE CAT, BEARD THE LION, TAR BABY, FICTIONAL CHARACTER. [nb: almost every libertarian wet dream involves some version of "Mind your own plate!" or "Paddle your own canoe!", "It's none of your business!" or "Mind your own business!" (MYOB) as its sufficient rebuttal ... "'If everybody minded their own business,' the Duchess said in a hoarse growl, 'the world would go round a deal faster than it does.'" by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) in ch6 of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)]

(wet-sue) We Eat This Shit Up!, being the only suitable response by enthusiastic trainees to additional work, or to miserable duty conditions ... "We like it! We love it! We've finally found our home!"; see HOOAH, OORAH, GUNG-HO, HOISE, STRAC, FIDO, DIEHARD, BITE THE BULLET, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, ROOT HOG OR DIE, BATTLE CRY, A FINE AND PLEASANT MISERY, GUSTO, SIGNATURE, AHOY, HEAVE-HO. [nb: "I swims in the Tagus all across at once, and I rides on an ass or a mule, and swears Portuguese, and have got a diarrhoea and bites from the mosquitoes. But what of that? Comfort must not be expected by folks that go a pleasuring." by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1809); "Nobody ever drown in sweat!"]

a close-fitting rubber garment worn by a skin or SCUBA diver in cold water, that allows a thin insulating layer of water to collect between the diver's body and the suit, in order to retain body heat. Compare DRY SUIT, HARD SUIT; see DIVE KNIFE, DIVER. [v: Diving Terms]

the INITIATION ceremony for admission into a fraternal association, such as ORDER OF THE SPUR acceptance, which is traditionally marked by ritual drinking and other high jinks; see "wetting down" at CAMPAIGN HAT. Also, any induction ceremony admitting new persons to join a staff or unit, which is traditionally celebrated with an excess consumption of alcoholic beverages; compare DOLPHIN DIVE. Also, a party recognizing the receipt of an award or promotion, which is traditionally celebrated with an excess consumption of alcoholic beverages; compare BLOOD STRIPE. [nb: in the Navy's LINE CROSSING ceremony, wherein POLLYWOGs are promoted to SHELLBACKs, the "wetting down" that's conducted aboard ship involves sea water and several other liquids, some more viscous than others, but none is alcoholic]

designation given to a submarine cable, laid by submarine cable project 493L.

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". See WHORE'S BATH, MARINE SHOWER, MONKEY BUTT. [nb: in an effort to control costs and reduce waste, the DoD has instituted a policy of "non-duplication" in military procurement (Military Adaptable Commercial Item {MACI}), such that a mil-spec contract will NOT be let whenever a commercial "off the shelf" (COTS) product is "close enough for government work" and does not require special features; so some name brand items are now in logistical inventory]

a euphemism employed by SECRET AGENTs and "direct action" (DA) operatives to indicate when a mission involves elimination or disposal, termination or liquidation, assassination or execution; being an allusion to blood, this expression was borrowed from the ruthless suppression practiced under Stalinism. See TWEP; compare DRY RUN.

a classic quotation derived from the homage paid to the Roman emperor by gladiators condemned to fight in the arena, being an expression representative of duty, honor, and loyalty. This ancient quote was made famous by an elegiac poem in heroic couplets [Morituri Salutamas (1875)] that was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. See SPEARHEAD. [v: morituri te salutamus (Latin: we who are about to die salute you)]

informal abbreviation for Wounded in Hostile Action; see WIA.

a trademarked game designed by Aaron Fechter [Creative Engineering (1976)] and manufactured by Bob's Space Racers for play at home or in arcades; exists in a multi-player model, and is similar to other competitive scoring and redemptive games, like "Mole Buster", "Bat a Rat", "Splat the Rat", "Whack a Banker", "Bankers Whacked", "Whack a Warden", "Wacky Gator", and the like. The Whac-A-Mole game presents the player with a 5-hole platform from which mole-like figures emerge, at first slowly and singly, then faster and in multiples, each of which must be struck squarely within the allotted time using the rubber mallet provided, least there be no score ... the objective being to score as high as possible, except that the game parameters make it impossible for any player to beat the machine's programming. If the pop-up "mole" is not struck directly, or with enough force, or within the time limit, it will sink back into its hole without a score for the player, and the game eventually ends, regardless of the player's skill level ... in this regard, many players analogize the game to COUNTERINSURGENCY warfare, where there's always another enemy target, and the opportunity to fight is always on the enemy's schedule. Although operators can selectively adjust the points per hit, progressive speed rate, game duration, and other game playing options, play is ultimately entropic, because each time an adversary is "whacked", it only pops up again somewhere else. The term is used colloquially to denote any futile task, especially an undertaking requiring daunting repetition ... hence, in a systems or networking context, this term represents the recurrent process of fending-off spammers and crackers, vandals and other miscreants. In an administrative context, it refers to the process of solving one problem after another without ameliorating the cause or source. In a military context, it refers to the reactive tactic of repeatedly responding to provocation without implementing strategic solutions to persistent opposition. Furthermore, it serves as a training exercise on pop-up targets as a paradigm for combat shooting drills and sport shooting competitions, since Whac-A-Mole improves hand-eye coordination, serving as an outlet for normal aggression ... which is why it is scorned by progressives, LIBERALs, and other PACIFISTs.

an informal placeholder term used to identify an article, object, tool, part, gadget, device, contrivance, mechanism, technique, or process whose proper name is unknown or forgotten, also spelled "whatchamacallit"; including dingus, gismo / gizmo, doohickey, thingy / thingee, thingamabob / thingumabob, thingamajig / thingumajig, whatsis / whatsit, whuddayacallit / whudyacallit, what-do-you-call-it, what-you-may-call-it, jigger, doojigger / do-jigger, doojiggy, doodad / do-dad, widget. [v: doover in Australia and New Zealand]

a structure built on the shore of a harbor or estuary, or projecting into such a body of water, for the mooring of vessels and the transfer of passengers or cargo; also called pier, quay, dock. See BOLLARD, BERTH, PORT, MOLE, PONTOON, BREAKWATER.

a catch-phrase implying discretion for transgressions committed beyond the SHADOW OF THE FLAGPOLE, which imputation insinuates that immorality and illegality will be implicitly condoned due to the extreme stress and hazardous conditions encountered on the battlefield. This expression not only suggests that combatants are despicable criminals who routinely perform vile acts, but that military operations are so shameful and repellent that they must be uniformly concealed from scrutiny. While this expression can be charitably interpreted as a form of comradely support for FIELD EXPEDIENT improvisations and other rule-bending variations of BY THE BOOK executions, it actually denotes an inept villainy by an undisciplined gang of miscreants. See WHEN IN ROME, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, OFF THE RESERVATION; compare OP 'TIL YOU DROP. [v: "What happens in school stays in school!", "What happens in the club stays in the club!", "What happens in Sin City stays in Sin City!"]

Vietnam-era slang for "What's happening?" or "What's going on?", later expressed as "What's shakin'?"; see GOOD TO GO, FAT, MISSION READY, HIGH 'n' TIGHT, WTFO, HEADS-UP, FYI, POOP, DOPE, GOUGE, SKINNY, THE WORD, WRITING ON THE WALL.

Naval slang for a small, green covered, government issue notebook that's used by division officers and petty officers as a reminder of daily events; also called "paper brains" or POCKET BRAINS.

slang for the SERVICE CAP, also called "brim cap", BILLED CAP, "visor hat", SAUCER CAP, "airline pilot cap", "mall security hat", BARRACKS COVER, COMBINATION COVER, "pizza hat" (USMC), and "Donald Duck cap" (USN), as worn by all branches and grades with variations of color, style, and insignia. See SCRAMBLED-EGGS, SPAGHETTI, FARTS 'n' DARTS, CONTRAFOIL, GARRISON CAP, CRUSHER, CAMPAIGN HAT, BERET, HEADGEAR.


slang designation for licensed drivers of TRUCKs and other wheeled vehicles on military transport operations; also known as "wheelman" / "wheelsman" or "pavement artist"; this term does not refer to the drivers of TRACKed and armored vehicles, which are steered by levers; furthermore, "rough terrain driving" denotes additional instruction on specialized vehicles (eg: ATV, OSV, etc). See CONVOY, TRAIN, LINE HAUL, FIREBALLING, HYDROPLANE, JOYRIDE, JOHN WAYNE DRIVING SCHOOL, DRIVER, A-DRIVER, MOTOR POOL, GREASE MONKEY, MECH.

NavSpeak for a helmsman or steersman. Also, slang for the driver of a wheeled vehicle; a WHEEL JOCKEY.

aviation slang for the landing gear FAIRINGs that streamline the bulky shape of fixed (non-retractable) wheels and struts; these FAIRINGs more closely resemble cuffs or spats than an evocation of "pants"; compare SPINNER, COWLING, CHASSIS, PYLON.

basically, an admonition for servicemembers to respect the mores and culture of the native peoples in a host nation whenever stationed overseas, whether it entails a prohibition on alcoholic beverages or a sanction on interactions between the sexes; see OCONUS, OVERSEAS BAR / HERSHEY BAR, SOFA, DEROS. But in a more realistic sense, this catch-phrase implies the tactical "home court advantage" that a resident enemy holds when Americans are fighting in foreign territory, entailing a juxtaposition of "their offense" and "our defense", or vice versa, being a short hand expression for the opponents are "not playing by the same rules". This contrast of methodologies is generally resolved by either superior force or superior technology, but when the sociopolitical schism is profound, only GUTS and MORAL COURAGE will suffice. See OFF THE RESERVATION, OUTSIDE THE WIRE, UPHILL BATTLE, TOOTH 'n' NAIL, DOG-EAT-DOG, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, COUP DE PIED DE L'ANE.



see FOOLS RUSH IN (where Angels fear to tread).

in AvnSpeak, random or uncontrolled flight maneuvers. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]


to overlay or cover cordage or ROPE with thread or LINE, as for prevention of damage by friction, fraying, or raveling [cf: puddening, mousing, baggywrinkle]. Also, a TACKLE consisting of a fall rove through a single standing BLOCK (single whip), or a fall secured at one end and rove through a single running and a single standing BLOCK (double whip); see FAIRLEAD, CRAB, PARBUCKLE, BOOM. Also, a lashing, beating, whisking, whirling, wrapping, or winding motion. Also, to sew with a light overcasting stitch. Also, slang for a flexible antenna, or one that sways and swings on its spring mount; also called "sound-stick" or "signal-stick"; see STACK, PIGSTICKER, TROPO, RADOME, TACAN, ANTENNA FARM, DONKEY DICK, EARS, RADIO, COMMO. Also, to urge, inspire, importune, castigate, fustigate, or lambaste by words or deeds, as if from flogging or flailing, BASHING or BLISTERing; a tongue-lashing that upbraids or berates, rebukes or reviles [v: lash, flail, switch, cane, strap, rod, cat-o'-nine-tails, scorpion, flagellum, scourge]. [nb: the phrase "room to swing a cat" is an expression for enough space to hang a rogue (the 'cat') who will caper or cavort at the end of the rope, who will perform the "dance of death" (danse macabre) (not to flog with a cat-o'-nine-tails whip); see OVER A BARREL, LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG, FIGHT LIKE KILKENNY CATS]

a double play, a two victory win, or a triumph over two opponents is called a "whipsaw"; therefore, being simultaneously attacked by two adversaries is to be "whipsawed", or double teamed. Compare HAT TRICK.

affectionate term for any helicopter; also spelled "whirlibird" (after 'whirligig'); also known as EGGBEATER, and called "fling-wing" in the Navy. See CHOPPER. [nb: Vietnamese term: Phi Co Len Thang, Phi Co Tuc Thang]

the word assigned to represent the letter "W" in the international phonetic alphabet; at various times in different spelling schemes, it has also been acrophonetically represented as Willie and William. See ALPHABET SOUP, PHONETIC ALPHABET. [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags] Also, an alcoholic liquor distilled from a fermented mash of grain, such as barley, rye, or corn; see HOOCH.

an American cocktail made with whiskey, lemon juice, and powdered sugar, served over ice and often garnished with an orange slice and maraschino cherry; when the alcoholic spirit is varied, this drink becomes a 'gin sour', 'vodka sour', and the like. Compare SINGAPORE SLING, TOM COLLINS, RICKEY, GIMLET, SALTY DOG, FIZZ; see HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, MOONSHINE, THE DRINK, HOIST, GUSTO.

a soldier who acquires his bellicose aggression, which he mistakes for courageous determination, from the consumption of alcoholic beverages; this lush or boozer (typically a "mean drunk") is often a resentful REMF who needs to console his plight or disprove his own misgivings with demonstrations of excessive bravado. See DUTCH COURAGE, MACHO, TOY SOLDIER, WANNABE.

nickname for the Lockheed C-130 / DC-130 HERCULES transport aircraft, also called "Herky bird"; see FLYING COW, SPECTRE, CANDLESTICK, STOL, BIRD.

the spread of insinuations or misinformation in an organized manner so as to harm reputations, influence decisions, and evoke reactions among the audience; see RUMOR, DISINFORMATION, PROPAGANDA, WAR OF NERVES, DECEPTION; compare CHINESE WHISPER.


a person who makes a public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing by informing on another's misconduct, especially when regular reporting is prevented; such an informant cannot be charged with unauthorized absence (UA) when consulting the Inspector General (IG), Judge Advocate General (JAG), chaplain, or a political representative outside of his CHAIN-OF-COMMAND. Sometimes known as a source, informer, tattler, tipster, snitch/-er, talebearer, tattletale, blabbermouth, gossip, rumormonger, scandalmonger, squealer, fink, rat, stool pigeon, stoolie, ratfink; also spelled "whistleblower" or "whistle blower". See GAO; compare WONK. [v: qui tam ("Who as well?")] [v: False Claims Act]

a training exercise (or EVOLUTION) used to condition individuals to properly and promptly respond to enemy artillery fire; the instructor uses a whistle to signal when the correct position should be assumed and when the trainees should recover at the completion of the drill. From an upright posture, the trainee drops prone when signaled, lacing his hands behind his neck, crossing his ankles, opening his mouth and closing his eyes, as if receiving indirect gunfire. This protective body posture is supposed to forestall concussion injuries. In SEAL training at BUDS, this simulation is used to harass and demoralize the students. see SUGAR COOKIE, ROCK PORTAGE, SURF TORTURE, PUPPY PILE, HELL WEEK, TADPOLE, FROGMAN, UDT, PUP, BUDS, SEAL, NSWG, BUDWEISER.

any meaningless act or futile endeavor, especially one done "on principle" or "for form's sake"; an impractical gesture performed without positive or substantive results. This idiomatic expression is more crudely represented as "fart in the wind" or "fart into the wind", and such bootlessness may also be expressed as TILT AT WINDMILLS. [v: Sisyphean] [nb: not to be confused with "whistle in the dark"]

an artillery FUZE deliberately set to make noise during its trajectory onto target so as to demoralize the enemy; also called WHIZ BANG. Designed in imitation of the psychological effect of the "Screaming MeMe", "Moaning Mini", "buzz-bomb" (DOODLEBUG), and BOXCAR CHARLIE from WWII. [nb: hysteria is also known as the "screaming-meemies"] [v: "Stalin's Organ" at MISSILE]

a catch-phrase, used both positively and negatively, to figuratively represent wasted time or effort, lost or squandered resources, as "He's just WHISTLIN' DIXIE." or "We ain't just WHISTLIN' DIXIE."; seemingly derived from the Confederate practice of whistling (or singing) this song as an anthem when marching to battle, even though the CIVIL WAR was already lost ("Lost Cause") ... perhaps by association with "whistlin' past the graveyard". Also, from the same origin, an idiomatic expression for something that's bound to fail, being an effort or attempt that has no possibility or opportunity of success; a futile or doomed venture, a vain or ineffectual undertaking, as "Going up there is like WHISTLIN' DIXIE." Also, by extension of its idiomatic sense of verdict, to make meaningless or unrealistic claims, false or deluded assertions ... perhaps by association with "whistlin' in the dark". Also, by extension of its idiomatic sense of condemnation, a stylistic device for emphasizing assertion or proclamation, agreement or concurrence, affirmation or validation, as "They weren't just WHISTLIN' DIXIE when they warned us ...." See DIXIE CUP, WHITE CAP, DIXIE STATION, "rebel yell" at BATTLE CRY, "rebel confederates" at MIS. [v: Sisyphean]

(forthcoming); see IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE.


an all-clear signal in military or civilian defense indicating that the danger or hazard no longer exists; a directive to return to normal conditions following a dangerous or hazardous state, or the threat of same. Compare RED ALERT, BLUE ALERT, YELLOW ALERT; see ALERT.

a broken wave with a foaming crest; also called "white horses" for their dancing movement. Compare SURF, BREAKWATER, WHITE WATER.

slang reference to a sailor's traditional cap, as a nautical play-on-words (ie: broken wave with a foaming crest), also called a "white hat" and DIXIE CUP; a "flotation device" and improvised bucket, worn brim down in tropics as sun shield and Jones-style for visor, both unauthorized. See JARHEAD, BLUE JACKET, SQUID, SWABBY, ANCHOR CLANKER.

(l'elephant blanc) a rare albino variety of elephant which is highly venerated in some Asian countries. Also, any burdensome or costly possession not valued by its owner, and not desired by others, but which (as a moral obligation) must be retained or maintained. Derived from a royal gift which imposes an excessive toll upon the recipient; such an exchange between Siam (Thailand) and Burma (Myanmar) caused a war that was decided by the intervention of the MONKEY PEOPLE (mountain tribesmen, see INDIG), who were honored for their aid by a shrine in Lop Buri. Also, an impractical, useless, or worthless scheme, operation, or process, which must be implemented or executed; as an imposing and persistant problem with no good solution, such as a QUAGMIRE or albatross; see PLAN B, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, WIGGLE ROOM, WANGLE, BAND-AID, MIND CANDY, HOUSE OF CARDS, RAIN ON PARADE, BELL THE CAT, BEARD THE LION, PAPER TIGER, YELLOW DOG, WHITE MICE. [v: dilemma, fardel]

symbol of cowardice, dishonor, or betrayal, as "to show the WHITE FEATHER"; derives from cockfighting (alectryomachy), where a white tail-feather signifies degenerate (domesticated) stock, so is not a true gamebird, possessed of innate fighting spirit [v: HACKLE / HACKLES, BATTLE ROYAL]. During the World Wars, earnest and ardent patriots, as an expression of contempt, presented a WHITE FEATHER to seemingly fit men who were suspected of avoiding military service; the police also checked the draft status of such men as a further inducement to social conformity. See WHITE FLAG, STRIKE THE FLAG, SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT, DRAFT DODGER, LILY-LIVERED, FRENCH FLU. [nb: the "Blue Hens Chickens", originating as the Delaware MILITIA during the Revolutionary War, was nicknamed after its commanders, who indulged in "cock fighting" whenever encamped, while also instilling a "gamecock" spirit into the troops; this phrase henceforth became a compliment for any tough or spirited unit, as during the CIVIL WAR] [cf: the "white cockade" was the badge representing the followers of Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie]

the symbol for mercy or surrender, used to request a TRUCE or parley; see WHITE FEATHER, LILY-LIVERED, FRENCH FLU, QUARTER, BLACK FLAG, STRIKE THE FLAG, DEFEAT, FALSE FLAG, SHOW THE FLAG, RED FLAG, YELLOW JACK. Also, any banner or flag used as a signal between warring parties, as an interruption of hostilities, as an indication of willingness to negotiate or parley (eg: treaty terms, prisoner exchange, mercy missions, and the like), or as a sign of safe passage for representatives and inspectors through hostile territory; also known as a FLAG OF TRUCE, "parley flag", "safe conduct flag", or FLAG OF PROTECTION. [v: Flag Terms]

that which is (or is expected to be) meticulous, exacting, minute, or painstaking, as during a white-glove inspection. Also, that which is (or should be) immaculate or spotless, antiseptic or sterile, as in an uncontaminated white-glove environment. [nb: "No combat-ready unit has ever passed a white-glove inspection! ... and no spit-and-polish unit has ever 'passed' combat." a Murphy Law of Combat]


nickname of the South Korean Ninth Infantry Division, deployed to Vietnam in September 1965. See ROK, CRID.

extremely hot, such as sun-baked metal or a machinegun barrel, a skirmish or landing zone; also expressed as "white heat", HOT, or RED-HOT. Also, a stage of intense activity or involvement, exceedingly enthusiastic or ardent, impassioned by devotion or dedication, fiercely angry or violent, emphatically fervid or perfervid. See RED LZ; compare RED ASS.

a white mansion situated on eighteen GREEN ACRES at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., being the official residence of the president of the United States (POTUS); so-called after its restoration due to being burned in the WAR OF 1812; being a metonym for the executive branch of the federal government. Compare PINK PALACE, BLUE HOUSE, PUZZLE PALACE, MADHOUSE, THE HILL, OLYMPUS, SOG, THE G, FOGGY BOTTOM, ALPHABET CITY. [cf: White Hall]

literary allusion to a beleaguered champion who fights heroically for a cause, as a hero who comes to the rescue of the downtrodden. Also, a splendid exemplar or archetypal paradigm of the ideal soldier or perfect warrior; also called "Greek god"; see SUPER-TROOPER, FUGLEMAN, TIKI; compare WHITE NIGHT, HERO. [v: ne plus ultra, expert, master, virtuoso, bailiwick; cf: "wight" is a human being, who is defined as such by his ability to fight, hence is someone who's strong and brave in war] [nb: not to be confused with its homophonous "white night", being a night without sleep, or a season when the sky does not completely darken during a solstice in the farthest latitudes of the polar circles]

a grasp seized so intensely or a fist clenched so tightly that the skin around the knuckle bones blanches as a result of impeded circulation; being a metaphor for PAIN or suffering, FEAR or panic, tension or anxiety. See CLUTCH-UP, BITE THE BULLET, SUCK IT UP, MAN-UP, MANLY ARTS, DIEHARD, FORTITUDE, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, REFERRED PAIN, DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF, KEEP A STIFF UPPER LIP, PUSH COMES TO SHOVE. [v: bear up, bear down, bear with] [v: mauvais quart d'heure]

a cocktail made with gin, sweet cream, powdered sugar, and egg white, that's shaken and strained before serving. Compare PINK LADY, GRASSHOPPER, ALEXANDER; see HOOCH, GROG, JUICE, MOONSHINE, THE DRINK, HOIST, GUSTO.

slang for illicit or homemade alcoholic liquors that are clear or without color after manufacture (like gin, vodka, or tequila); also called "white goods", "white mule", or MOONSHINE; see HOOCH, BREW, GROG, JUICE, IRISH SODA POP, GROUP TIGHTENER, MOJO, BYOB, DEAD-SOLDIER, TOAST, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, SOAK, HOIST, HATCH, DUTCH COURAGE, WHISKEY WARRIOR.

a list (typically private or restricted) of persons who have demonstrated their loyalty and trustworthiness, and are deemed suitable for appointment or employment, promotion or security clearance. Also, individuals or institutions that are qualified to undertake government contracts, or to do business with the government, especially classified work; also called "fair list". Also, a list of works, including literature, dramas, illustrations, speeches, and other published or broadcast matter, that has been approved by the religious or governmental censor, especially those deemed suitable for juveniles, members of a particular faith, or any other specified group. Compare BLACKLIST; see CENSORSHIP, COMSTOCKERY, FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

lacking courage; cowardly; see LILY-LIVERED. Also, lacking in vitality or spirit, as being pale or unhealthy.

coined by J. Rudyard Kipling (1899) to indicate the paternalistic liabilities inherent in the noblesse oblige of 'white' racial and cultural superiority dominating the lower classes, which are populated by colored peoples, non-Christians, and other reputedly inferior specimens; see INDIG, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, BUDDHAHEAD, BASKET HEAD, YARD, DINK, GOOK, SLOPE, SLANT-EYE, RICE BALL, ZIP, YELLOW PERIL, YELLOW DOG, CHINDIT, FUZZY-WUZZY, FLIP, BEANER, CREOLE, COON-ASS, REDBONE, MAN FRIDAY, WOG, MUJ, RAGHEAD, LITTLE PEOPLE, COUNTERCULTURE, CULTURE WAR. [v: kultur, nativism, irredentism, nationalism, anomie]

the legal exchange of unused ration coupons at fluctuating prices based upon the supply of and demand for the restricted commodity in a system of rationing; compare GRAY MARKET, BLACK MARKET, CONTRABAND. [cf: hole-and-corner business; v: dirty money]

crest of the South Vietnamese
National Police
National Police
South Vietnamese National Police Force, or Canh Sat / Canh Sat Quoc Gia; the nickname came from their uniform white helmets and gloves. In 1962, a committee was directed by President J.F. Kennedy to formulate ways of assisting foreign police forces; the result (National Security Agency memorandum 117) reaffirmed the 1953 Eisenhower Administration decision to conduct this support through civilian agencies rather than through the military. Under the provisions of the public safety advisory program, RVN's President Ngo Dinh Diem issued a decree in June of 1962 integrating all then existing South Vietnamese police agencies into a single National Police Force who answered to the Directorate General of National Police. Each province had a police chief who was responsible for the police activities within his province, and also supervised the police organizations in the various districts of that province. National police responsibilities were subdivided into seven major branches: Judicial Police (investigative arm); Administrative Police (passports, identity cards, licenses, permits); Rehabilitation Service Police (incarceration); Immigration Service Police (visas, residency); Uniformed and Traffic Service Police (municipal); Order Police (bodyguard, security, riot control); National Police Field Forces (quasi-military). The public safety advisory program, which had provided the National Police with the majority of its communications equipment, weapons, boats, office equipment, and vehicles, was disbanded as a result of the Paris Peace Talks, and the 172 police force ADVISORs departed SVN in 1973. See NPFF, NPSS, QC, SNOWDROP, YELLOW DOG, POLICE.

a racial slur wherein white people (especially Caucasoid Americans and Europeans) are derogated by Asians (especially Chinese and Vietnamese) as being excessively hairy, big-nosed, and tailless primates who are always baring their teeth, chittering incomprehensibly, and throwing their shit at the truly superior Orientals with better manners and a finer lineage; also called "white baboon"; see FOREIGN DEVIL, RICE-FACE, YANKEE, WHITE TRASH, UGLY AMERICAN, COUNTERPART.

in NavSpeak slang, a lower DECK informer or spy for the master-at-arms; a snitch, squealer, fink, stool pigeon, stoolie, tattletale, or TELLTALE. [v: intelligencer]


a night without sleep; see DOGWATCH, MIDWATCH, WATCH-AND-WATCH, O-DARK-THIRTY. [nb: people who work at night and sleep during the day tend to have a more negative or pessimistic attitude, to be more emotionally or mentally depressed, are more prone to becoming physically unfit, and are more susceptible to illness or disease than are daytime coworkers] Also, the period when the sky does not completely darken during a solstice in the farthest latitudes of the polar circles, which perpetual daylight is also called the "midnight sun"; see TIME. [nb: not to be confused with its homophonous "white knight", that valiantly chivalrous champion of the downtrodden]

(forthcoming); compare BROWN-OUT, see ZERO-ZERO, GOO, FLAT LIGHT, IIMC, WEATHER EYE, MET MESSAGE, CHOPPER, BIRD. [aka: twink, buttermilk sky]

an authoritative report, especially an official government summary or policy statement. The color cited does not refer to the body of the document, as if to distinguish it from vellum or foolscap, but to the report's cover. A "blue-backed" document is a formal legislative proposal or legal decision, often complex and lengthy, and the shorter plain-language brief which summarized these documents were "white-backed" papers, often called "background reports", issued for the relief that their pithy readability lent to the proceedings. WHITE PAPERs are now less like pamphlets, and are becoming as dense with statistics and legalese as the reports they formerly replaced, so a new "brief" will soon have to be invented! See RED TAPE, FORM, FINDING, REPORT, MR, ANNEX, JOURNAL, PAPER BULLET, UNCLAS, BUCK SLIP, RAPPORTEUR, MILICRAT. [v: dossier; cf: bout de papier, aide-memoire] [nb: "If it isn't documented then it doesn't exist!"]

the methodical dissemination of information and ideas designed to bolster or reinforce, to promote or support a cause, movement, or national interest, as officially sanctioned, accredited, authorized, or acknowledged by its sponsor or agency; also known as the "good news" or PARTY LINE. Compare TRUTH, TRUE BELIEVER, WET DREAM, FICTIONAL CHARACTER, RUMOR, FALSE FLAG, DECEPTION, PSYOPS, PROPAGANDA. [v: subreption, obreption] [nb: the neologism "pollaganda" / "polloganda" (poll + propaganda) has been coined to identify the representation of biased samples, slanted surveys, special pleading arguments, and ex-parte news depicted as authentic or authoritative; cf: "polingo" as a neologism for political lingo]

colloquialism for the "little woman" who "wears the breeches in the family", for a wife who wears her husband's pants, for a woman who usurps complete control of her husband's affairs; also called "grey mare"; see PETTICOAT COMMAND, BITCH, BALL BUSTER, BATTLE-AX, FLYING BRAVO, ESTROGEN ALLEY, GOLDEN VAGINA SYNDROME, THE PENIS AS GENIUS, COCK BAIT, DISTAFF, SKIRT. [v: hector, intimidate, browbeat, pester, bulldoze, henpeck, badger, harass, dominate, tyrannize]

unofficial White Star patch
White Star
advisory project of Mobile Training Teams (MTT) from July 1959? / 19 April 1961 under MAAG-Laos assigned to establish and improve training of Laotian Army and HMONG tribesmen; withdrawn by summer 1962 after Geneva Accords. See PEO, MILLPOND, RLA.

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. See BLACKOUT, THOUSAND-YARD STARE, TELESCOPING, FLASHBACK, DISSOCIATION, OBJECTIFICATION, CONVERSION SYMPTOMS.

a stipulation that guests wear formal evening attire, being a white bow tie worn with formal evening DRESS by men; compare BLACK TIE.

by extension of 'trash/trashy', disparaging BLACK slang (ca1830) for destitute white immigrants who competed with them for limited economic sustenance; used in the same sense as buckra or bucker. This dismissive phrase was later (ca1855) adopted by middle-class and upper-class whites to refer to the lowest class of poor white menial workers (as rabble, the great unwashed, riffraff, proletariat, prole, lumpen proletariat, rank and file, commoner, commonalty, pleb / plebeian, hoi polloi, canaille, lower classes, campesino, peasant, indigent, lowest of the low, populace, crowd, multitude, mass / the masses, the herd, human debris, scum of society), and was used widely during the American CIVIL WAR to denigrate Confederate rebels. This expression was published in writings by both Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lewis Wallace, but the Scots-Irish were widely known as the "scum of two nations" (later extended to "scum of the earth": and "scum of the universe") during the same period. Ironically, this referent for the class of poor Southern whites has been adopted as a mark of distinction and a badge of honor, becoming the last slur that can be uttered in a polite politically-correct society. [v: cracker (boaster), hillbilly, hill jack, jackstraw, peckerwood, redneck, lout, oaf, bumpkin, yokel, trailer park trash, yahoo (degraded brute), booboisie (H.L. Mencken), philistine, old Adam; cf: worthy poor (J.E. Oglethorpe); cf: useful idiots] [nb: a gentleman, by definition, is someone who need not earn his livlihood, who need not earn his keep, who does not need to work for a living]

the infamous rogue warrior of popular legend, being an elite soldier so enamored of combat or so dedicated to professionalism that he deserts his own military (variously American, Australian, German, British, or Russian) to affiliate with the enemy; this notorious "Soldier of Fortune" is alleged to be pursuing a spiritual quest for the ultimate battle [v: Hinduism]. This mythic persona, a fictitious staple of the VIETNAM WAR, is entirely apocryphal, without any factual basis. See MERCENARY, DESERTER, TRAITOR, TREASON, TURNCOAT, HACK, BADB, WAR STORY. [nb: the British Free Corps was a unit of the Waffen-SS consisting of United Kingdom POWs who were sympathetic to fascism and had been recruited by the Nazis; although small, this unit fought with the Wehrmacht against the Allies during WWII; (French) ; (Irish) ]
    [eg: Ballad of the Unknown Soldier by Rod Shearman with Jack Warshaw (1967):
    Come and listen to a story I will tell
    Of a young GI you will remember well.
    He died in Vietnam on the Mekong Delta land,
    He had sandals on his feet and a rifle in his hand.
              I wonder what was his name?
              I wonder from which town he came?
              I wonder if his children understand the reason why,
              Or the way he had to fight and the way he had to die.
    They say that December '65
    Was the last time he was ever seen alive.
    It was U.S. Army lies that caused him to decide
    To leave his old top sergeant and fight on the other side.
              I wonder what was his name?
              I wonder from which town he came?
              I wonder if his children understand the reason why,
              Or the way he had to fight and the way he had to die.
    Was he lonesome for his homeland far away?
    Fighting with his new companions night and day?
    In the base and jungle camps they tell about a man
    Sharing hardships with his comrades fighting on the other side.
              I wonder what was his name?
              I wonder from which town he came?
              I wonder if his children understand the reason why,
              Or the way he had to fight and the way he had to die.
    It was in the month of April '68
    In the Delta land he met a soldier's fate.
    He fought to his last breath and he died a hero's death,
    And he wore the black pajamas of the People's NLF.
              I wonder what was his name?
              I wonder from which town he came?
              I wonder if his children understand the reason why,
              Or the way he had to fight and the way he had to die.
    Well it's now that poor soldier's dead and gone.
    His comrades and his friends are fighting on.
    And when the people win, of their heroes they will sing,
    And his name will be remembered with the name of Ho Chi Minh.]

a haircut that is so short on the sides that skin shows as the dominant color (instead of hair color), as with a crew-cut or BUZZ-cut, FLATTOP or FLATHEAD haircut; also known as "white side-walls", "butch-cut", and HIGH 'n' TIGHT. This is a hair style favored by the SUPER-TROOPER, SWEAT HOG, HARD CHARGER, LIFER, BRASS HAT, TICKET-PUNCHER, RING-KNOCKER, MILICRAT, or other career MIL-PERS. Such men also prefer no sideburns, cutting them even with the ocular canthus, or upper-ear junction. See LONGHAIR, MOHAWK, FACE FUZZ. [v: glaber/glabrous; cf: roach, hog]

frothy water, as in WHITECAPs and rapids; also spelled "whitewater" and "white-water". Also, light-colored seawater over a shoal or sandy bottom. Compare BLUE WATER, GREEN WATER, BROWN WATER, BLACK WATER, SURF, BREAKWATER, WHITECAP.

slang for the prestigious E-ring of the Pentagon, being the outermost corridor where the highest ranking officers are situated with window-views of the capital district; also expressed as "the Great White Way", in imitation of the dazzlingly lit theater district along Broadway, near Times Square in New York City ... which refers to the shine of so many stars in this circumferential. Also known as "elephant's row". Compare SUICIDE ALLEY, GROUND ZERO; see PUZZLE PALACE. [cf: Jotun, Titan, Gigantes, Antaeus/Antaios, Nephilim, Anak/Anakim, Rephaim, Og (king of Bashan), Ymir/Ymer, ogre (Orcus), Goliath of Gath, Gargantua, Argus, Cyclops] [nb: the WWI aviator, LT Oscar J. Gude, court martialed for cowardice but not prosecuted for later deserting, became fabulously wealthy by creating the "Great White Way" on Broadway]

an artillery FUZE deliberately set to make noise during its trajectory onto target so as to demoralize the enemy; also spelled "whiz-bang", and also called WHISTLER. Designed in imitation of the psychological effect of the "Screaming MeMe", "Moaning Mini", "buzz-bomb" (DOODLEBUG), and BOXCAR CHARLIE from WWII. Compare FLASHBANG. [nb: hysteria is also known as the "screaming-meemies"] [v: "Stalin's Organ" at MISSILE]

a successful young person who's exceptionally talented and intelligent; being strong, energetic, smart, articulate, and idealistic. The Johnson Administration WHIZ KIDs, including Robert McNamara, Earl "Bus" Wheeler, et al, who were sometimes known as the "new frontiersmen" [re: 'The New Frontier' was a chapter heading in a 1936 book written by Kansas governor Alfred M. Landon, who ran for president as a Republican that year; v: New Frontiers by Henry Wallace (1934)] or "the BEST AND the BRIGHTEST" [re: 1972 bestselling book by David Halberstam]; consisted of quantitative analysts and statistical managers intent upon reforming the military and revising governmental procedures. See YOUNG LION; compare WISE MEN, BRAIN TRUST, KITCHEN CABINET, MANDARIN, OLD BREED, MAVERICK.


retention policy for permanently disabled servicemen, usually resulting from combat injury, for the good of the service in keeping this human resource available despite any physical limitations; see PROFILE, LIGHT DUTY, MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, PEB, TDRL, PDRL, LINE OF DUTY, HORS DE COMBAT, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME. [nb: during the American CIVIL WAR, the disabled and mutilated were formed, after examination and recommendation, into an "Invalid Corps" consisting of organized brigades and separate companies, which freed many able-bodied men to serve in combat; first formed in April 1863 under the command of the Surgeon General, the personnel of the Union's "Veteran Reserve Corps" performed nursing, cooking, guard, staff, and other support activities in various locations, as did the less well organized Confederates from 1864, so as to continue to serve their cause]



a proverbial question on the betrayal of trust or allegiance; also represented as: "With friends like these, he doesn't need any enemies." or "With a friend like this, I don't need any more enemies." [nb: "Defend me from my friends; I can defend myself from my enemies." by Maréchal Villars; "May God protect me from my friends; I can defend myself from my enemies." by François Marie Arouet de Voltaire; "To be deceived by our enemies or betrayed by our friends is insupportable; yet by ourselves we are often content to be so treated." by Francois de La Rochefoucauld; "Treat your friend as if he might become an enemy." by Publilius Syrus; "He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies." by William Hazlitt; "Let us carefully observe those good qualities wherein our enemies excel us; and endeavor to excel them, by avoiding what is faulty, and imitating what is excellent in them." by Plutarch; "As a matter of self-preservation, a man needs good friends or ardent enemies, for the former instruct him and the latter take him to task." by Diogenes; "When all your friends turn out to be worthless bastards, then only your enemies will be left for you to admire; you should acknowledge them for the attainments they have forced you to achieve." paraphrase of R.A. Dickson; "Many have had their greatness made for them by their enemies." by Baltasar Gracian; "The wise learn many things from their enemies." / "Men of sense often learn from their enemies." by Aristophanes; "You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies." by Gustave Flaubert; "I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends." by Walt Whitman]

to engage in or threaten physical violence against someone; to thoroughly or decisively beat someone; an immense power that's released from a secure place ("I'm gonna open up a can of whup-ass on him!"), often in retaliation or retribution ... may be expressed in a jocular, pseudo-serious, or mock-heroic manner. [ety: origin may possibly derive from 'whip ass' ... as "I'm gonna whip your ass!"]

(who's it) corruption of "who is it", being slang for "whosoever it is" or "what's his name" (or "what's his face") when referring to someone whose proper name or title is momentarily out of mind or has been temporarily forgotten.

see BUTTERFLY, GRASSHOPPER, LBFM, LULU THE ZULU, CHOCOLATE BUNNY, CAMP FOLLOWER, CAMPAIGN WIFE, SLEEPING DICTIONARY, HORIZONTAL COLLABORATOR, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, BITCH, STRANGE, SPLIT, SNATCH, HAPPY VALLEY, PUTAINESQUE. [aka: prostitute, hooker, strumpet, fornicatrix, trollop, bawd, doxy, tart, jade, soiled dove, chippy, baggage, fancy woman, joy lady, joy-girl, streetwalker, call girl, woman of ill fame, woman of ill repute, lady of the night, woman of easy virtue, scarlet woman, painted woman, loose woman, kept woman, fallen woman, courtesan, demimondaine, jezebel, harlot, whore, hussy, floozy, bimbo, wench, slut, wanton, hustler, slattern, tramp] [nb: many young women during WWII, enthralled by the wartime drama and excitement, became "uniform groupies" who were sufficiently "khaki wacky" to express their ardor by casual favor or intimacy bestowed upon almost any serviceman for simple companionship; such patriotic chippies or amateur trollops were known as "V-girls" (probably by analogy to B-girl), with the dual implication of "victory" and "venereal"] [nb: the American GI's standard reference for a "woman of easy virtue" during WWI was Miss Laycock and WWII was Mary Quicklay, during Vietnam was Susie Rottencrotch or Mary Meatgrinder, while any Asian was either Madam Butterfly or Suzie Wong] [cf: vivandière] [nb: the "comfort girls" who were employed as contract prostitutes to serve the sexual needs (TRICKs) of Imperial Japanese troops in the field, usually at a COMFORT STATION or SIN CITY, were called "shock absorbers" by the Allied POWs who happened to observe their (mis-)treatment]


the use of scent (ie: perfume, cologne / eau de cologne, toilet water, aftershave, etc) to mask a person's body odor, as in an attempt to conceal a lack of personal hygiene; also called "pommy shower". See MARINE SHOWER, PT SHOWER, NAVY SHOWER, GI SHOWER, DOUCHE BAG, RAINROOM, MONKEY BUTT, LATRINE, HEAD, COMFORT STATION. [nb: widely misused, this expression often (mistakenly) refers to a cursory sponging or a superficial washing of only the parts that are "really dirty" or of only the parts that'll be seen by others]

(w-i-a) Wounded In Action, and sometimes known as "Wounded in Hostile Action" (WHA); may be refined as "gunshot wound" (GSW) on a casualty report. Hospitalized casualties during the American Revolution had a 25% survival rate, during WWII 71% survived wounds severe enough for hospitalization, during the KOREAN WAR 74% survived wounds with hospitalization, and during the VIETNAM WAR 81% survived wounds with hospitalization. The use of IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan during GULF WAR 2 has generated 9 WIAs for each KIA, which ratio is triple the 3:1 rate during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. See GSW, GSW-TTH, SPILL THE GROCERIES, PHANTOM LIMB, PINK, TBI, BLAST SYNDROME, WALKING GHOST, PH, DUSTOFF, CASEVAC, MEDEVAC, MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, PROFILE, LINE OF DUTY, MAIM, MUTILATE, WHOLE MAN, ZULU, RINGS OF SORROW, NOK; compare SIW, EWIA, ZERO WARD, DOW, KIA.

something considered typical or representative, as an identical item or interchangeable part; any fungible product or equivalent substitute whose name is immaterial; compare AD HOC, WARM BODY. Also, any small mechanical device or gadget, especially an informal placeholder term used to identify an article, object, tool, part, contrivance, technique, or process whose proper name is unknown or forgotten; including dingus, gismo / gizmo, doohickey, thingy / thingee, thingamabob / thingumabob, thingamajig / thingumajig, whatsis / whatsit, whachamacallit / whatchamacallit, whuddayacallit / whudyacallit, what-do-you-call-it, what-you-may-call-it, jigger, doojigger / do-jigger, doojiggy, doodad / do-dad. [v: doover in Australia and New Zealand]


Vietnam-era M-16A1 assault
the M-16 rifle, which nickname derives from its propensity to malfunction, and put the rifleman at greater peril, more than any combat efficiency. This extremely controversial rifle would undergo more than 400 refinements in the next thirty years before finally becoming a satisfactory battlefield weapon. See BURST, ACOG, BLACK MAGIC, CAR / XM-177E2, ACTIV, MAG, RIFLE, OVER 'n' UNDER, POODLE SHOOTER, TUPPERWARE, UP-GUN. Also, refers to the combustible SHERIDAN light recon TANK, with earlier flammables known as "Ronson" (a brand name of cigarette lighter advertised as "Always lights the first time."); compare SHERMAN, STUART, GENERAL LEE, CHAFFEE, WALKER-BULLDOG. Also, a dysphemism for a mechanical ambush (MA), due to its lethal prevalence; see AMBUSH, ALL AMERICAN, ALPHA-ALPHA, BOOBY-TRAP.

(woo) Weekly Intelligence Estimate Update, briefing for COMUSMACV; see FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES.

a non-issue, non-stock, biotic item of various sizes and shapes, colors and designs, officially designated as SPOUSE or DEPENDENT, that has been acquired for personal comfort and convenience, and is permitted to share the quarters (QTR) of commissioned, warrant, and non-commissioned officers of the military as long as her performance evaluation remains 'satisfactory' for each 3-year period of renewal; see OFFICER'S WIFE, PETTICOAT COMMAND, COW, DRAG, DISTAFF, SKIRT, ARMY SOUP, BRAT, GREEN BLOOD, GOLD STAR; compare CREATURE COMFORTS, SNIVEL GEAR. [nb: "If the military wanted you to have a wife, they'd have issued you one." serviceman's adage] [nb: until the Vietnam-era, the military did not recognize the spouse or other dependents of enlisted personnel below the non-commissioned officer ranks]

latitude, being room for interpretation or room to maneuver when given impractical or disastrous ORDERs; it is often the only honorable or reasonable alternative to the ambitious schemes of MICROMANAGEMENT ... depending upon their outcome, such creative solutions to bad or stupid commands are usually represented as contrivances or ruses (instead of artifices or stratagems), as second-guesses or hairsplitting quibbles (instead of intrepid or incisive initiatives), and typically result in greater specificity! ... a self-defeating degenerative cycle. See OFF THE RESERVATION, OUTSIDE THE WIRE, CHECKING THE DICTIONARY, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGES, VFR DIRECT, UNODIR, MIND CANDY, READ-BACK, SCRIPTURES, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, THE ROAR OF BUTTERFLY WINGS, VIETNAM SYNDROME, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN, COMBAT EFFECTIVE, NO EXCUSE, ZERO TOLERANCE, OVERSIGHT, WANGLE, SHOW THE FLAG. [nb: real life always transcends the rule book]

a human being or person; see MIL-PERS, GI. Also, valiant, especially in war; see V-DEVICE, GUTS, MOXIE, BRAGGING RIGHTS, COUNT COUP, WATCH MY SMOKE, BITE THE BULLET, DIEHARD, TIKI, BEARING, RIGHT STUFF, SLOW MATCH, WINTER SOLDIER. [v: mensch / menschen]

torch with crossed-flags
branch insignia for U.S. Army Signal Corps
Signal Corps
slang for signaling by light (lamp or heliograph), panel or flag (semaphore), arm or hand; being a method of visual communication, using standardized gestures and postures, for communication when quiet was essential, when radio was not appropriate, or when voice communication was prevented by noise or distance. As braille was a simplified form of NIGHT WRITING, so semaphore was adapted in the antebellum era from the earliest form of sign language for the deaf, a form of communication that has since been greatly refined. PATHFINDERs, MPs, and other ground guides used these specialized hand and arm signals to direct vehicles, including aircraft and watercraft, wheeled and TRACK-driven vehicles. LRRP's expanded this symbolic language to include finger-spelling and hand phrases. Also called "hand and arm signal", HAND SIGN, "skivvy-waver", "dumb-show", or "hand-jive" as forms of pantomime. Compare WAVE OFF, PADDLES, TAP CODE, BURGEE, GUIDON, FLAG, MAGGIE'S DRAWERS, FLYING BRAVO, RED FLAG, DAP. [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags] Also, slang for the flashing stroboscopic lights that are used to signal warning or danger, such as the anti-collision CHRISTMAS TREE lights and the FOLLOW ME caution lights; see ALDIS LAMP, BUBBLEGUM MACHINE, MARS LIGHT, BLINKER. Also, slang for the branch insignia for Army Signal Corps (crossed flags ca1864, torch added ca1884) based upon semaphore flags and torches; which section or division of communications is designated S-6/G-6/J-6. [nb: the kite, called a "flying sail", has been used militarily since the fifth century BC by the Chinese to signal situations, send commands, scatter leaflets, and lift observers.]

WILl COmply, being a procedure word (PROWORD) used in radio/telephone procedure (RTP) to make voice communications more concise and clear; because it entails acknowledgement, it is mutually exclusive with ROGER.

the sky, the firmament, the arch or vault of heaven, space or outer space; see BLUE-SKY. Also, informal reference to the official song of the Army Air Corps (USAAC / USAAF) and the Air Force (USAF). [nb: the result of a 1937 contest to develop a simple march tempo song celebrating aviation, the official song of the Air Force originated as "The Army Air Corps" with music and lyrics composed by Robert MacArthur Crawford in 1939; it's informally referred to as "The Air Force Song", "Wild Blue Yonder", "Into the Wild Blue Yonder", and "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder"; the words "Army Air Corps" were replaced in 1947 by "U.S. Air Force", and it was adopted as the official song on 27 September 1979; other songs associated with the Air Force include: "Men in the Air Force Blue" by Eve Lawson (1966) and "Air Force Blue" by Marilyn Scott and Keith Textor (1956)]

a determining factor or an important thing whose qualities are unknown or unpredictable, as derived from a playing card having its value decided by the wishes of the players. Also, any indefinite or unproven element. See PLAY THE GAME, GAMBIT, CRAPSHOOT, GAME THEORY, PLAYING CARDS, WAR GAMES.

the Grumman F4F Navy fighter aircraft. Also, nickname of the 81st Infantry Division, which served in WWI and WWII.

exhibiting an angry, insane, or distressed expression in the eyes, which is indicative of panic or caprice; a visage that's symptomatic of an inconstant or irresolute, uncontrolled or unreliable, incoherent or undisciplined performance. Also, someone or something that's extremely irrational or senseless, erratic or radical, implausible or incongruous, anomalous or bizarre, such as a wild-eyed scheme executed in a furious or frantic manner, in a desperate or rash way. See GO KINETIC, BERSERK, FIGHTING MAD, AMOK, SEE RED, BLOOD IN THE EYE, GOING COMMANDO, DINKY DAU.

a highly flammable composition that's difficult to extinguish when ignited, as used in warfare; any of various inflammable mixtures, from Greek fire to white phosphorous, that's intense and persistent; see FLAMETHROWER, NAPALM, PHOUGAS, FAE, WP, THERMITE. [v: pyromachy] Also, anything that spreads rapidly and is difficult to control, such as gossip; see RUMOR, SCUTTLEBUTT, BACK CHANNEL, BAMBOO TELEGRAPH, CHINESE WHISPER, GRIPEVINE. Also, any luminescence or phosphorescence, natural or organic, especially in swampy or marshy areas, such as will-o'-the-wisp or foolish fire [ignis fatuus], foxfire or Saint Elmo's fire, luciferin or cold light, chain or sheet lightning. [cf: coruscate, fulgurant]

a colloquialism for an absurd pursuit of the unattainable, an elusive search for the unobtainable; also expressed as "chasing rainbows". Also, any senseless enterprise or hopeless endeavor, especially after some nonexistent object or impossible end; a pointless quest or profitless exercise; see TEACH A PIG TO SING. [cf: ducks in a row / ... line] [v: the original "Wild Geese" were Irish patriots who served as SOLDIERs OF FORTUNE with Napoleon against England, but their notorious MERCENARY name is recurrent among "hired muscle" seeking prestige]

in northern European legend, a phantom hunt that's conducted either in the sky or in forests, under the direction of the Wild Huntsman, who's often associated with Odin. See VALHALLA.

any person who is uncivilized; a savage or barbarian. Also, a person of extreme or outrageous political opinions, especially someone of violent temper or erratic behavior. See BRUTE, KNUCKLE-DRAGGER, REACTIONARY, CONSERVATIVE, ANTI-FEDERALIST, WHITE TRASH, THIRD ESTATE. [v: wilding, wildling, wild-headed, wild-eyed, wild-and-woolly] [v: enfant terrible (French: prodigy)]

any off-target shot; a shot aimed and fired DOWN RANGE that misses the intended point of impact; see BLIND FIRE, FLOCK SHOOT, RECON BY FIRE; compare DOUBLE TAP. Also, any uncontrolled discharge from a firearm, especially the reflexive or reactive trigger-pull of an unsafed weapon when startled; an unaimed or uncontrolled shot. Also, any uncontrolled projectile, such as a rebound or ricochet. [nb: a "ricochet shooting" technique similar to SKIP BOMBING was simultaneously developed in the 1943 north Africa campaign wherein TANK / ARTY gunfire was shot along the ground at enemy troops attacking in the open]

designation for an Electronic CounterMeasures (ECM) equipped aircraft that can detect Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) sites and neutralize RADAR tracking with NOISE or Air-to-Ground Missiles (AGM), as well as possessing self-defense armaments. Configured as an Electronic Warfare (EW) attack aircraft (either the F-100 SUPER SABRE, the F-105 THUNDERCHIEF, or the F-4C/-G PHANTOM II), it's fitted with RADAR-detection and jamming equipment that's designed to suppress enemy air defenses.

informal version of WWII-era phonetic representation of WP (qv) for 'William Peter', meaning white phosphorous incendiary munitions; compare ALFA, JULIETT, ZERO. [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags]

the SKYNIGHT, the Douglas EF-10 /-10B aircraft.


air in natural movement, as caused by temperature differentials and the Coriolis effect [v: breeze, susurrus, kaver, coromell, sough, zephyr, contrastes, windstorm, kona, rainsquall, line squall, storm, thunderstorm, gale, whole gale, blow, squall, white squall, bull's-eye squall, willy-willy, williwaw, cyclone, anticyclone, tornado, hurricane, sumatra, papagayo, tehuantepecer, fall wind, bora, boreas, vardar, nashi, nor'easter, norther/norte, blue norther, Knik (Taku, Stikine, Matanuska) wind, squamish, barber, blizzard, mistral, tramontana, cierzo, warm braw, foehn, chinook, MANGO SHOWER, MONSOON, khamsin, levanter, levantera, levanto, sirocco, shamal, sharqi, leveche, haboob, harmattan, brickfielder, Santa Ana wind, Diablo wind, sundowner; leeward, alee, abeam, aback, aweather, windward, headwind, tailwind, upwind, downwind, eddy, whirlwind, crosswind, trade wind, anti-trade wind, jet stream, gust, bluster, waff, turbulence, veer, wind shear, boreal, corrasion, halcyon, doldrums, becalm, calm, driftage, windage, windiness, anemometer]; see BEAUFORT SCALE, SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE, STORM WARNING, WINDSOCK, TELLTALE. Also, breath or breathing. Also, some influence, trend, or force; see TWIST IN THE WIND. Also, some intimation or revelation. Also, empty or meaningless talk; see BRAVO SIERRA, TALK TRASH, SHOOT THE SHIT, BLOW SMOKE, HOT AIR, GAS BAG, CONFETTI, SNOW, RUMOR, SEA STORY, WAR STORY. Also, vanity or conceit. Also, stomach or abdominal gas; discharge, emission, emanation, expulsion, burp, belch, eructation, fart, flatus. [nb: 'raspberry' (ie: a loud spluttering noise made by forcefully expelling air from the mouth through the lips as a rude expression of displeasure or derision) is an Americanism that's short for 'raspberry tart', which is a 19th century euphemism for "rasping fart"]

an outerwear jacket made of wind-resistant and moisture-repellent material with close fitting elasticized cuffs and hip band, and a storm-flapped placket; formerly a trademarked brand name; see RAINCOAT, OILSKINS, PONCHO.

a tapered tubular cloth vane ("weather vane") or TELLTALE, that pivots to catch the wind, swinging freely so as to indicate the direction toward which the wind is blowing; often mounted on a pole set into the APRON near the control tower or HANGAR, so as to be visible from the RUNWAY near the THRESHOLD or TOUCHDOWN. Airplanes normally land into the wind, and take-off with the wind. See BEAUFORT SCALE, SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE, FUJITA SCALE; compare SLEEVE, PYLON.


an administrative and tactical unit of the Air Force, containing two or more AIR GROUPs, together with support and headquarters units. [nb: similarly for Marine Air Wing (MAW) and subordinate Marine Air Group (MAG)] [nb: Vietnamese term: Khong Soan] Also, the side portion or extension of an army or fleet; a flank. Also, an airfoil, typically paired, attached transversely to the FUSELAGE of an aircraft, and providing the necessary lift for flight; see ASPECT RATIO, ALPHA / ANGLE OF ATTACK, ANGLE OF INCIDENCE, CANARD, AIRFRAME.

a WWII-era catch-phrase meaning "to struggle along despite the difficulties", with the expression of such courageous persistence and blessed determination being manifest in the 1942 screenplay: The Flying Tigers written by Kenneth Gamet and Barry Trivers, wherein the Rangoon hotel clerk replies to the inquiry from Captain Jim Gordon on the status of the replacement pilots: "Yes sir, it was attacked and fired on by Japanese aircraft. She's coming in on one wing and a prayer." This CAN DO sentiment of relentless commitment and steadfast resolve inspired the 1943 patriotic song: Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer written by Harold Adamson and Jimmie McHugh, which tells of a damaged warplane that's barely able to return to its base. This phrase captured the public's imagination, and there have been numerous examples since WWII. [nb: either "on a wing and a prayer" (1943 song) or "on one wing and a prayer" (1944 film), but not "on a whim and a prayer" or "on a wink and a prayer"]
    [eg: Comin' in on a wing and a prayer
    Comin' in on a wing and a prayer
    Though there's one motor gone
    We can still carry on
    Comin' in on a wing and a prayer]

among NavPers, the party that celebrates a new PILOT being awarded his qualification wings; see INITIATION, AIRDALE, BROWN SHOE / BOOT, BIRDMAN, GOOD STICK.

the informal and unofficial pinning ceremony for newly qualified PILOTs and navigators (NAV); similar to other INITIATION activities. Such festivities have usually been preceded by the necktie or shirttail cutting rite performed by the instructor (IP) immediately after a trainee's first successful solo flight.

the secondary aircraft that supports the primary aircraft in a potentially dangerous flying environment by positioning itself beside and slightly behind the leader in a tactical formation so as to warn the leader of potential threats and to guard the rear of the formation; the companion or accompanying aircraft that's responsible for covering the maneuvers of the lead aircraft, and for ensuring that their TRAIL is clear of BANDITs. The WING MAN expands situational awareness, enables mutual support in aerial combat, increases offensive and defensive firepower while permitting more dynamic engagements; this "wingmate" is not to be confused with a co-pilot, nor with a signals or weapons officer. Compare GIB, PETER PILOT; see PILOT, BIRDMAN.

an airplane maneuver involving a steep, climbing turn to a near STALL, then a sharp drop of the nose, a removal of BANK, and a final leveling off in the opposite direction. See AEROBATICS. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]

aviator's qualification
badges for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast
USN, USMC, & USCG pilot's wings
a skill badge for PILOT, PARACHUTE, RIGGER, GLIDER or AIR ASSAULT qualification; usually gradated into novice/basic, senior, and master ratings. See TRASH, Q-COURSE, CENTURY WINGS, BLACK WINGS, SOG WINGS, BUSH PILOT, MUFF DIVER, JUMPMASTER, MASTER BLASTER, PATHFINDER, JSD, FLASH, OVAL; compare DIVER, SCUBA, DOLPHIN, WATER WINGS, BUDS, EOD, BOLO BADGE, Q-TAB, GONG, FRUIT SALAD, DEVICE, CREST, PATCH, REVOCATION. [nb: the devices that cover the mounting prongs that attach the insignia to the uniform, holding the two parts together, are variously sized, and are called "fasteners", "clip fastener", "clutch fastener", "clutch back fastener", "clutch grip fastener", "pinch fastener", "butterfly fastener", or "dammits"] [v: Flashing Sampler]

nickname for Marine aviation support staff and ground crew, as used since before WWII; also known as PENGUIN or LEG. Compare GROUND HOG, POG, GROUNDED; see BIRDMAN, PILOT, JET JOCKEY, AIRDALE, BROWN SHOE / BOOT, ZOOMIE, ROTOR HEAD, WOBBLY, WOP, PROP JOCKEY, CREW DOG.

a metaphor denoting the exercise of strength or the establishment of power, later celebrated as competitive games of skill or chance in public festivals, as an expression of God's will in ranking everyone's true destiny; this binary schema (ie: ZERO-SUM) of ultimate determination is juxtaposed to a hierarchical rating of scale, wherein absolute questions are final, not dependent upon quantitative or qualitative quibbles. By its attempts to control life (irregular and undifferentiated) when enacting rituals (formalized and immutable) and conducting games (regulated but with an uncertain outcome) amongst a levelized membership, a community is affirming its most cherished values, including public acts of pacification, remission, and thanksgiving. See FIELD OF HONOR, ORDEAL, DUEL, IN THE MOUTH OF THE CAT, HEAD IN THE LION'S MOUTH, QUICK OR DEAD, UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE, LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, LAW OF AVERAGES, GAMBLER'S FALLACY, FATE, KARMA, MOJO, JOSS STICK, CHANCE, LUCKY; compare ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, UPHILL BATTLE, TOOTH 'n' NAIL, HARDBALL, CUTTHROAT, WHEN IN ROME, WIGGLE ROOM, OFF THE RESERVATION, OUTSIDE THE WIRE, DOG-EAT-DOG, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGES, WARNING SHOT, BLOODY SHIRT, JUST WAR, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), LAWS OF WAR. [v: "Read 'em an' weep!"]

(forthcoming); fictional cartoon character created by Vic Herman

slogan purporting to embody the pseudo-military mission of NATION BUILDING; being the charitable element in the "carrot-and-stick" policy which was supposed to entice Southeast Asians into military cooperation, voluntary intel reporting, and political allegiance by governmental largess. The pacification program was generally characterized by soldiers as: "Grab 'em by the balls, an' their hearts and minds will follow!". See NANNY STATE, CLIENT STATE, NEW WORLD ORDER, EURO-WEENIE, NATION BUILDING, FIFTY-FIRST STATER, PRESIDENTIAL DOCTRINE, CONTAINMENT, REALPOLITIK. [nb: currency of this phrase during the VIETNAM WAR derives from a passage in a 1965 speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson: "... so we must be ready to fight in Vietnam, but the ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who actually live out there". The phrase was coined by President John Adams in correspondence; a 24 August 1815 letter to Thomas Jefferson states: "The revolution was in the minds of the people ..."; and a 13 February 1818 letter to Hezekiah Niles states: "The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the hearts and minds of the people .... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution." In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt used the phrase: [the secret to popular rule is] "to put into words what is in their hearts and minds but not in their mouths." All allusions probably derive from "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds ...." Philippians 4:7 in the Bible.]

a succinct philosophy of competition that's been widely applied to business and politics, sports and military affairs; this attitude is represented by the quotation: "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." by Henry "Red" Sanders (1948) but is commonly attributed to Vincent Lombardi, who tried for years to disassociate himself from the statement, later saying that he had meant that it was important to make an effort and to have a goal: "I sure as hell didn't mean for people to crush human values and morality." See RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), LAWS OF WAR, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, DOG-EAT-DOG, TOOTH 'n' NAIL, HARDBALL, CUTTHROAT, UPHILL BATTLE, DIRTY FIGHTER, WET WORK, ROMAN HOLIDAY, WHEN IN ROME, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGES, OFF THE RESERVATION. [v: omo lupus homini (Latin: man is a wolf to man)] [nb: "To the victors belong the spoils." by William Marcy (25 Jan 1832); "There can only be one winner, folks, but isn't that the American way?" by Horace McCoy (1935); "Even victors are by victories undone." by John Dryden; "The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else." by Martina Navratilova (21 June 1989); "Winning isn't worthwhile unless one has something finer and nobler behind it." by Amos Alonza Stagg (1927); "Errors and defeats are more obviously illustrative of principles than successes are. ... Defeat cries aloud for explanation; whereas success, like charity, covers a multitude of sins." by Alfred Thayer Mahan (1911); "Too much success is not wholly desirable; an occasional beating is good for men -- and nations." by Alfred Thayer Mahan (1897); "It is not the cause for which men took up arms that makes a victory more just or less, it is the order that is established when arms have been laid down." by Simone Weil (1939)]

any MIL-PERS who willingly endures personal sacrifice and extreme hardship, such as during combat operations or under battle conditions, for the sake of a mission or goal that surpasses reward or survival; as expressed: "These are the times that try men's souls .... The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." by Thomas Paine [Pennsylvania Journal (19 Dec 1776); intro to The American Crisis (23 Dec 1776)], which was read to American troops on the eve of the Battle of Trenton. See CODE OF CONDUCT, DUTY, BITE THE BULLET, V-CAMPAIGN, LITMUS TEST, CANNON FODDER, WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS, VIETNAM IS FOREVER, GUTS, MOXIE, SPUNK, ONIONS, BEARING, VET, VETERAN, HERO, YELLOW RIBBON. [nb: during WWII, Adolf Hitler labeled German 'sunshine patriots' as "March violets", being showy Spring flowers that disappear in the next snow] [v: numinous, deontology, eudemonism; cf: meliorism, Solomonic compromise] [nb: "Yours is not to reason why, yours is but to do and die." by J. Rudyard Kipling; "No one going as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of life, that he may please him who has enlisted him as a soldier." 2 Timothy 2:4 (Darby); "War is the province of danger, and therefore courage above all things is the first quality of a warrior." by Karl von Clausewitz (1832)]

in 1918, the United States sends an expeditionary force of 15,000 troops into Russia to support anti-Bolshevik forces, and to counter Japanese aspirations in Siberia.

USARAL patch
a person trained to operate in conditions of ice and snow, freezing temperatures, limited daylight, and other hazards, as taught by U.S. Army Alaska (USARAL) command in the two-week Winter Warfare training course at Fort Richardson Alaska, or in the three-week Northern Warfare training course at Fort Greely Alaska. The mountain phase of the course includes climbing, rappelling, and medical evacuation. The watercourse phase covers boat operations, stream crossing, river charting and navigation. The glacier phase covers crevasse rescue, step cutting, group climbing, belaying and anchors. Acquired skills include basic knots, mountain walking techniques, and route selection. The schooling emphasizes mobility in mountainous terrain, on glaciers, and inland waterways, culminating in a three-day field exercise (FTX) situated on Gulkana Glacier. The WWII Mountain and Winter Warfare Board commenced training in 1942 at Fort Lewis (Mount Rainier and Mount Bryce), in 1943 at Elkins Maneuver Area (Seneca Rocks), and in 1943 at Camp Hale (Aspen, Vail, Mount Albert, Sawatch Range). The volunteers who formed the 10th Mountain Division (officially activated August 1943) received training in skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tobogganing, and climbing with related snow shovel, ice axe, and rope work. Their infantry and recon elements were augmented by heavy weapons, including 81mm mortar and 75mm pack howitzer. The Mountain and Winter Warfare Board was assisted by members of the Sierra Club in developing specialized equipment, including boots, mummy-style sleeping bags, mountain stoves and rations, a rucksack that converted skis into a toboggan, and the first operational snowmobile (IRON DOG). See SNOWSHOE, BUNNY BOOTS, MICKEY MOUSE BOOTS, OSV, WEASEL, CAT-TRAIN, X-C, LRRP-RATIONS; compare MOUNTAINEER, NWTC, MWS, MWTC, JUNGLE EXPERT. [nb: due to axial tilt during earth's rotation, the hemispheric seasons are not the same length, with the southern summer / northern winter being the shortest season, and northern summer / southern winter being the longest]

see TAP.

slang for the radio receiver earphone worn by networked security POLICE and by a Personal Defense Specialist (PDS) or a Personal Security Detachment (PSD) when protecting senior officials and headquarters (HQ) installations; properly identified as a 'wireless interruptible feedback line'; compare CEP, CEPS, EARS; see BODYGUARD.

an ex-officio tribunal, formally known as the Presidential Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), and informally called "graybeards" or "sages", that was composed of renown statesmen and emeritus leaders convened by the Kennedy - Johnson Administrations as an ostensibly autonomous entity to consider America's role in world politics during the VIETNAM WAR, which conclusions and recommendations were independent of the government, and lent an air of causal detachment and misdirection while insulating the cabinet from the citizenry. This advisory council originally included: Dean Acheson, Eugene Black, Omar Bradley, Arthur Dean, Ros Gilpatric, Arthur Larson, Robert Lovett, John McCloy, and Henry Stimson. This independent advisory council on international crises was reconstituted under the Nixon Administration with the following members: Nelson Rockefeller, William O. Baker, Edwin Land, Frank Pace, Franklin D. Murphy, ADM George W. Anderson, GEN Maxwell D. Taylor, and Gordon Gray. See WHIZ KID, MANDARIN, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, BRAIN TRUST, KITCHEN CABINET, DEFENSE POLICY BOARD, CZAR, DOMINO THEORY, DECENT INTERVAL, SILENT MAJORITY. [nb: after the coup that toppled the Diem regime in Nov 1963, a "council of sages", consisting of prominent SVN citizens and bloc representatives, was established to advise the government on resumption, reformation, and redirection] [v: know-it-all, besserwisser; realpolitik, machtpolitik]

a catalogue of palliative merchandise (from civilian clothing and household decorations to furniture and appliances) that could be mail-ordered from various vendors by servicemembers and their families stationed in remote locales; a supplement to homemade items or imported products from franchise CONCESSIONs that improved the quality of life for MIL-PERS. In the days before televised shopping networks and online purchasing, the perusal of such catalogues was both entertaining and educational. Compare DREAM SHEET, LITTLE AMERICA, LAND OF THE BIG PX, GUNS OR BUTTER; see COMFORT ZONE, SNIVEL GEAR, CREATURE COMFORTS, CLASS SIX, PX, BX, NEX, ANNEX, COMMISSARY.


(aka: eyewash; deriv: wishy-washy) see WASH.

an intensive effort to discover and expose disloyalty, subversion, dishonesty, or the like, usually based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence. See SOFT TYRANNY, McCARTHYISM, HUAC, CREDIBILITY GAP, BLACKLIST, HOLD ONE'S FEET TO THE FIRE, THIRD DEGREE, INTERROGATE, SQUEEZE, SWEAT, SCREEN, GRILL, SNAKE PIT, GAUNTLET. [v: hue and cry] [nb: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Exodus 22:18 KJV Bible; "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them." Leviticus 20:27 KJV Bible; "Do not turn to mediums or wizards." Leviticus 19:31 RSV Bible; "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch; or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer." Deuteronomy 18:10-11 KJV Bible]


to be or to get dressed-up in one's best attire, to be adorned in full regalia, the wear of finery or fancy DRESS; see CHOKER, DRESS WHITES, ICE-CREAM SUIT, SPANKERS AND CLANKERS, MESS DRESS, CONTRAFOIL, FLASH, FOOFARAW, FEATHERS. This phrase probably derives from the elaborate costumery worn to celebrate the May games and other popular festivals where adornment with tinkling bells [v: paillette] was commonplace. These pageants, known in England as a "Morris dance" (being a corruption of Moors' dance) after the 15th century, originated as a military fete among Moors in Spain during the 13th century, and continued to be practiced by Moriscos until their 17th century deportation to Africa.

to put boots on, as to don appropriate FOOTWEAR; to equip or provide with boots; compare WITH BELLS ON, DIE WITH ONE'S BOOTS ON.


any very small space or extremely narrow distance; see HAIRSBREADTH, CLOSE SHAVE, CLOSE CALL, NEAR MISS, SQUEAK.

any very small space or extremely narrow distance; see HAIRSBREADTH, CLOSE SHAVE, CLOSE CALL, NEAR MISS, SQUEAK; compare WITHOUT TURNING A HAIR.

remaining unruffled or unperturbed, without any indication of distress or agitation, as "He was neither disquieted nor deranged when the bullet passed close enough to part his hair!" ... "The CLOSE CALL passed WITHOUT TURNING A HAIR." Compare HAIRSBREADTH, CLOSE SHAVE, NEAR MISS, SQUEAK.


a person of amazing skill or accomplishment, especially a technical expert, who may also be known as whiz or boffin, WONK or PROFESSOR; term undoubtedly derives from "wise man", and implies magician or sorcerer, but probably entered the lexicon from computer usage. Also, slang for a psychologist or psychotherapist; see HEADSHRINKER. Also, descriptive of outstanding performance, amazing achievement, or demonstrated excellence, such as imaging wizardry or requisition enchantment, a superb PRANG or a wonderfully "winking wizard" [v: PRICK]. [aka: intellectual, thinker, scholar, pundit, guru, savant, sage, quick-witted, genius, brain, highbrow, egghead, big headed, brainiac, longhair, pointy-headed, wonk, bookworm, master, mastermind, expert, virtuoso, rocket scientist, magus, mage, bailiwick] [v: enfant terrible (French: prodigy); wunderkind (German: prodigy)] [nb: "Eggheads, unite! You have nothing to lose but your yolks!" by Adlai E. Stevenson (1952); "Pointy-headed intellectuals of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your brains." by George Wallace (1972); cf: "Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains." by Karl Marx, "The Communist Manifesto" (1848)]

pronunciation of WSO, being the Weapon Systems Officer, or backseater in fighter aircraft; see GIB, BEAR, TFO, EWO, RSO, RIO; compare FUF.

WM :
abbreviation for Woman Marine, appertaining to females serving in the Marine Corps Women's Reserve (MCWR), being a support auxiliary established 30 July 1942; known as a Woman Reserve (WR) until 1948, thereafter as Woman Marine until 1994, and subsequently simply as Marine. All separate women's military service corps were dissolved in 1978 and female servicemembers were then fully integrated into the RANKS; and in 1994, the role of qualified women was expanded from service support occupations to "combat support", including police, pilots, and other assignments, including service aboard warships; then in 2016, qualified women were made eligible to compete for equal admission to all combat arms occupations. See BAM, BOSNIA, SKIRT; compare ANC, WAAC, WAC, WASP, WAFS, WAF, WAVES, SPAR. [nb: USMC lore identifies Opha Mae Johnson (1918) as the first 'woman Marine']

(w-m-d) 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. See CBR, CBRNE, GERM WARFARE, VECTOR, CBW, GNR, NUKE, BOMB, DOOMSDAY, GENOCIDE, APOCALYPSE.

Web-based Mission Information Reporting System, a USAF computerized protocol.

WO :
Army Warrant Officer cap
Army WO
Warrant Officer; see MISTER, WOJG, WOC, WOBBLY, CROUTON. Although some Warrant Officers, as branch specialists, have been introduced into leadership positions (eg: XO of an SF A-Team), most are technical experts slotted into the TO&E, but are excluded from the CHAIN-OF-COMMAND; so if a commissioned officer is unavailable for command, the duty skips over any available Warrant Officers, and passes to the "hard-stripe" NCO of highest RANK. The Naval Warrant Officer has been a technical specialist since the establishment of the seagoing services, with command assumed by the leader of the combat forces on-board. The color divided bands, on hat and sleeve, adopted by Naval Warrants probably influenced the striped bars of RANK used by military Warrants, with Navy and Air Force in blue on gold or silver, Army and Marine in brown on gold or silver, but altered to black squares since the post-VN redesign for improved recognition. The RANK of Warrant Officer was created on 9 July 1918 to cover field clerks and mine engineers (Army Mine Planter Service of Coast Artillery), with sleeve insignia created 17 Jan 1920, and grade insignia created 12 May 1921. A second grade of Warrant Officer was created on 21 Aug 1941, adding Chief to Junior, and their grade insignia was created on 4 Sept 1942. From 1942 through 1945, a flight officer in Junior Warrant Officer grade existed. Four grades of Warrant Officer were authorized 12 Oct 1949, with designation (WO1 - CW4) and insignia approved 20 Sept 1956, then redesigned and extended two additional grades on 10 June 1970. The USAF has not included Warrant Officers since 1979. In 1988, a Master Warrant Officer rating distinguished CW4s who completed the Warrant Officer School; with the Master Warrant Officer (MW5) grade approved on 5 Dec 1991, and the 1970-insignia approved 16 Dec 2003. As a result of joint operations, Warrant Officers are now authorized to wear branch specific colors and insignia effective 24 Feb 2004. Compare SPEC. [nb: although the USAF phased-out their Warrant Officer ranks in 1979, designating technical personnel as NCOs and command personnel as officers, they did not resume the WWII Army Air Corps program of "Flying Sergeants", inasmuch as pilots and weapons officers are "technicians" ... so a Lieutenant "commands" a one- or two-person aircraft worth $20-million but a Sergeant "commands" a three- or four-person tank crew worth $60-million!]

slang for a Warrant Officer, especially a ROTOR HEAD or PROP JOCKEY, as derived from classic definition of wobble: "inclined alternately side-to-side, as an improperly balanced rotating body; to move unsteadily; to quaver or tremble; to vacillate or waver"; term may be extended to include pay-grade RATING, such as WOBBLY One for WO-1 or WOBBLY Four for CW-4.


Warrant Officer Candidate; see CADET, compare OC.

Warrant Officer Career College.

contraction of POLLYWOG, as used in NavSpeak. Also, slang for any non-white person, or any lower-class person of non-European culture; derived from "foreigner", as the reciprocal of firange/firanji/farang or gaijin/effendi/effemdi. The term may be a truncation of 'golliwogg', which was the name of a grotesque black doll in an illustrated series of children's books by Bertha and Florence Upton; but an alternative origin alleges it to be an acronym for "Wily Oriental Gentleman", "Worthy Oriental Gentleman, or "Westernized Oriental Gentleman". See DINK, GOOK, SLOPE, SLANT-EYE, RICE BALL, ZIP, NIP, JAPE, CHINK, LITTLE PEOPLE, FOREIGN DEVIL; compare LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, BUDDHAHEAD, INDIG. [v: Names of Foreigners or Foes]

Warrant Officer Junior Grade, being an informal reference to the lowest grade (WO1) of Warrant Officer (WO); also called "spot" or CROUTON due to the appearance of the RANK insignia, which shows a single black square centered on a silver bar.

slang for the unit's lead element, including reconnaissance and surveillance functions with pathfinding; also called HAWKS. See I&R, LRSP, LRP, RECON, PEEPERS, PATHFINDER.

designation for the AGM-177 air or ground launched autonomous attack CRUISE MISSILE.

the basic monetary unit of currency in both North (DPRK) and South (ROK) Korea; compare DONG, see LEGAL TENDER.

(forthcoming); created 1941 by psychologist to improve self-image of girls; originated on Paradise Island, an all-female society; "weapons" used by Diana Prince are non-violent and defensive; see GI JANE, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, QUEEN FOR A YEAR, COCK BAIT, SKIRT

technical expert, usually lacking in social skills; also known as techie, boffin, artificer, troubleshooter, nerd, dweeb, geek. Probably originated as palindrome of "know"; but may be derived from Chinese 'yellow dog' (cur) for an informant. See MILICRAT, BEAN-COUNTER, CHIEF, PROFESSOR, WIZARD, PUKE, POGUE, WALLAH, GUNNER. [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs] [aka: intellectual, thinker, scholar, pundit, guru, savant, sage, quick-witted, genius, brain, highbrow, egghead, big headed, brainiac, longhair, pointy-headed, bookworm, master, mastermind, expert, virtuoso, rocket scientist, magus, mage, bailiwick] [v: enfant terrible (French: prodigy); wunderkind (German: prodigy)] [nb: "Eggheads, unite! You have nothing to lose but your yolks!" by Adlai E. Stevenson (1952); "Pointy-headed intellectuals of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your brains." by George Wallace (1972); cf: "Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains." by Karl Marx, "The Communist Manifesto" (1848)]

in Chinese cuisine, a dumpling filled with minced pork and seasonings; usually this boiled dumpling is served in a hot soup of chicken broth garnished with onions and other greens. [cf: Japanese ramen / larmen soup, Vietnamese pho soup]

GULF WAR slang for the PONCHO LINER, a camouflage-patterned nylon insert to the military rain PONCHO, which has been used as a blanket since the VIETNAM WAR, keeping the user warm even when it's soaking wet. This outstanding item of issue has acquired this juvenile referent (not unlike 'blankie') due to its prized "creature comfort" value as SNIVEL GEAR.

the representative figure of an idealized soldier; an effigy or simulacrum; compare TOY SOLDIER; see FUGLEMAN. Also, the stereotypically imperturbable and inscrutable MIL-PERS who is assumed to be thoughtless and automatically obedient to orders; a servicemember who is stoic or dispassionate, unruffled or emotionless, uncaring or detached. Also, by implication, a military member who's rigid or unyielding ... being "as stiff and straight as a wooden soldier". Also, by extension of these presumptions, a servicemember who's inert or unaware, stupid or careless. [cf: wooden Indian; v: man of iron, man of stone]

a simulated weapon (long or short sword, rigid or flexible style, with or without a hilt guard) used for training or competition, such as the Japanese bokken (eg: 'bokuto', 'shinai', or 'suburi') or Aztec macuahuitl, which may be employed, like a 'singlestick', to lethal effect in close quarters combat (CQB); compare PUGIL STICK, FIST-LOAD, RUBBER DUCK, WASTER; see SWORD. [nb: In 1798, Federalist Congressman Roger Griswold of Connecticut taunted Matthew Lyon, a Republican from Vermont, with the accusation that he had used a wooden sword in his military service during the Revolutionary War, wherein Lyon replied by spitting in Griswold's face; Griswold then retaliated on the floor of the House of Representatives by beating Lyon with a cane. The Federalists in the House then solemnly took up the partisan business of whether to expel "the spitting beast" Lyon from the chamber; the motion fell short of the required two-thirds needed for expulsion.] Also, a simulation used as a working or display model, especially when developing a design [eg: tsunagi - Japanese wooden sword blade used to display proposed fittings].

woodland pattern camouflage
woodland camo
informal designation for the green-dominant multicolor or leaf pattern camouflage uniform issued in 1981 for field utility, as derived from the mottled ERDL uniform worn in Vietnam after 1968, which replaced the tropical-weight green jungle uniform that had displaced FATIGUES, and would themselves be later displaced by Battle Dress Uniforms (BDU) and DIGITALS. The woodland pattern is not authorized for wear after 30 April 2008. See CAMMIES, CAMO, DRESS.

BLACK slang for verbal confrontation, being onomatopoeically derived from a barking dog, not a mispronunciation of 'wolf'. WOOF or "woofing" is indicative of the danger posed by a chained guard dog, and imitative of that challenge, having the objective, like other forms of threat display, of getting the adversary to surrender without a fight; it's "big talk, no action", "all show, no go", and "all bark, no bite" ... if the "woofer" can bluster successfully enough to make the "woofee" back-down or back-away, retreat or recoil, then he "sold a woof ticket" ... turning-tail is "buying a woof ticket". Although this posturing is a mechanism to avoid violence, such confrontation can escalate into combat ... most fighters don't waste words, but a cornered coward will fight to escape. This dialogue resembles word-play, rhyme, banter, persiflage, badinage, ranking, rake, pun, jest, jive, jeer, rag, raillery, rigmarole, rap, witticism, or the like (eg: "doin' tha dozens" was a form of "battle rhyme" or 'verbal combat' among BLACK troops). See SMACK, TALK TRASH, SHOOT THE SHIT, SNOW, GAS BAG, HOT AIR, BRAVO SIERRA, MOTOR MOUTH, BLOW SMOKE, CONFETTI, GODDAM, OATH, BAD-MOUTH, COUNT COUP, ATFU; compare CHICKEN SHIT, MIL-SPEAK. [nb: "His battleship mouth got a rowboat ass!"] [nb: 'hooey', allegedly an Americanism used as an interjection for nonsense or tripe, is actually a corruption of the Russian vulgarity ("khuy") for penis, and is commonly used alone (eg: dick, dickhead, dick-wad) or in phrases (eg: dumber than dick; he doesn't know dick; don't dick around; don't stir your tea with your dick)] [cf: migration of "putz" from shine through ornament to penis and dolt; as sexual lure] [v: lucky stiff]

nickname for Warrant Officer PILOT, namely a WOBBLY, ROTOR HEAD, or PROP JOCKEY; perhaps a reverse construction from the onomatopoeic "wop-wop-wop" sound of the propeller. Also, disparaging reference to a non-English-speaking immigrant or refugee, as derived from Italian or French or Spanish words for a "worthless person", but may also be an abbreviation for "Without Official Papers", "WithOut Papers", or "WithOut Passport"; compare WOG [cf: Guinea / Ginney].

reliable information received from a dependable source, being facts or news, a true account; also known as POOP, scoop, skinny, GOUGE, DOPE, ROCKING HORSE APPLES, HOT-SHIT, GREEN GREASE, HEADS-UP, FYI, BULLETIN.

an informal method of temporarily bypassing the delays and obstructions inherent in the official practice of regulatory procedures, being an irregular manner or unofficial means of problem solving; an action, or set of actions, used to compensate for a systemic malfunction when repair is too costly, too time consuming, or otherwise impossible ... a practical solution to an impractical problem. An undocumented technique used to simplify or skirt an issue, whether procedural (mechanistic) or interpersonal (work-flow), in order to attain the desired result; such unauthorized practices can remain clandestine, but an OUT OF THE BOX alternative can revise approved procedures if perceived to be more efficient, less difficult or time consuming. Because WORK-AROUNDs are exceptional and brittle, they have a tendency to fail when stressed by excessive or expanded usage. Incidental improvement entails incidental intervention, but systematic betterment entails systematic revision. See FIELD EXPEDIENT, AD HOC, IMPROVISE / IMPROVISATION, ADAPT / ADAPTABILITY, JURY-RIG, JERRY-BUILT, PUTAINESQUE, SCRATCH, PLAN B, SEAT OF THE PANTS. [v: bug-fix, coping mechanism; cf: design around (ie: a permanent alternative that does not infringe a patent)] [nb: "The misuse or abuse of something is no argument against its proper use." variously attributed to Paracelsus, Virgil, and Aquinas]

(forthcoming); aka: Protestant ethic, Protestant work ethic; see CAN DO / CAN-DO, LAST BEST HOPE, AMERICANIZE / AMERICANIZATION, RAT RACE, IRON CAGE. [The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber] [v: salvation by good works (versus salvation by faith or divine grace)]

used in every culture around the world to pace and coordinate communal labor as performed by a work party or labor force with the musical tempo supplied by the action of the tools themselves (eg: ringing of mauls, whining of blades) or by the movement of the worker's bodies (eg: shuffling or stamping of feet); an efficient method of rhythmically coordinating a group effort for improved performance and safety; see JODY CALL, CHANTEY, CADENCE, HEP, HOISE, AHOY, HEAVE-HO, GUNG-HO, HOOAH, OORAH, YUT, BY THE NUMBERS.


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 SCOUT-SNIPER team; popularized during the GULF WAR-era, this close association extended over many long hours of stressful camaraderie explains the high divorce rate among professional servicemembers.

originally designated any place outside of the VIETNAM WAR or the INDOCHINA conflict, but especially referred to America or to the United States of America; but has since been extended to mean any civilized place outside of a combat zone. The distinction is between a "normal" and predictable (peaceful) environment, such as a homey planet where nobody is trying to kill you, and an "abnormal" and unpredictable (hostile) environment, such as an alternate universe where alien or surreal laws prevail. See REAL WORLD, LAND OF THE BIG PX.

the putative objective of PACIFISTs and PEACENIKs, being not unlike "heaven on earth"; an idealized utopia for short-sighted and simple-minded people who are indulged in their fantasy by protective guardians; see HAPPY VALLEY, WARM FUZZY, STROKE ECONOMY, PEACE, PEACETIME, PEACE AT ANY PRICE, PEACE WITH HONOR.

(aka: Soldiers' Bonus Act or Veterans' Bonus Act) see BONUS ACT.

see WWI.

see WWII.

see WWIII.

see WWIV.

a notorious challenge in the Malvesti Field Obstacle Course at Camp Rogers on Fort Benning that's conducted as part of the Assessment Phase of RANGER SCHOOL, which is subsequent to a three-mile terrain run; it consists of a shallow, muddy, 25-meter obstacle covered by knee-high BARBED WIRE that must be repeatedly traversed on one's back and belly. See LOW-CRAWL, CREEP, CONCERTINA, TANGLEFOOT; compare SUGAR COOKIE, ROCK PORTAGE, SURF TORTURE, WHISTLE DRILL.

colloquialism for an intensely chaotic or disagreeable site or situation; also called SNAKE PIT (qv).

while this phrase usually conveys the normal and continuing progression of all things, not unlike "as the world turns" or "as day follows night" [cf: Archimedes' screw, worm gear], however in this context it refers to the RETALIATION exerted upon an oppressor by a weakling ... that even the wretched or downtrodden have a point beyond which they will not be pushed. This phrase expresses an attempted reversal of an unfavorable situation, where a COUNTERATTACK may alleviate the circumstances or attain some measure of pyrrhic REVENGE, as represented in the old proverb: "Tread on a worm and it will turn". This idiom derives from "the smallest worm will turn being trodden on" in Shakespeare's Henry VI (1592), and from "even a worm turns against the foot that crushes it" in Bakunin's treatise. [cf: humility] [nb: "To revolt is a natural tendency of life. Even a worm turns against the foot that crushes it. In general, the vitality and relative dignity of an animal can be measured by the intensity of its instinct to revolt." by Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin, The International and Karl Marx (1872)]


WP :
abbreviation for White Phosphorous incendiary munitions, which are popularly nicknamed WILLIE PETE, "Willie Peter", "Whiskey Papa" from the phonetic alphabet, including artillery, MORTAR, GRENADE, and as spot-marking target rockets by FACs directing bomb runs; formerly the exclusive province of chemical munitions teams. See THERMITE, ROCKEYE. [nb: phosphorous was first rendered from urine by German alchemists in 1674 while searching for the "philosopher's stone"; white phosphorous ignites spontaneously and luminesces; red and black are derivatives, while phosphor and phosphate are related substances]

designation for a USCG Patrol Boat; with "W" representing Coast Guard, and "PB" denoting Patrol Boat. USCG numbers its small craft by adding the vessels length to the hull number (ie: 82301 is a 82' boat with a hull number of 301); and the hull number also defines the class of boat. USCG initially sent A and B Class boats to Vietnam, which were later replaced by C hull versions.

abbreviation for WeaPoN (qv), weapons, or weaponry; see EQUALIZER.

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, being an epidemiological survey facility within Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), Washington, DC; see FEST.


a timepiece attached to a strap or band that's worn around the wrist as a convenience; although initially considered effeminate, the fashion of wearing wristwatches became popular during WWI, displacing pocket watches as being more practical; luminous hands and numerals were introduced during WWII, and covers for luminous wristwatch faces were introduced during the VIETNAM WAR, making the wristwatch safer but almost as inconvenient as the previously displaced pocket watch! See WATCH, TIME. [v: chronograph, chronometer]

any public announcement, such as would be posted on a bulletin board or published in a daily bulletin (DB), including slogans and graffiti, but especially a foreshadowing of trouble or disaster, a prediction of calamity or doom; as derived from the handwritten prophecy on Belshazzar's palace wall that was interpreted by Daniel [Daniel 5:5-31] as portending the downfall of his reign ["weighed in the balance and found wanting"]. See BULLETIN, CRYPER. [cf: "The moving finger writes, And having writ, moves on; Nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back To cancel half a line." by Omar Khayyam The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1859 tr by Edward Fitzgerald); v: The Writing on the Wall by Mary T. McCarthy (1970)]

to put someone off balance or to catch them unprepared, unable to properly respond, or unable to adequately react, as to catch one's opponent on his off foot or back foot. Also, to take by SURPRISE so as to place one's opponent in an embarrassing or disadvantageous situation; see SPOILING ATTACK, CHEAP SHOT, MANEUVER, YOUR RIGHT FOOT FORWARD.

(wizzo) Weapon Systems Officer, or backseater in fighter aircraft; see GIB, BEAR, EWO, RSO, RIO, TFO; compare FUF.

see WIMP.

WT :
Wireless Telegraphy, a radio transmission; later designated Radio Transmission (RT); compare CW, RADIO, TWX. Also, abbreviation for weight, as "100wt", an avoirdupois unit of measure; see POUND, KIP, PICUL, CALIBER.

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).

literally "What The Fuck, Over", or just "What The Fuck" (WTF), imitative of a RADIO transmission; being a sardonic expression similar to "What Me Worry?" or "Ask Me If I Care", made popular during the VIETNAM WAR, and since expanded to include the 5-Ws: Who..., What..., When..., Where..., Why.... Compare XIN-LOI; see FUCK, FUCK-UP, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, SOL, BOHICA, PYHOOYA, FIGMO.

World War One service medal
service medal
World War Two victory medal
victory medal
World War One, also abbreviated WW1, and referred to as the "First World War", "Great War", "Brave War", or the "War to End All Wars"; fought mainly in Europe and the Middle East, from 28 July 1914 to 11 Nov 1918, between the Central Powers (ie: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria, etc) and the Allies (ie: Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Italy, U.S.A., etc); the U.S. declared war on 6 April 1917, and the first American Expeditionary Force (AEF) troops arrived in Europe that summer to continue training and fight with borrowed arms or materiel. As a result of being disillusioned by their exposure to this war, the young people who came of age at this time were known as the LOST GENERATION; this appellation would later be applied to the Vietnam generation. [v: belle époque ("beautiful epoch")] [nb: 75% of the WWI American Expeditionary Force (AEF) were armed with the Model 1917 Enfield .306cal, not the 1903 Springfield .308cal rifle] [nb: World War I (1917-18): 4,743,826 served; 53,513-116,708 battle deaths]

World War Two, also abbreviated WW2, and referred to as the "Second World War", "Big War", or the "Good War" (by later contrast with the "bad war" in Vietnam); fought mainly in Europe, north Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific islands, beginning with the German INVASION of Poland on 1 Sept 1939, ending on 8 May 1945, and with the Japanese Pearl Harbor attack on 7 Dec 1941, ending 14 Aug 1945, between the Axis powers (ie: Germany, Italy, Japan, etc) and the Allies (ie: Great Britain, France, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., etc). [v: Japanese annex of Manchukuo (1932-45), which parts of Inner Mongolia and Manchuria are now part of China; the 1938 anschluss of Austria with Germany as the province of Ostmark, which union was annulled by the Moscow Declaration in 1943] [nb: the Second World War was not only anticipated by, but was named by Herbert George Wells in The Shape of Things to Come (1933)] [nb: "One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once 'The Unnecessary War'." by Winston L.S. Churchill in Second World War (1948)] [nb: World War II (1941-45): 16,353,659 served; 357,319-407,316 battle deaths]

a propositional World War Three, proclaimed as potential by Winston L.S. Churchill in 1950, being the long anticipated nuclear HOLOCAUST between the superpowers that will purportedly exterminate all life on this planet; this "final war of annihilation" has been the bugaboo or bugbear of PACIFISTs since the atomic bombings ended World War Two. See MAD, TOTAL WAR, A-BOMB, NUKE, BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUCK, OVERKILL, DOOMSDAY, GENOCIDE. [nb: "In the next war, the survivors will envy the dead." paraphrase of Herman Kahn (1960), but (mis-)attributed to Nikita S. Khrushchev by John F. Kennedy (1963)]

a propositional World War Four, being the global proliferation of SMALL WARS after the superpowers have destroyed themselves (v: STATE SUICIDE) in World War Three, whereupon all of the survivors revert to the primitive tribalism of pre-civilization under the despotic rule of warlords and other opportunistic tyrants; a deconstructive dystopia that has degenerated into EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, where everyone is a STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, and everyone has devolved to a CUTTHROAT existence in a perennial BATTLE ROYAL. [cf: Chinese disunity during the Spring and Autumn period (1027-402BC), the Warring States period (403-221BC), and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (AD907-960); v: feudalism]