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Do you understand Mil-Lingo?

Reference Notes

This quiz on military expressions consists of fifty questions divided into three sections: 'Nam rap, Gulf gab, and Nav speak. They have been compiled for the entertainment of trivia mavens.

Vietnam-era Military Terminology

[nb: this set of slightly edited questions has been extracted from the U.S. Military Lingo webpage on the Fun Trivia website, located at]

    Q#01: What is a deuce-an'-half?
      _           A winning poker hand.
      _           A 2.5 millimeter shell.
      X           A transport truck with a 2.5 ton capacity.
      _           A 2.5 millimeter syringe.

    Q#02: What is the military meaning of NBC?
      _           National Broadcast Command, the official military network.
      X           Nuclear, biological, and chemical weaponry.
      _           Non-biological combatants (i.e.: machines).
      _           Native-born combatants (i.e.: Viet Cong).

    Q#03: What is a thumper?
      _           An unusually loud explosion.
      _           A faulty mortar round.
      _           A B-52 raid.
      X           An M-79 grenade launcher, or its operator.

    Q#04: What is a bouncing betty?
      X           A mine that launches itself to waist-height before exploding.
      _           An especially energetic female soldier.
      _           The host of Radio Hanoi.
      _           A performer at a USO show.

    Q#05: What is another name for a grunt?
      X           An Army or Marine infantryman.
      _           An ARVN soldier.
      _           The maneuver used to counteract G-forces during jet flight.
      _           A new recruit.

    Q#06: Which unit was referred to as Tropic Lightning?
      _           The 4th Infantry Division.
      X           The 25th Infantry Division.
      _           The First Infantry Division.
      _           The 3rd Marine Division.

    Q#07: Who needed to be most aware of a Cobra in Vietnam?
      _           Everyone needed to fear this dangerous snake.
      X           The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army.
      _           The US forces.
      _           All of these.

    Q#08: How many US servicemen were killed in the Vietnam War?
      X           Over 58,000.
      _           About 35,000.
      _           Less than 10,000.
      _           More than 340,000.

    Q#09: What is a Huey?
      _           An innocent civilian.
      _           The Vietnamese version of Kilroy.
      X           The UH-1 utility helicopter.
      _           Vietnamese slang for a US Marine.

    Q#10: Which of the following locations was not a US R & R site during the Vietnam War?
      _           Australia.
      X           Canada.
      _           Hawaii.
      _           Thailand.

Gulf-era Military Terminology

[nb: this set of slightly edited questions has been extracted from the Military Lingo Quiz webpage in the Some Friday Fun section of the Military Times blog site, located at; this quiz was compiled from information published in Embrace the Suck: A Pocket Guide to Milspeak by Austin Bay]

    Q#01: The term ranger candy refers to what?
      _           Having sweet potatoes for dinner.
      _           The nickname for a new soldier joining a Special Forces team.
      X           An 800-milligram Motrin (ibuprofen) pill.
      _           An easy mission; like it's a piece of cake.

    Q#02: What does the term Air Force mittens mean?
      _           Gloves that are worn while piloting a plane.
      X           Slang for pockets ... gloves have fingers, but pockets, like mittens, do not.
      _           Groupies who hang out with pilots, are all over them and in their way.
      _           A famous squadron name that only goes to the best of the best.

    Q#03: What is the John Wayne Driving School?
      _           A private academy where you enroll at your own expense to keep from failing the test.
      _           A course of horseback riding at the Cavalry School for drill and ceremonies.
      _           Where you're sent because of all the tickets you've gotten driving government vehicles.
      X           Where new soldiers bang-up a Humvee in the process of learning to drive it.

    Q#04: The phrase All-American Decoy indicates?
      X           A guard posted out in the open.
      _           A streetwalker waiting outside a foreign Army base.
      _           An Iraqi wearing an Army uniform.
      _           A soldier who does something foolish on the battlefield.

    Q#05: The term fobbits refers to?
      _           Short soldiers resembling hobbits, and begun with F as a qualifier or intensifier.
      _           People who drive cargo trucks that are labeled freight on board.
      X           A derogatory term for soldiers who never leave a forward operations base.
      _           A deceitful person who cheats or tricks others, as by fobbing-off or palming-off.

    Q#06: Embracing the suck means?
      _           Receiving constant verbal abuse from Army superiors.
      _           Getting nothing but dirty or degrading assignments.
      _           Your plans to go home are curtailed by a stop loss order taking effect.
      X           The situation is bad, but deal with it.

    Q#07: The phrase Semper Knife means?
      _           Great job we did in combat today – as always fighting.
      X           A twist on Semper Fi, indicating backstabbing.
      _           Having to do additional work – as always hacking away at it.
      _           Being on the short end and never getting an even break – as always cutoff.

    Q#08: A pig looking at a wristwatch means?
      _           An inexperienced soldier has just joined your unit.
      _           The girl your buddy is flirting with has an Army boyfriend that he doesn't know about.
      _           Your new sergeant is a bad supervisor.
      X           Someone wearing a dumbfounded look.

    Q#09: An airman alignment tool is?
      _           A chiropractor who takes referrals from military clinics.
      _           A bar girl who's known not to be very choosy at closing time.
      X           Any tool that can be used to beat the [bleep] out of someone.
      _           A special device that calibrates the movements of aircraft crewmembers.

    Q#10: When a soldier refers to another Fallujah, it means?
      _           There is no action here.
      X           This is a screwed-up place that's crawling with bad guys.
      _           Equipment is breaking faster than it can be fixed.
      _           A type of field training exercise that involves heavy urban fighting.

    Q#11: If you take a turkey peek, it means?
      _           You're cheating on an exam with notes pinned to your uniform.
      _           You're using night vision goggles to see a target on the rifle range.
      _           You're sneaking a look at a female soldier's legs.
      X           You're glancing around or over an object or surface, such as a corner or wall.

    Q#12: A place called Marineland is?
      X           Slang for Iraq's Anbar province, which is mainly patrolled by Marines.
      _           A bar or other establishment that is mainly frequented by Marines.
      _           Slang for a Marine base.
      _           Slang for a beach, whether for recreation or amphibious operations.

    Q#13: When is Groundhog Day for soldiers?
      _           When your uniform allowance arrives unexpectedly in your paycheck.
      _           A special command holiday, when everyone scatters immediately after morning formation.
      _           Slang for the formal inspection conducted by the Command Sergeant Major.
      X           Every day of your tour in Iraq.

    Q#14: Reference to the Advanced Echelon means?
      _           A group of dignitaries who will spend the day touring an Army battalion.
      X           A unit's first group on the ground in the theater of operations.
      _           A brigadier general and his entourage.
      _           The compound where electronic communications are established with forward ground elements.

    Q#15: To soldiers, angels are?
      X           Soldiers wounded in combat who later die in a military hospital.
      _           Female Red Cross workers who are sent to remote locations to offer humanitarian assistance.
      _           Young and innocent refugees of war.
      _           Beautiful women who frequent the clubs on base looking for romance.

    Q#16: For soldiers, a beltway clerk is?
      _           The soldier tasked to drive personnel to and from National airport in a government vehicle.
      _           Slang for anyone who spends their active duty career behind a desk.
      _           The soldier required to keep track of the measurements for personnel assigned to a weight-loss program.
      X           Slang for someone who trades on his supposed political connections in Washington.

    Q#17: the acronym FUBIJAR means?
      _           An obscene phrase that translates as don't give that Iraqi any responsibility because he's a disaster waiting to happen.
      _           A request for more to drink – Fill'er Up Bro' I'm Just About Ripped.
      X           A play on FUBAR – Fouled Up But I'm Just a Reservist.
      _           A somewhat sorrowful refrain – Feelin' Unhappy Because I'm Just About to Retire.

    Q#18: Referring to someone as Ali Baba means?
      _           Slang for anyone from the Middle East.
      X           Slang for enemy forces.
      _           Slang for someone who is behaving stupidly.
      _           Slang for someone trying to get rich off of others.

    Q#19: When the word MARINES is used by soldiers, it means?
      _           That other military service where brawn is substituted for brains.
      _           Guys who can get any girl in a bar because their uniforms are so attractive.
      _           An acronym for Mangy Animal Rockheads Introducing Never Ending Stupidity.
      X           An acronym for Many Americans Running Into Never Ending Stuff.

    Q#20: The initials AZ represent?
      _           Abbreviation for a proficiency rating after completing a course of training on Assault Zones.
      _           Short for Alfa Zulu, which is a greeting between troops in a combat zone.
      X           Short hand designation of Al-Qaeda's former Iraqi emir: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
      _           Abbreviation for All Zones, when indicating their status.

Naval Slang and Terminology

[nb: this set of slightly edited questions has been extracted from the Military Lingo Quiz webpage in the Some Friday Fun section of the Military Times blog site, located at; this quiz was compiled from information published in Haze Gray & Underway by Andrew Toppan and Jeff Crowell]

    Q#01: When sailors talk about Amateur Night, they are referring to?
      _           Their first night of inebriation after joining the Navy.
      _           A blind date arranged by a Navy friend who turned out to be a prude.
      X           The day after payday, when nothing seems to go right, especially shipboard evolutions.
      _           Man overboard drills conducted in the middle of the night.

    Q#02: The Navy expression Balls to Four means?
      _           We are winning these war games, no sweat.
      X           The midnight to four watch.
      _           Setting the watch to include only the best qualified in the division.
      _           An impromptu health and welfare inspection conducted at 0400.

    Q#03: When sailors speak of the Golden Rivet, they mean?
      _           The part of a ship that must cross the equator for the crew to get official credit.
      _           Earning your first Good Conduct medal.
      X           The mythical last rivet that completes construction of a ship.
      _           Getting a special commendation from the Skipper.

    Q#04: The slang term Mud Duck refers to?
      X           A shallow water sailor, like the Coast Guard.
      _           A Navy ship that has run aground.
      _           A special drink of chocolate milk and fish sauce served at CPO initiations.
      _           Description of a sailor who has been put on restriction in a liberty port.

    Q#05: On a Navy ship, the FTN Space is?
      _           The Chief's Mess when it is closed during a formal disciplinary action.
      _           A certain berthing area known to contain many complainers and slackers.
      _           The place where a sailor stands at attention during Captain's Mast.
      X           A hard to reach space or compartment used by sailors to hide from officers or chiefs.

    Q#06: When sailors refer to the Dirty Shirt Wardroom, they mean?
      _           The laundry area of a ship.
      _           The engineering spaces.
      _           Davy Jones' locker.
      X           A space aboard ship that doesn't require those officers who enter to be in the uniform of the day.

    Q#07: An Oolie on a submarine is?
      _           The shower/toilet area.
      X           A difficult question that may not be about your duties or one that tests your knowledge to the limit.
      _           A seasick sailor.
      _           A sonar expert.

    Q#08: Speaking in terms of tradition, what does Piping Hot mean to sailors?
      _           Originally, that the boatswain's pipe is blowing an urgent call.
      X           Originally, meals were announced aboard ship by piping or blowing a call on the boatswain's pipe.
      _           Originally, slang for an enlisted man's date waiting on the pier.
      _           Originally, a musical interlude played for sailors sweating over their work.

    Q#09: In Navy talk, to Punch Elvis means?
      _           Get so inebriated you need help back to the boat.
      _           Show disrespect to a Chief Petty Officer.
      _           Taking another sailor's wife home from a nightclub.
      X           To eject from an aircraft.

    Q#10: To sailors, a Rug Dance is?
      _           Anxiously waiting for someone to relieve you on watch so that you can use the toilet.
      _           Nervous behavior exhibited while waiting in the passageway before a Captain's Mast.
      X           An awkward period spent with a senior officer or CPO, usually in a very intense one-sided conversation.
      _           The trip down the aisle that a sailor takes who is reluctant to get married.

    Q#11: The traditional expression Show a Leg means?
      X           A traditional call at reveille; originating in the days of sailing when women were let aboard ship.
      _           A traditional way to salute someone who has just been promoted in rank.
      _           A traditional signal for a private Chief's mess meeting that's conducted in a barroom.
      _           A traditional catcall sounded by sailors from the gun deck to women on the wharf.

    Q#12: The purpose of Dogwatches for sailors is?
      _           To be a roving watch around the ship in port.
      _           To allow sailors to privately switch schedules for money.
      _           To punish sailors by giving everyone onboard a watch at the same time.
      X           To permit watchstanders to eat the evening meal.

    Q#13: Whenever a sailor refers to another sailor as Walter, it means?
      _           A term of affection between old drinking buddies.
      X           Short for Walter One Way, the selfish sailor who always does for himself and never helps others.
      _           The other sailor someone is hot racking (sharing) a bunk with on a crowded ship.
      _           Short for Walter Under the Waves, the classic seasick sailor.

    Q#14: A Trim Party to sailors is?
      _           When all hands are ordered at the same time to help paint the ship's exterior.
      _           A private celebration when a sailor is promoted to Third Class Petty Officer.
      X           A prank often pulled on a recently qualified Dive Officer or Chief of the Watch.
      _           Being assigned to collateral duties that always keep you late or behind in your regular work.

    Q#15: To sailors, Tomachicken is?
      X           A Tomahawk cruise missile.
      _           A tuna fish casserole served for chow.
      _           A shy, reserved sailor who is reluctant to approach women in a club.
      _           The female offspring of a superior, who are very much off limits socially.

    Q#16: When someone on a Navy ship refers to the Teakettle, they mean?
      _           The main galley where the meals are cooked.
      _           A snack area where coffee and tea are made and served.
      X           The nuclear engineering plant.
      _           The operations area, where everyone works under constant pressure.

    Q#17: Traditionally, a Son of a Gun in Navy terms is?
      _           A son who joins the Navy, just like his father did.
      _           The alternate gunner on the watch.
      _           The dupe who is willing to buy everybody drinks, night after night.
      X           A male child born or conceived while afloat.

    Q#18: In the Navy, Boy Butter is?
      _           Something you can't talk about in polite conversation.
      _           The opposite of elbow grease, when not putting muscle into a job; a work related put-down.
      X           A light tan grease used by weapons types on torpedoes.
      _           Obvious compliments made to a CPO in order to get special privileges.

    Q#19: On a Navy ship, Gawkers, Walkers and Talkers are?
      X           Personnel who are off-duty.
      _           A special inspection team that comes aboard while the ship is at sea.
      _           Shipboard surveillance and communication equipment that most of the crew knows nothing about.
      _           Civilians who gather in a group on the pier for a private tour of a ship.

    Q#20: In the Navy, J.S. Ragman refers to?
      _           The Secretary of Defense.
      X           A dirtbag or screwed-up member of the crew.
      _           The commanding officer.
      _           A member of the clean-up crew in the engine room.