1st Bn 69th Armor

Glossary Of Vietnam Terminology

69th Armor Page Ray's Home Page E-Mail Me

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z


Agent Orange - Defoliant/herbicide containing 2,4,T Dioxin
AK47 - Soviet/Chicom 7.62mm assualt rifle
Albumen - a blood expander carried by medics to replace lost blood
AN/PRS-4 - Mine detector used by combat engineers
AN/PVS-2 - Smaller Starlight Scope for use on individual weapons
AN/TVS-2 - Larger Starlight Scope for use on crew-served weapons
AO - Area of Operations, your "neighborhood". Ours were Cochise-Green & Walker
APC - Armored Personnel Carrier, usually an M-113
APDS - Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot -The baddest antitank round on earth
ARA - Aerial Rocket Artillery - gunships
Arclight - Radio code for a 3 ship Cell B-52 Strike
ARVN - collection of non-hostile South Vietnamese with weapons
Ash and Trash - Administrative functions of HHC
AVLB - Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge (usually on an M-60 tank chassis)
AW - Automatic Weapons


B40 - armor defeating shaped charge projectile fired by RPG2 and RPG7; origin unknown
Bandaid Box - Radio code for the medic vehicle, usually an M-113 APC
Bandaid - Radio code for the medic
Baseball Grenade - Defensive Fragmentation hand grenade: explodes on impact
Base Camp Commando - See REMF
Base Piece - howitzer closest to the battery center, fired first round of fire mission
BDA - Bomb Damage Assessment - we counted the craters
Beaucoup - Many
Beehive Round - 90mm cannon round containing 8,500 darts or "flechettes" called "Green Can"
Bic - Vietnamese for "understand" "No bic" means "I don't understand"
Big Boy - Radio code for a tank
Black Can - 90mm Canister round containing 1,000 1/2x5/16 inch pellets
Blivet - huge rubber tire-like container for water or diesel fuel: towed or airlifted
Blue Legs - Infantrymen
Blue Line - Radio code for a stream or river
BMFIC - Big Mother F_____ In Charge (Usually the Division Commander or ADC maneuver)
Boom Boom - sex with a prostitute
Boom Boom Girl - A prostitute
Box - Radio code for an M-113 APC
Break Brush - To travel off a trail to avoid mines and booby-traps
Break Squelch - To press the transmit button on the radio handset
without speaking: Twice for all-clear, once for enemy near.
Broken Arrow - Radio code for a unit about to be overrun; diverts all Tactical air to support that unit
Bug Juice - Insect Repellent


C4 - Plastic Explosive in Claymores we used for heating coffee
C and C - Command and Control Ship, usually a Huey, sometimes a Loach
CAR-15 - Carbine version of M-16 with collapsable stock - Officers only
C Rations - Dog food left over from WWII and canned for GIs in Nam
Charlie - Viet Cong, from phonetic alphabet for VC, Victor Charlie
Charles - Formal reference to Charlie
Charm School - Initial training and orientation upon arrival in-country
Cherry Juice - Hydraulic fluid in tank turret traversing system
Cherry School - Initial training and orientation upon arrival in-country
Chieu Hoi - Literally "Open Arms" - RVN Amnesty program for NVA/VC
Chinook - a CH-47 cargo helicopter
CIB - Combat Infantryman Badge (a mark of honor among grunts, justifiably so)
CIDG - Civilian Irregular Defense Group - Usually Montangard tribesmen led by U.S. advisers, usually Green Berets
Claymore - antipersonnel mine (from Gaelic "claidheamh mor" pronounced like "Claymore" meaning Broad Sword)
Class 1 - Rations, usually hot
Class 2 - Individual equipment
Class 3 - Fuel
Class 4 - Barrier material and construction supplies
Class 5 - Ammo
Class 6 - Booze (hard liquor)
Class 7 - Medical supplies
Class 8 - Sundries; Coca-Cola, snacks, cigarettes, most common items found in a PX
Class 9 - Spares
Coax - the coaxially mounted M-73 7.62mm machine gun
Cockadau - derivative of Vietnamese slang, meaning "to kill"
Coke Girl - a Vietnamese woman who sold everything except boom boom to GIs
Concussion Bomb - A bomb containing kerosene that was devastating
Conex - Container, Explosive: used for housing in RVN


Daisy Cutter - a 15,000 pound BLU-82 bomb dropped by C130 to clear an LZ
Danger Close - an air strike or artillery mission within 100 meters of your location
Dee-Dee - To leave
Delta Tango - Designated Targets - Preselected artillery targets located in daylight for use at night
Detcord - Explosive that looks like rope- used to daisy-chain claymores
Dinky-dao - (pronounced "dinky dow") Crazy, Americanized Vietnamese
Donut Dolly - Women from the American Red Cross
Dragon Wagon - a tank transporter, also called Low Boy
Dumbo - A C-123 Provider of the USAF
Duster - an M42, an old M24 tank chassis with two 40mm AA guns in an open turret
Dustoff - Medical evacuation helicopter, usually a Huey


E8 - 35mm 16-tube disposable CS gas canister launcher. Had a nasty habit of firing by itself.
E&E - Escape and Evade
Elephant - Radio code for an M48-A3. Also the real thing: 'Nam was crawling with them
Elephant Grass - tall, sharp-edged grass found in the highlands of Vietnam
ELINT - Poor intelligence gathered electronically at great expense
EOD - Explosive Ordnance Disposal
ETS - Estimated Termination of Service - the day you got out of the Army


FAC - Forward Air Controller, usually flying around in an O-1 Birddog
Fast Mover - FAC radio code for an F100, F105, or F4C aircraft
Fifty - the .50 caliber M2HB machine gun
FNG - F______ New Guy, the term applied to everyone whose name you couldn't remember
FO - Forward Observer, an artilleryman, usually an officer
Fougasse - 55-gal drum filled with napalm and C4 used as defensive perimeter weapon (also "Phougas")
Frag - Offensive Fragmentation hand grenade: five second fuze
Friendlies - Other US or allied troops on the battlefield
Friendly Fire - Officially called "Misadventure" by the DOD. See Short Round
Fire Mission - radio request to the artillery to drop some HE on the bad guys
Firecracker - M-449 round fired by artillery contains bomblets which go off in mid-air.
Fox Four - FAC terminology for an F-4 Phantom in the ground support role.
FSB - Fire Support Base: usually a battery (3 105mm howizters) of guns with a perimeter
FTA - Fun, Travel, Adventure, from Army recruiting ad
FTA - F___ The Army, the more common meaning
FUBAR - F_____ Up Beyond All Recognition
Funny Money - Military Payment Certificates, scrip issued in lieu of dollars
Funny Paper - Radio code for a topo map


Goofy Grape - Radio code for purple smoke
GP - General Purpose bomb. Can kill troops or bust bunkers
Green Can - 90mm cannon round containing 8,500 darts or "flechettes"
Grunts - Infantrymen
Guns - short for gunships
Gunship - Usually a UH1B Huey, later a UH1G Hueycobra
Gun Target Line - You don't want to be on it. See Short Round
Gun Truck - Cargo truck with added armor and machineguns for convoy escort


Hawk - Radio code for ambush team
Hawkeye - Use varied 1) a US sniper or 2) an O-1 aircraft with a starlight scope
HE - High Explosive
HEAT - High Explosive Anti-Tank - fin-stabilized armor defeating projectile
HEP - High Explosive Plastic (Composition B)
HHC - Headquarters and Headquarters Company
H & I - Harrassing and Interdicting artillery fire
Hmong - The Montagnards of Laos. Comprised the bulk of the Laotian Royalist Army; fought for the U.S.
Hoi Chanh - an enemy soldier who took advantage of the Chieu Hoi program
Hook - short for a CH-47 Chinook
Horn - the radio
Hotel Charlie - Hot Chow
Hre - Tribe of Montagnards, 110,000 strong.
Huey - sometimes UH-1A appeared as HU-1A which led to name "Huey", the image of Vietnam


IFFV - 1st Field Force Vietnam
II Corp - The AO for the 1/69 Armor, included Binh Dinh, Kontum, Pleiku provinces
Illum - Illumination rounds fired by artillery, mortor, M79, or dropped by aircraft
In-Country - on the ground in South Vietnam
Indian Country - Area controlled by Charles
IP - Initial Point - A reference point in the attack


Jarai Tribe of Montagnards, living in the Pleiku area
Jesus Nut - Large nut which holds rotor on rotor shaft
Jody - "...Jody was there when you left, you're right"
JP-4 - Fuel for Hueys and fast movers
Jungle Boot - Special boots with stainless steel shank and holes to drain water out
Jungle Fatigues - tropical weight jacket and pants
Jungle Penetrator - bullet shaped device for extracting wounded in triple-canopy rain-forest
Jungle Rot - Any of a number of fungal infections caused by moisture in Vietnam


KHA - Killed Hostile Action
KIA - Killed In Action
Killer Junior - technique developed out of the need to protect 155mm battery from ground attacks, since Army didn't design a "Beehive" round for the 155mm howitzer. Killer Juniors were perfected by Lt. Colonel Robert Dean the CO of 1/8th Field Artillery, 25th Infantry Division Artillery. The technique called for firing HE Projectiles with Time Fuses set at 2 seconds or greater to burst approximately 30 feet off the ground at ranges of 200 to 1,000 meters. Killer Juniors (and the 8" Killer Senior) proved to be more effective than Beehive for antipersonnel because the enemy could not crawl under the burst as they could the fan of the Beehive pattern.
Kit Carson Scout - North Vietnamese Regulars who defected and acted as scouts for US troops
Klick - a kilometer, 1,000 meters


La Dai - Come here!
Lager - Tanks or APCs circled in a defensive position, usually at night
LAW - Light Antitank Weapon - M-72 - Fired 66mm round from disposable launcher
LBE - Load Bearing Equipment, web gear, system for carrying canteen, ammo, pack, battle dressing
LBJ - Long Binh Jail, the Army Stockade in Long Binh
Leaf Killers - nickname for Dumbo pilots spraying Agent Orange defoliant; Operation Ranch Hand
Lefty Lemon - Radio Code for Yellow Smoke
Legs - non-airborne infantrymen (see also straight legs)
Lima Delta - Line of Departure: point of no return in an attack
Lima Lima - LL - Land Line: a field phone
Lima Pappa - LP - Listening Post
Little People - radio code for ARVNs
LLDB - Vietnamese abbreviation for Luc Luong Dac Biet, Airborne Special Forces
Loach - Light Observation Helicopter, usually an OH-6 (Hughes 500C) but also OH-58 (Bell Jetranger)
Log - Logistics
Log Bird - resupply helicopter, usually a Huey, sometimes a Chinook
LOH - Light Observation Helicopter (Loach), usually a Hughes 500C but also Bell Jetranger
Louie Lime - Radio Code for Green Smoke
Low Boy - a tank transporter, also called Dragon Wagon
LRRP - Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol - 5 man team dropped into indian country
LRRP Rations - freeze dried food developed for LRRPs tasted better than "C" Rations
LZ - Landing Zone (note that some were Fire Support Bases and had names)


M-2HB - Caliber 50 machine gun (HB = Heavy Barrel)
M-3A1 - Caliber 45 submachine gun (M-3 was older variant)
M-16A1 - Later, better model of the famous automatic rifle
M-16E1 - Early model M-16 which jammed frequently
M-17 - Protective mask worn by non-vehicle crewmen
M-18A1 - Claymore antipersonnel weapon, threw out 700 steel balls, lethal to 50 meters.
M-24 - Korean war vintage Chaffee light tank (ARVNs only)
M-26A1 - Fragmentation hand grenade (offensive)
M-291 - 81mm mortor; range 3,500 meters; found in weapons platoon of Infantry rifle company
M-30 - 4.2 inch (107mm) mortor (rifled tube), maximum range 5,650 meters; usually a platoon was assigned to a Bn Hqs
M-33 - Fragmentation hand grenade (defensive) aka "baseball grenade"
M-41 - Korean war vintage Walker Bulldog light tank (ARVNs only)
M-42 - Duster (twin 40mm Bofors antiaircraft cannon on M-41 chassis)
M-48A3 - Main Battle Tank used in Vietnam because of its thick hull
M-49 - Trip flare
M-55 - Quad .50 caliber machine-gun mount.. Range 7,275 meters
M-56 - Selp-Propelled Anti Tank gun (90mm) on tracked chassis, named Scorpion used by D/16th Armor 173rd Airborne
M-52A2 - 5-ton tractor, as in tractor-trailer
M-60 - in Vietnam, the 7.62mm squad machine gun of the infantry; belt fed, air-cooled; 600 rounds per minute
M-67 - 90mm recoiless rifle; range 450-800 meters; an Anti0Tank weapon, it was used to bust bunkers in Vietnam
M-72 - LAW (Light Antitank Weapon) 66mm rocket in disposable launcher
M-79 - 40mm grenade launcher, aka "Thumper"; range (HE) 400 meters
M-88 - Tracked recovery vehicle (used by armor and Maintenance units)
M-101 - Split trail 105mm Howitzer (traditional Artillery units); range 11,000 meters
M-102 - Closed trail 105mm Howitzer (Airborne and Air Cav units); range 11,500 meters; could be lifted by a Huey.
M-106 - Selp-propelled 4.2 inch (107mm) mortor track (modified M-113)
M-107 - Self-propelled 175mm gun; tube maximum range 32,600 meters; crew of five.
M-108 - Self-propelled 105mm howizter; tube had range of 11,500 meters;
M-109 - Self-propelled 155mm howizter; tube had range of 14,600 meters; largest direct-support artillery
M-110 - Self-propelled 8" howizter; tube range 16,800 meters; five man crew
M-113 - Armored Pesonnel Carrier fitted with Chrysler 209HP gasoline engine
M-113A1 - M-113 fitted with General Motors 215HP Diesel engine
M-114 - Tracked, armored, scout vehicle. Fitted with Chevy 283 cubic inch gasoline engine
M-114A1 - M-114 fitted with General Motors Diesel engine
M-125A1 - Self-propelled 81mm mortor (based on M-113A1 chassis)
M-132 - "Zippo" track mechanized flamethrower (based on M-113A1 chassis)
M-151 - Jeep (truck, cargo, 4x4)
M-449 - "Firecracker" round fired by artillery contains bomblets which go off in mid-air.
M-548 - Tracked cargo vehicle
M-577 - Tracked command vehicle, modified M-113 (used by all maneuver Bns)
M-578 - Tracked recovery vehicle (used by infantry and artillery)
M-728 - Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV) M-60A1 chassis/turret w/ 165mm demolition gun
Mac the FAC - The Forward Air Controller, usually flying around in an O-1 Bird Dog
MACV - Military Assistance Command Vietnam
Mad Minute - Random firing of all perimeter defensive weapons to discourage infiltration
Max Ord - short for Maximum Ordinate
Maximum Ordinate - The highest point in an artillery round's trajectory, important for pilot's to know
MEDCAP - Medical Civil Action Program - Our Medics treated Vietnamese villagers
Meo - Laotian term for Hmong tribesmen, meaning "savages".
MFIC - Mother F_____ In Charge
Mighty Mite - Small portable blower used for filling tunnels with CS (tear agent) powder
Mike Mike - Millimeter
Mil - unit of circular and vertical/horizontal measurement in tank gunnery. 6,400 in a circle
MOGAS - Short for MOtor vehicle GASoline - military grade gasoline
Moi - Literally, "savages". Vietnamese term for Montagnard tribesmen
Montagnard - French Lit. "Mountaineer" Originally from Polynesia, they were the original inhabitants of the coastal region of Vietnam
Montagnard Bar - A Hersey Tropical Bar
MPC - Military Payment Certificates, scrip issued in lieu of dollars
MRRF - Mobile Road Reaction Force


Napalm - Thickened gasoline. Resembles Jell-O in bombs, maple syrup in a Zippo-track
NCOIC - Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge
NDP - Night Defensive Position
Nickel - radio code for a junior NCO
No Bic - I don't understand
NLT - No Later Than
Number One - The Best
Number 10 - The worst
Nung - Tribe of Montagnards, 15,000 strong; the fiercest of the Montagnard CIDG troops.
NVA - North Vietnamese Army


OIC - Officer In Charge
One Four - The platoon Sergeant
One Six - The platoon leader
One Six Alpha - The platoon leader's gunner, the Assistant tank commander
OOA - On Or About
Oscar Pappa - Observation Post
Oscar Track - Call sign for Company HQs or Bn S-3


P-38 - Can opener that came with C-Rations
Penny - Radio code for an enlisted man
PFT - Portable Flame Thrower
Phougas - 55-gal drum filled with napalm and C4 used as defensive perimeter weapon (also "Fougasse")
Piaster - Vietnamese Money (in fall 1968 100 piasters was 1 US Dollar)
POL - Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants
Poncho Liner - lightweight, camouflage blanket for use at night in Central Highlands. Very useful
Pop Smoke - to ignite a smoke grenade for identification and wind direction for Hueys
PRC-25 - AN/PRC-25 man portable FM radio set
PRC-77 - AN/PRC-77 man portable secure FM radio set
Prick 25 - Slang for the AN/PRC-25 man portable FM radio set
Punji Stake - sharpened bamboo stick booby trap smeared with excrement to cause infection
Push - radio frequency (because you PUSHed a button to select one)


Quad-50 - Four Caliber 50 machine guns (M2HB) mounted on a gun truck for convoy defense
Quarter Cav-50 - Nickname for 1/4th Cavalry
Quick Reaction Force - Helicopter-borne infantry with gunships able to react to enemy attacks
Q-Service - Quarterly service of vehicles


Range Card - We never used them, but said we did
Red Ball - Radio code for a hard surface road
Red Haze - Radio code for ammonia sensing people-sniffer in aircraft
Red Legs - Artillerymen, aka Cannon-Cockers
Red Splash - another name for mad-minute
Renago - Tribe of Montagnards, 10,000 strong.
Rootin Tootin Raspberry - Radio Code for Red Smoke
REMF - Rear Echelon Mother F_____
Remington Raider - "Stretch" Grohman term for REMF (above); anyone typewriter-armed; see also "Smith-Corona Commando"
Rhade - Tribe of Montagnards, 120,000 strong; of Maylay-Polynesian descent, continued to build houses on stilts.
RF/PF - Ruff Puffs Regional Forces/Popular Forces, usually without weapons (see ARVN)
Rock N' Roll - an M-16 on automatic
Rome Plow - A Caterpillar D7E bulldozer used for defoliation missions
Round Eye - Caucasian, usually a female
RPD - (Ruchnoi Pulyemet Degtyarova) Soviet made squad machinegun, 7.62mm
RPG2 - Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher, Soviet made
RPG7 - Later model Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher, Soviet made
RRF - Rapid Reaction Force
RTO - Radio Telephone Operator
Rucksack - also ruck: packs carried by grunts
Ruff Puffs - Regional Forces/Popular Forces, usually without weapons (see ARVN)


SA - Small Arms
Sabot - Dutch word for "wooden shoe" cladding around an APDS round
Sandy - A1-E1 Skyraider providing fire supression on a SAR mission
SAR - Search And Rescue mission - looking for downed pilots
Sappers - NVA/VC whose job it was to blow things up; also an engineer
Search and Avoid - Typical ARVN mission
Sedang - Tribe of Montagnards, 70,000 strong.
Short - Very little time left in-country
Short Round - an artillery round that falls short of the target on the Gun Target Line
Sinh Loi - Sorry about that!
Sitrep - Situation Report, made hourly to next higher headquarters
Six - Radio call-sign of a unit commander (Company, Battalion)
Six One Higher - Radio code for your boss if you're a Six
SKS - Soviet/Chicom 7.62mm carbine
Skypilot - Chaplain
Sky Soldier - paratrooper of the 173rd Airborne
Slick - a UH1D with no seats (slick floor) used for carrying troops
Sling Load - load carried beneath a helicopter on a cable
Smith-Corona Commando - "Stretch" Grohman term for a REMF (which see); anyone typewriter-armed; see also Remington Raider
Snake - slang for AH-1 Hueycobra attack helcopter
SOI - Signal Operating Instructions: codes for radio communications
Spad - A1-E1 Skyraider providing tactical air support
SP - Start Point. Beginning of a road march
Spectre - Radio code for the AC-130 Gunship, which we called Spooky
Spooky - Radio code for the AC-47 Gunship the REMFs and Saigon reporters called "Puff"
SP Pak - Sundry Pak
SRAP - Short Range Ambush Platoon
Starlight Scope - AN/PVS-2 Image Intensification Device, turned night into day
Strongpoint - term for any defended position, especially along highways to discourage ambushes.
Super-quick - 105mm howitzer HE round fuze for immediate detonation
Swift Boat - 50' boats operated by USN out of Qui Nhon et al; armed with 50 caliber machine guns


TA-312 - Hand-cranked field phone
TAC-E - Tactical Emergency
TAOR - Tactical Area Of Responsibility
Tango Charlie - Radio code for Tank Commander (also Track Commander)
Tea Party - radio code for an ambush
Tee Tee - very lttle
Three Quarter Cav - nickname of 3rd Squardon 4th Cavalry because abbreviation is 3/4 Cav
Thumper - an M-79 grenade launcher, so called because it made a hollow "thump" when fired
Tien Bing - Chinese for "Sky Soldier"; appears on my 173rd Airbone Brigade Combat Certificate
Tien Lien - Vietnamese phrase for "forward" or "charge"
TOC - Tactical Operations Center: a huge bunker where the old man lives with his staff
TOE - (also TO&E) Table of Oranganization and Equipment; Army rules for personnel & equipment
TOT - Time On Target - Artillery fire from different batteries timed to explode at the same time.
Tracks - the collection of track blocks on a tracked vehicle (REMFs say treads)
Tropo - short for tropospheric antennas used for long range voice communication


UCMJ - Uniform Code of Military Justice
UFN - Until Further Notice
UH-1A - sometimes appeared as HU-1A which led to name "Huey", the symbol of the Vietnam War.
Uncle Ho - Ho Chi Minh
USARPAC - United States Army Pacific
USARV - United States Army Vietnam
URC-10 - AN/URC-10 Survivial Radio used by LRRPs
UTM - Universal Transverse Mercator - grid system on topo maps


Viet Cong - Literally, Vietnamese Communist. The Former Viet Minh were co-opted by communist sympathizers
Viet Minh - Literally, Vietnamese Nationalist: movement started by Ho Chi Minh to get French out of Indochina
Voting Machine - Nickname for ARVN tanks because they only came out during a coup d'etat
VTR - Vehicle, Tracked, Recovery (the tow track for tanks), Usually an M-88


Web Gear - canvas belt and shoulder straps used for packing equipment and ammunition on infantry operations
Whispering Death - Charles' name for a B-52 strike. He couldn't hear or see them
WHA - Wounded Hostile Action
WIA - Wounded In Action
Willie Pete - White Phosphorous round or grenade (evil stuff)


XM-177E2 - CAR-15, short-barrel, collapsable-stock version of M-16 rifle
XM-203 - 40mm grenade launcher attachment for M-16 rifle
XO - eXecutive Officer, the second in command of a unit.


Yankee Station - Tonkin Gulf Area of South China Sea patrolled by US Navy
Yards - Affectionate GI term for Montagnards


Zippo Track - An M-113 APC converted to a mechanized flame-thrower M132A2
Zulu Time - Greenwich Mean Time (now UTC) about twelve hours later than our time zone in 'Nam
End of Glossary

T O P 69th Armor Page Ray's Home Page E-Mail Me

Creation Date: Saturday, April 6, 1996
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 11, 1998
Copyright © Ray Smith, 1996