Sunday, April 17, 2011


Every new army spouse/significant other goes into culture shock when introduced to the military.  One of the causes for that shock is the complete language barrier due to acronyms.  I remember trying to be so up to par with understanding everything but on about my third trip to a post, one of the officers I encountered ran off a list of letters and to this day, I have no idea what he said.  lol.  I think there is a total of about 3,000 acronyms in the military, but of course there is absolutely no need to learn them all.  Here is a list of some of the ones that I encounter the most often.  It'll be an on-going project to adjust it, but at least this is a start for adjusting to military lingo. =P  Happy studying!

AAFES - Amy and Air Force Exchange Service
ACS - Army Community Service (provides a variety of family support services to soldiers, retirees, civilian employees, and their families)
ACU – Army Combat Uniform 
AD - Active Duty
AER - Army Emergency Relief
AIT - Advanced Individual Training 

AKO - Army Knowledge Online (online database soldiers use for e-mail/official correspondence)
ASAP - As Soon As Possible
AWOL - Absent Without Official Leave

BAH - Basic Housing Allowance
BAS - Basic Substance Allowance
BCT - Basic Combat Training 

CDC - Child Development Center
CO - Commanding Officer 
COLA - Cost of Living Allowance (only for overseas soldiers and dependents)
CONUS - Continental United States
CQ - Charge of Quarters, an overnight desk duty

CYS - Child and Youth Services
DA - Department of the Army    
DD or DoD - Department of Defense 
DEERS - Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System
DFAC - Dining Facility (Mess Hall or Cafeteria) 

DOB - Date of Birth
DoD - Department of Defense
DS - Drill Sergeant
FOB - Forward Operating Base
EFMP - Exceptional Family Member Program
ETS - Expiration of Term of Service
FRG - Family Readiness Group
FTX - Field Training Exercise
IAW - In Accordance With
IED - Improvised Explosive Device
JAG - Judge Advocate General (the military's attorneys) 
KIA - Killed in Action
LES - Leave and Earnings Statement 
MIA - Missing in Action
MOS - Military Occupational Specialty—formal job classification, usually expressed as a number or number/letter combination—e.g., 11B Infantryman.
MP - Military Police
MRE - Meal Ready to Eat; portable meals in a plastic bag 

MTF - Military Treatment Facility
MWR - Morale, Welfare, and Recreation
NCO - Non-Commissioned Officer: an enlisted person with command responsibility over soldiers of lesser rank; a corporal (grade E4) or any grade of sergeant (grades E5 - E9)

OCONUS -  Outside Continental United States
OHA - Overseas Housing Allowance
OPSEC - Operational Security
PAO - Public Affairs Officer (responsible for clearing all interaction with the media)

PCS - Permanent Change of Station
POA - Power of Attorney
POC - Point of Contact ( or Person of Contact)
POV - Privately-Owned Vehicle
PT - Physical Training. Although in the plural (PT's), it means the PT Uniform.
PX - Post eXchange. A multipurpose store which usually includes a barber shop and a convenience store. 

R&R - Rest and Recuperation (a period of time given to soldiers who are in a combat area for a total time of over a year) 
RDF - Read Deployment Force
SOP - Standard Operating Procedure 
SSN - Social Security Number
TDY  - Temporary Duty
TTC - Trying to Conceive (Not really a "military" acronym, but I hear it A LOT through military wives)
TDY - Temporary Duty
USO - United Service Organization (provides travel and other services for Soldiers, retirees, and Family members)
XO - Executive Officer (officer second to CO)

Slang Acronyms

BCG - Birth Control Glasses/Goggles. This acronym refers to the standard issue glasses.
ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival 
SO or S/O-  Significant Other

Non-Acronym Expressions

Chow - food, or "breakfast/lunch/dinner". Example: "Is it time for chow yet?"
Class A's - a more formal service uniform that consists of the Army green, single-breasted, 4-button coat; Army green trousers; an Army green shade 415 (a lighter shade of green) short- or long-sleeved shirt; and a black four-in-hand necktie.
Class B's - a less formal version of the Army green service uniform that consists of the Army green trousers and Army green shade 415 short-sleeved shirt without the coat and tie.

Commissary - Military grocery store.
Dress Blues - Light blue pants with dark blue jacket, used for balls and formal events.
Fireguard - overnight desk duty for your bay (the room where your platoon sleeps in the barracks); generally an hour in length and rotates among the men; an historical term that described the duty assigned to soldiers to maintain and keep an eye on the campfires while the rest of the men slept.
Grade - pay grade of a soldier, currently E1-E9 for enlisted personnel, W1-W4 for warrant officers, O1-O10 for commissioned officers. Each grade may translate to several ranks; i.e., Grade E4 may be a corporal (command position) or specialist (non-command).
Latrine - Army term for bathroom. 

Leave- Approved time away from duty (vacation)
Rank - named title of soldier with a particular grade and responsibility, such as Private, Specialist, Staff Sergeant, Captain, etc. See also grade. 

Tricare - Military Medical Health Plan
civilian clothing (not government issued)

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