air force slang
dave at WILTON.NET
Mon Dec 27 08:57:26 UTC 2004
Most of these aren't particularly USAF slang terms. Most are common to the
US Army and probably the other services as well.
dave at wilton.net
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Mullins, Bill
> Sent: Sunday, December 26, 2004 9:44 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: air force slang
> from Airman Magazine 11/97
> GI Jargon: A lexicon of airman idioms and flight line slang
> by Tech. Sgt. Pat McKenna
> When I told my mom I was "short" (a double-digit midget to be exact) and
> going TDY to the Sandbox before punching out of the Puzzle Palace
> for a PCS
> to the ROK, she quickly replied, "Huh?" and asked, "Could you
> repeat that in
> English, please?"
> Mom isn't quite conversant in Air Forcese - the unique parlance
> that's been
> spoken by bluesuit service insiders for the last 50 years. Air Force-speak
> is Greek to her and many "outsiders."
> In an effort to acquaint the uninitiated with the language of Airphonics,
> Airman magazine has provided a translation guide to this distinctive
> dialect, including terms dating back before 1947, when the Air
> Force became
> a separate service.
> Above my paygrade: Another way of saying, "Don't ask me."
I would translate it as, "don't ask me; I'm just doing what I've been told
> Ace: A combat pilot scoring five or more air-to-air kills.
> Alert: Pulling missile launch, bomber or fighter alert duty.
> At zero: Having an enemy fighter on your tail.
> Auger in: Euphemism for crashing an airplane.
> Bag(s): Flight suit.
> Bandit: Enemy fighter.
> Bluesuiter: Air Force member.
Common to the other services as well. They call airmen "bluesuiters" as
> Blues: The Air Force's blue uniform.
Also army, except army blues are a dress uniform, not everyday wear.
> Bogey: Unidentified aircraft.
> Boomer: Boom operator on an aerial refueling aircraft.
In the navy, a "boomer" is a missile submarine.
> Brat: Child of a military member.
> Buck slip: Routing slip attached to memos that requires signatures. Comes
> from "passing the buck."
> Butter bar: Second lieutenant. Also called "el tee," "louie" and the
> "missing link."
> Buy the farm: Get killed in action.
The above four are army terms as well.
> Check your six: Watch your tail!
> Civvies: Civilian clothes.
Army term as well.
> Cumulo granite: A cloud-enshrouded mountain.
> Deadhead crew: A second crew, usually on an airlift mission, who are
> Deep Kimchi: Big trouble. Used by airmen stationed in Korea.
Army term as well.
> Doolie: First year cadet at the Air Force Academy.
> Double dipper: A retired servicemember working in civil service.
> Double-digit midget: Less than 100 days left on station.
> Dream sheet: Nickname for Air Force form used to volunteer for
> El-Tee: Nickname for a lieutenant. Sometimes called a "louie."
> Face time: Getting in to see the boss.
The above five are army terms as well.
> Fangs out: A gung-ho fighter pilot itching for combat.
> FIGMO: Acronymn for Forget It, Got My Orders.
> File 13: Trash can, sometimes called the circular file.
The above two are army terms as well.
> First shirt: A squadron's first sergeant.
> First termer: Usually an enlisted member serving his first hitch
> [enlistment] in the service. As opposed to a lifer.
> Fly Boy: An Air Force aviator, also known as "zoomies" and "wing nuts."
> Fighter pilots also are known as "fighter jocks."
> Fruit salad: A chest full of ribbons.
> FUBAR: Acronymn for Fouled Up Beyond All Repair.
> Full-bird colonel: An Air Force 0-6, who has silver eagles. A "light"
> colonel is the nickname for a lieutenant colonel, who wears silver
> "bottlecaps" (leaves).
The above four are not unique to the Air Force.
> Fur balls: Confusion during a multiple aircraft dogfight.
> Getting mopped up: Donning chemical warfare gear.
Army too. MOPP = Mission-Oriented Protective Posture
> GI party: Massive "policing" [cleaning] of an office or dormitory.
> GI: Government Issue. American servicemember.
> Giant voice: A public address system that broadcasts messages across the
> base or flightline.
> Gig line: The alignment of the uniform's shirt, belt buckle and fly.
Above four are Army too.
> Go get me a yard of flightline: A spurious errand new recruits are sent on
> to procure mythical substances. These wild goose chases are called
> "runarounds" or "go-fors." Other imaginary items requested
> include "a gallon
> of propwash" and "skyhooks."
Army too, except for "flightline."
> Golden BB: A lucky shot that brings down an aircraft.
> Ground pounder: Term for Air Force members who don't fly. They're also
> called ground hogs, wing weenies, penguins, chairborne rangers, pencil
> pushers and desk jockeys, among others. Aviators in staff jobs are said to
> be "flying a desk."
In the army, a "ground pounder" is an infantryman.
> Hedgehop: To fly an aircraft low. Also known as brushing the
> bushes, flying
> in the weeds and contour chasing.
> Hitch: An enlistment.
> Hitting the silk: World War II slang for parachuting from an aircraft.
> Nowadays, it's a "nylon letdown."
> Homesteading: Remaining at one base for a long duration.
> Hurry up and wait: A term airmen use to describe the pace of military
> Lifer: A term used by first-termers to refer to career servicemembers.
> Lifers are usually "ate up," and are staying in the military "for the
> Media puke: A journalist. Also called headaches, pencils and JIB rats. JIB
> is short for Joint Information Bureau.
Above four are army too.
> Milk run: An uneventful, easy combat flight.
> Monkey suit: The fur suit used by World War I and II aviators
> flying at high
> altitudes. Now used to refer to the military uniform in general.
> Monopoly money: Foreign currency.
> Night CAP: Nighttime Combat Air Patrol.
> Notams: Notices issued to aircrews on what they might encounter en route.
> O-dark-30: Early in the morning.
> Painted: Getting scanned by radar.
> PCS: Permanent Change of Station.
> POV: Privately Owned Vehicle. Your car as opposed to a GOV (government
> Pucker factor: Level of anxiety experienced by aircrews.
> Puke: Somebody in a different career field as yours. For
> instance, an admin
> puke, PA puke, headquarters puke, etc.
Above four are army too.
> Punch out: Eject or bail from an aircraft. Sometimes used to say
> your going
> home for the day or leaving.
> Puzzle Palace: The Pentagon. Also known as Fort Fumble and the Fudge
> RHIP: Acronym for Rank Has Its Privileges
> ROAD: Retired On Active Duty.
> ROK: Pronounced Rock, short for Republic of Korea. Okinawa and
> Guam are also
> referred to as "rocks," because they are small islands.
> Sandbox: Saudi Arabia. Also called the "Desert" and the "Beach."
> Short: Ready to retire, separate or change duty stations.
> Sierra Hotel: Pilotspeak for "Super Hot!"
> Skate: Not working hard on the job.
Above eight are army too.
> Slick sleeve: An airman basic.
> SNAFU: Situation Normal, All Fouled Up.
> Target-rich environment: Pilotese for more targets than bombs.
> TDY: Temporary Duty
> The World: The United States, as in "When are you going back to
> the World?"
Above four are army too.
> Thule coolie: Someone stationed at Thule AB, Greenland.
> Trained killer: A recent graduate of technical school, such as "He's a
> Keesler-trained killer."
> Triple-A: Anti-Aircraft Artillery fire.
> Turn and burn: To service an aircraft quickly and get it airborne again.
> Also called a hot turn.
> Whitewalls: A hair cut high above the ears.
> Why Not Minot?: Nickname for Minot Air Force Base, N.D.
> Wizzo: Nickname for weapons systems officers, also known as backseaters,
> GIBs [Guy In the Backseat] and trained bears.
> Yankin' and bankin': Fighter pilotese for aggressive aerial maneuvers.
> Zulu: Greenwich Mean Time.
Common to all services.
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