"Generation Kill" glossary

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 22 02:47:22 UTC 2008

Random notes WRT '50's military terms:

.50 Caliber: official designation: "Gun, machine; .50 cal.; w/tripod"

Blousing one's boots: of course, it's the bottoms of one's trousers
that are bloused, not one's boots, but "blousing (-s- [s]) one's
boots" has been the only form of the phrase used since the '50's. Back
in the day, blousing in the Army was accomplished by the use of
two-ply, fabric-covered rubber bands known as "blousing garters."
Whether to use these was left to the individual. If they were not
used, the trouser-bottoms *had* to be tucked into one's boot-tops, the
only method then permitted to the other branches of service.

Donkey dicks:  So, that's the origin of the phrase, to "smell like ten
barrels of donkey dicks"!

E-tool: "Entrenching," instead of "excavation," tool in the Army

Fiddy, hundo are the only soulful terms; the others, needless to say,
are standard.

Flak jacket: dates back to Vietnam, at least

Footmobile: used by the colored at least "since mother was a girl"

NJP: called "article 15" in the Army, after the number of the relevant
section of the U[niform] C[ode of] M[ilitary] J[ustice], once more
colorfully known as the "Articles of War."

Police: likewise in the Army, though it's usually expressed as "police up."

Rack: means "bunk" in the Army; also, a lockable apparatus that holds
combat equipment, e.g., rifle rack.

SOP: means "what is required by regulations or by standing orders" in
the Army; usually occurs only in the phrase, "That's not SOP," meaning
"That's not done," "I don't play that shit," etc., in slang

Sergeant-Major: "Command sergeant-major of the Army" is the highest
enlisted grade (strictly speaking, only officers have rank) in the
Army. There is only one such person of this grade in the entire Army.
Once, twin brothers both rose to the rank of sergeant-major, one
becoming the command sergeant-major of *the* Army and the other
becoming the command sergeant-major of *an* army, such as the Seventh
Army, which one I no longer recall.


On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 3:49 PM, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      "Generation Kill" glossary
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Here's an extensive glossary of Iraq War terms used in the HBO miniseries
> "Generation Kill":
> http://interestingdiscussions.blogspot.com/2008/07/generation-kill-glossary.html
> Evidently derived from this Word document:
> http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/files/gen_kill_glossary.doc
> Some interesting items on the list, though it does repeat the POG = "Person
> Other than Grunt" etymythoacronym.
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
 -Sam'l Clemens

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