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B : an aircraft prefix under the Joint Service Designation System that represents 'bomber'.
BA : Vietnamese term for a married woman, a matron, equivalent to Signora, Senhora, Frau, Madonna, Dame, Madame, or Mistress (Mrs); compare CO, MAMA-SAN. [cf: grandam, nana, nanny, amah, ayah]
BABY BOND : see SAVINGS BOND.
BABY BOOMER : a person born during a period of sharp population increase, especially someone born in America after the troop demobilization at the end of WWII (1945-65); a member of the "me generation" who's responsible for codifying the double-standard in nuisance statutes, for indicting the security and safety of their stable society, for warranting emotional rationalization as a conclusion for debate, for casting aspirsions upon traditional values without ameliorating them, and other hackneyed mainstays of the countercultural revolution. These narcissistic BABY BOOMERs, or simply "boomers", believe that the world began with their birth (and will end with their death), and that they invented wild sex, mind-altering drugs, loud music, lewd dancing, tender words, ridiculous fashions, noble causes, and the "generation gap" ... and like all other egomaniacal solipsists, their pathetic claim to individuality is shamefully meretricious and embarrassingly jejune. See BEST AND BRIGHTEST, PACIFIST, HIPPIE, SYMPATHIZER, PINKO, BULLSHITVIK, PROTESTOR, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME, WE SHALL OVERCOME, KUM BA YAH, LOVE BEADS, THE PILL, PREEVERT, TRIPPIE; compare STRAIGHT ARROW, SILENT MAJORITY, TRADITION. [v: Age of Aquarius, BoomsDay; cf: the lost generation, notch baby, the silent generation, the greatest generation, the beat generation, Peter Pan generation, generation Jones, gen-W (aka: generation Whatever), gen-X / generation X (aka: the baby buster generation), generation Y (aka: echo boomers, generation next, millennials), generation Z (aka: digital natives, internet generation, me generation, generation I)]
BABY BRIGADE : slang designation for the armed youths fighting for various causes around the world, such as the Hitler Youth of the Nazis, the Red Guard of the Chinese Communists, the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, and the Young Lions of Iraq; also categorized as "Kalashnikov kids" (due to the ubiquity of the AK rifle) this sociopathic trend has been increasing throughout the 20th century in violation of international conventions and the LAWS OF WAR. Children, by definition, are supposed to be protected by society because they are the inheritors of society; it is implicit that the "tree will grow as the twig is bent", and that without a future there is no past ... not that war has exempted children, from Attila and Genghis to Hitler and Stalin, Ho and Mao, but that children are mankind's "last best hope" for a better world. Except that children are now being recruited for combat (eg: sabotage, infiltration, booby-trapping, etc) and combat support (eg: intelligence, communication, transport, etc) by ruthless and fanatical factions, because immature and adolescent youngsters are more malleable; being mentally, physically, and emotionally indoctrinated more easily and thoroughly than skeptical adults. by contrast to modern ethnic cleansing and religious purges, the Children's Crusade was supposed to be victorious by innocent faith, not by suicidal zeitgeist nor psychopathic nihilism. See WMD, APOCALYPSE, HOLOCAUST, OVERKILL, KNOCK INTO A COCKED HAT, GENOCIDE, MASSACRE, TRIGGER-HAPPY, TURKEY SHOOT, KILL 'EM ALL, WARMONGER, RETALIATION. [nb: underage (or overage) enlistment in the Armed Forces of the United States may violate Punitive Article 83: Fraudulent Enlistment, Appointment, or Separation, and/or Punitive Article 84: Unlawful Enlistment, Appointment, or Separation, with False Swearing subsumed; cf: assistant (eg: powder monkey, drummer boy) and apprentice (eg: page, plebe, midshipman, CADET)] [v: anti-Soviet "Edelweiss Pirates" in post-WWII East Germany]
BABY DOC : affectionate title for an enlisted physician's assistant (PA); see CORPSMEN, MEDIC, DOC, PECKER-CHECKER, BAND-AID, BAC SI, Y SI, BONE CUTTER, SAWBONES, CANOEMAKER, ANGEL, FUZZY-WUZZY ANGEL, RAMP TRAMP, SSTP, ORDERLY. [nb: a rural medico (equivalent to PA) in China is affectionately called "barefoot doctor" for a greater dedication to patient care than material success] [nb: the field occupations most often targeted in combat, because their loss so immediately influences unit effectiveness and morale, are the leader, pointman, signalman, machinegunner, and medic]
BABY FLATTOP : nickname for an Escort Carrier (CVE), being a small inexpensive aircraft carrier serving from 1944 to 1959; also called "Little Giant" and "Mighty Midget", "Jeep Carrier" and "Woolworth Carrier", and designated "Combustible-Vulnerable-Expendable" by the sailors who served aboard them. See WARSHIP.
BABY KILLER / BABY-KILLER : pejorative description of an American soldier in the VIETNAM WAR, as imputed by anti-war PROTESTORs and countercultural RADICALs, being a characterization extended from the My Lai MASSACRE under the direction of LT William L. Calley and CPT Ernest L. Medina (v: PEERS INQUIRY, BUTCHER BRIGADE) to all veterans and servicemembers, but originating in the PROPAGANDA against the Imperial Germans during WWI wherein purported "eyewitnesses" fabricated incidents of German Huns gleefully lancing Belgian infants with their BAYONETs. Although history is replete with instances of soldiers victimizing civilians, including children, there are no documented cases of American atrocities since the institution of the international LAWS OF WAR that have gone unpunished. So despite evidence to the contrary, this persistent stereotype only exists in the modern era as either a fictitious trope or a sociopolitical ploy, or both (eg: George 'Bubber' Kelly who shoots and wounds four-year-old Baby Wilson in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers). See BRUTE, KNUCKLE-DRAGGER, BUBBA EFFECT, REACTIONARY, ANTI-FEDERALIST, CONSERVATIVE, WHITE TRASH, THIRD ESTATE. [nb: Vietnam-era protest chant: "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many babies did you kill today?!"] [nb: as persuasive impetus to commit American forces to the GULF WAR, Kuwaiti nurses testified before the U.S. Congress that Iraqi troops were murdering hospitalized infants by exposing them and hurling them onto the floors, a "fact" that was disproven after hostilities ended]
BABY-SAN / BABY-SAHN : any Asian child; term borrowed from Japanese; compare EM, MAMA-SAN, PAPA-SAN; see BRAT, STREET ARAB, CHILDREN'S BRIGADE, BABY BRIGADE. [aka: crumb-cruncher, curtain-climber, rug rat, ankle-biter, nip / nipper, squaller, yeanling, weanling, whelp, sperm blossom, youngling, grig, sprat, lambkin, shrimp, shaver, bantam, mite, dandiprat, peewee, wisp, peanut, munchkin, hop-o'-my-thumb, Lilliputian, pixie, sprite, pipsqueak, waif, wildling, darter, changeling, jackanapes, rascal, imp, hoyden, chit]
BABY SHIT : a WWII-era dysphemism for mustard sauce, probably associated with the color called "baby shit yellow"; also known as "baby-poo". See CONDIMENTS. [nb: poo / poo-poo / poop is the excrement of infantile animals, especially puppies]
BABY 007 : dismissive reference to Army CID agent working undercover in a unit to catch drug users or other anti-military activity; also called "Junior G-Man". Term may also apply to USN NIS and USAF OSI agents; and women are called "Jane Bond". See SECRET AGENT, SPOOK, CLEAN, CLEANSKIN, DEA, BUTTON, SECRET SQUIRREL, POLICE. [nb: after exposure to the popular films about the fictitious British secret agent, Southeast Asian peoples began referring to James Bond as "kiss-kiss, bang-bang"]
BACK BRIEF : a combined BRIEFING and DEBRIEFing that must be rendered to the next higher echelon when an intermediate-level officer or NCO, acting on his own initiative, launches an operation or commences a series of events which develop in unpredicted ways or expand beyond their original scope; compare BRIEF-BACK; see HOT WASH, COLD WASH, AAR.
BACK CHANNEL : indirect or informal communication, also called "backdoor", "side door", "rumor mill", or "whisper web"; usually credited with "getting things done" despite rank or RED TAPE, but also responsible for BAYONETing unpopular men and impolitic ideas (roorback) by informal enforcement of the "unwritten rules". See SCUTTLEBUTT, GOUGE, POOP, THE WORD, GREEN GREASE, GRIPEVINE, FALSE FLAG, DECEPTION, BAMBOO TELEGRAPH, RUMOR, CHINESE WHISPER, WHISPERING CAMPAIGN, HOT LINE; compare BAYONET SHEET, FANG, NASTY-GRAM, NET, TELECON. [nb: "The only thing that travels faster than misinformation is bad news!"; "What Peter says about Paul says more about Peter than it does about Paul." by Arthur Schopenhauer; the "narcissism of small differences" by Sigmund Freud; "When you hear somebody usin' words ag'in somebody, don't go by his words, for they won't make no damn sense, [but] go by his tone, and you'll know if he's mean and lying." by Forest Carter, The Education of Little Tree (1976)]
BACKGAMMON : a game of chance and strategy that's played by two persons upon a specially marked board that's divided by a space (called 'the bar') into two tables ('inner' and 'outer' table), each of which has twelve alternately colored triangular spaces (or 'points'); the players move their disk-shaped tokens along the board according to the rolls of two dice, with the object of the game being to remove their own fifteen disks from the board first. Probably derived from the Indian game of Parcheesi, a form of backgammon seems to have been played by Babylonians, Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans before migrating from the Middle East into Europe during the Tenth century. See ACEY-DEUCY, WAR GAMES.
BACK-OF-BEYOND : see BUMFUCK, GARDEN SPOT, MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, BOONDOCKS.
BACKPACK : informal usage for anything that's "man-portable" or relatively "pocket" sized, from communications and surveillance equipment to materiel and weapons, especially tactical NUKEs; also called "suitcase". See RUCKSACK, BUG-OUT KIT, DUNNAGE, BUSTLE, GRUNT, WEB GEAR, RADIO, DUMMY STICK. [nb: "rucksack" = back-sack; "knapsack" = bite/snap-up/eat, food sack; "kit-bag" = soldier's small bag/knapsack; "haversack" = single-strapped feed bag worn over one shoulder; musette = single-strapped small bag worn over one shoulder] [cf: bundle, bindle/bindlea, swag, bluey, dilly bag, tucker-bag, bag, pouch, tote, sack, traps, pack, grip, gripsack, overnighter, weekender, holdall, carpetbag, B-4 bag, suitcase, one-suiter, single-suiter, two-suiter, three-suiter, portmanteau, Gladstone bag, traveling case, garment bag, Val-Pack, luggage; v: "scrip" wayfarer's bag or wallet; "viaticum" traveler's money and necessities]
BACKPACK NUKE : a compact "man-portable" tactical nuclear weapon of relatively low-yield (ie: less than 15 kilotons); also called "suitcase nuke". See NUKE, CBR, WMD, FALLOUT, GROUND ZERO; compare SUBATOMIC WEAPONS.
BACK STEP : the preliminary portion of a MARCH command executed at regular QUICK TIME, and typically calculated as fifteen inches per step, measured from heel to heel, which moves the unit backwards until called to a halt; see HALF STEP, SIDE STEP, PACE.
BACKSTOP : substantiation or verification, either authentic or synthetic, for a LEGEND or COVER, as to bolster a lie with more lies; see TRADECRAFT. Also, any support, safeguard, or reinforcement, as with reserves. [cf: backup, second-string]
BACK STORY : the mission-specific cover story and alias assumed for an operative or operational team; also called "field legend" or LEGEND; see COVER, POCKET LITTER, CLEAN, TALK THE TALK, BACKSTOP, LIFTED SKIRT, NOC, TRADECRAFT.
BACKTRACK : to literally trace a course or route, or to figuratively re-trace a sequence or pattern of behavior, back to its point of departure or all the way back to its origin; also known as WALK BACK THE CAT; see TRACK, TRACE, TRAIL, PECKER TRACKS, CASTOFF, BEAT AROUND THE BUSH, INDIAN ROPE TRICK, BREADCRUMBING. Also, to withdraw from an activity, undertaking, venture, position, or the like; to reverse a policy or undo a position ... "walk the cat back", "turning back the clock", "putting the genie back in the bottle", "putting the cat back in the bag", or "replacing the toothpaste in the tube".
BACKWASH : the disturbance in the air left by a moving airplane or any of its parts, especially that which flows to the rear of the aircraft; properly known as WASH; compare UPWASH, PROP WASH. Also, the flow, sweep, or breaking of water, especially that water thrown backward by the motion of oars, propellers, and the like; properly called WASH or "wake". Also, slang for the hinterland, BOONDOCKS / BOONIES, backcountry, sticks, bush, THULE, upcountry, frontier, backwater, BANJO COUNTRY, INDIAN COUNTRY, DOWN RANGE, SANDBOX. Also, a condition or ramification, consequence or aftereffect, usually undesirable, that persists long after its initiation or inception; see LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.
BAC SI : (bock see) Vietnamese term for MEDIC, CORPSMAN, or physician; compare Y SI; see DOC, BABY DOC, BONE CUTTER, SAWBONES. [cf: Quan Y Vien (military medical corpsman); Nguoi Giai Phau (surgeon)]
BAD ATTITUDE : exhibiting a selfish ("What's in it for me?") or cynical ("You've mistaken me for someone who cares."; "Do I look like somebody who gives a damn?") approach to life's difficulties and challenges, which is countered by motivational teamwork ("The word TEAM is not spelled with an 'I' in it!"); see HALF-ASSED, GUNDECKING, SHORT-TIMER ATTITUDE, GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK, BOONDOGGLE, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, CUTTHROAT, IOTA. [v: anomie]
BADB : (bov) in Irish mythology, a spirit who, delighting in war, incited armies to fight and appeared to warriors about to be defeated; see GOD OF WAR, WHITE VC.
BAD BOY : slang for a difficulty or problem that's fraught with harmful or hazardous potential, whether a situation, person, or thing; compare BAD GUYS, see DUD. [aka: problem, difficulty, crisis, trouble, predicament, critical situation, straits, obstacle, impediment, obstruction, barrier, hindrance, dilemma, puzzle, quandary, perplexity, rough going, tough job, hard sledding, stumbling block, hot water, deep water, mess, muddle, bungle, fuddle, snag, jam, pickle, bad actor, bad egg, bad apple, good-for-nothing, no-goodnik, bad news, bad one / bad on', bogeyman, badman / bad man, bad guy, baddie / baddy, badass, troublemaker, mischief-maker, agitator, provoker, agent provocateur, instigator, fomenter, inciter, rabble-rouser, nuisance; cf: puppy (ie: presumptuous, conceited, inexperienced youth)]
BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK : a wry or sardonic comment made as an informal summary of the current situation, or a casual assessment of the present operational status, with the implication of impending difficulty if not disaster; as derived from the Western novel and film of the same name. Compare FRAG REPORT, SPOT REPORT, SITREP, GONE SOUTH, FUCKED-UP, FIDO, GUSTO, GUNG-HO, WETSU, A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, DO OR DIE, BITE THE DUST. [nb: a screenplay of the same name by Don McGuire and Millard Kaufman is based upon the story "Bad Day at Hondo" by Howard Breslin, instead of the book by Michael Niall]
BADGE : a special mark, emblem, blazon, token, or device representing membership, achievement, authority, or other attribute; see INSIGNIA, CREST, DUI, DI, BRASS, BEERCAN, EMBLEM, CHARGE, GREEN TAB, BRASS HAT, BAY, HEADGEAR, SCRAMBLED-EGGS, SPAGHETTI, PIP, CHOP, RATING, RANK, PINNING, BRANCH, ENSIGN, WIGWAG, BRACELET, CORD, TRASH, PATCH, SANDWICH, SCROLL, HERSHEY BAR, FLASH, OVAL, TAB, Q-TAB, TRIPLE CANOPY, JUNGLE EXPERT, RECONDO, BOLO BADGE, EOD, SAPPER, PATHFINDER, WINGS, PARACHUTE, MFF, AIR ASSAULT, GLIDER, RIGGER, PILOT, DOLPHIN, WATER WINGS, DIVER, SCUBA, HARD HAT, UDT, BUDS, BUDWEISER, CIB, CMB, CAB, GONG, FRUIT SALAD, DEVICE, OLC, BATTLE STAR, V-DEVICE, IMPACT AWARD, HERO, BATTLE CRY, TOAST, SIGNATURE. [nb: an irregular display of regimental unit emblems appeared before 1861, but distinctive corps badges seem to have been originated by MG Philip Kearny, having confused officers on the battlefield, directed that his officers of the 3rd Division III Corps of the Union Army attach red flannel badges to their caps, which fashion was shortly adopted by their enlisted men, and later sustained by Kearny's successor (BG David Birney) following his 1862 death; Kearny's practice seemingly inspired MG Joseph Hooker, who then directed MG Daniel Butterfield to design the standardized corps-level badge shapes (eg: disk, lozenge, trefoil, triangle, square, pentagon, star, shield, acorn, heart, arrow, crescent, Maltese Cross, Saint Andrew's Cross, etc) for the Union Army of the Potomac, and after 21 March 1863, divisions within each corps by consistent color (1st Div = red; 2nd Div = white; 3rd Div = blue; 4th Div = green; 5th Div = orange), which were also depicted on guidons; these corps badges were worn on the left shirt front or at the top of the hat, but sometimes on the side or front of the hat, and as the Civil War progressed, these badges became more elaborate and stylized, some embroidered, some enameled, often with numerals centered on the motif. Except for BG P.G.T. Beauregard's armbands at Bull Run and MG Thomas J. Jackson's hatbands in the Shenandoah Valley, the Confederacy did not develop a system of unit insignia; it has been asserted that the Washington Artillery at Bull Run in 1861 wore the first distinguishing unit badge in the form of red flannel strips, but the traditional red trousers and red seam stripes of the artillery branch casts doubt upon this confused claim] [nb: an insignia emblematic of the honors and lineage of a military organization, unlike familial "coats of arms", may be individually enhanced but not personally heritable; v: Heraldry] [nb: pagan Norsemen awarded metallic bracelets in recognition of meritorious or valorous deeds]
BADGE OF COURAGE : in its simplest and most forthright sense, any medal awarded for conspicuous gallantry or valor; in its secondary sense of proven bravery or demonstrable intrepidity, a wound or scar; and in its most abstract sense, a dauntless or stout-hearted character revealed by a certain "look in the eyes", a particular carriage or countenance, an impressive deportment or mien. See BRAVERY, COURAGE, VALOR, V-DEVICE, IMPACT AWARD, GUTS, MOXIE, ONIONS, BEARING, DIEHARD, WINTER SOLDIER. [nb: the "red badge of courage" in Stephen Crane's novel (The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War 1895) is an honorable wound that tacitly testifies of one's fortitude] [v: the Cowardly Lion in The Wonderful World of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)] Also, in the Special Forces Association, the distinction given to a person ("decader") who has served ten or more years on active duty with U.S. Army Special Forces teams.
BADGE OF HONOR : a euphemism for a combat wound, or the scar resulting from such a wound, by extension of any meritorious award or valorous decoration; often sardonically excused by the humble disclaimer: "If it weren't for the honor of the thing, I'd just as well forgo it." Compare BADGE OF COURAGE, MORE HONORED IN THE BREACH THAN THE OBSERVANCE, CUSTOMS AND COURTESIES OF THE SERVICE; see GONG, IMPACT AWARD, FRUIT SALAD, BOLO BADGE, TRASH. Also, any mark of distinction that sets someone apart from his fellows, especially VETERAN status among the mass of THIRD ESTATE civilians; see KNUCKLE-DRAGGER, BRUTE, REACTIONARY, CONSERVATIVE, ANTI-FEDERALIST, HUMAN ZOO, MEAT EATER, WHITE TRASH.
BAD GUYS : the enemy, consisting of armed resistance regardless of political affiliation or economic persuasion; also known as "bad hats" or "black hats", "bad boys" or "bad actors", "hostiles" (hoss-tyles) or FOE. See NVA, VC, VIET QUOC, VIET MINH, NLF, VPA, PRG, PLA, BO DOI, PAVN, CHARLIE, LONGHAIR, GOMER, LUKE THE GOOK, RED, RED CHINA, CHICOM, PRC, PLAN, LAUNDRYMAN, CHINK, GOOEY, CPVF, CCF, RED SHIRT, BLACK SHIRT, BROWN SHIRT, NAZI, HERMAN THE GERMAN, USSR, IVAN, BULLSHITVIK, NIP, MEATBALL, JAPE, BUTTERHEAD, NKPA, GOOK, SKINNY, ALI BABA, ISAAC THE IRAQ, SCARAB THE ARAB, MUJ, HAJJI, MAHDI, ISLAMIST, RAGHEAD, SABOTAGE, GUERRILLA, INSURGENT, TERRORIST, BANDIT, WOG, FOREIGN DEVIL, OPFOR, ORANGE FORCE, PURPLE FORCE, RED FORCE; compare MARVIN THE ARVN. [nb: the dehumanization of one's enemy is usually a preliminary (if not a prerequisite) to his extermination] [v: vernichtungsgedanken] [v: Names of Foreigners or Foes]
BADLANDS : an informal referent for enemy territory, especially out in the field or jungle, the hinterlands or outback, as any remote area away from BASE CAMPs or cities. Also, a barren area in which soft rock strata are eroded into varied forms, some bizarre or fantastic; any rocky terrain that's been severely eroded by wind and water; this term alludes to the difficulty in traversing such rough country. See BUSH, BOONDOCKS / BOONIES, THULE, TULE, THE J, INDIAN COUNTRY, APACHE COUNTRY.
BAD MEDICINE : informal reference to narcotics and other illicit drugs since the Vietnam-era; see CAN SA, GRASS, STICK, PIGTAIL, HAY, TAR, THAI STICK, SPICE, HUBBLE-BUBBLE, DOPE, CHEERIOS, RANGER CANDY, BISCUIT, JUNK, SMACK, HOT SHOT, CHINA WHITE, FIVE FINGERS, ANGEL DUST, BATH SALTS, MAGIC MUSHROOM, COLORS, LSD, BUMMER, WASTED, STONED. [v: gateway drug, hard drug, soft drug, designer drug, prodrug; cf: miracle drug, wonder drug]
BAD-MOUTH : to criticize or censure, often disloyally; a transliteration derived from Mande through Gullah creole into English, meaning to cast a spell or curse. Also, peevish, querulous, or splenetic talk, as to speak negatively or pessimistically, hypercritically or faultfindingly; to carp, complain, derogate, cavil, quibble, grouse, crab, gripe, or bellyache; compare SUCK IT UP. Also, to use vulgar, obscene, scurrilous, or profane language, as to have a dirty- or foul-mouth, and also spelled "badmouth" [cf: bigmouth, loudmouth, blabbermouth]; see TALK TRASH, SHOOT THE SHIT, BRAVO SIERRA, SCUTTLEBUTT, HOT AIR, MOTOR MOUTH, VERBAL DIARRHEA, BLOW SMOKE, WOOF, CONFETTI, RUMOR, BACK CHANNEL, BAYONET SHEET, NASTY-GRAM, FANG, HAWK, GIG, CALL ON THE CARPET, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, FALSE FLAG, MIL-SPEAK, EXPLETIVE, GODDAM, SMACK, OATH. [nb: 'gee' and 'gee-whiz', used as an interjection or exclamation, derive as euphemisms for the name "Jesus"; archaic 'zounds' derived as contraction of "God's wounds"; "blimey" or "gorblimey", used as an interjection or exclamation, derive as a reduction of "God blind me"; 'hooey', allegedly an Americanism used as an interjection for nonsense or tripe, is actually a corruption of the Russian vulgarity ("khuy") for penis, and is commonly used alone (eg: dick, dickhead, dick-wad) or in phrases (eg: dumber than dick; he doesn't know dick; don't dick around; don't stir your tea with your dick; don't dip your dick in the soup)] [cf: migration of "putz" from shine through ornament to penis and dolt; as sexual lure] [v: lucky stiff] [Swearing is either juvenile or crass, but MIL-PERS admire talent and respect skill, so creative vulgarity and uncommon scurrility is often appreciated. "The talk of him that sweareth much maketh the hair stand upright." Ecclesiasticus 27:14 Apocrypha; "In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer." by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens); "Take not God's name in vain; select a time when it will have effect." by Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce; "Grant me some wild expressions, Heavens, or I shall burst." by George Farquhar; "When angry, count four; when very angry, swear." by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens); "A whoreson jackanapes must take me up for swearing; as if I borrowed mine oaths of him and might not spend them at my pleasure. ... When a gentleman is disposed to swear, it is not for any standers-by to curtail his oaths, ha?" by William Shakespeare; "A footman may swear; but he cannot swear like a lord. He can swear as often: but can he swear with equal delicacy, propriety, and judgment?" by Jonathan Swift; "'Twas but my tongue, 'twas not my soul that swore." by Euripides; "It comes to pass oft that a terrible oath, with a swaggering accent sharply twanged off, gives manhood more approbation than ever proof itself would have earned him." by William Shakespeare; "When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty. It may not sound nice to some bunch of little old ladies at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember. You can't run an army without profanity; and it has to be eloquent profanity. An army without profanity couldn't fight its way out of a piss-soaked paper bag. … As for the types of comments I make, sometimes I just, By God, get carried away with my own eloquence." by George S. Patton Jr; "And when the riflemen heard their commander swear so prodigiously, their minds were filled with amazement to learn how little they knew of profanity!" said of Daniel Morgan during the AMERICAN REVOLUTION] [v: protomartyr Saint Stephen was canonized for blasphemy]
BAD PAPER : slang for a less-than-honorable DISCHARGE from military service. [nb: during the 19th century, a "bobtail" discharge was slang for both a curtailed term of service, and for a certificate with its character cutoff so as to obscure or conceal the type of discharge ... always "other than honorable"] Also, informal reference to forged or counterfeit currency; see BENSON SILK, MPC, FUNNY MONEY, SUPER NOTE, SPIRIT MONEY, LEGAL TENDER. [v: fiat money; cf: flash money] Also, informal reference to a personal check written with insufficient funds to cover the expenditure; a worthless or fraudulent "rubber check" that will 'bounce' when cashed, being a practice that's also known as "kiting" or "paperhanging". [v: UCMJ Article 123a Forgery: the making, Drawing, or Uttering of a Check, Draft, or Order without Sufficient Funds]
BAD TIME : obligation of extended service time added as repayment for punishment period in military confinement; also called DEAD-TIME. See CHL, PAIN, STOCKADE, BRIG, THE CASTLE, GUARDHOUSE, UCMJ.
BAFFLE : an artificial barrier or intermediate obstruction that's been introduced so as to check or deflect the passage of air or light, sounds or gases, shock waves or ricocheting shrapnel, communications or visitations, such as the antechamber to a TOC or BUNKER. See VESTIBULE, MAN-TRAP, SUMP; compare PNEUMONIA HOLE.
BAG : see DUNNAGE.
BAG JOB : see SNATCH, BLACK BAG.
BAGMAN : an Americanism for a person who collects, carries, or distributes money that's been gained by dishonest means; see BLACK BAG, CANDY, HONEY POT; compare MAILMAN, RUNNER, COURIER.
BAGRAM AIR BASE : an allied air facility for Coalition forces during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF); see GULF WAR, WAR ON TERROR. Also, a military detention facility located near Charikar in Parvan, Afghanistan, used for Islamic TERRORISTs; see CLUB FED.
BAG 'n' SHAG : see SNATCH, PACKAGE.
BAG TAG : rhyming slang for the casualty LUGGAGE TAG affixed to the exterior of a BODY BAG so that the corpse doesn't have to be exposed at each transit point to confirm its identity.
BAILEY : the area of an outer defensive enclosure for a fortification; from the protected forecourt of a motte or keep; see OUTWORK, EMPLACEMENT, DEFILADE, REVETMENT, PALISADE. [v: rampart, parapet] [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BAILEY BRIDGE : M-2 prefabricated steel panel component bridges, usually installed without heavy equipment, and able to be upgraded for heavier traffic by reconfiguring panels (from single wide - single high to double-double or triple-triple); dating from WWII, as designed by Donald Bailey, and manufactured in San Luis Obispo, California and Greenville, Alabama, where BAILEY BRIDGES and Steadfast Bridges are divisions of BilToLast Products, Inc, Fort Payne, Alabama. See AVLB, PONTOON BRIDGE, BRIDGE RATING, ROUTE STEP, ROPE BRIDGE, TREADWAY BRIDGE. [nb: a Waterman designed prefabricated sectional bridge was used at the 1863 CIVIL WAR battle of Chancellorsville]
BAILOUT : to quit, evacuate, escape, depart, abandon, or evade, especially when leaving a vehicle, craft, or vessel during an emergency; also called DITCH or PUNCH-OUT; see CREW CHIEF, LOADMASTER, DROPMASTER, JUMPMASTER, BEACHMASTER. Also, to lend necessary aid or resources to rescue a vessel or vehicle, or to enable the survival of an enterprise or undertaking; as a means of relief, this contranym probably has naval origins. Also, an alternative, option, or additional choice; see COUNTERMARCH, CHANGING TUNE, BEAT FEET, CUT AND RUN, HAUL-ASS, ROUT, DEFEAT. [nb: as a consequence of the Nazi BLITZKRIEG, the Allies evacuated 338,226 escapees from the Dunkirk seashore by "little ships" and other small craft from 26 May to 3 June 1940, leaving more than 34,000 British and Canadian troops, and tens of thousands of French, Dutch, and Belgian soldiers to become POWs ... "Wars are not won by evacuation." by Winston L.S. Churchill]
BAH : Basic Allowance for Housing, being supplemental pay for living off-post / -base, living "on the economy"; formerly designated as "Basic Allowance for Quarters" (BAQ). See SEPARATE RATS, QTRS.
BAHT : a basic monetary unit of Thailand, which currency is equal to a hundred SATANGs; being a former measure of weight; see LEGAL TENDER.
BALACLAVA : a knitted cap that covers the head, neck, and sometimes the shoulders or upper torso; as derived from Balaklava, a Crimean seaport on the Black Sea. Compare WATCH CAP, JEEP CAP; see TROOPER CAP, HEADGEAR.
BALKANIZATION : to divide a group or area into smaller and usually ineffectual entities, typically quarrelsome or contending; also known as "Balkanism"; as to factionalize, splinter, fragment, subdivide, or disintegrate a population or territory. See DIVIDE AND CONQUER.
BALL : so-called from the originally spherical projectile of a FIREARM; see HARDBALL, BULLET, CARTRIDGE, AMMO. [nb: a slang term for the fully metal jacketed .45cal PISTOL and submachinegun (SMG) ammunition is 'pumpkin ball' ("punkin ball"), which so-called due to its color and size]
BALL BUSTER : characterization of any difficult objective or challenging assignment, a hard course or demanding duty; something formidable or Herculean; see UPHILL BATTLE, TOOTH 'n' NAIL, BALLS TO THE WALL, HARD CORE, DIEHARD, HARDBALL. Also, slang for any harness or rig that connects by binding the groin, such as a Swiss seat or parachute pack, STABO rig or BOATSWAIN'S CHAIR, where there's a possibility (or probability) of crushing the testicles or testes (ONIONS). Also, any scathingly vicious female (civilian or military) who is either exhibiting the symptomatology of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or frustrated by the failure of her feminine wiles to overpower "masculine logic"; see HELL ON WHEELS, BATTLE-AX, BRASS EAR, HOLLOW BUNNY, MARTINET, FLYING BRAVO, STRANGE, SNATCH, SPLIT, BITCH, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, SQUEAK, SKIRT, GI JANE, DISTAFF, CAMP FOLLOWER, DRAG, CAMPAIGN WIFE, BUTTERFLY, LBFM, LULU THE ZULU, GRASSHOPPER, SHACK-JOB, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, SLEEPING DICTIONARY.
BALLER BAND : a colored silicone-gel rubber wristband displayed for public awareness and fund-raising; this consciousness-raising token is also called a "sports bracelet"; see YELLOW RIBBON, BRACELET.
BALL GAME : slang for a combat operation (OPN), especially company-sized or larger, as "putting our team on the field for the BALL GAME"; see WAR GAMES, PLAY THE GAME, PLAY BALL, BATTER UP, TALLY-HO.
BALLAST : a heavy material (including sea water) carried on a vessel to control draft and stability, or on an aircraft (including balloons) to control elevation and trim. Also, a quantity of gravel or similar broken material used to stabilize a bank, a bed, or a barrier by adding fill [v: debris] or by shoring [v: shot rock]; see BERM, REVETMENT, BLAST WALL, RIPRAP, T-WALL, HESCO BARRIER, SANDBAG. [cf: escarp, scarp/escarpment, counterscarp]
BALLISTIC MISSILE : a missile that travels to its target unpowered and unguided after being launched; see DOODLEBUG, ROCKET.
BALLISTICS : the study of the movement and effects of projectiles, such as BULLETs, SHELLs, ROCKETs, and MISSILEs, which art and science encompasses the proper design of such projectiles; this discipline includes the study of the projectile before it departs its launcher (internal ballistics), the study of the projectile after it's launched (external ballistics), and the study of the effects produced by the projectile upon impact (terminal ballistics). [v: variable parameter, standard atmosphere (of pressure, temperature, and density)] [nb: the plethora of pseudoscience associated with ballistics is commonly known as "bullistics"] [v: Firearms Glossary]
BALLOON / BALLOONING : a lightweight bag made of thin rubber or other elastic material, that's inflated with air or with some lighter-than-air gas for use as a brightly colored children's plaything or as an attractively patterned decoration; compare PRO KIT. Also, a bag made of a lightweight material, such as silk or nylon, rubber or plastic, that's designed to rise and float in the atmosphere when filled with heated air or a gas lighter than air, and often having a car or gondola attached below for carrying passengers or scientific instruments; see GAS BAG, BLIMP, RIP-CORD, SKYHOOK, BALLAST, NACELLE, PILOT. Also, in TRADECRAFT, the practice of drifting around or floating loose in the area of a surveillance while trying to remain inconspicuous; the technique of merging with the background while remaining unnoticed but without losing contact with the target; compare GHOST, SKATE, SLACKER, TAP-DANCER. Also, a metaphor for an idea or concept that's offered as a proposal or COURSE OF ACTION, an option or alternative, in order to ascertain its efficacy or viability, as when "floating a trial balloon"; see EYE-CHECK, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, NOSE COUNT, RUNNING DOG. Also, a metaphor for a crisis or critical event, as represented by the expression when .../ if THE BALLOON GOES UP. Also, anything inflated or swollen, puffed-up or puffed-out, multiplied or exponentially increased, such as interest rates or bellicose demands; see POUTER PIGEON, TOY SOLDIER. Also, anything resembling a ball, from a globular finial to a round-bottomed flask. Also, informal reference to a woman's breasts (eg: HANG LOOSE, TOPSIDE, HIGH POCKETS, MAE WEST, PIRATE'S DREAM) or to a man's testes / testicles (eg: ONIONS, HANG LOOSE).
THE BALLOON GOES UP : (forthcoming); start, commencement
BALLS TO THE WALL : vernacular slang expression for completely or thoroughly; vulgar slang expression for a total commitment without hesitation or reserve, as all the way, full force, full bore, whole hog. Compare NINE-YARDS; see FIRE IN THE BELLY, SWEAT HOG, FAST MOVER, HARD CHARGER, HOT SHOT, SUPER-TROOPER, HARD-ASS, BOY WONDER, DEEP DIP, GOLDEN BOY, BARREL-ASS, FORTHWITH, SCRAMBLE, HAUL-ASS, RIKI TIK, CHOP CHOP, CHOGI, GET ON THE STICK, ONIONS. [v: amain]
BALL TURRET : in WWII-era aircraft (eg: B-17, B-24, PB4Y, PBM-3), a domed transparent structure mounted on the underside (ventral) of the FUSELAGE that houses a pair of .50cal machineguns and the gunner, together with the ammunition feed and gun control mechanisms for rotating or pivoting when aiming at a target; also called a DUSTBIN. Contrary to popular belief, the BALL TURRET was not occupied during take-offs and landings, neither did the gunner sit upside down in this rotating TURRET during flight operations; however, the space inside the dome was too restricted for the gunner to wear a parachute, so it was kept nearby inside the airplane cabin. The gunner crouched between the machineguns, cocking them with extension cables, the gunner's left foot controlled the sight range reticle (CROSS HAIRS), the gunner's right foot operated a push-to-talk (PTT) intercom switch, and simple JOYSTICK handles moved and fired the machineguns. Compare CUPOLA, BLISTER, BARBETTE, SPONSON, RING MOUNT; see HATCH. [nb: on aircraft, blister is transparent, sponson is not transparent, turret is transparent and rotates]
BALONEY / BOLOGNA : see HORSE COCK.
BAM : the unofficial USMC acronym for their "sisters-in-arms", meaning Broad-Assed Marines; as derived from the fact that only twelve women could sit side-by-side on the "six-by" TRUCK benches, which normally held fourteen fully-equipped males! The BAMs responded to this characterization by dubbing the men: Hairy-Assed Marines (HAM). Unlike the other women's auxiliaries, the Marine Corps Women's Reserve does not have a cute acronym to identify it. Before women were accepted into military service during WWII, this acronym purportedly meant "Bad Assed Marine", referring to troublemakers and malcontents. See WM, BOSNIA, SKIRT, GI JANE, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, PIRATE'S DREAM.
BAMBOO : a disparaging ethnic slur by one Asian for another, often due to caste or class, that's analogically based upon the target being yellow on the outside and hollow on the inside; see GOOK, DINK, SLOPE, SLANT-EYE, RICE BALL, ZIP, NIP, CHINK, BUDDHAHEAD, BASKET HEAD, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, INDIG, YELLOW PERIL, YELLOW DOG, BAD GUYS. [cf: 'banana' and 'Twinkie' are slurs for an Oriental who's yellow on the outside and white on the inside]
BAMBOO CURTAIN : a political and ideological barrier that impeded relations between communist Asia, especially Red China (PRC), and the West from the end of WWII to end of the VIETNAM WAR; compare STAR WARS, MAGINOT LINE, SIEGFRIED LINE, MARETH LINE, SMEZ, BERLIN WALL, IRON CURTAIN, BAR LEV LINE, CACTUS CURTAIN, McNAMARA'S WALL, McNAMARA LINE, CHINESE WALL, DEW LINE, PHASE LINE. [cf: Hadrian's Wall, Antonine Wall, Great Wall of China] [nb: the Dutch built Wall Street (1652-98) as a defense against the British in New York] [nb: "The strength of a wall is neither greater nor less than the men who defend it." by Genghis Khan; "Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction." Proverbs 17:19 NIV Bible]
BAMBOO ENGLISH : a "slanguage" or PIDGIN of Asian tongues (eg: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Thai, etc) admixed with English (ie: Thaiglish), as used for primitive communications with indigenous peoples by American servicemembers stationed in the Far East; see POLYGLOT, CREOLE, LINGUA FRANCA, GOOKANESE, DOUBLE DUTCH, MONKEY VOICES, HOBSON-JOBSON, JARGON, VERNACULAR, GONE NATIVE, INDIG.
BAMBOO TELEGRAPH : rapid and accurate word-of-mouth communications, also called "coconut telegraph", "lip radio", "moccasin telegraph", "tom-tom telegraph", "smoke signal", "jungle drums", "grapevine", "hearsay", "bush telegraph", "brush telegraph", sagebrush telegraph"; see BACK CHANNEL, SCUTTLEBUTT, GOUGE, POOP, THE WORD, GREEN GREASE, GRIPEVINE, FALSE FLAG, DECEPTION, RUMOR, NET. [nb: the Industrial Revolution coincided with the second tour-de-force in communications: the invention of the telegraph. Early experiments with electrical circuits were surpassed by line-of-sight visual codes ("tachygraphy": 'swift' + 'write', shorthand) to convey messages quickly. Visual limitations (eg: darkness, weather, etc) contributed to the decline of the clockwork system, and the preference for the more consistent electrical code system ("telegraphy": 'far' + 'write'). From 1816 to 1844, utilizing voltaic magnetism and galvanic deflection, many telegraphic systems were devised before Samuel F.B. Morse was credited with the "bi-signal" patent. Although LANDLINEs were used to carry reliable and efficient signals, an experiment in 1843 attempted to transmit signal code directly through water without using underwater cable. The first woman to be certified as a telegrapher was Sarah G. Bagley in 1846. By 1853, the first trans-Atlantic cable (insulated with GUTTA-PERCHA gum) was operational. The presence of the telegraph during the Crimean War (1853-6) brought meddling bureaucrats and incompetent supervisors into annoyingly direct and interferingly immediate contact with battlefield commanders. The 1864 connection from Great Britain to India was extended to China in 1870 and Australia in 1871. By 1874, a mere thirty years after its inception, the "Victorian InterNet" could transmit a message around the world in only four minutes! The subsequent commercial codes, using abbreviations and substitutions, were designed to save transmission time and money, rather than to protect privacy. The telephone was accidentally invented in 1876 while attempting to upgrade the duplex and quadruplex modes of telegraphy with an experimental harmonic multiplexer. In 1903, automatic telegraphy was married to a typewriter to form the teleprinter. See CW, TWX, TELECON, BUG, SALTING, ENCRYPT, UWT, RADIO, TELEPHONE, LANDLINE, COAX.]
BAMBOO VIPER : a venomous pit viper endemic to Asia that's patterned bright to dark green above pale green with a bicolored ventrolateral stripe (white over orange or brown), and sized about 30"-37" in length; it's also commonly known as the "bamboo snake", "Chinese bamboo viper", "Chinese tree viper", "Chinese green tree viper", "Formosan bamboo viper", "Taiwan green tree viper", "Stejneger's pit viper", "Stejneger's palm viper", "Stejneger's bamboo pit viper", and "red tail snake". The wound from a bite usually feels extremely painful, as if branded by a hot iron, and does not subside for about a day afterwards; the surrounding flesh at the site swells and dies (necrosis), turning black within a few minutes, extending due to the volume and depth of venom, which highlights the puncture wound. The distribution of this snake and its subspecies is extensive, including higher elevations and islands.
BA MUOI BA : (bah-mee-bah) Vietnamese "33" brand beer, being the number thirty-three in Vietnamese (literally three - ten - three = 33); also called "Tiger Piss". Sometimes misspelled "Ba Moui Ba" or "Ba Moi Ba". See LA VAY, BEERLAO, BREW; compare SAIGON TEA. [nb: brand name changed to "333" by SRV after the Second Indochina War; cf: 33 beer from Rolling Rock]
BANANA : see SECOND BANANA, GOING BANANAS.
BANANA BOLO :
BANANA CLIP : a long curved magazine, holding 30 rounds, being standard on the AK-47, and adopted for the M-16 midway through the VIETNAM WAR; compare CLIP, C-CLIP; see CARTRIDGE, BANDOLEER, MAG.
BANANA PASS : an arced flight path that descends to a point and then ascends to the original altitude in a swerving trajectory, which is so-called for its putative resemblance to the profile of a curve banana; compare FLAT PASS, KNIFE EDGE PASS; see AEROBATICS. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]
BANANA WARS : a catch-phrase for small wars, especially in the early 20th century, of interventionist expeditions in response to political pressure from commercial or religious entities, often without military objectives or exit strategies. These violent squabbles ranged the world, including Tripoli, Panama, Samoa, the Philippines (1899-1902), China, Haiti (1915-34), the Dominican Republic (1916-22), Nicaragua (1912-3, 1927-33), Mexico, El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Somalia, and Bosnia. Such GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY extracted concessions and redeemed investments on behalf of private commitments by the application of public resources. War is never exclusively military, with American troops being dispatched as "social workers in uniform" in recent times, but they were previously sent forth as "global policemen" when international relations were more autonomous. See ROOSEVELT COROLLARY, JUST CAUSE, WAR. [nb: Haiti Occupation (1915-34): 146 battle deaths; El Salvador (1980-92): 20 battle deaths]
BAND-AID : slang for a lightly armored TRACKed vehicle, such as the M-577 command APC, that's used as an ambulance on the battlefield, while also serving as a limited treatment facility (AID STATION) for minor injuries and wounds; also called "Band-Aid Box" or "meat wagon"; see CRACKER BOX, MEDEVAC, DUSTOFF, AIR AMBULANCE, CASEVAC, CIVCAS, NEO, LUGGAGE TAG, TRIAGE. [cf: ambulette] Also, a metonym for an enlisted medical aidman and CORPSMEN, who's also called "shank mechanic", "pill pusher", and MEDIC; see DOC, BABY DOC, PECKER-CHECKER, BAC SI, Y SI, BONE CUTTER, ANGEL, RAMP TRAMP, ORDERLY. Also, any temporary, limited, or makeshift solution or resolution; a "jackleg repair" or "quick fix" that's named after the trademarked (1924) adhesive bandage used for minor cuts and abrasions; see FIELD EXPEDIENT, YOU PISS WITH THE DICK YOU GOT, COURSE OF ACTION, PLAN B, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, WIGGLE ROOM, WHITE ELEPHANT, BELL THE CAT, WANGLE, MIND CANDY, RAIN ON PARADE. Also, the small adhesive bandage itself, invented 1921, that's used for minor cuts and abrasions; see ASA, APC, MED BAG, SICK CALL; compare COMPRESS, TAMPON, PATCH.
BANDIT : an attacking enemy fighter; a positively identified enemy aircraft; in Naval aviation, if the suspect BOGIE is confirmed as a target, the call skips the preliminary BANDIT, and issues a TALLY-HO immediately. Compare BOGIE, VISUAL, JUDY, BATTER UP; see TALLY-HO, PRIMROSE PATH, SCRAM, SPLASH, GOMER, BAD GUYS. Also, slang for the symbolic representation of enemy targets successfully destroyed by an aircraft, usually in the form of silhouettes or flags painted onto the fuselage near the cockpit, which unofficial depictions are illegal, but mysteriously and anonymously materialize out of unit pride; see SPLASH, TROPHY, BRAGGING RIGHTS, TOP DOG, KILL RING, KILL CREDIT. Also, a vendor or other businessman who takes unfair advantage by working without the required permit, and without observing the usual rules; as derived from proscribed, banished [bandetto / banditti]; see CHEAP CHARLIE, JINGLE TRUCK, CYCLO, COWBOY, HAJJI SHOP. [v: gypsy cab]
BAND OF BROTHERS : a phrase, expressive of loyalty and comradeship, that was excerpted from a monologue ("We few, we happy few, we band of brothers") by King Henry V, which has since been adopted as a designation for a military unit (eg: Horatio Nelson at 1798 Battle of the Nile), as lyrics in a patriotic song (eg: 1861 "The Bonnie Blue Flag", also known as "We Are a Band of Brothers" [from "The Irish Jaunting Car"]), and as a theme in modern film and literature (eg: 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment [PARADICE]). See COMRADE, SHIPMATE, MESSMATE, ASSHOLE BUDDY, CAMARADERIE, BUDDY SYSTEM, TRADE ENVELOPES, RABBI, PATRON SAINT, SEA DADDY, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN, KEEP THE FAITH, SEMPER FI, ESPRIT DE CORPS. [nb: "This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day." by William Shakespeare, act 4 sc 3 Henry V (1598)]
BANDOLEER : a CARTRIDGE belt worn across the chest or over one shoulder; an AMMO belt. Originally a wide leather belt with loops for each additional SHELL, but has evolved into a belt of pouches containing clipped ammunition, ready for stripping into empty magazines (MAG).
BANG : any suddenly loud or sharp noise, such as a resounding slam or a violent strike; see BLAST, EXPLOSIVE PRESSURE, OVERPRESSURE, BANG READER, EXPLOSIVE, SONIC BOOM, HYPERSONIC, SOUND AND FURY, SHOCK 'n' AWE, FIREWORKS, SOUND AND LIGHT SHOW, WATERWORKS. [cf: "Not with a bang but a whimper." by T.S. Eliot in The Hollow Men (1925)] Also, by onomatopoeic association, slang for a thrill or excitement; see BLAST, GUNG-HO, WETSU, GUSTO, A FINE AND PLEASANT MISERY, NICKEL RIDE, THEME PARK, JRTC, NTC, RED FLAG, WAR GAMES. Also, in publishing and computer jargon, slang for the 'exclamation point' (!); see HASH MARK. [v: interrobang, tittle] Also, a euphemism for sex, sexual relations, sexual intercourse, coitus, coition, venery, copulation, fornication, commerce, congress, seduction, intimate knowledge; see CHURNING BUTTER, BOOM-BOOM, SHORT-TIME, FUCK, HOOKUP, DIDDLY, ACT OF CONGRESS, BUTTERFLY, SANDWICH, HAT TRICK, DAISY CHAIN, AROUND THE WORLD, TRICK, PASSION RATION, LOVE HANDLES; compare STEAM 'n' CREAM, SHACK-JOB, HELL ON WHEELS, CHOWING DOWN, HUMMERR, BUSH PILOT, MUFF DIVER, TRAINING FILM, STROKE BOOK.
BANGALORE TORPEDO : a tube filled with explosives, used to clear BARBED WIRE entanglements or to detonate land mines; also called "land torpedo" or "snake". See CONCERTINA, RAZOR WIRE.
BANGER : slang for a non-lethal short-FUZEd FLASHBANG / FLASH BANG stun GRENADE that disorients with brilliant light and explosive sound; also known as "flash crash".
BANGLE : an ornamental wood or metal circlet that a woman wears at her wrist or ankle; originating as a closed ring of glass that was slid over the hand and worn on the arm ('armlet'). These decorative BRACELETs or anklets formerly signified a girl's womanhood, marital status, and tribal affiliation ... typically the number and style of such ethnic bangles betokened the social standing of a woman's family. [nb: in Sikhism, a bracelet is one of the mandatory articles known as the Five Virtues; some prehistoric cultures tied a cord around the wrists of the couple during the marriage ceremony as a symbolic bond of commitment, and some primitive cultures tie a cord around the wrist of a child to deflect excessive admiration, or to ward-off the ill will of the evil eye]
BANG READER : a satellite-based thermonuclear detonation detector that notes the flash of an explosion and estimates the strength of the WARHEAD employed; compare FOREST GREEN, CHIRPER; see DRAGON'S BREATH, GENIE, NEST, NUKE.
BANH MI / BÁNH MÌ : a Vietnamese submarine-style SANDWICH on a French baguette; sometimes called a "Vietnamese hoagie" or "Vietnamese grinder".
BANJO COUNTRY : facetious reference to the hinterlands, populated by people so primitive and uncivilized that their family tree has no branches and they're proud of their obtuse stupidity; also known as "banjo zone" or "banjo area", as expressed in a bathetic confidence: "We were so far out that all we could hear were banjos!" This CARICATURE of an alien wilderness, wherein only depravation and devilment exists, was made famous in the book Deliverance by James Lafayette Dickey, and popularized by the duelling banjos theme song of the film version. See BOONDOCKS / BOONIES, BUSH, DOWN RANGE, SANDBOX, BACKWASH, MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, BUMFUCK, GARDEN SPOT, HARDSHIP TOUR; compare WHITE TRASH, KNUCKLE-DRAGGER, MEAT EATER, HUMAN ZOO, SHAVED MONKEY, BRUTE, REACTIONARY, BUBBA EFFECT, CONSERVATIVE, ANTI-FEDERALIST, SILENT MAJORITY, THIRD ESTATE.
BANK : the lateral inclination of an aircraft, especially during a turn; also called YANK 'n' BANK; see AEROBATICS, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. Also, a long pile, heap, mass, or bank-like border constructed of SANDBAGs. Also, a slope or acclivity. Also, a broad sea floor elevation around which the water is relatively shallow, but not a hazard to surface navigation; compare ROCKS 'n' SHOALS, BREAKWATER. Also, the inclination of an angled road or track; also called "cant". Also, a number of similar objects or devices arranged in a line or tier so as to be able to act together. Also, a store or reserve, as of money or blood; see DUMP, DEPOT.
BANQUETTE : a ledge or platform along the inside of a parapet for use as a "firing step", being higher than the floor or PASSAGEWAY, as derived from "bench"; compare CATWALK, see DEFILADE, BERM, HESCO BARRIER, T-WALL [cf: escarp, scarp/escarpment, counterscarp]. Also, a raised sidewalk; see DUCKBOARDS.
BANSHEE : twin-engined McDonnell F2H/F-2 Navy fighter jet, nicknamed "Banjo".
BAQ : Basic Allowance for Quarters, being supplemental pay for living off-post / -base, living "on the economy"; since redesignated as "Basic Allowance for Housing" (BAH). See SEPARATE RATS, QTRS.
BAR : Browning Automatic Rifle; a heavy .30cal magazine-fed shoulder fired weapon, used extensively in WWII and Korea, but didn't perform as well as British Bren. The M-14 rifle sought to combine the BAR firepower with M-1 portablilty. The M-60 machinegun replaced both the BAR and the Browning light machinegun (LMG). The BAR stock had to be cut-down for ARVN troops to use it; compare JOHNNY-GUN, see RIFLE, CAR, MG, MAG, SLING, RAMROD, MUZZLE, FLASH SUPPRESSOR, KICK, FIREPOWER. Also, any rectilinear insignia symbolizing status or achievement; see CANDY BAR, BOLO, HERSHEY BAR, BUTTER BAR, BROWN BAR, LOOEY, AIMING STAKES, RAILROAD TRACKS. Also, short for barrier, as an obstacle, hindrance, or obstruction; to be behind bars, or protected by a mosquito bar [nb: the word "canopy" originally meant net, as a gauze insect or mosquito barrier; cf: sparver]. Also, short for crowbar; see HOOLIGAN. Also, a horizontal band on an heraldic shield. Also, a standard of attainment, a level of measure, a qualifying line of demarcation; a delimiter; see CUT THE MUSTARD, "up to snuff" at SNUFF, SCRATCH. Also, a counter or establishment for the serving of food or beverages to customers, as a club or concession; see ANNEX, SLOP CHUTE, CANTEEN, HOT SPOT. [cf: barrelhouse, cocktail lounge, saloon, roadhouse, speakeasy, blind pig / blind tiger, pub, ginmill, public house, tavern, cantina, bar, barroom, bar-and-grill, grogshop, watering hole, tippling house, 11th Frame, 19th Hole, honky-tonk, dive, brasserie, bistro, taproom, beer joint, beer parlor, brewpub, alehouse, rathskeller, cabaret, nightclub, drinkery]
BARB : a point or pointed part projecting backward from a main stem, as of a fishhook or arrowhead, which derives from a hooked or sharp bristle. [v: spur, spike, prong, barbule, snag, prickle, spicule] Also, a band or small scarf of lace, worn around the head or neck by women. Also, a linen covering for the throat and breast, formerly worn by women mourners, and now only by some nuns; also spelled 'barbe'. Also, an obviously unpleasant or openly carping remark. Also, a beard.
BARBARY COAST WARS : wars fought (1801-15) by Americans along the coast of north Africa over the harassment of U.S. ships despite the payment of tribute money to the piratical Barbary States (ie: Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli/Tripolitania); compare TRIPOLITAN WAR. [nb: Barbary Coast Wars (1801-15): 35 battle deaths] [nb: "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." by Robert Goodloe Harper in a Congressional dinner toast for John Marshall on 18 June 1798; often attributed to Charles C. Pinckney, who purportedly said "Not a penny! Not a penny!" or possibly "No, no, not a six-pence." during the 1797 XYZ Affair]
BARBED WIRE : twisted wire strands with spaced projections, used as a barrier or fencing, first patented in 1874; also spelled "barbwire" or "barbed-wire", and sometimes called tanglefoot, devil's rope, bobbed- / bobwire (short), warwire, or tactical wire (tac-wire). Originating at the siege of Vicksburg as smooth entanglement wire recovered from destroyed communication lines, BARBED WIRE was identical to livestock fencing until after the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, then widely used as anti-intrusion wire at checkpoints, DEPOTs, STOCKADEs, CHOKE POINTs, MLRs and FRONT LINES, finally evolving into RAZOR WIRE. Except for temporary positions (eg: LAAGER), a BARBED WIRE barrier is an inadequate defense, so it is usually combined with AP and AT MINEs, or other devices. See CONCERTINA, BANGALORE TORPEDO, LOW-CRAWL, CREEP, WORM PIT.
BARBERSHOP QUARTET : see GLEE / GLEE CLUB.
BARBETTE : a platform or mound of earth in a fortification, from which guns may be fired over the parapet; also called "gun mount", "firing pit", "gun pit", or EMPLACEMENT; see ARTY, MORTAR. Also, an armored cylinder for protecting the lower part of a TURRET on a WARSHIP; as derived from "beard"; compare CASEMATE, CITADEL, SPONSON, SPLINTER SHIELD. [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BARBICAN : the OUTWORK for an entrance to a fortification, especially at a bridge or gate; see REDOUBT, SENTRY BOX, GUARDHOUSE. [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BAR-B-Q : (forthcoming); informal spelling of barbecue or barbeque; burnt offering, immolate, self-immolation; DRAGON LADY
BARCAP : (bar-cap) Barrier Combat Air Patrol; also spelled "Bar-CAP" or "Bar CAP". See CAP, UMBRELLA, HIGH 'n' DRY, RACETRACK; compare ABCCC, ABNCP.
BAR LEV LINE : a chain of heavy fortifications and gigantic earthworks along the Suez Canal, built during 1968-71 to defend the cease-fire line in the Sinai after the Six-Day War, and to pre-position essential materiel for defense; also spelled "Bar-Lev Line", named after General Chaim Bar-Lev, the Israeli Chief of Staff. Compare STAR WARS, MAGINOT LINE, SIEGFRIED LINE, MARETH LINE, SMEZ, BERLIN WALL, IRON CURTAIN, BAMBOO CURTAIN, CACTUS CURTAIN, McNAMARA'S WALL, McNAMARA LINE, CHINESE WALL, DEW LINE, PHASE LINE. [cf: Hadrian's Wall, Antonine Wall, Great Wall of China] [nb: the Dutch built Wall Street (1652-98) as a defense against the British in New York] [nb: "The strength of a wall is neither greater nor less than the men who defend it." by Genghis Khan; "Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction." Proverbs 17:19 NIV Bible]
BARN DOOR POLICY : the practice of taking preventative action only after the fact of a breach, being a common management policy based upon "cover your ass" (CYA) in order to forestall further criticism regarding a previously unsuspected OVERSIGHT, which, now having been remedied, is alleged to be a masterful triumph; this allusion derives from a 14th century proverb ("lock the barn door after the horse has bolted", "lock the stable door after the horse is stolen") advocating precautions after the damage has occurred ... a "solution" that doesn't "fix" anything except a similar repetition or an exact recurrence ... this "should've, would've, could've" routine is the same kind of double-think hindsight that assumes "good intention" projection is equivalent to practical performance. [eg: "It is too late to shut the stable door when the horse is lost." (ca1190); "It is too late to shut the stable door when the steed is stolen." (1578); "The horse having apparently bolted, I shall be glad to assist at the ceremony of closing the stable door." (1940); "Doesn't do much good to close the barn door after the horse is out." (1998); "... in a forlorn attempt to shut the barn door years after the mad cows have bolted." (2004); "When all the damage is done and the horses have bolted, he decides to close the stable doors." (2011)]
BARNSTORMER : an aerial demonstration team, or a member thereof, performing exhibition flights for the public, beginning in the interwar period with "Three Men on a Flying Trapeze", from the original stunt fliers who toured rural areas. See AEROBATICS, BIRD, PILOT, FLYOVER, BLUE ANGELS, THUNDERBIRDS, SKYBLAZERS, SILVER EAGLES; compare DREAMLAND, HAWC, TOP GUN, RED FLAG. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]
BARRACK : building or casern for lodging soldiers in garrison, usually "barracks", but also known as Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ); see BILLET, BLDG, QTRS, COMPOUND, CANTONMENT, GUARDHOUSE, TEAMHOUSE, BUTLER BUILDING, SEA HUT, QUONSET HUT, JAMESWAY HUT, B-HUT, CHU, CHUVILLE, HOOCH, SUDS ROW, GI PARTY, DAYROOM, COMPANY STREET, MESSHALL, ORDERLY ROOM. [nb: the Portuguese word for slave pens or barracks ("baracoons") is probably the origin of the racial slur 'coon', referring to BLACK people]
BARRACK BAG : (forthcoming); colors, dates, sizes; cf: DUFFEL BAG, DITTY BAG; at the RECEPTION STATION or induction center, new MIL-PERS were issued one barrack bag and one haversack during WWI, then two barrack bags at the beginning of WWII, and later one barrack and one duffel bag with their basic issue of uniforms and blankets; during Vietnam-era, the barrack bag was primarily a "laundry bag" [nb: "rucksack" = back-sack; "knapsack" = bite/snap-up/eat, food sack; "kit-bag" = soldier's small bag/knapsack; "haversack" = single-strapped feed bag worn over one shoulder; musette = single-strapped small bag worn over one shoulder] [cf: bundle, bindle/bindlea, swag, bluey, dilly bag, tucker-bag, bag, pouch, tote, sack, traps, pack, grip, gripsack, overnighter, weekender, holdall, carpetbag, B-4 bag, suitcase, one-suiter, single-suiter, two-suiter, three-suiter, portmanteau, Gladstone bag, traveling case, garment bag, Val-Pack, luggage; v: "scrip" wayfarer's bag or wallet; "viaticum" traveler's money and necessities]
BARRACKS COVER : in the Marine Corps, the leather billed, fabric-covered metal framework, wheel-style hat (SERVICE CAP) that's worn green with the service uniform and white with the dress uniform; this HEADGEAR is traditionally emblazoned with the eagle, globe and anchor (BIRD BALL 'n' HOOK) logo above the chin strap, and ornamented with the quatrefoil and gilt devices that increase in complexity with the rank of the wearer ... such CONTRAFOIL decoration was introduced in the days of wooden sailing ships to prevent sharpshooters from targeting their own leaders during CLOSE QUARTERS BATTLE, and has been part of the uniform for USMC warrant and commissioned officers since 1859.
BARRACKS LAWYER : any disgruntled or maladjusted soldier who is inclined to question orders, who constantly complains and persistently quibbles; a fellow servicemember who has acquired a level of legalistic familiarity with military law and regulations by being repeatedly upbraided, and offers controversial advice as an imperfect warrant to anyone who will listen; also called "bunk room lawyer", GUARDHOUSE LAWYER, or SEA LAWYER. See YARDBIRD; compare JAG.
BARRAGE : a heavy barrier of artillery (ARTY) fire to protect troop movements (SCREEN) or to stop an enemy advance (BLOCKADE); see DRUMFIRE, SHELLFIRE, BROADSIDE, VOLLEY. Also, any overwhelming quantity or volume, as of blows or complaints.
BARREL : the tube-like part of a gun from which the projectile emerges; also called "gun barrel" or "rifle barrel"; see BORE, RIFLING, SMOOTHBORE, GUN, MAIN-GUN, TUBE. Also, any tube-like passageway or throat-like enclosure, as in a Venturi tube, carburetor, or watch. Also, any unspecified large quantity. Also, any case or container that's similar in form or function to a wooden barrel (ie: a cylindrical wooden container with slightly bulging sides made of staves hooped together, with flat parallel ends); the standard quantity that such a vessel can hold (ie: 31.5 liquid gallons or 105 dry quarts); see CANTEEN, FLASK, LISTER BAG, BLADDER, JERRY CAN, BLIVET, POD, WATER BUFFALO. [v: cask, vat, tun, butt, drum, hogshead, barrel, tank, rundlet, kilderkin, puncheon, keg, carboy, breaker, jug, tub, firkin, salmanazar, pottle, flask, pony, gill, pot, flagon, bottle, demijohn]
BARREL-ASS : vulgar or vernacular slang meaning to move at high speed, to charge headlong; commonly expressed as "high speed, low drag". See JUMP-START, CHARGE, SPEARHEAD, STORM, RAT RACE, AUTOTOMY, CAREEN, FIREBALLING, HARD CHARGER, HIGH SPEED, FLANK SPEED, FAST MOVER, BALLS TO THE WALL, FORTHWITH, SCRAMBLE, HAUL-ASS, RIKI TIK, CHOP CHOP, CHOGI, PDQ, STAT, SPEEDY. [v: tout de suite (French: at once, immediately)] [v: amain]
BARREL ROLL : air operations during 1964 against the NVA in Laos by USAF and VNAF. Also, an aerial maneuver that combines a loop and a roll, with the flight path resembling an horizontal spiral or corkscrew (helical), as if the wheels of the airplane were rolling around the inside of an imaginary cylinder while continuing to move forward; compare SNAP ROLL, SPIN; see AEROBATICS. [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon]
BARREL SLEEVE : a protective cover or ventilated shroud that encases the barrel of a submachinegun (SMG) so that the barrel will not overheat during firing, and to enable it to be safely grasped (like a forearm) by the shooter for improved control; often perforated or insulated, this casing has sometimes been connected (for stability) to a SILENCER, or extended to incorporate a FLASH SUPPRESSOR; also known as "barrel jacket", "barrel guard", or "barrel shroud". Those SMALL ARMS lacking such a grip (eg: Henry rifle, PPSh-41 BURP GUN) had to be grasped by the magazine, magazine well, or forward sling swivel. Specimen weapons exhibiting a BARREL SLEEVE include the German Schmeisser (Maschinenpistole) MP-18/1, British STEN, French MAT-49, Swedish Carl Gustav M/45B, Red Chinese Type 50 SMG, North Vietnamese K-50 SMG, and others. See MUZZLE-BRAKE, STACKING SWIVEL, BIPOD. [v: Firearms Glossary] Also, part of the exterior nomenclature of artillery cannon or main gun tube, a cover for the chamber situated between the muzzle and breechblock for the attachment of the recoil system slides and recuperators; see GUN MOUNT, ARTY.
BAS : Battalion Aid Station; see AID STATION.
BASE : a military operations and logistics installation, usually fortified, such as Naval Air Station (NAS) or Air Force Base (AFB); see PUZZLE PALACE, PINK PALACE, MADHOUSE, STRONGPOINT, FSB, FOB, AOB, MOB, MCB, NOB, SFOB, ADVANCED BASE, BASE CAMP, POST, FORT, COMPOUND, CANTONMENT, GARRISON, RESERVATION, NATURAL AREA, SHADOW OF THE FLAGPOLE, DODGE CITY, CRUSADER FORT, LITTLE AMERICA. [nb: Vietnamese term: Can Cu]
BASE CAMP : a semipermanent field headquarters (HQ); a logistical and administrative center for a unit, usually within that unit's tactical area of responsibility (TAOR). A unit may operate in or away from its BASE CAMP. BASE CAMPS usually contain all or part of a given unit's service support elements. See LSA, FOB, FSB, STRONGPOINT, CP, JUMP CP, AOB, MOB, ADVANCED BASE, COMPOUND, BIVOUAC, PERIMETER, RESERVATION, LITTLE AMERICA.
BASE OF FIRE : direct or indirect fire support that augments an attack or assault, as in "Lay down a base of fire to support their advance!".
BASE LEG : the position of an approaching aircraft that's perpendicular to the RUNWAY on which it intends to land; compare DOWNWIND LEG, see TOUCHDOWN.
BASE PAY : see BP, SALARY, RANK, RATING, GRADE.
BASE PIECE : the artillery (ARTY) gun located closest to the Battery (BTY) COMMAND ELEMENT or Fire Direction Center (FDC), so usually being the first to shoot a FIRE MISSION; see HOWITZER.
BASEPLATE : a small (round or square) mounting platform that's used to level and stabilize a MORTAR during its operation; indirect fire cannons with larger bore (eg: 81mm, 4.2") require such a platform for both accuracy and crew safety, while the smaller bore cannon (eg: 60mm) can improvise a relatively accurate BASEPLATE from a dirt-filled helmet. See BIPOD, BARBETTE, CREW-SERVED WEAPONS. [nb: documents from AD 1412 in Chinese archives discuss the techniques and tactics for launching rocket assisted arrows (called "eruptors"), fire-arrows, and rocket launched pellet bombs at ranges from 100yds to 1000yds, being fired as a soldier's individual weapon or from a wheelbarrow as a mobile platform.]
BASHING : the heuristic or punitive beating administered to Allied prisoners of war by enemy guards with a culture of corporal discipline, such as Imperial Japan or Soviet Russia; such "abuse" was considered "normal" treatment in that milieu or society, inasmuch as they administered the same treatment to themselves. The term BASHING was applied to this practice by British POWs, who had a similar background in the English public schools, and this referent was then adopted by Australian, American, Dutch, Belgian, and other Western servicemen who lacked this cultural perspective. Together with BLISTER, this term became the most common referent for physical beating or thrashing, which is formally called CORPORAL PUNISHMENT. See SQUEEZE, BLISTER, THIRD DEGREE, BITCH SLAP, OVER A BARREL, WHIP, PAIN, SCAR, TORTURE. [v: bastinado; binta] [nb: a 19th century Navy expression for a formal flogging with the cat-o'-nine-tails as ship's punishment was: "dance at the gratings"; while a Navy version of the pillory or stocks, known as "kiss the wooden lady", bound a sailor facing the mast for fatigue punishment and intermittent or random kicks to his buttocks by shipmates]
BASIC : informal designation of basic training, basic military training, Basic Entry Training, Basic Combat Training (BCT), or boot camp; see CRUIT, BOOT, MAGGOT, YARDBIRD, SMACK, TRAIN, OSUT, AIT, ACT, MOS. [nb: Vietnamese term: Huan Luyen Can Ban] [nb: it's a well established fact that a good Drill Sergeant will take the raw material of a civilian and turn him into a soldier in the same way that he would take a tangled mess of steel wool and knit it into a tank!] Also, an acronym for British American Scientific International Communication, an English trade language for information exchange with a restricted vocabulary; not to be confused with a computer programming language (ie: Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) or an artificial language (eg: Interlingua, Esperanto, and Ido). See LINGUA FRANCA, PIDGIN, BAMBOO ENGLISH, GOOKANESE, POLYGLOT, CREOLE, VERNACULAR, MIL-SPEAK. [nb: despite the Mongol reign over most of medieval EurAsia for centuries, its linguistic legacy has been sparse, with only remnant influences in Magyar, Samoyedic, and Uralic; while Hispanic conquests have culturally persisted, making Spanish a global linguistic contender; and due to a combination of the international suppression of Judeo-Christian propagation by communists and fascists, and global proselytizing by Muslims, making Islam the world's fastest growing religion, the Arabic language (which supplanted Aramaic) is now being insinuated and interlarded into native tongues worldwide]
BASKETBALL : a pyrotechnic illumination FLARE dropped from any aerial platform, such as a FLARESHIP or TANKER. Also, designated CODENAME for the GLOBEMASTER C-124 TANKER that performed air-to-air refueling on YANKEE STATION.
BASKET HEAD : any Asian, especially a peasant or farm laborer, due to their prevalent wearing of a straw hat (eg: NON LA) patterned in a traditional or tribal style; a neutral or unbiased reference to an oriental, also expressed as "straw hat" or "rice stick". See INDIG, BUDDHAHEAD, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, JOSS STICK, NHA THO, DESEGREGATION; compare LITTLE PEOPLE, YELLOW PERIL, YELLOW DOG, DINK, GOOK, SLOPE, RICE BALL, ZIP, SLANT-EYE.
BASKET LITTER : (aka: "alpine litter" or "rescue sled", "Stokes stretcher" or "Stokes rescue basket") see BASKET, LITTER, STRETCHER.
BASKET STRETCHER : (aka: "alpine litter" or "rescue sled", "Stokes stretcher" or "Stokes rescue basket") see BASKET, LITTER, STRETCHER.
BASS : shooter's mnemonic for Breathe, Aim, Slack, Squeeze in target acquisition and GUN CONTROL; see SIGHT PICTURE, ZERO, PEEP SIGHT, OPEN SIGHT, DRY FIRE, KICK, FIREPOWER, TRAIN. [v: Firearms Glossary]
BASTARD : originally a separate unit, often specialized, but evolved to include any unit separated into its coherent parts for reinforcement or augmentation. In WWII, BASTARDs included airborne and ranger units, while in Vietnam they were cavalry and artillery units, assigned and reassigned wherever needed, usually with less support and higher casualties than "parented" units. The Airborne-Ranger Companies activated for the KOREAN WAR are an example of BASTARDs used as CANNON FODDER; which is contrasted by the 6th Army ALAMO SCOUTS and Vietnam LRRPs. The military sense of this term, unlike civilian interpretations of "illegitimate", "spurious", "abhorent", or "abnormal", hearkens to its origin of "unacknowledged offspring" [nb: "nullius filius" means 'son of nobody']; such BASTARDs are usually proud of their difference, despite having to achieve twice as much for half the recognition. See AIRBORNE, RANGER, SF, FORCE RECON, RAIDER, MERRILL'S MARAUDERS, MARS, BLACK DEVIL, OSS, FLYING TIGERS, PURPLE HEART BATTALION.
BAT / BATT : this slang term is an informal and unofficial truncation of battalion (BN), and does not refer to an artillery battery (BTY); it has also been misused in the plural (bats / batts) to misrepresent battalions (BNs) or batteries (BTYs).
BATA BOOTS : sterile footwear with a human footprint direct molded sole (DMS) for leaving indistinct or untraceable tracks, instead of recognizable bootprints, as used by special operations troops disguising their presence; contract manufactured by Bata Boot Company. Compare HO CHI MINH SANDALS, JUNGLE BOOTS; see FOOTWEAR.
BATAAN DEATH MARCH : see DEATH MARCH. [nb: the forgotten and emaciated POWs in the Philippines during WWII referred to themselves as "ghost soldiers" (eg: ghost soldiers of Bataan)] [nb: the Bataan Death March is commemorated by an ultra-marathon (63.4mi) on Bataan, covering only about two-thirds of the original (98.8mi) route traveled by thousands of American and Filipino prisoners of war; and by a memorial marathon (26.2mi) around White Sands, near Las Cruces, New Mexico]
BATH SALTS : a pharmacologically diverse drug (eg: cathinone (MDPV), methylone, mephedrone, pyrovalerone, pipradrol, etc) of the GULF WAR-era that's similar in its effect to amphetamine stimulants, which is so-called by its resemblance to the innocuous namesake product; see DOPE, JUNK, STONED, WASTED, SPICE, LSD, COLORS, SMACK, FIVE FINGERS, TAR, STICK, CAN SA, HAY, GRASS, HUBBLE-BUBBLE, PIGTAIL.
BATHTUB : a condensed depiction representing a battle or campaign so as to illustrate a point, to teach a lesson or portray an historic event; also known as a "bathtub campaign" or "kitchen sink battle", these layouts are not used by operational personnel when mapping the tactics for a developing situation. Compare SAND TABLE. [v: maquette]
BATMAN : a corruption dating from a WWI misunderstanding of the duties of the soldier in charge of the packhorse carrying its load of officer's baggage; 'bat' is the Old French term for packsaddle, which was confused with its load and combined with the horse's attendant to produce a misnomer for 'servant', hence its modern misinterpretation; see ORDERLY, STRIKER, STEWARD. Also, together with "Bat-Man", a misspelling of 'Bat Man' (qv), being a masked and costumed superheroic FICTIONAL CHARACTER.
BAT MAN :
BATON : a rod or wand, staff or truncheon that serves as a mark of office or authority, being a type of scepter/sceptre; see SWAGGER STICK, WARDER, COUP STICK, BATS 'n' HATS, FIST-LOAD, SANDBAG, MARSHALING BATON. [cf: truncheon, billy, night stick, espantoon, cudgel, bludgeon, shillelagh/shillealah, knobkerrie, cosh, bastinado, singlestick, waddy, club, blackjack, sap, slapjack; cf: bauble] Also, in heraldic design, a narrow diagonal stripe that does not touch the edges of the shield; a couped bendlet. [v: Heraldry]
BATRACHOMYOMACHIA : the title of a mock-heroic Greek epic that was probably composed by Pigres of Caria in the 5th century BC, which describes, in Homeric style, a battle between mice and frogs in which Zeus and Athena join; the name has since been used to imply a trivial or meaningless battle, as a tempest in a teapot or a storm in a teacup (batrachomyomachy). [v: "The Frogs" by Aristophanes, and "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare (1600); cf: swarm of frogs as the second plague against the Egyptians in Exodus 8:3: "The river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy secants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading troughs."] [nb: while the "Battle of the Frogs and Mice with the Remarks of Zoilus" by Thomas Parnell (1717) was once considered imitative but it was merely an attack on the authors John Dennis and Lewis Theobald, who'd offended the coterie of Pope, Fielding, et al, with their unrepentant scholarship]
BATS 'n' HATS : rhyming slang for the uniform (batons and helmets) to be worn when the CONSTABULARY or military police (MP, AP, SP) is responding with "less than lethal force" to riot or civil unrest, such as at prisons or embassies; see BATON, WARDER, SWAGGER STICK, COUP STICK, FIST-LOAD, SANDBAG, MARTIAL ART, JAP SLAPPER, KNUCKLE SANDWICH, KATN, RIOT ACT, MUTINEER, PROVOCATEUR, PROTESTOR, POLICE. [cf: truncheon, billy, night stick, espantoon, cudgel, bludgeon, shillelagh/shillealah, knobkerrie, cosh, bastinado, singlestick, waddy, club, blackjack, sap, slapjack, SANDBAG] [v: pygmachy]
BATTAILOUS : an archaism meaning ready for battle, being warlike; see GOOD TO GO, COMBAT LOADED, MISSION READY, UNLIMBER, LOCK 'n' LOAD, OP TEMPO, JUMP-START, FAT, SADDLE-UP, HOOPLA, MOVE OUT. [cf: battalia]
BATTEN : a thin flat length of wood or metal used in construction or reinforcement, often used to bolster or secure; compare DUNNAGE. Also, a thin or narrow strip of lumber attached to sailcloth to keep it flat or taut. Also, to cover a HATCH or other opening so as to make it watertight. Also, a flexible strip of wood used for fairing the lines of a HULL on the floor of a mold loft during shipbuilding.
BATTER UP : slang from WWII for US Naval ships positively identifying an enemy vessel or other target; see PLAY BALL, PLAY THE GAME; compare BANDIT.
BATTERY : see BTY, ARTY.
BATTERY ACID : slang for military coffee, also known as joe, mud, sludge, washy, java, mocha, espresso, brew, black water, brown blood, boiler acid, and nectar of the gods; see GI JOE.
BATTLE : to force or accomplish by fighting, as to struggle, contend, contest, skirmish, scrimmage, scrummage, conflict, affray, FIREFIGHT, combat, AMBUSH, STALKING HORSE, CONTACT, MEETING ENGAGEMENT, SPOILING ATTACK, SPEARHEAD, FORCE MAJEURE, FRONTAL ASSAULT, PITCHED BATTLE, CLOSE QUARTERS BATTLE, PINCER, ENVELOPMENT, DOUBLE ENVELOPMENT, REVOLUTION, PYRRHIC VICTORY, FIGHT LIKE KILKENNY CATS, BITTER END, SNOWBALL, BELL THE CAT, TAR BABY, BATRACHOMYOMACHIA, and so forth, now called "war fighting"; see BLOODY SHIRT, JUST WAR, CROSS THE RUBICON, FIGHTING WORDS, PLAY THE GAME, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, FIGHTING MAD. Also, a hostile encounter between opposing military forces, affected by numbers, weapons, orders, equipment, time, supplies, terrain, weather, and policies; see GOOD TO GO, COMBAT LOADED, MISSION READY, UNLIMBER, LOCK 'n' LOAD, OP TEMPO, FAT, SADDLE-UP, HOOPLA, MOVE OUT, BATTAILOUS. Also, the place, act, or incidence of such hostile encounter, as a battlefield, combat zone, KILL ZONE; compare CONTACT, SHOOTING WAR, LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT, FIREWORKS, COLD WAR, FLOWER WAR, VICTORY, DEFEAT. [cf: slugfest, battalia, stour] [nb: Frederick the Great's mule attended many battles but learned nothing about war from them!; "War, war, / What's it for? / To help the rich / And draft the poor!"; the difference between the OLD MAN and the TOP KICK is the same in war as it is in sex: officers need to talk about it in great detail for a long time before it happens, but sergeants need to talk about it in great detail for a long time after it happens!]
BATTLE-AX / BATTLE-AXE : slang for an aggressive or domineering woman, especially a female MIL-PERS who exhibits a hostile or assertive attitude; as derived from the broadax / broadaxe formerly used as a weapon of war. See SKIRT, GI JANE, WARRIOR PRINCESS, WONDER WOMAN, QUEEN FOR A YEAR, SQUEAK, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, BALL BUSTER, HELL ON WHEELS, FLYING BRAVO, BITCH, SPLIT, DISTAFF.
BATTLE CRY : the rousing shout or emblematic call of troops going into combat, such as a morale-boosting slogan or onomatopoeic war whoop (eg: the proverbial "Rebel yell"); also spelled "battlecry", being a shout, out-cry, bellow, hoot, howl, yell, ululation, cooee, baying, scream, cry, wail, shriek, holler, hollo, or AHOY. Just as significant campaigns are incorporated into the uniform [v: shoulder cord] or insignia [v: Guadalcanal on 1st Mar Div SSI] of the affected units, so inspired phrases become part of the insignia and history of affected units, creating a mark of distinction, officially known as a "special designation". Statements made during controversy or combat (eg: "liberty or death", "only one life to give", "not yet begun to fight") are more akin to 'famous last words' than to a BATTLE CRY, but are often invoked when preparing for battle. See CREST, PATCH, SIGNATURE, MOTTO, TOAST, GUSTO, HOOAH, OORAH, GUNG-HO, ESPRIT DE CORPS, WETSU, DIEHARD, ROOT HOG OR DIE, WAKE UP, WAR PARTY, WARMONGER, MERCENARY, RE-UP, KILL 'EM ALL, VIETNAM IS FOREVER, WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, THEY'LL GIVE A WAR AN' NOBODY'LL COME. [nb: the term 'slogan' is derived from the Scottish words ('sluagh' + 'gairm') meaning "army cry" or "war cry"; cf: misnomer "slughorn"] [nb: Imperial Japanese "banzai" (ten-thousand years; not "bonsai" gardening) similar to Chinese "wàn-sue"] [cf: warison; v: clarion call] [nb: the "thin red line" was applied to the British ("Redcoats") in the Crimean War because they did not form into a defensive square when engaged, making their line weak, which impugned their military prowess; likewise, the Scottish bagpipers accompanying British troops in WWI were labeled "ladies from hell" for wearing kilts into battle while playing an instrument instead of carrying a weapon ... each attribution was initially offensive, but both were later adopted as proud distinctions] [v: mottoes and nicknames of military units; Names of Foreigners or Foes]
BATTLE DRESS : a military field uniform and accouterments, generally camouflaged and stripped of all ornamentation; see FATIGUES, UTILITIES, CAMMIES, BDU, ACU, DIGITALS, DRESS, FULL BATTLE RATTLE, LOADOUT, EQUIPAGE, COMBAT LOADED.
BATTLE DRESSING : synonym for a sterile COMPRESS pressure bandage.
BATTLE DRESSING STATION : see AID STATION; compare COMFORT STATION.
BATTLE FATIGUE : formerly known as combat fatigue, combat exhaustion, shell shock, or war neurosis, and formally known as Acute Environmental Reaction, which is related to a "survivor guilt" syndrome, being a term denoting the mental disorder or psychiatric illness that's consequent to the stressful conditions present on the battlefield or during wartime; see PTSD. [nb: "basket-case" is term for multiple amputee; now meaning an incapacitated or dysfunctional person, anyone or anything totally impaired]
BATTLEFIELD : the place where fighting has occurred, or is presently occurring, as distinguished from the general hostile area (COMBAT ZONE) where fighting may occur at some point in time; that contended area of actively hostile opposition, also called "battleground" or RED FIELD. See CONFLICT, KILL ZONE, FIREFIGHT, CONTACT, BATTLE, FEBA, MLR, FLOT, FRONT LINE, CHOKE POINT, STRONGPOINT, ESPLANADE, FORCE MULTIPLIER, INDIAN COUNTRY, DOWN RANGE, FIELD ALLOWANCE. [nb: Vietnamese term: Chien Truong]
BATTLE JACKET : a close-fitting, waist-length woolen jacket with snugly fitting cuffs and waist, collar and epaulets, worn as part of the service uniform during WWII; also known as "combat jacket", "Ike jacket" or "Eisenhower jacket"; see TANKER JACKET, FLIGHT JACKET, FIELD JACKET, DRESS. Also, any of various imitations or adaptations of this jacket in civilian sportswear or paramilitary attire; see BUSH JACKET, COMBAT CASUAL / COMBAT CASUALS.
BATTLE LANTERN : a battery-operated emergency light, usually mounted in a fixed position on an interior BULKHEAD, PASSAGEWAY, or LADDERWELL to afford tactical (red or amber) illumination in vessels and buildings during power outages; also called "battle lamp". Such BATTLE LANTERNs are typically encased for protection against physical damage to ensure its proper function during an emergency, and to prevent harmful interaction with the environment.
BATTLE OF WITS : an idiomatic expression representing the attempt or effort to resolve a conflict or competition by intelligence, rather than by violence; a problem-solving challenge wherein intellect is one's only recourse.
BATTLE RATTLE : rhyming slang denoting the condition of an individual being completely equipped (ie: body armor, backpack, helmet, weapon, gas mask, ammunition, rations, etc) for the conduct of combat operations; most commonly rendered as FULL BATTLE RATTLE, but also called "play clothes" and "mommy's comforts". See COMBAT LOADED, CROSS-LOADING, MISSION READY, UNLIMBER, LOCK 'n' LOAD, BATTAILOUS, OP TEMPO, FAT, GOOD TO GO, SADDLE-UP, HOOPLA, MOVE OUT, WEB GEAR, BATTLE DRESS.
BATTLE ROYAL : a violent fight, often confused and noisy, involving more than two combatants, as a donnybrook, melee, free-for-all, rumpus, knock-down-drag-out, rough-and-tumble, slugfest, brawl, fracas, affray, brannigan, rencounter, rhubarb, pandemonium; this phrase originated with cockfighting (alectryomachy), where a certain number of game birds are pitted together and left until there is only one survivor [cf: Welsh Main, v: WHITE FEATHER]. See KING OF THE HILL, HIDE-AND-SEEK, DOGFIGHT, FIREFIGHT, CATCH AND GRASP, HUG, EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, CUTTHROAT, RAMPAGE, TRAILING HIS COAT, FIGHTING MAD, CQB, BATTLE, WAR. [cf: barratry]
BATTLESHIP : see BATTLE WAGON, WARSHIP.
BATTLE STAR : informal reference to a "service star", being a DEVICE attached to the ribbon portion of a "service medal" (commonly called CAMPAIGN MEDAL) which indicates service during one or more campaigns authorized for that award; the SILVER STAR medal originated as a distinguished BATTLE STAR. See OLC, V-DEVICE, GONG, FRUIT SALAD, TRASH, I WAS THERE. [v: Heraldry]
BATTLE TAXI : except during WWI, when actual taxicabs were used to convey troops forward to reinforce the desperate fighting on the FRONT LINE, this slang expression refers to half-tracked ARMORED CARs and armored personnel carriers (APC) that transport men and their equipment to the BATTLEFIELD; although these vehicles have some defensive armaments, they are not designed to be used as fighting platforms by their passengers ... like the DRAGOONs of earlier times, the mechanized infantrymen (MECH) are supposed to dismount in order to engage the enemy.
BATTLE WAGON : informal NavSpeak for a battleship, being any of the most heavily armored ships that are equipped with the most powerful armaments; see DREADNOUGHT, WARSHIP. Also, slang for any powerful and formidable vehicle, craft, or vessel, from TANK to FLYING FORTRESS; an implacable juggernaut or a devastating "engine of war".
BAY : a compartment or section, as a "bomb bay" or CARGO BAY. Also, an alcove or recess, as a "sick bay" or "bunk bay"; compare APARTMENT. Also, an honorary CROWN or garland, as a "laurel wreath"; see CROWN OF WILD OLIVES. Also, inset land or inlet water, as a cove or bight. Also, to resist or repel, as "to hold at bay".
BAYONET LUG : (aka: mounting lug) see LUG, MUZZLE-RING, BAYONET.
BAYONET SHEET : slang for an effectiveness or efficiency report (ER); usually considered official fiction, it is frequently a way of ridding the military of unpopular officers and NCOs, regardless of their true skills (roorback). See FITREP, EER, NCOER, OER, UP OR OUT; compare BACK CHANNEL, FANG, KICK ASS, NASTY-GRAM, CHEAT SHEET, ARTICLE 32. [nb: "Your enemies stab you in the back, but your friends stab you in the front!"; "Your enemies cut your throat with a smile, but your friends cut your throat with regret."; "What Peter says about Paul says more about Peter than it does about Paul" by Arthur Schopenhauer; the "narcissism of small differences" by Sigmund Freud; "When you hear somebody usin' words ag'in somebody, don't go by his words, for they won't make no damn sense, [but] go by his tone, and you'll know if he's mean and lying." by Forest Carter, The Education of Little Tree (1976)]
BAZOOKA : informal term for a tube-shaped "rocket gun" developed by L.A. Skinner and C.N. Hickman, and standardized in 1942; this portable, lightweight, short-range ROCKET launcher was operated by a two-man crew against armored vehicles and fortifications during WWII and the KOREAN WAR, firing a fin-stabilized 2.36" (M-6, M-9, M-18) or 3.5" (M-20) MISSILE. Plagued by electrical problems, it was superseded by the M-18 57mm shoulder-fired, air-cooled, single-loading Recoilless Rifle (RR) during WWII. The BAZOOKA rocket launcher resembled an unlikely looking musical instrument so named and played by comedian Bob Burns in vaudeville from the 1930s. See LAW, PREDATOR, SMAW, TOW. [nb: the BAZOOKA would malfunction at temperatures lower than 20°F and higher than 120°F] [v: panzerfaust, raketenpanzerbüchse, panzerschreck]
BB STACKER : slang for anyone assigned to work directly with ordnance; also known in NavSpeak as "ordie" or "red shirt"; see MUNITIONS, DUMP, BOMB FARM, TOMB, HARDPOINT, COMBAT LOADED, EOD, UXO, EXPLOSIVE; compare SAPPER, CE, BREACHER. Also, slang for the ordnanceman who loads MUNITIONS onto aircraft as cargo to be transported for delivery; also called LOAD TOAD or KICKER; see LOADMASTER, DROPMASTER, CREW CHIEF.
BCD : Bad Conduct Discharge, which is sardonically known as the "Big Chicken Dinner"; see DISCHARGE. [nb: during the 19th century, a "bobtail" discharge was slang for both a curtailed term of service, and for a certificate with its character cutoff so as to obscure or conceal the type of discharge ... always "other than honorable"]
BCG : Birth Control Glasses; see BIRTH CONTROL DEVICE, DOUBLE-O.
BCND : Biet Cach Nhay Du, or Vietnamese Airborne Rangers; see AIRBORNE RANGER, compare MIKE FORCE, CIDG, BDQ, BORDER DEFENSE RANGER, STRIKER, RF/PF, LRRP, FORCE RECON, RANGER.
BCT : Basic Combat Training; also called basic, basic training, basic military training, Basic Entry Training, or boot camp; see CRUIT, BOOT, MAGGOT, SMACK, YARDBIRD, TRAIN, OSUT, AIT, ACT, MOS. [nb: it's a well established fact that a good Drill Sergeant will take the raw material of a civilian and turn him into a soldier in the same way that he would take a tangled mess of steel wool and knit it into a tank!] Also, the abbreviation for Basic Cadet Training, being a six- or eight-week course of essential military instruction and physical development that's required as preparation prior to admittance into any of the ROTC programs or service academies; this abbreviation is pronounced as the word 'beast', and this summer camp is a prerequisite for admission as a CADET. Also, Brigade Combat Team, being an autonomous infantry brigade (BDE) that's reinforced with integral artillery (ARTY), air cavalry (ACAV) or armored cavalry (ACR), and combat engineers (CE / ENGR) elements; compare SBCT, RCT, see FIRE BRIGADE. [nb: Vietnamese term: Lu Doan Chien Thuat]
BDA : Bomb Damage Assessment, later redesignated as "Battle Damage Assessment" to include all forms of tactical destruction; being a standard I&R or recon team mission after a FIRE MISSION or airstrike. Compare AAR, DEBRIEF, COLD WASH; see RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), SOFT TARGET, HARD TARGET, OBJ, COLLATERAL DAMAGE.
BDU : Battle Dress Uniform, being an all-purpose camo-patterned cloth uniform worn as the standard work or duty dress as well as worn in combat; a post-Vietnam uniform similar in appearance to woodland Jungle FATIGUES, which replaced the normal olive drab (OD) FATIGUES or utility work uniform, and was also issued in desert and urban patterns. BDUs were replaced in 2004 by the Army Combat Uniform (ACU), and wear is no longer authorized after 30 April 2008. See CHOCOLATE CHIP, DRESS. Also, U.S. Air Force abbreviation for Bomb Dummy Unit (BDU-48), which is a small winged simulator used as a safety and economy measure when practicing aerial bombardment; commonly called a "flying juice can" or "beer can", as in a "beer can toss" bombing run; see DIVETOSS, SKIP BOMBING.
BEACHHEAD : the secure initial position of an amphibious assault into enemy territory, used for farther advancement and resupply, a foothold or WAY POINT; see PHASE LINE, AIMPOINT, compare AIRHEAD, BRIDGEHEAD. [cf: esplanade]
BEACHMASTER : a Navy CHIEF (CPO) or Warrant Officer (WO) responsible for the proper placement and movement of men, supplies, equipment, and vehicles on and off a BEACHHEAD; which duties may include evacuation of the wounded (WIA), clearance for safe travel lanes, and erection of a temporary WHARF. Also spelled "beach master"; compare LOADMASTER, CREW CHIEF, JUMPMASTER; see SHORE PARTY.
BEAK : common nickname for the Northrop-Grumman B-2 strategic bomber aircraft known as the SPIRIT; also called the "stealth bomber".
BEAM : the maximum width of a ship; see ATHWART. Also, a narrowly focused radio signal for navigation; see VOR, VORTAC, VECTOR, MEACONING, CWI.
BEAM DEFENSE POSITION : see THACH WEAVE.
BEAN-COUNTER : any niggling administrator or finicky quartermaster (QM), also known as a "nitpicker" or "nose-picker"; who makes the military more CHICKEN SHIT for everyone by their meticulous adherence to obstructive RED TAPE and picayune FORMs, under the guise of being essential and indispensable, but especially those anal-retentive supply geeks, obsessive-compulsive finance hacks, and perverse admin drudges! See REMF, HOMESTEADER, PUKE, CREEP, CLERKS 'n' JERKS, PENCIL PUSHER, ACETATE COMMANDO, CHAIRBORNE, TICKET-PUNCHER, CHAIR FORCE, TAP-DANCER, CYA, WONK, WALLAH, MILICRAT, ORIFICE. [v: "spill the beans"] [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs; placeholder, chair warmer; checkbook gardener, gentleman farmer, patron of the arts, white knight, fairy godmother, benefactor] [nb: "Algerism", an eponym for the politico who was probably the worst Secretary of War in American history, became the national byword for bureaucratic sloath, cronyism, and incompetence, becoming a synonym for venality and ineptitude; after Russell A. Alger, attorney and capitalist, Michigan governor and U.S. Senator, CIVIL WAR Major General and Spanish American War Secretary of War]
BEANER : disparaging metonymic slang for any person of Hispanic or Pre-Columbian ancestry, civilian or otherwise, inhabiting the Americas (especially Latin-, Central-, or Meso-America), that's used as a generalization for convenient description or identification; also called Latino, Chicano, "spic", or "wetback" [after name of 1954 Eisenhower project to restrict illegal immigration]. See SEMINOLE WAR, MEXICAN WAR, INDIAN WARS, SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, BANANA WARS, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, INDIG, DESEGREGATION, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. [nb: "spic" is purported to be either an elision from the word Hispanic, or a corrupt pronunciation of the phrase "(no) speak (English)"] [v: BANDIT (bandetto / banditti)] [v: pollo (chicken, victim, laborer)]
BEANS : any food or meal (not just "whistle-berries"), as "beans and bullets" for troops; with the source of supply or point of distribution called a "beanery", and any out-dated, bland, and otherwise unpalatable provender being called "has beans". See CHOW, THREE SQUARES, CHOKE, SQUARE MEAL, CHOWING DOWN, C-RATIONS, MRE, PIR, LRRP-RATIONS, HAM 'n' MOTHERS, TURKEY, SOUP, DYNAMITED CHICKEN, HAMSTER, CONDIMENTS, GI JOE, BUG JUICE, WASH, WAD, GUT BOMB, SLOP, FEEL AWFUL, CRITTER FRITTER, SLIDER, SOS, PUPPY PETERS, CAVALRY STEAK, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, IRON RATIONS, DOG, FISH-EYES, SUGAR PILL, GEDUNK, POGY BAIT, SINKER, PANCAKE, SANDWICH, HORSE COCK, CAMEL BURGER, PITA, RATIONS, HEAT TABS, STERNO, MERMITE, EVAPORATOR, MESS, GALLEY, COOKIE, LIP SMACKING, FORAGE. [v: beanfeast, wayzgoose] [nb: since the era of the CIVIL WAR, American troops have mockingly mislabeled salt pork as "Cincinnati chicken" just as ground or smothered entrees are now called "mystery meat"; v: mock chicken, mock turtle soup, sea legs / surimi, Bombay duck, Welsh rabbit, golden buck] [nb: priorities of combat: GRUNTS want "beans, bullets, beer"; REMFs want "bucks, broads, bars"; and CMDRs want "brags, bimbos, bribes"] [cf: "battels" (probably a corruption of the obsolete 'battle', to feed) meaning the expense of board and provisions, or the board and provisions themselves; housing and meals, shelter and rations] [v: field cookware includes MESS KIT, CANTEEN CUP, billy/billy-pot/billy-can] [nb: it requires more time and fuel to cook at higher altitudes because the boiling point (212°F/100°C) of water is more difficult to attain as the atmospheric pressure decreases, leaving the food desiccated and partially cooked, so a small sealed container is needed to increase the pressure (which also increases the boiling point) for efficient food and beverage preparation, enabling a higher temperature to be reached before boiling occurs (water at 15psi boils at 252°F/125°C); although pressure cookers (aka: waterless cooker) reduce cooking time by a factor of three, they also prevent the escape of air and liquids below a preset temperature, which conserves their contents from evaporation ... one of the earliest models was called a "steam digester", invented by physicist Denis Papin in 1679; commercial kitchens use large volume "pressure canners" ... WARNING: as with boiling, the use of contaminated water in pressure cooking will not cleanse its impurities, since distillation requires evaporation (and condensing) to achieve potability; cf: osmotic (or reverse osmosis) filtration] [nb: high-muckety-muck and high-muck-a-muck are corrupt Americanisms from Chinook jargon ("hayo makamak") meaning plenty to eat or much food, from the layer of whale meat between blubber and flesh] [nb: according to Claude Levi-Strauss (1970), cooking is the quintessential inauguration of civilization, which demarcation separates the primitive kinship structure that concentrates upon survival from the cooperative social organization that has since developed specialization and leisure]
BEAR : nickname for the Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) in the backseat of an assault aircraft; see GIB, TFO, RIO, RSO, WSO (WIZZO); compare FUF.
A BEAR BY THE TOOTH : see HEAD IN THE LION'S MOUTH.
BEARD : with the advent of the SAFETY RAZOR and the necessity to properly fit a GAS MASK for the TRENCH WARFARE of WWI, beards were discouraged when not officially prohibited. In a Vietnam-era "Zgram" message, ADM Elmo Zumwalt endorsed the "tradition" of shipboard beards, as were worn, in marked contrast to shorter haircuts, by sailors and soldiers on various vessels. French officers historically wore a tuft of hair below their lower lip, above the chin, without a goatee or beard but sometimes with a moustache, as an adornment denoting their military status; and although this embellishment has gone out of fashion with soldiers, it remains popular, and is known as a "royale", "impériale", "mouche / mosca" (fly), "small beard", "soul patch", "dab", "barnacle", "tickler", "honey mop", or "flavour-saver". See CAVALRY WHISKERS, SIDEBURNS, FACE FUZZ, RELAXED GROOMING STANDARDS, LONGHAIR. [nb: the Army Transportation Corps has a tradition of beards for landing craft crews, as does the Navy ... both approved for wear during the VIETNAM WAR] [nb: Alexander the Great was reputedly clean-shaven so as to prevent an enemy from grabbing his beard, and holding him long enough to deliver a killing stroke]
BEARD THE LION : to be impudently confrontational or personally challenging toward a fearsome opponent, as when face to face; from the longer phrase "to beard the lion in his den", which entails trespass or transgression when bringing the fight into his territory. The 'beard', which is a symbol of strength and wisdom (v: female rulers who've worn ornamental beards of office) in many cultures, is also representative of TRUTH and HONOR, in the same way as the FACE, and has been sworn by in OATHs of veracity as a sign of good faith ... in fact, Muslims often swear by the beard of the Prophet. Yanking or even shearing a man's beard is an extreme affront and deadly insult ... much worse than tweaking someone's nose ... and represents bold opposition. See BELL THE CAT, FIGHT LIKE KILKENNY CATS, HEAD IN THE LION'S MOUTH, RAT RACE, WHITE ELEPHANT, PAPER TIGER, YELLOW DOG, AT CLOSE QUARTERS, UP-CLOSE 'n' PERSONAL.
BEAR GARDEN : a late-16th century term for a scene of vehement tumult; as derived from a place for exhibiting bears, especially one used for bearbaiting (the 12th century practice of setting dogs to fight a captive bear for the entertainment of a crowd). See COCKPIT, BLOOD SPORT, MMA, MARTIAL ART, JAP SLAPPER, TWO-FISTED, KNUCKLE SANDWICH, BOK-BOK, ON GUARD, AT CLOSE QUARTERS, CLOSE QUARTERS BATTLE (CQB), ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, ROUT, STORM, FLAP, DUTCH CONCERT. [nb: not to be confused with 'beer garden']
BEAR HUG / BEAR-HUG : see HUG, KISS; compare PAX, CATCH AND GRASP.
BEARING : a horizontal direction, expressed in degrees, east or west of the true or magnetic north (or south) direction; see AZIMUTH, PELORUS, COMPASS, HEADING, OMNIRANGE. [nb: the 4 cardinal points are subtended by 32 compass points, which are equivalent to 360 degrees or 6400 mils; as a rule of thumb: 1 mil subtends 1 meter at 1 kilometer] Also, one's relative position or direction, often expressed as "bearings"; see DEAD-RECKONING, LEEWAY. Also, the manner in which one conducts or carries oneself, being the postures and gestures of comportment; to exhibit proper demeanor and military deportment, exacting punctilio, as when "bearing up" under pressure; see THE BIBLE, MANUAL OF ARMS, SILENT INSOLENCE, EYE-FIGHTING, TACT, RESPECT, COMMAND VOICE, COMMAND PRESENCE, STANDARD-BEARER, MUFTI, TOAST, O CLUB. [nb: before international homogenization by cultural admixture in global communications, when racial and ethnic characteristics were still discrete, the French expressed contempt by shitting on something or someone, the British by pissing on it, and the Americans by spitting, which was a factor considered when determining the extent of legitimate response or reprisal to alleged provocation] Also, the act of enduring or the capacity to endure; see GUTS, WATCH MY SMOKE, DIEHARD, BITE THE BULLET, WINTER SOLDIER, MOXIE, V-CAMPAIGN, CODE OF CONDUCT, DUTY. Also, a supporting part of a structure; hence, by analogy to that contact area, a reference or relationship, as "that has no bearing on the problem". Also, a device on a heraldic field [v: Heraldry].
BEAST : pronunciation of the abbreviation BCT, meaning Basic Cadet Training, being a six- or eight-week course of essential military instruction and physical development that's required as preparation prior to admittance into any of the ROTC programs or service academies; this summer camp is a prerequisite for admission as a CADET.
BEAT AROUND THE BUSH : an idiomatic expression meaning to delay, to evade, to avoid, to skirt, to hedge, to straddle or sidestep, to waffle or pussyfoot, to dissemble or stonewall, to equivocate or tergiversate; compare DON'T DO NOTHING, CLUTCH-UP, PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, RISKY-SHIFT EFFECT, PING-PONG, WAR GAMES, OODALOOP, BOYDLOOP, COUNTERINTUITIVE, NO EXCUSE, MEA CULPA, ACCOUNTABILITY, RESPONSIBILITY, ZERO TOLERANCE, PISO'S JUSTICE, DRUMHEAD, TWIST IN THE WIND, NOSE COUNT, EYE-CHECK, REASSURANCE, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, POPULARITY CONTEST, WHISPERING CAMPAIGN, PETTICOAT COMMAND, TACT. [v: shilly-shally (der: "Shall I? Shall I?")] Also, the application of indirection or misdirection. Also, to literally surround what is obscure or concealed. Also, to cause whatever is hidden to be exposed, to be flushed out, to be driven out into the open; see TRACE, TRACK, TRAIL, DRAG. [nb: more so than foreign armies, Americans can usually be traced by their excessive noise and exotic odors as well as by the trail of trash (LITTER) that they leave behind themselves in the field]
BEAT A HASTY RETREAT : to rapidly withdraw, as from an encounter or an engagement; also expressed as "beat a retreat" ... originally meaning to beat (on drums) or call (with bugles) the 'retreat' formation for dismissal or retirement to quarters. See RETREAT, RETROGRADE, CHANGING TUNE, BEAT FEET, BAILOUT, DECAMP, HAUL-ASS, BUG-OUT, CUT AND RUN, SPLIT, ROUT, DEFEAT. [nb: before becoming clichéd by a misapplication of the proper rules of engagement, the military retreat procedure, established by the British Army's Rules and Ordynaunces for the Warre (1554) and Theorike and Practice of Moderne Warres by Robert Barrett (1598), consisted of a cessation of all hostilities at sunset, whence the soldiery was restored to their camps for refreshment and replenishment]
BEATEN ZONE : the exposed area of saturated fire where most casualties will occur; also called "killing ground", "killing field", "dead zone", or KILL ZONE. See ZONE OF FIRE.
BEATERS 'n' BLEATERS : musicians, especially drummers and trumpeters; also known as TOOTER. See BUGLE CALL, DRUM, BOATSWAIN'S PIPE, TATTOO, SALUTE, RUFFLES 'n' FLOURISHES, REVEILLE, RETREAT, TAPS, CADENCE, HEP, CHANTEY, HOISE, JODY CALL, GUNG-HO, HEAVE-HO, NO-DOZE, DANCE CARD, PASSING HONORS, CHANGING TUNE, FACE THE MUSIC, ROGUE'S MARCH. [nb: a scrap of largely blue and red tartan, with the thread count falling in sevens, entitled "The 7th Cavalry Tartan", appears in a Scottish pattern book of the 19th century, which researchers now conclude was a design commissioned by George Armstrong Custer for outfitting a regimental marching band of pipers and drummers, which order was interrupted by the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn] [v: paradiddle]
BEAT FEET : slang for withdraw, RETREAT, evacuate, RETROGRADE; also called BUG-OUT, CUT AND RUN, or SPLIT. See CHANGING TUNE, BAILOUT, DECAMP, HAUL-ASS, ROUT; compare BUSTER, PULL PITCH, SCRAMBLE, JUICE, GOYA, ASAP, PDQ, STAT, CHOGI, FORTHWITH, COUNTERMARCH, RETROGRADE, DESERTER, TRAITOR, TURNCOAT, DEFEAT. [nb: to skedaddle or scarper in a disorderly or panicked manner is an unmilitary reversion to primaeval atavism; "Retreat, hell! We're attacking in a different direction!" by O.P. Smith; "Retreat, hell! We just got here!" by Lloyd Williams; "If he can fight, he advances and takes the offensive; if he cannot fight, he retreats and remains on the defensive. He will invariably conquer who knows whether it is right to take the offensive or the defensive." by Chang Yu]
BEAT HIM TO THE PUNCH : an idiomatic expression, extended from boxing, representing a preventive or preemptive strike against one's opponent, as "They were maneuvering, so we beat them to the punch." See KNOCK INTO A COCKED HAT, SPOILING ATTACK, PREEMPTIVE STRIKE, STRIKE FORCE, FIRE BRIGADE, DETERRENCE; compare COUNTERPUNCH, RIPOSTE / RIPOST, SMACK DOWN, MEETING ENGAGEMENT.
BEAU CHARGER : an amphibious operation on 18-26 May 1967 in the Ben Hai River region in support of Operation Hickory; also known as the "Battle of the Ben Hai River", being the first incursion into the demilitarized zone (DMZ) by conventional forces.
BEAUCOUP : (bo-koo) French/Vietnamese slang term for "much", "many", "plenty", or "lots of..."; idiom literally derived 'pretty' + 'much'.
BEAUFORT SCALE : a scale indicating the speed or force of wind, enumerated 0-12 or 0-17, commonly expressed as "Force #"; devised by British Admiral Francis Beaufort around 1855. See SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE, FUJITA SCALE, STORM WARNING, WINDSOCK, TELLTALE.
BEAUTY MARK : sardonic slang for the gunshot wound placed in the center of the forehead of the assassinated victim by a SNIPER; derived by its resemblance to the Hindu tilak, a religious symbol. See SNIPER'S TRIANGLE, BULL'S-EYE, DECAPITATION, HEADHUNTING, DOUBLE TAP, GSW, GSW-TTH.
BEAVER : DeHavilland L-20 / U-6 fixed-wing "bush" aircraft, STOL capable by wheels, skis, or floats; see BIRD.
BEDBUG / BED BUG : a flat-bodied, oval-shaped, reddish brown, wingless, bloodsucking insect that emits an unpleasant-smelling oily secretion from two glands on its underside, and infests the habitat of warm-blooded mammals; largely nocturnal, spending the day in the crevices of walls and furniture, it's not known to be a disease vector, and can subsist up to a year without feeding. Maturation takes about two months in temperate regions, reproducing three or four generations a year; control methods include steaming, spraying, and fumigating. The bedbug is also called chinch, crumb, or vantz (Yiddish). See COOTIE, GRAYBACK, CRAB, COMFORT STATION. Also, deranged, agitated, or irrational, as "crazy as a bedbug" or "crazy as a bessie bug" (actually a pinch bug or horn beetle); seemingly derived from BUG or bugge in the sense of defective or dysfunctional (as in bughouse). Also, slang for anyone preoccupied with going to bed so as to engage in sexual abandon.
BED CHECK CHARLIE / BEDCHECK CHARLIE : an enemy airplane with its engines set deliberately out of synchronization, which was flown at night so as to harass friendly ground personnel and to inflict minor damage along allied lines; a coinage from the KOREAN WAR for the under-powered Soviet-built Yakovlev YAK-18 training plane and Polikarpov PO-2 wood-and-fabric biplane.
BEDROLL STRAP : a set of olive drab webbing straps (5/8" X 24" with darkened buckle and tip) that were issued to mount the sleeping bag (FART SACK) onto the backpack (RUCK / RUCKSACK) for field carry by infantrymen; commonly called "general purpose strap" or "GP strap" because of the widespread utility of these straps, from attaching extra gear to tying down bulky items ... used instead of PARA-CORD by "old hands" who have learned to trade for such valuable items.
BEEHIVE : a direct-fire artillery round incorporating approximately 8,500 steel darts (FLECHETTEs), used as a primary base defense munition against ground attack. See NAILS, CANISTER, SHRAPNEL, AP, KILLER JUNIOR, KILLER SENIOR.
BEER : see BREW, BA MUOI BA, BEERLAO; compare HOOCH, GI JOE, JUICE. [nb: Gambrinus is the mythical Flemish king, depicted in folk art as straddling a keg, who is credited with the invention of beer; cf: Bacchus / Dionysus] [nb: "Beer ... it's not just for breakfast anymore!" mock advertising slogan]
BEERCAN / BEER CAN : any thin metallic ornament or device, often painted or enameled, as derived from recycled beer cans, primarily used on end-of-tour plaques; see CREST, DI, TRENCH ART.
BEER CAN : aviation slang for a small winged simulator, being a Bomb Dummy Unit (BDU-48), that's used as a safety and economy measure when practicing aerial bombardment, as in a "beer can toss" bombing run; also known as a "flying juice can". See DIVETOSS, SKIP BOMBING; compare SOUP CAN.
BEERLAO : a rice malt beer brewed in Laos, which is garnering an international reputation for excellence since the end of the Indochina Wars; compare BA MUOI BA; see BREW.
BEETLE BAILEY : a comic strip character inaugurated September 1950 by Mort Walker and syndicated by King Features, that originated as a cartoon about "Spider" and his fraternity brothers, but during March 1951, in the midst of the KOREAN WAR, the character drops out of college to join the Army ... leaving all the frat boys behind and acquiring new comic strip comrades; the selected surname was a tribute to a Saturday Evening Post editor, John Bailey, who encouraged Walker's artistry. The BEETLE BAILEY comic strip (and later comic book, film, and TV series) is set on a typical Army training base ("Camp Swampy") and peopled with stereotypic personalities of the era, including 'Killer' Diller (lover), Plato (intellectual), Zero (rube), Cosmo (huckster), Rocky, Julius Plewer (fussbudget), PVT Blips (flat-chested secretary), SPC Chip Gizmo (geek), CPL Yo, Cookie, SGT Louise Lugg, SFC Orville P. Snorkel ("Sarge"), LT Sonny Fuzz, LT Jack Flap, CPT Sam Scabbard, MAJ Greenbrass, Chaplain Staneglass, Doctor Bonkus, BG Amos T. Halftrack, Bunny (Beetle's girlfriend), Miss Buxley (buxom secretary), Martha Halftrack (general's wife), Otto (Sarge's dog), and Bella (Lugg's cat). Some retired characters include: Moocher, Pop, Ozone, Bammy, Snake Eyes, Dawg, and SGT Webbing. Although the story line has been updated over the years, the soldiers still wear uniforms and use equipment of the 1950s, and are posted on perpetual training or garrison duty ... none having ever served in combat. Early in its syndication, the BEETLE BAILEY comic strip was dropped from STARS AND STRIPES, allegedly because it encouraged disrespect of officers, but the resultant news coverage caused the military so much embarrassment that it was shortly reinstated, and the ensuing notoriety greatly increased its circulation. BEETLE BAILEY's sister is Lois Flagston, who became a spin-off character in the 1954 "Hi and Lois" comic strip that was created with Dick Browne as artistic partner. BEETLE BAILEY appeared intermittently as a comic book from 1953 to 1994 in productions by Dell, King, Charlton, Gold Key, and Harvey Comics. A cartoon series, entitled "Beetle Bailey and Friends", appeared on television in 1963, followed by an animated TV special in 1989. [nb: the 'Plato' character in "Beetle Bailey" was inspired by Dik Browne, a fellow Army illustrator during WWII and later cartoonist friend of Mort Walker; v: Hagar the Horrible]
BEFORE FLIGHT INSPECTION : see PRE-FLIGHT, WALK AROUND; compare POST-FLIGHT.
BEGGING BOWL : request for surplus or largess, as a field medic asking hospital staff for extra supplies; phrase imitative of Buddhist mendicants seeking alms (qv). See SCROUNGE, CUMSHAW, WAD, SOUVENIR; compare MIDNIGHT REQUISITION, RICE BOWL.
BEHEAD : see DECAPITATION, HEADHUNTING, GUILLOTINE, BLOCK, COUP D'ETAT, BEAUTY MARK; compare GARROTE, KEELHAUL, DEATH OF A THOUSAND CUTS, LYNCH, STRANGE FRUIT, CHRISTMAS TREE, TWIST IN THE WIND.
BEHIND THE FENCE : informal reference to the repurposed stockade enclosure at Ft Bragg which houses DELTA FORCE (1SFOD-D); compare OUTSIDE THE WIRE, OVER THE FENCE; see JSOC, USSOC, SPECIAL OPERATIONS.
BELAY : to tether or restrain, as a safety anchor in RAPPELLING, which may involve friction against the body, hardware (piton, bong, SNAP-LINK, cam, nut, plate, PAD EYE, DEADEYE), natural or man-made (eg: CLEAT, BOLLARD) objects; also called cinch ("cingula") or dally ("dale vuelt"). See HARD-AND-FAST, KNOT. [v: Climbing Terms] Also, to stop or cease, disregard or rescind, as to "strike the foregoing"; see COUNTERMAND, CEASE-FIRE, STAND FAST, WAVE OFF, KNOCK IT OFF, SCRUB, RING THE BELL; compare AS YOU WERE, CARRY-ON, RECOVER.
BELIEVER : any dead enemy soldier, as "made a believer out of him"; compare TRUE BELIEVER, see DEATH CARD, TWEP.
BELL-BOTTOMS : blue or white Navy trousers with traditional thirteen-button flap closure instead of a zippered fly, as part of the "service dress" uniform; commonly called BELLS. See FALL, BIB, compare DUNGAREES, AQUAFLAGE, DRESS. [nb: sailors used to also have "undress blues" (and "undress whites") as a semi-work uniform without neckerchief or piping; but in 2006 the Navy exchanged its service dress blues and whites for a year around tan, and its DUNGAREES for digitized multicolor work utilities with an 8-point COVER, abolishing their traditional bell-bottoms and DIXIE CUPs]
BELLIGERENT : a person engaged in battle, or a nation waging war; see COMBATANT, WARRIOR, GRUNT, SNUFFY, WAR FIGHTER, QUIET PROFESSIONAL, WINTER SOLDIER, VETERAN, GUNSLINGER, SAILOR, MARINE, AIRMAN, SOLDIER, GI, WEEKEND WARRIOR, SHADOW WARRIOR. [nb: Vietnamese term: Chien Si] [nb: persons or groups engaged in violent conduct against a duly constituted authority or its designated adherents are not entitled to the protective provisions of domestic or international laws; see MILITIA, MINUTEMAN, PARAMILITARY, MERCENARY, GUERRILLA, INSURGENT, TERRORIST] [nb: the difference between a TERRORIST and a FREEDOM FIGHTER, a GUERRILLA and an IRREGULAR, a "militiaman" and a "defense warden", a "revolutionary" and a "criminal", a "Death Squad" and a "SWAT Team" has more to do with one's perspective and allegiance than with the il-/legality of the violent acts themselves; synonyms include: rebel, dissident, insurgent, raider, marauder, jayhawker, bushwhacker, scallywag / scalawag, firebrand, fire-eater, redneck, cracker, reaver / reiver, rascal, ruffian, brigand, outlaw, desperado, villain / villein, freebooter, pirate, buccaneer, privateer] [cf: barrator, wight]
BELLS : any of the half-hour units of nautical TIME [nb: the nautical day began at noon until changed in the 20th century]; or shipboard enunciator commands. Also, short form of Navy bell-bottom trousers in blue or white with traditional thirteen-button flap closure instead of a zippered fly, as part of the "service dress" 'Cracker Jack' uniform; compare JUMPER, DUNGAREES, AQUAFLAGE; see FALL, BIB, DRESS.
BELLS ON : see MORRIS DANCE, WITH BELLS ON, DRESS.
BELL THE CAT : an impractical remedy or impossible solution to a pressing issue or vexing problem; by reference to the Aesop fable wherein a clever mouse proposes that a bell be tied to the cat to give all mice warning, to which suggestion a prudent mouse replies that: It's easy to propose a panacea, but who shall accomplish it? Such wisdom was a common reference among partisan IRREGULARS during the CIVIL WAR, and such unworkable assignments among SOF have lately been called "Mission Impossible", after the popular TV program featuring fantastic resolutions to extraordinary scenarios. Also expressed as "belling the cat" or a "mouse belling the cat", as when assuming extreme hazard or great risk in service or sacrifice. See OVER A BARREL, CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND, COURSE OF ACTION, PLAN B, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, WIGGLE ROOM, WANGLE, MIND CANDY, BAND-AID, RAIN ON PARADE, AUTOTOMY, BITTER END, HEAD IN THE LION'S MOUTH, FIGHT LIKE KILKENNY CATS, PYRRHIC VICTORY, TAR BABY, WHITE ELEPHANT, BEARD THE LION, SHIT HIT THE FAN, CANNON FODDER, SNOWBALL, RAT RACE, SUICIDE SQUAD, SPEARHEAD, WASTED. [v: enfants perdus, forlorn hope]
BELLY-WASH : slang for any barely drinkable liquid or beverage, such as inferior beer, tasteless coffee, or weak soup; dilute, insipid, adulterated, slumgullion. See WASH, SLOP, THE DRINK, GI JOE, BREW.
BELOW DECK : the area aboard ship where RATINGS and CHIEFs live and work, with the separation from "above DECK" being both functional and social; deck levels are numbered downward from the main deck (1); see COMPARTMENT, BULKHEAD, COAMING, OVERHEAD, PASSAGEWAY, LADDERWELL, COMPANIONWAY, ORLOP, GOAT LOCKER, compare OFFICER'S COUNTRY, WARDROOM, TOPSIDE. Also, a euphemism for a woman's crotch or groin, her buttocks or derriere, and her legs or gams; which segment is differentiated from her bosom or breasts, commonly known as "upper deck" or TOPSIDE.
BELTWAY BANDIT : with reference to the circumferential highway encircling the complex of national capital departments in Washington D.C., which provides ready access for fly-by-night and upstart contractors seeking to opportunistically exploit defense or government relations; sometimes acting as consultants or lobbyists. See HIRED GUN, AUGMENTEE, GREEN BADGER, WAR TOURIST, DAC, OGA, GOCO, COCO, NGO, QUANGO, RED TAPE, GSA, GAO, PORK BARREL, PRIME THE PUMP, THE G, FOGGY BOTTOM, UNCLE SAM, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX; compare SAND CRAB, BELTWAY CLERK.
BELTWAY CLERK : slang for an alleged defense expert who has never served in the Armed Forces, being someone who trades on his supposed political connections in the capitol; a political operative who represents his ostensible expertise so as to broker deals on behalf of manufacturers, organizations, and other beneficiaries; a lobbyist. See HIRED GUN, AUGMENTEE, GREEN BADGER, BELTWAY BANDIT, SAND CRAB, WAR TOURIST, DAC, PORK BARREL, THE NATIONAL JOKE FACTORY, MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX.
BE NICE : common expression or injunction directed at rude and crude, insensitive and overbearing Americans by Vietnamese, variously meaning "Give Me", "Shut Up", "Go Away", or "Be Good" depending upon the participants engaged in the encountered situation. Compare SOUVENIR, CHEAP CHARLIE, FACE.
BENNY : in NavSpeak, a treat or favor, gift or present, bonus or reward; also known as "goody" or "goodie", this term is a diminutive of 'benefit'.
BENSON SILK : CODENAME for clandestine introduction of counterfeit NVN money into enemy territory; said funds were accountable, and were signed-out prior to each mission. The intent of this project was not to destabilize the NVN economy (which was already quite artificial and extremely vulnerable), but to plant a sum of money, in a camp or on a corpse, large enough to create mistrust, engender suspicion, and demoralize the soldiers. The money was only a TRIGGER for PSYOPS. The allegation that this counterfeit currency, ostensibly created by patriotic forgers specifically released from prison pursuant to a mafia concordat with the federal government, was introduced to wreck the communist economy by devaluation is pure fantasy; since the triple digit inflation of NVN could not be checked by any external influence, and SRV's money has remained among the world's three least valuable currencies since the end of the Second Indochina War. See DONG, BAD PAPER, SUPER NOTE, LEGAL TENDER.
BENTWING : slang for a wing that was swept back. Also, nickname of the gull-winged, propeller-driven Vought F4U Corsair fighter airplane.
BEQ : Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, which are better known as BARRACKs; see BILLET, QTRS, BLDG.
BERLIN AIRLIFT : Operation Vittles was initiated from June 1948 to September 1949 in response to a land and water blockade of Berlin by the Soviet Union, this massive relief effort entailed the provision of vital necessities by air transport to West Berlin ... some 277,000 flights were made around-the-clock, many at 3-minute intervals, during this airlift which delivered 8000 tons of food and fuel each day to the two million isolated residents. Although the blockade was lifted in May 1949 when the USSR determined that the Allies could not be forced to abandon the city, the supply of essential goods continued for several more months, ensuring against a recurrence. See CHOCOLATE BOMBARDIER, TRUMAN DOCTRINE, MARSHALL PLAN.
BERLIN BLOCKADE : a blockade by the Soviet Union (USSR) of the allied sectors of Berlin that curtailed travel through East Germany (German Democratic Republic) from 24 June 1948 to 12 May 1949; see BERLIN AIRLIFT.
BERLIN WALL : a guarded concrete wall, 28 miles long, with minefields and controlled checkpoints, erected across Berlin by East Germany [or German Democratic Republic (DDR), being the Soviet Zone of Occupation (aka: "Soviet Germany")] in 1961 and dismantled in 1989; known as the "Peace Wall" by the USSR. The BUFFER ZONE bordering the BERLIN WALL was commonly known as "the death strip" (ie: DEADLINE) where anyone therein became a target. See BIG FIVE, CONDOMINIUM, BERLIN AIRLIFT; compare STAR WARS, MAGINOT LINE, SIEGFRIED LINE, MARETH LINE, SMEZ, IRON CURTAIN, BAMBOO CURTAIN, BAR LEV LINE, CACTUS CURTAIN, McNAMARA'S WALL, McNAMARA LINE, CHINESE WALL, DEW LINE, PHASE LINE. [cf: Hadrian's Wall, Antonine Wall, Great Wall of China] [nb: the Dutch built Wall Street (1652-98) as a defense against the British in New York] [nb: "The strength of a wall is neither greater nor less than the men who defend it." by Genghis Khan; "Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction." Proverbs 17:19 NIV Bible]
BERM : a rise or swell in the ground, such as a dike or a dirt parapet around fortifications; or an artificial rampart imitative of such an obstacle. Also, a hedgerow or foliated area, such as field separations; and sometimes known as "berm line". See COVER, REVETMENT, BLAST WALL, DEFILADE, BANQUETTE, BUTT, FACE. [cf: escarp, scarp/escarpment, counterscarp] [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BERSERK : frenzied violence or maniacal destruction, as in wild and unrestrained abandon ... often expressed as "going tropical" or "going bananas". In early Norse society, a devotee (berserker) of Odin would fight with frenzied rage in battle; however, the ancient Greeks believed that such recklessness was not true heroism, which is disciplined and consequential. See GO KINETIC, WILD-EYED, FIGHTING MAD, SEE RED, BLOOD IN THE EYE, GOING COMMANDO, DINKY DAU.
BERTH : a shelflike sleeping space, as aboard ship or train; see RACK, CAPTAIN'S BED, BUNK, STATEROOM, SLOP; compare HAMMOCK, SACK, FLEABAG, SHAKEDOWN, HOT BUNKING. Also, a position or placement, as a duty assignment or duty post; see BILLET, DUTY, ON STATION, POST, WATCH, MOS, OJT, TDY / TAD, PCS, SHEEP-DIPPED, HARDSHIP TOUR, BUMFUCK. Also, the space allocated for a vessel to dock or moor; see WHARF.
BESEEM : suitable or fitting, proper or appropriate; to be fit for or worthy of, as "conduct beseeming a gentleman". [v: befitting; cf: nicety; ety: bisemen]
BEST AND BRIGHTEST : ironic reference to those privileged and educated idealists who were responsible for the terrible and tragic mismanagement of American foreign and domestic policies during the Vietnam-era, despite their inherent conspecificity with the unappointed SILENT MAJORITY; as derived from "The Best and the Brightest" by David Halberstam (1972). Specifically identifies political WISE MEN and KITCHEN CABINET advisers who rationalized inappropriate decisions ("the end justifies the means"), but has since been extended to the immorality of the MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. Phrase derives from a 1811 hymn by Reginald Heber: "brightest and best of the sons of the morning". In 1822, Percy Bysshe Shelley penned the line: "Best and brightest, come away!", in his poem "To Jane: An Invitation. In 1840, Thomas Carlyle used a similar phrase: "What is aristocracy? A corporation of the best, of the bravest" in his "Chartism". See WHIZ KID, BRAIN TRUST, SECOND ESTATE, MANDARIN, CLUB FED, POWER ELITE, FRUIT FLY, CAKE-EATERS, YOUNG LIONS, DECENT INTERVAL, DOMINO THEORY, APOCALYPSE, DISINFORMATION, PROPAGANDA, RUMOR. [v: Do-Well, Do-But, and Do-Best in "Piers Plowman"] [v: know-it-all, besserwisser; realpolitik, machtpolitik] [nb: the Kennedy-Johnson administrations cultivated "new frontiersmen", adopted from a chapter heading ('The New Frontier') in a 1936 book written by Kansas governor Alfred M. Landon, who ran for president as a Republican that year; v: New Frontiers by Henry Wallace (1934)] [nb: "Let America first praise mediocrity even, in her children, before she praises ... the best excellence in the children of any other land." by Herman Melville (17-24 Aug 1850); "The best must never be allowed to drive out the good; in the absence of genius, there is always craftsmanship." by Robert Harris (2007)] [v: Myths of the Vietnam War]
BETEL : an East Indian pepper plant, also called "betel pepper", the leaves of which are chewed with other ingredients as a mild intoxicant. [nb: pan, the leaf of the betel, is also a betel-nut mixture compounded for chewing]
BETEL NUT : the astringent seed kernel of the betel palm, chewed with slaked lime and betel leaves as a mild intoxicant that turns teeth pearly black or nacreous maroon. [nb: pan, the leaf of the betel, is also a betel-nut mixture compounded for chewing]
BETRAY / BETRAYAL : the exposure of treachery, faithlessness, or disloyalty; to violate a confidence, or to lead astray; see SABOTAGE, DECEPTION, MOLE, SLEEPER, STOOGE, PROVOCATEUR, CULTURE WAR, SOFT TYRANNY, GONE NATIVE, DECOY, JUDAS GOAT, KISS OF DEATH, PEACE WITH HONOR, DECENT INTERVAL, VIETNAM SYNDROME, BOHICA, SHIT HIT THE FAN, FLAP, SOL, SCREW THE POOCH, BLUE FALCON, SEMPER KNIFE, SEMPER I, BAYONET SHEET, McCARTHYISM, CREDIBILITY GAP, SYMPATHIZER, INVISIBLE, USEFUL IDIOTS, RUNNING DOG, QUISLING, TURNCOAT, WHITE VC, TRAITOR, TREASON, DRAFT DODGER, DESERTER, MUTINEER, WHITE FEATHER, NIHILISM, CULTURAL SUICIDE, BOAT PEOPLE, LOST GENERATION, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES WITH A FRIEND LIKE THIS?. [v: perfidious Albion ("la perfide Albion")]
BETTER HALF : see SPOUSE, WIFE, DRAG, COW, OFFICER'S WIFE, DISTAFF, HOOKUP, RING THE BELL, MARRIAGE, GOLD STAR, ARMY SOUP, BRAT, GREEN BLOOD, DEPENDENT.
BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW : a proverbial expression, "better the devil you know than the devil you don't", which suggests that the problem or difficulty (evil) that is being or has been experienced may be preferable to whatever (evil) is unfamiliar; an idiom implying that change may make matters worse. Under the supposition that nature abhors a vacuum, and given the deplorable state of human character, this phrase presumes that a confirmed scoundrel or identified spy is better than an unknown or undetected opponent. See CLIENT STATE, PROTECTORATE, SATELLITE, GARRISON STATE, PUPPET, FLAG OF PROTECTION, REALPOLITIK, THE LESSER OF EVILS, THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS, NO REST. [nb: "He may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's our son-of-a-bitch." by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (referring to Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza); "He's a bastard, but he's our bastard." by William Casey (referring to Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega)]
BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE : see (A) ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.
BET YOUR BOOTS : an idiomatic expression meaning to be sure or certain, as being willing to wager one's very attire; equivalent to "bet your bottom dollar"; compare YOU BET YOUR LIFE, see FOOTWEAR.
(YOU) BET YOUR LIFE : see YOU BET YOUR LIFE.
BEYOND THE PALE : analogically derived from the paling or picket separating the insiders from the outsiders, one's homeland from hostile territory, this idiomatic expression differentiates the limits of propriety, courtesy, and the like; see OUTSIDE THE WIRE, OFF THE RESERVATION, OFF LIMITS, SHADOW OF THE FLAGPOLE, SIEGE MENTALITY. [cf: culture shock; v: nativism, adaptation, accommodation, acculturation / assimilation, exclusion / extermination, xenophobia]
BEZEL : the angled rim surrounding the face of a wristwatch or COMPASS, especially a rotating ring that can serve to mark time or indicate position; as derived from 'bevel' or 'chamfer'.
BFA : abbreviation for Blank Firing Adapter; see BLANK ADAPTER.
BFD : literally "Big Fucking Deal"; often used sardonically.
B4 / B-4 / B-4 BAG : see FLIGHT BAG, GO-BAG, WAR BAG, KIT BAG, DUFFEL BAG, DUNNAGE.
B-5 FRONT : Communist military unit in Quang Tri and Thua Thien provinces; see MAIN FORCE.
BG / BRIG GEN : abbreviation for Brigadier General (O-7); see RANK, RATING, LDR, FLAG OFFICER.
B-HUT : short for 'Barrack hut', being a primitive structure erected for the temporary lodging of soldiers in GARRISON; typically a painted plywood shelter with few amenities (eg: electricity, telecom, etc) and without bathroom facilities. B-HUTs superseded TENTs in Iraq and Afghanistan but were not expected to last more than four years; housing eight persons in a single two-door space, or subdivided with windows in each room. B-HUTs afford no protection against direct or indirect fire, and are especially subject to the devastations of weather as well as to infestation by vermin. See BILLET, BARRACK, SEA HUT, QUONSET HUT, JAMESWAY HUT, HUTMENT, CHU, BEQ, BOQ, QTRS, GUARDHOUSE, TEAMHOUSE, HOOCH, BUTLER BUILDING, BLDG. [nb: the British Army commonly used the term "Barracks Hut" to refer to temporary billets for military personnel as long ago as the 1800s; it's alleged that this older British usage may have influenced current American usage throughout this Mid-East region]
BIATHLON : an athletic competition in which cross-country (Nordic) skiers, carrying rifles, shoot at targets at four intervals along a 20km (12.5mi) course. Also, an athletic contest comprising any two consecutive events, whether organized as sprint, intermediate, or endurance. Compare TRIATHLON, PENTATHLON, DECATHLON; see PT, PFT, EXERCISE, AIRBORNE SHUFFLE, TRUSCOTT TROT, MARATHON, FIELD HOUSE, WAR GAMES. [v: Pheidippides was the Athenian runner sent to request aid from Sparta before the battle at Marathon plain (490BC) against the Persians; which inaugurated the long-distance footrace and other endurance events] [nb: "With all our technology, we should never forget that soldiering is first and foremost an outdoor sport." by David Petraeus (2009)]
BIB : in the U.S. Navy, that portion of an enlisted sailor's uniform that hangs from the back of the neck; originating as a scarf tied around the neck so as to protect the uniform from stains when sailors wore their hair long and kept it neat with ship's tar, and said scarf was eventually incorporated into the official uniform. Also, the front flap (ie: FALL) on the traditional sailor's uniform trousers that is secured by thirteen buttons; also known as a "Marine bib" to imply CHOWING DOWN or giving HEAD when being vulgar and offensive; see HUMMER, DAISY CHAIN, LOVE HANDLES, HONG KONG HAIRCUT, STEAM 'n' CREAM.
THE BIBLE : slang for FM 22-5 Drill and Ceremonies, being the standard training guide for close-order or dismounted drill, and the most common reference for the proper conduct of all military events or EVOLUTIONs. See ATTENTION, PARADE REST, AT EASE, POST, DISMISS, CARRY-ON, AS YOU WERE, RECOVER, BELAY, SALUTE, HIGH BALL, SPIT 'n' POLISH, CLOSE ORDER, DRILL, EYE-BALL, GUNDECKING, CARRY ARMS, CARRY SWORDS, MANUAL OF ARMS, ORDER, BY THE BOOK, SCHOOL OF THE SOLDIER, SCHOOL OF THE SQUAD, SCRIPTURES. [cf: vade mecum (Latin: handbook, guide (literally: "go with me")] [v: the "Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States" (also known as the "Blue Book" from the color of its binding) by Friedrich W.L.G.A. von Steuben (1779) details America's first manual on military organization and drill specifications] [nb: The military "bible" should've been FM 100-5 Operations, FM 31-22 U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Forces, FM 31-18 Long Range Patrols, or the like. There is usually enough physical distance between the MLR/FEBA and the rear area such that leaders will emphasize the military mission (function) over formal protocol (form); but the admixture in the VIETNAM WAR contributed to combat stress and discipline problems, culminating in TICKET-PUNCHING and FRAGGING.]
BIET : (bick) Vietnamese term for "know", to discern or apprehend, be cognizant; compare KHUNG BIET.
BIET CACH NHAY DU : Vietnamese Airborne Ranger, abbreviated BCND; see AIRBORNE RANGER; compare MIKE FORCE, CIDG, BDQ, BORDER DEFENSE RANGER, STRIKER, RF/PF, LRRP, FORCE RECON, RANGER.
BIET DONG QUAN : Vietnamese Ranger; see BDQ, compare BORDER DEFENSE RANGER, MIKE FORCE, CIDG, STRIKER, RF/PF.
BIG BLACK : common nickname for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
BIG BLUE : slang reference to the U.S. Air Force (USAF), by association with its BLUE-SKY operational environment, and with the implication of the implacable monolithic authority of AIR POWER; reference probably derives from an extension of its namesake, the IBM supercomputer, since the Air Force is so thoroughly technologized.
BIG BROTHER : the aggregate of powerful officials and policymakers of a totalitarian regime that keeps its citizens under close surveillance; after the Orwellian leader ("Big Brother Is Watching You!") in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), who was based upon Joseph V. UNCLE JOE Stalin. Also, the nickname of the classified database setup by the Clinton Administration to catalogue background information on ordinary Americans, with cross-references to military, financial, medical, and other databases.
BIG EYE : initial designation applied to airborne radar project; see COLLEGE EYE.
BIG FIVE : referring to the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan during World War I, and at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Also, referring to the United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain, China, and France after World War II; compare ABCD, see ALLY, UN, NATO, LEAGUE OF NATIONS.
BIG FOOT / BIG-FOOT : to overwhelm or dominate, overpower or control, suppress or repress, squash or quash, quell or inhibit, check or restrain, as by influence or authority, position or status, as "The generals are big-footing the details of the operation."; derived by extension of 'bigfoot' (sasquatch / yeti), the legendary humanoid of gigantic proportions; see ELEPHANT, TOP DOG, RAINMAKER, GO TO GUY, BRASS HAT, CHIEF, HONCHO, THE UNHOLY TRINITY.
BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUCK : catch-phrase by SECDEF Charles W. Wilson, which encapsulated the John Foster Dulles doctrine (1954) of "massive retaliatory power", which was immediately condensed to "massive retaliation" by the media, and this deterrence was derisively ascribed as BRINKMANSHIP. Like STRATEGIC BOMBING, this policy ignores the many painful lessons of history (ie: short of extermination, weapons cannot defeat determined resistance), and it attempts to substitute force for technique, power for control, and machines for men. Spending defense dollars on things instead of people is a false economy because, if any of the weapons ever need to be used, the budget must include both replacements and people to perform the mission that the remote weapons cannot accomplish. And, if the CADRE of experience has been purged by reductions in force (RIF), then it is probable that neither weapons nor people will be able to solve the problem. See MAD, OVERKILL, OUTGUN, ARMS RACE, FIREPOWER; compare GRADUATED RESPONSE, FLEXIBLE RESPONSE.
THE BIGGER THEY ARE : a modern American saying ("The bigger they are, the harder they fall.") which implies that the underdog can succeed against all odds, that right can overcome might, that a ragtag army can win against superior firepower by sheer obstinacy; this adage seems to be inspired by a Bible story [ie: David (I Samuel 17) or Elhanan (II Samuel 21) killed Goliath of Gath]. See MORAL COURAGE, STAND ONE'S GROUND, LAST STAND, STAND-ALONE, TOP DOG, RAINMAKER, MANDARIN, WHIZ KID, SWEAT HOG, HARD CHARGER, HOT SHOT, ATLAS, ELEPHANT, MILITARY DANCES, OLYMPUS, WHITE WAY. [v: generalissimo, nabob, nibs] [cf: Jotun, Titan, Antaeus/Antaios, Nephilim, Anak/Anakim, Rephaim, Og (king of Bashan), Ymir/Ymer, ogre (Orcus), Goliath of Gath, Gargantua, Argus, Cyclops] [nb: "Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." by Abraham Lincoln; "Soldiers have many faults, but they have one redeeming merit; they are never worshippers of force. Soldiers more than any other men are taught severely and systematically that might is not right. The fact is obvious. The might is in the hundred men who obey. The right (or what is held to be right) is in the one man who commands them." by G.K. Chesterton]
BIG GREEN HEAVEN : see BIG GREEN PARADISE.
BIG GREEN MACHINE : see GREEN MACHINE.
BIG GREEN PARADISE : slang for a retirement village situated near a major military installation, where CAREER TRACK military RETIREEs can associate with like-minded neighbors, and maximize their benefits by availing themselves of the nearby facilities setup for active duty servicemembers; also known as the "great green heaven" or the "vast green heaven", and called "...blue..." by Air Force and Navy LIFERs. See FOLLOW THE DRUM, DOUBLE-DIP, PAY DUES; compare GREEN MACHINE, THE BIG PX IN THE SKY.
BIGHT : a looped or slack part of a ROPE; see KNOT. [v: Climbing Terms] Also, a bend or curve in the shoreline of a sea or river; see NECK. Also, a body of water bounded by such a bend, as a bay or gulf.
THE BIG PX IN THE SKY : heaven, paradise; an afterlife of luxury and comfort [not VALHALLA (everlasting war) or Nirvana (nothingness)]. See HAPPY VALLEY, FIDDLER'S GREEN; compare LAND OF THE BIG PX.
BIG LIE : a false statement of outrageous magnitude employed as a PROPAGANDA measure in the belief that a lesser falsehood would not be credible; expression derived from "The great mass of people ... will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one." by Adolf Hitler [v1 ch10 Mein Kampf (1925)]. See FRUIT FLY, SECRET AGENT, RUMOR, CONTROLLED INFORMATION, DISINFORMATION, FACTOID, HOOPLA, ECHO CHAMBER, DIRTY LAUNDRY, SPIN, FAKE NEWS, DECEPTION, PSYOPS. [nb: the "big lie" is often misattributed to Joseph Paul Goebbels, probably because he served as Nazi propaganda director] [nb: "More persons are, on the whole, humbugged by believing nothing than by believing too much." by Phineas Taylor Barnum; "People like to be humbugged." by Phineas Taylor Barnum; "Vox populi, vox humbug." by William Tecumseh Sherman (1863), a parody of "Vox populi, vox Dei" attributed to Alcuin (cAD800); "Men can always be blind to a thing so long as it is big enough." by G.K. Chesterton] [cf: Platonic "noble lie"]
BIG LIFT : operational name for the 1963 test of pre-positioned armor equipment and materiel for the rapid deployment of a CONUS unit to Germany (REFORGER), as if in wartime; see PRE-POS, POMCUS, APS.
BIG ONE : slang for the 1st Marine Division, which served in the Pacific during World War II, the KOREAN WAR, and the VIETNAM WAR; compare BIG RED ONE / BRO.
BIGOT / BIGOTRY : the stubborn intolerance of any creed, belief, or doctrinaire opinion that differs from one's own; the narrow-minded beliefs or biased actions of a prejudiced or discriminating person. [nb: when the accused were paraded through the streets during the Roman Catholic Inquisition, they were taunted by the crowd of spectators with the question: "Will you recant?", to which query many replied: "By God, I hope not.", thus designating steadfast 'bigots'] [ety: dedicated ('by God')] [v: parti pris; pardi / pardie / pardy / perdie, as an interjection meaning verily or indeed (der: by God (Latin: 'per deum'))]
BIG PICTURE : a wider view or broader perspective of a given problem or issue, the whole gestalt that's ostensibly objective and typically macrocosmic; as distinguished from subjective and microcosmic, which are often alleged too trifling or picayune. This preference for "ends" over "means" tends to devalue, if not disregard, individualistic motives and efforts, except those pertaining to the commanders, politicians, nabobs and other movers-and-shakers. See PARTY LINE, TOE THE LINE, FACE, MICROMANAGEMENT, SCRIPTURES, NATIONAL SECURITY; compare RIGHT STUFF. [v: anti-hero, fractal; cf: "The breeze from the flutter of a butterfly's wings will create a storm in the next valley."; "Though the youth at last grows indifferent, the laws of the universe are not indifferent, but are forever on the side of the most sensitive. Listen to every zephyr for some reproof, for it is surely there, and he is unfortunate who does not hear it." by Henry David Thoreau Walden (1854)]
BIG RED ONE :
BIG SHOT : a large or heavy load of ordnance or MUNITIONS; see LOADED FOR BEAR, BIG STUFF, HEAVY STUFF. Also, by analogy, a powerful or influential person ... all too often, a self-important one; see WHIZ KID, WISE MEN, BRAIN TRUST, BLUE BLOOD, POWER ELITE, BRASS HAT, CZAR, CAKE-EATER, MANDARIN, SECOND ESTATE, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, GOODWILL AMBASSADOR. [aka: the pick, chosen, select, cream, flower, notable, VIP, dignitary, magnate, cavalier, aristocrat, crème de la crème, socialite, haut monde, celebrity, personage, snob, hincty, high-hatter, bigwig, high-muck-a-muck, mogul, potentate, nabob, tycoon, big deal, wheeler-dealer, wheel / big wheel, big cheese, fat cat, big gun]
BIG SHOTGUN : a recoilless rifle using CANISTER anti-personnel ammunition; see RR, LAW, compare SHOTGUN.
BIG STICK : a metaphor for power or force, especially political or military, that's used by a government as a means of influence. [nb: "Speak softly and carry a big stick." by Theodore Roosevelt]
BIG STICK DIPLOMACY : in international relations, the backing of negotiations with the implied or implicit threat of military force; that's based upon Theodore Roosevelt's 1900 policy statement adapted from a West African proverb, "speak softly and carry a big stick", as successfully employed in the 1902-4 Alaskan boundry dispute and in the second Venezuelan crisis. Compare GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY, PING-PONG DIPLOMACY; see BLOODY SHIRT, JUST WAR, SABER-RATTLING, GUNPOINT, CROSS THE RUBICON, DECENT INTERVAL, HOT PURSUIT, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), FAIL-SAFE, PROMISE, TRUCE, LAWS OF WAR.
BIG STORY : a captivating report (authentic or otherwise) that ensures the prestige (notorious or otherwise) of the person first breaking the news, or initially divulging the incident or event to the eternal posterity of the gratified public. The BIG STORY may be hypothetical, conjectural, speculative, or descriptive; and is differentiated from "big talk", which is merely exaggeration, and from "big stick", which is only threatened force. It is an axiom of military operations that "the first report is always wrong". See BEST AND BRIGHTEST, MANDARIN, MAVERICK, WAR CORRESPONDENT, FRUIT FLY, RUMOR, DISINFORMATION, CONTROLLED INFORMATION, BIG PICTURE, FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES, WHITE PROPAGANDA, COUNT COUP, PROPAGANDA, FACTOID, HOOPLA, FALSE FLAG, ECHO CHAMBER, DIRTY LAUNDRY, FAKE NEWS, SPIN, SCOOP, BIG LIE, WAR STORY, SEA STORY, TALK TRASH, TELL IT TO THE MARINES, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. [nb: fact, fiction, faction, fictitious, factitious, story, drama, melodrama, soap opera, adventure, horse opera, techno-thriller, space opera, play]
BIG STUFF : tactical air ordnance or artillery fire support; compare HEAVY STUFF.
BIG WHOOP / BIG WHUP / BIG WUP : sardonic reference to anything that's unimportant or to anyone who's unimpressive; that which is not noteworthy, is inconsequential, has failed to meet expectations or has resulted in a less than stellar performance, as "That slick new Loot is a big whoop!" May be used as a stand-alone interjection or exclamation; derived as an inverse of whoop (ie: a loud hooting cry or shout).
BIG WILLIE : slang for a COMBAT LOADED pallet of essential resupply (eg: AMMO, food, water, medicine, etc) and support weaponry (eg: LAWs, CLAYMOREs, GRENADEs, etc) that's AIRDROPped on a DZ to troops already deployed in the field on an active operation.
BIKINI : a remote atoll of the Marshall Islands in the northern Pacific, which was the site of atomic and hydrogen bomb testing, targeted at the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga and the battleship USS Arkansas, in 1946; compare ENIWETOK, see ZERO POINT, GROUND ZERO, OVERKILL, CBR, PAPER TIGER, DARPA, BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUCK, NUKE, HEAVY WATER, YELLOWCAKE, HOT GREASE, SCRAM, CONTAINMENT, BROKEN ARROW. Also, toponym for the brief, close-fitting, two-piece woman's bathing suit, which was introduced as an "explosive" fashion to capitalize on the notoriety of the atomic test site.
BILGE : either of the rounded areas that form the transition between the bottom and the sides on the exterior of a HULL; derived by alteration of "bulge". Also, an enclosed area at the bottom of a vessel where seepage collects; usually called "bilges". Also, the seepage collected in this space; also called "bilge water". Also, slang for foolish talk or worthless ideas; nonsense, claptrap, malarkey, bafflegab, gibber jabber, gibble-gabble, bushwa / bushwah, gobbledygook, CONFETTI, SNOW, BLOW SMOKE.
BILIOUS FEVER : see MALARIA.
BILLED CAP :
BILLET : a bed, bunk, or BERTH assigned to a member of the military; see RACK, SACK, HAMMOCK, FART SACK, FLEABAG, SHAKEDOWN, RUBBER LADY, DUTCH WIFE, HOSPITAL CORNER, HOOCH, SUDS ROW, BARRACK, COMPARTMENT, CANTONMENT, BAY, BEQ, NOB HILL, BOQ, VOQ, ENSIGN LOCKER, STATEROOM, GOAT LOCKER, SAFE HOUSE, GUARDHOUSE, CHU, CHUVILLE, BUTLER BUILDING, SEA HUT, QUONSET HUT, JAMESWAY HUT, PACIFIC HUT, EMKAY HUT, UTILITY BUILDING, MULTIPLE UTILITY BUILDING, ELEPHANT HUT, HUTMENT, B-HUT, TEAMHOUSE, LONG HOUSE, WANIGAN, SHEBANG, QTRS, PRIME RIBS. [v: bield, bower, arbor, rock-shelter, den, lair, bothy, cot, cabin, cottage, casita, cabana, lodge, earth lodge, hogan, squat, shed, byre; cf: garret, cockloft, dovecote] Also, non-military lodging for a soldier in a public building or a private dwelling. Also, an official order directing the addressee to provide such lodging or accommodation. Also, a job, position, or appointment; see MOS, DUTY, POST, PDS, PCS, TDY / TAD, BERTH, ON STATION, WATCH, OJT, SHEEP-DIPPED, HARDSHIP TOUR, BUMFUCK. [ety: the term 'cahoot', meaning a nefarious conspiracy ("in cahoots with"), derives from cabin or hut, as in shared partnership, in the same way that 'comrade' ("kamara") is related to being billeted together; its connotation of illegality is secondary to its denotation of partner or associate, union or league]
BILLIKEN : a somewhat grotesque charm figure that was designed (1908) by Florence Pretz, an American art teacher and illustrator, as a fanciful novelty that's intended to promote good luck by rubbing the revealed soles of its feet; this elephant-like humanoid with short arms, pointed ears, a mischievous smile, and a tuft of hair on its pointed head, is posed in a seated posture such that its bare feet are prominently exposed. This talisman, known as "the god of things as they ought to be", has acquired international appeal, offering its greatest influence when presented as a gift to others (handsel / hansel). See MOJO, HOODOO, VOODOO, JOSS, FENG SHUI, JOSS STICK, MONEY TOAD, FOO DOG. [nb: the name 'Billiken' may have originated in the 1896 poem, "Mister Moon: A Song Of The Little People" by Bliss Carman] [cf: 'boojum' (an imaginary creature invented by Lewis Carroll in the 1876 poem "The Hunting of the Snark")]
BINGO : pilot's PROWORD term for the point in a flight when there's only enough fuel remaining to return to base (RTB); compare JOKER, POINT OF NO RETURN; see ENDURANCE, DROP-TANK, POD, DROGUE, TANKER.
BINH TRAM : Vietnamese name for the infiltration route defense and trail maintenance unit; see TRAIL WATCHER, HO CHI MINH TRAIL. [v: Viet-Nam Military Terms]
BINH XUYEN : an organization of gangsters that controlled Saigon's gambling dens and brothels, having strong influence with the police; this gang resisted both the establishment of the Diem regime and the communist insurgency, forming a private army from 1954 that made common cause with the independent religious sects, CAO DAI and HOA HAO. See MERCENARY.
BINJO MARU : name given to the White River.
BINNACLE : a stand or housing for a nautical compass; derived from lodge. See GIMBAL, DEAD-RECKONING.
BINOS : truncation of BINOcularS; also expressed as "binocs"; see FIELD GLASSES, GLASS, PEEPERS, VIPER.
BIOMETRICS : any technology that measures and analyzes human physical characteristics (eg: fingerprints, facial patterns, DNA, etc) and/or behavioral traits (eg: gait, vocal patterns, social networking, etc) for multi-factor authentication, identification, surveillance or screening purposes; 'biometry' is a subset of 'biostatistics', which is the application of statistics to biological and medical data.
BIONIC / BIONICS : (forthcoming); see CYBORG.
BIPLANE : an airplane with two sets of wings, one above and usually slightly forward of the other; compare CANARD, MONOPLANE, TRIPLANE, FLYING WING, BLIMP.
BIPOD : a two-part or two-legged supportive stand that may be attached to or extended from the forward portion, forearm, or barrel of many firearms, especially automatic RIFLEs and machineguns (MG); each extension is usually independently adjustable, as for leveling a MORTAR on its BASEPLATE. Compare TRIPOD, PINTLE.
BIRD : informal referent for any aircraft, including AARDVARK, APACHE, ATCA, AVITRUC, BEAVER, BIRD DOG, BLACKBIRD, BLACKHAWK, BLADDER BIRD, BLUE CANOE, BRONCO, BUFF, BUFFALO, BUMMER BIRD, CANBERRA, CARGOMASTER, CARIBOU, CATALINA, CAYUSE, CHINOOK, COBRA, COMANCHE, COMMANDO, CONVERTER, CORSAIR, COUGAR, CRUSADER, DAKOTA, DELTA DAGGER, DELTA DART, DRAGONFLY, DRAGON LADY, DUFF, DUMBO, EAGLE, EXCALIBUR, EXPEDITOR, FAT ALBERT, FIGHTING FALCON, FLYING BOAT, FLYING BOXCAR, FLYING COW, FLYING CRANE, FLYING FORTRESS, FREEDOM BIRD, FREEDOM FIGHTER, FURY, GALAXY, GLIDER, GLOBEMASTER, GOONEY BIRD, GOSHAWK, GRASSHOPPER, GREYHOUND, GROWLER, HABU, HARRIER, HELLCAT, HELLDIVER, HERCULES, HORNET, HUEY/IROQUOIS, HUN, HUSKY, HUSTLER, INTRUDER, IROQUOIS/HUEY, JAYHAWK, JETSTAR, JOLLY GREEN GIANT, KINGBEE, KIOWA, LANCER, LIBERATOR, LIFTMASTER, LIGHTNING, LIGHTNING II, LITTLE BIRD, LOOKING GLASS, MARAUDER, MARLIN, MITCHELL, MOHAWK, MOSQUITO, MUSTANG, NEPTUNE, NIGHT FIGHTER, NIGHTHAWK, NIGHTINGALE, NIGHTWATCH, OLD GROWLER, ORION, OSPREY, OTTER, PACKET, PBM, PBY, PEACEMAKER, PHANTOM, PLASTIC BUG, PROVIDER, PUFF, RAPTOR, SABRE, SAMARITAN, SEA COBRA, SEA HAWK, SEA KING, SEA KNIGHT, SEA SPRITE, SEA STALLION, SEASTAR, SENTINEL, SHAWNEE, SHOOTING STAR, SIOUX, SKYCRANE, SKYHAWK, SKY KNIGHT, SKYLANCER, SKYMASTER, SKYNIGHT, SKYRAIDER, SKYRAY, SKYTRAIN, SKYTRAIN II, SKYTROOPER, SKYWARRIOR, SPERM, SPIRIT, STARFIGHTER, STARFIRE, STARLIFTER, STRATOCRUISER, STRATOFREIGHTER, STRATOFORTRESS, STRATOJET, STRATOLIFTER, STRATOTANKER, STRIKE EAGLE, SUPER FORTRESS, SUPER HORNET, SUPER SABRE, SUPER TWEET, SUPER VARK, TALON, TEXAN, THUNDERBOLT, THUNDERCHIEF/THUD, THUNDERFLASH, THUNDERJET, THUNDERSTREAK, TIGERCAT, TIGER II, TIGERSHARK, TOMCAT, TORNADO, TROJAN, TWEET, TWIN MUSTANG, TWIN OTTER, UTE, VIGILANTE, VOODOO, WACO, WALLABEE, WARTHOG, WILDCAT, WILD WEASEL. Aircraft prefixes under the Joint Service Designation System include: A = attack (aka: "ground attack"); AC = armed cargo; AH = attack helicopter; AV = attack vertical (VTOL); AT = advanced trainer; B = bomber; BT = basic trainer; C = cargo; CA = cargo assault; CG = cargo glider; CH = cargo helicopter; D = drone; E = electronic warfare; EB = electronic bomber; EW = electronic warfare; F = fighter (interceptor, pursuit, hunter/killer); FA = fighter attack (multi-role); G = glider; H = helicopter (formerly R = rotor); HH = heavy helicopter; HMM = helicopter medium Marine; J = test / temporary; K = (refuel) tanker; KC = kerosene cargo tanker; L = light (fixed-wing); LH = light helicopter; LOH = light observation helicopter; M = multi-mission; MH = minesweeper helicopter; N = test - permanent; O = observation; OH = observation helicopter; OV = observation (fixed-wing); P = patrol/pursuit; Q = target; R = reconnaissance; RC = radio/RADAR reconnaissance cargo; RV = radio/RADAR reconnaissance (fixed-wing); S = anti-submarine; SR = strategic reconnaissance; T = trainer; U = utility (fixed-wing); UC = utility cargo; UH = utility helicopter; V = executive (VIP); W = weather; X = experimental; Y = prototype / service test; Z = lighter-than-air. [nb: during WWI, USN/USMC designated "heavier than air" craft as 'V' (eg: aeroplane, biplane, glider), and "lighter than air" craft as 'Z' (eg: airship, blimp, dirigible)] [nb: first successful flight of prop-driven fixed-wing airplane by Orville and Wilbur Wright (1903); first successful flight of rotary winged aircraft by Igor Sikorsky (1909); first successful flight of multimotored aircraft by Igor Sikorsky (1913); first successful flight across the Atlantic Ocean was made by Albert Cushing Read in a Glenn Curtiss seaplane NC-4 (1919); first successful jet-powered flight by Ernst Heinkel HE-178 (1939); although three Douglas "World Cruiser" airplanes (sponsored by the US Army Air Corps) flew around the world in 175 days (1924) by landing numerous times, the first non-stop circumnavigation orbit was made by satellite (1957), then by the Rutan "Voyager" airplane (1986); first supersonic (Mach 1.06) flight by Chuck Yeager in Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis" that was launched from B-29 bomber at 29,000 foot altitude (1947); first successful carbon-fiber jet wing flight by Yves Rossy/Rossi (2004)] [nb: although Russia designed a passenger airplane in 1913, and regular passenger routes were established between London and Paris in 1919, the Guggenheim Foundation was the first to sponsor an experimental American airline ('Western Air Express') in May 1928, which could transport eight to twelve passengers per flight between San Francisco and Los Angeles ... furthermore, the Guggenheim Foundation sponsored development of the precision Collsman altimeter, the Sperry artificial horizon, the Sperry radio directional gyrocompass, point-to-point instrument navigation, plane to ground communication, and standardized weather reporting] [v: AvnSpeak, an Aerobatics and Aviation Lexicon] Compare CHOPPER, GLIDER, BLIMP; see PILOT, AC, BIRDMAN, AIRDALE, BIRD DOG, JET JOCKEY, PETER PILOT, GOOD STICK, SEAT TIME, BUSH PILOT, FUF, GIB, WSO, BEAR, EWO, RSO, RIO, WING MAN, CREW DOG, CREW PUPPY, IP, NICKEL RIDE, LINK TRAINER, PITCH, YAW, ROLL, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, TRIM, FEATHER, BLADE STRIKE, CANARD, STALL, CRAB, JINK, BANK, YANK 'n' BANK, WALK AROUND, KNEEBOARD, PLASTIC BRAINS, CHECK RIDE, UP CHECK, DOWN CHECK, BARNSTORMER, SILVER EAGLES, BLUE ANGELS, THUNDERBIRDS, SKYBLAZERS, WELDED WING, MISSING MAN FORMATION, FLYOVER, FINGER FOUR, V FORMATION, COMBAT BOX, TOP GUN, RED FLAG, DREAMLAND, AREA 51, HAWC, AEROBATICS, MACH, FAST MOVER, SLOW MOVER, MUD MOVER, PURSUIT PLANE, SPYPLANE, BOMBER, WARBIRD, PAYLOAD, BOMB FARM, APRON, TAXIWAY, THRESHOLD, CATAPULT, UNDERCARRIAGE, FIXED GEAR, DIRTY, CHASSIS, BASE LEG, TOUCHDOWN, BOUNCE, RUNWAY, OVERSHOOT, UNDERSHOOT, BIRDCAGE, ATC, LIMA SITE, STOL, VTOL, VSTOL, NOSE, SPINNER, WHEEL PANTS, FAIRING, COWLING, CANOPY, COCKPIT, AIRFRAME, FUSELAGE, RAMP, HELL HOLE, HATCH, BLISTER, SPONSON, TURRET, NACELLE, WING, TAILBOOM, TAB, FIN, RUDDER, FLAP, PANCAKE, GROUND LOOP, NOSEDIVE, AUGER-IN, ALUMINUM RAIN, BLACK BOX, ALS, ILS, PADDLES, BURBLE, NIGHT TRAP, BOLTER, BOUNCE, TAILHOOK, SPLASHDOWN, FEET DRY, FEET WET, THE DRINK, CUPID, ANGEL, SHORT ORBIT, DOUBLE DRIFT, VFR, POPEYE, IMC, IIMC, ARTIFICIAL HORIZON, ABSOLUTE ALTITUDE, VOR, VECTOR, BEAM, MEACONING, MIJI, RRA, STRIP ALERT, AIR LANE, AIRWAY, ORBIT, RACETRACK, STACK, CAP, UMBRELLA, FCSL, NO FLY ZONE, SQUAWK, IR MARKERS, BROWN-OUT, WHITEOUT, GOO, ZERO-ZERO, FLAT LIGHT, VISUAL, BOGIE, BANDIT, JUDY, TALLY-HO, PRIMROSE PATH, JOY, SCRAM, HUD, VD, BITCHIN' BETTY, SHARON, LETDOWN, VOLPLANE, DEAD STICK, CONTROL STICK, JOYSTICK, STICK, PICKLE, HARDPOINT, PYLON, DIVETOSS, BOMBSIGHT, INTERVALOMETER, LRU, AVIONICS, ACE, SPLASH, SORTIE, TAC-AIR, AIR STRIKE, CAS, STRAFE, GUN RUN, SKIP BOMBING, SMOOGE, SLEEVE, PUNCH-OUT, BAILOUT, NYLON LETDOWN, REVETMENT, HANGAR, FLIGHTWORTHY, ACOOC, HANGAR QUEEN, WINDSOCK, APU, BINGO, JOKER, PETROL, JUICE, POL, JP, AVGAS, TOP-OFF, HOT-FUELING, AIR AMBULANCE, HEAVENLY HOST, LAND TAIL, PENGUIN, WING WIPER, GROUND HOG, GROUNDED. [nb: aeroplanes were used in warfare for the first time in 1911, during the Italo-Turkish campaign in Tripoli, North Africa] [nb: all aircraft designs are a compromise between stability and maneuverability; but the cost of military aircraft has quadrupled each decade from their inception to the present]
THE BIRD : sardonic reference to the American eagle represented in various INSIGNIA, from BADGEs to RATINGs; also called BUZZARD, CROW, and "chicken"; see PUKING BUZZARDS, BIRD UMBRELLA, PO, CPO, CHIEF. Also, informal reference to the MASCOT of the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA, ZOO), being a 'falcon' in the school colors of blue and silver, as adopted by the first graduating class in 1959; see MULE, GOAT, BULLDOG, BLACK DEVIL, MEAT MARKER. Also, slang for penis (eg: dickey bird, pecker, cock), phallus, PRICK / CU, SHORT ARM, JOYSTICK, STICK, SPAR, YARDARM, HOT DOG, HOSE, BAYONET, DIPPER, POGY BAIT, POGUE, and the like; compare LITTLE PRICK, DEAD-SOLDIER, ONIONS. Also, a rude hand gesture, formed by extending the middle finger with the other fingers curled toward the palm of the hand, being symbolic of male genitalia, representative of fornication, expressive of contempt and carelessness, as in "flip him The Bird"; also known as THE FINGER and the ONE-FINGER SALUTE; compare A-OK, ITALIAN SALUTE, POLISH SALUTE, HIGH BALL, HAND SIGN. Also, slang for an expression of disapproval, as by hissing or booing, scoffing or some other ridicule.
BIRD BALL 'n' HOOK / BIRD, BALL 'n' HOOK : disrespectful reference to the eagle, globe and anchor emblem that represents the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), which symbol was introduced by BG Jacob Zeilin (seventh commandant) during the American CIVIL WAR; also known as "buzzard ...", "chicken ...", "crow ...", and "bird, ball 'n' chain" by SHORT-TIMERs.
BIRDCAGE : slang for the airspace over an airport, together with the airplanes flying approach or departure orbits within that airspace; see ATC, ATRC, ADIZ.
BIRD COLONEL : also called "chicken colonel"; see FULL BIRD / FULL BULL, OFFICER, RANK.
BIRD DOG : the Piper L-4 / l-5 or Cessna L-19 / O-1, being a light, propeller-driven, single-engine, high fixed-wing, two-seat monoplane used by USA/USAF/USMC for liaison, observation, and forward air control (FAC) missions; see GRASSHOPPER, FIREFLY. Also, a metonym for the PILOT of such an aircraft flying such missions. Also, to trace, track, seek, follow, investigate, study, observe, watch, watch carefully, or supervise in a determined, relentless, or obtrusive manner; see SNOOPER, WATCHER. Also, slang for the misappropriation or attempted stealing of another person's (male or female) date.
BIRD FARM : airport or landing strip, especially parking aprons or ramps with REVETMENTs. Compare MOTOR POOL.
[eg: I wanted wings till I got the goddamned things.
BIRD UMBRELLA :
BIRTH CONTROL DEVICE : military issue eyeglasses, also called "birth control glasses" (BCG); the standard issue eyeglasses are a universal barrier and ubiquitous impairment to sexual relations devised by Pentagon geeks and Congressional dweebs to limit paternity suits. In the case of female servicemembers wearing these unstylish military spectacles, they are widely known as a "rape prevention device". Also called specs (spectacles), cheaters, PEEPERS, eyewear, glasses or eyeglasses. See THE PILL, PRO KIT, DOUBLE-O, EYESHOT.
BISCUIT : a small cake or loaf of unraised bread, of many varieties, that's baked hard, such as a ship's biscuit or pilot bread; as derived from the ancient Roman practice of preparing military bread twice in the oven; see HARDTACK, PITA, PANCAKE, RATIONS. [v: Dunand's army bread] [cf: Edgemont brand or Pelican Cracker factory hard bread] [v: staff of life] [v: biscuit, challah, croissant, bun, roll, pancake, chapati / chapatti, pita, cracker, cracknel, pretzel, shortbread, cookie, wafer, roly-poly, shortcake, teacake, tea bun, sally lunn, cupcake, pandowdy, cobbler / grunt, funnel cake, friedcake, doughnut (eg: beignet, bismarck, olykoek, fasnacht, cruller, brioche, bath bun, honey bun, soul cake, marlboro, dunker, clogger, kolacky / kolache, jelly doughnut, bear sign, bear paw, etc)] Also, slang for a limited access SWIPE CARD, especially one containing password encryption; this term probably originated by association with the electronic tracking 'cookie'. Also, informal reference to bisque, being earthenware pottery or vitreous china that has been fired once, and may be fired a second time with a glaze. [v: biscuit ware] Also, slang for a sarcastic or ironic reward; also called "dog biscuit", which is like a cookie but neither as nice nor as sweet; see GONG, TRASH, IMPACT AWARD. Also, slang for a methadone pill, similar to oxycodone (CHEERIOS); see CANDY, JUICE, DOPE, JUNK, COLORS, WASTED, STONED. Also, slang for testicle (typically plural); 'biscuits' are not to be confused with "buns" or "hotcakes"; see ONIONS, GUTS, SPUNK.
BIT : Built-In Test, being an operator actuated test of the readiness or functionality of an electronic system that's integrated into a device or weapon without activating it; it's a command initiated form of the Power On Self Test (POST) subroutine that automatically scrutinizes a digital device whenever its operating system is launched. This internal survey assures the user that the device or weapon will operate properly when so directed. Also, a single, basic unit of computer information, valued at either 0 or 1, to signal binary alternatives; as derived from "binary + digit". [cf: pixel, analog, quantum, bitstream, byte] Also, informal reference to an amount equivalent to 12.5 cents, which is only used in even multiples; as derived from a former small silver coin of Spain and Spanish America that was worth one-eighth of a real; see TWO-BIT / TWO-BITS. [nb: Spanish real is equal to one-eighth of a peso] Also, a small piece or quantity of something, a small amount or sum of anything; see FRAG, SMITHEREENS, DECONSTRUCT. [v: particle, mote, speck, grain, shred, scrap, crumb, smidgen, scintilla, morsel, granule, fleck, fragment, shard, trifle, trace, snippet, snip, whit, iota, jot, tittle, modicum, mite]
BITCH : to complain, gripe, grouse, or grumble; being the paramount DUTY of every soldier, and therefore the primary indicator of troop morale; see PECKER-CHECKER; compare SUCK IT UP, MAN-UP, WHITE-KNUCKLE, BITE THE BULLET, DIEHARD, FIDO, BALLS TO THE WALL. [nb: "Grumblers are deaf to any voice but their own." aphorism] Also, to ruin, spoil, or bungle something; see SOL, FUCKED-UP. Also, anything difficult or unpleasant; compare BASTARD, SONS OF BITCHE. Also, any female animal or person, pre-menstrual or post-coital, inebriated or expurgated; see DISTAFF, SKIRT, SQUEAK, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, GI JANE, GOLD STAR, DRAG, LADY, COW, OFFICER'S WIFE, PETTICOAT COMMAND, CAMP FOLLOWER, CAMPAIGN WIFE, SHACK-JOB, SLEEPING DICTIONARY, ROUND EYE, HAPPY VALLEY, STRANGE, SPLIT, SNATCH, HOLLOW BUNNY, BALL BUSTER, FLYING BRAVO; compare PRICK, CU, ONIONS.
BITCH BOX : slang for the electrical intercom system connecting offices or departments within a building, or building to building within a unit (as from ORDERLY ROOM to BARRACKS), also known as a SQUAWK BOX; as derived from complain or gripe (bitching, bitchy). Compare BLOWER, HORN, PBX, TANNOY, 1-MC, TOCSIN, KLAXON.
BITCHIN' BETTY : slang for the synthesized female voice that automatically announces changes and warnings detected by the control and survey computers in an operational aircraft; also called "naggin' Nancy". It should be noted that a psychological study in the 1950s determined that a feminine voice, with its maternal and sexual associations, was preferable whenever alerts or precautions needed to be announced; however, with the increase in announcements, the changes in American society, and the introduction of female aircrew, the negative aspects of the feminine voice, including its pitch and clarity, are now outweighing its original selection impetus. See SQUAWK, SCRAM, SCRAMBLE; compare SHARON, BITCH BOX, BLOWER, HORN, PBX, TANNOY, 1-MC, TOCSIN, KLAXON.
BITCH SLAP / BITCH-SLAP : slang for the open-handed slap across the face of an inferior or subordinate that's administered as a rebuke in an expression of dominance; such an admonitory gesture has been prohibited in the American military since CORPORAL PUNISHMENT was declared illegal in 1964, but has always been distinguished from a close-handed 'punch' administered as punishment or abuse. American advisors have sometimes been shocked when witnessing such insulting slaps administered to foreign troops by their own officers and NCOs where such BASHING was still permitted (eg: Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, etc); the warder or baton (SWAGGER STICK) is sometimes used instead of the open-hand in these cases, probably to ensure that the reprimand is 'impersonal' ... gloves held in the hand (gage) have also been used in this same manner. Such a castigating slap is also used during the interrogation of a prisoner, and does not constitute TORTURE when so done. This expression represents the hierarchical status of domination (ie: upper slaps lower, lower never slaps upper), and is unrelated to sexism or sexual abuse. [v: strike, slap down, smite, slam, whomp, swat, slat, smackeroo, skelp / scelp] [v: 'binta' is face-slapping as a form of rebuke, being corporal discipline in the Imperial Japanese Army]
BITE THE BULLET : to require oneself to endure hardship or PAIN courageously, to compel oneself to face trouble or adversity with fortitude, to force oneself to behave stoically; as when resisting manfully by clenching on a lead bullet. See V-DEVICE, BRAGGING RIGHTS, COUNT COUP, WATCH MY SMOKE, GUTS, MOXIE, BEARING, ONIONS, TAKE IT ON THE CHIN, DIEHARD, HERO, SCAR, WHITE-KNUCKLE, SUCK IT UP, MAN-UP, MANLY ARTS, REFERRED PAIN, SLOW MATCH, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, WINTER SOLDIER.
BITE THE DUST : a euphemism for sudden or violent death, as in battle, that was made popular by Western novels and films, and has been commonly used by MIL-PERS since WWII; the expression originated as "May many of his men fall about him prone in the dust and bite the earth!" by Homer [The Iliad]. See BUY THE FARM, WASTED, ZAPPED, CHECK OUT, PUSHING UP DAISIES, WAXED, BITTER END; compare BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. [nb: "lick the dust" Psalm 72:9; "return to the dust" Genesis 3:19; "All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again." Ecclesiastes 3:20]
BITT : see BOLLARD.
BITTER END : the inboard end of an anchor chain or other line; probably a corruption of "bitt end" as the secured end of a LINE or CABLE. Also, the conclusion to any difficult circumstance or unpleasant situation; compare TAR BABY, BELL THE CAT, AUTOTOMY, LAST STAND, FIGHT LIKE KILKENNY CATS, PYRRHIC VICTORY; see SHIT HIT THE FAN, DEEP SHIT, SNOWBALL, DOG'S CHANCE, BUY THE FARM, ZAP / ZAPPED, WASTED, CHECK OUT, BITE THE DUST, PUSHING UP DAISIES.
BIVOUAC : an impermanent military encampment, made with TENTs or improvised shelters, or the place used for such an encampment; sometimes nicknamed "tent city". Derived from auxiliary patrol or by-watch; see CAMP, BASE CAMP, FOB, COMPANY STREET, PUP TENT, HUTMENT, BOHIO, SHEBANG, WANIGAN, PORTALEDGE; compare LAST BIVOUAC.
BIVVY : informal term for a small tent or temporary shelter, as by adaptation of 'bivouac'; compare PORTALEDGE.
BIVY : a fitted cover secured over the mummy-style sleeping bag, and serving as external protection from abrasion or weather. Also, a waterproof bag or "stuff-sack" intended for stowing a sleeping bag, but widely used for other utilitarian storage. See FART SACK, SHAKEDOWN, AWOL BAG, MUSETTE, DUFFEL, WAR BAG, KIT BAG, FLIGHT BAG.
BLACK : figuratively secret, covert, or clandestine; see THUNDER TIGER, SOG [nb: the law required that oversight commissions be informed of all "Black Operations" after completion]. Also, figuratively harmful or lethal, as "Black Arts" used in special operations; see UW. Also, figuratively illicit, as the "Black Market" or "Black Marketeering"; see MIDNIGHT REQUISITION. Also, figurative censure or disgrace, as a "Black Mark" on the record; see GIG, CALL ON THE CARPET. Also, figuratively bad or evil, as the allegedly incurable "Black Syph", which RUMOR mongers claim accounts for all the MIAs and is the true origin of AIDS; see SHORT ARM. Also, figuratively morbid; as grim satire or gallows humor. Also, figuratively inoperative, as a broken mechanism or an empty weapon. Also, literally undetectible, as a negative chiaroscuro image during infrared (IR) scanning. Also, any individual member of the dark-skinned peoples of Africa, Oceania, Antilles, and Australia, especially an Afro-American; also known as "negro" [ety: niger], "creole", or "colored"; see BUFFALO SOLDIER, TRIPLE NICKEL, BLACK WINGS, SPOOK, SMOKE, LEROY, SPLIB, SPEAR-CHUCKER, MAN FRIDAY, NUBUSH, LULU THE ZULU, WOG, WOP, JUNGLE MUSIC, DESEGREGATION. [aka: bro/brother, homeboy/homey, ebony, blood, dinge, shade, darky, spade, shine, brownie, blue-gums, Billy Reuben (bilirubin), boogie, coon, Americoon, Africoon, buck, jungle bunny (cf: CHOCOLATE BUNNY), nappy, Afro, brillo, 8-ball, cotton ball, cotton-picker, lawn jockey, porch monkey, yard ape, jig/jigga/jigaboo, et cetera ad nauseam] [nb: the term 'kafir', being Arabic for an infidel or unbeliever (cf: goy/goyim), is probably the origin of 'kaffir', which is a derogatory reference to BLACK people; the term was probably imported into South Africa during the Boer War by British soldiers who had fought in the Sudanese campaign] [nb: the Portuguese word for slave pens or barracks ("baracoons") is probably the origin of the racial slur 'coon', referring to BLACK people] [nb: a "wight" (man) is a human being, who is defined as such by his ability to fight, hence is someone who's strong and brave in war; consequently the phrase "(that's) mighty white of you" or "(that's) really white of you" is a misapprehension of the homonym, and has nothing to do with race, when complimenting someone for being kind or decent, generous or forbearant, which is equivalent to 'mensch'] [nb: "The danger of a conflict between the white and the black inhabitants perpetually haunts the imagination of the Americans like a bad dream." by Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America 1835); "One of the things that makes a Negro unpleasant to white folk is the fact that he suffers from their injustice. He is thus a standing rebuke to them." by H.L. Mencken (Notebooks 1930); "The history of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed-upon myths of its conquerors." by Meridel Le Sueur (Crusaders 1955); "People are so damned sensitive about color around here that you can't ask a barman for a jigger of rum ... you have to ask for a jiegro." by Ian Fleming (Diamonds are Forever 1956)]
THE BLACK ART / THE BLACK ARTS : a modern euphemism for the TRADECRAFT of espionage, after the arcane magic of witchcraft and other esoteric skulduggery; see INTEL, CIC, MI.
BLACK BAG : (forthcoming); metonymic euphemism, "black bag job"; see BAGMAN, CANDY, HONEY POT, DIRTY TRICKS; compare DIPLOMATIC POUCH, FARADAY POUCH.
[eg: Boo, boo, baby. Look at me swagger.
BLACKBIRD : Lockheed SR-71 surveillance aircraft, designated "Strategic Reconnaissance", had a self-annealing titanium shell, and could fly faster than Mach 3 at over 100,000ft height ... the world's fastest air-breathing man-piloted airplane; it was retired in 1989. See HABU, DREAMLAND, SPYPLANE. [nb: the SR-71 holds the speed record of 2,193.17 mph for a piloted air-breathing jet airplane; but NASA's experimental scramjet-powered pilotless X-43A has bested this, almost reaching Mach 7 (about 5,000 mph) and Mach 10 (about 6,800 mph) in brief test flights during 2004] Also, slang reference to any STERILE or BLACK aircraft employed in covert operations, regardless of configuration; see GREEN HORNET, LANCER, SPIRIT.
BLACK BLOC : an affinity group of demonstrators who make common cause with other sympathetic antiestablishment factions so as to opportunistically employ shared tactics against their separate objectives; some elements are notable for their vandalism and sabotage, while others are typically pacifistic. The wearing of black-colored clothing and face masks is a technique used to enhance the group's presence, to imply unity and solidarity, to promote a revolutionary atmosphere, and to avoid personal identification by authorities. Although BLACK FLAGs have been traditionally associated with nihilism and anarchism, the BLACK BLOC ostensibly derived from the autonomen movements in Germany during the 1980s, where they were identified as "der schwarze Block" by the media, with their first appearance in America as anti-war picketers of the GULF WAR in February 1991. See NEW MOBE, NCC, PROTESTOR, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, BULLSHITVIK, FIFTH COLUMN, RUNNING DOG, YIPPIE. [v: grievance culture, populism, dual consciousness, relative deprivation theory, J-curve theory, frustration-aggression theory, obstructive dissociative disorder, value-added schema, hooliganism (including lunatic fringe or fanatical riffraff) and other collective aberrant behaviours; cf: scapegoat Atonement]
BLACK BOX : an electronic device aboard an aircraft that automatically records certain aspects of the aircraft's performance in flight; properly known as a "flight recorder" [nb: Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR)], it is actually colored high-visibility orange, and is designed to endure impact, fire, and immersion. Also, any unit that forms part of an electronic circuit that has its function but not its components specified, such as a safeguard. Also, slang for a type of phreaking box that allowed incoming calls to be received without incurring a charge by altering the line voltage so as not to signal an open circuit and establish a billing sequence; it worked by inserting a resistor or zener diode into the mechanical relay series with a bypass capacitor to prevent voice attenuation (made obsolete by electronic switching systems) used in telephone exchanges during the 1960s to 1980s; the applicable range of phreaking boxes was color coded for specificity, running the gamut from black, blue, green, red, magenta, orange, vermilion, gold, beige, silver, to clear, depending upon device utility, such as the dial-up modems for online bulletin board systems (BBS) of that era. Also, any concealed or protected container, often small and lockable, intended for the safe and secure storage of sensitive or secret materials, the unauthorized opening of which may have disastrous or catastrophic consequences; a complex box of mysteries, not unlike Pandora's Box.
BLACK CAT : see LUCKY THIRTEENTH.
BLACK DEATH : a form of bubonic plague that spread over Europe in the 14th century, killing about a quarter of the population; see GERM WARFARE, CBR, VECTOR, GENOCIDE, FOUR HORSEMEN, APOCALYPSE. [nb: the rats carrying this pestilence are believed to have arrived in the Mediterranean aboard trading vessels from Asia]
BLACK DEVIL :
BLACK ECHO : an indicative phrase used by Americans to describe the living conditions of the elaborate tunnel environment used by Viet Cong (NLF/VC/PRG) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA/PLA) soldiers as a underground base for disestablishment operations; living in the tunnels was primitive and perilous, where air and movement was as restricted as the limited food and water, where the inhabitants were plagued by vermin and poor sanitation, where confinement was dictated by ground and air patrols, subsurface and air raids, direct and indirect targeting. Some tunnel systems included truck and tank parks, ammo dumps and fuel storage, hospitals and operating rooms, kitchens and barracks, all of which had to be vented and shored, guarded and booby-trapped by malnourished and diseased troops. See TUNNEL RAT. [nb: captured documents revealed that malaria was the second greatest cause of fatality (after battle deaths) and that virtually every soldier was significantly afflicted with intestinal parasites]
BLACK FLAG : the symbol for total war, take no prisoners, show no mercy; traditionally associated with extirpation and annihilation, nihilism and anarchism. Compare RED FLAG, PLAY CHARLEMAGNE; see STRIKE THE FLAG, LAST STAND, COUP DE GRACE, QUARTER, WHITE FLAG, FALSE FLAG, SHOW THE FLAG, YELLOW JACK. [v: Flag Terms] [nb: the so-called "jolly roger", featuring a skull with crossed bones on a black field, that was purportedly flown by pirates, as a declaration of "no quarter" and "non-alliance", originated as the "jolie rouge", a plain red flag] [nb: baucans (or bauccedillian) was a plain red streamer, flown from a ship's masthead, signifying that "no quarter" would be given; which antedates the "flag of defiance" or "colors of defiance", also known as the "bloody flag", a practice abandoned after 1800] [nb: "Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." by H.L. Mencken]
BLACK GANG : nautical slang for the engine room crew, formerly stokers and GREASE MONKEYs who were also known as "black-hand gang" for handling coal, but are now technicians and mechanical engineers; see MECH, SNIPE, GASOLINE ALLEY. [nb: members of the ship's engine room crew (SNIPE or BLACK GANG) were issued black DIXIE CUPs during WWII, so were sometimes called 'black hats']
BLACK HAT : see FOE, BAD GUYS.
BLACK HATS : a black-colored baseball-style cap worn by AIRBORNE instructors at the US Army Infantry School. Similar non-uniform cap affixed with the "winged torch" device was adopted for wear by VN-era PATHFINDERs. During the post-VN era, when drill sergeants (DI) no longer wore the WWI campaign hat, and before the Army-wide adoption of the beret, a BLACK baseball-style HAT was worn by training CADRE. Compare RIGGER, RED HATS, GREEN BERET. [nb: when 5th SFGAbn departed RVN on 5 March 1971, the cover assignment for SOG ADVISORs was changed to USARV; so berets were no longer authorized, hence the distinctive (but unofficial) BLACK baseball-style HAT was adopted by SOGgies]
BLACKHAWK : the UH-/MH-60 single-rotor utility helicopter, successor to HUEY; also designated SEA HAWK and JAYHAWK, and commonly called "Hawk" ... being a medium-lift helicopter that can transport eleven fully equipped MIL-PERS at a maximum speed of 193knots. See CHOPPER.
BLACK HOLE : slang for the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) that was buried below the open expanse of ground-level desert during the GULF WAR, like a BUNKER or REDOUBT; it was so nicknamed by those who had to work within its subterranean environment; name by analogy to the astronomical phenomenon that absorbs everything but radiates nothing, receives everything but transmits nothing ... its whole existence is inferred by negative evidence (ie: intel goes in but none comes out; people go in but no one returns). See WAR ROOM, CP; compare THE CAVE. [nb: the first underground command and operations center was instituted by Winston L.S. Churchill during the Battle of Britain (BLITZ) and was immediately imitated by Franklin D. Roosevelt; all buried TOCs have subsequently been patterned on the British model]
BLACKJACK : operational designation for several Mobile Guerrilla Force (MGF) missions; including Blackjack-33 with Project Sigma in III CTZ from 27 April to 24 May 1967; and Blackjack-41 from 13 May 1967 parachute jump into Seven Mountains region of IV CTZ and evolving into combined US/ARVN Operation Attleboro. Named after sobriquet of 5th SFGAbn commander, COL Francis J. Kelly; who was also known as "Splash" for his magnetic attraction to water when parachuting; see GREEKS, MIKE FORCE, STRIKER. Also, nickname of John Joseph Pershing, commander of AEF in WWI, obtained from his preference for command of BUFFALO SOLDIERs (while George Armstrong Custer refused such assignments, believing them to be harmful to his reputation and career); see PERSHING, OPEN WAR, GASPER, DOG TAGS. Also, a compact, leather-covered club with a flexible handle; also known as sap or slapjack; see BATON, WARDER, FIST-LOAD, SANDBAG. Also, informal referent for a large drinking cup or oversized mug for beer or ale; originally made of tar coated leather; compare CANTEEN CUP, DIOGENES' CUP; see BREW, HOOCH. Also, a gambling game with the object of reaching (but not exceeding) a count of twenty-one on playing cards, dominos, or dice; also known as "twenty-one" or "pontoon"; compare CRIBBAGE, CRAPS; see PLAYING CARDS, PLAY THE GAME, WAR GAMES.
THE BLACK JET : the Lockheed F-117 fighter, or NIGHTHAWK, being a stealth aircraft developed from the DARPA "Have Blue" project; see BIRD.
BLACK KNIGHT : the mascot of the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, NY; compare MULE, GOAT, FALCON.
BLACK LADY MOUNTAIN : a distinctive topographic terrain feature in Tay Ninh province, about 100km northwest of Saigon, being a solitary prominence that abruptly rises 800m from the surrounding landscape; this landmark, called "Nui Ba Den" in Vietnamese, takes its name from the legend of a woman who went to pray for the safe return of her warrior husband and, when threatened by bandits, threw herself off of this sheer escarpment. Long the site of a Buddhist shrine, and riddled with caves that were intermittently occupied by GUERRILLAs throughout the VIETNAM WAR, it hosted a VECTOR and radio relay (RR) site for Allied forces. Compare MARBLE MOUNTAIN, LIMA SITE 85; see LEGHORN, HICKORY, FISHHOOK, PARROT'S BEAK, DOG'S FACE, ELEPHANT'S FOOT, ANGEL'S WING. [cf: "Helen's Dome", near Fort Bowie in Arizona Territory, as the site of a promontory from which a woman lept to escape violation by marauding Apaches]
BLACKLIST : a list (typically private or restricted) of persons who are under suspicion of disloyalty or untrustworthiness, or whose unmilitary or ANTI-AMERICAN activities have marked them for disfavor or censure, including barring them from appointment or employment, promotion or security clearance. Compare WHITE LIST; see SHIT LIST, THE SILENCE. Also, a list of objectionable works, in whole or in part, that are suppressed or excluded by the authority of a religious or governmental censor based upon an examination of them for moral transgressions, political or military violations, or some other worthy grounds, including literature, dramas, illustrations, speeches, and other published or broadcast matter; see CENSORSHIP. [v: blackball, bar, debar, proscribe, ban, boycott, shun, ostracize]
BLACK MAGIC :
BLACK MARKET : the place where rationed or prohibited goods are illicitly sold or traded; the place where such illegal transactions are conducted. Also, the act of illicitly selling or trading rationed or prohibited goods, as to obtain from "under-the-counter" so as to avoid the payment of taxes; also known as "black economy" and "gray economy", being the unauthorized exchange or disposal of products. Compare GRAY MARKET, WHITE MARKET; see CONTRABAND, DARK WEB, SHAKEDOWN, MIDNIGHT REQUISITION, KHAKI MAFIA, CARPETBAGGERS, SLICKY BOY. [cf: hole-and-corner business; v: dirty money]
BLACKOUT : using light discipline and masks; usually entails hooded or slit aperture lamps, red-lens lights, and draped windows or doorways; see VESTIBULE, LIGHTS OUT, NIGHT TRAP, compare CHRISTMAS TREE. Also, obstruction of communications media, or suppression of particular information broadcast by some medium; censorship; see GAG ORDER, D-NOTICE, NEED TO KNOW, OPSEC. [nb: at the beginning of WWII, insurance underwriters were openly reporting the contents of cargo, together with shipping schedules and other details, in transatlantic messages, which resulted in many losses from enemy predation because the commercial codes were insecure, but the agents were unresponsive to government censorship until they were finally threatened with prosecution under the Espionage Act] Also, a partial loss of memory, or a total loss of conscious awareness of one's acts; see PTSD, FLASHBACK, THOUSAND-YARD STARE, TELESCOPING, ZOMBIE, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME, FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT, DISSOCIATION, OBJECTIFICATION, CONVERSION SYMPTOMS, STRESS OF SOUL, G-FORCE, G-LOCK, G-SUIT; compare GRAYOUT, RED-OUT. [v: visual blackout (amaurosis fugax)]
BLACK SHEEP : (forthcoming);
BLACK SHIRT / BLACKSHIRT : an identifying garment worn to signify membership in or affiliation with a fascist organization; a symbol of fascism, or of a fascist militia. Also, a metonym for a member of a fascist organization [eg: Italian Fascists (ca1920)]. Compare BROWN SHIRT, RED SHIRT; see BAD GUYS, DRESS.
BLACK SHOE / BOOT : among sailors, anyone serving in the sea-going Fleet; among soldiers, the New Breed or Modern Army, as exemplified by black colored COMBAT BOOTs and LOW-QUARTERS (instituted 1954). Compare BROWN SHOE / BOOT; see FOOTWEAR.
BLACK STALLION : designation for the experimental (XRA9) single-stage-to-orbit space plane.
BLACK SWAN EVENT : an instance of a rare occurrence that exerts a disproportionate influence upon history or politics, economics or finance, science or technology; being a hard to predict event with an unusually high impact that's well beyond the realm of normal expectations. This hypothesis was initially proposed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book The Black Swan, The Impact of the Highly Improbable, which expounds upon the exceptional influence of such anomalous deviations. People tend to resist uncertainty and they attempt to act in a consistent manner, but life is always changing, sometimes catastrophically, so outliers and other oddities play a much larger role than regularly occurring events ... and because these happenings are so improbable, their consequences are unpredictable. The expression 'black swan' was coined in the 16th century to represent an impossibility, until live specimens were discovered in western Australia, hence the extraordinary nature of a BLACK SWAN EVENT disproving conventional wisdom. See CAT SKINNER, OUTSIDE THE BOX, PARADIGM SHIFT, GAMBLER'S FALLACY, LAW OF AVERAGES, LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE. [v: mutation in Darwinian evolution] [v: deus ex machina (Latin: any desperate or contrived solution (literally: "god from the machine"); cf: pons asinorum (Latin: insolvable problem (literally: "bridge of asses")] [nb: "Normal science does not aim for novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none." by Thomas S. Kuhn; "No matter how many instances of white swans we have observed, that does not justify the inference that all swans are white." by Karl R. Popper]
BLACK TIE / BLACK-TIE : a stipulation that guests wear semiformal evening attire, being a black bow tie worn with a dinner jacket or tuxedo by men; compare WHITE TIE.
BLACK WATER / BLACKWATER : slang for military coffee, also known as joe, mud, sludge, washy, java, mocha, espresso, brew, brown blood, boiler acid, battery acid, and nectar of the gods; see GI JOE. Also, the dark depths of seawater that's below the level of penetration of sunlight; being at or below a depth of 90ft or two atmospheres of pressure; compare BLUE WATER, BLUE LINE, BROWN WATER. [nb: 'black water' also refers to clear or frothy white water running underground where navigation thereupon cannot be aided by natural illumination] Also, wastewater from toilets, garbage disposal, and industrial processes; compare GRAY WATER; see TROTS, SQUIRTS, DUMP, SHIT, TRA CA, WAD, WASH, SLOP, SLOP CHUTE, WATERWORKS, COMFORT STATION. [v: soil pipe]
BLACKWATER / BLACKWATER FEVER : since the post-CIVIL WAR era, the common reference for a severe form of MALARIA characterized by kidney damage and hemoglobinuria resulting in urine that is dark red or black; any of several diseases characterized by the production of dark urine as a result of the rapid breakdown of red blood cells.
BLACK WINGS : refers to the skill qualification badge earned by non-white PILOTs and PARATROOPERs during WWII, when military DESEGREGATION was still problematic; this dismissive reference to Tuskegee Institute aviators and 555th Parachute Infantry Regiment (TRIPLE NICKEL) parachutists was intended to be disparaging and dismissive, but became a "mark of distinction". See WINGS, TRASH, BLACK, BEANER, FLIP, CHINK, NIP, CREOLE, COON-ASS, REDBONE, CHIEF; compare WHITE TRASH. [nb: the "thin red line" was applied to the British ("Redcoats") in the Crimean War because they did not form into a defensive square when engaged, making their line weak, which impugned their military prowess; likewise, the Scottish bagpipers accompanying British troops in WWI were labeled "ladies from hell" for wearing kilts into battle while playing an instrument instead of carrying a weapon ... each attribution was initially offensive, but both were later adopted as proud distinctions] [v: Names of Foreigners or Foes]
BLACK WORK / BLACKWORK : informal reference to anything secret, covert, or clandestine, whether surveillance or intelligence analysis, recruitment or other special operations in the field; also known as "shadow work". The law requires that oversight commissions be informed of all "Black Operations" after completion. See WET WORK. Also, work in the "underground economy" for which a person is paid in cash, with the transaction unrecorded or unreported, so as to avoid paying income tax on the amount earned.
BLADDER : large, heavy-duty, rubberized, collapsible drum ranging from 2,000 to 50,000 gallons for POL products; also called "bowser". See BLIVET, JERRY CAN, DONKEY DICK, PETROL, JUICE, HOT-FUELING, TOP-OFF; compare POD, WATER BUFFALO, LISTER BAG.
BLADDER BAG : collapsible CANTEEN, up to one gallon capacity; see WATER PURIFICATION TABLET, EVAPORATOR, SOLAR STILL.
BLADDER BIRD : see FLYING COW.
BLADE : a flat device of various sizes and configurations used for cutting or stabbing; the functional portion of a KNIFE or SWORD, as derived by its resemblance to a broad flat leaf. Also, the thinner flat part of something, as on an oar or a shovel. Also, the arm of a propeller or other similar rotary mechanism. Also, slang for a dashing or jaunty young man, especially a swaggering swordsman (fencer, soldier).
BLADE STRIKE : referent for one or more arms (blades) of a propeller hitting some object, or being hit by some object, which event can affect prop balance and structural integrity, rendering the aircraft unflyable; see TRIM, FEATHER, AUTO-ROTATE, FLIGHTWORTHY, CHOPPER, BIRD.
BLADE TIME : a meter measuring helicopter engine usage relative to mandatory maintenance, hence the informal reference for available helicopter hours that can be allocated to each unit for operational flights, logistical support, command and control.
BLANK : a CARTRIDGE or SHELL loaded with gunpowder and primer, but the case is crimped without a projectile or BULLET, as used in training, WAR GAMEs, and SALUTEs; also called a "blank cartridge" or "blank shell", as derived from "white" meaning void or empty. A BLANK ADAPTER or "blank firing adapter" (BFA) is used on SMALL ARMS to avoid the manual cycling of the weapon's bolt. Compare SIM-AMMO, DUMMY, MILES; see RIFLE GRENADE, AMMO.
BLANK ADAPTER : an accessory device, affixed to the muzzle by the bayonet lug, enabling a rifle or machinegun to function "normally" when firing BLANK ammunition. The BLANK ADAPTER, also known as a "blank firing adapter" (BFA), functions by blocking the barrel of the firearm, permitting enough back-pressure to allow the bolt to recoil properly, ejecting the spent case and automatically loading the next cartridge, without manual assistance from the operator. Because the weapon's barrel is blocked, the BLANK ADAPTER is painted bright red as a warning, since the firing of a live round of regular AMMO through the weapon's barrel would cause an explosion, damaging the firearm and injuring the shooter. The BLANK ADAPTER is only used in training; the ceremonial firing of BLANK ammunition is manually cycled, typically from older rifles, which manipulations add pomp to the occasion.
BLANKET DIVISION :
BLANKET HEAD :
BLANKET PARTY : form of mob justice, in which the vigilantes seek either to inspire conformity or expel nonconformity by corporal punishment of a maladjusted SQUAD member, so as to achieve unit cohesion; also called ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. See AIRMAN ALIGNMENT TOOL, GI SHOWER, GIG, CALL ON THE CARPET, DRUMHEAD, RIOT ACT, PAIN. [nb: a BLANKET PARTY attacks the misfit for the good of the unit, but a FRAGGING attacks the leadership to terrorize and disintegrate the unit] [cf: kangaroo court, honor court, grievance committee, vigilance committee, tribunal, sanhedrim]
BLANK FLANGE : see PANCAKE.
BLASPHEMY : see EXPLETIVE, OATH, GODDAM, SWEAR, VULGAR, FUCK, BAD-MOUTH, TALK TRASH.
BLAST : the act of exploding; an explosion; see EXPLOSIVE PRESSURE, BLAST SYNDROME, EXPLOSIVE. Also, the CHARGE of explosive used at one firing in blasting operations; see DETONATOR, TRIGGER. Also, slang for a parachute jump; probably derived from the definition of a violent gust or forceable stream of air; see ABN, AIRBORNE, PARACHUTE, PARATROOPER, JUMPER, JUMPIN' JUNKIE, HIT THE SILK, JUMPMASTER, JUMP SCHOOL, PROP BLAST; compare CHERRY BLAST, HOLLYWOOD BLAST, GANG-BANG, MASTER BLASTER. Also, slang for anything that gives great pleasure or excitement, such as a party or entertainment; see DINING-IN, SIGG, FEATHERS, WITH BELLS ON, THEME PARK.
BLAST ASS : see BULLET HEAD, CANNON-COCKER, TUBE MONKEY, FAG, DAGBY, REDLEG, CREW-SERVED WEAPONS. [nb: Vietnamese term: Phao Thu (cannoneer)]
BLAST DEFLECTOR : see FLASH SUPPRESSOR.
BLASTING CAP : (forthcoming); compare PERCUSSION CAP; see DETONATOR.
BLASTING GELATIN : a type of stable plastic dynamite (containing about 7% cellulose nitrate) that's used chiefly when working underwater; also known as "blasting jelly", "gelatin dynamite", "jellied nitro", "explosive gelatin", or GELIGNITE.
BLASTING POWDER : a form of GUNPOWDER that's made with sodium nitrate (instead of saltpeter), as used when exploding rocks so as to extract metals, minerals, and other ore.
BLASTOFF / BLAST-OFF : the announcement that a ROCKET or MISSILE has been launched, being a WWII expression (from "blasted off") that's since been extended into thrusting spacecraft aloft.
BLAST SHADOW : (forthcoming); compare ACOUSTIC SHADOW; see FLASH BURN.
BLAST SYNDROME : the effects upon the human body from exposure to explosive detonation, such as projectile impact, shock wave, and excessive heat, especially to the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, including delayed reactions (eg: embolism, aneurysm, tinnitus, PTSD, etc); see TBI, WIA, OVERPRESSURE, EXPLOSIVE PRESSURE. [cf: concussion]
BLAST WALL : informal term for an uncovered construction of various heights or thicknesses, relatively portable or permanent, that's designed to absorb or direct the explosive force or impact effect of POL ignition, munitions discharge, or gunfire; also known as parapet, rampart, or bulwark. See CONCEALMENT, COVER, BUNKER, RIPRAP, DEFILADE, REDOUBT, EMPLACEMENT, BUTT, BERM, STAND-OFF, REVETMENT, HESCO BARRIER, T-WALL, FACE, SANDBAG. [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BLAST WAVE : a violent propagating disturbance that's produced by an explosion in air, which consists of an abrupt rise in atmospheric pressure that's immediately followed by a significant drop in atmospheric pressure, to or below its pre-disturbance level; compare SHOCK WAVE, see BLAST.
BLDG : abbreviation for BuiLDinG, often accompanied by a unique number, as radiating from post headquarters (HQ) through every unit and residence to the farthest range house or watchtower; used for accountability of government property, and for location or navigation (eg: "Report to Bldg #1234 at 0800 for processing."). See PUZZLE PALACE, MADHOUSE, GUARDHOUSE, SENTRY BOX, SAFE HOUSE, STOCKADE, BUTLER BUILDING, SEA HUT, B-HUT, HUTMENT, QUONSET HUT, JAMESWAY HUT, PACIFIC HUT, EMKAY HUT, HOOCH, TEAMHOUSE, LONG HOUSE, TENT, HUT, PUP TENT, BIVOUAC, BOLT HOLE, HIDE, DUGOUT, BOHIO, SHEBANG, WANIGAN, BOMB SHELTER, FALLOUT SHELTER, ELEPHANT HUT, UTILITY BUILDING, MULTIPLE UTILITY BUILDING, DEPOT, GODOWN, DUMP, TOMB, HANGAR, STEELDROME, BUNKER, BLOCKHOUSE, QTRS, SUDS ROW, BARRACK, BEQ, NOB HILL, BOQ, VOQ, BILLET, BERTH. [v: bield, bower, arbor, rock-shelter, den, lair, bothy, cot, cabin, cottage, casita, cabana, lodge, earth lodge, hogan, squat, shed, byre; cf: garret, cockloft, dovecote]
BLEEDING EDGE : rhyming slang for "leading edge" or "cutting edge", wherein the foremost element or the most advanced part is subject to the greatest risk; the term "bleeding" implies a tendency toward casualties due to the probability of mistakes from more frequent encounters; there is also a necessity to spend more time and money on engaged units ... which is an essential commitment to elicit change, if not squandered. See FEBA, MLR, FRONT LINE, FLOT, DOWN RANGE, INDIAN COUNTRY, SHARP END, THE EDGE.
BLIMP : slang for any small nonrigid airship, dirigible, or balloon, as used for observation, training (eg: parachute, pilot), or transport; also called "sausage" or GAS BAG; see NACELLE, RIP-CORD, SKYHOOK; compare MONOPLANE, BIPLANE, TRIPLANE, FLYING WING. [nb: first successful manned flight of hot-air balloon by Joseph-Michael and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier (1783)] [nb: reconnoitring balloons were first used by the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Fredericksburg (12 December 1862)] [nb: during WWI, USN/USMC designated "heavier than air" craft as 'V' (eg: aeroplane, biplane, glider), and "lighter than air" craft as 'Z' (eg: airship, blimp, dirigible)] [v: an experimental sealed cabin, called an "air cabin", was lofted by balloon to 53,400' in 1954 by Auguste Piccard; cf: bathyscape/bathyscaphe] Also, a pompous old reactionary, "Colonel Blimp", was a post-WWI cartoon character conjured by David Low that satirized resistance to progressive change; see MOSSBACK, DINOSAUR, OLD BREED, OLD SALT, SHELLBACK, BROWN SHOE / BOOT.
BLIND : see HIDE, BOLT HOLE, RABBIT HOLE, GILLIE SUIT, SHROUD.
BLIND AMBITION : a driven desire for achievement or distinction and the willingness to ruthlessly strive for it; an overweening aspiration that's destitute of consequential restraint or moral compunction, being behavior that's careless or heedless, indifferent or oblivious, unmindful of or insensitive to its side-effects and aftereffects. See LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, FALLOUT, DO OR DIE, EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF, CUTTHROAT, UP OR OUT, HIGHER, TICKET-PUNCHER, FAST MOVER, BOOMER, HOT SHOT, GOLDEN BOY, DEEP DIP, MILICRAT, KHAKI MAFIA, BOHICA. [nb: this figurative catch-phrase has become an essential character trait for the successful aspirant in the modern era]
BLIND ATTACK : a violent ASSAULT or wild CHARGE that's rash or reckless, hasty or impetuous; an irrational or uncontrollable SALLY that's careless or heedless, indifferent or oblivious, unmindful of or insensitive to any of its consequences. See STORM, DEBOUCH, WATCH MY SMOKE.
BLIND BAT : designation given to C-130 aircraft used in nighttime SCAR operations.
BLIND DATE : a meeting, or the place of meeting, usually with covert PASSWORDs, arranged for communication or other exchange between previously unknown agents or operatives representing opposition elements; compare DEAD DROP, LETTER BOX; see POC, TRADECRAFT. [v: accommodation address]
BLIND FIRE : spraying an area with SMALL ARMS or machinegun (MG) fire, also spelled "blind-fire" or "blindfire"; see SPRAY, FLOCK SHOOT, TRIGGER-HAPPY, HAPPY FIRE, WILD SHOT, BUSTING CAPS, MAD MINUTE, compare RECON BY FIRE, DOUBLE TAP, HAMMER, GUN CONTROL. [nb: the amateur's rule for discharging a firearm: "If anyone shoots then everyone shoots!"]
BLIND LOYALTY : an absolute commitment or indissoluble allegiance, as an adherent of inviolate faithfulness or unbreakable fidelity; someone whose boundless dedication is oblivious or indifferent to distraction. See LOYALTY, TRUE BLUE, ESPRIT DE CORPS, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN, SUMMUM BONUM; compare CREDIBILITY GAP, SEDITION, TREASON.
BLIND TRANSMISSION : any RADIO transmission, usually desperate or emergency, of information that is made without first establishing a link or without expectation of acknowledgement. See GUARD, SOS, MAYDAY.
BLINK : a white or yellow luminosity reflected onto the underside of clouds from the surface of snow or ice; also known as "snowblink" or "iceblink", as derived from the applied meaning of gleam, twinkle, glitter, or shine. Compare MOONLIGHT, FRESNEL UNITS, FLARE.
BLINKER : slang for the battery-powered strobe light or stroboscopic lamp, being a handheld electronic flash that rapidly produces brilliant bursts of light, as used for identification during AIRDROP, reinforcement, or rescue (SAR) operations. The early models did not have a masking collar to restrict the direction of the illumination, so PILOTs and LRRPs covered the base with 100 MPH TAPE to eliminate lateral illumination, making its use in enemy territory much safer. Colored filters were also added to later models because the flashing light looks very similar to automatic gunfire without TRACERs! An infrared (IR) version is also available for instrument detection. See FLASHLIGHT, LIGHT STICK, BUD LIGHT, AIS, WIGWAG, IDENTIFICATION PANEL. [v: cresset]
BLINKER FLUID : a nonexistent substance that a novice or tyro is required to obtain in the same manner as any other SNIPE HUNT objective; compare MERMAID, DRAGON.
BLISTER : a transparent bulge, bubble or dome on the fuselage of an airplane, used for mounting one or more guns, cameras, antennas, weather sensors, or other special items; discouraged by designers after WWII due to aerodynamic drag and noisy turbulence, as derived from "swollen"; compare TURRET, BALL TURRET, DUSTBIN, SPONSON. [nb: on aircraft, blister is transparent, sponson is not transparent, turret is transparent and rotates] Also, informal term for criticize or rebuke severely; see CALL ON THE CARPET, VERBUM SAP, BROWBEAT, KICK ASS, FANG. Also, to beat or thrash; punish severely; chastise or chasten; see OVER A BARREL, SQUEEZE, CAT-O'-NINE-TAILS, THIRD DEGREE, BASHING, BITCH SLAP, PAIN.
BLISTER AGENT : any of various poisonous compounds (eg: mustard gas, nitrogen mustard, lewisite, etc) that were developed for military use, causing burns and tissue destruction so as to incapacitate the opposition; such a vesicant is also called "blistering agent". See COCKTAIL, CBW, CW, CBR, HAZMAT.
BLITZ : the intensive aerial bombing campaign by Nazi Germany against British cities during WWII, often expressed as "The Blitz", and also called the Battle of Britain; as derived from "lightning". Also, an improper truncation of BLITZKRIEG; used to mean any sudden, swift, vigorous, and overwhelming attack or barrage, including sports analogues. [v: foudroyant]
BLITZ CLOTH : (forthcoming); compare BRASSO, see SPIT 'n' POLISH.
BLITZKRIEG : a sudden, swift, and overwhelming military attack, usually using TANKs, artillery (ARTY) barrage, and aerial bombardment to demoralize, defeat, or destroy the enemy; derived from "flash war", which term was coined by a Spanish journalist describing the highly mobile combined arms tactics used by Nazis in 1939. Compare FULL-COURT PRESS, SHOCK 'n' AWE, HYPERWAR; see WAR.
BLIVET : a smaller (than a BLADDER), heavy-duty, rubberized, collapsible drum ranging from 250 to 500 gallons for POL products setup in temporary refueling sites; see PETROL, JUICE, JERRY CAN, DONKEY DICK, HOT-FUELING, TOP-OFF; compare POD, WATER BUFFALO, LISTER BAG. Also, probably due to the bloated appearance of the actual container, anyone or anything that's inflated, exaggerated, distended, or overloaded, including events and demonstrations, such as the proverbial "ten pounds of SHIT (or bullshit) stuffed into a five pound bag"; see DOG 'n' PONY SHOW, FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS, TAP-DANCER. [nb: obfuscation and obscurantism are widely represented by the military maxim: "Bullshit baffles brains!", sometimes called a "Well sir,..." excuse]
BLIZZARD BLAZER : slang for any full-dress suit, such as a tuxedo; see DRESS WHITES, ICE-CREAM SUIT, SPANKERS AND CLANKERS, MESS DRESS, WITH BELLS ON, FEATHERS, CUMMERBUND, BLACK TIE, WHITE TIE, DRESS.
BLOATER : see FLOATER; compare CREATURE FEATURE, RICE KRISPIES, CRISPY CRITTER.
BLOB : Big Lump On-Board, an observer; any extra person or noncontributing passenger. See SANDBAG; compare STRAP-HANGER, DEADHEAD, POB.
BLOC : a group of persons or entities acting in concert for common cause or mutual benefit; see ANZUS, PENTALATERAL AGREEMENT, ASEAN, SEATO, NATO.
BLOCK : any solid material mass with one or more flat faces; see CHOCK, SHORE. Also, a housing or part enclosing one or more freely rotating, grooved pulleys, about which ropes or chains pass to form a hoisting or hauling TACKLE; also known as "tackle block" or "block 'n' tackle"; see FALL, PENDANT, FAIRLEAD, PARBUCKLE, CRAB, WHIP, BOOM. Also, a section, segment, part, or group; compare BLOC. Also, an obstruction, obstacle, hindrance, or stoppage. Also, a stump, platform, or other structure used for speeches, auctions, or beheadings. Also, a person's head. Also, any generally rectilinear building material. [v: quoin]
BLOCKADE : any obstruction of passage or progress, especially the closing-off of a city or port by military forces so as to prevent entrance or exit. See BERLIN BLOCKADE.
BLOCKBUSTER : a huge aerial-delivery demolition bomb. Also, any person or thing that's overwhelmingly effective or impressively successful.
BLOCKHOUSE : a defensive military structure, as one made of concrete, that's used for observation and directing gunfire; see BUNKER, PILLBOX, REDOUBT, CASEMATE, BLACK HOLE, VESTIBULE, STRONGPOINT. Also, a reinforced structure for housing and protecting personnel and their equipment during weapons testing or rocket launchings. Also, a stout building of hewn timbers, usually with a projecting upper story, having loopholes (EMBRASUREs) for musketry, as was formerly used as a FORT; also known as a "garrison house". [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BLOCKING FORCE : the use of vessels, vehicles, or troops for the hostile obstruction or closing-off of enemy passage or progress; also called "blockader"; see SCREEN, CORDON. Also, the stationary element against which the SWEEP element drives the enemy; the fixed 'anvil' in a "hammer and anvil" PINCER movement.
BLOCK THE COLORS : to raise the flag to the top of the mast or flagpole on a HALYARD through a running-block. See SHIFT COLORS, COLORS.
BLONDIE : a comic strip by Chic Young (1930) featuring Blondie Boopadoop as a flapper who subsequently became the wife of the ineffectual Dagwood Bumstead and then mother of the precocious Baby Dumpling; the domestic dramas of this heroine burgeoned into a series of over twenty films [ending with Blondie's Hero (1950)], before being serialized for early television. See DISTAFF, SKIRT, GI JANE, HOLLOW BUNNY, BALL BUSTER, AMAZON, FLYING BRAVO, SQUEAK, RUNTS 'n' CUNTS, FATHER KNOWS BEST, FICTIONAL CHARACTER.
BLOOD : see BLOOD TYPE, ABO, BLOOD TEST, DOG TAGS, BLOOD EXPANDER, SERUM ALBUMIN, BLOOD SERUM, IMMUNE SERUM, BLOOD PLATELET, BLOOD PLASMA, BLOOD BANK, BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER, SYRINGE, SYRETTE, COMPRESS, CASTOFF, DOG BITE, SPILL THE GROCERIES, BLOODY, MED BAG.
BLOOD ALLEY : any street where passers-by are at risk from barroom patrons and loitering hoodlums; a sleazy district containing cocktail lounges, cheap restaurants, tattoo parlors, clip joints, tourist traps, and other low-life establishments; such designation of a squalid or sordid quarter was probably adopted from Mediterranean references during WWII; compare PEACOCK ALLEY, SIN CITY, HELL ON WHEELS, HELL'S HALF ACRE, FOUR CORNERS, DODGE CITY, LITTLE AMERICA. Also, any hazardous route of travel, whether as a convoy corridor or as a dangerous roadway; see FIREBALLING, ZIGZAG, STREET SURFING, CHOKE POINT. Also, the title of a 1955 adventure movie featuring John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, and Paul Fix, which was based upon a novel of the same title authored by Albert Sidney Fleischman, wherein a stranded Merchant Marine captain, rescued from the Chinese communists by local villagers, is shanghaied into transporting the whole village to Hong Kong aboard an ancient paddle steamer; this story exemplifies the perils of "running the gauntlet"; see GAUNTLET, ORDEAL, HOLD ONE'S FEET TO THE FIRE, SNAKE PIT, CUTTHROAT, MARATHON.
BLOOD BANK : beginning in the pre-WWII era, a place where whole blood or blood plasma is collected, processed, stored, and distributed; see BLOOD. [v: American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)]
BLOODBATH / BLOOD BATH : the ruthless slaughter of a great number of people; a MASSACRE or BLOODFEST. Also, a metaphoric elimination or eradication; a widespread purge or dismissal. Also, a time of such clearances; a period when such disastrous losses have occurred.
BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER : a layer of tightly packed cells that make up the walls of brain capillaries, serving as a physiological defense mechanism, preventing substances in the blood from diffusing freely into the brain; passage across these cell membranes is determined by solubility in the lipid bilayer, or from recognition by a transport molecule.
BLOOD BROTHER / BLOOD BROTHERHOOD : a man bound to another by ties of great friendship, being a fraternal compact imitative of a person's brother by birth; a man who is established in a close relationship (bond) with another man through the performance of a specific ritual, such as the commingling of their blood; see BLOOD OATH, INITIATION. [v: consanguinity] Also, a quality, circumstance, or anything else that's thought to be inextricably associated with or to exist inseparably from something else, such as a character trait acquired from a challenging experience (eg: veterans are more wise than rash).
BLOOD CHIT : a printed cloth "promisory note" or "redemption coupon", imitative of the original WWII versions, inspired by British specimens issued to RAF pilots in India, showing an American flag, and explaining in the several languages of the region that assisting in the repatriation of any separated American would be rewarded. These BLOOD CHITs, also known as "escape and identification flags" or "goolie chits", and sometimes spelled "blood-chits", were usually carried by aircrewmen and LRRPs, together with an escape map and tokens (gold coins during WWII), but have been rarely redeemed ... never during the VIETNAM WAR. If as only a morale device, the BLOOD CHIT is part of the aircrew survival kit, with wear on the uniform prohibited since the end of WWII. Produced on leather and silk, nylon and Tyvek, many have been kept as wartime souvenirs, despite being serial numbered. See POINTIE TALKIE, CHIT, FLYING TIGERS, BRIGHT LIGHT, SAFE, HOME RUN, POW, E&E, SERE, BUG-OUT KIT, IRC, DP, BOAT PEOPLE, YELLOW BIRD. [v: blood chit] [cf: laissez-passer]
BLOOD EXPANDER : serum albumin [not "albumen"], for intravenous administration to severely wounded persons to help maintain osmotic blood-pressure during shock, as carried by medics and recon teams. Serum albumin is the principal protein of blood plasma (fluid portion, not cellular compound); and is distinguished from whole blood, packed red blood cells, and artificial blood. A FIELD EXPEDIENT blood substitute for transfusions is coconut milk. See BLOOD, MED BAG.
BLOODFEST : any bloody or sanguinary indulgence; wanton and profuse bloodshed, being a bloodbath ... typically associated with a slaughter or MASSACRE.
BLOOD GROOVE : a forged depression or milled recess in the side of a blade, which increases strength without increasing weight; properly called a "fuller". The design attributions of "running blood" or "breaking suction" are mythical. See KABAR, PILOT'S SURVIVAL KNIFE, KNIFE. [cf: kullen] [v: Knife Terms; The Language of Swordplay]
BLOOD GROUP : see BLOOD TYPE.
BLOOD 'n' GUTS / BLOOD-AND-GUTS : a graphic or lurid depiction of violence; any harsh representation of fighting, especially the consequences of combat; compare BLOOD 'n' THUNDER. Also, dealing with or concerned with life's fundamentals; the real needs or genuine concerns of challenging problems or authentic values ... getting down to the nitty-gritty or brass tacks, to the nub or gist, to the heart or core of the matter.
BLOODING : an extreme form of "tagging" during a PINNING ceremony; illegal since the Vietnam-era. During any PINNING ceremony, whether graduation or promotion, the newly acquired insignia (BADGE or RANK) would be lightly punched ("tagged") by the presenter after attachment to the recipient's uniform, and subsequently "tagged" by all friends and associates during the following graduation or promotion party. When these fraternal rituals were officially discouraged, the clandestine rites became bizarre and brutal, including directly "pinning" WINGS onto the chest by a forceful punch ... an act of assault in both civil and military law. See INITIATION, BOLO BADGE, Q-TAB, SLICK SLEEVE, ROCKER, BLOOD STRIPE, DIVER, BUDWEISER.
BLOOD IN THE EYE : a figurative allusion to mayhem, as "he's got blood in his eye" or "they've got blood in their eyes", being expressive of a desire to fight that's used either descriptively or as a precaution; also represented as "seeing red", this idiom seemingly derives from the practice of readying (bait or heckle) dogs to fight in a sporting match. See BERSERK, AMOK, FIGHTING MAD, WILD-EYED, GO KINETIC, SEE RED. [v: synesthesia / synaesthesia]
BLOOD AND IRON : the attainment of political objectives by the use of aggressive militaristic policies, such as BRUTE FORCE; see MIGHT MAKES RIGHT, THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS, BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, DIVIDE AND CONQUER, FLAG OF PROTECTION, REALPOLITIK.
BLOOD MONEY : a sum paid by the perpetrator to the victim (or to the victim's family) for the injury inflicted, for the harm or damage incurred, for the loss or disadvantage sustained; see PENSION, COMPENSATION, RETRIBUTION, DAY OF RECKONING, COLLATERAL DAMAGE.
BLOOD OATH : a PROMISE or OATH attested with one's own blood as a sign of one's utter devotion or complete commitment; a pledge vouched unto death, as of HONOR or LOYALTY. See CREED, CORE VALUES, CODE OF CONDUCT, ABOVE BOARD, SUMMUM BONUM, BLOOD BROTHER, TRADITION, MORAL COURAGE.
BLOOD PLASMA : the plasma or liquid portion of human blood; the fluid part, as opposed to the cellular portion, which derives from 'plastic' (able to be formed).
BLOOD PLATELET : any number of minute protoplasmic bodies in mammalian blood that aid in coagulation; a small plate-like colloidal body.
BLOOD SERUM : the clear, pale-yellow liquid that separates from the clot in the coagulation of blood; compare IMMUNE SERUM, see BLOOD.
BLOODSHED : to cause someone sufficient injury to shed blood; to harm or wound severely enough to draw or spill blood. Also, the destruction or taking of life, as in combat or murder; slaughter or mayhem.
BLOOD SPORT : any competitive activity that involves killing or the shedding of blood, such as bullfighting, cockfighting, bearbaiting, and the like; although this definition has been extended to recreational hunting, it has not yet been applied to martial arts and warfare.
BLOOD STRIPE : the red stripe added to the outside seam of Marine service dress (Class-A) trousers upon promotion to NCO rank; this emblem symbolically memorializes the death of most of the sergeants leading Marines at the 1847 battle for Chapultepec. The celebratory "tagging" for this "rite of passage" usually involves fist and knee punches to the new NCO's arm and leg, leaving him happily "crippled" by the promotion party! See SLICK SLEEVE.
BLOOD - SWEAT : see TRAIN HARD - FIGHT EASY.
BLOOD TEST : the process of classifying blood into blood groups, based on laboratory tests to reveal the presence or absence of particular antigens on the surface of red blood cells; also called "blood typing" or "blood grouping", as when determining compatibility for transfusions. Also, any laboratory test of human blood, as for analysis, diagnosis, or efficaciousness.
BLOODTHIRSTY : eager to or desirous of shedding blood, especially someone who encourages or enjoys violent bloodletting, either as a spectator or a participant; to run amuck or act murderous, to be pitilessly brutal or mercilessly savage, bloody-minded or sanguinary.
BLOOD 'n' THUNDER / BLOOD AND THUNDER : to exaggerate or sensationalize violence; the melodramatization of combat. [cf: sturm und drang; v: bathos]
BLOOD TRAIL : the evidence of wounded enemy leaving the area; the sign or spoor (especially blood-spatter or -droplets) of injured combatants, by which they can be followed and captured. See CASTOFF, PECKER TRACKS, TRAIL, TRACE, TRACK, DRAG, BEAT AROUND THE BUSH, WALK BACK THE CAT. [v: pug / pug marks] [nb: more so than foreign armies, Americans can usually be traced by their excessive noise and exotic odors as well as by the trail of trash (LITTER) that they leave behind themselves in the field]
BLOOD TYPE : any of various classes, established since the WWI-era, into which human blood can be divided according to its immunological compatibility, based on the presence or absence of specific antigens on red blood cells; the test for such blood groupings is called "blood typing" or "blood grouping". See BLOOD. [v: ABO system, Rh factor; American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)] [nb: people with blood types B and O are more naturally resistant to smallpox than those with blood type A]
BLOODY : stained with or covered in blood, as from effusive bleeding; resembling, pertaining to, or composed of blood. Also, inclined toward bloodshed or bloodletting; bloodthirsty or sanguinary. Also, an intensifier used colloquially (eg: bloody shame; bloody nuisance; bloody awful; bloody wonderful).
BLOODY FLAG : see RED FLAG.
BLOODY FLUX : common referent for dysentery, either amebic dysentery or bacillary dysentery (shigellosis); see TROTS, SQUIRTS, DUMP, SHIT, SLOP CHUTE, CAT HOLE, BLUE CANOE, SLIT TRENCH, HEAD, LATRINE, HONEY BUCKET. [v: giardiasis, Escherichia coli, bacterial gastroenteritis]
BLOODY-MINDED : disposed to violence or bloodshed; bloodthirsty or sanguinary.
BLOODY SHIRT : any event or occurrence sufficient to validate or justify a declaration of war; incitement or provocation to fight, a casus belli. See TONKIN GULF INCIDENT, WAR POWERS ACT, GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY, BIG STICK DIPLOMACY, SABER-RATTLING, GUNPOINT, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, WARNING SHOT, CROSS THE RUBICON, CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS, HAIR-TRIGGER, HALF-COCKED, FIGHTING WORDS, TRAILING HIS COAT, FIGHTING MAD, ANTEBELLUM, JUST WAR, LAWS OF WAR, UCMJ, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), BATTLE, WAR. [nb: historically adequate justifications include "a place in the sun" or "lebensraum"; cf: bellicose, antagonistic, hostile, pugnacious, Firebrand, fire-eater] [nb: "Wars generally begin over an incident, but after the fighting has begun, the reasons can change without ending the conflict, because, in the end, every war is decided by which side hates the most."]
BLOOMING SKY FLOWER : an informal allusion to a fully deployed PARACHUTE canopy, also called "sky blossom" or "falling down umbrella"; see RAKKASAN, HIT THE SILK, AB, ABN, AIRBORNE, PARATROOPER, FREE-FALL, MFF, BLAST, HOLLYWOOD BLAST, GANG-BANG, AIRDROP.
BLOUSE : a single-breasted, semifitted outer military garment, sometimes belted, reaching to the hip or thigh, or to above the knee, such as a jacket or tunic, coat or smock; see MILITARY PRESS, DRESS [v: camisards; camisado or camisade]. Also, to dispose in loose folds, or to arrange so as to droop or puff with fullness, as pants BLOUSEd into paratrooper boots; see FOOTWEAR.
BLOVIATE : to boast or brag; to speak pompously; this pseudo-Latinate coinage was purportedly derived from 'blow', and was made popular by Warren G. Harding. See TALK TRASH, SHOOT THE SHIT, ATFU, ATE UP, MACHO, BRAGGART, WHISKEY WARRIOR, BRAGGING RIGHTS, COUNT COUP, OLD BREED, OLD SALT, MOSSBACK, DINOSAUR.
BLOWER : shipboard communications system, originally a set of "blow pipes" connecting each department, but replaced by telephonic intercom system; usage is similar to HORN; see UWT, SQUAWK BOX, BITCH BOX, PBX, RADIO, LANDLINE, TWX, RTP, TANNOY. Also, slang for a jet-propelled aircraft engine; see BUSTER, JUICE, FAST MOVER, AFTERBURNER, SONIC BOOM.
BLOWN : exploded, detonated, destroyed, obliterated, eradicated; see EXPLOSIVE, SECONDARY EXPLOSION; compare OVERKILL, BLAST SHADOW, ACOUSTIC SHADOW, HUSH-A-BOOM. Also, detected or compromised, such as a revealed or exposed operation or operational element, including a CACHE or HIDE, STALKING HORSE or TROJAN HORSE, or any other subterfuge; also expressed as "busted".
BLOW-OUT KIT : slang for FIRST AID KIT (qv); compare MED BAG, FIELD SURGICAL KIT, BUG-OUT KIT, GO-BAG.
BLOW SMOKE : slang for make unclear, to obscure, to confuse, to obfuscate, to deceive; as "blow smoke up his ass" or "... her skirt". See SNOW, CONFETTI, TALK TRASH, SHOOT THE SHIT, HOT AIR, WASHINGTON WALTZ, BRAVO SIERRA, WOOF, GODDAM, CHICKEN SHIT, MICKEY MOUSE, HALF-ASSED, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS, TAP-DANCER, HIDE, MILICRAT; compare BRING SMOKE, POP SMOKE, MIGHTY MITE, SMOKY BEAR. [nb: 'hooey', allegedly an Americanism used as an interjection for nonsense or tripe, is actually a corruption of the Russian vulgarity ("khuy") for penis, and is commonly used alone (eg: dick, dickhead, dick-wad) or in phrases (eg: dumber than dick; he doesn't know dick; don't dick around; don't stir your tea with your dick)] [cf: migration of "putz" from shine through ornament to penis and dolt; as sexual lure] [v: lucky stiff]
BLT : USMC Battalion Landing Team, the primary infantry element in the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), typically part of an Amphibious Ready Group; see BN.
BLUE ALERT : an alert following the first or primary alert in military or civilian defense wherein the initial danger or hazard seems probable; the period during which this continuing condition is declared to exist. Compare RED ALERT, YELLOW ALERT, WHITE ALERT; see ALERT.
BLUE ANGELS :
BLUE BALL : referent for the low priority transport flights on fixed-wing cargo airplanes that enabled MIL-PERS to travel from location to location within the RVN/SVN theater, including routine resupply and mail delivery (ASH 'n' TRASH) as well as in-country rest and recuperation (R&R) trips; these TRASH HAULER or MILK RUN sorties were regularly scheduled between bases. Compare RED BALL; see MSR. [nb: derivation of lade/laden, as in "bill of lading", is load or burden; not carry or transport; v: fardel]
BLUE BAT : a peacekeeping operation in Lebanon from 1 July to 1 November 1958, including Task Force 201, the Army component.
BLUE BLOOD : slang for an enlisted Marine promoted to officer RANK by any means, with the implication of "royal transformation"; see MAVERICK, MUSTANG, UP THE HAWSEPIPE, COCKTAIL, OFFICER'S COUNTRY; compare GREEN BLOOD, RED-BLOODED. [v: beseem; cf: nicety] [nb: until recently, an OFFICER was simultaneously designated a "gentleman" when appointed by an ACT OF CONGRESS, which not only inspired further intellectual development but also encouraged cultural sophistication, which refinements were mocked as being 'suave and debonair' (deliberately mispronounced as "soo-wave" and "dee-boner"); v: BRASS HAT, TALLY-HO, TACT; cf: HARD-ASS, MACHO]
BLUE BOOK : the bound copy of U.S. Navy regulations since 1914; see ROCKS 'n' SHOALS, SCRIPTURES, ORDER, UCMJ. Also, slang for the lineal list of Naval and Marine officers, in order of succession; see DOR.
BLUE CANOE : USAF L-27 / U-3, being a sleek utility aircraft (Cessna 310/320) that seated 5-7 passengers, having twin propeller-driven engines, a wing span of 36ft, a range of over 870nm at a service ceiling of 19,000ft, it was produced from 1954-80; turbocharged models ("Skyknight" and "Executive Skyknight") were produced from 1961. Also, slang prevalent in the politically-correct post-Vietnam era for a portable chemical toilet (variously brand named, including "Porta-John", "Porta-Potty", "Jiffy-John", and "Royal Flush"); typically being a blue plastic enclosure that offers personal privacy while housing containerized human waste, these "environmentally friendly" toilets are positioned and serviced by subcontractors whenever troops are deployed into field training areas or BASE CAMPs, including overseas combat zones; see LATRINE, HEAD, HEAD CALL, PISS TUBE, PIDDLE PACK, CAT HOLE, SLIT TRENCH, DUMP, SHIT, TROTS, SQUIRTS, HONEY BUCKET, CORK, COUGH DROP, BLACK WATER, SLOP CHUTE.
BLUE FALCON : in the politically-correct military, someone who exploits others for his own comfort or convenience, being a form of backstabbing (instead of brotherhood) that's used to favor or advance oneself. Phrase is alleged to be a euphemism for "buddy fucker", but it's more likely to derive from 'giving the bird' in a non-lethal BLUE ON BLUE situation (that is, being careless or inconsiderate of one's comrades); equivalent to Marine SEMPER KNIFE. See BAYONET SHEET; compare SEMPER I.
BLUE FORCE : designation for U.S. components, especially when war gaming or during training exercises; label sometimes applied to allied or friendly elements. See CPX, FTX, JTFEX, JRTC, NTC, GQ, WAR GAMES, "Blue Flag" at RED FLAG, GREEN FORCE, ALLY, FRIENDLIES, BLUE ON BLUE; compare GRAY FORCE, PURPLE FORCE, ORANGE FORCE, RED FORCE, OPFOR, BANDIT, BAD GUYS, BELIEVER.
BLUE HOUSE : slang for the presidential palace in Seoul, being a city almost as populous as Tokyo; the blue color is symbolic of 'yin' in Taoist geomancy, so serves as an attractant for its complementary 'yang' aspects. See ROK, compare PINK PALACE, WHITE HOUSE. [v: gogok / kokok, t'ae guk / sam-taeguk] [cf: Argentina's presidential Casa Rosada ("The Pink House"), together with a museum and assembly hall, is situated on the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires]
BLUE JACKET : originally referring to the distinctive uniform of British Commonwealth sailors, but extended in the twentieth century to include all allied naval personnel, including Americans (who also wear a blue uniform in winter). A more simplified origin attributes the phrase metonymically to the blue, double-breasted, coarse woolen peacoat (PEA JACKET) worn by seamen. See JUMPER, DIXIE CUP, SWABBY, SQUID, JARHEAD, DOGFACE, ZOOMIE, GI. [nb: sailors used to also have "undress blues" (and "undress whites") as a semi-work uniform without neckerchief or piping; but in 2006 the Navy exchanged its service dress blues and whites for a year around tan, and its DUNGAREES for digitized multicolor work utilities with an 8-point COVER, abolishing their traditional bell-bottoms and DIXIE CUPs]
BLUELEG : an infantryman, as derived from the traditional color of infantry uniforms, but especially the blue-colored branch stripe on DRESS uniforms; see GRUNT, CRUNCHY, BOONIE RAT, BUSHMASTER, LEG, INF, 03, SNUFFY, DOZER INFANTRY; compare REDLEG, YELLOWLEG.
BLUE LINE : a watercourse or waterway marked on a map; see BROWN WATER.
BLUE NOSE : a ship that has crossed the Arctic Circle (at 66.5° north latitude, between the North Frigid Zone and the North Temperate Zone), so-called from painting the HAWSEPIPEs blue, as being representative of the cold; the ship's company of such a voyage may be called "blue noses", after each "warm body" is inducted into the "Order of the Blue Nose". Compare RED NOSE; see BOW, PROW, STEM, FORECASTLE, INITIATION.
BLUE ON BLUE : a euphemism to describe air, artillery, or small-arms fire from U.S. elements, components, or forces that is accidentally or mistakenly directed at or impacting upon other U.S. personnel or positions; also called "misadventure" and FRIENDLY FIRE. These incidents can also be classified, depending upon participants, as "Blue on Green" or "Green on Blue". See SHORT-SHOT, BLUE FORCE; compare GREEN ON GREEN, RED ON RED, FRATRICIDE, FRAGGING, BLANKET PARTY.
BLUE ON GREEN : see GREEN ON GREEN.
BLUE PETER : the international signal flag for the letter "P" ['papa'], being a blue BURGEE with a central white square, which is flown to indicate the imminent departure of a vessel from port; the widespread usage of this expression [cf: blue balls] probably implies sexual abstinence. Compare PAPA HOTEL.
BLUE-SKY : optimistic, fanciful, or impractical, to the point of having dubious or fraudulent value; polyannic, roseate, propitious. [v: blue-sky law; cf: dark cloud] Also, a salutation or SALUTE informally exchanged among parachutists, equivalent to well wishes or good times; compare HOOAH, GUNG-HO, WETSU, FREE-FALL, PARATROOPER. Also, the primary operational environment (ie: sky, firmament, arch or vault of heaven, space or outer space) of the aviation branch (AVN) of each service, especially the U.S. Air Force (USAF); see WILD BLUE YONDER.
BLUE STAR : a plaque or scroll that denoted the service of a family member in the Armed Forces during wartime, as displayed on a wall or outward in a window; compare GOLD STAR. [nb: in the event of death while serving in combat, a gold star was overlaid upon the original blue star (instead of replacing it) such that the slightly smaller gold star was outlined by the original blue one] Also, a training exercise on Taiwan (19-24 March 1960) that was the largest amphibious operation conducted since World War II.
BLUE STAR OF LIFE : see STAR OF LIFE.
BLUE SUIT : the dress blue (MESS DRESS) uniform, or the blue CLASS-A uniform, such as the Army Service Uniform (ASU). Also, the blue woolen uniform worn by sailors in wintertime; commonly known as BLUE JACKET. [nb: sailors used to also have "undress blues" (and "undress whites") as a semi-work uniform without neckerchief or piping; but in 2006 the Navy exchanged its service dress blues and whites for a year around tan, and its DUNGAREES for digitized multicolor work utilities with an 8-point COVER, abolishing their traditional bell-bottoms and DIXIE CUPs] Also, informal reference to the blue-colored protective body suit, sealed against external exposure with its own internal breathing system, that's constantly kept (like a spacesuit) under positive pressure to prevent contamination from CBR or HAZMAT if the covering is breached; see MOPP, BUNNY SUIT, MOON SUIT, JSLIST, CPOG, H-GEAR, GAS MASK, MASTER-SLAVE MANIPULATOR. [cf: remote mechanical agents or servo-manipulation systems for use in sterile, hazardous, or contaminated environments began during WWII with the handling of radioactive materials; initially in the form of insulated gripper arms named "Waldo" (being a cognate of 'rule' or 'command', after the 1942 novel by Robert A. Heinlein), later known as the "Waldo F. Jones Synchronous Reduplicating Pantograph", and now as a telefactoring device, useful in bomb disposal and extraterrestrial maintenance]
BLUE-SUITER : slang for an Army or Air Force officer wearing the blue CLASS-A uniform; see ASU, GREEN-SUITER, compare EMPTY SUIT.
BLUE WATER : nautical reference to the open sea, or oceangoing; also represented as "deep water", and sometimes spelled "blue-water". See POND, THE DRINK; compare BLUE LINE, GREEN WATER, WHITE WATER, BROWN WATER, BLACK WATER. [nb: "O Lord, your sea is so great and my boat is so small"]
BLUE-WATER NAVY : the fleet of oceangoing ships that constitute a strategic force and diplomatic presence which influences international relations; the United States has succeeded to the role of global superpower formerly established by the PAX BRITANNICA, projecting its authority worldwide through more than eleven nuclear aircraft carrier task groups. Compare BROWN WATER SAILOR; see HAZE GRAY, PAX AMERICANA. [cf: Theodore Roosevelt's Great White Fleet]
BLUE WEENIE : see GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL; compare RED WEENIE. Also, see BLUE PETER.
BLUFF : a conversational pastime involving historical facts, battle tactics, nomenclatural etymology, materiel specifications, famous quotes, and other military lore that's tested in a convivial atmosphere, like the modern playing of trivia games, with bets on detecting deliberate fabrications and exaggerations; as derived from bluster, to make a trick at cards; also known as "Brag" or "Hazard"; see PLAYING CARDS, DICE GAMES, WAR GAMES, PLAY THE GAME. [v: "to call his bluff"] Also, to mislead or deceive by a bold or self-confident display of strength. Also, the characteristic of being good-naturedly direct, blunt, or frank; heartily outspoken.
BLUING : a corrosion-inhibiting and wear-protection coating applied to metals, appearing dull or bright, matte or glossy, and variously colored blue, black, gray, or brown. BLUING guards metal against damage by skin-oils and other acids, but the metal must be clean, and often stripped or exposed before treating or re-finishing. Applied remotely (as with gloves, tongs, or hooks) to ensure uncontaminated coverage of cold chemical blue, hot Belgian blue, or baked-on lacquer; treatment lasts indefinitely, until worn away by friction or abrasion. Compare PARKERIZE; see PROTECTIVE COATING.
BLUNT : having an obtuse, thick, or dull edge or point; to be made such (hebetate). Also, to weaken or impair the force, keenness, or susceptibility of something; as akin to "blind". Also, to be abrupt or insensitive in address or manner; to be tactless or insensitive, candid or forthright; see UNIVOCAL. Also, slow in perception or understanding; thick or dense, obtuse; not keen or sharp. Also, slang for a short thick cigar, especially one stuffed with marijuana; see GRASS, CAN SA, STICK, THAI STICK, PIGTAIL, HAY, HUBBLE-BUBBLE, STONED.
BLUNT FORCE : to render a swift and savage conclusion; compare BRUTE FORCE. Also, to solve a problem or resolve an issue without finesse or sensitivity, without subtlety or perceptivity, as by a maladroit trick or artless stratagem; see CUT THE GORDIAN KNOT, ALEXANDRIAN SOLUTION. [nb: Sigmund Freud in Civilization and its Discontents (1930) contends that replacing the power of the individual with the "blunt force" of the power of the community is "the decisive step of civilization"]
BMS : U.S. Air Force designation for a Bombardment Squadron; suffixed (H) for Heavy, (M) for Medium, and (L) for Light.
BN : battalion; a military unit of ground forces comprising a headquarters (HQ) and two or more companies (CO); infantry and artillery battalions are commanded by an Army or Marine Corps lieutenant colonel (LTC). Along with squadrons (SQDN) and groups (GP), battalions are typically subdivisions of brigades (BDE) or regiments (RGT); each battalion usually contain 600 - 800 soldiers. [nb: Vietnamese term: Tieu Doan] Also, an army in battle array. [cf: battalia] [nb: the slang term "Bat" is short for battalion (BN), and does not refer to an artillery battery (BTY)] [nb: "I think the assignment (other than combat), and you know as a young officer, that was most pivotal for me was the battalion command, because that was the first time -- that's about eight hundred soldiers, five companies inside of it -- but it's the first time you actually have a staff. So you're a lieutenant colonel, you're about 38 years old, and so you have more resources to be able to do things, and you can take this organization and really help to shape it. And the way I ran an organization is, I mean, you have a lot of authority, obviously, but you don't run an organization based on your authority; you actually run it on motivating and inspiring the people that are in it, and getting them to participate willingly, and trying to increase their own personal growth as a result of being a part of your organization. So I delegated a lot, I shaped a lot, I taught. I was a teacher as well as a leader. And I think the organization was known as being highly trained, highly disciplined. We had a very high level of contentment in it. That battalion command experience was the one I realized that I could use personal leadership, but also some strategic leadership, and begin to move organizations in the right direction, even though they became more complex as the years went by." by GEN Jack Keane]
BOAR : Brotherhood Of Army Registrars, being a play on words (bore) for a fraternal organization of medical administrators serving in the Medical Service Corps (MSC) who are responsible for documenting the admission, care, and discharge (including medical retirement or burial) of servicemembers and their dependents (and the emergency intake and transfer of civilians injured on or near a military facility) ... a task performed on paper before and during the Vietnam-era but converted to computerization shortly afterwards; see BOY'S CLUB, VETERANS' ASSOCIATION, REGISTRAR.
BOARD : an official group of directors or supervisors for some activity, such as a Draft Board, Promotion Board, Medical Review Board, BOARD OF INQUIRY, or Court Martial Board, sometimes called a tribunal; see ABCMR, ADRB, AFBCMR, AFDRB, CORB, DRB, OCB, PEB, DISCHARGE, ARTICLE 32, MURDER BOARD. Also, to retrain or discharge an individual for cause after a military review BOARD hearing of evidence; see RECYCLE, COG, CHAPTER 10, SECTION EIGHT. Also, the side of a ship; or the windward tack of a ship's course; compare DECK, HULL, FREEBOARD, GUNWALE, HEADWAY.
BOARDING LADDER : any stairway, ladder, net, or similar construction used to accommodate the ingress or egress of people over the side of a ship; compare ACCOMMODATION LADDER, JACOB'S LADDER, DEBARKATION NET, CHRISTMAS TREE LADDER, CHICKEN LADDER, GANGWAY.
BOARDING PARTY : a group of persons who board a vessel, especially to attack, seize, or search it.
BOARD OF INQUIRY : a fact-finding body convened when evidence is unclear, when misconduct or negligence may exist, or when criminal acts are suspected without certain guilt, comprised of officers equal to or superior in RANK to any suspect or accused servicemember; an Article 32 investigation under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
BOAR'S NEST : slang for the living quarters in a camp where only men are present; an expression made popular during the Vietnam-era by Westerns describing the cowboy lifestyle. See BARRACK, BILLET, TEAMHOUSE, QTRS, GARRISON. [cf: dormitory, bunkhouse]
BOAT : a specialized vessel, smaller than or carried by a ship, and variously propelled through the water; including AAV, ALLIGATOR, ALPHA, AMTRACK, ASPB, BUCKET, BUM BOAT, CCB, CRRC, CUTTER, DPB, ELSIE, GATOR, GATOR-FREIGHTER, GIG, GHOST, GUNBOAT, HIGGINS BOAT, IBS, JUNK, LANDING CRAFT, LBGB, LCI, LCM, LCVP, LIFEBOAT, LIGHTER, LONG-TAIL, LSMR, LSD, LSI, LST, MICKEY MOUSE BATTLESHIP, MINISUB, MRF, MTB, NASTY, PBL, PBR, PCF, PT BOAT, RIB, SAMPAN, SCOW, SDV, SKIMMER, SMACK, STAB, SUBCHASER, SWIFT BOAT, TAB, TANGO BOAT, TUB, WPB, ZIPPO BOAT, ZODIAC. See ACCOMMODATION LADDER, AFT, AHOY, APARTMENT, ATHWART, BARBETTE, BELLS, BOAT CREW, BOATSWAIN'S CHAIR, BOATSWAIN'S PIPE, BOW, BRIG, BULKHEAD, BULL'S-EYE, CAREEN, CASTOFF, CHANTEY, COCKPIT, COLLAPSE DEPTH, COMPANIONWAY, CRAB, CRASH-BACK, CRUISE, CUTWATER, DEAD IN THE WATER, DEADLIGHT, DECK, DRAFT, DRESS, THE DRINK, EMBRASURE, FANTAIL, FIRE QUARTERS, FLANK SPEED, FLOAT, FORECASTLE, FREEBOARD, GANGWAY, GIGGLES 'n' BANGS, GQ, HATCH, HARD-AND-FAST, HEAVE, HEAVE-HO, HIGHLINE, HOISE, HULL, JACOB'S LADDER, KLAXON, KNEE-KNOCKER, LADDERWELL, LOAD-LINE MARK, MOSQUITO FLEET, OVERHEAD, ORLOP, PASSAGEWAY, PITCH, PLIMSOLL MARK, POOP DECK, PORT, PORTHOLE, PRESSURE HULL, PROW, PULPIT, QUARTERDECK, ROCK THE BOAT, ROLL, SAILOR, SHOWBOAT, SPONSON, STACK, STACK GAS, STARBOARD, STEM, STERN, TANNOY, TIME, TOCSIN, TRIM, YAW; compare DUCK, SUBMARINE, BATTLE WAGON, WARSHIP, FLATTOP, CRUISER, TIN CAN, BABY FLATTOP, Q-SHIP, GHOST SHIP, OILER, TENDER, CONCRETE BATTLESHIP. [v: tug, trawler, packet, yacht, runabout] [nb: the hull on European ships bears a resemblance to fish, while the hull on Asian junks bears a resemblance to waterfowl] [nb: everything taken aboard watercraft acquires a new and confusing name, probably so seagoing folk can talk openly and scorn those remaining ashore]
BOAT CLOAK : referrent for the dress cape worn with formal attire by naval personnel, being a garment that formerly functioned like a PONCHO and OVERCOAT; the sidearm worn with this cape is either a sword for officers or a cutlass for petty officers.
BOAT CREW : (forthcoming);
BOAT DECK : a superstructure deck on which most of the LIFEBOATs of a ship are stowed.
BOATLIFT : the transport of persons and/or cargo by ship, boat, or other vessels, especially during an emergency; compare AIRLIFT.
BOAT NOODLES / BOAT NOODLE SOUP : in the regional cuisine of Bangkok, a rich pork blood gravy with spicy vinegar that's garnished with chili pepper flakes and green morning glory sprigs, seasoned with pieces of beef or pork, and enriched by rice noodles (either thick or thin); compare TOM KHA KAI.
BOAT PEOPLE : refugees fleeing Vietnam by boat after 1975; see PASSAGE TO FREEDOM, FREQUENT WIND, DOMINO THEORY, DECENT INTERVAL, DP, E&E, BLOOD CHIT, IRC, YELLOW BIRD; compare EXILE. [nb: although this phrase has been expanded to "anyone fleeing repression by watercraft", the Caribbean refugees emigrating to America on rafts are called "boat rowers"]
BOATS : see BOATSWAIN.
BOAT SCHOOL : slang reference to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, MD; also called "Canoe U" or "Small Boat and Barge School". See COLOR COMPANY, NAPS, CADET, CRAB, MIDDIE, GOAT, RING-KNOCKER, TRADE SCHOOL, HUDSON HIGH, ZOO, OCS, ROTC. [v: Military Schools] [v: Siwash ("At Good Old Siwash" by George Helgeson Fitch (1911)]
BOATSWAIN : (bosun) an enlisted rating, running from boatswain's striker (E-2) thru Master Chief and then into Warrant Officers, commonly called "Boats"; a Navy and Coast Guard rating for deck crew. Also, personnel, generally specified as specializing in water transportation and all affiliated chores pertaining to operation and maintenance of deck equipment such as lines, paint, etc., which reflect the general "health" of the ship. Compare CHIEF, PILOT.
BOATSWAIN'S CHAIR : a wooden plank or canvas seat for a worker, that's hung by one or more ropes (ie: GANTLINE) over the side of a ship's rail, deck, bridge, and the like.
BOATSWAIN'S LOCKER : a storage compartment, usually located forward, where tools, LINE, and other small equipment for working on DECK is stowed.
BOATSWAIN'S MATE 1st CLASS : usually the "deck apes" and small box coxswains. The Aviation Boatswain's Mates were usually the guys who took care of towing the birds around the ramp area or flight decks and who made sure they were secured to the 'ground' when the weather went to pot.
BOATSWAIN'S PIPE / BOATSWAIN'S WHISTLE : a simple musical device used by the BOATSWAIN to make shipboard announcements over the public address (PA) or loudspeaker system (1MC); often just a series of melodious notes (not even accompanied by words of instruction). Like BUGLE CALLs, the tune itself was the announced message. See BULLETIN, HEADS-UP, POOP, DOPE, PIPING HOT, PIPE DOWN, TOCSIN, TANNOY, HORN, BEATERS 'n' BLEATERS, TOOTER.
BOATSWAIN'S PUNCH : a nonexistent object that a novice or tyro is required to obtain in the same manner as any other SNIPE HUNT objective; compare MERMAID, DRAGON.
BOC : Basic Officer's Course, being the introductory branch-specific training for newly commissioned officers, especially from ROTC programs; later redesignated Officer's Basic Course (OBC) and Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC); see TBS. [nb: Germany has traditionally trained its officer candidates in an eight week basic course at one of several academies (kriegsschule) before sending the graduates along to further training for varying periods in their branch specialization]
BODE : short for Cambodian, also expressed as "Cambode"; see INDOCHINA, KHMER REPUBLIC, INDIG, KHMER SEREI, KKK, FARK, SEALORDS, KHMER ROUGE, CLA, YEAR ZERO, ANGKOR WAT, ANGEL'S WING, DOG'S FACE, ELEPHANT'S FOOT, FISHHOOK, PARROT'S BEAK, TRI-BORDER, CEDAR WALK, PIKE HILL, SIDESHOW, PENTALATERAL AGREEMENT, ASEAN, SEATO, DECENT INTERVAL, SAMPEAH.
BO DOI : a uniformed North Vietnam Army (NVA) soldier; enemy weapons of the Vietnam-era included: SKS, PPSh-41, PPS-43, MP-40, MAT-49, K-50M, AK-47, AKM, Type 50 (unlicensed PRC copy w/30rd mag). Compare NLF, PAVN, VIET MINH, PRG, PLA, VC, CHARLIE, VPA, GOMER, LONGHAIR, LUKE THE GOOK, BAD GUYS.
BODY ARMOR : see FLAK JACKET, HAPPY SUIT, OTV, IOTV, ESAPI, SAPI, FLAK VEST, CHICKEN PLATE, SKIN, MAIL, HARDEN, HILLBILLY ARMOR, IRONCLAD. [nb: during the ninth century, China replaced lacquered leather, cloth bound rattan, and iron body protection with a superior pleated-paper body armor, which could reputedly stop an arrow; during the American CIVIL WAR, some Federal troops privately purchased bulletproof vests (cuirass) made of steel, but most were abandoned due to their excessive weight] [nb: like the plate armor worn by European knights, the privileged Gilbert Islanders (Kiribati) wore impregnable body armor made of twisted coconut husks that was so heavy and inflexible that the wearer was immobilized, having to be carried on and off the battlefield like a statue] [cf: flexible 'mail'; v: doublet]
BODY BAG : plasticized nylon bags, with reinforcing carry-straps and central closure, used for the retrieval of corpses on the battlefield; also known as a "cadaver pouch" and sometimes called "long term bivy sack" or "full body condom", they are properly known as a "Human Remains Container" or "Human Remains Pouch". Smaller sizes were specially manufactured for Asian Allies. There were rarely enough BODY BAGs when needed, so corpses were often wrapped and tied into ground-sheets, PONCHOs, PONCHO LINERs, sleeping bags (FART SACK), or even TARPs and SHELTER-HALves as improvised winding sheets (ie: SHROUD) for removal from the field. Before the specialty manufacture of BODY BAGs during WWII, the military issued chemically-treated mattress covers to serve this purpose; the impregnated cloth was intended to inhibit the spread of diseases. The reported color of BODY BAGs as portrayed in books or movies is a reliable TELLTALE for detecting phonies. See "body bag with a window" at MOPP, CRISPY CRITTER, RICE KRISPIES, CREATURE FEATURE, FLOATER, TADPOLE, BODY-SNATCHER, BODY COUNT, BUTCHER'S BILL, LUGGAGE TAG, BAG TAG, ZULU, KIA, DOW, KILL CREDIT. [nb: after the American CIVIL WAR, a "rubber coated body removal bag" was invented by Thomas Holmes, the "father of embalming", and sold to his fellow morticians with the added benefit, according to its advertising, of being able to "double as a sleeping bag" on excursions] [nb: soldiers often used PETROL, either dabbed directly into their nostrils or soaked into an improvised mask, to disguise the mephitic smell and taste associated with corpse recovery; with the civilian equivalent being Vicks "VapoRub"]
BODY COUNT : a tabulation of known or confirmed dead, called "war arithmetic" by Abraham Lincoln during the CIVIL WAR, this was an accounting based performance measure, instituted by Robert Strange McNamara, since no other long-term military objectives existed for Vietnam; the attrition theory was refuted by demographers as a viable solution to guerrilla insurgency. The US/allies neglected their primary motives, as checkmate is more important than attrition in playing chess, but the PAVN never did, no matter how expensive (ratios: Dien Bien Phu @ 3000 French / 20,000 Viets, and Viet Minh estimated over one-million dead fighting the French 1946-54; then later 380,000 US-ARVN / 1.4 - 2 million PAVN-NLF) ... but they prevailed! See KIA, BUTCHER'S BILL, KILL 'EM ALL, MASSACRE, ZULU, HEADHUNTING, KILL CREDIT. [nb: "Field body count math: two armed guerrillas plus three blood trails plus two dead chickens and a pig equals a promotion for the commander!"] [v: Myths of the Vietnam War]
BODYGUARD : a person or group of persons who protect an individual against bodily harm, such as "executive protection" for FLAG OFFICERs and junketeers (including embed journalists) by a Personal Defense Specialist (PDS) or a Personal Security Detachment (PSD); also called "meat shield". See TWEP, KILLER KANE, SWEEPER, STROLLER, SNIPER, SHADOW WARRIOR, DECAPITATION, KILL HOUSE, SHELL GAME, DSS, USSS, POLICE.
BODY POLITIC : see THE CHATTERING CLASS, PEANUT GALLERY, GRASSROOTS, THIRD ESTATE.
BODY-SNATCHER : a professional operative who specializes in capturing enemy personnel for interrogation; this descriptive slang is associated with the B-rate fantasy movies of the 1950s, as derived from kidnapper (snatcher) and graverobber; see SNATCH, PACKAGE, TONGUE, PANTY RAID, GOO, BRACELET, SRI, I&R, RECON, POW. Also, slang for the MIL-PERS involved in corpse recovery, formally known as Personnel Retrieval and Processing (PRP), or Personnel Recovery and Processing by NavPers, which typically excludes forensic investigators (CANOEMAKER); see RICE KRISPIES, SOUP, BODY BAG, BASKET, BODY COUNT, BUTCHER'S BILL, KIA, ZULU, RECOVERY, LAID BY THE WALL, GRAVES REGISTRATION, MORTUARY AFFAIRS; compare LITTER-BEARER, STRETCHER-BEARER, GHOUL.
BOFORS / BOFORS GUN : an automatic 40mm gun that was primarily used for antiaircraft; often mounted as a pair and fired together; term derives from its first place of manufacture in Bofors Sweden (ca1933). See THUMPER, BLOOPER, MGL, DUSTER, DOVER DOG, MK19-3.
BOGIE : AvnSpeak for any unidentified probable enemy air target, or any unidentified potential target; derived as a variation of "bogy" [cf: boogie, booger, boggard], and also spelled "bogey". The RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE) always require target confirmation before attack. Compare BANDIT, GOMER, VISUAL; see SCRAM, JUDY, TALLY-HO, SPLASH, SQUAWK. [cf: bete noire, bugaboo, bugbear, goblin, gremlin, hobgoblin, loup-garou, werewolf, lycanthrope, ogre, troll, specter, wraith, demon] Also, informal reference to the drive-sprocket on TRACKed vehicles, especially TANKs; by extension of the dual rear axle drive on heavy-duty trucks; see CATERPILLAR.
BOHICA : acronym for 'Bend Over, Here It Comes Again'; usually describing another undesirable assignment or an unwanted effect / side-effect (or aftereffect); a representation of the soldier's attitude of being exploited or betrayed again by circumstances or "the powers that be". See BUMFUCK, SOL, SHIT HIT THE FAN, CYA, PING-PONG, PYHOOYA, FUCK-UP, FUCKED-UP, CLUSTER FUCK, WTFO.
BOHIO : a raised-platform sleeping shelter with slanted roof of semi-permanent primitive construction, used widely by VC/NVA. Compare SHEBANG, HIDE, HOOCH, HUT; see DUGOUT, BIVOUAC, TENT. [cf: ramada, chickee; v: bield, bower, arbor, rock-shelter, den, lair, bothy, cot, cabin, cottage, casita, cabana, lodge, earth lodge, hogan, squat, shed, byre; cf: garret, cockloft, dovecote]
BOK-BOK : fight/fighting.
BOLC : Basic Officer Leadership Course, being the introductory branch-specific training for newly commissioned officers, especially from ROTC programs; formerly known as Basic Officer's Course (BOC) and Officer's Basic Course (OBC); see TBS. [nb: Germany has traditionally trained its officer candidates in an eight week basic course at one of several academies (kriegsschule) before sending the graduates along to further training for varying periods in their branch specialization]
BOLDLY GO WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE : see TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE.
BOLLARD : a substantial post on a WHARF or DECK ("bitt") made of wood, metal, or concrete that's used for mooring vessels; see BELAY, CLEAT, BUOY, DOLPHIN. Also, a substantial post, or series of posts, used as an expedient barrier or obstacle controlling vehicular access to a designated area or roadway; see CALTROP, ABATIS, FRAISE, HEDGEHOG, DRAGON'S TEETH.
BOLO BADGE :
BOLOGNA / BALONEY : see HORSE COCK.
BOLTER : an airplane that misses the landing restraint wire on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, or the ROOF of a FLATTOP; see NIGHT TRAP, TAILHOOK.
BOLT HOLE : a secure escape route or hideout, especially one reserved for an emergency during covert operations. See SAFE, RABBIT HOLE, TRADECRAFT, SAFE ROOM; compare SAFE HOUSE, HIDE, SHROUD, BREAKWEATHER, DUGOUT, SMUGGLER'S TRAP, DODGE THE BULLET, STALKING HORSE.
BOLTROPE : cordage sewn to the edge of canvas yardage or sheeting (ie: tarp, tentage, sail) that's used to reinforce and strengthen it. See FOOTROPE, GROMMET.
BOMB : a case filled with a bursting charge that's exploded by a detonating device, as on impact, especially an explosive device used as a weapon; term derived from a booming sound or noise. See IRON BOMB, CBU, BUTTERFLY BOMB, GBU, LGB, EOGB, VB, JDAM, FAE, DAISY CUTTER, LZ CUT, NAPALM, SNAKE, SNAKES 'n' NAPES, DIVETOSS, SKIP BOMBING, BUNKER BUSTER, SMART BOMB, A-BOMB, H-BOMB, N-BOMB, ZERO POINT, GROUND ZERO, OVERKILL, FOOTBALL, PENTAGONAL, BDU, BOMBSIGHT, PICKLE, STICK, BOMB FARM, DUMP, BULLSHIT BOMB, BIKINI, NUKE, EMP, E-WARHEAD, CBR, YELLOWCAKE, HEAVY WATER, HOT GREASE, PROXIMITY FUZE, VT, FUSE, FUZE, EXPLODER, TRIGGER, CHARGE, MUNITION, EXPLOSIVE, C-4, HEP, SATCHEL CHARGE, EFP, IED, BOOBY-TRAP, TOE-POPPER, MINE, MORTAR, GRENADE, BLOOPER, THUMPER, DARPA, BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUCK, BOMB 'EM BACK TO THE STONE AGE, PAPER TIGER.
BOMBARD : to batter with bombs; to attack or assail with indirect fire. Also, the earliest kind of cannon. [cf: bombard as the earliest type of indirect cannon launching stones, from "noise" (bomb) and "stone-throwing engine" (bombarda)]
BOMBARDIER : the crewmember of a bombing airplane who operates the BOMBSIGHT and the bomb-release mechanism. Also, obsolete designation for an artilleryman; see REDLEG, BULLET HEAD, CANNON-COCKER, DAGBY, TUBE MONKEY, FAG.
BOMB 'EM BACK TO THE STONE AGE :
BOMBER : informal reference to an airplane equipped to carry and drop bombs; see IRON BOMB, SMART BOMB, BOMBSIGHT, BIRD. [nb: Vietnamese term: Phi Co Oanh Tac] Also, a person who illegally constructs, sets, or detonates an EXPLOSIVE device; see IED, BOOBY-TRAP, GAMMON GRENADE, TERRORIST.
BOMBINATE / BOMBINATION : to make a humming or buzzing noise, as coined by François Rabelais; see WHIZ BANG, WHISTLER, BOXCAR CHARLIE, DOODLEBUG, NOISE.
BOMBER JACKET / BOMBERS' JACKET : see FLIGHT JACKET.
BOMB FARM : a staging area or assembly point for explosive ordnance and other munitions that have been drawn from the storage DUMP and setup for a specific mission or operation, especially on-board an aircraft carrier (FLATTOP), usually with portable REVETMENTs or BLAST WALLs, and adjacent firefighting supplies or equipment; handling personnel are known as "ordie", "red shirt", or BB STACKER.
BOMBING : slang for a vehement verbal assault perpetrated upon one person by all the other members of a self-criticism STRUGGLE session; in communist methodology, to reprimand, castigate, upbraid, rebuke, reproach, admonish, chastise, reprove, censure, chide, berate, take to task, or fulminate against, so as to publicly expose individual errors or deviations from the ideological norm. Compare VERBUM SAP, FANG, BLISTER, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, CALL ON THE CARPET; see REEDUCATION, INTERNAL EXILE.
BOMB-PROOF / BOMBPROOF : a relatively safe or secure job in a protected area; see REMF, HOMESTEADER, MILICRAT, BEAN-COUNTER, PUKE, CLERKS 'n' JERKS, ACETATE COMMANDO, CHAIRBORNE, TOCROACH, TAP-DANCER. Also, slang for a BUNKER, dugout, or other position fortified against indirect or aerial assault; also called "shellproof" or "shell-proof". [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BOMB SHELTER : (forthcoming); HIDE, SAFE ROOM, FALLOUT SHELTER, ELEPHANT HUT, BUNKER, BLOCKHOUSE [v: Anderson shelter, Morrison shelter; cf: Svalbard "Doomsday" Global Vault in Spitsbergen] [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BOMBSIGHT : an aiming device installed in an aircraft for determining the optimal release point for bombs; a device that factors altitude, wind speed, and other variables when calculating the proper moment for releasing BOMBs from an aircraft ... with SMART BOMBs, this aiming device uses RADAR or LASER to guide the MUNITIONs onto their TARGET after computing their appropriate release. See PICKLE, DIVETOSS, LASER AIMING DEVICE, HARDPOINT.
BOND : something that, figuratively or literally, binds, fastens, confines, or holds together: a promise, commitment, agreement, or covenant. Also, a rope, cord, band, or other ligature that binds, fastens, confines, or holds together. Also, a written promise of a surety; any written obligation under seal, such as a surety agreement, wherein money is deposited (eg: bail bond), or a reimbursement arrangement (insurance) is tendered. Also, a formal instrument by which a person, corporation, or government guarantees to pay a stated sum of money on or before a specified date; a certificate of ownership of a specified portion (par value) of a debt, usually bearing a fixed rate of interest, due to be paid by a government or corporation to an individual holder; see SAVINGS BOND, LIBERTY BOND, WAR BOND, PATRIOT BOND; compare T-BILL, INCOME TAX, LEGAL TENDER. [cf: bearer bond, registered bond, convertible bond, flat bond, revenue bond, municipal bond, general-obligation bond, guaranteed bond, strip bond, junk bond, yankee bond] Also, a superior variety of paper with a high cotton fiber content that's used for stationery; also called "bond paper". Also, the state of dutiable goods stored without payment of tariffs or taxes until withdrawn from storage. Also, liquor (eg: bonded whiskey) that has been aged under seal in a bonded warehouse for at least four years before bottling; see HOOCH, CLASS SIX. Also, adhesion between two substances or objects; a substance that causes particles to adhere, including coordinate bond, covalent bond, electrovalent bond, hydrogen bond, metallic bond, chemical bond. Also, any of various overlap arrangements of bricks, stones, or other masonry having a regular pattern that's intended to increase the strength or enhance the appearance of a construction. Also, to establish a close emotional relationship with another; see BRO, BLOOD BROTHER, MANLY ARTS, RED-BLOODED, A FINE AND PLEASANT MISERY, FOXHOLE CONVERSION, ARMY CHRISTIAN, VALHALLA, VALLEY OF DEATH. [v: blessed be the tie that binds]
(JANE) BOND : see JANE BOND.
BONE : common nickname for the Rockwell/Boeing B-1 LANCER bomber aircraft; see LRCA, BIRD.
BONE BREAK FEVER : slang for Dengue Fever due to symptomatic contractures or seizures; see FUO.
BONE CUTTER :
BONE DOME : slang for the ballistic communications helmet worn by PILOTs and TANKERs / TOADs, equipped with visors and filters, and variously colored; although unit property, they are typically personalized. See HARD HAT, K-POT, STEEL POT, HEADGEAR.
BONEYARD : slang for cemetery or graveyard; see GARDEN OF STONES, BOX JOB, NATIONAL CEMETERY, DAVY JONES'S LOCKER, CATAFALQUE, MORTUARY AFFAIRS, GRAVES REGISTRATION; compare LAID BY THE WALL. [nb: "long home" is slang for gravesite; v: graveyard, boneyard, boot hill, God's acre, churchyard, catacomb, necropolis, cist, dolmen, chamber tomb, cenotaph, columbarium, sepulcher; cf: "whited sepulcher" (Matthew 23:27)] Also, slang for a DUMP or TOMB, especially long term storage of DEACTIVATEd systems, obsolete equipment or materiel, such as DECOMMISSIONed aircraft [v: Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group (AMARG)]; see MOTHBALL, CANNIBALIZE.
BONNIE DICK : nickname of the USS Bonhomme Richard (CV-31), an Essex class aircraft carrier; being the only aircraft carrier to serve during World War II, the KOREAN WAR, and the VIETNAM WAR.
BONUS ACT : some veterans' groups (including Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion) initiated a demand for an ex-servicemen's bonus shortly after the close of WWI, based upon the proposition that former servicemembers ought to be compensated for the differential between their military pay and the wages received by wartime workers who had remained in civilian life; vetoed by presidents Harding (19 Sept 1922) and Coolidge (15 May 1924), but the "World War Adjusted Compensation Act" (commonly known as the "Soldiers' Bonus Act" or the "Veterans' Bonus Act") finally overrode its veto on 19 May 1924. This BONUS ACT provided for the payment of adjusted compensation to all veterans (excluding officers above the rank of captain) on the basis of .25 a day for overseas service and .00 a day for stateside service. The bonus was made in the form of 20-year endowment policies upon which ex-servicemen might borrow up to about 25% of its full value from the government. As a result of the Great Depression, veterans' groups demanded that government loans be authorized for 50% of the full value of the BONUS ACT certificates; a bill that Congress passed but President Hoover vetoed (26 Feb 1931) because it would benefit some veterans who weren't actually in distress, and such an expenditure would adversely affect the federal budget ... this veto too was overridden (27 Feb 1931). A major issue in the 1931-32 BONUS MARCH was the cash-in redemption or cash-out payment for the adjusted compensation certificates. The Patman Bonus bill provided for the full and immediate payment in cash for the adjusted compensation certificates held by WWI veterans, which, under the original provisions of the 1924 BONUS ACT, were not due to mature until 1945; in an unprecedented address before a joint session of Congress, President Roosevelt justified his veto (22 May 1935) by arguing that enactment of the measure would spur inflation and increase the national deficit. Payment of the entire bonus in cash was finally authorized in 1936. See GI BILL.
BONUS DAY CLUB : an informal and unofficial association of individuals who qualify for membership by surviving a near death episode, such that their personal life-calendar re-starts at day one by sheer good luck or divine providence ... "this is the first day of the rest of your life". Probably the most dramatic episodes experienced by club members involve freefalling without a parachute, but others, such as shipwreck or vehicle accident survivors, involve "riding the wreckage", because the odds of survival significantly improve when the bereft victim is not completely naked ... although a few have miraculously survived that exposure as well. [nb: thirty-one chuteless freefallers have survived with wreckage versus thirteen who have survived without wreckage since 1940; as compared with the deaths of more than 119,000 people in aviation mishaps, including failed-chute skydivers, for the same period]
BONUS MARCH : (forthcoming); re: 1924 World War Adjusted Compensation Act; Bonus Expeditionary Force (1932).
BOOB TUBE : slang for a television (TV) set; also called "idiot box" or "one-eyed monster"; see CRT, SCREEN, SCOPE DOPE, ELECTRONIC CAMPFIRE, IMAGE-CONVERTER TUBE.
BOOBY-TRAP : a concealed munition with an automatic trigger, an explosive charge hidden in a harmless object which detonates on contact, or a disguised lethal device, including snare or springe, pitfall or man-trap, deadfall or deathtrap, gin or drop trap, as to entoil and entrap. See PUNJI STAKE, FRAISE, ABATIS, TROU-DE-LOUP, TIGER PIT, TIGER TRAP, PITFALL, MOUSETRAP, MALAYAN GATE, NIGHTINGALE, TU DAI, ELDEST SON, MA, ALPHA-ALPHA, AMBUSH, TOE-POPPER, MINE, IED, TATP, MOTHER OF SATAN, HME, EXPLOSIVE; compare TRICK, DECOY, RUSE DE GUERRE. [nb: copying the successful sabotage of the OSS and resistance during WWII, SOG introduced BOOBY-TRAPped rifle and mortar AMMO, canteens, cameras, field gear and radios into southeast Asian enemy-controlled territory, along with anti-personnel (AP) mines imitative of rocks and foliage]
BOODLE : that which is despoiled by PILLAGE or PLUNDER, as in war; see SPOILS OF WAR, HAVOC, RANSACK, ROMAN HOLIDAY. Also, West Point (USMA) slang for snack foods (eg: cake, cookies, candy, ice cream, etc) that are hidden during inspections; see POGY BAIT, SUGAR PILL, GEDUNK, SNIVEL GEAR, CREATURE COMFORTS, GUNS OR BUTTER.
BOOJIE : slang for a haughty or snobbish elitist; an Americanism of the Vietnam-era formed by the shortening and alteration of 'bourgeois'; see GRASSROOTS, SILENT MAJORITY, CAKE-EATER, BEST AND BRIGHTEST, POWER ELITE, SECOND ESTATE, RING-KNOCKER, UNTOUCHABLE, BULLETPROOF, VULCANIZE, FAIRY DUST. [cf: 'boojum' (nonsense word for an imaginary creature invented by Lewis Carroll in the 1876 poem "The Hunting of the Snark")]
BOOKIE BIRD : nickname for the Fairchild C-123 PROVIDER (qv).
BOOM : a deep resonant sound, often prolonged, as from EXPLOSIVE detonation or SONIC BOOM. Also, short for TAILBOOM, being a FUSELAGE extension for the tail assembly (empennage) of an aircraft. Also, the steerable hose extending behind and below an aerial TANKER that's used for in-flight refueling at a high transfer rate. Also, any of various spars, beams, or poles projecting from its abutting attachment at a mast, as used to extend a ship's sails, to handle cargo, to guide objects, or to hold devices; also called a derrick or crane, an arm or STICK; see LUFF, compare DAVIT, YARDARM, BLOCK, TACKLE, WHIP. Also, a chain, cable, or the like serving to obstruct navigation.
BOOM-BOOM : slang for SHORT-TIME sex with a prostitute, typically cost about 500 Piasters or ; see CHURNING BUTTER, FUCK, CHOCOLATE BUNNY, BUTTERFLY, HORIZONTAL COLLABORATOR, DIDDLY, TRICK, DU, STEAM 'n' CREAM, HOOKUP, LBFM, LULU THE ZULU, HELL ON WHEELS, ACT OF CONGRESS. [nb: the "comfort girls" who were employed as contract prostitutes to serve the sexual needs (TRICKs) of Imperial Japanese troops in the field, usually at a COMFORT STATION or SIN CITY, were called "shock absorbers" by the Allied POWs who happened to observe their (mis-)treatment]
BOOM BOOM ROOM : (forthcoming); jazz and soul music venue; also, slang for the crib or bedroom of a prostitute in a brothel; see HELL ON WHEELS, PIGPEN, NHA THO.
BOOMER : USN slang for a nuclear-powered SUBMARINE, officially identified as Submersible Ship Nuclear (SSN); sometimes called "sewerpipe". Such ships were operated by two crews in separate rotation, called "blue" and "gold" teams (after traditional Navy colors), to keep mission stations constantly covered. See GUPPY, ASW, SLBM. Also, a submariner, especially one qualified on "sewerpipes", as opposed to DOLPHIN; see BUBBLEHEAD, DIPPER, compare SKIMMER, AIRDALE, SHELLBACK. Also, USAF slang for anyone of superior achievement, as a "high flier"; see ZOOMIE, TOP GUN, FAST MOVER, FIGJAM, SUPER-TROOPER, TOP DOG, GOLDEN BOY, DEEP DIP, UP OR OUT. Also, slang for an expert telegrapher; see SALTING, CW, TTY, TWX, BAMBOO TELEGRAPH. [v: expert, master, virtuoso, bailiwick] Also, truncation of BABY BOOMER.
BOOMERANG : something that does injury to the originator, as a scheme or argument that backlashes, backfires, or bounces back; as derived from the curved THROWING STICK of aboriginal peoples; see TURN IN THE BARREL, RIPOSTE / RIPOST, REVOLUTION, COUNTERATTACK. Also, a banana-shaped airfoil that will return to its launch point if not disturbed in flight; formerly used as a hunting implement, it's now used recreationally (like a Frisbee), or as an inexpensive design platform for aerodynamic innovation. [nb: the hand-carved throwing stick (kylie) is known to be 20,300 years old, with specimens weighing 2-7#, 2-3ft long, and able to travel 90-650ft range; originally made of wood, bone, horn, or ivory, they were displaced by the spear and bow-shot arrow; anthropologists at the Smithsonian Institute conducted a boomerang workshop in 1970, and the first international tournament in 1981; modern examples are made of wood, polypropylene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plastic, fiberglass, carbon fiber, linen-phenolic resin laminates, and Kevlar para-aramid fiber]
BOONDOCKS / BOONIES : also called bush, sticks, woods, barrens, brush, weeds, scrub, veg, rough, THULE, hinterlands, INDIAN COUNTRY, bad lands, bandit country; being terms for the field or jungle, as any remote area away from BASE CAMPs or cities. Sometimes used to refer to everywhere in Vietnam, despite the fact that almost all enemy contact occurred in the less inhabited areas, outside the cities, along the border. See ELEPHANT GRASS, SAW GRASS, KUNAI, NIPA PALM, PITA, TULE, THE J, AGENT ORANGE, GUMBO, QUAGMIRE, BACKWASH, BANJO COUNTRY, DOWN RANGE, SANDBOX, FEBA, MLR, FLOT, FRONT LINE, FIELD ALLOWANCE. [nb: as a tactical element, the jungle is neutral, offering the same advantage or disadvantage to both sides; so it only becomes a factor when troops are exploited by their ignorance of it, or strategy does not exploit its latent opportunities] Also, any disagreeable assignment or remote posting (BILLET or HARDSHIP TOUR) that's perceived as sidetracking or punishment; not a preferred or favored "mainstream" POST; being a more polite form of BUMFUCK (qv), a GARDEN SPOT. [aka: podunk, jerkwater, hicksville, nowheresville, boringburg, splitsville, sunset town, one-horse town, shithole, back-of-beyond, middle-of-nowhere, faraway, nowhither, lost-in-the-woods, north remote, east stranded, one-eyed town, ass-end of nowhere, nastyland, badland, dead-letter office, elephant's boneyard, elephant's graveyard; v: wop-wops, Woop Woop, Waikikamukau, Eketahuna, beyond the Black Stump, back of Bourke, boohai, outback]
BOONDOGGLE : work that's of little or no practical value that's done merely to keep people occupied or to make them look busy; a project funded by the government out of political favoritism that's of no real value to the community. Also known as "makework", this Americanism was coined by R.H. Link, a scoutmaster, as a referent for the product of simple manual skills, or occupational handicrafts, used to monopolize campers on vacation. See GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK, HALF-ASSED, MARK TIME, GHOST, SKATE, SLACKER, REST ON OARS, GUNDECKING, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN, PARTY LINE, MIL-SPEC. [v: boondoggler, tinkerer, putterer; cf: to busy oneself by tinkering or puttering with something in an ineffective manner or without useful results] Also, to deceive or attempt to deceive; see DECEPTION, TRICK, GAMBIT, RUSE DE GUERRE, FALSE FLAG, RED HERRING, CAT'S-PAW, TROJAN HORSE, DECOY, SANDBAG, SHAKEDOWN.
BOONIE / BOONIE HAT :
BOONIE PUP : see K-9, SCOUT DOG, LEND-LEASH, A DOG IN A DOUBLET. [nb: while dogs have only about ten vocal sounds to express themselves, cats have more than a hundred]
BOONIE RAT : a VIETNAM WAR infantryman, being someone who slogs through the BOONDOCKS; see GRUNT, BUSHMASTER, GROUND POUNDER, CRUNCHY, LEG, BLUELEG, INF, 03, SNUFFY. [v: bushranger]
BOONIES : see BOONDOCKS.
BOOT : slang for a trainee, novice, tyro, neophyte, or abecedarian, especially a Marine in recruit training or a GI in BASIC training; see MAGGOT, SMACK, CRUIT, YARDBIRD, SLICK SLEEVE, BCT, TRAIN [nb: it's a well established fact that a good Drill Sergeant will take the raw material of a civilian and turn him into a soldier in the same way that he would take a tangled mess of steel wool and knit it into a tank!]. Also, various singular types of protective FOOTWEAR (qv). Also, to urge, encourage, inspire, incite, enjoin, invoke, sustain, as to "boot up"; see BOOTSTRAP. Also, an instrument of TORTURE applied to the victim's lower leg, being a vise-like contraption that can be gradually tightened by turning screws so as to inflict enough PAIN to defeat resistance and extract information; see TORTURE.
BOOT CAMP : informal reference to the training facility where new recruits are instructed in BASIC military education and discipline, DRILL and weapons familiarization, before proceeding to advanced specialization training. See BCT, AIT, MOS; compare BOC, OBC, TBS.
BOOT KNIFE :
BOOTLESS / BOOTLESSNESS : an unavailing act, a useless effort, or a futile event without result or advantage; as derived from 'unpardonable'; see TILT AT WINDMILLS, WHISTLE IN THE WIND, WHISTLIN' DIXIE, NUGATORY, SPEARHEAD, SHOCK TROOPS, SUICIDE SQUAD, SNOWBALL, CANNON FODDER, BITTER END, NIHILISM, CULTURAL SUICIDE, CREDIBILITY GAP. [v: Sisyphean; enfants perdus, forlorn hope]
BOOT NECK : see LEATHERNECK.
BOOTS : see BOOT, FOOTWEAR.
BOOTS AND SADDLES : a BUGLE CALL among U.S. Army cavalry and dragoon units heralding a formation for mounted drill; the call for men and horses to assemble ... used in the post-WWII era to call the members of armor and cavalry units into formation.
BOOTS ON THE GROUND : a catch-phrase that generally refers to MIL-PERS who are actually engaged with enemy elements, or are occupying a disputed territory, as distinguished from the implied threat of force in airpower or seapower; a generic term that makes no distinction between males or females, officers or enlisted men, combat or combat support troops. The ground forces actually deployed in a conflict or war, as opposed to troops not engaged; abbreviated as BOG or BOTG. This expression is often misused by journalists when they mean "ground forces" or "troops in place", as opposed to reserve elements or units in transit.
BOOTSTRAP : a loop of leather (or cloth) sewn at the top of the legging of a boot, either at the rear or on both sides, to facilitate pulling it onto the wearer's foot. Also, to help oneself without the aid of others, as by relying entirely on one's own efforts or by using one's own resources; to "pull oneself up by one's own bootstraps" is to be self-generating or self-sustaining ... a self-reliant rugged individualist. Also, military program for attaining educational certification from civilian institutions as preliminary to promotion or career advancement; formally operated under the auspices of United States Armed Forces Institute (USAFI) or Servicemember's Opportunity College (SOC). The newer Army University Access Online offers eligible soldiers the opportunity to obtain college degrees or technical certification through internet-based courses while serving on active duty, which students are assisted with tuition, textbooks, laptop computers, printers, internet access, and other resources. See NESEP, CONAP, ACASP, DEP, YELLOW RIBBON, ROTC, RE-UP, UP OR OUT. [nb: "Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is like riding your own coattails ... the natural laws just don't work that way, so expect alot of inertial resistance and numerous impeding hindrances."]
BOOTY : goods and valuables seized from an enemy in war; as derived from "sharing of the spoils"; see PILLAGE, PLUNDER, SPOILS OF WAR, HAVOC, RANSACK, ROMAN HOLIDAY, SOUVENIR. [cf: bootee, bootie]
BOOZE : see HOOCH, compare BREW, GI JOE. [cf: catlap; apéritif]
BOQ : (b-o-q, not "bock") Bachelor Officer's Quarters, being apartments provided on post or BASE for unmarried officers; see QTRS.
BORDEN : a PSYOPS deception project for recruiting and training FALSE FLAG captives (allegedly HOI CHANH), who were then returned to NVN with explicit DISINFORMATION and spurious contact data; these conduits were expected to become double-agents for SOG to manipulate in DECEPTION operations.
BORDER DEFENSE RANGER :
BORE : a hole made in a gun barrel by boring; see GUNLOCK, MUZZLE, BREECH, GUN TUBE, MAIN-GUN, FLAREBACK, FOUL BORE, DONKEY DICK, SWAB, FIREARM. Also, the inside diameter of a hollow cylindrical chamber; see CALIBER, BORESIGHT. Also, the inner surface of a hollow cylindrical chamber, especially inside the barrel of a gun, whether smooth or rifled (with "lands and grooves"); see RIFLING, SMOOTHBORE. [nb: RIFLEd guns are denoted "inch" (eg: 3" Field Gun called "three incher"), which is the diameter of the projectile, while SMOOTHBORE cannons are denoted "pound" (eg: 12# Mountain HOWITZER called "twelve pounder"), which is the weight of the projectile] [cf: bombard as the earliest type of indirect cannon launching stones, from "noise" (bomb) and "stone-throwing engine" (bombarda)] [nb: the 1795 Springfield Arsenal musket (smoothbore, flintlock, .69 caliber muzzleloader) was the first official shoulder-firearm to use standardized interchangeable parts]
BOREX : mock designation for any BORing EXercise, especially CPX, TTX, or other DRY RUN; see EXERCISE, WAR GAMES.
BORING HOLES IN THE SKY : colloquialism for random recreational flying without a set pattern or flight plan; also called "joyriding". Compare PUNCHING HOLES IN THE SKY.
BOSNIA : a central region (ie: Bosnia - Herzegovina) of Yugoslavia which was formerly the kingdoms of Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Macedonia, wherein NATO and UN forces attempted to secure a cease-fire in an ethnic conflict (JOINT ENDEAVOR, JOINT FORGE, ALLIED FORCE), while a UN aid/relief mission (PROVIDE PROMISE) operated from 1995; see GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY, BANANA WARS, GENOCIDE, MISSION CREEP, VIETNAM SYNDROME, "Bosnian coat-of-arms" at ITALIAN SALUTE. [nb: it has been said that Yugoslavia has one people, two alphabets, three religions, four languages, five nationalities, and six republics!] Also, naval slang for Big Old Standard Navy Issue Ass, or Broad Ol' Sweet Navy Issued Ass; being a reference to the size of the 'stern' of some (female) NavPers; see BAM, PIRATE'S DREAM, GI JANE, SKIRT.
BOSS : a person in authority over others, as a leader (LDR) or commander (CO); a foreman or manager, director or supervisor, head or kingpin. See CHIEF, CREW CHIEF, BOATSWAIN, SKIPPER, HONCHO, RAMROD, BRASS HAT, WALLAH, OLD MAN, CAPTAIN, TOP DOG, MOTHER HEN, 10, MC, BREVET, RAINMAKER. [nb: spec ops teams in the Mid-East have adopted the Farsi word "abun" (meaning 'father' or 'elder') as an honorific term for straw boss or boss man, which is used as an informal sign of respect for the section or team leader] [nb: GEN Douglas ("Generalissimo") MacArthur, whose arrogance was too great to indulge the slightest humor (except schadenfreude), permitted his intimates (damned few!) to informally address him in private as "sir boss", without any ironic or facetious intent] [nb: a female unit commander is not called the OLD MAN nor "old lady", not "chieftain" nor "chieftess", not the HONCHO nor "honchette", not TOP DOG nor "top bitch", but is rather antonomastically identified by the generic "boss" or "boss lady", or by her designated NICKNAME or CODENAME; also see "GI Jane", "Jane Bond", "Acting Jane", "Swinging Dickless", "Dear Jane", SKIRT, ANGEL]
BOSUN : the phonetic spelling of the proper pronunciation of BOATSWAIN (qv).
BOT : contraction of roBOT, being slang for any unmanned vehicle or pilotless craft, including DRONE, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV), Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV), and the like. [cf: cyborg, android, automaton; v: humanoid, mannequin, homunculus, golem, Frankenstein's monster, yahoo (degraded brute), booboisie (H.L. Mencken), philistine] [nb: the word "robot" was coined by Karel Capek, the Czech playwright, in his 1920 "R.U.R!", where it was used as a combining form (eg: "inrobota": compulsory labor; "robotník": a peasant owing compulsory labor; etc) to represent human enslavement to automation; Isaac Asimov later established the fundamental principles of robotics] [nb: in 2009, the UAV operators were granted "flight status" for their remote guidance (ie: "piloting") of these drones while positioned a continent away from the target area, making them eligible for both Air Medals (AM) and supplemental flight proficiency pay; and in 2012, the US Air Force presented the first Medal of Honor awarded since the Vietnam War to the remote pilot of an unmanned aerial vehicle supporting ground combat operations in Afghanistan]
BOTHERATION : an interjection coined during the AMERICAN REVOLUTION for the typical HARASSMENTs and ordinary vexations endemic to a soldier's life; those petty interferences, trivial nuisances, and inconsequential annoyances comprising military affairs ... this colloquialism was still extant in the sergeant's argot during the Vietnam-era; see PRESTRESS.
BOTTLENECK : being an "area of vulnerability" that constricts movement, maneuver, or fire; also known as "fatal funnel"; see CHOKE POINT, STRONGPOINT, KEY TERRAIN.
BOTG : see BOOTS ON THE GROUND.
BOTULISM : a sometimes fatal disease of the nervous system caused by the botulin neurotoxin acquired from the ingestion of improperly marinated or preserved food; derived from the Latin word for 'sausage', this FOOD POISONING malady mainly affects man, chickens, water fowl, cattle, sheep, and horses (swine, dogs, and cats are somewhat resistant), and is characterized by paralysis in all species.
BOU / 'BOU : nickname of light transport CARIBOU (CV-2 or C-7A) airplane.
BOURGEOIS : a person whose political, economic, and social opinions are mainly determined by conventional respectability, including traditional customs, lawful order,educational preparation, and material achievement; a member of the middle class, such as a businessman or professional, merchant or artificer, tradesman or artisan; as derived from 'burgess' and corrupted into "boojie" as a snobbish elitist during the Vietnam-era. Compare BOURGEOISIE. [nb: as artisans and shopkeepers in medieval walled towns, the bourgeois was socioeconomically positioned between the peasants and the landlords, and despite being satirized as inelegant and materialistic, their capitalistic bent impelled them toward reforms that included uprooting feudal trammels and establishing constitutional democracies as well as promoting laissez-faire trading and autonomous civil liberties ... therefore modern Western culture is significantly indebted to bourgeois practices]
BOURGEOISIE : in Marxist theory, the socioeconomic class ('bourgeois') that is primarily concerned with property values, which is in contrast to the wage-earning class ('proletariat'); see PINKO, SOCIALISM, RED, COMMIE, HAMMER AND SICKLE, COMINTERN, SOFT TYRANNY, USEFUL IDIOTS, SYMPATHIZER. [v: 'bourgeoise' (a female member of the bourgeoisie)] [nb: in the hypothetical class struggle proposed by Marxism, the property-owning bourgeoisie was originally perceived as a progressive influence for its role in dismantling feudalism, but was later cast as reactionary for suppressing the ascendency of the wage-earning proletariat in order to maintain its predominant position; but as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, the widening spread of technology enabled blue-collar migration into the petite bourgeoisie and white-collar mobility into the upper register, thus abrogating the revolutionary tenets (and vaunted benefits) of an idealized classless society]
BOULEVARD : see ROAD.
BOUNCE : US Navy aviation slang for practice landings on an airstrip that's simulating the size, shape, and markings of an aircraft carrier (CV) RUNWAY, including TAILHOOK arresting wires, as required preparation for an actual qualification landing on a FLATTOP; properly known as a FIELD CARRIER LANDING. This exercise is similar to the TOUCH AND GO landing practice of ground-based PILOTs. See TOUCHDOWN, SPLASHDOWN, THRESHOLD, WINDSOCK. Also, slang for a hard or jarring landing, like dribbling down the RUNWAY, that gives the impression of damaging the aircraft; see AUGER-IN, NOSEDIVE, PANCAKE, GROUND LOOP, TOUCHDOWN, ALS, AUTO-ROTATE, CHOPPER, BIRD.
BOUNCE THE RUBBLE : a WWII catch-phrase expressive of the STRATEGIC BOMBING viewpoint: to "pound the target into rubble, then bounce the rubble"; which destructive sentiment has also been expressed as: "trying to put a period where God has put a comma". see ARC LIGHT, CARPET BOMBING, BIGGER BANG FOR THE BUCK, BOMB 'EM BACK TO THE STONE AGE, NOT ONE STONE LEFT UPON ANOTHER, BRINKMANSHIP, OVERKILL, KNOCK INTO A COCKED HAT, DOUBLE TAP, CBR, WMD, NUKE, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, MASSACRE, HEADHUNTING, TURKEY SHOOT, KILL 'EM ALL, ATROCITY, GENOCIDE, HOLOCAUST [eg: Albi, Atlanta, Baharestan Square, Beziers, Carthage, Chatham Islands, Columbia, Covington, Dresden, Glencoe, Guernica, Hiroshima, Katyn, Lidice, Meroë, Nagasaki, Nanking/Nanjing, Shanghai, Sybaris, Tiananmen Square, Veii]. [v: vernichtungsgedanken] [nb: "Attack them everywhere and shake the ground beneath them." by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani; "Most of the world's ills would be cured with one three-day open season on people." by Ernest M. Hemingway]
BOUNCING BETTY : anti-personnel mine that is propelled upwards about waist height (one meter) before detonating. Known as "jumping jack" by AUSSIE and KIWI forces, it derived from the WWII "S Mine" containing bearings or scrap metal in a two stage activation: triggered launch and delayed explosion. Had great psychological effect. Compare FIRECRACKER, CBU.
BOW : the front of a craft or vessel; designated by the color white, and displays a white navigation light showing over an unbroken arc of the horizon of 135 degrees, centered dead ahead. Compare STERN, AFT; see STEM, PROW, CUTWATER, ROSTRUM, SHARP END, FORECASTLE, HAWSEPIPE, BLUE NOSE, STARBOARD, PORT, IR MARKERS, CHRISTMAS TREE.
BOWER : an anchor carried at the BOW of a vessel; see HOOK, DROGUE, HEAVE-HO, DAVIT, MAINSTAY.
BOWIE / BOWIE KNIFE :
BOW TIE / BOW-TIE : as wearing apparel, see BLACK TIE, WHITE TIE, MESS DRESS. Also, as an air combat tactic, see SAM WEAVE, CUBAN EIGHT, AEROBATICS.
BOXCAR : nickname of the Fairchild Republic C-119 transport; also known as FLYING BOXCAR.
BOXCAR CHARLIE : slang for an eight-inch MORTAR round that tumbled in flight (making a distressing noise) and so was notoriously inaccurate; launched by rocket from a V-shaped ground-level platform, this indirect fire bomb was used by the Imperial Japanese against the Allies in the Pacific theater (PTO) during WWII, especially on Iwo Jima and Okinawa ... during the VIETNAM WAR, the VC used a similarly inaccurate ground launch platform for ROCKETs aimed at FOBs and BASE CAMPs. This enemy mortar bomb was also called a "flying sea bag" or "flying DUFFEL BAG" due to its size, and "screaming meme" due to its sound. See WHISTLER, WHIZ BANG. [nb: hysteria is also known as the "screaming-meemies"] [v: "Stalin's Organ" at MISSILE; "Screaming MeMe", "Moaning Mini", "buzz-bomb" (DOODLEBUG)]
BOXED NASTY : slang for a light meal that's packed in a portable (often disposable) container, as a brown-bag or cardboard carton holding a snack or lunch; usually supplied to travelers (casuals or transients), it requires no additional preparation and is consumed cold. See DUTCH LUNCH, SANDWICH, RICE BALL, HORSE COCK, JERKY, RATIONS. [cf: Japanese bento/obento (to manage or provide provisions for an eat-out meal)]
BOXERS / BOXER SHORTS : a pair of loose-fitting undershorts with an unsecured fly and either a drawstring or elastic waistband, as issued to men at the RECEPTION STATION before basic military training for wear under their uniforms; also called "drawers" or "u-trou" / "u-trau". Compare BRIEFS; see LOINCLOTH, GOING COMMANDO, SKIVVIES.
BOXER UPRISING : a xenophobic movement in China that culminated in a desperate effort to expel Westerners and foreign influences in retaliation for concessions (treaty port, extraterritoriality) granted to Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia following the Opium War (1839-42). This insurrection (also called "Boxer Rebellion") was endorsed by Tz'u Hsi, the Ch'ing dynasty dowager empress, who encouraged a secret society (1898) called "I Ho Ch'uan" [righteous and harmonious fists] to revolt against non-native presence, especially Christians and railroads. From June 1900, the Boxers besieged foreigners in the northern provinces, Inner Mongolia and Manchuria, until an international relief force arrived to quell the dissidents. The expedition of British, French, Russian, American, German, and Japanese troops then occupied the country, but China was not further partitioned; however an indemnity and more amendments were levied in 1901. Compare TAIPING REBELLION, see HOLY WAR. [nb: Boxer Rebellion (1900-01): 37 battle deaths] [nb: kiao-tse represents combat boxing, as taught and practiced in lodges, such as Chao-lin]
BOX HEAD : slang for someone who is predictable or routinized, as anyone who exhibits typical or conventional thinking; a stereotypic generalization for a military member who has been taught the "right", "proper", or "approved" school solution to any problem or difficulty; see BRASS-COLLAR, BRASS EAR, HIDEBOUND, BRASSBOUND, MILITARY MIND, PARTY LINE, TOE THE LINE, PRIMROSE PATH, SCRIPTURES; compare OUTSIDE THE BOX. Also, slang for a squarehead or blockhead, being a bonehead, lunkhead, woodenhead, dunderhead, jughead, hardhead, knucklehead, or numskull; see DUD, DOPE, NUMB NUTS, SOS, TURD, DOUCHE BAG, SHIT MAGNET, DEADHEAD, YARDBIRD, FIELD REJECT, LOOSE CANNON, HOT DOG, COWBOY, SMACK.
BOXING : a MARTIAL ART technique wherein opponents fight each other within an enclosure (RING) using only their fists (whether protectively gloved or not) according to formalized rules; the practice of "the sweet science of bruising" for personal recognition or reward (prizefighting); see KNUCKLE SANDWICH, TWO-FISTED, ONE-TWO, BEAT HIM TO THE PUNCH, COUNTERPUNCH, THROW HANDS, GROUP HUG, BATTLE ROYAL, JAP SLAPPER, BOK-BOK, ON GUARD, AT CLOSE QUARTERS, CLOSE QUARTERS BATTLE, PULL ONE'S PUNCHES, THROW IN THE TOWEL.
BOX JOB : funeral, obsequy, or burial ceremony involving a coffin, pall, or casket; not cremation with storage in a columbarium or sepulchral vault. See GARDEN OF STONES, BONEYARD, "long home" at LONG HOUSE, NATIONAL CEMETERY, FUNERAL PACE, PALLBEARER, CATAFALQUE, DAVY JONES'S LOCKER, MORTUARY AFFAIRS, GRAVES REGISTRATION; compare LAID BY THE WALL. [nb: "long home" is slang for gravesite; v: graveyard, boneyard, boot hill, God's acre, churchyard, catacomb, necropolis, cenotaph, columbarium, sepulcher; cf: "whited sepulcher" (Matthew 23:27)] [nb: the traditional three-shot volley at burial derives from the pagan ritual of shouting the name of the deceased three times to tell the gods who is coming] [nb: the tradition of placing a coin in the mouth of the deceased before burial derives from the pagan rite of paying for passage into the Afterlife (cf: Christian eschatology, re: "harder for a rich man to get into Heaven"); compare "tooth notch" at DOG TAGS]
BOX OF ROCKS : derisive reference to any group of MIL-PERS who have performed their work in an unsatisfactory or unacceptable manner; a group of LOOSE CANNONs or DUDs, PUKEs or DOUCHE BAGs, TURDs or SHIT MAGNETs, YARDBIRDs or FUCK-UPs; see SMACK, FIELD REJECT.
BOX THE COMPASS : to repeat the names of all 32 points of the compass in sequential order; see COMPASS CARD, COMPASS ROSE, COMPASS. Also, to turn about in a clockwise direction, pausing at each of the 32 points of the compass and reciting its direction, while executing the MANUAL OF ARMS at each station. Also, a form of punishment at military training facilities wherein the student performs all of the proper DRILL and MARCHing routines, usually with a rifle, that will sequentially cover each of the compass points in a quadrangle or on a PARADE GROUND; a CADET "boxes the compass" to discount his demerits; see ADY, GIG, TURD, SHIT LIST, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, FASHION SHOW, DROP, FRONT LEANING REST, AIRMAN ALIGNMENT TOOL, BLANKET PARTY, SQUEEZE.
BOY : an apprentice seaman, especially one who has not before gone to sea (eg: cabin boy, powder monkey); being a recognized RANK below PRIVATE (USMC) or Seaman in the U.S. Navy until after the CIVIL WAR. Also, any young male servant, houseboy, or attendant, such as a page, GOFER, or HOUSE MOUSE. Also, a male who is considered by the speaker to be inferior in race, nationality, or occupational status, being typically a WOG or LITTLE PEOPLE; see DINK, GOOK, SLOPE, SLANT-EYE, RICE BALL, ZIP, NIP, JAPE, CHINK; compare LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, BUDDHAHEAD, INDIG. [v: Names of Foreigners or Foes]
BOYDLOOP : developed from KOREAN WAR statistics as a way to violate linear programming or conventional mind-sets (eg: action / reaction, move / counter-move) by gaining a tactical advantage through either unexpected action, or performance that exceeds regular limits; also called OODALoop (Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action Loop). See LAW OF AVERAGES, GAMBLER'S FALLACY, UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE, PRINCIPLE OF LEAST FORCE, LEAST RESISTANCE, LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS, LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, LORENTZ CONTRACTION, LORENTZ TRANSFORMATION, PARADIGM SHIFT, OUTSIDE THE BOX, MILITARY MIND.
BOY'S CLUB : (forthcoming); fraternal order, fraternity; "boys will be boys" vs "old boys club" [eg: Kit-cat Club]; see GOOD PEOPLE, GOOD STICK, GOOD OLD BOY, TRADE SCHOOL, RING-KNOCKER, CASTE, KHAKI MAFIA, THE ESTABLISHMENT, BROWNIE, VET / VETERAN, PROFESSIONAL VETERAN, VETERANS' ASSOCIATION, SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, INITIATION, EARRING, MEAT MARKER, TATTOO, CHALLENGE COIN; compare FRATERNIZATION.
BOY SCOUT : sardonic reference to any of the covert or clandestine operatives serving in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as based upon their propensity to recruit CAKE-EATER candidates mainly from Ivy League institutions, as was the practice of their predecessor, the "oh so social" Office of Strategic Services (OSS), resulting in an atmosphere of adolescent boys going off on an adventurous lark to pull a clever prank, all in good fun ... hence the association with Boy Scouts. See SPOOK, SECRET AGENT, SINGLETON, SHEEP-DIPPED, CLEANSKIN, PROVOCATEUR, INVISIBLE, DIRTY TRICKS, TRADECRAFT. [v: Barclay "Brains" Benton, Bomba the Jungle Boy (v: Tarzan), Rick Brant, Bruce "Biff" Brewster, Bronc Burnett, Christopher Cool, Danny Dunn, Hardy Boys, Pee-wee Harris, Chip Hilton, Ken Holt, Henry Huggins, "Baseball" Joe Matson, Motor Boys, Power Boys, Jonny Quest, Tom Quest, Radio Boys, Frank Reade, Henry Reed, Ted Scott, Don Sturdy, Tom Swift, Jack Wright, X-Bar-X Boys (v: Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy, Durango Kid, Lone Ranger), etc]
BOY WONDER : dismissive reference to any young and ambitious soldier, often regardless of ability; also called "Baby Hero" or "General in Waiting"; see BABY 007, SHAVETAIL, SHAKE 'n' BAKE, HOT DOG, SPEEDY, GOLDEN BOY, HARD CHARGER, SWEAT HOG, HOT SHOT, FIGJAM, FAST MOVER, BOOMER, SUPER-TROOPER, FUGLEMAN, TOP DOG. [nb: known as "show pony" by AUSSIE and KIWI troops] [v: enfant terrible (French: prodigy); wunderkind (German: prodigy)] Also, fictional character in BAT MAN (qv) comics, serving as partner during operations, and known as the "Dynamic Duo" when paired.
BP : Base Pay, without adjustment for supplements or allotments; see THE EAGLE SHITS, SALARY, RANK, RATING, GRADE, PAY-GRADE.
THE BRA : distinctive terrain feature, resembling a brassiere, formed by a recurving river in the TRI-BORDER area of Laos and Cambodia with Vietnam; a PAVN sanctuary visited by SOG missions.
BRACE : a rigid form of ATTENTION, with head, shoulders, buttocks, and heels in alignment, especially as if "pinned" against a wall or BULKHEAD as a specimen; also known as "strain" or "crank" / "cranked". Also, a confrontation or resolution. Also, a clamp, CHOCK, or other reinforcement.
BRACELET : a loop or band of material, often joined or interlocking, such as a strap or chain, that's intended to be worn around the wrist or forearm as a symbolic object or decorative ornament; a distinctive wristband or circlet, made of various materials and variously marked to signify status or affiliation, especially tribal bands worn by native peoples, who sometimes present them to ADVISORs as a token of tribal adoption; compare BANGLE; see MONTAGNARD, INDIG. [nb: pagan Norsemen awarded metallic bracelets in recognition of meritorious or valorous deeds; likewise, various AmerIndian bands recognized bravery with the award of bracelets] Also, a copper or aluminum (later enameled) cuff engraved with the identifying particulars of individual POWs or MIAs, which were sold for fund- and consciousness raising by non-profit organizations; commonly called POW-MIA BRACELET; see POW-MIA DAY, MEAT MARKER, COINING, ID BRACELET, PARA-CORD BRACELET, SOUVENIR, YELLOW RIBBON. [nb: the sale and display of awareness ribbons and bracelets uses colored materials to focus public attention on special interests and social causes, such as promoting consciousness-raising campaigns or fund-raising for charitable activities, including colored silicone-gel rubber wristbands, which are called "sports bracelets" or "baller bands"] [cf: a "key to paradise" that's engraved with the name of a martyr is presented by a mullah to an acolyte when dispatched on a fatwa or jihad] Also, slang for handcuffs or manacles, as used to safely and securely restrain a PACKAGE, TONGUE, EPW, YARDBIRD, or other detainee; sometimes called cuffs, clips, nips / nippers, ruffles, clamps, or hooks (as "hook 'n' book") when made of metal, and self-locking flex-cuff, wrist-lock, zip-tie, lock-tight, cable-tie, or tie-tight when made of nylon or plastic (disposable one-time use that must be cut-off of the prisoner). Compare GOO; see SHACKLE, SNATCH, PANTY RAID. [v: fetter, chain, leggings, hobble, gyve, bilboes]
BRADLEY : the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (M-2) and the Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (M-3), introduced to inventory in 1981 with the mission to transport and reinforce dismounted infantry squads, engage lightly armored vehicles and semi-HARD fortifications, and to scout the ground advance while providing flank security. The BRADLEY has a 600hp diesel engine with a hydro-mechanical automatic transmission, a 250mi range at 38mph, is equipped with Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) sensors, a GPS and inertial navigation system, and is armed with a 25mm Bushmaster cannon (M-242) or TOW II missile system, and two 7.62mm machineguns (M-240C), and may utilize "armor tiles" (REACTIVE ARMOR). See APC, TRACK.
BRAG : a storytelling pastime used to recount battle action as a test of knowledge or gullibility since before the American CIVIL WAR; also known as "Hazard" or "Bluff", this exercise in deception and misdirection contributed to the development of both POKER and LIAR'S DICE. See PLAYING CARDS, DICE GAMES, PLAY THE GAME, WAR GAMES.
BRAGGART : someone who extols his abilities or attainments, one who "beats his own drum" or "blows his own horn" out of vanity, as to vaunt or flaunt, gasconade or fanfaronade, bravado or braggadocio, especially talking big in an exaggerated manner; also known as bragger or boaster, bluffer or blusterer, blowhard or crow. See ATE UP, ATFU, BRAGGING RIGHTS, A-1, ATTABOY, BRAVO ZULU, WATCH MY SMOKE, COUNT COUP, KILL CREDIT, KILL RING, TROPHY, IMPACT AWARD, V-DEVICE, GONG, POWER WALL, GUTS, MOXIE, DIEHARD, ROOT HOG OR DIE, BALLS TO THE WALL, RIGHT STUFF, FUGLEMAN, SUPER-TROOPER, SWEAT HOG, HARD CHARGER, FAST MOVER, BOOMER, HOT SHOT, GOLDEN BOY, FIGJAM, HOT-SHIT, DEEP DIP, WINTER SOLDIER, HERO, MACHO, WHISKEY WARRIOR. [nb: braggadocio is a pseudo-Italianate coinage by Edmund Spenser, used as the name of a boastful character (Braggadocchio) in the Faerie Queene (1590); also, a profound military braggart in the character of Captain Bobadil from Every Man in His Humour by Ben Jonson (1598), which was probably derived from the last Moorish king (Boabdil) of Granada, a corruption of Arabic Abu 'abd Allah ('father of the servant of God')]
BRAGGING RIGHTS : the authority to claim competitive achievement, as with skill contests and intramural sports, as prized by SWEAT HOGS and YOUNG LIONS; in the modern era, this practice is considered socially inappropriate and personally reprehensible when extended to battlefield actions. See TRASH, ATTABOY, BRAVO ZULU, A-1, KICK ASS, FIGJAM, STREAMER, GONG, TROPHY, EARS, SCALPING, SOUVENIR, KILL CREDIT, KILL RING, POWER WALL, PISSING CONTEST, MACHO, WATCH MY SMOKE, DIEHARD, TOP DOG, HERO; compare DUD, WANNABE. [v: fanfaronade] [v: bragging song, bragging dance (Algonquian, Narragansett, etc)] Also, anything that may serve to distinguish or differentiate one MIL-SPEC unit from its uniformly comparable, if not identical, component units, such as a corner BARRACK, an air-conditioned BOAT, a MESSHALL mural, the propinquity of a shuttle bus stop, a decorative shrub or flower bed beside the ORDERLY ROOM, the first issue of replacement equipment, and so forth ad nauseam! [nb: "A silly little cock proudly sits atop his own dunghill, crowing about his prowess, and showing off his plumage ... this noisome pest is delighted by his delusions!"; "Every cock crows on its own dunghill."; "Proud as a cock on his own dunghill."; "Every cocke is proud on his owne dunghill." by John Heywood; "A cock has great influence on his own dunghill." by Publilius Syrus; "Pride begs as loud as want." paraphrase of Benjamin Franklin; "Pride sits like an empty attic high atop the house where character resides." paraphrase of John Gay]
BRAGGING SCAR : (forthcoming); see DUELING SCAR, RED BADGE OF COURAGE, PURPLE HEART, BADGE OF COURAGE.
BRAGGING WALL : see POWER WALL.
BRAID : see AIGUILLETTE, FOURRAGERE, CORD, CORDON, LANYARD, CONTRAFOIL, SHOULDER KNOT, SHOULDER BOARD, EPAULET, SCRAMBLED-EGGS, FARTS 'n' DARTS, SPAGHETTI, FEATHER, BAY, CROWN, CROWN OF WILD OLIVES, FOOFARAW, WITH BELLS ON.
BRAILLE : a coded orthographic system of writing in which combinations of raised dots ("punctaform") wherein six-space cells, each fingertip sized, represent letters, words, numbers, punctuation marks, and the like, that are read by touch; adapted from Barbier's twelve-element NIGHT WRITING system by Louis Braille (1824) for use by the blind, inspiring a competition among various tangible writing systems from 1825 through 1860. [nb: Valentin Hauy first printed an embossed Roman script alphabet onto paper about 1786; the process used shaped copper wire to impress dampened paper, which hardened and fixed the relief when drying. Proceeding to produce literature and musical notation, this tactile printing process could only be read without the facility to be written by the user] [nb: Louis Braille invented "raphigraphy", a method of composing Roman letters from the cells for tactile embossing on a slate, so that blind persons could write directly to sighted persons without a transcriber] [nb: In early literate societies (eg: Phoenician, Hebrew, Greek), before the introduction of distinct Arabic numerals, letters were also used as numbers (gematria / gimetria), either in context or with the addition of a number sign to cue (q/quando) the reader, which practice is still used in braille and TAP CODE but not in sign language or MORSE CODE]
BRAIN FART : a dysphemism for a brilliant idea, seminal creation, original afflatus, or any similar inspiration, especially one symptomatic of the conceptual "egg" laid by the too-remote commander (v: CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND, PUZZLE PALACE, MADHOUSE, HEADSHED); an occurrence that's also known as a brainstorm, brain wave, brainchild, brain flash, brain fire, or brain fever; see HELMET FIRE, THOUGHT GRENADE. [v: imagineering, Pierian Spring, Hippocrene] Also, a slang expression for conceptual discontinuity, allegedly derived from "brain infarction", representing the lacuna or hiatus that interrupts consistent communication or normal routine, which symptom is purportedly indicative of abnormal brain activity [v: "maladaptive brain activity change"] or even of senile dementia; such a loss of focus or forgetfulness is also known as brain drain, brain fade, brain fog, brain cramp, brain freeze, mental meltdown, brain seizure, brain fry, senior moment, highway hypnosis, or TASK SATURATION.
BRAINIAC : an intelligent person or one who learns quickly, especially one who uses their aptitude in perverse ways; by merging of 'brain' and 'maniac'; see PROFESSOR, WIZARD, WONK, WALLAH. [aka: intellectual, thinker, scholar, pundit, guru, savant, sage, quick-witted, genius, brain, highbrow, big headed, longhair, pointy-headed, master, mastermind, expert, virtuoso, rocket scientist, magus, mage, bailiwick] [v: enfant terrible (French: prodigy); wunderkind (German: prodigy)] [nb: "Eggheads, unite! You have nothing to lose but your yolks!" by Adlai E. Stevenson (1952); "Pointy-headed intellectuals of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your brains." by George Wallace (1972); cf: "Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains." by Karl Marx, "The Communist Manifesto" (1848)]
BRAINSTORMING : a conference technique of solving specific problems, amassing information, stimulating creative thinking, developing new ideas, and so forth, by unrestrained and spontaneous participation in discussion; a SKULL SESSION.
BRAIN TRUST : (forthcoming); see WISE MEN, KITCHEN CABINET, DEFENSE POLICY BOARD, THINK TANK, WHIZ KID, MANDARIN, BEST AND BRIGHTEST. [nb: after the coup that toppled the Diem regime in Nov 1963, a "council of sages", consisting of prominent SVN citizens and bloc representatives, was established to advise the government on resumption, reformation, and redirection] [v: know-it-all, besserwisser; realpolitik, machtpolitik]
BRAINWASHING / BRAIN-WASHING : the methodology for changing attitudes or altering beliefs by the manipulation of associative reflexes; the technique of selectively conditioning specific responses through the systematic use of TORTURE, drugs, physical deprivation or isolation, mental or psychological stress, as practiced by communist regimes on foreign and domestic prisoners; see FIELD EXPEDIENT FACIAL, TRUTH SERUM, SCAR, TORTURE, POW, CODE OF CONDUCT. Also, any method of controlled or systematic indoctrination, especially one based on repetition or confusion; see REEDUCATION, GULAG, CONCENTRATION CAMP, PAIN. [v: menticide]
BRAIN WORM : (forthcoming); aka: "ear worm"; [v: round, rondo, echo]
BRANCH : a principal section or primary division of a body, discipline, or system, specifically the separate elements comprising the armed forces: military and maritime, or army and navy, as denoted by a "branch of service" insignia. Also, the distinct and specialized subdivisions of a body, discipline, or system, specifically the combat or supporting arms of the military. Also, the particular subdivisional elements within each combat or supporting arm of the military, as denoted by a "branch specialty" insignia. As an hierarchical example, infantry is a specialty branch of combat arms within the army branch of service of the armed forces. The U.S. Army consists of 20 specialty branches of service: Combat Arms: Air Defense Artillery, Armor, Aviation, Corps of Engineers, Field Artillery, Infantry; Combat Support: Chemical Corps, Military Intelligence Corps, Military Police Corps, Signal Corps; Combat Service Support: Adjutant General's Corps, Chaplain's Corps, Judge Advocate General's Corps, Medical Corps, Medical Service Corps, Nurse Corps, Finance Corps, Ordnance Corps, Quartermaster Corps, Transportation Corps. See AAA, AG, ANGEL, ARM, ARTY, BIRDMAN, BLUELEG, BONE CUTTER, CAV, CE, CHOP SHOP, COOKIE, DOC, ENGR, FAG, INF, JAG, LOGISTICS, MI, MOTOR POOL, MP, MUNITIONS, QM, REDLEG, SAPPER, SKY PILOT, TANKER, TOAD, WIGWAG / WIGWAGGER, RATING, DEVICE, CAB, WAR COLLEGE, ROTC, SKIRT; compare CREST.
BRASS : metonymic slang for an OFFICER or commander, a BRASS HAT. Also, metonymic slang for command, staff, or headquarters (HQ). Also, slang for SHELL and cartridge CASINGs, which are also known as "droppies" (DROPPY). Also, slang for the Class-A / service dress uniforms, or for any SPIT 'n' POLISH routine. Also, slang for any insignia of RANK, DEVICE, BADGE or CREST, regardless of color or actual metal content [nb: the USAF adopted brushed aluminum emblems to officially discourage excessive polishing, which wastes time that's better spent on improving military skills or attaining mission objectives]. Also, an unconventional unit of measure for an area, sized 100ft by 100ft, to be worked (ie: painted, waxed, scrubbed, etc); alternatively designates a cubic volume, sized 100ft by 100ft by 100ft, of material (ie: sand, gravel, dirt, etc) to be worked [cf: 'square' equal to 100 square feet].
BRASSARD : a band worn around the upper arm to signify position, duty, or affiliation; armband may extend to shoulder connection or into EPAULET. See ACTING JACK, GADGET, CQ, OOD, OOG, SDO. [nb: for the first time, American flag armbands were issued to US troops on Operation Torch into north Africa, to distinguish them from Axis Germans and Vichy French, because, as Churchill said, "In the night, all cats are grey." The wearing of American flags on the US combat uniform became standard practice after the VIETNAM WAR]
BRASS BALLS : slang for audacity or courage, daring or fearlessness, brazenness or impudence, as being gutsy or ballsy; originally meaning stubborn or relentless, unyielding or uncompromising, implacable or intractable, as when a pawnbroker drives a hard bargain ... the "brass balls" were traditional symbols of a pawnshop. When referring to manliness, bravery, or endurance, any metal (eg: iron balls, steel balls, etc) may be used metonymically to represent testicular determination or gonadal dedication, which is in marked contrast with the true state of these weak and vulnerable body parts. See ONIONS, GUTS, SPUNK, MOXIE, WATCH MY SMOKE, DIEHARD. Also, by extension of those weak and vulnerable body parts, the putative bits of an emblematic brass monkey that froze when exposed to the ravages of severe cold, and may be mistaken for scattered chunks of ice on the coldest of winter days!
BRASS BLOAT : alliterative allusion to the phenomenal excess of OFFICERs in the military, especially at the highest RANKs; the practice of specifying officer ranks for any highly technical (eg: physician) or overtly responsible (eg: aircraft commander) position, being a promotion policy that makes the pyramidal rank structure of the Armed Forces unbalanced by a surfeit of supervisors or a plethora of managers at senior levels in all branches. See COMMAND RATIO, TOOTH-TO-TAIL RATIO, CHAIN-OF-COMMAND; compare BRASS-COLLAR, BRASS HAT. [nb: in his infinite wisdom, President Lyndon B. Johnson mandated that no one below the rank of PFC would be killed in Vietnam, so regardless of ability or time in service, all PVTs were promoted upon arrival IN-COUNTRY ... just in case they got wasted on their first day; it's interesting that the genius of this management policy was not introduced earlier, since those pitiful old EMs, many of whom went through battle after battle in distant wars without promotion (or even pay in some cases!), would have surely welcomed meaningless inflation in RANKs as much as modern troops] [nb: although the USAF phased-out their Warrant Officer ranks in 1979, designating technical personnel as NCOs and command personnel as officers, they did not resume the WWII Army Air Corps program of "Flying Sergeants", inasmuch as pilots and weapons officers are "technicians" ... so a Lieutenant "commands" a one- or two-person aircraft worth -million but a Sergeant "commands" a three- or four-person tank crew worth -million!]
BRASSBOUND : rigid or inflexible, as "brassbound regulations"; see HIDEBOUND, TOE THE LINE, BOX HEAD, BRASS-COLLAR, BRASS EAR, HARD-AND-FAST, MILITARY MIND, GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK, PARTY LINE, BY THE BOOK, ZERO TOLERANCE, HARD-NOSE, HARD-ASS, CHECKING THE DICTIONARY, SOP, SCRIPTURES. Also, something strengthened or reinforced by brass, bronze, or the like, such as a campaign chest; see FOOTLOCKER, SEA CHEST. Also, impudent or brazen. [v: indurate]
BRASS-COLLAR : unwavering allegiance or affiliation, as to a leader or sovereign, a people or nation, a party or cause, a creed or code; such loyalty or faithfulness is generally characterized as hidebound or narrowminded, as with chauvinists or jingoists, but people of any stripe who have the courage of their convictions are always rare. This term probably derives from the thrall ring worn by bondmen and other henchmen, such as a squire, thane, yeoman, or villein; not to be confused with "brass ring" or "golden ring". See CREED, PROMISE, OATH, HONOR CODE, CODE OF CONDUCT, LOYALTY UP - LOYALTY DOWN, DUTY, A MAN'S GOTTA DO WHAT A MAN'S GOTTA DO, NATIONAL SECURITY, TOE THE LINE, BRASSBOUND, SCRIPTURES, PARTY LINE, STRAIGHT ARROW, CLEANSKIN, TRUE BELIEVER.
BRASS EAR : used since the American CIVIL WAR for obstinate commanders or intractable authoritarians, as one being too deaf or too stupid to listen to new information or an alternative opinion; the audio version of perblind, probably derived from the brass ear trumpet or ear horn, with 'brass' metonymically doubled for RANK. see LITTLE PRICK, MARTINET, TRUE BELIEVER, ROUGHSHOD, FALL ON DEAF EARS, HIDEBOUND, BRASSBOUND, HARD-SET, EMPTY SUIT, PIG LOOKING AT A WRISTWATCH, HELL ON WHEELS, BALL BUSTER, "Hollow Bunny" at EMPTY SUIT, THE GLASS CLIFF, MILICRAT, HEADQUARTERISM, PARTY LINE, DEAD HORSE, SCRIPTURES; compare HARD-ASS, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, NOSE COUNT, EYE-CHECK, BEAT AROUND THE BUSH, REASSURANCE, POPULARITY CONTEST. [cf: tone-deaf, word-deaf] [nb: "Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass ...." Isaiah 48:4 KJV Bible]
BRASS HAT : metonym for an OFFICER; derived from the ancient practice of equipping leaders or commanders with distinctive HEADGEAR ... Alexander the Great is said to have worn a golden helmet, but most lexicographers date this phrase to the gold oak leaves on the caps of senior officers during the First Boer War (1880-1). See BAY, PIP, SCRAMBLED-EGGS, SPAGHETTI, FARTS 'n' DARTS, RHIP, CASTE, ROUGHSHOD; compare CHROME-DOME, LITTLE PEOPLE, SWINE LOG. [v: turkey cock, popinjay, sophist, nabob, nibs, stuffed-shirt, pooh-bah, panjandrum, high and mighty, hogen mogen, high-muckety-muck, high-muck-a-muck] [nb: the word "caddie", with the same origin as CADET, and sometimes shortened to "cad" (irresponsible, dishonorable), was the 17th century term for a gentleman who learned the military profession by serving in the army without a commission; henceforth, it was applied to any person seeking employment] [v: beseem; cf: nicety] [nb: until recently, an OFFICER was simultaneously designated a "gentleman" when appointed by an ACT OF CONGRESS, which not only inspired further intellectual development but also encouraged cultural sophistication, which refinements were mocked as being 'suave and debonair' (deliberately mispronounced as "soo-wave" and "dee-boner"); v: BLUE BLOOD, UP THE HAWSEPIPE, OFFICER'S COUNTRY, TALLY-HO, TACT; cf: HARD-ASS, MACHO]
BRASS KNUCKLES : see KNUCKLE-DUSTER.
BRASSO : a fine abrasive polish developed to remove tarnish from brass and copper, corrosion from chrome and stainless steel, and scratches from acrylic and other plastics; invented as a liquid in 1905 for commercial and industrial applications, displacing similar paste products, it was also offered for a time on an impregnated cloth (v: BLITZ CLOTH) for ready application. BRASSO is a trademarked product of the British commonwealth that was modified in 2008 to comply with the U.S. law on volatile organic compounds. See SPIT 'n' POLISH.
BRASS TACKS : the most fundamental concerns, the basic or essential considerations; see NITTY-GRITTY, BLOOD 'n' GUTS.
BRAT : slang for a minor military dependent, especially a child reared on a military installation; such as "Army BRAT" or "Navy BRAT". Due to early exposure to crosscultural environments, foreign languages, and familial discipline, most BRATs are more intelligent, responsible, and self-reliant than their CIVILIAN peers. Compare ARMY SOUP; see GREEN BLOOD, DRAG, OFFICER'S WIFE, THE DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT, SEPARATE RATS, CAMP FOLLOWER. [aka: crumb-cruncher, curtain-climber, rug rat, ankle-biter, nip / nipper, squaller, yeanling, weanling, whelp, sperm blossom, youngling, grig, sprat, lambkin, shrimp, shaver, bantam, mite, dandiprat, peewee, wisp, peanut, munchkin, hop-o'-my-thumb, Lilliputian, pixie, sprite, pipsqueak, waif, wildling, darter, changeling, jackanapes, shortie, rascal, imp, hoyden, chit] [nb: until the Vietnam-era, the military did not recognize the spouse or other dependents of enlisted personnel below the non-commissioned officer ranks]
B-RATIONS : communal foodstuffs, sized for a squad, requiring preparation and distribution to teammates and squad members; see RATIONS.
BRAVE NEW WORLD : that which is superficially attractive but substantially deficient in quality and character; originating with a naïve speech by Miranda [the daughter of the wizard Prospero in The Tempest (1611)]. The word 'brave' in this usage means "handsome" and 'new world' refers to any unknown territory, such as a stranger, not just unexplored land. Modern reference to this catch-phrase derives from the dystopian classics: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932) and Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley (1958). This darkly sarcastic allusion is lately being twisted into blithely heralding a bright future. See NEW AGE, NEW WORLD ORDER, SOCIAL CONTRACT, CULTURE WAR, BREAD AND CIRCUSES, SOFT TYRANNY, NANNY STATE, HAPPY VALLEY, WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS, NATION BUILDING, THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS, HOMOSOCIAL, ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT.
BRAVERY : splendid conduct or magnificent spirit; see V-DEVICE, IMPACT AWARD, GUTS, MOXIE, ONIONS, DIEHARD, VETERAN, WINTER SOLDIER, NOBLE SAVAGE, COUNT COUP, BRAGGING RIGHTS, QUIET PROFESSIONAL, HERO, MACHO. [nb: "That which valor has joined cannot be parted by death, and that which has been ennobled by courage shall not be diminished by passing, even out of remembrance."; "Uncommon valor was a common virtue."; "The bravest are the tenderest, and the loving are the most daring."; "It's good to be brave, but it's better to be smart."]
BRAVO : the word assigned to represent the letter "B" in the international phonetic alphabet; at various times in different spelling schemes, it has also been acrophonetically represented as Boy and Baker. See ALPHABET SOUP, PHONETIC ALPHABET. [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags]
BRAVO SIERRA : the phonetic representation of B S, hence less vulgar than bullshit, but meaning the same thing; see TALK TRASH, SHOOT THE SHIT, BLOW SMOKE, WOOF, HOT AIR, GAS BAG, TELL IT TO THE MARINES, CONFETTI, SNOW, MOTOR MOUTH, TAP-DANCER, RUMOR, BTDT, MUSHROOM, ATFU, SEA STORY, WAR STORY; compare COUNT COUP, NEED TO KNOW, MIL-SPEAK, BRAVO ZULU, BULLSHITVIK. [nb: 'hooey', allegedly an Americanism used as an interjection for nonsense or tripe, is actually a corruption of the Russian vulgarity ("khuy") for penis, and is commonly used alone (eg: dick, dickhead, dick-wad) or in phrases (eg: dumber than dick; he doesn't know dick; don't dick around; don't stir your tea with your dick)] [cf: migration of "putz" from shine through ornament to penis and dolt; as sexual lure] [v: lucky stiff]
BRAVO ZULU : "well done", from fleet B - Z burgees signaling "good performance"; hence, a compliment. See A-1, ATTABOY, WARM FUZZY, GLORY PIE, KICK ASS, YOUNG LIONS, GONG, GREEN WEENIE, STREAMER, BRAGGING RIGHTS, TOP DOG, POWER WALL; compare BRAVO SIERRA. [v: fanfaronade]
BREACH : a gap or opening, such as one created by mechanical, ballistic, or explosive means in a FORTIFICATION or other BULWARK, or a rift or rupture forced in a defensive LINE of troops; see BREACHER, ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH, PETARD. [nb: not 'breech' (qv)] Also, an infraction of the law or a violation of trust, especially in the severance of friendly diplomatic relations; see FIGHTING WORDS, BLOODY SHIRT, TRAILING HIS COAT, LAST STRAW, CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS, SABER-RATTLING, HAIR-TRIGGER, HALF-COCKED, RAMPAGE. Also, obsolete reference to a wound; as derived from 'break'; see MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, GSW, GSW-TTH, WIA, SIW, DOW.
BREACHER : the person trained and equipped, with tools and munitions, to force a gap or opening in a wall, or to otherwise rupture a fortified defense. Although the BREACHER is part of the assault team, he does not lead the other members through the new opening; but after making the breach (ie: mechanical, ballistic, or explosive), he falls into the security support group to aid in SEARCH AND CLEAR or SEARCH AND DESTROY operations, until called upon to open another entrance. See CHARGE, PETARD, ENGR, EOD, CE, SAPPER, HOOLIGAN, ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH.
BREAD AND CIRCUSES : this expression originally described all that was needed for emperors to placate the Roman mob ["panem et circenses" from Decimus Junius Juvenalis], but today is used to describe any entertainment that's used to distract public attention from more important matters; it's equivalent to "let the rabble amuse themselves with the crumbs of our leavings". See THE EAGLE SHITS, SALARY, BP, PRO PAY, FIELD ALLOWANCE, UA, BAQ, BAH, SEPARATE RATS, DEAD HORSE, SDP, TSP, DOUBLE-DIP, COLA, MISERY INDEX, GI BILL; compare SLUSH FUND, CANDY, GOLDEN SHOWER, PORK BARREL, THIRD ESTATE, SILENT MAJORITY, WHITE TRASH. [nb: 'stipend', as a tax-exempt allowance or honorary salary, usually a pittance, derives from "soldier's pay"] [cf: blood money; 'wages' are compensation or recompense, from carry on, struggle, pledge] [v: rabble, the great unwashed, riffraff, proletariat, prole, lumpen proletariat, rank and file, commoner, commonalty, pleb / plebeian, hoi polloi, canaille, lower classes, campesino, peasant, indigent, lowest of the low, menial, populace, crowd, multitude, mass / the masses, the herd, cracker, hillbilly, hill jack, jackstraw, peckerwood, redneck, trailer park trash, human debris, scum of society, scum of the earth, scum of the universe, useful idiots]
BREADBOARD : (forthcoming);
BREADCRUMBING : slang for the high-tech spyware method of tracing or backtracking the use of electronic devices (especially internet traffic and cellular connectivity), as when inferring exchanges or deducing locations; by allusion to the fairy tales where the route back home is safely marked by breadcrumbs. See WALK BACK THE CAT, TRACK, TRACE, TRAIL, DRAG, BACKTRACK, PECKER TRACKS, BEAT AROUND THE BUSH, INDIAN ROPE TRICK, MAIL, TELEPHONE, HACK, WIZARD, WONK, NETRUSION, INFORMATION WARFARE. [nb: fairy tales that involve children following marked trails include: "Hop-o'-My-Thumb" by Charles Perrault (1697), "Finette Cendron" by Madame d'Aulnoy (1721), "The Lost Children" French fairy tale, and "Hansel and Gretel" by Brothers Grimm (1812)]
BREAK : the term used to close or clear a series of transmissions prior to opening or beginning another series of transmissions on the same network, such as when a commander relays instructions to each subordinate in sequence, instead of simultaneously; see EOT, SQUELCH, RADIO.
BREAK A FLAG : to raise a rolled or furled flag aloft, then at an appropriate moment, usually for dramatic effect, to suddenly release its binding hitch so that it opens to fly in full display; see SHOW THE FLAG, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, HALF-MAST, HOIST, STRIKE THE FLAG. [v: Flag Terms]
BREAKAWAY : AvnSpeak for the emergency maneuver that's used during midair refueling when the airplanes must separate quickly and safely; this procedure entails the TANKER aircraft accelerating and climbing at least 500ft to the upper-right while the aircraft being refueled decelerates and descends at least 500ft to the lower-left. Compare WAVE OFF, SCRUB, KNOCK IT OFF.
BREAK BRUSH : to travel or maneuver off of paths and byways so as to avoid BOOBY-TRAPs and MINEs; also called "break trail".
BREAK CHOP : to utterly reject a BEGGING BOWL request (in the sense of CHOPSTICK), or to contemptuously disregard the authority of a GOFER or ACTING JACK (as a seal of office, CHOP, PIP, or ENSIGN); expressed as "he BROKE my CHOP when ..." or "don't BUST his CHOP". [nb: not "choppers" or "chompers" as related to teeth or jaw or jawbone; not a hit in the mouth]
BREAKFAST : the first meal of the day, as literally derived from ending one's overnight fast with a morning meal; see CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, ENGLISH BREAKFAST, EGGS BENEDICT, SCOTCH WOODCOCK, TOAD-IN-A-HOLE, SOS, FRENCH TOAST, HARDTACK, PANCAKE, DOUGHNUT, SINKER, GI JOE, RANGER COFFEE, BEANS, CHOW, RATIONS. [nb: "Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast." by Oscar Wilde (Fingal O'Flahertie Wills)]
BREAKING POINT : the point at which a situation or condition becomes critical. Also, that point beyond which a person or object collapses under stress or pressure, becoming dysfunctional or deformed; see ZOMBIE, BLACKOUT, THOUSAND-YARD STARE, TELESCOPING, DISSOCIATION, OBJECTIFICATION, CONVERSION SYMPTOMS, STRESS OF SOUL, BROKEN-WING SYNDROME, FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT.
BREAK IT DOWN : to log-off or log-out every constituent in a communications network before disconnecting the base station transceiver; compare CHECK OUT; see RADIO. Also, meaning both disassemble and deconstruct / simplify; see FIELD STRIP.
BREAK NEW GROUND : figurative expression for doing something new, or commencing a new project, with the allusion derived from digging a new trench in a siege operation. [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BREAK SHIP : an idiom meaning that a sailor has failed to return to his assigned vessel after a period of leave; see UA, AWOL.
BREAK SQUELCH : to send a "click-hiss" signal on a radio by depressing the push-to-talk button without speaking, used by OPs, LPs, LRPs and others when actually speaking into the microphone might reveal or compromise their position. See SQUELCH, RADIO.
BREAKWATER : a barrier that breaks the force of incoming waves, as before a harbor or BAY; see MOLE, WHARF, SHORE; compare SURF, WHITECAP, WHITE WATER. [nb: this term has often been mistakenly used to mean "where waves break" before a shore or upon shoals; which is properly known as 'surf']
BREAKWEATHER : any makeshift shelter or protective refuge; see COLD CAMP, FLY CAMP, HUT, BOLT HOLE, HIDE. [cf: line camp, shelter camp]
BREASTWORK : a hastily erected chest-high field fortification; usually expressed as "breastworks"; see PARAPET, REVETMENT, EMPLACEMENT.
BREECH : the rear part of the BORE of a FIREARM or other gun, being the opening that permits the insertion of a CARTRIDGE or other projectile; see GUNLOCK, FLAREBACK. Also, the end of a BLOCK or pulley farthest from the supporting hook or eye. [nb: not 'breach' (qv)]
BREECHBLOCK : a movable piece of metal for closing the BREECH in certain FIREARMs or other guns.
BREECHCLOTH / BREECHCLOUT : an Americanism for a cloth worn about the breech and loins; also called a "waistcloth" or LOINCLOTH.
BREECHES BUOY : a life preserver with a pants-like canvas seat for hauling a shipwrecked or disabled person on or off a vessel; also called "britches buoy". See BUOY. [ety: knee-length trousers, derived from buttocks]
BREN / BREN GUN : a British-made magazine-fed light machinegun that was sometimes used by NVA and VC troops as a holdover from WWII stockpiles, and so was selectively issued to SPECIAL OPERATIONS teams performing reconnaissance and surveillance missions "behind enemy lines" in hopes of avoiding sound signature identification and tracking if gunfire was exchanged. This .303caliber LMG was clip-fed, gas-operated, and air-cooled; its name derives from the towns where it was manufactured: BRno (Moravia) and ENfield (England).
BREVET : a promotion to a higher RANK, especially of a commissioned officer, without an increase in pay-grade RATING; before the creation of medals for distinguished service or valor, the BREVET promotion was used to recognize and reward such achievements (cf: origin of SILVER STAR as BATTLE STAR on CAMPAIGN MEDAL). See FROCKED, ACTING JACK, GADGET, PULL RANK, DEEP DIP, UP OR OUT. [v: Arthur ("the Boy Colonel") MacArthur, George A. ("the Boy General") Custer] [nb: while FROCKED is the authorization to wear RANK of higher GRADE, but without benefits and without actual authority, a BREVET bestows the actual authority, but without the pay of a promotion; so a frocked BG cannot legally order a COL but a brevet BG can, however, since a frocked BG will eventually be confirmed in GRADE, any COL who doesn't obey the order of a frocked BG will have problems later; to anyone not privy to these nuances, a FROCKED or BREVET RANK is indistinguishable from the actual permanent GRADE]
BREVITY CODE : (forthcoming); see CIPHER, CODE, PROWORD, INTERCO, CODENAME, CODEWORD, NICKNAME, 10-CODES, ACRONYM, ABBREVIATION.
BRIARPATCH : nickname for Bat Bat (geo: 21 09 08N 105 20 31E; UTM: 48QWJ35493884), site of major NVN prison camp for captive allied population; also known as [nb: some names only refer to sections within this prison] Tic-tac-toe, Country Club, Farm, Xom Ap Lo, and also spelled "Brierpatch". Dates US POWs present: 15 Sep 65 to 10 Oct 65, 15 Dec 65 to 02 Feb 67, and 05 Feb 71 to 09 Jul 71. The PAVN built Bat Bat before the war as a military jail for PAVN convicts, and was originally administered by the PAVN equivalent of the PROVOST MARSHAL. Located in Ba Vi District, Son Tay Province, about 35 kilometers west-southwest of Hanoi. Bat Bat was transferred to the Enemy Proselyting Department in 1965 for use as a POW camp for Americans. Several American civilians, who were captured by PAVN forces during the final offensive in 1975, were held at Bat Bat. One of those captive Americans, named Arlo Gay, escaped in 1976, remaining free for nearly one month, but turned himself in after succumbing to hunger and disorientation ... Hanoi released Arlo Gay in September 1996. Trai Tre is located in Son Da Village, about two kilometers from Bat Bat prison, where the America POWs were held, and was where convicted USMC collaborator, Robert Garwood, lived for a period in the early 1970s. Trai Tre (literally, Camp Bamboo) was the site of a re-education camp for South Vietnamese military officers after the Second INDOCHINA War, but was dismantled in the early 1990s. See POW.
BRICK : slang for the rough-cut bar of brownish bathing soap that was issued to soldiers during the twenty year period after WWII, which included the KOREAN WAR and extended into the VIETNAM WAR. Compare SOAP, SOFT SOAP, MR. CLEAN, WD-40; see MONKEY BUTT, WHORE'S BATH, MARINE SHOWER, NAVY SHOWER, GI SHOWER, PT SHOWER, DOUCHE BAG, LATRINE, COMFORT STATION. [nb: although soap is clearly more beneficial, most MIL-PERS believe that 100 MPH TAPE is the greatest of all human inventions!] [v: shaving cream, shampoo, shower gel, toiletry, suds / soapsuds / lather, scouring powder] Also, an informal contranym for either a solid reliable comrade (ie: GOOD PEOPLE) or a lazy burdensome shirker (ie: GOLDBRICK), with the proper meaning inferred from context and facial expression.
BRIDGE : a structure spanning and providing passage over an opening or past an obstacle. Chinese catenary or suspension-archbridges of rope, bamboo, and iron chain have been known to exist from AD20. The first segmental arched bridge, being made stronger with the use of fewer materials, was completed in China, AD610; later, multiple spans of arched segments carried roadways (viaduct) over obstacles. Chinese archives document the repair of a pre-existing pontoon bridge in AD714. See AVLB, BAILEY BRIDGE, TREADWAY BRIDGE, PONTOON BRIDGE, CUTWATER, BRIDGE RATING, ROUTE STEP, GANGWAY, BROW, ROPE BRIDGE, HIGHLINE. Also, the platform from which a vessel is controlled and navigated; see HELM, PLOT, BRIDGE DECK, FLYING BRIDGE; compare COCKPIT, CONNING TOWER, PILOTHOUSE. Also, an overarching span, gallery, or gantry; see BOOM, CATWALK, FLYING GANGWAY. Also, any connective, transitional, or intermediate structure, component, element, development, process, passage, stage, phase, or the like. Also, a card game derived from whist wherein one partnership plays toward the fulfillment of a certain declaration against an opposing partnership acting as defenders; see PLAYING CARDS, PLAY THE GAME, WAR GAMES. [nb: 'whist' is an earlier form of the card game 'bridge' but without bidding] [nb: the card game of 'bridge' purportedly originated in Turkey, where its ostensible name supposedly means "one hand revealed while the other three are concealed", except that neither its nominal lineage nor its historical heritage is attested anywhere in the Near East, from where it's alleged to have been introduced into Europe] [cf: auction bridge, contract bridge, duplicate bridge, towie, double dummy, goulash, honeymoon bridge; v: declare, make, trump, no-trump, trick, false card, echo, simple honors, honor, uppercut, finesse, squeeze, grand coup, crossruff, rubber, strong suit, long suit, two-suiter, tenace, yarborough, long card]
BRIDGE COAT : see GREATCOAT, OVERCOAT; compare PEA JACKET, REEFER.
BRIDGE DECK : a deck on top of a bridge house; also called a FLYING BRIDGE or "monkey island". Also, the deck from which a vessel is usually operated; the location of the PILOTHOUSE. Also, the first deck in a bridge house.
BRIDGEHEAD : the position secured on the enemy side of a CHOKE POINT or other obstacle, so as to cover the crossing or advancement of friendly elements toward a farther objective; the secure initial position of an assault across a barrier or obstacle into enemy territory, used as a foothold or WAY POINT for farther advancement and resupply; see PHASE LINE, AIMPOINT; compare AIRHEAD, BEACHHEAD. Also, a defensive work protecting a passage or foothold; see STRONGPOINT, PILLBOX, BUNKER. [v: Military Earthworks Terms]
BRIDGE RATING : load-carrying capacity of a bridge, as displayed on a sign, posted with diagonal warning stripes pointing toward the roadway, in a numeric fraction showing wheeled vehicle limit (concentrated) on top (numerator) and tracked vehicle limit (distributed) on bottom (denominator) in tons (eg: "50/80"). See AVLB, BAILEY BRIDGE, PONTOON BRIDGE, TREADWAY BRIDGE, ROUTE STEP.
BRIEF-BACK : a method developed to give operational autonomy, with improved security and innovation, to LRRP or I&R units, in which a WARNING ORDER with its mission statement is issued to a team, and the team then develops the method of execution which will fulfill the objective. The assigned team "briefs the OPLAN back" to the headquarter's staff for approval, and then implements the operation. This method improved operational success, reduced casualties, and eliminated friction between field and staff personnel. Compare READ-BACK; see BRIEFING, DEBRIEF, COMPARTMENTALIZATION.
BRIEFING : a short factual summary, usually oral, of the details of a current or projected military operation that's given to the participants or their supervisors; a verbal report or information update on official activities by one or more subordinates to the commander or an inspector. Also, any concise set of instructions or a summary of events; see RAPPORTEUR, OFFICER'S CALL, CONFAB, EAR-BANG, CHATTER, CROSS-TALK, HALF-MAST, BUB, CHIN CHIN, POWWOW, SUMMIT, BRIEF-BACK; compare DEBRIEF, HOT WASH, COLD WASH, AAR, READ-BACK. [nb: a so-called "back brief" must be rendered when an intermediate-level officer or NCO, acting on his own initiative, launches an operation or commences a series of events, usually reactive, which develop in unpredicted ways or expand beyond their original scope, necessitating a combined BRIEFING and DEBRIEFing to the next higher echelon] [cf: consistory, gabfest]
BRIEFING OFFICER : the OFFICER or NCO who is responsible for BRIEFING or DEBRIEFing an operation (OPN); see OPLAN, BRIEF-BACK. Also, the individual who supervises a covert or clandestine intelligence operation; a "controller" or HANDLER.
BRIEFS : a pair of close-fitting legless underpants with an overlap fly and an elastic waistband; derived from 'scanty', these privately purchased underpants are also called "whity-tidy" or "banana hammock". Compare BOXERS; see LOINCLOTH, GOING COMMANDO, SKIVVIES.
BRIG : a place of confinement on-board ship, usually located in the FORECASTLE; see CAPTAIN'S MAST, MASTER-AT-ARMS, ROCKS 'n' SHOALS. Also, Naval term for military prison; see THE CASTLE, STOCKADE, GUARDHOUSE, CROSSBAR HOTEL, HOT HOUSE, LBJ, MONKEY HOUSE, DEADLOCK, CHL, DEADLINE, CLUB FED, UCMJ. [v: dog house, poky, clink, nick, slam, slammer, cooler, jug, can, joint, cage, glasshouse, big house, house of many doors, house of blue light, graystone college, stony lonesome, up the river, hoosegow, gaol, bagnio, lockup, pen, reformatory, jailhouse, penal institution, penitentiary, panopticon, keep, calaboose, dungeon, oubliette, hock (sty or prison as a miserable place to live)] Also, an improper abbreviation for brigade; see BDE. Also, an improper abbreviation for brigadier general; see BG, FLAG OFFICER.
BRIGHT LIGHT : an interservice project (OP 80) CODENAME for rescue missions of allied POWs, which operated from 16 September 1966 as an element of SOG, under the MACV Joint Personnel Recovery Center (JPRC) cover designation; which included RECON and tracking, surveillance and INTEL, rehearsal and staging prior to any rescue attempts. See BLOOD CHIT, SON TAY, SAFE, HOME RUN, E&E, IRC, DP, BOAT PEOPLE, YELLOW BIRD; compare SNATCH, PACKAGE, TONGUE, SAR, CSAR, JSARC, SERE. [nb: the same doctrine was followed during the 1980 "Blue Light" / EAGLE CLAW hostage rescue attempt from Iran] [cf: Feb-Mar 1864 Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid of Union cavalry dispatched to rescue prisoners confined in Richmond; resultantly moved to Andersonville]
BRIM CAP : slang for the SERVICE CAP, also called "visor hat", BILLED CAP, "wheel hat", SAUCER CAP, "pizza hat" (USMC), and "Donald Duck cap" (USN), as worn by all branches and grades with variations of color, style, and insignia; the so-called "fifty mission crush" (CRUSHER) has had the stiffening removed so that headphones could be worn over the hat. See SCRAMBLED-EGGS, SPAGHETTI, FARTS 'n' DARTS, COMBINATION COVER, BARRACKS COVER, CONTRAFOIL, GARRISON CAP, CAMPAIGN HAT, BERET, HEADGEAR.
BRING HOME THE BACON : see PORK BARREL.
BRING SMOKE : to direct intense artillery fire or tactical air ordnance upon an enemy position; see WATCH MY SMOKE, STORM, SMOOGE, POP SMOKE.
BRINKMANSHIP / BRINKSMANSHIP : the technique of maneuvering a dangerous situation to the limits of tolerance or safety in order to secure the greatest advantage; a willingness of the USA to go to the edge of all-out War, as formulated during the Eisenhower administration. Compare GAMESMANSHIP, STATESMANSHIP; see MAD, BOMB 'EM BACK TO THE STONE AGE, UP-GUN, OUTGUN, BOUNCE THE RUBBLE, KNOCK INTO A COCKED HAT, NOT ONE STONE LEFT UPON ANOTHER, DOOMSDAY, OVERKILL.
BRISANCE : (briz-ans) forthcoming;
BRO : acronym for BIG RED ONE, the nickname of the 1st Infantry Division. Also, truncation of 'brother', meaning friend or companion, as derived from the fraternal relationship; especially expressive of solidarity among combatants (ie: brother in arms) or among BLACKs (ie: soul brother); see LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, ANH, BLOOD BROTHER. [v: consanguinity] [nb: the etymology of 'soul brother' translates into 'spiritual friend', as in "blue-eyed soul brother"; the phrase seemingly originated about 1957, but it became prominent when widely displayed as a graffito on business fronts during the 1967 Detroit riot in hopes of avoiding damage, injury, or looting] [nb: "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." Proverbs 17:17 NIV Bible]
BROADSIDE : the whole side of a ship above the waterline. Also, all the guns that can be fired from one side of a warship. Also, a simultaneous discharge of all the guns on one side of a WARSHIP. Also, any strong or comprehensive attack. See SALVO, VOLLEY, STORM, FUSILLADE, ENFILADE, DRUMFIRE, SHELLFIRE, BARRAGE, AT CLOSE QUARTERS.
BRODIE : slang for a sharp reversal in a wheeled vehicle's direction by the sudden application of brakes and the wrenching of the steering wheel, being a severe vehicular skid controlled by the driver; compare COUNTER-ROTATE, CRASH-BACK; see WHEEL JOCKEY, JOHN WAYNE DRIVING SCHOOL, CONVOY, FIREBALLING, BLOOD ALLEY, ZIGZAG, STREET SURFING, HYDROPLANE, DUI, DWI, OWI. [cf: autocross, gymkhana, enduro, wheelie] [nb: although ancient Greek and Roman cavalrymen approached their opponents from the left so as to favor the weapon held in their right hand, tournament jousting by right-handed lancers is the basis for driving vehicles on the left side of the roadway (eg: Japan, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, Macao, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya, South Africa, Hong Kong, Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Jamaica, Bahamas, Grenada, Barbados, Australia, New Zealand, Falkland Islands, England, Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Malta, Cyprus, and other British influenced countries ... except Gibraltar)] [nb: on the advice of a geomancer in 1970, Burma changed from driving on the left side of the roadway to driving on the right] [nb: Okinawa, a Japanese prefecture under American military occupation since 24 June 1945, accommodated U.S. administration by driving on the right side of the roadway until after sovereignty was restored in 1972, then reverted to left side 'rules of the road' in common with other Japanese regions on 30 July 1978 ... an occasion known locally as "730"] Also, a daredevil leap or a suicidally wild dive from a precipice or other high ledge; eponymously after Steve Brodie, who claimed to have jumped from the Brooklyn Bridge in 1886. [cf: Evel Knievel]
BROKEN ARROW : the interservice code phrase for a nuclear accident; see SCRAM, FOOTBALL, CONTAINMENT. Also, apparent IN-COUNTRY CODENAME adopted by one or more commands (eg: 1st Cav Div) for an American unit about to be overrun, which dire circumstance took priority and diverted assets or support from other missions or operations.
BROKEN-WING SYNDROME : informal reference to the condition of mental and physical, as well as the moral and spiritual impairment that's caused by combat action exhibited in a population of permanently disabled veterans, whether existing as a separate individual or as an affiliated group; this categorization is generally used as an excuse for substandard performance, but sometimes represents unimpeachable integrity or the exhibition of remarkable courage and self-sacrifice [cf: feigned injury of plover or killdeer]. See PTSD, THOUSAND-YARD STARE, BLACKOUT, FLASHBACK, TELESCOPING, BUBBLE, ZOMBIE, FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT, WATERWORKS, DISSOCIATION, OBJECTIFICATION, CONVERSION SYMPTOMS, STRESS OF SOUL, WINTER SOLDIER, PROFESSIONAL VETERAN, VET, VETERAN; compare MILLION DOLLAR WOUND, WHOLE MAN, HORS DE COMBAT, LAID BY THE WALL. [nb: "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." by Langston Hughes]
BRONCO : North American OV-10 short take-off and landing (STOL) fixed-wing aircraft, used for forward air control (FAC), visual reconnaissance (VR), and SPECIAL OPERATIONS.
BRONZE BRUCE : soldier statue on the plaza at the US Army Special Warfare Center and School (SWS/SWC&IMA) to memorialize SFers who died in the line of duty; erected six years (1969) after the assassination of President Kennedy, containing a copy of his book ("Profiles in Courage") together with a GREEN BERET in its base. The SFer depicted holds a RIFLE in one hand, and offers the other as an open hand of assistance; symbolic of special warfare. See GABRIEL.
BRONZE STAR : see BRONZE STAR MEDAL / BSM, DEVICE, BATTLE STAR.
BRONZE STAR MEDAL / BSM :
BROTHEL : see HELL ON WHEELS, BOOM BOOM ROOM, PIGPEN, NHA THO.
BROTHER : see BRO, BLOOD BROTHER, ANH, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER; compare ONG, PAPA-SAN. [v: consanguinity]
BROTHER IN ARMS : see BRO, BLOOD BROTHER, COMRADE, SHIPMATE, MESSMATE, CAMARADERIE, ASSHOLE BUDDY, BAND OF BROTHERS, BUDDY SYSTEM, TRADE ENVELOPES, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER. [nb: "wight" is a human being, who is defined as such by his ability to fight, hence is someone who's strong and brave in war]
BROW : a gangplank [aka: "chicken ladder"]; see GANGWAY. Also, the edge of a steep place or drop-off, as a brink or brim as by analogy. Also, a person's countenance or mien, from the brow of the head.
BROWBEAT : to domineer or intimidate with overbearing looks or words, as when scowling like thunder; compare HAIRY EYEBALL, EYE-CHECK, EYE-FIGHTING; see CALL ON THE CARPET, BLISTER, FANG, KICK ASS, HAWK.
BROWN BAR : camouflage version of Second Lieutenant (2LT/O-1) insignia, with the derogatory implication of sycophantic BROWN NOSE; also called "peanut butter bar" as the subdued version of BUTTER BAR. See LOOEY, AIMING STAKES, OFFICER, RANK.
BROWN BLOOD : slang for military coffee, also known as joe, mud, sludge, washy, java, mocha, espresso, brew, black water, boiler acid, battery acid, and nectar of the gods; see GI JOE; compare RED-BLOODED, BLUE BLOOD, GREEN BLOOD.
BROWN-FINGERED DATA : a dysphemism in NavSpeak for a "guesstimate" that has been pulled out of one's ass; otherwise called a Wild-Assed Guess (WAG) or a Semi-scientific Wild-Assed Guess (SWAG).
BROWNIE : a person who defecates in their clothing, or the act of so doing; as "beat the shit out of ..." or "frightened the crap out of ...". Also, short for a BROWN NOSER; perhaps indicative of the ingratiating "apple polishing" deeds of little girls intent upon earning "Brownie points" in Girl Scouts ... and by extension, those credits for advancement earned by TICKET-PUNCHERs and MILICRATs; see FAST TRACK, DEEP DIP, VULCANIZE, UP OR OUT.
BROWN NOSE / BROWN NOSER : bootlicker, lickspittle/lickspitter, flatterer, fawner, yes-man, rubber stamp, apple-polisher, hanger-on, henchman, ass-kisser, kiss-up, suck ass, sycophant, pickthank, toady, lackey, truckler, flunky, stooge, tool, putz; also called BROWNIE. See MAN FRIDAY, GOFER, HACK, CAT'S-PAW, EYE-CHECK, NOSE COUNT. [v: 'claque' for group or coterie of sycophants (eg: MILICRAT, RING-KNOCKER, KHAKI MAFIA, BOY'S CLUB, LIFER)] [cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs]
BROWN-OUT : (forthcoming); aka: "dust-out"; compare WHITEOUT, see ZERO-ZERO, GOO, FLAT LIGHT, WEATHER EYE, MET MESSAGE, CHOPPER, BIRD. Also, a transient state of half- or semiconsciousness that's also called GRAYOUT; compare BLACKOUT, RED-OUT; see TELESCOPING, DISSOCIATION, G-FORCE, G-LOCK, G-SUIT. [v: visual blackout (amaurosis fugax); hypnopompic]
BROWN SHIRT / BROWNSHIRT : an identifying garment worn to signify membership in or affiliation with the National Socialist German Workers' Party; a symbol of National Socialism, or of a Nazi militia (especially "storm trooper" [Sturmabteilung]). Also, a metonym for a member of a National Socialist political party [eg: German Nazi (ca1923); revised as an instrument of physical training and political indoctrination (ca1934)]. Compare BLACK SHIRT, RED SHIRT; see NAZI, BAD GUYS, DRESS. [v: pandour (Croatian militia noted for ruthless cruelty)]
BROWN SHOE / BOOT :
BROWN WATER : nautical reference to shallows, shoals, littoral or estuarial waters; compare BLUE LINE, BLUE WATER, GREEN WATER, WHITE WATER, BLACK WATER.
BROWN WATER SAILOR : all Army, Coast Guard, Marine, and Navy personnel assigned to various small BOAT operations, especially Mobile Riverine Force (MRF) and JUNK FORCE, often called a MUD DUCK serving in the "Brown Water Navy". See COASTIES, MRF, NAG, SEALORDS.
BRUNT : the main force of an attack, or the impact from a blow or strike.
BRUSH FIRE WAR : any small but persistent dispute between nations; being an Americanism for a low-intensity skirmish or limited conflict that represents a surrogate confrontation for major powers. See PROXY WAR, GRADUATED RESPONSE, FLEXIBLE RESPONSE, INSURGENCY, GUERRILLA WARFARE, LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT, STRUGGLE, COLD WAR, LIMITED WAR. [nb: "Strike a spark and create a conflagration." revolutionary doctrine; "Strike a match and call it a forest fire!" unknown diplomat's estimation of rebellious insurrection]
BRUTE : a crude or insensitive person, as one who exhibits animal qualities, savage traits and bestial desires; a person of cruel or carnal mien; see KNUCKLE-DRAGGER, SHAVED MONKEY, HUMAN ZOO, BUBBA EFFECT, BANJO COUNTRY, REACTIONARY, CONSERVATIVE, ANTI-FEDERALIST, MEAT EATER, WHITE TRASH, THIRD ESTATE. [v: savage, barbarian, outlander, alien, troglodyte, ignoramus, know-nothing, lowbrow, booboisie (H.L. Mencken), philistine, old Adam, vandal, pillager, hooligan, vulgarian, yahoo (degraded brute); cf: second-class citizen, noble savage] [nb: "If Germany, thanks to Hitler and his successors, were to enslave the European nations and destroy most of the treasures of their past, future historians would certainly pronounce that she had civilized Europe." by Simone Weil; "Civilisation is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt." by Oscar Wilde (Fingal O'Flahertie Wills); "Man is neither angel nor brute, and the pity of it is that he who wants to play the angel acts the brute." by Blaise Pascal; "Civilization is a heap of useless rubble scavenged by pseudosophisticates for their own amusement ... the rest of mankind is working too hard at survival to pay them any attention. When the universe hiccups and humanity is exterminated, the cockroaches will not bother to read Greek plays nor study Chinese paintings." paraphrase of Malcolm Muggeridge; "A 'civilized' man will give a serious answer to a stupid question, while an 'uncivilized' man won't even bother to ask, much less respond with anything less than violence." paraphrase of Ezra Pound] Also, a non-human creature that's not characterized by intelligence or reason; an animal exhibiting the characteristics and qualities of a beast; this word is derived from heavy, devoid of feeling, or irrational. [v: therianthropic, paleoanthropic; cf: neanthropic / neoanthropic]
BRUTE FORCE / BRUTE-FORCE : an expression that implies savage barbarism, as contrasted with artful cunning or shrewd guile, so as to massively overwhelm an obstacle or difficulty by gross instead of precise technique; it means to operate like a butcher instead of a surgeon. Also, a problem-solving methodology where all possible alternatives are attempted at the same time, or where all possible paths to a solution are simultaneously followed; such brute-force techniques are usually last resorts in the absence of heuristics. See MIGHT MAKES RIGHT, THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS, BLOOD AND IRON, BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, DIVIDE AND CONQUER, NO REST, REALPOLITIK. [nb: associated with ignorance and blindness, brute force is represented by the iron hammer and vicious lion, being further symbolized by Ares, the god of war, who cultivates conquest and disdains justice, by Cyclops, the master of thunder and lightning, and by Cerberus, the Hound of Hades] [nb: "It is all a question of sensitiveness. Brute force and overbearing may make a terrific effect. But in the end, that which lives lives by delicate sensitiveness. If it were a question of brute force, not a single human baby would survive for a fortnight. It is the grass of the field, most frail of all things, that supports all life all the time. But for the green grass, no empire would rise, no man would eat bread: for grain is grass; and Hercules or Napoleon or Henry Ford would alike be denied existence." by D.H. Lawrence (1932); "Who were the fools who spread the story that brute force cannot kill ideas? Nothing is easier. And once they are dead they are no more than corpses." by Simone Weil (1938); "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect." by Oscar Wilde [Fingal O'Flahertie Wills] (1891)] [v: similar to Aesop's fables, Reynard the Fox fables were a series of popular stories during the 12th-14th centuries that expose the foibles of wit against brute force in ridiculous parodies and satirical struggles, which then generated the Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris (ca1879ff) wherein native intelligence invariably wins over brute force]
BS : U.S. Air Force designation for a Bomber Squadron (1992).
BSA : Brigade Support Area.
BTDT : literally "Been There, Done That"; later modified to "Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!", and sometimes expressed as "Seen it all, done the rest!". See UP-CLOSE 'n' PERSONAL, WANNABE, CANDY-ASS, IOTA, THE NAM, I WAS THERE, JOCKSTRAP MEDAL, PAY DUES, COUNT COUP, PISSING CONTEST, BRAVO SIERRA, SEA STORY, WAR STORY, CAMP FOLLOWER. [nb: there was a discharge chevron (worn mid-sleeve) for WWI service, and a RUPTURED DUCK (worn right breast) for WWII service, but no similar award exists for honorable discharge upon demobilization (RIF) from subsequent wars ... but if it did, like so much else about the "moral watershed" of the Third American Revolution, it too would be counterfeited by phonies!] [nb: "Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary." by Ralph Waldo Emerson]
B TEAM : the intermediate-level SPECIAL FORCES unit, also known as "Operational Detachment Bravo" (ODB) and sometimes spelled B-Team; superior to the A TEAM and subordinate to C TEAM detachments. [nb: The Rangers of World War II and Korea had been designed as light-infantry shock troops; their mission was to hit hard, hit fast, then get out so larger and more heavily armed units could follow through. Special Forces, on the other hand, were designed to spend months, even years, deep within hostile territory. They would have to be self-sustaining, without extensive resupply from the outside. They would have to speak the language and know the customs of their target area.] [nb: six A TEAMs or ODAs comprise a company (CO), three SF Companies comprise a battalion (BN), and four SF Battalions comprise a group (effective 2007); each active duty SF Group specializes in the languages and cultures of a particular region (ie: 1st SFGA in East Asia; 3rd SFGA in Africa, Mid-East, and Central Asia; 5th SFGA in Mid-East and Central Asia; 7th SFGA in South America; and 10th SFGA in Europe)] Also, slang reference to the CIVILIAN consultants and contractors who are employed by the government (THE G) to augment (AUGMENTEE) the Armed Forces (or Uniformed Services) on military operations; these "second string" participants are also called "junior varsity" or "JV's" (jay vees) serving as over-paid but under-utilized WAR TOURISTs of the region.
BTY : battery; an artillery company-sized element; see CO, TRP; compare IN-BATTERY. [nb: the slang term "Bat" or "Batt" is short for battalion (BN), and does not refer to an artillery Battery (BTY)]
BUB : abbreviation for Battle Update Briefing during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF); see BRIEFING. [cf: consistory, gabfest]
BUBBA EFFECT : a classification for the hysterical reaction to a perceived threat made by the least responsible segment of society, based upon their ethnic and racial prejudices, such as when vigilantes attack innocent victims who happen to resemble the profile of TERRORISTs in a self-justified retaliation for a terrorism incident that has occurred elsewhere; this same (mis-)behavior occurred in the United States during both World Wars against German, Italian, and Japanese immigrants to America ... Likewise, this same irrational discrimination is widely promoted by Leftists and other PINKOs against returning war veterans and other enemies of enlightened society (eg: WASPs, fat-cats, etc), equally without justification. See FALL GUY, SCAPEGOAT, BANJO COUNTRY, BRUTE, SHAVED MONKEY, WHITE TRASH, CONSERVATIVE, ANTI-FEDERALIST, THIRD ESTATE, KNUCKLE-DRAGGER, GRUNT, SNUFFY, ATLAS, VIGILANTE, REGULATOR, VIGILANCE COMMITTEE, PROVOST COURT, MARTIAL LAW. [nb: when exercised by so-called ensemble Liberals, such bigoted discrimination is not considered "ignorant" because Leftists always believe themselves to be the smartest people in any group, hence the BUBBA EFFECT label is only applied to lowbrow rednecks and others of that mediocre ilk] Also, this phrase has been used to describe the (mis-)behavior of servicemembers who would ignore their commanders and disobey their lawful orders when directed to disarm fellow Americans or quell the disorderly assembly of citizens ... which allegation is either hopeful ("wishful thinking") or misguided ("undisciplined disloyalty"), with negative implications for the character of dutiful MIL-PERS ... this conventional slur of the second-class citizenship of servicemembers holds greater repercussions for the speculators than for the MIL-PERS themselves!
BUBBLE : an area protected against surveillance, or a shielded or masked environment, as used for classified briefings; a safe and secure room, the sanctum or sanctum sanctorum, that's sometimes called the TANK or "sensitive information compartment". Compare SUB-ROSA, ISOFAC, SCIF, FISHBOWL, SAFE ROOM, SAFE HOUSE, DUNGEON [v: oubliette]. Also, referent for the individual isolation that enables total concentration and complete indifference to externals, as a warrior's focus; sometimes called 'the zone'; see COLD ZERO, HEAD IN THE GAME, SPIDER SENSE, COLD-BLOOD, DISSOCIATION, OBJECTIFICATION, TELESCOPING, ZOMBIE, STRESSOR, STRESS OF SOUL. Also, slang for a bulge or dome on the fuselage of an airplane or missile that's used for mounting cameras, antennas, weather sensors, or other special items; see BLISTER, TURRET, SPONSON. [v: 'doghouse' is rocketry slang for a bulge on the surface of a rocket or missile used for housing scientific instruments]
BUBBLEGUM MACHINE : slang for the revolving light atop a police cruiser, as seen at traffic stops and crime scenes, which was so-called for its resemblance to the old arcade lures for children's penny candy; also known as "gumball machine" or "cherry top", these alert or pursuit lights were later replaced by flashing stroboscopic lights called WIGWAG. See BLINKER. [nb: first specially equipped police car (1922)] [nb: "I promise you a police car on every sidewalk." by Marion Barry, Washington D.C. mayor]
BUBBLEHEAD : slang for a submariner, from the necessary preoccupation with the BOAT's trim gauge; may be spelled "bubble-head", and also known as BOOMER, DOLPHIN, DIPPER. Compare SKIMMER, AIRDALE, SHELLBACK; see GUPPY, SUBMARINE. [nb: to "lose the bubble" is to be disoriented, or so far out of control that the SUBMARINE is in jeopardy; see PITCH, YAW, ROLL, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT]
BUBBLE-TOP : nickname of the Bell OH-13 SIOUX observation helicopter, a SCOUTSHIP that's starkly configured; also called "bubble".
BUBONIC PLAGUE : a serious disease, caused by the bacterial toxin yersinia pestis, that's transmitted by fleas from infected rodents, which is characterized by high fever, weakness, the formation of buboes (especially in the groin and armpits), and is sometimes fatal; see GERM WARFARE, CBR, VECTOR, GENOCIDE, FOUR HORSEMEN, APOCALYPSE.
BUCKET : a handheld cylindrical container, typically deeper than wide, with a flat bottom and a semicircular bail, usually made of metal, plastic, or wood; any similar scoop or carrier used as part of a conveyance mechanism; see HONEY BUCKET, DUMMY STICK, YO-HO POLE. Also, informal reference to any BOAT or WARSHIP; also called TUB or SCOW.
BUCKLE BOOTS :
BUCKRA / BUCKER : see WHITE TRASH.
BUCKSHOT : a large sized ball or pellet used in hunting larger game birds and animals; also called BUCK. See SHOT, DUST SHOT, CANISTER, CASE SHOT, SHOTGUN.
BUCK SLIP : slang for the memorandum or message slip, yellow in color, with appropriate fill-in blocks and action boxes, sized about 4" square, that was attached to any forwarded paperwork or used for recording TELEPHONE notes passed to superiors. Typically, the BUCK SLIP was used to direct an item to its proper recipient or to the responsible authority; often expressed as "buck it along" or "buck it up the line", as derived from the BUCK marker or designator indicating authority. It is a MILICRAT axiom that "any problem shuffled off to another desk is a problem solved"! The onus of command is that when the BUCK or BUCK SLIP is passed, like passing a hot potato, the BUCK always stops with the COMMANDER. See RED TAPE, PAPER BULLET, SNOWFLAKE, POCKET BRAINS, WHEEL BOOK, MEMO PAD, CHEAT SHEET, WHITE PAPER, FINDING, REPORT, TELECON. [cf: bout de papier, aide-mémoire]
BUDDHAHEAD : slang reference to any ethnic-Asian, especially someone serving in Allied forces; by analogy with Buddhahood. During WWII, the 100th BN and 442nd RCT, both of which were principally comprised of Nisei and Kibei, were self-described BUDDHAHEADS, but members also bantered between the units by calling each other "Ko-tonk" (knock head, from the sound of a melon striking the floor) and "buta-head" (pidgin for pig head). Because "buta-head" sounds like BUDDHAHEAD, it was clever mockery; compare COWBOY. See LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, BASKET HEAD, INDIG, JOSS STICK, KOWTOW, NHA THO, DESEGREGATION; compare LITTLE PEOPLE, YELLOW PERIL, YELLOW DOG, DINK, GOOK, SLOPE, RICE BALL, ZIP, SLANT-EYE.
BUDDHIST CALENDAR : (forthcoming); see TIME.
BUDDY PLAN : see BUDDY SYSTEM.
BUDDY SYSTEM : the companion placement of South Vietnamese units in partnership with American combat units for training (OJT) and operational experience; see DOUBLE FORCE, STRIKER, KATUSA, OMLT. Also, assignment of replacements (eg: CHERRY, FNG, NEWBEE) to sponsorship or mentoring by more experienced personnel within the same unit to ensure transition and improve survivability. Also, recruiting option for friends or relatives who want the same assignments; this program was known as "Buddy Plan" among Navy and Marine MIL-PERS; see COMRADE, SHIPMATE, MESSMATE, ASSHOLE BUDDY, BAND OF BROTHERS, TRADE ENVELOPES, GOTCHA, TOTAL FORCE. [nb: as with "swim buddy" and "Ranger buddy", the military BUDDY SYSTEM is not a codependency relationship, but a dyadic mutuality of cooperation, such that a pair does not redouble but reinforces; cf: Damon and Pythias (Phintias), Pylades and Orestes, David and Jonathan] [v: geminate] [nb: US Navy UDT/SEAL "swim buddy" adage: "two is one, one is none"] [nb: early combat losses in VN compelled USMC FORCE RECON to alter their "broken contact" doctrine inherited from RAIDER practice: instead of individual and separate dispersion after enemy action, the team will remain connected and act concertedly, whether in defense or evasion, adopting the "Ranger buddy" protocol] [ety: the term 'cahoot', meaning a nefarious conspiracy ("in cahoots with"), derives from cabin or hut, as in shared partnership, in the same way that 'comrade' ("kamara") is related to being billeted together; its connotation of illegality is secondary to its denotation of partner or associate, union or league]
BUD LIGHT : double-entendre slang for the "buddy light" developed during the GULF WAR by DARPA to help identify allies, and to hopefully reduce the incidence of FRIENDLY FIRE casualties. The BUD LIGHT, a small shrouded beacon visible for over 8km to only thermal and night vision devices, was supposed to be mounted on the back of the HEADGEAR, facing comrades following from the rear, but most soldiers feared their position would be revealed whenever they turned their head, since the enemy also had NVGs, so almost everyone kept these beams turned off. See CAT'S-EYES, GLINT TAPE, LIGHT STICK, FLASHLIGHT, AIS, BLINKER, LOCATOR BEACON. [v: cresset]
BUDS : Basic Underwater Demolition School; see TADPOLE, FROGMAN, UDT, PUP, HELL WEEK, SEAL, NSWG, BUDWEISER.
BUD/S : Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL training; being the initial phase of instruction and indoctrination for SEAL qualification. See TADPOLE, FROGMAN, UDT, PUP, HELL WEEK, SEAL, NSWG, BUDWEISER.
BUF / BUFF : mnemonic for Big Ugly Fucker, or Big Ugly Fat Fucker (especially B-52 D model), being the STRATOFORTRESS heavy strategic bomber; also called Big Ugly Fellow / Big Ugly Fat Fellow, ALUMINUM OVERCAST, Aluminum Eclipse, and Monkey-Killer. Also used to refer to several other "ugly" aircraft, such as SKYRAIDER and HORNET, WARTHOG and SUPER HORNET, AARDVARK and PBM, which are beloved by their crews! ... as well as the GROUND POUNDERs they support! The common approbation of 'beauty' is sleek and streamlined, but FAST MOVERS are notoriously ill-suited for close air support (CAS) of ground troops engaged with the enemy, so efficient and effective becomes much more "beautiful" to real people on the real line in real situations. Compare DUFF, see BIRD. Also, a well-informed student of some subject or activity, such as an amateur or hobbyist, devotee or enthusiast, aficionado or fan, admirer or reenactor/re-enactor; see MOCK-COMBAT, WAR GAMES, REENACTMENT / RE-ENACTMENT. Also, a common synonym for 'hunky' or 'ripped', which is purportedly descriptive of the well-built physique of a "muscle man" ... being another juvenile misapprehension, since "it ain't what ya got but how ya use it!"
BUFFALO : a specialized 23-ton route-clearing vehicle (a heavily modified Peterbuilt Mac-10 truck) that has protective armor to resist shrapnel and small arms fire, using a push-ahead roller to detonate roadside bombs or landmines. It utilizes a capsule design that was imported from South Africa in 1998 to protect passengers and key vehicle components from explosive damage. Compare COUGAR; see MRAP, TRUCK. Also, the Brewster F2A Navy fighter employed during WWI.
BUFFALO SOLDIER :
BUFFER STATE : a nation situated between larger and potentially hostile nations; compare CLIENT STATE, SATELLITE, GARRISON STATE, PUPPET, GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY, CONTAINMENT, REALPOLITIK, FLAG OF PROTECTION, INTERVENTIONISM, ISOLATIONISM.
BUFFER ZONE : a neutral area between two hostile nations that's intended to prevent inadvertent acts of aggression; often stipulated as a margin of safety that's beyond delivery error or impact area. Also, by extension, any area that serves to mitigate or neutralize potential conflict; see DEMILITARIZE, DMZ, NO MAN'S LAND, DEADLINE, McNAMARA'S WALL, OVER THE FENCE, HOT PURSUIT.
BUG : any defect or error in a techno-mechanical system, affecting opperation or utility, also called "crock"; the fault-checking of which is usually called "debug", and a repair is usually called a "patch", "kludge", "botch", or "bug-fix". A minor problem or power surge is called a "glitch". Term ostensibly derives from the discovery of an insect inside an early computer causing it to malfunction, but actually originating with insects interfering with electrical contacts at telegraphic stations, as noted by Thomas Alva Edison; see GREMLIN, FIFINELLA, SNIVITZ, SNARK, TWX, MUSIC, NOISE, GRIPE SHEET, MURPHY's LAW; compare DISGRONIFICATOR, SNIPE HUNT. Also, slang for any annoyance or frustration. Also, a small or concealable listening device, as used by SECRET AGENTs in covert or clandestine TRADECRAFT; also called "glass", after the practice of eavesdropping by placing the bell of a glass against a wall and the base against the listener's ear [cf: SUB-ROSA]; see EARS. Also, any insect or insect-like invertebrate, especially one that's vexatious or pestiferous; see COOTIE, FLEA, GRAYBACK, CRAB, CHIGGER / CHIGOE / JIGGER, FLY, BEDBUG, TICK, ASSASSIN BUG, DOODLEBUG. Also, any microorganism, especially a virus (eg: intestinal bug).
BUGBEAR : (forthcoming); aka: "bugaboo"; see STUMBLING BLOCK, HOODOO, BOGY.
BUG JUICE : insect repellent [v: insecticide, hirudicide, sanguivoricide]; see WD-40, MALARIA, HORSE PILL, DAPSONE. The removal of leeches (averaging 3"-5") by cigarette burn works well, but regular insect repellent is wonderful, since it strangles their breathing, makes them vomit all the blood they sucked, and then suffocates them! ... it's a very gratifying form of field entertainment for GRUNTS. The manner of carry of the plastic dispensers of insect repellent as portrayed in books or movies is a reliable TELLTALE for detecting phonies. Also, any sweet flavored drink, such as "Kool-Aid", usually too diluted and the flavor unconnected with its color; probably derives from the dead bugs ("They didn't drink much!") floating in every vat; see GI JOE, JUICE, ERGO, THE DRINK, NUOC, CANTEEN, BLADDER BAG, LISTER BAG, EVAPORATOR, SOLAR STILL, WATER PURIFICATION TABLET. [nb: a non-concentrate called "Fruit Smack" was marketed by Kool-Ade, the precursor of 'Kool-Aid', in 1927; '-ade' is a suffix meaning fruit drink (eg: lemonade, limeade)] Also, slang from the KOREAN WAR for propeller deicing fluid.
BUGLE CALL : traditional military signals sounded by a bugler or trumpeter on a brass wind-instrument, similar to a trumpet or cornet but without keys or valves. Compare BOATSWAIN'S PIPE, CLARION, TOCSIN, HORN; see RUFFLES 'n' FLOURISHES, REVEILLE, OFFICER'S CALL, BOOTS AND SADDLES, RETREAT, TATTOO, LIGHTS OUT, TAPS, SCOTT TATTOO, MEMORIAL DAY, FACE THE MUSIC, BULLETIN, HEADS-UP, POOP, DOPE, FYI, FOLLOW THE DRUM, CHARGE, CHANGING TUNE, BEATERS 'n' BLEATERS, TOOTER. [cf: warison; v: clarion call]
BUG-OUT : a hasty RETREAT from combat, especially in the absence or in defiance of orders; being a slang term coined from the ROUT of US and ROK forces in Korea during the initial NKPA invasion throughout the summer of 1950; also spelled "bugout", as derived from "leave" or "depart"; also expressed as "bugout boogie"; compare DUGOUT. Also, slang for the person who absents himself from his duties or obligations. See CUT AND RUN, SPLIT, BEAT FEET, CHANGING TUNE, DECAMP, HAUL-ASS, RETROGRADE. [nb: "Bug-out Blues" by 24th Infantry Regiment (July 1950): When the commie mortars start to chug, / The ol' Deuce Four begin to bug, / When you hear the pitter-patter of little feet, / It's the ol' Deuce Four in full retreat!] [nb: In the midst of the Battle of Bataan, on 11 March 1942, President Roosevelt required that General Douglas MacArthur be spirited out of the Philippines by PT boat and airplane. This flight from the battlefield was characterized as a "relocation of headquarters" to a more secure venue; and included Manual Quezon, the president of the Philippines, and selected allied staff, not omitting MacArthur's family with their Chinese amah and pet monkey ... but lacking space for other worthies, such as civilians and nurses, who were interned until rescued at the end of the war. The political mistakes that attempted to emend the military mistakes complicating operations in the Pacific Theater only exacerbated and compounded them. It has often been noted that MacArthur's "genius" was diminished by his arrogance and obstinence. Although MacArthur never obeyed an order he disagreed with, he expected others to faithfully obey him, attempting to take revenge (even after the war) on those he deemed disloyal or insubordinate, he obeyed this directive with which he disagreed from a commander-in-chief with whom he disagreed. The original allusion to "dug-out Doug" was a disdainful reference to him commanding from a protected underground location, a bunker or 'dug-out'. So although the alliteration characterizing this flight now seems affected, that's only because we, with the benefit of hindsight, have a comparison for a word (bug-out) that hadn't been invented at the time; therefore, the correct historical reference for this mandatory evacuation from the Philippines is "dug-out Doug", which was common at the time, despite being unsympathetic and disrespectful.] [nb: "A Filamerican force of 140,000 men had been defeated. More than seven million Filipinos had been enslaved by the invader [Imperial Japan]. The United States had failed in its political and moral commitment to defend the Philippines, and more than 20,000 American officers and enlisted men had been either killed or captured [when the war broke out]. It was the worst military defeat in the history of the US armed forces." by John Jacob Beck MacArthur and Wainwright: Sacrifice of the Philippines] [nb: just as sports cards and redemption coupons were included in select brands of cigarettes during the post-WWII era, a morale card featuring the motto "I shall return" and a picture of General Douglas MacArthur was enclosed in packs of "Lucky Strike" cigarettes during WWII as a reminder of his promise on behalf of America's commitment; George C. Marshall suggested that the phrase be depersonalized by stating "We shall return", but MacArthur summarily dismissed it]
BUG-OUT KIT : slang for a small survival kit issued to aircrew and other MIL-PERS operating near enemy lines, that's designed to assist a downed or stranded individual during a three-day escape and evasion (E&E) back to allied territory. This kit, sized to fit in a compass pouch, contains high-energy food concentrate, condiments, aspirin/APC, antibiotics, adhesive bandages, and WATER PURIFICATION TABLETs. Restricted by its small size and limited purpose, this kit is not a complete survival kit, in that it does not contain alternative fire starters, signal mirror, snare line, fishing hooks, scalpel blades, metal or wood saw, SIGNAL PANEL, IDENTIFICATION PANEL, emergency RADIO, ENVIS scope, or BLOOD CHIT. See SERE; compare BLOW-OUT KIT, GO-BAG, KIT.
BULKHEAD : a reinforced wall-like partition inside ships and aircraft that separates COMPARTMENTs, typically connected to a DECK and OVERHEAD, and often air- or water-tight; see HOLD, HATCH, GANGWAY, GASOLINE ALLEY, LADDERWELL, COMPANIONWAY. [v: cofferdam]
BULKHEAD STARE : see THOUSAND-YARD STARE.
BULLDOG : the USMC mascot; as derived from the Imperial German attribution of "hell hounds" or "devil dogs" [teufelhunden] for the Marines' prowess (ie: ferocity, courage, tenacity) in combat during the battle of Belleau Wood (1918) in WWI. See LEATHERNECK, SNUFFY, GI / GYRENE, MILITARY ORDER OF THE DEVIL DOGS. Also, caricature of a BULLDOG, called "Rocky the Marne Dog", which serves as the MASCOT of the 3rd Infantry Division; contributed during WWII (1942) by Walt Disney after departing that unit; compare BLACK DEVIL, MULE, GOAT, THE BIRD, MEAT MARKER, GODDAM.
BULLET : a small projectile, variously shaped (from round nose and boattail to wadcutter and hollow-point), that's expelled from a cartridge through the gun barrel when a firearm is discharged; also called pellet, ball, pill, slug, or shot. See BUCK, AMMO, CALIBER, CARTRIDGE, HARDBALL, DUMDUM, SABOT, KEYHOLE, YAW, DUMMY, SRTA, DODGE THE BULLET, MISFIRE, BULLETPROOF. [nb: RIFLEd guns are denoted "inch" (eg: 3" Field Gun called "three incher"), which is the diameter of the projectile, while SMOOTHBORE cannons are denoted "pound" (eg: 12# Mountain HOWITZER called "twelve pounder"), which is the weight of the projectile] [nb: although "gauge" is actually a measure of weight (not size), representing the bore diameter sized to equal the number of lead balls of that diameter to weigh one pound avoirdupois (12ga converts to .69cal), but the so-called ".410ga" SMOOTHBORE barrel is actually a caliber] [nb: during WWII, the Imperial Japanese used wooden bullets for marksmanship training and practice SMALL ARMS shooting, but a shortage of metals necessitated their wider issue to field forces, which caused more severe wounds and increased infection; by the end of WWII, Nazi Germany was also issuing wooden bullets] [v: Firearms Glossary] [nb: "Projectile: the final arbiter in international disputes. Formerly these disputes were settled by physical contact of the disputants, with such simple arguments as the rudimentary logic of the times could supply -- the sword, the spear, and so forth. With the growth of prudence in military affairs, the projectile came more and more into favor, and is now held in high esteem by the most courageous. Its capital defect is that it requires personal attendance at the point of propulsion." by Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce; "Every bullet has its billet." aphorism]
BULLET HEAD / BULLETHEAD : an artillerist or ARTILLERYMAN (qv). [nb: Vietnamese term: Phao Thu (cannoneer)]
BULLETIN : official publication, as a Daily Bulletin (DB) or subscription bulletin; see JOURNAL. Also, the posting or announcement of factual or official information; see FYI, HEADS-UP, POOP, DOPE, GOUGE, THE WORD, WRITING ON THE WALL, SKINNY, GREEN GREASE, HOT-SHIT, BOATSWAIN'S PIPE, BUGLE CALL, TANNOY, SCUTTLEBUTT, RUMOR.
BULLETPROOF / BULLET-PROOF : an informal concept stemming from the antebellum period as anything that is safe from failure, being without shortcomings or errors, and beyond criticism; that which is invulnerable or invincible. Also, according to its impact rating, that capability or characteristic that repels or deflects, resists or absorbs the strike of one or more bullets when referring to shielding or glass, vehicles or clothing; see HARDEN, CHICKEN PLATE, VULCANIZE; compare FLAK JACKET, FLAK VEST, HAPPY SUIT. [nb: a preliminary treatment of polycarbonate (eg: Lexan) windows with acetone / dimethylketone will sufficiently compromise its inherent structure so that it will shatter under impact] Also, actual or imagined resistance, immunity, invulnerability, or invincibility, being either an ignorant or foolish response to danger, its threat or prospect, usually at the expense of innocent lives; see FAIRY DUST, DODGE THE BULLET, GOLDEN BB, MAGIC BULLET, ACHILLES HEEL, CHINK, SILVER BULLET.
BULLFIGHT / BULLFIGHTING : a traditional spectacle wherein a bull is fought in a prescribed way, within a bullring, then ritualistically killed with a sword by a matador, assisted by banderilleros and picadors. Compare DOGFIGHT, FIREFIGHT; see COCKFIGHT, BEAR GARDEN, COCKPIT, BLOOD SPORT, MACHO. [v: barratry]
BULLFROG CHORUS : the raucous sound of boisterous unanimity expressed as soon as the leader or sentry alerts the others; vocal concurrence signaled by the first alarm, as when bullfrogs echo what all others are calling ... a form of collaborative mobocracy (ochlocracy). See ACCORD, REASSURANCE, POPULARITY CONTEST, EYE-CHECK, NOSE COUNT, RUN IT UP THE FLAGPOLE, WOOF.
BULLPUP : early pilot guided bomb under visual control by radio steerage. Also, in-line configuration of barrel, receiver, and buffer in LONG ARMS so as to shorten the firearm's overall length without shortening the barrel length, with consequent high accuracy but also increased vulnerability to head wounds from exposure while using higher profile sights.
BULL'S-EYE : the center of a target, representing the highest score for best accuracy; see POINT OF IMPACT, AIMPOINT, TEE, SIGHT PICTURE, ZERO, BORESIGHT, SHARPSHOOTER, DEADEYE, SNIPER'S TRIANGLE, KISS THE MISTRESS, KNOCK THEIR SPOTS OFF, MONEY SHOT, POINT-BLANK, DEFLECTION, BOLO, MAGGIE'S DRAWERS, TARGET. Also, to hit exactly on target in a bombing raid or missile strike. Also, any statement or act that is precisely to the point, or directly achieves the desired result. [v: Aunt Sally, Jack-a-Lent, cockshy, clay pigeon, sitting duck, mark, gull, dupe, pigeon, prey, quintain, wand, hit list] Also, a small circular opening or window set into a roof, ship's DECK or OVERHEAD, used to admit light; compare DEADLIGHT, PORTHOLE. Also, a Reference Point (RP), especially in NavSpeak, but spelled without the hyphen or the possessive apostrophe: "bulls eye"; a designated point from which the range and bearing information to an objective can be openly transmitted ("in the clear") in regular unencrypted communication without revealing anyone's position or the target location.
BULLS EYE : a Reference Point (RP), especially in NavSpeak; a designated point from which the range and bearing information to an objective can be openly transmitted ("in the clear") in regular unencrypted communication without revealing anyone's position or the target location.
BULLSHIT / HORSESHIT : see BRAVO SIERRA, SHIT.
BULLSHIT BOMB : an AIRDROPped container that releases its PAYLOAD of PSYOP leaflets at an altitude predetermined for best distribution over an area, given its particular weather and terrain features. See INTEL, ICAP, PARTY LINE, TRUE BELIEVER, RUMOR, PROPAGANDA, WHITE PROPAGANDA, NO-DOZE. [nb: the Chinese are known to have used kites from at least AD1232 for airborne leaflet drops over enemy positions]
BULLSHITVIK : military (mis-)pronunciation of "bolshevik", which is often indiscriminately extended from communists (eg: IVAN) to all kinds of political radicals and rabble-rousers (eg: PROTESTOR, BLACK BLOC). See SYMPATHIZER, PINKO, PROVOCATEUR, RED, BAD GUYS. [v: grievance culture, populism, dual consciousness, relative deprivation theory, J-curve theory, frustration-aggression theory, obstructive dissociative disorder, value-added schema, hooliganism (including lunatic fringe or fanatical riffraff) and other collective aberrant behaviours; cf: scapegoat Atonement]
BULLY SOUP : slang for a gruel concocted from crumbled HARDTACK, water, and medicinal whiskey or wine, as given to weak patients in FIELD HOSPITALs from the Mexican War through WWII. Formally known as 'panada' and called "ginger panada" when ginger and cornmeal were added, the name means "boiled soak". Its invention is credited to Eliza Harris of the CIVIL WAR Sanitary Commission, but Mary Anne "Mother" Bickerdyke, a volunteer Union nurse, was also noted for dispensing it in the underequipped facilities of that time. See SOUP, WASH, IRON RATIONS, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, CHOW, BEANS, RATIONS; compare STONE SOUP, DUCK SOUP.
BULWARK : a defensive wall of earth or other materials, as a rampart; see BUTT, BERM, STAND-OFF, REVETMENT, DEFILADE, BLAST WALL. [v: Military Earthworks Terms] Also, a protective wall enclosing the perimeter of a DECK, especially the main or weather deck; usually expressed as "bulwarks"; compare PULPIT, TAFFRAIL, LIFELINE, SNAKING, TOE RAIL, KNEE-KNOCKER, GANGWAY. Also, any person or thing giving strong support or encouragement in time of need, danger, or doubt.
BUMBLE BOMB : see DOODLEBUG.
BUMBLEPUPPY / BUMBLE-PUPPY : (forthcoming); cf: puppy (ie: presumptuous, conceited, inexperienced youth)]
BUM BOAT / BUMBOAT : in NavSpeak, an unofficial supply boat, such as one hired locally for deliveries, but often one that purveys curios and souvenirs.
BUMFUCK : a fictitious place that represents the proverbial nightmare posting to a dead-end assignment, especially one perceived as punishment for overly ambitious "ladder monkeys" by other jealous MILICRATs; name derives from the humiliation of sodomy; such an undesirable assignment has been recast as "bumfuckistan" during the GULF WAR-era. See SOL, BOHICA, MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, GARDEN SPOT, BACKWASH, BANJO COUNTRY, HARDSHIP TOUR, DUTY, BILLET, BERTH, POST, ON STATION, WATCH, MOS, OJT, SHEEP-DIPPED, TDY / TAD, PDS, PCS. [aka: podunk, jerkwater, hicksville, nowheresville, boringburg, splitsville, sunset town, one-horse town, shithole, back-of-beyond, middle-of-nowhere, faraway, nowhither, lost-in-the-woods, north remote, east stranded, one-eyed town, ass-end of nowhere, nastyland, badland, dead-letter office, elephant's boneyard, elephant's graveyard, BOONDOCKS; v: wop-wops, Woop Woop, Waikikamukau, Eketahuna, beyond the Black Stump, back of Bourke, boohai, outback]
BUMMER : slang for any unfortunate event, bad experience, or negative attitude, especially the unpleasant aftereffects of narcotic, psychotropic, psychotomimetic, or hallucinogenic drugs; see COLORS, STONED, DOPE. Also, someone who makes a full-time job of a part-time position in the National Guard (NG) or Reserve (RESERVE COMPONENT); a person "bumming" an assignment in the military; see WEEKEND WARRIOR, READY RESERVE. Also, slang for any member of a raiding or marauding band, whether a regular or partisan militia, who commits mayhem or other depredations upon an unprotected or disarmed populace, whether sanctioned or not; an outlaw or vigilante who usurps or disdains proper authority. Derived from "taking a stroll, to dawdle or loiter"; not from "bumbler", despite their similarity. [nb: this derogatory term was applied to Union troops on punitive expeditions during and after the American CIVIL WAR, but the same scurrilous misconduct after the American Revolution was attributed to rapscallion "skinner" bands; compare CARPETBAGGERS]
BUMMER BIRD : any aircraft that transported MIL-PERS for arrival in Vietnam, leaving America for a tour of duty IN COUNTRY, especially commercial flights contracted [v: ATS] for this service; compare FREEDOM BIRD, see INDIAN COUNTRY, DOWN RANGE.
BUMMING : someone making a full-time job of a part-time position in the National Guard (NG) or Reserve (RESERVE COMPONENT); a "bummer" exaggerating an assignment in the military; see WEEKEND WARRIOR, READY RESERVE.
BUND : in Asia, an earthen dike built to restrain the movement of water, as along a river; a levee or embankment. Also, a street or road, often a main thoroughfare, atop such a construction; an embanked quay that often provides a promenade. [nb: a 'boulevard' is a broad avenue (with landscaped areas at its sides or center) that's built on the site of a razed rampart] Also, informal designation of a foreign COMPOUND or CANTONMENT, especially a district or zone of EXTRATERRITORIALITY. Also, an association or society, league or alliance, such as the German-American Volksbund.
BUNGEE / BUNGIE / BUNGY : see SHOCK CORD.
BUNK : a single bed, often connected one above another (ie: bunk bed), especially a platform built into a compartment, as assigned to a member of the military; see RACK, BERTH, STATEROOM, SACK, HAMMOCK, BIVY, FART SACK, FLEABAG, SHAKEDOWN, RUBBER LADY, DUTCH WIFE, SLOP, HOT BUNKING, HOSPITAL CORNER, BILLET. Also, humbug or claptrap, balderdash or bombast, malarkey or nonsense, as by shortening of 'bunkum'; see TALK TRASH, CONFETTI, SNOW, BLOW SMOKE, FROSTING, RED TAPE, SHOOT THE SHIT, TALK THE TALK, VERNACULAR.
BUNKER : any partly buried and roofed defensive fortification with apertures or loopholes (EMBRASUREs), used as a reinforced fighting pit or a BOMB SHELTER; a larger version used for observation and directing gunfire is called a BLOCKHOUSE, and a more compact version used to fortify a CHOKE POINT or GUARD station is called a PILLBOX. See CONCEALMENT, COVER, REVETMENT, DEFILADE, REDOUBT, CASEMATE, TOMB, BLACK HOLE, VESTIBULE, FOXHOLE, SPIDER HOLE, HASTY TRENCH, STRONGPOINT, BRIDGEHEAD, BOMB-PROOF. [nb: Vietnamese term: Phao Dai] [v: Military Earthworks Terms] Also, in NavSpeak, to fuel or refuel a vessel during provisioning; see NSFO. Also, in NavSpeak, to convey goods or transfer cargo from a vessel to dockside storage (wherein a "bunker" is a 'bin' or 'receptacle').
BUNKER BUSTER : slang for the class of delayed action, heavy duty, laser-guided conventional bombs that bury themselves deeply within a hardened target before detonating after its programmed interval, especially the laser-guided 5000# GBU-37 penetrating conventional munition; also nicknamed "deep throat". See GBU, EOGB, EGBU, PAVEWAY, VB, JDAM, SMART BOMB.
BUNKER MENTALITY : (forthcoming); [cf: shortsighted, narrow-minded]
BUNNY BOOTS : slang for the military-style mukluk that was developed during WWII for MOUNTAINEERs in winter operations, as so-called by members of the 10th Mountain Division. Being a knee-high, soft-soled, moccasin-like, fur- or pile-lined boot for wear in deep snow, or with SNOWSHOEs and cross-country (Nordic) skis; BUNNY BOOTS were developed to overcome the limitations of the then-standard issue "shoepacs" as winter boots ... 'shoepacs' (or "shoepacks"), often called "pacs", were heavy waterproofed boots imitative of "double insole" moccasins originating with the Delaware Indians. Compare MICKEY MOUSE BOOTS, see FOOTWEAR. [cf: mukluk, a high soft boot of sealskin or deerhide, usually double-soled and fur-lined, originally worn by Eskimos; also spelled "mucluc" or "muckluck", as derived from 'bearded seal' ("maklak"), misapplied to sealskin boots]
BUNNY SUIT : any protective coverall garment with cap, gloves, and foot coverings, as developed for anti-contamination in medical or scientific, manufacturing or combat environments, that may also include an anti-dehydration nourishment supply and a self-contained breathing or re-breathing system; so-called due to its resemblance to the children's coverall costume. See MOPP, BLUE SUIT, MOON SUIT, JSLIST, CPOG, H-GEAR, GAS MASK, HAZMAT, CBR, NEST. [cf: remote mechanical agents or servo-manipulation systems for use in sterile, hazardous, or contaminated environments began during WWII with the handling of radioactive materials; initially in the form of insulated gripper arms named "Waldo" (being a cognate of 'rule' or 'command', after the 1942 novel by Robert A. Heinlein), later known as the "Waldo F. Jones Synchronous Reduplicating Pantograph", and now as a telefactoring device, useful in bomb disposal and extraterrestrial maintenance]
BUOY : an anchored float used as a marker or as a mooring, as derived from "boye a float", beacon [v: cresset]; see DOLPHIN, RUBBER DUCK, LAGAN, BOLLARD. Also, any of various buoyant devices for supporting a person in the water, as a "life buoy" or "life preserver"; see BREECHES BUOY.
BUPERS : U.S. Navy BUreau of PERSonnel; see NPRC.
BURBLE : wind disturbance or turbulence at the end of a FLATTOP's RUNWAY due to movement of the aircraft carrier, which makes TAILHOOK landings more difficult than field landings. See PADDLES.
BUREAUCRAT : see EMPTY SUIT, DRONE, HOLLOW BUNNY, PIG LOOKING AT A WRISTWATCH, WONK, BEAN-COUNTER, CARPETBAGGERS, MANDARIN, POOH BAH, EUNUCH, MILICRAT, DOUBLE-DIP, CIVIL SERVICE.
BURGEE : a small nautical signal flag or identification pennant. See STREAMER, GUIDON, WIGWAG. [v: pencel / pennoncel / pensil] [v: Alphabet Codes & Signal Flags]
BURIAL AT SEA : see DAVY JONES'S LOCKER.
BURMA ROAD : a handmade roadway from Lashio Burma through Kunming (Yunnan) to Chungking (Chongqing) in southwestern China, including the curvaceous (and therefore hazardous) 24 TURNS in southwestern China; constructed from 1937, this 717mi road became an extension of the LEDO ROAD from Assam India in 1945. Supplies would be landed from British ships at Rangoon (meaning "end of strife"; now renamed Yangon, Myanmar) and were then moved by rail to the beginning of the Burma Road at Lashio.
BURN BABY BURN / BURN, BABY, BURN : a catch-phrase that signaled the end of the era of non-violent protest by Afro-Americans who were impatient with the persistence of poverty, injustice, and other forms of discrimination in American society. The race riot in Watts, a largely black section of Los Angeles, that was precipitated by a routine traffic stop on 11 August 1965 led to generalized rampage and vandalism against whites, including the looting and burning of businesses, which inhibited fire and ambulance response for five more days. It took the National Guard (15,000 members from elements of 160th Infantry, 18th Armored Cavalry, and 40th Armor) supporting the police (1500 LAPD and CHP) to quell the sector's quarter million residents; 4000 arrests were made from a mob ranging from 30-90,000 strong, with 34 deaths and 1032 injured, and 977 buildings damaged or destroyed. Although MARTIAL LAW had been invoked, when the Watts riot had mostly ended by 15 August, the CURFEW was lifted on 17 August; however, this breach of the peace inspired further disturbance in other urban ghettoes across the country. This catch-phrase, a rallying cry ("Burn, baby, burn!") broadcast by Magnificent Montague of KGFJ radio, was generally uttered as approbation of especially "hot tunes", but during the Watts riot, it was shouted as an anthem in memory of Malcolm X (Little), who had been assassinated earlier that year (Feb 1965) in a Black Muslim coup. See DAYS OF RAGE, AMERIKA, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, PROVOCATEUR, SYMPATHIZER, PROTESTOR, WE SHALL OVERCOME.
BURN BAG : the secure container that's used to collect and remove classified documents and other sensitive materials that are scheduled for destruction, usually on a daily basis. Compare FILE 13, GI CAN, DUSTBIN, BUTT CAN; see DEMILITARIZE, CLASSIFIED.
BURNER : that part of a mechanical device or fixture from which controlled flame issues, or by which regulated heat is produced, as one fueled by electricity, oil, gas, or any other combustible matter, as used for cooking or heating, welding or torch cutting, propulsion or the like. Also, slang for any apparatus or receptacle (eg: furnace, boiler, crucible, etc) in which fuel or the like is burned. Also, slang for a rocket stage. Also, slang for a component of a jet engine system wherein fuel is introduced (atomizer or vaporizer) into the combustion chamber in a state so as to burn efficiently; see AFTERBURNER, BLOWER, JET PROPULSION. Also, slang for an optical disc drive that copies data to a write-once medium (eg: CD-R or DVD-R; not CD-RW and DVD-RW/+RW). Also, slang for a pre-paid cellphone (CELLULAR TELEPHONE), acquired so as to obtain relative privacy and/or anonymity by non-registration or non-subscription; see ELECTRONIC PACIFIER, MEACONING, PORTABLE BRAINS, TELEPHONE.
BURNING WORM :
BURN ONE'S BRIDGES / BURN YOUR BRIDGES : to reduce the number of options available, or the types of alternatives available; to make one's decision irrevocable, as by eliminating all possibilities of retreat ... a shortening of "to burn one's bridges behind one" / "to burn your bridges behind you". See CROSS THE RUBICON, POINT OF NO RETURN, TOE THE LINE, BRASSBOUND, HIDEBOUND, BOX HEAD, BRASS-COLLAR, BRASS EAR, HARD-AND-FAST, MILITARY MIND, PARTY LINE, BY THE BOOK, ZERO TOLERANCE, HARD-SET, HARD-NOSE, SCRIPTURES, IRONCLAD, ONE FELL SWOOP, BRINKMANSHIP, MAD, KNOCK INTO A COCKED HAT, KILL 'EM ALL, OVERKILL, TOTAL WAR, DOOMSDAY.
BURN YOUR BRIDGES : see BURN ONE'S BRIDGES.
BURP GUN :
BURST : a mode of compact or condensed transmittal that involved either prerecording a keyed or voice message, which were often bundled together in a presorted secure cluster; also called SQUIRT or "Quick-Talk"; see ENCRYPT, SCRAMBLE, SSIX, RDF, RADIO. Also, a sudden manifestation or display, as a breach or acceleration; compare BREACHER, DOOR KICKING, BUSTER, QUARTERDECK FACE. Also, to break or break open, or to cause to break open or fly apart with sudden violence, as an explosion or detonation. Also, a short sequence of controlled automatic fire, usually from three to six rounds, as shot from a carbine (CAR), assault rifle (AR), or machinegun (MG); compare DOUBLE TAP, HAMMER, ROCK 'n' ROLL, SPRAY, HOSE, FLOCK SHOOT, BLIND FIRE, BUSTING CAPS. Also, a selective fire mode that rapidly shoots three BULLETs during a single pull of the TRIGGER, as introduced with the M-16A2 as a mechanically limited full-auto option after extensive testing showed that accuracy diminished sharply following the third round of sustained fire due to recoil effect; see KICK, HAMMER, FIREPOWER, BLACK MAGIC, WIDOW MAKER, CAR / XM-177E2, ACTIV, TUPPERWARE. [nb: in an effort to economize after the CIVIL WAR, Congress mandated that each Spencer repeater be retrofitted with the Stabler Cut-off Device, which modification converted the 7-shot carbine into a single-shot firearm, until combat losses in the INDIAN WARS forced its abandonment, and later succession of the Spencer by the trapdoor Springfield having even more firepower]
BURSTING CHARGE : the EXPLOSIVE that fills a BOMB casing or an artillery (ARTY) SHELL; see CHARGE, GUNCOTTON, GUNPOWDER, MUNITIONS.
BURY ONE'S HEAD IN THE SAND : an idiomatic expression that's purportedly descriptive of an ostrich, with the meaning of willfully ignoring reality, as when deliberately denying threat warnings or any other unwelcome evidence; also known as "head in the clouds" (or "head buried in concrete") or "rectal defilade". See HIC, PYHOOYA, SMOKE 'n' MIRRORS, MUSHROOM, COMPARTMENTALIZATION.
BUSH : the field or jungle, being any remote area away from BASE CAMPs or cities; also known as sticks, woods, barrens, brush, weeds, scrub, veg, rough, hinterlands, bad lands, or bandit country. See BOONDOCKS / BOONIES, THE J, BACKWASH, INDIAN COUNTRY, THULE, TULE, DOWN RANGE, SANDBOX, FEBA, MLR, FLOT, FRONT LINE, FIELD ALLOWANCE.
BUSH DOCTRINE : (forthcoming); see PRESIDENTIAL DOCTRINE.
BUSH HANKY : the absence of a handkerchief (SNOT-RAG); the practice of blowing one's nose without the use of a handkerchief or bandana, facial tissue or wipe, which is performed by occluding one nostril by pressing on the outside of the nare while vigorously blowing through the other nasal passage. This inelegant technique of finger blowing, also known as "bushman hanky" or "indig hanky", is widely practiced by native or country peoples worldwide; it has the benefit of keeping the hands clean, and requires some finesse to avoid blowing snot (BUSH OYSTER) onto oneself!
BUSH HAT : a wide-brimmed soft hat for wear during field operations in forest or jungle, desert or mountains, also called BOONIE / BOONIE HAT, FLOP HAT / FLOPPY HAT, "crusher", "slouch hat", "field fedora", "tropical topper", or "Saigon stetson". [v: petasus / petasos : a broad-brimmed hat worn by ancient Greek travelers and hunters, often represented in art as a winged hat worn by Hermes or Mercury]
BUSHIDO : the traditional code of the samurai, especially in feudal Japan, which emphasizes loyalty and obedience in valuing honor above life; as translated from "the way of the military gentleman". See MARTIAL ART, HARA-KIRI, RECONDO. [v: budo]
BUSHIPS : BUreau of SHIPS; Washington, D.C.; in charge of monitoring all Naval vessel activities, especially in regards to civilian contracts.
BUSH JACKET : a belted jacket, usually with epaulets, a notched collar, and large patch pockets, as adapted from an African hunting coat; also called "safari jacket", "bush shirt" or "safari shirt". See COMBAT CASUAL / COMBAT CASUALS.
BUSHMASTER : any elite soldier or unit skilled in jungle operations, as derived from the reputation earned by the WWII 158th RCT; see JUNGLE EXPERT, SHADOW WARRIOR, BOONIE RAT, GRUNT. [v: bushranger] Also, name of the 25mm (M-242) CHAIN GUN.
BUSH OYSTER : slang for nasal mucus; snot or booger; see BUSH HANKY, SNOT-RAG. [v: prairie oyster; cf: sweetsop, soursop, salsify]
BUSH PILOT :
BUSH SHIRT : a shirt resembling a BUSH JACKET; also called a "safari shirt"; see COMBAT CASUAL / COMBAT CASUALS.
BUSH TELEGRAPH : see BAMBOO TELEGRAPH, BACK CHANNEL, SCUTTLEBUTT, POOP, GRIPEVINE, RUMOR.
BUSKINS : a lace-up half-boot with a thick sole, also known as "cothurni"; comparable to demiboots, JODHPURs, jodhpur boots, brogans, gunboats, or BOONDOCKERS. See FOOTWEAR.
BUSMAN'S HOLIDAY : a vacation in name only, being a "vacation with pay", wherein a person essentially does the same type of thing for leisure that they do at work; ostensibly derived from a bus driver taking a break by riding a bus as a passenger, this expression characterizes the attraction that some people have for the way that they make their living, that these people love their work and would do it for free if they did not have financial obligations ... examples include paratroopers who skydive when off-duty, infantrymen who hike and rock climb, coxswains who canoe or kayak, aircrew who hang glide, and so forth. See ORIENTEERING, TREASURE HUNT, THEME PARK, PLAY THE GAME, WAR GAMES.
BUSTER : full aircraft engine power, less AFTERFURNERs; to go fast. See JUICE, BLOWER, FAST MOVER, SONIC BOOM.
BUSTING CAPS : rapid firing of individual weapons, as in response to attack or during RECON BY FIRE or MAD MINUTE; also called "popping caps". The kill ratio to expended AMMO during the VIETNAM WAR was about 20,000 rounds per enemy kill. See HOSE, ROCK 'n' ROLL, SPRAY, HAPPY FIRE, FLOCK SHOOT, BLIND FIRE; compare DOUBLE TAP, HAMMER, GUN CONTROL. [nb: the amateur's rule for discharging a firearm: "If anyone shoots then everyone shoots!"]
BUSTLE : slang for the framework protruding from the back side of the TURRET on a TANK that's used to stow extra equipment and some gear for the CREW; serves as a shared backpack for TANKERs. See SPACED ARMOR.
BUS TRANSFER : standard tongue-in-cheek expression for the impersonal process whereby everyone does what he's told and goes where he's sent. Ironic offer made to use your metro bus transfers to change buses at a transfer point. Meant humorously, as troops did not have their "bus passes" with them at the time, so everybody rides to the end of the line. See TS CARD, PAIN, SYMPATHY.
BUTCHER OF BAGHDAD : informal designation of Saddam Hussein, with reference to his Stalinistic practices; see MOUSY DUNG, UNCLE HO, UNCLE JOE, UNCLE SAM.
BUTCHER BRIGADE :
BUTCHER'S BILL : slang for casualty report; the toll of waging war. See BODY COUNT, ZULU, KILL CREDIT.
BUTLER BUILDING : proprietary name for pre-engineered, ready to assemble, standardized metal building shells with gabled roofs, which are variously used for BILLETs, offices, or storage; developed by the Butler Manufacturing Company of Kansas City, Missouri. It originated as the "Butler hut" during WWII, which was an all-steel hut with U-shaped arched ribs around an eight-foot radius, giving it a profile of slightly more than a half circle; its endwalls were framed with steel, and both end walls and sidewalls were enclosed with two-foot standing-seam metal sheets. The curved roof design was abandoned shortly after WWII in their continuing production of prefabricated metal buildings. See BLDG, BILLET.
BUTT : an earthen wall or backstop, located behind the targets to prevent bullets from scattering over a large area; see BERM. Also, a wall behind which targets can be safely lowered, scored, and raised during firing practice; also known as "butts". Also, the end or extremity of anything, especially the thicker, larger, or blunt end considered as a base, bottom, or support; including butt cap and RIFLE butt or BUTTSTOCK. Also, slang for a SMOKE, a cigar or cigarette, or its stub or fag-end remnant (which, when filter-tipped, are called "mini-tampons"); also known as FAG or cig/cigee, coffin-nail or cancer-stick, factory-made or ready-made, hand-made or hand-roll; see GASPER, PIGTAIL, DRAG, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, SMOKING LAMP, STICK, FIELD STRIP, BUTT CAN, LITTER, POLICE CALL, SMOKER; compare CHEW, SNUFF. Also, an end that is not used or consumed; remnant. Also, the object, as a person or thing, of wit, ridicule, sarcasm, contempt, humor, and the like. [v: Aunt Sally, Jack-a-Lent, cockshy, clay pigeon, sitting duck, mark, gull, dupe, pigeon, prey, quintain, wand, hit list] Also, to place or join the ends of two things together; such as to abut by setting them end-to-end. Also, slang for the ass, arse, fanny, derriere / derrière, keister, fundament, nates, hindquarters, hind-end, honky-donk, hunky-dunk, haunches, rump, behind, posterior, booty, bum, tootie, patootie, rear, rear end, backside, bottom, buttocks; see FOURTH POINT OF CONTACT, MONKEY BUTT. Also, to interfere, meddle, interrupt, or obtrude, as to butt-in; or to abstain or restrain from same, such as to butt-out. Also, a push, strike, or blow with the head; compare BUTT STROKE. Also, any cask or barrel; see SCUTTLEBUTT, LISTER BAG, WATER BUFFALO, POD, BLIVET, BLADDER. [v: cask, vat, tun, butt, drum, hogshead, barrel, tank, rundlet, kilderkin, puncheon, keg, carboy, breaker, jug, tub, firkin, salmanazar, pottle, flask, pony, gill, pot, flagon, bottle, demijohn]
BUTT CAN : a military ashtray; being a can, recycled from the MESS, containing a quantity of sand or water, painted red, sometimes stenciled, placed in BARRACKs and PASSAGEWAYs, ORDERLY ROOMs and DAYROOMs, offices and elsewhere, as a receptacle for the safe disposal of hot ashes and burning remnants of tobacco products consumed by smoking. See BUTT, GASPER, PIGTAIL, FAG, SOLDIER'S BREAKFAST, FIELD STRIP, LITTER, POLICE CALL, SMOKER; compare FILE 13, DUSTBIN, GI CAN, BURN BAG.
BUTTER BAR : Second Lieutenant (2LT/O-1), based on the insignia of a single gold bar; with the derogatory implication of slimy, slick, oleaginous, greasy. The camouflage version was called BROWN BAR or "peanut butter bar"; with the derogatory implication of sycophantic BROWN NOSE. See LOOEY, AIMING STAKES, OFFICER, RANK. [v: pickthank; cf: apparatchik, nomenklatura, eunuch, nabob, nibs]
BUTTERFLY : patrolling on multiple axes in frequently changing patterns; often used as a technique of advance through unknown terrain; also called CLOVERLEAF; see FIRE 'n' MANEUVER, LEAP FROG, CHECKERBOARD, STACK, ZIGZAG, DASH, SCUTTLE, BUTTONHOOK, WAY POINT, COMBAT SPREAD. Also, an exotic sex act; see FUCK, CHURNING BUTTER, SINGAPORE GRIP, HAT TRICK, DAISY CHAIN, AROUND THE WORLD, SANDWICH, TRICK, DU, STEAM 'n' CREAM, HOOKUP, HELL ON WHEELS, ACT OF CONGRESS. Also, an amateur "good-time girl" who enjoys being a flirt or tease, a vamp or coquette for the pleasure of an interesting evening with an attractive companion; alternatively, a professional hostess or B-girl, a taxi dancer or SHORT-TIME entertainer, offering SAIGON TEA or a SHACK-JOB; see LBFM, LULU THE ZULU, CAMP FOLLOWER, GRASSHOPPER, HORIZONTAL COLLABORATOR, CLASS-B DEPENDENT, BITCH, STRANGE, SPLIT, SNATCH, CAMPAIGN WIFE, SLEEPING DICTIONARY. [aka: prostitute, hooker, strumpet, fornicatrix, trollop, bawd, doxy, tart, jade, soiled dove, chippy, baggage, fancy woman, joy lady, joy-girl, streetwalker, call girl, woman of ill fame, woman of ill repute, lady of the night, woman of easy virtue, scarlet woman, painted woman, loose woman, kept woman, fallen woman, courtesan, demimondaine, jezebel, harlot, whore, hussy, floozy, bimbo, wench, slut, wanton, hustler, slattern, tramp] [nb: many young women during WWII, enthralled by the wartime drama and excitement, became "uniform groupies" who were sufficiently "khaki wacky" to express their ardor by casual favor or intimacy bestowed upon almost any serviceman for simple companionship; such patriotic chippies or amateur trollops were known as "V-girls" (probably by analogy to B-girl), with the dual implication of "victory" and "venereal"] [nb: the American GI's standard reference for a "woman of easy virtue" during WWI was Miss Laycock and WWII was Mary Quicklay, during Vietnam was Susie Rottencrotch or Mary Meatgrinder, while any Asian was either Madam Butterfly or Suzie Wong] [cf: vivandière] [nb: the "comfort girls" who were employed as contract prostitutes to serve the sexual needs (TRICKs) of Imperial Japanese troops in the field, usually at a COMFORT STATION or SIN CITY, were called "shock absorbers" by the Allied POWs who happened to observe their (mis-)treatment]
BUTTERFLY BOMB : introduced to US air support of French INDOCHINA by the CIA, a small grenade-like anti-personnel (AP) bomblet with short wings to retard its descent, actuated by disturbance; compare CBU, see IRON BOMB, SUBMUNITION.
BUTTERFLY TRIGGER : an actuating tongue or lever, as positioned at the rear of a heavy belt-fed machinegun, between the control handles, which can be operated by either or both thumbs; also called "thumb trigger"; see HEAVY MG, HAIR-TRIGGER, CREEP, TRIGGER.
BUTTERHEAD : derogatory slang for an Asian (especially an Imperial Japanese) as used in books and films of the WWII-era, as well as in the Pacific theater of operations (PTO) by soldiers during the war; this term probably derives analogically from skin color, but may be a corruption of BUDDHAHEAD. See NIP, JAPE, MEATBALL, GOOK, DINK, SLOPE, SLANT-EYE, RICE BALL, ZIP, CHINK, BASKET HEAD, LITTLE BROWN BROTHER, INDIG, YELLOW PERIL, YELLOW DOG, BAD GUYS. [aka: lemonhead, Twinkie, banana]
BUTTON : an inscribed badge or emblem, showing one's credentials ("creds") or bona-fide authority; also called BUZZER. A BABY 007, who cherished such tokens of symbolic status, would be mockingly asked if they also received a "secret decoder ring"! Compare WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGES; see POLICE.
BUTTONHOOK : a maneuver by a rear-security element or a RECON team to double-back or reverse direction onto their back-trail to check for trackers; derived as an extension of the sports metaphor from the metal hook used in the 19th century to pull buttons through a tight buttonhole on clothing and footwear; see DRAG, STERILIZED, WATCHER; compare DASH, SCUTTLE, LEAP FROG, HOPSCOTCH, CHECKERBOARD, BUTTERFLY, STACK, ZIGZAG, FIRE 'n' MANEUVER, WAY POINT, COMBAT SPREAD. Also, a swiftly executed sharp reversal; to quickly change the direction of movement by 180 degrees, as when running a reversal on a playing field or landing a helicopter on a restricted landing zone (LZ). [nb: this pirouette-like 'hooking turn' maneuver should not be confused with a 'dynamic stall']
BUTTSTOCK : the wooden piece or composite framework to which the gun barrel, action, and related parts or mechanisms of a RIFLE or other SMALL ARM are attached, especially that segment positioned against the shoulder, as used for solid support and firm stability when aiming and firing; see BUTT, FOREARM, PISTOL GRIP, SLING. [cf: gunstock, stock] [v: Firearms Glossary]
BUTT STROKE : to powerfully strike, hit, whack, bash, slug, smash, bat, blow, or smite an enemy with a rifle butt or BUTTSTOCK, in either the vertical or horizontal plane, using the leverage of pivotal opposition, as taught in hand-to-hand combat and BAYONET drill, which technique is both faster and stronger than swung force clubbing. See BATTLE ROYAL, DOGFIGHT, FIREFIGHT, FIGHTING MAD, BAYONET, ON GUARD, CQB, UP-CLOSE 'n' PERSONAL, BATTLE, WAR.
BUY THE FARM / BOUGHT THE FARM : mortal injury, kill/killed, croak/croaked, slay/slain, die/dead, grease/greased, dusted, skragged, goner, gone West; also called WASTED, ZAPPED, CHECK OUT, BITE THE DUST, PUSHING UP DAISIES, WAXED; see BELIEVER, SOL, BITTER END, DEATH CARD, TWEP, KIA, DOW; compare WIA, GSW, MILLION DOLLAR WOUND. [nb: phrase is alleged to derive from the payment of the death benefit to the Next of Kin (NOK), but is more likely to relate to CIVIL WAR religiosity, where battlefield death would grant a peaceful homestead in the hereafter]
BUZZ : a low-level high-speed overflight, usually for dramatic effect; such a performance is called "flat-hatting" in the Navy; compare ROOF KNOCKING / KNOCKING ON THE ROOF, NOE, CONTOUR FLYING, VICTORY ROLL, SNAP ROLL; see AEROBATICS. Also, slang for a close crew-cut or flattopped BUZZ haircut as favored by career MIL-PERS; see FLATHEAD, FLATTOP, WHITE WALLS, HIGH 'n' TIGHT, MOHAWK, LONGHAIR, RELAXED GROOMING STANDARDS. [v: glaber/glabrous; cf: roach, hog] Also, idle talk, chatter, chitchat, babble, prattle, prate; see RUMOR, SCUTTLEBUTT, TALK TRASH, BRAVO SIERRA. Also, a telephone or radio call; see HORN, BAMBOO TELEGRAPH.
BUZZARD : sardonic name for the American EAGLE, as represented on various BADGEs, RATINGs, and INSIGNIA; also called CROW, "chicken", and "the bird"; see PUKING BUZZARDS, BIRD UMBRELLA, PO, CPO, CHIEF, BIRD BALL 'n' HOOK.
BUZZ-BOMB / BUZZ BOMB : see WHIZ BANG, WHISTLER, BOXCAR CHARLIE, DOODLEBUG. [nb: hysteria is also known as the "screaming-meemies"]
BUZZ-CUT : a crew-cut or flattopped BUZZ haircut as favored by career MIL-PERS; see FLATHEAD, FLATTOP, WHITE WALLS, HIGH 'n' TIGHT, LONGHAIR, RELAXED GROOMING STANDARDS. [v: glaber/glabrous; cf: roach, hog]
BUZZER : slang for a badge that betokens one's bona-fide authority or credentials ("creds"), which is also called a BUTTON; compare WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGES; see POLICE.
BVR : Beyond Visual Range.
BX : Base eXchange, same as PX or NEX concession; the sutler's store of general merchandise for military personnel and their dependents. See SLOP CHEST. [cf: vivandière]
BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY : a catch-phrase of the Vietnam-era, propounded by Malcolm X (Little) for civil rights activists, then adopted by anti-war and anti-establishment PROTESTORs; this rallying call for militant action was employed by Abbie Hoffman, one of the founders of the Youth International Party (YIPPIE), in a 1968 pledge: "We'll build our society in the vacant lots of the old, and we'll do it by any means necessary." See BY THE BOOK, BY THE NUMBERS, LEAST RESISTANCE, NIGHTCRAWLER, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGES, DAYS OF RAGE, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR. [v: agitprop; strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP / SLAPP suit); cf: counter-demonstration]
BY ASSOCIATION : a proposition that seeks to persuade (pro or con) that any sufficiently similar person or thing is interchangeable with any other comparative person or thing by a hypothetically shared mutuality of traits or characteristics, that this pairing or linking of indexed identifiers connects them irrevocably, regardless of coincidence, whether for affirmation ("approved by association") or for discredit ("guilty by association"); this is a form of the 'fallacy of ignoratio elenchi', which are arguments that are irrelevant. See TWEEDLEDUM 'n' TWEEDLEDEE, RING-KNOCKER, TICKET-PUNCHER, KHAKI MAFIA, MILICRAT. [v: inferential types of informal, semiformal, or quasi-formal fallacies] [v: "peas in a pod", "birds of a feather", "coattail benefits"] Also, an INTERROGATION technique wherein a half-truth or outright lie is introduced into the interview by coupling it with authentic facts, especially when attempting to introduce an unknown character, an unsuspected trait, or to obscure a valuable detail; such errors or counterfeits may be overlooked when passed with genuine data; see SCREEN, SQUEEZE, DEBRIEF.
BYOB : abbreviation for Bring Your Own Bottle / Booze; also represented as "Please Bring A Bottle" (PBAB); see HOOCH, GROG, BREW, JUICE, GROUP TIGHTENER, DEAD-SOLDIER, SPLICE THE MAINBRACE, DUTCH COURAGE, WHISKEY WARRIOR, TOAST, HATCH, HOIST, SUNDOWNER, CLASS SIX. [cf: catlap; apéritif]
BY THE BOOK : conformity with the correct or established form; being in accord with gathered information and recommended strategy regarding a task or procedure, problem or opponent; see NO EXCUSE, ZERO TOLERANCE, CHECKING THE DICTIONARY, CHAPTER AND VERSE, ACCORDING TO HOYLE, READ-BACK, HIDEBOUND, BRASSBOUND, HARD-SET, THE BIBLE, DRILL, MANUAL OF ARMS, SOP, ORDER, SCRIPTURES. Also, the correct or customary manner of proceeding; see RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE), LAWS OF WAR, CUSTOMS AND COURTESIES OF THE SERVICE. Also, where the "book" is an agreed or established set of rules, conventions, or standards, functioning or operating in a manner that has proven to be successful more often than not; see CAPABILITY, COURSE OF ACTION, KNOW THE ROPES, TOE THE LINE, LEAST RESISTANCE, KNOW YOUR ENEMY, ABSTRACTION, FIELD EXPEDIENT, NATIONAL SECURITY, ZERO TOLERANCE, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (ROE); compare WIGGLE ROOM, PLAN B, WANGLE, ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, WHEN IN ROME, MIND CANDY, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGES, OFF THE RESERVATION, OUTSIDE THE WIRE, VFR DIRECT, UNODIR, VIETNAM SYNDROME. [nb: although flukes, windfalls, and other exceptions (v: "one for the book") occur in the vicissitudes of war, a general axiom of military operations postulates that one must know the rules before one can disregard them, thus to violate conventions without fully understanding them is to invite disaster or chaos; "It's not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them." by T.S. Eliot (1963)] [cf: vade mecum (Latin: handbook, guide (literally: "go with me")]
BY THE NUMBERS : anything that is methodical or repetitive, ordered or sequential, such as to DRILL or CIPHER, especially those practices or procedures that are performed in a rhythmic tempo; see EXERCISE, DAILY DOZEN, AIRBORNE SHUFFLE, CADENCE, JODY CALL, CHANTEY, HEP, HEAVE-HO, HOOAH, OORAH, BATTLE CRY. Also, anything done according to standard procedures; as BY THE BOOK; see CHAPTER AND VERSE, CHECKING THE DICTIONARY, SCRIPTURES. Also, to enumerate or tabulate, mark or itemize each one of a series of things (one by one) so as to fix the number of the whole; or to ascertain the amount or quantity of an aggregate ("head-count" or "nose-count") by a called-out count so as to apportion or divide the entirety; see COUNT-OFF, SOUND-OFF, NUMERAL, NUMBER. [nb: In early literate societies (eg: Phoenician, Hebrew, Greek), before the introduction of distinct Arabic numerals, letters were also used as numbers (gematria / gimetria), either in context or with the addition of a number sign to cue (q/quando) the reader, which practice is still used in braille and TAP CODE but not in sign language or MORSE CODE] [nb: Roman numerals: I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, E = 250, D = 500, M = 1000]
BZ : see BRAVO ZULU.
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