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These Military Phrases Are Harder To Say Than Their Meaning
In the military, we tend to pride ourselves on our efficiency. We simply don’t have time to spell everything out, so we invent an acronym for just about everything. It’s a testament to how seriously we take our time, at least when we’re not raking pine needles with pine branches, mopping the water off sidewalks when it’s raining or cutting the imaginary grass in asphalt cracks with scissors. But every once in a while, we screw it up and the acronym, or its moniker, turns out to be longer than the word or phrase we’re trying to describe. In order of ascending inefficiency, here are 10 phrases that take longer to say than what they actually mean.
1. Charlie Foxtrot. Also known as a cluster fuck. Somewhat worse than just a cluster, calling something a charlie foxtrot implies that it is not only disorganized, there is also very little hope that whatever the objective is will be reached and there is a very high probability that everyone will regret their involvement later. As a phonetic expression, it is not particularly egregious, as it only adds one syllable, but keeps the conversation PG if sensitive ears are present. We’ll call this one a wash.
2. DONSA (dawn-za). Meaning day of no scheduled activities. On the surface, this one appears to save us some time, but here’s how the conversation normally goes.
Commander:“Alright guys, Friday is a DONSA, so make sure you do your long weekend counseling before COB on Thursday.”
New guy: “What’s a DONSA?”
Commander: “Day of no scheduled activities.”
New guy: “Oh, so like, a day off then?”
Commander: “Yeah. In hindsight, I probably could have just said ‘day off.’”
3. Licky Chicky or Lima Charlie. Loud and clear. On one of those rare days when atmospheric conditions are just right and you can actually hear your tactical operations center crystal clear from a whole two kilometers away, you may be tempted to respond to a radio check with “licky chicky,” expending that extra syllable because you’re excited and, well, rhymes sound cool.
4. P.O.V. Aka, personally owned vehicle. This three-syllable acronym is widely used as a replacement to the much shorter and more universally recognized term, “car.” Try telling your first sergeant that you’ve just completed doing “car inspections” on your unit and watch the wheels turn. “Car? What do you mean by car? Are you talking about P.O.V. inspections?” “Yeah, sure, Top. I meant P.O.V. inspections.”
5. L.P.C. Leather personnel carriers. Another one that sounds like a pretty decent acronym, until you consider that leather personnel carriers are just boots. Just say boots.
6. M.K.T. Or the mobile kitchen trailer. This one sounds shorter, but let’s be honest, we could call it the kitchen, or the mess much faster. Either way, it’s the place where the cooks are boiling a giant bag of “scrambled eggs with coloring” for you right now.
7. Bravo Zulu. Well done. Taken from naval signal manuals, which use two-letter abbreviations to introduce or respond to messages, the signal for the letters “B” and “Z” happens to mean “well done.” If we just said, “Bee Zee,” there wouldn’t be much to talk about, other than using a two-letter acronym completely unrelated to the two-word phrase it replaces. However, our insistence on using the phonetic alphabet on top of it has created a four-syllable acronym to replace a two-syllable phrase. “Bravo Zulu, Navy.”
8. November Golf. No Go. There’s nothing more enjoyable to a badge holder than dragging out the news that some tester just charged the M240B machine gun with his palm down instead of up during the Expert Infantryman’s Badge test, so he adds a couple extra syllables by saying, “November Golf” instead of just, “No Go.”
9. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. What the fuck? A perennial favorite, exclaimed every time a higher headquarters cuts an order that takes excessive liberties with the one-third, two-thirds rule, every time one of your privates brings you an authorization form to start his housing allowance and you didn’t even know he was dating anyone (he wasn’t; he just married that stripper from Doll House on Friday so he could move out of the barracks), and just about every time an RPG zips past your head. This six-syllable phrase doubles the three syllables of the original, but hey, at least it’s a little more polite, right?
10. Sierra Hotel or sometimes Hotel Sierra. Meaning shit hot. When that new lieutenant makes it through his first field training exercise without getting his platoon lost, you’ve got a sierra hotel lieutenant. If he gets them lost every day and then accidentally calls for fire on his company headquarters, he’s hotel sierra. Either way it’s a few extra syllables, but worth it if you don’t want him to know what you’re saying.
The Marine Corps has tapped a new Silicon Valley defense firm to develop a "digital fortress" of networked surveillance systems in order to enhance the situational awareness of security forces at installations around the world.
Marine Corps Installations Command on July 15 announced a $13.5 million sole source contract award to Anduril Industries — the two-year-old defense technology company and Project Maven contractor founded by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and several former Palantir Technologies executives — for a new Autonomous Surveillance Counter Intrusion Capability (ASCIC) designed to help secure installations against "all manners of intrusion" without additional manpower.
This is no standard intrusion system. Through its AI-driven Lattice Platform network and 32-foot-tall autonomous Sentry Towers, Anduril purports to combine the virtual reality systems that Luckey pioneered at Oculus with Pentagon's most advanced sensors into a simple mobile platform, enhancing an installation's surveillance capabilities with what Wired recently dubbed "a web of all-seeing eyes, with intelligence to know what it sees."
The Marine Corps' dune buggy drone jammer may have downed two Iranian drones in the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. military have officials announced.
The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer was transiting the Strait of Hormuz on July 18 when two Iranian drones came dangerously close, according to U.S. Central Command.
"This was a defensive action by the USS Boxer in response to aggressive interactions by two Iranian UAS [unmanned aerial systems] platforms in international waters," CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement. "The Boxer took defensive action and engaged both of these platforms."
Green Beret with terminal cancer meets Trump to rally support for military medical malpractice reform
On July 17, Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal briefly met with President Donald Trump at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to discuss the eponymous legislation that would finally allow victims of military medical malpractice to sue the U.S. government.
A Green Beret with terminal lung cancer, Stayskal has spent the last year fighting to change the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court precedent that bars service members like him from suing the government for negligence or wrongdoing.
The Pentagon is no longer topless. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Mark Esper as the United States' first permanent defense secretary in more than seven months.
Esper is expected to be sworn in as defense secretary later on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.
"We are grateful for the Senate leadership and the Senate Armed Services Committee's willingness to quickly move through this process," Hoffman said.
The new trailer for Top Gun: Maverick that dropped last week was indisputably the white-knuckle thrill ride of the summer, a blur of aerial acrobatics and beach volleyball that made us wonder how we ever lost that lovin' feeling in the decades since we first met Pete "Maverick" Mitchell back in 1986.
But it also made us wonder something else: Why is Maverick still flying combat missions in an F/A-18 Super Hornet as a 57-year-old captain after more than 30 years of service?