U.S. Marine Corps Dictionary

B

Brig Step

A regular step, as in marching. but the distance between the back of the first soldier and the front of the second soldier is reduced to about four inches, so that they must all march in step. It is a common method of controlling prisoners while moving them from place to place. It is an illegal step for anyone other than a prisoner.

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Burn in

Military term used to describe the action a paratrooper smacking into the ground after their parachute fails to open.

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B00-500

500 cubic feet field space cooler/air conditioner. Requires a dedicated generator.

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Bar Fine

An amount of money paid by bar girls in Subic Bay (Philippines) to be allowed to leave the bar or walk the streets.

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Battle Jacket

A service green uniform jacket with a faux belt and no skirt. (background) Used from World War II until the mid-1960s. (see Ike Jacket)

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Bestwick, Wilbur

First Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. Served from May 23, 1957 until Aug 31, 1959. He was born in Sabetha, KS on Nov 27, 1911 and died in San Francisco, CA on July 10, 197 2.

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Birdmen

A pejorative term for airmen.

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Blue Falcon

1. Someone who causes trouble for another. 2. Buddy Fucker.

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BOQ

Bachelor Officer Quarters.

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Brig Chaser

A Marine, now normally an MP, assigned to guard a prisoner while being transported to a location outside the brig, often for a work detail.

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Bull

The center or highest scoring part of a target often called a Bulls-Eye.

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B1RD

Humorous identification for a Air Force plane. (see GU11). (pronounced “b one r d)

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Barnett, George

Twelfth Commandant of the Marine Corps. A Wisconsin native, born on Dec. 9, 1859, who became the first graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy to be appointed Commandant. He served as Major General Commandant from February 25, 1914 until June 30, 1920. He died April 27, 1930.

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Betel nut

Narcotic seed nut chewed by Vietnamese villagers. The nut turned their teeth and gums blood red.

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Bitchbox

The 1-MC on board ship or any amplified system used to pass information widely.

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Blue Peter

1. The International Signal Flag for the letter “P”. It is a blue square with a white square within it. 2. Signal that all hands are to return to ship as it is preparing to go to sea.

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Boucoup

(origin) (Vietnam) Many, a large amount. From the Vietnamese French.

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Brig Rat

A prisoner or someone who is frequently in trouble.

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Bull Run

The first major battle of the Civil War in which a battalion of inexperienced Marines from the Washington Navy Yard performed well beyond what should have been expected of them. With an average of 3 weeks since enlisting, the Marines were trained enroute to the battle by Major John G. Reynolds, the battalion commander, and his officers. They supported the 11th New York “Fire Zouaves” in the first attack during which the Zouaves broke and ran–never to be seen again on the battlefield-taking the Marines with them from the field. The Marines were rallied four times and entered the battle (a rate equal to the professional soldiers of the Federal Army) five times. On the fifth attack, the field was swept by fresh Confederate troops (in blue uniforms) who had just been brought in by train from the Shenandoah Valley. General McDowell and his officers roundly praised the Marines for their skill and tenacity but Colonel Commandant John Harris, in his report to the Secretary of the Navy, wrote “It is the first instance in history where any portion of its members turned their backs on the enemy.” Ignoring fact, the Commandant attempted to hurt the career of Major Reynolds and established a lie in the annals of the Corps.

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Buzzard, Ball and Hook

Another version of Bird, Ball and Chain.

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BA 30/30

Government-issue green Ray-O-Vac “C” cell battery.

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Barracks

Buildings where single Marines live or a duty station where they serve.

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Battle Stations

(see General Quarters)

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Bib

The portion of a Navy enlisted uniform that hangs from the back of the neck. (background) In the wooden navy it was fashionable for sailors to have long hair but it would get blown about by the winds and get stuck in the rigging or machinery. To counteract this, sailors at sea would braid their hair and dip it in tar (used to seal the boards on the ship). When ashore on liberty (as opposed to a longer leave where they would wash the tar out of the hair), they would cut a bib out of sack cloth and tie it around their neck to keep from getting tar on their one good shirt. The bib eventually became an official part of the enlisted uniform.

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Black, Henry H.

Seventh Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps serving from June 1, 1975 until March 31, 1977. He was born Feb 9, 1929 in Imperial, PA.

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Blue Water Sailor

One who sails on the deep seas, as opposed to members of the Coast Guard who are Shallow Water Sailors. (see Brown Water Navy.)

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Bouncing Betty

A US anti-personnel mine that pops into the air to waist level before exploding.

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Bullshit

A card game played by groups of Marines while standing in line, usually aboard ship. (background) A player will draw five cards from a shuffled deck and after reviewing the hand will announce the hand (it can be anything from “One Jack” to “Full Boat, Flush”). The next Marine in line will decide if the announced hand is what the player has and will either accept or proclaim “bullshit”. If the hand is accepted the Marine can draw from one to five cards and announce the hand, but his hand must be better than the hand he accepted. This continues until someone calls “bullshit”. There is no scoring as the game is usually played while standing up.

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By the Numbers

1. Training command to perform step-by-step, stopping at each step to allow for correction. 2. From the beginning. 3. Used to indicate that the action would have to be done precisely as directed.

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Ba Mu’o’i Ba

Brand name of a Vietnamese beer.

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Barracks Cover

A frame cap with a leather bill and a metal hoop frame for the cloth covering. It has a chin strap which is usually worn setting above the bill and is adorned with a large eagle, globe and anchor above the chin strap.

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Bayonet

A knife-like weapon attached to the muzzle of a rifle used for hand-to-hand combat.

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Biddle, William

Eleventh Commandant of the Marine Corps. The Pennsylvania native was born on Dec. 17, 1853 and died on Feb. 25, 1923. He served as Acting Commandant in the rank of Colonel from Dec. 1, 1910 until Feb. 2, 1911, when he was appointed Major General Commandant and served until Feb. 12, 1914. During his command, the term of office was set, by law at 4 years.

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Bladensburg Pike

Location of the Marine line of defense on the edge of Washington, DC when the British attacked in the War of 181 2. (background) The Marines were overrun by superior forces but they earned the respect of their enemy. Some say the British spared the Commandant’s House, at 8th and I Streets SE, out of respect.

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Blues

The Dress Blue uniform.

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Box of Grid Squares

One of the endless group of nonexistent items that new members of a unit would be sent looking for. This one was used mainly in artillery.

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Brigadier

A rank in the Royal Marines, equivalent to Brigadier General in the U. S. Marine Corps.

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Bum Scoop

Bad information. Often information passed on by “Bum Scoop Ned.”

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By your leave…

1. A phrase spoken by a junior when overcoming a senior prior to passing. 2. With your permission. 3. A request to be allowed to depart. Usually followed by “sir” or “ma’am”.

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Barracks Rat

1. A Marine who does nothing but stay in the barracks all day watching television and playing video games. 2. The Marine equivalent of a couch potato. 3. Also a woman who hangs around a barracks, BEQ or BOQ for the purpose of giving or selling sexual favors.

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Bazooka

first of the modern rocket launched weapons and was made in 2.75″ and 3.5″ versions. They were replaced by the M72 LAW. A WWII period invention, it was the They were used against tanks, vehicles and other profitable targets but they were plagued by electrical problems.

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Big Chicken Dinner

Bad Conduct Discharge.

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Blanket Party

Used most often to “encourage” a screw-up to mend his ways. While sleeping, his platoon mates would sneak up on him or her, cover them with a blanket and administer numerous blows to him, while he writhied and screamed. Unauthorized and punishable under the UCMJ. Not performed frequently.

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Boat

1. Any small vessel incapable of making regular independent voyages on the high seas. 2. Traditionally, a submarine.

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Boxsee

Vietnamese word for doctor. Marines called their corpsmen by this name.

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Brigadier General

First of the Flag Officer ranks, signified by a silver star on the collar of the uniform. (background) The pay grade is O-7 and is the same in the Army and the Air Force. In the Navy and Coast Guard, the rank is Rear Admiral (lower half) and at some times the rank of Commodore has been used. The rank is additionally indicated on the sleeves of various uniforms by a two-inch gold band topped by a one-inch gold band and an insignia indicating the branch of the service to which the officer is assigned (most often a gold star indicating a line officer). Shoulder boards are mostly gold with a silver-foiled anchor and one silver star.

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Bumfucknowhere

1. “Bumfuck Egypt” meaning in the middle of nowhere 2. very, very remote.

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Baby Dicks

Hot dogs contained in MREs.

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Barrow, Robert H.

Twenty seventh Commandant of the Marine Corps serving from July 1, 1979 until June 30, 1983. Born Feb 5, 192 2.

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BB Stacker

Anyone dealing directly with ordnance.

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Blivet

1. Anything overstuffed 2. A rubber fuel bladder. 3. modified fuel tank used to haul small cargo outside the aircraft. (origin) (WWII) Two pounds of shit in a one pound bag.

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Boy

A Civil War era rank just below private. (background) Boys were “apprenticed” to the Marine Corps or Navy to learn useful jobs. Many later enlisted or joined the Marine Corps Band. In the Navy they were put on ship and made “powder monkeys”.

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Bronze Star

A personal decoration originally intended for valorous service. (background) By the end of the 20th Century it was being given out for many non-combat acts, it even became known as the “officer”s good conduct medal”. The value of the award was deflated so much that a metal “V” device to be worn on the medal’s suspension ribbon was issued to indicate valor.

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Bunker

A covered, reinforced fighting hole.

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Backdoor Draft

Government policy of keeping troops in the military beyond their original enlistment contracts through “stop loss orders” (retaining specific shortage job specialties such as military intelligence and aviation) and “stop movement orders” (locking down entire units so that troops can”t leave the military or rotate out into another unit). Some troops have spent one to two years serving past their enlistment contract or retirement date.

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BAS

Basic Allowance for Subsistence. Food allowance paid to individuals not living in barracks. Barracks residents use the military dining facilities. (synonym) Also Battalion Aid Station.

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BC Glasses

Marine Corps issue eyeglasses (officially F-9). Named Birth Control glasses by the troops due to their repulsive effect on the opposite sex.

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Block

To tighten or straighten a fieldscarf (necktie).

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Bogey

An unidentified object, usually an aircraft, ship or other mobile weapons system.

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Brady, James

1. Press Secretary to Ronald Reagan who was shot during an attempted assassination of the President. He suffered severe brain trauma. 2. A journalist and author. His name was given to a law that requires a waiting list for the purchase of handguns and he became an advocate of hand gun control. Served in the Corps during Korea.

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Brown Shoe Marine

An old salt. (background) Until Secretary of Defense MacNamara, under President Kennedy, forced all of the services to use the same shoes, Marines were issued brown shoes. In the early 1960s the shoe color changed to black but the old salts continued to wear their brown shoes as long as they could get away with it. In the Navy, any member of the aviation community is called Brown Shoe in reference to the aviator’s brown flying boots.

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Bad Conduct Discharge

A discharge ranking between Honorable and Dishonorable. (background) It is rumored that Walt Disney’s Bad Conduct Discharge from the Marine Corps was framed and hung behind his desk–that its distinctive yellow color is seen in early introductions to “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” on ABC in the 1950s and 1960s. This is false–Walt Disney never served in ANY military service. (synonym) Big Chicken Dinner.

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Base Pay

A servicemember”s basic monthly/yearly pay, based on rank and years of service.

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BCD

Bad Conduct Discharge.

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Bilge

1. An acrid mix of sea water, petroleum products and other brackish material that settles to the bottom of a ship. 2. Information that is of no value; garbage. 3. To fail at something.

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Blood Groove

A groove in a fighting knife or sword. It allows blood to flow from a wound to aid in removing the knife blade (a significant concern in close combat).

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BOHICA

Bend Over, Here It Comes Again. (origin) (Vietnam) Derived from the French beaucoup meaning many or much.

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Brain Bucket

Helmet of any type including combat Kevlar” and aviation headgear.

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Brown Shoe Navy

Navy from the old days (background) Naval officers assigned to aviation billets from World War II through Vietnam were authorized Aviation Greens in addition to their standard Navy blue uniform. The cut was very similar to Marine greens except that there was no belt. Rank insignia was in black and they wore a khaki shirt and black necktie. The shoes were lighter brown than the standard Marine Corps issue of the time and they wore tan socks. The Naval Aviator wings were gold-embroidered and the fore and aft cap had small solid gold wings on the port side and rank insignia on the starboard.

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Burrows, William Ward

Second Marine Commandant. Appointed to major under the authority of the Act of July 11, 1798 which established the Marine Corps, He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel Commandant on May 1, 1800 under the authority of the Act of April 22, 1800. He was born in South Carolina on Jan. 16, 1758 and died in office on March 6, 1804.

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Bag

To get, as in “to bag some sleep.”

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Basic School

Basic training for new second lieutenants. Conducted at Quantico, VA.

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BDU

Battle Dress Uniform. The official name for cammies.

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Bilge Rat

1. The sailors who drain and maintain the bilge on ship. 2. Marine assigned to bilge duty as non-judicial punishment.

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Blood Stripe

A red stripe displayed on the outer seam of dress blue uniform trousers. It is worn by noncommissioned officers, warrant officers and commissioned officers, traditionally to honor the high number of casualties among the ranks at the Battle of Chapultapec in the Mexican War.

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Boondockers

Shoes with high sides, manufactured to 1917 specifications and famous for having the heels come off. Discontinued in the latter part of the 20th Century.

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Brain Fart

Discontinuity, lost of concentration, a senior moment.

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Brown Side Out

Instruction to wear reversible hat with the brown side showing. (origin) (Vietnam Era) Helmet covers and shelter halves were green camo on one side and brown camo on the other. (background) It was most often used to describe confusion in orders as the color would change frequently and ultimately someone would show up for formation in the wrong color.

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Bursting Bomb

1. Found on an ancient insignia used in the Marine Corps to designate a warrant officer with the MOS that entitles him or her to be called “gunner”. 2. Found on the enlisted grade insignia of master gunnery sergeant.

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Bag Drag

Being transferred, shipped out or the process of moving to new quarters. From the act of dragging the sea bag from place to place.

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Basket Leave

1. Illegal practice of keeping a leave request form in an “In” basket (versus submitting it for processing) while the individual goes on leave. 2. A leave that is never charged against a member”s leave balance. (background) Often, leave papers were actually filled out and approved, to cover everybody’s ass in case the person on leave got arrested, killed or detained somehow while on leave. When the individual returned, the papers were then destroyed. Used by supervisors or leave clerks to provide a “bennie” to someone.

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Beating A Dead Horse

A Naval term meaning to work off advance pay onboard ship–the period before you start earning money again. see Dead Horse.

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Billet

A specific job authorized within a unit structure.

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Bloop or Bloop “em

(Vietnam) Unofficial field command to hit a target with an M79 grenade launcher.

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Boondocks

Anyplace out in the country.

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Brown Water Navy

Operations in rivers and other shallow water locations. (see Shallow Water Sailor.) br

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Bush

1. Outside the perimeter wire. 2. The boonies. (origin) (Vietnam)

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Bag Nasty

An unappetizing meal delivered in a paper bag, mostly during Marksmanship Training at boot camp but also at other times in the fleet.

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Basketball

A flare ship on station to drop illumination flares on command. (origin) Vietnam (synonym) “Puff the Magic Dragon” or “Spooky”.

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Beef, Grease, and Shrapnel

C-Ration meal of beefsteak, potatoes and gravy.

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Bingo

In Naval and Marine Aviation, a fuel level or condition requiring return to base or ship or aerial refueler.

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Blooper

M79 grenade launcher. At least one is assigned to each squad of infantry Marines.

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Boondoggle

Any situation in which the Marine gets more out of an assignment, job or situation than the Marine Corps. A good time at the Uncle’s expense.

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Brownbagger

1. A person who carried lunch rather than eat at the mess hall (usually a Married Marine). 2. Bar just outside the main gate to Camp Lejeune, NC.

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Bust Caps

1. A firefight. 2. The actual firing of a weapon.

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BAM

A pejorative term for a Woman Marine (background) broad-assed Marine. Never used much in the presence of female Marines. Women Marine recruits in the 1960s, when it was most used, were taught that the letters meant “Beautiful American Marine”. Known to have been used as early as World War II. It fell out of use in the late 20th Century.

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Baton

see Field Marshall and Drum Major.

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Belay

1. Stop. 2. Make fast, from the Naval practice of tying off a line with a belaying pin. 3. Disregard, as in “Belay my last”.

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Binjo Ditch

Rudimentary sewage ditches found throughout the Orient.

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Blouse

1. The service or dress coat worn by Marines. 2. Act of tucking pant legs into boots so that the fabric slightly overhangs the boots (worn mostly by Army personnel and in utility uniforms). 3. Act of tucking in a shirt with military creases so that it appeared tight over the entire belt line and caused a slight overhang between the two outside creases in the back.

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Boonie Hat

Field cover with a brim all the way around it. It became an issue item in 2001 when the no-iron cammies were introduced. May not be worn in garrison.

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Brat

(see Military Brat.)

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Bucket of Steam

A commodity used in a practical joke by “salty” Marines who would send inexperienced comrades on a mission to find one as part of an informal initiation rite. Taken from a similar tactic among sailors.

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Bust Heavies

To work hard. (origin) (Vietnam era)

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Bandoleer

A cloth or canvas container of several rounds of ammunition.

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Battalion

A unit containing multiple companies. It is typically commanded by a lieutenant colonel. (background) Battalions are normally assigned to a regiment.

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Bells

A system of time onboard ship. The routine day was broken into six watches of four hours each. (background) The watch on duty was responsible for maintaining the time, so each half hour a bell would be rung. This began at 30 minutes into the watch with one bell, and ending up at the end of the watch with eight bells. Watches began at 12, 4 and 8 so at those times eight bells were struck.

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Bird Colonel

A full colonel, designated by the eagle emblem on the insignia. (synonym) Full Bird

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Blowing Smoke

Wasting time, talking for no purpose and to no effect.

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Bravo

(Commtalk) the letter “B.”

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Buddy

Best friend. It is said that a real buddy is someone who will go into town when you are restricted to base and get himself two blow jobs, then come back to base and give one of them to you.

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But

The pits on a rifle range.

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Bandolier

A linked belt of machine gun ammo.

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Battalion Aid Station

A field medical unit. The first organized aid station a Marine will see when transported from the front line corpsmen.

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Below Decks

The decks below the main weather deck of a ship. They are numbered from the main weather deck. Deck 7 is therefore seven decks below the main deck. see Superstructure.

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Bird Farm

An aircraft carrier.

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Boot

A recruit, a rookie, a newbie. Applicable to all U. S. military services.

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Bravo Zulu

Well done. (background) From the Allied Naval Signal Book (ACP-175 Series), adopted after the formation of NATO.

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Bug Juice

1. Colored, sweetened water served on ship or in mess halls. 2. Also a bug repellent used in Vietnam.

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Butt

A cigarette or a wooden cask or barrel in the wooden Navy.

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BAQ

Basic Allowance for Quarters.

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Battery

An artillery unit equivalent to an infantry company. Usually six guns used in support of an infantry battalion.

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Bennie

Short for “benefit.” All services provided to or for soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines are considered bennies.

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Bird, Ball and Chain

Eagle, Globe and Anchor (usually used by short-timers).

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BLT

Battalion Landing Team, main body of infantrymen that make up a MEU.

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Boot Camp

In the Marine Corps it is official Recruit Training. It is conducted at Marine Corps Recruit Depots at Parris Island, SC and San Diego, CA. Parents, friends and other relatives of Marine Corps recruits can find help and understanding among the members of myMarine.

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Bridge

The compartment aboard ship, usually in the superstructure, where the captain controls the ship by issuing orders. It is the ship’s at-sea headquarters.

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Bug Out

To leave quickly, usually as a unit, as in An individual would “bug out”.

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Butt Kit

Ash tray. Often a #10 tin can filled with dirt or sand.

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BAR

Browning Automatic Rifle. The M1918A1 automatic rifle was first used in World War II until Vietnam. Marines, of course, didn’t get it until after World War I. It was replaced by the SAW.

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Battle Dressing

A rectangular medical dressing carried into battle by each Marine.

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BEQ.

Bachlor Enlisted Quarters (barracks).

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Bird, Ball and Hook

A disrespectful reference to the modern emblem of the Marines, the eagle, globe and anchor.

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Blue Blood

Former enlisted Marine who accepted a commission. (see Mustang.)

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Boots and Utes

A uniform combination consisting of the utility uniform (the uniform worn in the field) and boots. Most often prescribed for physical training events.

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Brig

1. A jail in the Naval services usually operated by Marines. 2. Small warship under sail during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

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Bulkhead

Wall, from the Naval term for the water-tight structure between compartments on a ship.

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Butter Bar

Pejorative term for Second lieutenant or ensign, from the gold color of their rank insignia.

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About DevilDogCorps.com

DevilDogCorps.com is an unofficial online dictionary of terms and acronyms commonly used within the United States Marine Corps.