U.S. Marine Corps Dictionary

P

P-38

The tool contained in every case of C-Rations used as a can opener. It is so versatile that Marines used it as a Phillips and slot screw driver, rudimentary box opener, scraper and even push tool. Generally worn with the Dog Tags around the neck. (see John Wayne)

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Petty Officer

A Navy and Coast Guard series of ranks vaguely equivalent to noncommissioned officers. The insignia consists of from one to three inverted chevrons with a Navy Eagle perched on top. There is a graphic between the eagle and the chevrons which indicates the specialty of that particular petty officer.

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PLC

Platoon Leaders’ Course. An innovative officer training program in which participants take part in officer training during the summers of their college years and upon graduation from college are commissioned Second Lieutenants of Marines. There are no classes or commitments during the school year. The program also has two career specific tracks: aviation and legal.

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Portand Starboard Liberty

A situation where half of a unit is always on duty while the other half is on liberty (off duty and usually off base getting drunk).

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PT

Physical Training.

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Page 11

The page in the service record book containing a chronological listing of a Marine”s favorable and unfavorable actions. The entries include: listing a DUI, records of courts martial, and warnings about the length of the grass at your assigned quarters. Positive entries include everything from a thank you letter from a community agency to a Medal of Honor. Page 11 entries stay with a Marine FOREVER.

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PF

Popular Forces. Vietnam’s National Guard–farmers during the day and soldiers at night. Usually untrained and dangerous. (origin) Vietnam

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PM

Preventive Maintenance. First level (echelon) maintenance of vehicles and equipment.

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Portholes

Eyeglasses. Originally holes in the sides of ships to provide light and sometimes ventilation.

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PT Gear

The clothing worn for PT. It is a prescribed uniform consisting of t-shirt and shorts or sweats. Usually green on green, unless a unit t-shirt has been authorized.

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PFT

Physical Fitness Test. A biannual test to ensure that Marines are within the Marine Corps’ physical standards. The test includes a timed three-mile run, pull-ups (for men), bent arm hang (for women) and crunches (up to 100 in a two minute period). The Marine’s height-to-weight ratio is also measured and must fall within established standards. A Physical Fitness Calculator is located here. (what is the link?)

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Podunk

Any small town or someone’s home town unless they are from a big city.

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POS

Piece of Shit.

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PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Previously called Shell Shock (WW I) or Battle Fatigue (WW II), it is the first line of legal defense when a Vietnam Vet goes berserk and kills a lot of innocent civilians. It manifests itself mostly as dreams recalling battlefield situations or in response to sharp sounds or scenario. Those with PTSD respond as though they were in combat–not acceptable in polite society.

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Parkerize”

A chemical process using phosphorus to put a strong coating on a weapon. Considered far superior to “bluing”.

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Phantom

Nickname of the F-4B jet fighter aircraft flown by Marines in Vietnam.

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PogeyBait

Candy or other junk food. (see Geedunk.)

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Post

1. (noun) A place where a Marine is assigned, i.e., sentry post or an embassy. Used extensively by the Army to designate bases not named forts. 2. (verb) A marching command for specific officers to take their assigned positions, or the act of placing a sentry on post or assigning a Marine to an embassy.

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Pucker Factor

A measure of the stress in any situation. A high pucker factor means high stress.

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Parris Island, SC

Location of the Marine Corps’ east coast Recruit Depot. (background) Named for its previous owner, it has been a Naval facility since the Civil War and a Marine Corps activity since 1915. It is the only training site for female Marines. Parents, friends and other relatives of Marine Corps Recruits can find help and understanding among the members of myMarine.

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Pharmacist Mate

Navy Corpsman rank in WWII and Korea. (see Corpsman)

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PogeyRope

A pejorative term for the French Fourragere.

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PostboxRear Admiral

(see Tombstone Brigadier General) /unofficial/t.shtml

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Pucket, Clinton A.

Sixth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, serving in that position from Feb 1, 1973 through May 31, 1975. He was born March 6, 1926 in Waurika, OK and died in 200 2.

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Passageway

Naval term for a hallway or corridor.

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Pogue

A headquarters or office person with no understanding of the real Marine Corps.

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POTUS

President of the United States. (background) Originally used by Secret Service, the phrase was picked up by Department of Defense and other government agencies around the 1990s.

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Puff the Magic Dragon

A flare ship (origin) Vietnam (see Basketball

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Password

A pre-determined word or phrase given in response to the challenge of a sentry. Literally, a word needed in order to pass.

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Point

Lead Marine in a patrol. Lead element in a company.

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Pounding your pud

Standing around doing nothing. Wasting time. From the colloquial expression for masturbating.

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Pugil Sticks

Padded training sticks used to simulate bayonet fighting.

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Pate, Randolph McCall

Twenty first Commandant of the Marine Corps. He was born Feb. 11, 1898 and served as Commandant from Jan. 1, 1956 until Dec. 31, 1959. He died on July 31, 1961

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Pig Board

A bulletin board set up in a common area (mostly in boot camp) where photos of wives and girlfriends (mostly school photos and beach photos) are posted. Sometimes awards are given for quality posts.

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Police

To clean up or pick up an area, i.e., policing the firing line for brass.

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POV

Privately Owned Vehicle.

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Puller, Lewis B

Lieutenant General of Marines. The icon of a Marine whose exploits, on and off the battlefield, are the genesis of many legends. His command of a Marine regiment at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea earned him the love of his men and an entire Corps. For decades, Marine Drill Instructors would have their recruits recite, “Good night General Puller, wherever you are” before retiring for the night. (see Chosin Reservoir)

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Pay Grade

A relational term consisting of the letter E, O or W, and the level of pay assigned to that grade. Below is a chart comparing Pay Grade to Rank in the Marine Corps. E-1 Private W-1 Warrant Officer O-1 Second Lieutenant E-2 Private First Class W-2 Chief Warrant Officer O-2 First Lieutenant E-3 Lance Corporal W-3 Chief Warrant Officer O-3 Captain E-4 Corporal W-4 Chief Warrant Officer O-4 Major E-5 Sergeant W-5 Chief Warrant Officer O-5 Lieutenant Colonel E-6 Staff Sergeant O-6 Colonel E-7 Gunnery Sergeant O-7 Brigadier General E-8 Master Sergeant or First Sergeant O-8 Major General E-9 Master Gunnery Sergeant or Sergeant Major O-9 Lieutenant General O-10 General

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Pinning On

A tradition among enlisted Marines in which anyone senior in rank to a newly promoted Marine is allowed to punch the new rank insignia, thereby pinning them on. In the mid-to-late 20th Century, it became a custom for Recon Marines to have their jump wings literally pinned on their naked chests in violent and bloody rite of passage. The barbaric hazing was soon rooted out as a cultural anomaly and is hopefully a historic footnote. (synonym) Tacking On.

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PoliceFlag

The national flag flown upside down. It was only used when an extreme situation confronts the captain on board ship. It is never used ashore. (synonym) Distress Flag.

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Powder Monkey

A Civil War era sailor in the rank of Boy whose job it was to keep gun crews supplied with gunpowder and shot during battle. At other times, they served in other menial ways earning little more than a cot and food.

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Punji Sticks

Bamboo sticks sharpened and often laced with poison. They were placed in holes and covered so a Marine would step in the hole and impale his foot or leg. (origin) Vietnam

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PC

Politically Correct. Used herein to identify things that are not Politically Correct as in the next entry.

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Piss ‘n Puke

(Seagoing Marines) Confinement to the brig on bread and water. (synonym) Apparently, Piss ‘n Punk is used in some quarters.

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Pollywog

(see Shellbac.k)

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Precedence

A formal list of commissioned officers in the Naval Service and their position of authority relative to each other.

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Pussy Patch

Medicated patch given to those who get seasick.

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PCFSMFSOB

(Not PC) Piss, cunt, fuck, shit, mother fucker, son of a bitch. An expletive said quickly while angry or in pain. (Vietnam era)

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Pisscutter

A Marine”s garrison cover. The word was used extensively in the middle 20th Century, presently out of vogue due to a serious lack of political correctness. The etymology of the word is not known. One possible explanation comes from Kate Gladstone who says, “I have heard ‘pisscutter’ used by (elderly male) non-Marines to describe anything which has a sharp, spiffy-looking fold or edge or crease – e.g., a particularly well-made hat-brim, or an admirably crisp crease in a pair of pants.” In the novel Shogun, by James Clavell, the word is used to refer to a harbor that was particularly difficult to navigate. (synonym) Sometimes pisscover.

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Poncho

A multi-purpose rectangle of rubberized canvas. Has a hole in the middle for the head. It was used to fend off rain, as a tent or to carry bodies, among many other uses.

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President’s Own

Name given to the United States Marine Corps Band, the official band for the President of the United States, called “The President’s Own”.

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Puzzle Palace

Specifically the Pentagon or often any headquarters.

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PCP

A special unit in Marine boot camp to which recruits who are unable to maintain minimal physical conditioning are sent. Their entire day is spent in physical conditioning and once they meet the standard they are placed back into training with a platoon which is at the point where they were taken out of regular training

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Pissing Contest

An argument, usually without purpose or value.

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Poncho Liner

A camouflaged, quilted, lightweight nylon blanket that ties to the inside of a poncho. It was usually the only blanket carried by troops in Vietnam.

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Prick25

Radio Set AN/PRC-25 (RT-505)(NSN 5820-01-857-0934). Man portable, nautical radio – one tube. Was the predecessor of the PRC-77. (origin) Vietnam

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PX

Post Exchange, an Army term. Now the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). (see Marine Corps Exchange)

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PCS

Permanent Change of Station. Leaving one unit to be assigned to another, it generally involves travel pay and household goods shipments and a total disruption of life

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Pith Helmet

A khaki-colored fiber helmet used extensively for the jungle environment. Worn by Marines throughout the 20th Century in boot camp, in war, in the fleet and presently worn by primary marksmanship instructors.

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Poolee

An unofficial rank assigned by Marine recruiters to newly enlisted recruits in the delayed entry program, awaiting departure to recruit training. Some recruiters have regular, mandatory, formations in which rudimentary drill and physical training are conducted.

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PX Ranger

Any retard in the U.S. Army that goes to the PX, buys military awards and/or decorations that they didn”t earn and then pins them on their chest so that they can go around looking like a hero. These yahoos often claim to have served in the Rangers or Force Recon or some other elite unit, but that they got out because of an injury or because they got tired of the B.S.

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PEBD

Pay Entry Base Date. The date from which pay longevity is computed. Usually the first enlistment or commissioning date

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Pits

A place behind a mound on a firing range where targets are pulled, marked and repaired before being hoisted, to be fired upon again.

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Poop

Information, as in straight poop, bad poop or poop from the group.

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Private

1. The first enlisted rank in the Marine Corps which is identified by having no insignia.. 2. The pay grade is E-1 and is equivalent to an Army private (or Air Force airman basic) who also wears no rank insignia. 3. In the Navy and Coast Guard, a seaman recruit wears a single slash in a box on the left sleeve only.

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PermanentParty

A person assigned to a base, station or ship on Permanent Change of Station orders as opposed to someone assigned temporarily.

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Pitting

To pit. A boot camp verb meaning to give Incentive Training (IT) to a recruit in order to improve his or her motivation, or as punishment for a minor infraction of rules. Sand pits are built in many places throughout the Marine Corps Recruit Depots at Parris Island, SC and San Diego, CA. drill instructors take recruits there to administer IT. (see also Quarterdecking)

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Pop-Ups

Aluminum handheld tubes holding a flare and a small parachute for field illumination. (origin) Vietnam

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Private First Class

1. The second enlisted rank in the Marine Corps. Designated by a single chevron on each sleeve. 2. The pay grade is E-2 and is equivalent to an Army private (the Army has two ranks of privates) who also wears a single chevron. 3. In the Air Force, an airman wears an inverted single stripe with a star in a circle which covers the point of the chevron. 4. Navy and Coast Guard seaman apprentices wear two slashes in a box on the left sleeve only.

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Permissive TDY

Permissive Temporary Duty is granted for temporary duty away from the normal assigned duties but no additional pay is given. PTAD is granted for “recruiter assistance” duty, and is also Permissive TDY.

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Platoon

A unit consisting of four squads. It is assigned to a company and is generally commanded by a lieutenant. It is the basic working unit in boot camp where its leaders are drill instructors.

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Port

Naval term for left. The port side of a ship will be illuminated with a red light. (background) Larboard was the original term, but it was changed in the late 18th Century to keep from confusing it with starboard, which means right.

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Pros and Cons

Proficiency and conduct marks given to Marines to the rank of sergeant by their supervisors. They are part of the formula used for promotion. Each is between 0 (totally unsat, probably not breathing) and 4 (God, on a good day).

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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.